Fearless Friendships: What You Must Remember

The offer was terrifying, but I couldn’t figure out why. My long-time friend told me years ago that I should meet her sister. Apparently, her sister and I have incredibly similar mannerisms and an outrageous sense of humor.

(Image from Pixabay)

On many occasions my friend has said she thinks her sister and I may have been separated at birth. This has been an ongoing discussion for 18 years.

Time Marches On

Now, a lot happens in 18 years. Think of where you were 18 years ago. Most, if not all, of us were in a totally different stage of life then.

Looking back over the last 18 years of friendship, my friend and I have experienced many life changes and challenges. Some years we’ve lived close enough to provide hands-on support.

Living Joyfully with Sorrow

Few things test our faith more than when our loved ones suffer. We question God, we question our faith, we question what we believe. Life can turn upside down in a second.

Few people understand this more than Tim and Jamie Schultz. Following God’s leading, Tim left a very financially secure position and entered full-time ministry.

Shortly thereafter, Tim and Jamie’s lives were forever changed as God allowed their daughter, Anna, to be born with life-threatening conditions.

Anna is alive today, but life for the Schultz family is never free from challenges.

Regardless of where your faith may be, this interview reveals that when we trust in a great God, He provides in ways we cannot imagine. Life is not without pain, but we can live fully and joyfully with pain if we put our trust and faith in the right place. This interview is life-changing.

Wisdom for the Anxious

Without question, anxiety is a pervasive problem in today’s world. We are bombarded with fear-laden messages of unrest and uncertainty, leading most of us to get all entangled with confusing, anxious thoughts.

Instead of taking things to the Lord and finding rest, we habitually ruminate over what we cannot control—which only makes things worse. Amy Simpson knows this cycle all too well.

Amy was raised in an unstable environment which caused tremendous confusion and anxiety. As an adult, Amy has faced her anxiety head-on and offers us all fantastic hope with truth that sets us free.

What to Remember When Your “Not-Best” Self Shows Up

I am not my best self in the morning. Sadly, this “not-best” version of myself must still carpool during morning rush hour traffic—a setup for the perfect storm.

(Image from Pixabay)

I lugged my “not-best” self into the car and noticed my son Jon’s anxiety was high. Anxiety is one of his most difficult challenges. He is rarely free of feeling worried or scared.

Before leaving the driveway, his questions started. Now, I’ve heard all these questions before and have answered them many times.

However, when a change comes or an upcoming event looms, the questions reflect Jon’s heightened anxiety, not an “Oh, that’s right; I forgot” response.

I tried to answer his questions with kindness, knowing my tone was vitally important to prevent his anxiety escalating. I tried to maintain my loving, understanding tone and employed coping skills to reduce his anxiety.

Meaningful Memorials

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Wisdom for the Way (Nashville: J. Countryman, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2001). Copyright © 2001 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

The Lincoln Memorial. The Vietnam Memorial . . . Memorials are places provided for us to stand and be quiet, to reflect, and to pass on to the next generation the roots of a nation’s heritage.

(Image from Pixabay)

They give the present significance because they give the past perspective.

My fear for our present rapid-paced lifestyle is that we have so few memorials, so few monuments, even mental monuments. Life is lived in the fast lane.

Spicing Up Your Summer: Fabulous Family Vacations

I love photo apps that bring to our fingertips our wondrous world! Pristine blue waters, towering snow-covered mountains, bursts of sun breaking through mountain tops, or the glow reflected off a glassy lake at sunset.

(Image from Unsplash)

But why just look at photos when, instead, you could make a big splash with your family this summer by going to one of these places? No matter your budget, possibilities abound!

Learning to Wait in the Waiting Room

There is a place I used to call my second home: the waiting room. I’ll never forget the hours I spent with my special-needs son in waiting rooms—rooms with tattered magazines, crying children, and tired-looking people who were staring at smudged, blandly painted walls.

Waiting Room
photo credit: jeffk The Cruel Waiting Room via photopin (license)

If there were windows, I watched the outside world whirl by—beautiful women out and about, men in pressed suits connected to cell phones.

I would get stuck in my thoughts . . . somewhere between envious and anxious, weary and worried. I wondered when the waiting would end.

Does Anyone See Me?

So, there we were—my mother, my sister, my three children, and I—walking through the airport to get to the gate for our flight home. There should be awards for mothers who travel with teenagers—the heaps of luggage . . .

See me
(Image from Unsplash)

The stops for sodas and snacks . . . the children deaf to anything other than electronics and texting! We had just been processed through security like cows being put into the squeeze.

The undressing, checking, rechecking, and dressing again is an athletic event for us all.

It’s more difficult with younger children than with teens and almost impossible with a special-needs child who is a teen. It can be hysterically funny watching people attempt this obstacle course—but not so much when it’s you!

Beauty Unimagined: Mending and Marriage

I nearly incinerated my finger with a hot glue gun a while back. I was working on a project for my daughter’s wedding and almost welded my finger to the table.

Photo by Colleen Swindoll Thompson

While I soaked one hand in ice, with the other I dusted off the pages of her baby books and began thumbing through them.

One turn of a page and time slowed. Her sassy smile, blonde curls, little round face resting on her soft pillow almost looked through me at that moment.

The button-trimmed page lined with pink presented the illusion that I could keep her life—our lives—from being flawed and damaged. The sun set, my finger cooled, and the visual reminders of days gone by sunk deep into my soul.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Healing

I often wonder what it would be like to get through one day without a jolt of terror running through my veins. One day without experiencing an off-the-chart startled response would be heavenly.

(Image from Pixabay)

A soft knock on my office door or my husband’s gentle kiss to wake me in the morning can cause me to jump a mile high and send my heart rate into orbit.

People cannot understand the pervasive power of PTSD and its effects on the body and mind unless they have endured hard trauma. Hard trauma is defined as an event, experience, or ongoing circumstance that is or appears to be life-threatening.

Hard trauma cuts through a person’s ability to cope or process the traumatic event constructively.

The term has become more common due to studies of war veterans. However, an overwhelming number of people with PTSD are not war veterans; they are people we see every day: