Focus on the Good Stuff

Focus on the Good Stuff

Good Stuff – What’s that? 

Marriage and life itself is filled with both good and not-so-good. Where are you focusing? We talk a little bit about what to do when faced with the bad stuff…

In the video we speak of strengths, and focusing on strengths in each other. Do you know your own strengths? What about your spouse’s strengths? Do you share strengths – or are your strengths complementary?

What are your strengths?

A few years ago we all (Rob, me and our 3 adult children) completed the StrengthsFinder2.0. The book version provides your top 5 strengths (out of 34).

Robert and I share two of five strengths: strategy & connectedness. The three ladies in our family – our daughter, daughter-in-love and me – all have the strength of empathy in our top five…  and it goes on. When the 5 adult people in our family put our strengths into the 4 quadrants for a team, we are completely missing one quadrant. 😉  We joke that God will find our daugher a husband with strengths to fit into that last quadrant!  You can read more about our StrengthsFinder 2.0 experience in this post.

In the end, we are given what talents we have. God knows our challenges and what we need to face along life’s way. He will provide the perfect answers in the perfect timing.

In the meantime – let’s focus on the good. What’s good?

 Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy— think about such things.
Philippians 4:8

Download the printable below – and print it – to remind you to focus on the good stuff!

click on the image or HERE

the good stuff - Philippinas 4-8

Quick! What’s good right now in your marriage/life?

Lemon Cake – Celebrating the Good Stuff with the Sour

Lemon Cake – Celebrating the Good Stuff with the Sour

Lemon Cake – Good Stuff! In our 6th mid-marriage video we talk about the good stuff in marriage. Even when everything is going wrong (which happens to all of us) you still can take time to celebrate the good stuff.

Your spouse loves you. You love your spouse… that’s good, right? 

What about making a cake that your spouse will love?  (Robert loves lemon cake…)

And isn’t there a concept of making lemonade out of the lemons you’re given in life? Well, I say make CAKE – Lemon Cake!

March 29th is Lemon Chiffon Cake Day

An insurance salesman, Henry Baker, sold his famous recipe for Lemon Chiffon Cake to Betty Crocker in 1927. Here’s the original recipe:

But if you’re not a natural baker, then why not whip up the lemon cake mix, which still exists today! I’ve made this lemon cake many times for our family and then drizzled a mixture of lemon juice and icing sugar on the top. The icing drips down the sides of the cake and makes a sweet/sour combination that’s delicious. It’s a combination of sweet and sour – just like life.

So, even if not everything is good in your life right now – there are still things that can be celebrated. Hey! It’s Lemon Cake Day. Why not celebrate that!

Whatever is true, noble, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy – focus on those things. Lemon cake has to be in there somewhere, right? 😉

celebrating the good stuff amongst the sour - try lemon cake

Here’s our encouragement on focusing on the good – and what do about the bad stuff.

Not everything in your life together will be good. Sometimes you need to wait a bit to weed out the bad stuff, and in the meantime, focus on the good. Robert re-tells a story of how wheat was sown, and an enemy snuck in to sow weeds between the wheat. Do you know what the Master recommended?

Update: Rob enjoyed the cake! 😉

IMG_1046

3 Ways to be Sure Your Online Legacy is Appreciated

3 Ways to be Sure Your Online Legacy is Appreciated

An online legacy is tricky. Even if we don’t have a specific online website “home”, what we post on Facebook, Twitter, photos in Instagram and recipes or crafts on our boards in Pinterest, become our legacy.

These online social forums detail who we are by showing

  • our emotions and reactions
  • what we treasure
  • what we dislike
  • our view of the future and the past
  • our opinions about people and events

This thought isn’t new to you, I’m sure. I’m not trying to put fear, uncertainty or doubt into your minds. I’m just trying to prompt some awareness.

Why am I writing this post now? Well, a few days ago I had a shock. A heart-breaking awakening. And a special awareness is growing…

How will our children view our online legacy?

Amanda Kelly was a Christ follower, a mother and a wife who believed worship was a way of life. She wanted to inspire women to realize that worshipping God is more than corporate worship in church, but can be an everyday practice where God is in control, and gets the glory for every aspect of life.

How did she do that? She wrote. Online. She left an online legacy on her blog, and all the other places we all post items online: pinterest, instagram, facebook etc. Here’s an example of her view and tribute to her oldest daughter.

Her life wasn’t easy. It included both infertility and waiting quite a while to be a wife. I’m sure there were days where she didn’t want to get out of bed and other days where the commitments she’d made in ministry, in family, in the local church and elsewhere felt very heavy.

Where was she focusing?

In all her posts online, and on social media, Mandy honored her God, Jesus, her husband, family and her role as a mom – both as a step-parent, and adoptive mother. 

Why am I highlighting Amanda Kelly and online legacy?

On Tuesday morning, March 21, 2017, Mandy, her husband Scott and two of their four children died in a house fire.

Amada Kelly Worshipful Living online legacyThough she graciously accepted a guest post on procrastination from me last June, I never met Mandy.  I only know her online personality through her blog and social sites.

I’m sure she was a normal human like you and me – she had her good days and not-so-great days. Those days are documented on her Instagram feed and in facebook posts, just like mine and yours. However, her online legacy for her remaining children has great value.

You can read more about their tragic story here. 

Yes. This event is a tragedy. Those who know me realize I usually refer to bad life happenings as “not a tragedy“. This one is a devastating life happening for the children and extended family still on this earth. But Amanda Kelly leaves behind a beautiful online legacy for those children and family.

Her words and desires for her children’s future remain for all of us. It is a beautiful online legacy we can all appreciate.

Now, what about you? What about me? Consider all you’ve posted online in the last week…

3 Ways to Be Sure Your Online Legacy Will Be Appreciated

I’ve been pondering this online life we all are subject to – in greater or lesser ways. One of our church leaders recently wrote a note about our activity online as Christians and it has also impacted my thoughts. Only God knows how long our online world will exist and in what form. But for now… it does.

Here are the three points I’ve considered:

1 – We need to focus on what will please God – loving Him first.

To be sure our online legacy will be valued and appreciated, honor God. Give Him the glory. First. Please God, before we please humans. Matthew 22:37 Whatever is true, noble,right, pure,  lovely, admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy— we need to think about such things — and express those things. Philippians 4:8

Do your online posts reflect your desire to please God?

2 – Followers of Christ need to live and lead like Jesus.

We are striving to live and lead like Jesus, so we need to apply our energies – offline and online –  to being Christ-like. What does this mean? When we’re online, we must realize we are one in Christ – Galations 3:28 – Enough of this divisiveness – it’s not from God! And communicating with our heavenly Father, the Creator, must happen regularily. Jesus is our model. John 17 Leading life like Jesus will make sure our online legacy will be appreciated and valued.

How do you demonstrate online that you live and lead like Jesus?

3 –  Our view must be greater than ourselves.

How are you serving? How are you loving your fellow-human? Matthew 22:39  Self care is important, but so is loving others. It must go hand-in-hand. Your online legacy will be valued and appreciated if you love others as you love yourself.

Is your love for those around you evident in what you post online?

Of course, we’re all fallible humans, with uncountable flaws… we aren’t perfect. That’s a given.

BUT — we are forgiven. 🙂

What else would you add to these 3 things?

I’m sure there’s more to add.

How would you suggest our online presence leave a legacy which our children and grandchildren will value?

3 ways to be sure your online legacy will be appreciated and valued

Plan to be a Dream Team

Plan to be a Dream Team

Dream Team Planning and how to work your plan. That’s what the 5th mid-marriage encouragement video and this post is about!

Caution Flags

There are 2 statements which show up over-and-over again when we speak with couples in the middle of marriage: go from distant and bored to more - planning makes the dream team work

“Is this all there is?”   and  “We’ve grown apart.”

Sometimes those phrases are excuses. They become reasons why a couple won’t fight for their relationship. In other instances we hear those phrases when a couple truly doesn’t know where to go next in their relatioIs this all there is- Oh, we've grown apart...nship. They’re defaulting to chasing their own, singular goals.

Those two phrases raise the yellow caution flag for us. However.

Couples might find it easier to address those two statements than they believe.

They might be surprised at how simple it can be to grow closer together and feel re-energized by how much more there can be as a husband and wife leading a meaningful life!

What’s one idea to handle those two statements?

One idea to answer the question, “Is this all there is in my marriage?” and counter the feeling that you’re growing apart is to make a plan – together. Then work that plan. Yes. It can be that simple. (Simple… not easy. 😉  )

A plan.

  • It can be as small as finding an inspiring spot go on your next vacation, instead of the tried and true.
  • the plan might be to serve your fellow humans in a new way (at church, a non-profit, or in your own business.
  • a plan could come from a dream you both had as a young(er) couple… what have you forgotten that you once wanted to experience or do? Do some reminiscing and reflecting with THIS resource we’ve developed.

A Planning Driven Excursion for the Dream Team

In our 5th Mid-Marriage video we encouraged you to go off-site to plan. We did this twice in our life, and it has had a profound impact. Here’s a book we recommend to shape your planning driven excursion – “48-hour Relationship Retreat“. It’s currently free in digital form if you have a KindleUnlimited account. It’s written by a husband and wife team, and it’ll get you thinking and doing – with a healthy heaping of laughter.

Once you have your plan for the Dream Team… then what?

We developed these 5 steps as we went through making a plan for one of our adventures as a husband and wife…

1 – Decide.

You can’t work as a team without agreeing on a course or direction. You can use your shared Values as a signpost and rumble strips as you’re deciding. Learn more about your shared Values as a couple here.

2 – Develop.

Make your plan. Even if it’s on-the-fly, or last minute, be strategic and know the steps you need to take.  The more often you work as a team, the easier it’ll become.

3 – Divide.

Divide and conquer.  As the dream team you need to know your roles, know your strengths and take action toward the goal. Yes, working together is sometimes best, but teamwork is as much about working on one goal separately, and using your strengths toward the common purpose. Have you ever done a strengths assessment? Here’s a great tool/assessement – we’ve done this as a family (our adult children and us) and it’s very insightful.

4 – Dig.

Dig in and dig deep – be persistent.  Don’t let the first (or fifteenth) obstacle derail your efforts as the dream team! There will be roadblocks. The way might be slowed by dips or humps. You might need to take a detour. Don’t give up – DIG in. Be stubborn about your goal.

5 – Done.

Celebrate when you reach your goal! Every completed goal needs a bit of “hooray” – and what’s better than a bit of celebration with your spouse? 😉

Dream Team action of planning

The action of PLANNING together reminds the two of you you're a TEAM! PIN (1) (1)

Thankful to share with Holley Gerth and Messy Marriage and Tune In Thursdays 

While You’re Both Waiting – Love

While You’re Both Waiting – Love

While you’re waiting for that vision – that purpose in your life… while you’re building that meaningful life as husband and wife, do you have restraint?

Where there is no vision [no revelation of God and His word], the people are unrestrained;
But happy and blessed is he who keeps the law [of God].

Proverbs 29:19 Amplified Bible

proverbs 29-19

In our fourth mid-marriage video, we talked about vision, mission and values. All these could be seen as human endeavors, and almost useless unless God has revealed where He needs us to focus. 

Asking God to reveal…

Sometimes it takes years of prayer – asking, seeking and knocking – to understand why God has set the two of you together, and what He wants from you.

Have restraint as you wait… but…

What to do in the waiting?

I think the secret of what to do in the waiting for that Divine revelation (in whatever form it’s given) is found in the second part of this proverb:  “But happy and blessed is he who keeps the law [of God]”

Ah. Yes.

How well do we, as husband and wife, follow God’s laws?

Jesus has summed up His Father’s laws into this:

and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul (life), and with all your mind (thought, understanding), and with all your strength.’

This is the second: ‘You shall [unselfishly] love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Mark 12:30,31  Amplified

Mark 12-30 and 31 - amplifed

Restrain Yourself. Love God.

Do you demonstrate your love for God?

How? 

If your children or adult siblings, friends, co-workers, or parents were asked, “How does this couple demonstrate their love for God?” how would they respond?

Does your behavior as husband and wife bring glory to God? We’re not talking about grand gestures. Every day – how does your behavior as husband and wife glorify God?

and the second part:

Restrain Yourself. Unselfishly love your neighbor.

Do you begin this loving unselfishly — with your spouse?

Love 1Corinthians 13 - Etsy - Fancy Prints

print by FancyPrints in Etsy

Here’s our fourth Mid-Marriage Encouragement Video where we talk about using our time well…

While you'researching &waiting forvision...