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At the request of some of my Twitter/Facebook followers, I provided this page to list all of my ongoing status update “CHALLENGES.”  (Basically, practical wisdom for life in 140 characters or less.) It is my pleasure and privilege to share this journey with you as I continue to struggle and learn and grow in my own life of seeking to live as Christ in the midst of my flesh-self.  And I’ll just trust that you aren’t going to copy all of these and publish them before I have the opportunity to do so.  😛

Stress Less! Set a weekly schedule to up your chance of doing what you Really Want To Do, rather than what you Feel Like Doing Right Now.

“If you’ve never been hated by your child, you’ve never been a parent.” – Bette Davis

Just heard a great truth on an Auto Zone ad: “Doing it yourself doesn’t have to mean doing it alone.” Right on!!!

PARENT LIKE YOU MEAN IT! Are you more concerned with keeping your child occupied with entertainment or meaningful work? Why is that?

Parent Like You Mean It! What new tasks/responsibilities/challenges are your child ready to face this year? Are you ready to let them?

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Choose three life learning goals you want your children and family to learn this school year. And start teaching!

Parents, you’ve heard this before, but I know I need reminding – Empty threats are really broken promises. Be a parent of integrity.

“In the long run you only hit what you aim at. Therefore, though you should fail immediately, you had better aim at something high.” Thoreau

Your children need to know the most relationship in your life is with your spouse, NOT with your child.

Do you believe your children should have a vote in every family/household decision? What is THAT about?!?

Do you believe it is your responsibility to be available to your children every time they want your attention? What is THAT about?!?

Setting boundaries and telling your children, “No,” is important for their development. It is also important for your well being.

Parenting Like You Mean It! means sharing your parenting energy out of a foundation of taking good care of your self and your marriage.

Parenting Like You Mean It! means having greater vision than your child, while having a willingness to see life through your child’s eyes.

Invest less energy in lecturing your child, and more energy in finding an effective consequence and guiding-encouraging them toward growth.

“You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created.” – Albert Einstein Good stuff, Al!

When correcting a child, aim for enough suffering to imprint the lesson in their mind, but not so much to inflict damage to body or spirit.

When the time comes to correct your child, use as few words as possible to point out their error and explain why it was wrong.

Parenting Like You Mean It! means being more concerned with your child’s growth than their compliance.

Parenting Like You Mean It! means being more concerned with your child’s growth than their comfort, pleasure, or praise.

Effective parenting is calm, loving, effective leadership of our children.

Parents – stop trying to convince your children you are in charge…Just be in charge!

At its core, parenting is about teaching and training your children to live well.

The more you focus on something that irritates you but is beyond your power to change, the more control it has over you. Same for people!

And do you really want the most obnoxious people in your life to have that kind of power over you? Find another focus!

“Sometimes He calms the storm. With a whispered, ‘Peace, be still,’ He can settle any sea, but it doesn’t mean He will.” – Scott Krippayne

“Sometimes He holds us close, & lets the wind and waves go wild. Sometimes he calms the storm and other times He calms His child.” Krippayne

It is amazing how frustrating change can be – especially when you feel pressured, but ill-equipped.

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Give your kids the gift of limits. Tell them “No” now and then. It makes saying “Yes” so much better!

Lesson tonight at the Butner home: “If you always want more, you will never be happy.” Teaching children sure challenges one to grow up!

Why does it seem that the desires of our Flesh are often so terribly destructive to our bodies? I’m glad God is willing to lead me!

RECIPE FOR RESENTMENT: Remain focused on things you would change if you had the power, while in fact having no power to change them.

Worrying about an unknown situation is like throwing a rock at a hornets’ nest to see if they are awake.

PARENTING TRUTH: The more you need your child to be pleased with you, the less authority you have with your child.

PARENTING CHALLENGE: What can your kids learn from you this summer that no one else will teach them well? Seize the day!

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Use Memorial Day as a great way to teach your kids the meaning and value of “sacrifice” in various contexts.

MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND CHALLENGE: Take time to recognize those (military and others) who have sacrificed in various ways to bless your life.

PARENTING TIP: Best two word response when kids are whining or complaining…”I know.” Thanks to Jim Fay of Love and Logic!

Feeling down? One great way to deal with it is to pray for the opportunity to help someone in worse shape – then act on it.

Thank you, God, for carrying me through today! And thank you, God, for carrying me through the days I don’t bother to say “Thanks”!

The power of fear/worry to corrupt, bind, and destroy us and our relationships never ceases to amaze me. Take a breath, pray, and face fear!

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Regularly teach your kids how to integrate faith into “real life.” “Faith facts” alone won’t transform their lives.

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Don’t let the summer pass you by without sharing both teaching and learning moments with your children.

PARENTING CHALLENGE: If you haven’t built a furniture and blankets fort with your kids lately, I recommend repenting immediately.

MARRIAGE/PARENTING CHALLENGE: Starving your marriage to fill up your children will leave the whole family malnourished.

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Overbearing, critical parents will neither lead their kids well nor gain their respect, regardless of their “rightness”

God is teaching me I cannot do one thing well, if I am fretting over ten. Holy Spirit, lead me to trust, focus, and obey well.

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Love your child enough to do anything for her, but love your child enough not to do everything for her.

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Never waste an opportunity to listen to your child. If he wants to share it with you, you really need to hear it.

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Not sure which is harder – getting a six year old boy to turn off a TV or take a poop. Oh, wait, I’m the “expert!”

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Take your children’s fears seriously. But don’t let their fears make the rules. Empower your kids to face their fears!

I have heard that emotional investments in personal expectations are just pre-arranged resentments. I agree. What say you?

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Don’t keep your parenting struggles to your self. Share with trusted friends. Parenting is done best with support!

I think life is at its very best when in the company of trusted friends who are speaking the truth in love. May we do so often.

PARENTS: Who do you respect: The strong or weak? Compassionate or controlling? Purposeful or directionless? Be that kind of parent.

FATHERS: How are you using your Dad Power these days? You do realize you are the most powerful man in your child’s universe.

PARENTING QUESTION: What books have you been sharing with your kids lately?

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Our kids need to be able to count on us to keep our word – including warnings of painful consequences for their choices

WEEKEND PARENTING CHALLENGE: Do something on purpose with your kids this weekend. Outside, if possible.

PARENTING CHALLENGE: “…for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” James 1:20

PARENTING CHALLENGE: “…be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…” James 1:19

PARENTING CHALLENGE: At the end of the day, do your kids have a healthy fear of you? If not, why not?

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Want to raise an addict? Give in to your kids’ wants and make life really comfortable for them as much as possible.

Never underestimate the power of a good night of sleep to refresh a weary soul. Rest is a powerful thing!

LIFE CHALLENGE: Take time to REALLY BE THERE with the people you engage during your day. Do they know you really hear them – and care?

I find great satisfaction in ending any day with the knowledge that I was REALLY THERE for someone in need of a loving presence. Good day!

PARENTING CHALLENGE: If you are concerned your child is struggling, don’t ensure the matter by flipping out. Breathe. Pray. Listen.

How I FEEL doesn’t really matter. It’s what I DO that counts! God, lead me to follow your will, not my feelings.

DAD CHALLENGE: Take time to teach your kids how to use tools properly. It takes patience, but is such a valuable life investment.

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Listen more than you speak. Listen in the car. Listen at home. Listen to their friends. Listen through the words. Shhh

Dads, telling your life stories to your kids (especially your embarrassing ones) is one of the best ways you can build your relationship.

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Give your kids the gift they need, but will never request – SUFFERING.

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Remember, there is a world of difference between being bossy and being in charge. Which one do you think earns respect?

The love of comfort is a root of all kinds of addictions and spiritual maladies. – Dr. B

Today’s discovery: If I sincerely ask God to help me see my self more humbly and realistically, He is thrilled to do so. OUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Want the healthiest possible marriage? Work on being the healthiest you. A more healthy and whole you = a healthier, stronger marriage.

Thanks to Drew Brees for a great metaphor today! A strong husband/leader encourages his team and takes responsibility for his mistakes.

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Don’t worry about parenting to receive your children’s applause. Parent for their respect. Same thing for presidents.

“Convinced myself, I seek not to convince.” – Edgar Allen Poe Thanks to @HalEdward of http://screamfree.com for that golden nugget!

Weary from a longstanding game of emotional tug-of-war? Do your self a huge favor – drop the rope!

Well what do you know?! Freedom really can come through acceptance and surrender. Go figure.

Marveling today at God’s loving providence and how He equips us with everything we need to do His will.

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Read to your kids! Read with your kids! Let your kids read to you! Make up stories with your kids! Engage their brains and invite and challenge them to stretch their imaginations and vocabularies beyond what they are fed by the ubiquitous electronic screen!

Thanks to good friends who love me enough to be there for me and tell me what I NEED to hear, regardless of whether it is or isn’t what I WANT to hear.

Trying to come up with some pearl of wisdom for Facebook…Oh, yeah, I’m supposed to be checking a couple things off my procrastination list today. Facebooking must be easier and more fun than the other stuff. Hmmmm…Time to Man Up!

I love it when clients ask me earnestly, “Is there hope?” and I can reply without reservation, “Yes, absolutely there is hope!” Have I mentioned lately I love this work?!!

PARENTING CHALLENGE: If at all possible, BE THERE for your child’s games or other performance activities. And remember who you are there for while you are there.

Before, during, and after games are some of the best times to communicate deeply to your child’s heart, “I am for you. I believe in you. I am here for you.”

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Do something extra this year to improve your self as a parent. Read a good book (I’m glad to recommend), attend a seminar, go on a family retreat, listen to some motivational cds, take a contemplative retreat, get in better shape. Let’s do something to really bless our children this year!

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Be sure to make a list of the classic books you want to share with your children at different stages of their journey, and then share them. Depending on the age of your child and the nature of the book, you can either read to them or alternate between you and your child reading.

Samwise Gamgee – friends just don’t come any better. Now there’s a guy who understands that a brother is born for adversity.

“Too few have come. We cannot defeat the armies of Mordor.” “No, we cannot. But we will meet them in battle nonetheless!” King Theoden must have been a founding member of Men’s Fraternity. Right on!

Today I am so grateful for how God continues to patiently teach me and guide me and equip me toward fuller, freer living. Especially considering what a knucklehead I am, and how much I am still bent toward sin.

PARENTING TIP: Invite your young children to work with you around the house and yard (with teens, skip the invitation and just expect it of them). You are teaching them invaluable life skills while building your relationship and giving them great opportunities to build confidence and self-respect.

“So let the Word go forth with words that are crisp and clear and imaginative. Let the Word go forth with metaphors and stories that sing and dance and play. Let the Word go forth with words that bless and encourage and heal.” – Richard Foster

“Oh, that our words would be animated with love and terror and pity and pain and wonder and all the other glorious emotions that make our lives dangerous and great and bearable!” – Richard Foster

I’m heading into my first weekend of the new me, determined to get healthy and stay healthy. Who knows what the ripple effects may be?

Shep was pumping up my cardio dumbells this morning, and he told me it was so he wouldn’t get fat. May God bless you in your determination, son! I’m ready to do my part to lead.

“Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.” – Plato (via ScreamFree Parenting Tip of the Day)

Sometimes I find myself in the former camp. Often I find myself in the latter. And here I am posting it for you to hear…

Growth comes through denying my urges and impulses, and surrendering to my convictions and goals. Of course, the greatest growth, success, and freedom will come when my convictions and goals are wholly directed by the Holy Spirit.

PARENTING CHALLENGE: How often do you automatically say “No” to your children’s requests? What is that about?

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Before you jump to turning off your kids’ TV or movie choices, take time to watch and discuss with them. You will both grow in the process, if you listen and lead with calm conviction.

I’m so proud of Shep and his attitude during his first Upward basketball game! He had fun, stayed in the game, and remained coachable the whole time. Attaboy!

So, the world is officially coming to an end. Oh, maybe it’s just that I have a cold and it feels that way. Boo-hoo, sniff-sniff. And now, back to our usual programming…

“I always give God the glory. I never question that God is in control. Whatever happens, I know I’m standing on the rock.” – Colt McCoy Right on, brother!!!

PARENTING CONSIDERATION: Be thankful you only have to parent your kids. Can you imagine having God’s role of parenting all of us?! No thanks!!! I wouldn’t even want to parent ME, let alone several billion other selfish humans.

Let me just go on the record as saying – I absolutely love my job! Using the gifts God has given me to help people find hope, healing, restored relationships, and healthy living – plus I work in a beautiful place with amazing people – plus I get paid. Yeah, I love it!

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Take time to teach your kids about new life experiences in the moment, even when it isn’t convenient.

I was cold and sleepy this morning, but my son loved his lesson on frost in the bed of my truck!

Really looking forward to resuming Men’s Frat this Friday after a month away. I can tell the difference – not good.

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Refrain from telling your son to “Shut up!” in response to his expert corrections while assembling his Christmas present compost bin. Well, looks like I blew this one! Thank God for grace from a 6 year old!

Had an amazing God-appointment with someone at church today while serving as a greeter. I love it when I am able to see God’s amazing handiwork!

My 6 year old son told me tonight how handsome I am. No, son, you can’t have another brownie – don’t bother asking. Nice try.

Realized I was saying NO to my son’s requests for my attention too often for insubstantial reasons. I’m working on changing that.

May you find plenty of excuses to stomp on bubble wrap in the coming year! By the way, research indicates higher fun value with big bubbles.

Reflecting on my 2009. It has been an amazing year of challenge and growth. Times of joy. Times of pain. God was good all year!

So my lovely wife has us back on the cash system again. Stinkin’ self-discipline!!!

Addiction is ugly, unrelenting, and unmerciful. I can’t fathom how anyone can beat addiction without surrendering their lives to God.

Watching another episode of Intervention. What an amazing show! I think this is the best thing to come out of “Hollywood” in forever.

Saw a woman come unglued after a minor collision today. So thankful God has been growing me in peace and perspective – I need more of both!

NEW YEAR’S EVE TIP: You haven’t partied until you’ve stomped on big sheets of bubble wrap! (note – big bubbles are much better for stomping than small bubbles)

TRANSFORM YOUR KIDS! Give them plenty of healthy touch every day. And never underestimate the incredible impact of Dad Power!

What’s the obsession with New Year’s Resolutions? One Day At A Time works much better for me than trying to face a whole year of change.

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Resist the urge to threaten taking away your kid’s Christmas gifts this week. I mean, are you REALLY going to do it?!

Well, Christmas has come and gone. I thoroughly enjoyed Christmas with my family – with no regrets. Now that’s living!

And now a message from “tree hugger” in Dr B: Please recycle your paper, cardboard, plastic, etc from Christmas. It makes a HUGE difference.

Jesus left perfection to step into our mess, so God could personally clean us up and bring us home. Amazing! Merry Christmas!!!

CHRISTMAS KNOTHEAD FAMILY MEMBER CHALLENGE: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. – Jesus

CHRISTMAS SALES CLERK CHALLENGE: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. – Jesus

CHRISTMAS TRAFFIC CHALLENGE: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. – Jesus

Am I the only one who absolutely loves picking out stocking-stuffers? I feel so elvish. Does that make me an elvish impersonator?

CHRISTMASTIME PARENTING CHALLENGE: What memories will your kids carry away from this season? Invest well.

CHRISTMASTIME PARENTING CHALLENGE: Play with your kids during Christmas. Give them the gift of your time, touch, and laughter.

CHRISTMASTIME PARENTING CHALLENGE: Consider why you are buying each particular gift, and how you expect your child to actually use it. Looking for a great Christmas gift for your kids? Tell them some stories about mistakes you made when you were their age. They’ll love it!

Thinking about New Year’s Resolutions yet? You might start with confession. As the saying goes, “We are only as sick as our secrets.”

It never ceases to amaze me how much better I feel when I make the effort to straighten up and clean my home or office.

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Is your child “cutting?” (self-injuring) It is so important you CALMLY get help. Reacting will only worsen things.

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Do your kids know you mean it, without you having to tell them, “I mean it!”? If not, why not? Be authoritative.

Remember when building with Legos required creativity? Now it seems diligence in following directions is the key.

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Looking for a way to decrease the level of whining in your household in the coming year? Stop whining! : )

Today was a good reminder of how far God has carried me in the last couple of years. Thank you, LORD, for your persistent grace!!!

Having a minor cold reminds me to be compassionate and merciful when others don’t meet my expectations. Maybe something is hindering them.

CHRISTMAS READING RECOMMENDATION: “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry makes for an excellent family read.

PARENTING INSIGHT: Teenagers and toddlers are actually going through very similar transitions – new horizons, learning limits, exploring…

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Don’t set up your kids for failure.  Respect their limitations and abilities when asking something of them.

Why is admitting I’m wrong and apologizing so hard when it is always so freeing and healing?  I clearly still need my Savior!

LIFE CHALLENGE: Looking for the bondage of addiction?  Make personal comfort a higher priority than personal integrity.

LIFE CHALLENGE: Looking for a way to increase your peace?  Face the hard stuff in life!  Be free and enjoy the peace!

Today has been an amazing day, filled with blessings.  Maybe that’s because I kept seeking God’s leading and peace all day…

Just pondering – where is that line between keeping an open mind, and losing it?  Hmmm…

GREAT READS: ScreamFree Parenting by Runkel; A Failure of Nerve by Friedman; Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Scazzero; Hurt by Clark

PARENTS: Teen/Tween requesting something special? Have them submit a written request w/ reasoning. They’ll hate it, but you’ll bless them.

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Want to give your kids an edge in their academic careers? Take time to help them develop their writing skills.

My 5 y.o. son is convinced I have this amazing “Dad Power.” The truth is – I do. So do you, Dad. How are we using our Dad Power?

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Speak with authority. If you truly KNOW you are in charge, so will your kids (and their friends).

BLACK FRIDAY CHALLENGE: Breathe. Slow down. Say Thank you. Invite someone ahead of you. Straighten the messy display. Smile.

Looking for a way to survive your time with that knothead in your family this year? Try blessing them with service and compassion.

NOTE TO SELF: Remember to BE THERE during holiday family time. Piddling around online doesn’t qualify. OUCH!!!

LIFE CHALLENGE: If the holidays reveal serious problems at home – do something about it! Find a good counselor and get help now.

THANKSGIVING PARENTING CHALLENGE: Be sure to thank each of your kids for something you appreciate them doing.

HOLIDAY TIP: Don’t let crazy people be in charge of your emotions. Or knotheads. Or known lunatics. Or obnoxious family members…

I am thankful for http://conversationsjournal.com If you are looking for real life meaning and spiritual growth, check it out.

I am thankful for friends who quest for spiritual direction with humility enough to admit they have more questions than answers.

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Give your kids the gift of a better you this Christmas season. Take good care of you!

PARENTING PRESCHOOLERS RESOURCE: The “Pup and Pop” books are a terrific resource for first-time readers.

THANKSGIVING CHALLENGE: For what trials and struggles are you thankful this year? Seriously, isn’t that when you grew the most?

PARENTING RESOURCE: Parents of teens – I have found few resources as rich and practical as http://www.cpyu.org

When is the last time you went out for a stroll in nature – simply for the pleasure of experiencing God’s handiwork? Is it time?

PARENTING TIP: The more a toy/game does on its own power, the less our kids have to think and do. Low tech = high imagination.

PARENTING CHALLENGE: What if we put as much thought into character traits to teach our kids as we did into their Christmas gift lists?

PARENT CHALLENGE: Your kids’ view of your “coolness” is irrelevant. However, their view of your level of understanding is huge.

PARENTING CHALLENGE: When is the last time you went for a hike in the woods with your kids? I think it may be time to go!

Que sera, sera. Now those are some profound words for life! And ain’t it grand to know God’s in charge?!

PARENTING CHALLENGE: There is a world of difference between being a proactive parent and a reactive parent. Work on being a pro.

Ever just sit and watch and listen as a five year old does imaginary play by himself? I’ve forgotten so much about possibilities.

Looking for stress relief? I highly recommend facing and tackling those things you have been avoiding. Set yourself free!

DAD CHALLENGE: Your healthy physical touch is one of the most life-giving blessings your kids can experience. They need your blessing!

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Do you kids know, by your consistent words and actions, that you are FOR them – even when they are “in trouble?”

PARENTING TEENS TIP: Did you know you can cancel texting service? Just in case you ever need an effective painful consequence.

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Sometimes watching your kids suffer, without interfering, is the most loving act you can offer. The gift of growth!

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Our kids need us to put what is best for them above our desire for them to like us.

ESSENTIAL PARENTING SKILL: Listening

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Honestly consider your parents’ strengths and weaknesses from your childhood. Now consider what your kids will say.

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Remember, your child’s homework and their choices are their responsibilities. Solid leadership is yours.

LIFE BLESSING: Just saw the first sign of the year for Honeycrisp Apples. Seriously, get some. Eat some. Be blessed.

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Let your “yes” be yes, and your “no” be no. Turns out Jesus’ words of wisdom are great for parenting!

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Keeping kids occupied is fairly easy these days. Leading them well is more challenging than ever.

LIFE CHALLENGE: What makes hard stuff so hard to face? Maybe it is entertaining the notion that I don’t really need to face it.

PARENTING ENCOURAGEMENT: When you are so frazzled you don’t know what else to do, start with breathing and prayer – Really!

Addiction is born when the desperate pursuit of comfort overshadows the willingness to face life’s difficulties.

RELATIONSHIP CHALLENGE: Do others consider you a SAFE person to be vulnerable with? Try prayerfully observing some safe people.

LIFE TRUTH: Life does not get any easier…until I am willing to face the hard things.

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Continually making life comfortable, pleasant, and easy stunts our kids’ emotional/relational/spiritual growth.

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Do your kids know when they have enough? Cultivate the character of contentment in them.

TRIPLE DOG DARE: Ask your teenager that question, and request it in writing.

DOUBLE DARE: Ask your child to answer that question.

PARENTING CHALLENGE: How will your child remember you after leaving home?

PARENTING CHALLENGE: What does your child’s reflection say about what you are doing well?

PARENTING CHALLENGE: What does your child’s reflection say about your need to grow in certain ways?

PARENTING CHALLENGE: That loud noise coming from the i-pod may be a cry for help. Tune in before you tune out. http://ow.ly/kmHy

LIFE CHALLENGE: I have noticed in my life that the Goliaths never go away until I stand up and see God next to the “giant.”

MARRIAGE HELP: Ever feel as mismatched as a golden retriever and a box turtle? Here is some basic guidance. http://ow.ly/jP1A

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Remember – family meal time is learning time. Learn about your kids, and seize teachable moments.

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Be sure your new school year routine includes at least two family meals each week.

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Expect much of your kids this school year. Then empower them to exceed your expectations.

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Looking for guidance raising your kids? Of all the great resources out there, God’s Word tops the list.

Overheard today: Every “saint” has a past.  Every “sinner” has a future.

LIFE CHALLENGE: We all need help at times. I know I do! Do you need help with something, but haven’t been willing to ask?

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Our kids need us to be willing to inflict/allow painful consequences in their lives, so they can grow.

FAMILY LIFE CHALLENGE: What routine would you like to establish this school year?  Are you ready?

MAN CHALLENGE: Guys, plenty of space left in our upcoming semester of Men’s Fraternity.  Seriously – it’s incredible!  http://ow.ly/iWT2

FAMILY CHALLENGE: How long has it been since you brought your family to Lambert’s Cafe for some throwed rolls?  That’s too long!

LIFE CHALLENGE: Your compass guides your journey.  Which compass are you following – momentary feelings or spiritual convictions?

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Take time as a family to set some meaningful goals for the upcoming school year.  How do you want to grow?

PARENTING RESOURCE: Parents, teachers, coaches, pastors, etc – I highly recommend http://www.cpyu.org to help you understand teens.

LIFE CHALLENGE: We essentially become disciples of wherever our attention is most focused.  Where is your attention focused?

PARENTS: Do your kids know you are willing to step into their messy worlds?  http://ow.ly/i2lB

PARENTS: While they do need our attention and hearts, kids DO NOT need to be the center of our universe.  It’s about balance and rhythm.

PARENTING CHALLENGE: When you go home tonight, remember, kids need our attention and hearts, not just a body in a chair.

LIFE CHALLENGE: Have a great day!  (And while you’re at it, make someone else’s day a great one)

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Send your kids each an encouraging card in the mail on a random day.  You know – paper, stamps…

COMMUNITY CHALLENGE: Get to know the neighbors on your street.  You could start by having a bbq for 3 or 4 families.

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Beware the trap of friendship with your kids.  Buddies have low authority.  Lead now, befriend later.

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Work on being the kind of person you want your children to become.

MARRIAGE CHALLENGE: Why let teens get away with all the fun?  Send your spouse a “sext” messgae now and then!

PARENTING CHALLENGE: One of the best gifts you can give your children is a strong marriage with your spouse.

MANHOOD CHALLENGE: Participate in Men’s Fraternity.  your life will never be the same!

MANHOOD CHALLENGE: Read Eldredge’s books, “Wild at Heart” and “Fathered by God.”  Be prepared for transformation!

MARRIAGE CHALLENGE: Have date nights with your spouse at least twice a month.  Get creative – don’t let the recession stop you!

FAMILY CHALLENGE: Read together as a family on a regular basis.  Alternate books for fun and for building character and wisdom.

LIFE CHALLENGE: Express genuine appreciation every chance you get.  This one habit can transform every relationship in your life.

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Make sure your children know something you really like about them as a person.

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Be the parent your kids need – not the one they deserve at the moment!

FAMILY CHALLENGE: Sign up for a kids’ class at Lowe’s or Home Depot.  You’ll learn new skills and have a blast.

FAMILY CHALLENGE: Cook together sometime, instead of dining out.  You’ll save money and build relationships.

MARRIAGE CHALLENGE: Read “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman.  Learn to speak one another’s love language.

LIFE CHALLENGE: Take a retreat at the Parish Hermitage in beautiful South Louisiana.  You will be glad you did!  http://ow.ly/gS3s

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Periodically make one-on-one time for each of your children.  Family time is great, but they need solo time.

COMMUNITY CHALLENGE: Invite friends/neighbors for dinner and keep the TV off for the evening.  Help revive the art of hospitality.

MARRIAGE CHALLENGE: Don’t email/text/chat/Facebook with someone if you would feel awkward letting your spouse know.  T-R-O-U-B-L-E

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Discuss the TV shows and movies you watch together in your home.  It makes great life-discussion material.

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Read “ScreamFree Parenting” by Hal Runkel.  It will revolutionize your relationships.

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Occasionally ask your children to tell you something you need to work on in your life, then listen.

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Make your home a welcoming place for your kids’ friends.  Then use your time and influence well.

MARRIAGE TIP: Add “in bed” to the end of fortune cookie fortunes.  Okay, not really a marriage tip – just childishly fun.

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Remember to talk with your kids about the value of freedom this weekend! (July 4)

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Find out what music and movies your teen loves most, and why.  Focus on knowing, not fixing, your teen.

LIFE CHALLENGE: Improving your self is the best thing you can do to improve all of your relationships.

MARRIAGE CHALLENGE: Work on your friendship with your spouse.  Marriage is so much fun when you are truly best friends!

What areas of your life don’t seem to be set free?  Ask yourself what price you have been unwilling to pay for that freedom.

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Seize the summertime!  Determine to have a better connection with your kids by the end of this summer.

TEEN/”TWEEN” TIP: Excellent cell-phone guide for parents, thanks to MediaWise!  http://ow.ly/fV0F

ADOLESCENT ADVOCATE: Teens are in desperate need of grace – from us!  http://ow.ly/fKr5

PARENTING ALERT: If your boys are on Twitter, be sure you have prepared them to say NO to all the porn solicitation – getting ridiculous!

Lesson from the “prodigal father”: 5. He didn’t beat up his son for being foolish.  He showed him how to recover his life.

Lesson from the “prodigal father”: 4. He didn’t run AFTER his son.  He ran to MEET him.

Lesson from the “prodigal father”: 3. He never gave up hope!

Lesson from the “prodigal father”: 2. He respected his son’s need to make his own choices.

Lessons to parents of teens from the father of the “prodigal son”: 1. He modeled healthy living to his children over the years.

FAMILY CHALLENGE: Enjoy regular rituals together.  It’s a great way to keep relationships strong – in marriage, family, and friendship.

RELATIONSHIP CHALLENGE: Apologies are always more meaningful when you express an understanding of how you affected them.

RELATIONSHIP CHALLENGE: Be the first to apologize when you know you did something wrong, even if you think they deserved it.

FAMILY FUN FACT: backyard + pogo swing + water sprinkler + five year old + dad = FUN!!!

Feel stressed at home?  Try taking time to really clean one room well.  You may be amazed how much more peace you experience.

JUST CURIOUS: What is keeping you from surrendering that one thing to God that keeps you from the next step of freedom?  Freedom awaits.

MARRIAGE CHALLENGE: “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”  Phil 2:4

MARRIAGE CHALLENGE: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.”  Phil 2:3

FAMILY CHALLENGE: This summer, aim for more depth of experience rather than simply more experiences.  Live in the moment.

LIFE CHALLENGE: If you just spent half an hour on Twitter trying to think of a great post – time to move on!  Not that I would know.

MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND CHALLENGE: Relax.  Enjoy.  Don’t overplan.  Leave space for being amidst the doing.

PARENT CHALLENGE: Do your kids know you regularly see and appreciate them for who they are, and don’t just notice their mistakes?

LIFE CHALLENGE: What do you keep hidden in your life, for fear of exposure?  Be free!  Let the light of truth in, so God can renew you.

LIFE CHALLENGE: Integrity, diligence, and faithfulness are NOT worth sacrificing for approval, accolades, or achievement!

Confession, repentance, and person responsibility sure can go a long way toward reconciling a damaged relationship!

LIFE CHALLENGE: Are you an expert at something?  Are you sharing that with anyone?  If “no” to either question, why not?

MOM CHALLENGE: Read this article about how every day can be “Mother’s Day.”  http://bit.ly/oqukE  Thanks to Hal Runkel of ScreamFree Living.

MARRIAGE CHALLENGE: Stop focusing on what your spouse is or isn’t doing “right.”  Ask – How am I doing on keeping MY vows?

CHALLENGE TO MEN: Reject passivity.  Accept responsibility.  Lead courageously.  Expect God’s greater reward.  www.mensfraternity.com

MARRIAGE CHALLENGE: Calm down.  Be smart.  Take responsibility for yourself.

PARENTING CHALLENGE: Calm down.  Be smart.  Take responsibility for yourself.

ECONOMIC RECESSION CHALLENGE: Calm down.  Be smart.  Take responsibility for yourself.

SWINE FLU CHALLENGE: Calm down.  Be smart.  Take responsibility for yourself.

MARRIAGE CHALLENGE: Do you spend more time appreciating or depreciating your spouse with your thoughts/words/actions?  How’s that working?

WEEKEND CHALLENGE: Do something on purpose that matters.  Don’t just let the weekend happen to you.

PARENT CHALLENGE: Have you considered where you are aiming your family this summer?  You will hit where you aim!  Aim well.  http://bit.ly/oTYgn

Six Keys to a Thriving Marriage: Submission, Humility, Servanthood, Submission, Humility, Servanthood.

Hmmm…Parenting, Leadership…Leadership, Parenting…

Three Keys to Effective Leadership…Calmness…Courage…Compassion

Three Keys to Effective Parenting…Calmness…Courage…Compassion

MARRIAGE CHALLENGE: Don’t be so quick to correct your spouse.  Respectfully shutting up and listening shows great love.

MARRIAGE CHALLENGE: Read and work “The Love Dare” by the Kendrick brothers.  Let me know if your marriage isn’t transformed.

LIFE CHALLENGE: Success in life is achieved by consistently acting on conviction, rather than impulse.

LIFE CHALLENGE: Let yourself really see, hear, taste, touch, and smell the life-giving power of Easter this year.  Don’t just do rituals.

MARRIAGE CHALLENGE: See if you can surprise and bless your spouse as much as your kids this Easter.

FAMILY CHALLENGE: Let yourself be as childlike as your kids on Easter.  Not childish – just free to play and run and share.