How to Survive the Holidays After Losing Someone You Love

I still remember all the firsts. The first vacation. First birthday. Our first Christmas without Dad. That feeling of trying to celebrate the holidays while a piece of our heart and home was missing.

Holidays are naturally a big deal and loss can feel even deeper during those times that magnify our togetherness.

This year, over 300,000 families will wake up Christmas morning without their loved one. Our family will once again experience another first Christmas without someone one we love. This year, the celebration may feel a little less merry and bright.

Grief can be challenging and confusing. Sometimes it feels like you’re drowning, other times like you’re being hollowed out from the inside. Overstimulated, yet numb at the same time. The stages of grief can feel cyclical and repetitive, causing you to wonder if life will ever feel normal again.

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3 Ways Christians Can Respond to the Upcoming Election

With prying eyes, I watched as my ballot joined hundreds of voices in the locked blue box. Safely secured in the vault, it waits for Election Day. As I exited the polling station into the frigid October air, my sigh of relief mingled with the uneasiness in my heart. 

This time, the future of our country, constitution and liberties could very well be at stake. If certain politicians have their way, this could be the last election where my vote counts in a flyover state. 

How easy it is to forget the privileges we all share. The blessings we reap from the many lives who have gone before our time. 

Clutching the wool scarf around my neck, I thought of my grandfathers before me. The one who sailed the Mayflower in search of a better life. Another who, fleeing religious persecution, came to America to freely worship God and till his own land. Still other grandfathers bravely fought in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars so that we could be free and equal. Their legacies weigh heavy on my mind as I ponder the next four years.

As a Jesus follower, it is challenging to know how to respond to the mixed bag of emotions this bitter campaign evokes and the uncertainty that lies ahead. 

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Becoming Your Husband’s Best Friend: 29 manly date ideas

When it comes to hobbies, my husband and I are as opposite as they come.

At the beginning of our relationship, he would often ask if I wanted to do physical activities together: tennis, hiking, kayaking, swimming, jogging, biking, camping, soccer, etc. But in my ignorance, I shot them all down. Continue reading

How to Recover Your Christmas Spirit

For some, the anticipation of Christmas is not always pleasant. With calendars stuffed to the brim with trimmings and festivities, suddenly the merry season doesn’t feel so bright.

Somewhere between November and December, I morph into a crazy person filled with comparison and complaint. With parties to plan, cookies to bake, stockings to stuff and gifts to wrap, my spirit of thanksgiving can easily turn into the most primitive bah humbug.

So when my husband asked how he could unsubscribe from my RSS feed of complaint this year, it left me with a sobering thought.

I was the grinch stealing Christmas this year. Continue reading

3 Cures for Comparison

3 Cures for Comparison how to stop Facebook envyYesterday was a down in the dumps kind of day.

I was tired. Our summer has been full of non-stop activities, busyness, and stress.

I felt overwhelmed. My last few days were engulfed by piles of laundry, chores, work, errands, packing lunches, and scraping together dinners.

I also promised myself that I would accomplish my personal goals for the week. But an upcoming road trip + daily responsibilities left me with a bad case of the blues.

So naturally, I did what any of us would do. I mindlessly thumbed through Facebook.

And then I saw her life. You know the one.

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13 Things Strong-Willed People Won’t Do

13 things strong willed people don't doStrong-willed people get a bad rap. They can be seen as stubborn, dominant, unreasonable or headstrong.

But are they, really?Dealing with a strong-willed spouse or child can be quite challenging. Our marriage is more unique in that we have not one, but two strong-willed individuals (how’d that happen?!). And odds are high we will end up with strong-willed children to boot.

If you fail to understand your strong-willed spouse or child, it can easily lead to power struggles, conflict and misunderstanding of character. Continue reading

4 Excuses That Will Keep You from Helping Others

4 excuses that keep you from helping othersDon’t do what I just did.

I was standing in the aisle at Walgreens perusing Mother’s Day cards when I heard her. A distressed, elderly woman in tears because she was lost and couldn’t find her way home.

Seeing her distress, my heart surged with compassion and concern.

But what did I do?

Nothing. Instead of lifting my voice or offering a hand, I sifted through each logical reason excuse while the entire episode played before me. Should I help? Should I say something? Should I get involved? Someone else should probably handle it.

In truth, the store clerk got involved and she likely made it home just fine. But I sure didn’t.

I saw the need. But I didn’t respond to it. And it disturbed me greatly. Continue reading

1 Word that’s Derailing Your Marriage

one word derailing your marriageWhat is one thing you can do to make your marriage better? How can you ensure success?

Stop using the word “try”.

If you find yourself saying “let’s try to make this work”, chances are it won’t.

Why? Because lurking behind the word try is a mindset and attitude that failure is acceptable. Whether you want to change your marriage or yourself, saying you’ll try is like giving yourself a pass if things go south. Continue reading