Browse Month: June 2012

Monday Musings – 25/06/12

Don’s & MJ’s top ten list (part 2)…

Last week, I started the top ten things MJ and I have learned through thirty years of marriage.  The list is not exhaustive nor is it prioritized.  We just saved some of the fun stuff for last.

So here’s the final five!!!

5)            Learn to apologize/learn to forgive

One of the hardest things in a marriage is to say “I’m sorry”, partly because we like to think that we are right and our spouse is wrong.  As MJ and I talked this one over, we came up with a couple of little sayings.  “Don’t brew…don’t stew” (thank MJ for this one!).   When you have a disagreement, don’t brew about it and stew over it, talk it out.  Here’s one for you…”Put on a good brew while your spouse makes the stew and then talk it out and be real!” (blame Don for this one!).

4)            Warning:  Challenges ahead!

Every marriage will experience bumps and bruises along the journey.  Learn to turn potential obstacles into opportunities for marital improvement and growth.

Over the last three years of our mission’s journey, MJ asked God for two things, that He would not remain silent through His Word and that He would provide our needs.  There are some specific promises from the Word of God that have become hallmark moments in our walk together.  We have watched God meet so many needs over the last three years and have discovered that blessings come in multiple forms, including protection, peace, provision and promise.

3)            Learn to laugh and have fun

MJ has taught me to have fun.  When we first met, I was “Mr. Serious”.  As a matter of fact, some suggested that in my early years, I was a young man in grown man’s shoes (whatever that means!).  MJ taught me the value of “loosening up” and learning to laugh.

Africa has taught us to laugh.  What else do you do when an electrician comes to your house to do some wiring and asks you if you have any tools?

On the day of our 30th anniversary, we spread some soil and planted grass seed.  That evening, we watched as Montreal’s worse storm in five years washed our soil and seed down the street.  Than our toilets began to gargle and growl, only to discover that the storm drains backed up and flooded our basement.

You either laugh or cry.  We chose to laugh, grab some buckets and clean up the mess!  Maybe some reading this blog need to learn to laugh, grab a bucket and clean up your marriage mess!!!!

2)            Never stop dating!

Dating before marriage allowed you to get to know your future spouse.  Remember how nervous and excited you were at the same time?  Why should that stop after marriage?  Dating keeps your marriage fresh, and by the way, it does not need to be expensive.  A nice walk in the park after throwing a Frisbee does not cost anything.  If you read Total Money Makeover, you can use some of your “blow money” to go on an inexpensive date.  By the way men, leave your technology at home.  You are not going on a date with your phone to check emails and the latest sports scores, you are going on a date with the love of your life.  Oh, and look nice for each other.  Ladies a little bit of make-up is okay.  Men take the ball cap off and show that there is actually something of value underneath. Just a thought!

1)      Enjoy the ride!!!!

This past weekend, I captured the above picture of a couple riding a tandem bike.   The blue sky reminds me that many couples start their marriage with “blue sky” ideals.  Suddenly, they are thrown off the bike when the storm clouds roll in and the heavy downpour causes potholes.  Just remember that the power of co-partnership will help you to steer around the bumps and obstacles.  Get on the tandem bike and enjoy the ride together!!!

Here’s to healthy marriages!

Until next Monday…

Don & MJ

Taking risks for Kingdom impact!


Monday Musings (special Wednesday edition) 20/06/12

Don & MJ’s top ten list…

Recently, MJ and I were invited to speak at a married couple’s “date night” in London, Ontario.

Interestingly enough, we had just celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary the week before.  We decided to put a list of the top ten things we have learned through thirty years of marriage.

So, over the next two weeks, I am going to split the list into two parts and blog our top ten.

(10)  “The Power of Co-partnership”

MJ read a good story that pictured marriage as a couple riding a tandem bike.  Picture a couple who works together as equals, pedalling toward the same destination.  But, like every marriage, someone needs to steer the bike, and be on the lookout for potential danger.  The one steering, communicates with the biking partner, making decisions about which way to go and how they can avoid dangers and obstacles.

9)  Total Money Makeover

Financial pressures can put undo strain and stress on a marriage relationship.  Last Christmas, MJ and I gave our kids David Ramsey’s book “The Total Money Makeover” as one of their gifts.  I challenged our kids to read it over the four months that we were away in Africa.  To our great thrill, upon our return to Canada, we discovered that not only had they had they read the book, but were already putting the principles of the book into action.  In just a short time they are already seeing a positive difference in their personal finances.  I recommend you buy the book!!!

8)  Don’t impose an unrealistic schedule upon your children

In our travels, we discover parents who are running their children virtually every night of the week to soccer, hockey, dance, language school (you put your own activities in this list).

The Kids Health Organization suggests:  “Stress is a function of the demands placed on us and our ability to meet them…stress can affect anyone who feels overwhelmed – even kids…Many kids are too busy to have time to play creatively or relax after school.  Kids who complain about all their activities or who refuse to go to them might be overscheduled.  Talk with your kids about how they feel about extracurricular activities.”

7)  Be open and be real

So much of marriage is based on truth, trust and integrity.  Your greatest accountability partner is your spouse.  What you watch on television or the internet will be impacted if you know you have to be accountable to your spouse the next morning.  As a couple, you need to discuss just how open and accountable you can be, but the less you keep from each other, the more your marriage will move toward health and wholeness.


6)  Talk it out

If the three keys to real estate are location…location…location, then I assure you that the three keys to a healthy marriage are communicate…communicate…communicate!!!!!  Engage in conversation, avoid preoccupation with other things while you listen, and “do not let the sun go down upon your wrath!”.

Until next Monday (for part 2)…



Monday Musings 04/06/12

The power of partnership/La puissance du partenariat…

Today, I thought I would let a video do the talking in my blog.

One of our partnering French churches in Quebec City has been collecting sewing machines for RTC.  As a result we are using these machines to begin micro-enterprises in Zambia.

The video you are about to watch was shot just two days before our return to Canada.  What an incredible afternoon we had with the ladies at Kawama School in Kabwe, Zambia.  The school, started in the director’s home with five children, now has 225 students enrolled.  The ladies in the video will use the sewing machine to make school uniforms and other products as a means of beginning a sustainable business.

Get a little taste of what we experienced by clicking on the following link.

Until next Monday…


Taking risks for Kingdom impact!


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