Sunday, January 26, 2014

What I've Learned from "Catch Me if You Can"

It's been twelve years since the movie "Catch Me if You Can" was in the theater.   We still watch it and I'm still puzzled by it.  Why would such an intelligent man do such crazy things?  I was having a conversation with a friend of mine this past week and he brought out such a profound point about this man.  He said, Frank Abagnale Jr. gave up when he realized there was no hope that his parents would get back together.

Is this the case with the 33% of the children that are in the Detention Center?  Are they wanting get their parents attention so that they will TRY to work things out?  Or is it just anger that they are there for?

Maybe it's both.  I know that my son and daughter struggle with the choice that their father and I made. They understand in their heads, but they hurt in their heart.  I believe EVERY child wants to be raised by their own two married parents.

I also believe that it's more than just in their head.  When children are born they are bonded to their mother and father.  They have the similar bonding I believe because of the DNA.

I saw yesterday where two girls became best friends and then found out they were sisters.  Why was there such an attraction?  Could it be the DNA.  We are attracted to those that are like us.  The same with our parents.  We carry similar traits, similar likes, and similar temperaments.

I know with each of my children I have the ability to get into their head and really understand why they do what they do.  Many times it is because that is the way I would have done it.

When two people divorce and there are children, do those children feel like a part of them is condemned or rejected because they have some actual DNA of that person?  There is something to this.  So many are effected.  I don't believe it can be just emotional.

If we can understand this, maybe we can understand why people do what they do a little better so we can be of greater help to them.  Sometimes I feel like that is what I'm trying to do.  Just help the kids by preventing the breakup.  How many kids can we help if we prevent the senseless divorces?  Do these no-fault divorces really need to happen?  Can we teach people how to stay together?  I still have so many different questions.

What do you think?  Is all this in vain?

Blender Family Bits - Camp-on

     This past summer I got to meet one of my heroes.  Years ago when my husband I were getting together, we listened to Gary Smalley's 7 Keys to a Happy Marriage.  That was revolutionary to John and me.  We had both been in failed marriages and wanted to make sure this one lasted forever.  As we listened there was one thing that stuck.  Do something that will put your family under stress and you will bond the family.  His suggestion was to "Go Camping"!!
       Most of you would say very quickly, that's not stressful!  Well, when you have five children and two adults that are trying to form a union, it's stressful.  You never know what might happen while you're camping.

One of our first experiences was tent-camping at Fall Creek Falls.  It was fall and it was already starting to get cold.  Our youngest was three and oldest was twelve.  We had the big yellow tent with lots of little sleeping bags and two big ones.  Little did we know that there would be so many memories made from that one trip.  I don't remember all the details except the temperature went down to 36 degrees and we were not prepared with our sleeping bags.  Our youngest daughter bit into a candy and lost her first tooth.  And last but not least we learned that this was a great way to bond this family!  To this day we have so much fun reminiscing about our camping experiences.  
         If you know me, you might know that I'm adventurous but I'm not FOND of camping.  I don't like traipsing to the bathroom in the middle of the night.  I don't like going to get the water to cook with and I'm not too fond of showers in public bathrooms.  But I've done it and I've seen the benefits to our family.  

     For many years we enjoyed going out in the tent or the camper.  Little feet enjoyed biking and running etc.  We look back now and laugh at the times we were freezing at night.  Or so crowded in our camper that we could hear all the teeth grinding, sleep talking and snoring of everyone in the family.  But the key is we can laugh.  We look back and laugh at how we have made it.

     If you are a blended family or not what would you recommend to do to blend your family?  Sometimes stress is good.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Honey , You shrunk MY pants!!!!

My mind is swirling about things that I want to write about.  I want so badly to make a difference in people's
lives.  Then I think about how I have looked at others that have made a difference.  I thought of a great woman that has Really Truly made a difference in so many lives, and I think, I can't follow her, she's gotten divorced three times, what would she know about marriages.  Or another guy that speaks and does research, I think, wow, he doesn't have it together, he's on his fourth marriage!!!

Then, I look at myself, I'm on my second marriage, I don't always do what I tell others to do and my husband and I struggle at times to feel close.  I feel afraid to tell my husband some of my deepest feelings.  Then I read a little more I think a little more and I try a little more.

I say all this to encourage empathy.  No, not for me!! But for everyone.  I put myself in either of the two marriage leaders above and think about what they have accomplished.  One has done tremendous studies about empathetic listening.  No, he probably doesn't have it down pat, but maybe he's still trying like me.
The other writes wonderful books that encourages so many women in their marriages.  Maybe she didn't really cause the demise of her marriage, but made some choices unknowingly that lead to the divorce.

We don't know where others are coming from.  We tend to look at others with such critical eyes.   I am not saying to accept everything everyone says without discernment.  But we need to look at the whole picture.  Look with discerning eyes.

This should not get me off the hook in practicing what I preach.  I need to do what I suggest others to do.  I need to look at others and see the good first then discern what I believe.

Couples many times have a very hard time with this.  I have found in the many classes that I have taught that when a couple starts applying the skill of empathetic listening they seem to have a better ability to work through conflict.

No, empathetic listening is not the same as mirroring.  Many of my students tend to repeat whatever their spouse says without listening for the feelings behind it.  (I'm speaking to myself more than others)  Here's an example.  Husband:  "You shrank my favorite pair of pants, don't you know how to do the wash?"  Wife: "You're angry about your favorite pants being shrunk?"  Husband:  "No, I'm angry because this is the 3rd time you've done this?"  Wife:  "You are frustrated that I have done this more than one time and feel that I am not paying attention to the wash and what settings I put the machine on?"  Husband:  "Yes,  It seems that you get distracted when doing the laundry,  I would like you either to not do my clothes or check with me before you do the wash."  Wife, " so you would like for me to stop including your clothes with my clothes?"
 Husband, "No, if you would check with me I think it might work better and I can remind you of how to set it up.  ......

Believe it or not when you respectfully have conversation and mention each other's feelings and clarify the feelings behind it many conflicts can be worked through. The above conversation could be construed as non-respectful, so the other part of this is to convey respect in your body language too. 

Does anyone else have some experience with this or an example of how it worked for you? 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Date Nights ROCK!!

We have officially started our Date Night Program again.  Doing it a little different than before, still have the cards but we are adding a new technology with the app.  Why? Because our target audience is the 18-40 year olds and they have smart phones and know how to use them.  We have come to the conclusion that you DEFINITELY meet people where they are!!!

Why are we focusing on Date Nights?  "The Date Night Opportunity" was developed and reported on by the National marriage project out of the University of Virginia.  This report found that Date Nights helped with...
1. Communication
2. Increase in relationship quality with novelty
3. Eros  or romantic love
4. Commitment
5. De-Stress

With communication we hope to see couples having a chance to talk to each other without interruptions with the kids or work or house stuff.  With our Date Night Cards and App couples go to a restaurant (hopefully without the kids) they talk and catch up and hopefully talk about something besides problems.  They have a positive conversation.

With the novelty portion, they can have a chance to either dress up or have something to look forward to.  Novelty is just changing things up.  I've heard of some of the couples where the husband actually sets out her clothes and invites her quite romantically.  How fun.  On the app there are fun little surveys such as what kind of kisser are you.  Yes, it's silly and corny, but as I tell couples, we actually LOVE corny when it's just the two of us.

The Romantic love definitely increases.  For instance you feel special.  For many their "Love Language" is being addressed, such as spending quality time together.  Or Acts of Service when you go to the effort to make the arrangements for the date and babysitting.  Or Words of Affirmation, going through the question or just telling your spouse you appreciate them for taking the time to spend with you.  Or Physical touch- well, the Romantic Love will increase this and hopefully there will be some of this even if it's just handholding.  And the Gift of just giving the card is great.  So Romance is involved with meeting the love language.

The Commitment is definitely increased because you are having fun together.  Who wants to stay with someone if you're not having fun?  And commitment to the Date Nights each month with prove your commitment.

And lastly it is definitely a De-Stresser unless you have a Date Night like the one on the movie Tina Fey and Steve Carell from "Date Night" had.  Too funny!  I really don't think that will happen around here.  I know it helps me to De-Stress because my husband gets me away from everything.  I love it!!

Why do you enjoy Date Night?  Can you give us some good reasons that you have developed this good habit for your marriage?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Insecurities!! Communication?

Recently John and I had a disagreement, ok, ok, it was a bit of a fight.  I hate to admit it, but we do not always do our communication very well, and many times it is more me than him.  Well, Christmas brings a lot of stress, and our home was no exception.  We had places to go and people to see and people coming and going.  Both of us had our feelings hurt and expectations were not met.  Not a real good situation.  Well, after all had left and it was just John and myself, I felt some snide remarks coming my way and I will be honest, I had my silent slip away avoid the conflict moments too.  Neither one of us has this conflict stuff down pat, we are getting a bit better but not there yet.

Well, I said the dreaded "We need to talk, can we do that now or set a time".  Silence and "I don't want to talk about it now".  Well, we went a day and I asked again, "Can we talk after church?"  "Yes, we can take a ride and talk!"  Not much enthusiasm there.  Friday night, I left him alone, Saturday we went through the motions at church and returned.  He wanted to nap, ok?  Ok.  When we woke up, I once again asked, "Can we go ahead and talk?  I don't like the walls that are being built up."

He then shared with me some great wisdom that I really needed to know about him.  He told me that the night before he had a dream that he was being interrogated in a courtroom.  That he woke up dreading that interrogation, and told me that is what he feels like when I say "We need to Talk!".  Wow! That was an eye-opener.  I could actually feel the awful feelings when you feel interrogated.  I got an ugly picture of myself.  He also shared that life was very stressful in two other areas of his life i.e. work and finances and to have this conflict added to it was more stress than he could bare.  He then apologized for some things he said.  But what he said next was what made the difference,  he told me that we have all kinds of stuff that we disagree on, we eventually work it through but we have decided we are not going to separate over it.  That was a security that I needed to hear.  I just wanted to know that the relationship was secure and that we would get through this as we had before.

Most of us women are looking for security.  We want to know that everything's going to be ok
eventually.  I am more than willing to keep working on things and forgive a lot quicker if I know he's heard me and I know he's not going any where.  I guess he wants security maybe in another way which actually means that I'm really not going to leave him because of other things going on.  He wants me to listen and support him through the tough times.

That's teamwork.  I wish I would know what's going on in the future, but I can deal with it if I know we are still together.   What do you think?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I Have a DREAM!! And it's Scary to Share it!!

Yesterday as I was working frantically to catch up with seeing patients.  I looked on my schedule and recognize a couple of names of some little girls that I have seen for a couple of years.  I was saddened to learn that they were back into the custody of DFCS and their sister was now with them.  Their story is heartbreaking to me, but all too familiar.  Dad abandoned three older children and their mother when they were very young and mother had a stepdad that had started molesting the oldest daughter.  The oldest daughter did not see anything wrong and was very upset that she was taken away from the situation (she was 12) while the middle sister saw there was a problem, even the mother would not admit there was a problem.  The poor middle child is being alienated and hated by her mother and sister.  What a horrible way to grow up!!! 

We hear these stories and we kinda know they are happening but because they are not REALLY in our world we can say, there's nothing I can do about that!!!  I've been guilty of the same thoughts!  We say oh that's awful and we go on with our lives.  Their lives are very hard to change and the problems catapult to the next generation to continue the dysfunctionality as they go on to make their lives.  My heart hurts when I walk out of these rooms.  Maybe I just see more stuff, I don't know.  

I have a dream to see these scenarios decreased in our community!!! I want to see children able to grow up feeling loved and appreciated.  That they will see they have talents and gifts that need to be shared with the world. That each child is cherished and knows that Jesus loves them too.  I may be taking a risk in saying this, because you may be saying right now, here she goes again!! For some reason I know that God has placed this passion in my heart!  

Any way,  here's my dream to see us make a difference here!! We have approximately 50% of our families in our communities in NW Georgia that are not churched.  We have 75% of our children growing up without both of their parents in the home.  We have a community that is struggling with unemployment.  It's like I know the secret to the problem!!! It's our families.  What can we do!!!?

A couple of years ago I realized one of my dreams to help with this
 situation.  In 2012 Gary Chapman came to our Trade Center and we saw over 1600 people come to this event.  So many marriages were touched and changed.  We could help them then get into the churches that are wanting to work with families and couples to help them thrive.  It was very expensive to bring Gary here.  But he was known to so many people I knew it would have to be him to bring the people out.  Now how do we follow this and bring another GREAT speaker that will get the attention of our families?  Who is it?  I think I know who it is, but I also know my little organization cannot bring him by ourselves.  The expenses are around $20,000 each time you do this.  Our community has a challenge in that they don't come out to events that are local till the last minute so it's hard to get a good strong audience.  

So you ask me Who is it and How do you do this?  Well, I keep having the same thought come to mind.  We have to work together as a community.  Who is it that wants to work with couples and help them?  Who has the ability to encourage a strong crowd?  Who might be able to help monetarily to be able to make this happen?  Who would people that don't go to church come out to see?  Who would bring a crowd greater than 1000 ?  Who would hit our target audience of 18-40?  

Ok, here's my idea and I just read in the Book "The Circle Maker" - Dream Big, have BHAG's and "Take Captive Every Thought".  Ok, here it goes.  Is there a possibility we can get ten churches to come on board again to do this thing?  Are there ten churches that have a heart for marriage and family ministry?  Are there churches that are willing to let their guard down and join with other churches to make a bigger difference and work as a team?  Are there ten churches that would encourage their church to attend and volunteer?  Are there ten churches willing to do follow up?  Are there ten churches to step out and risk their money for our community?  Are their ten churches that are willing to risk this to see God work?  

Then my next dream to answer, who needs to come?  I believe it needs to be someone that has celebrity and people recognize their name, and not just "Church People".  We need to reach the unchurched!  I believe that it needs to be someone that men can relate to and would say "Hey that would be cool to go to".  It needs to be someone that has a passion for helping people and for seeing God do GREAT things.  

So who do I think needs to come?  Ok, don't laugh,  It's GOT to be "Duck Dynasty"!!! They have got to come to our area.  They have a passion for marriage and families.  The oldest brother Alan and his wife Lisa have written a book on marriage that will be coming out in the next few months.  I did not know this before I started talking about this,  I just learned it when I spoke with the manager.  

Well, now you tell me, just do it?  Well, easier said that done!!  The cost is $17000 for them to come. Is there a church that could afford to do this?  Maybe!!  But we need a bunch of churches to make it happen to get people there.  We need to have lots of people talking.  It's a little more complicated than "If you build it they will come".  

Ok  I shared my dream.  I risked falling flat on my face and people laughing at me.  I will continue to pray but I keep having this same dream come to me.  It's a BHAG it would only be a miracle for this to happen.  Sometimes I get scared when I share a dream, it's kinda like if you tell it, it won't come true.  So maybe that's the case here.  I don't know, but it's now out there and in a mighty God's hands and if it's His dream and it will glorify him, I believe it will happen and there will be churches and Godly men and women that will step up to make this happen.  Let's see what God will do!!