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    What Do You Need To Take A Break From? – Even If It’s Only For A Day

What Do You Need To Take A Break From? – Even If It’s Only For A Day

A couple weekends ago we were able to have our kids spend the night at Kari’s parent’s house. We went to a party that night and didn’t want to be rushed to get home for a babysitter.  After the party, we came home to a quiet, empty home. If you have kids, you know how strange it is to have quiet and empty. 

The break from our kids was great for us and for our kids. The next morning was very relaxing. We were able to have an uninterrupted breakfast and enjoy conversation. After breakfast, we drove off to church. It was strange to not have the kids. So much easier. You just hop out of the car and walk in. No fussing with bags, car seats, or kids.

After church, we picked up the kids from Kari’s parent’s house. Something stood out to me through all this. For us to take a break from our kids was really healthy.
What Do You Need To Take A Break From?
You may or may not be a parent, but we all need a break. The refreshing experience of a relaxing evening and morning were great for Kari and me. What do you need a break from?

Our break was from the noise and the busy-ness that is most evenings and mornings. They aren’t chaotic, but they are busy and that can be tiring and difficult.

Each of us should take a break from time to time. Whether it’s from the kids, our job or something else, breaks are necessary. After reading the question did something immediately come to mind that you need a break from?

Take 30-seconds to close your eyes and reflect on what you need a break from…

Did you do it? […]

By |November 20th, 2017|Relationships|0 Comments

What My Honda Civic Taught Me About Relationships

When I was 16 years old, I had a girlfriend who lived about 25 minutes from my parent’s house. My parents and I had recently split the cost of a 1997 Honda Civic and all of the sudden, I had a new freedom.

It was easy to drive and very comfortable. It was a great car. The problem was that I got too comfortable.

I drove back and forth to my girlfriend’s house so often and I was so comfortable in the routine of the drive and my car that I went into autopilot as I drove. I would find myself turning into my parents’ driveway, parking my car under their sycamore tree, and not remembering how I got there.

The 25 minutes would pass, but I wouldn’t remember the stop signs or making the various turns. It was automatic. I was lost in my thoughts in la-la land, and it was dangerous.
Get Out of the Routine
When I would suddenly find myself at home without remembering much of the drive, the drive had become routine and it didn’t keep my attention. I had gotten lazy driving. Have you ever experienced this when driving before? That road hypnosis.

Now think about this perspective. Think about it from the perspective of the relationships you are in. Have you experienced this laziness or lack of attention or autopilot in relationships?

Steve Sisler world renown behavioral profiler and he said something that I believe ties into this. He said, “A way to cure insignificance is to make other people significant. Be content with being nobody and valuing everybody.”

What he saying is to cure our need to be significant, we have to get out of the way. When we only pay attention to ourselves, […]

By |August 13th, 2017|Relationships|0 Comments
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    Never Say Never Is Crucial To Great Communication. Learn Why!

Never Say Never Is Crucial To Great Communication. Learn Why!

When you never say never in your conversations and especially in arguments, you destroy the walls that prevent great communication. Jennifer and John teach us what it looks like to get this wrong.

In exasperation Jennifer tells her husband, “you never do the dishes, you’re always sitting around after dinner and you never help!” John gives his wife a passing glance and then goes back to his iPhone. “I always make dinner and do the dishes,” Jennifer says almost in tears.

John mutters, “Why are you always nagging me about the little things? You never mow the lawn and I always wash the cars. I never make a big deal about that!” Pleased with his retort, John gets up from the dinner table and plops down on the couch to continue watching YouTube on his phone.
Ruthlessly Eliminate Always and Never
If you want to change the way you argue and communicate, ruthlessly eliminate always and never from your arguments. Never say never again!

Have you ever had an argument like this with your spouse or significant other? I know I have. This type of argument doesn’t end well for anyone. If you hear or say the words never or always in an argument, you’re in for a world of hurt. These two words are rarely accurate and immediately create communication problems.

Think back to your last argument. Did you use never or always” as part of the points you were making? Or perhaps, the points being made against you?

So how do we eliminate these words from our arguments?
Start By Recognizing the Foolishness of This Type of Communication
Let’s look at some of the damaging statements we’ve all said or heard.

You never listen to me.
I never said that.
You never told me that.
You always get […]

By |March 27th, 2017|Relationships|0 Comments

Oh The Joys of Holiday Travel

Holiday travel is always an adventure, sometimes more than others. We’ve all had to deal with some traveling nightmares, here’s my version of many of the frustrating (and funny) traveling experiences we’ve all had. Read on and I hope you enjoy.
The Fun Begins at Check-In
Let’s begin with the check-in line. Your journey begins with a line to check your bags is too long. Someone in front of you is not fully prepared and they forgot to label their luggage, can’t find their ID or have too big of a carry-on. After this line, you get to the line where they frisk you, I mean where the TSA does their screening, and people always have 17 laptops, metal everywhere, and a child who doesn’t listen to his or her parents.
Once you get through that circus you have to redress yourself and find all your crap. Inevitably someone is bumping you or doesn’t understand personal space. They are talking way too close to your ear about something they can’t find. Somehow they have four of those gray containers and can’t seem to locate all their stuff. Eventually reaching into your bin and searching through your items. You quickly pull your laptop, shoes, and belt out and find a place away from the chaos to get redressed.
After you get your pants cinched up with your belt and gather your carry-on and other junk, you go off to wait at your gate. If you’re lucky, you find a seat that is at least semi-private, but of course, the cute couple that is going on a trip together decides to sit next to you and talk loudly about their soon to come adventures.
After burying your head in a game of Angry […]

By |January 2nd, 2017|Relationships|0 Comments

Change Your Relationship Patterns in 2017

In what ways can you change in your life? Building your future is a challenge that is worth taking on. It takes hard work and smart decision making, but it is worth the time and effort. In this short post, we will explore a few questions to ask yourself in relationships and be challenged to begin changing our patterns and behaviors in this area.
In the book Motivational Interviewing by William R. Miller and Stephen Rollnick,  they speak of change and how we talk ourselves in and out of things all the time. They use the word ambivalence and it is the perfect word to describe our tendency to waiver from wanting to change our diet to eating the unhealthy food. Vacillating on seeking a promotion or not, changing jobs or not, purchasing the vehicle or sticking with the one you have.
There are 1000s of areas in which we can find ourselves being ambivalent. The answers are not simple to come by, but the questions are. This is where the process of using a the LifeMap book and workbook can be so helpful. How many times has someone talked you into or out of doing something? Now, how many times have you talked yourself into or out of something?
This simple idea is why the LifeMap questions and process are so effective. To effect real change in yourself start by asking the right questions and honestly answer. Your ambivalence will fade and progress can begin to be made. Take the following questions from Phase 2 of the workbook in the Relational section as an example of areas where change can begin in your life.

Change in Your Relational Life

What would it look like for you to be fully […]

By |December 26th, 2016|Relationships|0 Comments

Birthday Letter To Annaliese

As I write this birthday letter to you, I am reminded of the day, five years ago, you came into my life. My first born child. Beautiful and tiny. I remember being so excited to meet you and love you. I had tears streaming down my face and falling to the floor as I saw my new baby girl. I loved you before I knew you outside of your mommy and I loved you more deeply the moment I saw you.

I loved you still more deeply the first time I held you. The beautiful thing is five years later I love you even more. Your enthusiasm, joy, laughter, and passion for life fills me with my own joy and passion for life. You are an amazing daughter and an amazing little girl. You are a light in my life that shines brighter than I knew was possible. Your ability to light up a room and soften people’s hearts is so evident.
I Am Proud Of Who You Are
God has created you to be His princess and to be loved by Him. As your precious faith grows, the passion, joy, enthusiasm, and laughter comes from the gifting he has given you. I pray you would lean into the talents God gives you and remain passionate and full of joy for your whole life.

Even at five years old, you are capable of doing so much. I am so proud of what you are learning in Spanish class, your ability to ride bikes, your heart for others, your compassion for your sisters, and your willingness to learn from your mistakes plus so much more. You will be a leader in your life, you have the heart of a compassionate […]

By |November 25th, 2016|Relationships|0 Comments

10 Ways to Show Love To Others

Love is the preeminent emotion. But it is also the hardest to wrap our heads around and to do well. Yet, love is simple. To show love to a stranger or someone you know is one of the most powerful things we can do for one another. As you read through the list, which ways do you find yourself loving others? Would some of these be effective in your relationships?

When we show love, anger is slowed and controlled by a willingness to love. Shame is transformed into encouragement and joy by the kindness of love when we express it or when it is expressed toward us. Sadness is overcome only by the gentle touch or listening ear of someone who loves us. Fear fades and trust invades when we allow others to love us through our fears.
Here are 10 ways to demonstrate love:

Learn how to become more patient by spending time in situations that require patience. This can include waiting in lines, waiting at stoplights, sitting in work meetings, asking people to do things for you, and talking less and listening more.

Find ways to be kind to others. Smile at strangers, say “please” and “thank you,” open the door for others, hug family members and friends a bit longer than normal, or compliment a friend or your spouse on something he or she did well.

Show love by giving away your time, abilities, and money to others. Find people who need these precious commodities, and freely give them away. This helps keep us humble and demonstrates a selfless attitude.

Forgive, forgive again, and then forgive some more. Then, turn around and ask for forgiveness.

Find ways to say encouraging things about people — […]

By |October 17th, 2016|Relationships|0 Comments

Worthwhile Friendships Require Extra Effort

For the last 5 years, Kari and I have had an annual get together with some friends from California. It is always fun. Everyone makes an effort to reconnect either in Washington or California and a couple weeks ago our friends flew out to Bellingham, Washington, to stay at our place.
With one family over 900 miles away and the other over 1100 miles, it hasn’t been easy but it’s been worth it to connect. Once everyone arrived, we had a home full of 8 children under the age of 5 and six adults, it was a bit crazy, but fun. I’m not sure there was a moment of quite in our house from 6am to 12am those 3 days!
This experience reminded me of how much I value these friendships.
Coordinating this many people’s schedules is a big challenge and when you add in the kids, it becomes even more difficult. If you have young kids, you know traveling long distances on planes and in cars is not always easy! For us, the logistics of hosting this many people and kids was a challenge too. But with an RV in the driveway, a bunch of sleeping bags and blow up mattresses, we made it work. As I think about the fun of the weekend and the challenges to make it happen, a couple things about friendships come to mind.

If we want our friendships to last we have to put in the extra time and energy.
The relationships that last and have the most meaning are the ones we put the most time and energy into. Whether people are close or far, friendships where people put in the extra effort and go out of their way to see each other […]

By |October 10th, 2016|Relationships|0 Comments
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    Being Present Is More Important Than Solving Your Kids Problems

Being Present Is More Important Than Solving Your Kids Problems

I don’t hold my newborn baby girl, Lydia, very often. I find it a bit frustrating. Maybe that’s bad or maybe it’s not, but it’s true. It seems like something that I am not that equipped to do. Especially when she is crying I don’t really have the proper “equipment” to help, if you know what I mean. Making me feel a bit less useful and at times tempting me to step away.
I think there is a lesson in this, though. Even when I feel like my parenting skills aren’t matching the need of the situation, sometimes my presence is more important than resolving the problem or situation. Many times Lydia will cry and I can’t console her and so she has to go to Kari, but to not participate because I can’t offer her what I don’t have is to rob Lydia and myself of an opportunity to connect and bond.
I think this is a basic principle that can fit any situation in my parenting life. When I am not equipped to resolve the temper, crying, emotions, or situation it’s about being present in the moment not “fixing”. As a dad, I want to resolve the situations and problems, but when I’m not equipped to I struggle to be okay with that.
I think Lydia is showing me this through her crying. Sometimes just being present is far more powerful and important than resolving the problem. The parenting fail on my part would be to step away from the challenge. Not failing to resolve a problem. I’m choosing now to be a dad who is present and available even when I don’t have the skills to help.

My Parenting Prayer
Lord, help me to be more present […]

By |September 26th, 2016|Relationships|0 Comments