Archive for the ‘family’ Category

3 POWERFUL Back to School Traditions

Friday, September 9th, 2016

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.

ramsay-kids-goals-back-to-school-learner-leader

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 

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Scavenger Hunt #20: Imagine Love

Saturday, July 16th, 2016

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

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Want a Blessed Life?

Monday, June 6th, 2016

CRCphotography (12 of 16) crop umbrella 1

 

Often I hear, “I want God to bless my life”, and the key to God putting his hand of goodness and favor over your life is found in Psalms 5:12: “For it is You who blesses the righteous [woman/man}, O LORD, You surround [her/ him] with favor as with a shield”  (Ps 5:12)

In 7 Simple Skills for Every Woman, I explain that it is wise to desire to be under God’s umbrella of blessing. Yes, storms come (we are either in a storm, have just been through a storm, or see a storm approaching) but God promises to be a “shield” and grant favor to the “righteous” (upright; person seeking to live in integrity with God’s plan)

I recently signed my 45th book contract for wonderful Bible Study in the Psalms hope in psalms pam sign(by Jean E Jones)  that will incorporate with the study creative interactives, coloring pages (by Karla Dornacher), the option of creative writing as well as Bible Art Journaling (so if you like Illustrated Faith, you will like this one!) I am writing practical “Power Step” devotionals for each chapter, that will help YOU experience the power God can give YOU when YOU dig into God’s Word. (Join our Creative Biblical Expressions (TM) Facebook group and be a part of a community of women who love art and the Bible)

umbrella of blessing psalmHere is a drawing of how I picture God’s umbrella of blessing. When we walk in step with Christ, seeking to walk in righteousness, God is our shelter in the storm. He is with us.  And God promises to grant favor over our lives as we seek to follow Christ with all our heart.

 

Keep under God’s Umbrella of Blessing, one upright step at a time!

pam bill red umbrella rebeccaPam Farrel is author of 45 books, and loves Creative Biblical Expressions (TM)

www.Love-Wise.com

 

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Navigating Transition: What to Do in the Waiting

Thursday, March 17th, 2016

home and fushia flowersWe are in another transition. Our home is on the market, we are downsizing, and moving our ministry headquarters nearer Bill’s aging parents. His parents need someone in the family closer, much more often, and we know it is our time to give back to the couple who gave Bill life. But our home hasn’t sold . . .yet. . . so we feel like we are in spiritual limbo. Like a plane circling an airport to land, we keep doing what we know will keep our life safely flying until we are cleared for landing.

Thinking back, we have been in transition many times before: before we married, before God called us to go to seminary, waiting to see if we would receive our first ministry calling, waiting for the results of a pregnancy test (three times), waiting to see which would be our first home, waiting to see what church would be Bill’s first pastorate, waiting to see if any publisher would want to print our book(s) . . .waiting, more and more waiting. In 10 Best 10 Best CoupleDecisions a Couple Can Make, we walk couples through many life typical transitions.

In a more tender moment, at a time of life and death of our youngest son, God enlightened us on what to do while waiting:    

I [Pam] was sitting in a hospital room—my son in ICU—with my husband who had just ended a job he loved. I was asked to endorse a book, Gracepoints by Jane Rubietta, and God sent His hope in the middle of the pain of my changing world through Jane’s book as I read: “God is working just beyond the headlights of your life. . . .”

Here are a few other things I have learned about navigating change:

brave book courage mugIn my messages on Becoming A Brave New Woman: Step into God’s Adventure for Your Life, I encourage women to follow the example of Naomi in the book of Ruth, who, when her husband and sons died, went back to the last place that she knew she had heard from God, her homeland. If you are feeling lost, go back to familiar people and places, and the promises from God’s Word.

 

 

 

 

Look at nature, the consistent roll of the waves—tide in, tide out; or the sun that rises and sets each day. God is in control. Psalm 50: 6 reminds us, “The heavens proclaim his righteousness.” Observe the certain in nature and rely on that same reliable control of God in your own life. God is in control even if you can’t see or feel it, so observe it with a sunrise or a moonrise today to remind yourself of His power to provide.

In 7 Simple Skills for Every Woman, I share  the obvious “Do the Next right thing” principle: Do what is healthy while you are waiting and wondering. Cleansimple known to unknown gods will b and p both  house, get dressed, visit friends, and continue in ministry, even if it is just helping the next person who God brings across your path. Proverbs 31:13 gives an example of a woman who “works with eager hands.” If you don’t have answers, research and step out to call, write, or visit people who created the information. Function on the thread of information you do know, and it will likely lead to a person or resource with more information.

Remember God’s faithfulness in your own life. Log away the faithfulness of God in a scrapbook, a photo album, and in your heart—like the Psalmist who lists twenty-five faithful victories of God in Psalm 136 and ends each accomplishment with the praise, “For His love endures forever.”

Send Up a Simple Prayer: Lord, when I am navigating change, help me focus on You, the CREATOR, not my circumstances. Be the compass needle of my life. Create light to lead me t my “next right thing”. Amen.

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea. (Psalm 46:2)

 

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Imperfect Christmas

Friday, December 18th, 2015

Ever feel like Christmas is broken? IMPERFECT?

Me too.

Like this year. Usually my Christmas speaking engagement wraps up around my mid- December wedding anniversary and I quicklypam speak christmas ncc 2015 shift into a whirlwind of decorating, carol singing, an upbeat social schedule, and fun family outings. However, more often than not, things spiral into imperfection.

Imperfect people.  Imperfect attitudes.  Imperfect challenges to our “perfect plan.”

This year the contrast between the planned perfection and the imperfect was sent in the form of a “crash”, “bang” and “boom”  as they only Christmas decor I had up, my collectible nativity, was accidently bumped resulting into a broken Mary and a headless wise man. The shelf falling to the ground could be seen as an “accident”, God sent it “on purpose”, to remind me of the glory and gain of imperfection.

willowcreek nativity  It is so easy to fall into the “Life must feel perfect” at Christmas syndrome.  And if things don’t feel perfect, or if relationships are not working perfectly, or if circumstances refuse to fall into our perfectly planned expectations—then we can topple into the crevasse of depression. Statistically, those in the people helping professions report a significant rise in depression and suicidal behaviors during the holidays. One North American survey reported that 45% of respondents dreaded the festive season .

. The Devil would want us to get all caught up in the lights, tinsel, costly gifts, fancy clothes, and elaborate parties. In reality, the first Christmas was FAR from perfect!

Pregnant Mary had to ride MILES on the back of a donkey. She was likely uncomfortable and apprehensive. This young woman (a teen, really) was carrying the Christ-child amidst the rollercoaster of emotions of an Angel appearing to her sharing the news that God, the Creator of her and all things, was going to overshadow her with the power of the Holy Spirit and she would conceive miraculously then deliver the Savior of the World. In human terms, there had to be some raised eyebrows and behind the back whispers going on. And the whole donkey ride trip was all because some leader wanted an accurate count of the population. It was politics, the ego of the governmental leaders, inconveniencing the everyday lives of those they were put in place to care for. With everyone on the road for the census, lodging was in very short supply creating the “no room in the inn” problem.

nativity Accompanying Mary was her betrothed husband to be, Joseph, who should have been home enjoying the praise and accolades of a community leader. However, he was more likely feeling his own fears, anxieties and questions. An angel had also appeared to him, but the angel did not appear to his entire community at his point so  there was likely a  shadow of social scorning based upon the humanly incomprehensible miracle of a virgin birth.  To Joseph’s credit, he took the brave, high road and protected the life of the young woman he loved and cared for her when others might have called for her death. In addition, he took on the responsibility of traveling with her, and overseeing her care, and the care of a child that was not really “his”.

The shepherds were in a cold field, alone, with sheep. They might have been bored . . . lonely . . . isolated– until they were christmas great joy vscompletely overwhelmed, overjoyed, over stimulated by the amazing light show and music heaven created! God addressed their primary emotion: FEAR:   “And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.  And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people…”

The Inn keeper was excited over the increased income stream—but if he had half a heart, he was also concerned about a very pregnant young woman sleeping in a stable full of animals in the cool night air. An imperfect setting.

The wisemen were not at home in their opulent “castle”. No, they traveled long and far across a vast desert on the back of camels following a star—hoping to prove their trip was not in vain.  And they sacrificed financially bringing with them gifts of gold , frankincense and myrrh for a child they knew very little about, but longed greatly to find.

Even Jesus could have complained.

 But think of his office grand demotion! He went from the glory of heaven to the grossness of a barn— surrounded by a bunch of smelly animals. Have you ever spent the night in a barn? I grew up on a sheep farm, and our lambing shed might be the closest experience any human might echo the surroundings of the Christ-child. It is a mix of cold night air, steamy, sweaty, smelly lanolin filled wool, mixed with smells of excrement, afterbirth, hay and animal feed.

I have had many an “imperfect” Christmas. As a child, the joy of a morning full of unwrapping gifts under the tree would quickly escalate into a family fleeing to the corners to escape the wrath of an unhappy, depressed and drunk dad. Today they call what I experienced “domestic violence”. But Jesus was with me. Immanuel. An Eternal Father.

As a young mom, with very little money, I was working hard one Christmas to hold back melancholy tears and fears. I prayed, “God we have no money for gifts for the kids and extended family!” God whispered toangel ornament my heart, “Don’t focus on what you DON”T have, focus on what you DO have. You have ME. What is there, in you, the woman I created you to be that you can offer to me? I can work with anything you offer up. “I have a little writing skill.” So God gave me a children’s story, I wrote it on paper angels, and God gave a creative way to give personalized blessings from the entire family  to each child, recorded on those angels—and on their hearts. The lasting impact has been POWERFUL.   Because Jesus was there-  Immanuel. Mighty God.

Then a few years later, I was in turmoil because I knew God was asking me to extend that blessing to Simple Skills GODS LOVE PLUS YOUR DECISIONSmy very volatile, imperfect, unpredictable, alcoholic dad. In 7 Simple Skills for Every Woman, I share how God knew for me to live free, for my family to live free, I had to free my dad from his shame,  guilt, and mountain of regret. If he was ever to gain a shot at experiencing God’s love, God was asking me to first model that love. God gave each word of the blessing I wrote. My dad wept tears of hope as I read it to him that Christmas day. Christ was there! Immanuel. Wonderful Counselor.

And in 10 Secrets of Living Smart, Savvy and Strong, I open up about the  mid-life Christmas eve, a decade ago, when bad news from a doctor rocked our world and pushed over the first of many difficult dominos of crisis and change I held tight to my Immanuel, my Prince of Peace—and peace came—not because circumstances changed but the God of change came into those circumstances!

And THIS Christmas, it feels as imperfect as any in my history.  This year, as others buy goods and gifts, I am packing away, sorting away, giving away, and throwing away material goods and gain. It is a season of downsizinchristmas pam bill moveg. My mind and heart are a rollercoaster of emotions of angst and apprehension mixed with adventure and excitement.

The year ahead appears to be a blanket of untouched, untrampled, and unplowed snow.  Our life feels like the “white out” blizzards of my youth. Those storms felt confusing because everything is white: the sky, the snow, your attire — so it is easy to feel lost and become lost on the icy tundra. And when you do finally get brave enough to take a step, into the snow, you must step carefully so as to not set off a life-quenching avalanche.  However, in any ice storm, blizzard, or flurry, all you need is one solid marker: a fence to follow, a sound to move toward, a light to progress nearer to then you can begin to make progress toward safewhite out blizzardty, toward home, toward hope. In our snow-blind of change, Christ is that light, that life-line, that song of hope:

In him was life, and that life was the light of men. ( John 1:4)
He is our light… one step at a time . . .like a candle shinning in the darkness, my Lord is leading. So I am leaning, as I always have, as I always will, on my Immanuel. My Prince of Peace.

~christmas deb ak light xmasLife is imperfect! It is VERY imperfect EVERY DAY including Christmas day.   And that is EXACTLY why the gift God sent – Jesus—a saving Messiah–is the PERFECT gift:

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord (Luke 2:11)

            He is Lord, the SINLESS one. The ONLY PERFECT one who could heal our brokenness by growing up to extend His arms of love laying them down on the cross—for your imperfects and mine.

And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger (Luke 2:12)baby jesus

            He is Lord, a PERFECT Creator God, who is  not  afraid of our messiness because he has the creativity and power to recreate, renew, redeem, revive and rejuvenate anything, anyone, anytime we turn to Him.

She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”  All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”–which means, “God with us.“
Matt 1:23

He is Lord,  GOD WITH US! A God, who as my 11 year old son once described as,:

This God, this Christ of Christmas, is PERFECTLY ABLE to be with us, moment by moment each day, every day—and on Christmas Day.

nativity scarred but strongerAnd that perfect God, he can do what I saw that  “superglue” do to fix my nativity figurines. The place of brokenness when glues was applied was scarred — but stronger. The imperfection is visible enough to make one ask about “the story of brokenness” and “healed” so it can carry its role beautifully reflecting the power of the healing agent.  

I am imperfect, my Christmas is imperfect, the circumstances of the birth of the Christ child—imperfect too—and God planned in the imperfect–  so we could recognize and reach out to the PERFECT ONE, wrapped in the manger, now wrapped in our hearts, and who now wraps us up in His PERFECT LOVE.     

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Our Love Story: Anniversary Ever After

Sunday, December 13th, 2015

 

In celebration of our 36th wedding anniversary, here is a creative attempt at telling our love story using our book titles:pam bill dating bc

Once upon a time there were two kids that wondered, “What are THE BEST DECISIONS A MAN CAN MAKE and THE BEST DECISIONS A WOMAN CAN MAKE?”  Pam, a little girl from a chaotic home, knew she didn’t want to marry an alcoholic like her dad, and she knew that only Jesus could heal her heart and life, so at age eight, she made the BEST DECISION and asked Jesus to come into her life. Meanwhile, Bill, a few years later, as a high school QB who thought he was fearless went to see the a horror movie and was filled with fear! He read 1 John 4: 4”Greater is He who is in me than he (Satan) who is in the world.” So Bill made the BEST DECISION and asked Christ into his life.  These great choices made Pam and Bill CELEBRATE! Because they made a great decision to follow Jesus and God laid a strong foundation to their lives!

pam bill engagement moroAs college students, on two different campuses, they each made the BEST DECISION to go to a leadership conference at Campus Crusade Headquarters in Arrowhead springs. Pam wanted to become A WOMAN GOD CAN USE. Bill wanted to study to become a pastor.  There, after using one of the 30 WAYS TO WAKE UP A QUIET TIME,  Bill and Pam each made the BEST DECISION to give God their future and each decided to go into full time Christian work. Each entered the lobby from  a different door and sat on sofas that faced the other. Bill made the BEST DECISION to introduce himself to Pam and ask her, “What did God teach you today?”

That day God connected their hearts.

They wanted to date in a God-honoring way, so Bill had a spiral notebook that had some BEFORE YOU MARRY BOOKOF QUESTIONS in it.

The Farrels believe and base their love and life on the verse:

This helped them begin A COUPLE’S JOURNEY WITH GOD so they decided not to kiss until they were engaged and after dating for 9 months, they took a summer off: no writing or talking for 8 weeks—just praying to see if they were God’s will for each other. They needed to learn the 10 BEST DECISIONS A SINGLE CAN MAKE. Bill worked hard all summer cleaning pools and saved for a ring, because he wanted to LET HER KNOW HE LOVED HER! Pam studied hard all summer at Institute for Biblical Studies. One a quiet night in August, they met up and they knew God had called them to begin a life serving Jesus together. Pam and Bill also knew they would LOVE TO LOVE EACH OTHER!   Shortly after, near the beach they had often dated on, Bill knelt on one knee and sang a song he had written for Pam and then asked, “God has brought us together. Will you marry me? Will you kiss me for the first time?” and Pam joyfully, excitedly, enthusiastically said, “YES!” pam bill wedding 2 view frame prov 14 22 verse

That day God connected their futures.

 

On December 14, 1979 they married in Bakersfield, Ca. They had a heart’s desire to live out the BEST DECISIONS A COUPLE CAN MAKE.

That day God connected their spirits—and their bodies!

Those FIRST FIVE YEARS were a rollercoaster of emotions: The challenge completing their college with  little money, but joy too as they saw God do miracles! (One big one was, seeing their youth group pray God would provide transportation– after riding bikes for a year everywhere God gave them a used car!) The Farrels loved youth ministry, and during those years,  Bill finished Talbot seminary, while Pam attended bill carrying pam 1BIOLA. As they studied, God gave them a heart for helping people with relationships. They often wondered, “WHY DO MEN AND WOMEN ACT THE WAY THEY DO?” It was a MARRIAGE IN THE WHIRLWIND  of responsibility so they were having many DEVOTIONS FOR MEN ON THE GO  and DEVOTIONS FOR WOMEN ON THE GO. After much hard work, Bill graduated first (BA, then MDIV) , then Pam (BA).

Those days God connected their ministries.  

Soon kids came along, and they wanted Brock, Zach and Caleb to reach their God given potential so they prayed, “God, what are THE 10 BEST DECISIONS A PARENT CAN MAKE. We want to help find THE TREASURE INSIDE OUR CHILD(ren) so they can learn that GUYS ARE LIKE WAFFLES AND GIRLS ARE LIKE SPAGHETTI (and SINGLE MEN ARE LIKE WAFFLES, SINGLE WOMEN ARE LIKE SPAGHETTI) . Lord, help our sons step into their calling and try to  follow THE 10 BEST DECISIONS A GRAD CAN MAKE.  And, God, here’s a tough one–How can we can answer those QUESTIONS KIDS ASK family sons smallABOUT SEX?”  To get answers they dug deeper into God’s Word. Their kids made good choices so life and their marriage seemed a PURE PLEASURE.

Those days God connected their hopes and dreams.

Bill and Pam answered God’s call to San Diego where Bill at the young age of 28 became a Lead Pastor. Right away, the Farrels began to help people with their relationships. They wanted people to be “LOVE-WISE.”  They knew MEN WERE LIKE WAFFLES, WOMEN WERE LIKE SPAGHETTI  and if couples could just put God in the middle of their love, they too could have RED HOT MONOGAMY.  Pam desired to Farrel_366be a WOMAN OF INFLUENCE so she began to share God’s views on life and love.  She also taught on RED HOT ROMANCE TIPS FOR WOMEN and 52 WAYS TO WOW YOUR HUSBAND to help other marriages gain strength too!

Meanwhile, Bill equipped men to be their wife’s BEST FRIEND.  They knew they had to keep growing so they could keep ministering in the local church as well as in their travels for speaking and writing so they asked God to help them learn 10 SECRETS FOR LIVING SMART, SAVVY AND STRONG so they could have a FANTASTIC AFTER 40 life. They were STEPPING OUT ON THE PATHWAY TO THEIR DREAMS. Pam was trying to BECOME A BRAVE NEW WOMAN, a WOMAN OF CONFIDENCE,  who steps into God’s adventure and Bill was her courageous Superman living out THE 10 BEST DECISIONSfamily dogpile A LEADER CAN MAKE. This was vital because eventually they GOT TEENS and they needed all the wisdom of God!!  

 All those sons married beautiful, godly women and finally some girls began to enter the Farrel family—and after a few years, grandchildren arrived!  Nana and Papa want their granddaughters to become  MODERN DAY PRINCESSES, and their grandson to walk out THE 10 BEST DECISIONS A MAN CAN MAKE like his daddy and granddaddy.  Together they have cultivated the ability to LOL WITH GOD, even when times are tough.

complete Farrel family jessica caleb wedding use as christmas card 2015These days God is connecting their legacies.

Yes, just as for most everyone, life has not always been  easy, because in all honesty, EVERY MARRIAGE IS A FIXER UPPER,  but Pam and Bill have held on to God and each other “for better or worse, in sickness and in health.”  Together they gathered 7 SIMPLE SKILLS that God layered into their heart. Those SIMPLE SKILLS  have helped them succeed at life and love, write 44 books, which have been translated into 15+ languages, and now they travel about 240 days a year sharing God’s good news to help others become LOVE-WISE too. Bill and Pam are committed to making their marriage—and others– work “til death do us part.”

Bill and Pam know they could not have made it to this, their 36th wedding anniversary, without thepam bill kiss at ocean rebecca love of family, friends and the wisdom of God, so they want to take their HATS OFF in thanks to all those who have poured wisdom and love into their lives so they could gain THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF SUCCESSFUL COUPLES and unlock THE MARRIAGE CODE. Deep down, Pam and Bill know that the verse they claimed on their wedding day, “We love because, He (God) first loved us” (1 John 4:19) is the only reason they can live happily ever after.  

pam and bill fine art DONE cropped smaller rebecca love made in heaven no framePS: Change is coming right around the corner for Pam and Bill, please join them on Thursday evening Dec 17 at 7 pm (Pacific Time; 8 MT; 9 CT; 10 ET)  on PERISCOPE as they share LIVE ONLINE “The Next Chapter”  God has for their lives and for LOVE- WISE ministry. (To join the Farrels for their important announcement, download Periscope, then login. You will be able to send comments and questions. It is also our hope  (if technology co-operates) to record the session which we will post on our website and this blog in near future)  

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Passing the Baton

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

 

brock speak forest homeRecently I got to team teach with my son, Brock, for Forest Home’s Mother/Son retreat. Brock is a football coach but he has helped plant a couple churches, and he is active as a coach in Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He is impacting his world on the high school campus by being a man of integrity and role model to young men in a society where nearly half do not have a father in the home.

One of the highlights of my weekend team teaching was to sit under Brock’s teaching as he encouraged moms to honor sons by effectively training then releasing their sons, and sons to honor moms by obeying them so they could learn to obey God.

One of the verses we have used as inner motivation for our parenting and our ministry is Psalms 145:3-4: Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts.

It is a call to proactively pass the baton. That weekend I thought of all the tools we have used and we use to equip other parents to train up their children:

The Inner GPS Question

gps best

Compass for the Future!  We have three parts to our family compass:

The Family Mission– a vision paragraph for your family

Ours hangs in our house and is in 10 Best Decisions a Couple Can Make sons 10 best parent

and 10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make  books

The Family Motto– a sentence or phrase that summarizes your vision

Ours is “Those who Honor God, God Honors”- 1 Sam. 2:30

The Family Moniker– a logo or piece of art that pictures your family vision

crest farrel color[Read a detailed article on How to  Create Your Own Family Compass]

Simplify!: See Love-Wise blog for simple way to create your own family moniker or crest.

Contract the Future!

To get everyone on the same page, and to lessen arguments and raise family unity, we found a serious of contracts helpful to use with our children as they grew:

The Learner and Leader contract– start this one as early as age 4.

The Teen Relationship Contract– start this one as early as age 11tm sons 10bp

The media contract– start this one as early as age 8

The Education Contract and The Driving Contract  (these are in 10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make and are useful in jr high, high school and college)

The Freshman Foundation Dinner and Discussion Questions– this is a series of five sets of questions on the five vital areas a college student must handle to succeed in higher education and launch successfully into his or her own life.

Create a Future!

For those special needs, strong willed or children who lack a strong self-identity, we created a Treasure Map so he or she could see themselves closer to how God views them. This is a powerful tool to help any and evtreasure chestery child sense their God given potential and discover their unique talents, strengths and giftedness.

 

To prepare a son or daughter to own his or her decisions, choices and life responsibilities, we recommend  Rite of Passages, like our “walk into manhood” for our sons and Raising a Modern Day Princess celebration for those with daughters.

We believe in placing God’s Trademark ™ on your kids with traditions and memories.  TM means:

Traditions-

Things you do year after year, like our annual Leader and Leader Day that we held before school starts. We enjoy a fun family activity then negotiate privileges and responsibilities. Another  yearly tradition are father/son trips where Bill passes along what it means to be a man.

Memories

Those once in a lifetime or a few times, like the Rites of Passage- Walk into Manhood.  These are personalized, Brock was a QB so his was held on a football field, Zach loved his truck so his was held at a racetrack; Caleb is an outdoors man so his was held at a lake. We invited their mentors to come speak into their lives then enbill caleb harding helmetjoy a meal together. Memories also included  the “team parties” where each of our sons invited their high school sports teams to our home for a pizza party and then they shared video of Christian athletes, played some games then our sons each gave their personal testimony of their faith and gave their friends an opportunity to come to know Christ personally.

 

All these proactive choices, laid out in our books 10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make, 10 Best Decisions a Couple Can Make , 10 Best Decisions a Grad Can Make, 10 Questions Kids Ask About Sex,  and Got Teens? , — these all go back to that same camp– Forest Home. Years ago, when  Bill and I were a young couple, expecting a baby, we were at a couple’s conference (much like the one we are scheduled to speak at in the fall of 2015 at Forest Home). The speaker was very good, but it was just the husband. Bill and I went into the same small chapel that Billy Graham prayed in when He placed his stake in the ground declaring he would always preach God’s Word as the Only Truth. That day we knelt and prayed, “Lord, it seems that in marriage and family training it might be more effective if couples would teach together so both the husband and wife share. If that is something you think we would be able to do to help people find a relationship with You and improve their marriages and families, then Lord, we pray like Isiah, “Here am I Lord, send me” .

And God answered.

Later, when our baby was just a newborn, we prayed again, “Lord, it seems that some kids soar at 18. Help our kids soar into their calling, and help us help others also soar into the God-given potential and calling.”

And God answered.

And now the baton is passing and our own sons are carrying the mantle in their own ways. All three love and serve Jesus, they all married godly wives with hearts to reach and equip others too.  And one day,  our grandchildren will pick up the baton of faith and run the race that is marked off for them too.  God wants to help you and your family pass the baton of faith too. Simply pray in faith, Lord, help us be proactive parents”

And God will answer.

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Summer Sizzle: Fan the Flame on Your Marriage

Monday, July 14th, 2014

 

red hot tips bill pam

Do you want something MORE for your MARRIAGE?

Do you long for a sex life that sizzles with your husband?

Do you long to see “that look” in your man’s eyes?

Do you want a strong stable marriage that creates a healthy positive environment for your children?

Recently, I ran a Red Hot Wife Challenge, based on our new book Red Hot Romance Tips for Women . This challenge gathers women (on a private facebook group)  to gain encouragement, equipping and inspiration as we  look at the 26 traits, A to Z that will help us become a more loving wife.

Learn more about the Red Hot Wife Challengered hot header

Buy Red Hot Romance Tips for Women now – softcover

Buy Red Hot Romance Tips for Women –digital form

Red Hot Romance Tips for Women  has also been used by women’s church groups (along with Pam’s book, 52 Ways to Wow Your Husband) to help women encourage and stand by other wives as they all seek to become better wives with more loving, solid marriages. Here are a few thank you’s some grateful wives sent after the last Red Hot Wife Challenge:)

  • red hot romance tips on bed“Being part of the Red Hot Wives challenge has helped me grow in Grace toward my husband. It’s helped me to stop and realize my words and actions toward him instead of focusing on his actions toward me. It’s also helped me grow in putting attention toward my marriage. I loved the daily tips and challenges that got me thinking about ways to love my husband”
  • “Being a part of this group helped me to realize a bunch of little things that I could be doing better as a wife to make sure that my marriage stayed alive! It’s a great book with some really helpful pointers that are actually doable!”
  • “The red hot tips have been very helpful and a great reminder to some very happy husbands of what it all started with years ago and how it can live and outlive us all….It is never too late to get serious about your marriage health and make 26 days of blessing and appreciating your husband,…. Thank you for taking on the challenge of writing and speaking . . . Heaven bless you for caring and taking your queues from the WORD and the Holy Spirit” – wife married 44 years

Our belief is that sex is a gift from God to protect and enjoy in marriage. Yes, sex was God’s shhh secretsecret a long time before it was “Victoria’s Secret!”

I believe God knew millions of women were vulnerable to getting sucked into Satan’s distortions, falsehoods,  and lies so God challenged me to write and offer a healthier alternative with a simple, Bibically-based, and candid book packed with ideas that can help a wife lavish her husband with love to add some spark, sizzle and success to their marriage.

My prayer has been, “Lord, don’t let women settle for shades of grey (or anything other color) when your plan for intimacy brings red hot lasting love.”

Go to our Red Hot Romance Tips for Women book page and see what you might be able to share with those in your circle of influence. You will find additional helps to share like:

  • A video from Pam explaining the heart and purpose of Red Hot Romance Tips for Wives
  •  A bonus extended version of the “Yummy” chapter (Is there such a thing as sexy foods?)
  • A “Seal it with a K.I.S.S.” worksheet: How to set romantic goals for your marriage A-Z Bookmark red Hot
  • Sample articles  like: “Success through Sistering” – about how a marriage can be strengthened when friends all commit to helping and supporting each other for the purpose of building a long lasting marriage.
  • What’s Does God Say is Okay in Sexual Expression? article
  • Pinterest bookmark with the 26 traits of a desirable wife, as a simple reminder that a woman can post on her mirror, in her Bible, or use as a book mark on her 26 day, or 26 week journey to become a more loving wife.
  • How to Be from A to Z: We gathered the common frustrations and complaints of husbands over the years and match with a Biblical quality of love a wife could learn that could help lower the fulfillment level in a love life.

foothills happy ever after valentine pix humor frame 40As YOU know, everyday can become a little more like a Valentine’s Day if a wife wants to extend love, affection, admiration, and support to her spouse. (Don’t worry, we are not letting the guys off the hook, Bill is busy working on helping the husbands!) Can you help us get the word out about Red Hot Romance Tips for Wives?

(The idea is to help the summer sizzle stay and have a long term positive benefit to a marriage). There will be more ideas, tips, scripture photos, and some giveaways.  Please “Like” the Bill and Pam Farrel facebook page, then share and repost the things I share during the challenge that point women to the Red Hot Wife Challenge.

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The Bible asks, An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels. (Proverbs 31:10) The answer is fund in this little book!  You can join an army of Red Hot Wives around the world  willing to love their husband, and build a strong marriage, and create a healthy loving home for their kids!

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