Never Stop Learning, As Life Never Stops Teaching

There is so much value and wisdom in learning from those older, wiser, and with life experience.

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Countless people have wrecked their lives by connecting with the wrong people. Thankfully, years ago (1998), God allowed my path to cross with Whole Heart Ministry, specifically the teachings of Clay and Sally Clarkson. Their grace filled messages appealed to my husband and I as we desired to leave a family legacy where we loved, accepted, and cared one another.

My relationship with the Clarkson family for many years was from afar; my life was impacted through their books, audio tapes, and yearly Mom Heart conferences. I have literally watched the Clarkson children grow up at the conferences and they are each authentic in their genuine love and passion for Christ.   Only in the last 7 years have I actually gotten to personally know Clay and Sally.  Luke 12:48 is says, ““From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” I’ve received so much from the teaching of WHM and desire for others to benefit from what they have to share.  

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I am thankful that I chose to surround myself with others who sought to leave behind a Godly legacy and with those who are worthy of emulation.  I trusted that the Godly characteristics I saw in the Clarkson’s lives would rub off on me and I would become better for it and I have.

Proverb 13:20 puts it this way, the one who associates with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.

As I surround myself with the right people, I hear the right things, I receive the right influences, and I become the right person. In Proverbs Solomon said, “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend” (27:17).  If you want to remain sharp, you must surround yourself with sharp people. I am thankful for those who have sharpened me and for Sally. Today I can read the I Take Joy blog for a daily dose of encouragement. I can reread books or listen to old audio cassettes/CD’s.  I always anticipate the yearly Mom Heart Conference and know I will be inspired, encouraged, and wiser because of my investment into growing.

If you are seeking encouragement and a clear vision for how to raise competent children who love Jesus and each other, I highly suggest that you join me by signing up for Sally’s upcoming e-conference.

Truly there is nothing more important in your life than how you love and serve God through the way you raise your children. Our greatest legacy will be our children who grow up, leave home and become the new church body.  While my husband and I have launched two Godly, grounded, giving, and gracious daughters, we are still in the thick of parenting our thirteen year old daughter and occasionally have differences with our adult children 🙂

Recently we went on a FAMILY vacation together as years ago we casted the vision that our family would do things together, no matter how big or how old we may get. This is written down in our below mission statement:

The Werner Family Mission Statement

The Werner Family Mission Statement

We truly love and adore one another relishing any time together especially now that our eldest daughters live in Detroit and San Diego.  When we gather together it is fun, memorable, and challenging.  Yes, I said it was challenging as we each have different personalities that can rub up against each other.  We have misunderstandings over what we will do, where we will eat, or who will clean up the messes. While I know the right thing to do, I often blow it. I still get angry and frustrated, stressed and impatient.  I say things I regret. Multiply that by 5 and there’s sure to be challenges as we are each so different and opinionated but at the end of the day we will each choose love as love is worth it and we are family.

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Relationships are difficult. Like most people, I want to have the best possible relationship with those that mean the most to me, my family; therefore I will continue to sharpen myself with wisdom and truth.  I will surround myself with those who have gone before me and have launched successful spiritual champions.

You’ve gotta love technology! If you can’t watch the conference on July 14th and 15th, once purchased it will be yours forever to watch whenever it’s convenient. Consider hosting a small group of friends to watch it together so you can be accountable to one another and encourage each other.

It is never to late to be who you might have been. – George Eliot

So remember it is never too late to learn and grow, no matter how old you get. You can always make a change for the better. So never stop learning, as life never stops teaching.



Opposites DO Attract – 10 Ways To Not Attack

Photo by Cherie Werner

Photo by Cherie Werner

For better or worse…. That’s what we agreed to.  I had no idea that many of Jon’s endearing and quirky differences I once appreciated while we were dating would become the same things that drive me crazy.  I’m sure he feels the same about me 😉

Recently in preparation for the couples group we lead, Jon and I sat down to discuss and listed out some of the ways we are different.  Too often, differences can tear a marriage apart but sometimes they can actually bring couples closer together!  We’ve come to realize that while frustrating at time our differences are the very thing that keeps our marriage exciting and well balanced.

JON CHERIE
Optimistic Pessimist
Idealist Realist
Carefree Organized & Structured
Adventurous Cautious
Night Owl Early to bed
Lives to eat Eats to live
Avoids conflict More direct
OK not doing anything Looks for what needs to be done
Views movies as an escape & relaxation Movies are a waste of time
Get things done when they need to be done List maker and multi-tasker
Record keeping not as important Record keeping very important
Shops for what he likes = higher end items usually. Shops for bargains
Enjoys the snow & skiing. Not a big fan of sand. Enjoys the beach, sun & water sports. Not a fan of the cold.
Humorous & light hearted Much more serious
Reads for entertainment Reads to grow
He’s an ENFP – “An Inspirer” She’s an ESFJ – “A Caregiver”
Physical touch is his #1 primary love language. Physical touch is her lowest love language.
Appreciates nice, fast cars Appreciates safe, mom mini-vans
Risk taker Cautious

Etc…..

We are all probably familiar with the old concept and expression “opposites attract.” Research by Columbia University says, “couples who agree with each other all the time may find they are actually too close for comfort.”

After being together for almost thirty years we’ve come to realize that most marriages tend to go through stages in regards to differences.  Starting with the first date, then through engagement and being newly married, couples tend to be enchanted with one another.  However, after several years of togetherness, those same differences that were once admired in each other often became irritants that annoy.  Therefore, we must allow God to change us so we can see and appreciate the valuable traits we each bring to the marriage relationship.

If we see our differences as gifts verses hindrances, we are drawn towards greater acceptance of each other. As I reflected on many past upsets, I realized I was often judging Jon’s behavior as annoying, ridiculous, or a waste of time rather that trying to understand his perspective. I also know it’s not my job to change my husband; I’ve tried without much success.  I can only change myself and how I choose to view these annoying behaviors.  We’ve learned that it’s best to communicate annoyances so they don’t escalate.

So if you and your spouse are struggling because of annoying differences, here are 10 suggestions to stay on the same team:

  1. Focus on the irritating behavior and not your spouse as you can’t change people.
  2. Find time to communicate about the problem calmly rather than getting upset and stonewalling.  Change can’t take place without both of you sharing and listening.
  3. Carefully choose the best time to share.  I have learned that it’s best not to share in the moment especially if you are upset.  Once words are spoken they can’t be taken back.  Also consider what your spouse has going on.
  4. Sandwich your concerns by first finding something positive to share about your spouse. Then calmly explain the issue. Finish up on a positive note.
  5. Don’t use the words “always” or “never” as your spouse will probably feel attacked and get defensive and discount what you are sharing because of the one time your statement wasn’t true.
  6. Discuss ways to bring about change or share benefits of changing.
  7. Acknowledge any growth and cheer your spouse on.
  8. Be patient as change takes time.
  9. Find 2-3 positive traits to balance out each negative one.  Consider memorizing Philippians 4:8 then practice it.
  10. Pray for your spouse and ask God to give you grace to be more accepting.

Back in the 90’s Focus on the Family’s published the insightful video, Vive La Difference. Actors Paul and Nicole Johnson present a humorous yet poignant skit that illustrates a couple going through the metamorphosis of recognizing their differences. As you watch the video clip identify the various differences that annoy them.  Notice how she tries to get her husbands attention when she wants to talk. Notice how he chooses the wrong time to communicate.

QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER after watching the video.

  1. What are some of the differences that first attracted you to your spouse?  Why do you feel you were attracted to those qualities?
  2. How do you view these differences today? Are they still attractive or do many of them drive you crazy? Is you perspective helping or harming you relationship?
  3. The couple struggle in four areas: in-laws, finances, flexibility, and communication.  Which of these areas do you tend to struggle the most with?  Maybe there is another area of contention between you. If so, what is it?  How can you work through these issues?
  4. When there is a disagreement about an issue (family, finances, work) that each of you views as important, how do you find a compromise?
  5. As a couple, how do you handle conflicts when it comes to your differences?  Do you discuss them calmly, argue about them or ignore them? Which method do you think is the healthiest emotionally? Why?
  6. Read 1 Corinthians 12  What does the passage tell us? Do you think the same applies to our marriage relationships? We should work together; emphasizing the various gifts that each of has to contribute to the good of the marriage.  Has your goal as a couple been to find sameness or oneness?  How can you work to find oneness by allowing your differences to complement your relationship rather than destroy it?
  7. How about you?  Have you learned to allow God to change you by helping you to see and appreciate the valuable traits your spouse brings to the marriage?

Blessings