Yelling at Children May Be More Harmful Than You Think

by Minnie Hawkins

We hear it in homes, grocery stores, and in school hallways. Sometimes we even hear it in churches. What is this spectacle? It’s yelling at children! Is it necessary? Is it an effective form of discipline or is it damaging to children?

Research shows that yelling is one of the most harmful actions adults can do to children. Consider adult-to-adult behavior for a moment. When one grownup makes a request of another grownup and he does not comply, does yelling bring about obedience? Not only does it not stimulate conformity, but it actually sets up an attitude of resistance. Children respond the same way and here are several negative effects of constant exposure to yelling.

First, yelling at children attacks their humanity and self-esteems, the beliefs and feelings they have about themselves. Children need all the help they can get to maintain healthy self-esteems. Those who develop low confidences have trouble handling anxiety and finding solutions to common problems. They are easily frustrated, passive, withdrawn, and often suffer from depression. Since children’s brains are still developing, it is hard for them to put labels on what they feel. They just know they hurt. On the other hand, children with healthy self-images handle conflicts well, resist negative pressures, smile a lot, and have optimistic outlooks on life.

Second, yelling desensitizes children to normal voice levels. Children should be expected to respond to conversational tones. However, when yelling is what they normally hear, commands, requests, questions, and the like, spoken in casual levels blend in with common environmental sounds. Many children have auditory processing deficiencies and sounds are distorted to them. Yelling makes processing even more difficult because the muffled sounds are loud and the children’s brains do not know what to do with them.

Incidentally, to communicate effectively with a child who is desensitized to a normal voice level by being yelled at, get in close contact. Tap him on the shoulder to establish eye contact. Then speak into his right ear in a conversational level voice, state the request, and ask the child to repeat it. If he cannot do so, restate the request and ask him again to repeat it back. If he can repeat it, wait until he complies.

Third, yelling sets a harmful model for the way children interact with other children and adults, including authority figures. When children display the learned, yelling behavior, it puts them in difficult situations that can result in social isolation as well as receiving disciplinary actions. Children become confused as to why they are punished for showing the same behavior modeled by adults.

The last negative effect of yelling at children is that it challenges or destroys their sense of safety. Children have an inherent right to feel that there are emotional and physical places where they can go and harm will not follow them. When children do not feel safe, they perceive they have no power over what happens to them. Many times they cannot put words to what they feel.

Some sources take a position that constantly yelling at children is mental child abuse and is as toxic as physical child abuse. Often times, the sting of words and tones last a lifetime. Abuse that occurs during early child development can cause the child to grow into an adult with self-destructive behavior and abusive traits. It is well documented that without effective intervention, children who are abused go on to become abusers.

One more critical factor that research shows is that adults who constantly yell as a form of discipline oftentimes feel bad about it but do not have effective skills they can use. They are overwhelmed.

Even the most patient adult can reach a limit and occasionally raise the decibel of the voice. This behavior must not become commonplace. It is far more effective when working with children to have a standard of raising the voice when it is a matter of safety and adults need children’s immediate attention and action. When grownups yell, “Stop,” “Come back,” or “Put that down,” for example, children will know a critical situation exists maybe even a matter of life or death.

Adults who yell as a method of discipline must consider the harm it does and actively seek effective, non-threatening parenting skills. They should not let pride keep them from getting professional help. Many parenting classes are free and readily available.

The destiny of our country depends on producing healthy children who have bright outlooks on life. Each grownup is obligated to do what is necessary to influence them in a positive manner. That means being equipped with effective discipline tools. Yelling is not one of them.

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Managing Stress in Healthy Ways

by Stephanie Reck

Between 75-90% of all doctor’s visits are stress-related. Stress comes in a variety of symptoms, ailments, and conditions. Stress can affect you spiritually, physically, and emotionally. There are many things in life to cause us to feel stress and anxious. Chronic stress can complicate matters and can lead to burn-out and Adrenal Fatigue.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines stress as a state of mental tension and worry caused by problems in your life, work, etc.; something that causes strong feelings of worry and anxiety; a physical, chemical factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation.

What happens to our bodies under stress:

1. Cortisol mediates various metabolic processes. Cortisol levels can be elevated if we are under physical or psychological stress.
2. Immune system can weaken and you can become more susceptible to colds and flus.
3. Have difficulty falling or staying asleep.
4. Bouts of irritability, anger, and easily frustrated/annoyed.
5. Fatigue and don’t feel like you got a restful night’s sleep.
6. Anxiousness, fear, and low moods (mild depression).
7. Mood swings (hormones out of balance).
8. Feelings of being overwhelmed.
9. Eating too much or too little.
10. General sense of not feeling well (malaise).

What are we stressed about? Some common stressors in people’s lives:

1. Family
2. Marriage (getting married if you are not married)
3. Children
4. Finances
5. Work, career
6. School
7. Budgeting, paying bills
8. Paying for children’s education, college
9. Health
10. Health of family members
11. Friendships (lack of or not spending enough time with)
12. Death of a loved one
13. Death of a pet
14. Divorce, remarriage
15. Stepfamilies
16. Salvation of loved ones
17. Not sleeping
18. Unresolved childhood issues or unresolved grief issues
19. Single parenting
20. Fear of the unknown, not being in control
21. Addictions with self or family members
22. Infidelity
23. Infertility, miscarriage, abortion
24. Moving, adjustments/transitions
25. New job or retirement
26. Having a baby
27. Debt
28. Family member moving in
29. Family member having emotional/ mental difficulties
30. A goal/dream was not accomplished

Add up the above stresses for the past year and if you listed 5 or more that occurred this last year, you could have a high level of stress that needs to be dealt with.

Steps to Coping with Stress and ways to Manage Stress Levels:

1. Spend daily time in the Word, praying and giving thanksgiving for the things that are good in your life.
2. Attend church regularly and fellowship with the Body of Christ.
3. Write down (5) things to be thankful for EVERYDAY. Keep a Gratitude Journal.
4. Journal, write often. Write the date on each journal entry and how you are feeling, what God is speaking to you, and anything else that would be helpful.
5. Walk or do light exercising. Walking is the best exercise for stress reduction.
6. Take it One Day at a Time. Focus your energy and thoughts on the present day.
7. Do something fun daily! Enjoy your life!
8. Find a hobby such as gardening, bird watching, or painting.
9. Watch comedies often! Laugh! Smile!
10. Take every thought captive into the Obedience of Jesus Christ and renew your mind continually. Watch what you are thinking and talking about.
11. Eat balanced meals consisting of fresh fruits, vegetables, and protein. Stay away as much as possible from fried foods, processed foods, sugary snacks, and high-energy drinks.
12. Drink 3 cups of green tea. You can choose to drink (1) 8oz. cup of coffee.
13. Switch to Stevia instead of sugar.
14. Limit your time with negative, draining, and toxic people. Watch who your spending your time with.
15. Avoid overreacting to problems as much as possible. Practice praying first, and being still.
16. Listen to relaxation music such as jazz, classical, and soothing sounds.
17. Take bubble baths and light scented candles.
18. Light scented candles and other fragrant scents throughout your home.
19. Don’t take on the burdens and problems of others. You can pray for others always and intercede ONLY when God calls you to.
20. Set limits and boundaries with others. Learn to say, “No.” Do not try and meet the expectations of everyone.
21. Be a God pleaser not a man pleaser.
22. Do not seek the approval of others but what God would have you to do.
23. If you are able to afford a massage or you can have your spouse do for you.
24. Take time off when you can. Rest when you can. You don’t have to be going and doing all the time!
25. Take small vacations or staycations if you cannot afford to leave.
26. Nap when you can and when you need to, its okay!
27. Eat sitting down and eat slowly and enjoy your meals.
28. Do not live in a hurry or rushing around. Let your pace be relaxing.
29. Help when you can help but don’t take on the responsibility of others.
30. Forgive yourself, forgive others.
31. Be gentle with yourself. Stop being so hard on yourself. Let go of perfectionism.
32. Take a multi-vitamin, B-vitamin and look into natural herbal remedies. I do not make any medical disclaimers here.

Stephanie R. Reck, LMSW, LBT, BCCC
Founder of Hope Ministry
Hope Ministry, @2020
Author of, “Disciplining Your Mind 30 Days to a Better You!”

Pray for yourself

Michael Hume

“Give careful thought to your ways.” Haggai 1:7
God wants you to think about what you want from life, and keep asking Him to help you to get those things. At times you need to reflect and take stock of yourself. Life is not static, but always in a state of flux.

You should be praying for yourself, since you know yourself best. God has spoken to you most about His plans for your life since you have asked Him many times to show you His direction for you. How do you know if others are praying specific things for you ? Maybe they are not, or not as earnestly as you on some things. If there are some things you don’t reveal to many people, those are the exact things you need to pray for the most yourself.

If God has promised you specific things they will happen, but you still need to pray them in, and ask for more insight along the way.

“Keep watch over yourselves.” Acts 20:28. We need to look out for ourselves and pray for ourselves daily or from time to time. There may be a time when God blesses you much because you are praying for others, but the Holy Spirit will teach you when you should be praying for yourself, and what you should be praying for. We are not alone, God is with us assisting our prayers.

Ask God for all your needs, and name those needs. Pray earnestly, God hears all your prayers. Enjoy your prayer time with God. You are in His company so it should be one of the best times of your day. God is a joy to be with, and to talk to.

“I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11. God is a Wonderful Friend, the Best you will ever have. He cares so much for you and wants to do you good only. He wants to give you hope and a future. Satan just wants to take all your joy, hopes and dreams away, and crush you.

When you have opportunity pray for yourself as well as the ones who God has asked you to pray for, like family and close friends, and others. It is not selfish to pray for yourself. If you want good things for others, then you should also ask God to give good things to you. Maybe you are one of those people who finds it easier to pray for others. If you are, don’t neglect yourself.

Michael Hume. The Holy Spirit teaches you everything. Copyright belongs to author.

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.comCHRISTIAN WRITERS

Mr. and Mrs. Porcupine

by Melissa Martian

Bretta and Brian decide to try counseling after their five-year relationship turned prickly. Their sharpened quills are preventing affection and intimacy.

Bretta’s sarcasm cuts into her introverted partner. “You’re boring and about as fun as road kill!”

Brian grimaces and retorts, “You’re frigid and as cold as a polar bear in the bedroom.”

Experience in marital counseling has taught me to snatch the reigns without more ado.

Using the “1-10” scaling technique, I ask both to rate their level of communication. Bretta’s number is lower than Brian’s, but both are under “4.” I point to a third empty chair and explain that the marriage is the client. Using gestalt, I discuss the counseling process in the here-and-now but the porcupines want to argue about the there-and-then. “Time-out,” I firmly say with emphasis on each word and direct eye contact. I lay the ground rules of communication 101.

I give kudos for the courage to come to marital counseling and I echo the strengths of their relationship. The porcupines leave my office with handouts, homework, and hope.

They return for the second session. I check-in, review homework, then teach more communication skills and conflict resolution techniques. I use some brief solution-focused questioning.

The third session is not pleasant but productive. They insist on examining their love life. We explore nonsexual affection and sexual intimacy. Quills and emotions flare as they circle the wagons. Bretta cries and Brian withdrawals, their usual modus operandi. Ah, a teachable moment about their predictable behavior patterns during conflict. And an opportunity to explore modus vivendi.

I reinstate the here-and-now interactions and the tools of listening; “I” statements instead of “You” statements; awareness of triggers and reactions; observing facial expressions and body language; and so forth. I ask them to exchange roles and then do some exaggeration of role-playing. Laughter pays a visit and tension is dispersed for the moment. Authentic humor is a soothing potion. They leave my office with a list of recommended books and homework activities.

In due course, their quills begin to fall out. A few months later, they attend a weekend get-away for nuptial renewal.

Melissa writes about the God and human connection and condition.

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.comCHRISTIAN WRITERS

21 Inspirational Marriage Quotes

by Pastor QT Nyathi  

Here are 21 powerful marriage quotes to nourish your soul and improve the health of your marriage.

# 1. “Realize that you are intimately connected to your partner in every way and so you cannot fix your partner without fixing yourself too in the process.”

# 2. “Shame on you if you are married but are still taking instructions from your parents on how to run your home.”

# 3. “You can sleep on one bed but be miles apart.”

# 4. “Marriage is like a seesaw, it only gets exciting when both parties on either end do their part.”

# 5. “Children are not the glue of marriage, commitment is.”

# 6. “A wedding is a one-day drama, marriage is for a life-time.”

# 7. “Any investment made into your marriage is an investment into the church, the community and the nation because all three benefit immensely from a strong family.”

# 8. “Any pastor who does not have a thriving marriage ministry is not ‘pastoring’ his church, instead he is pestering it.”

# 9. “Marriage is an irrevocable life-long covenant, not a short-term revocable contract.”

# 10. “Finances fire-up a marriage by either fueling conflict or flaming the flames of passion.”

# 11. “Once you remove God from a marriage all that is left are two lost people trying to play ball in a dark room.”

# 12. “Without open, consistent, and no-holds-barred communication, marriage is mission impossible.”

# 13. “Many couples are guilty of a very serious crime that takes place under the cover of darkness; its technical name is called violating a dead body or simply sleeping with a corpse in layman’s terms. They sleep with a dead and unresponsive partner every day.”

#14. “It’s a tragedy of seismic proportions that single youths are having more sex than legally married couples.”

#15. “Have you ever posed to think of the significance of the fact that God created the family before he created the church?”

# 16. “If you’ve never kissed in front of your children, you are a pathetic picture of the marriage institution.”

# 17. “Anger is not bad as such in marriage-it’s a natural feeling that shows how deeply you care about someone.”

# 18. “A third party is only welcome into a marriage by invitation; otherwise he or she may part you.”

# 19. “A bad marriage is self-evident and cannot be kept under wraps for long before its stench draws people’s attention. So if your marriage is in trouble, don’t pretend, seek help today because people will know eventually anyway.”

# 20. “Any married man who is mama’s boy must go back to his mum and only come back to his wife when he has grown a beard.”

# 21. “Any woman who controls her own husband is a witch because witchcraft is based on manipulation.”

Since there is no marriage up yonder, enjoy yours here and now.

Pastor QT is a published author, copywriter and speaker. His sincerity, wit and candid style have endeared him to many hearts. His book DELIVERANCE UNPACKED has been warmly received globally. He conducts spicy marriage and singles seminars with his feisty wife Bonani.

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.comCHRISTIAN WRITERS

A Father’s Day To Remember

by Linda Lawrence

At the stroke of ten on a Saturday night I received a phone call from our fifteen-year-old son, Sean. “Hey Mom, I’m at Dan’s house. He’ll bring me home as soon as he gets his car running. Be sure and tell Dad I called.” 

I offered to pick him up, but he reassured me Dan could bring him home. “Be sure and tell Dad I called,” he repeated. 

Carl had gone to bed, but I peeked in and saw he was awake. I gave him Sean’s message and was startled with his quiet response. “He’s lying.” 

“No, no, he told me where he’s at.”

“When the phone rang, I knew it would be Sean.” Carl sighed as he added, “And he would lie.” 

“Well, why didn’t you answer the phone then?” I was frustrated at Carl’s suspicion and certainty. “Oh Carl, I’m sure you’re wrong. If it will help you sleep, I’ll drive over to Dan’s and get him.” His silence told me he knew Sean wouldn’t be there. 

I grabbed the keys and headed for Dan’s. 

Sadly, Carl was right. The house and garage were dark, with no sign of anyone working on a car. My heart sank. Images of confrontation and blame filled my head. I feared angry words between father and son, causing wounds that wouldn’t heal, rushing them to an impasse. Please, God, I begged, give Carl wisdom and self-control. And please help Sean to accept responsibility for his lie— to not try to justify himself.

Pulling into our driveway, I saw Carl, dressed, and sitting on the front steps— waiting. “I’m staying here until I see who brings Sean home,” he said. 

There was little more to be said. I went inside, my stomach in turmoil, but the living room was peaceful, quiet. I, too, sat waiting, looking at a small pile of gifts on the loveseat—gifts the kids had earlier wrapped for Carl. Tomorrow was Father’s Day. 

Eighteen-year-old Shannon arrived home around 11 o’clock, got the gist of what was happening from her Dad before coming in. Knowing my propensity toward blaming myself, Shannon exhorted me. “Mom, I know what you’re thinking. This is not your fault. Kids don’t set out planning to hurt their parents. They just do stupid things without even thinking. So don’t start blaming yourself!” I hadn’t begun my usual guilt trip yet, but Shannon knew that would be coming. 

“I’ll try,” I said, taking her admonition to heart. We settled in to wait for whatever was next. Finally, after midnight, we heard a car stop outside. Shannon had her ear to the door, but could hear nothing except the car leaving. Several minutes passed. Indistinguishable talking was all we heard until Carl and Sean approached the door. Shannon hurried to join me on the other end of the couch, trying to look nonchalant when they walked in. 

Carl sat down on the loveseat, next to the stacked gifts, and solemnly announced, “Sean has something to tell you.”  

“I lied about where I was.” Sean’s head was bowed and he shuffled his feet. “I was with Gil and his girlfriend. I’m sorry.” Gil was a college-age friend we thought we could trust. 

“Go on and tell them the rest,” Carl said.

Sean lowered his eyes and whispered, “I had a beer.” 

Having finally confessed everything, he fell into a miserable heap on the corner swivel chair. Having a beer may not seem like a big deal, but in our house, for a 15-year-old, it was a big deal and Sean knew it. 

Carl stood, sweeping his hand toward the gifts, saying quietly, “I can’t take these. I failed as a father, or you would not have thought you had to lie. I’m not sure what I’ll do tomorrow—maybe go for a long drive to figure out where I went wrong—but I can’t celebrate Father’s Day.” 

Sean’s head shot up. “It wasn’t you. It was me!” Bending over, head in his hands, he cried convulsively, “It wasn’t you, it was me. . .” 

Carl fought to control his mixed emotions. His mouth trembled as he lost the battle. Seeing their tears, Shannon began to cry. 

“I hope you can see sin doesn’t hurt just you.” Carl said as he stood up. Looking at each of us in turn, he said, “It hurts all of us. You’re crying. I’m crying. Shannon’s crying. Your mom’s crying . . . on the inside,” he added as he noticed my dry eyes. 

I couldn’t cry. I was too thrilled with Sean’s lack of defensiveness, with the lack of conflict and blame. God was answering my prayer.

Carl looked at me, his eyes asking if anything was left unsaid. I smiled, satisfied, amazed at his surprising meekness, humility and self-control. He put his hand on Sean’s heaving shoulder, squeezed it and went off to bed—obviously drained of strength. 

Sean went to his room and closed the door, but Shannon and I could hear him, still sobbing as though his heart were broken.

“Mom, I feel so bad for him. Can I go talk to him?” 

“Of course,” I told her, “go ahead.” He was obviously mourning over his sin, so we felt free, even eager, to comfort him. Shannon tried, but he would not be comforted. 

As Shannon and I started to process together the night’s emotional drama, we heard a door open and close. Looking out the window, I saw Sean walking up the street. Running after him, I put my arms around him, smelling the beer. “It’s all right Sean. It’s okay. We love you. Come on home.” 

“I’ve got to walk, Mom. I’ve just got to walk.” 

His back was stiff, unyielding and unable to receive my affection so I let him go. “Okay, but come home soon. Know we love you.” His pathetic countenance could have broken my heart if I wasn’t confident our Heavenly Father was using his pain and repentance to form his character—and his relationship with his father.

Just as I was returning to the house, Carl was coming out–dressed again. “Honey,” I said, “he says he needs to walk. He’ll be okay. Let him go.”

“I will, but I want to be sure he’s safe.” So, as Sean strode around the block, walking off his tension and grief and shame, his father followed in the shadows, lovingly keeping watch. 

When the clock struck two, everyone was finally in their own bed. Carl and I held each other, two fatigued parents. Carl whispered, “What do you think I should  do about Father’s Day, now?”

“I don’t know . . . Everything’s okay, isn’t it?” We laid awake, silently rehashing the emotional night, eventually falling asleep.

 In the morning we saw a note for us from Sean, slid under our door. I’m sorry I hurt you. Please forgive me. . .  

We went to church, had dinner, opened gifts, spoke gently to each other all day, feeling like we had inherited the earth. 

I’m sure our Heavenly Father celebrated with us that Father’s Day.

Linda Lawrence has a passion for passing on personal stories of the reality of God's faithfulness and loving intervention in the affairs of His children

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All the money in the world will not take away your fears and anxieties. You can be the most successful person in your business, however your money and success will do nothing in getting rid of your stresses and anxieties. So what do you do to make your fears and anxieties to go away? Well, since money and fame are not the answers, then the best solution is to be smart in how you manage your fears. Here are some ways in how to manage your persistent fears and anxieties.

Take it one day at a time. Instead of worrying about how you will get through the rest of the week or coming month, try to focus on today. Each day can provide us with different opportunities to learn new things and that includes learning how to deal with your problems. Focus on the present and stop trying to predict what may happen next week. Next week will take care of itself.

Remember that the one source that a person should use as a basis in managing their fears and anxieties is using God as a basis in dealing with their fears. Why? The power of God is the one power that is stronger than your fears and anxieties. Also, God loves each one of us and he is the one person who has the power to solve all of our problems. He will help you if you ask him to.

Learn how to manage your fearful thoughts that may be difficult to manage. When experiencing a negative thought, read some positive statements and affirmations that help lift your spirits and make you feel better. Remember that your fearful thoughts may be exaggerated so balance these thoughts with realistic thinking and common sense.

Take advantage of the help that is available around you. If possible, talk to a professional who can help you manage your fears and anxieties. They will be able to provide you with additional advice and insights on how to deal with your current problem. By talking to a professional, a person will be helping themselves in the long run because they will become better able to deal with their problems in the future. Managing your fears and anxieties takes practice. The more you practice, the better you will become.

When managing your fears and anxieties do not try to tackle everything at once. The best solution is to break your fears or problems into a series of smaller steps. Completing these smaller tasks one at a time will make the stress more manageable and increases your chances of success.

Remember that no one can predict the future with one hundred percent certainty. Even if the thing that you feared does happen there are circumstances and factors that you can’t predict which can be used to your advantage. For instance, let’s say at your place of work that you miss the deadline for a project you have been working on for the last few months. Everything you feared is coming true. Suddenly, your boss comes to your office and tells you that the deadline is extended and that he forgot to tell you the day before. This unknown factor changes everything. Remember: we may be ninety-nine percent correct in predicting the future, but all it takes is for that one percent to make a world of difference.

Managing your fears and anxieties will take some hard work. Sooner or later, you will have to confront your fears and anxieties. Remember that all you can do is to do your best each day, hope for the best, and take things in stride. Patience, persistence, education, and being committed in trying to solve your problem will go along way in fixing your problems.


Stan Popovich is the author of “A Layman’s Guide to Managing Fear Using Psychology, Christianity and Non Resistant Methods” – an easy to read book that presents a general overview of techniques that are effective in managing persistent fears and anxieties. For additional information go to:

Relationships Matter Most

The CEO of a California mega firm PIMCO, a $2 trillion investment fund, resigned upon receiving a note from his daughter listing 22 milestones he had missed in her life. His most recently reported annual income was $100 million. His 10 year old daughter’s compelling list of the special moments where he was absent in her life was the turning point to bring a new balance in his work and family relationships. It was the teachable moment for Mr El-Erian.

El-Erian’s said his wake up call was, “My daughter compiled a list of her important events and activities that I had missed due to work commitments. The list contained 22 items, from her first day at school and first soccer match of the season to a parent-teacher meeting and a Halloween parade. I felt awful and got defensive: I had a good excuse for each missed event! Travel, important meetings, an urgent phone call, sudden to-do, but it dawned on me that I was missing an infinitely more important point… I was not making nearly enough time for her.”

El-Erian’s decision has brought better balance in his work/family relationships. He is now chief economic adviser with financial services company, Allianz, where he told Reuters he spends “50 percent of my time and I love it.”

He surrendered the good life for a much better life with less stress and more fulfillment in what matters most—right relationships. El-Erian has upgraded his “investment portfolio” which now prominently includes his daughter. This priceless investment will go on long after El-Rrian is gone to yield dividends for generations to come as well as fulfillment to serve all of them well.

Most young people today are among the majority who do not have a mother and father regularly in their life. Most do not have a mature adult relationship in their life. Their preoccupation is in their impersonal digital and game relationships which is void of personal nurturing relationships.

Family disintegration, absenteeism and the digital pseudo substitute fillers are taking an incalculable and generational toll on the health and well-being of this generation and those to follow. The economic, social, emotional, health, behavioral and addiction costs are having a tsunami impact on the well-being of our culture and nation.What threshold of “pain” and cost will it take for our wake up call?

C.S Lewis, a world class novelist said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts to us in our pain; it is His megaphone that rouses a deaf world.” What it will take for the “deaf” to hear. As a fish desires what’s on the hook, we have no idea what is to come but feel more and more uncertain and aware of the fragility of life.

We are hooked suckers who take the bait. If we are still breathing it is not too late to spit out the hook. Ironically, we change our ways, not when we see the bait, but more often when we feel the “hook.” Not one of us picked our place of birth, nor do we control the variables that shape our future. Fulfillment comes from personal relationships which determine our significance and legacy. If we settle for anything less we are our own thief.

The priceless value of our worth was assigned by God from the beginning of time. When all is said and done, personal relationships with God and others matter most. We can be the difference we want to see in our communities. Seize today to show the better way in personal relationships that matter most.

Robert Lincoln “Bud” Hancock is the author of Designed for a Purpose (1970) His education degrees are: Bachelor of Science from California State University and Masters Degree from University of California. He served as White House Reagan Administration as a SES appointee

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.comCHRISTIAN WRITERS

Keys to a Stronger Marriage

Marriage may not be as easy as you thought but, those who put effort into their marriage will be rewarded with longevity, satisfaction, and growth with the one you love.

Being the best partner possible is not always easy. At times it’s not fair. At times it hurts; it can be lonely. It involves choosing to love your partner whether he or she deserves it or not. It involves continuing the initial vows you made when you began your marriage.

Here are little ways you can strengthen your marriage:

Start each day with a kiss. Decide to begin the day with love.

Wear your wedding ring at all times. Let it be a visual reminder of your commitment.

Go on a date with your spouse once a week. Even if it’s just for coffee, dedicate time for the two of you.

Accept differences. Try to remember that once you thought your spouse’s idiosyncrasies were cute. Your chances of changing them are slim, so decide to live with them.

Be polite. Are you more polite to co-workers or store clerks than you are to the one you love? Practice good manners at home.

Be gentle. Harsh words and actions have no place in your home. Choose to be kind to those you love and who love you.

Give gifts. While diamonds are a girl’s best friend, a card, a single rose, a favorite candy bar can also do the trick.

Smile often. Put on a happy face and let it determine your disposition. Remember how meaningful the glances were which you once gave each other.

Touch. A pat on the back or a soft caress of the cheek can show love and connection.

Talk about dreams. Get your conversation beyond coordinating schedules and talking about the kids. Take time to talk about ideas and dreams.

Give back rubs. Another day you’ll be on the receiving end.

Laugh together. Find something daily to share a laugh about. Life is complete with laughter.

Do what your spouse wants before being asked. Anticipate your spouse’s needs and jump right in to help. Put his or her needs before your own comfort.

Listen. You don’t have to solve problems, just be an active listener. Turn off the TV, put down the newspaper, and give your spouse your full attention.

Encourage. The best way to give support is to encourage your spouse to do his or her best, to feel confident, or accomplish great things.

Call your spouse. Check in with each other throughout the day – just to say Hi or I love you.

Hold hands. Take a walk or watch TV while holding hands.

Look your best. Comfort doesn’t have to be socks and a T-shirt for bed every night.

Apologize. Almost as good as I love you is I’m sorry, forgive me. Marriage isn’t a game where you keep score. It’s not important who’s right.

Ask, What can I do to make you happier? You may be surprised at how simple it is to please your spouse.

Reminisce about your favorite times together. Talk about special times you shared, and create new times together.

Pray for your spouse daily. Don’t let a day go by without praying for your marriage, your spouse, and your family.

Watch sunsets together. Find the beauty in life and share it.

End each day with a hug. Decide to end the day with love.

by Karen McKenney

“If Only…”—Living in the Past

 “No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead” (Philippians 3:13).

I lived in the past, saying, “If only…” or “What if?” I didn’t realise this until the Reverend Elroy Patrick allowed me to see my life in a snapshot by a demonstration he did in service one Sunday.  I personalised the message. 

He used two individuals to hold up the letters I and Y.  The “I” represents me as an individual and the “Y” represents Yaweh (God).  What was standing between I and Y were the letters F O N L.  The letters on their own made no sense but when the cards were put together they created the phrase, “IF ONLY.” I’ve heard this message preached in different ways before but this demonstration brought it home to me.  So I looked within to find some of the, ‘If Only’, statements present in my life and came up with:

  • If only they were in my life teaching me…
  • If only they had not given up their parenting responsibility…
  • If only Mum did not take me out of high school before I was able to do my exams, I would have progressed to teachers college…
  • If only I had returned to Jamaica, earlier, I would have seen my grandma once more before she died…
  • If only I had received the love I craved from my parents, I wouldn’t have had to go looking in all the wrong places and end up latching on to individuals, being used and abused by some…  

My parents weren’t there to protect me from the pain others were inflicting.  Then I realised that the pain I was enduring was causing me to resent my parents because it started with them not being part of my life. That’s where the ‘If only…’ statements began. I had to look within and do a self-assessment. I then realised that it is not about those who inflicted the pain—it’s about me and God.  So everything that was between I and Y (me and God) everything hindering me from having a relationship with God…everything that is non-productive in my life that has been a chain, that’s what has been holding me back.  That represented what has been hindering me from moving forward.

I thought about the letters between the “I” and the “Y” and wondered what they represented on my journey.  I came up with the following:

Fear [I had an unhealthy fear of men because of those who had abused their leadership power in my youthful days];

Obstacles [Everywhere I turned I faced obstacles and after so many hit backs I just wanted to give-in to the oppressors];

Neglect [My parents abandoned me so I felt I wasn’t good enough to be loved by others. I built up a wall of protection, having endured this same neglect from others I looked up to, especially in the church]; and

Lies [I believed the enemies lies that I wasn’t loveable and so I lived a very lonely life].

You too may have your ‘If Only’ moments. They may come at intervals and you may bounce back quickly or they may find you living a less than full-filled life where guilty feelings or shame; resentment or hatred; a feeling of worthlessness from being abandoned or rejected; etc. may cause you to reside in a place of darkness where depression hovers over you. I would like to encourage you to search and hold onto God’s Word for the truth that will set you free (St. John 8:36). It is your hope of release from the enemy’s grip. The enemy’s desire for you and I is that we focus on the things that come between us and God. He does this so that we will have little or no time to focus on and develop our relationship with God.

My aim in sharing my thoughts with you is so that you can recognise and deal with the things that come between you and God. We do have control over the things that comes between us and God. Once we take the time to analyse our lifestyle we will recognise bad habits that we have developed over the years as well as new ones that are being developed. God’s Word will help us to focus our minds on Him and whatever is true, honest, right, lovely and of good report–whatever is praiseworthy–His Word will help us to think on these things (see Philippians 4:8). He will then keep our minds in perfect peace while He completes the work He started in us.

Maybe you too can make your own list of what the letters between I and Y represents in your life and see how God would have you deal with those issues.

Support Your Immune System with Grapes

(Family Features) Boosting immune function through a healthy diet has become an important new focus for many people these days. One key dietary recommendation is to eat more fruits and vegetables each day to improve immune function and prevent heart disease and diabetes. When looking to guide your family to healthier snacks and meals or simply trying to mix up your at-home menu, success can be as simple as rethinking the ingredients you choose to use, including your favorite produce, such as grapes.

Fresh California grapes, for example, make for an ideal snack because they are tasty, healthy, hydrating and refreshing, but grapes can also be used to make good-for-you dishes that are also satisfying and delicious. Grapes of all colors – red, green and black – are a natural source of beneficial antioxidants and other polyphenols. Plus, they are naturally fat-free, cholesterol-free and contain virtually no sodium.

Try recipes like Moroccan Grape and Grilled Chicken Bowls with Grape Vinaigrette, Spiced Chickpeas and Grapes with Yogurt, and Cauliflower Steaks with Grapes to pair heart-healthy grapes with other nutritious ingredients and add variety and fresh appeal in the kitchen.

Visit for more nutritious family recipes.

Moroccan Grape and Grilled Chicken Bowls with Grape Vinaigrette
Servings: 4

1 cup Israeli couscous
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup carrots, thinly sliced
1/2 cup tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup parsley, leaves only
1 1/2 teaspoons ras el hanout (Moroccan spice blend)
1 teaspoon salt

2 chicken breasts (8 ounces each)
1 tablespoon harissa paste
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup green California grapes
1 lemon, juice only
1 preserved lemon, rind only
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
salt, to taste
ground black pepper, to taste

1   cup red California grapes, halved
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted

To make couscous: Cook couscous in boiling salted water. Drain, rinse with cold water and combine with olive oil. Add carrots, tomatoes, parsley leaves, ras el hanout and salt. Mix well and set aside.

To make chicken: Heat grill to medium-high heat.

Rub chicken breasts with harissa paste, olive oil and salt. Grill on both sides until just done. Set aside to cool. Slice into 1/4-inch slices.

To make vinaigrette: In blender, puree green grapes, lemon juice, lemon rind, olive oil and cilantro until smooth. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

Toss couscous mixture with vinaigrette and portion into four bowls. Top with sliced chicken, red grapes and almonds.

Nutritional information per serving: 590 calories; 30 g protein; 44 g carbohydrates; 32 g fat (49% calories from fat); 4.5 g saturated fat (7% calories from saturated fat); 65 mg cholesterol; 720 mg sodium; 3 g fiber.

Spiced Chickpeas and Grapes with Yogurt
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Servings: 4

1   can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed, drained and patted dry
1   cup California grapes
1   tablespoon peanut oil 
1 1/2   teaspoons mustard seeds
1   teaspoon cumin seeds
1   teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4     teaspoon salt, divided
1   pinch red pepper flakes
1   cup low-fat Greek yogurt
1   tablespoon lemon juice
1/2     teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2     garlic clove, grated 
2   tablespoons chopped cilantro
2   tablespoons thinly sliced scallions

In large bowl, mix chickpeas and grapes.

In small skillet, warm oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add mustard seeds and cover. Cook until seeds stop popping then add cumin and fennel seeds; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in 1/8 teaspoon salt and pepper flakes; pour over chickpeas and grapes. Mix well.

In separate bowl, stir yogurt, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic and remaining salt. Spread on serving platter and top with chickpea mixture, cilantro and scallions.

Nutritional information per serving: 220 calories; 11 g protein; 31 g carbohydrates; 6 g fat (25% calories from fat); 1.5 g saturated fat (6% calories from saturated fat); 5 mg cholesterol; 280 mg sodium; 1 g fiber.

Cauliflower Steaks with Grapes
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

1   large head cauliflower, leaves trimmed off
3   tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2   teaspoons finely chopped rosemary
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2     teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1   cup halved California grapes
1/4     cup chopped Castelvetrano olives
2   tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
2   tablespoons chopped, toasted    pistachios

Heat oven to 450 F.

Cut stem off cauliflower and cut remaining head crosswise into four 1-inch-thick slices, keeping as intact as possible. Place on sheet pan and brush sides with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with rosemary, salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Roast until browned and tender, about 25 minutes.
Combine remaining olive oil, remaining pepper, grapes, olives, parsley and pistachios. When cauliflower is roasted, transfer to serving plates and top with grape mixture.

Nutritional information per serving: 210 calories; 5 g protein; 20 g carbohydrates; 14 g fat (60% calories from fat); 2 g saturated fat (9% calories from saturated fat); 0 mg cholesterol; 480 mg sodium; 5 g fiber.

Healthy Eating is Easy with Grapes

Grapes are prized for their taste and crisp, juicy texture, but fresh grapes are also a heart-healthy, hydrating snack choice. Grapes contain more than 1,600 natural plant co

Dating over Zoom? Don’t be surprised if those online sparks fizzle in person

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves… Peter Dazeley/The Image Bank via Getty Images

Sheril Kirshenbaum, Michigan State University

For those dipping their toes into the dating pool during stay-at-home orders, it’s been like swimming in a version of Netflix’s reality series “Love is Blind.”

In the show, contestants must get engaged before ever actually meeting one another in person. And while a lockdown engagement might be a bit extreme, it’s entirely possible that two people have grown to really like one another over the previous weeks and months. Maybe it started with a match on a dating app, followed by flirting over text. Then came regularly scheduled Zoom dates. Perhaps they’ve even started envisioning a future together.

Now, as states start to ease restrictions, some may have broached taking the next step: an in-person rendezvous.

What are the chances that their online connection will lead to true love?

In my book, “The Science of Kissing,” I describe how compatibility requires engaging all of our senses. And absent the touch, taste and smell of a potential partner, people dating online during quarantine have essentially been flying blind.

Muzzled neurotransmitters

Human attraction involves the influence of cues that evolved over millions of years.

On a traditional date in a restaurant or move theater, we actively gather details about someone by walking side by side, holding hands, hugging and – if things get far enough – kissing. These experiences send neural impulses between the brain and body, stimulating tiny chemical messengers that affect how we feel. When two people are a good match, hormones and neurotransmitters bring about the sensations we might describe as being on a natural high or experiencing the exhilaration of butterflies. Finding love isn’t rocket science – it’s anatomy, endocrinology and real chemistry.

One of the most important neurotransmitters involved in influencing our emotions is dopamine, responsible for craving and desire. This natural drug can be promoted through physical intimacy and leads to the addictive nature of a new relationship. Of course, dopamine is just one player in a chemical symphony that motivates behavior. Intimate encounters also promote the release of oxytocin, which creates a sense of attachment and affection, and epinephrine, which boosts our heart rate and reduces stress. There’s also a decrease in serotonin, which can lead to obsessive thoughts and feelings about the other person.

In fact, one study showed that people who report that they’ve just “fallen in love” have levels of serotonin similar to patients suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder. This chemical cocktail can even lead to trouble sleeping or a loss of appetite – symptoms people often attribute to meeting “the one.”

Our noses also play a powerful role in who we fall for. The famous “sweaty t-shirt experiment” reported that a man’s natural scent may influence how women choose a partner. The women in the study nearly always expressed a preference for the odor of men who differed genetically from them in immune response to disease. Scientists theorize that selecting someone with genetic diversity in this region, called the major histocompatibility complex, could be important for producing children with flexible and versatile immune systems.

A kiss can make or break it

While a man’s natural scent may not be something women consciously notice early on in a heterosexual relationship, getting up close and personal can serve as a kind of litmus test for a couple. A kiss puts two people nose to cheek, offering a reliable sample of smell and taste unrivaled by most other courtship rituals. Perhaps that’s one reason a 2007 University of Albany study reported that 59% of men and 66% of women have broken off a budding romance because of a bad first kiss.

Complicating matters, factors that typically grab our attention in person are less obvious to recognize in a witty profile or photo. Studies of online dating behavior reveal superficial features are correlated with the level of interest an individual receives. For example, short-haired women do not tend to get as much attention from men as those with long, straight hair, while men who report a height of six-foot-three or six-foot-four fare better than their peers at interacting with women. The initial focus on appearance promotes pairing based on characteristics that aren’t significant in lasting relationships, compared with more important factors for long-term compatibility, like intimacy and shared experiences.

Still, at a time when many of us are feeling more isolated than ever, online dating does offer some benefits. Quarantine has encouraged men and women to take additional time to learn about each other prior to meeting, sparing the anxiety of rushed physical intimacy.

For some couples, a real-world date will kindle the spark that began online. Many others will realize they’re better suited as friends.

[You need to understand the coronavirus pandemic, and we can help. Read The Conversation’s newsletter.]

Sheril Kirshenbaum, Associate Research Scientist, Michigan State University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

This article was originally published on The Conversation

The Other Woman

Have you ever walked into a church meeting and thought to yourself: ” Wow, Susan looks beautiful….maybe I should buy the same make-up?”
Or why did John choose her as his wife, she looks so ordinary?
Or did you hear a woman preach and thought – why can’t I preach like her?

I will be the first to acknowledge guilt. Often times I struggle to except the reality of who I am. Even though it starts a cycle of criticism in my life, I often struggle to get rid of discontentment thoughts flashing red in my mind, leaving me powerless against the force of negativity that tries to steal my peace in Christ.

The other woman has been a topic of controversy from the beginning of time. Eve could not compete, and decided to give in to the devaluing thoughts that the snake so eagerly dished up for her on a fruit platter. She just couldn’t believe that she was good enough. Since the garden of Eden Satan has used his deception and lies to make women feel less than they ought to be, and the way he does it is very effective.

The other woman has become the measuring stick by which we judge everything we do and everything we are – and if we don’t live up to these impossible standards of perfection, we feel bad. When we feel bad, we start a new diet, enrol for a new course or go for a make-over – anything to help us feel less uncomfortable next to the other woman.

We can never just feel GOOD about ourselves, because there’s always something wrong or out of place. No matter how much we achieve, there is always room for improvement.

Dear woman of God, when did we start believing we are not good enough? Men celebrate us, yet I still meet married women who can’t receive love because they have stretch marks and would rather like to keep the light switched off. There are photos of women everywhere, billboards and advertisements – even the world is captivated by us – yet we still lack confidence.

When did we start discerning women according to the flesh and not the spirit? When did our friends become the other woman?

As women of faith we should not allow our thoughts to be infiltrated with the filth of comparison and idealism. We are not called to think of ourselves as victims, but victorious and righteous in Christ. We are saved to reign over the spirit of comparison and not be distracted by the devil’s devices to cause disunity in the church. Our focus should be to pray, bless, embrace and love ourselves and our friends. We are empowered to not let the other woman steal our intimacy with Jesus. Discontentment does not come from the Father, but from the enemy who is trying to rob us of our identity in Christ.

Through Jesus we are no longer under the curse of Eve, where we can’t help but to eat the fruit of deception. We don’t have to continuously feel as we have to become wiser or more beautiful, and we don’t have to allow the snake to entice us with the same lie he imprisoned Eve with: Did God really say… are good enough? This lie is the first of many, and not welcome in a household of faith. God redeemed us from wanting and longing. He satisfies our mouth with good things, and He covers us with His love and acceptance. Nothing can separate us from His love – not even the other woman.

Lets trample on the snake – crush his head, and live in the victory, love and acceptance of Jesus Christ, with no other woman dictating our thought life and no other agenda except to love ourselves and others.

Ps 139:13-18 (Amp)

For You did form my inward parts; You did knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I will confess and praise You for You are fearful and wonderful and for the awful wonder of my birth! Wonderful are Your works, and that my inner self knows right well.
My frame was not hidden from You when I was being formed in secret [and] intricately and curiously wrought [as if embroidered with various colors] in the depths of the earth [a region of darkness and mystery].
Your eyes saw my unformed substance, and in Your book all the days [of my life] were written before ever they took shape, when as yet there was none of them.
How precious and weighty also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
If I could count them, they would be more in number than the sand.

Laetitia is a writer, wife, business woman and teacher, exploring truths about the gospel through real-life experiences, always pointing to the goodness and grace of God. Her passion is to help others be crowned with the wisdom of God’s glory, especially women.

Abstinence is a Good Thing

Christina Sizemore is a real life example of how abstinence can work and how it is a good thing. At the age of 14 through the prompting of her church, her youth group, her family, and a commitment through Teen Mania, Christina made a commitment to herself and to God to abstain from sex until marriage. She was able to keep this commitment through junior high, high school, college, and even through a marriage engagement that was called off.

Christina is now married to a wonderful man, who honored that commitment with her. She shares her testimony, “There are guys that have that same commitment, but just because you have that same commitment doesn’t mean it is easy.” She admits that being in a relationship with someone that has that same commitment helps, because it makes it easier in times when you are weak.

“There are times when it is not easy,” and just saying, “I won’t put myself in that position,” doesn’t always work. Christina suggests that having this commitment in your heart, prayer, and other things besides just ‘not putting yourself into the place’ is what she has used to help her through the abstinence years. She assures all, “Waiting is worth it.”

Abstinence can become a commitment even if you have had sex. One of Chris’ friend’s husbands told his wife, “Had I known you were going to be my wife, I would have waited for you.” The gift of sex is a wonderful gift to give your husband or wife. The idea that your future husband or wife is very special, sharing this specialness by waiting can help you when you are trying to abstain.

It is easy to say, “But we are getting married,” and try to justify premarital sex, but Christina explains her situation. “I was engaged to another man, I had a dress, I had a venue, we were going through marriage counseling when I called off the wedding. That happens to real people. I didn’t sleep with him and I am glad I didn’t because he was not my husband. It doesn’t matter if you are engaged or planning on getting married,” Chris states, “You are not married until you are married. My virginity is something that I am giving up to someone who does not deserve it, if they are not my husband.”

Christina’s mom, Bridgette Mongeon encouraged and expected the commitment from Christina. When she would tell others what her daughter was trying to do many, many people thought the idea was ludicrous. One person said that they believed they their son you should “try on the shoe.” “I was livid,” states Bridgette. “My daughter is not a shoe. She is an incredible, precious woman. It bothered me even more that this was a woman who was the mother of a boy my daughter was dating. What values had she instilled in her son?”

Boundaries can’t be pushed. Each time you let down one boundary you get closer to what you don’t want to do. And Chris says there were people she was accountable to, and people who were praying for them as a couple. “I’m not sure they were praying ‘don’t let them have sex,’ but I know people were praying for us.” Bridgette assures her daughter, “Yes, we were praying don’t let them have sex, sometimes when I knew you were alone, I would pray that you would feel uncomfortable, or I would pray one would be strong when the other was weak.” She also let her daughter’s betrothed know what her expectations were of him. “There was no mincing words, they knew what I expected of her, they were sure to know that I understood her commitment and that if the betrothed respected their relationship, and a future relationship, he would respect that commitment as well.”

As a couple there were times when one person would have to be strong when the other was tempted or weak. “That is why it is important to have someone who has made that same commitment,” states Christina. When you have someone who is just waiting because you are waiting, they figure maybe you have changed your mind, and then they don’t help you through your weakness.” Helping with your partners abstinence is a loving and honoring thing to do for one another, it demonstrates character. She does state, “There is an end to the wait. If you wait until after you are married, you can have all of the sex you want. It is worth the wait.”

But people don’t believe that she had not had sex. It is not a common thing and she had to try to convince some people who have asked.

Bridgette states, “We are numb to it, premarital sex is expected and it is accepted.” But she suggests that parents change their minds, gain some courage, and tell their children, “I expect you not to have sex.” Give them something to live up to. Be open about the topic of sex, let them talk about it and encourage open communication, but let them know what you expect of them.

Christina agrees that having parents that are open to talk about sex is imperative. “Don’t let it be an uncomfortable experience. Talk about the biology, your own experiences, and it is important for kids to know it is important to talk about it.” She also assures us that 14 was not too young to discuss such things. Some kids are having sex as young as in the 6th grade.

It is our biological nature to want to reproduce. It is almost unnatural for us to not have sex, and kids need to know that. But Bridgette suggests that dating couples should also discuss their feelings that go with abstinence. A man may feel like he is less of a man, if he does not pursue sex, a women may wake up one morning and feel like she is less desirable. There is a psychological assurance that must go along with abstinence. Communication will help to make it easier.

What if you are having sex in a relationship and decide that is not how you want the relationship to continue? Christina suggests accountability and if your partner is not willing to hear what your heart’s desire is for abstinence, perhaps you should think twice about staying with that person. They might just not be the one for you. The commitment has to be between the two of you with God. An individual commitment as well as one made together. Abstinence is not easy, but it is also not impossible, and it can make a relationship stronger. In Chris’ opinion, “It is so worth it.”

by Bridgette Mongeon  

What we’ve learned from working at home

The recent transition to widespread working from home has shown that the experience has been both educational and eye-opening for many. Working at home means learning to cope with distractions, space constraints, managing time with family and learning new skills. And, according to new consumer research, it has also meant reassessing what is most important.

A nationwide survey conducted by Wakefield Research on behalf of LG Electronics reveals the many ways working from home has challenged and surprised Americans.

Connecting with loved ones

The most striking survey results show the importance of close relationships. Social distancing has caused many to reassess who is most important to them, and how much they may have taken friends and family for granted.

The global health crisis has turned socializing into a more deliberate act. More than half (53%) of homebound people said they felt closer to loved ones than before the outbreak, and 27% even said that they felt much more connected than before.

When asked what they want to do first when the crisis is over, the top answer was to visit loved ones, followed by going out to a meal.

Managing work-life balance

For many people, juggling priorities and obligations was difficult even before the switch to remote working. But having to work at home has shined a brighter spotlight on how we cope and find a healthy work-life balance.

Here are some of the tricks people have discovered:

  • Half said they take frequent short breaks to balance work and home responsibilities.
  • 37% are starting work earlier, while 17% are starting work later to manage schedules better.
  • 35% are learning to keep their whole household to a schedule.
  • 23% use visual cues (like signs) to let others know when they’re working.

Mastering technological challenges

Most people affected by the crisis say they have had to master (or learn from scratch) how to complete their work entirely from home, including the new norm of conducting video conferences from somewhere in their home.

Technology has been crucial to this adaptation. Almost half (47%) have discovered a new app or service they say they now can’t live without — especially video chat apps that have helped them learn how to communicate better with colleagues and loved ones.

As one might expect, a majority of respondents admitted to making conference calls from a common area in their house. However, some said they were stuck calling from a makeshift workspace in a lesser-used part of home. One-fifth of respondents admitted to calling from a basement or attic, while others said they took work on the go. The research shows 18% have called from their cars, and perhaps most surprisingly, 12% admit taking work calls in the bathroom.

For many, the time they’ve spent working at home has helped them appreciate how successfully technology has kept them connected on all fronts, including their work and personal lives.

Reevaluating life’s priorities

Overall, the experience of working from home has had everyone reassessing what — and who — is most important to them. Among those who said they’ve discovered new apps, digital services or technology, many said that they were spending significant time using it for family or relationship management.

An overwhelming number of survey respondents said that they plan to continue at least one of their new practices even after returning to a “normal” work situation, including:

  • 39% plan to do more cooking.
  • 43% said they’re likely to arrange more family dinners.
  • 39% also said they would do more video chatting.

As a result of spending some more time at home, many have been rethinking their priorities, with nearly half considering buying or using fewer things. Some (16%) have thought about beginning a new career, and others are considering starting their own business (14%).

No matter what your work-from-home experience has been, chances are it’s changed your attitudes about work and family life — and how to balance the two — in ways that will stay with you long into the future.

The LG WFH Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research among 1,000 U.S. adults, working from home due to COVID-19, between April 10 and April 15, 2020, using an email invitation and an online survey.

Now’s the Time to Teach At-Home Nutrition

(Family Features) With a lot of parents facing the challenge of keeping housebound kids happy and healthy, this is the perfect time to teach kids the basics of nutrition and eating right.

Consider these simple suggestions from Melanie Marcus, MA, RD, health and nutrition communications manager for Dole Food Company.

  • Healthy Snack Time Taste Tests – Sometimes it feels like kids can snack all day long on easy-to-grab crackers, chips or cookies. Next time they reach into the snack pantry, try incorporating a taste test or food critic activity to encourage something different and more nutritious.
  • Purposeful Playtime – Many households have a play kitchen or some kind of play food. Use this as an opportunity to act out how to create a healthy kitchen with activities like making salad, setting the table, peeling bananas and washing dishes. This can help young children become more independent, learn what to expect and grow into little helpers at family mealtime.
  • Sensory Activity – One idea that can work for school and at home is making a sensory box. Simply place a fruit or two inside a tissue box and have children put their hands inside then try to guess which fruit it is by feeling it.
  • Recipes for Fun – If you’re preparing a meal, it could be a good time to teach children of reading age how to review a recipe. Evaluating ingredients to learn how food transforms from raw to cooked or how a dish is created can help kids learn kitchen skills. For example, try this fun, fruity recipe for Kids with Almond Toast.
  • Food Groups Focus – Get kids involved in making dinner by setting a rule that each food group must be represented. Give them a warmup activity by asking which food groups are found in family favorites like chicken soup, lasagna or meatloaf. Asking kids to guess which ingredients are used in these dishes and identifying which food group each ingredient belongs to can help them understand dietary balance. Find more at-home tips in the free, downloadable Healthy Eating Toolkit from the nonprofit organization Action for Healthy Kids.
  • Reading Time – From food labels to children’s books to cookbooks, there are plenty of reading materials to choose from that reinforce healthy eating habits. Exposing children to fruits and vegetables outside the kitchen is a subtle way to show that nutritious ingredients are part of everyday life.
  • Explain the Bathroom Routine – Make sure to wash hands and explain that this is a way of washing away germs to stay healthy. Also explain why brushing teeth is important by reminding children that food can get stuck in teeth and cause cavities.

Find more kid-friendly recipe ideas at plus nutritional tips, free printables and other healthy fun on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram.

“Kids” with Almond Toast
Total time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4

4 slices whole-grain bread
6 tablespoons unsalted almond butter
2 teaspoons honey (optional)
1 DOLE(r) Banana, peeled
2 Dole Strawberries, trimmed and halved
4 chunks (1 1/2 inches) fresh Dole Tropical Gold Pineapple
2 Dole Blackberries
2 teaspoons toasted flaxseed (optional)

Toast bread slices. Spread with almond butter and drizzle with honey, if desired.

To make “kids”: Cut eight slices and 32 matchsticks from banana. Arrange one strawberry half and one pineapple chunk on two slices toast; arrange remaining strawberry halves and blackberries on remaining slices. Place one banana slice “head” at top of each piece of fruit and arrange four banana matchsticks around each “kid” for arms and legs. Sprinkle flaxseed along bottom edges of toast under kids’ feet, if desired.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (mother and daughter)

Come Out Of That Mental Prison

Jesse did not think he was much of a speaker. He stuttered a lot since he was a child, especially when he was nervous. This was something he was conscious of and felt embarrassed about. But he could not say opportunity. Two weeks ago he was invited to share something positive with inmates  at the prison where he served a twelve year sentence.

Jesse whispered a silent prayer asking God for his help as he alighted his vehicle.  He became very emotional as he entered the prison gate.  After security checks, he was escorted to a room with prison guards and inmates. He  greeted the guards and chatted briefly  with  some of his former inmates .

The moment came, it was Jesse’s turn to speak. He began his presentation nervously; afraid to make eye contact, head down reading from his notes. He told of a conversation he had five years ago with an elderly lady. This woman was a regular visitor to the prison, but he only agreed to speak with her a few days before he was released.

He recounted that at first he told her he was not into the religious mumbo jumbo stuff. However, what she shared with him gave him more than a glimmer of hope, even though at that time he acted as though her words had no affect on him. 

As Jesse continued he became more relaxed and confident. He took his eyes from his notes, lifted his head, looked to his attentive audience  and spoke from his heart.

This is what Jesse said, “I want to say to you the same thing this elderly woman said to me. My friends, do not live in two prisons. In other words you are already in a physical prison, but you do not have to live also in a mental prison.

A mental prison where you allow your past mistakes to keep you bound. Perhaps not all of you are in a mental prison. But to the ones who are, I want to encourage you to step out of that mental prison. Today if you have limited yourself I challenge and encourage to set a goal, be the best you can be.  

Friends make use of the resources available to improve your lives. Step out of that mental prison; go finish that high school diploma, go ahead get the degree, go polish your talents and abilities, write that poem, that song, play that instrument, sing, and dance. Each one of you have a God- given talent. Go on learn something new. Go write that person who you need to apologize to, the one you hurt. Do not be afraid of rejection. Go ahead feel remorse it does not make you a weak person. 

Go on reach out to your son, your daughter. Go on forgive your father, your mother, that person who hurt you, yes the one who abandoned you, the one you took the fall for ,who has never visited you, those who lied on you, yes the one who abused you. Forgive them.  

Forgive yourself. Go ahead love yourself. Stop feeling guilty about loving yourself. Stop punishing yourself. Take care of yourself,  pay attention to your health, ask to see the prison doctor. Inspite of what you have done. You have a purpose. You have potential. You can still make a positive contribution right here; starting in the lives of each other.

Friends, I use to think very little of myself. I  thought I would never be able to speak in front of an audience. I thought I would never be able to move pass the fact that I committed a crime. Here I am! I came out of that mental prison.

Join me! Yes I have struggled, but I found a friend in the Lord Jesus Christ. This same Jesus who said I do not condemn you, go and sin no more to the woman caught in adultery. This woman was brought to Jesus by her accusers. They wanted him to pronounce judgment upon her, but Jesus showed her mercy. Jesus is saying to you that he does not condemn you even if the accusations made against you are true.

Jesus offers you forgiveness because he died for your sins and mine. He offers you the gift of salvation (deliverance) so that sin and sinful desires will no longer dominate you. My Friends, you can  experience mental and spiritual freedom in this physical prison.”

Jesse ended by saying, “Friends, I encourage you to reach out to Jesus. He is reaching out to you… Jesus loves you and he cares about you.” 

 By Tesse Wilson  

All good gifts come from the Lord. Tesse is happy to be gifted by the Lord to write. It is her prayer that her writings will bless, encourage and inspire others. Thank God for his Spirit who gives inspiration and his grace which enables her. 

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Cold Eggs Never Killed Anyone

I have taken on this season of being a stay at home mom and wife with a sense of purpose … I really do believe that this is exactly where God wants me right now.

So in that spirit , I have obeyed God with a small but never the less a calling to get up early and make my family a hot breakfast and read from the book “Jesus Calling” … I know it may not seem like a big thing but when my bed is all nice and cozy and with fall rolling in and it staying darker longer … being the first one out of bed when I don’t have a time card to punch … really does take a bit of a push … I’m not bleeding or agonizing or in any sort of pain … but it is an effort on my part.

So with this “gift” that I am giving to my family I guess I sort of imagined everyone would come running downstairs as soon as they could to get their hot breakfast I labored over and just gloat about what a wonderful wife and mother I am.

So when I noticed my husband and then my son started coming down later and later each day and it started getting to be a routine that I was serving them cold eggs … it started to get a little under my skin. Not in a big way but just in that little annoying voice that says ” it does not even matter what you do … serving them breakfast is not really any big deal ” .

So I decided to say something … but not really in a direct way but kind of a read-through-the-lines type of way … like “well you must like eating cold eggs because it seems you are just getting later and later every morning.”

Well , my timing sucked. Because for whatever ingenious reasoning I had I decided to say this the morning of my husbands birthday. Now , I did not rant or rave or make a hissy … but you know it was just the “tone” and very soon after I realized I set the tone for the day … on my husband’s birthday.

My husband is not perfect by any means, nor am I , but I can tell you one thing … he is a great man who I am proud of. He tells me I am beautiful , he supports all my decisions , he works hard , he is a dedicated and responsible man and father … I am blessed to have him.

Did I feel a little erked he did not skip down the stairs to eat my hot breakfast singing my praises … well , yes. But luckily , I have a God who allowed me to see how silly and pretty darn critical I was being … so I get up early and I make breakfast … I will continue to do so and I won’t do it for any reason other than it is my small way of giving back to God and to my family. If the eggs are cold when they come down … they will get the picture and realize if they want a hot breakfast they better come down earlier . After all , no one ever died over cold eggs and in the big scheme of things it really does not matter.

We have the power to speak life into others … I am reminded to chose my words and refrain my tongue when it does not serve a higher purpose … I certainly can not do this on my own ability but pressing into God I can. It is a small thing, I know … but the small things all really add up to big things and make our life what it is. I want to , I desire to make those small moments matter … after all my words will have more impact on my family than my eggs.

My family and I recently moved across the US from NV to CT.  This has brought about great change in our lives as well as in my own personal walk with God. I have re-discovered an old love of mine in this process - writing. I appreciate your feedback. Thanks for reading.

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7 Facts to Know About God

He Frustrates the Plans of Those Against Him:

 The LORD bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: he maketh the devices of the people of none effect.(Psalm 33:10)

He Creates with Spoken Words:

 As soon as he spoke the world was created; at his command, the earth was formed. (Psalm 33:9)

 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.(Genesis 1:3)

He is Faithful:

God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.(1 Corinthians 1:9)

He is Not the Author of Confusion:

 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.(1Corinthians 14:33)

He is Longsuffering:

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.(2Peter 3:9)  

He is Holy:

But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;(1Peter 1:15)

Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.(1Peter 1:16)

He is Merciful:

The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.(Psalm 103:8) 

He Loves the World and Everyone in It:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.(John 3:16) 

 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (John 3:17 )

Your Kids Carry Seeds Of Greatness; Do Not Give Up On Them by Daniel Dela Dunoo

In my relatively short life, I have observed a couple of young men and women who were once my school mates; many struggled through school. Some were downright academically poor where as others made consistently poor grades because they were simply not serious with their academics; they seemed a hopeless bunch. A couple of years down the line, I am more than impressed by what they have made of their lives. I look at their lives now but see no correlation between what they once were and what they are now. As a matter of fact, it will seem as though such individuals have always been smart, intelligent, serious minded and purpose driven.

When the names of some of the world`s great achievers are mentioned, many assume these persons were actually geniuses from childhood. Many think such individuals had very bright and promising beginnings. And yes, some obviously had great beginnings. However, there are also scores of famous and well accomplished personalities who were once considered unintelligent. For some, authority figures in their sphere of contact who should have known better actually thought they were hopeless to such an extent that it will be impossible for them to amount to anything in life. In this piece I have opted to briefly share the remarkable stories of six of such individuals. It is hoped that kids, parents, teachers and society at large will find these stories inspiring, thought-provoking and instructive.

Albert Einstein: A world-renowned scientist, theoretical physicist and the 1921 Nobel Prize winner for Physics. Reliable records reveal that as a boy Einstein`s grades were so poor that a teacher asked him to quit, saying, “Einstein, you will never amount to anything.”

Ludwig Van Beethoven: He was one of the most celebrated classical music composers of all time. His music teacher once said of him, “as a composer, he is hopeless.” He lived to prove his teacher`s opinion of him wrong.

Thomas Edison: He was a prolific inventor and an entrepreneur par excellence. He is especially world famous for his invention of light bulb. As a boy, his academic performance was so poor that he was told by his teacher that he was too stupid to learn anything.

Isaac Newton: He is one of the most celebrated scientists and mathematics to have ever walked on this plane of life. While in grade school as a kid, he was so weak academically that his teachers gave up on improving his grades.

Brian Tracy: A bestselling author, top sales speaker, trainer and consultant. He is also the founder and president of Brian Tracy International. He writes of his days in high school: “I didn`t graduate from high school. In fact, I behaved so badly in high school that I was suspended and eventually expelled from three different schools.”

What is the lesson in all this? These notable achievers and several others like them refused to accept the humiliating labels that were placed on them and refused to settle for what seemed to have been their lot. They broke free from the stereotypical mold and charted noble courses for themselves. I wish to submit that a persons current status or quality of life isn`t final; change is the only constant. Consequently, no parent should ever give up on his or her ward. No teacher should ever give up on his or her pupils and students. Students and pupils should never give up on themselves and should never look down on their peers. Within every human being are seeds of greatness. With the right environment, these seeds will germinate, grow and blossom.

Daniel Dela Dunoo is a I am a freelance writer/editor, blogger & a published author and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theology from the University of Wales, UK. 
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