Reflections: Look Back to Move Forward

Sunday, December 31st, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

Selah for Success

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

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

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

Here is one of my favorites:

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

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

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

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

Pam bill facing road psalms 37 3 befriend faithfulnessLook Back

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

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

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

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

What helped you grow with God?

What choices helped you gain or move your life forward?

What drained your life or robbed from your life?

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

 Spiritual – My Walk with God Journeyplanner new year God

 Physical – My Wellness Journey

 Financial – My Money Journey

 Vocational – My Career/Volunteer Journey

Relational – My Marriage Journey

Familial – My Children, Grandchildren or Extended Family Journey

Intellectual – My Academic or Personal Development Journey

Emotional – My Peace of Mind Journey

Environmental – My Home Life Journey

Organizational – My Decluttering Journey

Communal – My Friendship Journey

Inspirational – My Impact in the World Journey

Look Forward

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

adventure collage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pam

 

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Scavenger Hunt #20: Imagine Love

Saturday, July 16th, 2016

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

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

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

  1. Tell me about your newest book.

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

  1. What’s unique about this series?

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

  1. Which authors are included in these books?

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

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

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

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

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

  1. How do you see people using these devotionals?

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

 

  1. Can you share a sample?

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

 

Silk Roses

by Kathy Ide

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

  1. Where can people purchase the books?

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

kathy ide 21 days of book series

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

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

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

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

  1. How can people find out more about you?

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

“Did you catch the secret phrase? to encourage and 

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

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

 

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

Pam and Bill

RH90dayHeader red hot

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Want a Blessed Life?

Monday, June 6th, 2016

CRCphotography (12 of 16) crop umbrella 1

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

www.Love-Wise.com

 

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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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First Place 4 Health: Mixing Fun, Fitness and Friendship

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

 

 

Day 3: The Right Friends!  First Place 4 Health is one of my favorite ministries for health and wellness. They offer all kinds of helps: Wellness small groups Bible studies (in most cities), numerous books and Bible study books for independent encouragement and inspiration, “Walk the Word” CDs to walk or exercise to, workout videos, nutrition helps, and my favorite: Wellness Weeks in beautiful locations (Two of my favorite options are Sandy Cove Christian Conference Center and Round Top, TX) .

I have attended a wellness week once a year for five years and the encouragement and accountability has made a huge difference  in my life and wellness journey.

I can highly recommend First Place 4 Health because the leaders at the top of this organization , Carole Lews and Vicki Heath, have become dear friends.

Carole Lewis, author of numerous books I have endorsed including, “Give God A Year” and Vicki Heath, author of the books I endorsed, “Don’t Quit, Get Fit” are wise women of God who seek out the BEST and most current  information for health, wellness, nutrition, fitness and bring top leaders in the field into the ministry as speakers, writers, and consultants. But to me, the highest recommendation is that these leaders LIVE IT out!

The unique piece of First Place 4 Health is their Bible studies. In the weekly small groups they offer the additional (and I think IMPERITIVE) component- power to live out wise wellness decisions WITH GOD’S HELP AND POWER.  To me, the additional elements of scripture set to music, Bible memory, discussing Biblical truths with friends so they impact wellness decisions help keep health choices in balance. We need to make wise wellness decisions in the major life areas: physical, emotional, spiritual, nutritional, medical, etc. so when I discovered First Place 4 Health I felt my life was getting soul nourishment as my body was getting healthy nourishment.

Check out the First Place 4 Health website for:

  • Success stories
  • Recipes
  • Health and wellness articles
  • Information of their nutritional “Live It” plan
  • Webstore with LOTS of helpful resources

Grab your spouse, or a friend and head to a wellness week is year– it is a fabulous mix of fun, fellowship and fitness from First Place 4 Health!

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