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MORNING MOMENTS WITH GOD

Posted in Uncategorized on January 17, 2014 by hmclaughlin

Grace Fox - Morning Moments with God One of the most powerful ways to strengthen our marriages, refuel our passion and refresh our soul, is by beginning our day in God’s word. My friend GRACE FOX has written a terrific book called MORNING MOMENTS WITH GOD. I am presently using it in my personal morning devotions. I’m afraid I can’t stick to just one devotion per day, they are so inspiring that I just want to keep going.
So how do we develop a life of beginning our day in God’s word. Here are GRACE’S own words:

Every morning before my household wakes, I tiptoe downstairs, pour a cup of coffee, and settle into my leather loveseat for quiet time with God. Bible and journal in hand, I spend an hour delving into the Scriptures where—without fail—I discover nuggets of life-¬‐changing truth.
I regard this “sacred habit” not as a duty, but as a delight. It’s a discipline I guard selfishly. The benefits of maintaining it far outweigh the effort.
Spending time with God in this way helps me get to know Him better. I learn more about His thoughts regarding marriage, purity, communication skills, priorities, money, and other matters relevant to my every day life. I learn to view life and people through His eyes, and my perspective matures as I allow His thoughts pervade mine.
For instance, if unforeseen circumstances complicate my schedule, I’m now able to rest in knowing that God is in control rather than fussing and fuming about the unexpected changes. If someone behaves unkindly toward me, I resist the urge to do likewise and, instead, pray that God will meet that person at her deepest point of need. I now understand His compassion for the poor, the widow, and the orphan, and I share His desire to, in as much as is possible, live at peace with all men.
Spending time with God and thereby becoming more and more familiar with His promises also changes the way I view myself. The knowledge of His forgiveness and restoration washes away discouragement due to failure. His guarantee to equip me to do His work calms my fears of inadequacy. His assurance of divine strength carries me when I feel weak.
Establishing a daily quiet time with God transforms me, and it will do the same for all who pursue this discipline of delight. Here are a few suggestions to get started and to keep your time with Him vibrant:
• Decide what time of day works best for you. Early morning suits me now, but that wasn’t always the case. When my kids were toddlers, I snatched a few minutes when they napped. Some women use their lunch breaks. Some prefer to spend a few minutes with God at bedtime. Circumstances and life seasons change, so be flexible.
• Create your own “sacred space.” Find a place that’s welcoming and make it your own. Ensure good lighting. Keep a basket nearby to hold your Bible, journal, and study resources so you don’t waste time hunting for these things.
• Choose a Bible version that’s easy to understand. I’ve used the New International Version and New American Standard Version in the past. Currently I use the New Living Translation. You might prefer a different version. That’s okay—each to his own.
• Set realistic goals. I read only one or two verses per day when my kids were young and my time with God was limited. Now I read through the Bible in a year using the New Living Translation’s One Year Bible. It’s better to do what works than to set unrealistic goals and then quit because they’re unattainable.
• Keep a journal. Some people write their insights in great depth. Others write only a single thought or a short prayer. Do what suits your nature knowing that journaling serves a dual purpose: Writing the insights you glean helps you process and remember them, and it enables you to see how you’ve grown spiritually over time.
• Add variety. Over the years, I’ve supplemented (not replaced) my Bible reading with a good devotional book or a women’s Bible study. Occasionally I’ll play quiet worship music, close my eyes, and meditate on the lyrics. Sometimes I read the Psalms aloud to the Lord. Often I read the Word and then go for a walk, praying aloud as I go.
• Regard it as a special time to build your friendship with God. Several years ago, I thought I’d multi-¬‐task by using my quiet time to prepare a women’s Sunday school class I taught. I soon realized that I was cheating myself and God. As author Bruce Wilkinson writes, I’d become an expert at serving God and a novice at being His friend. Ouch! Ensure that your goal is to become an expert at being His friend.
• Ask God to speak to you. When we meet with a good friend, we enjoy a two-¬‐way conversation. The same is true when we spend time with God. He invites us to tell Him our needs and concerns, but He desires to communicate His heart with us, too. So, go ahead— share your thoughts with Him but be still and listen for His voice, too. Write down what He says.
• Avoid compartmentalizing your quiet time with God. What new insights did you learn about God’s character? What instructions did He give? What promises did He offer? Now take these thoughts gleaned in your “sacred space” and apply them as you go throughout your day. That’s when change truly occurs.
My prayer for you is that your quiet time with God will be a duty of sheer delight. “My heart has heard you say, ‘Come and talk with me.’ And my heart responds, ‘LORD, I am coming’” (Psalm 27:8).

Grace Fox is a missionary, an international speaker at women’s events, and the author of seven books. Her newest release, Morning Moments with God: Devotions for the Busy Woman (Harvest House) is filled with more than 150 snippets of spiritual encouragements designed to draw readers into a more intimate walk with God. Purchase the book here:
• Bookstores nationwide
• Amazon
• Deeper Shopping – http://tinyurl.com/p78akrj
Book Grace for your next retreat or conference: http://www.gracefox.com or 604-¬‐755-¬‐8285.
© Grace Fox 2014
http://tinyurl.com/mcm9sf8

UNLEASHING THE K.I.S.S. MARRIAGE – When your husband is stimulated by CHAOS and you thrive on PEACE

Posted in Beauty from the Inside Out, Boring marriage, chaos, Commitment, companionship, Conflict, Differences, Encouragement, Expectations, Faith, Friendship, fUN, Good Marriage, Harmony, Intimacy, Making Wise Choices, Overcoming Struggles, Peace, Respect, Uncategorized, Understanding each other with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 6, 2013 by hmclaughlin

Family Lying on Grass

Books can’t prepare you for this. Life is just not perfect.
Real marriage starts when you wake up with someone day after day, through the laughter and the stomach flu; that you really find out who this” other person” is. While we are in the dating and “chemical stage” (pleasure chemicals flowing through our bodies) we don’t really let people know the authentic, and even darker sides of our personality.

I had the great pleasure of observing a 21 year marriage recently, where the husband and wife have learned to cohabitate in chaos and in peace. The husband is stimulated by chaos. What I mean by that is that his office looks like the aftermath of a hurricane, yet he knows where everything is and everything gets all his work done successfully. While is he on his phone he is also able to fix machinery, empty a dishwasher, check invoices and break up children’s squabbles. He is always good natured, kind, generous, very energetic and one of the nicest people I know. Yes he flourishes in chaos.

The wife thrives on peace. She loves everything clean, quiet, planned and organized. Her “space” is a beautiful corner in their home with a comfortable chair, footstool, soft accessories and it exudes…Peace. She is tender, very generous, takes time to create loving and intimate friendships and exemplifies the fruit of a beautiful inner spirit.

How has this couple learned to thrive in this marriage?
1. They have learned, (sometimes painfully) how to live out: “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you…” (Romans 15:7).
2. They realize this is who they are. They don’t try to change each other but RESPECT each other’s differences.
3. They support each other through their differences. She allows him to have his messy office and he graciously and lovingly built her a corner “She Space.”
4. They have learned to compliment and help each other. What that means is this: Sometimes those of us who are too laid back and quiet need a nudge of adventure and chaos to get up out of our comfort zones. Yet sometimes those of us who are too chaotic need someone to slow us down and let us find the joy and contentment in being quiet and still.
5. They have asked God for wisdom to know when it is time to step in and push the boundaries when things are too chaotic or too quiet.
6. They have learned that the most important aspect of their marriage is “not to fight with each other, but to fight FOR the good values in their marriage”.
7. I have observed that both of these personalities add good value into their children’s lives. Their children are learning about different ways of handling “life” and how to function in these different elements. They are also learning how to resolve conflict.
8. There is no plan “B”. When this couple said their vows to love each other until “death parted them” they made a covenant with God to honor those vows. When we know there is no back door where we can escape when life gets hard, we struggle through the tough stuff and reap the fruit of fulfillment and success.

A marriage would be very comfortable (and boring) if we all had the same personalities. But I know that God has placed a husband and wife in a marriage so that each person can grow to be the very best that God created them to be. If we realized this simple yet hard concept, I believe our divorce rate would plummet drastically. It’s hard work…but very worth it.

UNLEASHING THE K.I.S.S. MARRIAGE- “Put Fun Back In your Marriage”

Posted in Balancing life, Beauty from the Inside Out, Boring marriage, Communication, companionship, Conflict, dopamine, Encouragement, Expectations, Freedom from Busyness, Friendship, fUN, Good Marriage, Intimacy, Laughter, Norepinephrine, Pleasure, Uncategorized, Understanding each other with tags , , , , , , , , on August 5, 2013 by hmclaughlin

Is your marriage fun
Laughter cuts tension and breaks down barriers. I observed this concept in my own children when they were little. I watched them play, and then fight, and then laugh hilariously about something silly. In the aftermath of that refreshing laughter, they completely forgot they were mad at each other. This concept still applies to us grown-ups. Life can get very serious these days and we desperately need to learn to laugh again. Yes, the butterflies of early romance quickly flutter away, but they can be replaced by something more substantive.

In a New York Times article i. entitled Reinventing Date Night for Long-Married Couples, the writer concludes that “Simply spending quality time together is probably not enough to prevent a relationship from getting stale.” We’ve all heard the phrase “familiarity breeds contempt’ and I also believe that none of us want to become that “old boring couple”. I am passionate about the fact that we must intentionally put fun and laughter back into our marriages. We need to do this so that we can remember we really do still LIKE each other.

My husband and I have a lot of serious stuff going on in our lives. He is a pastor and I am an author, speaker and controller of a large car dealership; plus we have a large family. I also have an aging mother and we are that point in our lives where grandchildren are leaving home and travelling all over the world. But we both know that in order to keep our marriage fresh, vibrant and healthy, we must intentionally make time to have fun and laugh.

Our brains are created and wired for pleasure. The New York Times further states: “New experiences activate the brain’s reward system, flooding it with dopamine and norepinephrine. These are the same brain circuits that are ignited in early romantic love, a time of exhilaration and obsessive thoughts about a new partner.” Frankly, if spouses don’t find the fun in their marriages, they will pursue it somewhere else.

Here are some tips to re-kindle the spark and re-activate the brain:
1. Be INTENTIONAL about creating some fun. My husband and I love to golf at different golf courses and we make intentional plans to attend football games in other cities. I hear of other couples taking dance lessons, hiking trips or something as simple as a different restaurant or a funny movie.
2. Be CREATIVE. Doing the same thing and re-visiting the same familiar haunts takes you down the same boring path. Try something new and tailor your date nights or activities with some novelty and fun.
3. BRAINSTORM together. The simple process of brainstorming together can be part of the fun factor. Be open to each other’s ideas and don’t dismiss each other’s different perspectives.
4. Protect your fun times from CONFLICT. If the activity is not working out the way you anticipated, protect is from conflict and agree to discuss the issue the next day. Take this opportunity to go out and just enjoy each other’s company.
5. Share FUNNY STORIES. My husband and I love to share funny incidents that occurred during the day. Look for the simple, funny things all around us and take the time to laugh about them.
6. Do the BIG SWITCH. Decide to have a happy marriage. Decide that you will not become that old boring couple that sits across from each other in the restaurant without saying one word to each other.

Marriage was created to be the most enjoyable and intimate relationship we will have in this life. This does not happen organically or automatically. It takes some work and I know you can do it.

i. http://www.reuniting.info/science/reinventing_date_night_for_long_married_couples

UNLEASHING THE K.I.S.S. MARRIAGE-“A Home Called Harmony”

Posted in Balancing life, Beauty from the Inside Out, Commitment, Communication, Encouragement, Expectations, Friendship, Good Marriage, Harmony, Intimacy, Kindness, Life of Jesus, Making Wise Choices, Pleasure, power of words, Prayer, Respect, Uncategorized, Understanding each other, Valued with tags , , , , , , , on June 14, 2013 by hmclaughlin

100_2633Through 48 years consisting of 2 marriages, I have learned the significant parts that husbands have in alleviating family stress and tension and promoting peace and harmony.It simply requires that a man step up to be proactive, rather than withdrawing and isolating himself from what goes on in the home.
I experienced a very positive example of this several years when my wife Heidi and I were invited to spend a weekend with a couple and their three children. We looked forward to the visit with keen anticipation of skiing on one of our British Columbia, Canada’s most outstanding mountains.It is to be understood that preparation for a family ski trip can be fairly chaotic with the amount of equipment that walks away and the socks that are eaten by the clothes dryer. However, in this case, the preparation for the departure was a thing of beauty.
We woke up to the smell of coffee and quickly encountered a fresh and tantalizing breakfast set out on the kitchen table. We soon discovered that this did not happen by accident. It was the husband who had been up early and had already packed all the skies and poles for the entire family into a Van roof top container. Gloves, socks and goggles had been inserted into each person’s boots and all the boots and helmets were assembled and lined up in categories at the back door. All we had to do at this point was was pick up our belongings, our prepared bagged lunch and head out the back door.
I attribute our peaceful getaway to the willingness of the dad to anticipate and defuse the possibility of confusion and tension. I might add that the children are now grown up, and through their father’s example, are completely adept of taking care of their own gear.
Husbands can facilitate harmony in the home through their actions for which we use the term “Greasing the Skids”, which means: “wanting something to go smoothly”. The origin of the phrase comes from the practice of constructing ships on a set of rails, also known as skids. When the ship was ready to be launched, the skids were covered in grease to reduce the friction and the supporting blocks were knocked loose, so that the ship could slip easily, into the water and then to the sea.
With the many forms of pressure that families face inside and outside the home, I believe that there are many things that husbands can do to create a harmonious atmosphere and release each member of the family to achieve their God given potential:

1. I have found that it is helpful to anticipate times when there is potential for added family stress. Those would include such times as meals, trips, guest visits to say nothing of preparation for Sunday church. Working with your wife, assisting in anything from peeling potatoes or carrots to cleaning up after her as she prepares the meals, goes a long way to enhance team like harmony.
2. I have learned the importance of praying with my wife; particularly when she is faced with challenging situations.Those who are tech savvy may wish to text a prayer and declaration of love and support. This is also true of our sons and daughters. A verbal or written blessing is extremely important.
3. I have learned how to make sure that my wife is spiritually and intellectually fed, particularly during periods of her life when her primary responsibility is the home. Share with her interesting ideas and books that you are reading. Encourage her to pursue interests in learning new skills through offering to take care of the house and providing creative financial support. I might add that I have also learned that facilitating a wife’s shopping and spending time with her friends is also very important.
While I could offer scores of suggestions, I have learned that it all begins with my personal desire to do whatever is necessary to achieve “God given harmony” in my home.

UNLEASHING THE K.I.S.S. MARRIAGE – “IF YOU HAD ONE WISH”

Posted in Anticipation, Beauty through Boldness, Commitment, Expectations, Friendship, Good Marriage, Intimacy, Life of Jesus, Making Wise Choices, Overcoming Struggles, Pleasure, Prayer, Resentment, Uncategorized, Understanding each other with tags , , , , , , , on April 13, 2013 by hmclaughlin

Girl Dressed as a Fairy for a Birthday Party
If I had one wish that would get answered with the snap of a finger, it would be “to help restore marriages so that everyone can enjoy the pleasure and intimacy in the way God designed marriages to be.” It breaks my heart to see spouses angry, unhappy, resentful and turning to the searing pain of divorce.

If you had one wish for YOUR marriage to make it the way you envisioned it to be, what would that be? But let’s take it one step further, because marriages need more than a wish and a swish of a magical wand. A wish can sometimes look like this: Wishing you spouse would stop leaving socks on the floor, start putting down the toilet seat, stop playing so much golf, stop working so much, start helping with the children at bath time. Wishing something supernaturally would fall from the sky to change the dynamics and picture.

Let’s change that “wishing” to an “expectation.”
They look the same but there is a difference. “Expectations” put action (legs) to the word “wish”. We EXPECT something to happen or change. We no longer TOLERATE the status quo and we work towards helping to make that change. We open our hearts to embrace the change that needs to happen and we will assist, co-operate, make plans and partner with our spouses to bring about the needed change. Here are some examples:
1. My friend Larry’s wife had an aneurysm and he wrote about it on my previous blog. He did not just “wish” his wife Janet to heal and recover; he expected it to happen. He made a commitment to his wife to live up to his marriage vows. Every day he prays and asks God for help, he expects his friends and neighbors to jump in and help when necessary, and he actually puts words to his requests so that he knows this will happen.
2. In my first marriage I always wished that my husband would know when I was tired and needed help in the kitchen. I wished he would take his eyes off the Monday night football TV screen and rush into the kitchen or laundry room to help me. It never happened. I was no longer satisfied with the present status quo and realized my “wishing” was getting me nowhere. I then used words to express my “expectations” that I needed help and clearly explained what that help looked like. It perpetuated the desired change.
3. In my present marriage I expect my husband to help me with my income tax, advise me on my car repairs, speak to me kindly and to take out the garbage each Monday. I don’t just “wish” for this to happen, I have put words to those expectations and we have a mutual understanding that this will transpire. It does.

Because of my husband’s and my mutual desire to have a loving, strong and intimate marriage, we don’t silently wish for something to happen, we use words to express our expectations and then EXPECT them to happen. When they don’t happen, we talk about it.

Turning a wish into an expectation can turn resentment into appreciation and love. But we can’t successfully do this on our own, we need God’s help to guide us through this process. The Bible puts it this way: “In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation” (Psalm 5:3 NIV).

We pray to God with clear words of expectation for Him to help us in our marriage. Marriage can be hard and we need a supernatural power to guide us through the complicated maze of turning wishes into fulfilling expectations. This is much bigger than ourselves; God created marriage to be good and He is the One who can help make this happen.
What is one wish…no expectation…that you have for your marriage? Ask God help you and then expect it to happen.

UNLEASHING THE K.I.S.S. MARRIAGE – 8 THINGS WOMEN DISLIKE WHAT MEN DO.

Posted in Beauty through Boldness, Communication, Control, Encouragement, Expectations, Finding Truth, Friendship, Good Marriage, Hope, Intimacy, Kindness, Life of Jesus, Listening, Making Wise Choices, Overcoming Struggles, Pleasure, Power of the Tongue, Tension, Uncategorized, Understanding each other, Valued with tags , , , , , , on February 16, 2013 by hmclaughlin

???????????
No wonder there is conflict in marriages. After conducting these surveys I am convinced that men and women come from two different planets. But we are all magnificently and wonderfully made and it is up to us to unleash the mystery of our polarities. I believe with all my heart that God puts two people together to “sandpaper them into the glorious creations He designed them to become.” Let’s not sabotage that process due to our ignorance. OK men, are you ready to hear what women dislike what you do or don’t do?
PLEASE READ TO THE END OF THE BLOG FOR A POWERFUL AND PRACTICAL CHALLENGE.
1. Clam-up Charlie-This one spoke so loud I almost had to cover my ears. Women dislike it that men dismiss the value of honest and forthright communication.
• When they clam up and not say anything because they feel that what they say “won’t matter anyway.”
• When they want you to dismiss the details and get to the bottom line summary.
• When they keep things to themselves and then blow up when it gets to be too much.
• When they hear only what they want to hear.
• Lack of admission when something is bothering them.
2. Eddie the Egomaniac-Many women understand that men find fulfillment in their occupations and providing for their families. But women dislike it when men make their occupation their identity; always talking about how important they are in their line of work. We dislike it when men draw attention to themselves by loudly proving their bravado through exaggerated stories of their conquests.
3. Put-Down Paul-It is extremely hurtful and disrespectful when men put down their spouses in the presence of other people. When men are sarcastic, or make a joke about something their spouses did, it is embarrassing for everyone.
4. Sexist Sam-We dislike the feeling that we have to earn credibility to speak intelligently with men. Sexist and disrespectful comments are not acceptable anymore. We no longer want you to behave superior toward us. We no longer want to feel as though are you are saying: “Oh brother, what could she have to say that could possibly be worthwhile.”
5. Crude Dude Dan-Women do not appreciate men with poor hygiene, who swear, use foul language, make dirty jokes, and display poor manners publicly and privately. Women don’t like it when men “ogle” other women and make suggestive sexist comments.
6. Big Boy Bobbie-This is a man all grown up and still living in a little boy body. He is the one who does not help out in the kitchen but is first in line when the food shows up. He assumes his wife will treat him like his mother did, and allow him to continue to play with big boy toys and focus his leisure time toward fulfilling his own selfish desires.
7. Lack Luster Larry-Lack of initiating romance. His idea of romance is to take his wife to Tool Time Depot and then stop off for a beer on the way home. That romance is all for him, and does not even come close to meeting the needs of a woman.
8. Insecure Ivan-Women know when men are insecure-they can’t hide it behind their bravado. Confidence is one of the most attractive traits in men and women have. Women love a confident man who will treat her as an equal and show her the respect she deserves. Don’t assume women need money or wealth to satisfy them, women need a confident man to make a woman feel loved, safe and cared for.
Other comments:
• Dressed to “kill” and then become sloppy once they “have their girl.”
• Not finishing projects around the house. (Guys this was a huge pet peeve for many women).
• Answering the phone in the middle of a conversation.
• Leaving “stuff” laying around all over the house and not picking up after yourself.
• Generalizing. “You women always….”
• Leaving dirty dishes BESIDE the dishwasher.
• Not changing the toilet paper roll.
• Leaving cupboard doors open.
We’ve gleaned some valuable information over the last few weeks. Let’s use these comments to strengthen our understanding. What became glaringly obvious is that we need to learn to communicate better. To strengthen our communication, I invite you to enter into a powerful challenge with your husband or significant other. This will sum up all that we’ve learned and will revolutionize your relationship. Ask each other this question and then act on it.
“What are your top 3 needs?” Once you take the time to unleash this question, you will arrive at your greatest understanding of each other. Once we all make that this focal point of our relationships, we will all be amazed at what God can do to make our marriages “very good.”
Then act on this verse: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Eph. 4:32).
May God enrich your marriages beyond what you can comprehend.

Posted in Uncategorized on November 9, 2012 by hmclaughlin

Heidi McLaughlin's Blog

The advertisement for a marriage seminar caught my eye.  It asked the question, “What do you and your husband have in common?”  An anonymous woman had scrawled across it in red ink, “We were married on the same day!” I burst out laughing.  But early on in my marriage, I probably would have burst into tears.

My American husband, Jim, and I met in Nairobi, Kenya. I was twenty, lonely, on the rebound from a broken relationship, and had no family in the country.  My parents had returned to England because my father’s tour of duty with the Royal Air Force had ended.  Instead of going back to England with them, I decided to stay.

Shortly after that I met Jim.  He strode into the small, English church I had attended since becoming a believer three years earlier, and all my female senses went crazy:  Who is this man? Is…

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