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 »
December 11th, 2014
The Christmas I Couldn’t Sing
My family doesn’t have a history of cancer, so the news that I might have lymphoma had a sense of unreality to me…
I didn’t have any symptoms to speak of.
Losing weight? Well, yes, I had lost weight, but I had been dieting for several months and was frankly quite happy with what seemed to be the results. Continue reading »
December 10th, 2014
It’s been five years since the worst Christmas ever. It all started on a plane ride home with Hal. We had been to a business event and he coughed uncontrollably the whole trip. Continue reading »
December 8th, 2014
As parents, we have a love/hate relationship with all the devices in our home. We depend on our laptops. We run our business from them and our teen/twenties sons run their businesses from theirs, too. We use them to communicate with each other – especially the grown up kids in other states. If we need to do a radio interview or lead a webinar, nothing will keep the younger ones quiet like letting them play with apps on a tablet or watch a movie on Netflix. No doubt, they’re useful and convenient.
We’ve noticed, though, that too much time on those devices and our kids start acting like crack addicts: “Can I use your tablet?” “Can I just play a few minutes?” “Just one game…” “I’ll rotate the dishwasher if I can use your computer.” Begging, nagging, bargaining…
And they lose their imaginations. “I’m bored.” “There’s nothing to do.” “Can I use your tablet?” “No one will play with me!” “Can I play a game on the computer?” Yeah, mackerel. Continue reading »
December 8th, 2014
One of the top questions we get this time of year is “Can you give me some ideas for presents for my boys?” We’ve written posts on this before, but this time we’ve taken it a step further.
We’ve included gifts for young boys, older boys, teens, and even adult sons. Check it out and get some great ideas for the younger men in your life. Or, click here to go straight to our own store. Of course, everything you purchase through us helps support this ministry!
Merry Christmas, friends!
Hal & Melanie
December 2nd, 2014
Last night on our podcast, Making Biblical Family Life Practical, we interviewed Candy Foote of Strategic Shopping. She gave us a ton of great ideas for Saving Money at Christmas and she also offered to sponsor a giveaway!
Strategic Shopping – In this 143 page eBook, Candy takes shoppers step by step through planning to save your family’s hard earned money. I love that she shows you how to save money on groceries without eating junk!
Christmas with Strategic Shopping – The Twelve Months of Christmas – This eBook lays out Candy’s strategies to go “all out” at Christmas without ending up all out of money! If our interview with her is any indication, this is great! Continue reading »
November 17th, 2014
Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays! It’s one of the least commercialized and mangled holidays of our culture. Even the name points people toward the God who gives good gifts.
It’s fascinating talking about Thanksgiving with our children. The Pilgrims were really people a lot like us: they were principled Christians who were very concerned about the upbringing of their children. Continue reading »