The September theme for our social media and blog posts is devotion/faith. Gina Craun and her family experienced the ultimate loss, but through it all maintained their faith and devotion to each other and to God. See where it's brought them in the following blog post by Gina.
This was my 3 year old daughter's bold and unquestioning response when I asked her what she learned in her class while I was in service one Sunday. I laughed and asked her what she meant and, without even looking up from the sucker she was trying desperately to unwrap, she informed me, “They said that Jesus lives in my heart… so I think right now He’s cookin’ in there.”
And you know what… I can’t disagree.
When our oldest son, Cainan, was 2 years old he was playing on the floor with his cars and seemed a bit sluggish. When I felt his body burning up again, with yet another fever that month, we took him to our family doctor to get some antibiotics. Little did we know that within 24 hours we would be packing overnight bags and be admitted to the closest children’s hospital. Within hours, our world was turned upside down and the word “leukemia” entered our daily vocabulary. Because of the strength his specific type of leukemia possessed, chemo alone was not going to be enough. We began prepping for a bone marrow transplant. A transplant that our oldest son at 2 would be receiving and our youngest son, at 11 months old, would be donating bone marrow for.
During this time I began an online journal. It was my goal to find God’s plan and purpose in each day and each step of our journey and share that hope and light with others. I found such encouragement in this because… you see what you look for. And I wanted to see what God was cooking up for our family through this.
The theme for August posts will be Finances/Money in Marriage, which seems to be a common issue between spouses. This post is a bit longer than usual and comes from Ron Blue, a financial planner and consultant for more than 30 years with some excellent tips.
Here is the summary of Ron Blue's post as well as an outline of the content.
"Teaching kids about money is a matter of sharing your ideas and values with your kids as you go through the routines of daily life together."
Motivation: The current cultural climate
Foundation: Biblical perspectives and principles
Application: Putting beliefs and ideals to work
Method: "As you go" while teaching kids about money
Our appreciation to Ron Blue for this content.
Ronda is the little girl sitting on her Daddy's lap.
By: Ronda Nissley
A year ago, I gifted my 92-year-old father a Storyworth subscription for Father’s Day. Each week, he was given a question to which he could respond or simply write his own story. Although we’re still working on completing and editing the stories into their final format, I’m sharing one that has given me a renewed appreciation of the huge responsibility he carried providing for a family of nine children.
By: Hollie Kowalski
Parenting a teenager is no small feat. We have four children, currently three teenagers. Nothing will send me to my knees in prayer quicker than my kids! Through the chaos, the conflict, the blessings, and the battles, I must keep reminding myself: God is in control.
My husband Joe is a logical, levelheaded parent with much patience. I, on the other hand… well, I like to say I’m a very “passionate,” person, especially when it comes to my kids. Joe would interpret this as emotional and easily excitable, but also a “pro” when it comes to loving on, caring for, and guiding our children. Together, we make a pretty great team, but even the very best parents don’t always have the answers. So when we’ve been consistent, loving, patient, supportive, good role models (most of the time…) and we’ve “chosen our battles carefully,” where do we turn when one of our children comes to us with anger and insecurity that won’t subside, or when one of them just wants to give up due to the fear of imperfection, or there is an undeniable ache from a loss or a badly broken heart from “the one they thought they’d marry?”
By Lavern Nissley
Encompass Executive Director
In April we are featuring posts about children and parenting.
One of my all-time favorite public exchanges with two of my children, Josh and Kristen, was during a Father's Day message in 2003. It was an interview format where I asked them a series of "penetrating questions" related to parenting. Their responses may surprise you!
By: Hollie Kowalski, Encompass Outreach Coordinator
A day in the life of the Kowalskis:
7-8a drop kids off at school (two different schools)
-38 min drive-
-35 min drive-
2:45p pick Josie up from school,
-35 min drive-
3:30p pick Dom up from school, drop him at home; Josie change clothes
-25 min drive-
5p drop Josie off at rowing (use carpool for pickup)
-55 min drive-
7:30p Isaiah's soccer game
-55 min drive-
9:30-10:45p Homework, showers, and finally... bedtime
This is a fairly typical week night schedule for our family. It makes me cranky just planning it, but this is what families "do" now right? This is the new "normal." But how is this new normal affecting our families?
By: Kermit Rowe, Encompass Relationship Facilitator
Another Mother’s Day has come and gone. The relationship between a mother and her children has been widely heralded and celebrated, and deservedly so. The women who were divinely chosen to be our gateway into this world are the glue that helps hold our families and nation together.
However, if that parent-child relationship supersedes the husband-wife relationship, trouble in the family usually follows. Picking your spouse over your kids is increasingly becoming unpopular advice as the country increasingly turns away from God and His ways. However, not making that choice goes against the priorities God set up for all marriages. His order of priority when things get unclear: God first, your spouse second, the kids third.
This doesn’t mean that you love your children less. God forbid! But when we decide to accept God’s gift of holy matrimony with the love of our life, we are expected to live our married lives in His holy ways. There’s a reason “forsaking all others” is part of the traditional wedding vows. All means all if push comes to shove.
Why is it important to choose your spouse over your kids if you must pick one over the other? Here are just four of the myriads of reasons:
By: Abby Glaser, Community Advocate
Can you feel it? The days are getting longer. The temperatures outside are getting warmer. Spring is in the air, and spring is the season for fresh starts. Even parents need a fresh start sometimes...
Every time I sit down to write a blog post on parenting or begin teaching a parenting class I always feel the need to clarify that I’m not an expert. Most people already know this but you’d be surprised at how many think mother of five children equals expert!
One of the interesting things about my current stage in life is that I now have two adult children living out of my house and three still at home. So I’m starting to hear from the older kids areas they feel I could have done better and I have the opportunity to make some of those changes now with the younger kids. While my big kids will often lament about how differently we parent their younger siblings, my response is always of course! Just like them, their dad and I are always growing and evolving and trying to do a little better than we did before. In some ways one of the gifts of having multiple children that span a ten-year age gap is that we get ongoing chances to pivot and do better. I often hear from parents in coaching that they feel stuck or in a rut with their kids, especially teenagers. I’d like to offer a few ways to pursue a fresh start!
By: Kermit Rowe, Encompass Relationship Facilitator
Ahhh February- a month of ROMANCE! Each week in February we’ll be sharing about the seasons of romance in marriage. Last week we visited the pre-marital through honeymoon seasons. This week we’ll talk about romance while the children are at home. Next week will be for the empty nesters and finally we’ll finish with the golden years.
Parent or romantic partner … which comes first?
What is the most challenging time in a marriage? When the honeymoon is over.
The trick of course is to be able to keep the honeymoon attitude alive. But no matter how romantic the two are, that comes to a screeching halt when the two who became one, turn around and become two again, and three, and four, and … well, you get the picture. There are a lot of challenging ‘hoods out there, but none more challenging than parenthood.
My wife and I, and some of you I’m sure, have been there and done that. Our nest is empty, and we don’t mind at all (most of the time). But many of you homemakers are in the eye of the storm, and those winds can howl. As an Encompass relationship facilitator and pastor, I’m constantly seeing the shrapnel produced by kid-induced, divisive war on the home front. It is heartbreaking as it is home-wrecking!
By: Abby Glaser
It’s hard to believe the holidays are here! If you are like me, you are already making progress on your shopping list for Christmas. One of my favorite parts about the holiday season is seeing the generosity of our community. There’s something about the Christmas spirit that brings out the best in us! You may like to give to organizations that help those in need or you may prefer to do it yourself through adopting families or giving trees. However you spread Christmas joy this year, consider giving the gift of dignity! You may be wondering what that means... allow me to explain!
Lavern & Ronda Nissley are co-directors of Encompass. Married since 1978, both enjoy coffee, riding their tandem bicycle and working together to build strong relationships.