Margin and its Friends

Thoughts, Work - Life Balance
What about our other time areas that get "squeezed" by our new family responsibilities?  Let's tackle them one by one. Personal Time.  To keep time for personal study or other interests, we may need a change in our daily schedule.  As many parents have discovered, you may need to get up earlier to maintain your interest in reading or exercise.  Also, including your kids in your hobbies and things you enjoy is a great family connection time. Friends.  We were created for community.  We were created to enjoy the beauty of friendship.  Naturally, with children in the house, there will be less time for softball with the guys or book clubs.  But just as with our time as a couple, we do not want to let our friends time go to…
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A Failure to Communicate

Thoughts, Work - Life Balance
One of the things Rhonda and I learned early on in the effort to preserve our time as a couple was the need for good communication.  To put it bluntly, we just did not have the time to deal with poor or misunderstood communication.  When your time is "squeezed", the need to share your hopes, dreams, challenges, and hurts in ways that are understood and addressed is critical.  We demonstrate love through our encouraging and caring ear.  And when communication is good, we feel like we are moving forward as a couple.  Let me share some principles that helped us along the way. Good communication only happens when the listener understands the words of the speaker in the way the speaker intended them to be understood.  In our communication, we asked…
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Keeping the Spark Alive

Thoughts, Work - Life Balance
Let's start through our list of time commitments with some practical ideas about handling the "time squeeze" that comes with a growing family.  I am going to begin with our time together as a couple (see last post's diagram for a list of these areas) because getting this right is critical to our marriage and family health.  Now some of this couple time is just naturally moved over to the kid time because of all the things we do together as a family.  But keeping some time for just the two of us is very important. One of the ideas I challenge men with is to commit at least two uninterrupted hours a week to listen to your wife.  This is just the two of you together.  To our women readers,…
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Feeling the Time Squeeze

Thoughts, Work - Life Balance
Last time, we introduced you to this diagram that provides the background for our "balancing family, work, and church" discussion. The categories on the left represent life before kids.  We have our personal time; hobbies and other interests.  We have our work commitment, time as a couple, and spending time with friends.  Other categories are our extended family, ministry pursuits, and some time for margin in our lives. What I tried to show in the drawing is how all those areas get squeezed when the kids come along.  One of the few exceptions is our work.  That time requirement generally stays the same after the children arrive and I showed that with the thickness of that category staying the same.  But what about the others?  We are just going to…
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Finding a Healthy Balance

Thoughts, Work - Life Balance
Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to share with the men of Cypress Bible Church a presentation on finding a healthy balance in our family, work, and church responsibilities.  The talk was a mix of biblical admonitions and life experience.  As our five children have moved into adulthood, it has afforded us the chance to look back and reflect on where God has taken us as a couple and as a family over the past 35 years.  Over the next several posts, I would like to continue the conversation started at the men's breakfast and write about the experiences and principles that guided us as a way to encourage you on your own family journey. I have included a family photo to introduce you to the cast of characters. …
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He Made a Wretch His Treasure

Thoughts
A few Sundays ago we were visiting Josh and Erica's church in Southlake Texas.  We sang one of my favorite hymns, How Deep the Father's Love for Us.  I don't know of another song that carries so many powerful lines.  Lines that describe the depth of the Father's love, the pain the Savior endured on our behalf, our sin that held Him there, our mocking voice, the complete assurance that it is finished, our boast in Christ alone, and the firm knowledge that His wounds have paid my ransom. But one line stood out to me in a particular way on that Sunday morning and I began to dwell on the idea "that He should give His only Son to make a wretch His treasure."  A wretch... His treasure.  And…
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