Tuesday, March 25, 2008

BOOK REVIEW: “Generation NeXt Marriage”

By Tricia Goyer

I was thrilled when I heard the guidelines for this Blog Tour from Trish.
“…we’d like you to take one chapter of the book and share how that chapter, or the principles in the chapter, have helped you in your marriage.”

Cool, I thought. T and I have been studying some new parenting books lately, but it’s been awhile since we’ve looked at one on marriage. I’m a definite Gen X-er, and he is on the cusp, so it should relate to us. What a great way for us to draw closer while I prepare for the blog!

...Well, since that original thought: I began a new full-time job, one of our older daughters moved home, T took over my gourmet cooking class this semester, we're homeschooling both twins, and he's trying to get a new business started!

At a time when we probably need it the most, there just hasn’t been time in our schedule for basic communication let alone something that will draw us “closer” as a couple. The more I thought about it and poured through Trish’s book, I laughed and thought
YEAH, well that’s what she’s talking about here isn’t it?!!

SO which chapter really hit home for me???

Chapter 8: “Sweet Child o’ Mine

Why? Because if there’s one thing my husband and I ALWAYS agree on it’s loving, nurturing and raising our kids to be healthy, happy, productive, faith-filled young people.

Well then why aren’t you blogging on
“Generation Next Parenting” instead you say? It’s simple. Marriage and Parenting aren’t separate issues as our friend Tricia points out here!

“Children Redefine ‘Marriage Partnership’” she opens the chapter with. In discussing marriage as a purposeful relationship, she quotes Gary Chapman in the Four Seasons of Marriage “All research indicates that an intimate marriage provides the safest and most productive climate for raising children.”

Though I DO see our parenting partnership lately as one of the biggest strengths in our marriage, one of the closing points Trish makes went to my core.

“Additionally the way John and I interact serves as our children’s model for marriage. In fact, the type of marriage I have with John is most likely the kind my kids will have too. That’s huge.”

UM yeaah, that’s HUGE!

It reminded me once more that even in the midst of understandable hard times; when it’s difficult to find the time and way to connect, our marriage STILL has to take precedence. During these times, we are modeling for our kids how to handle their own future marriages under similar circumstances.

As a parent it’s pretty easy to analyze and even critique our own children’s behavior, after all that’s part of our job! Well picturing my child as a future marriage partner, handling particular situations the way we typically do, was inspiration. Not only to
try to do better, but my need to aim daily for the BEST relationship possible, no matter what the situation may be.

Now this doesn’t mean we’ll ever become the “perfect” husband/wife, during our lifetime. Rather that in each and EVERY season, we must dedicate precious time and energy toward a future of continuous improvement.

One of my favorite things in this chapter is that Trish shares her
TOP 12 list of the best things a married couple can do together for their kids.
I focused in on just a few to share:

“5. Have daily ‘couch time’ where your kids see the two of you talking about your day. It will give them security to see their parents communicate. They will know all is well in their world.

7. Be loyal to one another and stand by each other, even when you don’t think the other person has handled the situation correctly. It’s better to work it out afterward, in private.

8. Let loose once in awhile. Life doesn’t always have to be serious.

9. Pray together as a family. AND...

11. Let the kids see you handle disagreements and resolutions respectfully."

To learn more about other bloggers’ favorite chapters in this book follow the tour here!

Trish Goyer is the award winning author of nine books, has written more than 250 published articles, and is a sought after speaker and presenter for women’s groups. She makes her home in northwest Montana with her husband and three children.

Click here for an opportunity to win a “dinner for 2” courtesy of Trish herself!

Friday, March 21, 2008


there was "Clumsy" Jason Castro, singing from the heart, at church.

Well, the news is all good so far!!

Jason's made it to the top 10, securing a position on the AI performance tour this year. Simon Cowell was quoted on Oprah this week as saying he expects him to be in the "top 4". Leonard Cohen has "Dreads" to thank for a revitalized career, Jeff Buckley's version of "Hallelujah" hit #1 on Itunes in memorium, and J's 1.5 minute version was the first AI contestant download to break the top 100...

I love this video though, because it's at the core of the "real" Jason. Behind all of the Hollywood glamour, the fan threads, the magazine articles and Ford commercials is a cool, humble, easy-going, goofy, God-honoring young man.

If you're so inclined, please keep up the prayers as he travels this wild pop-culture journey. Check out a new blog dedicated just to that, it's called: 


Tune in Tuesday nights on FOX (at 8/7c), to enjoy his next performance (award winning smile included)...then VOTE him back again!!!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Speaking of adoption issues...

A couple of weeks ago T and I were asked at the last minute to help out with an adoption “hot topics” class at church for families that are considering adoption.

The topic of the week: "Bonding and Attachment” is one that has been intimately woven through our lives the past 10 years. In fact, truth be known, we are only speaking about it now, because of God’s faithfulness to us. I wish I could say it was the other way around, but we haven’t always been full of faith in our parenting. Thank goodness for his perfection in using “broken tools” to create priceless works of art from individual lives.

Attachment and Bonding are basic components of human life--

an art medium in which God is the Master Creator. He designed us as free beings and set us in motion as reflections of his own image. With "the fall” our relationships were broken and disconnected. Life became less than the “ideal plan”. Separated from our source of life, we became fearful, self-centered creatures, craving some sort of control over the situation. 

Then he came along…offering unconditional love and “adoption”.

It wasn’t long after our first adoption that the connection between the relationship dynamics I had with my adoptive children and my own relationship with God was revealed. It just about knocked me off my feet! 

Me?? Attachment disorder with God? But I "LOVE” God! 
Do you trust him? 
I try. 
Do you give him control or make a mess of things on your own? Hmmm. Good point. 

Typical attachment begins at birth and the process unfolds throughout a child’s first few years. This unique period where an infant learns to trust and rely and relate to a “primary caregiver” is integral. In order to be healthy, an infant must internalize that initial relationship at the core of their being. 

The way a child learns to deal with everything else in life is based on that initial reassurance of love, security, safety, and well-being.

It can be broken though, just as ours was when sin entered in. According to Dr. Walter D. Buenning:

“…bonding is a two step process. First, the parents must give the child love. Secondly, the child must accept it. The problem arises in the second step or phase. Because of past loss, some children are unable to trust.... It is difficult for most parents and many clinicians to believe that this could happen with children and even infants. In adoptive homes, love is like a gift given to the child. The core problem is that the child does not, indeed cannot, accept the gift. In the end, the result is that the child looks and acts as if he has not been loved.”

Is this reminiscent at all, of your own Christian walk?? I know it has been of mine. There are varying degrees to everything, but our own adoption parenting reminds me again and again to fully accept God’s grace in my life. Accepting the love he has for me is the freedom and security I need to survive. Continuously placing him at the center of my being, allows me to reflect his image once more.

What a work of art our adoptions have been in his hands. Any obvious flaws, were our own unskilled additions to the canvas. Many, he has even graciously touched up. 

Last week, at a particularly strained period in life, he brought us together with a request to serve others, only to remind us of his continual presence and goodness. As we shared our experiences and lessons, a sense of his faithfulness filled me. 

Unaware of my own need for refreshment until that very moment, I marveled "Here he is, drawing us near, even as he sets us to doing his work!"