A Must Read: A Letter to My Step-Daughter @DaytonMomsBlog

I’m a little late in sharing this (it was published last Friday), but it is still worth a read. My wife has another post on the Dayton Moms Blog and it gives a little peek into our journey of being a blended family.

Before we added to our family through adoption, we took on the challenge of blending a family of three boys and one girl spaced out from elementary school through a new high school graduate. Like most families, this was new territory for us and we faced a few challenges. Cheryl writes about that in her post.

I joked with her that her post makes me sound smarter than I really am, but I loved her honesty in this particular paragraph:

He told me to be patient and that was so hard. I wanted an instant family, I wanted you to just fit right into our family with my kids, and that was so selfish of me. Being patient was hard, but oh the wonderful things I was able to see and observe in that time. I watched you grow and mature from a distance.

Take a few minutes to read the letter on the Dayton Moms Blog.  Hopefully it will be an encouragement to you or allow you to encourage someone else facing a similar journey.

Great Reminder For Parents As Kids Perform

There are some pieces of advice that you hear that stick with you. Maybe it comes from a conversation you had with someone or something thought-provoking you heard a speaker say or something you read. I was reminded today of a solid piece of parenting advice I read a while ago through a rather unlikely source – Timehop.

My Timehop today pointed back to a post on my blog from four years ago. When I saw it, I thought two things:

  1. I can’t believe that was four years ago
  2. That is still so true today.

If you are a parent who has a student involved in sports of any kind (or any performance activity), this is so helpful. Check out this advice from four years ago that will be of value for years to come.

I thought what Tim Elmore shared in a recent post was great advice for parents. He wrote about what parents should say as they watch their kids perform and it would be worth your time to read the whole post.

If you’ve been to sporting events, you probably have a long list of what parents shouldn’t say as they watch their kids. In the post, based on psychological research, the three healthiest statements moms and dads can make as they perform are:

Before the Competition:
1. Have fun.
2. Play hard.
3. I love you.

After the competition:
1. Did you have fun?
2. I’m proud of you.
3. I love you.

Then he shared six simple words that parents should say based on what they heard from college athletes: “I love to watch you play.” If we could keep that as the primary part of our vocabulary, it would free the students to perform and the parents to cheer.

Those Who Refresh Others Will Be Refreshed

I had the opportunity and privilege to participate in a memorial service for a dear lady from our church family a couple of weeks. She and her husband were active members for over 20 years and are well-liked and respected by people in our church and community.

During the service I simply shared some memories I had of this woman, how she influenced her family, impacted people around her and was involved in the life of our church. Mine was only one perspective on a life well lived and it was good to hear from others as they shared their memories.

As I was putting together my thoughts, a verse from Proverbs came to mind.  It is not a passage I’ve used at a funeral before nor have I heard it used by others.   As I looked up the verse and read the preceding verses, it fit very well.

The godly can look forward to a reward, while the wicked can expect only judgment. Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything. The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed. (Proverbs 11:23-25)

The woman we were remembering was one of refreshed others.  She served at our church.  She gave freely to her family and to those outside her family. She was known as a woman who loved and accepted kids.

…those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed

The wisdom of Proverbs really came to light before and during the service.  As we give freely, we do refresh others and God, whether now or in the future, will refresh us.

…those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed

Good challenge for the day.

Some Good (& Free!) Parent Resources

Lunch Box Note from Matthew Paul Turner's Instragram (https://instagram.com/p/6zkxRKB4WS/)

Lunch Box Note from Matthew Paul Turner’s Instagram (https://instagram.com/p/6zkxRKB4WS/)

About a week ago I received an email with some free resources for parents.  After looking through the resources, I thought they were definitely worth sharing.

These resources come from a ministry called Parent Ministry.net.  They desire to help churches build an excellent parent ministry.

Around the same time I received the email, I remember seeing a lunch box note post on Matthew Paul Turner’s Instagram account. He shared a lunch box note he left for his son.  It underscored the importance of the resources that Parent Ministry shared.

The first resource is called Lunch Box Notes. They provide ideas for parents to use to leave various notes of spiritual encouragement to their children.  They offered 50 ideas for parents of children and parents of teenagers. You can view, download or print these PDF resources at these links:

Lunch Box Notes for Parents of Children.

Lunch Box Notes for Parents of Teenagers.

The second resource Parent Ministry provided was short videos for parents.  The videos are geared for parents of toddlers to parents of teens.  They deal with a variety of subjects that may speak to the specific season of parenting you may find yourself in. If some of the videos don’t apply to you, my guess is you have a friend or family member who could benefit from hearing one or more of them.

Besides, who couldn’t use some free parenting tips?!?

You can check out each of the videos below.  It is set up as a playlist and there are 8 different videos.  You can watch all 8 or just select the ones that interest you.

The Good News About Marriage

good news marriageI first heard about The Good News About Marriage when I listened to an interview with the author on the Catalyst Podcast. I thought the information was interesting and it was mentioned several times in the interview that in order to get the whole picture, a person should read the book. So I did.

The title for the book is quite fitting. After reading the survey results that the author, Shaunti Feldhahn, and Tally Whitehead collected from years of research, I would agree that it is good news. For a number of years people in the church have quoted the statistic that 50% of marriages end in divorce and the percentages inside the church community aren’t any better. As one who has grown up in a church community and now serves at a church, I find those statistics to be bad news. But, from the research revealed in this book, it turns out those numbers are not true. Many of those percentages were based on projections, not actual statistics.

The book does a good job explaining not only the more accurate statistics, but how those facts and figures were accumulated. Here is some of the good news the book shares…

…the actual divorce rate has never gotten close to 50 percent

…the rate of divorce in the church is not the same as the rate among those who don’t attend worship services

…most marriages are happy

In the past few years I have performed a number of weddings and this is great news to share with couples who are preparing for marriage. It provides hope and motivation that a high percentage of marriages are not only intact, but are thriving. It gives good news to those who might be in a season where their marriage is struggling. It communicates that a happy, fulfilling relationship is possible and many are experiencing it.

This is a good resource for pastors, counselors or anyone who works with married couples. It is an encouragement to those who are already married or considering it. The Good News About Marriage really is good news that our churches and families need to hear.

Plus, if you get a hold of the book, there are some free resources that go along with the book’s message.

Middle School Football Amazing Play

This past weekend our junior high students attended the Christ In Youth BELIEVE Convention at Northern Kentucky University.  We joined with about 6,000 other junior high students and adults to sing, laugh, listen, learn and grow.  (We might have eaten some pizza, too!)

In the final session, the speaker was encouraging us to use the gifts and abilities and influence God has given us for others.  He said that means having an influence on whomever God may put in our path.

He shared a few examples of students he knew that invested their time and energy to impact others.  He then showed a video clip about a middle school football team who went out of their way to make a difference in the life of one of their teammates. It’s not only a good story, but a great example for all of us.