Drifting

Close your eyes…. Imagine yourself quietly floating beach side; comfortably lying on a Serta Perfect inflatable raft. The sun lightly covering your body like the ideal blanket while the ocean waves calmly splash with just enough force to relax your thoughts. All you can think is how you have never been so at peace; so hassle-free. In your mind, life is good. Just as you begin to doze off, you hear an unrecognizable thump that rocks you into consciousness. With a squint on your face, you try to focus on the tan streak at a distance. Suddenly you realize, that textured looking tan streak is the beach shore. Without notice, you’ve drifted …

The date night was going just as Dave had planned. He and Ann were celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary and Dave was the single mastermind behind the anticipated romantic evening. With detailed intention, Dave planned to have a single rose delivered to their table ten times throughout the date. Each rose representing the beauty of each year since their wedding day. With a prepared talk to accompany each rose, Dave was well on his way to wooing his bride just as he did in their earlier years. Dave felt proud in his actions. By the end of dinner, Ann found herself emotionally tossed. Before arriving home that night, Ann tells Dave, “This relationship isn’t working, I’m not in love with you anymore.”

He said,

“I thought I was doing great as a husband… I would have said to you that on a scale of 1 to 10, my marriage is probably a 10. If not a 10, it’s a 9.8, and I guarantee you my wife would agree.”

She said,

“And I would have said we’re a 1.0, maybe like a 0.5, and I think he was totally clueless… which made me even more angry, because I’m thinking, how do you not know how bad we’re doing?”

Without notice; Dave and Ann had drifted………

Just like quietly floating beachside, couples have easily dozed off in their marriages; believing things are peaceful, only to find them-selves later squinting to see a relationship that was once clearly visible. Generally, there are no loud thumps to let you know you are moving in the wrong direction. There is no traffic sign to tell you to make a U-Turn. Nor will you receive a yellow slip in the mail letting you know that soon; the marriage will be “turned off”.

Thought to ponder

Drifting is usually subtle.
It brings with it a calm illusion that everything is fine; a delusional misconception of peace, tranquility and freedom…. all while cuddling you closer and closer to isolation; …. Which eventually destroys your relationship.

Is your marriage …. drifting?

The Wrong Person…

“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 married 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 person?

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Lessons Learned

Hello Ladies!! What a great way to get back to having a TimeOut!

Spending time away from the race of it all has surely given me a chance to reflect on a few things.  I am always amazed by the things life teaches.  For me, it is usually the important little things in my relationship with my husband that gets put on the “taken for granted” list when my every day begins to unravel.  I can easily hustle and bustle through my 101 to do’s, all while overlooking the tiny details that make our marriage work well.

Often, lessons come as something someone tried to tell us, loosely share with us, or even warn us about.  There may have been a book written on it, a documentary advising of it, or even a reality show exploiting it. There could be a seminar, a how to class, a blog post <pun intended> or a study session.  But ironically, it seems we find more value in experiencing life’s lessons on our own, rather than making applicable notes of the bloops & blunders of others.

I once read a quote, “A smart woman makes a mistake, learns from it, and never makes that mistake again.  But a wise woman finds a smart woman and learns from her how to avoid the mistake altogether”.

Time and time again, right when you least expect it, out of nowhere comes a teachable moment.  So, <again>I am sharing  a few things God has taught me about marriage and my husband.

  • I am a powerful, beautiful gift of influence in the life of my husband. I am to commit to using it to do him good.
  • Often, I bask in the lengthy extensions of grace God shows me in my missteps and imperfections; God wants me to extend that same measure of grace toward my husband.
  • The more thankful I become of the things my husband does well— the less resentful I am of the things he does not.
  • My husband is totally incapable of telepathy! If I don’t tell him what I need or want, he will not know.
  • God created a hierarchy in marriage. I am the Queen.
  • The man who said “I do” to me at the altar, is not necessarily the same man I’m married to today. I should allow him room to grow and change.
  • Obsessing over my husband’s weaknesses will not make them go away.
  • My husband’s past hurts will inevitably show up in his present responses. I am to do my best to recognize them and be tender toward him.
  • The more I respect and affirm my husband, the more vulnerable he is to change.
  • Respecting my husband comes with the position of “Husband”. God did not provide any additional qualifiers. ~ Ephesians 5:33
  • The sooner I die to all the unrealistic expectations of marriage and of my husband, the sooner my husband is able to be free of trying to live up to them.
  • Placing blame does not change the consequence of the matter. <Genesis 3>
  • My husband is not responsible to be my ‘everything’. That is why God has given me great girlfriends who have no problem spending an entire Saturday at garage sales.
  • Even though God has created me to ‘help’ my husband, that does not mean he will always want or accept my help.
  • The more I focus on the woman God wants me to be and the wife my husband needs, the flaws of my husband become less and less imperative.

Oh’ …and one more thing…..

There was never any real need for me to sarcastically tell my husband, “I am not your mother!” …….. He was fully aware of that fact when he married me.

Thought to Ponder

Whenever I get a chance to talk with women, be it at a speaking engagement or during our TimeOut time at the local coffee shop; my message is always to promote a work toward cultivating a tender marriage that starts in the heart and mind of The Wife.  No matter the length of your marriage, it is without doubt that God has also taught you a marriage life lesson.

Take a minute to think of one. Then share it with us.  Your lesson may just be what another wife needs to hear.

Love sharing with you,
~ CharMaine

 

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?

 

 

Prioritizing

I work in an environment that prides itself on self-management, growth and development.  There seems to be a never ending supply of courses, classes, events, seminars and webinars.  All aimed to help every associate move forward in productivity and progress.  A few months back, I attended a Leadership Management seminar.  The objective of the seminar was to aid leaders on how to manage their time, their people, and their projects.

priorities3While attending the seminar, we were given a few principles to apply to our work life that could support us as we manage the countless tasks associated with our positions.  Oddly enough, weeks ago, I began a principle based women’s study on Sabbath rest that enforced some of the very same concepts visited during the seminar.  With the help of both, the seminar and the theological concepts God provided through the release of the Israelites from Egypt <Exodus 1>, I am learning to better work through what is most important to do, and elect to do those things.

 Thought to Ponder: Prioritizing can increase Sabbath time.

The majority of us have a two bucket view.  We have the things we believe to be needs/necessity, then we have the things we perceive to be wants.  Since I have deemed everything I do to be important, and I usually feel that everything really does need to be done, I have now put all my “To Do’s” in one bucket.  Actually,… all our “To Do’s” come with a certain amount of value.  At any moment, every item on our list can fall into the need category, depending on the day or the time.   

With that said, this is what I did to tackle the task of prioritizing my own Life “To Do” list.  But first, you must create a “To Do” bucket.  123

Now, spend some time determining how important each “To Do” is to you.  If you are like me and believe all your items are important, this process may take a while.  * High Items = urgent, required, critical. * Medium Items = required eventually; but can wait till later.  *Low Items = would be nice to have.

After determining the importance of your items, then prayerfully decide which ranking best fit each task. 

*Essential – This item is currently not adequate and must be changed immediately.  

*Conditional – This item can be changed or improved.  However, it does not qualify as inadequate if it is left as is.  

*Optional – This item may or may not be worth the time or the effort.

Even though I am not at all fond of 1-2-3 step answers, I pray this model give you a more clear view of your ever growing “To Do” list.  But remember, even as you work out the details …

 “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.”  <Proverbs 16:9>

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Who will do it?

“We have so much to tend to, don’t we?  Children and spouses and projects and endeavors fill our hours and our brain space.  Somebody has to do them.  Somebody has to fill in the gap of effort required to get from the beginning to the end.  Most of the time, we assume that the individual responsible for it all should be us.  It has to be us.  Who else is going to do it?”  ~ P.S

 Thought to Ponder

Everything does not have to be done and you do not have to do everything.

Obey ……….God will take care of the rest.

Sabbath Resting

I do not recall ever hearing much complaint.  It was not unusual.  This was simply how things were.  Everyone unwittingly adapted to what was the norm.  We were all accustomed to the force of the still quiet.  Had there been any chaos in the days preceding, it too would soon be forced to comply.  The early morning sunrise seemed to have an invisible bell that quietly rang through the air without being seen.  There was no real indicator it was there, but somehow we were all certain that it was.  It was indescribable; a strange conflicting clash between humdrum and happy.

Everyone knew, if there was anything deemed necessary, it would have had to be pre-planned.  If anything was needing to be bought, brought, cooked, ordered, delivered, fixed, repaired, towed or included – it would  have to be done in advance or not at all.

 Because on Sunday, rest was the unspoken requirement; the day all were forced (or expected) to be still.

There would be families gathered together for dinner, communion and community.  There were Believers assembled together to commemorate the resurrection of Christ.  There were planned outings with one another, purely to build relationships and closeness.

There was time for worship.

Today, Sunday’s are inconspicuously stapled to the rest of the days of the week.  It is no longer its own special day, with its own special place.  Sunday’s have conformed.  There is no longer a distinct difference when compared.  For many, it has become a catch-all.  Any undertaking that was unable to be pressed into the prior six days can now be scheduled on the seventh.

In Exodus, the Lord commanded the Israelites against this very concept.  “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.  You are to labor six days and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath to the Lord your God.  You must not do any work …..”

To not do any work is an idea many of us cannot comprehend.  Often, we find it difficult to give up our own agendas, our scheduled programs or our plans.

Like the Israelites, when they were enslaved, we too have been groomed to do all you can; to labor without ceasing.  That to stop and rest gives a notion of being lazy or slothful.  That to be idle is unproductive and a waste of valuable “to do” time.  That there is always something to do and you must always be doing something.

For those of us who are in Christ, we are not required to keep the ceremonial law of the Sabbath Day. <Hebrews 8, Galatians 4:10, Colossians 2:16>.  Yet, the principal the Lord provides through the Sabbath is a very practical model to the benefit of us all.  The need to stop and rest was crucial for them then and advantageous for us now.

Thought to Ponder:

If we are ever to profit from the principles provided through the Sabbath, we must first intentionally add Sabbath Rest – Sabbath Margin – Sabbath Time to our days.  “Remember, you were a slave in the land of Egypt, but the Lord your God brought you out ….” <Deut. 5:12-15>

You are now free ….to take some time to rest…. in your acknowledgement of Him.