Archives For Marriage & Family

I’m still learning.

Chilly —  October 10, 2014 — 7 Comments

Notes from my journal
(This Sunday we celebrate 10
years of ministry in Detroit.)

Things I’m learning today

… that I had NO clue about 10 years ago.
Part TWO.

You kids are capable of SO much more than you can even begin to imagine!

  • my FIVE heroesWhen we begin, we had three little girls (ages 12, 8 and 4). Since then, we have added to boys! So, we are now: Mariah 22, Courtney 18, Zoe 14, Maximus 9 and Chase 8.
  • They have had to adjust to various types of schooling (public school, home school, charter school, online school).
  • They have had to adjust to various types of sports leagues (Upward, Homeschool, PAL, Community).
  • They have had to adjust to various types of church buildings, leaders, people & programs (Hamtramck, Midtown, Mexicantown … Bars, Apartment Penthouse, Nightclubs, Bowling Allies, Church buildings).
  • My adult daughters are leading ministry with joy and passion. And my younger kids can’t wait to be at church or at outreach or whatever is happening! They LOVE IT!
  • They’ve had people come in and out of their lives. They have seen people fail. They certainly are eye-witnesses to my flaws & short-comings.
  • But, they have also seen hundreds & hundreds come to know Jesus. They have seen miracles. They have seen, experienced and expressed unconditional love.
  • And, most important, they EACH have a very real, personal, relationship with Christ.

I can’t even imagine all that God is doing and about to do IN and THROUGH each of their lives. They are my heroes!

Blood is thicker than water, but Spirit is thicker than blood.

  • This is a quote from my friend, Pastor Tim Dilena — he spoke this in reference to our family & friends in the faith.
  • One of the hardest things about being in full-time ministry is living far away from your family. Netta has family in Colorado and Kansas; I have family in Missouri, Minnesota and Georgia.
  • So, we are rarely with our natural families – especially when most people enjoy these times: holidays, birthdays and special events.
  • As much as we miss our natural family, our lives and home are filled with spiritual brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, sons and daughters. There’s a bond with those we serve with, that God has given us, that is powerful, personal and awesome!
  • We hope our kids will always live close and serve alongside us but if God leads them away — we are confident that He will surround them with spiritual family.

Thank you to BOTH our natural and spiritual families. WE LOVE YOU!

God doesn’t always lead through policy manuals, flow-charts and business plans.

  • Yes, I know that God is a God of order. But, I also know that sometimes ministry can be (or appear to be) messy, crazy and chaotic.
  • We’re working with people not machines. People are weird. People break down suddenly. People change. People die.
  • Our processes may not allow for the unpredictable wonderfulness, found in people.
  • Yes, we should have a plan. There should be organization.
  • But, we also must recognize that discipleship cannot be done in vacuum or delegated. It’s personal and every person is different.

Spirituality is a mixed-up, topsy-turvy, helter-skelter godliness that turns our lives into an upside-down toboggan ride of unexpected turns, surprise bumps and bone shattering crashes … a life ruined by a Jesus who loves us right into his arms. Mike Yanconelli

Yes, I will still trust the policies, constitution and by-laws, programs, and plans created by amazing servants of the Lord. But, I will not be limited by these things. They are the launchpad not the rocket ship!

IF you missed Part One, be sure to scroll down!

Hurting Love

Chilly —  August 19, 2014 — 3 Comments

love-hurtsWhy is it that when we’re a jerk or a punk, it’s usually towards the person or people we love the most? We bark, grumble and growl…  we ignore and blow-off… and all of this in the face of someone who loves us.  We still manage to smile & speak kindly to complete strangers or acquaintances – the waiter, bank teller, neighbor or barista.  But we can be such idiots to our spouse or kids or parents or closest friends…

I wish I could say that this blog comes from a person who is not guilty of such ridiculous behavior, but that would be a lie. I’m guilty. I’m careless and take for granted those I love SO much. And, I’m determined to change this.

So, why do we do it?  Why do we take for granted the very people God has given us as priceless gifts? I certainly don’t have all the answers for this – since I still do it… but, I know that the root is obvious: selfishness… SIN. We take the love of others (even God) for granted – telling ourselves, “well, they HAVE to love me”… so stupid and mean! Our insecurity still feels the pressure to impress outsiders – we don’t want them to think less of us – yet, we’re careless & heartless at home. I think another reason we do this is: laziness (also a sin). 

Yeah, it’s work to deny yourself and prefer those that God has put in your life. It requires a conscious effort to be like Jesus, even when you don’t feel like it or feel that ‘they’ deserve it. At times, we must labor to kill the pride & give the love… But, it’s such good GREAT work!  And, it pays BIG dividends – like: peace, joy, fun, love and rest. 

    • Are you, like me, guilty of hurting love?
    • Do you need to repent right now?
    • Will you make it right with those you’ve hurt?
    • How will you improve and overcome these tendencies or behavior?

I’ve got some work to do right now.

Determined to improve… Chilly

25 Years: The List

Chilly —  June 24, 2014 — 12 Comments

25 Keys to a Joyful and Lasting Marriage
(in no particular order)

257231-stock-photo-old-red-graffiti-wall-building-life-wall-barrierOne of the keys to our marriage has always been to realize that we’re not experts and that our way may not be best for others. In fact, over the years, we’ve been asked to do “Marriage Retreats” and other types of events and I’ve replied (with a smirk), “one of the secrets to our marriage is not doing marriage retreats!” So, this list is not comprehensive or authoritative. But, rather just a quick, random, spontaneous list from Netta and me as we sit together in Florida celebrating our FIRST 25 years of marriage… Enjoy!

  1. Smile every day — often!
  2. Talk (and listen) to God before you talk to each other.
  3. Buy good toilet paper and roll it over-the-top.
  4. Fight for your ‘sabbath day’ — and make it count.
  5. Last one out of bed makes the bed.
  6. Say I love you as often as you can! Also, compliment each other. Lots of eye-contact.
  7. Don’t discuss important things when you’re overly emotional (angry, sad, depressed, etc).
  8. Laugh… A LOT!
  9. Don’t compare or compete with each other — revel in uniqueness!
  10. Honor one another. Never tease or embarrass the other beyond what’s kind.
  11. Live translucent not transparent. Yes, allow others to see inside but not every detail.
  12. Live Amenable (even better than accountable).
  13. Follow God’s dreams rather than expect Him to follow ours.
  14. Make love not war (and everyone just went, “Oooooo!”)
  15. Discipline in unity — be on the same team.
  16. Be present (alert & responsive) not just around.
  17. Take time away from ‘everything’ together and at times, alone.
  18. Make sure God remains head of the home & marriage.
  19. Don’t make your spouse your only friend — do different things with different people.
  20. Live above reproach (opposite sex, computers, free time, interests, etc).
  21. In disagreements or decisions, avoid words like: Always and Never.
  22. Communicate LOVE the way your spouse needs it not the way you want it.
  23. Raise your children as individuals — no two are the same. Enjoy their uniqueness!
  24. Seek wisdom from those who have lived it — not just from peers, blogs & books.
  25. Don’t think you’re an expert… EVER. Avoid writing lists for the first 25 years!

Hope you’ve enjoyed this little random list. I’m confident that we left out some essential things that may have made you think, “what about this?” — we’re just happy that it’s got you thinking, laughing and reading. We’re SO THANKFUL for our marriage! We’re also thankful for all of you who know us and still love us! Thanks for praying for our marriage and family, for reading our blogs, for sharing in our crazy little world and for living such extraordinary lives. You inspire us and encourage us to FEARLESSLY go for God’s best!

Life, marriage and family are all wonderful ADVENTURES not tedious chores or mindless routines! Your path is planned by God and is filled with unexpected blessings and opportunities. IF you avoid the ordinary, you’ll live the extraordinary! This is our prayer for our lives and YOURS!

Well, it’s back to the beach for us!

CHECK BACK in 25 years for our next list!

More IN Love than EVER,
Chilly and Netta

Letter from Courtney

Chilly —  September 8, 2013 — 12 Comments

The following letter was posted today by my daughter, Courtney, on her blog. It, obviously, meant the world to me and I think may bring encouragement to many of you (parent & child alike).

You can comment here OR on: Courtney’s Blog


Dear Mom & Dad,

I observe and hear and read about all sorts of approaches to parenting and I agree that there isn’t just ONE way to parent. However, I am so incredibly thankful for all of the things that YOU did/do/have done while raising my siblings and me. You guys are incredible and i will never deny the amount of “me” that is wholly thanks to what you guys did. So i wanted to specify and elaborate briefly on just SOME of the things that i am most thankful that you did while raising me over these amazing 17 years.

* Thank you for spanking me. THANK YOU for smacking my little child booty firmly enough so that i cried for a minute and i learned not to do whatever i did again. It taught me healthy fear, respect, and the consequences that follow your actions. And for always saying “I love you, but i can’t let you act this way.” before doing it and for hugging me afterwards. Your firmness was unwavering but not nearly as unwavering as the love that the correction grew from.

Thank you for encouraging me. Whatever i decided i was interested in, wanted to try doing, or was struggling through, you encouraged me all the way. You still do. There’s never been a day in my life where i didn’t know 100% that my parents were supportive or proud of me. And it has never been aimless encouragements nor controlling encouragement, but instead, you have both always cheered me on towards purposeful, meaningful things.

* Thank you for telling me no. No to not sharing, no to throwing fits, no to being disrespectful, no to drama, no to boys, no to Sponge Bob, no to the short skirt, no to going places because i’d been bad the day before, no to a phone when i was 12. I am thankful for your no’s. As frustrating as they have been at times, your no’s were really important. And thank you for saying them with smiles sometimes and deep tones and frowns other times.

Thank you for saying yes. Yes to random ice cream cones from McDonalds, yes to playing with the neighbors, yes to the light up shoes, yes to “just 5 more minutes, mommy”, yes to picking out my own clothes, yes to mac & cheese, yes to my crazy birthday themes. Between your no’s and yes’s i learned my limitations and my freedom.

* Thank you for saying “Because i said so.” Kids are kids. They don’t need to know why you do what you do all the time. You explained what you thought would be valuable to my little mind and heart at the right time and for everything else, “because i said so.” Cause you were mommy and daddy and you knew what’s best for little Courtney. I figured out the why’s later anyway.

Thank you for including me in “the grown up world”. I know a lot of this was because you didn’t always have the option to not include me, but it means a lot nonetheless. Mom, you always let us help in the kitchen or stick around while you chatted with guests or sit on your lap while you prayed for someone. Dad, you always let us hang out while you ministered to people, you let us sit in your prayer room, you talked about a lot of “grown up” everyday stuff at the table. (Side note: a lot of this wouldn’t have been possible if you let us be wild or disrespectful.) But seriously listening to you talk about life, your opinions, your excitement, your discouragement, your Jesus, has taught me more than so many things have. So thanks for not hiring a sitter for every dinner or waiting til we were in bed to talk to each other every night.

Thank you for making me do it. Making me eat all of my food, learn how to ride a bike(yikes), learn how to swim (double yikes), practice piano, say hello to the people i didn’t like (HA!). I learned open-mindedness, fearlessness, manners, and again- to respect you.

* Thank you for being an example of the roles in a functional, godly, happy family.
Dad’s in charge and is the MAN of the house, Mom is also in charge but is not the head of the home, you’re always on the same page even when you’re not and you also love each other a TON. The kids all answer to you two and you both answer to God.

Thank you for not making everything fair. THANK YOU for not always giving into our “but that’s not FAIR!” whining. Life is not fair, love is not fair, God’s grace is not fair and i grasped that early on.

Thank you for not letting us be whiny cry babies. I know i sort of addressed this in other things, but for REALZ. There was none of that. And you’ve stuck with it through my teenage years and i know for a FACT that the expression of emotions can be controlled reasonably at any understandable age. Oh and i’m also gonna shove in “thanks for not letting us be clingy” with this one too.

Thank you for making me feel beautiful and valued. Thank you for the hugs, the kisses, the compliments on my hair, the pretty dresses for easter, and the principal of modesty. I’ve never had any serious problems with self-image and i also credit that to the weight you’ve put on inner beauty.

* Thank you for the amazing way that you raised me in Jesus’ love. You’ve always spoken scripture, prayer, truth, purpose, hope, and love into my life. You’ve also placed great value on knowing the Bible and Jesus ourselves, whether that be at bedtime, in church, in school or on our own. And more than anything you’ve been examples of what being a follower of Christ looks like every day of my life.

I’d say I’m turning out pretty ok. Other people have said that at least.
I love you both and i know you love me. Even when you spanked and said no and gave me that look. I’ve always known you love me. I hope i am able to balance love and discipline as well as you do.

Your Child (Courtney)