Marriage Monday: Date Night Over the Holidays

Today’s Marriage Monday will be the last new one until the new year.  Starting Wednesday, Dec 23 through Tuesday, January 4 (the two weeks our boys are off school), I’ll be taking off two weeks of active blogging. 

During those two weeks, I’m going to do a recap of the ten most popular posts of 2010, in case you missed some great conversations we had this year. 

We’re using today’s Marriage Monday to give you some ideas for planning at least one date night over the holidays.

Mark says…
With most of our extended family in Indianapolis, the holidays usually mean a trip to Indy for our family.  When the kids were small, Jill and I would ask her parents to babysit one evening so we could have a night out. 

Jill says…
We also traded sitting with other couples who had children similar ages to our kids.  Arranging that during the holidays works well, too, because people have more flexible schedules.

Mark says…
Occasionally we would do an overnight away during the holidays (or have the kids go to Grandma’s so we could stay home in our own home ALONE!)

Jill says…
Now that our kids are older, we don’t have to arrange for a sitter anymore, but we still have to intentionally plan some time for just the two of us.

Mark says…
We currently have two date nights planned during the holidays.  The first is a night out to dinner with some friends we don’t get to see very often.  And the second one is attending a wedding on New Year’s Eve.  We’re looking forward to spending time with friends and dancing the night away. 

Because we believe making time for your marriage is important, we are doing a giveaway over the holidays.  To enter the giveaway, just arrange some time for just the two of you over the next two weeks.  Once you take some time for yourselves, let us know how you arranged it and what you did (well, please don’t tell us EVERYTHING you did…just general info–if you know what we mean!)

You have until Jan 9 to post a comment on this post and enter the giveaway for a CD of your choice of any of our marriage workshops from the Hearts at Home conferences. We’ll announce the winners on the first new Marriage Monday of the new year on January 10.

Make your entry look like this:

Date: Dec 30
Event: We went out for coffee.
Childcare: Asked grandma and grandpa
Email: jillannsavage (at) yahoo (dot) com

By the way…we’re doing an ABC’s of a Healthy Marriage Seminar in Rapid City, South Dakota, Feb 25-27, 2011.  It’s a seminar that is being sponsored by Westway Christian Church in Scottsbluff, Nebraska and it is open to the public. For more information call Rick or Sherry Derr at 308.632.1055.  We’d love for you to join us for this great weekend getaway!

May you enjoy both the time away over the holidays and the giveaway!

Encouragement coming your way!

You can catch some “living with less” encouragement this week in a couple of media outlets.

Later this week, I’ll be continuing my weekly discussions with Sterling on K-Love about strategies for a “less is more” Christmas.

And Wednesday morning, Mark and I will be on the Harvest Show on LeSea television. If you’d like to see if the show is in your area or watch it online, you’ll find the info HERE.

We love bringing encouragement to families in whatever way we can!

Workshop on the Go: Monitoring Your Child’s Media

At the Savage home, our kids know that before they can go to a movie, we have to read about it on Plugged In.  Plugged In ( is a website produced by Focus on the Family that provides up to date reviews of new movie releases and information on the hottest music, television, DVD and video games impacting popular youth culture.   
When my kids ask to go to a movie Mark and I usually respond with, “What does Plugged In say?”  These days, our kids ask to go to a movie only after they have checked it out on Plugged In:  “Can I go to such and such movie?  I already checked it out on Plugged In and it looks ok.”  (Of course, then we check it out ourselves before we give an answer.)

Today’s post is by Bob Waliszewski of Focus on the Family.  Bob is the director of Focus on the Family’s Plugged In department.  He will be a workshop speaker at Hearts at Home in 2011.  I’m glad that today he can offer us this important “Workshop on the Go.”

Monitoring Your Child’s Media

Earlier this fall, as a volunteer coach for an elementary school’s running program, I also played “taxi” driver, transporting two elementary-aged boys to our first meet. We’d only gone a few miles when the conversation turned to the music of disgusting rapper Eminem. It was obvious both boys had listened to this musician’s vile lyrics and looked up to him. I expressed a differing opinion.

Then just as quickly, the conversation switched to movies. The older of the two (11) quickly described a scene from an R rated horror flick. Even though he didn’t mention the title, I knew instantly the film being referenced—having seen it myself as part of my work with Plugged In. To describe the flick as excessively violent would understate the degree of gore. And language? Try 25 f-bombs and nearly that many s-words. Again, I tried to say something, but I think my words fell short.

But the point is this. I’m sitting in a car with two boys barely old enough to tie their own shoes, realizing they have already been exposed to images, language and very occultic spiritual themes that even adults shouldn’t experience.

No doubt you share my concerns. But let me ask, is it possible your preteens or teens have been assaulted by today’s media in some similar fashion? Perhaps, a PG-13 rated movie that should have been rated R (or NC-17)? Perhaps, it’s the content of that M rated video game your son plays when he’s hanging out at his friend’s home. Because whether we like it or not, the media decisions our children are currently making will affect them. That’s why I believe we must train them to honor Christ with their entertainment choices–something that will help guard their hearts for a lifetime.

Just how influential is the media?
Just one quick example: According to a September 2008 study at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hills, adolescents who consume a lot of sexualized music, television and movies are more than twice as likely to have sex by age 16 than their less-exposed peers. This means that when media outlets portray God’s gift of sexual intimacy as a casual act apart from the covenant of marriage, we shouldn’t be surprised when some young people bite hook, line and sinker.

In May 2008, ABC News quoted a young woman, then 22, who explained how the television show, Sex and the City, turned her into a Samantha. “When you’re [a teenager] you try to emulate people on TV,” explained this woman to whom the article gave the pseudonym Lisa. “Carrie smoked so I smoked. Samantha looked at hooking up with random people as no big deal and that’s what I did, too.” Now realizing that Sex and the City’s view of satisfying sex is an illusion, Lisa regrets her choices. But there’s no way to unscramble scrambled eggs.

What can we as parents do to help safeguard our children? I have the wonderful privilege of speaking at all three Hearts at Home conferences next year and I plan to unpack this in more detail then. But let me offer three tips here:

Tip #1: Make Decisions Based on God’s View

Our thoughts about media consumption should be determined by God’s thoughts, not the other way around. Although this idea is straightforward, my experience tells me that living it out can be tricky because many people of faith consider only this: “Do I think I will enjoy this movie, show, Web site, video game, song, book, or magazine? What we should be asking ourselves is “What would God think of this movie, show, Web site, video game, song, book, or magazine?

I do believe, though, that while God wants us to be happy, on a narrow mountain pass holiness has the right-of-way. As your children embrace this concept it will help them say “no” to troublesome media products—even when their friends are saying “yes.”

Tip #2: Teach WWJD

While there are factors like age appropriateness, spiritual maturity, and the possibility of being a “stumbling block” to a brother (Romans 14:13), I think the lion’s share of media choices can be made by asking the question popularized more than a decade ago by the WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) bracelets. The fad may be passé, but the principle behind it will never fade.

Tip #3: Instill Biblical Principles

Peter, James, John, Abraham, and Moses didn’t have to worry about what movies their sons might watch, what songs the DJ at the high school dance would be spinning, or what TV shows their daughters might be watching on their cell phones. Nor did they face the challenges of texting, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Second Life, Hulu, or Pandora. We do.

Even though the Bible never says, “Thou shalt not listen to gangsta rap,” it’s full of passages to help us navigate the culture. It’s the place to go when you’re looking for authoritative answers—a much better place than “Because I said so” or “You’re embarrassing me in front of all the other parents at church.” One of my favorites is Psalm 1. Read it again, considering that the mocker and scorner may be some actor, singer or character in an electronic game.

More than anything, we want our children to not only practice discernment while they live under our roofs, but that they embrace these truths for a lifetime.

Jill’s note: Plugged In has another great resource for family discussions called “Movie Night.”  You can find free movie discussion guides HERE.

What about you? What resources or strategies do you use to monitor your child’s media?

Hearts at Home Workshop-On-The-Go–Part 2

And the winner of last week’s book giveaway is…Jacque from Pennsylvania! Congrats Jacque! Shari will be sending out your Good Girls Don’t Have to Dress Bad book right away!

Last week’s Workshop-on-the-Go was so popular that I asked Shari to do one more post. When I attended her workshop, one of the most helpful parts for me was learning how to dress my body type. It truly has transformed my wardrobe and simplified my shopping! So I asked Shari if she’d do one more post on body type and this is how we’ll give away the second book.

I loved hearing about your “style” last week! This week, let us know your body type along with your email. I’ll select one winner at 10pm CT TONIGHT to receive a second copy of Shari’s book!

Jill asked me to come back this week to share another workshop-on-the-go with you so I could address the different body shapes!

Picture yourself standing in front of a full-length mirror in just your bra and undies. (I’m serious!) Where do you gain most of your weight? If you’re like most women, you instantly think of one particular area where most of those extra pounds go. For me, it’s my tummy.

I call the body shapes by the b o d-x system. (If you’ve been to my workshop at Hearts at Home, I used to call it the HOAX system. I have invented new names for them. If you were an H before, you are now a b, and the original A’s are now d’s. O’s and X’s remain the same.)

• If you gain most of your weight in your belly, you are a b shape.
• If you gain most of your weight in your upper midriff and have an overly endowed bust, you are an o body shape.
• If you gain most of your weight in your hips, thighs and/or your derriere,
you are a d shape.
• And if you gain evenly all over, and/or have a pretty balanced body, you are in the x category.

The goal in dressing is to look like an X even if you’re not. As long as you follow a few tips, no matter what your body type is, you can be balanced. When we dress so we appear balanced, attention is then brought to our face and not to the challenge areas of our body. (If you’re not quite sure of your body type, there is a quiz in the book so you can figure out which one you are, but for now, go with your gut instinct.)

Here are some tips for each body type:

Body Shape “b”:

• Never tuck in your shirts
• No belts for you
• Wear a tummy shaper to firm your middle area
• Stick with longer length tops and jackets
• Wear same or similar color for top and bottom to create a longer line and to take away attention from your middle area
• Accessorize at necklace with necklaces or scarves to bring attention upward

Body Shape “o”:

• Wear a properly fitting bra
• Layer tops by wearing a jacket, sweater or vest to minimize upper area
• Prints are a good choice and will make your upper body appear smaller
• Don’t wear skirts longer than knee length as this will make you look bigger than you are. Pair knee length skirts and shorts with a wedge or heel, not flats.
• Swing tops and jackets look terrific on your body shape
• Push up your long sleeves to make them ¾ length to appear slimmer

Body Shape “d”:

• Wear relaxed fit pants and jeans, nothing too snug
• Belts are terrific on you as they flatter your small waist
• Fuller skirts are better than fitted ones
• If your shoulders are smaller than the width of your hips, shoulder pads are necessary to balance your figure.
• Square neck, boat neck or crew neck tops are your best necklines
• Horizontal stripes on your top half will provide balance to your bottom half

Body Shape “x”:

• Pay attention to your frame size; wear patterns accordingly. If you’re small framed, wear small patterns. Larger? Wear bigger prints.
• Don’t wear too tight clothes as you may appear overtly sexy
• If you have a little extra fluffiness in one area or another, consider wearing a shaper to firm.
• You can wear any type pant style
• Wear proper undergarments and a good fitting bra
• Most styles work for you because of your balanced body so have fun with fashion!

I hope this helps you understand your body shape and how to dress it. Please leave a comment below as to which body type you are and the reason you’d like to win a copy of Good Girls Don’t Have to Dress Bad.

Have a beautiful day!
Love, Shari

From Jill:

Personally, I’m a “B” body shape.  I gain most of my weight in my belly and I’m learning that longer shirts and jackets are my friend! 

Let me know your body type, why you would like a copy of the book, and your email by 10pm CT tonight to be entered into the drawing for the second book! 

Hearts at Home Workshop-On-The-Go

One of the things that makes a Hearts at Home Conference so much fun is having the ability to design your own day to meet your needs as a mom.  Our conference workshops range from parenting your toddler to launching your teenager into adulthood.  You can take a workshop on organizing your home to deepening your spiritual walk.  

Last year, one of our most popular workshops was What Not To Wear.  It was a very practical workshop designed to help you look your best with the body God has given you.  Today Shari Braendel is giving us our very own Hearts at Home What Not To Wear workshop-on-the-go.  And she’s doing a couple of giveaways along with it! 

Hello to all your Hearts at Home girls! It’s so good to be posting here and I’m grateful to Jill for allowing me to visit with all of you again.  I thought we’d have some fashion fun today!

If you’re like most busy moms sometimes you’re lucky to take time to dab on a little lip gloss and wear an unstained t-shirt, let alone take time to think about your wardrobe. I want to encourage you to take some time to think about YOU today.

One of the most common emails I get is from women who say they can’t figure out how to have style and wonder how they can go about getting it.

I have style defined by four different categories:

     • Style Fashionista

     • Pure Natural

     • Classic Modern

     • Creative Original

Basically, when we dress, we like what we like, right? I know that I prefer big bold accessories and anything leopard print and honestly would wear most trendy items whether anyone else would or not.  That makes me a Style Fashionista!

You might like to wear cotton, linen, and anything comfy. You wouldn’t be caught dead in four-inch spike pumps and would rather be in tennis shoes or boots.  You enjoy wearing clothes that feel good on your skin and you keep your accessories simple. You are a Pure Natural.

Perhaps you like classic pieces of clothing like basic trousers or nice jeans and crew neck sweaters or simple, colorful v-neck t-shirts and you adore pearl necklaces and bracelets and charm bracelets. You like big handbags to pair with your ballet flats or wedge heels. An updated blazer or cardigan always feels right to you. You are a Classic Modern.

A Creative Original is a mom who loves to wear unique things. She’ll shop at vintage boutiques and thrift shops and come out looking fabulous! Her accessories always have others complimenting her and her wardrobe is full of pieces that reflect her creative self.

Here’s the thing. You may look at the above descriptions and immediately find yourself. Or you may look at them and think I forgot a category that we might call “I ain’t got style!” If that’s the case for you please know that it doesn’t have to be that way for long.

The key to dressing with style is to wear bottoms and tops you love (even if it’s a terrific pair of jeans and a simple pull over sweater or t-shirt and then add accessories that will complete the outfit.

I believe most moms don’t wear enough accessories. I have a guideline called the 16 point accessory rule that will help you know if you have enough on. Check this out and determine your accessory IQ.

• Watch: 1 point

• Wedding ring set: 1 point

• Fun ring on right hand: 1 point

• Bangle or bracelet: 1 point for each

• Necklace: 1 point

• Earrings: 2 points (one for each one)

• Belt: 1 point

• Shoes: 2 points

• Jeans/trousers/skirt: 1 point

• Top: 1 point if solid color or 2 points if it is a print or multi color

• Jacket or sweater: 1 point

• Nail polish: 1 point (total, for all ten fingers)

• Makeup: 1 point

• Getting compliments on your haircut: 1 point (if you’re not getting compliments, why not make a change?)

Take time for yourself so you can feel great. It’s no good to take care of everyone else around you and let yourself go. You deserve to have confidence in your appearance and feel wonderful about how God made you. 

If you’ve gained some weight, don’t wait until you’ve lost your intended weight to buy something new. Choose goal weights along the way to treat yourself. And always, always remember that YOU are beautiful EXACTLY as you are. God did NOT make a mistake with your body even though sometimes we think He did. No matter your size or shape, you are in the body God gave you and it is GOOD, sister!

I’ve got a couple of signed copies of my new style guide for women to give away! It’s called Good Girls Don’t Have to Dress Bad and you’ll be able to determine your body shape, clothing style, the best jeans and swimsuit for you and even tips on the best makeup, haircut and glasses based on your face shape. 

To have a chance to win, leave a comment about which style you most relate to and Jill and I will pick some winners on Monday, Aug 16, and post them on Tuesday, Aug 17! I can’t wait to hear from you! 

I hope you’ll visit me at every Wednesday, too! You can get a FREE on line color analysis there to determine the best styles for you. And while you’re there, enter to win a chance to win some FABULOUS prizes during the makeover contest between August 9th thru August 28th. Just click on the contest link. Come and visit me!

Shari Braendel

Proverbs 31 Ministries

Did you learn something?  Personally, I’ve been much more conscious of “accessorizing” since I took Shari’s workshop!  As far as style, I fall somewhere between a Pure Natural and a Classic Modern.  

What about you? (Make sure and include your email address if you want to be entered into the drawing for the book!)