Friday, July 6, 2012

Don't want to be like a Hebrew Slave....

  Here is a blog that I have been working on for 6 months, trying to convey many lessons over the past 12 to 18 months that God has proved over and over again His faithfulness. In just a short time period, we have experienced several moves, job changes to include a lay-off and several other major life events. As you will read the hubs and I are still unsure of what the next chapter in our lives hold BUT we know THE Author and have read His other book, it's a good one.  

   As we wrap up 2011, I have been reflecting upon the happenings of this year. Many people say you can not move forward if you are continually looking back, but I quite disagree, especially in our spiritual lives. No, I believe that it is important to look back for several reasons. It provides continual opportunities to praise God for the work he has done in us and thank him for his blessings in our lives. Also, in times of hardship, you know that God will work in you life because he has been and is working.

      For several months now, I have been wanting to blog over the events that occurred this past was......, well, not really sure how to describe it effectively but a lot of major unexpected and at the moment seemingly not good changes occurred. We know God has a plan, even today I still feel like I am in the middle of "it"...whatever, "it" may be. I have attempted to start detailing out the events and it is just not the time, however, here is what I do want to share that I have struggled with and learned over the past 12-18 months.

    In the book of Exodus, we read of God working through Moses to free His people, the Israelites. We read how he strengthened Moses, brought others alongside him to support the cause and worked in mighty ways that even Pharaoh himself could not deny Him. Then as the people began on their journey to the Promised Land, we see God's protection and provision over them. Not only freeing them from oppression but destroying their enemy. Providing essentials for daily living but in a supernatural way. But....

    In the midst of all these chapters detailing his love and care, we also see they forgot they were no longer Hebrew slaves but Israelites, God's chosen people. They were stuck in the mindset of being in a laborious lifestyle with a tyrant leader blinding them from seeing the blessings along their journey. God was there with them by day and by night, yet they complained, grumbled and even worshiped a created god.

     Through all life's events whether good or bad, I want to remember God's unfailing love and provision for me and my family. I want to actively see His blessings and mighty works and not  be blinded by self pity, fear, and doubt.      I don't want to be a Hebrew slave for                          
                                          He has set me FREE!

Friday, September 16, 2011

"Communication is great....when you can get it."

     A few weeks ago, a very sweet friend of mine became engaged, upon my congratulations she requested any words of wisdom of things I learned in marriage that no one told me about.  I took this very seriously and until now was not sure what my best piece of advice other than the old (but so very true) adage "Keep God the center of you marriage." Not sure why, but it seems right now I am surrounded by couples who are either just starting the process of "two becoming one" or sadly the one becoming dismembered. As excited as I am for the couples in the first description, unfortunately the ones in the latter causes deep reflection into my own marriage. 

     Before Gov (this is my husband's nickname from his mentor at work but that is another story for another time) and I married we participated in pre-marital counseling. I only remember two questions from those sessions. One I thought I would die after Gov asked it but the contents of that question will not ever be repeated (giggling now, not then). But the more pivotal question was asked by our very wise pastor, he asked...

"With divorce rate at 50% in non-Christian and Christian marriages alike. What do you think will safeguard your own marriage?" need to think on this one, Pastor. Gosh, I still remember how physically sick I felt because I hadn't a clue! After that session, I can not recall exactly what Gov said to me, but I do remember his very caring facial expressions and calming tone. He was (and is) so wise beyond his years and so very patient with me.

     Just this past week, my "Luva" (say it like Will Ferrell from SNL skits) and I joined a study group that will be discussing information gleaned from "The Couple Checkup" by Olson, Olson-Sigg and Larson. I am only 3 chapters into the book but chapter 3 really pinpointed on the secondary key element for a successful marriage (really any) relationship. Communication. The authors of the book define communication as "the dynamic process through which people try to convey meaning to one another."  Basically, it is not just the spoken word, but encompasses what is not said, tone, timing and  body language as well as, the listener's own views, thoughts, past experiences. Communication is continuous, is not a matter of not communicating but communicating effectively. The title of this blog is a quote from my father in law, "Communication is great....when you can get it." I would dare say, "Communication is great...when you can get it...right." 

     You know, I do not have one memory of my parents in disagreement with each other from before I married. Really, the only person I ever got into verbal (and a handful physical) disagreements is my younger sister, at that point in life. Momma would solve those squabbles by making us hug each other until we eventually started laughing. So, when I married (yet again) I hadn't a clue how to "communicate effectively" in a "disagreement." (FYI, newly weds who are madly in love do not argue....denote lots of sarcasm in tone of voice). I did the whole shut know....the silent treatment. Gov teases me now, that I not only would not look at or say a word to, but that I would get as far away from him as I could, to the point where I would almost plaster myself to the car door. He, of course, wanted to hold hands when we were in disagreement. He says, that it has been scientifically proven to cause a physical response in the body to deescalate the situation but I personally think he talked to Momma.

     A statement made by the authors that I thought was so simple but very true is that "communication is a learned skill; something that can be taught or practiced." Thankfully, over the years through Gov's seemingly natural ability to communicate effectively and  taking other couples enrichment courses similar to this one, I too have become better (key word "better" as there is always room to grow) at communicating. In fact, the hubs may now regret that I "disagree" a little to well now, he may very well miss the silent treatment.

So, my advice to my sweet soon- to- be- wed friend is, learn to communicate effectively with each other.   "Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church." Ephesians 4:15 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I'm just a virtual girl in a virtual introduction

Do you have Madonna's 'Material girl' in your head? Yeah, sorry about that, not a big fan of her but it was a play on tune. However, like many, I frequent the virtual world very regularly in my day to day (well, more like hour to hour) life. My career, my daughter's schooling, daily scheduler, social life and even recipe box is all housed on the "Information Super Highway." So, it fits. 

In my profile, you will read that my life revolves around my faith, family and friends. Soon you will see why. I have a God who sees me, the real me (yikes) and yet loves me for me. My family, well they are a unique bunch, always having a crazy-good time but also always there in the bad times. And those who have chosen to call me "friend", they really are just extensions of my family by choice.  Much of my writing will be based on these elements of my life. This blog will be mainly an opportunity to have a creative outlet for myself, but I hope that along the way my reader's will glean a few good laughs, maybe a creative idea or two and some encouragement.

Happy Reading!