Wednesday, April 19, 2017

20 Years & Counting


Last month, Alton and I celebrated 20 years of marriage!  It was an exciting time in our house.  We pulled out our wedding album and the kids couldn’t believe how young we looked when we got married (we were also both a lot smaller).


 


Wedding Day
In 1997 we both walked down the aisle having no clue what the future held.  Neither one of us fully understood two simple yet complex words, “I do”. I’m happy to say that I’m still madly in love with him. I don’t just tolerate him. We’re not just roommates staying together to raise kids.


We are FRIENDS!


We make each other smile and laugh at our corny “inside” jokes.


Now, with that being said, we’re not a perfect couple by any means.  Does he get on my nerves? Yes!  Does he make me want to scream at times? Yes!  Do I get on his nerves?  No! 



Just kidding.  Of course I do. 


Despite those facts, he’s the one for me and I’m thankful to God for him.


20 years = 2 decades. 240 months. 7300 days.


To prepare for this blog, I wanted to get some advice from friends and family that have successfully made it beyond the 20 year mark together.  Here’s their tips for all of us to learn from:


  1. Have lots of understanding with each other.  Give to get.
  2. Don’t go to bed angry with each other
  3. Laugh often
  4. Be friends first
  5. Put God first and please Him first before each other.
  6. Don’t have too many expectations of your spouse.
  7. Accept each other’s strengths and faults.
  8. Communicate
  9. Be intentional about having fun together.
  10. Have lots of good sex! (Love this advice)


Recent trip to Busch Gardens!










Our advice for couples is to make a CHOICE to love each other.  It’s that simple.  Beyond all adversity, choose to love each other through it.  Keep your home a place of serenity and peace.  Read I Corinthians 13 for a robust understanding of the depth of LOVE needed to withstand the test of time (see an excerpt below).

 






Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end. (Posted by Renee)

Monday, March 27, 2017

When Was The Last Time You Did Something For The First Time?

This is my favorite question to ask, especially in a group setting. It never gets old. Now, it's time for me to ask you:

When was the last time YOU did something for the first time?

Ahh, are you still thinking? If you think about this question more than two minutes, that means you need to GO out there and have a new experience. Sometimes we just get stuck. We are on the wheel of life going around and around. Only doing the mundane and routine events every day. That can get boring fast.

The wheel never stops. Where can we get off? How do we make it stop? What's going to be the NEXT thing that knocks us off our feet?

Instead of expecting tumultuous times ahead, try experiencing something NEW. It can be as simple as flying to a new city, trying a new restaurant or taking a new route to work. I challenged my husband to take a new way home from work. GUESS what - it took him less time. The old way isn't always the best way.

NEW hair for our 90's party!
Renee and I recently went to a party excited about a 90's DJ. We both love to dance, so this just seemed like the perfect event. Well, when we arrived, what we didn't know was that it was an all Jewish party...yikes! I guess we should have read more about it before attending.

The morale to this story, we had the time of our life. We experienced new people, new food and new ideas. In the midst of all our differences, was the familiar music we all loved. In the world we live in, it's easy to only look at our differences. But what I've found is that we are more alike than we ever are different.

So I ask you again - When was the last time you did something for the first time? 

God created a majestic world. Hopefully in a few days you will have a new experience and quickly be able to answer that question. (Posted by Roslyn)

#goexplore

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Saying GOOD-BYE is hard!

At some point in our life, we will have to say good-bye. It might be to a relationship, career, marriage, school, or even an old way of thinking. Realizing that everything does not last forever is sometimes the hardest part.

The only constant in our life is CHANGE.  

Our country went through transition of power on Inauguration day, saying good bye to an old administration and welcoming in a new vision.

In my own personal life, I had to say good bye to a special friend.  Many miles and ocean water now separate us. Moving away from our comfort zones causes us to sometimes proceed with caution. When you say that final good bye you feel sad and devastated inside. You move forward, but not always really sure how.

My friend name is Kanoon, and she was my nail technician for over a decade. She's seen me through some of the toughest and greatest celebrations of my life. She helped me welcome in a new baby, prepared my nails for my 40th birthday shoot, encouraged me through surgeries and always made sure I wore the best color of the season.

No matter how tough the week, she always had a smile waiting for me.



Over time we developed a loving and authentic relationship. We spent time together, talked about our cultural and religious differences. She's Buddhist and I am a Christian. We have such a loving respect because we are ALIKE more than we are different.

My morning tradition of drinking warm water and lemon came from her, Kanoon has inspired me on so many levels. She has helped lead me on a path of health and wholeness. BUT that season of my life has abruptly come to an end. On December 31, it was the last day that these nails and hands held her. It's hard to imagine being so attached to someone.

We miss you Kanoon!
Some of you are saying good-bye in your own life. Don't be devastated or selfish with your feelings. Allow yourself not to become guarded, but open to new opportunities and new ways of thinking. This is the year for all of us to shift our thinking. The world as we know it is changing right before our eyes. If you are feeling unsettled politically, politically rejoicing, or just unsure of the future remember this:

People are with you for a SEASON, a REASON, or a LIFETIME.

Although Kanoon is miles away from me, she is with me and my family for a lifetime. I allow this scripture to comfort me in times of uncertainty:

SET your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth. ~Colossians 3:2

Choose to let heaven fill your thoughts. The life that we know here on earth will soon pass away. Our love from God is eternal. (Posted by Roslyn)

#beblessed

Monday, January 9, 2017

I Love Raising a Teenager!

Parenting is probably one of the biggest challenges in my life. There are days that I win as a parent and days that I fail big time. Every day it's a different twist and turn. I have a teenage daughter and an 8 year old son. They have different personalities, likes and dislikes. Most days they don't agree but on the days that they do, it's a wonderful blessing to see them together.



My kids when they were younger!
Photo credit: Delana Brooks

When I share with some people that I'm absolutely loving the teenage years, most look at me like I'm crazy. Especially raising a teenage girl that's full of emotion and attitude. It's not easy BUT I'm just resolved to enjoy every phase and stage of my children's lives. Those were words of wisdom given to me by a colleague years ago and I've never forgotten it.  Before I know it, she will be an adult and living on her own.



If I CHOOSE not to enjoy these years, I WILL MISS OUT!




I recognized early on that in her short life span, she doesn't have this world figured out. Heck, I'm more than twice her age and I don't have it all figured out.  I'm here to support her and help her navigate life. God entrusted my husband and I with her and I vow to do my best to love, encourage and support her through good and bad times.

Here's a few lessons I've learned about teenagers:


  • They need you to be their parents NOT their friends.  I'm not her equal and I'm not going to try to be.  She needs boundaries, discipline, and guidance. NOT friendship from her mother.


  • Teenagers want you to listen to them on their schedule.  There are times when my daughter will wait until the most awkward times to want to talk through a situation.  I'm normally ready to go to bed, in the middle of cooking or headed out the door.  Those are the moments when I have to take a step back and listen.

  • As hard as it is, they have to learn from their mistakes.  They need to understand that choices have consequences.

  • The teenage years are when you HAVE to move from directing every facet of their lives to consulting/coaching them through the rough spots. God is writing their story. Let Him do it! This is when they will learn to resolve conflicts, find their voice and fight their own battles. They need to learn how to interact with adults, teachers, coaches, etc.  I can't be her mouth piece in every situation.  She has to learn to make decisions for herself. 


I recently asked (on my Facebook page) the keys to success when raising teenagers.  Here's just a sampling of the many comments shared.....
  1. Pray for them & pray with them!
  2. Patience & open communication
  3. Being supportive
  4. Prayer!
  5. Intentionally develop a "village" of trusted adults for your child.
  6. Meet them where they are.  Avoid trying to make them who you want them to be.
  7. Sometimes you have to steer them into the pain to help them learn valuable lessons while they are still in the "nest".
  8. Prayer!
  9. Give them room to make mistakes.
  10. Listen without interruption.
  11. Lead them by your great examples.
  12. Use wisdom, have faith and watch God do the rest!!

I leave you with a familiar passage of scripture from Proverbs 22:6...

Train up a child in the way he should go; when he is old, he will not depart from it. (KJV)

Point your kids in the right direction, when they're old they won't be lost. (MSG)


What's your parenting advice for parents of teenagers?

(Posted by Renee)

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Just BREATHE - it's almost Christmas

It's almost December,  how did that happen? Is the Earth rotating quicker? Are their less than 24 hours in a day?

The Fall season is quickly coming to an end and the winter months are ahead. 

Almost time to say bye to changing leaves!

I look to the world around me for inspiration and lately I've been mezmorized by the book, BREATHE by Priscilla Shirer.  What I crave most about this book is learning how to rest. Our calendars, closet, and work spaces can become overcrowded.  This leads to depletion emotionally and physically.

Think about the many things you are holding onto when you should release them.  I participated in my first garage sale and I spent weeks searching through "stuff" in my home I felt could be sold. How do we arrive at having so much "stuff"? I challenge you to sit in your car, open your garage and just look.  What would you see?

How about opening your closet (some of us have more than one). What do you see?
Some of us just finished Black Friday shopping and what did we buy?

STUFF

We can become overwhelmed by the very hobby or items that used to bring us joy.  In the book Priscilla warns that we can become enslaved to things that we were meant to enjoy as a blessing, not as bondage.

I love pictures. I love to take them and also enjoy creating memorable photo albums. But the scrapbooking supplies and pictures that used to bring me so much joy are brimming full tucked away in storage. I don't have space for them anymore.

We all live on the edge of what once brought us joy, now just takes over and controls our space.

Learning to take time daily, weekly, monthly to breathe and rest takes intentional focus. But this time was created by God for us to turn from our hurried pace into His restful arms.  It is not about just setting time on a calendar but also the orientation of our heart. We must carve out those moments in our day to reset, refocus and BREATHE.

What's scarier, if we don't rest, then we teach our children to follow our hurried pace.

Don't be comfortable with being exhausted - Learn to pause, cease and say NO to something. (Posted by Roslyn)




Sunday, November 20, 2016

It's Holiday Time & I'm Not Thankful!

Thanksgiving is a few short days away and most of us are gearing up to eat more that we should while spending time with family. Everyday on my Facebook news feed, individuals are sharing why they are thankful. There's a consistent theme of family being the number one reason to be thankful.


But, what about those that aren't thankful at all this year?





As much as I'm thankful for the holidays, I realize that there are so many that aren't. They find themselves in a season of grief and pain. For some, it's their 1st major holiday without their loved one.


How can they feel happiness and joy when their heart aches for the embrace of their loved one?  


How do you make the move from pain to gladness when every single part of the holiday reminds you of them?


After my father died, I remember how sharply the grief felt when you have to "move" through all of the "firsts".


  • 1st Thanksgiving
  • 1st Christmas
  • 1st Birthday
  • 1st Mother's or Father's Day

This year Roslyn and I will experience our 1st Thanksgiving without our dearest Aunt Thelma. Her brownies, pound cake and 10 layer chocolate cake were legendary. She loved to cook and bake and the holidays just won't be the same without her. Whether its been one month, one year, or one decade since you've lost your aunt, mother, father, or sibling, the pain or loss that you feel is real, BUT, you are able to be healed by our heavenly father.


Maybe it's not a loved one that's causing you discomfort during the holiday.  Maybe you're recently divorced or possibly you've just received a devastating medical diagnosis.  Maybe you yearn for your son or daughter to re-establish their relationship with you.


WHATEVER your reason, I'm here to declare that God loves you and His peace can and will overtake you, even through the darkest of days. Be encouraged by the truth of God's word. You may not feel that encouragement right away, but keep reading His word.  Let the vowels and consonants that form the words, penetrate deeply into the depth of your pain and suffering. Here are a few passages of scripture to encourage you:

  • Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4-6)
  • He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds (Psalm 147:3)
  • Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted (Matthew 5:4)
  • "Come to Me, all you who labor & are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28)
  • So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
(Posted by Renee Scott)


Sunday, October 16, 2016

Shattered Glass

A few months ago I told you I was going to commit to having more peaceful and encouraging speech.  You do know when you make a commitment like that, you will immediately be tested.  Well it happened to me.

I'm striving to be more intentional with the words I use.  Through a recent study, I learned that I will be held accountable for every idle word I speak.  That's right, every empty or casual word you speak, you will have to give an account to God for using it.

And I tell you this, that you must give an account on judgment day of every IDLE word you speak. ~Matthew 12:36

Here's what happened - while on vacation major damage happened to our rental car.  I was in my hotel room napping (YES, I love to nap) and I received a phone call from the front desk manager.

He informed me that damage happened to my car.  I was delirious from being asleep and didn't really get it.  Finally, I woke up and went to see the car.

Sure enough this is what I found:

HOLE in the sunroof!

Glass was everywhere

SHATTERED GLASS

Glass was everywhere.  A large object had fallen from an upstairs floor and landed right on the sunroof. YIKES!  The MANY words that came to my head were NOT uplifting or encouraging.  I was so upset.  
BEYOND upset, because this was a rental car. 

Did I take out insurance? How would I explain this? How much would this cost? A sudden sick feeling came over me. Worry filled my head. Long story short, I'm happy to say, by the grace of God, I remained CALM.

In that moment, in YOUR upsetting moments you can't always control the situation.  There was nothing I could have done to avoid this moment. 

You can CHOOSE the response you have to the situation, even an unfair, had nothing to do with you type of moment.  That phone call, that woke me from my peaceful slumber changed the trajectory of my entire vacation.  All the great memories were suddenly overshadowed by this silly event. My peaceful morning of resting by the pool was completely shattered, just like the glass all over the front seat.

As we continue through the rest of the year, we will encounter some CRAZY and unpredictable moments.  Guess what - you can CHOOSE your response.  Pray that it will be appropriate and honoring to God. (Posted by Roslyn)