"My story is important not because it is mine, God knows, but because if I tell it right, the chances are you will recognize that in many ways it is also yours. Maybe nothing is more important than that we keep track, you and I,of these stories of who we are and where we have come from and the people we have met along the way because it is precisely through these stories, in all their particularity,as I have long believed and often said, that God makes himself known to each of us most powerfully and personally." -Frederick Buechner

Monday, January 30, 2012

20 Hours

I'm happy and concerned all at the same time. I know that's kind of confusing but then what's new. Mark and I went to a marriage retreat Thursday evening and Friday. We were to arrive at 6:00 p.m. Thursday. We checked in to our rooms and met the group at 7:00. We were finished by 2:00 Friday afternoon. 20 hours - that's all it was. 20 hours and our marriage is better for it.

20 hours - It really didn't even take that long to make a difference. Just knowing that my spouse agreed to take the time to go and invest in our relationship was a huge mental boost for me.

20 hours - The first assignment was to pick 3 things you like about your spouse then tell them! (They even gave us a list of possibilities.) At the end of our time together we were asked if we would share something that was a "take-away", something we believed would make a difference in our relationship. The most common thing shared was this assignment. Most people commented that they don't usually take time to talk about their relationship, to really focus on each other. They said they talk about schedules, children/family and work but each other? Not so much.  Just a few minutes thinking about what they like in their spouse and then telling them lifted their spirits and helped them feel much more connected.

20 hours - Time to hear from leaders who were honest that while they love each other deeply they struggle with their differences and finding time for themselves while parenting. Time to laugh with them over real life stories that made us relax and see that our life together is pretty common. Yes, everyone needs to continue to work on communication! :)

20 hours - to be reminded that relationships are "alive". They are "birthed", change, grow or die. That's it's normal to be "blind" in the attraction phase and mostly "blind" during the honeymoon phase. Then as reality/responsibility kick in that it takes more work, especially when you realize as much as you love them, your spouse isn't perfect. But if you choose to accept them, cooperate by utilizing their strengths with yours, your relationship can and will grow. Conversely if you choose to resist and resent their differences from you growth will not happen and often this leads to death of a relationship.

In our day to day lives we often just don't take the time for what is really important. We don't intentionally neglect it. We just miss it. We are too busy getting to work on time, getting kids to school and getting everyone fed before the next activity. (not too mention the latest school fundraiser, church activities, exercise....) There just "aren't enough hours in the day" to get it all done. At least that's what we tell ourselves. We have a friend who is obsessed with this fact, there are 24 hours in a day, 168 hours in a week. Those numbers are the same for all of us. We have the power to choose how we will use them. This past week my husband and I made a positive difference in our life. We took 20 of our 168 hours and invested in our relationship. I know my mental perspective is improved in all areas, not just my marriage relationship. It was definitely worth it. 

Valentines Day is approaching. This is a great season to invest in your relationship. What will you choose to do?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wellness Wednesday - Resources

When it comes to wellness there are literally thousands of resources easily available to all of us. The problem is knowing which ones you can trust.  As a woman who has been a nurse for 30 years here is my best advice:
1. Know the source. (period)
  • The person or place you are getting your information from needs to be someone you know and trust or that has a great recommendation from someone you know and trust.
  • Their main goal should not be to sell you something.  They may have product or services to sell but listen to how they approach you.  Are they asking questions about you and your symptoms/concerns?  Then do they find out what you have already done? Do they speak positively of anything other than their own products/services? Do they ever say, "I don't know about that?"
  • Trust your gut. Usually we know when someone is "twisting our arm" or it sounds "too good to be true." Walk away or try something they recommend but never quit prescription medicine without checking with your provider or pay them large sums of money before checking them out further.
The truth is healthy living is mainly common sense. If it doesn't make sense it probably won't work. God created our body to be a very inter-related system. With very few exceptions there is almost no part of our body that is not connected to another part for a purpose. So when we do something to one part we have to think how that relates to the next part.  This is something we often over look. For example, my nose is running so I take an antihistamine to "dry it up."  What else does it dry up in my body? (everything) Do I realize that if I tend to be constipated that an antihistamine could increase that possibility if I don't also increase my fluid intake. (and not with caffeine!)

It's our hope here at Treasure Chest Ministries to help you sort through the maze of information available and help you find the truth, not only in your physical life but your spiritual and emotional life as well. We intend to do this by sharing life. Sharing what we have learned and are learning. We can expand our knowledge if you share with us what you are learning too.  After all, He came to "give life to the full!" (John 10:10b)

Tell me one helpful, reliable healthy living resource you have found.

Here's an inexpensive way to get some health education in the Des Moines Area. Check out the "Mini-Medical School" at Des Moines University. Five nights of "school" for anyone interested! http://www.dmu.edu/event/mini-medical-school/

Monday, January 23, 2012

No Excuses - Celebrate Your Relationship

"If you don't clean your house when you know company is coming when will you clean it?" I can just hear my mother telling me that when I commented that I was contemplating not cleaning before company came. You wouldn't be able to tell I cleaned the house a 1/2 hour after our guests would arrive so why bother?  You know I'm finding a lot of married couples attitude about Valentines Day is very similar to that sentiment.
"It's a stupid Hallmark holiday to sell cards."  
"I don't have a clue what she wants and if I did I can't afford it." 
"I can't afford a babysitter and dinner..." 
"He's not in to all that sentimental stuff." 
"He probably doesn't even realize that Valentines day is just a few weeks away."
"It's a week night what are we going to do?"

While one of those comments may be true (or partially true) in your life they are not good excuses to not enjoy Valentines Day if you would like to.  Remember you two are on the same team and you are playing a game called life. Your spouse cannot read your mind but I guarantee he/she will read your attitude when you start pouting or getting crabby. They will know something is wrong but they may not know what. Do yourself (& your spouse) a favor take 15  minutes to sit down and talk about what you would like for Valentines Day THIS WEEK.  Why this week because most of us can't do things spontaneously and you will probably need some times to plan.

The purpose of this 15 minutes is not schedule everything for the next month it is to let your spouse know what you would like for Valentines Day and maybe a few suggestions of how that might look. Then you need to ask your spouse what they would like. Now if you haven't pre-warned them of the topic they may need some time to think about this. That's fair. If so, pick a time right now to come back and hear their thoughts.  The conversation might start something like this, "So Valentines Day is coming up in about 3 weeks. We're always so busy but I'd really like to figure out some time that you and I could do something, just the two of us. It wouldn't have to be right on Valentines Day. And it doesn't have to be fancy maybe coffee at ____________shop and a walk around the park at night when it's so quiet."  Think ahead of time what would mean something to you and have at least one idea of how that might happen.  HOWEVER, remember you are only one member of a "team."  Your spouse might have completely different ideas of what they would enjoy. In that case you will need to work out a compromise that works for both of you.

Do I really care that you celebrate Valentines Day? No, not for the sake of Valentines Day and bragging rights at the office. I DO care that you take time to purposefully invest in your relationship. To celebrate your strengths and to build on them for the future. It's not about doing something so you can tell your friends you did. It's about showing your spouse that they are worth spending some time thinking about, planning a time together and then actually doing it!" What better time than when it's easy to pick up a greeting card, send an e-mail, or pick up some candy that is already prepared for you to say the three most important words in a relationship. "I love you!"

So if you are going to take the challenge let us know.  If you have a favorite time from the past share that with us too. It might give someone a fresh idea of how to celebrate with their spouse. Nothing is too simple and honestly it's only too elaborate if you can't really afford it.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Wellness Wednesday on Thursday Getting my "act" together!

You know it's really bad when you don't realize you missed your Wednesday post until Thursday.  Sadly, it's true. I'll use the excuse that yesterday morning (Wednesday) I was transporting my wonderful husband to a medical procedure (all is well - just a test) but the truth is I didn't think of it when I got home either. That leads me into my thoughts for today.  Clutter.

Yesterday my mind was "cluttered" with many "stray" thoughts.  We were waiting for someone to get back to us about a weekend ministry opportunity. I was thinking about a business meeting we are to go to with my Dad tomorrow, doing another lesson in the class I'm taking, some letters I want to write and what we are going to do on our stay at home vacation. While thinking about that I did some laundry, dishes and fixed some food. I did stop and get one more lesson done for my class. All the while I was putting things away and noticing that the basket on the steps is never empty, my space has not been touched in weeks but the Christmas decor is sorted, cleaned and put away! Yeah!

Here's the deal we are all different when it comes to the amount of organization it takes to make you work your best, making the most of your time and concentration. But whatever that looks like for you, you need to make it happen in your life. Our son and his wife just did this. Check it out.
http://www.theiheartblog.com/2012/01/we-did-what/    I just had to smile when I heard they were doing this.  I can't tell you how many times Mark and I have done this over our 30+ years of marriage and we're about to do it again. Much like our kids we have opted not to go on our "beach vacation" for a variety of reasons, mostly financial.  Instead we are going to stay home, shut the alarm ( and maybe the phone/internet) off and really clean out. To some of you this does not sound like a vacation but you know what? It will be. To be able to concentrate and work on a project without interruption is a treat in my book!  And we will take time for some fun stuff too.

Anyway, the point is to be able to live enjoying your life, concentrating on whatever you are doing is the ideal. My husband has to clean his desk off of everything before he starts working and he'd rather put it all away when he leaves.  I can come in, spread out, work and leave it all there till I come back. The down side of that is it looks like this.

Considering a great purple chair in the corner is my "quiet time spot" this clutter can become a distraction. The good news is no one gets into my "stuff". They don't want to touch it!  See as I sit here, right now this is what I see.

It's not a "peace-filled" sight and truthfully it is distracting. I feel guilty. The problem is much of the clutter is my collection of photos that need to be scrapbooked.  Scrapbooking is something I really enjoy but never seem to find time to do. I believe it's a great way to capture moments and leave a lasting memory but I probably haven't worked at it in a year.  Today I'm deciding not to print anymore photos until I get the current 100's taken care of. I have them in my computer. I can print them if I need them.  The thing is, it is going to take a lot of time to get this project done.  I'll keep you posted on how it's going.

The point of all this is, do you have too much clutter? Not just tangible stuff in your home, but in your mind? If so, why don't you make a plan to de-clutter? Take some time to figure out what is really important to you. Set a goal. Work towards that goal.  Do you need an accountability partner? Do you need a helper? Do you just need someone to get you started?  (I do know a few of those kind of people! :) Let me know and I'll hook you up!)  This is not just a "girl" thing.  As I said, my husband needs things to be orderly to work at his optimum level.  Come on guys, help us out. Communicate with your wife what would be good for you. Then help to make a plan and get it done!  I'll look forward to sharing my progress with you and hearing what your challenges are. You know there is nothing new under the sun. Chances are some one has gone before you. Share your questions, thoughts, solutions...we can all learn to live with more peace in our lives!

Monday, January 16, 2012

As I look back over my blog posting list I find I've been a bit delinquent since the Holidays. I apologize.  Many great things going on in our house.  We enjoyed the holidays over a very spread out schedule.  We are spending more time with our parents due to the good old "aging process" they both could use a bit of help and encouragement. Although I must say at the moment my parents are more needy. I was asked to take a little more responsibility at work and that requires a bit more than my half-time so I've been going to work early or staying a bit late.  I am taking a class via the internet that will last through the first week in February and Mark has been busy with end of the year accounting for his business and our personal bookwork. To top all of that off we have a couple of events in the next two months and it's time to prayerfully prepare for those as well.

With that in mind I realized that Valentines Day will be over a month from now. As married couples it seems that this little holiday sneaks up on us much more so than when we were dating. Why so? Could it be that you are busy with the kids? Could it be that money is tight? Could it be that you just couldn't imagine how to fit one more thing in the month of February or do you just not have any good ideas?  Well I want to encourage you!  There are alot of great, simple ideas "out there".  It can be but does not have to be fancy but especially if you have kids at home it will require a little planning. So start now!

Here's a few ideas:
Write a love letter! No really, do it. Tell your spouse what you love about them or your first memory of them or something you noticed last week but didn't get to say because it was time for the basketball game.  Need more help? Go to  http://www.onemillionloveletters.com/index.php

Research proves that dating your spouse at least once a month significantly improves your relationship.  Give your spouse the gift of time.  Make a gift certificate for one date per month for the next year. Plan dinner for Valentines day. Tell your spouse that mean so much to you that you are committed to at least one date per month for the next year.  I suggest that you take your calendars and mark date night once a month for at least the next 4 months if not the whole year. Do not let ANYTHING budge in on that time unless it's a matter of life and death.  Your marriage is important!

Go to a marriage retreat.  In Iowa Okoboji Lutheran Bible Camp has one every year around Valentines Day.  You can find out about it at http://www.okoboji.org
Family Life Today sponsors "A Weekend to Remember" http://www.weekendtoremember.com
 In the Des Moines Area Point of Grace Church will be hosting a Friday night/Saturday time the weekend before Valentines Day.  You can find out more about that at http://www.pointofgrace.com
Mark and I will be helping to lead that one on Saturday. Come and join us!   Okay, so now I'm stuck in Italics mode but I've got to go for today.  If you have other Valentine ideas please share them by leaving a comment. Sometimes we just need one idea to get our own ideas flowing!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wellness Wednesday - Continuing to Keep It Simple

Nothing outwardly profound or extremely amazing has happened in the first 10 days of 2012 but then again maybe it has. I actually have a good attitude about making healthy choices! I'm taking a little satisfaction in the small but good choices I've been making. I've managed to work in exercise at least 3 times each of the past two weeks. It helps that it's been nice enough here in Iowa to go outside. We are eating less in the evenings when both my husband and I tend to be snackers while watching TV. Those are the small physical things.

Mentally, I'm working on a set of two Bible verses to memorize. Memorization stretches the brain and that's a good thing. Planting Bible verses in our brain and heart is also a VERY healthy thing. God promises us that He will bring them to mind when needed.  We went to church with our daughter and son-in-law this weekend and Pastor John Piper talked about overcoming temptations. He uses an acrostic he made up:
Admit you can't do anything
Trust a specific promise - this means you have to know God's promises!
Act - do it
Thank God

So for me memorizing 2 Timothy 2:20-21 is helping me stay healthy mentally, spiritually and physically.  Listen:  "In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work."   These verses are helping to keep me "on track" making healthy choices!  Want to join me in memorizing scripture?  In August I set a goal of learning a verse(s) every 2 weeks. I failed at that up till now. I've got a fresh start. 

What other small but good choices are you making these days? Share and encourage someone else!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wellness Wednesday - A Community of Sharing

Happy New Year! 2012 is here and again words I'm hearing a lot of is "simple", "unclutter", "re-organize", along with the proverbial "exercise" and "eat right". These words are in my vocabulary too. They're not new to me but it's a new year, a great time to restart or re-energize something that may be lagging in your life.

One of the reasons I wanted to blog about wellness is that it is such a broad topic and nearly everyone is interested in it in some way. However, there is SO MUCH information out there it is hard to wade through the seemingly endless information and figure out what is actually true, #1 and #2 what actually applies to you.  I've had that problem for years. As a nurse I'm pretty aware of major health trends. However, they change on a regular basis. How do I know what to really pay attention too? Also many things seem just too radical for me. I'm a pretty basic type person. I like to keep life simple. I'm definetly NOT a great chef in the kitchen.  I like to try new recipies but not the complicated ones. All that said, Wellness Wednesdays are for us "regular people" who want to be healthy but need help sifting through all of the information out there.  Won't you join us on our quest?  Share what you have learned, whether it is something that works or doesn't work.  I do not sell any particular products but I am happy to share my personal opinion on things I've tried and I'm hoping you will do the same so I don't have to try everything! (I'm smiling)  Share in the comments here or on my Facebook page one simple thing that is helping you become or stay healthy, a habit, a program, a product. Don't forget real health encompasses all of you, spirit, mind and body.

This week I'd like to share with you that my friend, Shari has opened her doors (& her heart) to help people to better health physically, mentally and spiritually. Her own journey towards health has led her to become educated in nutrition and essential oils. This month she is offering the following special for those who can come to the Des Moines area.
Have you ever wondered what wellness products your body really needs? If so, I am offering a FREE digital body scan (a $20 value) for the month of January. The scan itself only takes about 15 minutes. It's fun and painless so feel free to bring a friend! Call me at 515-321-4756 or email me at Shari@holistic-journeys.com to schedule an appointment. Schedule your appointment soon as times are limited! For information on how the scan works go to: https://www.zytocompass.com/LearnMore.aspx.