“The Dog Ate My Homework” and Other Dumb Excuses We Need to Dump NOW

After three years of marriage, my daughter and son-in-law found a little “fixer-upper” and asked me to help them fix it up. They know I’m all about DIY stuff, especially when I see the miraculous things people do when they flip houses on TV.

Dog Ate My Homework
(Photo Courtesy of Pixabay.com)

Those hour-long, “trash-to-treasure” shows appeal to my creative side. I couldn’t wait to jump in. We decided it would take two weekends—the first to clean, the next to move. Our plans were set.

But That Was Before I Saw the Place!

In spite of the house’s condition and with the enthusiasm of Chip and Joanna Gaines, my son Jon, Ashley, and I unloaded a mammoth amount of cleaning materials: chemicals that would kill about anything, power tools, and lawn equipment. We were on it!

About an hour into day one, all the glory and glamour of flipping a place flew out the dirt-covered, bug-laden window. I considered calling HGTV to ask if they did charity work.

Two Principles That Will Change Your Life

My son Jon suspiciously scooted his way toward me while we were playing the card game “Go Fish.” I observed his slight, smooth movements knowing exactly what was happening.

Removing the Mask
photo credit: DSC01540 via photopin (license)

Slowly, he began to lean in. So I looked into his sly eyes and asked, “Jon, is there something I can help you with?”

With a sneaky, smirky smile he said, “Mom, I REALLY want to cheat right now because you have more pairs than me, and I want to win!” We both laughed hysterically; it is a statement our family uses to this day because it is so honest.

Three Questions We Must Leave at the Cross

Where is God when life falls apart? This isn’t a new question, but a question we often ponder when it seems we have lost everything . . . or something . . . or someone. During these difficult times, we feel that God is so far away.

(Photo Courtesy of Pixabay.com)

Years ago, a dear friend of mine experienced a series of catastrophic calamities. Identity theft left her bank accounts empty. Hurricane Sandy took her home. An affair ended her marriage.

And her son was diagnosed with autism. In her shattered state, even those at her church walked away from her. They did not know what to do with someone whose faith was falling off the cliff. So instead of staying close, they scattered and churchy chatter ran amuck.

She didn’t know if she could move on.

There seems to be one universal experience shared when our lives are shattered: an abundance of questions. In addition, if one has trusted Christ as Savior, pain seems especially unfair.

Courage for an Unknown Season

It’s something we all long to possess yet it’s one of the rarest qualities to find. I’m talking about COURAGE. Courage is the internal fortitude to keep moving forward in the face of fear, hardships, and challenges.

Courage enables us to cultivate endurance and resilience; it is the by-product of a tenacious spirit.

  • Professional life coach
  • Wife of 50 years
  • Mother
  • Grandmother
  • Teacher
  • Author
  • Lover of life

Jan Silvious offers a lifetime of wisdom to all of us learning to navigate life with joy and hope.

This interview presents three truths that are critical to life:

  1. God knows
  2. God cares
  3. God provides

For every season in our lives, these truths are foundational to having a courageous spirit.

Watch the Interview

The Root of Relational Joy

One winter, my son Austin and I sat on the patio warmed by the embers of a small fire. We laughed over his childhood memories that at the time felt far more chaotic.

Mom and Son
(Image from Pixabay)

Back then, I wanted to be a perfect mother—as if there is such a thing.

I was like most parents who want their children to experience a happy childhood, at least one happier than theirs when they were growing up.

  • I wanted laughter to echo through the halls, to kiss away every pain, to life free of all disappointment.
  • I wanted Austin to develop a sense of self, an empathetic kindness toward others, a genuine love for Jesus, and an understanding of scriptural truth.
  • I wanted to protect him from the twisting damage of bullying and abuse.
  • And, of course, I wanted him to love his mother.

Is that asking too much?

What Should I Say to Hurting People?

Ever wish you could reach out to a friend in crisis, but you’re just not sure what to say? Most of us tend either to avoid the person or situation altogether or to rush in and say too much.

(Image from Unsplash)

The list below demonstrates some ways you can effectively support people in need.

Notice how these responses acknowledge and reflect the person’s feelings without judging him or her or offering unwelcome advice.

What Effective Caregivers Say

Three Tips for Sitting Securely in the Suck

It was colder than the arctic when I stepped out for an evening walk. I needed space to breathe. Life was anything but balanced; I felt disrupted and tired. Layered in clothes, I resembled an irritated woolly mammoth roaming the frozen tundra trying to figure out which way is north.

Walking Woman
(Image from Pixabay)

I don’t do well with ambiguity and was hoping a walk would provide clarity.

Order and Clarity? . . . Ha!

Just to be clear, balance has never been simple for me. I’m captivated by those who . . .

Seven Serious Game Changers When Your Plans Are a Bust

The New Year’s ball barely landed before our plans were busted. On January 1, 2018, at 5:00 in the morning, I walked my pale and feverish husband right into the emergency room.

(Image from Unsplash)

The sun wasn’t even up. My thought was, If the sun isn’t awake, no one else should be either. No one has gotten the memo on that yet.

My son Jon was home most of December with fevers, seizure recovery, and flu-like symptoms. I counted down the days to New Year’s with a thermometer in my hand. Surely, by New Year’s Day everyone would be well. Right?


On New Year’s Day we were expecting friends whom I hadn’t seen in 32 years, but sitting in an ER at 5:00 that morning, it was evident the only entertaining we would be doing was inside a quarantined home.

But wait . . . the story’s just getting started!

For a Fantastic New Year, Focus on These Four Choices

For the last few years, I’ve welcomed the New Year with arms so wide open I could have hugged an airplane! FINALLY . . . this last year is O-V-E-R! Bubbling over with excitement, I hang up the new calendar and yell . . .

(Image from Pixabay)

This Year Is Going to Be Fantastic!

Ever had one of those new years? The kind of year that was, let’s say, more “character building” than you ever could have expected?

While we often don’t ask for challenges, few things are as relieving as when challenges disappear in the dust of our rearview mirror.

Then . . . the new year started. It didn’t take long to figure out that the whole “character development” issue didn’t end just by turning the calendar page.

The Downs

Here are some things my family and I faced these last few years:

Twelve Significant Suggestions for Special Needs Holiday Success

When the kids were little, they would mark up all the catalogs to make their Christmas wish lists. It seems like yesterday. I remember their giggles of anticipatory joy, crossing off each day on the calendar until Christmas day FINALLY arrived.

(Image from Unsplash)

Something about kids and Christmas . . . it’s almost magical.

But those magical moments changed the year I began to shop for my son with disabilities. He struggled with sounds that were too loud or when the weather was too cold, and all those Christmas catalogs packed with toys for typical kids meant nothing to him.

He couldn’t conceptualize the meaning of Christmas, which completely disrupted the traditions we had enjoyed for years.

It is difficult to navigate the holidays—or any major event—when a loved one in the family is incapable of understanding and experiencing the delight of it all.

Finding gifts for those who have . . .