Crazy Love

We love to receive feedback from couples we have worked with through MERCY. The following is an excerpt from an email I recently received from one of our couples:

Crazy Love“The biggest impact that I have had recently (and maybe ever) that I would recommend is a book I read a few months back. It is called Crazy Love by Francis Chan. It literally rocked my world. I know it was something that you both talked a lot about in our meetings but it hit me over the head with this book and I have been telling everyone about it. It is not a “marriage” book but it has changed my outlook 100% about marriage. It finally clicked that it isn’t all about me or even all about us or the kids. . .it is about helping others and spreading God’s word through money, time and whatever we have to offer. I have now made it my goal to do something good/meaningful for others every day. Even on vacation, we took time and money to those who needed it.

I say this not to make myself feel or look good but that this might help with some of your other couples. This goes right along with what you taught us and it is a good reinforcement. It is something that we all know we should do but for whatever reason this book hit me directly in the heart.

“Lastly, I wanted to let you know how much you both helped us and how blessed we are to have met you. I do thank you from the bottom of my heart not only for us as couple but for our kiddos. You helped save our family and therefore we are going to pay it forward and help others. Thank you for all you do!”

Please know this not about what we did, but what this couple did in working hard and applying the concepts we introduced to them and allowing the Lord to work in their lives and their marriages.

Grace and peace,

Penny and David

June/July 2013 Newsletter

June/July Newsletter from MERCY

The Marriage Education and Resource Center (MERCY)

June/July Newsletter from The Marriage Education and Resource Center (MERCY)


(Weaving Families Closer, One Couple at a Time.)



Looking for something fun and different to do as a couple?  Is so, we invite you to come to MERCY’S Photo Scavenger Hunt on July 12. 
Just in case you’re wondering, what in the world is a Photo Scavenger Hunt, we want to fill you in.
First, bring your digital camera or phone (one per couple).  Then, register between 6:00 – 6:30 p.m. at the Kavanaugh Center.  At registration, you will be given a list of things you, as a couple, are to go out into the community and photograph. The theme is wedding things.  For example, you may be asked to take a picture of a couple making a toast.  You could get someone to take a picture of you, as a couple, toasting one another, or you could ask another couple to toast and take a picture of them.  You will have until 8:00 p.m. to take your pictures, and then return to Kavanaugh where points will be assigned to your pictures and you will receive one final quiz. The couple who has the highest points, will be our first prize winner. There will also be a runner-up. First prize will be a $50 dinner certificate to Outback restaurant and the runner-up will receive two movie tickets to Tinseltown.
So get ready, get set and come to the Photo Scavenger Hunt for a night of fun!  See more details below.
We want to say a great big thank you to Julia Vaughan for graciously volunteering her time to coordinate this entire event!  THANK YOU JULIA!

Marriage Tip 

score Is toxicity creeping into your marriage?


Irritated voices, subtle barbs, criticism, snide remarks, sarcasm, harsh comments, not to mention name calling, insults and condemnation, are all hurtful and invite defensiveness.


Why not keep a list of the times that you use a toxic tone of voice or speak with toxic words.  Be honest with yourself. Write down the toxic comment or annoyed tone you projected, then note what was going on that caused you to react, and finally, how could you have responded differently.


You may be surprised how often these moments creep into conversations, but once you recognize these patterns, you can be more cautious of how you came across to your spouse.


In This Issue
Marriage Tip
MERCY’S New Web Site
Working on Relationships
Marriage Education Helps
Coupletime Leader – Saying Goodbye
Protecting Your Marriage
Upcoming Marriage Events
Join our Mailing List!

MERCY’S New Web Site

We told you it was coming.  Well, IT’S HERE! 


The Marriage Education and Resource Center’s (MERCY’S) new web site.


It’s an entirely new and updated look and we think you will find it easier to locate information. We hope you like it.  The new web site address is: However, if you go to you will now be forwarded to this new site.  


When you go to the site, our first page is a blog page that we hope to be able to post new information to weekly – We’re calling it:  “A Monday Morning Marriage Minute.”  We hope you will visit us often.


We are so grateful to John Baker, with the Charis Group ( who redesigned this new web
site.  He graciously volunteered his services to make this happen.  Thank you John!  We feel so blessed.     

Working on Relationships – Perspectives of the Sexes               

Following is an excerpt from Mark Gungor who is one of the most sought-after speakers on marriage and family in the country. Each year thousands of couples attend his Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage® seminars. His take on marriage issues is refreshing. Mark is pastor of Celebration Church in Green Bay, WI.  


“When a man falls in love with a woman, his thoughts go something like this: I love her, she’s great – in fact, she is perfect.  I love her just the way she is and I hope she never changes.  It was this thinking that inspired Billy Joel to write the song, “I Love You Just the Way You Are.”  On the other hand, when a woman falls in love with a man, her thoughts are generally something like this:  I love him, he’s great, but he really needs some work.  This is a disaster in the making.  Divergent expectations always lead to conflict.


“When a woman thinks a man needs work, she is not trying to be negative or demeaning.  In fact, she rather enjoys the thought. Do you know why?  Because women like to work on relationships, and because marriage represents her greatest relationship, she enjoys working on it.  But the thought of working on any relationship makes most men feel ill.  You see, to a man, work is something you do to earn money.  Relationships don’t fit into a man’s definition of work. We think relationships are the one class of things we should never have to work on.”


Mark Gungor


Read more:’t-like-to-work-on-relationships/


As Mark concludes, this doesn’t mean a man doesn’t care – he does.  As women, we just have to be patient and not destructive to the male ego in the process.

Marriage Education Helps Couples Even in the High-Divorce-Risk Years                               

Data from the nation’s largest and most diverse study on the impact of Relationship and Marriage Education (RME) classes show that marital satisfaction improves substantially after participating in Relationship and Marriage Education, a finding with significant ramifications during the high-risk early years of marriage.  Half of all divorces occur within the first eight years of marriage, making this a high-risk time for couples.
At MERCY, we are interested in improving your well-being and the well-being of children by strengthening the relationship of parents through marriage education.  This is where you can help.
1)  Share and promote MERCY ( to your friends and family.
2)  Post this newsletter to your facebook or your other social networks.
3)  Or, forward it to your friends and family.
4)  Take advantage of the many workshops and resources that are available to you.  Ours, as well as others, are listed on our web site.  Invite others to join you.
5)  Show and tell others the difference marriage education has made in your marriage, family or relationship.
6)  Encourage local leaders (faith, community, social services, government, business) to work together and become more active in strengthening the health of marriages and families. 
7)  Receive training to become a facilitator or mentor.  MERCY offers training. 

Coupletime Leaders – Saying Goodbye   


Larry and Leslie We are so grateful to so many people who have worked so hard in helping others have successful marriages.  And one such couple is Larry and Leslie Johnson.  They have been one of our Coupletime leaders for many years and they truly invested in couples lives and marriages.  They are moving and we are going to miss them terribly.  Not only did they lead several Coupletime groups over the years, but Larry actually wrote a lot of material for Coupletime.  Thank you both from the bottoms of our hearts!


Note: If you would like to know more about Coupletime groups, let us know.  They are basically small groups of couples who meet monthly to work on their marriage through

Christian marriage enrichment activities. 



Protecting Your Marriage by Larry and Leslie

As I mentioned above, Larry actually wrote a lot of great material for our Coupletime groups over the years, and we want to share some of his work with you in upcoming issues.  To start, we want to give you highlights from one he recently wrote called “Protecting Your Marriage.”
“Therefore, what God has joined together, let not man separate.” – Mark 10:9 emphasizes the sacredness of marriage and declares that men and women should ‘honor marital vows with complete fidelity.’
Many couples naively insist that they don’t have to worry about infidelity.  “It will never happen to us.”  Unfortunately, infidelity is fast becoming a “norm” in our society.  Conservative estimates suggest that as many as 60% of men and 40% of women will have extramarital sex sometime during their married life.  And the idea that infidelity only happens to bad people in miserable marriages is a myth.   It can and does happen, even to good people in happy relationships.
There are many strategies for preventing infidelity from infiltrating your marriage including the preventive measures below.  Keep in mind that no one-time event or promise will affair-proof your marriage.  Complete fidelity takes constant, conscientious effort.
1)  Prioritize Your Marriage
“The No. 1 cause for the breakdown in marriages today is the same issues that causes infidelity.  People spend time on their careers, their kids, community affairs, hobbies, sports.  But they take their spouses for granted.  It just doesn’t work. In other words, to have a strong marriage, your spouse must come first.
2)  Avoid Temptation
“There are three primary temptation arenas:  the workplace, friends and the Internet.  One recent study showed that 73% of men and 42% of women who have extramarital affairs meet their partners at work.  Be extremely careful with workplace relationships.
3)  Know Your Boundaries
“When you honestly admit what might be a temptation to you, you will know where to draw the line.
“Wondering whether you have overstepped any boundaries?  Three signs indicate that a friendship between people of the opposite sex has crossed the line into infidelity are:  1) emotional intimacy, (2) sexual tension, and (3) secrecy.  Also, ask yourself, ‘Do I say or do things with this person that I wouldn’t want my spouse to see or hear?’  If so, it’s time to take a step back and re-draw your boundaries.
4)  Conflict Resolution
“Faith marriage partners discuss their frustrations openly and honestly and try to reach fair compromises.  For example, be clear.  Don’t expect your spouse to know what you are thinking.  When bringing up a problem, don’t assign blame.  Don’t store up frustrations.  Work out a solution that combines each of your individual needs.
5)  Communication
“Learn to ‘really’ listen when your spouse talks.
“Here is a simple rule to keep you on the straight and narrow.  If you’d have to lie about it – don’t do it!  If you feel an attraction to someone in your office and have romantic or sexual thoughts about them, consider a transfer to a different department, a different site, or maybe you should quit.  No job is more valuable than your marriage and family.”

Upcoming Marriage Events for You!               



Photo Scavenger Hunt – July 12
Check-in:  6:00 – 6:30 p.m.
Scavenger Hunt begins at 6:30 p.m.
Kavanaugh Retreat Center – Dining Hall
7505 Kavanaugh Road – Crestwood, KY  40014
This event is free.  Pre-registration is requested, but not required. 
To pre-register:  call (502)  939-0121; email:
Here’s another fun activity for you.  Check out this “Cozy In Our Canoe,” Play Date With Your Mate at Life Adventure Center in Versailles, KY.  For more information, go to   
Moving From Damaging to Smart Communication
If you ever feel like you can’t express a concern to your spouse without an argument erupting out of nowhere, or you or your spouse avoid
conflict at all costs, we hope you will be with us   
for this workshop.
How we communicate in our relationships plays a large role in the emotional safety and security we feel with our partner.  Communicating in “dangerous” ways, even by accident, can damage trust greatly over time.
In this workshop, you will learn to recognize four communication ‘danger signs’ common in marriages today.  You will learn skills to avoid damaging our relationships by breaking dangerous communication habits.  You will also learn the key to expressing complaints in a way that you are really heard, not ignored, by your partner.
July 13, 2013
9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Baptist Health – LaGrange
1025 New Moody Lane
LaGrange, KY  40031
2nd Floor Conference Room
Workshop Leader:  Lauren Battcher, Love S.M.A.R.T. Instructor and Case Manager, Multi-Purpose Community Action Agency.
Registration is requested, but not required.  To pre-register, call: (502)  939-0121; or email: or visit:
The workshop is free, however, donations are always appreciated.  
“Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding. . .”  Proverbs 3:13                

Grace and peace,,
Penny and David Hudson
The Marriage Education and Resource Center (MERCY)

May 2013 Newsletter

May 2013 Newsletter from MERCY

The Marriage Education and Resource Center (MERCY)

               May 2013 Newsletter From The Marriage Education

and Resource Center (MERCY)


Do you think it’s safe to say that spring is finally here?  Hopefully, the barrenness and frigid wind of winter is history.  What a welcome change!
Ever wish you could experience a similar sense of newness, freshness and warmth in your marriage?
That’s the purpose of The Marriage Education and Resource Center (MERCY).  Something we are trying to change in society, and in our churches, is that you only go to places like MERCY if you are having problems.  That is not the case.  While we are available to help couples who are struggling, we are here to help make good marriages better. So we hope you will take advantage of the many opportunities to enrich your relationship and have a smart marriage.
Grace and peace,
Penny and David Hudson


cropped udn Ultimate Date Night

At the Ultimate Date Night, with Kenn Kington on May 17, about 200 people were able to check their cares at the door, laugh a lot, reconnect and enjoy one another’s company for an evening.  It was a great thing to witness.
Kenn shared some humorous realities and some timeless truths on marriage relationships.  For example, he said we need to know our spouse’s heart and not jump to conclusions.  He reminded us not to sweep things under, but sweep them up and deal with them and to remember the two most important minutes in your day — the minute before you leave one another and the minute you return.  Make the most of those two minutes by physically and emotionally connecting. Good advice don’t you think?
If you missed this event, Kenn has written a great book called Super Husband and Wonder Wife, that we would recommend.  You can buy it on Kenn’s web site: amazon, Christian book stores, or you could just borrow it from MERCY. It has some re-connecting activities at the end of each chapter you can do in the privacy of your home, or it would be a great resource for a small group.


                May’s Marriage Tip

Since we are on the subject of Kenn Kington, our marriage tip this month comes from his book Super Husband and Wonder Wife. 
Kenn said when he and his wife, Heather, were thinking of getting married he asked his married friend Stan to explain why he and Heather should get married.
Stan replied, “Well, if you can’t figure out the first reason, you may have the gift of singleness.”
Kenn assured him that wasn’t his gift and he said what Stan shared helped him see marriage in a whole new light.  Following is Stan’s advice:
“If you are looking for someone to meet your needs, make you happy, and make your life worthwhile, you will be greatly disappointed, quickly discouraged, and basically unhappy the rest of your life.  But, if you will just be the person God has made you to be, and find out how you can give your life to someone else by meeting her needs and making her happy, you will discover fulfillment, joy and peace in ways you can’t even imagine.”

FRIENDS OF MERCY – John and Emily Stewart and employees of Encompass


We don’t know if you saw it or not, but on May 15, The Courier-Journal wrote an article about Encompass, a local development, design and construction company.  They were featured as a compassionate community company.  John Stewart, the Owner/President of Encompass and his wife Emily, who is the Human Resources Director, identify with the compassion efforts in Louisville.

In the article John emphasized  their company has a set of written goals the company works off of – which includes a “desire to glorify God in what we do” and to “pray for each other.” See compassion is part of their business model. And, MERCY, as well as others, have benefited

from the compassion they have shown us and we just want to take this time to thank them for their support. We hope you’ll view this video and read the on-line article.  We think you will be inspired by what they do.

To view their story and the video please go to:



                 nancy landrum

How to Stay Married and Love It


One thing we like to do is to be able to point you to resources that you may find useful.  So I wanted to share with you a web site called “How to Stay Married and Love It” by Nancy Landrum, author and coach for marriage relationships. 


What better person to help you find your way through a struggling marriage, a floundering stepfamily, a profound loss or a crisis of faith than someone who has walked a similar road?


Nancy Landrum does more than just talk the talk of healthy families and marriages.  She faced the erosion of a marriage, was blindsided by the issues particular to stepfamilies, navigated the pain and loss of being twice widowed, and learned some lessons that come with a child who is lost in a life of addiction.  Nancy could have given into a life of despair. 


She despaired, but did not give in.  Instead she worked to heal her own relationships, experienced significant growth as a wife, mother and stepmother and has now turned this personal experience into a life passion to teach effective communication and conflict resolution skills to others who hunger for loving, functional relationships.


If you would like to know more, go to


There you will find resources, articles, seminar offerings, stepfamily information, a few free downloads and more.



financial stress couple Financial Stress – It’s Not Just The Money – Next Workshop at MERCY

Why do so many conflicts and issues stem from money?
Every couple and family has issues and arguments about money and how to spend it.  It doesn’t matter if they have a lot of cash or are barely getting by.  The couples and families don’t see how these actions are toxic triggers that stress the relationship.
Join us and find out what your money personality is and how it impacts your spending outlook.
This workshop is based on The 5 Money Personalities by Scott and Bethany Palmer.  The principles developed by the Palmers help couples and families understand the dynamics in these situations and give practical information and tools to avoid the hurt and angry feelings.
June 15, 2012
9:30 – 11:00 a.m.
(Note:  This date is a change from the originally scheduled one.)
Baptist Health – Louisville
4000 Kresge Way
Louisville, KY  40207
Workshop Leaders are John and Mary Ann Vanderveer – Marriage Educators
John and Mary Ann led our workshop last year on the “Five Languages of Apology” and the feedback on their presentation was excellent.


Divorce Care for Kids  Volunteers Needed for Divorce Care for Kids and Teens

DivorceCare is a biblically-based support group ministry designed to help people heal from the intense pain of separation or divorce.
   divorce care for teens
DivorceCare groups are facilitated by church members who have personally experienced divorce as a child and/or as an adult.  These leaders are not counselors, just fellow travelers along life’s journey.
During the 13-weeks of DivorceCare, each two-hour session includes a topical DVD presentation featuring top experts on divorce and recovery subjects.  Sessions also include discussion time so group members can listen and help one another face issues and challenges related to separation and/or divorce.
Rita Ostwalt-Whitfield heads up a DivorceCare group at LaGrange Christian Church in LaGrange, KY.  She would like to invite new volunteer leaders to become a part of this ministry.  There is a particular need for volunteer leaders who would be willing to lead a program for DivorceCare for Kids (DC4K), which is for children ages 5-12 or The Big D for teenagers.  Training will be provided.  These are two great programs that will help children and/or teens heal and find strength to confront, accept and deal with their feelings. If you have a heart for those who are dealing with the pain and challenges of divorce, won’t you please contact Rita Ostwalt-Whitfield at 502-939-8449 or  Additional information about DivorceCare and DC4K is available at  Information about The Big D is available at

 Virtual Marriage Enrichment Groups (MEGS)

A Marriage Enrichment Group (MEG) is a group of couples who get together on a regular basis, perhaps monthly, to focus time and attention on their relationships. The focus of the group is on each couple’s own marriage experiences, not children, in-laws, books, work, or abstract ideas.
David and I have been involved in a MEG for over 25 years and we love our group.  We call ours a Coupletime group as ours normally focuses, not only on relationship skills, but what the Bible tells us about marriage.
Better Marriages, whose mission is building better marriages, starting with our own, primarily focuses on the relationship skills portion.  They now have a Virtual MEG group anyone can be a part of on a monthly basis.  If this would be something you would be interested in, you can join this Virtual MEG group (phone or webcast) the first Tuesday of every month at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
The next one is scheduled for:
Tuesday, June 4 at 8:00 p.m. (Eastern Time)
Topic:  Caring Behaviors
Dial in:  206-402-0110, Guest Code:  367457#
To attend the Virtual MEG as a webcast and view slides on your computer, click this link at the time of the event:
If you decide to try this, we’d love to hear from you and get your feedback.


seeds for success Planting Seeds for Success

We hope you, and your family, will join us and other community agencies on June 1 from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at the Main Library in LaGrange.
You can sign your children up for the library’s summer reading program and enjoy family activities such as Honey Hill Farm Petting Zoo (weather permitting), KaZoing!, music, food trucks, storybook characters, free health screenings, and more.
Drop in anytime!  Food vendors will be on hand if you want to purchase lunch while enjoying the activities.  This event is free to the public and open to people of all ages.


happy couple Date Night Challenge for June –

Topic Laughter

  • –  What’s your favorite comedy of all time?  Rent that movie for old time’s sake and stay home together and laugh.  You could even rent a holiday comedy out of season (Elf, Christmas Vacation, etc.)

–  Book tickets to go see a comedian coming to the area (Chonda Pierce will be in Louisville at the Brown Theater on June 20.)

–  Set a date night either together or with other couples and play “Whose Line Is it Anyway.” You can find a list of the games from the TV show by simply doing a Google search of the show.  Have fun with the ad libs all night long.

– Take a mini-road trip and do karaoke in the car.  Sing your favorite songs as loud as you can.  Sing the greatest duets of all time.

–  Find an activity neither one of you are that good at and attempt it together.  For instance, you could go roller, ice skating, kayaking, tandem biking, etc.

–  Take out the old yearbooks/annuals.  Go through and laugh at yourself.  Your dress, hairstyle, etc.  Categorize and rank them.  Ugliest hairdo.  Most gaudy dress.

–  Sign up for a dance lesson.  The dance instructor determines the level of fun.  If he or she is super strict and serious, that gives less seasoned dancers something to laugh about. This date will force you out of your comfort zone.

– Spend one hour at an arcade.  After you get over your anger at the price of games these days, try some of the physical games (dancing, basketball shooting, skeeball, strength games).  You’ll get a laugh out of the competitive spirit that rise up in you.

Next plan a laugh date together!  Please send us your ideas.  You can just email us at:  We want to hear about your fun times!

focus Save the Date of July 12!

Save the Date – July 12 for a great date night!
Julia, our new Date Night Coordinator, is planning a
fantastic date night for couples!
Think Seek and Find!


In This Issue
Ultimate Date Night
May’s Marriage Tip
Friends of MERCY
How to Stay Married and Love It
Financial Stress – It’s Not Just the Money
Volunteers Needed for Divorce Care
Planting Seeds for Success
June’s Date Night Challenge
Save the Date – July 12
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
Ephesians 4:2
Contact Information
Penny and David Hudson
7204 Highway 329
2nd Floor
Crestwood, KY  40014