New Website now live!

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Hello everyone! I am so excited to let you know that my new website is now live. This blog will soon be deactivated so I encourage you to go on over to the new website at:

MovingTowardJoy.com

I am also presenting a women’s conference in our local area on June 22 called Welcome Summer Joy! You can find the details on the new website. Would love to have you.

Thank you for your faithful and encouraging support over the past few years. My prayer is always that your interaction here is a blessing to your life. The joy continues …

Author Interview: Janet Thompson

Janet Thompson

Janet Thompson
Author/Speaker

I would love to introduce you to my speaker and writer friend, Janet Thompson. I met her through a speaker networking/support group in our area. I’ve so enjoyed following her since then and seeing the impact her ministry has for the Kingdom of God. Plus … she’s an IDAHO girl now!

Below is an interview about her newest book … great subject and one that isn’t written about a lot: a stay-at-home husband. This is a life circumstance that many face and will face. My own husband works from home; our desks are side by side in our home office. There are definitely “issues”. LOL! I’m reading her book right now.

All the information you’ll need to check into Janet’s new book is below. Enjoy the interview!

Candy

(1) What inspired you to write a book about living with a stay-at-home husband?

Dear God, He’s Home! is the third in a “Dear God,” series. The first two are Dear God, It’s Cancer: A Companion Guide for Women on the Breast Cancer Journey and Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby? A Companion Guide for Couples on the Infertility Journey. Each of the “Dear God” books mentor women who are on a journey that I’ve been on myself. I know the loneliness and need for support and understanding that isn’t always available, so I write to mentor and encourage these women. The best compliment is when someone tells me it was if I was sitting right beside her as she read my books.

In Dear God, He’s Home!, I chronicle the difficulties and joys my husband and I encountered during the various seasons of him being a stay-at-home man: multiple layoffs, illness, disability, and now, retirement. I understand the strain on a marriage of a husband suddenly being home 24/7, regardless of the reason. As in all of my books, I offer various perspectives from other women who are willing to share their stories to help others going through something similar.

(2) Tell us a little about your research. How did you encounter other wives with stay-at-home husbands? What struck you about their experiences?

Whenever I mention the title of this book, wives smirk with raised eyebrows and knowingly remark, “Boy, do I have a story for you!” “I need this book.” “I know someone who could use this book.” Or “I’m going to need this book soon, write fast!”

When I sent out an email or Facebook request for stories of women with a husband home due to retirement, illness, disability, out of work, home office, the military . . . whatever reason…the stories flowed into my inbox and my ears.

I noticed that whatever circumstances brought a husband home, most couples admit they didn’t prepare for a time of being together 24/7!

tight rope(3) What would you say is the most common struggle wives have with their stay-at-home man? What is the most common struggle that husbands have as a result of becoming a stay-at-home man?

Regardless of the reason for this season, wives of stay-at-home men experience similar difficulties, hardships, and blessings. The specific circumstances might be different, but the heart issues are the same.

The struggle I heard most often from wives with a stay-at-home man: he’s invading “my space.” They recount the loss of my home, my space, my privacy, my domain, my downtime, a place to call my own. As if that weren’t enough, looking for something to do with all his newfound free time, the husband may decide to rearrange her routine, her kitchen—her life! One wife lamented that her CEO retired husband was “organizing” her kitchen and alphabetizing her spices. Another wife compared it to her going into his office, sitting in his chair, and rearranging his desk for him—“not.”

The wife may also feel like her work load is increasing while his is decreasing, especially if she is still working or has to go back to work to support the family. The dismal prospect of him expecting lunch every day was lamented by the majority of wives.

At the same time, the stay-at-home husband is now trying to find his space in what used to be her space and that can lead to crowded space. Military families call this the “reentry phase” or reintegration—fitting back into “normal” home life and society. In Called To Serve, Lt. Col. Tony and Penny Monetti, who are endorsers of Dear God, He’s Home!, quote one returning solider who said he felt like “a background wall in his own home.” An apt word picture for any stay-at-home man.

The home balance of authority feels off kilter when a husband is home.

(4) Speaking of military, how can your book help women whose husbands are returning from deployment?

Military wives would be good mentors to every woman with a stay-at-home husband because they experience the reintegration process every time their husband returns home from deployment. The wife has been in charge while her husband is gone and they both have to figure out how to transition him back into the home schedule and activities, and she has to relinquish responsibilities taken over in his absence. The chapter topics and Mentoring Moments in the book offer encouragement and ideas for dealing with specific issues.

Dear God, He’s Home! shares stories from military wives and their coping tips, which are often applicable to every wife with a stay-at home man. For example, Kathryn shared: “In talking to many military wives, one of the biggest challenges of a loved one returning home is meeting him right where he’s at and adjusting to the “new normal.” Every woman with a stay-at-home man experiences a “new normal.”

Also in the “Sanity Tools” section of the book there is a section dedicated to support for military couples.

(5) How can readers benefit from the examples and advice you offer?

I include stories and scenarios from a variety of perspectives, not just my own so that the reader will surely find an example and situation she can identify with. Everyone sharing in the book, including my husband and myself, are open, vulnerable, sometimes raw, and often humorous.

I don’t want the reader to only rely on my suggestions and advice. Each chapter includes “God’s Love Letter to You,” which is paraphrased and personalized Scripture, and “Let’s Pray” where I pray with the reader. There’s also space for her to write her own “Dear God,” and practical application tips are provided in the Sanity Tools section.

My husband has been a stay-at-home man numerous times during our marriage and I understand the stress it puts on a relationship. Couples like us and those who share their stories in the book, who have experienced and survived the stay-at-home transition, can reach out to offer seasoned encouragement, tips, and prayer for couples currently going through it.

(6) Who is your biggest supporter in your writing?

I dedicated this book to my stay-at-home man, Dave, who selflessly allows me to write and speak vulnerably and honestly about our messes and our miracles in sharing our story. I call him the “hero” of the book, but he laughingly refers to himself as “the sacrificial lamb.” He wrote the Epilogue and I think the way he signed it gives a window into the kind of support I have from him: Janet’s encourager, cheerleader, loving and devoted –stay-at-home man, Dave.

(7) What is your passion and why?

Mentoring is truly a passion, a purpose, and a mission that God put on my heart when I first went into ministry 18 years ago. After graduating from seminary, I asked God to use me in the business world where I had spent most of my career and was familiar and comfortable, rather than in women’s ministry where I had no experience. But as He often does, God put me in a ministry where I would have to depend completely on Him in starting the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry; and He soon gave me a heart for women and the issues we all deal with in everyday life. My passion is to help women learn to: Share Life’s Experiences and God’s Faithfulness. That’s my “tag line” and what I try to do in my books and speaking.

All my books have a theme of mentoring from experiences that others and I have encountered with the goal of offering hope, help, and encouragement to the reader. For example, I also wrote Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter (I had one), and the subtitle of that book is Hope, Help & Encouragement for Hurting Parents.

My passion and mission is to help other women learn how to use the good, the bad, the ugly life experiences to reach out and help another woman going through similar circumstances. It always helps to know we’re not alone and someone else has survived what we’re going through now.

To read a snippet of Dear God, He’s Home! A Woman’s Guide to Her Stay-at-Home Man, click here.

Dear God, He’s Home! A Woman’s Guide to Her Stay-at-Home Man (New Hope Publishers) is the third book in the “Dear God,” series by author and speaker Janet Thompson. Janet is the founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring and the author of seventeen books, including: Dear God, They Say It’s Cancer, Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby?, Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter, The Team That Jesus Built, and the Face-to-Face Bible study series. All of Janet’s books are available at bookstores and online bookstores, as well as signed by her, at her website store.

Visit Janet at:

www.womantowomanmentoring.com
https://www.facebook.com/Janetthompson.authorspeaker
http://www.linkedin.com/in/womantowomanmentoring/
www.pinterest.com/thompsonjanet
https://twitter.com/AHWministries

dear god he's home book coverAbout the Book:
A husband is now home 24/7 and the wife needs help ASAP!

Regardless of the reason he’s home—out of work . . . retired . . . home office . . . returned from military deployment . . . disability or illness . . . whatever—wives of stay-at-home husbands share many of the same transitional and heart adjustments.

Dear God, He’s Home! is a practical and raw look at issues couples go through when a husband is suddenly home full time. Sharing openly from personal experience and through Scripture, Janet Thompson encourages wives to joyfully embrace their God-ordained marriages.

The book also includes personal thought questions, discussion questions for couples, and a small-group or book club discussion guide.

Amazon Purchase Link
Book Excerpt
Book Trailer Link

About the Author:
Janet Thompson, founder and director of About His Work Ministries, is the author of 17 books and the recognized author of the “Dear God” book series. Janet developed the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry at Saddleback Church, served as a lay minister for 12 years, and continues to share the blessings of mentoring through her Woman to Woman Mentoring resources, trainings, and speaking events.

Janet and her stay-at-home husband, Dave, have four married children and love being Grammie and Grampa to 11 beautiful grandchildren. After living in California her entire life, Dave’s retirement led Janet and Dave to move to the rural mountains of Idaho.

The Gift of Presence

Candy blogs: Everyone wants Christmas to be meaningful. We say it every year. I certainly have. We long for Christmases past. I have very strong memories of Christmases at my grandparents’ house in northern Idaho, with all the aunts & uncles and cousins. After eight hours of driving … down the last stretch of dirt road … past the general store … past the grove of pine trees … we all leaned forward as far as we could … there! We could finally see the lights of the house! And once inside we were lost in a wave of hugs and kisses and smiles. Christmas had begun!

The first order of the day would be for us kids to go to all the familiar places where Grandpa put his home-made hard candy and caramel popcorn. There was always a hammer in the pan so you could crack off a piece small enough to get in your mouth. It took forever to suck on it long enough to get it soft and chewy. And then there was Grandma’s fudge and candy to find … and the boxes of oranges and apples.

snow angelThe days were spent sledding and making snowmen and snow angels and playing snow games. The evenings were spent singing and praying together, playing games and feasting on Grandma’s incredible meals. It was very noisy.

I hardly noticed that we had a gift exchange. That part was almost meaningless to me. I don’t remember a single gift I received there (well, I do remember one). It was always about honoring the birth of Jesus and time spent with family that we couldn’t wait for, and that’s what I remember and long for now.

We all WANT Christmas to be more meaningful but our Christmas celebrations don’t change or become more meaningful just because we want them to.

Did you know that Christmas hasn’t always been a happy, joyous holiday? It’s come to us as a result of many transitions and decrees and combinations of other celebrations … not all of them positive. Christmas used to be a loud, rather raucous, celebration. Some Christians wouldn’t have anything to do with it.

Christmas is not Biblical. Sounds pretty radical, doesn’t it? It’s really just a tradition; a wonderful one, but still a tradition. But anything that encourages us to pause and remember and celebrate our life with Jesus is wonderful. And over hundreds of years, that’s the meaning that American Christians have given to Christmas … to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.

With that said, did you know that, according to the Advent Conspiracy movement, Americans spend $450 billion on Christmas … EVERY YEAR? That is astounding to me.

I used to get that “sick” feeling in my stomach when the middle of November came around. You know the feeling I’m talking about. The “only four paychecks until Christmas” feeling? We bought the lie. We dragged ourselves to all the stores on every available day off, buying cartloads of toys and games that were eventually broken or lost or discarded. Never to be remembered again.

frantic womanAs soon as the political ads stopped, the Christmas commercials began, showing frenzied parents driven by the indulgent “I want” lists of their children, and wide-eyed shop-a-holics literally in a shopping coma and feeling fully justified in their decadent spending aqnd making us think that should be normal.

We shake our heads in distaste for these commercials, and yet our Christmas celebrations remain unchanged and undistinguishable from those who don’t honor the birth of Jesus as we do.

We all WANT Christmas to be meaningful … but what would that actually look like?

The Gift of Presence

Last year I was introduced to the Advent Conspiracy. It started several years ago in a church where the leadership felt compelled to DO something about having a meaningful Christmas. It’s a movement “restoring the scandal of Christmas by substituting compassion for consumption.”

Here is their bottom line:

Worship fully … spend less … give more … love all

To re-state that …
• We are encouraged to worship and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ to the fullest extent
• and out of that worship spend less on ourselves
• so we can give more to others
• which is showing love to all in very practical ways.

The organization shares lists of ways to do this. I’m not here to advocate their list. What absolutely grabbed hold of my heart was the thought that it was time to stop shaking my head at the commercials and overstocked store shelves, stop wishing and hoping and wanting Christmas to be more meaningful … and actually MAKE it so.

So last year instead of meaningless gift certificates and shopping from Amazon Wish Lists, I gave much thought to what would be the most meaningful tomy family. And everyone was pleased and even moved by their gifts. I’ve been scheming again this year to search my relationships and give gifts that showcase their value as a person rather than on materialistic things that will likely never be remembered. I am concentrating on gifts of presence.

After all, the gifts the Magi brought to the Christ child were very carefully chosen … chosen more for their meaning than their value.

The presents we give our loved ones give a very temporary sense of happiness. It flares up quickly and dies down quickly, rather like that holiday meal you slaved over all day and was consumed in minutes. In the scheme of things, very few of these presents will ever be remembered.

large family christmas dinner imagesCAUKONHCBut when we give the gift of presence, when we spend time eye to eye and heart to heart, having conversations, continuing traditions, teaching skills, building relationships … we build memories. We build a foundation beneath our families, a sense of knowing where they came from and giving them a reference point when they set the direction for their lives.

When we talk about King Jesus and His gift of eternal life, we help others stop … and worship … and celebrate this gift. And in the busyness of this season … even if just for a few moments … we can all touch eternity by connecting with our Eternal God.

What do you want your Christmas to look like? Have you thought about intentionally making it more like you wish it was? It’s not too late.

Worship fully … spend less … give more … love all

Husband of My Youth

Candy blogs: Sunday is a milestone for my husband and me. We will celebrate 35 years of marriage. Neither of us can believe it. How could it possibly be? Just yesterday that drummer from high school jazz choir with the big ‘fro and the rust colored cords and jean jacket was kissing me good night at the door for the first time.

He was different from the other guys in high school. He was kind. He didn’t have a dirty mouth. He was a gentleman. And so talented! I knew anyone I was going to marry had to be a musician. Scott was that. He played the drums and sang like a angel.

Scott & Candy

When we decided to marry, our pastor told us that our commitment to the relationship was more important than our commitment to the other person. He told us this is what real love was … to choose love more than feel love because feelings come and go and can’t be trusted.

“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”   Jeremiah 17:9

It was this counsel above any advice we were given that has carried us through these last 35 years. When we let our feelings dictate our actions, it can lead to poor choices. When our own happiness is the goal instead of what is best for the relationship, that’s where marriages go wrong. Marriage can’t be based on happiness. When he works too much or doesn’t catch the importance of something I’m involved in, I am unhappy. Does this mean I no longer love him? Of course not. Happiness comes and goes with circumstances, like feelings do. We can’t always control circumstances.

And it’s never just about us. Life decisions we make affect those around us … those we love. Our decisions send ripples out into the future.  When you’re married, life become “we”. We becomes more important than me.

If I am choosing love, not always demanding my own way, doing what is best for my spouse because I love him and not just because it will make me happy, I WILL be happy. And I’ll be loved. And 35 years later, it’s more true than ever.

Scott ~

On our wedding day,
I called you “husband” for the first time,
and since then I’ve discovered that word means
much more than I first imagined.

It means “friend” because you are the best one I have.
It means “partner” because we share life’s journey together.
It means “blessing” because you are one of the greatest gifts God has ever given me.

The more years go by,
the more it means to call you “husband”
because the longer we are together,
the more I discover all you are to me.

choosing love,

Candy

Conversatin’

Candy blogs: I used to have a list of things to check off to verify that I was a good Christian. Prayer was on that list. It was right up there with a daily quiet time, going to church, reading the Bible and tithing. Not that there’s anything wrong with those things. But for a long time I had it backwards. I always thought that DOING them would MAKE me a good Christian. But I discovered that they are the RESULT of BEING a person in right relationship with God.

Prayer was one of the things I always had backwards. For most of my life I viewed prayer as me speaking carefully to God, careful to get all the official parts of a proper prayer in there. ..  careful to get a good balance between telling God how wonderful He was and my list of prayer requests. When I prayed publically I was way too aware of how others viewed my prayers and my ability to pray. Another performance. What a waste of breath.

In reality, prayer is just a fancy word for conversing with God. It’s really that simple. We make it so complicated.

My first breakthrough about prayer was finding out it included listening. LOL! I had to learn to spend enough time at Jesus’ feet, consistently and over time, for his voice to became familiar. I was used to doing all the talking.

My most recent breakthrough about prayer was being truly aware that I was actually talking to the Living God. “Prayer” or “praying” sounds so religious. Like a religious activity. But just “talking” to God brings the reality of Him in close. He becomes real. He is infinite and mysterious and so much more than we can fathom. He is outside the box of what we know in our universe because He created the universe and the box.

And yet He makes it possible to know Him intimately…. like He’s sitting right next to you.

Now when I pray, I focus on who I’m talking to. I’m no longer concerned about the others in the room. I’m talking to the Living God! If I could see God manifested in material form or truly perceive the depth and breadth of who he is, would I really let the cat or the knock at the door or the telephone interrupt our conversation?

Prayer is not telling God stuff He already knows or reguritating tired, over-used phrases.

“Dear Jesus, thank you for this day.”
“Dear Jesus, bless this food to the nourishment of our bodies.”
“Dear Jesus, help us have a good day.”
“Dear Jesus, we pray for traveling mercies.”

Much of public prayer is less about actually communicating with God Almighty and more like a commercial for things that are coming up or things that have happened … more to tell the others in the room some piece of valuable information.

If I had to wait in a long line to speak to Billy Graham, when I FINALLY got up to him would I say, “Rev. Graham, pray for me to have a good day”? Not on your life. If I had moments with Billy Graham I would want as much of all that wisdom as he could pour into me. I would ask honest questions. I would tell him my honest struggles. I would ask for real answers. And I would believe what he told me because he’s  Billy Graham, for heaven’s sake!

But he isn’t GOD …

… and yet we interact or don’t interact with God as though earthly “celebrities” have more impact on us than God himself. We live as though we can  meet God on our terms … when we get around to it … when it’s convenient … when he fits into our lifestyle.  How’s that workin’ for ya?

Listening and talking … being aware of the other person and interacting with them. That is conversation. That is praying. That is part of living in relationship.

Love it. Have a conversation about it.

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