Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Married or Not, Realities

If you’re married, planning a wedding, or hoping to marry, it really is both savvy and prudent to trust those who smile knowingly and say something like “Believe me, it’s full of surprises -- many of which can grow you into a much better human being.” Even couples who lived together before marriage tell me they basically had only clues about what was coming once they tied the knot.

But surprises in relationships don’t have to play out poorly. That’s why you’ll put yourself ahead of the curve when you hear Jerusha Clark on this week’s show. She points out that people marry with some assumptions that can hurt their relationship. For example, there’s this take on it: “Finally I’ll be loved for who I really am. I’ll be complete and satisfied, no more loneliness. Life will be so much better. It will be forever.” Sure. If only … so now you can learn to separate fantasy from reality for a happier life.

Clark is practical with this process, and it is based on how God means for marriages to thrive. Her point is that misconceptions keep us from experiencing real joy in marriage. She acknowledges that your marriage circumstance may not change, but she then shows how your attitude can bless the marriage. She builds from that by showing how you do not face singleness alone and explains how God helps navigate those waters. She’s convincing on how God cares about relationships and wants them firmly grounded in Him. In addition to her counseling experience, she references this Bible verse:
I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light before them
and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do;
I will not forsake them (Isaiah 42:16).

Clark’s book is When I Get Married and it sounds like a great read for our daughters or single friends -- and it can be that -- but it’s also a great read for enriching your marriage relationship as well!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

When Pleasing Others Hurts You

How did I know my drive (overdrive, really) to bring you food when you were sick, pick up your child after school while you earned your degree, or make everything from scratch while preserving fruits, vegetables, jellies, and jams for gifts actually stemmed from a need to please? For Pete’s sake … give me a break! Well, those of us for whom doing too much is never enough and more is always better finally hit the wall and begin to catch on. Maybe this isn’t as good as it looks, even when the applause drove our bus! Of course, some of that busy-ness was fruitful. Eating my frozen fruits and vegetables during the winters saved a ton of money. But enough is enough, and I didn’t know that. Now, 20 years after working hard to decide what is appropriate and what is unnecessary and over-done, I am more content and save myself better than ever for the things that matter most. It may not take you that long, especially since you get to listen to fabulous Woman to Woman shows like this week with David Hawkins, Ph.D.! He’s a psychologist with 20 years of counseling experience, and he pretty much nails it. His specialty is helping couples and individuals strengthen their relationships. (Yeah, pleasing others can kill relationships. Find out how before you have to bury some of your favorites!)

You see, we have to learn to responsibly care for ourselves if we are to responsibly care for others. Especially as Christians who serve, we can forfeit our God-given calling and identity in order to please others. And then we go from servanthood to co-dependency. So let’s, instead, move on from losing ourselves as we try to please others, to finding ourselves in God’s plan to lovingly serve Him and be fulfilled in the process. You’ll pick up on why you have trouble saying, “No,” and why you feel accepted only when you’re “producing.” And the really cool part is you’ll learn how to experience deep joy and peace from serving others out of your abundance, not your need. And there is a big difference there! The Bible puts it this way, with the emphasis on the last sentence:

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load” (Galatians 6:2-5).

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mother-Daughter Business Plan

There’s no time like the present to get creative with your talents to contribute to a better world and put some food on the table in the process! I’m noticing more and more women changing their work schedules and their definition of “work.” From telecommuting, to cutting back to part-time, to even taking time off through downsizing or by choice -- we’re expanding our options. And the marketplace is friendly to good ideas and hard-working people!

A case in point is this week’s show. More than 10 years ago I interviewed “Tiny” (his nickname) and Dorothy Zehnder who started the Bavarian Inn in 1950 in Frankenmuth, Michigan. The now-sainted Tiny, through his community service, was later credited with making Frankenmuth the number-one tourist attraction in that State. They served (and still do today in the fourth generation of this family owned and operated business) 1200 people at a time in seven dining rooms where you feel like you’re the only one being fussed over with fabulous service and incredible cuisine.

Dorothy Zehnder recently turned 88, and with 70 years in the kitchen is now cutting back to six days a week! She and her daughter, Judy Zehnder Keller, talk about merging their business skills. Judy runs the Bavarian Inn Lodge and its entertainment centers, where I stayed in the “Ossie Hoffman” room. Part of her genius is appealing to all the senses, including a sense of taste and comfortable surroundings. There’s wholesome entertainment with fun for all ages. Every guest I met expressed their appreciation for the sense of caring they get at the Lodge and the Inn. Rooms are actually named after Frankenmuth families dating back to 1845, with papers framed on the walls to prove it! The Zehnders also preserve the legacy of their own family traditions, promoting things that make people fall in love with life and each other all over again! Hear how they do it, how you can be part of it by benefitting from their hospitality, and be sure to take away some good ideas to strengthen your own business plan -- maybe even with your Mom!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Breast Cancer: Hope and Healing

When the doctor says, “You have breast cancer,” your to-do list changes immediately, as does your heart rate, and your plans for next Wednesday. That diagnosis comes with options for body, mind, and soul. Heidi Floyd was diagnosed with breast cancer while pregnant with her fourth child, whom she safely delivered after seven months of chemotherapy. If you haven’t been diagnosed with breast cancer or some “highly suspicious mass” (as I was, until a breast excision revealed it was benign), you know someone who has. If breast cancer runs in your family, you’re on guard, or at least you’re told to be. Floyd’s Mom died of the disease at age 42. You can imagine her fears for the journey ahead. You will hear how her disease has taught her to cope with fear and draw closer to the hope found in Christ as she considers her body a temple of the Holy Spirit. One of the Bible verses that sustains her is Isaiah 41:10: “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.”

Floyd is the development ambassador for the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer. Tune in to gain strength for your own battles, whether it’s a disease or something else, by hearing this breast cancer survivor describe her victory over fear.