Advice for expectant parents

Our guests address the common concerns of moms and dads-to-be, and explain how a couple can be intentional about their marriage both during pregnancy and after the birth of their baby.

Holding onto hope during separation

Best-selling author Gary Chapman offers insights and hope from his new book, One More Try: What to Do When Your Marriage is Falling Apart.

Breaking the busyness habit

Pastor Brady Boyd warns of the relational dangers of excessive busyness as he describes how being driven by numerous ministry duties almost cost him his marriage and family.


How Technology Addiction Is Changing Childhood

Is a generation of kids missing out on a childhood of exploration and outdoor fun because of technology? The granola bar company Nature Valley has released this ad that asks three generations of people in several different families the same question: When you were a kid, what did you do for fun? While parents and grandparents talked about things like fishing, forests and baseball, many of today’s children discussed the hours they spent on mobile devices and playing video games. Sure, it’s a granola bar ad (and not exactly a scientific survey), but it’s still pretty a sobering commentary on how technology is changing the ways we spend our time.


Celebrating pregnancy

Carey Wickersham, author of The Wonder Within You, encourages the expectant mom to celebrate every week of her pregnancy by marveling at the amazing changes happening with her growing baby.

A tennis racket and new tennis ball on a freshly painted tennis court

When to let a child quit a team sport

A great article from

You’ve paid the fee. You’ve bought the cleats, the uniform, all the equipment, the shin pads – you name it. You shuttled him to and from practice. You cheered him on in the hot sun, you watched him fail in the mud puddle-filled field in that torrential downpour. Now your child wants to quit the team.

We’re trained to believe we’re not quitters. We believe we should stick it out, and so should our children. When is it ok to let your child quit a team sport?

Talk to Your Child

Why does she want to quit? What’s going on? Are kids picking on her? Does she feel unsuccessful? Is she bored? Having discussed these questions, ask yourself what your philosophy is. Is your family a “we don’t quit at any cost” type of family? Depending on the situation, you might want to encourage your child to stick with it.

If your family believes it’s ok to try something, see if you like it and if not it’s ok to move on to something you do, then do that. Other families have a definite “Finish what you start” philosophy. So, for example, if your child wants to quit a six-week session of soccer, consider encouraging her to keep with it until the session is over. Then she can move on.

Consider What You Want Your Child to Take Away from This

Is the take-away that, “gosh, martial arts was a lot of work and somewhere around brown or red belt I really wanted to give up, but my mom made me stick with it and now I’m a black belt – look what I have achieved”? Or is it, “I learned some cool self-defense moves but I don’t want to do this four nights a week for the next three years because I want to take guitar lessons”?

Whatever you decide, realize this will be a life lesson for your child. It might give your child the freedom to say, “You know, law school wasn’t what I thought it would be and I’d feel more fulfilled teaching high school history,” or it could mean the difference between completing that PHD and having an unfinished dissertation.

Teaching your child that it’s easy to walk away when things get tough isn’t a good lesson, but teaching a child that she has options and doesn’t have to stick with something that is making her miserable when there are other alternatives is a good lesson.

Some Guidelines

Whatever you decide, remind your child that it’s important to finish what you start and see things through. People need to be able to count on you and a team needs every member for a reason. On the other hand, if there’s a really good reason your child may want to quit the team, talk it over, consider all sides and make an informed decision.

Deciding when or if to quit a team sport is a tough decision that parents and children should work on together. There are a lot of pros and cons to consider and it’s important to weigh all sides and be sure you’ve been there to watch him or her at games and practices so you understand the situation as best you can. Whatever your decision, go with your gut. Know that your instincts are probably right, and you’re a good parent. Good luck.


The Kindness Tree

Tell me this is not a good idea. In the June/July issue of Thriving Family, Danielle Beerli came up with this amazing idea to help children think about their everyday actions.

We wanted to help our children concretely think about their actions. So we asked each child to cut a tree trunk out of construction paper, write her name on it and hang it on a wall. Then we cut out leaves. On each leaf, we wrote a different action, such as letting another person go first or helping a sibling do a chore. We left some leaves blank to write other random acts of kindness later. Every time a child would do something kind for someone, a leaf would be added to her tree. This activity helped our kids think about ways to be kind to others.

Thriving Family is a digital magazine published by Focus on the Family and you can download the Thriving Family App for free from HERE.


Overcoming hurt as a couple

parrottsAnother great article by Drs Les and Leslie Parrott

It hadn’t been a good morning. Just before breakfast they had blown up at each other.

“You are so self-centered and insensitive,” she told him.

“Well, you overreact to everything,” he retorted.

She wanted to take some time to talk about the situation. He couldn’t get out of there fast enough. Before they hopped in separate cars to drive to work, each got in a few final jabs on the fly.

Truth be told, the argument had been building up over several weeks, maybe even months.

Linda thought about all the times Ron was preoccupied with his job, his friends, his hobbies, his favorite team — anything other than her. She began to wonder, “Does he really love me anymore? If he really loved me, would he treat me this way?”

Ron was irritable when he got to work that morning.

“What’s gotten into Linda?” he wondered. “She’s really turned into a nag — just like her mother!”

That morning both Ron and Linda felt terribly alone. They both wondered if they were going to make it as a couple. With their hurts running so deep, marriage loomed over them like an endurance contest.

I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love. –Mother Teresa

Have you ever felt that way?

If not, you have certainly felt the stinging pain, if only briefly, of something your spouse said or did.

With marriage comes pain. It’s part of the package.

Whenever we are hurt, we usually see ourselves as innocent victims. Someone has done us an injustice, and now we’re left to pick up the pieces. While it’s true we may be victims, we are not helpless victims.

We can choose how we’ll respond. We can either choose to be angry, self-righteous and resentful, or we can choose to rise above the negativity and forgive our spouse and pursue unity.

That’s what this proverb is all about: forgiveness. Unless we live in total denial, it’s the only way to cover over all wrongs. And it begins when we free ourselves from any vindictiveness and desire to hurt back. The Apostle Paul sums it up in a straight-forward way: “Never pay back evil for evil . . . do not seek revenge,” (Romans 12:17-19).


3 words our kids need us to believe

An article from Dr Joshua Straub – you can read more of his articles at

We were at dinner a few months back with our dear friends, Adam and Stephanie. They have a son, Aiden, only three months older than our son, Landon. These boys have been best buddies since the day they were born.

Okay I confess, with the friendship Adam and I have, they don’t have much of a choice.

I remember walking out from dinner that night beside Adam who was carrying Aiden on his shoulders. Landon held my hand beside me.

On our way through the parking lot I heard Adam ask, “Aiden, whose got it?”

Aiden emphatically shouted, “God’s got it.”

Now you see why we trust our son with these friends. On our way home that night I started teaching Landon the same principle, that no matter the circumstances in our lives we can trust that God’s got it.

However, this lesson didn’t go quite as smoothly in the Straub household. Every night I put Landon down to bed in the weeks following I would ask him, “Whose got it?”

“Whandon’s got it!” he would cheerfully say.

Not once could I get him to say, “God’s got it.”

Confused, I asked Christi one day, why she thought he kept doing that. That’s when the light bulb went on, “Josh” she said, “Every time I ask him to do a task around the house, I’ll encourage him by saying ‘You can do this; you got it buddy.’”

Hence, Landon’s got it.

We tried a few more times after that, but the saying slowly faded as we simply jumped right into our nighttime prayers for the next few months.

Until about two weeks ago—at the dinner table.

We were going through some pretty difficult times that had me more stressed and anxious than I am comfortable admitting. With much going on, Landon and I sat down for dinner while Christi tended to Kennedy in another room.

Focused on my dinner, I was clearly not my normal self with Landon that night, because out of nowhere, while eating his own dinner, he nonchalantly says, “God’s got it, dad.”

What?! I couldn’t believe it. The first time our two-year-old says, “God’s got it” is to me not for me—perhaps to tell me that if I’m going to teach it to him, I’d better live it too.

I’m not sure if he intended that, but it worked.

And truth be told, all of the anxiety I had about the situation was finally resolved this week in a way that only God could have pulled off.

Yes Landon, God’s got it.

Since that night I’ve learned two reasons why our kids need us to believe those three simple words:

1. The biggest culprit to being emotionally present and enjoying playful moments with our kids is worry.

When we’re worried, our brain goes into fight or flight mode, causing us to fixate on what we’re anxious about. The more attention we give the fear, the less we give to our kids.

Simply put, worry robs us from the joyful moments of play our kids crave from us.

2. No matter what you’re going through right now, God’s got it.

Do you trust him?

Or, for the piece of humble pie I received, here’s a better question: If I asked your kids if you trust him, what would they tell me?


How to overcome tough times

Drs Les and Leslie Parrott have some really good advice for couples and how to overcome the tough times.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Romans 8:35,37

Every good marriage eventually bumps into something bad.

It may be infertility, financial debt, emotional turmoil, or even something as earth shaking as infidelity.

Problems are inevitable. No couple is immune.

And once a couple runs into some serious bad things they are not likely to recover quickly. Not generally, anyway. Slow progress is the typical course; steadily building one marriage accomplishment upon another, like a game that is won one play at a time, or a building that is built brick by brick.

Smart couples don’t expect the world to fall into their laps. It never has. But somewhere deep in the soul of every marriage, a husband and wife will find what Orison Marden calls their “slumbering powers.”

These astonishing powers, when awoken, will rise up, look bad fortune in the face, and begin to revolutionize their relationship.

It may be a gradual revolution, but it is a trust-building, heart-healing, love-renewing revolution, just the same.

A difficult time can be more readily endured if we retain the conviction that our existence holds a purpose – a cause to pursue, a person to love, a goal to achieve. –John Maxwell

We’ve been on a quest for some time to discover what good couples do right in the midst of battling their calamities. And among other things, we found that these couples do at least two things:

Good Couples Take Responsibility for the Good as well as the Bad. They don’t believe their problem rests with the other person. They don’t waste their time pointing out each other’s flaws and foibles. They admit their own mistakes so their partner doesn’t have to.
Good Couples Believe that Good Wins Over Bad. They plant a seeding of hope in their relationship and allow its tiny roots, in time, to sprout optimism. And that optimism about their future together gives them a picture they can hang on to even in tough times.

This very short list is a tall order for mere married mortals, but, with God’s help, it is within reach.