Four Easy Ways to Listen to Your Teenager Better

Four Easy Ways to Listen to Your Teenager Better

Ashamed, I avoided eye contact with the teacher and pretended to not pay attention.  It was easier to pretend I wasn’t listening than to acknowledge the truth.

I did not want to admit that I couldn’t read as well as my other classmates.  I felt behind and stupid. Each time I had to read aloud, my face felt hot and my palms began to sweat.  How would I ever be able to read?

Everything changed when one teacher took the time to really help me.  She began using a different curriculum and I immediately started to get the hang of reading.  She believed I could read, equipped me to do so, and told me I was doing a good job. That teacher’s empowerment made all the difference to my first-grade self. 

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One Key to Prevent Childhood Abuse

One Key to Prevent Childhood Abuse

Ashamed, I avoided eye contact with the teacher and pretended to not pay attention.  It was easier to pretend I wasn’t listening than to acknowledge the truth.

I did not want to admit that I couldn’t read as well as my other classmates.  I felt behind and stupid. Each time I had to read aloud, my face felt hot and my palms began to sweat.  How would I ever be able to read?

Everything changed when one teacher took the time to really help me.  She began using a different curriculum and I immediately started to get the hang of reading.  She believed I could read, equipped me to do so, and told me I was doing a good job. That teacher’s empowerment made all the difference to my first-grade self. 

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Four Steps to Achieve Bigger Goals

4 Steps to Achieve Bigger Goals

I remember the first time I tried lifting weights.  I was a kid and my dad had some weights stored in my playroom.  I thought lifting weights looked fun. My sister and I asked my dad if we could try out a few bench presses.  Despite our objections, my dad removed the stacks of weight from either side. He told us to start with just the bar.  We rolled our eyes at his suggestion. Just the bar? Really? That sounded like baby stuff.

Well, to an experienced weightlifter, yes, just a bar is baby stuff.  However, to two elementary school girls, it was not baby stuff.  We were able to lift the bar…a couple times.  A few lifts and we were done. Exhausted. Wiped out.  Compared to our dad, we were weak. We wondered how we could ever lift weights like him.

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3 Unexpected Ways to Make Your Marriage Last

3 Unexpected Ways to Make Your Marriage Last

I mindlessly scrolled through social media at the end of a long day of travel.  A stunning picture of my friend caught my eye. I read the caption, excited to see that she seemed to be doing so well.

Then I saw it.
The caption told the story.
She was no longer married.
My heart sank and questions began to flood my mind. 
“What happened?”
“How could this happen to them?”
“Is any marriage safe?”

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How to Keep from Falling Apart This Fall

How to Keep from Falling Apart This Fall

I remember the first time the holidays didn’t feel quite so merry.  It was the year after my uncle died when I was nine. Sure, I remember there being presents galore, great food, and a lot of smiles, but there was something missing.  Not just something, someone.  There wasn’t the happy-go-lucky guy that used to sneak my sister and I across the street to play on the playground.  There wasn’t my aunt or my cousin to laugh and play with. There wasn’t the vegetarian option that he always required.  In other words, there was a hole. Chances are you too have some mixed emotions around holidays like I did after my uncle died.

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The Importance of a Quick, Imperfect Clean-Up

The Importance of a Quick, Imperfect Clean-Up

It was an afternoon break in an office full of people I still call “family.”  M&M’s, pretzels, and Cheez-It crackers were shared across the table as the topic of vacuuming came up.  Listening to my coworkers, I quickly learned how vastly different everyone’s vacuuming habits were. From one coworker that vacuumed every morning before work to another that vacuumed only when the company came to all those in between, my office was certainly divided on this issue.  Being on the only-vacuum-when-company-comes end of this subject, I was baffled to learn that some people vacuum daily. I could not imagine ever being disciplined enough to accomplish a cleaning goal that lofty.

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The Great Outdoors - 4 Ways to Experience Life Beyond Your Cubicle

The Great Outdoors: 4 Ways to Experience Life Beyond Your Cubicle

Cold is not my thing.  The fastest you’ll see me walk is through a parking lot in those brutal February months when the Oklahoma wind cuts right through you.  During the summer, I’m willing to loiter a little. The winter is a different story.  

Despite my disdain for cold weather, I know it’s good for me to be outside.  Research shows that getting outside helps us relax and increases our productivity.  So how do we do that when drinking hot cocoa by the fireplace feels a whole lot better?  (Or, for you warm-blooded folks, sitting in front of the AC with a cup of sweet tea sounds better). 

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One Key To Renew Your Joy

One Key to Renew Your Joy

When I was a senior in high school, there was one prayer God laid heavy on my heart.  Truthfully, part of it probably felt so heavy because I was scared, but I also believe it was genuinely the Lord preparing my heart to do something amazing.  The prayer God laid on my heart was this: Pray for good friends in college.

Oh man, did He answer those prayers?  The university I went to catered to a very different population than me.  It was essentially a performing arts school and I barely made the plays in grade school (I’m a millennial, which means everyone got a part in the play…that is how much of a performer I am not). 

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2 Myths About Stress

2 Myths About Stress

You know the conversation.
“What’s new with you?”
“Oh I’ve just been busy.”
Busy. It’s a word used often that represents an epidemic of stress.

Chances are you or someone you love has this very week described feeling busy, overwhelmed, or stressed. It’s part of our everyday vocab. It’s also an expectation. If a person isn’t busy, there’s an element of judgment that inevitably comes his or her way.
From both personal and professional experiences, I’ve noticed two big myths about stress. The first is that stress is not a big deal. The second is that stress is unbeatable. I would encourage you to refuse those myths.

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The Key To Stress Relief

The Key to Stress Relief

My mom’s cousins know how to have a good time.  When I’m around this side of my family, I’m always reminded how I tend to take things too seriously. 
 
Tragedy: The Most Common Excuse for Seriousness
 
The excuse I often give for being too serious is that tragedy requires that kind of response.  The more I’ve sat with people in their deepest grief, the more I’ve realized that I don’t think that’s truly the case.  Let me use my mom’s cousins to explain why I think seriousness is overrated, especially in tragedy.

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