You Did WHAT to Prince’s Music?


The news of Prince’s recent death was a shock. At 57 years old, an iconic music legend was gone. There was no long illness, no cause of death given, just a confirmation from the proper authorities that he was no longer among the living.

By the time I picked my kids up from school the day his purple greatness died, they had already heard the news. I paused for a moment in the carpool line trying to figure out: 1. How to tell them, and 2. How it stacked up against the other dramas of a typical middle and high school day. As my son (the high schooler) was sharing his classmates’ reactions to the announcement, he mentioned that a 9th grade girl started crying and exclaimed, “My parents made me to Prince!”

Here we go.

Upon her declaration the rest of the class broke into roaring laughter, and as my 9th grader recounted the story, I started remembering some of my own personal encounters with Prince’s music. Thank goodness I thought before I spoke.

What I really wanted to say was, “That’s sounds about right. You were too.”  Continue reading

How Do You Dance?


Don’t you love it when a reminder of your youth enters your life 20 years later and reminds you of all the lessons learned from the original experience? Let’s go on a journey, shall we?

The year was 1989. I was approaching my senior year in high school and unlike most of my friends, I spent my Friday nights watching television shows that were part of the TGIF lineup on ABC.

One of those shows was Full House. And one of the stars of that show was Candace Cameron Bure. When the show began, I only knew her as Kirk Cameron’s (of Growing Pains fame) younger sister. What I appreciated was that she was close to my age in real life and her character of D.J. Tanner represented the quirky and trend setting parts of adolescence that many people hide from.

While D.J. Tanner was a great character, it was Candace who I was a fan of. She was grounded, her family was very involved in her acting career, she did not succumb to the pressures of drugs and alcohol, despite having to publicly deal with typical teen hormonal weight gain.

Many things have changed in my life since the late 80s, however imagine my surprise when I discovered that Candace, now a married mother of three, was going to appear in Season 18 of Dancing With the Stars.

I knew that she had gotten married and had kids about the same as mine, and I had read one of her earlier books, Reshaping It All. But her casting on Dancing With the Stars meant that she would be in my living room twice a week for a television season.

As a dancer, Candace did not disappoint. Her hard work paid off and she actually made it to the semi finals of the competition. While she didn’t take home the “Mirror Ball” trophy, she learned how to use opportunity to grow physically stronger while remaining (and being tested) in her faith.

In her latest book, Dancing Though Life, Candace writes about her experiences on the show, and more importantly, how those experiences enhanced her relationship with God. You see, while Candace was on the show, her faith was tested many times, and more often than not it became an issue.

From the dance costumes, to the sexy routines, to the bumps and bruises on her body, Candace was under attack. The overly religious accused her of not being Christian enough since she was on the show. The non-Christian audience called her a rude and thought she was making a big deal of out nothing when her faith was discussed.

And in the book, Candace outlines all of this and how she overcame the adversity while dancing on the show. Believe it or not though, this book has many lessons for those of us who are’t dancing in front of millions every week. Here are some of the things we can all take away from this book:

1. Keep Your Eyes Focused on the One Who Guides You
2. Always Give Everything You Have
3. Be True to Yourself
4. Enlist Prayer Warriors
5. Listen if There’s a Pause in Your Spirit
6. Submit to Leadership
7. Choose to be Known for Your Good Works
8. Attitude is Everything – Choose Joy
9. Use the Right Fuel (if we put garbage  in our bodies and our minds, garbage will come out)
10. Let Your Words Build Up, Not Tear Down
11. It’s Okay to Lean on the Arms of Others
12. Life is a Balance of Routine Laundry Moments and High Profile Red Carpet Moments

This book is definitely a must-read  as you wind down 2015 and prepare for 2016. One thing we can all be sure of is the fact that our faith will be tested  in the coming year and Candace Cameron-Bure has the best advice when it comes to dealing with it. After all, it’s how she dances through life.

As a Lifeway Blogger, I was given a free copy of Dancing Through Life in exchange for my honest opinion. If you are interested in reading the book, I am giving away a copy. To join the fun, enter your name and mailing address here. If you’d rather buy the book yourself, click on this *ad for the book here.


Lessons Learned About Kids and Technology

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I can remember it like it was yesterday. My children were in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades when they received their first electronic devices as Christmas presents. CJ got an iPod Touch, Tyra got a Pandigital eReader, and Jada a Nintendo DSi XL. After their entry into the digital world, they have never turned back and at 7th, 8th, and 9th grades they each have a phone,  tablet, and laptop computer.

Through the years, I’ve learned a lot about monitoring my kids technology usage. It hasn’t always been easy, but each day is an opportunity to learn something new. Let’s start the conversation with some of the things I’ve learned.

  1. 12-year-old children really want a Facebook account. They’ve heard a lot of cool things about Facebook. Once they turn 13 and actually get one, they hate it. They hate it because their parents and their parents friends and their older cousins, and their aunts and uncles are on active on Facebook. A prerequisite for Facebook in my house is a list of about 30 family members and friends that the child needs to friend. I of course, have already sent those friends and family members a message asking them to extend their membership in our village to all things social media.
  2. Technology contracts are very helpful when allowing children access to devices. All three of mine signed contracts four years ago, and the contracts included a clause that said it was still binding if they got other devices. The tech contracts included participating in or witnessing cyber-bullying without telling an adult, hours for tech usage, rules for appropriate photos and content, and passwords — which always have to be kept on file with me.

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3. On any social media platform, we must all friend and follow each other. And we must also agree on how much information we share about our private family matters.

4.If there’s a social media platform that they want, but I’m unfamiliar with, I ask someone younger and smarter before I approve it. Last fall I had heard of SnapChat but I really didn’t understand it. The girls really wanted accounts. I asked my 25-year-old cousin about it and gave him the ability to say yay or nay. He didn’t know much about it, so he opted for nay. Meanwhile, I took the next three months to establish my account, learned how it worked, talked to older teens I know about using it, and by this February, they had the accounts and I knew exactly what to watch out for.

5. Use mistakes as teaching moments. Anytime we are watching the news and there is a story on regarding the dangers of naivety and tech usage, I make sure they understand in plain terms the consequences. If there are no news stories that week, I’ll find an old news story on the internet and we must discuss it. as a family. And even after all of that, they do make mistakes and I use those as teaching moments as well.

Do you want to receive a free copy of our kids’ technology contract? Click here to sign up! Let’s continue this discussion though…what are the tech rules in your house?

2013: What I Learned

d2d6f391-e572-49c4-9f62-c02d69237ce8Woooweee! 2013 had a lot going on, didn’t it? If I could name it anything, I think I’d call it “The Year of Health & Wellness.” But beyond the obvious health issues we experienced, I really did learn some lessons I plan to take with me into 2014. And because just maybe they can benefit you, I’m sharing. So…here we go!!!

1. Eating right is important. It really is. I started juicing this year and am very happy about. In 2014 though, I need to take it to the next level and combine eating right with exercise. Chrystal blogs often about her battle with the #fatdemon and it is real. Oh yes, it is real, and it knows where you live, where you shop, and what you order in restaurants.

2. There is a place in this world for the acceptance and promotion of natural wellness. Traditional medicine and homeopathic remedies both have a place in the world, and in my household. From the thyroid cancer to the epilepsy, we have experienced the benefits of both approaches, and often it’s been the homeopathic approaches that caught the ailments first.

3. Everyone needs a health advocate. Sometimes that advocate is you, for you. I think our society believes that doctors know everything. And they do know a lot. They are human, and sometimes the xrays, blood tests, and the lab work don’t reveal it all. That being said, we need to step up and do some research, advocate for treatment options, get a second opinion when necessary, and make sure we have appropriate health insurance coverage. Be a health advocate. For you, for your family, and for anyone who asks.

4. A cancer diagnosis does not equal death. I don’t care what kind of cancer it is. Cancer is bad, but it is not a death warrant. We should not give it the power as such.

5. Friends who have a cancer diagnosis need you to believe #4. No matter what kind of cancer it is. If you can’t get to a place where you believe it, pray about it.

6. Know who your people are. Love them without limits. We get one life on this earth to live, share, laugh and love through. Decide who your people are and love them. Just love them unconditionally, without limits, judgement, and what ifs. Love them.

7. Create the bucket list. Start doing things on it. My flash mob experience from last summer is still with me today. I didn’t realize that doing one thing on the bucket list would make me feel so good…and sexy. (I know that flash mob was in church…you just never know where you’ll find your sexy.)

8. Boundaries are okay. They are better than okay. They are necessary. If you don’t believe me, read the book by Henry Cloud.

9. Stop apologizing. I originally got this notion when my friend Cathy and I were talking about entertaining mishaps and how we often want to apologize to our guests for this or that. Then I started listening to my kids, who tend to apologize for everything they do that they are not supposed to do. Until I noticed they were apologizing for the same things over and over and over again. So my thought is this, if you make a mistake and are genuinely sorry, apologize ONCE. Then move to the next step of making it right. If that mistake is painful because it is about your perfectionism, and no one was hurt, then you don’t need to apologize the one time. Move past it.

10. Find your yellow. Do not stop, pass go, or anything else. FIND. YOUR. YELLOW. NOW. In 2013 I rediscovered my love for writing. I also accepted the fact that I love my job, even if I don’t make a lot of money. I am in the yellow zone when I am writing or planning my writing or working at the college or planning my work at the college. My goal is to fill more of my life with the yellow and less of anything else.

What did you learn in 2013?