Member of AWSA

  Info about AWSA

 

[See their Bios on the Partners Page by clicking on the Blogger box, above]

     PARTNERS:

Lina AbuJamra

Sue Badeau

Dianne Barker

Twila Belk

Gail Bones

Harriet Bouchillon

Mary Carver

Jeanne Cesena

Pamela Christian

Lisa Copen

Erin Davis

Diane Dean

Deb DeArmond

Kelly DeChant

Danna Demetre

Melissa Edgington

Debbi Eggleston

Pat Ennis

Morgan Farr

Pam Farrel

Sally Ferguson

Liz Cowen Furman

Gail Goolsby

Sheila Gregoire

Kate Hagen

Doreen Hanna

Holly Hanson

Becky Harling

Debbie Harris

Nali Hilderman

Cathy Horning

Kathy Howard

Mary James

Priscilla Jenson

Lane P. Jordan

Rebecca Jordan

Ellie Kay

Maria Keckler

Sylvia Lange

Debby Lennick

Peggy Leslie

Kathi Lipp

Kolleen Lucariello

Kathi Macias

Paula Marsteller

Melissa Mashburn

Dianne Matthews

Cindi McMenamin

Elaine W. Miller

Kathy Collard Miller

Lynn Mosher

Karen O'Connor

Yvonne Ortega

Arlene Pellicane

Ava Pennington

Laura Petherbridge

Gail Purath

Marcia Ramsland

Kaley Rhea

Rhonda Rhea

Vonda Rhodes

Cynthia Ruchti

Julie Sanders

Judy Scharfenberg

Deedra Scherm

Laurel Shaler

Joanie Shawhan

Stephanie Shott

Poppy Smith

Susan K. Stewart

Stacie Stoelting

Jill Swanson

Janet Thompson

Janice Thompson

Teri Thompson

Brittany Van Ryn

Elizabeth Van Tassel

Leslie Vernick

Laurie Wallin

Julie Watson

Joan C. Webb

Shonda Savage Whitworth

Cherri Williamson

Kathy C. Willis

Debbie W. Wilson

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Jamie Wood

And UPGRADE'S Founder

   Dawn Wilson

 

Entries in Deb DeArmond (11)

Thursday
Jul192018

Connection 101: Girl-friendship Is a Gift

Deb DeArmond cares about relationships—all kinds of relationships. In this Friendship UPGRADE, she offers insight to help us cultivate our friendships with other women.

It’s the test," Deb says, "of any friendship: the vacation without husbands, kids or other friends to cushion the shock of 24 hours together. On the ocean. In a cabin. For seven days."

That sounds heavenly to me (Dawn), but I'm sure there could be challenges. It's important we learn to grow up in our friendships.

Deb continues . . .

It was a bit on the early side of the Alaska cruise season, so Cindy and I landed an incredible upgrade with spacious digs, attentive staff, and a week of total luxury.

Fabulous meals, beautiful ports, and interesting folks on board.

And a lot of togetherness.

Girl-friendships, even for Christians, have often been challenging.

“Am I her favorite? Does she like me best?”

Remember in third grade, when the “new girl” was introduced to the class? We eyed her nervously, concerned she’d replace us in our bestie’s heart. We worked for that position and protected it fiercely. 

Step back, newbie. She’s mine.

We may be adults, but women still compete for that top spot—and the enemy will try to use these relationship needs against us if we’re not careful. 

I’m blessed to say it’s something Cindy and I have not struggled with.

Why not?

She and I are an unlikely twosome. Californians, now living in Texas. Close in age, married 40+ years. Adult kids and grandbabes. But that’s about it.

We’re wired differently, choose different hobbies, and we think differently; our needs and preferences are dissimilar. We’re an odd couple.

But that doesn’t mean we aren’t compatible—we both love God and His Word fiercely.

God created us to need others.

  • Read Genesis. Even though God was with Adam from the start, He saw the need and created Eve.
  • The disciples numbered twelve, but three—Peter, James, and John—were those Jesus held close in the best and worst of times.
  • David and Jonathan.
  • Ruth and Naomi.

It’s a biblical pattern. We need relationship.

Cindy and I discussed our friendship on the cruise. That it’s risen to the level of importance it holds in our lives is surprising.

Here was our Alaskan epiphany: we don’t compete. With one another or for one another’s affection, time, and that all-important top spot in one another’s life.

We’re never fearful the other is “cheating” on us with other friends.

We have other friends. Close friends. And we’re grateful for each of them: colleagues, neighbors, quilting buddies, and writing partners.

We don’t see one another as often as we’d like. But we do life together, just not usually in the same place.

We don’t live in one another’s pockets. We can’t. She recently moved three hours away, but the distance has deepened our relationship.

We’re more intentional about staying connected.

So maybe that, too, is a gift. If we need one another—for any reason, day or night—we’re available and fully present.

We’ve confided in one another, knowing it’s “in the vault.”  Trusted. No judgment. A genuine gift from the Lord.

How do we do it? Here are three tips we discovered.

1. We have healthy expectations of one another.

She doesn’t need me to provide what only God can deliver. I’ve not made her the center of my emotional well-being—that’s His job.

Sometimes when women are lonely or need encouragement they turn to their bestie instead of God. Not in addition to God, but instead. If that one gets mixed up, it’s a quick trip to trouble.

2. We rely on one another—for companionship, truth telling when needed, mercy (always needed) and the joy of experiencing life with one who helps to make the other better.

I can count on her to sharpen me, challenge me and pray for me. She depends on me for the same.

3. We are champions for one another.

Because we don’t compete, we can genuinely celebrate the other’s success. Everyone needs a cheerleader!

God expects us to grow up, and that includes our friendships.

“When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things” (1 Cor. 13:11 NLT).

I’d like to have the energy and youthfulness I had in third grade or the calorie burning ability of days playing hopscotch. But I’ll take grown-up God-given relationships over those schoolyard alliances any day!

Which of those three tips need improving in your own friendships?

Deb DeArmond’s passion is family—not just her own, but the relationships within families in general. Her first bookRelated by Chance, Family by Choice: Transforming the Mother-in-Law and Daughter-in-Law Relationships explores tools and tips to building sound relationships between mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law. Book #2, I Choose You Today, helps couples strengthen their marriages. Deb's newest book on marital conflict, Don't Go to Bed Angry, Stay Up and Fight! was co-authored by her husband, Ron. They live in the Fort Worth area. For more about Deb, visit her "Family Matters" site.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of RawPixel at Pixabay.

Tuesday
Jan232018

Bounce, Don't Break

Deb DeArmond is passionate about family matters, and she encourages healthy interactions in all kinds of relationships. But in this Spiritual Growth UPGRADE, she helps us deal with recurring struggles and trials.

"Returning struggles. Just when you think you've cleared the hurdle, they present again," Deb says. "They can sap your strength, shake your confidence, and cause you to question God. How to manage? Bounce, don't break!"

I (Dawn) just dealt with a recurring struggle in early January. "I thought I'd already dealt with that," I said. It made me feel weak as I reeled in confusion. But I attest to what Deb is saying. Resiliency as we trust in Christ enables us to move forward.

Deb continues . . .

I could see her out of the corner of my eye. She was watching me. Again.

She wasn’t a creepy stranger on the street, but a trusted colleague. Her intentions were good, but it was uncomfortable.

Carrie was one of a handful of co-workers who knew of my heart problem. She’d been with me—on the road two years earlier—when it began. I knew she was concerned; our work assignment this day brought heat and elevation into the equation. Both could create issues for me. And they did.

After my initial diagnosis, I had surgery that corrected the problem.

The doctor was sure it would not re-emerge. He was wrong. A year later, a second surgery and more assurances felt less certain for a permanent solution. I felt great for five months, and then it returned.

And now Carrie, and a handful of others, made it their personal mission to watch me like a hawk.

I never questioned their motives, but the fact they felt the need to monitor me made me feel old, frail, and weak. I am none of those things. But there are days, I work hard to convince myself of that truth.

Returning struggles.

Just when you think you've cleared the hurdle, they present again. And whether they're health problems, financial struggles or any recurring hardships—they can sap your strength, shake your confidence, and cause you to question God.

So, what's the key to keep moving forward with peace and confidence?

BOUNCE—don't break.

B — BELIEVE.

Our confidence is in God's faithfulness.

He loves His children and strengthens us for the situation, even when He doesn't remove it. I've discovered new levels of certainty that He's ever present.

O — OFFER

Offer thanksgiving and praise for the solution.

Faith is trust in God that doesn't demand He deliver on our timetable. Honor Him by trusting His Word.

U — UNDERSTAND

Understand you may not understand.

As toddlers, our favorite question was "Why?" As adults, we are just taller two-year-olds—with an overwhelming need for an answer.

Sometimes God provides us that insight; sometimes He does not. Be okay with not knowing.

N —NAVIGATE

Navigate your new normal.

  • Curb spending on restaurant meals.
  • Consider how best to invest your energy level each day.
  • Accommodate changes that minimize the impact of the issue.

C — COMMUNICATE

Communicate with family and trusted friends about your circumstances, especially when it's health related.

The colleagues I travel with know what to do if I have an issue. They know how to access the information on my phone and are clear about the details that would be needed in an emergency.

E —EDUCATE

Educate yourself in the promises of God's Word and the issues you face.

  • Financial problem? Take a class on financial stewardship.
  • Health issue? Ask your physician for information and suggestions for books or articles that can help you learn about your options.

What does the Bible say about struggles?

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” James 1:2-4 (ESV).

Blessed are the FLEXIBLE, for they shall not break!

What can you do to bounce into action?

Deb DeArmond’s passion is family—not just her own, but the relationships within families in general. Her first book, Related by Chance, Family by Choice: Transforming the Mother-in-Law and Daughter-in-Law Relationships explores tools and tips to building sound relationships between mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law. Book #2, I Choose You Today, helps couples strengthen their marriages. Deb's new book on marital conflict, Don't Go to Bed Angry, Stay Up and Fight! was co-authored by her husband, Ron. They live in the Fort Worth area. For more about Deb, visit her "Family Matters" site.

Thursday
Aug312017

The In-law Connection: It's Your Move

Deb DeArmond helps people improve their interactions at work and at home. She specializes in family dynamics, and in this Relationship UPGRADE, she focuses on the "in-law connection."

“I’ve known outlaw in-laws who prey on one another," Deb says. "It shouldn't be so.”

Outlaw in-laws? Oh, my. I (Dawn) have seen that far too often, and even in the church! I always admired the relationship between Naomi and her daughter-in-law, Rutha good example of in-law connection. Deb has some wise counsel for us if that connection isn't strong.

Deb continues . . .

  • When my three sons were little, I knew there’d never be a woman good enough for them.
  • When they hit their teens, I feared I'd never find a woman to take them off my hands.

I need not have worried.

They brought three wonderful young women into the family, and I am thrilled. All love Jesus and each is dedicated to my son and their family.

God was clear:

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife” (Genesis 2:24a NKJV).

A redhead, a brunette, and a blonde—as diverse in personality as in hair color.

Not only are the girls distinct in their personalities, mine is the fourth in the mix. And I’m glad to report we love one another deeply, and we’re grateful God brought us together.

Friends often ask, “You’re not just friendly, you’re family. How’d you do that?”

The answer’s simple: patience, perseverance, and a desire to please Jesus on the journey.

I had to learn how to develop my relationship with each of these gals as individuals. Because what worked with DIL (Daughter-in-Law) #1 would not necessarily work with #2 and #3. 

Sarah entered our lives as Jordan’s “friend” at 13 years old; they married at 19.

Heather was 16 when Cameron introduced her to us; they married four years later.

With both of these beauties, I had time on my side, and we developed our relationships as they grew up. I witnessed their transformation from girls to women.

Bryce and Penny had a short courtship: four months. At 28, she was grown up when I met her, so this was very different.

Penny’s a runner, an avid reader, and a gifted writer. I knew nothing about marathons or writing when we met. She’s not shy, but she’s a bit introverted.

I wanted to connect, but I wasn’t sure how.

I know women who feel disconnected from their daughters-in-law.

“It’s not bad, but it’s not good. Truthfully, it’s not anything,” said one woman. “There’s no bad blood, but there’s no connection. It’s like she forgets my son has a mother, until we’re together, and then it’s awkward.”

Another friend shared her experience,

“My son married a woman with three sisters and all are close to their mother. At holidays, they all chat together, finishing one another’s sentences, and I’m excluded. I’m sitting right there, but it’s like I’m invisible. It’s devastating.” 

I hoped Penny and I might be close. I loved her from the start. So, I asked God to help me develop our relationship.

Here’s what worked for me that might work for you, too!

1. Ask about Her Interests.

Ask her what she enjoys about running or homeschooling. People love to share their passions. It was Penny’s love of writing that prompted me to get serious about mine. It’s now something we share.

2. Invite Her Opinion.

Instead of planning the holidays yourself, invite her to help. She has an opinion, so ask her to share it. You might discover how creative she is, and sharing the responsibility takes pressure off you.

Some of the best conversations with my DILs are in the kitchen as we cooked together. The shared activity makes the chatter more comfortable. 

3. Tell Her What You Value About Her.

  • Is she a great mom? Tell her, specifically, why you think she’s a rock star.
  • Good cook? Compliment her meals, and ask for recipes!
  • Successful professional? Ask about her work and let her know you admire her accomplishments.

If it’s uncomfortable face to face, drop her a note, or brag on her (in front of her) to other family members.

4. Pray for Her

It’s impossible to pray genuinely for God’s favor and direction in her life, while constantly criticizing her.

Pray, genuinely, and see how your love for her (and your attitude) changes.

If your MIL (Mother-in-law) is the standoffish one, you could use the same tactics on her.

So, it’s your move. Why not start today?

Deb DeArmond is an expert in the fields of communication, relationship, and conflict resolution. Her book on in-law relationships, is entitled Related by Chance, Family by Choice! Deb’s books help readers create the life God meant marriage and family to be. Read more from Deb at Family Matters/Deb DeArmond.

Graphic adapted - Blog owner seeking source to credit.

Tuesday
Feb142017

Valentine Valor

A strong marriage requires good communication, and in this Valentine's Day UPGRADE, Deb DeArmond encourages marriage partners to be brave and cultivate better heart communication.

“Marriage is not for the faint of heart," Deb says. "It’s the HEART-est work you’ll ever do.”

The "heart-est" work — I (Dawn) love that! Hard work we accomplish on behalf of loving marriages is well worth the effort!

Deb continues . . .

I was recently asked by a young friend, “What’s your secret to a happy marriage?”

My response took her by surprise.

“We discovered it’s better to find the courage to fight than the strength to run.”

Let me clarify. We don’t believe stepping into the ring to take our shots at one other is the best way to come to agreement. That’s what happens when we forget Christian marriages have a very real enemy.

But it’s not your spouse.

So, we do fight, the enemy, together, for the life of our marriage—and it’s always been worth the effort.   

As my husband and I have ministered to marrieds, a familiar pattern often appears: “We don’t fight. We try to avoid conflict. It’s not healthy.”

They go along to get along, remaining silent, as they disconnect from one another, bit by bit, till there’s very little left of the love they proclaimed at the altar.

Silence can speak volumes.

Just because it’s quiet, does not mean there’s peace in the house.

And it’s not the way Jesus dealt with relationships that He valued.

My favorite example:

Jesus asked Peter three times after His resurrection - “Peter, do you love me? Then feed my sheep” (John 21:15-17). Jesus confronted Peter because He loved him, and the relationship was important to Him.

He did it to restore the connection. He did it to restore Peter.

The goal of confrontation is to connect. And to make that happen, the language of confrontation must be love.

Healthy confrontation requires valor, otherwise known as courage, bravery, or audacious boldness.

What’s that look like?

Here are three Valentine’s Day opportunities to bravely step into a healthier, more intimate marriage.

1. Speak up.

Bravely say what needs to be said—speaking the truth in love. No matter how long you’ve been married, your spouse can’t read your mind.

When couples retreat into silence, they no longer have enough hope or ambition to fight. Silence says, “I give up.”

One gentleman told us he and his wife never experienced any conflict until 20 years into the marriage when she announced she’d “had enough and wanted a divorce.” He was stunned when she presented him with a list of grievances, carefully compiled, but never shared.

2. Confront courageously.

Confront the issue, not the person. Be aware of your tone, timing, and the words you choose.

“I’d like to talk about what happened last night at your folks. I was embarrassed when you . . . .” Describe your issue with the behavior rather than attack the person.

And return the favor: are you confrontable? Are you open to hear from your spouse?

3. Boldly examine YOUR heart first.

It’s easy to see the flaws in our partner; tougher to see the cracks in our own facade.

  • Do you have to have the final word?
  • Are you quick to point out your spouse’s shortcomings, but don’t see your own?
  • Do you nurse a grudge like a baby at the breast?

If you are willing to acknowledge your own flaws, God will reveal them to you. Ask Him to help you grow in those areas.

Speaking up is a risk. But the goal of genuine, authentic connection is worth chasing, even when it might create some tense or painful moments.

Are you brave enough to take that step?

Deb DeArmond is an expert in the fields of communication, relationship, and conflict resolution. Author and speaker, her newest book is entitled Don’t Go to Bed Angry. Stay Up and Fight! Deb’s books help readers whether newlywed, or long-time married create the life God meant marriage and family to be. For more information about Deb, visit her website, Family Matters.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of Pixabay.

Thursday
Jul072016

To Tell the Truth

Deb DeArmond loves to build strong relationships, especially marriage relationshps. In this Relationship UPGRADE, she reminds us how "truth" can strengthen and empower any relationship.

“It’s not always easy to tell the truth," Deb says. "The truth can sting, bruise or even break a heart. And we may worry about the impact it will have on someone we deeply love ... like our spouse.”

This is something I (Dawn) have debated with many people. Truth must always win out, but there's a way to be honest that will honor God.

Deb continues . . .

July 7 is National Tell the Truth Day. I’m sure God expects it to happen more often than just one day each year. And He has a lot to say on the matter of truthfulness—how to do it, why to do it, and the price of failing to do it. 

Telling the truth is a lesson we learned early in life. Mama and Daddy, the Sunday school teacher and every adult we knew reminded us of the importance of truth-telling.

And children are often known for telling the whole truth—sometimes to the chagrin of their parents, who hadn’t counted on a personal family moment being shared with the pastor or the next-door neighbor!

As adults, however, the truth can feel more complicated.

  • “Oh, it’s okay. It’s no big deal.” (He has no idea how it hurt me. Again.)
  • “What she doesn’t know can’t hurt her.” (Maybe someone else will tell her.)
  • “I’ll just let it go.” (It’s not worth the effort or thought required.)
  • “Sure. That’s fine with me.” (Forget it. She won’t listen anyway.)

It’s easy to convince ourselves that it would be too uncomfortable for the other person to hear the truth.

More likely, we’re the ones who aren’t comfortable. We may be unsure the relationship is strong enough to withstand honesty. Experience might suggest the truth is not welcome or perhaps it’s has been used as a battering ram in the past.

No wonder we simply let ourselves off the hook—even with our husband or wife. It’s easier.

The Word is clear about the truth:

“But speaking the truth in love, you may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ” (Eph. 4:15 NKJV).

And there’s the rub. The truth is to be spoken, no question about that. But it’s always to be done in love.

Without love, it’s just a set of facts, information, data. And data often fails to inspire, encourage, motivate, or move the heart to understanding. And what’s a marriage with out understanding?

In the research for our book on marital conflict, we discovered that many couples have surrendered—no longer telling one another the truth. They’d rather live what was described as “living compatibly” than to trouble the waters in what they feared would be conflict they couldn’t contain.

Conflict isn’t the problem. It’s how we handle conflict that determines whether the end result is discovery or damage.

We often regard confrontation as aggressive. It doesn’t have to be.

Confronting one another in love restores connection. It says, “I love you enough to fight along side you for our marriage.” Your marriage has an enemy, but it’s not your spouse.

Just because there’s quiet in the house doesn’t mean there’s peace. God wants so much more for our marriages and our lives.

So why not make a fresh commitment to the truth today—with yourself and your spouse. No fudging on facts. No little white lies.

Love will make the way.

What truth is overdue today? How can you wrap it in love?

Deb DeArmond’s passion is family—not just her own, but the relationships within families in general. Her books provide tools, tips and biblical perspective to build sound relationships within marriage, as parents, and extended family-including mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law. Deb and her husband of 41 years, Ron, live in the Fort Worth area. For more about Deb and her books visit her "Family Matters" site.