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2009 Conversations


Sara Groves
12.21.08

Keith and Kristyn Getty
12.14.08

Jesse Miranda
11.30.08

Heather Bland
11.23.08

Cathleen Lewis
11.16.08

Robert Leathers
11.9.08

Ravi Zacharias
10.26.08

Scotty Gibbons
10.19.08

George O. Wood
9.28.08

George O. Wood
9.21.08

G. Robert Cook Jr.
9.14.08

Michelle LaRowe Conover
8.31.08

Janet Boynes
8.24.08

Kirk Cameron
8.17.08

Laura Wilkinson
8.10.08

Melody Rossi
7.27.08

Randy Travis
7.20.08

Maylo Upton-Aames
7.13.08

Chuck Norris
6.29.08

Francis Xavier 'Chip' Flaherty Jr.
6.22.08

Ben Carson
6.15.08

Robert H. Spence
6.8.08

Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Schloesser
5.25.08

R. Albert Mohler Jr.
5.18.08

James K. Bridges
5.11.08

Manny Mill
4.27.08

Brock Gill
4.20.08

Robert Burt
4.13.08

Gerry Hindy
3.30.08

J.I. Packer
3.23.08

Stanley Horton
3.16.08

Linda Mintle
3.9.08

Joanna Weaver
2.24.08

Buck Taylor
2.17.08

Debra Risner
2.10.08

Bill Glass
1.27.08

Edward Gilbreath
1.20.08

Rob Seagears and Andy Casper
1.13.08


2007 Conversations


2006 Conversations


Conversation: Debra Risner

The gift of love

Debra Risner is an editorial director for Hallmark Cards, Inc., in Kansas City, Mo. Risner monitors trends and lifestyles to identify how people express themselves to those who mean the most to them, then works with writers and artists to help create products promoting that expression. She and her husband, U.S. Army Maj. Brett Risner, attend Evangel Temple (AG) in Kansas City. Risner recently spoke with Scott Harrup, senior associate editor.

tpe: What are you celebrating this Valentine's Day?

RISNER: I celebrate any memorable moment in a relationship that reflects the best of what that relationship has to offer. That can be anything from something funny, to a sweet or touching experience, or something momentous or even bittersweet. Those moments encapsulate what that relationship is all about.

Valentine's Day is built around the idea of expressing tenderness, care and affection to those who are most important to you. And that goes beyond romantic relationships to include all the people you love. Our consumers want to communicate their feelings, and we want to help them do that.

tpe: You and Brett have some bittersweet moments coming up.

RISNER: Brett is getting ready to deploy for about a year with his National Guard unit. It looks like he will be in Kosovo. It will be tough.

tpe: What kind of support structure do you have in place?

RISNER: We have a wonderful church family. And a lot of my support comes from our Hallmark family. It is such a loving place to work. They have been wonderful about helping me restructure my work so I can take care of our 1-year-old son, Cam. They're helping us make the changes we need to accommodate this life change.

tpe: Hallmark lives up to the sentiments they put in their cards.

RISNER: Absolutely. That's one of the things that attracted me to the company. I wanted my professional life to be about bringing people together and helping them to connect and enrich their lives and relationships.

tpe: What are some key ways to balance marriage, family and career? How are you going to make Kosovo work for you?

RISNER: We're learning to be very deliberate about our relationship and to maintain some margins in life. If you aren't deliberate about creating moments and opportunities to tell people how you feel about them, you get to a point where they don't understand the depth of your feelings. With Brett being gone, that intentionality of reaching out to each other and expressing those feelings is going to be important.

I'm rereading The Overload Syndrome by Richard Swenson. It talks a lot about creating a space between the load you are carrying and where your limits are. That's the space where you have time to rest and heal, whether that is giving yourself a buffer zone in time, commitment level or finances.

That resonates with me. If we overscript our lives, we don't have a chance to take our eyes off our goals and actually look at each other.

tpe: How does your faith impact your relationships?

RISNER: I believe people are God's gift to each other. He deliberately places us in each other's lives. And in giving us unique personalities He puts in each person a unique ability to show love. No one else on earth can express love the same way.

I want to show love the way God has uniquely designed me to show it. I want to be ready to offer the encouragement, support, insight or whatever manifestation my love takes at that point. If God puts me in people's lives to do that for them, I need to fulfill that mission. It's an individual calling we all have.

E-mail your comments to tpe@ag.org.

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