“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.

Healing and Hope for Victims of Violence

Stalking, rape, harassment, trauma, murder . . . these words represent the enormous reality that domestic violence has become a global epidemic. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence defines domestic violence as . . .

Chris Keith

Willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another.

The frequency and severity of domestic violence varies dramatically; for those with disabilities, the numbers skyrocket.

Very few people can speak on this subject like Chris Keith. As a child, Chris was shot in the head by his father after his father had strangled his mother and shot his brother.

Miraculously, Chris survived and is actively involved in helping survivors recover from their past. The church must stop denying and refusing to believe victims; we must become part of the solution, not part of the problem.

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.

Eleven Essentials for 20/20 Soul Sight

How well we see is a game changer. When I was younger, my vision was awful. I was legally blind. The numbers on my alarm clock—which was placed as close to the bed as possible—were blurry without my glasses.

(Image from Pixabay)

When I heard of a relatively new procedure called radial keratotomy (RK), I was all in. To this day, the closest thing to a miracle I’ve ever experienced was having my vision corrected.

This last Christmas, my gift to my husband was the successor to RK called Lasik. We aren’t the youngest ducks in the pond and there are always risks of complications with this procedure, but because his vision was so impaired we figured why not go for it.

For years I tried to explain to my husband how glorious it is to see the world after vision-correction surgery. Colors are . . .

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

If the Walls Could Speak

While sitting in a doctor’s waiting room the other day, I wondered, If the walls could speak, what would they say? Stories of sorrows, successes, survivors, suffering, surprises, and more?

(Image from Unsplash)

I mean, what would the walls say about our thoughts when all is silent and we wait?

I bet the walls would speak of wordless things like our . . .

  • Fears
  • Loneliness
  • Sadness
  • Self-doubt
  • Loneliness
  • Questions
  • Bewilderment
  • Anger

. . . and oh, did I mention loneliness?

Henri Nouwen says this about silence:

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

Truths to Remember When Times Are Dark

Some people are beautiful . . . even when they cry. I am certainly not one of them . . . especially when I cry. When my heart breaks, tears gush; one little tissue is of no help.

Crying Woman
(Image from Pixabay)

I grab the toilet paper ROLL . . . yep, those double-sized, extra strong rolls . . . hoping it will be enough to absorb all the bodily fluids pouring out of my face. It is not a lovely site.

I grew up hearing my mother say, “I need a good cry,” and I thought, What the heck is a “good cry?” After my son was born with disabilities, I learned a lot about good cries.

A good cry is a flood-like release of emotions, a torrential outpouring of grief, usually precipitated by an unexpected, life-altering experience. It’s the kind of experience that forces one to come to terms with the truth that we live life on God’s terms, not ours.

He allows these irreversible and intensely painful experiences for a purpose we often cannot see at the time. We feel split open and vulnerable; a good cry is part of the letting go.

A Double Disaster Daily Survival Guide: What You Must Do Now

The West Coast is no stranger to natural disasters. I was 4 years old when our chandelier began to sway like a playground swing at recess. Time stopped as the earth rocked and rolled beneath our feet.

(Image from Pixabay)

We had just moved to Southern California; none of us knew what to do except hang on for dear life.

Living through Disaster

Growing up in Orange County, California, I remember seeing the glow of wildfires consuming the surrounding beautifully landscaped hills. It was sometimes weeks before we stopped smelling like smoke and wiping ashes off our cars.

In addition to earthquakes and wildfires, the mudslides were awful. Some of our friends experienced their homes being ripped in half—the front part left perfectly intact, while the backside was torn off and taken away by mud.

Living on the West Coast means one accepts the beauty along with the possibility of total devastation.

I recently watched the Thomas fire devour more acreage than any other fire in California’s recorded history and was reminded how awful natural disasters can be. The worst part of the Thomas fire came after it was contained and almost extinguished.

The burnt, root-bare terrain didn’t stand a chance of staying put for very long in the horrific mudslides.

As we saw, in a matter of seconds, boulders tumbled into living rooms and mud washed a neighborhood off its foundations. The once exclusively quaint, seaside Santa Barbara county was devastated. The wreckage swallowed up lives and land without warning.