Tweaking … making fine adjustments

Why so Quiet …Shhhhhh, is anybody here?  Peeking around the corners hoping someone will noise the silence. It’s been very, very quiet around here lately.  Not much blogging going on.  This is definitely not due to the lack of thoughts floating around in my head wanting to be put on paper.  But, rather because having the time to write has been a bit patchy, to say the least.  This irregularity is primarily due to a life change – or better categorized, a season change.  As many of you know, I began a much needed sabbatical a few months back.  sabbiticalSabbatical – a period of time, when ministry leaders set aside normal responsibilities for the purpose of rest and renewal.  An all-inclusive release from the routine the ministry requires: physical, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual. 

While on sabbatical (my own personal “TimeOut”) I had every intent to write more.  I was looking forward to all the things we were going to talk about.  I pulled out my scratch pad and was excited as I skimmed through the “TO” discussion list.  Picking and choosing topics the ladies had mentioned in earlier gatherings; they felt needed to be addressed….I was stoked.  Clearly, things did not work out the way I planned.  Yet, time away gave me the chance to shift through my life list of things that are good, verses things that are best.

Taking a“TO” was my chance to think about how I was doing life and if there were any parts of it that needed a little tweaking.

 I found there was much tweaking that needed to be done.

In 2009 my dad was diagnosed with dementia.  caregiverAlthough there had been signs of cognitive change, it was not until 2010, I – was given the gift – of being my dad’s primary care giver.  The idea of being a care giver sounded a little modestly doting at first thought.  After all, my younger years were spent adoring my dad and believing I was his favorite girl.  Today, dad and I spend the majority of our time in conditional care (all of dad’s care is in response to a condition), and we are currently transitioning into a phase I am yet able to label.  Now I know, that being a caregiver is more gallantly heroic than I could have ever expected.  (care giving perspective-tweaked)

With the most recent life changes in a clearer focus, taking a time out with “TimeOut” in 2017 will also look a little different than it had in the past.

logo new font 2Going forward, the “TO” wives only gatherings will focus on a marriage study, lesson, book, audio or video message.  The lesson source will be sent in advance, and the gathering will only be held at the conclusion of and in response to a particular lesson topic.  (“TO”-tweaked)

Also, “TO” hope to incorporate one evening that will include the husband of every woman who attends the wives only gatherings; understanding that no one can do married alone. 

The overall goal is to not only scratch the surface of marriage, but go deeper into the mystery of obtaining a healthy, thriving, God honoring relationship.  (marriages-tweaked)Ring5

Thought to Ponder

Take a time out and read Ephesians 5:22-33. Then tell me, is there any tweaking that needs to be done in your marriage? in your life? in your perspective?

 

 

Firm Decision to Do Something

I’ve never been a big celebrator of the New Year.  Not in the traditional sense anyway. The party before midnight was never one that held my attention.  Forcing myself to stay alert, pleasantly socializing without yawning and trying my best not to turn into “Grumpy” was typically my main party focus.  Yet, without delay, by ten o’clock p.m., I would begin to hear the words of the illusionists whispering in my ear, “You’re getting sleeeeeepy”.  All- nighters have never been my strong suite.  But no matter how the year ends, the very next morning is the beginning of anew.  Resolution resolve…..

When I originally began “TimeOut” I can honestly say my focus was not centered on how I could be of help.  Every month I would attend the gatherings with my two closest friends, hoping that by some stretch of the imagination, me getting time away would invigorate me to become more of what God was looking for in a woman, a helper, a wife.  I was sure having time away from the mundane would help me keep myself on track, regroup when necessary, and regain focus if needed.  We have all heard it said time and time again, that every couple needs time apart, right?  Believing that taking a life pause is a welcomed additive to any routine, a short breather is just what every couple needs in order for there to be a healthy balance.  This concept is true in theory.  But, what I soon discovered was; getting time away is nice.  But, by no means does getting away to relax on the beach help me to become a better swimmer.  To become a better swimmer, I need to use my time at the beach, building the skills it would take to enhance my swimming.

Group Swim

Just the same, if I am to become a true woman after God’s own heart, a committed companion to my king who pursued me, a sweet help to the man who holds the responsibility to lead, a wife who “does her husband good and not evil all the days of her life” < Proverbs 31:12>,   I will need to use my time away from my husband as a refresher in building the skills that will enhance my marriage.

Thought to Ponder

As we begin this year with intentional time away, let us firmly embrace the resolution to discover and live out God’s plan for us as Wife.

Next Wives Gathering – January 29, 2016. See you there!! ~ CharMaine

 

RUN – BOLT – ESCAPE!

In 2002 news headlines across the U.S. read “Mercedes Madness: Woman Repeatedly Runs over Cheating Husband with her Car”.  I can only imagine the comments of wives who experienced similar scandal by their own husbands.  Some declared the act understandably despicable, while others stated it was totally ‘out of mind’. There was a limited measure of sorrow for the husband; yet, many were logically sympathetic to the matters that would cause a wife to do such a thing.  After 11 years of a presumed blissful marriage, this wife found herself standing in front of a jury recounting every step that lead her to that dreadful place of hysteria on that particular morning.  The outcome of that day’s events were appalling.  Even sadder, was that this wife’s few moments of “insanity” – that destroyed every possibility of resolve – was experienced with her teenage step-daughter in the front seat of her car.

In short: Adultery is dangerous!

 Danger

King Solomon wrote strongly about adultery in Proverbs chapter 5. The King’s words warn against marital infidelity and boldly tell the reader, “If you want to preserve discretion, heed these words…

The lips of an immoral woman drip honey and her mouth is smoother than oil; But, in the end …… “

It is with compassionate persuasion Paul instructs us to flee – bolt, runaway, escape – lusts. (2 Tim 2:22) But, we all are tempted when we are drawn away by our own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. (James 1:14-15) 

It is no small number of those who have been fooled to believe their marital circumstances warrant marital disloyalty. I speak with women often whose lists have been made, all-encompassing of the inadequacies of their husband, in their self-permission to justify their betrayal. Little do they know – or care- that their “involvement with such sin dishonors and consumes all who fall into it”.

“The Bible teaches that temptation in general is avoidable, but some temptations should be avoided at all cost.” ~ Nelson Study Bible NKJV

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Have you dealt with adultery in your own marriage? What are your thoughts on adultery and its dangers? From one wife to another; what words of wisdom would you share with the wife who has chosen an extramarital relationship?

Intimate Issues

Who would have known, chapter eight of Enhancing Your Marriage would ignite such pertinent offline conversation?    I did……..   Well, at least, I was hoping and praying it would.  I was praying this chapter resonated with our inner most parts. That the truth of it all would engage our hearts to wonder even the more. Wonder about what you ask? Wonder about how it all connects. Wonder how the spiritual and the physical were completely designed by God. Wonder and be amazed by the truth of the Lord being interested in every – yes, every – part of our life.  Wonder about how the intimate part of our relationship with our husbands carries such a weight with our intrinsic desire to be loved and with our husbands’ inherent design to be respected. Wonder where the land mines are waiting and how a wife must be very careful where she treads. Wonder how our past can be a major roadblock to our present responses.  And, wonder how the grip of intimacy has taken on such a casual position in so many books, movies, commercials and marriages: when the Lord deems intimacy as the Ultimate Wedding Gift.

I so enjoyed our talks.  I am glad so many of you could hear the message jumping from the pages of this chapter.  God is still a healer of our intimate issues.

“Healthy intimate response is learned as God’s truth seeps in to the soul and takes root” ~ Judy Rossi

Deliberate Choice

We sat in the dark theatre unable to clearly see even the seats directly in front of us. The movie screen was as high as the ceiling and the surround sound helped me immerse in the happenings of the moment.  I sat giving the movie my undivided attention. I watched with intensity and bated breath. Before long, I felt as if I knew each character personally and somehow had become a part of their lives.  I found myself sharing in their experiences, wishing the best for them and hoping they would overcome whatever tragedy, misfortune or heartbreak they would encounter.

One of my most favorite movies is The Notebook, an achingly tender love story centered on an older man who regularly visits an older woman in an elderly nursing facility. During these regular visits, the man reads to the woman – real life accounts – from an old faded notebook. The story he reads spans over decades of loyalty and devotion.  It is not known immediately, but eventually, the story identifies the older man as the husband of the older woman to whom he spends his days reading pieces of their life together from this old journal notebook. The husband hopes that sooner or later the wife will remember – and recognize that he is still there – to love her as he always had.notebook

Every time I watch The Notebook I fall in love with the love Noah has for Allie.

Our longing to be loved or to love stretches far beyond a two-hour movie. Love has inspired some of the best big screens, songs, poems and books. It has broken hearts, set emotions raging, and been the blame of countless – good and not so good – decisions. But, it is the love found in 1Corinthians 13 that, so often, I find my struggle. It is within these passages that God gives Paul to describe “a love that is based on the deliberate choice of the one who loves rather than the worthiness of the one who is loved”. It is here, in verse 7, “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” that I find goes against all natural human dispositions. Not to mention – being totally unreachable.

Then, I grasp there is a spiritual component to this type of love that makes it attainable. It is not I who live, but it is Christ that lives in (and through) me. That it is in Him I move and live and have my being . That this life I live, I live by faith , in the One who gave the real life picture of a real life love. For it was Christ who demonstrated a love based on deliberate choice. I – in all my own rightness – was totally unworthy of even His smallest jester of kindness towards me.

Thought to Ponder:

As long as you and I, imperfect women, are married to imperfect men, there will be a moment, a day, a time, or maybe even a season, when our husbands are not considered by us as worthy. “But this love described by Paul in this “love chapter” means determining what is best for the other person and then doing it. This is the kind of love God shows to us”.  A deliberate choice.

En-hahns

Enhance [en-hans, -hahns] to raise to a higher degree; intensify; magnify: To increase or improve in value, quality, desirability, or attractiveness.

We cased the store looking in every show case for sparkly splendor. There were all shapes: round, princess, oval and emerald. And there were all sizes: 0.1, 0.5, 1, 2, 5 and 10. We oooo’ed and aawww’ed over each and every piece while totally ignoring their prices. There was no question of their value and their attractiveness was evident. We both began pointing through the glass to make our selection. As soon as the metal was wrapped around our finger we stretched our arms forward, left hand paralleled to our faces, with our fingers stretched apart. We were impressed by the flicker. Simply beautiful!

Ring5

Little did we know, each piece was intentionally treated to be admired to the fullest. The goal of the manufacturer is to place such caring attention to every detail that upon display the diamonds would be an eyeful. Diamond enhancements are specific treatments designed to improve the visual characteristics of the diamond while clarity enhancements determine a diamonds value. The overall objective is to remove any dark inclusions, and fill fractures to make small internal cracks less visible. There by, raising the diamond to a higher degree; increasing its value, quality, desirability and attractiveness.

On September 1st, TimeOut will facilitate a virtual (online) marriage study. This study will challenge you to follow God in your marriage, address your unique role as a wife and encourage you to expand your relationship with your husband – all without ever leaving your living room!

 Enhancing Your Marriage: A Woman’s Bible Study  material by Judy Rossi 

  • This comprehensive study consists of 12 Lessons. Each lesson will be covered for a month. For example: September – Lesson One / October – Lesson Two
  • Study books are needed and can be purchased online CLICK HERE or at any local bookstore.
  • All discussions, questions, and feedback will be posted /communicated through the TimeOut website on the “Marriage Study” page. There will be no chat rooms.
  • Each participant is required to contribute / comment to each lesson at least once a month.
  • Personal email addresses will be used by the facilitator only. Emails will be used to convey offline information. Participants may also contact the facilitator by email for offline – non group – concerns.
  • For anonymity, each participant will provide the facilitator with a fictitious name. This name will be the participants’ public user name, to be used by the participant for all public post on the “Marriage Study” page
  • Registration has begun. CLICK HERE to register today!

I believe, when we know and live God’s plan for marriage, our marriages excel, the world sees God, and God is honored. I pray that you will join me in this heart challenging study.

Helping each other. Enhancing our marriages. Refining our roles.

Register today! This online study begins September 1st.

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Think about such things …

Philippians 4:8

  • whatever is true – about God and found in His Word
  • whatever is honorable – worthy of reverence
  • whatever is right – righteous and in accordance with God’s standard
  • whatever is pure – that which will not soil our souls
  • whatever is lovely – loving, kind and gracious
  • whatever is admirable – of good report; respectable
  • if there is any excellence – find it
  • if there is anything worthy of praise – appreciate it

Think about such things; let your mind dwell on these things; weigh and take account of these things – fix your minds on them.  ~ Paraphrased by Judy Rossi “Enhancing Your Marriage”

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Next “TO” Gathering is Friday – November 22nd

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