Weekend to Remember

10
Apr
2014

Weekend-to-Remember-title

When was the last time you truly spent intentional time on your marriage?

I get it, time, money, other resources….it is hard and a challenge.  But ladies…..it is so worth it in the end.  Maybe it is a regular date night, finding ways to connect together regularly investing in each other, doing bible study together or perhaps you are ready to take it one step further and learn from couples who have been doing this ‘marriage’ gig for many years.

That is what Family Life’s Weekend to Remember is all about.

Weekend-Remember

My husband and I went to our first Weekend to Remember almost 6 years ago – less than a year after we were married.  Now, this being our second marriage, we knew we wanted to make this work and needed the tools and resources to be successful.  We had messed up the first time around, for many reasons and wanted to be united in our commitment and do whatever we could do be a true couple, together for God’s purpose.

That weekend changed our perspective on marriage, on our role as a spouse and what ‘oneness’ as a couple truly meant in God’s eyes.  It was a weekend filled with practical biblical information on how to build our marriage God’s way.

So when the chance came to go again, 6 years later, we decided to make it happen.  We gathered a few other couples who had never been before and set out to grow in our marriage.

We stayed at a lovely hotel that was local to use and had a great room with a view – it was perfect.  With 4 kids – we get little time away, so when it can be with a view like this I am one happy mama!  

Weekend-to-Remember-6

Going to the conference was great, but actually being able to stay overnight in the hotel for TWO nights was pure bliss!

The conference runs from Friday evening until Sunday at noon.  It is packed with sessions on communication, learning how we fight and even a session on “marriage after dark.”  Yes, it was about SEX.

Weekend-to-remember-7

Our two mentor couples, Bob and Jan Horner and Rick and Judy Taylor had very unique stories and were both very entertaining – which is more fun for everyone!  Who needs a boring marriage conference?  They shared personal stories which really helped couples identify and made it easier to apply the principles they shared to each of our marriages in real ways.

One of the major projects we did during the weekend was to write a love letter to our spouse.  Now, we had done this 6 years ago, but what I found very interesting was that the letters we wrote this time, were very similar to what we wrote previously.  We didn’t look at the previous letters until after we did the one for this season, but it was a confirmation to us of what we truly cherished in each other.

We also had our workbooks from 6 years ago and were able to look back at some of the information and what we thought being “newly married” and compared it to what we felt now.  It was very thought provoking for sure.

Weekend-to-Remember-3

We left the weekend each with specific action points to be intentional with.  This is important.  You can go to a ton of conferences about marriage or listen to a million podcasts, but unless you choose to make a point to pick certain things to change, nothing does.

One of the biggest take aways I got form this weekend was that my spouse is not perfect, but he is the PERFECT one for me.  I need to remember this daily, and be intentional in setting aside my selfish tendencies too.  

It is never too late to rekindle a romance, to think differently about your marriage or be willing to change.  If you are thinking you need a bit of a ‘tune-up’ in your marriage or maybe a complete overhaul – why not look or a Weekend to Remember conference near where you live?

Weekend-to-Remember

Family Life is also offering a new one day conference for couples called “I Still do” and may be near your area and fit your schedule too.

Have you ever been to a marriage conference?  Did you find it helpful, if so how?

Investing in Friendships

6
Mar
2014

Imperfect-Friendships

I have procrastinated writing this post – honestly because I know how I struggle in this area.  Pushing ahead and making effort to create new friendships is hard work.  I know I am not alone.

As moms we are busy and overwhelmed, so when it come sot putting one more thing on our ‘to-do’ list, like “make friends” it can be too much.  But you know, God created us for relationship – with Him and with others.  I need to be reminded of this daily and I also need practical ways to break out of my tendency to just  hang out with myself.  Because honestly, I am not so great all the time!

“Having good friends is like having money in the bank.  When life gets rough, they are there when you need to make a withdrawal.”

Do you feel like you have a group of friends you can call in, like in the examples Jill gave?  I have my group of bible study friends, but honestly, I would rarely if EVER feel like I could call for help.  I am so darn stubborn and independent – I will hardly ever ask for help or let my guard down.  Ooops, another thing you learned about me!

This chapter has been a real wake-up call for me, I need to invest in my friendships.  PERIOD!   Real, in-person friendships.  I am great at online relationships, that is the heartbeat of my business and my livelihood, but taking the time to intentionally create in-person relationships has taken a huge back seat.  I would say, honestly, I am just being lazy.

It is easier to stay home.  

It is easier to not find a sitter when my husband it out of town.  

It is easier for me to complain than to change this area.  {So I just sent a text message to a friend asking to do something tomorrow evening…..seriously, right in the middle of writing this post!  I stepped out and did it, the time to start is now!}

“Today is the day for you to call a friend you want to get to know better or invest in a friendship you already have.”

Apply the Antidote

Did one of the areas Jill shared about speak to you more?  Changing your expectations, pursuing humility, pursuing courage or being confident?

I felt for myself that pursuing courage really resonated with me.  I tend to have the fear of asking for fear of rejection. We all struggle with something, remember – we cannot compare our insides to someone else’s outside – always!

I am a big card sender – love me some mail in the mailbox!!  So why not pick up the challenge Jill issued in the application section of the discussion questions – 

Send a card or a note to a friend.  express your appreciation for this friendship and share word of encouragement with her.

This can be a card in the mail – or in person.  You know it will brighten her day and it will also likely make you feel pretty darn good too!

What encouragement or ideas could you give a mom who is struggling with building or finding new friendships?

Did you find the mommy manners at the end of the chapter helpful?  Would you add something else to the list?

“There are no perfect friends – just fellow moms, trying to do their best and discovering that there’s more joy in doing life together.”

Begin reading Chapter 7 for next week – come back tomorrow as I will share some photos and tid-bits from my trip to Hawaii – if you know someone who is experiencing PTSD symptoms, you will want to specifically hear what I have to share on that!

PS – did you write the love note to your spouse?  I did and it went over in a BIG way!

Chapter Six – Forging Friendships

4
Mar
2014

Umbrella with dark clouds 

Everyone likes to say, “It takes a village,” when it comes to raising kids – well, I think when it comes to motherhood in general it takes a village.  Motherhood can get very lonely when you are in the midst of toddlers, diapers and endless nap schedules that can keep you trapped inside and alone for hours on end.

I hear from new mothers all the time about the change motherhood brings and the depression it can also carry with it.  Our life changes and it can be overwhelming, suffocating and endless.  But there is one thing that can help in the midst – friends!

“Friendships are an important part of mothering.  We desperately need each other.  However, friendships are not always perfect.”

It is true, every mom needs to have a ‘village’ of other mothers surrounding her and supporting her.  You can find great support in many areas – church, MOPS, neighborhoods, the library, parks and other children’s activities, so what can keep some moms from seeking out the support from others?  Fear.

I do feel that fear can play a role in our ability to reach out to others; fear of being judged, fear of failure, fear of rejection and fear of not fitting in.  I pray that you can jump out of the fear that could be holding you down – and begin to create wonderful friendships in the season of motherhood.

There are many seasons of motherhood and you will likely have many seasonal friendships too, but you could also get really lucky and connect with someone for a longer ‘life’ friendship.  Those are to be truly cherished.  I loved reading about Jill’s story with different friendships and the need those filled.  Didn’t it make you smile?

I honestly struggle with ‘motherhood’ friendships.  I would consider myself to be an introvert, which is exactly why having a blog and writing is perfect for me.  Putting myself out there for others in person can be daunting, exhausting and create a sense of apprehension for me.  {WOW, I can’t believe I shared that with you all!!}  

Currently I am in a bible study group with 8 other gals who I love dearly.  I work from home, which does not allow me the ‘conveience’ of being in an office to create friendships in that environment and my kids aren’t in activities where I have to stay while they are doing them, but soon I will enter into that season again with my 4 year old.

I have to try really hard to create space for creating and nurturing relationships – and honestly I stink at it.  One of my goals for 2014 is to intentionally create time to meet with those in my bible study group – OUTSIDE of our normal meeting time.  It is hard for me, as I have limited time and struggle with justifying paying a babysitter so I can enjoy some time away with a friend when my husband is out of town.

We all have our areas of weakness – it is knowing and admitting it and then putting ideas into action that can make a difference for us and perhaps another mom, who may very well feel just like you.

What part of motherhood friendships do you struggle with?

How can you be a good friend to those friends you already have in your circle?  

How can you make it a point to venture into new friendships?  Are you a “Here I am” or “There You Are” person?

Did you download the discussion questions yet for this week?  You can do that here.

Embrace Your Beautiful, Imperfect Husband

27
Feb
2014

Closeup image barefoot couple legs at the beach

I am hurrying to write this post, pack my bags, and get a schedule written down for my mother-in-law who so kindly came to stay with my little guy so my husband and I could go enjoy the trip I earned to Hawaii – don’t worry I will be sharing much more on my trip when I get back – it will be too great not too!!

This post and the timing of my trip is impeccable, as God always seems to place things, huh?  I am going to be spending 5 days with my husband and trying to focus on relaxation, conversation and connection, without writing blog posts or spending too much time on social media. Very hard!!  I am going to try to live out what we have been reading this week and I feel truly blessed to have this opportunity.

I don’t want to disappoint anyone, especially my wonderful ladies who come to my site each week to find encouragement, but this week my husband gets to win.  I likely will be away from social media and attending to comments until I return.

I found it again interesting to me, but no surprising that PRIDE comes into play. It did in week two as well, why is this such a big part of issues we may encounter?

“Pride is at the core of so much marital strife.  Pride believes our way is the right way – the only way.  Pride says you are more wrong than I am.  Pride says I’m you are more wrong than I am.”

I am horrible with regard to my pride getting in the way of my marriage relationship, and this was the wake up call I needed.  This is a constant struggle for me and I need to ask God to help me each day – seriously, adding this to my prayer for each morning.

I really was touched by how Jill explained her personal journey with her husband and how she asked God to help her know how to love her husband during his time of depression and distance.  It just became clear to me that I need to continually ask God to direct me and He will.  I can easily remember that I need to do this with regard to my children and parenting abilities, but I forget when it comes to my husband.

Replacing Pride with Humility

This is where I am weak….my pride can overtake my mind and my spirit and humility is no where to be found.

“Pride keeps conflict unresolved.  It keeps us from owning our own stuff.  Pride separates, hurts, and even destroys.”

I will be praying about adding more humility in my day, taking the time to evaluate myself more and owning my own part of the ‘stuff’ instead of thinking it is always “his” problem.

We’ve had a rough couple of weeks in our home, for a lot of different reasons.  I’ve had plenty of conflict to deal with  and am always looking to blame someone else it seems, and it usually ends up being my husband.  He’s a good guy, a GREAT guy….and I need to Thank God more for him.

I did do the motherhood gig alone for 8 years, I do know what it is like in that arena…..it is not easier, in fact it is a lot harder – and overwhelming.  I need to remember what I have and be grateful – working on my pride issue and what I bring to the scene, which I often create into a messier scene, anyone relate?

So as I get ready to jet off with my hubby for 5 days, I am remembering this:

“There are no perfect husbands – just imperfect men who make mistakes along the way and give you the opportunity to learn to love in ways you never knew you could.”

Apply

Write your husband a love letter.  Tell him what you love about him.  Affirm him.  Tell him what he does well.  Even if you are in a place in your marriage where you wouldn’t give it to him, write it out – you never know how doing this exercise can impact your heart and add humility.  I am doing it!

Begin reading Chapter Six – see you next week!

No More Perfect Moms Week FOUR

17
Feb
2014

Main-No-More-Perfect-Moms

Well, here we go!  This is a fairly big subject, no pun intended!  Oh my goodness, so many moms suffer from feeling so inferior with how our body looks and feels that we just get disgusted.  I am included.  So much of my ‘mood’ for the day can be dependent on how my jeans feel when I have them on, how my hair decides to lay and how I feel physically.

So much is impacted by this body of mine.

Compare Apples to Apples

Loved this line and it rings so true – I often find myself comparing myself to 20 somethings and those who have a personal trainer or who have a chef cook special meals for them.  I have learned to boycott magazines and do not buy them anymore, it doesn’t help me feel good about myself at all!

So let’s come into this chapter with grace for ourself and for our bodies that perform great things each and every day. 

Here is the agenda for this week:

{If you are viewing this post via email, you will need to click through to the website to view the video}

 

Week 4:  February 17 – 21, 2014

Monday – watch the video, download the discussion questions for WEEK FOUR

Tuesday – come prepared by having read Chapter Four, join the conversation

Wednesday – check in over at Facebook for a few questions

Thursday – read the blog post on applying what we’ve learned this week; get started reading Chapter 5

Was there something that spoke to you in the video?  Please share in the comments and hop over to the Facebook page.   Is body image an area you struggle with daily or just once in awhile?

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