Want a Blessed Life?

June 6th, 2016
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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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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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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)

simple vertical horizontal relationship

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)

her best friend ap cold lake

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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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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Imperfect Christmas

December 18th, 2015
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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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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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Legacy of Love

November 23rd, 2015
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In September our newest granddaughter, the first born of our middle son and his wife, entered this world. We are a “far-flung

pic by Rebecca Jo Photography

pic by Rebecca Jo Photography

family” because we encouraged our sons to follow God’s clear call—wherever it might lead. So while we were visiting our new angelic bundle of joy we walked, rocked, sang and prayed over our beautiful new granddaughter. On days when the world seems crazy (like the night we prayed for those innocents murdered by terrorists in Paris, or sent money through WORLD HELP to get food to Christian families fleeing for their lives), on those kind of days, we reflect on the wisdom of God to send new life into our arms to give us all hope for a better, more loving tomorrow.

We also rejoiced over the wisdom, excellent parenting and nurturing we observe in our son and daughter in law. We know this little girl will grow up with some important advantages (just as our first three grandchildren do because our oldest and his wife are also terrific parents)

pix by Rebecca Friedlander

pix by Rebecca Friedlander

 

The one clear advantage is the power of a loving, intact, Christian marriage. Research is clear that children from two parent homes far better. In 10 Questions Kids Ask About Sex, we share a few statistics that should motivate each of us to learn to love a little more like God. (Click to read more of what grown-ups can do to question collage lifeguard verse 50better equip the next generation)

For example, children with both a mom and dad in the home have higher grades, less likely to have a teen pregnancy, less likely to go to jail, less likely to commit suicide—important things like that!  But coming from a home of divorce myself, I know God is a GREAT Father, and if an individual is willing to hold TIGHT to Jesus, God can redeem, restore, and remake a life.  This means all of us at Love-Wise have a clear mission to help prepare each individual to love as God loves. Our goal is to equip people before they are married, strengthen those who are married, and repair and reignite those who have had broken hearts, all to reflect God’s love and pass it as a legacy to the next generation. To accomplish this lofty goal, we must intersect God’s wisdom with God’s love and this will produce “Love-Wise” individuals, couples, families and churches.

brock eden baptism,Most recently, our oldest granddaughter asked Jesus in her life, went on her first mission’s trip to India and was baptized to proclaim her dedication to be a bright light of God’s love. She has a sensitive heart toward others and her sincere faith is inspiring to we, her grandparents, too!

      We are THANKFUL for all of you- our readers, our audience members, leaders who have trusted us to speak at your churches, conference centers and corporations. Teaming together we can shine a brighter light of God’s love. (To get a monthly relationship encouragement from Pam and Bill  input your email at www.Love-wise.com)

One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts  (Ps 145:4)

 

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Be a Hero! Parents On Guard!

November 5th, 2015
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question collage lifeguard verse 50We live in San Diego, so going to the beach is a common activity. As prudent parents, and now grandparents, we always select beaches with a lifeguard on duty. From their viewpoint in the tower, they have a vantage point that helps them spot dangerous rough waves, hidden under currents or predatory animals that could attack innocent swimmers. Those lifeguards are also on call to help rescue those who might get into troubled waters while at the beach. In short, they are heroes because they protect lives. To succeed they must do a few things well: remain vigilant while on guard, communicate warnings, and respond swiftly to needs.

In the Old Testament, God commanded  leaders to be “watchmen on the wall” with very similar duties: In Ezekiel 3:17 God rouses the prophet: “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me.”  In !0 Questions Kids Ask About Sex, we explain that YOU, as a caring parent,  are like the vigilant watchman.

While we were parents, youth leaders, then pastors working with families, we developed several proven tools that helped our children navigate safely through the ever changing rough waters of culture and the dangerous under currents of societal immorality. Our sons made it safely to shore. They were young men with relationship integrity who have become godly leaders married to godly young women. In addition, families who have used these tools have also seen a much higher rate of seeing their own children make wise relationship and life choices.  Here is a list of tools we are very grateful that God allowed us to develop, and since it is back to school time, think of it as easy as A, B, C:

A is for Ask: Kids will ask questions, so we parents should have answers. And sometimes, it is we parents who should ask questions of our kids, tweens, teens and college students need to develop answers for. In 10 Questions Kids Ask About Sex we prepare your to talk with your kids (pre-school through premarital) giving bullet points and wording to use to explain the “birds and bees” at each age and stage.

B is for Baton Pass: Our job is to work ourselves out of a job by preparing our kids for life- then passing the baton. Raising a

Raising a Modern-Day Princess Modern Day Princess (and Becoming a Modern Day Princess Journal) and for guys, Raising a Modern Day Knight  are rite of passage programs churches or parents can use to prepare a young person for adulthood, and mark the moment with a spiritual celebration.

C is for Contracts: Spell things out. In our book 10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make, we explain how to  lay a strong foundation of character using our Learner and Leaders Who Love God contract of privileges and responsibilities, a fun family day accompanied with a gift and prayer each year before school begin. The gift is selected based on three things.

It is:

  • Practical, something I might have to buy anyway.
  • Personal. The child should be able to tell I thought about the gift.
  • Prophetic, meaning that it speaks the truth about the uniqueness, the calling or the strength we see God building into each child.

Then, we add in more tools and conversations, year after year.  Desire, hormones, love, sex—these topics are much too important to leave to innuendo, guess work or hint! We use a set of agreements to have those very important conversations:

Teen Relationship Contract is an interactive tool with verses on God’s views on managing relationships and sexuality in a wholesome way.

Driving Contract is a series of questions to gain agreement of all the details that come with the privilege of driving.

Media contract helps those as young as 8 thru college make wise choices on use of all types of media.

Education contract helps parents of teens and college students gain unity on the best plan for a young person’s future.

Freshman Foundation is a series of 5 Dinner and dialogue questions covering vital areas a college student needs to take responsibility for to succeed.

Yes, God is calling you to be the Lifeguard, the “watchman” over your children’s lives, but what is really needed is a host of parents willing to train their own kids to become watchmen—lifeguards—HEROS to their own generation, as well.

brock 11 football pix series 10 best parent

Above  is a photo series of our oldest son, as he grew into a Learn and Leader who Loves God– and now he is leading his own family– tickle brock hannah grandkids rebeccawith their own unique way of doing learner and leader days too.

Our goal– and YOURS– is to complete the baton handoff, generation after generation:

Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. They will proclaim his righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn: He has done it! (Psalm 22:30–31).

Pam and Bill Farrel are international speakers, authors of 40 books on marriage and family including 10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make and 10 Questions Kids Ask About Sex. Find out more about their many parenting resources and the Talking to Your Kids About the Birds and Bees seminar at http://www.Love-wise.com

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Daily Habits for SUCCESS

October 17th, 2015
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7 simple skills bill pam header

Simple Skills 7 daily habits for success

While there are 7 chapters worth of 7 Simple Skills in our Simple Skills™ series, I thought I would simply look at our “every day” schedule and see what SIMPLE choices have helped us create a life that brings that precious balance between marriage, ministry and making money to provide for our family. Using the acrostic SUCCESS, here are 7 SIMPLE HABITS to use each day to lower stress and raise your enjoyment: 

 Say a Prayer: I begin my day by reviewing the attributes of God, A to Z so I am looking at the mountain mover, not the mountain of responsibilities. (Click here for an excerpted list of God’s traits/names from Becoming a Brave New Woman). I also mentally put on the armor of God (Eph. 6:10-18). Prayer has many positive benefits (besides tangible answers or clarity . Prayer can improve health, help you see life from God’s perspective, and it gives a sense of peace and calm so your stress is lower over all and you are able to be in tune with life the way God intended it to be lived.  (7 Simple Skills for Every Woman also shares tips on how to experience God’s love for you and how to discern God’s will.)

Unplug from media and plug into God’s Word. I begin the day in the Word of God AND I also layer God’s Word throughout my day in various forms from email and text devotionals, scripture of the day apps, audio Bible and Bible scripture songs. (For devotional ideas, see 20 Ways to Wake Up Your Quiet Time excerpt from Woman of Influence, Devotions for Women on the Go 365-day devotional book, my Bible Art journaling board on Pinterest, or 7 Simple Skills for Every Womanwhich explains How to PLANT and WATER God’s Word in Your Life.)

Chart out Priorities: Before I go to bed, I review my goals and I set a Simple Skills right here right nowrealistic To-Do List for the next day. I mark the top 5 “MUST DO” priorities. To have a productive To-Do list, I recommend setting specific goals. Typically I write my 5-year and 1-year goals each January (using the Best Year Yet goal sheets (for women or for couples). Then I set aside time, usually while I am traveling, to review quarterly, monthly, and weekly goals. Each morning I review goals and fine tune my To-Do lists.  I start with the quickest-to-accomplish goal first, then tackle the toughest or most time-consuming one second while energy and focus is strongest in the morning. At the end of the day, I try to check off as many easy 5-minute tasks as possible as a reward! (7 Simple Skills for Every Woman has chapters on “Becoming Proactive” and “Becoming Decisive” with simple methods of goal setting and decision making.)

Connect to loved ones: I greet my husband (and/or kids/grandkids) with a hug and cordial hello. While doing research for my 52 Ways to Wow Your Husband book, I discovered over 94% of couples who greet each other in the morning have a great day and a happy marriage! Also, I discovered while writing Red Hot Romance Tips for Women, a hug will lower a person’s stress and raise their confidence level, so hugging your mate and kids will help everyone have a better day. (We also pray while we hug.)  In 7 Simple Skills for Every Woman there is an entire chapter on how to “Become Relational” by becoming adept at simple personal interpersonal skills.

Exercise and eat healthy: I aim for the recommended 10,000 steps a day, and I alternate weight-bearing exercise, stretching and core, with aerobic. I wear a Jawbone UP to track my wellness journey. I appreciate the equipping for health I gained from First Place 4 Health, so I try live in a balance of body, soul and Spirit. In 7 Simple Skills for Every Woman there are tips from women who have lived to be 100! Plus, there are steps to help you create a clear path to health and wellness in the chapter “BecomingSimple Skills Pam Farrel Quote change Healthy.”

Style for purpose: Each day I select classy, cozy or comfy. I get ready for my day based upon what my major activity is that day. I try to do all things that require me to be dressed up and looking sharp on the same day (video, speaking, meetings, consulting, etc.). For writing I am more productive if I dressed very comfortably and casually. Cozy dress means the day is for fun (with my spouse, or friends, so sporting attire, etc.) By grouping like activities, more can be accomplished in a day. In 7 Simple Skills for Every Woman I share MANY more skills, tips and tools to help you be more productive.

Stay positive: I begin the day focused on God, and I try to stay focused on God—and God’s view of life. If I hit an obstacle, I go back to #1 and review God’s traits and claim God’s wisdom and power to overcome the obstacle. I try to surround myself with friends who are positive and point me to hope found in God. I also strive to be grateful and appreciative knowing that people around the world are struggling to eat, find clean water, or are in jailSimple Skills choosin joy for their beliefs. So, often I will tell myself, “That’s a “first world problem” meaning it is merely an inconvenience as those in the Third World have real issues to deal with. When I hit a tough spot, I try to view it in perspective, pray for those less fortunate, and do something for others daily to keep an “attitude of gratitude.”   (In 7 Simple Skills for Every Woman I share many of the obstacles I have faced, and how God gave me the wisdom and courage to push through them—and how God can help you too!) Order 7 Simple Skills for Every Women or/ & 7 Simple Skills for Men

  1. Pam and Bill Farrel are Co-Directors of www.Love-Wise.com, international speakers, relationship experts who have been happily married 35 years.
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7 simple skills bill pam headerOften, in this high tech, fast paced, purpose-drive, results oriented world, there will be times you will need to be able to produce so you, your business, your family or your church can achieve a certain goal.

People have often asked me, “How did you write 40 books, serve your church, keep a happycomplete Farrel family jessica caleb wedding use as christmas card 2015 marriage, and raise sons who have also become healthy leaders with happy marriages and families too?” So in 7 Simple Skills for Every Woman book, I share my 7 Simple Steps for creating time to PRODUCE so you can –with God’s help—reach some of those desired goals. You will be more productive and achieve more if you can accomplish these Read the rest of this entry »

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