Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Celebration

Last night I didn't know whether to cry or jump up and down with extreme joy. I spoke with my friend whose husband has been in Afghanistan and she told me he would be arriving in the US today!!!!! She does not get to see him until Monday, but just knowing he is safe and close by is such a relief.

I honestly think that being there for my friend and having the privilege of praying for all of them has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. I have often prayed for our military and the leaders of our country, but to hear up close and personal the day by day struggles, the sacrifices made, or to receive a call early in the morning asking for prayer for a family that just received word their loved one won't be coming home, shed a whole different light on what it means for these people to serve our country.

The two words that come to my mind are: extreme sacrifice.

I am so thankful for the men and women and their families who serve. While I have walked this road with my friend, my eyes have been opened to the fact that we have a group of people in harms way that we need to pray for and support, but we also have a group of people (families) serving right here who make it possible for these men and women to go off to a foreign land.

I am a bit surprised at how emotional I have been the last 12 hours. It has been an amazing journey. I understand that a unit from Georgia has replaced this unit that is arriving home. I have already started praying for them.

I pray that we all will be grateful and never forget or take for granted the sacrifices that have been made on our behalf.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Dangerous Liaisons

Every time I turn around it seems like I am hearing about another person in the middle of an affair.

In this morning's paper I read an article that quoted a psychologist saying that he is surprised that there are not more political figures having affairs.

Dr. Farley, former president of the American Psychological Association, said he thinks that many elected politicians are in a sense wired for such mischief through personalities built for risk taking and dealing with uncertainty. See article here.

So is there anything couples can do to help affair-proof their marriage?

The answer is YES!

Dave Carder recently spoke at the International Smart Marriages Conference in Orlando, Florida. He has written several books about infidelity including Torn Assunder and Close Calls.
During his presentation he talked about "Close Call Friendships." His talk was outstanding so I thought I would share some of the points he made.

Infatuation is an incredibly powerful drug. People don't think in their right mind when they are infatuated with something.

Any relationship with potential for quick chemistry is dangerous.

There is nothing wrong with platonic friendships with people of the opposite sex, but you need to have strong boundaries. When people come together around the same interests and passion it can be dangerous.

Beware of individuals from your past - old girlfriends/boyfriends. You never forget adolescent romance - which is why people often get into trouble when they go to high school and college reunions or get on Facebook and search for old flames.

Here are the danger signs for a close call friendship:

  • You save topics of conversation for someone other than your spouse.
  • You share spousal difficulties with this person. For example - "You're a woman, help me understand how my wife works."
  • Your friend shares relationship difficulties with you.
  • You anticipate seeing this person more than your spouse - this is a sign you are already sliding sideways. Keep in mind that you see your spouse at the 2 worst times of day - first thing in the morning when things tend to be chaotic and in the evening when you are trying to get dinner ready, homework done and you are tired from the day.
  • You are more concerned about your friend than your spouse.
  • You provide special treats for your friend.
  • You fantasize about marriage with this friend.
  • You spend more alone time with your friend than with your spouse.
  • Your spouse does not have access to all of the conversations you are having with this person - email, texting, in person, etc.
  • You spend money on this friend behind your spouse's back.
  • Conflicts arise between you and your spouse over this friendship.
  • You lie to your spouse in order to spend time with this friend - ie. You go into work an hour before you really need to be there in order to see your friend.
  • You hide interactions with your friend from your spouse. For example, "Don't smile at me when you see me at church, my husband is watching."
  • You accuse your spouse of jealousy when the friendship is brought up.
  • You develop special rituals with your friend that are highly anticipated by both parties. When the rituals don't happen there is great disappointment.
  • Your friend shares his/her feelings or touches you, which creates an inward response.
  • You have conversations with your friend that include sexual content.
  • You participate in corporate travel with your friend - also known as corporate dating - You participate in business travel where meals, alcohol, entertainment are involved and you are staying at the same hotel.
A bunch of us were sitting around at the conference talking about all of this craziness and here is the slogan we came up with:

Don't come a knockin' my marriage is a rockin'!!!!!!

Would love to know your thoughts......

Monday, July 20, 2009

Watch Out for Flying Cows!!!!

This was the scene at Coolidge Park on Saturday night as families gathered to watch the Wizard of Oz as part of First Things First's Movies in the Park series. Chick-fil-A partnered with us to do a cow drop. A crowd of approximately 6500-7000 watched as 750 little Mini-moo Chick-fil-A cows with parachutes came flying in from a helicopter. There was almost no wind and it was an exceptionally beautiful evening, for which I am VERY thankful. This was a huge hit with the kids!!!!

I love Movies in the Park because it brings to life so much of what First Things First espouses when it comes to building strong families. We see families from all walks of life show up hours before the movie starts to enjoy a picnic and fun time in the park. There is an awesome fountain for kids to play in and a large expanse of green grass where kids can be seen chasing their parents, playing catch or participating in a great game of tag.

When the movie starts I see kids nestled in the laps of their parents or families huddled on a blanket. There are usually a lot of teens who come to the park on a date. One time a group of college kids brought their couch along so they could watch the movie in total comfort. :)

In a day and time when families are often going in lots of different directions I love hosting an event that brings them together for an evening of relaxation and fun.

I am incredibly grateful to Chattem, Comcast, Sunny 92.3, Geico (Chattanooga office), City of Chattanooga Parks and Recreation, The Chattanooga Times Free Press, Chick-fil-A and Lifeguard Ambulance for making it possible for us to provide this opportunity to our community for FREE!!!!

We are always on the look out for creative ways to bring families together. Do you have any good ideas?????

Thursday, July 16, 2009

More Adventures in Motherhood

Last week I attended a conference in Orlando, Florida. My daughter had planned to go with me. Since she is a new driver I thought it would be a great idea for us to drive rather than fly so she could get some good interstate driving time under her belt.

Since it would take about 8-9 hours to get to our destination, I figured we could just split the driving. We set out Sunday morning bright and early (like 6:30 am early). I drove the first leg of our journey since I am much more of a morning person than she is. When we stopped for lunch I reminded her not to eat anything too heavy since she would be taking over at the wheel.

We get back in the car and head down the interstate. I think we had been on the road about 45 minutes when she started talking about how tired she was and that I probably needed to take over. I'm thinking to myself, "Is this the same child that just a few months ago was begging me to go with her here and there just so she could drive the car????? Fortunately for her, I needed a bathroom break. When I came back from the restroom guess who was in the passenger seat smiling?????

So much for my best laid plans. I ended up driving the rest of the way, which actually turned out to be a good thing because people were driving like maniacs on the Florida Turnpike.

Nine days pass and we are heading home.....I inform my daughter that I'm not falling for the same trick on the drive home :)

We get an early start and stop around 10:30 at Chick-fil-A to take a break. As we are getting back in the car, out of habit I head for the driver's side and then I remember, wait a minute, it's her turn to drive. Before she can get in the passenger side I run around and jump in. She gets a big grin on her face and says, "Darn, I was hoping you would forget." Ha! I am on top of things this time. She ends up driving from Albany into Atlanta and does a really good job. We stop for lunch and I drive the rest of the way home.

The bonus for me was getting to spend a ton of really good time with my daughter even if I did do most of the driving. We laughed, talked about some serious stuff and just enjoyed each other's company. It is times likes these I treasure the most.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Fourth of July

As you celebrate Independence Day, hopefully you will take time to talk as a family about the great sacrifices people have made for our benefit, the qualities that make the United States a great place to live, and the responsibilities we all share in keeping this country free. If you have never read the Declaration of Independence, that might be a great place to start. Here are a few more suggestions:

  • Encourage those who are 18 and older to register to vote;
  • Remember all of the military who are serving on our behalf and the families they have left behind;
  • Study our nation's birthplace, Philadelphia;
  • Have a conversation about the freedoms we share as Americans;
  • Talk to a military veteran;
  • Thank employers who make it possible for people to serve in the National Guard and reserves;
  • Hold an Independence Day Parade in your neighborhood;
  • Investigate what red, white and blue mean to our country; or
  • Learn the significance of the stars and stripes on our nation's flag.

Perhaps one of the most important lessons children can learn from this celebration is that with freedom comes responsibility. We all have to learn how to live within limits and be aware of the role we play in maintaining the freedoms we enjoy. Winston Churchill once said, "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."

Happy Fourth of July!!!!!