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Why Your Kids Shouldn't be Happy

If you search the internet for "raising happy kids," you'll find more than 140 million results including websites, books, articles, psychological studies, blogs, etc. all telling you how to raise your kids to be happy. You can spend hours reading about the latest trends, advice columns or "Top 10" lists. While much of the advice is indeed sound—less screen time, more exercise, tell them no, eat better foods, help others—the focus is askew.   "What's wrong with wanting happy kids?" you may ask. There's nothing inherently wrong with wanting happy kids. But happiness should never be your focus, because it's an outcome. You cannot achieve happiness when happiness is your goal. Instead, if you adjust your focus to being holy—worshipping the Lord, prayer and reading the Bible, serving and blessing others—happiness then becomes a byproduct of those things. And not just a fleeting feeling that makes you smile, but true happiness. I have friends wh

What Single Moms Wish You Knew

It's hard being a parent. When you're a single parent, it's even harder. No one prepared me for this journey eight years ago. I never thought I would be a single parent, and I'll admit to the judgement I passed on single parents years ago. I recently started thinking about the things I wish I had known before this journey, and the things I wish my married friends knew about being a single parent. 1. If you're married, you're not a single mom. This may sound silly or petty, but please never refer to yourself as a "single mom" when your husband is out of town or works late. I get it. Your husband may travel a lot for work—he may be out of town for weeks at a time. Just because you are home alone with the children for a couple nights or weeks at a time, it doesn't make you a single mom. I understand how hard it is doing it alone—I've done it alone for years. But calling yourself a "single mom" when you have your husband's financi

Silence Speaks Volumes

"You're not a good person or being a good mother," read the text from my ex-husband. Hundreds more libelous statements have spewed from his mouth and fingertips in the eight years we have been divorced—to my children, to my children's teachers and principals, to my parents, to my employer, to anyone who will listen. He knows just where to cut me down to get a response from me, and this particular time, I lost. I responded to him out of hurt and anger. I know I'm a great mom, and I'm a pretty fantastic person, too. But I let his words get to me, because I wanted to prove to him that I am not the things he accuses me of. I didn't stick to the silence method I've used so many times before. In psychology, the "Gray Rock Method" is a conflict resolution/de-escalation tactic where you basically make your personality and responses as interesting as a gray rock. You reply in monotone, with usually monosyllabic responses: "Yes." "No

Pro-Love: Save the Teens

Forty two years ago, a scared 16-year-old girl was 4 months pregnant. She was a sophomore in high school and undoubtedly abjectly humiliated. Just imagine the shame she must have felt walking down those high school hallways every day—sitting in the classrooms. The taunts, the whispers, the rejection, the name-calling. Six years earlier, Roe v. Wade had given her a legal way to end her pregnancy—to end her shame. Not only was she pregnant at 16, she was also high-risk. She had gestational diabetes, which can threaten the life and health of the mother carrying the child. How easy it would have been to walk in to a clinic. Namelessly be shuffled to a stark white room, laid on a table. One small procedure to end her humiliation—to end the threat to her own life. Despite all of this, she chose life. She chose adoption. It no doubt was the most difficult decision of her young life. Perhaps she's never had to make that difficult of a decision since. But she knew what all of us know d

The Key to Understanding Women

"Women are too emotional." Many men believe that women just need to be more logical and less emotional in their decision-making process—that would fix women's problems, men think. There are all kinds of jokes and memes about how emotional women are and men attempting to avoid dealing with women's emotions. So it's not news that men and women experience the world differently—men are from Mars, and women are from Venus, so they say. Men lament their lack of understanding women, yet few take the time to learn about the fundamental differences between the sexes, much less accept those differences. It comes down to one key difference in men and women: how we experience pain.  Humans experience two types of pain: emotional and physical. Generally speaking, men and women handle the pain they experience in vastly different ways. Have you ever seen a man with a cold? It's ridiculous. He's writhing in pain, moaning and complaining. The end of the world is sure

Every Failed Marriage is the Man's Fault

Let's travel back in time to the Original Sin. Adam and Eve were relaxing in the Garden of Eden. They knew no sin, only the presence of the Lord. In Genesis 3, the serpent comes and starts questioning Eve. Why did Satan choose to talk to Eve? Why not Adam? Do you think Satan knew Eve would have been an easier target? So Eve speaks with the serpent, then she eats the forbidden fruit. She turns to Adam and offers him some, too. Growing up, I always thought the fact that Adam ate the fruit was his downfall. Adam and Eve both disobeyed God, so that was their sin, and now we are all going to hell. But if you look at Gen. 3:6, it says, "she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it." That means Adam was there when the serpent talked to Eve. He stood right beside Eve when she ate the fruit, and he did nothing. He said nothing. He failed to protect her. He failed to prevent her from walking into sin. That was his sin—apathy. Adam should have s

Cultivate the Garden of Your Heart

I have a black thumb, and I have ended up killing every plant I've ever tried to own. I even accidently "watered" my cilantro plant with Dr Pepper one day. So the irony of the vision God gave me a while back was not lost on me.  The garden was about 20 feet by 20 feet with a short blue picket fence around it. Chicken wire meticulously wove in and out of the pickets to prevent rabbits and other varmint from infiltrating the perimeter. Honeysuckles and ivy grew along the green wall of a small garden shed with bright white trim that sat on the northern border of the garden. Fragrant magnolias and lantanas grew along the pickets, while honeysuckles, violets, hibiscus, hydrangeas, daisies, tulips, chrysanthemums and other vibrant flowers filled out the spaces in between.  Every day, I tended to my garden. A weed never had a chance to grow in my garden. When I built the garden, landscape fabric had been laid under fresh soil. I would tend the underbrush and look for weeds

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