Lord of the Ringless new site!
Lord of the Ringless new site!
Staying on the Same Page: Questions to Focus a Relationship.
Recently a friend, Cheryl, shared questions she adapted from career goals to focus her relationship with a man she has been dating. It was a good way to review and refocus their growth goals as a couple. What I like about it is taking the time to build a good foundation takes, just that—time. Evaluation and re-evaluation. I remember a story where a builder being prompted to hurry the foundations of a stage in time for production asked,” Do you want it done fast, or do you want it done right?” They postponed the play until the following week.
Agreement Plan/ Discussion
• work days
• play/date days
• schedules (work, meetups, church, tennis, friends, family, clients, etc..) and within that schedule, we would 'schedule' additional time during which we would discuss what is going on with us, how we feel we are progressing, what may be bothering us, things we may need clarification about, how each of us is showing up, etc.
What I/we liked about me and my/our relationship in (winter)**.
What can be improved upon?
My/our top five (spring) goals are to _________.
My commitment to me, so that I will be successful is ________.
What will it take for me/us to be successful?
I will take care of me by _______. This will add to my relationship because _______.
The things I admire and acknowledge in my partner are _____.
Questions I have for my partner are ______.
** can be substituted for time period you are evaluating and goaling.
Moonlight Creative Works Cheryl Wood
Graphic Design for print and web. Identity and marketing solutions.
I'm trying to remember to pray for humility every day. Why? Because it doesn't come naturally. I don't know how to live in it. I remember asking God after reading Micah 6:8 What does the Lord require of us? "To do justly , to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God.
" "What does humbly with our God', mean God? "
I know God is hugely humble and gentle. He made the flowers and spindly legged spiders and soft billowy clouds. He whispers. When Jesus walked here, he stopped often to smell the roses and give them away to those around Him, by listening, helping, healing emotionally and physically by touching hearts and hands.
Translated for me it is Gentleness. Love in action. Consideration for others and meeting needs as God directs. Allowing time for the other person to talk and being willing to listen and learn. Humility is demonstrated daily on the field of life. God calls us to maintain a gentle attitude in our relationship with others, while we are listening to Him--the one who is gentle and humble of heart.
We just finished a series at our church where we talked about Divine Interruption- recognizing when God is allowing our daily path to take a detour or a pause for an interaction with someone we hadn’t planned on.
Jesus did that all the time. But since we are not Jesus, and tuned in to God the Father as he was, we need to stay mindful what is happening in our moments—rather than rush on by and miss opportunities God is placing before us to give, to bless, to entertain angels unawares.
I heard John Ortberg, pastor of Menlo Park Presbyterian church, refer to Christian leaders as "Guardians of the Soul."
It touched that scripture I love in 1 Peter 3:1 that says we are now called to live in righteousness for “we have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of our souls." One thing leads to another. So we are in this world to tend others as he tends us; to comfort with the comfort he gives us.
It’s really hard for me, selfish as I am, to tune in to others when I am feeling the heat myself. It’s basic human nature to take more interest in mwa.
Maybe that’s why it took Moses forty years tending sheep in the desert and learning God’s ways. He learned to listen on a long time out from the pleasures of living as a prince in a palace and being served. He learned to listen to and share the burdens of everyday living and provision through his wife’s family. To let them sharpen him as a person. No doubt he learned humility letting humble folk, practical people around him speak into his life—before he was ready to lead, help and live with a million of his clan as they journeyed around a desert.
I once listened to Dr. Dan Allender as he discussed a crossroads in his life: the decision to work at a seminary or start a graduate school. The list of advantages, disadvantages, was a quickie. The pro-con list stacked up for the seminary position with benefits—and ease. But then his wife looked at him and said, "You've never been able to do anything normal. Why start now?"
"My wife was reading my story," he said.
She knew the direction it went. She knew him and understood the Author's heart for her husband. It is amazing how people who know and understand us can see better than we sometimes, many times...what we need; the direction we should go.
Today maybe I, maybe you, can be more open to listen to those on our path. It takes humility. They may know something we don't. They may have something to offer us, a novel thought. It doesn't happen for me unless I make a mental note and pray for God to help me. Not only to pause in pursuit of the next direction marker listening to others observations, but also aware God may be using them to meet a need I don't even know I have.
And as we pray for those God puts on our mind, in our heart, we know they are on His heart. He most surely is putting our needs before them too. We are a great blended family down here. Together we are helping eachother to daily learn His ways, and hear his footsteps as we walk close to the heels of our Humble Good Shepherd.
Many of us have had strangers contact us on Facebook. My Dad just sent me the adventures of a ne'er do well internet prowler...
"Some persons asked me to join them on FACE BOOK. No thanks. I don't need my name, my address and the picture of my home sent around the world. There's too many bad guys out there now.
"I was acquainted with a neer de well young fellow who worked full time for friends of mine. He thought himself a Don Juan and trolled the Internet (I have no idea how it's done), and he got silly adult women from one end of the country to the other to respond to his tempting mating calls (even tho he had separated from wife and two kiddies) One gal on the job in Maine sent a pix of herself in a Bikini. Not bad!
Another tempting prospect in Seattle got him excited enough to visit her, but he found it more exciting than he wanted as her divorce in process husband began following them around. He finally found a rich one in Alabama who invited him to come enjoy the prospects of working in her daddy's business. She made a quick trip first out here for a sample looksee.
They were a match but he came running back after 2 months. I don't know what went wrong, but I heard all this great escapade stuff while he helped me with deliveries from time to time. Pictures and addresses were like cards in a deck to play with. Draw one, take two, discard one."
Last week I watched the Biggest Loser on television. It is a show where people team up together to lose weight--a great idea and it works. One man lost 100 pounds in 6 weeks. Unbelievable.
During the temptation phase of the show one of the contestants, facing a roomful of Valentine's chocolates turned around immediately upon one glance at the red and pink room--repulsed. The chocolates were not temptation. Why?
"I hate Valentine's Day! she exclaimed vehemently. Later she elaborated frowning, "My dad calls me every Valentines Day...I hate it!" So the biggest loser wasn't talking about her weight issue, but her love issue. She felt unloved and sorely Losing at Love on the Biggest Love day of the year.
Too bad to see it that way.
There are many people to share our hearts with in life and many wonderful people to love whether family or friends, big or small. I felt bad that she scoffed at her Dad's call on the special day of they year she regarded more as a Romeo, Juliet affair. It's not unusual thinking. It can cause discontent though. It can rob peace and steal joy on a wonderful day of the year. Expectations about what that day should, could be.
What ever happened to the great feelings we had as kids passing out our Valentine cartoon or Disney cut outs for each person in our classroom? And then making a cut out for parents, grandparents, aunts, cousins, and even our brothers. Why don't we carry our childhood thoughts and traditions into adulthood? Thinking of it more as a Heart Day for those who have touched our heart.
For the record, Loving people in life, finding a special someone to love and be loved, has little to do with our weight. There are plenty of overweight people, now 70% of America, who have love in their lives. People who struggle to keep weight on can feel "too thin"-- a feeling which may lead them to feeling unattractive also.
How many people have the perfect weight and meet someone at their perfect weight? Some for sure. Most, not. It is more the way we feel about ourselves, that we consider ourselves worth knowing and able to provide fun and feeling, passion and purpose in life that sets the groundwork for a good relationship. That enable us to reach out and introduce ourselves or catch someone's eye (or im) and give them the go ahead to move towards us.
Valentine's Day can be loaded married or single in a relationship or not. When I worked in the hospital, some married nurses faces paled when one or two lucky stars received a dozen red roses from their hubbies.
I do hope next year the young woman will have someone special to share a Valentine's meal with and even a small chocolate. If she doesn't have a boyfriend yet, hopefully it can be with her dad. I sure enjoyed Valentine's dinner with my Dad at a great fish restaurant! Sunday my boyfriend and I made cookies. And today, I'm dropping off a Valentine cookie to my hardworking nephew...who is currently single and loving it.
"For now we see through a glass darkly a poor reflection. Then we shall see face to face. NOw I know in part,; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now remain these three: Faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." I Corinthians 13:12
Last week my friend lamented, "I couldn't go out with friends tonite. I have to work on the paperwork for next week. I"m so sick of this. There are papers all over the living room and my other room...."
"Don't you think some of us must know the trials of misty weather if we are to be enabled to understand when others are in the midst?" Amy Carmichael quoted.
My friend prepared for court all over again, at her ex's false accusations. Glad to report her case went well--not a surprise considering the prayers she invoked from many and the credibility of her accuser. God was and is with her. I've never dealt with divorce paperwork, but am quite familiar with the drowning feeling and overwhelming panic under a pile of legal paperwork. ( having represented myself in a case a few years ago). So I revisited an old poem I wrote one weary yesternight and read it to her over the phone. Now, I share it with you:
The Legal Battle
Sometimes it seems too much to bear,
The fight that drags, that taps my veins,
Draining me of life again;
Yet demands my vigilance-
Dictates I scribe with utmost care
And diligence, the pain I wear.
The future is at stake again,
So I ne’re can lay down my pen.
It invades my time, tonite I’d sleep,
But thoughts and arguments are deep
Within my mind; I cannot stay confined to bed
So here I am again, instead.
Writing, writing for my life,
Fingers running, skipping keys,
Helping find some place of ease,
Away from utter helplessness,
From isolation, loneliness.
They run, they skip, they pace with thought,
And slowly I feel less distraught.
The night wears, on the battle lulls,
I’m tired now, my mind has dulled.
I must retire, I must return,
I know the day is coming soon;
So now I’ll head back to my room.
Where doggies sleep,
I now retreat.
Losing my Smile, this fight with Denial
"Don't you think some of us must know the trials of misty weather if we are to be enabled to understand when others are in the midst?"
Amy Carmichael... Even the Death of the Cross...
Yesterday at a writer’s group, we were talking about busyness and how if we run around too much nothing really gets done well…and we become undone, impatient and unkind. Especially now in holiday season.
One of my peers told a story about a man who met with his pastor wondering why he couldn’t feel God in his life anymore.
“I don’t see God in my life .” He approached the pastor.
“God is in your life just like goldfish in a bowl,” the pastor replied. “But you have so much going on all the time, it’s like what happens when you shake up a goldfish bowl. The dirt and grime clouds the water so much you can’t even see the fish. You need to stay still and quit moving.”
We were talking about our live’s getting out of order when we add on tasks or commitments without taking away something on the other end. Add, add and add leads to busy, busier, busiest. Forget the joy of sitting and watching goldfish swim in a bowl.
My first fish was a goldfish named Goldilocks. Mom said Goldilocks used to keep her company swimming around in her bowl while Mom read at night when dad was away traveling. Even the smallest segments of time at night can speak of God’s presence at the edges of our day if we are quiet inside.
Monday I woke up and read a devotional to begin my day. A card fell out that said, STOMP OUT ANTS. A-N-T-S stood for Automatic Negative Thoughts. I had to catch all the ants that were surfacing that morning over various issues relationally and in general. “Why did she say this?” “Why didn’t they wrap the paper?” “Who made this coffee so weak?” It can go on and on. This day choose life the Bible says, in order that you may live. Choose a blessing or a curse this day. It’s all in the attitude if we choose a blessing. Thank you God for this person asking me questions and relating. Thank you God I have coffee to drink and the money to buy it.
When I went to the gym that morning a man I shared this with from church added another thinking help. “STOP the COMMITTEE” he laughed.
What is that? I asked.
All the voices that say , “I can’t do this, it will take too long….cost too much….I’m not prepared” all the objections of the negative voices chiming in our minds –that’s the Committee.
So between Stomping out Ants, Stopping the Committee and Contemplating Goldfish it seems we will be able to live a quieter, more focused, more productive life.
It all starts with the small steps of clearing our plate little by little so we can see God and hear Him easier. And then recognizing and, interrupting our often human and limited thinking so God can speak into our lives and encourage us to live above the circumstances. To allow ourselves to be encouraged so we can encourage others and enjoy life a little bit more than we may be doing now. And isn’t that what living each day in the moment really means? By focused Purposeful travel and owner- friendly thinking we can hear our Guide and we can prepare for the journey of each day.
"I have come to give you life that you might have it abundantly..." Jesus, John 10:10
The president of Focus on the Family, Jim Daly, shared the six signs of a healthy marriage in a recent newsletter. It is important for singles to know these signs also...especially in that process of meeting, dating and marriage. The research is from Dr John Gottman, professor emeritus of psychology at University of Washington and founder of Gottman Relationship Institute.
1. There are high levels of friendship, respect, affection and humor.
2. There is a ratio of 5:1 or better of positive to negative interactions during conflict. During normal conversation the ratio is 20:1.
3. There are successful responses to "bids for connection", ie. spouses respond to each other's attempt to connect and interact.
4. There are softened start-ups for conversation about disagreements.
5 The husband accepts influence from his wife.
6. The spouses are aware of and respect the other's needs, likes and dislikes.
Focus on the Family has a counseling line at 800-A-FAMILY or visit the website at FocusOnTheFamily.com
“I always wondered what God’s sense of humor meant,” my friend flipped her hair back while the rest of us listened curiously grazing on an array of appetizers spanning our table.
“And then I found out this week.” She grinned and continued.
“I was done with a relationship—done with the deception, “So I collected 21/2 years of letters ripped them up and headed down to the river. I did this before, after my divorce. It helps me mark a new beginning. The papers landed shorn in the garbage by the bridge. I watched the water race by knowing it was time for me to move on. So I said goodbye and left the reminders and momentos of this relationship once again, at the foot of the bridge.
Still in a sad state, I walked around the old rooster town, where the silly birds are running around loose everywhere.
Why did this have to happen God? I questioned the pain and the past a bit immersed in self pity.
While standing entertained by those crazy chickens, suddenly an odd familiar verse floated through my mind like a breeze clearing cobwebs .
“Why did the chicken cross the road?” It’ was as if God was speaking to me.
”To get to the other side’” I answered the elementary joke still lost in thought. Then I just started laughing. How funny of God to use those raunchy roosters to impress the message to start new and start in a new place in my life.
To make it even more memorable, on the way back to the car two men were pouring cement, After inquiring, I hired them to work at my house. Both of their names were George also.
They started working this week and they are both good men. They are doing a great job. They have been really watching out for me this week in what I need to do and making great suggestions. So he used two good men named George to counteract the bad behavior of my old George.
God is helping me. I’ve had so many changes in my life and now it is time to walk on God’s side even in my relationships with men. ...with a man who knows God and follows Him.
It was as if I was leaving my past and preparing for a new future.
I still marveled how he knew just how to humor me down to changing any negative thoughts I was having—even about the name George.” She chuckled And now I can say confidently because I understand it… ”God has a sense of humor.”
God you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit and when I stand. You perceive my thoughts from afar. You are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely , O Lord. Psalm 139:1-4 para