Monday, November 25, 2013

Yellful Thanksgiving?

Whether the guests are coming soon, or you are the guests, Thanksgiving and the holidays in general can be a bit unnerving.  When there is so much to do and so many different personalities to navigate, the stress can mount.  Rushing to get the Turkey thawed and stuffed, carpets vacuumed, guest towels up, and kids bathed and dressed can add up to a recipe for emotional explosion.  Also frazzling can be trying to get everyone packed up and out-the-door for a visit of any length to anywhere!

The trick to making the celebrations happy rather than snappy is to recognize that even if the tensions are running high, you have a CHOICE as to how you will respond.  You can yell, complain, and bark orders at the family, hoping for compliance, or you can be calm, speak gently, and convey warmth to your loved ones.  No matter how you FEEL, you can choose how you will respond, and when you speak and act in loving and measured tones, you may just find that you feel better AND get a better response from others...a win-win!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

5 Simple Steps to Change

Do you ever feel like there are so many things that you are trying to accomplish in life that it cannot possibly all be done?  You are not alone.  For years, people spin their wheels trying to accomplish multiple goals and to make multiple changes.  For example, we want to be thinner, richer, more spiritual, a better parent, a better spouse, but time passes, and the next thing you know, the more things change, the more they stay the same, right?

If this is you, don't lose heart!

The key to true change is found in the following five simple steps:

  • Give it to the Lord-  Trying to do it all in your own strength is tiring!

  • Decide on the Smallest Change that You Can Make That Will Make the Most Impact-
For instance, if you want to lose weight and be more financially stable, perhaps the biggest impact can come from the simple change of stopping eating out, or the simple change of learning to do meal planning, or the simple change of learning to cook some frugal and healthy meals at home.  Whatever you decide, remember KISS--Keep It Simple Special-One.

  • Decide on a Specific Goal, and Write It Down.-  Do you want to end up with $500.00 in savings by the end of the year?  Do you want to lose ten pounds by Thanksgiving?   Decide on when you will check to see if you made your goal.  Then, write it down.  Goals are more likely to be met when they are in writing; it focuses your attention and reinforces your focus.

  •  Do the Next Right Thing- We are each human, so it is likely that there will be glitches along the way to your goal.  Re-evaluate, tweak your plan if needed, but do not give up.  Simply do the next right thing, and make the next right choice.

  • Keep Moving Forward- As you attain your first goal, keep up your momentum.  Celebrate your success, and decide on where you would like to go from there.  It is not impossible to make big changes with simple and easy steps.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


Have you ever felt that you are so right and your spouse is just SO wrong...only to find out later that your spouse actually was right and you were wrong?  I have.  It's an experience that few of us probably enjoy.  Fortunately, there is grace. 

Grace covers our mistakes.  Grace covers our flaws.  When we goof, we should be grateful for grace.
Yet, we can do well to extend grace to others.  Grace to our spouse and kids.  Grace to our co-workers.  Grace to our neighbors.

They just may be grateful, too.  And, it frees us from accidentally putting our own pride on display.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Overwhelmed Woman

The Overwhelmed Woman. Yes, that's me. It makes me want to pull the covers over my head and go back to bed... Eat whatever isn't bolted down in the fridge... Join a seminary so that I can just drown myself in God's words and never have to live in the often fallen and broken world in which stresses live.
  •   I'll bet you might be the overwhelmed woman, too, especially if you are a wife, mom, student, employee, business-owner, home-maker, homeschooler, care-giver, volunteer, or any or all of these rolled into one. It seems that in America, we somewhere got the impression that being busy and seemingly "together" represents the appropriate status for which a woman should strive....always having each of the kids in 7.2 activities concurrently with laundry washed, folded, and in the right dresser drawers, a healthy, organic meal that is the perfect balance of low-fat carbs, high-quality protein, and a rainbow of fruit and veggie colors, a sexually satisfied and high-earning husband, a cute new haircut, and daily 40 minute workouts that combine the right amount of cardio, strength-training, and flexibility-work on top of gasoline in the car, paid-bills, and finding our cell phone and keys.
  • As a Christian, a master's level counselor, a trained life-coach, I often help others to manage their stressors, and I try to use techniques in my own life to make things go smoother, but don't think for a minute that I or any other person out there has it all together. We are all just trying to do our best to keep our heads above water while also striving to gain a high quality-of-life in which we can best enjoy our loved ones, achieve our life's purposes, and be as happy as possible.
  • These are good things, but we are only human. Happiness and perfection are not the end-all be-all purposes of life. Giving God your life through accepting the love and salvation of Jesus is. If you are carrying the weights of the world on your shoulders today, remember that Jesus accepts you just as you are. He will be your strength; turn to Him and rest in Him. Lay your burdens at His feet, and trust that He is enough; you are enough, even when you burn dinner, finish off the ice cream, get the kids to the bus too late, and lock yourself out of the house. ;)

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

10 Do's and Don'ts for Conflict

  • Do listen for the feeling your spouse is trying to communicate rather than just the words he/she is using.
  • Do reflect back to your spouse what you are hearing: "I am hearing you say that you feel hurt and criticized when I ..."
  • Do accept responsibility for your contributions to your spouse's pain.
  • Do change and repent; seek the Lord for strength.
  • Do build your spouse up with your words and actions.
  • Don't blame your spouse.  Speak from your feelings rather than from accusations.  Say, "When you _____, I feel ______, would you please ______?" rather than yelling something like, "You always mess up my plans by __________!"
  • Don't use "always" and "never."  They are always never a good idea for constructive discussion.
  • Don't raise your voice.  The bible says that a gentle answer turns away wrath :)
  • Don't hold a grudge. (and don't throw a resolved issue back at your spouse later)
  • Don't forget to forgive, followed by lots of hugging, kissing, and making-up!
  • Tuesday, July 16, 2013

    Good Husband or Bad Husband

    Husbands, do you embody more of the "Good Husband" or "Bad Husband" traits below?  If you don't like the balance, make a change!

    Characteristics of a Good Husband

    Listens to his wife's words and to her heart

    Puts her needs and desires above his own

    In an argument, seeks resolution and reconnection

    Prays for, and with, his wife and family

    Builds his wife up, both in person and to others

    Knows when to "fix it", and when to just listen

    Saves his affections and sexual attention for his wife

    Characteristics of a Bad Husband

    Listens half-heartedly to his wife; would rather watch the game.

    Is concerned with what's he's "due" rather than what he can "do" for her

    In an argument, seeks victory and justification

    Prayer?  That's private.

    Criticizes his wife for everything; jokes about her with his buds

    Tries to fix things before listening, or tells his wife to "get over it"

    "I'm married, not dead."

    It can be easy to fall into some of the "bad husband" traps.  Be aware of what they are, and make a conscious effort to change.  Be a REAL man, and be the GOOD HUSBAND your wife needs you to be!

    Tuesday, July 9, 2013

    Are You a Good or a Bad Wife?

    Check out the lists below to find out if you embody mostly "Good Wife" characteristics or mostly "Bad Wife" characteristics. The cool thing is that you can change your behaviors any time, so stop doing the bad and start practicing good wifely traits :):

    Good Wifely Characteristics                        

    Uses Respectful Words and Attitudes                   

    Calmly discusses                                      

    Builds up/Praises her husband to others

    Sexually Willing

    Thinks more of her husbands needs than her own

    Accepts responsibility for her own failings     

     Remembers what her husband does right                               

    Bad Wifely Characteristics

    Uses Critical Words and Attitudes

    Yells and Rages

    Bad-mouths her husband to others                      

    Sexually Avoidant

    Thinks more of ways her husband is failing her

    Blames everything on her husband

    Reminds herself, her husband, and everyone else what her husband does wrong

    Which one will you be? A Good Wife? or A Bad Wife? You can choose today; be good to your man!