Change Is Here, Ready Or Not

Change Is Here, Ready Or Not

CHANGE is here. Boy is it ever!

~JANET’S BLOG

Change, sometimes the unwelcome visitor, turns our world upside down and hurls us out of our comfort zone.

Change, even when it is invited, still shakes us up and causes stress.

Our family has been anticipating and is now going through significant changes. The greatest, most impactful change has been having our one and only child, a daughter, whom we were never supposed to have in the first place, move out of our house and into her college dorm room. (more…)

Hanging On To Hope Without Handholds

Hanging On To Hope Without Handholds

~Janet’s Blog

Hanging On

Kaboom!

Ka-boom, ka-boom!

Kaboooom, kaBOOM, KABOOOOM!

My heart pounds harder and harder, threatening to jump out of my chest. A salty bead of sweat runs down my forehead into my eyes.

“Ow! Now, why is it that I wanted to do this, again? And on my vacation?” I ask myself while struggling to find the next handhold while clinging onto the side of a cliff at Smith Rocks, Oregon. My husband, Joel is belaying, below on the ground, holding onto the other end of my rope. He’s yelling words of support while keeping me from falling to my death. (more…)

Persistent Positivity in the Face of Open Loops!

Persistent Positivity in the Face of Open Loops!

Persistent & positive

Persistent positivity…in the face of open loops?

Being your own cheerleader is most important!…and actually, necessary. Your view of yourself and your self talk is the most powerful input you will ever get.

Often I will discover or have it pointed out to me some routine I didn’t finish that negatively impacted someone.  We call it in my house, an “open loop.”  I open windows in the a.m. to cool down the house but I forget to close them before the sun comes around, so the house is twice as hot as it would have been. I feed the cats but forget to put away the catfood afterward.  (I will get back to the catfood in my part-2 blog.) These are the kind of loops that are easiest to leave open because they involve timing but not much thought. I can be thinking about something completely different as I do these things so I may get distracted and pick up on a thought in the middle of my task. Oi!

Here is what I mean:

The windows –  If I don’t set a timer for the closing of the windows I will most likely forget.  There have been times I have remembered early and thought to myself, ‘ it’s too early…I will come back to it’ with every intention of doing so.  Convinced I will, I go on with my day but end up completely forgetting.  I am better off doing something either immediately when I think of it or I need to set a timer.  Really those are my two options.  It’s tricky though because doing it immediately may keep you from accomplishing something else you had planned to do.  It’s good to pause and check first.  If nothing will be impacted, then go for it!

Anyway, back to my original thought – being persistent.  I accidentally tick people off, whether I know it or not.  All I can do is apologize and do my best at being aware of my open loops. (Timers can be a helpful tool.  Just remember to not pound yourself if you forget the timer, too.  Beating yourself up just makes the rest of the day worse.)

Let people express their frustration so they know you care about their feelings.  Whether you mean to do things or not, they are hurt, so let them know you love them by listening.

Try not to internalize their words of anger as attacks on who you are, it’s just what you have done. Now, yes it can be hard to separate those two but if you do you will be able to think more clearly and problem solve how to make the situation better. If you let other people’s anger completely overcome you it will distract you, and just make things worse.

You aren’t stupid, you aren’t an idiot, so just listen compassionately, keep your head on straight and be open to the fact that you just might come up with a creative idea to help improve the situation so it won’t happen quite as often. Be persistent with being persistent. 😉

What routines do you find challenging to complete? Please share. We may be able to help.

Add to the conversation. We’ll be glad you did.

photo credit: Loving Earth via photopin cc

Blessings

Blessings

Blessings

This is a song I wrote for my sister, Catherine, and her husband, FJ, for their wedding day (Catherine & FJ Abaya). At the time I had to sing it acapella because my hands still hurt so much. This made me very nervous, but after singing acapella on the cruise ship, I was determined to do it! I hoped it would be a blessings for their ceremony, as well as a chance for me to pray out loud my hope for their life together.

When it came time to record this song I was ecstatic to surprise them with me accompanying myself on the guitar.

This song underlines the importance of having God woven into your marriage, “three cords combined.” Life can provide you with joyful times but also many challenges and disappointments. Sometimes circumstances around you can get so bad that it can use up everything you’ve got! When two people who love each other are both dealing with their own difficult situations at the same time it can get really rocky. God can be that third cord to keep you strong and keep from breaking apart.

If you ever find yourself wondering who it is you are living with and even questioning whether you like them.

You are just normal!

We all unknowingly bring so much of our past experiences into our lives that we don’t always see the other for who they are but either who they remind us of or even who we wish they would be. It’s important to stop and recognize this.

We need to get our heads wrapped around the fact that we are all broken doing the best we can with the tools we were given.

It’s also important to be open to the fact that we could learn more through counseling.

Counseling has been a helpful tool we have referred to off and on throughout our marriage. It’s part of the reason we have made it this far.

I encourage you to embrace your spouse and the fact that you are both imperfect and can still learn and grown no matter how long you have been married.

Ultimately though, welcome God into your marriage every day. He can give us compassionate ears that can listen to our spouse when we really don’t want to. He can give us self control when all we want to do is scream about our own boss, or our own relational situations. It is purely by the strength of God that we can have what it takes to care for each other in the midst of our own stuff.

Seriously, let God give you what you need to be there for each other. Don’t turn your pain into a competition, where you compare who has the worst situation. Everyone’s feelings count. We normally know this but when we are hurting it’s hard to think clearly. Remember you are a team. You two are one, but you don’t need to do it alone! Praise God!!

Can you relate? What are some tips that have been helpful in your marriage?

Add your thoughts below. We’ll be glad you did.

Maria

Maria

Maria

This song was written for our God-daughter, Maria, who lives in Norway with her parents, Katie & Kjell Møgster, and three big brothers.  Back in 2006, the Møgsters called us from Mali, Africa (during their missionary years) and asked us to be her God-Family.  They invited us to meet them in Norway to attend Maria’s baptism.  Well, of course, we said “yes!” with great enthusiasm and immediately started the process of obtaining tickets that would eventually have us arrive in Ålesund, Norway.

Now, a baptism is always a special event. But in Norway, it is a HUGE event.  Many hours of preparation were put into decorating the house, setting up tables, making centerpieces, organizing name tags, and preparing group games.  Oh yes, then there is the never-ending supply of food!

The morning of the baptism was spent preparing for the special baptismal worship service.  The worship experience was amazing!  I couldn’t understand a word of it, but the rhythm of the liturgy and prayers felt familiar, especially the Lord’s Prayer.

There was only one part of the service that was in English, the part when I got up and sang.  The Møgsters had informed me that it is often a tradition for the God-parents to have one of their gifts be a poem or song.  So, I happily wrote Maria a song, in the weeks before our Norwegian odyssey.  The words of the chorus were projected onto the screen and I invited everyone to sing along during the last time through…which they did, in their conservative Norwegian way of doing things.

After worship, we drove back to Kjell’s mothers home with the family.  Immediately, their friends and family started arriving for the festivities.  There must have been about 40 people there, each with a name tag showing them where they were going to sit.  We heard Norwegian songs, ate Norwegian food, played group games and learned a lot about … Norwegians!!  The last visitors (who weren’t going to be sleeping at the house) finally left around 8pm that night.  Finally, it was down to just the…15 of us.  This included 7 children, 5 of them young elementary school boys!

The whole trip was an amazing adventure. Being immersed in another culture for 2 1/2 weeks gave me a much bigger understanding of our world. My family and I didn’t want to leave!

In June, 2011, during one of our reunions with the Møgsters, here in the States, Maria asked me to sing her song. I happily agreed.  Maria was 5 at this time, so I could look her in the eyes as I sang.  She would blush and turn away, but soon I found her looking at me again.  It was a precious moment.  Clearly she felt very special about having her own song.

I am so glad that my song touched Maria’s heart. It clearly made her feel loved and cherished.

Has anyone done something extra special in your life while growing up?  Have you ever told them what it meant to you?  If not, think about doing that.  It would mean a lot to them.

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