"Life is a marathon, not a dash, and the victory goes to the ones who PACE themselves. God wants us to live a life of balance and joy." — Karen Jensen

Everything Is Looking Good!

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about perspective, and it has occurred to me that no matter what’s going on around us today, we are just one God-perspective away from things looking good!

Because there are a lot of ways to look any given circumstance, aren’t there. Maybe you’re in the middle of a challenging one right now, and you feel trapped – like there’s no way out.  You’ve been over it a million times in your head, and you just can’t find the answer.

Well, that’s one way to look at it.  That’s one perspective.

But I have encouraging news for you today – there’s another way to look at your situation:  God’s way.  And as you might guess, His way is a way of victory.  He sees a way out.  He sees you coming out on top of this situation by faith – to Him, the situation is looking good!

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3 Keys to a Marriage That's Heaven on Earth

Did you know that God wants your marriage to be great? It’s true! He actually created marriage to be wonderful – to be a little slice of heaven on earth.

There’s so much to say about marriage, and I’m not an expert – but I’ve learned some things over time, and I’ve counseled a lot of marriages. I’ve found out that just because a couple says “I do” there’s no lifetime guarantee of joy and happiness.

Having a good marriage takes effort. Most married couples I know want to have a good marriage, but they don’t always know how. Here are 3 keys I’ve found that work...

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God's Plan to Win the World (Guest Writer Ronnie Elliot)

If you’re like me, you know what the Great Commission says: Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15). You’ve probably heard some great pastors, evangelists and missionaries tell you how they’re doing it, and how you should do it to.

But let’s get real -- have you ever felt overwhelmed by the idea of this commission? Or ummm…even a little bit guilty when you hear about it, thinking you’re not doing your part? (Just keep smiling and no one will know it’s you).

I have some great news – it’s not as hard as you think! You don’t have to buy an airline ticket (although you could) or move to a foreign country (although you could do that too). As my guest blogger and former student, Ronnie Elliott, explains, God has a plan in place to fulfill the Great Commission and every Christian (including you!) really can play an active part in it (it’s probably not what you think). Read on to find out how!

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5 Tips for Growing a Teenager

Okay, I’m not the world’s greatest expert at growing teenagers into adults (who is, really?) but I have personally grown two teenagers into responsible, fun, God-loving, destiny-fulfilling young men (she says humbly) and I also have taught and counseled a ton of parents. I didn’t do it perfectly and neither will you, but I’ve learned some things.

So here’s my take on growing teenagers into adults:

It takes faith. And it takes guts. And it takes effort. And it’s not all done at once, trust me. As the old saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”  Well, growing a teenager into an adult isn’t done in a day either. (Neither were you, might I add). It’s definitely a process.

This is not by any means an exhaustive list of teenage-growing tips, but here are five that might help you out if you’re the parent (or grandparent, or relative, or neighbor, or teacher) of a teenager...

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3 Tips to Get Kids Ready to Go Back to School (Guest Writer Joyce Wilson)

Very few kids transition to school from summer vacation without experiencing some bumps in the road the first few weeks back. One of the best ways parents can make getting back in the classroom easier on their kids is starting to get back into a school routine a few weeks before the first day of school. The time spent working back into a routine early is well worth it when your child is well rested and ready to spend long hours in the classroom again. To help get your kid ready to go back to school, here are some practical tips for establishing a routine...

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4 Things for Christians to Focus on During the Elections

Are you tired of all the hype and horror surrounding the election this year? Does it feel like our nation is seriously divided and full of fear, anger, hatred and side-choosing? It feels like that to me. 

But regardless of your politics, your favorite candidate (or the one you hate), your fear level, your irritation with people (who disagree with your views) on social media, or your exasperation with the mud-slinging and insane media saturation, I believe you can rise above the craziness this election season.

I believe we, as Christians, can keep our cool and make level-headed decisions while voting. Are you in?

Here are 4 things to focus on in order to stay steady and faith-filled as we careen towards November, and beyond...

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7 Goals for Christian Parents

For those of us who are parents and Christians, I think we have to ask ourselves, “What is my goal in raising my child(ren)?” If we don’t know what we’re aiming for when raising our children, how will we know if we’ve reached it?

If your goal is to raise a perfect child, I say give that one up – there aren’t any perfect children.  (Mine are close, but even they fall short of perfection! Lol).  And if your goal is to be a perfect parent, give that one up too – you can’t do it, and you might drive your kids and yourself crazy trying to achieve it!

If your goal is to just have fun and/or get your kids old to enough to leave home, I’d like to ask you to aim a little higher.  I believe our goal is to raise disciples of Jesus, to help them fulfill their divine destiny as He has called them. 

Here are 7 goals the Bible says we should aim for as Christian parents….

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4 Ways to Fill Your Heart and Home with Peace

Is it just me, or does it seem as though peace is getting harder and harder to come by in our fast-paced, terror-ridden, success-driven, disease-threatened, media-saturated, economically- troubled world?

But I believe Christians can have peace -- all the time! After all, Jesus said in John 14:27, Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Was He just kidding? I don’t think so. I think this supernatural peace actually belongs to us, which means we can be living in it 24/7, no matter what’s happening in the world around us. In fact, this peace is meant to sustain us through all the troubles of this world.

So how do we keep it in our hearts and homes when everything around us screams turmoil, disaster and fear? I believe we have to facilitate the peace. Here are four ways to fill your heart and home with the peace that already belongs to you in Christ.

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6 Strategic Words to Use in an Argument

We all get in arguments from time to time, right? Suddenly we can find ourselves disagreeing and venting our anger or frustration on our friends, spouses, kids, neighbors, co-workers, or the guy who sat in our pew at church. 

And of course, in any heated discussion, we’re sure that we are right – and they are wrong.

But you know what? We’re not always right. And one day, many moons ago, I learned a wonderful 6-word phrase that has helped me stay out of strife ever since. It also showed me that there is usually more than one perspective when I disagree with someone. (Amazing thought, I know).

On that day, it all started when I was in the kitchen cooking dinner.

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3 Tips When You're Feeling Spiritually Blah

Most of us don’t want to admit that sometimes we feel blah. I mean, we know that’s carnal, and un-Christian, and not a good witness. We know that Jesus gave His life for us and we should always be happy and pumped and ready to set the world on fire, right?

But I’m just going to get real honest here – some days I don’t feel like setting the world on fire. Know what I mean? I feel like climbing back in bed and pulling up the covers. Yes, I know I’m not supposed to go by my feelings, but there they are. What should I do about them?

Thankfully, I’ve learned a few things about what to do when I feel this way.

Remember, this condition is temporary! This too shall pass. Thank God I will wake up on fire again one day. So it’s important to keep going. For now, here are 3 tips that I do when I’m feeling blah (and you can do them too).

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4 Tips for Making Friends

I realize this particular blog subject is not for everyone – there are some of you who have more than enough besties, inner circle, outer circle and even auxiliary friends. You can probably afford to stop reading right now. 

But it seems like more and more, I meet people (maybe like you?) who don’t have this “friend” thing down – although they’d like to.

Because friends are great. Godly friends give us a sense of connection and belonging. They can help relieve stress, provide comfort and joy, share the good times and the bad, lift us up when we’re down. Ecclesiastes 4:9, 10 says, “Two are better than one…if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.”

Good friends keep us from being lonely. They provide a safe zone for bouncing off ideas, dreams, frustrations, and fears. Even doctors are telling us that friendships have a positive effect on our health and well-being. A recent study followed nearly 1,500 older people for 10 years, and found that those who had a large network of friends outlived those with fewer friends by more than 20%.

Everybody needs friends! So, is there a secret to making friends?

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5 Godly Examples to Set for Your Kids

As a parent, you have a huge influence in your children’s lives.  For 18 years they will watch you, listen to you, and emulate you.

As much as we would like them to “do as I say, not as I do” that just isn’t going to happen.  They are going to do what you do!  Research shows that kids tend to imitate their parents' behavior and continue to do so throughout adulthood.

Without really even trying, every day you are setting an example for your children to follow.  By watching you, they learn responsibility, honesty, diligence, walking in love, good physical habits, healthy attitudes, right behavior, and following God.

It’s important that you use this influence to help guide your child on a path toward a godly life.  They need you to guide them and to set the right examples! 

Here are five things you can do to set the right example for your children to follow...

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When Everything Hits the Fan

Life isn’t always rosy. I’m sure you know what I mean! Maybe a relationship goes haywire. Maybe your finances are in trouble. Maybe you've been challenged beyond all you ever imagined, or you've suffered a terrible loss. Maybe all those things!

I’m so sorry if you’re going through hard stuff. But I’m here to encourage you today. Because stuff has happened to me too. For example, my mom died when I was 18, and my first husband died when we were just 37 and our sons were 12 and 13.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

The storms of life come to everyone. I know that doesn’t help right now, but I just want you to know that I understand – and I know the way out. Even though things don’t look great right now, there’s hope. Because it’s what you DO in the midst of everything hitting the fan that determines your outcome. If you’ll hold fast to God in the time of trouble, you can come out smelling like a rose.

I promise. Read on.

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3 Advantages of Increased Family Time (Guest Writer Sarah Lockwood)

We all lead busy lives. And between our work obligations, school obligations, extra-curricular activities, and more, unfortunately, having quality family time is becoming more and more difficult. Yet studies show that families who make time to enjoy quality family activities are happier, healthier, and have stronger family ties. Here are a few reasons you should make room in your schedule for family time...

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