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?

 

 

One to Another

The planning was over, every seat was accounted for and the event was a success.  white dressSixteen ladies, all dressed in white, gave their time – talent and – treasures without hesitation.  Totally willing to graciously share in the idea that healthy marriages and positive relationships are worth the extra effort they so desperately require.

These ladies know, firsthand, that being created as a valuable addition to the many relationships you will encounter in your lifetime is no slow stroll in the park.  On the contrary, if you are not attentive and intentional you could very well find yourself, years from now, still slow strolling; not adding any value to anyone.  But yet, here they were, God-enlisted “encouragers of doing good”; each one of them holding true to the focus point of the event: “One to Another”.

One to another was our focus, but “Why Do We Give?” was the apparent question.  Actually, underneath the obvious was the hidden thought of, “Why do we give …..  so much?”  Why is it that we do what we do?  Why do we give the time we claim we never have enough of, though it can always be found when the voice on the line sounds exasperated, unsure and in need of hope.  When she is in need of an ear, we listen.  When she needs our opinion, we lovingly share what would be best – opposed to what may feel best.  Why do we give that talent we are adamant about not yet mastering.  GIve backThat one thing we know we may not be the best at doing, somehow seems possible when the outcome is for the greater good.  That inexact ability ultimately loses its fear-provoking grip when there is a gap to be filled and she subtly ask for your help.  And why do we give, when all else fails; without overthinking its tangible value, what it will take to be replaced, how long it took to accumulate or if it will ever be given back – a portion of our treasure.  It all comes without question: if she needs it, it is hers for the taking.

Neither our time, talent, nor our treasures have preset limits when our hearts aim to encourage, build-up and support.

Thought to Ponder:  Each one of us has an active role in helping another woman reach her goal of being more than she could otherwise be when left at her own devices.  We were not intended to jog, walk or run the life race alone.  It is through the blessed gift of humility that one is inclined to ask for help when it is needed.  It is also through the blessed gift of humility that one is inclined to give help when it is needed.  In His abundant love for us, God did not leave us wondering about the part we play in the lives of those around us.Hammer-and-nails

  • “…Instruct one another.” (Romans 15:14)
  • “Teach…[one another]” (Colossians 3:16)
  • “…Admonish one another (Colossians 3:16)
  • “…Encourage each other…”(I Thessalonians 4:18)
  • “…Build each other up…” (I Thessalonians 5:11)
  • “…Spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” (Hebrews 10:24)

With the aid of others, you and I are more capable of accomplishing all that God has intended. So why do we give? … Because we are better together.

With you – I am better than I otherwise would be.

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Married the wrong person….

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“I have no way of knowing whether or not (you) married the wrong person, but I do know that many people have a lot of wrong ideas about marriage and what it takes to make that marriage happy and successful. I’ll be the first to admit that it is possible that you did marry the wrong person. However, if you treat the wrong person like the right person, you could well end up having married the right person after all. On the other hand, if you marry the right person, and treat that person wrong, you certainly will have ended up marrying the wrong person. I also know that it is far more important to be the right kind of person than it is to marry the right person. In short, whether you married the right or wrong person is primarily up to you.” ~ Zig Ziglar, Courtship After Marriage

Thought to ponder

Did your husband marry the right woman? Or the right kind of woman?

Would your husband agree with your answer?

Let’s talk soon,

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Ministry Misconstrued

The weather had finally changed.  It was now cool enough outside to justify having a tall Pumpkin Spice mocha with whipped cream and cinnamon sprinkles – extra hot.  Each lady entered the coffee shop, placed her order, and then eagerly took a seat.  Cups in hand, greetings and hugs, we all gathered in our usual circle.  But this time, we were without our usual agenda.  Tonight, there would be no diagram at all.  No forethought, no preparation, no planning, just impromptu discussion.  This is our Table Talk.  Anything put on the ‘table’ is open to be talked about.

men shoes

After hearing all the challenges each wife had with the prior months Wives Challenge, we quickly learned that the idea of “ministry” has been slightly misconstrued and somewhat commercialized. For years, ministry has been advertised with slogans, building signs, billboards, websites, and events. There is an excess of posters on the side of buses, stickers on cars, and t-shirts with catchy sayings. We recognize ministry when there are water wells to be dug, shoe boxes to be filled or can goods to be collected. Ministry typically looks familiar when feeding the homeless, visiting the hospital, or helping orphans in a poverty-stricken country. Expectantly, ministry is most easily detected within the church – when teaching a class, singing in the choir, leading praise or preaching from the pulpit.

Sadly, ministry has been tagged with its own invisible measures. The word ministry derived from the word minister. And although ministry has been synonymous with prestige and pious customs, it can – just as easily – be ignored when in its humblest form. Minister is defined as: (a) to give service, care, or aid; attend, as to wants or necessities: (b) to contribute, as to comfort or happiness. Simply put, ministry is from a Greek word meaning ‘to serve’.

 As shared during Table Talk; with lightheartedness and sure conviction, we can all smile inwardly as we grasp our many areas of wife “ministry’.

  • The Shoe Ministry – occurs every time you stumble over your husbands shoes in the middle of the floor and you pick them up to place them back into the closet.
  • The Cooking Ministry – when he (and the kids) is hungry, yet all the food in the freezer is frozen.
  • The Toothpaste Ministry – as you wipe the blobs of paste out of the sink and search the counter for the cap.Toothpaste
  • The Administrator Ministry – when he calls and ask you to do that one thing he could have done before he left the house.
  • The Pantry & Drawer Door Ministry – that you close (again) from the last time your husband retrieved something from it.
  • The Paper Stack Ministry – that you sort and place in the file folders after removing the ten piles your husband left on the dining room table.
  • The Bath Towel Ministry – which you pick-up off the floor as you make your way to the vanity.
  • The Planner Ministry – when you carefully add the month’s events to the family wall calendar and your husband calls you to ask what is the plan is for the day.
  • The Sub Ministry – when your husband was sure he could do it, now you need to do it for him.
  • The Shopping Ministry – when you have to make a special trip to the store for fruit, ‘cause your husband bought two boxes of banana flavored Twinkies.

Thought to ponder:

As a wife, we have been given our own special ministry, with our own special audience. Embrace it.  “Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.”

< Colossians 4:17>

 

 

H.O.T.

She stood before the congregation as the minority, with her blond hair, brown eyes and pale skin.  She was the daughter of a Pastor, mom of three, married to an Italian man whose cultural history was different than her own. Her message was titled Serving without Sinking, but as she shared tidbits of her own story, I could hear commonalities.  She compassionately stated how embarrassed she was of her history and how the blatant unrest in our nation stirred-up very meaningful conversation between her, her family, friends and colleagues.  During these newly addressed conversations, she realized – we (people in general) often only give out as much information as we believe necessary. That is when I found myself reflecting. It was not long after, that I also found myself in agreement. It is true; we seldom go beyond the surface in our sharing.  We are very careful of only letting people know what we desire them to know. We usually – more often than not- give just enough. We rarely give our listener the true depth of who we are, the details of how we became the person we have become, or the density of what we believe.

Sadly, no one is exempt of this type of half-handed disclosure. We cover all our relationships with the same carefulness. We delegate according to what is the most safe and self-preserving. We shuffle out specifics with ourselves in mind. Sharing what we deem glorious, yet, holding on to our deepest disappointments, far-flung failures, and despairing downpours. Our walls of protection are usually far above our heads; limiting our view of others, as well as, limiting others view of us.

One of the things I like most about the Bible is that it is unedited.  God did us a great justice by allowing us to know the heart stones of many we would consider as heroes. We get to see David in every hue possible. God shares with us David’s bad choices and bad behaviors, as well as, his rightful remorse and deep pleas for forgiveness. We are privy to David’s life: good and bad.  From the days of David’s youth, until his death; the life of David is HOT – Honest for critique, Open for assessment and Transparent to all willing to live and learn from it.

As I climb over the walls in my own life, I look out and I can see beyond the surface. I see cracks and crevices where meaningful conversations can and should be had. Conversations no longer sealed for dread of criticism or guarded for protection. No holding on for safety or fear of falling, and no fear of hitting bottom.

I wonder? …What better our relationships would be if they were all gently laid on the principles of HOT.HOT

 

“TimeOut”

Time is a recorder of events

Time is a collection of every moment

Time is only before us

Time is intended only for us

Time is not always well spent

Time is designed to do what is meant

Time is a beginning – Time is an end

Time is a foe – Time is a friend

Time is always a balancing oppressor

Time is without a forerunner or successor

Time is without an equal

Time is inevitably without a sequel

Time provides, Time to engage,

In life…In others…In mistakes that were made.

Time is a procurer of many things

But there is a component of life that Time cannot bring

Time moves forward and never back peddles

Yesterday, can never return, even when today is unsettled

Time is not an opportunity to redo or undo

Time is the AUTHOR of opportunities to make ALL things new

So, there are these moments in Time that we beg to rewind

For in that instance we were spiritually blind

Whether, ignorance, arrogance, or self-indulgence

Time provides for spiritual-adjustment

In our mind, In our heart, In the way we live

And because God knows – This is what His Time gives

“TimeOut”…

TimeOut to reflect

TimeOut to accept

TimeOut to be what others reject

TimeOut to hear

TimeOut to fear

TimeOut to be what others revere

TimeOut to repent

TimeOut to relent

TimeOut to be in moments well spent

TimeOut to labor

TimeOut to savor

TimeOut to be who my Husband Favors

In Word, In Deed

I will be what he needs

For Him, For Us

I will trust

For Family, For Friends

I will mend

For Strangers, For the Lost

I will toss

Evil, Hypocrisy,

Gossip, Foolishness,

Lying, Discord,

and the look of the Proud

I will learn how, in my

                                                                                                      “TimeOut”

 

Author: Karla Y. Sutton-McKinney

A “Back to the Beginning” original *Kansas, City, Missouri* 2015

 

Next TO Gathering “Words Are Not Enough” ….

It is no surprise to call a customer service line and talk with someone who speaks a language different than your own. What begins as a simple discrepancy of an unknown over charge, can easily turn into forty minutes of ‘going nowhere’.

After nineteen years of marriage, there have been countless conversations between my husband and I that definitely resembled a conversation with customer service. Me thinking we’re talking about the overcharge, while my husband is thinking we’re talking about getting a new device. Before you know it, we have spent forty minutes ‘going nowhere’. The whole idea of interchanging thoughts, opinions or information through speech has brought many marriages to therapy, counseling and/or ruins.

Poor communication has also brought many wives to tears, while walking away feeling totally misunderstood, mistaken and misheard.  (Okay, maybe not many wives – maybe just me.)

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place” ~ GBS

 During our next “TimeOut” gathering, we will talk more about Words Are Not Enough.

 We will discuss ……

  • Speaking Correctly – <Ephesians 4:15>
  • Careful Listening – <Proverbs 18:13>
  • Clear Understanding – <Proverbs 24:3>

 Our aim: For us (the wife) to begin to purposefully attune our ears to the words of our own mouth.

 See you Friday – June 26th!

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