February 13th, 2015
This morning a friend asked, “Do you think I should watch Fifty Shades of Grey with my teen and talk about it?”
We’re not as strict on media as some are. We think there’s some value in watching things you don’t agree with and analyzing and discussing them with your teens. Sometimes, though, there’s more harm than good in a media choice.
We speak about purity and internet porn and we just finished the manuscript for a book for single guys about these things. In our research, we found some pretty concerning things.
There’s a disturbing change going on in our culture. Internet porn has become a huge influencer of young men. Most (really almost all) boys are exposed to porn before they’re 18. That’s bad enough. Internet porn, though, provokes a dopamine cycle (affiliate) that tempts users to seek out more and worse things in order to get the same thrill. Because of that (and the sinfulness of man, of course), perversion is everywhere out there. 88% of porn contains physical aggression. It’s even reaching young people – 23% of girls and 39% of boys have viewed sexual bondage. (Covenant Eyes Porn Stats, affiliate link)
One sad effect of all this is that there is a big disconnect between what young men of marriageable age think is a normal sexual relationship and what young women of that age do. The aggression, humiliation, and perversion of porn is affecting the expectations couples bring to marriage.
Now, we’re being invited to watch a movie that glorifies aggression, bondage, humiliation, and pain in sexuality. Is that something a Christian should do? Continue reading »
February 10th, 2015
The changeover to Obamacare was a tough one for us. Insurance through our small business became impossibly expensive – three times the cost of our mortgage! We checked into alternatives at the Marketplace, but we fell in the gap and healthcare there was impossibly expensive, too.
With trepidation, we decided to try one of the Christian healthcare sharing ministries. We had friends who loved them, but we had pre-existing conditions and were worried about going with something that didn’t cover those. Seeing no alternative, though, we joined Samaritan Ministries a year ago. At least we wouldn’t have to pay a fine for not having insurance. Samaritan members are exempt.
We were surprised by how satisfying it was to send our monthly share to another Christian family in need directly. Knowing where it was going and being able to send them encouragement and pray for them made it turned an obligation into a pleasure. It was great knowing that our money wasn’t paying for things we didn’t want to support, too. Unbelievably, two different months when claims were lower than usual, they reduced our share! Continue reading »
January 29th, 2015
It came up on Facebook again today. What do you do when you find your child has been sexting? It’s nauseating to even think about it, isn’t it? Awhile back, I was shocked when one of my friends told me she’d found a series of explicit texts on her son’s phone, but now we’re hearing about it all the time.
It’s way easier to head this stuff off beforehand than it is to pick up the pieces afterward, so let’s talk about how to address this with our kids.
When do you need to talk about it?
Continue reading »
January 13th, 2015
This year’s flu season is a doozy! Most of the families we know have had it and the rest are scared to death they are going to get it.
We’ve found that times of sickness can bring out the worst in everyone — OR they can be workshops of grace! How can you make it that way? How can you make memories and build unity instead of ending up all over everyone’s nerves? This week’s podcast is about just that. Listen here.
Hal & Melanie
January 5th, 2015
Are you homeschooling? If so, you’ve discovered that things are seldom as easy as you supposed. All of us at one time or another have looked at the yellow buses going by and thought, “Well, there’s always that …” But here are some things which help us keep on course when the headwinds pick up and doubts sometimes arise: Continue reading »
December 29th, 2014
“I don’t know who else to talk to. My little boy has been watching horrible stuff. I don’t know what to do.”
There are five things we wish all parents knew about internet porn. If they did, there would probably be a lot fewer of these heartbreaking messages for us to answer!
(Note, this post contains affiliate links which support our ministry, but we only link to things we wholeheartedly recommend!)
Continue reading »
December 18th, 2014
Christmas is a big deal at our house. We grew up in Christian homes, where Christmas was celebrated in a family-oriented, Christ-honoring way. We love the holidays.
I try to shop all year, watching out for deals on the things I knew our children would love. Even the times I was on pregnancy bedrest, I had a stash of gifts under the bed. This year was different, though. Our little newborn Katie had been born with a life-threatening heart condition and had spent weeks in and out of ICU.
Once Katie was stabilized, we were hip deep in writing Raising Real Men, then in getting it out to reviewers, and getting the word out so people could preorder it. Then, the week the preorders had to ship, we ALL got the flu. I remember that week in sort of an orange haze of signing books and stacked mail bins.
About the time we all got well, this whole trial started. Three children had surgery. And Hal had cancer. I didn’t have a single present under my bed.
I woke up the Thursday before Christmas thinking about it. Okay, the children are feeling better. The appointments are all done until Hal’s surgery next week. Got a lot to do today, but tonight I’ll go out and at least buy something for each of the children!
Didn’t happen. Continue reading »
December 16th, 2014
The Scriptures talk about the value of a word in season. “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver,” wrote Solomon in Proverbs 25:11. Sometimes a particular conversation or note, a phone call or email, will make a radical change in a situation.
I experienced this while the diagnosis of cancer was fresh and treatment hadn’t started.
Although my experience with cancer started with a feeling of unreality, eventually it was going to sink in – this was real indeed, and it could be the last Christmas I spend with my family. Continue reading »
December 12th, 2014
Who’s in Charge Around Here?
My father died when I was fourteen. Kids that age don’t think about the possibility of death, but when you lose someone you love, that innocence is gone forever.
When Hal and I got married, I was so afraid he’d die that I’d wake up in the night to put my hand on his chest and feel him breathe. When he left for work in the morning, I’d pray like crazy for his safety. So, to hear the doctor say, “I think it’s cancer and it looks really bad,” was just devastating to me.
Here it was the Christmas season, one of the happiest times in our family, and I was a wreck. I didn’t want to burden Hal or the children, so I would sneak upstairs to my bathroom and sob my eyes out. Continue reading »