By: Hollie Kowalski
Encompass Outreach Coordinator
If you are anything like me, you started 2023 with a short list of big goals, maybe a resolution or two, much anticipation about a fresh start going into the new year, a bit melancholy about the quick passing of time and some feelings of disappointment over the setbacks and unmet expectations of the year prior.
As we conclude this year, I’m choosing to focus on finishing well in preparation for a fabulous start to 2024. I invite you to join me! I believe a few great ways we can end the year well are...
By: Hollie Kowalski, Encompass Outreach Coordinator
Every day, at some point, my mind somehow finds its way to my sister. At 37, she and my nephew are “starting over.” Single mom is her new label. Her thoughts of failure and hopelessness are often almost too much to bear. My mom repeated a conversation the two of them had not long ago in which my sister said to her “why couldn’t my marriage have been like my sister’s?”
The past 22 years of my life have without a doubt, been my favorite. This is the number of years Joe and I have been together, (married 19 of those.) He is my favorite person, my very best friend, and hand picked for me by God. I do feel very blessed, but I remember a time when I did not.
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 Kermit Rowe, Relationship Facilitator
The struggle is real. It can also be embarrassing … and convicting!
I thought the struggle my wife and I have with praying together consistently made us an exception. But talking with and coaching other couples here at Encompass Connection Center, I’ve discovered that those who often fail to pray together consistently may be of the majority. It’s also revealing that couples I work with who struggle overall in their relationships also have not been praying together.
By Grant Edwards
(Grant is senior pastor of Fellowship Church in Springfield. He's given us permission to include his reflections and suggestions from scripture and personal experience. Insomnia can affect relationships by making us more irritable and insensitive with each other!)
Too many of us can't sleep. It’s so frustrating -- 3 AM and wide awake. Then 6 AM and you fall asleep with the alarm sounding at 7 AM.
Someone then remarks, "You look like something that the cat dragged in from a night of prowling."
We want to call down fire from heaven on them!
By Lavern Nissley
A number of years ago Ronda and I were in a mentoring session with a couple married for 20 years. They were "prickly" - a term we've come to use for very stressed couples. The puzzle was that they had taken all kinds of marriage classes, attended retreats and read the latest books on marriage. But it wasn't evident at all!
In one session they said something profound. "We know what our problem is. It's actually 3 things." When they said what the 3 things were, we both thought, "Yep! You certainly do seem to have these 3."
By Lavern Nissley
On August 7 our daughter, Kristen, posted a heartfelt reflection on how she had struggled for years with "a giant to-do list that’s never-ending, meetings, projects, phone calls, photo sessions, events, weddings, deadlines, technical problems, details, filming, strategy, planning, emails, scheduling, customer service, traveling... " She called it "functional chaos" that was choking out time and energy for her marriage and family. Insert your own vocational demands, and you can probably relate, right?
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.