Change Your Words & Thoughts, Change your Family

Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14 Recently Alisa saw the need to enforce a no-grumbling policy for her oldest daughter. Each time Hadassah complained with statements like “I am tired” or  “this is too hard” or “why do I have to clean my room?”– Alisa challenged her to turn the statement into something positive – something to be grateful for. Driving her home from dance the other day, I asked Hadassah if her new Irish-dance hard shoes were broken in, to which she replied, “well at least my right foot feels fine.” (her left foot had developed several blisters from the new dance shoes) She’s catching on! Try being grateful and grumble at the same time.  It doesn’t work.  In fact, gratitude drives out complaining and complaining drives out gratitude.  We each make a choice about which mindset we develop in ourselves. During “Oma-school” this week, my grandkids and I considered how our words impact others.   I challenged them to ask these questions before speaking about or to someone: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? I warned them that when we speak about others, our words can be repeated, distorted and move from person to person. It’s how rumors grow and individual lives are harmed! What  a responsibility we have in portraying others in kind and true ways!  We also discussed how our thoughts influence our lives day-by-day. I have recently been reading many studies on anxiety which strongly indicate that changing the way we...

WHAT IF?

To the Veritas Academy Community and other University-Model™ schools around the country: Yesterday my grandkids and I were discussing the battle within our hearts between choosing right and wrong. I explained to them how Jesus won the overall battle on their behalf at the cross, but each day they had ongoing choices to make – to be wise or foolish, to lie or be honest, to be diligent or lazy, to obey or disobey their parents – that each of their choices moved the core of their character slowly in one direction or another. Sitting on the couch, with her thoughts seemingly somewhere else, my 10-year-old granddaughter Kate asked, “WHAT IF?” “WHAT IF I didn’t know Jesus? I wonder what it would be like. My friend on swim team doesn’t believe anything about God. Do you think it’s easier not knowing?” This was a great question from a girl who feels badly when she has disappointed someone or done something wrong. I surmise that Kate was wondering if not thinking about these types of choices would in fact be an easier path. Her question led to a great conversation about how all mankind suppresses truth, which God has made clear about Himself. (Romans 1) That even though we may know what’s right, we are drawn, at times, to doing what’s wrong. That a life apart from Jesus provides NO escape from the resulting guilt. That even if her friend didn’t think there was a God, she would spend her life trying all sorts of ways to fill a spot in her heart that only God can fill. That only...

Reduce the Rules

A few years back, I had heard about an elementary school in New Zealand that dropped recess rules, resulting in fascinating results. Here’s an excerpt about this school from an article in the Independent, a British online newspaper which appeared on January 28th, 2014:  Principal Bruce McLachlan (Swanson Primary School in Auckland, New Zealand) did away with the standard playtime rules as part of a university study conducted by Auckland University of Technology and Otago University looking at ways to encourage active play among children. The study, which ended last year, found pupils were so occupied with the activities that the school did not need its timeout area anymore, or as many teachers patrolling the playground. Teachers also reported higher concentration levels from their students in the classroom. Mr. McLachlan said: “The kids were motivated, busy and engaged. In my experience, the time children get into trouble is when they are not busy, motivated and engaged. It’s during that time they bully other kids, graffiti or wreck things around the school.” “When you look at our playground it looks chaotic. From an adult’s perspective, it looks like kids might get hurt, but they don’t.” “We want kids to be safe and to look after them, but we end up wrapping them in cotton wool when in fact they should be able to fall over.” AUT professor of public health Grant Schofield, who worked on the team leading the study, said children develop their brain’s frontal lobe when they are taking risks, which allows them to calculate consequences. “You can’t teach them that”, Mr Schofield said. “They have to learn risk on their own...

Kathy Koch in the up and coming movie CONNECT by Kirk Cameron

You may already be acquainted with Kathy Koch, but if not, I would like to introduce you to her.  She is a fabulous author and speaker, someone I always enjoy learning from, because she is both inspiring and practical.  She has written a number of important books and writes a blog that I encourage you to sign up for.  Kathy Koch founded Celebrate Kids 26 years ago, a ministry through which she helps others build lives with meaningful purpose. She recently wrote Screens and Teens, a book that I highly recommend as well.  It’s about “connecting with our kids in a wireless world.”  To that end she will be an “educational expert in the up and coming movie CONNECT by Kirk Cameron. This movie will be show around the nation, (Austin area theaters included) on February 27th and March 1.  You can go here and enter your zip code to see which theaters in your town will show it on February 27 and March 1. Check out a short trailer of this important movie, which will be a great resource in teaching children in the midst of the challenges technology and social media can create. Buy your tickets in advance to secure a theatre seat for this important movie. Kathy Koch: “As I write about in Screens and Teens, helplessness can be an effect of digital devices. Kids of all ages believe things should be easy, learning shouldn’t take any effort, and winning should be guaranteed. Of course, none of this is true!”          ...

2018: Walk Humbly With God

  “God doesn’t hide Himself from you so that He can’t be found; He hides Himself from you so that He can be found.” (Tommy Tenney in The God Chasers) It’s 5:30 AM on New Year’s Day 2018.  A light sprinkling of snow covers the ground and it’s 25 degrees out.  Not exactly the norm in Austin, Texas! I am reminded of a similar early morning back in Bend, Oregon on New Year’s Day 2001. Just like this morning, light snow was whirling in the breeze outside the window as I sat, with a coffee cup in hand, pondering how to begin writing personal thoughts and prayers into my first journal.  I remember feeling empty and weary, hoping that somehow journaling would relieve the aching in my discouraged heart. I was determined to begin a daily practice of journaling, one that I still do on most days. I didn’t write much that first day – I had little to write about with a heart that felt empty. But it was a start, now a personal hallmark, because my spiritual life caught a small spark that day that has never gone out. I desperately wanted to discover a life-giving walk with God.  I knew it was possible but I didn’t know how. I had attended church my entire adult life and earnestly tried to be a good Christian wife and mother.  My efforts had drained me however.  Something was missing and I wanted to discover what it was. I wrote down these three goals in that first journal: To earnestly seek to know God and understand His nature Pray diligently...