6.1.18

Get Engaged? Before You Set the Date There’s One Thing You Need to Do

by Sally Matheny

Get Engaged? Before You Set the Date...
Are you thinking about getting engaged?

Apparently, many guys think Christmas and New Year’s Eve are great times to bend a knee and propose to their sweeties. Studies show December is the most popular month for engagements. 

Did you recently get engaged? 

Congratulations! But before you set the date, there’s one thing you need to do.



Seek Premarital Counseling

Seek Christian counseling. This bit of advice may challenge your way of thinking, but it’s worth considering, especially if it can help save your marriage down the road.


Most Christian pastors require four to six premarital counseling sessions with the couple. It is common to see these sessions take place one or two months before the wedding.

This is where I think a change needs to occur. By that time, most of the wedding details are set, sealed, and delivered. Invitations are mailed, venues secured, food and flowers are ordered, and non-refundable deposits made.
How many brides do you think would suggest a longer engagement, to work out some relational issues, if all those wedding arrangements are already in motion? Perhaps premarital counseling should begin before a wedding date is set.
Discuss difficult issues. Communicate personal convictions and goals. A caring pastor will guide you to think about things you may have never considered before. 


Be Brave and Wise 


If the counseling sessions cause you to question your readiness "for better or for worse, until death do you part"—then be brave and wait. 

Perhaps you think you’ve waited long enough. You believe there’s nothing love can’t solve. You say, “You can’t be prepared for everything. Sometimes you have to take life as it comes.”

There’s some truth to that. But consider this. The average couple is engaged for thirteen to eighteen months before they say “I do.” There are a zillion things to do when preparing for a wedding. So much time is invested in coordinating colors, locating the perfect venue, and securing the best wedding cake baker in town.

Shouldn’t godly counsel have as much, if not more, consideration than color swatches, when preparing for a life-changing event?

Prepare for Satan's Fastballs
Shortly after the wedding, Satan will throw his first fastball at your marriage. 

Will what you learned from watching all those Say Yes to the Dress shows be helpful then?

Will the wedding photographer, the florist, or the 
musicians be there for you during the challenging times in your marriage?



30.12.17

100 DAYS TO BRAVE Book Review and a New Year's Challenge

by Sally Matheny

100 Days to Brave


In what area of your life do you crave courage? If you’re like me, you’re feeling a tug in a certain direction but, for whatever reason, you’re lacking the confidence to move forward. Have I got a book recommendation for you!

100 DAYS TO BRAVE, written by Annie F. Downs, is a compilation of devotions for “unlocking your most courageous self.”

How good is this book? Well, let’s just say I read one hundred devotions in thirty days. The devotions build on one another and unfold like a story. Downs intrigued me so I couldn’t stop reading after just one devotion a day.




The one hundred devotions cover eleven areas:

Brave Enough to Start
Brave Enough to Be You
Brave Enough to Believe God
Brave Enough to Dream
Brave Enough to Work Hard
Brave Enough to Love Others
Brave Enough to Face Change
Brave Enough to Persevere
Brave Enough to Pursue Healing
Brave Enough to Serve
Brave Enough to Be Where You Are
Brave Enough

The author includes personal experiences in most of the devotions to illustrate a point. She bravely exposes our fears and offers helpful encouragement on how to maneuver past them.

Encased in a beautiful hardcover, each devotion is about 400 words in length. Each begins with a short scripture and ends with a call to action.

I highly recommend this book. While men would certainly glean encouragement from it, I believe it is best suited for women. Even though the author writes of her experiences as a single Millenial, all ages of women will enjoy and benefit from her book.

Now, a challenge for you.

While you’re mulling over your list of goals for the new year, will you pray about those areas where you need courage? Ask God to help you follow through with whatever it is you just know you’re supposed to do.

Ask others to pray with you. I think this is where I’ve failed in dealing with my own fears.

Facing serious health issues requires courage. We often don’t hesitate to ask for prayer in those situations. There are many other personal battles that call for bravery. Why do we hesitate to ask for prayer in other areas of our lives?

Are we afraid to reveal the thing we feel led to do? For if we give it a voice, then we may have to actually follow through with it! It may be difficult. There may be repercussions. We may have to change.

Whew! Scary, isn’t it?

Let’s dedicate time to prayer, specifically about this THING. What is it for you? Say it—out loud. What fears have immobilized you? Why? Expose them for what they are.

Want us to pray for you? Share your request for bravery below or send it privately through the Contact Page.





Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

23.12.17

What Does Christmas Look Like in Your Home?

by Sally Matheny


What Does Christmas Look Like?
(Pixabay Photo)
Christmas is almost here. At the moment, my kitchen sink is full of mixing bowls, spatulas, and various splashes of colorful icing. 

The den floor begs to be vacuumed. Again. 

Good news! Laundry no longer rests on the treadmill. Now, wrapping paper, boxes, and gifts weigh it down. Ah…Christmas at my house. 

What does Christmas look like in your home?

Never mind the mess. We’ll gradually take care of that. Surely!



16.12.17

Who Moved Our Christmas Traditions?

by Sally Matheny


Who Moved Our Christmas Traditions?
(Photo by Pixabay)
The calendar is set. You’ve penned in all the festivities and family gatherings. No need for a pencil when it’s the same every year, right?

Then one day you gasp in horror. Someone has violated the calendar slashing it with red marks, arrows, and scribbles.

Who would dare infringe upon the long-established Cousin Cookie Swap, which ALWAYS takes place on the second Thursday of December?

And if that wasn’t enough to fuzz your wet, candy cane, your jaw drops when you see tampering with Dec. 24!

You yell, “Who moved our Christmas traditions?”

Before you react like Wassail on a high flame, let’s ponder for a moment.

4.12.17

Besides Love, the Best Gift for Baby's First Christmas

by Sally Matheny

(The Best Gift for Baby's First Christmas)
If God has blessed you with a precious, new life this year, I’m sure your Christmas morning will be extra sweet! 

Your little one already may have a cute stocking hung, and brightly wrapped gifts under the tree. Or, perhaps due to his adventurous spirit, all the gifts are well out of reach!
No matter what gifts you’ve chosen, I hope you've considered one spectacular gift you can give your baby, especially for his first Christmas.

22.11.17

Ideas for a Fun, Family Thanksgiving: Go Vintage!

by Sally Matheny


    

(Have Fun with a Vintage Thanksgiving
Photo by Pixabay)

Are you searching for fun ideas that will bring the family together this Thanksgiving? 


Me, too. My family doesn’t know it yet, but I plan to go vintage this year.


love traditions, especially during holidays. Yet, our current technology is threatening to exterminate one of our most cherished traditions—family time. I promise this post is not a ranting against technology. I’m actually thankful for it. It keeps me connected to family and friends.
     

However, when we are able to come together in the same place, I want face-to-face, heart-to-heart, talking, laughing, and everyone-fully-engaged-time.


So, we’re going vintage—the pre-cell phone, pre-computer, pre-iPod, pre-satellite dish, pre-electronic gaming system era. 


True vintage items must be at least fifty years old. No need to panic. You may be surprised how long many of your favorite things have been around. Want to go vintage with us? 

Challenge your friends and family to turn off the distractions for at least three hours this Thanksgiving. Focus your full attention on the people gathered in your presence and enjoy the blessings. 

16.11.17

THIS DANGEROUS BOOK by Steve & Jackie Green: A Review & Giveaway

 by Sally Matheny

This Dangerous Book
“Research shows over 80 percent of Americans own a hard copy of the Bible. More than half of agnostics and skeptics own a Bible.

But have you ever asked, ‘What is this book, really?’” 
                 -This Dangerous Book

The release of THIS DANGEROUS BOOK coincides with the opening of the Museum of the Bible located in Washington D.C. Steve and Jackie Green, the founding family of the museum, co-authored this book with Bill High. 

It’s a book about three journeys—that of the Bible, the Green’s, and the Museum of the Bible.

The Greens interweave vignettes of their own faith journey while sharing fascinating information about the Bible and the effect it has had on people throughout history. They are transparent about their Christian faith in the book, yet they have chosen not to proselytize within the museum.

        “We would not promote our faith but could present the facts.”

No doubt, some people will say there’s not enough of Jesus represented at the museum, while others will say there’s too much.

“Yet throughout the process, we’ve continued to pursue a factual presentation of the Bible…I know that we won’t satisfy everyone. There will still be critics who will challenge our methods and motives…Like it or not, the Bible simply cannot be ignored.”

The mission of the museum is to “invite all people to engage with the history, impact, and narrative of the Bible. It is the largest museum in the world “devoted solely to the presentation and the preservation of the Bible.”

THIS DANGEROUS BOOK opens with almost twenty endorsements from folks such as Lee Strobel, Dr. David Jeremiah, and Korie Robertson. After a foreword by Rick Warren, the book contains five parts:

Part 1: The Story Begins
Part 2: The Book
Part 3: Collecting Secrets
Part 4: Appeal to Heaven
Part 5: To the Ends of the Earth

Each part contains three to four chapters. Each chapter opens with three or four quotations—some from the Bible, some from people since the Bible’s publication. Most are from Christians but a few are not, such as the one from the fictional Huckleberry Finn.

10.11.17

WWII Veteran’s Letter Inspires Us All

by Sally Matheny


WWII Veteran Charles H. Walker


Three weeks before D-Day, WWII Navy sailor, Charles H. Walker wrote a letter to his mother. 

No matter how big or small we think our contribution is in life, this WWII veteran's letter inspires us all to give our best.

(excerpt):


May 14, 1944

“Dear Mother,

I will write you a few lines tonight to let you hear from me. These few lines leave me in good health and getting along fine. I hope you are well.

Mother, I think of you and Dad a lot these days and would like to very, very much see you. Of course, I don’t think it will be as long as it has been until I’ll be back in the states. Not for good, but for a leave, I hope. I think of the rest of the family, too. Of the little girls and of Sis. I know that it will be one more happy day for me when I do get home.

Right now, I’m going to do all I can to get this war over with. My part is only a small one, but I’m proud I can do it, and I’m going to do it as best I can.

Mother, I’ve been in the Navy fifteen months now. And I’ve never been on report or had any extra duty or anything yet. I’m going to try and have my record as clean as if I stay in for 15 years. It’s just as easy to do it right as it is wrong. . .” 
    
                                                                             Good night, Mother. 

                                                                             Your Son, 

                                                                             Charles


Charles Walker served as the senior electrician on the U.S.S. LCF #27. When he wrote this letter at age twenty-two, he thought his role in the war was small.

I disagree.

If the electricity failed, the sweeping for mines came to a halt, the rockets did not launch, and more lives would have been lost. 

Every person on board had a job to do. Whether it was sweeping for mines or sweeping the deck, it all mattered. Doing it well mattered even more.

Charles decided, regardless of the significance of his job, he planned to give his best. He persevered through many monotonous days at sea. Occasionally those days were punctured by kamikaze pilots. The force of one plummeting plane was so close the sailor's pants tugged against his legs.

Later, as the crew fished the Japanese pilot out of the water, Charles found the method of death, for such a young man, unsettling.

A similar empathy came when he observed the frightened German POWs on the shores of Normandy. Charles said many were his age or younger. He felt sorry for them because they looked terrified.

Charles stressed the necessity of America's involvement in the war. He was proud to serve his country and help the oppressed. He realized most of the Japanese and German soldiers were simply following orders, like everyone else in the war.

Thank you and Happy Veterans Day
Some of Charles' days were exhausting, stressful, and lonely. Other days, not so much. But he still longed for home.

He would see the American flag rise at Iwo Jima and serve until February 1946 before heading home for good.

And he was right. It was “one more happy day” when he reunited with his family!

It’s not an easy job serving in the military, especially if you’re far away from the people and the country you love.

I salute Charles Walker, who is still persevering and giving his best at age 95. I wish a Happy Veterans Day to him and all the veterans who chose to serve honorably, or quoting Charles, they did it the "right way.”

Veterans, whatever you consider a “small part” in service to our country, I consider it monumental.

Thank you.