Archive for the ‘Marriage’ Category

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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Red Hot Romance! 90 Days to a Sizzling Marriage

Monday, July 11th, 2016

 

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.

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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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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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7 Simple Traits of a Great Man

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

 

 

 

This is my husband, Bill’s, IMG_8450 birthday week. We have celebrated 36 happy years together—and the happy part is largely due to the great guy I married. Since Bill is the creator of the 7 Simple Skills series (for men, for women) I thought I would use 7 of his best qualities to show how ANYONE can hold on to Jesus and create a life to look forward to living.

When we met at a leadership conference at Campus Crusade (CRU) Headquarters in Arrowhead Springs, I am not sure anyone would have predicted we would go on to marry, write 44 books, (most on relationships), and raise 3 godly sons who married 3 amazing gifted and godly wives and have 4 precious grandchildren who all are following Jesus with whole and happy hearts.

The statistics were stacked against pam bill dating bcus: me, a daughter of an alcoholic abusive dad and Bill the son of a brilliant but busy father and a mother who then and now struggles with fears and emotional trauma.

These 7 of Bill’s best traits surrendered to Jesus helped us break the dysfunctional cycles and build a foundation that our own grown children are building even stronger, better lives on.  

Maybe reading through these traits will help you cultivate growth in some of these areas to move your life, your marriage, and your family and future forward too!

Simply put Bill is:

Surrendered- Bill’s goal is to keep 100% of his life is under God’s leadership. Now, he is, like all of us imperfect, but the moment he sees an area that is not reflective of Christ, he works hard to learn new skills, dig in  God’s Word to discover new truths. Bill also looks up experts in that arena to learn new tools to shore up those areas and bring them back under Christ’s control.  

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.. . (Romans 12:1)

Kind- My guy is just really, really nice! He is kind, thoughtful, attentive, forgiving  and caring.  I fell in love with the way he cared for my heart. I call this compassionate trait his “Superman” quality, so because of this there is always a line waiting for Bill’s help— so  l must be willing to share him with the world. (Which is a small price to pay to be married to a really great guy!!)

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you (Eph 4:32)

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Intellectual- Bill is smart. In high school he only missed ONE answer on the math SAT test. (I had to marry a math major to pass college math!)  He can figure out an answer to almost any problem. 

I call him “Superman” because he can fix almost anything: cars, the house, people’s traumas, the kids’ dilemmas, etc.

People call themselves experts even if they have not spent any time researching, bill pk at podium 2010studying or interning in that field.  People today have a bent toward narcissism and pride so they think their idea or opinion has equal value to leaders who have spent decades working in a field of endeavor.  My Bill was humble enough to know he needed to pay the price to be heard by studying HARD. He first thought he would be an architect and build houses, but God turned his heart toward the people who lived in those houses so now he helps families build happy homes—on the inside! He got his undergrad in Math because it was the quickest route to seminary where he got a Masters of Divinity (studying the original languages of the Bible: Hebrew and Greek) and his emphasis is in Practical Theology and counseling. While we were at Biola, Bill cultivated mentoring relationships with some of today’s best leaders.  

I believe it is because Bill walks in humility that God has entrusted him with the gift of taking complex topics and synthesizing them to make them simple enough for everyone to understand and implement.  

“The one who gets wisdom loves life.” (Proverbs 19:8)

Loving- One of the goals Bill had for our sons was to help them become a skilled lover as a husband. He has now developed a phone APP: Her Best Friendwhich sends one romantic idea a day to a man’s phone to help him romance his wife. That means 365 ideas a year! (And I have been the blessed recipient of many of these simple yet preciously wonderful ideas!)  In addition, Bill loves his sons, their wives, and our grandkids—and his friends sense his commitment by the loving things he says and does.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:24-25)

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Listener- Bill is one of the best listeners. He is patient, empathetic and wise, so after listening carefully, he often knows just the right principle from God’s Word to share and how to apply it to move a life forward.

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry (James 1:19)

 Enthusiastic- Bill sings in the grocery line, is quick to offer a funny joke orFarrel09 132 pam over shoulder hug and laugh humorous story to lift the heart and his laugh is hearty and contagious.  His positive  attitude and steady, calm pace makes life more enjoyable—and somedays, his humor makes ME more bearable!  He is a shepherd, encourager, and motivator in the gentlest of ways.

Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up (Proverbs 12:25)

 

Dedicated- Bill goes the distance.

One of my favorite examples is when Bill built the home we raised our children in. Our wonderful (then small) church volunteered to offer their skills in plumbing, carpentry, roofing, cabinetry, etc to help hammer up a home because it sweat equity was the only way their pastor would be able to afford a home in expensive Southern California. I was pregnant and Bill was racing the stork to complete the home so we could bring the baby home to our new place. Even the local news was reporting on the race! 

bill and 10 best book To get final approval, all the hills must be planted and all the sidewalks must be in and all the details signed off on by an inspector. The last two days before my scheduled C- section Bill got zero sleep. After I delivered our healthy son, Bill fell asleep on the fold out chair in my room. In the middle of the night, after I had nursed our bundle of joy and placed him in the bassinet, my VI came out and blood was splashing out so I tried to wake Bill—but to no avail. I ran for a nurse and discovered in the mayhem,  the call button was unhooked as well, so I waddled slowly down the hall to the nurse’s station only to be chastised for being up and walking before I was cleared.

The nurse also began a “Can’t trust a man” tirade and asked me why my husband wasn’t helping me out. When I explained his heroic marathon of sleepless nights she quickly changed her tune. When she saw Bill collapsed in a deep sleep snoring, she simply said, “Oh, what a good man! Let’s just let him sleep—he deserves it!”

bill tools work

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Fit for FUN! Working Out to WIN at Love!

Saturday, February 13th, 2016

In my book to help wives fan the flame on love, Red Hot Romance Tips for Women:

I share that

Here’s a short excerpt to help you two get up and active . .  and reap the many rewards of wellness: body, soul, spirit and SEXINESS!

“Let’s get something very clear—your husband, at least at some point, and more likely even now,song of s 3 4 red hot pam bill sm would use at least one of the above words to describe you. He thinks you are beautiful. One of my favorite stories that captures just why your man might think you are amazing (even if you don’t feel that way about yourself) is a story that goes back to what is traditionally seen as the first love-story: Adam and Eve.

The scene is this: Adam was created, then God grabbed a rib from Adam when he slept and made Eve. The word “make” is banah and it gives the impression of God planning out her design. He carefully put the finishing touches on her so she was exactly matched her man. Make can also mean “to accomplish, appoint, or bring forth.” So God didn’t just dream about Eve’s design; He accomplished the dream. So if your guy has ever said, “You are the woman of my dreams” or “It’s like we were “made” for each other”—well your man is exactly right!

As we discuss beauty, can we set aside all the unrealistic glossy fashion magazine runway model expectations for just a moment?  That’s a relief- because

DSC03058Our discouragement might be related to the fact that the average model weighs 23% less than the average woman. The Yale Center calculated how much an average healthy woman’s body would have to change to have the proportions of a Barbie doll. She would need to grow two feet taller, extend her neck length by 3.2 inches, gain 5 inches in chest size, and lose 6 inches in waist circumference. Now that we have set the impossible aside, let’s look at a more accurate definition of beauty.

What is Beautiful?dance close

I think First Place 4 Health

Vice President, and author of Don’t Quit, Get Fit, Vickie Heath sums up a better view of beauty with a simple comment, “Strong is the new skinny” Yes, let’s  focus on wellness, fitness and health. The man you married wants you as a life partner so your job is to just live longer and stronger.

There are some interesting facts that link wellness to a red hot sex life.

 

While researching our book, Red Hot Monogamy, we discovered couples that work out together have more sex!

There are several reasons for this:

1) Endorphins are released when you exercise and you are happier, so over all this means you will like your man better!

2) Exercising together bonds you with a work hard-play hard attitude

3) When you exercise, you will feel better about your body, and that means you will want your husband to see it!

So what will help you look and feel well? In 10 Secrets for Living Smart, Savvy and Strong I share the details of my personal story, of how I lost 50 pounds and have kept it off and regained my health. But let me give you a quick list of what to go “get” in order to “get”  healthier:

  • Get a great physician and nutritionist (Consult a doctor before you begin)        10 secrets and ps 92
  • Get Moving (Exercise 5-6 times a week)
  • Get good nutrition (Eat a rainbow of fruits and veggies)
  • Get lean proteins on your plate
  • Get supplements (vitamins and minerals)
  • Get away from sugar and processed (fast) foods
  • Get adequate rest (at least 8 hours)
  • Get more water and less caffeine
  • Get a good trainer
  • Get some cheerleaders (healthy friends)  around you
  • Get a lifestyle tracker (food and exercise log or a techie gadget like a Fitbit, “Up “or “smart “watch that can tack food, sleep, exercise.)

 

Picture yourself fit, alive and in love—now that IS BEAUTIFUL! When I took steps to regain my health, I felt more confident, sexier and gained the energy to do even more fun activities with my husband. He was beaming ear to ear as we jogged along the beach in our new running shoes on our 33rd anniversary. It had been at least a decade since I had enjoyed (or even tried) running with Bill. He told me later how proud he was of me, and how sexy I looked in my workout gear (that he also enjoyed taking off me later).

pam bill beach kayak bike snowmobile

For the past decade, we have used our anniversary to try new activities and buy new fitness gear: We have snowshoed, jetskiied, cross country skied, biked, kayaked, and ball room danced. We have purchased bikes, skates, racquets, and workout gear.  For Bill’s birthday last year, I gave him a set of 12 red envelopes and inside each was a gift card for an active date. The gift got double the impact- he smiled when he got the present and when we used it!

 

Tips for Red Romance

bill pam snow shoeDanna Demtre, who is a grandmother now) and author of Scale Down- Live It Up!, has seen the impact of caring about wellness: “Even after 28 years of marriage – there is strong physical attraction. One thing we both do consistently to keep romance alive is to take really good care of our bodies – stay lean and fit. We accept each other’s flaws and the normal things that come with aging. But, we both appreciate a fit, lean body and that keeps things HOT for us! I think when men or women totally let themselves go as they become comfortable and even take their spouse for granted – it can impact intimacy greatly. I think we should give as much attention to pleasing our spouse physically in our later years as we did in our early years!”

Which of these activities would your husband like to try this month?

©      Take to the dance floor (line, swing or ballroom dance classes)

©      Take the water (kayak, jet ski, water ski, paddle board, surf, wind surf)

©      Take to the air (parasail, sky dive, glider)

©      Take to wheels (bike, motorcycle, skates)

©      Take to the ice and snow( ski, snowboard, ice skate, snowshoe, sled)

©      Take up a racquet (tennis, table tennis, badminton)

©      Take a swing (baseball, softball, golf)

©      Take a hike (walk, backpack, stroll a lake, park or the beach) splash rebecca pam bill

©      Take advantage of technology (a wii fit, wii dance party, etc)

©      Take up a hunt ( with a camera, rifle, or bow and arrow)

©      Take to the gym (cross fit, a kickbox , zumba, or martial arts class)

 

Try to think of a clever way to invite your guy on this active date. Show up in a new workout outfit (or bathing suit); Create a clever invitation (tie a hotel key to a golf club); Dress up as a hula girl and hold his new surf board or boogie board as he enters the house. “

Red hot wives correctAnd remember to join the Red Hot Wife Challenge– a 26 day journey looking at the traits, A to Z that make us a more loving wife!

 


[1]New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. 1995 (1 Co 3:16). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

 


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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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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.

red hot softer 50

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!

SONY DSC

 

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Recession Proof Retirement

Monday, October 14th, 2013

 

I want you to meet my friend, Ellie Kay, America’s Family Financial Expert. With my heart for women in midlife and beyond in my ministry with Seasoned Sisters, I thought sharing Ellie’s vital wisdom on retirement might be helpful, so here is an excerpt from her newest, Lean Body, Fat Wallet (what we all want, right?!):

From Ellie:

Our family loves adventure! In fact, we love to go to theme parks as a family and we haven’t met a roller coaster we didn’t like. I believe that a sense of adventure can help consumers face the future with confidence. It seems that our current economy is similar to some of the double looped roller coasters we’ve ridden and time will tell if our country sees a double dip recession. Many consumers are concerned about how the uncertain economy can wreak havoc on their financial future—from having a steady income in retirement to the possibility of losing their homes—threats to financial security abound. But there is hope for those who take steps to plan for their future.

Here are some of my basic tips to help you recession proof your retirement: –

1. Be Smart: Save Money: I get loads of emails every week from consumers who are cutting hundreds from their household budget by following simple savings tips. From insurance to groceries, there are savvy ways to save at your fingertips. (See the money savings tips on my blog). Saving will help you weather the highs and lows of the economy, as well as prepare you to live on a fixed income in retirement. Use the money you save to pay down debt, fund a fixed indexed annuity (see step 3 below) and build an emergency fund. –

2. Be Fully Funded: The 401(k), long known as the ticket to retirement for millions of Americans, is coming under attack in this economic climate. Many retirement savings options have taken a hit in recent years due to market volatility and fluctuations. Recent years have seen 401(k) plans depleted due to poor stock market performance, as well as companies lowering their matching commitments leaving employees to rebuild their nest egg alone. And, many workers just stopped contributing. However, it is important to make sure you don’t shortchange yourself in retirement, whether you are investing in a 401(k)—or a TSP (Thrift Savings Plan—for military and civilian government employees), or in the case of small business owners, a SEP (Simplified Employee Pension). More importantly, if the past few years have taught us anything, it’s that it is not enough to rely on your 401(k) alone—consider financial products that can survive market fluctuations while giving you a steady lifetime income, like the one highlighted in the next step. –

3. Be a Savvy Consumer: Savvy and conscientious consumers who are looking for smart retirement solutions and more control of their long-term finances will recognize the important role that fixed indexed annuities (FIAs) can play in any balanced financial plan. I believe that fixed indexed annuities offer a level of certainty during uncertain times because they provide protection from stock market volatility, offer guaranteed interest and income, and also provide the opportunity for additional interest when markets are up. Understand that FIAs are typically used in addition to other retirement vehicles (such as a 401(k) or IRAs) to add balance to a retirement plan—they aren’t intended to be your only source of retirement income, but to help moderate risk in your portfolio. The insurance industry is state regulated and these regulators have put a number of protections in place to ensure FIAs are sold ethically and fairly to consumers. In my partnership with the IALC (Indexed Annuity Leadership Council), I have found a great option to recommend to my readers and viewers. –

4. Be Diligent: Know your FICO: FICO scores can determine auto insurance premiums, whether you’ll get the promotion or the job, the percentage you pay for a mortgage or car, and whether you pay a security deposit for utilities. Even if you downsize a home or a vehicle in preparation for retirement, you’re going to need to have an excellent FICO to get the best APR rates.

It is important that you know your score. If you find that your score needs improvement, you can do so in three easy steps:

Pay On Time – Consider setting up automatic payments online for your credit cards, mortgage and vehicles, so you never have to worry about being a day late. –

Pay More than the minimum – Even $5 to $10 more on your credit cards will be viewed as paying down debt—making your FICO go up!

• Pay Proportionally – Don’t have more than 50% of available credit charged on any one card. For example, a card with a $6000 limit should never have more than $3000 charged on it, even if you pay off the balance each month. –

5. Beware: Debt Consolidation Companies: During economically challenging times, an influx of debt consolidation companies arise to help you prepare for the worst. However, some of the for-profit debt counseling companies charge a hefty fee for their services, which is usually tacked onto your debt load. Instead of using a for-profit company, consider going to a nonprofit, like National Consumer Credit Counseling Service. They can help you pay off debt, get you on a budget and even negotiate with your lenders on your behalf.

– Which first step will you take today in order to recession proof your retirement for tomorrow?



 

Ellie Kay is a regular expert on national television with ABC NEWS NOW’s Money Matters show. She is also a national radio commentator, a frequent media guest on Fox News, and CNBC, a popular international speaker, and the best-selling author of fourteen books including her newest release, The Sixty Minute Money Workout (Waterbrook, 2010) – – See more at: http://indexedannuitiesinsights.com/recession-proof-retirement/#sthash.mKjOSYo2.dpuf

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Do You Have a Word for Your Year?

Sunday, February 17th, 2013

 

Each year since I was 19, I have selected a “Word for the Year”, a “verse for the year” and later I added a motto for each year (something you might put on a coffee mug, billboard, T- shirt or bumper sticker). In 2012, Bill and I selected the same word and the same verse:

STRONG

Be strong and  courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will
be with you wherever you go.
(Joshua 1:9)

“Stay Strong”!

We know it is often hard for couples to dovetail their goals. In Men Are Like Waffles, Women
Are Like Spaghetti,
we have a chapter on Achieving Together  in which
we describe the process we use  to get on the same page. It begins by having an honest conversation of just what is really  important to each of you. Often couples have different priorities when it comes to the delicate balance of home, work, marriage, family, friends and self care.
We encourage you to grab the book, and a stack of 3 x 5 cards and begin writing down all the areas you each are responsible for personally and professionally- at work, home, church, family, and in community. (You’ll need to pick up a copy  of Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti to hear just what to do with these cards and how to use the “What’s  Important to You” survey in the same chapter). But we promise, if you use these  tools, there will be much LESS arguing and a lot MORE “Red Hot Monogamy” going on.

We also have a goal setting sheet for couples, as integrating the goals of each person in the family can be a challenge if you are fighting for your desire to be top priority. However, goal setting conversations can also be a great opportunity for deeper connection and intimacy. We have provided our Your Best Year Yet worksheet as a template for your conversations as our gift to you. We developed this process several years ago so we could be pulling in the same  direction TOGETHER!

So what was the result of our year of being STRONG? We launched a new Love-Wise video  production company and the first products have rolled out. (See Bill’s 10 Best Decisions a Man Can Make DVD series clip). We both got stronger physically –(I (Pam) lost 50 pounds!) Our family got stronger (we added a beautiful daughter in law and  new grandson too!) We got stronger spiritually—and God is using us- we traveled for ministry 250+ days last year, including to Singapore to release a marriage enrichment DVD commissioned by their government: “Love-Notes”.

Lastly, if this whole concept of having a Word for the Year is new, Pastor Mike Ashcraft and my friend,  Rachel Olsen just released a book, “My One Word” (Zondervan), and it can walk you through step by step on how to select, implement, and maximize your word.
My favorite quote from this resource is:

“My foot needed to be held on the outside for the sake of what was going on on the inside. This is
true of our spiritual lives. We need a boot, so to speak. Something to hold us in a given position long enough for some specific inner work to happen My ONE Word can be that tool.”-
Pastor Mike Ashcroft & Rachel Olsen

So get ready for the Best Year of Your Life—Choose a Word
for the Year, get a copy of Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti and My One Word, then dovetail those goals with your mate for some awesome synergy!

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Parenting Plan Can Bless your Kids and Your Marriage!

Monday, August 27th, 2012

 

So much marital stress is caused because the husband and wife are not on the same page
in the way they deal with their children. One way our marriage has been protected is through the “Learner and Leader” day we do each fall (We do this family tradition from age 4 until our children are age 20 or get engaged for marriage- whichever comes first).

Years ago,when Bill was a youth pastor and Brock was a baby, I looked around the youth group we were running and then looked at this precious baby in my arms and prayed, “Lord, there seem to be kids that soar and succeed at 18 and others that stumble and fall” What traits, what skills, what leadership character qualities do we need to
train and pass on so that our sons can soar by age 18? Then I set about creating along list of traits and skills (the list (and many other tools) are in our book: 10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make).

The list seemed so long that I was a bit overwhelmed so I showed the list to Bill and he said, “Pam, seems like there are really three main categories here. We want our kids to be:

 

  1. Learners—have a teachable attitude
  2. Leaders- be influencers in their own unique God given style instead of followers
  3. Love God—we want them to own their own faith.”

We prayed and I asked God to show a fun way to instill the values (because kids respond to fun!) So we decided to
have a Learner and Leader Day each fall and on that day we’d negotiate privileges and responsibilities for the year. (We did this for 20+ years- now we are DONE! becuse our kids are all grown and all leaders! So it works!)

We also select one trait off the list and focus on training and equipping in that area for that particular child that year. And we select a verse to pray over that child which had something to do with the trait we have selected (as the kids entered second grade we taught them how to select their own verse). Then we give a gift (because we wanted it to fee like Christmas!) The gift would be one that would build into their God given passion or calling as
the Lord was revealing their strengths year by year.

We have a set of criteria in choosing the gift:

It must be practical, something I might have to buy anyway.

It must be personal. The child should be able to tell I thought about the gift.

It must be prophetic, meaning that it speaks the truth about the uniqueness, the calling, or the strength we see God building into each child.

The Learner and Leader privileges and responsibilities chart is also in our book, along with other tools like a list of what children can be responsible for at what ages (chore ideas) , plus a teen relationship contract,
driving contract, education contract, and a set of  Freshman Foundation questions to use with college students or career age young adults. We have our children sign the contracts, and included in each are the
consequences they will receive if they do not follow through with their
commitment. As the children get older (early in elementary school),  we have them create their own consequences
ahead of time so they know exactly what their punishment will be if they drop the ball on their commitments.

By spelling everything out ahead of time, year after year, and having everyone sign off on it (both parents and the children), there is little arguing in our home and the children have never been able to “play one parent against the other” in our home, thus protecting our marital harmony as well. And because there is a built in relationship time, a fun family activity on Learner and Leader Day, the kids have always been motivated to complete the small yearly assignment (the chart), and because it also has a built in incentive plan (the Learner and Leader gift that applauds the child’s unique strengths), the child is easier to live with all year!

The less child-created stress a marriage has, the more everyone enjoys being in the family. And because we delegate work to our children as they grow, Mom and Dad actually have time to date and stay in love—which is the best gift that any set of parents can give their children. And because we are deliberately trying to help our children/ teens take on more and more responsibility year after year, by college (or for sure age 21), our children and yours have the opportunity to be leaders owning their own lives and leading others in a positive way!  Having responsible adult children is also a great blessing to your marriage! (And your future in laws will thank you too!Our daughter inlaws love us and so do their parents!)

            So this year, before you run to the store for new school clothes and pencils, pens, notebooks, backpacks and
lunchboxes, take time to hold your own Learner and Leader Day.  I you have college kids, set aside 5 nights to go over the Freshan Foundation  Dinner and Dialogue questions, and maybe this year, you might even get in a few dates to stay in love!

Parentng resources:

10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make, Got Teens? Learner and Leader Chart, Freshman Foundation are all found at www.Love-Wise.com

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