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.
By Kermit Rowe
Encompass Relationship Facilitator
As we transition into this new year, a question has been on my mind: Did I make the most of my marriage in 2022?
It’s not a question for the faint of heart. It’s an examining question, a difficult question, and it leads to another question: Will I be honest enough with myself about this question?
By: Cindee Johnson, Encompass Relationship Coach
Chatting recently with a new bride, she was in awe to learn my husband and I are celebrating this month our 33rd anniversary. “Wow, 33 years! What’s your secret?” she asked.
If you have been married for any length of time, how would you respond to that newlywed’s question? Is the secret simply falling in love? Is it compromise? Having patience? Saying you’re sorry? Showing respect? Appreciating each other? Offering forgiveness? Laughing together?
By: Kermit Rowe, Encompass Relationship Facilitator
Time and time again, I sit in the coaching rooms of Encompass Connection Center as one of its relationship facilitators and work with struggling couples who find themselves wondering: “How did we ever get here?”
No one gets married to get divorced. One chooses “to become one” with another human being with the belief that life together with our perceived soulmate will be much better than without them. Yet the stresses of life, inevitable mistakes by both spouses and poor communication habits erode their relationship and weaken their love. How do they get back to where they started their holy matrimony?
By: Cindee Johnson
Encompass Relationship Coach
Orange barrels. No trespassing. Yield. Under construction. Do not enter. Danger. No outlet. Stop. Do you ignore these cautionary signs? Hopefully not! They are meant to protect you.
Do you know there are cautionary signs for our relationships, too? Although these aren’t posted quite so clearly along life’s journey, they can become glaring warnings, especially in communication and conflict.
As the 5 Man Electrical Band sang in 1970, “Sign, sign, everywhere a sign.”
But... what are the signs?
How do we identify them?
Where do we get help in understanding them?
Relationship researcher John Gottman has identified“ Four horsemen” seeking to destroy marriages. They ride in with signs we can’t afford to ignore. Gorman describes the four like this:
By: Jennifer Michael, Business Services Coordinator
As most of us relish the change in seasons from winter to spring, I think we can agree that we all look forward to the fresh starts in life from time to time. We get a fresh start on January 1st, at the beginning of a new school year, with a new car, new job or a new house. I anticipate a fresh start with each new season of my kids playing soccer. Sitting outside in the fresh air, with a wind chill temperature index of 23, getting a sunburn…or wait…maybe that’s wind burn. Ahhhhhh. Now THAT is fresh!
Sometimes, a fresh start can indicate that we are putting something negative behind us. Bad decisions. Failures. Fears. Mistakes. Maybe what’s fading into the background are feelings of confusion, frustration and weariness. We’re ready to move forward to something new. Something better.
By Malcolm & Kristen Davis
How many times have you messed up in relationships and wanted to just shut down and shut off? What do you do when you are working hard, and things are going well, and you mess it up? How we respond or react will change everything.
Seth and Lisa Perdue are Encompass board members and have a compelling marriage story that they shared for Fellowship Church, January 27, 2019. As they indicate in their story, it is only with the help of God that they are still together, having navigated one of the most challenges hurdles and couple could face.
By Lavern Nissley
(Danny Meyer is a former pastor and overseer in the Association of Vineyard Churches)
If you are married, please stop and take 2 minutes to read some super marriage advice from a May 18, 2018 Facebook post by Danny Meyer, a personal friend and acquaintance. In this brief post he offers incredibly humble and transparent reflections on his 44 year marriage to Penny. No self-promoting heroism at all!
Seriously . . . This. Is. Good. Stuff!
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.