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

-animals-300×200.png” alt=”children and animals” width=”300″ height=”200″ />

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?”

Having Babies: Joys and Challenges

-mom-200×300.png” alt=”Baby and mom” width=”200″ height=”300″ />

Those of us who have given birth to a baby each have our own story of how long labor was, how long we had to “push”, who was in the room, what it felt like to deliver the child we had waited for, and the pure joy of holding that newborn to our chest and feel it’s warmth.  We counted each toe and finger, studied their little pink face and let our own tears fall as we realized, “I am a mom!”  Remember?

Some of us struggled because our ultrasound may have showed there was a problem, or we were unable to have a natural birth, so we had a C-section.  Maybe there were complications such as the cord wrapped around its neck or our baby had swallowed meconium.  Maybe the doctor told us there was a deformity of some kind and our hearts sank.  It is easy to take a healthy baby or a “perfect” natural birth for granted, but for those of us who have had a challenging or heart-breaking experience,  we look to God and ask “Why my baby?”  Is that you?

The love of a mom for her baby is like no other love.  It is deep and all encompassing, no matter what they look like or act like.  “Mama loves you, Baby.  I will always be here for you and protect you.”

There are some new mothers, however, who can’t figure out why they don’t really want to be with their new baby.  They don’t want to nurse, sometimes they don’t even want to touch it.  They get horridly angry when the baby cries, but on the other hand, they can feel guilty.  Their baby’s dad and other family members get mad at the mom and try to talk her into holding her own child and can make her feel more shameful than she already does.  There have even been thousands of new moms who have thought about or attempted to kill their own children and her family is horrified and confused.  Why?!!!

This is called post-partum depression and is a chemical thing that can overtake the mom.  The father and other family members need to step in to care for the baby while the mom needs to get to a doctor and treat this condition that is breaking everyone’s heart.

This Tuesday, my guest on Chained No More Talk Radio will be Judy Dippel, the author of “Breaking the Grip of Postpartum Depression.”  She will share her own devastating story of this condition and how she got out of it.  She will give clinical answers and encourage women who may have suffered or are suffering from postpartum depression today.  Please tune in to www.toginet.com at 2-3pm ET on Tuesday, whether you or someone you love are suffering from this, or if you just want to learn about it.


“But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior, my God will hear me.”  Micah 7:7

Letting Go with Confidence

trapeze artist

Have you ever been to a circus and had jaw-dropping moments when you watched the trapeze artists high in the air swinging from one trapeze to the next?  Most of them had a large net underneath them, but sometimes they didn’t.  There was always an element of fear that one of these daring people would fall to their death, or at least be seriously injured as their body slammed into the ground beneath them.

Well, that’s what was on my mind as a spectator, whether I was a little girl or an adult.  How do they gather up the bravery to do such a thing to entertain their audiences.  Wow!  The most daring thing I have ever done was when we were kids.  We would swing out on a huge rope, attached to a big tree branch, with a knot at the end of it high over the sound in Alaska.  We never imagined that we could certainly fall to OUR death.  It was fun!  That’s all we knew.   Yikes!  I kept my guardian angel busy, that’s for sure!!!

This scenario makes me think of our lives, which are always changing.  There are times we need to adjust, let go of the past, adjust and heal, and then reach for the future ahead.  Just like a trapeze artist, they have to let go of the first trapeze before reaching for the next one.  Make sense?  What would happen if they never let go of the first one, but also tried to grab onto the next one at the same time?  They would kind of just be caught in mid-air without going in either direction, except to fall to the ground below.

Sometimes, we are afraid to let go of a past full of trauma, or a marriage, or a job we were comfortable in.  We can sit in discontent and fear, and even depression year after year, and never move forward.  To let go can be scary and uncertain, but the Lord is clear in His Word about never leaving us or forsaking us.  “Behold I am with you ALWAYS, even unto the end of the age.” Period.  Matthew 28:19

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future  to a known God.” – Unknown

This week on Chained No More Talk Radio, our guest will be Dr. Michelle Bengston, the author of “Hope Prevails.”  Her life has been full of trauma, disappointment, fear and unthinkable crisis.  Year after year, she has persevered, trusted in the Almighty God to lead her through them, and has now worked to bring others to find hope .  She is an experienced neuropsychologist, with a compassionate heart for those who are struggling.  Tune in on Tuesday, June 13 at 2pm ET at www.toginet.com

Could this be the day that  you let go of the “first trapeze”, fly through the “neutral zone” and then grab onto the next trapeze with hope and confidence in where God might be leading you?  Get ready for anything, because God said He goes before you and He has plans for the rest of your life.  Ready…Set Go!!  Time to fly!

Starting Over

starting over

Track and field events are  increasing in popularity.  Everything from junior marathons, to Special Olympics, to Senior events are popping up around our country.  Marathoners from around the world travel to America to run our marathons. Then there are the Olympic athletes who train for years for that one victory at the finish line, so they can hold their country’s flag high above all others.

It takes dedication, endless hours away from family, beating their body and joints into the ground and other sacrifices untold to reach goals.  How do I know this?  Because our son, Scott, is a marathoner, triathalon coach and two time Ironman, that’s why!  He is very disciplined, purposeful, and dedicated to his sport as he spends hours on his bike, running the pavement and swimming in cold water.  That’s our boy and we are very proud of him.

This makes me think about those of us who may not be a track and field star, but are running the race of life.  Just like our son, sometimes there is an injury and we have to stop, get treatment and heal from the damage.  It may be the loss of a loved one or a job, a devastating divorce, separation from a church family, or any number of other experiences of loss.

How do we start over again?  How do we take a chance that we won’t go through the same thing and suffer more damage?  What steps do we have to take and how do we find the strength to begin again?  Sometimes, these questions can lead us to become frozen in time, just trying to survive day by day.

The first step in change is awareness.  The second step is acceptance.  The third step is action. This is part of nurturing yourself.  You see something that needs to change that could improve your life and you find a way to do it….Chained No More

On Tuesday, June 6 at 2pm ET (www.toginet.com), we will have a guest on Chained No More Talk Radio that will help you with this very thing.  Her name is Anne Denmark and she is an incredible life coach who has a passion for helping her clients find a way to be the best they can be.  You will learn concepts and strategies of how to begin again and find freedom from the things that hold you back.  Don’t miss it!  If you can’t listen to this podcast LIVE, be sure and go to www.toginet.com/shows/chainednomore to download the podcast at your convenience.

Have you become frozen and really want to start over again?  You can do it because God’s Word says so.  “I CAN do ALL things through GOD who strengthens me.”Phil. 4:13

When we read the stories of those in crisis in the Bible and how the Lord God led them out, we can certainly trust Him to do the same for us.  Listen to the Chained No More podcast coming up, and then make your way to the starting line, get ready, set, and GO! …in the name of Jesus!


Kid’s In Grief

kid crying

I don’t know about you, but whenever I hear a child crying, I need to turn my head to see if they are okay and if I can help.  When I led Divorce Care for Kids and The Big D…Divorce Thru the Eyes of a Teen, there was a lot of crying in every single class, because these kids were devastated that their family had been shattered.  It  broke the heart of our leaders because there was nothing we could do to sew their families back up.  We couldn’t bring joy or smiles into their homes.

What we could do was hold them while they cried, pray with them, listen to them a lot, and try to bring them toward the healing arms of Jesus.  Teens were more angry and were very vocal about how mad they were at their parents for “ruining my life.”  As I always say, “kids pay the highest price.”  That is certainly true in a divorce.  These kids were grieving and needed our help to process through that grief.

Another type of grief is when a child loses someone they like, such as a grandparent, parent, sibling or other family member they are close to.  The grief of losing a pet is also overwhelming, many times.  the depth of loss is unimaginable.

Adults in these kids’ lives don’t always know what to do and what to say to ease the devastation these kids feel, so they just “let them work it out,”  especially if the adult is grieving at the same time. “What do I say?  What do I do?  I don’t have the answers, so  maybe I should take them to a counselor.”

Many times, we see the behavior of a child change and they act  angrier; lashing out at adults or siblings.  They can also just withdraw into their own little world and sort of “check out.”  Grief takes on many faces and there are specific ways to walk someone through it.

Next Tuesday, May 9, our guest on Chained No More Talk Radio will be Wayne Stocks, the Founder and Executive Director of a ministry called “Hope 4 Hurting Kids.”  His topic will be “Kids in Grief – How Can We Help?”  He will discuss the different steps of grief, the different levels of grief, what to say and what not to say and so much more.  If you work with kids or have kids in your life, this interview will be extremely informative for you, so don’t miss it.

Here is the info:  Tues., May 9 at 2pm ET at www.toginet.com


“You keep track of all my sorrows.  You have collected all my tears in Your bottle.  You have recorded each one in Your book.”  Psalm 56:8

I am Single, But I Want to Be Married

bride and groom

Oh, the thought of being in love, the excitement of the proposal, and the preparation and  experience of the wedding, followed by a honeymoon!  It just makes you smile, doesn’t it?  Or does it?

Maybe this was not your experience at all.  Maybe you got married in a chapel in Vegas or at the Justice of the Peace, or in your parents’ back yard.  Maybe you eloped.  We all have a story.  Many of our marriages have brought great joy over the years and some of our marriages didn’t last.

You may have gotten a divorce and now, a few years later, you are really longing to be married and spending the rest of your life with someone. You want the companionship, the day to day conversations, the closeness and intimacy and building memories with someone you deeply love.  Loneliness is no fun and can bring us to isolation and depression.  How do we get started in finding and having a love relationship that could result in saying “I do?”

First of all, take some time to pray and ask the Lord to guide you toward your own healing from past experiences and get the necessary help to find that healing.  If you step into another relationship still dealing with past issues, you will bring those issues into it, and chances are you will probably not be successful.  Work on  yourself first.

On Tuesday, April 25, at 2-3pm, at www.toginet.com, Kris Swiatocho, Director of The Singles Network, will be our guest on Chained No More Talk Radio.  Her topic will be “I Am Single, But I Want to Be Married.”  She will talk about the concerns and fears singles have when it comes to “looking for someone.”  She will talk about singles of all ages and both genders and the different issues with all.  She will also share about her new area of ministry called, “Pray for a Mate”, and how it works.  Don’t miss it!

Take some time today and evaluate yourself and what you would like to have your future look like.  Do you have trust issues, fear, anger, insecurities, abandonment or betrayal issues that haven’t been healed yet.  Don’t run down the aisle before seeking healing, so you don’t “make your new love pay for your old love.”  Don’t forget to pray!