Divine Words for Desperate Parents

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Divine Words for Desperate Parents

By Nancy Guthrie

I’m not exactly sure how it happens, but almost as soon as we visit the doctor to confirm we’re pregnant we start getting coupons for formula and diapers and magazines that include all kinds of articles about how to raise healthy, well-adjusted children. All of these “five steps to . . .” and “ten ways to get your child to . . . ” articles can fool us into thinking if we try hard enough and do everything right, our child will become and do what we want.

But anyone who’s been a parent for long knows parenting requires a lot more than simply following the right steps to success. To raise a child toward godliness, we need much more than the good advice parenting experts have to offer. We need what only the Scriptures have to offer.

We need the commands and expectations of Scripture to keep us from complacency, and the grace and mercy of Scripture to save us from guilt. We need Scripture to puncture the pride that rises up in us when our child is doing well and we’re tempted to take the credit. And we need Scripture to save us from the despair that threatens to sink us when our child is floundering and we’re tempted to take all the blame.

While we have influence and responsibility, we don’t have control over our child. We can teach our child the Scriptures, but we can’t be the Holy Spirit in our child’s life. We can confront sinful patterns that need to change, but we can’t generate spiritual life that leads to lasting change. Only the Spirit can do that.

What we can do is pray for and parent our child the best we know how. We can keep trusting God to do what we cannot.

But how or what do we pray? The Scriptures help us with that, too. In particular the Psalms—divine words God has given us to talk and sing to him—provide us with not only wisdom and perspective for parenting, but also with words for prayer.

In His Grip, Not Ours

From the time they’re newborns, we’re concerned about our children’s progress. We want to know what we can do—what we can feed them, what we can teach them, how we can train them—to keep them moving toward a bright future.

During the school years, our parental fear or confidence rises and falls on how well our children are progressing in school and sports, as well as physically and socially. As they emerge into young adulthood, we can’t help but set mental timelines for them to finish their education, find a mate, and establish a career. And all along the way, we often think and act and feel as if it’s up to us and our children to chart out a path for their lives—and to make it happen.

But King David knew otherwise. He recognized he wasn’t ultimately in control of where he came from or where he was headed. Nor did he want to be.

I am trusting you, O LORD, saying, “You are my God!” My future is in your hands. (Ps. 31:14–15)

Our child’s future is not in our hands. It’s not under our control. It’s not in their hands either; it’s in God’s.

Meditating on Psalm 31 helps us to pray: Lord, I find myself obsessing over many aspects of who my child will be and what he will do. But I know my child’s future is not in my hands. And deep down I don’t want it to be. The safest place to be—the place of favor and blessing—is in your hands.

In His Strength, Not Ours

As parents we tend to be pretty hard on ourselves. We’re well aware of our deficiencies and our hypocrisies. We’re determined not to raise our own children in some of the ways we were raised, yet we instinctively repeat similar patterns. We want to listen, but we’re distracted. We want to play, but we have so much work to do. We want to engage helpfully, but so much of what we throw out there doesn’t seem to stick. Even our most brilliant efforts at parenting don’t always work well.

In Psalm 103 we find good news those of us who have failed our child, good news for those of us who have been angry, impatient, or cold.

The LORD is like a father to his children,
tender and compassionate to those who fear him.
For he knows how weak we are;
he remembers we are only dust. (Ps. 103:13–14)

We have a Father who is tender and compassionate toward us. He’s not pointing fingers or putting us on trial. He is mindful of our limitations and frustrations. He knows how weak we are in faith, in discipline, in consistency, in wisdom, and in relational skills. He remembers we are dust, doing the best we can in a world we don’t control to raise kids we don’t ultimately control. We have a Father who works in and through our weaknesses to put his own power and strength on display.

Meditating on Psalm 103 helps us to pray: Father, we need your tenderness to release us from our regrets, and we need your compassion to assure us of your long-term commitment to see us through all the seasons and struggles of parenting.

By His Voice, Not Ours

When we read Psalm 29, we get the sense that David is looking up at the sky, watching the progress of a storm sweeping over Israel. But he’s not just watching it. He’s hearing what the Lord is saying to him through it.

The voice of the LORD echoes above the sea. The God of glory thunders.
The LORD thunders over the mighty sea.
The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is majestic.
The voice of the LORD splits the mighty cedars; the LORD shatters the cedars of Lebanon. (Ps. 29:3–5)

The Lord’s voice is shattering. The same voice that splits the mighty cedars of Lebanon can cut through any resistance our children have toward God.

The Lord’s voice is striking. It can speak to our children like a gentle rain of gradual understanding or like a lightning strike of life-changing insight.

The Lord’s voice is shaking. It can jolt our children out of their apathy and comfort.

The Lord’s voice is stripping. Just as it leaves the forest bare, it can peel away negative attitudes and arguments from our children’s hearts and minds.

Meditating on Psalm 29 helps us to pray: Lord, we long for our child to hear you speaking. Won’t you sweep down over our home in the way David saw you sweeping through Israel? Come and let your mighty, majestic voice be heard.

In His Timing, Not Ours

How hard it can be to wait on God. When we’ve prayed for months or years and see no visible signs of change, no tangible evidence of God at work, we can begin to lose hope. We wonder not only if heaven is closed to us, but if there’s really anyone there, listening and able to act.

I am sick at heart. How long, O LORD, until you restore me? (Ps. 6:3)

When we’re sick at heart over the direction of or difficulty in our child’s life, we can be sure God will restore us to a healthy confidence that he is at work. When we’re worn out from sobbing over the pain in our child’s life, we can be sure the Lord has heard our weeping. He has heard our pleas and will answer. It may not be today or tomorrow. In fact, God may not accomplish all the healing and restoration we long for in this lifetime. But we can be sure the day will come when his work in our lives and in the lives of our children will be brought to completion. And in light of eternity, it won’t seem it took very long at all.

Meditating on Psalm 6 helps us to pray: Lord, I am impatient for you to accomplish all you intend in my child’s life. But I am not hopeless. Even when I don’t see you working, I will trust you are. Even when it seems it’s taking too long, I trust you to accomplish all you intend to accomplish, and I have faith you will complete it on time. 

 

If you would like help with your family, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a certified life coach or counselor.

When God’s Sovereignty and Your Bad Day Meet

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When God’s Sovereignty and Your Bad Day Meet

By 

I’m a planner. I have a running to-do list on my phone categorized by days. I rarely start a day without a set plan. Spontaneity isn’t in my blood. In fact, it kind of freaks me out.

A few weeks ago what started as a bad fever for one of my kids quickly became a family affair. Within 48 hours our entire clan was sick with not one, but two illnesses. Our pediatrician called it a secondary virus. I called it absolute insanity.

While I emerged unscathed by the two illnesses, my to-do list lay dormant without a single thing crossed off. As the sickness passed, I entered a mild state of panic. How am I going to catch up? I’m going to be digging out of laundry, dishes, and writing deadlines for weeks. Panic turned to self-pity, and I began wondering if God hadn’t made a mistake in giving me this awful week filled with sickness.

This Is the Day

Growing up I remember singing a psalm put to music called “This Is the Day,” taken from Psalm 118:24:

This is the day that the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.

For some reason, this peppy song came into my head repeatedly that week. As my plans went out the window (and were replaced with seemingly mundane caregiving work), I would hear in my head this childhood song.

Today is his day, Courtney, I would say to myself. Don’t despise it.

Easier said than done.

When our day is filled with completing tasks, happy family members, tangible results in our work, or a general good mood, it’s easy to think, “This is the day that the Lord has made.” It’s easy to rejoice in it. It’s easy to be glad when all is right in our little world.

But what about the day that’s hard? When nothing goes right? When the bad news comes? When you want a do-over by 9 a.m.? When a co-worker interrupts your project because she needs help with something, and now you have to work into the evening. Can you rejoice and be glad in that day? Can you see God’s daily gift to you in the bad as well as the good?

I think so.

God’s Purpose in Your Days

If our days were meant be about our own productivity, happiness, and fulfillment, then perhaps we could find a reason to sideline Psalm 118:24. But this is not the case. God’s purpose in our days is that he would get glory, that we would become like Jesus, and that we would grow in love for those around us. We are not autonomous beings. This means there are countless scenarios playing out in our days that are intended to accomplish God’s greater purposes for us.

The sickness of a family member might be God’s means of making you and them more like his Son. As you lay down your agenda and serve, God is at work. As the one who is sick accepts his limitations and sees his need in a fallen world, God is at work. A bad day doesn’t mean God’s hand is against you. It might be his way of showing he is for you.

God keeps no good thing from us (Ps. 84:11). If we don’t have it, it’s not for our good. Every circumstance that comes our way is under his control. He knows the number of hairs on our head; how much more does he know the outcome of our crazy lives (Matt. 10:30; Luke 12:7)? We see our life from only one vantage point. God sees it from many. We can accept the days he gives us with assurance and trust because he knows more than we do and sees the complete picture of our lives.

God’s Goodness in Your Days

Psalm 118 is a song of thanksgiving. The psalmist calls the nation of Israel to praise God for his steadfast love, then moves into recounting God’s deliverance from distress, which leads to worship. Verse 24 likely refers what is called the festival day, the day they celebrate God’s deliverance. As believers, we can join this celebration, even on the most difficult days. We may not experience rescue from earthly trials, but in Jesus we have the deliverance that matters most.

God’s goodness amid difficulty permeates the Scriptures, from Joseph declaring that God intended his brothers’ evil for good (Gen. 50:20) to the ultimate injustice when Jesus hung on the cross. The days that look like failures in the world’s eyes—and even in our eyes—are not really failures after all. They are accomplishing God’s plans for us and for the world.

Whatever kind of day God has planned for you today, it’s his day. He intends to achieve his purposes in you and those around you. Even when you feel like nothing is going your way, he is worthy of your praise. This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

 

If you would like help navigating the “bad days” and the option of incorporating your faith with navigating the hard times, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a coach or counselor.

10 Ways to Grow Your Marriage While Having Young Kids

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10 Ways to Grow Your Marriage While Having Young Kids

By Gavin Ortlund

My wife, Esther, and I live in a small parsonage next to our church. So does Isaiah. So does Naomi.

With biblical names like these, you’d think Isaiah and Naomi would be the ideal roommates. But we’ve noticed that Isaiah (who just turned 3) can be pretty moody, and Naomi (who just turned 1) has a powerful set of vocal chords.

I love being a parent, and we have awesome kids. They give me so much joy. But it’s not always easy. Having kids permanently changes marriage. You try to have a conversation, and you’re constantly interrupted; you plan time to connect and you’re completely exhausted; you try to plan a date night and then realize how expensive a babysitter is. You get the idea.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about something my mom once said: being a parent, for all the strains it can put on your marriage, also allows your marriage to grow deeper and richer. It’s like going into battle with someone, coming home, and then realizing what good friends you’ve become because you were in the trenches together. So I’m learning to see this challenging season as an opportunity for our marriage, not merely a phase to endure.

After my walk with Christ, nothing should take a higher priority in my life than cultivating intimacy and friendship with my wife—not even being a dad. In fact, I know I can’t be the dad God calls me to be unless my marriage is strong. Here are some strategies we’ve reflected on that might be helpful to other young parents in a similar season of life.

Ten Strategies for Growth

1. Kiss/hug/flatter your spouse intentionally throughout the day.

Let this be the first thing you do when you get home each day. I get mobbed by my kids at the front door, who want to wrestle. I want to give them attention, but I also want them to see that Esther is a priority that nothing can displace. Little daily installments of touch, affirmation, and attention go a long way.

2. Shell out the money for babysitters and vacation, as much as you can.

It’s expensive, but it’s a worthy investment. When planning a date night, I often think, Can we afford this? But when we do it, I always think, I’m glad we did this—we needed it. It’s so important to have times of laughter, recreation, and play with your spouse. The old saying is corny but true: “Families that play together stay together.”

3. Go on walks.

This has been a game-changer for us because our kids are actually quiet in the stroller. We get exercise and sustained conversation, both of which can easily get crowded out when life is busy. If walking doesn’t work, perhaps you can pursue another hobby together. For example, if your gym offers childcare and you feel comfortable with it, drop the kids off and work out together.

4. Have creative date nights. 

We’ve developed our own weekly “date night” at home that typically involves putting the kids to bed early, reading a chapter of my grandmother’s book on marriage, talking about life, and playing a board game. Having a “date night in” saves money and reduces the tyranny of constant TV in the evening.

5. Text throughout the day.

I don’t like the way technology is always distracting me from the present, but if there’s one person with whom I want to be in a continuous text dialogue, it’s my wife. It’s a little thing that helps further our friendship, jokes, and fun. It shows I’m thinking about her. It’s a way to communicate that cannot be interrupted by a crying baby.

6. Plan times to be intimate together.

Sometimes parents of young kids have difficulty finding time for intimacy. Don’t be afraid to plan this into your weekly schedule. Planned sex is better than no sex, and it’s a way to show commitment to this area of your marriage during a busy season.

7. Carve out space to read the Bible and pray together. 

Failing to do devotions together is such a missed opportunity. Your spouse probably knows you better than anyone else does, and thus is the best person to sharpen you spiritually.

8. Take interest in your spouse’s daily life.

It’s easier to drift apart when you’re disconnected from what’s occupying your spouse throughout the day. If they work, ask them lots of questions about what’s happening in the office, and be their biggest advocate and supporter. If they stay home, help them out with the chores so that you know and appreciate all they do around the house.

9. Cultivate compassion for your spouse’s greatest weakness.

Being a parent can bring to the surface your spouse’s deepest fears, sins, and failures. It’s easy to despise those things, particularly to the extent they’re different from your own struggles. Here are a few ways to fight that judgment:

  • Remember and grieve your own sin.
  • Ask the Lord for special tenderness and compassion.
  • Don’t needle your spouse with sarcasm.
  • Speak respectfully to your friends about your spouse, rather than complaining about them.
  • Exhibit tons of patience and gentleness when discussing their weaknesses (if you need to discuss them at all).

10. Pursue your spouse’s heart. 

What are they interested in these days? What’s on their Facebook wall? What are their fears about the next 18 months? What songs do they currently like? Study them. Cultivate “inside jokes” together. Keep secrets with them, not from them (that builds intimacy over the years). Make it your lifelong goal to romance them as much as you did when you were dating, in each season of marriage.

Satan and our culture bombard us with the lie that affairs are more exciting than fidelity. One aspect of our gospel witness is to incarnate the real truth—that absolute, binding commitment is the pathway to real joy. Whatever is exciting in any romantic relationship, whatever intimacy your heart craves, whatever strength you have to offer another person—the goal of marriage is to pour all of that into one person for the rest of your life. This is God’s strategy, and it’s the most fulfilling way to live. May we cultivate marriages that point to the beauty and reality of Christ in our lives.

 

If you would like help with parenting, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a coach or counselor.

9 Things You Should Know About the Health Effects of Marijuana

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9 Things You Should Know About the Health Effects of Marijuana

By Joe Carter

Last year the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine convened a committee of experts to conduct a comprehensive review of the literature regarding the health effects of marijuana use. The committee considered more than 10,700 studies for their relevance and arrived at nearly 100 different research conclusions related to marijuana (cannabis) or cannabinoid use and health. Their findings were recenty published in a 400-page report.

Here are nine things about the effects of marijuana you should know based on this report:

1. The terms marijuana and cannabis refer to all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa L., including the seeds, the resin extracted from any part of such plan, and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant, its seeds, or resin. The compounds that cause intoxication and may have medicinal uses are cannabinoids, a class of chemical compounds that acts on cannabinoid receptors in cells that represses neurotransmitter release in the brain. The marijuana plant contains more than 100 cannabinoids. Currently, the two main cannabinoids from the marijuana plant that are of medical interest are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

2. There is substantial or conclusive scientific evidence for only three medical benefits of cannabis or cannabinoids: treating chronic pain in adults; treatment of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, and nausea after chemotherapy; and improving symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

3. There is substantial evidence of a statistical association between cannabis use and increased risk of motor vehicle crashes.  Self-reported cannabis use or the presence of THC in blood, saliva, or urine, has been associated with 20 to 30 percent higher odds of a motor vehicle crash.

4. In states where cannabis use is legal, there is increased risk of unintentional cannabis overdose injuries among children. There is insufficient evidence to support or refute a statistical association between cannabis use by adults and death due to cannabis overdose.

5. Recent cannabis use (within the past 24 hours) impairs the performance in cognitive domains of learning, memory, and attention. A limited number of studies also suggest there are impairments in cognitive domains of learning, memory, and attention in individuals who have stopped smoking cannabis. Cannabis use during adolescence is related to impairments in subsequent academic achievement and education, employment and income, and social relationships and social roles

6. Cannabis use is likely to increase the risk of developing schizophrenia and other psychoses—the higher the use the greater the risk. However, cannabis use does not appear to increase the likelihood of developing anxiety, depression, or posttraumatic stress disorder.

7. The evidence suggests that any cannabis use is related with increased suicidal ideation (i.e., suicidal thoughts or preoccupation with suicide), augmented suicide attempts, and greater risk of death by suicide. Studies reveal that heavy cannabis use (used 40 or more times) is associated with a higher risk of suicidal ideation and suicidal attempts.

8. There is substantial evidence that initiating cannabis use at an earlier age is a risk factor for the development of problem cannabis use. There is moderate evidence that during adolescence the frequency of cannabis use, oppositional behaviors, a younger age of first alcohol use, nicotine use, parental substance use, poor school performance, antisocial behaviors, and childhood sexual abuse are risk factors for the development of problem cannabis use. Anxiety, personality disorders, and bipolar disorders are not risk factors for the development of problem cannabis use

9. Most of the studies reviewed indicate an association between cannabis use and use of or dependence on other substances (including, alcohol, tobacco, and other illicit drugs), with some data indicating this effect is more pronounced in younger individuals and is dependent on the dose or frequency of cannabis use.

 

If you would like help breaking free from the use of marijuana, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or coach.

Loving and Liking in Marriage

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“A strong marriage requires choosing to love each other even in the moments when you struggle to like each other.” (Marriage 365)

If you would like help in your marriage, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or coach.

Funday Friday: Christian Sign Humor

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Here is a little Funday Friday humor for you to relish:

If you would like to add some more joy or humor into your life, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a coach or counselor.

Hiding Naked: When Sex Replaces Commitment

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Hiding Naked: When Sex Replaces Commitment

For many, sex has become a hiding place—a behavior that presents the appearance of intimacy, but is really striving for self-protection.

By Ron L. Deal

Stacy’s dating career could be described as “casual.” She would meet a man and throw herself into getting to know him while, in her heart, simultaneously keeping her options open. The rush of meeting someone new and connecting through physical touch made her feel wanted and important, but the idea of being tied down to someone made her nervous. She often found herself caught between hope and doubt, between the accelerator and the brake, between sex and the hope that he would want to leave her apartment afterward. After a while, her relationships would fizzle; she would lose interest because the relationship “just wasn’t going anywhere” or the guy would tire of waiting for her to “make up her mind” about their future.

After being tossed aside by his wife and the mother of their two children, Caleb declared to friends in his divorce recovery group, “Never again will I be hurt like that. Never again will I fall in love.” Bitterness and fear built 20-foot walls of self-protection.

Fast-forward life a few years and, to his surprise, Caleb found himself attracted to someone. He wondered if he could love and trust again. As quickly as hope would say, “Yes, you can,” fear would shift his heart into neutral. Just imagining being vulnerable made his heart tremble. The combination of Caleb’s passion for his new girlfriend and simultaneous fear of being hurt again found expression in a stayover arrangement. A few nights a week he would stay at her apartment, and occasionally she would stay at his, but both kept their separate residences, separate rent responsibilities, and ultimately separate lives.

Stacy and Caleb are in a dilemma: They want to be in an intimate, committed relationship but don’t want to take on the risks of marriage. Their solution? Strive for independent togetherness.

Commitment is a tough sale these days. Americans prize our national and economic independence, but now that mentality has dramatically invaded our social psyche about marriage, and it’s confusing us. We want to be with someone, but don’t want to be really with someone.

For the full article, please go to the original site.

If you would like help with your relationship, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a coach or counselor.

The Year of Conquering Negative Thinking

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The Year of Conquering Negative Thinking

By Lesley Alderman

Here’s a New Year’s challenge for the mind: Make this the year that you quiet all those negative thoughts swirling around your brain.

All humans have a tendency to be a bit more like Eeyore than Tigger, to ruminate more on bad experiences than positive ones. It’s an evolutionary adaptation that helps us avoid danger and react quickly in a crisis.

But constant negativity can also get in the way of happiness, add to our stress and worry level and ultimately damage our health. And some people are more prone to negative thinking than others. Thinking styles can be genetic or the result of childhood experiences, said Judith Beck, a psychologist and the president of the Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy in Bala Cynwyd, Pa. Children may develop negative thinking habits if they have been teased or bullied, or experienced blatant trauma or abuse. Women, overall, are also more likely to ruminate than men, according to a 2013 study.

“We were built to overlearn from negative experiences, but under learn from positive ones,” said Rick Hanson, a psychologist and senior fellow at the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley.

But with practice you can learn to disrupt and tame negative cycles.

The first step to stopping negative thoughts is a surprising one. Don’t try to stop them. If you are obsessing about a lost promotion or the results of the presidential election, whatever you do, don’t tell yourself, “I have to stop thinking about this.”

“Worry and obsession get worse when you try to control your thoughts,” Dr. Beck said.

Instead, notice that you are in a negative cycle and own it. Tell yourself, “I’m obsessing about my bad review.” Or “I’m obsessing about the election.”

By acknowledging your negative cycle and accepting it, you are on your way to taming your negative thoughts. Acceptance is the basic premise of mindfulness meditation, a practice that helps reduce stress and reactivity. You don’t necessarily have to close your eyes and meditate every day to reap the benefits of mindfulness. You can remind yourself to notice your thoughts in a nonjudgmental manner, without trying to change or alter them right away.

Accepting negative thoughts can also help lessen their weight. Getting mad at yourself for worrying or telling yourself to stop worrying only adds fuel to the negativity fire.

After you’ve accepted a negative thought, force yourself to challenge it.

For the full article, go to the original site.

For help with overcoming your negative thinking, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or coach.

A Matter of Perspective: The difference between premarried hope and stepfamily reality.

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A Matter of Perspective

The difference between premarried hope and stepfamily reality.
By Ron L. Deal
For years, dating couples with children from previous relationships and married couples in blended families have had polar opposite reactions to my books. Why? Because they have different perspectives.

Dating couples moan, “Gee, Ron, are you trying to scare us out of getting married?” while married stepfamily couples marvel, “You are describing our life exactly! Have you been peeking in our windows?”

The dating couple feels like I’m being negative; the married couple is relieved that someone finally told them they are normal. And when I have tracked a couple from dating to marriage, their response transformed to, “We just thought you were being a pessimist,” or “We wish we would have listened to you better.”

How could perspective make such a huge difference? Well, premarital couples have high hopes, are consumed by the fog of love, and expect positive things to happen; it’s the nature of being in love. Married couples, on the other hand, are living in an actual stepfamily. They cannot gloss over the challenges. It’s the difference between expectation and reality.

The research that David Olson and I did for The Remarriage Checkup explained and validated the perspective shift. We discovered that couple satisfaction during dating is highly correlated with the couple’s relationship. However, marital satisfaction (i.e., once the couple is living in a stepfamily) is increasingly correlated with stepfamily and stepparenting dynamics that surround the couple’s relationship. As the context of their relationship changes, so does their satisfaction—and their perspective.

For the full article, go to the original article.

If you would like help with your marriage, blended marriage, and life in a stepfamily, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or coach.

Sweet Siren Songs

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Excerpt from: Wine, Women, and Sweet Siren Songs: Crush the Energy Dense, Sugary Sweetened Beverage Habit in 2017 by Michael Fenster

The New Year oft enters cloaked in resolutions and meaningful initiatives. Too often, however, these end up discarded and crumpled, like some unwanted overcoat, on the floor in the Hallway of Good Intentions. That is why it is important to pick a few battles in which your efforts and energies can be focused. Successfully altering behaviors is one of the most difficult actions we can undertake. The more ambitious and the greater the quantity, the less likely the success…

Energy dense beverages are particularly egregious offenders in this category. These drinks are often sweetened with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), other sugars and may contain additional additives designed to give those who imbibe a quick blast of “energy.” Importantly, while being energy dense (read: contain lots of calories) they are invariably nutrient poor…

What can you do if you find that you, or loved ones, are among the masses that reach zombie-like for such un-refreshments several times each day? Engage in a simple three step approach.

  • Educate: Knowledge is power. Awareness is the active application of such power. Frequently, we consume food and drink in absenteeism. A reflex stop at the drive-thru for a mystery McRiddle (what, exactly, is that meat-like patty made from??), eating half the donut on the way to our cubicle still unaware of what the intended flavor was, or reaching mindlessly for that sweetened swig. Placing ourselves in the moment, being cognizant of what we are eating or drinking, forces a value decision. In that present moment, we confront ourselves and must honestly ask if it is indeed “worth it.”
  • Alternate: Variety is one of the spices of Life. Experiment with different, but healthful options. Try teas; black, green, or herbal combinations-especially when you are in search of a calmer moment. Tea (and some herbal preparations) has been shown to stimulate the same cerebral areas associated with meditation. Try a coffee without excessive sweeteners. Juices can be an occasional option. A recent study found drinking pomegranate juice (4-8 ounces) daily as effective as a single prescription anti-hypertensive in reducing blood pressure. And we all need to drink more water, as well.
  • Carbonate: Sometimes the allure is just in the fizzy. Since most of us should be consuming more plain old H2O, an easy substitution for the sugary pop is to have some plain, carbonated water. Add some citrus slices, other fruit or natural flavorings…and you may find that in short order your saccharine cravings are a thing of the past.

 

If you would like help developing sweet healthy new habits in 2017 please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a coach or counselor.