Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Mentoring in the Marriage Season Guest Blog


In her powerful book Mentoring for All Seasons,
 Janet Thompson writes of the value of mentoring through all seasons of life, 
including the marriage season. 
I was thrilled to learn Janet recommends my book 
We All Married Idiots as a resource for mentoring marriages.
 If you desire your life and marriage to grow into the likeness of Christ, 
give Mentoring for All Seasons a read. 
Thank you Janet Thompson for writing life-changing books
 and agreeing to share words straight from your heart.







Learn from Janet Thompson's wisdom as a mentor and a mentee:

"That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.—Genesis 2:24

As women, we’re continually coming out of one life season and going into the next. You may have experienced the blessing of having a mentor in the changing seasons of your life, or long for a mentor. Those with experience in a season can reach out and offer counsel, support, prayer, and God’s wisdom. Mentoring is that easy.

Some women have had the blessing of the same mentor from newlywed years to seasoned married years, and others have found mentors for specific phases of the marriage season.

Newlywed to 50+ Years Mentoring

Maybe you looked at this heading and thought: Needs are different for newlyweds than couples married twenty-five or fifty years. True. The specific details will differ, but the basic truths keeping a marriage on solid ground remain the same regardless of years together.

The marriage season covers a wide spectrum, but the principles of mentoring remain the same because God’s Word regarding marriage, communication, finances, family . . . never changes . . . and God’s Word is the foundation for every mentoring relationship, which is always two way.

I once heard a mentor say her mentee was a newlywed, and since she herself had been married twenty-five years, she expected to be sharing tips about married life with her mentee. But with a wink, she said the mentee taught her a few things about putting a “kick” back into her own marriage!

Marital Problems

Marriage is between two imperfect people, who will always disappoint and disillusion each other unless they keep perfect Jesus at the center of their relationship. That might sound like a bold statement, and certainly many Christian marriages fail, probably because they didn’t keep Jesus at the center of every decision, discussion, and disagreement.

Many issues subject a couple to divisive onslaughts attacking a marriage: finances, parenting, jealousy, in-laws, personalities, loneliness, illness, outside attractions, work . . . daily life. Statistics of crumbling marriages—even among Christians—indicate Satan is winning the spiritual battle in many homes because couples haven’t armed themselves with the only effective offensive weapon—the sword of the Spirit—the Word of God.

How many marriages might elude divorce if spouses had mentors praying for and with them, teaching them how to study their Bibles daily, and showing them how to put God back on the throne in their marriage and family?


Mentoring for All Seasons

In Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness, sixty-five women share their mentor or mentee testimonies, along with my own personal experiences, helpful tips for mentors and mentees will guide women in how to connect and nurture each other in mentoring relationships, as a mentor or a mentee from tweens to twilight years. There are Scriptures for each season to help guide the discussion to God’s Word.

Mentoring for all Seasons is a reference, application, and coaching tool for a mentor or mentee traversing life’s journey together as Titus 2:3-5 instructs us to do.

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

Mentors don’t have all the answers, but God does!

Excerpts from Mentoring for All Seasons used with permission of Leafwood Publishers.

Janet Thompson is an international speaker, freelance editor, and award-winning author of nineteen books including her latest, Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness, available at all Christian bookstores, online book stores, Amazon, and signed by Janet at her website store, where you can see more of her books.

She is also the founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring and About His Work Ministries. Janet and her husband Dave relocated their empty nest from Southern California to the rural mountains of Idaho, where Janet writes and they love watching the deer frolic in their yard.

Sign up for Janet’s Monday Morning Blog and online newsletter at womantowomanmentoring.com. You can also visit Janet at:
https://twitter.com/AHWministries
Instagram: Janetahw"


Thanks for being my guest blogger, Janet. 
Mentoring and being mentored both bring splashes of serenity to our souls! 
Enjoy your mentoring journey and buy Janet's book!

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Saturday, September 30, 2017

A Silly Happy Birthday Poem to Me!



I love my birthday. Why? Because I love life. Every birthday represents another year to live and love and enjoy this beautiful world God created. I've always been a girl with a lust for life, and these baby pics made me laugh. From day one I've been on the go!







This year I love living even more than past years. Cancer gives a new appreciation for every day. You celebrate your birthdays big time! So, as is my custom, this writer who is not a poet wrote a birthday poem. Enjoy!

Oh what joy! I am just fine
Celebrating birthday number 69.

A year ago I did not know
If 68 would end my show.

But God Almighty, the Great Divine,
Smiled and said "Happy Birthday child of mine!

Your days are ordained—all in a line.
More birthdays for you is My Grand Design."

So live well my friends and never whine.
Celebrate your birthdays—dance and dine!

Each birthday is a treasure to live—not resign.
You'll be happy forever if you cling to the Vine.

I look forward to laughs aplenty
As God blesses my way to number 70.

Happy Birthday to me, Miss Splashes of Serenity!

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Monday, September 11, 2017

Thankful For the Anniversary We Didn't Expect to Celebrate!



A year ago we didn't expect to celebrate our 47th Wedding Anniversary. Doctors gave us a grim cancer diagnosis.  "Rapid progression, unresponsive to treatment, low survivability" concluded a mountain of test results.

To our surprise, the peace and presence of God, which other cancer patients attest to, filled us with praise, thankfulness, and humor. We determined to laugh, celebrate each day, and treasure the time we had left together.

If my days were short, I wanted them filled with joy, not sadness.

 Oncologists urged us to go away and have fun. I do what my doctor orders.  Last September we headed for Hilton Head to celebrate our 46th wedding anniversary. For two glorious weeks we enjoyed our love, the blessings of being alive, the treasure of time together.

In December my doctors were as excited as we were to learn a new drug had been approved for my type of cancer.  Take 3 pills a day  (one in the Name of the Father, one in the Name of the Son, and one in the Name of the Holy Spirit) and your cancer progression may stop.

And stop it did! 

Today my blood counts are normal.
 I feel better and have more energy than I have in years. 
Other than my cute chemo curls, there are no side effects.

This week Dan and I celebrate an anniversary we didn't expect to see—our 47th! We're returning to the same Hilton Head condo with thanks to God for the sweet gifts of marriage and time.

Looking back,

 I realize this last year has been the best year of our married life. 

Why? 

Because when we face the death of a spouse, priorities and perspectives change.

We treasure every moment. 

Idiosyncrasies are funny, not irritating.

We dance and sing together. 

We hold hands.

We sit together on the couch. 

We touch—often. 

We do today all the things we talked about, but never made time to do. 

We kiss—over and over. 

We tell each other "I love you"—constantly. 

We stop arguing. 

We treat each other with kindness. 

We let each other have his/her way. 

We go to bed together. 

We look into each other's eyes when we  speak and when we are quiet. 

We smile. 

We laugh. 

We love deeply. 

Cancer was a gift to us. A wake-up call to the treasure of love, life, and time. Don't wait for a crisis in your marriage to begin living love deeply.

"Above all, love each other deeply . . . . " 1 Peter 4:8



Praying for marriages as we splash in the Atlantic Ocean! 


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Friday, September 8, 2017

Nurturing a Marriage While Nurturing a Child



 How do I satisfy the needs of an infant in need of feeding 
and a husband in need of loving?  

Good question!

 I can relate. After five years of marriage and two doctors telling me I would never have children, I gave birth to my first child. She became the center of my universe and my dear husband was somewhere in space orbiting around us.

 Trying to mother and to wife seemed impossible.
 I just could not do it all.  

One day my husband jolted me with the truth,
 "What good will it do our baby if we end up divorced?"

  The best thing we can do for our child is work at and preserve our marriage.
 
Still, children take care and time and cannot be put back in the toy box until another day. They have needs—not just wants.

So, how do I balance my time and make my husband a priority?
Both parents need to exercise patience realizing this is a busy season in your life.
At the same time, there are things you can do to show your husband he is important to you.
  • Walk in his shoes. He may be feeling left out. You carried the baby in your womb, you delivered the little one, and for some, your breasts are feeding the baby. Some men feel jealous of the attention you are giving your baby. Your husband needs assurance that he’s still “The Man!”
  • Date him. Don’t fear leaving your children with a baby sitter. Nurture your marriage through a regular date night with your husband.  
  • Kiss him. Really KISS him. Pack some passion behind that pucker! Show your children how much you love their daddy by greeting him regularly and as a surprise with a kiss.
  • Make your bedroom a love sanctuary. 1 Corinthians 7:3 says “Husbands and wives should satisfy each other’s sexual needs.” I don’t read, “unless there are children in the house” in that scripture. I know moms are tired. I also know a husband can feel like someone stole his wife when the baby is born.  
  • Take care of yourself. Eat healthy, sleep when you can, and exercise. I know that seems impossible, but you’ll benefit (and so will your marriage) if you care for yourself.
  • Read a book on marriage. My books were written for drained moms and drained wives to be read in five-minute snippets. I know they have helped marriages get back on track. 
  • Pray. Ask God to help you prioritize and be the wife and mother He created you to be.
As moms we want to give our best to our children. It begins by giving our best to our husbands. Nurturing your marriage really does go a long way toward nurturing your child.

I’d love to hear other suggestions. How do you let your husband know he is important?




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Friday, June 30, 2017

Meet Elaine Miller, Author of We All Married Idiots!

Meet Elaine Miller, Author of We All Married Idiots!






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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

How to Lead a Successful "We All Married Idiots" Couples' Study



Happy Dance! That's what I do when people contact me asking for guidance because their small group wants to study We All Married Idiots. Why so happy? Because I know when couples come together under the teaching of God's Word on marriage, only good can come from that meeting. God is glorified and satan is crushed. Families are saved and children grow up in happy homes. Wow! Wouldn't that make you dance too!

So, how does one lead a successful We All Married Idiots study? Easy. Application and study questions are provided under "CHANGE" at the end of each chapter. Start there and watch God "change" marriages.

How do those CHANGE questions play out in a small group? I contacted Annette Hurlbut from the Fulton Alliance Church, knowing she and her husband had lead a successful study of We All Married Idiots. How do I know it was successful? Throughout the study, couples contacted me sharing the changes  happening in individuals and in marriages. The grand prize being one of the couples renewing their wedding vows. Woo Hoo!!! A thrill to this author's heart.

Annette sent me lots of info. I'll share some below, but she is willing to share all the handouts she prepared, including the invitation she sent to couples challenging them to "Ask your spouse, 'Are you willing to study the Bible as it pertains to marriage—and our growth as a couple?'"

Why was the Hurlbut's small group effective?

1.  Ownership: From the beginning each participant took ownership. The couples were asked to look over We All Married Idiots and choose a chapter they would like to lead over the next thirteen weeks. During the meeting the lead couple discussed points in the chapter that touched their hearts and their marriage and asked the other couples to share their thoughts. As a group they answered the questions at the end of each chapter, sharing prayer requests, and praying for each other's marriage.

2. Fun: Midway through the study they took a break and had a date night. What a way to laugh and have fun and enjoy each other. I suspect there were a lot of laughs throughout the study, as well.

3. Fruit: Each week they discussed the changes happening in their marriages. What an encouragement to keep working at it.

4. Commitment: Could a marriage study get better than ending with a marriage vow renewal?

To guide you on your way to a successful small group couples study, here's the time format Mary and her husband used:

6:15 - 6:35: Fellowship, snacks, prayer/share and CHANGE application from previous week.

6:35 - 7:45: Read chapter. Meditate. Reflect. Change. (YOUR CHANGE homework).

7:45 - 8:00: Prayer requests.

If you would like more information or the handouts from Annette Hurlbut, please email her at   aahurlbut@aol.com.


Go ahead. You can lead a small group study of We All Married Idiots. What a thrill watching couples grow in love with their Savior and with each other. I'd love to pray for you and for your group as you meet. Let me know, and I'll be on my knees for your marriage.

A splash of serenity isn't enough for a marriage, Lord. I want a water fall of serenity, Jesus. A water fall.

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Monday, June 5, 2017

Growing a Marriage to Full Bloom





Each Spring my heart jumps at the sight of the rhododendron surrounding our house. These gorgeous balls of purple lushness were planted (by a previous owner) the same year Dan and I were planted  as husband and wife. I don't know, I just think that's neat. Forty-seven years ago our love was new and so were these rhododendrons.

 Wow! Look at us now! Our marriage and the flowers are in full bloom!

There were years the rhoda's and the Miller's weren't so pretty. The rains hit too hard or not hard enough and our marriage and the flower buds struggled. But we held on to whatever we could to get through the storms beating us down. Grasping for fertile soil or a rock or anything that would help us stay alive during the difficult seasons, we embraced the promises we made on our wedding day, knowing with God nothing was impossible. After all, the Creator had a plan when He created us—a plan for the flowers and the marriage to flourish.

Forty-seven years later I stand in awe at the rhododendron and at Dan and me. Our love is in full bloom and beautiful. Thankful to God that when the years were lean and the branches empty, we didn't give up and decide to cut us down. We held on to You. We held on to each other. We endured the pruning You did and even the ugly we did to each other.

How do you  grow a marriage to full bloom? Hold on and never let go. I'm so glad we did.

May God splash serenity on your marriage. Remember, nothing is impossible with God.

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