New Year brings with it HOPE! A fresh beginning. A clean slate, A life do-over.hope rock

However the New Year’s weekend is also a  juxtapose of two worlds are war for your heart and life: 

“Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who go through it.”  (Matt 7:13)

Millions will party, drink heavily, stand in the freezing cold to watch a ball drop and hear Auld Lang Syne and ring in the new year. Some will kiss– or much more– with virtual strangers– and many will not even remember the “fun” they experienced except for the lingering painful head-splitting headache and hangover welcoming them into the new year.

While true celebration is a good thing, partying to numb your life is destructive. Jesus shared this story to help us reflect on what truly matters in life:

New-Year-Eve-Party explosionAnd he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” 16 And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God. (Luke 12:15-22 emphasis mine) 

Selah for Success

So how can we be rich toward God?  And how can this weekend of  debauchery in the world, be a defining moment for you

Set aside some time to ponder. …to wonder. . . to reflect. .. to muse…to contemplate. In a world that bombards us with messaging, and constant media noise that leaves little quiet, little white space,and  little peace, we all need some “selah”

This past year, much of my time has been spent in the Psalms, first studying, writing, drawing  Bible Art. Then after the release of Discovering Hope in the Psalms, teaching on the Psalms. I have come to love and long for “selah” . Discovering Hope Psalms coverThe Psalms were meant to be sung, so selah is on the surface, a musical directive, meaning to stop and listen, to pause and ponder. Selah is a gift we give to ourselves, and a gift we give to God. We know selah is important, it is in the Psalms more than 70 times

Here is one of my favorites:

Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. selahSelah

Sojourn in silence. Take in the presence of God. Breathe. Selah  creates moments for the Creator to reach our listening hearts, and as we pause to reflect on God and all He has done, we worship. We pause to let our heartbeat match God’s heartbeat.

Selah helps us turn down the noise and hear God’s  whisper. And as we hear, we gain light for the path ahead. Selah helps us get in sync with God and His plans for our lives.

One of our favorite activities to do on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, (depending on the responsibilities to ministry or family we might carry any particular year) is to set aside time for an extended private quiet time with God, then we cozy up together on the sofa, often in front of a fireplace, we selah– we pause to ponder our lives together.

Pam bill facing road psalms 37 3 befriend faithfulnessLook Back

Here are some questions we use to reflect on and discuss . . . and we LISTEN, we really LISTEN to each other:

What went right last year? When did you feel like a success?

What are moments when you felt God’s pleasure on your life?

What went wrong? What a moments you never want to repeat?

What helped you grow with God?

What choices helped you gain or move your life forward?

What drained your life or robbed from your life?

Then ask one question over 12 areas of our life. One a scale from 1- 10, 10 being “stellar success” and 1 being “near failure” where would you rate your life in each area, and why?

 Spiritual – My Walk with God Journeyplanner new year God

 Physical – My Wellness Journey

 Financial – My Money Journey

 Vocational – My Career/Volunteer Journey

Relational – My Marriage Journey

Familial – My Children, Grandchildren or Extended Family Journey

Intellectual – My Academic or Personal Development Journey

Emotional – My Peace of Mind Journey

Environmental – My Home Life Journey

Organizational – My Decluttering Journey

Communal – My Friendship Journey

Inspirational – My Impact in the World Journey

Look Forward

After we talk through our past, we pause and pray and ask God to lead our future. Sometimes we move forward in the conversation about our future right then, but most of the time, we pause a day or few, and pick up the conversation about our future.

pam-bill- dating BCWe usually take most of the month of December to pray, “God lead me. God lead us.” We are watching and listening for our “Word of the Year.” I have been selecting a Word of the Year, and verse for the year, since I was a college student– so for nearly 40 years– God lead me to select My Word of the Year before it was even a “”thing.”

To me, my Word of the Year, helps me focus on what God is trying to tech me, tell me, train me in.

I am not a very good bowler, my intent might be to roll the ball down the center and get a strike– but I am just not that skilled. So me (and my grandkids) bowl with bumpers on each side so no matter how we roll the bowling ball, it bounces back and forth to stay centered and the result is pins get knocked over! Victory! To me, having a Word of the year is  a lot like that bumper bowling. My Word of the year helps to keep me, my life, my family and my future centered in God.

In my book 7 Simple Skills for Every Women:Success in Keeping It All Together, I share hosimple legacyw God has added to this tradition, year after year. And how God has used my sharing my Word of the Year to spread this tradition to most of my friendship and family circles. I now have added these elements:

 WORD of the Year– Often God uses the path that I am on to lead me to my “word”. I may hear a verse or quote in a serom, podcast or on the radio in a song or message. Or I may read a verse or quote in a Bible study I maybe dong or in a book or blog I am reading. Often, God drops my word in my heart as I am praying and pondering on the path behind and the path ahead– like seeing a road sign when you are navigating on a the journey of life. If you seek God, He and His plan for you will be found.

Verse of the Year– I go to Bible hub or Bible gateway and insert my Word of the year, or synonms into the search bar. I then look to see which verse bring me hope, joy or makes me feel loved by God.

Motto of the Year– a few words that might summarize the path ahead. Something that might go on a coffee mug or tee shirt.

Song of the Year– I look for a theme song that captures the Word or verse. If my schedule allows, I create a play list of several songs that I play during waiting times all year: dressing in the morning, driving, waiting for a family member or friend, or as I fall asleep at night.

Art or Reminder of the Year- I usually buy a mug, or a tee shirt, or a paperweight or book mark– something I will see each day to be a compass and reminder of the message God is sending. Some years, I create my own work of art, a painting or other expression to capture this God directive.

Fragrance of the Year- We have five senses, but we rarely use them all. I look for an essential oil whose name or purpose might be connected to my word of the year. Or sometimes I can find a fragrance or perfume with the name that is my same word.

Clarifying Question for the Year- This is the most important ingredient for success. Turn your word into a question that you use to make decisions and choices. Here are a few examples from my life:

adventure collage

ADVENTURE: How can I see this or make this into on adventure for God?

STRONG: Will this make me, my life, my relationships stronger?

BEAUTIFUL- Will this make me and my life reflect the beauty I see in God and His creation?

BLESSING- Will this be a blessing to others or bring blessing to to my life, my marriage, my family, my friends? blessing pam word of year 2017

THRIVE- Will this choice help me, my walk with God, my marriage, my fiances and physical well being thrive?

You can download OUR BEST YEAR worksheets, (for couples or singles) and in a quiet time with God complete these, then together set goals in the 12 above areas you just reflected on, but for the new year.

If you need motivation or inspiration, you can read a story of powerful change and results God gave our lives the year when my Word of the Year was STRONG.

beyoutiful gear beautifulPraying for you to have SELAH . . . and a New Year . . . rich in God.





November 27th, 2017




Ever had one of those rollercoaster Chrsitmas’? A month full of ups and downs, and crazy twists and turns? Well my sweet and wisee friend, Pat Layton has lots of insights and encouragement for all of us. roller coaster 1

She has a new devotional book on Unstuck Christmas– hope this excerpt helps encourage you today . . I bought mine on kindle (you can also get a spiral devotional  from Pat) and I am a part of her Unstuck club online. I need all the help I can get!

Now let’s hear from Pat:

 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled[a] among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught. Luke 1:1-4 (NIV)


Some days when I feel really brave, I drag the heavy plastic bin that holds 30 plus years’ worth of my old prayer journals from under my bed, blow the layer of dust off the top and crack open the lid, my HEART does that funny dance between terror and delight. You may know the feeling; It’s like what happens when you ride Space Mountain at Disney for the first time. My mind always reviews my options – burn these and let all this “stuff” stay between me and Jesus OR keep saving them as a raw record of “the things that have been fulfilled…so that you may know.”

Memories hold such a personal place. My family always teases me about the stories I share in my books and my speeches. They always remember things differently than I do. The truth is likely somewhere in the middle.


We know we are supposed to love it and we do love it but sometimes we dread it almost as much.

The Holy verses the hustle.

The glitter verses the grief.

The tradition verses the trauma.

That feeling between terror and delight, right?!

In the familiar verses above Dr. Luke goes on record with his version of the birth and infancy of Jesus as it was handed down to him. Dr. Luke was a student of truth and details and presents a beautiful narrative of, not only the birth of Jesus but, his boyhood and launch into ministry. Luke introduces Jesus as “The Son of Man” and shares His prayer life, healing touch and His compassion for the lost and hurting. For me, as a follower of Christ, the only way for me to keep Jesus as “the reason for the season” is that like Dr Luke, I remain fully focused on His Great Story!

I am excited to join a few other women as we take a FRESH LOOK as we take a FRESH and RENEWED look at these very familiar passages. I hope you will join us!

Christmas-promo-website unstuck

Prayer: Father, thank you for leading me to this special journey with you during this holiday season. I trust you for the time and the space to get quiet and reflect upon your birth in my life. Show me some NEW things Lord. Show me some things that I have never seen. Most of all, I want to see you in a fresh way today. Open my eyes Lord. I want to see Jesus.



Pat_Layton_ProfileYou can read more about Pat Layton’s  Quest to a “less hustle, more holy” Christmas in her new holiday devotional book A Woman’s Quest to an Unstuck Christmas available in 3 versions at www.patlayton.net Pat is the author of 7 books including Life Unstuck: Finding Peace with Your Past, Purpose in Your Present and Passion for Your Future (Revell, 2015) Pat lives in sunny Florida where she enjoys the glitter of “White Christmas” from a ribbon of sand known as Longboat Key.

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Keep Hope Alive!

September 29th, 2017

In today’s world, it is very easy to get depressed, discouraged and down-trodden. Frightening headlines blast the worst possible scenarios into our homes. The stress of daily responsibilities and providing for our families weighs heavy on our hearts. If that were not enough, our lives can quickly be devastated by unpredictable, unwelcome, unwanted and unbelievably harsh floods, fires, relationship strife, death and disease  But God has a solution for our despairing hearts!

Discovering-Hope-Header 3 authors CORRECT

While writing my newest book (co-authored with Bible teacher Jean E Jones and artist Karla Dornacher), Discovering Hope in the Psalms: A Creative Biblical Experience, Jean, in passing said, “I think Psalm 71:14  could be the theme verse for this study.” Intrigued, I immediately looked up Psalm 71:14:

But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more. (Psalm 71:14)


I like to say, “trust while you tarry,” or “wait patiently (and sometimes painfully long) for God to show up and show off!” After doing a word study, I discovered this hoping is to bepsalm 71 14 fountain exercised surpassingly, repeatedly, increasingly, intensely, exceedingly, continuously, regularly, consistently, and perpetually! When I drew the verse in my Bible art journal, I pictured a geyser of ever-flowing hope!

My contribution to Discovering Hope in the Psalms is a series of inspirational devotionals that help women apply the psalms to their everyday lives and keep HOPE ALIVE. To help me keep HOPE ALIVE,  I have pages in my bullet journal where I write my “God-Sized” hopes and dreams. I then wrap them with scripture so I can pray the Word over my life.

bullet journal prayer circles page

The key to securing a hope like an eternal spring is also in this same verse, “praise you more and more”. The “more and more” means to accumulate or gather praise—and in doing this gathering we fuel hope. One way to picture accumulating or gathering praise would be how you might walk through a garden to gather flowers to create a beautiful bouquet or through a mall gathering gifts for family and friends that will bring joy!

So to capture praises to fan the flame on hope, I use pages to accumulate praises in my bullet journal.



sun praise bullet journalOne looks like the sun with praises written on each ray. Another is a vase with praises on each flower petal. (Use your imagination: a Christmas tree with gift underneath; a set of balloons, a garden with a series of daisies, a set of ocean waves– anything with a series can be used to capture your praises)

I have created a free PRAYER AND PRAISE handout  you can download. One side are the circles to record prayer requests, the other side is a vase of flowers to keep track of praises as they come.   Use in your prayer journal, your bullet journal, in your  Discovering Hope in the Psalms  Bible study, as a family devotional or date night– or hang it on your refrigerator  as a prayer prompt. prayer praise sheet

To help you accumulate praise in your life, I am hosting a once a week online Facebook Bible Study. To order your facebook live online bible study hopeautographed copy of Discovering Hope in the Psalms (or to get it quicker) and to register for the Bible study, click here. (An email will be sent to you with link to the online private facebook  group) Praying you accumulate bundles and bushels of praises so you can HOPE continually!


Pam Farrel is co- director of Love-Wise (with her husband, Bill) , international speaker, author of 45 books and budding Bible Art journaler. When she isn’t speaking around the globe, or teaching Discovering Hope in the Psalms, you will likely find her paddlebaording or kayaking near her home, a liveaboard boat in Southern California. (This blog contains a few affiliate links to products referenced)


Overwhelmed in Marriage?

March 14th, 2017

pam-bill-helm-boatThis past year has been one of the MOST CHALLENGING in our marriage: a home remodel to get home ready to sell,

a home sale that took over a year and included  being in escrow three times before the sale was final, downsizing 90% of our belongings to move nearer Bill’s aging parents (one who is frail of body, the other frail in mind), and we are currently living on a beautiful country vineyard of a relative, driving a few hours each way to catch flights for speaking or to look at  boats (we plan to liveaboard a boat). Yes, life has been rigorous! In the middle of all this, my friends Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory, sent me an advanced copy of their book, OVERWHELMED, asking if I would like to read for a possible  endorsement.


Endorse it I did! Overwhelmed was EXACTLY the hope and help I needed when I was feeling VERY OVERWHELMED.

Enjoy this excerpt—may it help you feel a little less OVERWEHLMED today too!Overwhelmed Cover lipp gregory

What Overwhelms Me May Not Overwhelm My Spouse

“Why is this glass on the counter?” my husband asks. I turn and stare. “I have no idea.” “Well, is it yours?” he asks. “I don’t remember getting it out,” I reply. “But you know that doesn’t mean I didn’t; I may have and then forgotten.” Daniel sighs, puts the glass in the dishwasher, and walks away.

Alone in the kitchen, I have a conversation with myself, processing what just happened.


Reactive Cheri:  Why does he have to make a big deal over a glass?

Empathetic Cheri:  I guess it isn’t “nothing” to him.

Reactive Cheri:  But it’s just a glass!


Empathetic Cheri:  To you, it’s just a glass. To him, it’s an unsolved mystery, a question without an answer. For his brain, that’s overwhelming.


Reactive Cheri:  Are you sure he’s not just trying to get on my last nerve?


Empathetic Cheri:  100% positive. He’s a totally different personality than you, so what overwhelms him is totally different from what overwhelms you.

What You Need to Know About the Four Personality Types

I known for decades that understanding the four personality types helps me bring out the positives in all my relationships.

But recently, I’ve come to realize that a deep understanding of the personalities also helps me understand what overwhelms others.

If you’re not familiar with the four personality types, here’s a quick run-down:


Life goal:  to have fun Major needs:  attention and approval Analytic

Life goal:  to achieve perfection Major needs:  order and sensitivity


Life goal:  to have control Major needs:  achievement and appreciation Amiable

Life goal:  to keep peace Major needs:  respect and self-worth For a more in-depth exploration of your personality type, take our online personality assessment.


What Overwhelms Each Personality

What Overwhelms an Expressive

Expressives become overwhelmed when life is no fun.  They can handle just about anything if they’re having a good time doing it. But when they have to grit their teeth to get through a boring or painful situation, that is when they start feeling completely overwhelmed.

What Overwhelms an Analytic

An Analytic becomes overwhelmed when life is imperfect. An analytic is unsettled and may not be able to think straight, when things are out of order. This can easily become overwhelming for them.

What Overwhelms a Driver

Drivers become overwhelmed when life is out of control. Surprises are not the Drivers’ friend. When goals or expectations have been set (by themselves or others) and cannot be met, that is a sure way of overwhelming a Driver.

What Overwhelms an Amiable

Amiables become overwhelmed when life is full of pressure from others. None of us like to be pressured, but this is particularly overwhelming to an Amiable whose whole goal is to be at peace and get along with others.

3 Benefits of Understanding What Overwhelms Your Spouse


Learning what overwhelms your spouse can keep you from being overwhelmed by petty frustrations over their seemingly irrational behavior.

Understanding what overwhelms the one you love helps you develop three key aspects of intimacy:

1)  Curiosity

When you ask yourselves, “What overwhelms him/her?” you’re recognizing that your spouse is different from you. Instead sitting as a critic, you’re positioning yourself as a learner.

2)  Empathy


When you remind yourself, “I get overwhelmed, too” you’re doing the highly empathetic work of translating your spouse’s external signals into a message you can understand internally. Instead of polarizing the differences between your overwhelm triggers, you’re focusing on what you have in common: the experience of feeling overwhelmed.

3)  Intentionality

Curiosity and empathy lead to asking, “How can I best support my spouse when (s)he’s feeling overwhelmed?” Instead of getting annoyed, holding back, or even hiding, you seek healthy ways your spouse can have less stress and ways to increase the peace.

Gift from Pam and Bill:

Discuspam bill close rebecca beachsions like this one from OVERWHELMED can really help couples process stress. (It helped us! I am a DRIVER and my husband is AMIABLE) Learning ways to help the other feel less stressed lowered our feelings of being OVERWHELMED. The other tool that helped Bill and I survive and thrive in this past stressful year was our WEEKLY Marriage Meeting Worksheet. We would meet, pray, plan and prepare for God to help us handle issues on the road ahead. Download the Marriage Meeting worksheet, and pick up a copy of OVERWHELMED—and you will soon feel the waves of peace coming over your



Gift from Cheri and Kathi:


Instead of making New Year’s resolutions (that will only last for a week), how about creating a Personal manifestoKathi and Cheri Photo overwhelmed that will carry you through the rest of your life?  Sign up for great ideas and resources about how to get out from Overwhelmed and you will receive “How to Write Your Personal Manifesto” as our gift to you. Get off the overwhelming cycle of making and breaking resolutions and create a gentle plan for lasting life change.




About Overwhelmed


Feeling overwhelmed? Wondering if it’s possible to move from “out of my mind” to “in control” when you’ve got too many projects on your plate and too much mess in your relationships?


Kathi and Cheri want to show you five surprising reasons why you become stressed, why social media solutions don’t often work, and how you can finally create a plan that works for you. As you identify your underlying hurts, uncover hope, and embrace practical healing, you’ll understand how to…


  • trade the to-do list that controls you for a calendar that allows space in your life
  • decide whose feedback to forget and whose input to invite
  • replace fear of the future with peace in the present


You can simplify and savor your life—guilt free! Clutter, tasks, and relationships may overwhelm you now, but God can help you overcome with grace.




Kathi Lipp is a busy conference and retreat speaker and the bestselling author of several books, including Clutter Free, The Husband Project, and The Get Yourself Organized Project. She and her husband, Roger, live in California and are the parents of four young adults.


Cheri Gregory spends her weekdays teaching teens and weekends speaking at women’s retreats. She’s been married to her college sweetheart, Daniel, for more than 28 years. The Gregorys and their young adult kids, Annemarie and Jonathon, live in California.


Disclaimer:  This blog post reflects one woman’s experience. Each marriage is unique; what works for one couple may not work for another. A marriage that involves abuse, addiction, adultery, abandonment, and/or apathy is beyond the scope of this blog post and may need the intervention of a trained counselor.

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God, the Masterchessman

November 28th, 2016

This past year has been the most intense, faith s.t.r.e.t.c.h.i.n.g., exhausting year of our lives—so far. About a year ago, in Oct of 2015, God created a set of circumstances to convince us that none of our grown kids would be moving back to California with their families, and with our travel schedule keeping us on the road 200-250 days a year, we realized we just didn’t need our 3,000 square foot home with office combo anymore.  As empty-nesters, it was time for a el-cajon-homedownsize.  During this same season, Bill’s aging parents need to have a caregiver nearer them escalated week by week. His parents are now 87, both were (are)  experiencing declining health issues and Bill is daily on the phone, and weekly drives back and forth across southern California (a 10 hour round trip with traffic, and usually a two- three day investment several times a month, and often weekly.) Caregiving to his parents was putting a consistent stress on Bill’s ministry schedule, and we knew if we didn’t make a location change, it also could impact Bill’s own health too.

We offered to move his folks in with us (as we had plenty of room) but some unchangeable and immovable factors on his parent’s side of the equation made that option an impossibility, so clearly, the next best option was to sell our home and downsize significantly to free ourselves to live nearer his parents. We also felt God’s clear call to simplify to become more free to travel and speak as “marriage missionaries.” At this same time,  God called me (Pam) to set a phone alarm to ring each day at 3:20 so I could pray Eph 3:20 over our life, our family and all those in our Love-wise3-20-alarm-phone ministry sphere:

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us

One day, near Thanksgiving 2015, Bill approached me with an idea, “I know this next season of caring for my parents will have some consistent challenges, and I know you love the ocean, so what if we lived on a boat, in a nice marina? It could be for a little while, or longer, depending on how we like living on the sea. But it would add some hope and light to this more demanding transition.  I think the kids and grandkids would love vacations on the boat. You could kayak, paddleboard, walk the beach every day if you wanted. It could be our happy spot in the water in the middle of a sea of responsibility.”

My response was positive—instantly! And we began to call our dream our #crazygoodmidlifeadventure. I selected “adventure” as my Word of the Year in January, while  Bill opted for “Intrepid” (meaning “fearless, adventurous, bold, heroic”)  And my verse for the year was 1 Cor 2:9, “…“What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”— the things God has prepared for those who love him— “

Excited for this new adventure, we skyped our  “far-flung family”, spread across the USA,  all in on a conference call. They were unanimously on board for this unique new plan. To confirm, God had each son call, independent of the others, and offer to come help us prep our home to put on the market. This translated to our boys and their godly wives giving up a relaxing Christmas vacation in trade for a whole lot of hard work! (This was one of the sweetest weeks in the entire year—to see our kids and our wonderful daughters in laws sacrifice to bless us.)

We put the home on the market at the end of January 2016, and within a few days, we got a great offer, for near our moving-saleasking price. We did a happy dance in the airport Admirals Club where we signed papers for the sale between flights enroute to a speaking engagement.  The potential buyers were a military family, and they also owned a business which needed the large storage building on our property. We were thrilled to think we might bless a military family with the home God had given us to steward. However, as the escrow papers  were being drawn up, they crunched numbers of what could happen with the birth of their coming baby, and they decided to pull out.  Our dancing turned to determined prayer.

Bill’s folks still needed us to move, and now we had to trust God for new buyers. Many potential buyers came through on numerous open houses and so many appointments we have lost track of the number!  Months went by without a solid offer. We evaluated and elected to pull our home off the market to upgrade. Bill scraped off popcorn ceilings and laid a beautiful new wood floor throughout. We put the house back on the market and an agent who had been watching our home brought his friends buy—and they LOVED our home and they gave a great offer. Our agent, Mike Wilmers, went the distance in creating a workable  win-win agreement and into escrow we went, with the contingency of their home selling.  But it did NOT SELL.  These buyers decided to stay in their home so we couldn’t even offer to wait for them to sell so our home dropped out of escrow.  This time the prayers and encouragement of dear friends buoyed us up. We never lost faith that God COULD sell our home, but we did wonder why he WASN’T selling our home. As one might think, we did plenty of soul searching. We called prayer vigils, anointed our doorposts with oil, and daily prayed scripture over our life, our ministry  and our home.  We came to the conclusion that God would send the “right” buyer—one more like us:  a family who would appreciate the long, steep driveway that ensures a beautiful view and plenty of privacy; A buyer who needed the 900 square feet of office space and the almost 1000 square foot storage building. It would not be an ordinary family, but an extraordinary family with a business or ministry that needed every square inch of our mountain that would be interested in our property. Along with asking God to send a good family that would bless our neighborhood, we began to pray that God would send buyers who had courage, bravery, and a boldness of spirit.

hope-in-psalms-hashtags-author-collageDuring these now 9 months of waiting, God had arranged for me to be writing “Hope Alive” sidebars for a book I was a co-author for, “Discovering Hope in the Psalms: Creative Biblical Expressions”. We were submerged in these Psalms — and believe me, we needed those verses of HOPE, like:

O God, from my youth you have taught me and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds. So even to old age and gray hairs, O god do not forsake me… You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again; from the depths you will bring me up again.” (Ps 71:17,18, & 20)

“By day the Lord commands His steadfast love, at night his song is with me… Why are you downcast O my soul; and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God: for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God.” (Psalms 42:11)

“Send out your light ands truth; let them lead me…then I will go to the alter of God,  to God my exceeding joy…”  (Psalms 43:3)

As the long, hot summer turned into fall, we were reminded again that spending so much time upgrading our home,psalms-42-7-8-bible-art-creative-biblical-expressions and then caring for his folks with all those trips back and forth for months …and months… and months… Bill’s work schedule was definitely impeded, so economically the pressure was on as well.  During all this time, God was faithful to always allow us to travel for every speaking commitment and fully engage with our audiences—and we welcomed the normalcy of doing what we love: speaking to build and bless marriages and families.  As we rolled up to the one year mark of when God had called us to this transition, the reality of the timeline to sell our home before November (and all the holidays) placed yet another burden on us—to emotionally survive, we kept rolling the pressure to sell back on God’s shoulders to carry.

One weekend in September, we got a glimmer of hope as we had 10 couples all interested, and it looked as if one couple, (ministry friends of ours from 20 years ago) might make an offer, …but then in the end, none of those interested could seem to make the pieces come together to make an offer. We were steady in our faith, but emotionally e.x.h.a.u.s.t.e.d.

Bill was teaching on Nehemiah, and our small group Bible study of best friends, prayed with us Neh. 2:18:

“I told them how the gracious hand of God had been on me

We were asking God to show off His hand of goodness to the world.  One of my prayer partners, prayed God would dynamite open an answer : “Build up! Build up! Prepare the Road! Remove the obstacles out of the way of my people.” (Is. 57:14)

On October 1st, I got a facebook private message from Bria, a MOPS mom I had befriended when I spoke in Menifee a several years ago. Seems she had a dear friend, Staci, who was married to a successful church planter, Eric, and they had 4 sons, living in San Diego. They were in need of a home to rent. That same day, their Murrieta home happened to go on the market, they received 3 offers, and opened escrow 2 days later. Apparently, Bria had sent our MLS link to Staci, 2 months prior, asking if she was aware of anyone in the San Diego area shopping for a house. Staci agreed to keep her eyes and ears open. Well, when they were suddenly in need of a home, Staci reached out to Bria to follow up on our listing, to confirm if it was still on the market!

That same week, I spoke for Moms in Prayer, (which is a great place to be when you need some miracle prayers to come through!) The theme verse for the Unshaken conference was Psalms 16:8, “I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”

As I was packing that week, I came across greeting cards I got from Christian nuns in Germany, more than 10 years ago, when we were in our last very D.I.F.F.I.C.U.L.T. season of Bill resigning his Sr Pastorate to stabilize his own health issues. I had not seen these cards of encouragement for more than a decade, but God wanted me to see the message of one in particular on THAT day:

So we were looking with great anticipation for the fulfillment of our year-long prayer request:

Then things really got interesting!

I got another Facebook message from a friend in ministry, who also had a ministry couple who had come to our open house and loved our home. They made an offer.

Then a scientist who had looked at our home six months earlier, returned home from overseas and saw our home was back on the market. He made an offer.

And then a multifamily group, swooped in on their last day of vacation from the East Coast—and they made an offer.

beeman-familyAnd we met with Staci and Eric, and their family and were very impressed by the deep faithfulness and commitment  Eric and Staci—and their entire extended family. Rarely in today’s world of people seeking comfort and ease do you meet an entire family tree full of people sacrificing and pulling in the same direction for a great spiritual goal—like planting a church.  After viewing the property, they made an offer!

From famine to feast! Four parties had given offers!  All were great people with good offers that all landed on the same weekend! So we prayed and answered each back.  And we  w.a.i.t.e.d.  Day after day stretched into a week, waiting for the replies to our counter, waiting on paperwork, waiting on answers and waiting on details,  . . .  and waiting to see who God would select as the buyer for our home.

The waiting at this point was one consistent plea to God, “P…L…E…A…S…E… sell our home to one of these qualified, gracious, and good families. “ A friend, Lisa, who is a talented Bible artist, (I have her art in my #CreativeBiblicalexpressions Facebook group), posted a drawing with this verse:

“You have stayed on this mountain long enough” Deut 1:6

We felt like God was saying deliverance, the sale of our home, which is located on a granite mountain, was at hand.

We asked God to make it very obvious to us who should get our home. In the end, through a series of circumstances that only God knew and would control, the Beemans’, the church planters, offer rose to the top.  All the obstacles, all the challenges, all the months of waiting were because GOD HELD OUR HOME FOR HIS GLORY- FOR HIS WORK- FOR THE PASTOR who was planting a NEW CHURCH in East county.

When we look at how far back God laid the stones in place for the transfer of ownership many of His previous works of preparation were revealed. For example:

  • 22 years ago, Eric’s parents moved onto a sailboat in San Diego. (Yes! We were amazed to meet a couple who were living the life God was calling us to—living on a boat! )
  • Eric had successful experiences planting churches in the Murrieta area, where his family became great friends with Bria, the MOPS mom who introduced me and our home to Staci.
  • Eric and Staci heard the call to plant a new church in San Diego 3 years ago. They immediately leased their home in Murrieta to a caregiving ministry, uprooted their family of 6 and moved in with Staci’s parents in San Diego to begin focusing on a new work.
  • During a three year time frame, Eric began working for a mega church in East County, focused on re-acclimating himself to the San Diego area and began praying about where God would like to begin a new work. The lead pastor (about the time we placed our home on the market last winter) blessed Eric and his family in this bold step of faith and sent them out to start a new church. Then friends and family rallied around Eric and Staci and plans went into action to launch a church, which would become known as Convergence Community Church.
  • Then, most recently, Eric and Staci learned her mom got an early diagnosis of cancer and would require treatment, and the Beeman’s wanted to give a quiet place to mom to recover, so moving their four sons into their own home became a pressing priority to them, and an answer to prayer for us as it would release us sooner to move to care for Bill’s folks.

And in the middle of this faith-filled pressure cooker on all sides, theirs and ours, God crossed our paths.

Everything the Beeman’s need in a home base for success in this season of church planting is answered in our house.

Everything we need to be freed to care for Bill’s folks and to travel and speak to build marriages and families to live LOVE-WISE is answered in the Beemans’ offer.

To all of us, the body of Christ, and our own families play a large role in helping work out all the myriad of details involved.  The hearts of a few key people, and their  “in step with God’s Spirit”  obedience and actions have made this plan of God a tangible reality. We are very grateful to the love and support of family on both sides of this home sale: My mom, and Bill’s parents as well as both Eric’s and Staci’s parents who have all loved and supported in a way that so reflects the love of God to a world that is looking for what love and family should look like.  Then our agent, Mike Wilmers, and his team who have prayed with us and for us and never gave up on us or our home. Their many dedicated hours are truly a precious gift.  And financial expert Jeff Merritt,  whose heart for God’s leaders helped create a path for one pastor to sell a home to another pastor. And of course, Bria, who obeyed that whisper of God, and kept telling Staci about her friend, Pam, who had a home for sale that seemed it might be a great fit for Staci and her family—we are forever grateful for her quick action when the Holy Spirit prompted her to connect us all up.

God is the Master chessman, and He moves the people and pieces of life around for our greatest good and His greatest glory.

“But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.” (Psalms 73:28)


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It is back to school season. Your kids or grandkids might be enjoying the fun of grandkids-back-to-schoolnew school supplies, cool new backpacks, lunch boxes and water bottles or maybe feeling the thrill of that fun new back to school outfit or uniform. But you, as parents, might be excited for back to school time for an entirely different reason!


In our books for parents (10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make, 10 Questions Kids Ask About Sex, Got Teens? and Raising a Modern Day Princess) we encourage parents to leave their TradeMark  [TM] o their kids and grandkids with

Traditions: Those yearly look forward to moments or activities

Memories: Those once in a lifetime experiences or Rites of Passages

Here are 3 powerful  ideas to consider and implement as your kiddos head back to school:

  1. Create Character: Our Back to School tradition was the yearly “Learner and Leader” Day. It was a day we set aside to negotiate privileges and responsibilities for each child. We also selected ONEtm-sons-10bp character quality to focus on for each child, each year and selected a verse to pray over that child connected to that leadership trait we would be reinforcing all year. You can read more about our “Learn, Leaders who Love God” parenting plan in our book 10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make. Our goal with Learner & Leader Day was to create a system for solidly placing the baton of faith, values and character to the next generation. (It is fun to now watch our grown children create their own version of Learn and Leader Day and their own Back to School Traditions. (Download a copy of the Learner and Leader chart for your child, or pick up a copy of 10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make and get the list of “What Chores Kids Can Do at Each Age and Stage”)

For you created my inmost being;  you knit me together in my mother’s womb. (Psalms 139:13)


If you asked us the three best choices we made in raising our kids, it will include:

(A) Faith – Pray for your kids and teach them how to have their OWN relationship with God.

(B) Family Create a family identity by using traditions like Learner and Leader Day, Rites of Passage, and shared meals, and memory making experieinces etc.

(C) Fun– Weave activities your kids love into all of this. Reward church attendance with paying for them to go to an enjoyable youth camp; Make family devotions a creative hands-on experience; Schedule fun memory making activities. (Yes, let the kids pick and plan some of these!)


I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful,  I know that full well. (Psalms 139:14)


  1. Prepare the Plan: Our friends Deanna and Jon Ramsey take a night out with their children and host a goal setting session. Deanna shares, “I love seeing them dream and plan and look forward with anticipation of a great year to come!”

After the children are done with writing their individual goals, the family then has a conversation about how they can help each other achieve those goals.


You might recognize Deanna and Jon because they have also been the musicians at some of our marriage events, and they are frequent hosts at Forest Home Family and marriage camps. Deanna is also a popular speaker  and musician for women’s conferences as she shares with hope and humor how their family kept making the next brave and right choice when husband, Jon, was stricken with a life threatening illness.

The Ramsay’s thrived during this difficult season because they maintained routines, rhythms, and faith traditions despite the hardship.  Deanna’s parents held a similar goal-setting night for their children while growing up, now Deanna and Jon are building on that foundation of faith with their children. At the goal-setting night, the Ramsey’s also created and shared with the kids,  a “So You Have Free Time?” –a list of healthy, quality activities for kids other than being on media. And a “So You Wanna Make Some Money?” –A list of chores kids can do to earn extra money.

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place,  when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. (Psalms 139:15)


  1. Celebrate Their Uniqueness: Our friends, Tammy and Chris Morgan are the leaders for Fellowship of Christian Athletes at University of Louisville. When their daughters head back to school, they celebrate theback-to-school-morgan-cake day with baking a cake, and it often reflects a love of that girl. In our years serving in youth ministry and our own parenting experience, we observed that celebrating a child’s unique talents, strengths and loves gives them a strong sense of understanding who God made them to become and what God what God would be calling them to do. A cake is a simple and affordable celebration and because it is a rare treat to have sugar in a family that is very athletic, healthy and eats clean, it is rare, so it makes the celebration uniquely special too.


Your eyes saw my unformed body;  all the days ordained for me were written in your book, before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God!  How vast is the sum of them! (Psalms 139:16-17)


Find (or create) traditions that resonate with you or your family– then live and love them year after happy year!


pam-bill-red-umbrella-rebecca-closePam and Bill Farrel are international speakers, Co-directors of Love-Wise and authors of 45 books including bestselling Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti 


Couples who travel together enjoy more “Red Hot Monogamy” according to U.S. Travel Association.


And of those, 40 percent said their intimate lives are permanently better since traveling.10 sunset profile

Because we wrote 7 Simple Skills for Every Man and Every Woman, we thought we would gather 7 SIMPLE but sensational reasons why traveling together builds a relationship. When you go on T.R.A.V.E.L.S. together, you will enjoy…

Trying New Things: Become More Interesting: As you broaden your horizons by going to new places, meeting new people, and try new skills, you both become more interesting to each other and to your friends and family. In 7 Simple Skills for Every Woman: Success at Keeping It All Together , I share,

Relaxing Together: Often couples are in conflict simply because they are EXHAUSTED! Weh you can get away, get rest, get unhurried time together, often you can move from conflict to connection. That slower pace can also be easily transformed into some wonderful “red hot monogamy” and renewed intimacy.

Anticipating Fun– In your very busy, responsible life, looking forward to a trip, planning exciting experiences and dreaming together puts light at the end of the tunnel. A trip on your calendar brings HOPE for easier, happier, less stressful days.

Viewing the Extraordinary: Imagine the two of you in a hammock watching the sunset over the ocean, snorkeling with exotic and hawaii san diego cruise pr pixcolorful fish, dancing under the stars. Make a list of things you want to see LIVE and in person together, then put dollars to your dreams by putting the dream vacation on your calendar, and place money in savings or monthly payments to the tour company or cruise line.

Experiencing Caring Connections and Conversations: Getting away can give you time to regroup, renew or realign your lives. Longer stretches of uninterrupted time gives you the opportunity to solve issues or problems and you two can proactively plan together so you can avoid issues that might ensnare other couples.

Learning from Experts: Often, while enroute you can learn information to enrich, encourage, educate and inspire you, your marriage and your family. Some travel can include listening to podcasts or audio books, or you can travel WITH experts (cruises, vacation destinations, Christian Conference Centers, or educational tours- like to Israel)

Sharing Memories: You will traverse experiences together. Some of these memory making activities will be romantic, others might be adventurous, some might be a little problem you victoriously solve but most will be precious, priceless bonding moments together!

marriage cruise 2017 laffoon farrelTraveling anywhere in the world can meet many of these extraordinary expectations and exciting experiences  but we know from past experience, our Marriage Cruise happening THIS COMING January 7-`14, will include all of these 7 sensational yet simple, sweet memory-making opportunities. (This week will include time with us, but also great wisdom from The Smalley’s and the Laffoons, who bring their biblical insights in creative ways. Get more information on the cruise here. And please use this link to register as a “Friend of the Farrels” to get a special onboard gift. If you register for the conference and BOOK your cruise room with deposit by AUG 31, the cruise line is offering some SPECIALS and UPGRADES. Please email us at info@love-wise.com and let us know you are coming!)

We would also LOVE to bring a relaxing, renewing, rejuvenating, re-energizing retreat weekend getaway to your area! For details on how to bring us to your church, conference center or recreational area, email info@love-wise.com
We hope to have you join us on a vacation with purpose sometime this year!

Praying this promise from God from Psalms 32:8 over you:

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Today, I have a guest post from my friend, Kathy Howard.  I know she is a person of grace because I have stayed at her home, spoken for her church, and when I have needed it most, she has lavished grace over me. I highly recommend her new book “Lavish Grace“, especially if you want to lavish in God’s grace and become a woman of grace. Read to see which areas of grace might be where you want God to grow you this coming school year (Mine is #12).

Here’s Kathy:pam and kathy howard

Would you describe yourself as a channel or a pool of grace? A “channel” shares the grace with others that God has lavished on them. A “pool” hoards all God’s grace for herself, failing to pass along His undeserved loving kindness.

Anytime we find ourselves more “pool” than “channel,” it’s time to reflect again on God’s underserved grace in our own lives. In his book Putting a Face on Grace, Dr. Richard Blackaby writes that when we truly grasp its depth we would not dare withhold it from others. “We are not called to just bathe in grace; we are called to shower it upon others. Grace has not been fully experienced until it is fully expressed to others. The deeper our understanding of grace, the more we see the necessity of making it the fabric of our Christian life.”

Everything we have, everything we are, and everything we will be depends solely on God’s lavish grace working in our lives. When that truth sinks into our hearts and minds, we will live our life as a grateful response to the grace God so generously pours out on us.

Yet sometimes I forget. Often, I am that stagnant pool, hoarding God’s grace like a selfish child. But God calls me to be channel of His grace, not a pool. As someone who receives His constant supply of glorious grace, I should willingly share it with everyone around me.

What about you? Are you a channel or a pool? Use the following characteristics to evaluate whether your words and actions reflect God’s grace to others:

1. Doesn’t insist on being right, but seeks to make things right

2. Willing to be inconvenienced

3. Seeks the welfare of the other personLavishGrace-683x1024 kathy howard

4. Speaks words that build up, not tear down

5. Doesn’t demand to be heard, but strives to listen

6. Focuses on others needs instead of our own

7. Acts with humility, not pride

8. Doesn’t keep score

9. Looks for ways to help and encourage others

10. Freely forgives

11. Seeks to understand

12. Doesn’t expect a return

13. Focuses on the important over the urgent

14. Doesn’t pick and choose whom to show grace

15. Doesn’t overlook sin, but encourages holiness

Seem overwhelming? Remember, God has given us everything we need to live a life that pleases Him (2 Peter 1:3).

When do you find it most hard to show grace? What are some things that help you show grace to others?

This post is adapted from Kathy Howard’s new Bible study Lavish Grace: Poured Out, Poured Through, and Overflowing. Lavish Grace is a 9-week journey with the apostle Paul that helps readers discover God’s abundant grace for their daily lives and relationships. You can find out more about Kathy, her speaking and writing, and find free resources at www.KathyHoward.org.

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This interview is a part of a wonderful blog hop scavenger hunt through Christian Authors Network. Follow the hunt from site to site collecting the words or phrases needed to complete the winning sentence—AND meet some amazing authors all along the way! (In this blog, be on the look for “and teach” as you read about the talented author and editor, Kathy Ide):

As the author of relationship books like The Secret Language of Successful CouplesSecret Language of Couples new sub title unlock love, today I am thrilled to be able to introduce you to my friend, Kathy Ide, a stand out author and editor in my CAN writer’s network. She has a very unique series of “fictional devotionals”, that is, a devotion that uses fiction and the use of powerful story-telling to move your heart and life closer to God.

Here are a few Questions and Answers that will give you a more up close and personal look at Kathy and her innovative writing:

  1. Tell me about your newest book.

It’s actually a four-book series of Fiction Lover’s Devotionals, published by BroadStreet Publishing. The booksKathy Ide-rectangle [210302] are collections of short fiction stories, all written by different authors—some new, some intermediate, and some well-known, beloved best sellers. Each story is followed by a brief Life Application, written by the author of the story, that suggests how the messages inherent in the fictional tale can be applied to the reader’s daily life.

  1. What’s unique about this series?

A lot of readers today love Christian fiction. But in their quiet times with the Lord, they want something with a little more depth … and something a little shorter than a novel. There are lots of compilations with short true stories out there. The Fiction Lover’s Devotionals are for readers who enjoy fiction. For people who haven’t discovered the joys of Christian fiction, these short stories will be a great introduction to it.

  1. Which authors are included in these books?

21 Days of Grace: Stories that Celebrate God’s Unconditional Love has chapters by Angela Hunt, Deborah Raney, Cindy Woodsmall, Tracy Higley, Cecil Murphey, DiAnn Mills, Kathi Macias, and more.

21 Days of Christmas: Stories that Celebrate God’s Greatest Gift includes chapters by Lena Nelson Dooley, Joanne Bischof, Jan Cline, and Lynn Kinnaman.

21 Days of Love: Stories that Celebrate Treasured Relationships contains stories by Cindy Woodsmall, Susan May Warren, Sherry Kyle, and Renae Brumbaugh.

21 Days of Joy: Stories that Celebrate Mom features the writings of Lynette Sowell, Mary DeMuth, Deborah Raney, and Cindy Woodsmall.

Bios of contributing authors are featured at the end of each chapter, so you can get something new from the novelists you already know and love as well as samples from other authors you can add to your favorites list.

  1. How do you see people using these devotionals?

The books are being published as hardcover gift books—small enough to take with you wherever you go, and with chapters short enough to read anywhere. You can enjoy these stories over breakfast, at lunch break, before bed, or curled up in your favorite chair with a cup of coffee or tea. They make terrific gifts too!


  1. Can you share a sample?

21 Days of Love kathy ideExcerpt from 21 Days of Love:


Silk Roses

by Kathy Ide


“Don’t marry someone you can live with. Marry the man you can’t live without.”

As Jamie floated across the dance studio floor, her cousin Stacy’s words of advice rang in her heart. She gazed into Tony’s sparkling green eyes. He hadn’t stopped looking at her since the waltz began. His arm around her waist, he led her gracefully through every turn and twirl.

This amazing man was definitely her soul mate. Tony made her feel loved. Cherished. Like she was the only woman in the world. Well, the only woman in his world.

“You’re so beautiful,” he whispered in her ear.

Her cheeks—already flushed from the dance—warmed even more.

Jamie’s focus flitted back and forth between Tony’s adorable face and the glittering diamond he’d placed on her finger on Valentine’s Day one year ago. When they began making wedding plans, she’d shared her lifelong dream of dancing with her groom at the reception.

His eyebrows rose, but after a moment’s hesitation, he’d said, “If it’s important to you, I’ll learn.” Just one of the many things Tony said that melted her heart.


  1. Can these books also be used in group settings?

Absolutely. They’re great for a book club, Bible study, life group, Sunday school class, or just getting together with friends. There’s a study guide available as a free PDF on www.FictionDevo.com or as a 99-cent e-book from Amazon or Barnes & Noble, which can be used for groups to encourage and inspire as well as teach more in-depth individual study.

  1. Where can people purchase the books?

The print versions can be ordered at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ChristianBook, and other online retailers. It’s also in several Christian bookstores and some Barnes & Noble stores. The e-book is available from Amazon, BN.com, iBooks, and Google Play. The www.FictionDevo.com website’s home page has links to various places where the books can be ordered online, so readers can “comparison shop” for the best price at the time they order.

kathy ide 21 days of book series

  1. What do you want readers to take away from the book?

I am a huge fan of Christian fiction. The Holy Spirit has spoken to me many times through novels, as I relate personally to the characters and their situations. And I’ve heard about others whose lives were changed through a fictional story they read. I believe the same thing can happen through the short stories in these devotionals. Also, when I’m looking for a new book to read, I tend to go for the authors I’m already familiar with. It’s tough to decide which new novelists to try because I don’t know what their style is and whether it’s something I’m going to like. Reading short stories from a variety of novelists all in one book will give fiction fans an opportunity to sample different authors and find new ones they enjoy.

  1. What can readers do after they read the books?

They can post their responses to the stories at www.Facebook.com/FictionDevo. I’m very excited about reading what the Lord is doing in people’s hearts and lives through these books. And, of course, I’d love for readers to spread the word about these books so the publisher will be able to continue the series!

  1. How can people find out more about you?

My website, www.KathyIde.com, has information about my editing services, my editor networks, and my speaking engagements. I have a blog and a newsletter with tips for writers and publishing industry news. Additional tips and announcements are posted on my Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/KathyIde.AuthorEditor, and my Twitter page, https://twitter.com/KathyIde.

“Did you catch the secret phrase? to encourage and 

Your next stop on the CAN Scavenger Hunt is: http://kathyide.com/can-scavenger-hunt-21/

If you’re ready to enter the CAN group Scavenger Hunt contest, click here to send in your entry: http://christianauthorsnetwork.com/newreleases/


Thanks! And speaking of love . . . have you joined the 90 Day Red Hot Romance Challenge? 13 weeks of adding spark and sizzle into your marriage!

Pam and Bill

RH90dayHeader red hot



Crosswalk asked us to create a 90 day, 13 week challenge to help move couples CLOSER.  Using some of the practical wisdom found in our books Red Hot Monogamy; Red Hot Romance Tips for Women52 Ways to Wow Your Husband; and Bill’s phone App: Her Best Friend, we have SIMPLIFIED and synthesized an easy to implement 10 week romance challenge. Below is the article we wrote for Crosswalk, then the sign up for a special ONCE A WEEK Romance Rev — a personal email from Bill and I that contains some extra helps plus two ideas for developing your marriage with a FOCUSED date and a FUN date for each week.

Your heart beats with anticipation when you round the block and head into your driveway. It skips a beat when you hear that special ringtone and see your mate’s face on your cell phone. Your smile widens as the one you love walks in the door. Your entire being longs to be with your spouse. Others want what you have—that spark and sizzle of a love that is on fire!

The couple in Song of Songs 8:7 felt this kind of love, saying, “Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away…”

Why do we long for intense, all-consuming love? It is because God designed us to give and receive love. “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Gen 2:24). With a little bit of focus, enthusiasm, and creativity, in a short time, it is possible to renovate and revive your marriage. Or if you feel your marriage is already on solid footing, a focused period dating your mate will enrich your love even more! Fanning the flame on passion is what the 90 Day Red Hot Romance Challenge is all about.

RH90dayHeader red hot

What Bill and I have observed in our 36 years of marriage ministry is when couples hit a difficult patch, or one or both are feeling disinterested, disengaged or distracted, a marriage can be reignited when one of two things happens.

pam bill dating bc1. They both commit to be “all in” for a focused period of time so new skills can be learned and feelings of love can be rekindled as new happy and satisfying memories are experienced.

2. One of you, a husband or a wife, decides he or she is willing to try to “outlove” their spouse with God’s power and provision. When one person loves like God loves, it raises the possibility for God transform your marriage.

If you want a Red Hot Romance and a sizzling, satisfying, sex life, commit to the 90 Day Red Hot Romance Challenge to give God the time and opportunity to give you back those honeymoon feelings. Just like a diamond in a wedding ring has many facets, a strong marriage has unity in 13 different areas of intimacy. Here is a preview of the journey of love you two will travel:

Week 1:  Archival – The number one reason couple’s who have filed for divorce decide to pull their papers and stick it out is they remember how much they have already invested in their marriage. Just like a bellow blows and an ember sparks into a flame, a couple that feels their love is growing cold will find their romance ablaze again when they take a trip down memory lane. In this week, you will pull out memorabilia like your wedding album and video; retell your love story to your children; or create a “flashback” date and return to the place you met, first said, “I love you,” first kissed, had your first date, proposed or honeymooned.

Week 2: Social – While doing research for “Her Best Friend” phone App, Bill discovered that the primary her best friend ap cold lakecharacteristic of successful, long lasting marriages is that the husband and wife have become best friends. In this week, you will brainstorm a list of new activities you two can try TOGETHER with the goal of finding something you BOTH love doing. Each of you brainstorm a bucket list: things to do, classes to take, places to go, hobbies to learn.  Now compare lists, looking for common denominators. This might be the year to take that Pacific Rim Island cooking class that reminds you of that honeymoon in Hawaii! Or this could be the summer to have a weekly picnic at the pops symphony, or motorcycle to all the best burger places in the county.

Week 3: Nutritional – While writing Red Hot Romance Tips for Women, I discovered that science supports some of the mythological food aphrodisiacs. Creating a meal together using many of these heart healthy items can produce passion as you whisk, bake and taste-test delectable ingredients.  For a quick example, check out to power of beloved chocolate. 70 percent cocoa, a sweet, erotic staple, contains phenylethylamine which is linked to the release of endorphins. Dark chocolate increases the feelings of attraction between two people and causes a more intense and a longer brain buzz than kissing does.

song of s 3 4 red hot pam bill smWeek 4: Physical – You will be more likely to enjoy Red Hot Monogamy if you are ALIVE and well! Couples that workout together have more sex than the average couple. This is NOT about looking perfect, rather about feeling healthy and strong. Together you will discuss, decide and complete a health and wellness plan. Exercise releases happy endorphins, but passion itself has an upside for your health too. For example, kissing for 15 minutes burns 30 calories.

Week 5: Recreational – The longer you are married, the more likely you are working harder and playing less. This is the week to find an activity you BOTH enjoy! For example, during our children’s teen years we were so busy supporting their sports we forgot what sports we loved to do as a couple.  The year our first son launched into college we tried a variety of activities from cross country skiing to mountain biking in search of “the perfect set of sports.” We settled on sports of the sea: paddle boarding, kayaking, sailing, jetskiing and beachside biking.

Week 6: Vocational – Couples are often in conflict over who does what and when. Once a year, Bill and I sit down to make goals and decide what the priorities are in our careers and at home. This is also a good time to discuss and delegate chores and household, yard, and car maintenance responsibilities. In Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti, we have a “What’s Important to You” worksheet that helps a husband and a wife see which areas of your personal and family life matter most to each of you. The person who cares the most about a particular priority should pick up that area—no matter if it breaks gender stereotypes. If he’sWafflesCover new a better cook and she loves to be outside mowing the lawn, go with it! A fun date this week could be a “trading places” swap. Change the side of the bed you sleep in, who drives the car when you are together, who cooks or does dishes or even spend time in each other’s work places if that is possible. It is amazing the appreciation that builds when you walk in each other’s shoes.

Week 7: Parental – People often ask us how our family gets along so well and arguments seem very rare. One of the top contributing factors to family unity is to have a clear plan. In 10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make, we share how to create a family compass including a Mission, Motto, and Moniker (or crest), and our yearly parenting plan to help our sons become “Learners and Leaders who Love God.” As tm sons 10bpparents, your marriage is strengthened as you realize your marriage is about much more than just your own personal happiness. God calls us all to pass the baton of faith to the next generation. If you are newlyweds, and having children is still in the future, this might be a great time to take a parenting class, read a parenting book and discuss your views on child rearing. If you are empty nesters, you might decide to have a date that includes your grown kids and their significant others or the grandkids. Or maybe your date could be a scouting trip to check out venues for the next family reunion.

Week 8: Emotional – This world is hard on people. Like us, one or both of you might come from families of origin filled with dysfunction and drama. A date that includes couple’s counseling, a marriage workshop or retreat might be just the thing to repair broken hearts or broken dreams. To find a quality counselor in your area, we recommend a visit to your local Christian bookstore, ask your own Pastor or Marriage Ministry Director or contact ministries like AACC or Focus on the Family.  A favorite marriage tune up, with some of the best interpersonal communication tools, is a United Marriage Encounter getaway weekend. (If your marriage is in a tough place, we have a list of other resources in Marriage On the Rocks? Try Again!)

Week 9: Financial – Money is the number one area couples typically argue about! This week you will tacklewow laugh this area and decide what one choice would most help you two move forward in unity. You might decide to watch some Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University or Crown Financial videos, or sign up for a class. It might be the week to actually create a budget, or clip coupons and go on a “two for one” date. Romance doesn’t have to be expensive. While writing 52 Ways to Wow Your Husband, I posted a contest on social media and ask friends to give examples of “Dates on a Shoestring Budget.” The winner wrote: “We each get $5 ($10 if we’re lucky) we take turns going into a store while the other waits in the van… Usually Wal-Mart, Kwik Trip, ACE Hardware, or Good Will… Sometimes we have a drawing for which store.)  We each buy — without the others’ knowledge — whatever we want for “Date Night.”  Combining the two items into one date night is a hoot!  He might buy a Styrofoam cup of worms and a sixpack of Mountain Dew for a few hours of fishing — and I purchase a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle.”

fire hat red hot 60Week 10: Spiritual – Couples that attend church weekly, pray together daily and are in small group Bible studies with those who believe in long lasting love tend to also have a long lasting marriage and rate their sex life as more satisfying than the average couple. Mutual spiritual growth creates a pathway to true intimacy. God created us body, soul and spirit so as we seek to interweave our spiritual lives it builds trust, and trust is the key that unlocks freedom to enjoy your intimate life. Dates to develop your shared walk with God could include watching a Christian marriage video (like our Red Hot Date Night), or pop some popcorn and watch a movie produced by a Christian movie company like bestselling War Room or Fireproof; or attend a Christian music concert of a favorite or new artist.

Week 11: Inspirational – Even in marriage, it is “more blessed to give than receive.” Some of the sweetest memories Bill and I have are times we have done ministry together. We started as newlyweds teaching 4-year-old Sunday School, and more recently, God has us traveling the world equipping couples and families in various cultures on love, marriage and parenting. This week’s date is your opportunity to try a new ministry like serving food at a homeless shelter, gathering donations for a women’s center, teaching a children’s or teen class, or hosting a barbeque that reaches out to neighbors and friends that might not know Christ yet.  People are looking at your marriage and wondering “What is the power that helps them stay in love?” We sign all our books with that answer, “We love because He [God] first loved us” (1 John 4:19)

Week 12: Sensual – When all five senses are used in creating a date, that memory sticks! Researchers at hawaii bill pamCambridge discovered if you are “super surprised” then you “super learn” and more details of that experience lodge deeper in your memory. This week you will each plan a mini date using all five senses. One of our most memorable dates was when I surprised Bill at a conference he was attending. I had a picnic basic that included some of his favorite luau foods from the islands, lotions we brought back from Hawaii, candles in coconut shells, Hawaiian print sarongs and ukulele music by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, and as we experienced all five senses, we spent the night, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

Week 13: Sexual – Lack of time is the number one reason couples cite for not having frequent sexual relations. The goal of this 90 Day Red Hot Romance Challenge is to increase your frequency and satisfaction level of your intimate life. Most weeks, sexual expression will likely happen simply because you are paying greater attention to one another, but this week you will talk about your sex life. In the Old Testament, the word most used for sex is “to know” and that is really the goal, to know your mate head to toe, inside and out, body, soul and Spirit. Phil 2 encourages us to consider “others as more important than yourself” so this will be the night you keep your mate’s desires in mind.

two hands one heart beach sunset romanceIf you would like to join the Love-Wise 90 Day Red Hot Romance Challenge and receive email that gives more enrichment, encouragement, education and equipping in these 13 areas of intimacy. Take up the challenge and create a marriage that is red hot!




Pam and Bill Farrel international speakers, relationship experts and the authors of 45 books includingpam bill red umbrella rebecca Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti, Red Hot Monogamy, 52 Ways to Wow Your Husband, and Red Hot Romance Tips for Women. Bill is the creator of Her Best Friend Phone App which sends one romantic idea a day to a man’s phone to wow and woo his wife. The Farrels have been happily married 36 years and together they are Co Directors of Love-Wise




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