Your Teenager Is Not Crazy – but they may trigger you something awful!

Your Teenager Is Not Crazy – but they may trigger you something awful!

I usually invite my guests to sit with me (figuratively) on that comfy orange couch in my living room, but today’s friend agreed to join me (literally) at a conference, and I was so blessed by her wisdom and fellowship I wanted to bring you into our conversation. Last week, Jerusha Clark and I shared a booth at The Great Homeschool Convention with my book, Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses rubbing shoulders with her most recent release, Your Teenager Is Not Crazy: Understanding Your Teen’s Brain Can Make You a Better Parent. What I learned, as we conversed with moms both separately and together, is that teenagers can be a trigger in their very own category! However, like every trigger that Amber Lia and I address in our book, the more you know about your triggers, the less likely you are to be triggered by them. Same is true for the teen who’s pushing boundaries, talking back, and looking for their growing sense of autonomy and independence there in your home. The more you understand their developing brain, the more grace and help you can offer them as they grow. Welcome, Jerusha!       The Biological Trigger Most Parents Don’t Even Know Exists… by Jerusha Clark   Ever heard of mirror neurons? Neither had I, until I started trying to understand the teenagers living in my house, that is.  Turns out, these tiny brain cells play a major role in parenting anyone from 11-25 years of age.  Yeah, they’re kind of a big deal. God created mirror neurons to help your kids (and you!) learn by...
Say yes to reading this summer

Say yes to reading this summer

Say Yes to Reading by Kelli Stuart   We pushed open the door and a bell chimed over our heads. The shop smelled musty and old, but somehow that only adds to the nostalgia of this particular memory. My mom would set me loose into the shop with a bag to fill with the treasures I found, and off I’d go, wandering through the shelves like I’d entered a new land.   We were in a used book shop.   Mom would take me to this old shop at the beginning of every summer and let me pick out a stack of books to get me through the coming days. We’d go just before our vacation, when long stretches of time in the car provided ample, uninterrupted reading time.     Ten dollars went a long way in this old book shop, and I’d come home with stacks of treasured books, begging to take me away to far off places. Mom would usually give me one book and tell me to savor it. Then she’d hide the rest until it was time to leave for vacation so that I wouldn’t tear through all of them before we left. Sometimes I long for those carefree summer days again, when I’d come in from the pool all sticky and tired, and I’d curl up under a blanket by the window and read. There weren’t the distractions of social media, or television, and I certainly wasn’t responsible for anyone else but myself back then. I could just sit and read. All day. As an adult, I still get a similar flutter of...
The Shepherds – Day 22 – a holiday haiku

The Shepherds – Day 22 – a holiday haiku

Welcome to Day 22 of our Holiday Haiku Challenge One of the joys of the season is reading again the account of the very first Christmas. The star, the wisemen, the angel chorus, and the shepherds keeping watch. Here is a fresh translation: An Event for Everyone (Luke 2:8-20, MSG) There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.” At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises: Glory to God in the heavenly heights, Peace to all men and women on earth who please him. As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over. “Let’s get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us.” They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the sheepherders were amazed. Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The sheepherders returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned...
Christmas Contentment – Day 21 – Holiday Haiku Challenge

Christmas Contentment – Day 21 – Holiday Haiku Challenge

Welcome to our 23rd day of the Holiday Haiku Challenge Today’s haiku challenge is to write 17 poetic syllables inspired by the often ellusive concept,   Christmas Contentment   My dear friend Amber Lia shares a personal story on the subject, then wraps it up at the end with a haiku. If you are inspired, leave your own #holidayhaiku in the comment thread below.   Christmas Contentment By Amber Lia   My husband thought it was a fun idea to put a pink feather boa and other gag gifts in my Christmas stocking that first year of marriage. Meanwhile, I thoughtfully wrapped all his favorite things. Ten years later, he still struggles with what to get me. Just today, I bought a gift from him, for me. He’ll wrap it. I’ll be happy and he won’t have to sleep on the couch. Just kidding. Sort of. Like you, I want Christmas to be less about “stuff” and more about rejoicing over the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, but even with my best intentions, I can become disappointed when holidays roll around. My prayer for 2015 was that I would hunger and thirst for righteousness more than anything else. I wanted to grow in contentment and truly feel like peace ruled my heart and mind this year, despite my circumstances. When December arrives, my contentment can be severely tested. My birthday is the day after Christmas and so many expectations come into play. I want to focus on what really matters—the many blessing that are already mine to treasure. I also want to humble myself, much like we see in Jesus’...
Emmanuel – Day 20 – holiday haiku

Emmanuel – Day 20 – holiday haiku

Welcome to Day 20 of our Holiday Haiku Challenge Today’s charge is to  write a haiku inspired by the Name of Christ,   Emmanuel   Emmanuel by Tara Ulrich   Emmanuel “God with us” is such a beautiful reminder that we are never alone. I love Eugune Peterson’s translation in the Message when he states “Jesus puts on flesh and blood and moves into the neighborhood.” Can you just picture Mary, Joseph, and baby Joseph moving in next to you? Would you bring them gifts fit for a king? Would you be oohing and aahing over this precious gift not even knowing that this infant was the promise Messiah? During this Advent season, may you welcome this promised Messiah into your heart, and extend Him out into your very own neighborhoods!   Tara Ulrich lives in Minot, ND where she serves at a Lutheran church as the Director of Home and Family Ministry. She is a rostered Diaconal Minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (Diaconal Ministers grew out of the Catholic understanding of deacons and deaconesses; Word and Service rather than Word and Sacrament). Prior to coming to Minot, she lived in Moorhead, MN and served at a church in Dilworth, MN for approximately 6 1/2 years. She is a graduate of the University of Mary (Bismarck, ND) and Wartburg Theological Seminary. She loves to spend time with her friends and family, reading, writing, and on the beautiful prairies of North Dakota. You can follow her at her blog Praying on the Prairie. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram.  ...
Christmas Hospitality – Day 18 – Holiday Haiku

Christmas Hospitality – Day 18 – Holiday Haiku

Welcome to Day 18 of our Holiday Haiku Challenge If you’ve missed any of our series, head on over to the beginning. Today’s charge is to write 17 syllables inspired by the truly Christlike quality of   Christmas Hospitality     The Hospitality of Heaven by Kris Camealy   As we prepare our Christmas table, I am continually laid low by the hospitality of heaven, that God would send His own Son to be our Host, to show us what it means to make room for one another. Jesus’ coming reminds me to make a habit of preparing not only room for God in my own heart, but that I would make an effort to invite God-in-the-hearts of others to join me at the banquet as well. His Word reminds that by doing so, we may be entertaining angels unaware. May we be willing to open our hearts, our doors, and our tables to others in all seasons, inspired by Jesus’ own generosity and graceful example. May we receive Him daily, and offer Him to those who hunger and thirst after that which alone satisfies eternally.   Kris Camealy is a sequin-wearing, homeschooling mother of four. She’s passionate about faith, family, friends, and food. A slow-comer to the notion of God’s grace, Kris has “tasted and seen” and longs to see others filled with the same grace that transformed her heart. She’s been known to take gratuitous pictures of her culinary creations, causing mouths to water all across Instagram. Kris is the founder of GraceTable and the author of the book, Holey, Wholly, Holy: A Lenten Journey of Refinement and the follow up, Companion Workbook....