09 Sep

Big News for Love, Laughter & Laundry

corner23

What started out as the simple blog of a school-teacher-mom-with-a-BIG-dream, has turned into something quite different…and something incredibly exciting too!  I am thrilled to announce the launch of Corner23 – a ministry serving women, married couples, teens & young adults, and parents.  Check out my new site to learn more.  Go to elingriffin.com.

Don’t miss out on the daily inspiring messages of Truth.  Be sure to ‘like’ the brand new Facebook page: Elin Griffin – Corner23.  Share it with your friends too!  Please join with me in spreading God’s message of freedom, hope, and love.

ALL future blog and Facebook posts will now be updated through Corner23.  Click here to receive daily Truth and encouragement.

Thank you for all of your love and support over the years!

Elin Griffin

 

02 Sep

Do This One Thing and Change Your Marriage!

Do This One Thing and Change Your Marriage!

Several months ago, my marriage was in need of an extra dose of TLC, so I prayed for direction, and God planted a brilliant idea in my head that I put into action immediately.  New life was breathed into my marriage, and I want to share it with YOU today.

Whether you’re a husband or a wife, planning a mini marriage retreat may be just what your marriage needs.  Here are some tips from a retreat I planned for the hubs and me.  Add your own creative style to make it personalized for your marriage.

  • Shhhhh!  Keep the retreat a surprise!  Simply tell your honey that you’re planning something and you need to agree on an entire 24-hours when you are both available.  Just the hint that there’s a surprise in store will perk his/her interest and create excitement.
  • Find a sitter for your kids or pups.  Don’t wait until the last-minute. Schedule an overnight sitter or send the kids to bunk at a friend’s house for a night.  No guilt allowed!  Taking time to nurture your marriage is showing deep love to your children and setting a great example for them too.
  • Plan for a fun-filled 24-hours.  Dinner and a movie is great, but this is a retreat, and it calls for something extra special and out of the ordinary, so fill up 24-hours with activities that are unique to your relationship.  It might include an afternoon of golfing together.  Or maybe a picnic in the park is more your style.  If the two of you love museums, then check out the current exhibit at your favorite museum.  Maybe you love to laugh together (who doesn’t?!) – buy a couple of tickets to a comedy show or dinner theater.  If bowling is your thing, book a lane at your local bowling alley.  Or surprise your spouse with tickets to see a favorite band or sports team play.  It doesn’t matter what it is, but choose one special activity that you both love to do together.
  • Think about where you will eat and sleep.  If your budget allows, splurge on a room at a nice hotel (even upgrade to a suite if you can).  And don’t rule-out weekdays; not only can you score discounted rates at hotels, but a weekday rendezvous can add some extra romance to an otherwise ordinary schedule.  Think about the places you will eat that will be the most fun for the two of you.  Remember, this is a full 24-hours, so you need to consider breakfast, lunch and dinner.  If finances are tight, don’t let that stop you!  Send the kids off and plan a staycation retreat at your house.  Let your creativity run wild as you set up your home to be your own little bed-and-breakfast getaway.
  • You and your spouse are a team, so prepare to team-build.  This time together is about focusing on each other, so no complaining, arguing, hashing out the issues in your marriage, or negative talk.  Instead, take these 24 hours to have fun together and encourage one another with what is going right in your relationship.  After your fun-filled excursion, spend an hour together on a team-building activity.  Maybe your activity is grabbing the calendar and setting one date-night/-day per month for the next three months.  Don’t stop there!  Plan what your dates will entail, or agree that you’ll take turns planning fun date activities for each other.  Or maybe your activity is planning your next vacation.  Go online and dream up all the details for a romantic getaway.  Or maybe you need to make a plan for spending more time together as a family.  If this is what your marriage needs, then talk about ways you can grow as a family (i.e., a “family day” one day each week where the focus is solely on being together as a family; an agreement to have dinner at the table as a family at least 5 days a week; tucking the kids into bed, together as their mom and dad, and praying over your children together – a family that prays together, stays together!) If affirming words is what needs attention in your relationship, buy a simple notebook and agree on a place to store it.  Take turns writing affirmation notes to each other throughout the week and moving the notebook to an agreed-upon location in order to notify the other person that there’s something new in the notebook.  Bottom line: be creative and personalize your activity for your marriage.
  • Build the excitement.  As the day draws closer, playfully tease your spouse about the fun you have in store for him/her!  Be flirtatious and light-hearted about your upcoming date.  Keep every element of the retreat a surprise until it’s time to reveal each next activity.  As you pull out of your driveway to head off on your retreat, give your spouse a handwritten note that conveys your love for him/her and the eagerness you have to see how God will bless your marriage because of this devoted time together.  Then, grab a blindfold to cover your partner’s eyes as you drive to your first destination.  The more surprise you can pack into your retreat, the better.
  • Have fun and watch and see how God will bless your marriage.

God loves marriage and wants every marriage to thrive, but our enemy, the thief, “comes only to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10), so we must be vigilant in protecting our marriages!

*If you’d like help planning a special marriage retreat with your husband or wife, OR if your couples’ small group or your church is interested in planning a marriage retreat, send me an email!  Not only can I help you plan a meaningful getaway, but I can also serve as the speaker for your group event.

May God richly bless your marriage!!

< Think Before You Speak

26 Aug

Think Before You Speak

Think before you speak

Words are powerful!  The first recorded words God spoke were, “Let there be light.” (Genesis 1:3) Those four small words were packed with power and created life in a dark world.  We, too, have power with the words we speak – in just a few short words, we can speak life and Truth or destruction and death into the lives of others. What we say reveals a lot about the kind of person we are because our words reveal the condition of our heart.  “…for whatever is in your heart determines what you say.” (Matthew 12:34).

Ever consider how it’s difficult to remember the kind words people have spoken to you in your life, yet you can recall word-for-word the hurtful things people have said to or about you?  That’s because words carry weight that can last a lifetime, and once they leave a person’s mouth, they can never be taken back.  Many of our greatest individual insecurities can be traced back to the damaging words spoken to us by someone else.

This should cause us to ask ourselves if we’re weighing our words before we speak them so that we aren’t contributing to the hurt in someone else’s life.  Proverbs 15:28 tells us, “The heart of the godly thinks carefully before speaking; the mouth of the wicked overflows with evil words.”

I’ve never met a person who likes it when people speak unkind words to them.  So, if we are to love our neighbor as ourselves as Jesus teaches in Matthew 22:38, then that applies to the words we speak as well.

Our tongue is one of the smallest parts of our body, but it sure has a lot of power! Here are a few strategies that can help us think before we speak:

1. Wait for 24 hours – The expression, “sleep on it,” is way under-utilized.  It’s incredible how a good night’s sleep can adjust our perspective, calm our temper, and provide us with the time and clarity we need to gain control over our emotions.  Our emotions change like the wind and are completely unreliable.  It’s time we stop allowing how we feel to control what we say and do.  God gives us a spirit of power, love and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7), so we can control how we feel and what we say.  The world tries to tell us that we can’t, but the world is wrong, my friends.

2. Pray for God to help you say the right thing – James 4:2 says that we have not because we ask not.  And let me just tell you that whenever we genuinely seek God to help us control our words and say the right thing, He will answer that prayer.  He will!  All we have to do is ask Him for His help.  I pray Psalm 19:14 whenever I’m looking for the right words: “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”

3. Be a good friend to others (including your family members, co-workers, and people you don’t even know) – Besides damaging the hearts of others, our hurtful words can isolate us; they are the match that lit the burned bridges of our past.  Plus, we need each other!  God put us on this earth to have a relationship with Him, to further His kingdom, and to have relationships with each other.  Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says, “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.  If one person falls, the other can reach out and help.  But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.” If we want to have good friends in our life…if we want to have strong relationships…if we want to receive the love we desire, then we need to be a good friend to others.

The words we choose make all the difference.  What words will you choose today?  May we all think before we speak.

< If You Only Knew! 

> Do This One Thing and Change Your Marriage!

19 Aug

If You Only Knew!

 

if you only knew

Have you ever had one of those days when you just wished you could have pressed the re-do button to start the day over?  You know, those days when things just aren’t going your way.  Maybe today is one of those days.  Or maybe you’re in a season of life where you’re feeling that way, and you’re doing your very best to squeeze those life lemons into a big, cold pitcher of lemonade to serve to the whole neighborhood.  I mean, you’re doing the best that you can, you really are!  You’re getting up each day and trying to make a difference at home, at work, in the checkout line at the grocery store.  Oh, and you’re quite pleased with yourself that you didn’t gesture a certain finger to the dude who just cut you off in traffic…even though you wanted to.  And then, just as you’re barely hanging on by a thread, someone criticizes you or says something that suggests they’re judging you.  Or maybe it’s a certain look they give you and you just know they’re forming their opinion.  And you desperately want to exclaim, “If you only knew!” because if they knew the back-story to your day or to your life circumstances in general, they would have surely shown compassion, kindness, grace, love, and an extra dose of patience.  They would understand why you just said what you said, or did what you did, or why you were late or distracted or on-edge.  But instead you say nothing and you go on your way, feeling worse than before.

Ever been there?  If you’re alive and breathing, I’m quite sure you probably have.

I wonder what would happen if we kept this scenario in mind the next time a negative judgment crosses our mind about someone else.  What if we considered what that person’s day or life story might be before rushing to be critical of them for what they’ve said or done or what they look like, whatever the case may be.  What if we tried to imagine ourselves in that person’s shoes with their specific back-story?  What if we treated that person with the same love that we ourselves naturally desire to experience from others?  What if we just cut people some slack and start taking a look at what needs fixing in ourselves first before we point our judgmental fingers at everyone else?  We judge because it makes us feel better about ourselves.  Or does it?

If we only knew!

Jesus is the ultimate example for the way we should live and how we should treat one another.  The message He teaches rings loud and clear.  In Matthew 7:1-5, Jesus says, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the same measure you use, it will be measured.  Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

It’s so easy for us to want to jump to conclusions about what we think we know about another person.  Oh, but it’s so much better when we don’t.  Withholding our critical judgments of another person doesn’t mean we condone or approve of their actions or words – loving others and endorsing their choices are completely unrelated issues.

So, let’s all cut each other some slack today, shall we?

< Say, ‘Please’

> Think Before You Speak