Tag Archives: marriage

There’s this Book…

Image

A few months ago I finished my second book, Couple Corners: 52 Faithful Choices for a More Joy-Filled Marriage. This book has gotten several 5 star reviews. It’s meant to help couples find more joy in their marriage one faithful choice at a time. 

This book writing thing is fascinating because writing a book doesn’t mean people buy it.  After all, there are tons of books. Some good, some bad, some interesting…well, you get the point. At times I fill like this 3 foot tall kid at a basketball players convention standing in a corner shouting, “Hey, I’ve got great news for you!”

Yup, that’s the book marketing world,  

So, I’m learning to branch out and share my story in a variety of ways. One big step I took meant contacting other authors and gurus. It terrified me. But, you know what I discovered?  They are amazingly generous.  

With the help of some talented folks I’ve create a special sale for the ebook version. It’s called a Kindle Countdown. Then, I got to add these amazing bonuses for anyone who buys the book. If you are curious, here’s a link to all the information: http://www.faithfulchoices.com/couple-corners-sale/

This sale doesn’t go forever. It only lasts from today, June 4th, through the end of June 5th.  If you know someone this book could bless, like a couple who wants to grow closer to Christ or maybe someone who’s getting married, please let them know about the sale.

 

Advertisements

Shock and Awe and Uh-oh

Kid jumping into water

The older we get, the less startled we get.  Maybe it’s because we’re jaded.  As for me, I’ve been shocked so many times that it really takes effort to make be jump now. Having said all that, I just got shocked.

After two years of effort, writing, and rewriting, I finally approved the proof for my book Couple Corners: 52 Faithful Choices for a More Joy-Filled Marriage. Mentally, I leaned back into my chair thinking, “It’s done.” I also figured that I now have a bit of time before it’s available in a larger venue.  According to the publisher’s information, it would take as much as 6-8 months.  

Curiosity tugs me around occasionally, and when it does I click Amazon.com to see who has bought the ebook or if anyone has reviewed it.  Imagine my shock when they suddenly listed the paperback version only one week after I approved the proof. 

My jaw dropped. 

Curiosity drove me to click through to Barnes and Noble. You guessed it. The paperback popped up there too.  Uh-oh. My time got cut much shorter than I thought.   My various coaches have told me that I need to make press releases and send them out to radio stations and newpapers. I should set up speaking opportunities and book signings. 

This is the tough stuff.  Writing the book is easy by comparison. Now, I have to become a type of salesperson just to enable more people to get to read what I wrote.  

Big breath.

This might be messy.  I’ve never really done this stuff before.  I’ve been the face-to-face, learn by observing, and then write what I learned girl.  Oh boy. I don’t like it when people brag or talk about themselves all the time.  No one does.  

Because this book matters, and I’ve been told that it could help many couples, I’m going to keep my heart and mind focused on them. I’m praying for the mysterious them every morning.  Maybe you are one of them.  

If you hear or see me talking about Couple Corners over and over, it’s not because I’m self enthralled.  This is the scary stuff for me.  

I will talk about it, because I believe marriages matter.  There are many people who never had anyone coach them in marriage. I’ve been very blessed and lucky.  It would be self-centered for me to not share.  

Like the kid who jumps into the pool with little training, I’m probably going to flail about and splash you.  I’m still learning.  The pool is still a great place though. And, my instructors have been the best.  

Did I mention that Couple Corners is now available in paperback?  I’d love to talk with you, your church, or school about it. 

Slow Down Baby, You Move Too Fast

Image

To be fair, I’ve never really been that fast.  I mean, I was the last person chosen on whatever team. If I met some scary dude in an alley, running wouldn’t save me, not unless he used a walker. 

Moving fast happens mentally, not just physically.  We dash through our thoughts and barely notice their passing.  So often when I speak with someone, they barely know what they did yesterday. it screamed past them so quickly.

Maybe it’s because we surf the internet and scan TV at the same time.  Maybe when two generations grow up on fast food something happens metabolically.  But what if we chose to do something slow.  That’s right, we choose it.  

If we convince ourselves that speed isn’t accuracy, then we might want to become more accurate.  We’d have to slow down to take aim at life. Real aim requires deep breathes and calm countenance.

When we inhale slowly the life we have been given, we arrive at our moment.  This is our moment, right now.  It won’t come back.

In marriage, each day is a new day to declare love, to forgive, to open arms and hearts.  Each day provides an opportunity to seek forgiveness and try again.  If we careen down the road of life without regard to these precious times, we’ll have missed our moment.

 

Top choices for July

Red computer mouse
Image via Wikipedia

As you know, each post contains a choice for the day.  Looking at the choices which you read the most, these posts stood out from the crowd.  You can click the link, if you missed it the first time.  If you think these choices matter and can help someone you know, pass them on.

1.  Warning on pointless arguments, someone always gets stabbed

2.  Go ahead, bite the shark

3.  What lense are you using?

4.  6 reasons to see Cars 2

5.  Dancing in the daylight

6.  How do you find peace?

7.  Lessons from the garden: An unexpected guide to family growth (part 2)

8.  5 ways to make your marriage a team sport

9.  Superfood for the spirit

10.  Lessons from the garden: an unexpected guide to family growth

Thank you, dear friends, for taking the time with me to think through each one.

My choice today:

Celebrate successes.

5 ways to make your marriage a team sport

The peloton of the Tour de France
Image via Wikipedia

One of my sporting passions is taking center-stage this month.  The Tour de France is a massive bicycle race which extends across the country of France throughout the month of July.  On first glance, you might assume the race is all about big name riders and everyone else simply fills in.  But you’d be wrong.

We hear about people like Lance Armstrong or Alberto Contador, but many more people enabled their multiple wins.  From the people who prepare and deliver their daily food to the lieutenants who ride with them,  this cycling race is a team sport.

It inspired me to think about how marriage is also a team sport.  As my young softball team coach repeatedly said, “There’s no I in team”.  The same holds true for marriage.

Here are ways you can use this team spirit to strengthen your marriage:

1.  Speak well of your team.

Any champion knows that if you verbally knock your teammates, they may not support you when it matters.  No matter what happens on the road, the best teams never attack one another.  They lift up each other and openly declare the positives.  A supportive attitude helps lift spirits and brings out the best in everyone.

In marriage, the more positives we tell others about our spouse, the more we strengthen our marriage.  Venting our frustrations onto others and making other people dislike our spouse only damages the relationship further. We know it’s true when we receive pluses it makes us feel better and give more, the same is true in reverse.

2.  Everyone does grunt work.

Watching Tour de France teams, I find this element most endearing.  Within the race, those who slow down to reach team cars in the back and pick up water bottles do the grunt work.  It creates extra work for them because they must slow down, pick up added weight and return to the pack while everyone continues racing.  These pack mules deliver water to all the riders on their team, often carrying 10 water bottles stuffed into their shirts while they ride. 

I’ve watched Lance Armstrong deliver water for his team over the years, even while he’s wearing the yellow jersey,which shows he’s the race leader.  Because of this selfless attitude, his team loved him more and really dug in to support him at later tough times in the race.

Within marriage this means no job is too small for either spouse to do.  From diaper changing to vacuuming to mowing the lawn, if the attitude is team work, the load becomes lighter.

3.  Embrace and appreciate each other’s roles.

Within teams, each person has a specific role.  Cyclists in the Tour de France come into it knowing that their job will be to support someone else on the uphill climb or pull a sprinter across the line then back away.  The person attempting to become grand champion does so for the team, when they win everyone wins. 

Within marriage various circumstances bring out the best in each person.  Occasionally he takes the lead and she supports him, but there also come times when she takes the lead and he supports her.  When one of them wins, they both do as long as the attitude centers on team work. 

4.  Dust off the dirt and try again.

Ever year riders crash in the Tour de France.  Sometimes they experience what’s called road rash, a nasty scrape on the skin which can cover half the body.  Other times they wipe out in extraordinary fashion.  Just yesterday, I saw crashes which resulted in broken collar bones and concussions.  These riders keep going if it’s at all possible.  They get bandaged while riding.  They spray cortisone while riding.  For the ones with tougher injuries, you can be sure, if it’s possible, they’ll be back next year.  They are committed to the race at hand no matter what. 

In marriage, we encounter multiple crashes along the way.  Whether it’s financial or medical, relational or spiritual, over the years we get knocked around.  The big question becomes, “Are you in it to win it?”  If so, dust off the dirt, heal the wounds, and keep riding. 

5.  The race isn’t just about winning, it’s about the ride.

Men come from around the world to compete in bicycling’s greatest race.  They know only one will win the coveted grand champion yellow jersey.  Only one becomes the best sprinter with a green jersey.  Only one will don the red-spotted jersey of king of the mountain.  One will become the rookie of the year and win the white jersey.  In the end, hundreds will have ridden and lost.  Why race? 

They know the race revolves around each peddled moment on the road.  Together, they face wind and rain, scorching heat and snow over the course of 23 days.  It’ll devastate some and prove the strength of others.  The waiting list for those who want to join this prestigious group is long, but only those invited can take part.  They know the value of the journey and enjoy the trek each year.

In marriage, the ride matters too.  We can’t compare ourselves to others, we simply ride the course set before us.  No one will experience the journey the way we do.  It’ll be tough and isn’t for the light in heart, but for those who’ve gone the distance, it’s clearly worth our energy output. 

My choice today:

View my marriage as a team sport and work hard to build up the team.

 

Relationship thoughts: Prepare for a wise spouse choice

Hands
Image by .michael.newman. via Flickr

Are you single and struggling?  Are you challenged by the emotions you feel and the wisdom you hope you have?  Are you fed up with failing to see partner flaws only to find yourself flailing about like a fish who dreams of being tossed back into the water?

In my daily blog read, I adore the writings of Donald Miller.  He wrote the book Blue Like Jazz and has a blog which intrigues me.  Today, he announced his engagement and shared how his future spouse created a list of what she dreamt a husband would be.  Apparently, Donald fit the bill.

My heart did an Irish jig as I read.  I made a list too.

My husband of 14 years and I met when I was 28 years old.  The dating scene had shown me its pitfalls and I became frustrated.  On the suggestion of a friend, I made a list of who I hoped to meet and live out the rest of my life.  That was a tough task.

The idea of making a shopping list for a guy kind of weirded me out.  I don’t like being pinned down or put into a box.  Keeping options open has become a major past-time, but I ventured into list-land.  While writing the list, my emotions wrapped themselves around the guy of the moment I chose to date.  The challenge I faced involved being true to my thoughts in spite of my present emotions.

After finally penning my dream, I folded it and tucked it away.  I feared it didn’t matter, it couldn’t really happen anyway.

But, the list helped give me wisdom.  When I dated the next guy and found my emotions becoming stirred, I brought out the list.  He fit a few items, but not the whole, not some specific elements that really mattered to me.  It gave me courage to not continue the connection.

I assumed I’d need to water down my thoughts, but held tightly to those most precious.   Again, the list lost itself in a book which rested on my shelf untouched.

Then came Tim.

We dated more wisely than I had previously thought I could.  We grew as friends.  I respected him and his thoughts while not agreeing with everything.  He appreciated my unique idiosyncracies and I truly enjoyed his presence.  Time to check the list.

I figured he didn’t fit everything, because my expectations were unrealistic.  But it had provided wisdom earlier, so I sought it.  When I unfolded this unpretentious piece of paper, my finger went down my 34 items ( I think it was 34 items but on a recent household hunt I couldn’t find the list, so this is going from memory.)

He filled every one.  Fourteen years later, he still does.

What I imagined as an exercise in futility, became a flashlight switch in the dark tunnel of my life.  It gave me pertinent feedback I desperately needed to realize the vitality of the man before me.  Never could I have dreamt anyone would fit all my dreams.  But the man of my life did, and he was worth waiting for.

I’ve known men to make spousal lists too.  Michael Hyatt, another blogger I often read, made a list before meeting his bride Gail . They’ve celebrated 34 years of marriage.

If you’re on the hunt and want a path worth pursuing, a list is a great starting spot.  As Donald said in his post today, “Why not create a list?”

My choice today:

Think ahead on who I want to married, and be as detailed as I can.

Becoming a better lover

Two left hands forming an outline of a heart s...
Image via Wikipedia

The Bible states in 1 John 4:8, “God is love.”  I guess that means He’s the best lover of all.  Now where does that place me on life’s spectrum? 

I long to become a great lover, of people.  I struggle through the labyrinth of life seeking the proper loving path, but clearly marked directions sometime allude me.  There are so many people I long to shower with love: my husband, my kids, my mom, my brother, friends, other relatives, essentially everyone I pass day after day.  Am I overreaching? If I understand how God wants me to behave, these are the ones I should love.  But am I capable? 

Daily, I hear other friends’ definitions of love and occasionally I wonder if they’ve got it figured out.  Then I turn around to look at me and frown at my own inabilities. 

Growing up, it seemed like love’s definition loomed ambiguously overhead.  Was it a feeling? A thought process? An action?  It can light you up when you feel  it, or give a sense of angst when not returned.  One person’s love might be another person’s cruel action.  I remember my mom informing me that a swat on the rear or a  time-out was her way of showing love, not my favorite way.  Friends bake cupcakes to show love.  We hug for love, we clean for love, we wake in the middle of the night for love.  What is love?

When in doubt I read it out.  With Bible open, I searched.  There is a definition found in scripture.  It seems to grand for me to achieve, but perhaps it’s the goal.  If God is love, maybe this is a detailed example of what that really means.  It gives me something to aspire to and a place to check myself to discover my failures and successes. 

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”  1 Corinthians 13:4-8a (NIV)

I may not always know the best loving action, thought, or word on the moment, but I do know the God who is loving in every way.  I trust His opinion and long to learn from Him.  If it takes my whole life, I’ll continually seek to become a better lover and chances are, I will.

How do two become one?

I adore hearing married people’s stories about how they met.  It’s intriguing to discover the multiple ways two can become one.  It’s also enlightening to realize how many variations God has at his fingertips when it come to creating solid relationships.  Of course the story of a meeting doesn’t determine the success of the couple, but if I know a successful couple, I like to learn how it began. 

One of my friends just became engaged and as I celebrate her joy, it brings me back to how my husband and I first connected.  Let’s face it, in the digital age meeting and greeting have changed.  Believe it or not, my husband and I met through a Christian dating service.  Geeky huh. 

The intro

I had accepted a position as a youth pastor in the town of Sunland, California.  It’s not a huge town.  Whenever I tried to picture dating someone locally, I became stressed by the possibility of failure.  How would it affect the ministry?  Would it make life in town more complicated?  Okay, have I mentioned I’m a worrier? 

Needless to say, those ideas drove me to decide to go to an organization located in Reseda, California called Equally Yoked.  I never imagined actually meeting a spouse.  The thought it might  improve my dating skills.   I determined to willingly put myself “out there”.  I’d place a request to meet 5 men each time I visited the office.  One fun element of this group was the fact that everyone had to profess a faith in Christ to participate, video interviews included one’s story of salvation and relationship with Christ.  What a time saver, I thought. 

I ended up dating several nice men.  In fact, for the first time in my life I scheduled multiple dates with multiple men within the span of one week.  How flattering!  During one visit, I planned to submit the name of one Timothy Whidden as a person I might like to meet.  He, unfortunately, had no video sharing his story.  At the last-minute, I removed his name from my requests.  The lady who owned this franchise noticed.  She quizzed me about my decision and mentioned, “would it help you to know, he signed up partly because he saw your picture?” 

Yes, that did help.

The calls

Following my submission, I received a polite call from Timothy intended to let me down easily.  He was already seeing someone else.  Well then, I guess we’ll just have to be friends (even though we’ve never met).  I accepted his rejection but the conversation continued, for 2 hours.  Interesting.

He called me again on three different occasions.  Each time, our conversations extended for hours.  Eventually, he informed me that he was no longer seeing the original lady and he asked if I’d like to get together and meet in person. Was tomorrow too soon?  We met and our personalities connected immediately. 

The marriage

Ten months later, we declared our love before family and friends at Descanso Gardens.  After thirteen years, we have two children, two dogs, two cats and a friendship that grows stronger every day.

What about you?  Please share your story of how two became one.