home speaking topics endorsements contact

Thursday, June 23, 2016

What Larry and I Are Facing--Update!

Congratulations to Susan P for winning the copy of Don't Go to Bed Angry! Thank you, Susan, for putting in your name. Please email me your mailing address to KathyCollardMiller AT gmail DOT com and I'll pass it along to Deb DeArmond. 

You might remember me writing a post a few days ago about the challenges of trusting God in the midst of construction. Here's the update.

The housecleaner came and instead of workers working while she was here, they delayed coming. Which was great for the house getting clean but unfortunate for getting the work done. OK, Lord, I surrender to your plan, I kept saying. It's out of our hands, you are in control.

Then the dry wallers for inside and stucco men for outside came the next day. That's good! But how much dust would the inside workers spread all over the clean house? I expected huge clouds of dust going all over. OK, Lord, I surrender to your plan again!

Guess what? The dry wallers first put plastic on the floor and furniture. And, what I feared didn't happen. No dust storm inside. After they finished, they mopped the floor. Wonderful! And the stucco guys picked up all the tarps they had laid down that caught the drippings. Great!

Looking good! At least there weren't holes in the wall. But no painter available. 

So the party took place with an unpainted wall and cords dangling from the patio ceiling. But the baby shower was a huge success and it was too hot to go outside anyway. And I had planted new flowers so the patio looked lovely. 

The expectant mommy was thrilled and so were the women who planned the shower. I was just the house-provider and I loved it. 

What did I learn? God knows what He's doing and if it doesn't turn out how I think it should, then it's OK. And even if the house had been in terrible condition, it doesn't say anything about my worth and value. 

What a relief. I hope you feel it and are encouraged to release whatever it is that seems so very very important right now. God knows what He's doing and He loves you.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Happy Father's Day--Humor From Jim Watkins

My dad
My grandfather and my dad
I'm paying tribute to the two most important men in my life growing up: my dad and my grandfather. Both have been gone a long time. Today, June 19th, would have been my dad's 91st birthday. Happy Father's Day and Happy Birthday, Daddy!

So to celebrate him and fathers everywhere, here's a little bit of humor with lots of insights, written by Jim Watkins. Enjoy and be blessed!

The Proverbs 32 Man
by James Watkins
This just in! Archaeologist discovers long-lost “Proverbs 32 Man” passage. I am pleased to post this exclusive excerpt just in time for Father’s Day:
Who can find a virtuous man, for his price is far above a Hollywood hunk’s movie deal.
The heart of his wife doth safely trust in him, for his Internet browser history is free of anything degrading unto her or unto other women.
He shall do her no harm, so that she need not fear unfaithfulness or violence all the days of her life.
He worketh hard to provide for the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of his household.
He is like a FedEx truck bringing food and household products from afar.
He riseth early while it is yet night and hath his time alone with God before going to work.
He considereth a major purchase, but first discusseth it with his wife.
He worketh out and eateth right to bring strength and health to his family.
His work ethic is strong and the products of his hands and mind are excellent.
His putteth his fingers to the keyboard, and doth not turn back in the face of adversity.
He stretcheth out his hand to the poor; yea, he reacheth forth his hands to the needy.
He shall not be afraid of the snow of winter, for he hath a Toro SnowMaster 724 two-stage snow blower.
He maketh household repairs even before his wife hath to ask him twice.
His wife is president of the PTA and sitteth with the elders on the church board.
He maketh homemade toys for his children in his well-stocked wood shop.
Strength and honor are his resume, and he rejoiceth in the time of promotion.
He openeth his mouth with wisdom, and on his tongue is the law of kindness.
He looketh well to the ways of his household, and eateth not the donuts of idleness.
His children rise up and call him blessed; his wife also, and she praises him on Facebook.
Many sons have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
Give onto him the paycheck of his hands; and let his own works praiseth him in the marketplace.
Copyright © 2015 James N. Watkins, from www.hopeandhumor.org

Visit JamesWatkins.com for his complete salute to dads.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Book Give-away! "Don't Go to Bed Angry; Stay Up and Fight"

I'm so pleased to recommend and offer a drawing for the new book by Deb and Ron DeArmond called Don't Go To Bed Angry; Stay Up and Fight. Isn't that a fascinating title? Here's an interview with Deb and Ron. And be sure to check at the end of my post for how you can put your name into the drawing to win a copy! 
1. So, why this book? There are plenty of counselors and therapists, along with clergymen who have tackled the topic of marital conflict.  What are your qualifications?

We beat the odds. We married at 19, and 40+ years later, we are a very happy couple. We’re not immune to conflict, but we’ve learned how to let it change us together as a couple. But it wasn’t a quick process.

The “rules” for dealing with our differences surfaced over time after a difficult interaction when we prayed for forgiveness—from one another—and from God. “It really hurt when you . . .” or “I was fine up until you . . .” The debrief was important to help us understand when the conflict stopped being healthy and took on a destructive tone.

We discovered two primary truths: if you have to fight, fight fair. And even more essential: be clear about who the enemy is—and isn’t. 

When conflict arises between husband and wife, our awareness must be heightened, and we must be on the alert: we have a difference, but we’ve been given the weapons of warfare to fight together against the enemy’s attack and resist the temptation to turn on one another.

2. You researched the topic of marital conflict thoroughly. What did you learn?
Regardless of our spiritual values and beliefs, nearly everyone experiences conflict. The majority believe it’s inevitable but has a potential upside. When handled well, conflict helps them grow together, as a healthy way to gain insight and understanding of the others’ perspective. The challenge is that couples experience damaging and sometimes destructive outcomes.

3. What are the issues that create conflict most often?

The big three are communication issue, finances, and disagreement about how to raise the kids. True for both groups we surveyed – those of faith, and those without. Closely behind were dissatisfaction with the sexual relationship and lack of affection.

4. Any surprises?

The biggest surprise was how few Christian couples used their spiritual values and beliefs to deal with conflict. Many responded that seldom or never do those foundational truths play a role. Because the Bible provides us guidelines for conduct, this seemed rather stunning. 

5. What does Don't Go To Bed Angry offer your readers?

We believe conflict is not the real problem. It’s how we deal with the conflict that is important. It can lead to discovery—greater insight and understanding of thoughts, feelings, and perspective. But if handled poorly, it can lead to damage, and ultimately, destruction. When we shoot from the hip, we both may walk away wounded.

Tweet this: We believe conflict is not the real problem. It’s how we deal with the conflict that is important.--Deb and Ron DeArmond

The question: how do we align our communication with the Word of God in our marriages? Are we communicating in love? Or as the prosecuting attorney—under the law? Don’t Go to Bed Angry examines the characteristics of each of these approaches, and will provide practical tools to help—whatever the condition of the relationship might be.

From Kathy: I love this book. It is practical, motivational, and encouraging. I'm sure it will strengthen your marriage and all your relationships.

To put your name into the drawing to win a free copy, post a comment here or email me: Kathyspeak AT gmail DOT com. I'll announce the winner Wednesday June 22nd. 

Deb DeArmond is known as a relationship and conflict-resolution expert, dedicated to helping others build successful solutions to the challenges they face at home and work. Family dynamics are her passion and her books focus on marriage, children, and extended family relationships.  Her work has been featured in several magazines and she is a monthly columnist and feature writer for Lifeway’s Mature Living.

Ron DeArmond has served in ministry positions with Christian Men’s Network and Faithful Men Ministry and has taught men’s curriculum internationally. He is currently the associate pastor of men’s ministry at Catch the Fire/DFW. 

Ron and Deb have been married for more than 40 years and live in the Fort Worth, TX area.

Find Don't Go to Bed Angry at: DGTBA
Learn more about Deb and her books: Family Matters  (debdearmond.com)

Connect with her on Facebook: Deb DeArmond

Monday, June 13, 2016

What Larry and I Are Facing Right Now

In my last post, I wrote about how the blind man trusted Jesus taking him by the hand and leading him away--in fact, all the way out of the village. Curious and curiouser. And I promised I'd share with you what Larry and I are facing right now, small though it is, but still a challenge to allow Jesus to lead us down an unseen path.

We are having construction done on our house and I am hosting a party a week from when I'm writing this. Of course, the contractor had promised the changes would be done, and everything has been going smoothly. 

Several days ago, I told Larry how much I appreciated that he had taken the lead on this project and been on top of it all. Usually, I'm the detail person who keeps track of things and follows through. But it had been so wonderful to relax and let Larry take the reigns. 

Until yesterday.

Some work wasn't approved by the city and even after it is corrected, we have to wait for the city inspector to come back to verify the needed changes were made. Plus, the house is a mess and I have a housecleaner scheduled to come several days before the event. And with the delays, it's looking like things are not going to fall into place. How can the housecleaner clean when there will still be construction work to do--like lots of sanding putting up dry wall? (You can see from the photo--we need dry wall!)

As I began to feel tense and grow angry toward Larry for not taking action, it felt like Jesus was leading this blind woman out of the village, leaving all my security behind. I realized my security had been in the fact that things were going well. It wasn't in Jesus and surrendering to whatever He had in mind--even if it meant hosting the party with imperfections in the house. And horrors of horrors, having to actually clean some of the house myself! Now that really feels like being taken outside the village! 

And when I shared with Larry what I was experiencing, he said, "And I'm being led out of the village wondering if we're being taken advantage of and that feels like I'm out of control."

Curious and curiouser. God was using this challenge to work in both of us. I didn't want to be seen as providing something imperfect and he didn't want to feel out of control. 

I wonder if the blind man in the Mark 8 story had begun to depend upon the care of his friends rather than keeping his eyes on his God. (Oh that's a pun, by the way!)

Isn't that what every single one of us does in life? And then when we're challenged by being led away from our security, we begin to feel tense, angry, defensive, discontent, critical, etc. In our book, Never Ever Be the Same: A New You Starts Today, Larry and I call that being "hooked" and we know we're hooked whenever we respond and react the opposite of the fruit of the Spirit. Both Larry and I started going into the hooking zone. 

But God gently squeezed our hands and whispered ever so lovingly, "Don't worry. I've got this. It may not be the way you want it, but trust Me. It may feel like you're outside the village but it's my pre-determined path. Keep your eyes on Me."

Both of us have determined to do that. We don't know the outcome but we know God is in charge. 

If you're feeling like Jesus is leading you outside the security of the village, will you trust Him? Tweet that!

If you're feeling like Jesus is leading you outside the security of the village, will you trust Him? To do so, requires surrendering. It's like saying, "Ok, Lord, even if this doesn't turn out the way I want and feel comfortable and safe, I'll trust You and obey You. You love me and want only the best for me. Thank you that this situation gives me another opportunity to grow in my trust in you!"

Remember! Once Jesus and the blind man were outside the village, Jesus healed him. I can't imagine the rejoicing of that man. Wonder if he had snatched his hand away from being guided by God? Let's keep our hands in Jesus' capable and trustworthy hands!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Blind Man Game: Learn More Trust

Have you ever played the game where someone leads another person (usually husband and wife) while one keeps their eyes closed (at least they're supposed to!). This exercise builds trust between the two people. I can remember Larry leading me when my eyes were closed and it was frightening! Even though I could easily say I trusted him, to trust him to that extent was terrifying. 
Yet, you and I are being challenged to trust God like that continually. 

Here's a passage from Mark that most of us have read many times but as I read it recently, I paid attention to something I'd never noticed before. See if you can guess what it is.

And they came to Bethsaida. And some people brought to him [Jesus] a blind man and begged him to touch him. And he [Jesus] took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village, and when he had spit on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, "Do you see anything?" (Mark 8:22-23 ESV)

What did I pay attention to? "And he took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village."

The way I picture this scene is Jesus removed the blind man from all his support. I'm not sure if this is correct but it seems like they went off by themselves. At the least, the blind man must have felt challenged allowing a total stranger to lead him away from all his support and into complete dependence upon someone he hadn't learned to trust.

I once had a very dear friend who was blind. I was totally shocked that she would lightly hold onto the crook of my arm near my elbow and trust me to lead her. In that position I went before her and if I stepped down, she could feel my body going down. (Although I was so nervous I told her there was a step!)

Interestingly, Jesus takes this man's hand. My blind friend never wanted me to lead her by the hand because then my arm was too fluid. But if she grasped me above my elbow, there was less movement there and easier for her to sense the movement of my body. 

Now maybe the blind man in the story was used to being led by the hand. The most important part is that he choose to completely trust a stranger to lead him away. 

Sometimes trusting Jesus is like that. The road or path He's guiding us down seems scary. Tweet that!

Sometimes trusting Jesus is like that. The road or path He's guiding us down seems scary. We seem unable to "see" the purpose or plan. Maybe we're not like the story's blind man and instead we snatch our hand away from His saying, "Don't take me from my friends. They know where I live and can take me home. You're leading me away from my support. I don't trust you!"

Maybe you can think of when that has happened to you. I'll share in my next post how that very thing is challenging me right now.

(graphic from jscreationszs at www.freedigitalphotos.net)

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Women Want to Help; Men Want to Protect

One final female and male difference. Women want to help; men want to protect.

Look at these two verbal exchanges. 

She: "What time do you want to leave for the church social?"
He: "Don't worry, you have time to cook the casserole."

He: "How many people are coming for dinner tonight?"
She: "You have to be ready to barbecue at 6:30."

If you've had an interaction with your spouse like that, you most likely got frustrated thinking, "Why didn't he (or she) answer my question?"

In the first example about the church social, the husband is giving his answer because he wants to protect his wife from worrying.  The problem is the wife may take his answer as meaning he's withholding information and trying to be the one in control.

Although the second example is similar to the first in addressing the question, the motivation is different. The wife wants to be helpful by answering what she thinks her husband is really wondering about. She believes she is anticipating her husband's desires and concerns. 

Here's an example from Larry and my marriage. This is from Larry:

Some time ago, I was still coughing from a bad cold after two months. When I returned home from the doctor, I mentioned to Kathy the doctor had given me medicine for my chest pains.

"What chest pains?" Kathy exclaimed, concerned and frightened.

I had purposely withheld details of my chest pains from Kathy to protect her. I sheepishly replied, "I didn't want to frighten you, so I didn't tell you. For the last week, I've been experiencing chest pains."

"You didn't want to frighten me?" Kathy's voice raised. "I thought you understood that not telling me what's going on weakens my trust in you."

Kathy didn't say it, but she would have liked to "mother" me: be concerned about the problem and make me feel cared for. She wanted to be helpful. It was exactly what I wanted to avoid. I wanted to "protect" Kathy from worry and concern. Now I realize I subconsciously wanted to maintain control. (As it turned out, my chest muscles were strained from coughing.)

When I put myself in Kathy's shoes and imagined her making the same choice I had, I felt uncomfortable. I wouldn't want Kathy to leave me out of the "information loop." I had inadvertently hurt Kathy by trying to protect her. Trust and honesty are inseparable. You can't have one without the other.

Trust and honesty are inseparable. You can't have one without the other. Tweet that!

From Kathy:
I hope you enjoyed reading about some of the female and male differences in my last several posts. (But remember we're talking about generalities!) When we see that the differences are actually created by God for His purposes to have "every base covered," we can appreciate the differences. As we share our perspective with each other, we make a completed whole. 

(Graphic by Salvatore Vuono found at www.freedigitalphotos.net)

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

What Men Hate! Overlapping!

Do you know what men hate? Overlapping. You may ask, "What is overlapping?"

It's how women talk! Think of a group of women talking. What do we do? Women can interrupt another woman's conversation but we think of it as acceptable "overlapping." Men think of it as rude. 

What do men hate? Overlapping! Tweet that!

This is difficult for us to understand. When we women talk among ourselves, we will offer something to the conversation and no one minds. Women consider "overlapping" a way to show their involvement in the conversation in order to develop closeness. Men view it as disrespectful because they wait their turn--most of the time. Of course, all these comments are generalizations. 

In her book, You Just Don't Understand, linguistics professor Deborah Tannen explains, "In many of the comments I heard from people I interviewed, men felt interrupted by women who overlapped with words of agreement and support and anticipation of how their sentences and thoughts would end. If a woman supported a man's story by elaborating on a point different from the one he had intended, he felt his right to tell his own story was being violated. He interpreted the intrusion as a struggle for control of the conversation."

I decided to test this idea. I decided that when I next was in a group of friends with a particular male friend, I would purposely "overlap" him. I considered him a very spiritual and secure person. I choose him in particular so that I couldn't wonder, "Well, his reaction was only because he's insecure." 

I put my plan into action. As my "secure" male friend was talking, I deliberately interrupted him. Another woman would have thought I was contributing to the conversation and she would have responded with another aspect of the topic. What did my male friend do? Shut his mouth and not utter another word.

Think about this "overlapping" concept within the context of your marriage or in a business situation. Have you ever sensed another man emotionally withdraw after you "overlapped." At least you thought it was overlapping and contributing to the topic. But he most likely felt disrespected and interrupted.

I've found this information very important in giving my husband the blessing of respecting him. Let me know if you find this important. I'd love to hear.

(graphic by Stuart Miles found at www.freedigitalphotos.net)