Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

I have a great friend whose husband has been serving our country in Afghanistan for the last nine months. Prior to his leaving and throughout these nine months, I have had the privilege of praying for this family as well as gaining a greater understanding of what it is like to have a husband who is literally battling on the front lines. I can honestly say my eyes have been opened!

There have been times when I have heard the frustration in my friend's voice and I cried over not being able to do more for her (she lives far away). I know she has sleepless nights wondering what is going on thousands of miles away with her husband. Sometimes when I call she says, "I have to call you back, I'm picking up the kids from school and I don't want to be on the phone." She is clearly a great mom and is seeking to keep things as normal as possible for their children.

Today is a special day set aside to honor those who have served and are currently serving our country, but what I have realized over the last year is that I need to be incredibly grateful everyday because great sacrifices are being made both overseas and at home as families try to carry on.

I hope you will take time today and every day to think about and be thankful for all of the amazing freedoms we have as a result of people being will to essentially put their "normal" life on hold to serve you and me and many other people.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Summer is almost here!!!!!!

I cannot believe that Memorial Day weekend is here, which means summer is just around the corner. WOO HOO!!!!!!! I love summer even though I have to work. :)

There is nothing like home grown tomatoes, watermelon, homemade ice cream, swimming pools and fresh cut flowers from the garden.

We aren't planning any big vacation this summer, but we are looking forward to a little lighter schedule and some fun times hanging out with friends and family.

Are you doing anything fun this summer?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month

May is Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month. If you have been paying attention you know that our teens (all of us for that matter) are bombarded with messages about sex 24/7.

The other day I saw a commercial with a scantily clothed celebrity chef sitting on steps sensually eating a hamburger. Honestly, I felt like I was watching soft porn. It is ridiculous what we are exposed to when it comes to sex. No wonder young people are enthralled with it. Which brings me to my point.

A couple of years ago I was talking to the mother of a teenage boy. I was encouraging her to talk with her son about sex. She said she just couldn't, that her mom didn't talk with her and she turned out okay so she saw no reason to talk with her son. Very sad. Unfortunately, I would not say she is the exception to the rule. This is how many parents think about this issue either because they don't think they have enough information or because they had sex as a teen and don't want to seem like a hypocrite.

Messages about sex are in the media much more now than even 5 years ago. With no guidance from parents, many of our teens are left to draw their own conclusions about sex, relationships and dating from what they see and hear. A tremendous amount of the information is just plain WRONG!

Most teens have no clue that messing around with sex is like playing Russian roulette.

For the month of May, First Things First has partnered with On Point and the Girl Scouts to bring awareness to this issue. We have developed a campaign called Is it the right time? Calling into question are the teen years the right time to be focused on a baby or are there other things like education, sports, friendships, their future, etc that should be occupying their time.

You can visit the website at We have lots of helpful information for teens. Parents can visit the parent's page on to get tips for talking with your teen about sex, the latest research and other resources.

Please help us spread the word. This is an important issue.

Just out of curiosity, did your parents talk with you about sex and healthy dating relationships?

Friday, May 1, 2009

Living Life Whole-heartedly

I recently asked you if you were living life whole-heartedly or half-heartedly.

Dr. Shawn Stoever and Greg Smalley wrote a book that is scheduled for release in June about fully engaging your heart in your marriage (The Whole-Hearted Marriage: Fully Engaging Your Most Important Relationship).

They wrote the book because they both found themselves encountering people who were just going through the motions of life without ever engaging their heart.

Shawn was sharing with me that he doesn't think people necessarily make a conscious decision to disengage their heart. It can be the result of many different life circumstances. For example, when he was 9-years-old, his mother died. Shawn's dad was a wonderful father, but he did not know how to talk with his son about his feelings and emotions surrounding the death of his mother. Shawn's response was to stuff everything and kick into survival mode.

It wasn't until he met the woman of his dreams, Christina, who told him if they were going to take the relationship any further she wanted his heart, not just his intellect, that he began to think long and hard about whether he was going to engage his heart and risk being hurt again. While he knew he loved her, this was a huge step - which by the way he did end up taking.

There are a lot of things that can cause people to live life without engaging their heart. The trick is figuring out how to get your heart to open back up in a world that is designed to shut it down.

If you are living life half-heartedly or with no heart at all, here are some suggestions for re-engaging your heart:

Recognize that your heart is important, not just to keep the blood flowing, but to experience joy, laughter, hurt, enthusiasm and other emotions.

Identify those things that rob you of the opportunity to engage your heart, like the death of a parent, lies from the past, fear, friends who have said hurtful things, or compromises you have made. There are literally thousands of reasons people close down emotionally to protect themselves.

Make a conscious effort to re-engage your heart. When your heart is open you can freely give and receive love which leads to the blessing of experiencing life whole-heartedly. If you have no idea how to begin to reconnect with your heart, consider these ideas:

Watch children play or even play with them. Kids naturally live life with their hearts fully engaged.

  • Intentionally choose a movie that you know will touch your heart and bring forth emotion.
  • Grab a journal and keep track of your feelings for a week.
  • Intentionally hang out with people who live life whole-heartedly. Their energy and passion for life is contagious.

Regardless of the path you choose to re-engage your heart, the benefits will be obvious. Relationships, particularly marriage, will have more meaning, feelings will be more accessible
and work may even be more fulfilling. In general, life is more satisfying and enjoyable when your heart is fully engaged.