Monday, May 23, 2011

Sex Has Consequences

I have watched parents be vigilant about vaccinating their kids against diseases.  I have seen parents spend hours plotting out activities and experiences they want their children to have in preparation for "success" in life.  I have witnessed the agony some parents go through making decisions about their child's educational path.

However, there is one area in life that I have seen many parents shy away from and that is the area of talking to their kids about sex and healthy relationships.  A lot of parents would prefer that someone else take on that task, which is somewhat surprising considering how interested they are in their children being successful in life.

Consider this:

  • 21,000 teens contract a Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) every day.
  • Nearly one in four sexually active teens are infected with an STD.
  • Many of the STDs are symptomless yet cause all kinds of health problems including infertility and even death.

When it comes to children having children, what are the chances that a child born to a teen mother will grow up in poverty?  If the mother gives birth as a teen, isn't married when the baby is born and doesn't graduate from high school or get her GED, the chances of her child growing up in poverty is 80 percent.  If none of these things happen, the chances of a child growing up in poverty is 6 percent.

Isn't something with such serious ramifications for your child worth talking about?

Your child deserves to know the facts about sex because Sex does have consequences.  It can't be a one time conversation.  It has to be ongoing learning just like any other subject.  Here are some tips for talking to your kids.  

Don't put it off.  Your kid's future is at stake.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Running Away

Many of you have wondered aloud to me if I ever sleep or just chill out.  My husband will testify that I do chill, I do know how to play and that I usually get 7ish hours of sleep a night (at his strong urging.....he says I'm not very pleasant when I don't get enough sleep.  Imagine that???????  No, never mind, don't go there)

Last weekend Jay and I did something really fun.  We ran away to WinShape Retreat  to participate in their Romantic Adventures weekend.  We had a blast.  It was content rich, but not heavy.  Shawn and Christina Stoever are insightful, fun and funny!

There was just the right amount of down time and with a 26,000 acre playground at our fingertips there was plenty of room to get away by ourselves. Naps were a requirement!  The food was amazing and the hospitality was over the top.

We all had the option to participate in the wilderness adventure course.  Too much fun!!!!

 This is my don't look down face!  Challenging, but very fun especially with my sweetie!

Overall a great weekend!  We were gone for 2 days, but it honestly felt like we had been away longer.  I highly recommend doing something like this.  Too much tyranny of the urgent going on in our lives today.  Not enough nurturing of the relationships we really treasure.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

It's Here

The birthday girl!

Well, it is finally here.  Our daughter turned 18 today.  We were laughing because the night I went into labor was very much like last night.  It was very rainy, we were watching March Madness and it looked like Duke was going into overtime when I told Jay we needed to go to the hospital.  He jokingly looked at me and said, "Now, are you sure?"  Just a few hours later Ashley was born and our adventure began!

Throughout the celebration there were lots of comments made about turning 18 and finally being an adult.  We laughed a bit about those comments, but I did remind her that 18 just means she is legal.  Being an adult is more about how you act - you know - more freedom means more responsibility.   I got the whole eye roll thing......again.  "I know mom"  Lol!

Loved being able to celebrate with family.  Lots of fun stories!!!!  We are looking forward to seeing what God has in store for Ashley in this next stage of her life.

Happy Birthday Ashley!!!! 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

How Time Flies

Such a cutie!

On this date 18 years ago we were still recovering from the blizzard of '93 and I was VERY pregnant, thinking I had one month to go.  Little did I know that our daughter would be born exactly 3 days later.  I think if I had known I was so close to delivering when the blizzard hit I would have been a nervous wreck.

Ashley arrived early Saturday morning, March 27th perfectly healthy and seemingly ready to rock and roll!

I can't believe it has been 18 years.  People said time would fly, but honestly there were times I did not believe them - like the times it felt like WWIII when we were trying to get our little strong willed four-year-old to go to bed or the gazillionth time she looked at us rolled her eyes and acted like she thought we were from another planet or the time she told us she was ready to live life on the edge!

We have laughed A LOT, shed tears, spent hours talking, headed out many Saturday mornings to ride horses and had adventures too numerous to mention throughout these 18 years that have produced great memories.

I would have to say the good times far outweighed the bad times and I am really proud of the woman our daughter is becoming.  It is fun to see the peace in her eyes and her confidence grow.

Still a real cutie!
While I can't believe I am old enough to have an 18 year old, I am looking forward to this celebration!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Extreme Makeover

Meet Missy Thompson from KMT Creative and Emily Willard with Vision Homes.  KMT has taken care of all of the media and PR for this build and Emily's husband Jason and his partner Craig Smith are the builders.  These are just two of the mighty army of volunteers who have been part of the Extreme Makeover.

This has been an incredible opportunity for our community.  Watching people come together - people who often are competitors - and work side by side to accomplish something in one short week that should take months has been overwhelming.

Everything for this build has been donated from the food to feed all of the volunteers to the materials and labor.  I think this brings out the best in people and shows us what we can truly accomplish when we work together.

My hat is off to the Extreme Makeover Home Edition producers, design team and crew.  You all truly are a class act.  I am grateful to live in such a wonderful place where people will come out and volunteer to make life better for someone else.

Monday, February 7, 2011

National Marriage Week

You may be wondering, why in the world is there a National Marriage Week.

Just like Go Red Day promotes awareness of women and heart disease or the NFL football players wearing pink to bring awareness to breast cancer, this week has been set aside to bring awareness to the importance of healthy marriage in our communities, states and nation.

Research consistently indicates that almost 90 percent of Americans plan to marry at some point in life.  But just like with the symptoms of heart disease or breast cancer, many don't know the signs and symptoms of unhealthy relationships nor do they have the tools necessary to build a healthy marriage.

There are many specific things we can do to prevent heart disease, the key is putting them into practice.

It is no different with marriage.  There are many things all of us can do to build a healthy marriage - but we have to move from all talk to action. 

What have you done for your marriage lately?

It is never too late to take a class and learn new skills.

Here are some ideas for Stoking the Fires of Passion in Your Marriage

Here's to a passionate Valentine's Day and a new emphasis on stoking the fire of your relationship all year round.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Its Really all about our Children

There have been many newspaper and magazine articles about the latest marriage research released by Pew Research and The National Marriage Project.  Both show that we are seeing a serious decline in marriage and a huge increase in the number of children born out of wedlock in lower and middle class America.  While some may espouse "To each his own" when it comes to whether people choose to marry or have a child out of wedlock, these choices will seriously impact you, me and everybody else over time.
The consequences for children growing up in homes without their two married parents are enormous.  Before you hit the comment button, hear me out.  I am not against single parents.  I AM for what is best for children and what we know based on decades of research is children who grow up in a home with their two married parents do better in every area of life.

If you are thinking not my problem,  this doesn't impact you because you have an intact marriage, think again.  Believing that what other people do behind closed doors doesn't impact anybody else is like living with your head in the sand.  We are all impacted on a daily basis by the decisions people make for example, if your child is friends with someone whose parents divorce or your child decides she wants to date a boy who has grown up without a father figure what does this mean for your child?  Chances are you are going to be answering questions about divorce and wondering if this young man has any idea how to treat your daughter since he may never have had a healthy male role model in his life.

There are many other examples I could give you about how this problem impacts you in every area of life including your bank account.

This is why the work of First Things First is critical.  People of every walk of life need to understand that marriage and childbearing go hand in hand.  If you are concerned about child well-being we need you to be part of the army of people who are willing to talk about the importance of healthy marriage and its connection to raising healthy children.