5 Question to Ask Yourself Before Posting on Facebook

How to Use Facebook the Right Way

How many times has your mouth gotten you into trouble? Or perhaps you’ve been deeply hurt by the words of others. I’ve been on both sides, unfortunately.

I remember when Facebook used to be fun. I could scroll through and see pictures of families I wanted to keep in touch with, connect with new online friends who shared the same interests, and enjoy kitten memes.

Now it seems my feed is full of online wars between one another versus actually dealing with the problem. We use it as a passive aggressive way of getting our point across to a specific person without saying name. We gossip. We slander. And we do it all behind a protective screen, convincing ourselves if we do it this way, it won’t really hurt anyone.

Join us for the first episode of Coffee with SJ

I am SO excited to share with you something I’m finally getting the courage up enough to do.

This coming Wednesday, April 26th at 7:00 am CST, I’m launching my very first LIVE episode of “coffee with sj.” 

Coffee with SJ

Each week I’ll be hanging out with you – real, raw, live. Prepare for some crazy hair, pajamas, and of course, coffee. I’ll be talking faith, life application, health, answering your questions, and more.

The show will be happening live every Wednesday at 7:00 am CST on my Facebook page. 

Feel free to share some specific topics you’d love to chat about, and comment with any questions you have.

I’m so excited to start our Wednesday mornings together!

If you haven’t liked my Facebook page yet, you can do so right here… 

An Open Letter to Abusers

Revealing the Truth About Who You Really Are

There’s this thing about me – sometimes it’s good and other times it can get me into trouble. I hate injustice. I hate watching innocent people be wronged, hurt, betrayed, beaten down. It turns out God hates those things, too. 

An Open Letter to Abusers

Sometimes it’s hard for me not to take justice into my own hands when I see those I love being hurt. There are times I fight back through the power of prayer, and other times, unfortunately, I try to take justice into my own hands. The outcome is usually better if I allow God to fight the battle.

Reviving the Lost Art of Communication

One Simple Rule to Change Your Relationships

How many teens are at dinner with their family but are nose-down into their social media accounts? It’s kind of depressing.

Reviving the Lost Art of Communication

By the way, I’ve learned from my friend Marcie, who’s one of the greatest servers I’ve ever known, that when you refuse to take your eyes off your phone long enough to look up and place your order, they would love to hit you upside the head with a menu.

Is this the way it’s destined to be from now on? It doesn’t have to be.

Uncovering The Most Important Thing In Life

The 7 Day Challenge You Don't Want To Miss

It seems like the majority of families that I encounter say that after faith, family is the most important thing in their lives. If that’s the case, then it makes sense that we would want to do everything in our power to intentionally develop our families into being, doing, and having our very best.

Uncovering The Most Important Thing In Life

Although a lot of us are “doing ok” as a family —some better than others— I think if we’re honest, we all know deep down that we could do better, but it’s hard to know where to focus our attention to start.

That’s why I am so excited to share with you a great way to get your family focused on what really matters: the 7-Day Family Challenge from Ziglar Family!

Why You Can’t Wait Any Longer to Start Getting Healthy

Now is the time to take the next right step

Have you told yourself you’ll wait until next week to start losing weight? Or maybe you’ll start saving money when the next paycheck rolls around? Ya, I’ve been there too.

photo credit: robert gourley (creative commons)

My best friend and I used to unknowingly sabotage each other. I would be ready to get healthy, start eating right and exercising, and we would commit to “starting our diet” on Monday. The beginning of the week would roll around and she wasn’t motivated. Well – since she wasn’t ready, I would feel defeated and decide I wasn’t either.

The same thing would happen to her. She’d be ready, I would lose my motivation, she would feel defeated and the cycle would continue.

How to Raise a Teenager

Everything You Need to Know About Acne, Hormones, and Smelly Feet

I met him on February 20, 2001. It was a Tuesday. When his mom called to say she was in labor I flipped backwards in my chair and was at her house before she had the phone hung up. We still had landlines then.

How to Raise a Teenager

I was 17 years old and didn’t know what love was. It was just a word to me at that point, not an experience. But then… then I met him, wrapped tightly in a blanket, snuggled in my arms.

I finally knew love. I knew I would love him for the rest of my life. I knew I would give my life for him if I had to. I knew he would change the world, and he was only five minutes old.

I don’t have a clue what I’m doing. 

I googled it once. “How to raise a teenager.” Turns out there isn’t a manual for it. He hadn’t lived with me since he was around seven years old. In those days there wasn’t acne, back talk, hormones, or the feet smell. Oh… the feet smell. No, in those days there were still sweet kisses, bedtime stories, and an odor-free bedroom. Have I mentioned the feet smell?

He moved in this summer. His first night asleep, I stood in the doorway of his bedroom and watched his blonde hair move back and forth on the pillows as he tried to get his six-foot, teenage frame comfortable. Tears streamed down my eyes as a million thoughts ran through my head.

How in the world am I going to do this? How can I possibly raise a teenager? What if I screw this up? What if he hates my cooking? Will he be okay? How can I be responsible for another human life when I’m still trying to keep myself alive? How in the world am I going to do this? 

I googled “How to raise a teenager” again. Nothing new had popped up since the last time.

Love is bigger. 

Bob Goff says in his book, Love Does, “You don’t need a plan; you just need to be present.” I didn’t have a plan. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. But I knew love was bigger than my fears. 

The love I experienced the day he came into this world was the love that would get us through this new season of life together, no matter how hard.

I still don’t have a clue what I’m doing most days, but I’ve stopped going to Google for advice, so I guess that’s progress. I’ll probably never know what I’m doing, but what I have learned in these last several months has changed my life.

Life isn’t always about you. I realize how selfish I can be. I’m 33 years old and single, and I’ve gotten pretty set in my ways. Life isn’t just about me anymore. It’s not just about my needs. I don’t get to just go do whatever I want whenever I want anymore. My decisions affect him. I’ve learned to be more conscious about what I do and say. I have accountability around every corner. He’s like a ninja who silently sneaks up on me when I’m about to stuff my face with something inappropriate. “I thought you were eating healthier.” Most days I’m grateful for that. Most days…

There is a sock thief in my house. Seriously.. how does this happen? Laundry. All. The. Time. And I swear there’s a little green monster that lives in the dryer who seeks to steal only Caleb’s socks. Being single I enjoyed living out of my laundry basket. Why fold clothes when I’m just going to wear them again? I haven’t perfected this yet. The clothes tend to stay in the dryer for a day or two, but hey.. I’m getting there. He better hope he never needs anything ironed because we’re both in trouble.

I often question my reality. Sometimes at the end of the day, I lie in bed and think to myself, there is another human being upstairs. A living, breathing, human who I’m not supposed to let die. Did I feed him today? Check. Did I sign that paper I was supposed to sign for school? Check. Where did those stupid socks go? Yay.. we survived this day and did it with a smile. But seriously.. the socks?? Remind me to tell you about the day I drove off and left him on accident.

Love is bigger than anything. Raising a teenager is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I feel ill-equipped for it everyday. Somedays I wonder if I’m making a difference in his life at all. 1 Peter 4:8 says, “Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.” The truth is, I’m going to fail daily. Probably multiple times a day. And so is he. We’re in this together and we’re still both learning how to do it as a team.

But no matter what happens in each day, love is bigger, and there’s not a day goes by I don’t say “I love you” as he kisses my cheek before bed. (Don’t tell him I told you that. He likes to pretend he’s tough.) We may want to slap each other in the midst of a struggle, but he knows he is loved, even when I’m mad. Despite all my failures in this gift of loving him through life, love covers all of those failures. 

What a beautiful gift.

I’m not his mom, nor will I ever be. He has one and she has gifted him with a new opportunity at life. I’m honored to play a part in offering that gift to him, and grateful she has trusted this 33 year-old, Smurfs t-shirt wearing, overgrown child, to provide a home for him.

Today, that sweet blue-eyed boy turns 16. And I fall in love all over again, just like the day I did when he was born. I fall in love with the man of God he is becoming. The gentle heart he wears on his sleeve when he sees others hurting. The joy he shares when others celebrate and the pain he feels when others hurt. The man who opens doors for the elderly woman at church. The man who prays for the homeless. The man who buys a kid a pair of shoes because he doesn’t want his feet to get cold.

Life changes quickly and sometimes you don’t have time to prepare for it. Some days I wake up completely unprepared to walk through life with him. Other days I rock it like a champ. I’ll never get it 100% right and I’m learning to be okay with that. Because love. Love does. 

Thank you, Caleb, for teaching me what it means to love. My life is better because you’re in it.

Now I’m going to go Google “How to raise a teenager who drives.” Wish me luck.

Whole Women Weekend is a unique intensive retreat for women who are seeking true and lasting inner healing from hurts & hang-ups, trauma, bad habits, addictions, and more and who wish to encounter God in a way they never have before. Presented by Dirty Girls Ministries. The theme for our September 2017 retreat is “Break Every Chain” based on Psalm 107:14, “He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness, and broke away their chains.”

I’ll be joining some amazing speakers, including keynote speaker, Mary DeMuth. Workshop topics include trauma, singleness, mental illness, porn/sexual addiction, infertility/miscarriage, and with more to be added. Space is limited so we encourage early registration. Register by May 1, 2017 to receive our SUPER EARLY BIRD rate!

Date: September 28, 2017—September 30, 2017
Event: Whole Women Weekend
Topic: Pornography and Sexual Addiction
Sponsor: Dirty Girls Ministries
Venue: Way of Life Community (Church)
Location: 1705 Conowingo Rd
Bel Air, MD 21014
Public: Public
Registration: Click here to register.
More Info: Click here for more information.

How to Fulfill Your Purpose with Community

The Harmony of the Humble

This is a guest post by Kristin L. Hanley. Kristin is a homeschool mom, an adjunct professor, and a Bible study leader. Her book, Navigating a Sea of Emotions was released in January. To learn more about Kristin, visit her blog. Kristin and her family live near Branson, Missouri.

My lungs panic, pumping faster than they should while still unable to fully expand. In similar fashion, my heart contributes the backbeat in rapid succession. I close my eyes and cross my arms over my chest, willing myself to calm down. Despite what my brain is trying to communicate, my body doesn’t comply. I’m having another panic attack.

The Harmony of the Humble

Despite numerous pleas with God, relaxing practices, and even a hot bath, my body still won’t release its anxious grip over me, and I want to scream. Maybe doing so would help me.

You are cordially invited to join for the First Annual Banquet for Hope at the Havener Center on 11th February, 2017 at 6 pm. Ms. Sundi Jo Graham will be the keynote speaker for the special evening. Complimentary dinner will be served and an opportunity to make a financial gift will be extended. Your participation will help towards tackling the problem of homeless Youth in the Phelps county.

Date: February 11, 2017
Time: 06:00-08:00
Event: H.O.P.E. Banquet 2017
Sponsor: H.O.P.E., Inc.
Venue: Havener Center
(573) 341-4564
Location: 1346 N Bishop Ave
Rolla, MO 65401
Public: Public
Registration: Click here to register.