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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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12 Ideas for Heart Connections During the Holidays

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

Holidays are the season for friends and family. It can be a strategic time to build a relationship bridge to another’s heart. (See our Christmas newsletter for even more ideas:http://love-wise.com/Christmas2011) Here are a few examples on ways to connect heart to heart over the season:

(1) I (Pam) wrote, framed, then read my dad a “blessing” as a Christmas gift to help repair the relationship his drinking had caused. I prayed and asked God to show me one positive thing and then I wrote affirming words from that place of memory. (Read the blessing in 10 Best Decisions a Woman Can Make) Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven . . . (Ps 32:1). 

(2) I (Bill) instituted a weekly Bible study on Skype with our grown sons because we are spread over 4 states, yet long for close relationship. We all read the same book and call weekly (or monthly) and discussed a piece of what is read. (We began with Uncommon by Tony Dungy, and will work through my (Bill’s) 10 Best Decisions a Man Can Make in coming year). Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children. (Pr 17:6).

(3)Robin selected 3 gifts that applauded each of her children’s unique passions or personal calling. As you think about gifts, by focusing the choice and connecting it with a personal letter of blessing, it can help a child see themselves more clearly, more from heaven’s point of view. (See 10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make) Train up a child in the way he should go . . .(according to his/her God-given bent) Proverbs 22:6

(4) One year when money was tight, I (Pam) made a simple paper angel for each preschooler of our extended family (including our three sons). We placed a chair in the center of the room and each person in the family, answered the question, “When I think about ______, what comes to mind is_________.” Each person gave a verbal blessing that was written down on that angel ornament, and each year that ornament hangs on the tree—many of the qualities people spoke out about that were seeds of character, that now almost 20 years later, have fully blossomed in those now adult “kids” lives. The LORD remembers us and will bless us . . .( Psalm 115:12)

(5) Carl wrote a blessing, purchased a necklace and a tiara and “blessed” his Modern Day Princess daughter with a personalized prayer and gift. The power of words read aloud can change the course of a person’s life. As he or she rereads a letter, they then “hear” your voice in their mind. (Raising a Modern Day Princess) The LORD takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory (Ps 149:4).

(6) Jeff apologized to his family and asked them to forgive him for the past choices he had made that stressed and harmed them. A true apology can bring a marriage back from the brink, call a prodigal home, or repair a strained friendship. Remember when apologizing–no excuses, no rationalizing, just a heartfelt, “I was wrong. I am sorry. Please forgive me” has more power. A truly “contrite” heart can be felt and seen by those who you are trying to rebuild with. An “I was wrong” can be powerful gift! (See Love, Honor and Forgive)

These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit. (Is 66:2).
(7) Julie and Kent created a marriage mission, and had the kids help design a family logo (or “seal” or “signet”. For help, see 10 Best Decisions a Couple Can Make or read and see examples from past ezine and blog) ” . . seal it with the king’s signet ring . . .” Esther 8:8.


(8)
Jen and Steve, one in college and one a young adult, used 10 Best Decisions a Single Can Make to write life goals in 8 major areas and gave a copy to their parents (so mom and dad would quit nagging and gain peace knowing their kids had “direction”) . HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise), Ephesians 6:2
(9) For the newlyweds in the family, do what we did when we wrote 10 Best Decisions a Couple Can Make—interview those in the family who have long lasting love. One of my (Pam’s) most treasured possessions is an audio recording made one Christmas of my grandparents telling the story of how they fell in love and stayed happily married for 60 years. Oh, that my words were recorded, that they were written on a scroll. . . (Job 19:23).


(10)
Gina helped her newlywed kids lay a stronger foundation with the Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti DVD, a waffle maker, a pasta bowl and server as a gift. (A less expensive version is the Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti book, some waffle mix and package of pasta. You can upscale it with a gift certificate to a waffle house and pasta dinner restaurant can accompany the book. “He created them; male and female . . .” (Gen 1:27)

(11) Sandra planned a rite of passage for her soon to be 13 year old to welcome her into adolescence. (See Got Teens? for ways to mark the moments all through the teen years for both sons and daughters). If your child is near a transition (into kindergarten, jr high, high school, college or marriage, use this as a teachable moment and have your gift(s) reflect what is on the path ahead and prepare him or her to succeed by building into them wisdom.

Turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding . . .

 

(Prov 2:2).


(12)
Carolyn pulled several Farrel books, and a few others, off her shelf and scanned through the dinner and dialoque questions in the back of each book (or end of each chapter). She used many of these questions for “conversation starters” for the holiday meals where extended family and guests would be present. Planning conversation topics can ease the newcomer or help open up that “hard to get talking” person in your hospitality circle. . . . Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road . . . (Dt 6:7).

 

All these ideas will be more effective if you spend time while wrapping gifts, or cooking meals silently praying for each person you will be interacting with during your holiday celebrations.

Have a Merry, blessed, heart-felt Christmas!

(all resources available at www.Love-Wise.com)

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Date Night is Do-Able!

Friday, July 15th, 2011

 

In today’s economy, “date nights” or one evening special events are a lower cost way to help encourage, enhance and enrich relationships. These can be themed and fun. Often we speak on our book, Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti    Add a pasta meal,served with a waffle cone with ice cream dessert, twinkling lights or candles, fresh flowers, romantic music and the flame is fanned on love!  

Recently we enjoyed lunch with a few of our friends who are also marriage communicators. Two of these couples do date nights as well. Jay and Laura Laffoon call themselves marriage edu-tainers and mix stand up comedy, music with a little marriage enrichment training  on He Said/She Said for a fun evening. David and Claudia Arp are best known for their 10 Great Dates and often churches use their 10 session videos for a monthly date night. Some groups add in some appetizers, free babysitting and couples make time to come!

We have date nights for our books Red Hot Monogamy, The Marriage Code and 10 Best Decisions a Couple Can Make so we have four options so some groups have us back year after year. We love teaming with churches and using their musicians, their drama, and their video tech team because often this brings a local flavor to the evening and couples will bring other couples! Add in some local cuisine (like spicy Mexican or Caribbean food on a Red Hot Monogamy night) and the passionate atmosphere is complete.

In Red Hot Monogamy, we share a study that says when a date includes all five senses then that memory is a positive one lodged further into the memory—so church, love and happiness are entwined.  We have some dates open for 2011-2012, email us for info: http://love-wise.com/infoform.php. Help lower the divorce rate by making your church a place love is nurtured.

PS: ( video of Waffles and Spaghetti @ Shadow Mountain church)

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