“I Voted”

“I Voted”

This morning, as I walked out of my local polling place, a very old woman in a wheelchair, who was being pushed out the door ahead of me, said to the group waiting in line: “Thank you for coming and making your voice known . . . no matter how you voted.”

And then she giggled a little bit.

I loved that! Her comment made me feel a spark of joy after what was probably the most contentious election cycle I’ve ever seen.

(I live in Illinois, after all.)

You see, there are some things I wish right now.

Read More

First Ask Why Turns Six Months Old!

First Ask Why Turns Six Months Old!

Over the past six months I’ve heard from many readers that the book has been a great encouragement to them. One of the main takeaways, for many parents, has been the idea of having a vision for your family that I talk about in Chapters 1 and 2.

Have you thought about why your family is here? Have you thought about what makes your family uniquely you? Have you thought about God’s purpose for your family?

These are all questions I ask in First Ask Why, hoping to encourage parents to think a little more deeply about their family, their purpose, and their vision of how God could use them to shine the light of Christ into a dark world.

Read More

#youfirst

#youfirst

I was on a plane last week. Two planes, actually. The first trip was eight hours, then a two-hour layover, then another two hours home to Chicago.

Long day.

By the time we got to our second flight, we were tired, sore, greasy, and just ready to be home. Our connecting airport was a crowded, chaotic mess, so we were feeling the stress of travel quite keenly by this time, and we were anxious to get to our seats.

In an exit row.

Read More

When I Need to be Reminded that God is Good

When I Need to be Reminded that God is Good

A few weeks ago I walked with a friend who not only has a beautiful lab, but also has kids and grandkids living within walking distance. Our walk took us past both of her daughters’ homes, and I found myself thinking about how wonderful it is that she can actually walk to see her daughters and her grandkids. With her lab!

I also found myself feeling . . . what’s the word? Oh yeah. Jealous.

Read More

How to Raise Strong Kids: 5 Essential Body Parts to Strengthen for Character Development

How to Raise Strong Kids: 5 Essential Body Parts to Strengthen for Character Development

Summer, for kids, is a carefree time of going to the pool, hanging out at home, or kicking back at summer camp. As parents, it’s easy to slack off on so many things in the summer, especially hard things like the inner work of character development. But with school starting soon, it’s time to think about our kids’ back-to-school essentials, and one of the most important is their character.


Read More

FIVE KEYS TO REAL PEACE – by April Cassidy

FIVE KEYS TO REAL PEACE – by April Cassidy

There is no doubt about it, being a woman, wife, and/or mom is tough today. With so many crazy things happening in our own families, relationships, jobs, and schedules – not to mention the complete insanity going on in the world - a peaceful heart may seem like an impossibility.

Yet, each of us has a built-in longing to live in perfect peace for ourselves. And we desperately desire peace in our families and for our precious children, too.

Five Keys

Here are some critical keys that I have found on my own journey of discovery to become a peaceful wife and mom.

Read More

Practicing the Art of Being Present

Practicing the Art of Being Present

Last year I was diagnosed with glaucoma, which really hasn’t affected my life in any way, except that I have to go to the eye doctor a little more frequently than most people. And those visits sometimes require some unusual tests.

Last week I had my quarterly exam and had to take a “field vision” or “peripheral vision” test. I’ve had to do this test a few times in the past, and I have to say it’s one that I dread. Not because it hurts, but because it requires six minutes of intense concentration.

Read More

It's Launch Day!

It's Launch Day!

It's finally here and I'm doing a Happy Dance!

First Ask Why: Raising Kids to Love God Through Intentional Discipleship releases today! Hopefully as I write this, booksellers are stocking their shelves or loading their Amazon trucks to deliver this book into the hands of many.

It has long been my belief that our world needs families who want to make a difference for Christ. This book provides just a few suggestions for intentionally pouring the gospel into the lives of our kids. And it is the gospel that makes the difference. Parents are just the tools that will help disciple our kids. We're not aiming for perfection here--just a little more intention.


Read More

First Ask Why: Why Worship?

First Ask Why: Why Worship?

Several years ago, I had the privilege of leading a group of high schoolers on a mission trip to Italy.

 

We spent a couple of weeks learning about Italian culture, a little about the church in Italy (only 1% of Italians consider themselves evangelical Christians), and getting to know an amazing group of high school kids.

Our time in Italy culminated at a movie theater where, on a Sunday morning, several churches from the area came together for a worship service. Much like many American churches, a worship band stood in front and led us in singing. Unlike American worship, the songs were sung in Italian. I didn’t know all the songs, but I did know a few, so I sang along in English.

Read More

First Ask Why: Why Are We Here?

First Ask Why: Why Are We Here?

As a little girl, when I wasn't worried about the supposed burglar who, I was certain, was trying to climb in my window, I was plagued by deep thoughts as I fell asleep each night. I'd wonder about God. I'd wonder about life. And death. And I'd wonder about the big questions like "Why am I here?" (I know. I've got issues.) Many nights, I'd stare at the pink flowers on my wallpaper, winding their way up to the ceiling, and simply wonder. 

Have you ever wondered why you’re here? Not just in that big, cosmic sense, although that’s a good question too, but in the sense of why are we here as a family? Why is this particular collection of people put together under one roof?

I mean, families are pretty messy! Kids have different personalities, different needs, different challenges. Why has God brought this particular combination of people together to create what we call “our family”?

Read More

First Ask Why: Why I Wrote the Book

First Ask Why: Why I Wrote the Book

I have a confession to make: I wasn’t the girl who always wanted to be a mom. I know lots of women who have dreamed of being a mother since they were little girls, who always cuddled and nurtured their baby dolls, and who played house for hours on end with anyone who would join them.

When I was a little girl, I lined up chairs, made worksheets, and played school. My poor baby dolls and stuffed animals sat in a classroom all day rather than getting cuddled! I always wanted to be a teacher; unfortunately, being a mom was not exactly on my radar.

So when I had kids, I found myself in waaaaay over my head.

Read More

Announcing the First Ask Why Launch Team!

Announcing the First Ask Why Launch Team!

First Ask Why: Raising Kids to Love God Through Intentional Discipleship, the book-baby I've been working on for the past two years, will finally see the light of day on April 24. Its message is this: God's purpose for our families is that we shine the light of Jesus into a dark world, and our job as parents to disciple our kids so that they will be equipped to take that light with them when they leave our homes. While they are with us, we must be intentional about discipline our kids, helping them to see Jesus all around them, every day. We start, not by asking how, but by asking why.

It's a message I believe in with my whole heart. It's a message that I believe will help parents and families to see a bigger picture than just living out the day-to-day. I believe it's important to strengthen our families and our kids' faith, especially today.

Read More

Parenting Like a Pro - Lessons from David - Part 3: Remind

Parenting Like a Pro - Lessons from David - Part 3: Remind

My husband is a a bit of a genealogy junkie. Usually during the quieter time of year, say, the holidays and throughout the month of January, he can usually be found in his office, researching family history.

One day he came into the room where I was working and said, “Did you know that you come from royalty?”

(He’s asking me this question? Of course I’m a princess!)

Turns out, a member of my family was some type of British duke way back in the 1200s and our royal line, while not that of the Windsors, was pretty impressive.

Family lore has it that another ancestor of mine signed the Declaration of Independence. My husband didn’t believe that one for a long time, until recently, when he was able to make an obscure connection to another family line.

Read More

Parenting Like a Pro - Lessons from David - Part 2: Encourage

Parenting Like a Pro - Lessons from David - Part 2: Encourage

Six months ago, our oldest daughter moved to a new city to take a job, and, never one to shy away from a challenge, she threw herself into her work with her usual gusto. This fall, her company sent her on a three-week work trip to a foreign country where she had never been and where she did not speak the language.

Soon after she arrived at her destination, Kate texted me to say that things were a bit difficult and asked me to pray. As the weeks went on, it seemed that my daughter faced mounting pressure and increasing obstacles. My mama’s heart was breaking for my daughter, but I obviously couldn’t hop on a plane to rescue her.

Despite the road blocks she was facing, I knew my daughter’s abilities, and I knew she’d handle the situation just fine. I also knew that she had sensed God’s leading to take this job and that she trusted his plan for her. I knew she would survive these challenging weeks by courageously moving ahead in faith.

My job, as a parent, was simply to encourage and to pray.

Read More