With Valentine’s Day season upon us, you might wonder how spell L.O.V.E.  In our  book, The First Five Years, we explain how to create a memorable romantic encounter for your spouse no matter how many years you are married. (And we will adapt this for those who are single and dating).  Keep this acrostic for LOVE in mind as you make plans to wow the one you love:

 

Listen

Observe

Vary

Extract

 

Listen

Your spouse will drop hints about the things he or she loves and you can use these hints to create more romance and sizzle in your relationship. For example, if you listen to Bill and me in a casual lunch conversation, you would  discern  that Bill loves things like: Football, fishing, cooking, joke telling, and the Bible.  If you listen to Pam you’d discover she loves travel, biking, swimming, tennis, laughing, and helping women—and the spa!

It doesn’t take much imagination then to know that if I (Pam) give Bill a day of ocean fishing or if he gave me a day at the spa, we would be more interested in each other at the end of that day. But it doesn’t have to cost a lot. Kayaking is on both our lists, so we have a goal to have a kayak date in every state we travel to for business. Walking and biking are also on both of our lists, so an evening stroll, or a leisurely cycle around a lake near us is apt to also put us in the mood. Bill and I keep a running list of “loves” we discover about one another while listening.

Observe

On the TV show Sherlock (and in the classic books with this character),  Sherlock Holmes wows the audience by his keen detective skills of observation. You can become a detective and easily observe what will bless and ignite your spouse:

  • What raises stress in your partner?—then make a plan to lower it
  • What lifts the spirit?—then make a plan to repeat it
  • What calms the atmosphere?—then recreate it
  • What things are collectible?—then add to it
  • When he or she sighs and relaxes?—then repeat it
  • What draws him/her to you?—then protect it

 Vary

            For married couples, when it comes to intimacy, don’t get in a rut.  Vary the romance. In our book, Red Hot Monogamy, inspired by Song of Songs, we give over 200 Red Hot Romance ideas. The King and the Bride in song of Songs model for couples simple romantic inspirations. And they make time together a priority, “My beloved speaks and says to me: “Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away,” {Song pf Songs 2:10)

One of the easiest ways to vary the experience is to keep the five senses in mind. Vary the places you date, mix the style from dressy to down to earth. Or try adding new sounds/music, scents, textures, or tastes.  If you go to dinner each Thursday, next week eat it on the rooftop, or on a blanket at the park. If you usually work out as a couple, then make the next date a payoff- get some new athletic wear and try out a new activity.

Extract

To extract love, take an old idea and give it a new spin. Personalize it, shake it up, add to it. For example, because we are relationship communicators, we are usually pretty busy around Valentine’s Day. Often we have to be at the NRB (National Religious Broadcasters) conference. No offense to those in Christian radio, but the NRB isn’t the most romantic place to be around on Valentine’s Day. We have decided, however, to make it romantic the years we need to be there. One year, Bill scanned the covers of all the books we have written and made a series of greeting cards with personal love messages that used the titles as a part of a pun, like “It has been “Pure Pleasure” being marriage to you”.  Every hour all day, he gave me a card with a new message and tiny gift.

 

L.O.V.E: Listen, observe, vary and extract to create a love to look forward to living. It is possible to keep love as red hot as those candy hearts you munch on each Valentine’s Day—it just takes a little creativity and some L.O.V.E.

 

Pam and Bill Farrel are relationship specialists, international speakers and best selling authors of Men are like Waffles, Women are like Spaghetti, Red Hot Monogamy and The First Five Years: Make the Love Investment (www.Love-Wise.com) When they are not traveling to speak on marriage or family, you will find them at home on their live aboard boat in Southern California.

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The Sky Above Us

by Sarah Sundin

Release date: February 5th, 2019

Publisher: Revell

ISBN#: 978-0800727987

About the book:

Burdened by his past, fighter pilot Lt. Adler Paxton battles the Luftwaffe over Nazi-occupied Europe as the Allies struggle for control of the air before D-day. Deprived of her missionary dreams, Violet Lindstrom serves in the Red Cross, where she arranges activities at Adler’s air base in England. Drawn to the mysterious pilot, she enlists his help with her programs for local children. Adler finds his defenses crumbling. But D-day draws near. And secrets can’t stay buried forever.

About the author: 

Sarah Sundin is a bestselling author of historical novels, including The Sea Before Us and The Sky Above Us. Her novels When Tides Turn and Through Waters Deep were named to Booklist’s “101 Best Romance Novels of the Last 10 Years.” A mother of three, Sarah lives in California. www.sarahsundin.com.

 

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How do you deal with daily crises? Mine seem to cluster around my computer, which affects my writing.

Any day now, I’m expecting a friendly response from the Apple folk: “Oh, hi, Ellie. How’s it going? What’s your issue today?”

I recently went through two levels of their techies, and even an operating-system upgrade didn’t fix it. The problems are seldom simple, and I find it unnerving when a techie says, “This is really odd!”

One day, my multiplying issues involved Apple, Microsoft, and Google Chrome. The following day, a second-tier Microsoft tech did a screen-share and fixed that one! I am grateful for these servants.

My golden rule is to remain calm, polite, and appreciative. One techie whose English was difficult to understand got a little testy with me. But at the end of our conversation, he said, “God bless you.”

Every day, every crisis, I say, “Why, Lord? What do I need to learn here?” Then I try to focus on two things:

  • God loves me.
  • He desires for me to love Him—totally, in all circumstances.

I am reading—for the second time—a small book, Surrender to Love by David Benner. It underscores these points—in neon. Life often gets annoying, but the God who loves is even more elemental than the God who saves.

What is your crisis du jour? Wallow in God’s love.

That sure beats emotional meltdowns. And yes, I have those, too!

Ellie Gustafson began thinking up stories at a young age but did not write or publish until 1978. A graduate of Wheaton College in Illinois, she was active in church life as a minister’s wife, musician, writer, and encourager. Throw in gardening, house construction, and tree farming as splashes of color and humor, and you have the makings of good fiction. Through the undeniable power of story, she wants to make the Bible understandable and relevant for today’s readers.

 

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If I am lost in a city, I like to go to a map so I can see the “big picture.” The same thing is true of discerning God’s will. Having an overall general understanding of God’s book, character, actions and words helps us to understand God and to understand how He works.

In 7 Simple Skills for Every Woman: Success in Keeping It All Together, I suggest one of these  ideas to layer God’s Word into your life:

  1. Read the Bible through in a year. The One-Year Bible or one of Tyndale’s One Year Bible Devotionals, like Devotions for Women on the Go are options.  You might read a new translation or use a different study tool as you read, but year after year – even if it takes you a few years to read it through – God’s Word will become anchored into your heart.
  2. Study the Bible chronologically. Studying the Bible this way has helped me form my philosophy and methodology of ministry. For example, because I see how God lays foundations, then builds on them, I want to do the same in my ministry.
  3. Study the character of God. By studying who God is, I get to see how He thinks, acts, and relates to people. When I am in a tough spot, especially when I have to make a quick decision, I go back and ask, “What would God’s character have me do?” This year, I had several important decisions on my mind, decisions that would dramatically impact my family, my ministry and my future. I felt compelled to travel back to the place I started my Christian walk more than 30 years ago – in the book of Matthew.
  4. I re-read all the words of Jesus in the gospels, seeking the heart of God on the matter before me.
  5. Dive Deep Into A Topic: For several years, I have been in the psalms. First as one of the writers for Discovering Hope in the Psalms: A Creative Bible Study Experience, then the following few years as a teacher of that study of the Psalms. The benefit of a focused topical study is you move closer to the heartbeat of God in that area of life or scripture.

Other ideas for study are the names of God in the Old Testament, the verses that speak of God as the Father, the names Christ is called in the Old and New Testament, and the names and character of the Holy Spirit. When you layer God’s Word into your life on a daily basis, you gain the ability to see things from God’s perspective. Jesus explains it with the phrase, “You are in me and I in you” (John 14:20, John 17:21-22). The Word of God is the key ingredient in protecting your life: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Prov. 4:23).

Pam Farrel is the bestselling author of 46 books including several devotionals: Devotions for Women on the Go;

A Couples’ Journey with God, and Discovering Hope in the Psalms: A Creative Bible Study Experience, and soon to be released Discovering Joy in Philippians.   The Farrels are the Co-Directors of Love-Wise.

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With Christmas wrapped up and neatly tucked away, we are almost to the end of January. But the hope that a new year brings is still fresh in our hearts and minds.

Maybe this is the year you hope to find a new job, earn a degree, or travel abroad. Maybe this is the year you hope to meet that special someone or start a family.

Hoping for a change, or for something new, is exciting.

But when our hopes and dreams are put on hold, it’s hard to be patient.

Proverbs 13:12 says “hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.”  It’s only human to want things to fall into place quickly. Waiting for God’s perfect timing can be discouraging and painful.

Good things come to those who wait is a saying that’s been used in song lyrics and even a Heinz ketchup ad in the 1980s. But the message comes from the Bible and is woven into the pages of Scripture.

“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry” (Psalm 40:1).

Here’s another familiar verse. “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

And I love this verse. “The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him” (Lamentations 3:25).

When we find ourselves in a season of waiting, we can use this time to draw closer to God, realizing that His ways are not our ways, and that His ways are always best.    

Crystal Bowman is a bestselling, award winning author of more than 100 books for children and adults. She is a lyricist for children’s piano music, contributor to Clubhouse Jr. Magazine, and presenter at writers’ conferences. Her latest book is Mothers in Waiting—Healing and Hope for Those with Empty Arms (Harvest House).

 

 

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