“You Can’t Make Me!”

Do you remember when you were a kid and your mom would ask you to do something and you would refuse to do it?  I don’t know  about you, but it rarely worked for me.  In fact, we would get double the chore if we were stubborn and disobeyed our mom.  It didn’t take us long before we decided just to do it the first time…most of the time.

Maybe you are raising at least one strong-willed child right now or you have memories of when you did.  The debates, arguments, yelling, crying, arms folded across their chest, glaring eyes and sticking out the tongue.  Am I the only one who remembers this?  It was tough, as a stay at home mom, to deal with that all day, every day.

I remember the day my husband came home and saw that I was counting to 3 before they would obey me.  He said, “Robyn, why are you allowing them to disobey and disrespect you two times before they comply?”  I stopped and realized that was exactly what I was doing.  I also found that if I looked them in the eye instead of yelling orders over my shoulder, that they would do much better.

I always wanted to listen to our kids’ opinions and even when they disagreed, but we needed to show them how to do that affectively and with respect.  We knew that someday they would need these skills in their adult life.  They needed to learn how to submit to authority, speak their mind with clarity and respect, and learn to negotiate and not try to control all the time.  Lots of lessons to teach as a parent and we all know it isn’t easy, is it?

So, do you have strong-willed children?  Were you a strong-willed kid yourself?  How did your parents guide you and teach you the lessons you needed to succeed in life?  Did they?

If you bucked authority with your parents, do you see yourself doing the same thing with bosses or even with the Lord?  “I will do it myself.  I know better how to make these decisions and I don’t need Your help, God.”  After another crisis or mistake…”God, why do these things always happen to me?  Where are You?  Don’t You care?!  Help me!” Hmmmm.

This coming Tuesday on Chained No More Talk Radio, our guest,  author, speaker, educator, and coach, Cynthia Tobias, will talk on the topic, “Strong-Willed Kids: How to Parent Them to Be the Best they Can Be.”  You can also download the podcast later at www.toginet.com/shows/chainednomore.

“Submit yourselves, then to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  Come near to God and He will come near to you.”  Heb. 4:7

Are you a strong-willed, stubborn child of God, or are you one who submits to the One who loves you the most and will show you the best way in His plan? Do you need to make a change?

Riding the Waves of a Hurricane

We have all seen the days and days of pictures, videos, and newscasts about Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.  Our hearts break as we watch the devastation;  children terrified, families losing their belongings and some even losing their lives in these horrendous storms.  It just seems unbelievable as we see the trees toppled, homes and vehicles covered with dirty water, and streets turned into rushing rivers.

I have been impressed with the preparation, warnings and instructions that come from governors and mayors as well as first responders.  “Get  out of your house and get to a shelter. This is going to be the biggest one we have ever had!  Don’t wait until the last minute.  We can’t save you once the storm hits.”  Oh, I remember those urgent warnings.

Thousands upon thousands heeded those warnings, but then there are those who said on camera, “Oh, I have made it through three other hurricanes and I ain’t goin’ nowhere this time either.  We will just hunker down and ride it out.” That is their choice, of course.

For me, if there was a strong suggestion to evacuate, I would be outta there!  Believe me!   Especially if I had kids.  Our kids trust us, as moms and dads, to protect them and keep them out of harm’s way.  They also look to us for an example of wisdom, discernment, and heeding official warnings.  Choices. Choices.  Choices.

I remember when Hurricane Harvey went through Texas, how devastating it was, but when the wind and rain stopped, there were thousands upon thousands of people ready to help evacuate, rescue and bring aid to those caught in the storm.  There were trucks, military vehicles, boats, rafts, canoes and people ready to carry people and their necessary belongings and pets out of harm’s way.  Churches, stadiums, and schools opened their doors to those who were misplaced, afraid, distraught and traumatized.  Charities “flooded” the area with supplies of food, water, bedding, clothing, etc.  Millions of us contributed to these charities to do our part from afar.

I always pray for the clergy involved whenever there is a catastrophe, that the Lord will guide them and give them the emotional and physical strength they will need to minister.  Wow!  What an experience that would be, huh?

Now, THIS is what America is about;  neighbor helping neighbor, all races helping all races, lifting up the elderly, children, the sick and the lame.  People opening their homes to whoever might need shelter.  People, with a heart for animals, helping them get to safe ground and be fed and watered.  My heart swells when I think of all of this because THIS is the America I pledge allegiance to, stand up for, and rise in pride for.  “God bless America; my home sweet home.”

May we all look at the last couple of weeks and think of ways we can keep moving together as an American people, despite our differences.  Let our love and compassion for others overshadow hatred and bitterness in tangible ways.  May we reject and not engage in toxic words and actions that seek  to divide and destroy. May we follow God’s Word in Eph. 5:1,2  “Be imitators of God as dearly loved children and LIVE A LIFE OF LOVE, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

We answer to God first for our actions and words, before we answer to our country or political party.  We need to breathe and start over, America.  Today.

This Tuesday, September 12, our guest on Chained No More will be author, speaker, humorist, and coach, Kathy Carlton Willis.  She lives in Beaumont, Texas, the worst hit area during Hurricane Harvey.  She and her husband are still digging out from that storm and will share their experiences and also her inspiring perspective.  You can hear her interview at 2-3pm ET at www.toginet.com.  You can also download the podcast anytime later at www.toginet.com/shows/chainednomore.

For those of you who “rode the waves” of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma or had loved ones who did,  may God bring peace back to you as you rebuild and comfort those around you.  We have been praying for you and will continue as you move forward. 

“The righteous cry out and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles.  The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are brokenhearted.” Ps. 34



What’s a Parent to Do?

Parents and kids arguing

Parenting can be one of the biggest blessing in life and something many of us have thought about and hoped for most of our life.  Some moments can be so precious that we weep with joy.  Sometimes parenting can be highly frustrating and you wonder why you  ever decided to have kids!  Come on, Mom and Dad.  You know what I am talking about, right?

Most of us have thought about having our own families someday; cuddling that infant in our arms, teaching them endless things, taking them to Disneyland, watching them graduate from high school and then going to college. Nice dreams, but did they come to reality for you?

You might have a home that is pleasant, where everyone shows respect and demonstrates love in a healthy way, OR you may be struggling with kids who are argumentative, maybe they are struggling with an illness, sibling rivalry, or refusal to do those never-ending chores.  The atmosphere in your home may be tense,  filled with loud voices and slamming doors.  Your older kids may be hanging out with “the wrong crowd”, or just ignoring you and staying in their cluttered  room.  What happened to that dream of a happy family?  What are you supposed to do to turn things around or is it even possible at this stage?

If there has been a divorce in the family, the tension runs higher and the children act out the devastation they feel inside.  More slamming of doors and more isolation.  Everything seems to be a debate and nothing seems to get resolved.   “How can things begin to heal and change in our family?!”, you ask.

This Tuesday, on Chained No More Talk Radio, our guest is author, speaker, actress and mom, Wendy Speake.  Her topic will be “Triggers: When Kids Do Wrong, We Can Still Do Right.”  Wendy will talk about the patterns that can affect the atmosphere in the home, how kids use manipulation to get what they want,  and how to change patterns, so your home is healthier and can thrive.  Tune in Tuesday at 2-3pm at www.toginet.com to learn just what parents can do. 

Parents, look at the following Scriptures with Mom/Dad eyes to see where our family stands at this moment and where you might focus to make it the home God would want it to be.  Nobody is perfect, but we can sure strive to teach our children how to live well.

“The Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Gal. 5:22

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.”  I Cor. 13:4-8

“Train a child in the way he/she should go and when he is old, he will not turn from it.”  Prov. 22:6

Parents, another school year has begun.  Now may be a good time to assess your family, using these Scriptures,  and see where you can all work on to make it healthier, happier and a place you all love to be! Maybe take one of the concepts at a time for a week/month and all work on that one thing and then move onto the next concepts.  Kids could make pictures of each concept to bring it to life and get involved.  Be creative and make it fun and see what happens!  After all, you’re the parent, right?  Blessings on your family.

Step-Grandparents: Where Do They Fit In?

step-grandparents untitled

Facebook is full of pictures of new babies; the joy in the face of their parents and the grandparents holding that little bundle that they already love with all their hearts.
The grandparents have great anticipation of hours spent with these babies as they grow; experiences of birthday parties, going to the park,  family BBQs, overnight visits and maybe even going to visit Mickey Mouse someday.  Grandparents can usually enjoy the good times with their grandchildren and when those kids go home to their parents, Grandma and Grandpa collapse in their easy chairs and take a long-deserved nap.  They learn to know their grandchildren inside and out, if  the family is indeed a healthy one.

Because of the high amount of divorce in our country today, many times, grandparents are alienated from their grandchildren and the devastation of that cannot be measured.  I have see it time after time. Now, not only have the kids lost an intact family, but also, because of their parents’ battle,  they have lost their grandparents who they love with all their heart.

Let’s add another element…one or both of the parents get remarried and the kids are reeling from that event. Now, there are new step-grandparents to learn to trust and hopefully learn to love. Who are these people?  They represent a new parent in their dad’s or mom’s life and if that new marriage is not accepted by the child, a relationship with their step-grandparents can be very tumultuous or non-accepted by the child.  What a mess we put our kids in, huh?

New step-grandparents don’t know what to do or how involved to get in the kids’ lives.  They don’t want to offend the parents or be in competition with the biological grandparents.  They need to be invited in. It is confusing for all.   How can families maneuver through all of this chaos?

Tuesday, August 29, our guests on Chained No More Talk Radio will address all of this as they discuss the topic, “Help!  I  Am a Step Grandparent!  Now What?”  Tune in to hear step-family experts, Carri and Gordon Taylor discuss this dilemma, hear different perspectives, and learn practical tools to find ways to build healthy relationships within the step-family.  The program will be at 2-3pm ET at www.toginet.com.  Get your notepads out, because we are going to learn a lot that could make a huge difference in our families!

You can download the podcast later that day at  www.toginet.com/shows/chainednomore
The best thing you can do as a step-grandparent is to pray and ask the Lord to guide you and let HIM control what happens.  That is what my husband and I have done. It takes time to build healthy, loving relationships, and this is no exception, as my husband and I are now learning  as new step-grandparents to Cora and CJ.

“Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise, His greatness no one can fathom.   One generation will commend your works to another;  they will tell of Your mighty acts…Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom and Your dominion endures through all generations.”  Psalm 145

Stuck in the Mud

stuck in the mud

Have you ever gotten stuck in the mud and had to have someone help you out?  The filthy, deep muck that our car or our feet may have been taken hostage by can put us in a panic that we may never be freed.

One time, we were clamming and geoducking in Alaska, and my feet got stuck in the deep mud.  There was really nothing to grab onto because my friends were more than 10 yards away from me.  I began to call out to them to come help me as I got more and more chilled and tried to not panic.  It wasn’t long before they had me out of the mud.  I sure was more careful about where I was the next time!

This, of course, makes me think about how we can get “stuck in the mud” in life.   Sometimes we can get stuck more than once in our life because we are trapped in a pattern that keeps giving us the same result as the last time.  Maybe it is in our relationships, or failures in the workplace.  Maybe it is because we live with what our past has told us and how inadequate it makes us feel.  We feel like we are on the outside looking in.  We can feel unworthy and unimportant, and before we know it, we get stuck in isolation and depression and can’t seem to find our way out.

Maybe it is a habit or behavior we can’t seem to get out of, such as living in a chaotic and unorganized house.  Maybe we just gave up on trying to eat healthily because we use food for comfort in our depression.  Maybe we  are stuck in the addiction of alcohol or prescription drugs and we have lost hope that we will ever be free of them.  Maybe we gave up on a relationship with God because He doesn’t seem to care about what we are going through.  Is that you?

Beginning today, make a strong decision to do what it takes to move out of the “mud” you are in and take one step. Let that step be to ask the Lord God to show you the way out, so your life can begin anew.  Find a friend or someone you trust to walk with you and hold you accountable.  You are worth the time and effort, and if you need proof of that, look in the Bible to see what He says about you.  YOU are a treasure to Him.  YOU are precious to Him.  He loves, accepts, forgives and gives grace to YOU.

This Tuesday on Chained No More Talk Radio, our guest, author, trainer and speaker, Susan Young, will address this very subject.  Her topic will be “Creating Positive Change and Transformation to Reach Your Goals.”  She will share life-changing concepts and practical tools to get you started, so join us at 2-3pm ET at www.toginet.com. 

You can download the podcast later at www.toginet.com/shows/chainednomore.  Don’t miss it!

“For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but  a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.”  2 Timothy 1:7  READ THIS THREE TIMES AND LET IT SINK IN.  It is for YOU; especially if you are “stuck in the mud.”


Middle School Rollercoaster – HELP!

Middle schoolers

Uh oh!  My kid is going into middle school this coming Fall!  I don’t know what to expect and I have heard horror stories of girl drama, boy/girl relationship drama, parent/child drama.  Drama! Drama! Drama!   HELP!

Remember that precious baby in your arms who you kissed and cuddled as much as you could? Remember sitting with them reading books and watching cartoons?  Remember taking them to the park and pushing them in the swing for hours on end?  Remember?

Now, all of a sudden, this precious child prefers to spend more time texting their friends and looking at their screens than have a conversation talking with you.  They don’t want you to kiss and cuddle them anymore; especially in front of others.  They can read their own books and have their own shows they want to watch without you sitting in the same room.  Heck!  They probably have their own t.v!  Now, they meet their friends at a park or in a mall and just want you to drop them off and pick them up.

Being in middle school is quite the awkward transition for both kids and parents.  All of a sudden, they seem to have an attitude, become extremely independent (whether they are ready or not for that) and seem to rather argue with their parents and siblings than try to get along.  Their bodies are changing and so are their attitudes.  What’s a parent to do?

The pressure on these kids is immense as they try to keep their grades up with a changing brain, meet the demands of their parents, teachers, and peers.  There is a huge pressure through media and peers to begin to have boy/girl relationships and that can spin them into depression, sexual activity and drama with friends.

Now, add the pressures of a family going through a divorce and their entire world, as they knew it, is shattering and they don’t know where they fit in or IF they fit in.  Mom and Dad are fighting, there are court dates, huge loyalty issues and life is just sad for them.  They begin to act out in anger, but under all that angry behavior is a huge amount of hurt; depression, abandonment, betrayal, fear, and  trust issues.

We, as adults, seem to merely look at the behavior, make judgments and put more pressure on them, instead of just listening and trying to understand what they are living.  Like I always say, “The more I listen, the more I learn.”  Listen WAAAAAY more than you talk, as an adult, and you will hear their heart.

This Tuesday on Chained No More, you will hear Cynthia Tobias and Sue Acuna, co-authors of “Middle School…The Inside Story…What Kids Tell Us but Don’t Tell YOU.”  They will discuss the issues mid-schoolers deal with every day and will also give family members practical tools to connect with their middle schooler and help those kids walk through this awkward stage of growing up.  Please tune in at 2-3pm ET  (8-8-17) at  www.toginet.com.

You can download the podcast at www.toginet.com/shows/chainednomore later that day.

If you are a parent of a mid-schooler, take a deep breath and realize that your child is not exempt from this part of development, but you certainly can help them through it with the right tools.  You will make it and so will they.  Focus in.  Put your screens down and listen to the heart of your child.

Prickly People

thorny rose

You know who they are.  The ones who get on your nerves and you try to avoid.  They may be someone at work, or church or they may be a family member.  They may be loud and obnoxious, a person who nags or continues to bring past issues up.  They may be gossipers or they may think that everyone is against them and they live in a “victim mentality.”  You know…

Wait a minute! Would anyone say YOU or I am a “prickly person?”  Do we feel people are avoiding us?  Are we gossipers or do we come across as a victim and everyone is against us?  Do we complain a lot or talk against people a lot?  Do we do most of the talking?  Yes, maybe WE are the “prickly person.”  Yikes!

Maybe it is time to evaluate ourselves and our friendships.  Do we need to “clean house” of negative and toxic people?  Do we need to replace those friendships with positive relationships that build up and not tear down?  How can WE be a better quality of friend?

Now, let’s talk about prickly family members.  We all have at least one “special one” that can cause discomfort and angst to the rest, don’t we?  Who is it in your family?  Is it a sibling or an aunt or uncle?  Is it YOU?  What do we do with all of this.  So glad you asked!

This Tuesday, August 1, on Chained No More Talk Radio, our guest is author Deb Potts, who wrote “Making Peace with Prickly People.”  Tune in to hear her teach us the practical steps to bring more peace into our relationships with boundaries and understanding; understanding them, and also ourselves.  This interview will be very helpful for all of us.  I am ready to learn…are you?  2-3pm ET at www.toginet.com

To download the podcast later, go to www.toginet.com/shows/chainednomore

“Make every effort to live in peace with all men (and women, and children) and to holy…”  Hebrews 12:14 

Children and Animals

children and animals

Look at this precious picture of a little girl loving on a horse and the horse loving on her.  A moment of peace, kindness and understanding.  So beautiful.  Our Facebook pages are filled with pictures and videos of kids and puppies or kitties, and  pets who pass away and the anguish that causes their families.  Experts have seen the importance of letting dogs come to senior assistant living places, and there are service dogs for anything from blindness, deafness, autism, and even “anxiety dogs.”

Our daughter and son-in-law are unable to have children, so they adopted a furbaby and he fills their arms.  His name is Braxton and he is a 100 pound blonde lab retriever.  They have trained him well, care for him as they would a human child and the love they show him is extraordinary.  When they are sad, he is sad.  When they are sick, he doesn’t leave their side.  He loves to sleep with them and cuddle and needs lots of attention.  He is their “baby” and our granddog.  In my eyes, he really can do no wrong!

I used to be very afraid of dogs because I was bitten when I was young.  If you were standing next to me and a dog approached, I would probably have grabbed your arm, swung you around, and hidden behind you as I put you between me and the dog.  Seriously!  It was horrible!  Our granddog changed all that in a short amount of time.  We now have a very special bond and I am grateful that I am no longer afraid of pets. Now, iguanas, lizards, geckos and snakes, are a different story!

Pets can soothe the soul of a hurting child like nothing else.  They will lick their tears away, snuggle, let the child do most anything to hold them closer and listen to them by the hour.  They will even allow the child to lie all over them!  It is so precious to watch.  Truth be told, they will do the same for adult pet owners too, right?

This Tuesday, July 25, our expert guest will be author Kim Meeder. She is the owner of Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch in Central Oregon, where they bring damaged children to the ranch to be with rescued abused horses.  The connection between the kids and the horses is spectacular and Kim’s team also teach these children about the love of our Lord Jesus.  It truly is an incredible ministry.  She will share her compelling story or being raised in a traumatic family and how she has used that to minister to hurting children around this country in such a unique way.  Please join us at 2-3pm on Tuesday at www.toginet.com.  You may also listen to the podcast later at www.toginet.com/shows/chainednomore.

Pets can lessen loneliness, fear, anxiety, pain, and abandonment issues in such a special way, but  remember, the Lord God can too.  “Cast all your cares on Him, for He cares for you.”  I Peter 5:7 

Are You Listening?


“Speak up!  I can’t hear you!”  “Are you talking to me?”  “Talk into my GOOD ear.”

Our world is full of noisy chaos, music seems to have to blare to be heard, horns honk, saws buzz, dogs bark, ear buds constantly plugged in, and there is endless noise wherever we go.  Sometimes, after going to an event with a lot of people, I just sit in the car afterward to absorb some peaceful quiet.  Ahhhh!

I do love the sound of children laughing, crowds cheering, water lapping up against the shore, the roar of ocean waves, good music, and my husband’s whispers in my ear.  Sounds from my childhood would include the ice cream truck coming down the street, our cat purring, my family laughing,  singing in the church and school choirs, giggles at a slumber party, and my grandpa telling me stories about when he was a kid.  Ahhhh, the good old days…

These days, there are different sounds…political ranting and raving, crowds cheering the Oregon Ducks on,  conversations filled with cussing and anger,  while some are filled with meaningful conversations over coffee or lunch.  Oh, I still love my husband’s whispers in my ear too!

Something has happened in our society that certainly affects listening and truly  hearing what another person is saying.  It is called technology  We spend much more time looking at screens of all sizes than we do having face to face conversation.  Even when we are sitting with someone talking, we can both be looking at our phones or I-Pads at the same time.  We spend more time looking at someone’s forehead than looking them in the eye.  It seems we are connected to our phones much more than we are connected with those we care about.  We just don’t want to miss a text, email or Facebook post, do we?!  I got caught up in it too, until I realized that technology was distracting me from the person in front of me.

Now, I put my phone in my purse before I walk into a restaurant to meet someone, set it aside many times when I am riding in the car or boat or sitting on the deck with my Ivan.  Honestly, I still struggle with this sometimes, but I am purposely trying to lessen my time looking at my phone.

This Tuesday at 2-3pm ET, on Chained No More Talk Radio, our guest will be author Becky Harling and we will be talking about “How to Listen So People Will Talk.”  We will be discussing conflict resolution, communication skills and concepts, and how we can improve our listening skills in relationships.  www.toginet.com  This should be good and could be life changing for our listeners!

Starting today, make a point of silencing your phone, putting it away and have face to face conversations with your spouse, children, family and friends.  Make your time count and “love the ones you’re with.” Oh, and it doesn’t  hurt to spend a good amount of time talking and listening to the Lord God every day either, right?

The Divorce Battle-No Winners

kids and divorce

I don’t know about you, but this pictures hurts my heart on many levels.  The mom and dad are yelling at each other with great anger in their eyes and gestures, while the boy is devastated sitting in this battle that could shatter his life.

How did this couple get to this place after making a covenant to stay with each other, “for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, forsaking all others, for as long as we both shall live.”  How did that day of joy and peace turn into hatred and war?  It takes two to build a marriage and two to destroy it.

This child is being shown just how much vows really mean, what love really means and what marriage looks like as he sits in the middle once again.  How devastating for him!

There are millions of children who live the very same thing day after day and chances are pretty good their parents lived the same thing in their childhood as well.  Heck, there are even “comedy” shows on tv. that almost glorify divorce.  Are you kidding?!  It is not  funny, comical, or something to kid about, and it devastates and scars lives beyond words.  STOP!!!

What are we doing to our society and how did God’s creation and His design of marriage get so distorted?  What was meant for glorious fulfillment and joy has turned into destruction, violence and hatred.  My heart hurts for families, but there are answers and practical tools to help marriage thrive, grow and be fulfilling, even though there  have been some “dips” in the marriage.

The first step is that BOTH husband and wife need to admit there are issues that are damaging their marriage and children and  make a new commitment to do what it takes to work through the issues one at a time.  If there needs to be professional counseling to help, both would need to agree, be willing to “do the work to make it work”,  go consistently, stop the battle and work together, for the sake of their kids and themselves.  If faith is a part of their marriage,  both need to humble themselves before God, follow Him with every step, and letting Him heal their marriage and famly.

Our guest on Chained No More Talk Radio this week is Helen Wheeler, LPC, and her topic will be “The Divorce Battle: Family Issues.  She is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Family Court Mediator and Parent Coordinator, working with high conflict couples.  She will be discussing the many family issues that arise during a divorce battle and beyond.  Don’t miss it if you are living through a divorce, have lived through it, or know those who are.  We will all learn a lot.

“Be Imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children, and live a life of love just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”  Eph. 5:1,2

Are you and your spouse being imitators of Christ?  Be honest.  What needs to change, for the sake of your hurting children and your marriage?    It is amazing how our relationships change when WE change.  “Do the work to make it work.”  Look into your kids’ eyes and ask yourself “how can we protect these children and make our home one that helps them thrive, grow and live joyfully?”