Monday, October 17, 2011

Lessons in Truth: Time Away

When I wake up in the morning, I stay in bed for a few minutes and read a few verses in my Bible. It's a great way to peacefully begin my day. Before I begin, I pray that God will give me something to ponder throughout my day. Most days he does.

Right now I'm reading through the book of Mark. If you aren't familiar with it, this is one of the four books that speaks directly to Jesus's life and ministry.

Today I read about him feeding 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish as well as him walking on water. Both these events happened with his 12 disciples. Between those two events, however, is something very relevant for our families.

Jesus's disciples were among his closest friends. They were like his family. He taught them specifically and loved them. They walked miles and miles healing and learning with Jesus.

After they all fed the multitude, Jesus sent the disciples away to take their boat to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus then sent the thousands of people away. Mark 6:46 says: "And when He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray. Now when evening came, the boat was in the middle of the sea; and He was alone on the land." Jesus then proceeds to walk on water to his disciples in the boat.

The key for me today is that Jesus sent his loved ones away so he could could be alone and pray. He rejuvenated by being alone with God.

So many days, I feel guilty if I send my kids into their room so I can have a few minutes to pray and be quiet or read my Bible. Yet, Jesus sets a wonderful example for us. He doesn't send the 12 away because He doesn't want to be with them or because he doesn't like them. He sends them because he loves them AND needs time alone. That time alone can be so valuable.

So today, I encourage you to make time to be alone. Send the kids to their rooms to play and you take a few minutes to read a Bible, pray, or simply be quiet with the day. I think that like Jesus we will feel ready to do amazing things with the rest of our day!

Happy Communicating,

Thursday, October 13, 2011

What's Your Family Image?

A family image is a mental picture of our family. It might be a tree, or a pond of frogs, or a spider web...or anything else your mind can conjure up!

How we think of our family impacts how we communicate. If we see our family as total chaos, we will communicate in a chaotic way. Different family members may have different images. Can you see how this would lead to miscommunication? If I see my family as a Zen garden and my mom sees it as the military, we will both communicate in a way that the other does not understand or relate to.

Most of us have this image, though sometimes it takes a while to make sense of it.  I never thought about this until I was an adult, so I have two: one for my family of origin and one for my current, grown up family. To get you thinking, I'll share my image for my family of origin:

Growing up our family was like a garden. It took a lot of work to yield good fruit. The weeds (negativity) took over frequently. Some plants (siblings) demanded more sunlight and watering (parental attention) than others. Overall, though, now that the garden is mature, I see that it is quite beautiful and has produced amazing fruits.

So, what's your family image? Feel free to share it here!

Happy Communicating~

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Communicating: Lessons of Truth

"A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver." Proverbs 25:11

King Solomon was a very wise man. Here he tell us how valuable good communication can be.

In King Solomon's time, as in ours, gold and silver were worth a lot of money. If you had an apple for food, that would be good. But to have one made of gold would be unheard of - something only kings would own. Then to have it set in silver!! My goodness, that would be treasure of great worth. I'd love to have one of those, even today. I can only imagine how much money it would bring back in King Solomon's time.

THAT is how valuable a well-placed word is. When we say something to someone that is just right, it's like giving the person a golden apple dipped in silver.

Doing this, however, can be difficult. Today I'm sick, and I have been for three days. I don't really want to be nice to my family. Yet, I realize that I am giving a valuable gift when I choose a kind word instead of a grumpy, sickness-induced word.

What words can you share today that are appropriate and timely? Make the right choice and you'll give the listener a gift money can't measure.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Peanut Butter Pie

My husband has a poolside meeting today (yes, rough life, I know) and the meeting presenter LOVES this peanut butter pie. She has recently moved to south Florida so we don't see her much. DH asked if I could make her this special treat for their meeting. Of course, I obliged!

I will admit - it's a bit rich. We love rich, though! You'll see that Alton has you making the peanut butter. It is better this way, but you can use store bought if you must. Also, it's hard to find the chocolate wafer he talks about. I've used chocolate graham crackers with success. It's a bit crumbly when you eat, but that's a small price to pay for yummy, we think.

Enjoy - and please post to let me know what you think of it!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

How well do you know your spouse?

Lately I've been re-reading The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman, Ph.D. This amazing Seattle researcher can precdict divorce with an amazing 91% accuracy - simply by watching couples interact. His books are at the very top of suggested reading for my students.

Because I, too, want a marriage that thrives for the long haul, I enjoy reviewing the books from time to time. As you know, different seasons of marriage bring different challenges.

This week I'm spending time thinking about how well I know my husband. We took a little survey last week. The most surprising answer he gave for me was when he was asked what my all time favorite gift would be. Now, you first should understhand that my husband loves to buy gifts. Yet, he knew that the gift I'd want most of all is the gift of more time - to read, to accomplish, to enjoy life. All this time I thought he missed that point! But he didn't. His knowing this about me endeared him to me even more.

So, this week I encourage you to get to know your spouse all over again. Pretend you just met. Ask all those silly, getting-to-know you questions. Don't focus on pointing out wrong answers, but focus on seeking to understand your spouse. Even after decades you might be surprised at what you learn!

If you need help with getting started, or want to share how it goes, please post a comment!

Have a blessed week,