Monday, May 30, 2016

T.R.E.A.S.U.R.E. In Marriage: Guest Post by Warren Baldwin

Warren and his wife Cheryl live in West Kansas. They have a grown son and daughter and another daughter still at home. Warren and Cheryl have ministered with churches in Florida, Wyoming and Kansas. They have been married for 27 years. Warren's book, "Roaring Lions, Cracking Rocks, and Other Gems from Proverbs"   is an inspirational journey from Proverbs and is on Amazon

Jesus said, "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Luke 12:34). Jesus applies this principle of treasure to spiritual things: if our
hearts are devoted to God and Christ, we can give up our earthly possessions for the good of others and the glory of the kingdom. In giving our hearts to heaven we place our treasure there: our time, energy and money. Everything we are and everything we have is devoted to the pursuit of heaven.

Dr. Debbie Cherry, a marriage counselor, applies this principle of "treasuring" very creatively to marriage. An experience common to all married couples is the waning of the warm glow of the wedding, honey moon, and first months in the new relationship. Anticipation, excitement and ecstasy give way to schedules, work and stress.

Quickly on the heals of stress come irritants to the relationship: irritability and criticism. Before we couldn't see any faults in our beloved; that may be all we see now. The treasure of marriage is diminishing and we become leery of investing more emotional energy into a relationship that is causing pain. Irritants may soon become major emotional injuries
that drive people to a divorce or a marriage counselor.

Dr. Cherry says that many couples find marital therapy a very negative experience. In fact, therapy can make troubled marriages worse. Why? It too often focuses on problems, hurts and other negatives. In her book, Discovering the Treasure of Marriage Dr. Cherry writes, "Unless I first help them (the troubled husband and wife) learn how to like each other again, they will not feel connected enough to each other and the marriage to work
on the negative aspects" If a couple can find what they cherished in their partner and genuinely like each other again, then they can reconnect and "being to look at, resolve, and forgive past hurts"(p.16).

Dr. Cherry teaches spouses to like each other again by teaching them to treasure their husband or wife. Each letter in the word T-R-E-A-S-U-R-E stands for positive thought or action we can take toward our spouse to give them our heart and value them in our own.

T = Think Positively about your husband or wife. Intentionally overlook irritating behaviors in him or her and focus attention on what is good.

R = Respect your spouse. To respect means to hold in high regard and treat with consideration and care.

E = Enjoy the company of your partner. "Rejoice in the wife (or husband) of your youth" (Prov. 5:18). Remember when pleasure and laughter was natural to the relationship? It can be again.

A = Attend to the needs of your spouse, serving them and offering genuine praise.

S = Shield your husband or wife from hurtful words and behaviors (maybe even from you). "Love always protects" (1 Cor. 13:7).

U = Understand your spouse's needs. Give the attention it takes to learn what those needs are. The golden rule for marriage is: "Do unto others as
they need you to do."

R = Romance your mate. Think about your spouse when you are apart and show love when you are together. When is the last date you had together?

E = Edify your partner. "Encourage one another and build each other up ..." (1 Thess. 5:11) ought to apply as much to marriage as any other
relationship! One way to edify is to show appreciation. (Pp.66-76)

"Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" means we have
control over where we place our affection. We have the power to decide to
give our husband or wife our positive energy. We can treasure them and our
hearts will follow. The joy and pleasure that characterized the early days
of our marriage can thrive today when we honor our spouse as treasure from

In what ways do you treasure your marriage?

This post first appeared in my former blog, The Writer Today.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Give Yourself Permission

Written Works Collection: Poetry

Give Yourself Permission To:

Laugh out loud
Enjoy the crowd
Do a little dance
Give life a chance
Sleep in late
Fall in love
Not work so hard
Love yourself
Not hurt so much
Live carefree
Be who you are
Reach for the stars

In your writing life, what do you have to give yourself permission to do?

This post first appeared in my former blog, The Writer Today.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Book Review: A Work In Progress by Staci Stallings

Rebecca Avery is a college student who does not have much self confidence, sees herself as ordinary, and keeps to herself most of the time. She has a roommate in college, Holly, who to Rebecca, is one of the "beautiful" people and out of her league. Rebecca meets Eric Barnett, a nice, handsome guy in her Psychology class. Eric is battling a few "demons" of his own and aims to please everyone, at the cost of his own dreams.  They both get thrown together unexpectedly, leading to an unusual friendship, a love triangle and more complications than either of them can handle. Falling in love was not part of the plan. 

I enjoyed this book because it speaks to those of us who have felt inadequate, unworthy and unloved.  It brings forth that we all need to  look at our innermost selves to find answers and opening our life to God will bring its own spiritual reward.  

This review first appeared on my former website "My Writing Self"

Tuesday, May 3, 2016


Sara Hodon’s work has appeared in History, Harrisburg Magazine, Young Money, and She is also a weekly columnist for Online Dating Magazine. Visit her blog at

 All writers infuse their work with a little of their own personality and voice, no matter the genre. But few genres allow a writer more freedom to express themselves and connect with readers than the personal essay.

A well-crafted essay about an experience from your life can strike a chord with readers, whether it’s a humorous or sad incident. We all have those memories of disastrous family vacations, awkward high school experiences, or people who have made a lasting impact on our lives.

Journals can be a helpful tool to write a meaningful essay. I know that when I go back and read my old journals, I’m almost instantly sent back in time to a particular event or period of my life. Even if the words on the page don’t tell the whole story, I can remember what was going through my mind at the time that I wrote them. That helps me to fill in the details or portray a certain tone for the essay.

Even though the goal for most writers is to get our work published so we can share it with our readers, it’s not easy to put ourselves out there and divulge so much personal information. Let’s be honest—writers have fragile egos, no matter how thick a skin we develop after endless rejections from editors or publishers. We accept rejection as part of the process, but that doesn’t mean it gets easier to swallow! Besides just putting ourselves on the page, writing essays often means writing about those closest to us—family, current or estranged friends, and current or former loves—and hoping our words don’t cause hard feelings.

One of the most important things to remember about writing personal essays is that you’re telling the story as you remember it. You may be writing about your family’s fiasco of a family vacation to the Grand Canyon when you were 10, and no doubt every member of your family will remember that vacation differently. So be it—the essay is your memory. If so many things on that vacation went wrong, it could be perfect material for a humorous piece that would make even your well-meaning but hapless dad chuckle. Just like most writing, it’s all in your approach.

A personal essay is an important way to develop your own voice and confidence as a writer. Not sure how to get started? Go back and read those old diaries and journals and see if anything triggers a strong memory.  Then, get writing. You may not become the next David Sedaris or Sloane Crosley, but you just may be able to craft a piece that makes your readers shake their heads or chuckle in knowing sympathy. Their dad was well-meaning but hapless, too.

This post first appeared in my former blog: The Writer Today