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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SIMPLE SKILLS for SUCCESS: Becoming Productive

Friday, October 16th, 2015

 

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 (more…)

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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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Where Are They Now?

Monday, November 21st, 2011

 

If you asked us, “What one parenting decision would you make
sure you did again? “ We would answer, The
Family Compass.
Having a family Mission Statement, Motto and Moniker gave
our boys an internal ethical GPS to navigate today’s ever-changing moral landscape.
In 10 Best Decisions a Couple Can Make, we walk you through questions to help you form your own Family Compass. We also share examples of our mission, motto and moniker. But what is the motivation behind all the work that is needed to be this proactive?

The outcome!

We raised our boys with a simple motto from 1 Samuel 2:30, “
. . .those who honor God, God honors . . .”
. Our Moniker has symbols that convey our family’s values:

The 3 “L’s” stand for Learner, Leader, and Love God- things
we prayed our sons would be.

The two hearts mean Farrels keep their promises, especially in
marriage.

The cross with the star means that each person is a unique
creation of God and beginning a personal relationship with Jesus, then walking
in obedience to God’s Word releases you to live out your full potential.

So where are our boys now? All three are Learners (all three got college
scholarships, two have Master’s degrees and the youngest is currently studying
engineering); They are all Leaders:
Brock is now a football coach and high school teacher;

Zach is a performance Coach at a major university;

 

 

 

 

 

Caleb is a leader on his football team in college;

and they all Love God and are fully engaged growing in their faith and serving
God. Brock is also married to a godly woman leader, Hannah, and together they
are raising their children (our granddaughters) to love God too!

 

A few Christmases ago, when all the kids were financially
strapped college students and Caleb was in high school, I (Pam) knew they
couldn’t afford a gift for me so I said, “All I want for Christmas is words
that make me cry”. Bill asked each son to write a letter to me and he placed
their letter over a picture of each of them performing the sport they got
college scholarships competing in. In every one of the letters, each son
thanked us for raising them to live by, “those that honor God, God honors”—

The compass works!

Use this holiday to bring the family into the fun process of
designing your own family crest.  (Order 10 Best Decisions a Couple Can Make
or 10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make to learn more.)

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