Mind Your Mind….

Friends!  I just ran across this post from a couple of Octobers ago, remembering I’d forgotten (huh?) its’ message…May we all remember to guard what goes into our minds.  Enjoy!…

Filled to the brim with excitement, Hubster and I were crossing the pond for our first-ever trip to France. Flying thru’ the night from Detroit to Amsterdam, most everyone but me slept.

Watching a little virtual map of our plane flying over different countries, logging hundreds of miles in minutes, kept me wide-eyed. Just as we touched down in Amsterdam, a big, beautiful orange sun was rising over the airport! While it was midnight back in the States, it was six o’clock in the morning in Amsterdam. Wow.

amsterdam

Clueless as to how to find our next gate, some sweet soul showed us how to enter different checkpoints en route to our plane to Marseilles. Suddenly, we came upon a very familiar landmark: Starbucks! And what before my wondering eyes did appear, directly across from Starbucks, a very large chocolatier!!! What a welcoming sight!

eliz in front of chocolate store

We had plenty of time before our next flight departed, so we plunked ourselves and our carry-ons down for a big ole’ comforting cup of coffee. Like little children on Christmas morning, our adventure was already unfolding.

Amsterdam’s airport is a melting pot of passengers from all over the world. John and I sat back and took it all in. The clothes, the accents, everything was fascinating.

Even the moving sidewalk…this lovely female voice, in a sing-song manner, repeated over and over, “Mind your step…..Mind your step…..Mind your step.” We Americans would’ve just hollered, “Watch where you’re goin’, already!!!”

One of many favorite books by Max Lucado, Glory Days: Living Your Promised Land Life Now brings up another way of thinking from “Mind Your Step”, to “Mind Your Mind”….

Glory Days

One favorite chapter is called The God-Drenched Mind. Don’t you want your mind to be God-drenched??? This chapter centers around Joshua 14:6-15.

The good news? Max helps us readers with ways to equip our faith and our minds.

The bad news? He opens with, “You’ll never have a problem-free life.” That’s okay, tho’, because surely by now every single one of us has discovered this!

Max points out that “The Lord” is referenced nine times in this passage alone. We know that any time anything is repeated in the Bible, it’s significant.

Max asks, “Who was on Caleb’s mind? Who was in Caleb’s heart? What caused him to have a different spirit? He centered his mind on the Lord.”

Watch this…Max gets personal: “What about you? What emphasis would a transcript of your thoughts reveal? The Lord? Or the problem? The economy? The jerk?”

In another recent post we talked about the importance of putting on the helmet of salvation. We addressed running everything thru’ the Philippians 4:8 filter:

Philippians 4 8

Max offers a show-stopping visual:

“Imagine two cooking bowls. One contains fresh, clean water. The second contains battery acid. Take an apple and cut it in half.

Place one half of the apple in the bowl of clean water. Place the other half in the bowl of battery acid. Leave each in its respective bowl for five minutes, and then pull out the two halves.

Which one will you want to eat?”

Two different apples, fresh and withered. Rotten apple.

“Your mind is the apple.

God is good water.

Problems are battery acid.

If you marinate your mind in your problems, they will eventually corrode and corrupt your thoughts.

But thoughts of God will preserve and refresh your attitudes.

Caleb was different because he SOAKED HIS MIND IN GOD.”

This caused me to pause and ask myself, “What am I marinating my mind in right now?” I busted myself (there’s a thought!) because I was stewing over a petite problem which my forever optimistic husband has told me, and told me again (remember???) to simply, “Let it go…” Alrighty then.

Finally, we’re blessed with one more prescription from Max for remembering to soak our minds in our Big God: “Stare at the mountain less and at the Mountain Mover more.” Amen.

LET’S MIND OUR MIND!

‘Til next time!

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Come Meet Author Laura Frantz Next Monday 10/23 at Book Club!

Friends!  Grab your friends and head over to Middletown United Methodist Church next Monday night, October 23rd, from 6:30-8:00 p.m., for what’s sure to be a blast of a book club meeting!

The gals at Branches Book Club have invited author Laura Frantz to come and speak about her book, A Moonbow Night.

Whether you’ve read the book or not, do come as it’s always a treat to get to meet and hear from the author. Laura is currently living in Berea in a log cabin. Her passion for history influences her writing, including her book we’ll be discussing, A Moonbow Night. It has several twists and turns I’m excited to ask her about. Be thinking of questions you’d like to ask!

LauraFrantz.net

One of many fun snippets include Kentucky’s very own Daniel Boone and his family making an appearance in the book.  The connection to their family with Tempe is one of many surprises. Set in 1777, Laura’s characters truly live a pioneer life.  Our modern day comforts we experience didn’t exist back then. (Yes, they camp a lot!)

Some of Laura’s epigraphs are actual Scripture, while some frighteningly foreshadow what’s ahead:  “Our way is over mountains, steep hills, deep rivers, and muddy creeks; a thick growth of reeds for miles together; and no inhabitants but wild beasts and savage men.” (Francis Asbury) Yikes…

Laura exhibits her character’s faith and prayer lives throughout the book. She paints lovely portraits of God’s creation as well while her characters traipse across many miles, i.e. “The woods were an unending palette, its unearthly hues evidence of a Master’s hand.” (One of many reasons I love Christian fiction.)

Nancy Tinnell said, “I’m such a city girl that my enjoyment of the frontier-themed books we’ve read in book club has come as a surprise to me. Laura Frantz is the real deal! She grew up in Kentucky, having lived in both western and eastern regions of our state.”

Nancy added, “A Moonbow Night is about as authentic as it gets. Every page is so thick with descriptive language that you can almost hear the leaves blowing in the breeze and the twigs snapping under someone’s foot. She writes beautifully and makes the forest come alive. And of course, there’s a love story!”

Yes, well, let’s chat a minute about that little love story.  No spoiler alert, but I must say the relationship that blossoms throughout the book didn’t happen as quickly as I’d have liked.  That is what makes the book such a page-turner, the reader nearly YELLING for Tempe and Sion to become united, in the midst of running from Indians—as in the kind that’ll scalp you!

I got tickled at Laura in an interview saying she likes to give her main male character dark hair as well as making him tall and handsome.  My guess is Nancy may be envisioning a twin to Tom Selleck.  (We’ll have to ask her Monday night.)

Because of Laura’s Kentucky influence, we’ll be having Kentucky-themed food, so think about what you’d like to bring. Country ham biscuits, grits, derby pie anybody??? (I also discovered Laura likes peanut butter and chocolate anything, so a good ole’ Reese’s cup could do the trick!)

Finally, I’m happy to report Laura has a new book coming out in January, The Lacemaker. Let’s remember to ask her to give us a sneak peek.

We hope to see you next Monday night, October 23rd, from 6:30-8:00 p.m. at Middletown United Methodist Church. Please call Nancy to RSVP at (502) 245-8839.

11902 Old Shelbyville Road, Louisville, KY 40243 http://www.middletownumc.org

‘Til next time!

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Need a Gift Idea? Grab “Ordinary Graces—Word Gifts For Every Season” by Lucinda Secrest McDowell (Releasing 10/17!!!)

Friends!  In need of a gift idea?  Or any of you early birds already Christmas shopping?  (Do not tell me if you are.  A grocery bagger at Kroger this week reported there are only eleven Fridays ‘til Christmas arrives the following Monday…I will not fret. I will not fret. I will not fret. Savor the season. Savor the season. Savor the season. Tra-la-la-la-la) All good..

This new book we’re about to discuss would make a wonderful birthday gift or  Christmas gift. It’s also for guys and gals, of all ages.

I’ve been blessed to be on the Launch Team of this new devotional, getting a sneak peek. It releases next Tuesday, 10/17.  While you may already have other devotionals, I maintain “variety is the spice of life”, and like shoes, one can never have too many. Yes!

I’ve devoured nearly all of the one hundred and twenty entries. I’ll be sharing a couple of my favorites with you in just a minute.  Honestly, they’re all my favorite, but I’ll just show you a few.

The book?  Ordinary Graces—Word Gifts for Every Season by Lucinda Secrest McDowell. (I call her Cindy.)

A true wordsmith, Cindy flat amazes me for many reasons.  First of which is how she comes up with so many wonderful words, and secondly, how she ties each word in with a Scripture, a pertinent story and a closing prayer. She also quotes other excellent authors. You will highlight until you need another highlighter!

She tells us, “‘Ordinary graces’ are surprising gifts that come to me while simply living my story. They are gifts I discover in ordinary places, like the people who touch my soul because of their courage, kindness or self-sacrifice. I even find them in the challenges that simultaneously turn my world upside down and change me from the inside out. If I’m in a hurry, I will miss them. If I am distracted, I will ignore them. But for anyone who is attentive and seeking, these ordinary graces abound.” This book will help us readers do exactly that.

The book’s theme centers on John 1:16, “From His fullness we have all received grace upon grace.”

Cindy’s devotional that came out last year, Dwelling Places, uses words to draw us closer into the presence of God—words that focus on peace, serenity, refuge, and hope. I couldn’t begin to pick a favorite, so I’ll just say you “need” both of them!

This new devotional, Ordinary Graces, introduces us to grace gifts from God to strengthen our soul and offer courage to live adventurously. Each entry is only two pages long, making for a quick, daily read.

The book is divided into four sections:  Grace, Strength, Gratitude and Life. Each section has thirty entries.  Pick a word and dive in. Or, follow the numbers.

Cindy’s easy-to-read writing style is open, honest, relatable, funny, and sometimes causes you to pause and say, “Wow, the Lord is so gracious.”  The entries are reminders to us to focus on Him and recognize snippets of grace throughout our day.

Cindy dedicates her words to us readers.  Savor this a minute:

In the Grace section, my favorite words and devotions are:

Also in this section, Cindy gives us a quote by Charles Spurgeon, “The clock is to go all day, but there is a time for winding it up. Regular communion with God winds us up for the rest of the day.” 

 A timely Scripture from the “Say No” entry is Titus 2:11-12 which says, “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.” (NIV)

Cindy then poses a thought provoking question: “What do you need to give up in order to receive a gift?” She shares about a season where she had to say “no” repeatedly because of being under a book deadline. While difficult initially, it ultimately helped her remain settled in her soul.

In the Strength section, my favorite words and devotions are:

In the “Pilgrimage” entry, Cindy gives us a quote from Macrina Wiederkehr in Behold Your Life that blew me away:

“A pilgrimage is a ritual journey with a hallowed purpose.
Every step along the way has meaning.
The pilgrim knows that life-giving challenges will emerge.
 A pilgrimage is not a vacation;
 …It is a transformational journey during which significant change takes place.
New insights are given.
Deeper understanding is attained.
New and old places in the heart are visited.
 Blessings are received
 …and healing takes place.
On return from the pilgrimage, life is seen with different eyes.
Nothing will ever be quite the same again.”

In the Gratitude section, my favorite words and devotions are:

Additionally, in the “Burden” entry, Cindy shows us Psalm 68:19, “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior who DAILY bears our burdens.”  These frequent reminders from the Word of God are also a gift and a grace.

In the Life section, my favorite words and devotions are:

The word “Descendants” piqued my curiosity now with our new granddaughter in our life.  Cindy says, “I prayed a dedication over each of my children—that they would know God and that He would always guide and protect them throughout life.” Early each morning she prays for her four children and now two sons-in-love and grandchildren.  I love this and am endeavoring to do this for all of our family.

Let’s close now with Cindy’s beautiful closing prayer in “Descendants”:

Friends, run, don’t walk to your nearest bookstore and grab Ordinary Graces—Word Gifts for Every Season. You and your friends will be beyond blessed!

‘Til next time!

 

 

 

 

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How About JOMO vs. FOMO?

Friends!  Anyone besides me stricken with FOMO?  (Fear of Missing Out…)

Growing up a “lonely only”, being invited and being included were paramount to me.  Many times, especially in college, even if I was invited to do something I didn’t really want to do, I’d still say, “yes…”

Fast forward a few years as we grow up and have children. Suddenly we realize our busyness has filtered down to them and they are doing the same thing!?!  Huh?  FOMO is a by-product of our culture, I’m sorry to say. Fill, fill, fill that calendar.

However, many of you are brave naysayers. You’re strong enough to say “No, thank you very much, maybe next time.” I applaud you.

Potential solution?  Our sweet daughter-in-love, LT, just taught me a new term.  It’s become my new goal.  Call me crazy.

The term?  JOMO….Ready?  It stands for the Joy of Missing Out.  Being joyful when you answer, “no thanks” and relishing your time at home.

Lately John and I’ve been staying home more.  Some nights we enjoy being wedding crashers from our front porch when there’s a wedding nearby at Locust Grove.  We listen to the music and sometimes dance in our driveway.  (Shhh, don’t tell the neighbors.)

Sometimes turning down an invitation blesses your marriage, your rest, and replenishes you with joy…

I recently read where the words “joy”, “rejoice”, and “joyful” are in the ESV Bible four hundred and thirty times.  What does that tell you?  Being joyful is pretty important to our Lord! Being joyful = JOMO!

Let’s savor my TOP FIVE VERSES ON JOY:  Then YOU choose which are your favorites. (Extra bonus:  If you go to:  www.openbible.com , you’ll find “100 Verses About Joy” you can skim and choose some more. Problem is, they’re all good—and that, my friend, is a most excellent problem!)

Simply read thru’ the below verses. Allow them to soothe your soul:

In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!”

May we all strive to find JOMO.  It’s a heck of a sight superior to FOMO.  Trust me on this one.

 

‘Til next time!

 

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You’re Invited to a Super Fun Book Club Monday, September 25th! Come discuss “Looking for Lovely” by Annie F. Downs…

Friends!  Grab some of your friends and please join us for next week’s Book Club meeting on Monday, September 25th! The more the merrier…

The Branches Book Club gals will be discussing Looking for Lovely—Collecting the Moments That Matter by Annie F. Downs.

Even if you’ve not had time to read it yet, you’ll love hearing the discussion, PLUS we’re having a yummy potluck supper. If time allows, please bring one of your favorite dishes to share.

Annie’s agreed to make us a little video message, so that’s an added bonus.  You’ll love her down to earth style, appealing to all ages.

Mark your calendar now to join us next Monday Night, September 25th, from 6:30-8:00 p.m. at Middletown United Methodist Church. You may call Nancy Tinnell to RSVP at (502) 245-8839.

11902 Old Shelbyville Road, Louisville, KY 40243 http://www.middletownumc.org

A few favorite things Annie creates via her book include:

Her hysterical sense of humor will instantly grab you. Her SHOUT TYPING WILL KILL YOU AND YOUR FUNNY BONE.

Her honesty in difficult situations will encourage you. (My favorite chapter on such is “Quitter”. Love her phrase of “broken crazy” for a rough spot in her life. I, too, have had some times when I wanted to run away and my guess is other readers will relate as well.)

Her book is also akin to a travelogue for anyone who loves Nashville.  Makes me want to go follow along for some of her food, finds, and favorite go-to’s.

Annie offers great ideas in helping us look for lovely. She tells us finding lovely requires perseverance.  In fact, she says, “I want you to be branded by perseverance.” Sounds like hard work, but thanks to her help, she makes us readers feel as if she’s holding our hand along the way.

When we arrive at “lovely”, this brings us joy, ultimately bringing God the glory.  Remember “a heart at peace gives life to the body?” (Proverbs 14:30a)

One suggestion for looking for lovely is as simple as waking up in time to see the sunrise. This brings a smile to my face because it’s easily achievable. Her description of a sunrise is a beautiful visual as is why she loves a sunrise:

The chapter called “Ryman Auditorium” is also wonderful.  Here’s a great question we can ask of ourselves:  What is your favorite venue and what does it do for you?  Annie asks, “Is there a building or venue that speaks to your soul in a way that’s unique to you?  Maybe it’s a theater or a library or a church.  Go there, give yourself to it, and see what God does for you in that place.”

One of my favorite places in Louisville is The Palace Theater. (www.louisvillepalace.com )   It is beautiful from top to bottom, literally.  John and I were blessed to see Michael Buble in concert there years ago, on our anniversary, no less.  This was before Michael became really popular.  It’s our favorite memory to date.  What’s your favorite place to go? (Please comment and let me know!)

Another fab chapter is called, “The Sound of Music.”  Annie’s take on music, its’ mood-changing capabilities, and why it brings peace made me want to stand up and say, “Yes!  You go, girl!” There are few things that can stir your soul more than music. It’s a way to, as Peter says in 1 Peter 5:7, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

I find myself pulling up songs on my iPhone when I get to keep our granddaughter, Claire. The music not only calms me down, I believe it calms Claire down!  Our favorite two to begin with include, What a Beautiful Name It Is by Hillsong Worship and O Come to the Altar by Elevation Worship. (She can’t talk yet, but I’m sure she’d agree. Smile.)

When you have time, checkout David Baloche’s “Labyrinth” album. Scripture guaranteed to put you at rest, or as Annie says, “That’s what music does. It holds you together when you think you’ll fall apart. It reminds you of truth. It grabs your hand as you try to cross the finish line. It fills your ears with peace when it feels like there is no peace.” Amen.

Annie offers some of her favorite songs to listen to in her book as well as reminding us David gave us so many right in the Psalms. Worshipful rest, right?

These are just a sampling of the many wonderful ideas Annie gifts us with.  You don’t want to miss reading Looking for Lovely.  Annie will bless your socks off.

Do join us next Monday?  We’d love to see you!  Don’t forget!  9/25, 6:30-8:00 p.m., Middletown United Methodist Church.  Come and bring your friends.  Bring a dish for the potluck supper!  Meet new people and learn from the discussion.  Book Club is the BEST!

‘Til next time!

 

 

 

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Find Relief and Inspiration from Maria Goff…

Friends!  Suffering from the disease to please? Anyone needing freedom from multi-tasking? Fret no more, thanks to author Maria Goff.  Grab her book for some HUGE kind of relief from this wild world in which we’re living.

The book?  Love Lives Here—Finding What You Need in a World Telling You What You Want.

Yes, Maria’s the wife of Bob Goff. (Do not miss how they met and ultimately got married.  Killer funny.) Many of you have probably been blessed by hearing Bob speak.  John and I’ve seen him at Southeast, and some of our kids saw him at Northeast.

We all chime in with, “Could he possibly get any crazier?” Bob’s a man with an entertaining-but-sincere message (the Gospel) and a heart the size of Texas times two or ten.

Reading Maria’s book, which includes a Foreword by Bob as well as many tales on their family, is a complete blast. I say it brings relief because Maria is brutally honest about various life scenarios giving us freedom on many levels. She shows us her very genuine responses.  Priorities weigh in revealing valuable lessons, especially with their strong faith propelling them forward.

Any of you Moms out there, parenting ideas are also plentiful in the book. You will laugh out loud more than once!

Early into the book in her chapter entitled “Keep Your Eyes on Your Own Paper”, Maria tells of a classmate who she wanted to be just like.  Needless to say, that didn’t go so well. She gifts us with this quote from Theodore Roosevelt:

Maria strongly suggests, “Spot comparison coming our way, call it a liar, and simply refuse to make eye contact with it…We weren’t created to fit in; we were made to stand apart.”

We readers also get to watch what good neighbors look like in the chapter called “A Neighbor’s Love”. It includes easy ideas to get to know our neighbors and to simply be the hands and feet of Jesus. She states the obvious, “We can’t love our neighbors if we don’t know them.”

Two years ago, some new neighbors moved in down the street from us.  I toyed with getting the other neighbors together so we could all meet the new ones.  I toyed a little too long apparently. Before I knew it, there was an invitation to come to dinner at our new neighbor’s home.  Huh?  They are hosting us?  How unusually lovely.

When we lived in Lake Forest a few years ago, my across-the-street neighbor, Kay, and I frequently met in the middle of the street with a cup of sugar to borrow, an egg or two, one time even a new puppy to meet. Maria says, “I think God wanted us to love our neighbor so we could learn how to bookend our lives from them.”

I knew Kay was special before we ever moved in.  One night John and I were at the house planning for the move.  As we were leaving, Kay and Dick walked across the street to introduce themselves.  The first thing out of her mouth was, “Are you our new neighbors?  We’ve been praying for you.”  I’ll never forget it.

The Goff Family also cherishes time at the table together, making it one of their priorities.

My two favorite ideas from the chapter called, “Let Love Set the Table” are:

1 – Have a “Good Manners” night around the table and conversely have a “Bad Manners” night around the table. Fun and more fun. I missed the boat on this with our boys, but you can bet we will give this a “go” with our grandchildren!

2 – When you have company, after dinner, have them crawl under your table and sign it.  How fun is that?  Then over the years you can see who all has put their feet under your table, dining with you and your family. (My friend Judy has had countless people pull up around her table over the years including missionaries, preachers, authors, athletes, coaches, celebrities, friends and family.  She says one of her regrets is she’s not kept a record of all of them.  Start now with those signatures!)

Maria says, “The table is not only a place to eat, it’s a place to learn about life and each other.”  She adds, “Don’t overcomplicate it. When gathering together is rooted in love, free of unnecessary stress or self-serving motivations, bonds are formed, hearts are mended, and lives are changed forever.

One time the Goff family was going to entertain a unique family in that the father was the ambassador to a small country. (Can you imagine?) They had no idea how the evening would go. Maria confessed she stewed and stewed over various meal ideas. They ultimately ordered pizza!  Everyone therefore relaxed, and the couples’ seven-year old son enjoyed being decorated with balloons by the Goff’s children.

Finally, don’t miss the chapter, “Board of Directors.”  It’s one more of many fabulous ideas from Maria. We’re not meant to be marooned on our own little island.  Seek advice,  forming your own version of a Board of Directors…Watch how Maria did this.

May you be inspired and experience some relief found in this book in your next endeavor.

‘Til next time!

 

 

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Grab These Nuggets for Your Marriage…They’re GOLD!

Friends!  Have I ever got some great material for you for your marriage!  Even if you think, “Thanks, but I don’t need that.”, I’m here to convince you that yes, you do indeed.

A couple of weeks ago, John and I were blessed to attend the Love and Marriage Project Conference at St. Francis in the Fields Episcopal Church.  Some of you may recall we attended the first annual one last year. (“When You Renew Your Wedding Vows, You May Learn a Thing or Two.”)

Because of going last year, neither of us thought we’d be going again this year.  Until…we discovered our friends, Elizabeth Jeffries Tweed and her husband, Stephen were going to be the speakers.

Elizabeth and Stephen were just inducted as “Legends of the Speaking Profession” at the Veteran Speakers Retreat in Front Royal, VA.

Elizabeth and Stephen are not only professional speakers who speak all over the world, they also happen to be marriage mentors at Southeast Christian Church.  I knew this was an event not to be missed.  John and I began recruiting our friends.

Clearly orchestrated by the Lord, I’m grateful for His prompting to my good buddy, Sherry, who suggested Elizabeth and Stephen.  I immediately emailed Jady Koch, St. Francis’ Rector. He reached out to them, and a miraculous opening in their calendar made them available.

Nearly seventy attendees were blessed by the Tweeds’ presentation.  Take-home value was at a premium, and you, my friend, are about to be the benefactor of their amazing handout. (It’s at the end of this post.)

I’ll share just a few of their nuggets. These are entitled, “The Seven F’s of a Balanced Life and Adventurous Marriage!”  Grab your spouse and work through these at your leisure.  They are GOLD for the health and maintenance of your marriage.

Also noteworthy, we were blessed to meet a couple who’d been married fifty-nine years as well as some newlyweds, who’d almost been married two months.  I thought both spoke volumes for attending as one could argue neither should need advice at those early and late stages!

Elizabeth and Stephen had all of us evaluate where our marriage is currently, plus what our five-year vision is by ranking ourselves on a scale of 1-10 in these seven different areas.  I confess John and I differed a little on the scoring which was a wee bit eye opening!!!

Early into their marriage, especially since they’d both been married before, Elizabeth and Stephen consulted friends who are also mentors to them, Jim and Naomi Rhode.  The Rhodes  gave them three do-or-die suggestions they’ve held onto throughout their marriage:

Elizabeth was very candid about this.  She remarked on the importance of who you hang out with.  She warned, “Divorce is contagious. I believe I got divorced in my first marriage  largely due to the people I was hanging out with at the time.”  This goes along with, “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.” (Go back and read #3 above!)

Elizabeth and Stephen initiated each of the “F’s” with Scripture as a foundation for the following categories: (I’ll elaborate on some, not all…that’s where your homework comes in on the worksheet.)

Faith – The Scripture they cited for us in this category is a favorite:

Family and Friends (Best Friend – your spouse, Both sides of your families, and Friends)

Key word in this category is CHERISH.   Do you have a “cherish mindset” towards your spouse?

Gary Thomas’ book, Cherish:  The One Word That Changes Everything for Your Marriage came highly recommended.

We discussed what makes us feel cherished.  Elizabeth reminded us, “Language creates feelings, feelings create behavior, and behavior that gets rewarded gets repeated.”  Let that soak in for a minute.

The other golden nugget they shared was a prayer to pray when you’re feeling your spouse is “less than.”  Elizabeth and Stephen suggested we pray this for our spouses continuously:

“Lord, help me to love him/her as you do.”

Here John and I are with some of our couple friends who attended.  Left to Right:  Randy and Susan Bugh, Yours Truly and John, Bev and Steve Fleece

 

And now fun with some of our girlfriends…Left to right:  Mary, Elizabeth, Mary’s daughter, Lacy (She and her husband, Dale, were our very brave newlyweds at the conference), and Yours Truly.

Fun – Oh wow, did we ever have fun with the “fun” category!  Our table mates discussed:

“What does FUN mean to you? 

How does FUN play out in your life and marriage?”

After ranking ourselves on a scale of 1-10, we unanimously decided what it would take for us to rate a “10”:

Tortola in February. (Hey, nothing wrong with goals??!!! Dreams??!!)

Here are our wonderful speakers, Elizabeth and Stephen, having FUN on the dance floor…

Fitness (Mental and Physical) – Being a book lover, it was my great joy to hear Elizabeth and Stephen ask us regarding the mental part of fitness, “What are you reading right now?”  They reminded us growth and learning are paramount to us individually as well as together.

Focus on Career

Finances

Free Gifts – Matthew 10:8 was the verse on this section reminding us, “…freely you have received, freely give.”

Additional excellent nuggets we were blessed with were two questions to ask each other at the close of every day:

Finally, Elizabeth and Stephen showed us a framed prayer they pray together every night before they go to sleep.  It sits on their bedside table:

At the close of the morning session, attendees were dismissed until 4:30 in the afternoon when a lovely service on marriage was performed by Jady.  We all then reconvened for dinner and dancing  which was the icing on the cake (Yes, we had a wedding cake of course!) for all of us.

Sherry affirmed all of our sentiments with this quote: “The day, from start to finish, was so special as we focused in on our marriage.  It’s been thirty years for Bill and me, and we both appreciated being able to reflect, learn and celebrate.”

Thanks again to Mary Young who birthed this idea a year ago, Jady Koch and the folks at St. Francis, and our outstanding teachers/speakers, Elizabeth and Stephen Tweed.

Please enjoy a couple more photos from the evening portion plus you’ll find the invaluable handout with contact information at the end.

Left to Right:  Bill and Sherry Leavell with Mary and Michael Young

Left to right:  John, Stephen, Elizabeth and Yours Truly

Do try these Seven “F’s” with your spouse (click the link to be taken to a printable version).

‘Til next time!

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Filed under Book Reviews, Conferences, Life Lessons