The driver of tomorrow is not thinking Green...

The driver of tomorrow is not thinking Green...
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Apr 27, 2010

How I fell in love with a Fish: Dan Barber

TED.com - great site, quick video podcasts of all topics. This is one of our favorites and hit home with sustainability and what are we doing with our food???

Apr 26, 2010

Apr 23, 2010

Why Do I Act as if I Don’t Love My Wife?

Sigh … I’ve done it again.

My wife had been running a little behind our intended schedule. Rather than waiting patiently (or maybe actually stepping in to help) I did what I do so well: I pontificated, this time speculating aloud about how many total minutes of our lives she had wasted in delays. My calculations didn’t impress her, but the soul-crushing impact of my words was obvious on her face. Very smooth, Dave, I realized too late, very constructive. A true word in season.

You’d think a pastor, someone called to think and speak in thoughtful, helpful, biblical ways, would have found something better to say at that moment—or at least something a little less damaging. But despite my arrogant, sinful words, Kimm was able once again to cover over with love and patiently help me see what was wrong with them.

Why aren’t I more loving?


While I’m immensely grateful for Kimm’s gracious, forgiving spirit, still the question lingers: Why aren’t I more loving? After all, we have been married for more than two decades. I have been in ministry most of that time, I’ve read lots of marriage books, conducted numerous marriage seminars, and I really think Kimm is a gift from God to me. If I love my wife, why do I find it so easy to treat her like I don’t?

Guys, you know the kind of thing I’m talking about. You’ve planned a romantic evening, complete with her favorite restaurant. But then she says something, or you say something, or the waiter says something, and in the space of about two minutes a whole different kind of memory is created. (“Honey, remember the night we had that really expensive conflict?”)

Or how about this? Rather than watching the football game on your day off, you decide to do the repair project she’s been asking you to finish. Five frustrating hours later you put the tools away, and look to your wife for some expression of appreciation for your personal sacrifice. She glances at your work and says, “I wish you would have asked me before you did it that way.” Cue the pyrotechnics.

Ladies, he tells you he’ll be home by 9:00 p.m. and walks in at 10:45. “Sorry, hon, the meeting ran over.” No notification, no phone call, no real apology, and no consideration for your worry. A moment earlier you’d been imagining how you were going to manage supporting your family as a widow. Now, with visions of him sleeping in the car for a week, you’re not quite sure what’s about to come out of your mouth, but it probably won’t be good.

The worst thing about sin

Several years ago I became aware of a subtle, destructive habit. Whenever I sensed I had sinned against Kimm I would go to her, confess, and seek to resolve the situation. Looks pretty good when I put it that way, doesn’t it? But I came to realize that my goal was far from noble. I wanted a quick and efficient restoration of our relationship so I could stop feeling bad and get on with “more important things.” In other words, the confession was basically a tool I was employing for my own sake. No wonder, then, that I was often left with a shallow, haunting feeling that I now believe was the kind prompting of the Holy Spirit.

After a time of prayer, I recognized that God had been surprisingly forgotten in my words of apology to Kimm. I saw that I had been almost completely unconcerned with the fact that my sin had been first against God, and that I stood guilty before his infinite holiness. I had regarded my sins as errors, or at worst, as “little sins” that required little consideration of my heart. My real goal was simply a kind of marital damage control, not an honest accounting before my Heavenly Father. But by God’s grace I began to see, as J. I. Packer says so well, “There can be no small sins against a great God.”

The question that used to boggle my mind, “If I love my wife, why do I find it so easy to treat her like I don’t?" has a universal answer. We are all the worst of sinners, so anything we do that isn’t sin is simply the grace of God at work.

A hidden gift comes as we see ourselves as the worst of sinners: humility—a pride-crushing, vision-clearing humility. The road of humility is open to all husbands and wives who are willing to give “a due consideration” to who they truly are, in and of themselves, before a holy God.

I want to walk that road.



Paul’s confession and ours

It’s the underside of marriage, the reality of living with someone day in and day out in a fallen world. But what does it reveal? What does it indicate when I see my rottenness? Has the enemy singled me out for exclusive attention? Maybe I’m a threat to his kingdom, like Frodo to the powers of Mordor or Luke Skywalker to the Evil Empire. That doesn’t excuse the fact that I know what’s right, yet often choose to do something else instead.

Well, guess what? If sin is a persistent problem for us, we’re in pretty good company. As bad as we can be, the Apostle Paul seems to think he’s even worse. Maybe we can learn something from him.

Paul wrote to Timothy, “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost” (1 Timothy 1:15). Pretty stark, isn’t it? Not a lot of wiggle room there. Paul leads off by calling this a “saying [that] is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance.” That’s the ancient equivalent of putting the little exclamation mark on an email you send—this is of high priority!

His “saying” has two parts. “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners ...” This catapults us to the heart of the glorious gospel, and prepares us for part two: “. . . of whom I am the foremost.” Now what are we supposed to do with that? How can the Apostle to the Gentiles—the original theologian of the Christian faith—honestly say this? To whom is he comparing himself? And what standard is he applying?

These are important questions. We dare not dismiss Paul’s statement as a passing exaggeration or an empty exercise in false humility. This is the Word of God, and a profound point is being made here.

A student of his heart


First, it’s clear that Paul is not trying to objectively compare himself to every other human being, because most of them he had never met! This tells us that his focus is not primarily outward. It’s inward. He’s also not suggesting that his moral character is bankrupt or his spiritual maturity is zero. He is simply talking about what goes on in his own heart.

He is saying, in effect, “Look, I know my sin. And what I’ve seen in my own heart is darker and more awful; it’s more proud, selfish, and self-exalting; and it’s more consistently and regularly in rebellion against God than anything I have glimpsed in the heart of anyone else. As far as I can see, the biggest sinner I know is me.”

Paul was a student of his heart. He paid attention to the desires and impulses that churned within. And I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that he knew he was capable—given the right circumstances—of the worst of sins and the vilest of motives. Paul was a realist. He wanted to see God and himself truly. No hiding behind a facade of pleasantness or religiosity for him. As Henry Scougal comments on this verse, “None can think more meanly of [Paul] than he doth of himself.”

Now let’s look at the very next verse. “But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life” (1 Timothy 1:16).

With the passing of each day, two things grew larger for Paul: his sinfulness in light of the holiness of God, and God’s mercy in the face of his sin. Knowing both God and himself accurately was not at all discouraging or depressing. Rather, it deepened his gratitude for the vastness of God’s mercy in redeeming him, and the patience of Christ in continuing to love and identify with him in his daily struggle against sin.

Paul’s confession to Timothy presents us with a stunning example of moral honesty and theological maturity: Paul’s acute, even painful awareness of his own sinfulness caused him to magnify the glory of the Savior!


Adapted from When Sinners Say “I Do” by Dave Harvey. Published by Shepherd Press. Copyright ©2007 by Dave Harvey. Used with permission.

Dave Harvey is senior pastor of Covenant Fellowship Church, part of Sovereign Grace Ministries. He and his wife, Kimm, live in West Chester, Pennsylvania, with their four children.

Hear Dave Harvey interviewed on FamilyLife Today.

Apr 22, 2010

Cultural Challenge:Bringing up Girls

OK, so my youngest child turned 18 this week, and now all of my children are officially "adults." Ouch! That hurts in one way, but is deeply beautiful and satisfying in so many other ways.

From a mom who has now "been there," my number one bit of advice to mothers of small children is: Enjoy them while you can. Spend time with them while they are still in your home. Examine your schedule, drop the junk, and seek out time to laugh with your kids, talk to them, shape their hearts and minds.

Just BE with them.

You will never get the precious years of childhood back -- ever. Do what you can to truly "parent" the precious children God has put in your care.

I'm so very grateful that before my children were born God placed it on my husband's and my heart to make them a top priority in our lives. Before money, careers, fancy houses and fancy vacations, our children came before everything else but our relationship with God and each other.

That's not to say there weren't times when we got over busy; there were plenty of those times! But, somehow, we were always able to recognize when work or volunteering got in the way, and -- thank God -- we were able to scale back and focus on the essential ingredient in parenthood: our children.

Since the month our only daughter turning 18 happens to coincide with one release of the very best books ever written about raising girls, I decided to make Bringing up Girls the focus of the Culture Challenge of the Week:


Culture Challenge of the Week: Bringing up Girls

This week my little girl -- and, youngest child -- becomes an adult. It is a strange feeling to suddenly become the mother of only adult children -- an odd transition that no one says much about, but is one of many monumental and emotional passages that comprise the "empty nest" era.

As Kristin turns 18 and prepares to leave our home for college, I am overwhelmed with gratitude -- so deeply thankful -- that God picked me to be her mommy.

She has always been a delightful child, and I am so proud of the woman she has become. A stellar student, a joyful human being, thoughtful and warm, and at once both out-going and humble.

Kristin is a mother’s dream come true.

I marvel that even in the midst of a culture that brainwashes so many girls to flaunt their sexual power, focus on selfish desires, and throw traditional morality and chastity to the wind, Kristin has managed to see through the lies and discover what is highest and best. Please know that although I have spent many hours in prayer over my little girl and have done my very best to teach her to challenge the culture and to tower above the darkness, it is Kristin -- not me -- who has chosen her life path. I thank God every day that she has chosen well. That she has chosen Him.

The great heartbreak is that our nation’s little girls are in danger, and many of them are ill-equipped to realize it.

Dr. James Dobson, author of the new book, Bringing up Girls, describes the many disturbing threats and behaviors that mark this generation of young women. Among them: "A rising incidence of eating disorders, including anorexia and bulimia," cutting and self-mutilation, sexual aggression, binge drinking, and a growing trend of middle class girls to strip and even perform sex acts for cash.

Through the years, Dr. Dobson’s advice has helped me raise Kristin. I’ve read and listened to his teachings throughout my parenthood. And, I’m so grateful -- on behalf of other parents and their little girls too -- that Dr. Dobson has now compiled years of research and experience into one practical handbook to ensure that more girls reach their full potential and become women known for their sterling character and goodness. I’m also grateful that he is continuing to share his wonderful wisdom on the air through his new radio show, Family Talk, which he is co-hosting with his fine son, Ryan. (You can learn more at www.MyFamilyTalk.com)


How to Save Your Daughter

Dr. Dobson and his lovely wife, Shirley, are two of my all time favorite heroes.

In addition to serving as mentors and counselors to millions around the world through the powerful ministries they have led -- including Focus on the Family and the National Day of Prayer -- they succeeded in applying the principles they preach to raising their own inspiring and wonderful daughter, Danae. Although I’ve spent years researching and writing about parenting, family and cultural issues, I still marvel at the unique insights, timeless wisdom and practical help Dr. Dobson continues to offer parents. Bringing up Girls: Practical advice and encouragement for those shaping the next generation of women is a masterpiece, containing a treasure trove of advice and encouragement.

If you have daughters, nieces, granddaughters, or female cousins; if you work with girls in any way; Bringing up Girls can help you help them succeed in every area of their lives. Dr. Dobson opens the book by giving us a peek into the female nature, teaching us to appreciate what he calls "The Wonderful World of Girls." He has chapters on the unique, powerful, and different influences that fathers and mothers have on their little girls, and teaches how you can build a close relationship with your own.

He tackles controversial issues like "The Obsession with Beauty," "Bullies, Buddies, and Best Friends," and dedicates an entire chapter to the toughest and most common questions facing parents of girls. Most of all, Dr. Dobson inspires parents to love their daughters enough to take the time to connect with them, to be involved in their lives, and to dare to question the status quo.

As my own daughter prepares to enter adulthood as an honorable, giving, loving human being, my hat goes off to Dr. James Dobson for providing the tools parents need to help their little girls leave home that way too. Yes, your daughter will ultimately choose her own path, but Bringing Up Girls equips you to help her clearly see the right one.



If you read this newsletter on a regular basis, then you can probably tell that one of my great privileges is to promote people and ideas and organizations that help you succeed in this great adventure called, "parenthood." My desire is to help you strengthen your relationship with your children, grow their faith in God, and equip them to tower above the pop culture. I also want to give you and your friends encouragement each week.

Please take a few minutes to forward this e-mail to five people you know -- pastors, youth workers, teachers, friends -- anyone who has children in their life! Let them know they can receive it for free each week in their own inbox just by taking one minute to sign up at www.HowToSaveYourFamily.com.

Thank you, and have a blessed week!

Apr 21, 2010

Fat Kids, Cruel World

Focus on child obesity may hurt kids.
By Lesley Kinzel | Newsweek Web Exclusive

Apr 20, 2010

When I was 9 I began a new diary: "My name is Lesley." I wrote "I am 9 (almost ten) and overweight. 105 pounds!"

I didn't write, "I am 9 (almost ten) and I love unicorns," although that was true. Nor did I write, "I am 9 (almost ten) and I live in Florida with my dad and my dog Priscilla, who is all black with a big poofy tail," although that was likewise accurate.

Before I'd lived to see my age inscribed in double digits, I had already learned that my weight defined me; everything else was less important than my being fat. This is why when I hear or see anything on the subject of Michelle Obama’s new campaign against childhood obesity, I feel a knot in my stomach. I know this sort of approach will inevitably turn into a campaign against obese children, and fat kids have enough to worry about. They already have to fight hard to resist this culture that tells them their size will always hold them back; they do not need to be further singled out in a crusade mounted by the beloved first lady of the United States.

Prior to being told I was fat by my well-intentioned pediatrician (who showed me how far outside the standard "height-weight" guidelines I fell for my age), I'd spent my life as an active and athletic child, my fatness no obstacle in keeping up with my peers (and frequently besting them). As I got older I came to understand what being fat meant: fat kids were lousy at sports, and those who tried to play were to be mocked for it. Fat kids were always picked last, and though I was never picked last, I came to fear that it would inevitably happen. So I stopped playing. I backed away from sports and games altogether. I dreaded the very public Presidential Physical Fitness Tests my school administered annually; though I could still land myself somewhere in the average for flexibility and strength, I was far above the normal body fat range for my age. I was an obese child. I was a fat kid.

I never had any weight-related health issues back then, nor do I now. Nevertheless, I began to diet, because how I looked was more important than how I felt. In elementary school, I became gravely conscious of the food I ate, and developed lists of foods that were "good" and foods that were "bad." My pediatrician sent me to a dietician, who prescribed daily menus in strict portions. As the years passed and I later ventured into the numbers-obsessed indoctrination of Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig, my standards become tighter and the "good" food list grew ever shorter, supplanted with some "free" items like romaine lettuce with balsamic vinegar and Mrs. Dash, pickles, or Crystal Lite—"free" of both calories and nutritional value. Some weight came off, in small bursts, but then it would stop, usually after about 20 pounds of loss. I'd cut out the romaine lettuce. Still, no change.

I was an obese child. And it seemed that no matter how powerfully my mind longed to be anything else, my body would resist. Eventually, once the diet began to fail, I would surrender, and eat normal food again. The lost weight would return, plus more. Shortly thereafter, I would make a fresh attack on my fatness, doomed to failure like all the rest. I would return to exercise, but not the exercise of my younger days, when I played games with friends simply because it was fun to move and to be alive. Exercise became a chore. I walked, long punishing walks around my neighborhood, satisfied only if I could maintain the speed at which my legs were throbbing painfully. It's fair to say I worked as hard as I could, and still I couldn't make my dream of thinness—the only dream I had—come true. (We won't dwell on the tragedy of a teenage girl dreaming not of becoming an astronaut, or the president, but only of becoming thinner.)

After a decade of dieting, false hopes, and dead ends, I was out of options. I was an obese child, now assured of a life as an obese adult. The path I ultimately chose was self-acceptance. I chose to shed self-hatred and to respect myself, something I'd never done before. It was a long time coming; it didn't happen in a week or even a year. But I came to realize that it wasn't my fatness that made me hate exercise; it was the social expectations associated with being fat that did so. It wasn't my fatness that made me feel inferior to and isolated from people I met; it was the cultural ideology which dictated that fat people are lonely, miserable, and unloved.

My fat was never the problem; the problem was living in a world that targets fat people as defective and unacceptable. If I hadn't felt singled out, if I hadn't been convinced that no one in the world would like me, let alone love me, until I stopped being fat, my childhood and teenage years would have been very different. Indeed, if I hadn't lost and regained over and over again, adding a little more weight each time, I might not have been as fat as I am today. I'll never know.

The need for better education of both children and adults of all sizes on the subjects of nutrition and exercise is undeniable, and on this account the intentions behind Michelle Obama's efforts are admirable. But approaching this subject by employing (and even exploiting) the entrenched culture of guilt around the state of our bodies is unlikely to succeed in making any of us healthier. All that I learned as a result of my efforts to combat my own personal battle against "childhood obesity" was that being fat was one of the worst things a person could be, and I was obligated to do everything possible—no matter how unhealthy—to change. It was only as an adult, after I gave up dieting, that I began to exercise because I enjoy it, and to eat a healthful diet because it's delicious. Eating well and exercising regularly work together to make a body—any body—feel good, even if they don't result in weight loss.

Call it a campaign against childhood couch-sitting. Call it a drive to get kids to go outside and play. Call it a movement to educate children on basic nutrition and how their amazing growing bodies work for them. But don't single out the fat kids. If I am any indication, doing this will only ensure that this generation will be fatter than ever, dragging behind them some heavy baggage around food issues and low self-esteem. Many of them will struggle with body hatred for the rest of their lives.

The effort to ensure the health of our children does not need to emphasize the existing anathema toward fatness. It can instead focus on the nobler effort of helping all of our children, across all sizes and abilities, to know their bodies, to love and accept themselves, and to be the healthiest people they can be. As adults, this is a lesson we could stand to learn, as well as teach.

Kinzel writes about body politics and popular culture at fatshionista.com and tweets at twitter.com/52stations . An earlier version of this piece appeared on her blog .

Find this article at
http://www.newsweek.com/id/236704

Apr 19, 2010

The sign that the End is near

Two articles came across my path recently. And they set my teeth a gritting.

The first was an article about what accounts for infidelity. Seriously, expecting some words of wisdom and slap you around advice (like, you have to ask this?), I skimmed the article. Wait, slow down, because it didn't really say that. Oh yes it did. Infidelity is whatever you & your spouse agree it to be. If you and your partner agree that having an open sexual relationship is okay, then it's okay. If you're not in to that but they are and you feel comfortable with their extra sexual activities, have at it.

Unsubscribe to those life tips thank you very much. And we wonder what is wrong with the world today. Our grandparents thought the 60's were bad? Free everything and tolerance for any open behavior runs rampant and people are afraid to stand up and say NO and that's enough. What, if any, values - or examples of values - are being left for our children & their children?


Next is today's MSN article about this new growling female title - The Cougar. The first time I heard that term (because I am still very sheltered apparently) was in September. From my husband, who enlightened me. Whatever. Since then, it's become the new standard we women, approaching middle age, have to live up to. Demi Moore in her fabulous beauty at 47 is our goal. Including the many years younger boy toy she married. The article talks about the problems arising from the New Cougars taking the nation. The problems arising - for their own daughters, as these vivacious mothers seek out their high school boy "friends" to hook up with.

This makes me physically ill. I enjoyed thinking "this kids a punk" watching some of the boys recently - and enjoyed the realization that, yes, I've finally become my mother (thanks MOM!) and a parent that can recognize a punk (similar to the punks I dated) when I see one. I enjoyed actually being an ADULT and not WANTING to date the punk any longer. For Pete's sake.

Get over yourselves! Yes we want to always be our best, beautiful, sexy (heck yes), attractive, fit, alive - and at times, downright Hot. We don't grow out of that secretly. But draw the line! Draw the line! Now it's acceptable for these poor 40+ something women to prowl their teenage daughters friends, because they've given themselves to wifeyhood & motherhood too long and missed their youth, so their trumping their adolescent daughter's? (Oh, so sad - anyone got a hanky? I feel a tear..)

And the advice? for the daughters?


1) Have Girl Time. 2) Tell her what you need. 3) Dont' give up.


Hear my dripping sarcasm as I type the advice. How about get your mom some sex addict therapy and a lobotomy. This is the advice MOM's and PARENTS get to bond with their teens as they go through adolescence.

You need a license to have a pet but you don't need anything to be a parent. Wait, these aren't parents... maybe the kids should have a license to attempt to raise their mothers?

Apr 13, 2010

All You Need is Love: part 1 & 2

I love it when Pastor David says these words:

"Okay, I'm just going to offend people. Just putting it out there".

Because he usually delivers a pretty, to the point, get over yourself message. With grace and mercy, but "you need to really here this" deliverance.

The series we're in right now is "All you need is Love". While most messages on Easter Day would have been about the crucifixion, Pastor David gave it a new twist. The ultimate Love was Christ's CHOICE to endure torture and horrific death for you and me. Why? Because love is not a feeling, it's a choice and it needed to be accomplished, it was God's promise to us for eternal salvation and Christ chose to love us, above our human failings and sinful nature.

Along with that choice, comes consequence. When love dies, a relationship ends, it's often because someone made a choice - possibly NOT to love. To not choose to confirm the relationship, to not build the relationship up but otherwise delve into possibly selfish natures and harm the relationship. The consequence of our human choice to not love is a rendering of whatever relationship that is. Sometimes we have to choose to love others, even through our inner ugliness to their outward ugliness. I am paraphrasing the sermon into where it hit me (oh and it hit me).

Last Sunday the message extended again to choice. And he got to the offensive part. (paraphrase) "Husbands, Fathers, I'm speaking to you directly because mostly this is a male issue. Just because you are providing financially for your family does not mean you are loving them. They need your time. YOU CAN ALWAYS MAKE MORE MONEY - YOU CAN NOT MAKE MORE TIME!" "Why do we spend our time watching a reality TV show on how to be the perfect family instead of spending our time making our own the perfect family? We spend our time watching a show about ultimate friendship, yet we don't reach out to those around us and MAKE ultimate friendships".

Sometimes as humans we just need a good thwack on the head to see the obvious! He really got to our hearts. Your kids need YOU. People need people. Families need the PEOPLE in it! The Church - is the PEOPLE. Not the building. All nice points.

He relayed a recent story of his college age son asking him to come out and see his new art of cutting a Bonsai tree. Pastor David admitted he grumbled about it, it was the end of the day, he was tired.. plodding out into the dark night to watch his son cut this tree up. But the relevance that his college age son still wanted his father's attention to see something he was learning and accomplishing. As I'm typing this I have the revelation of what an accomplishment as a father to still have his son's affection at that age - and the son's continued desire for his father's participation in his life.

Pastor David "turn off the tv, turn off the iPod, turn off the radio, stop the scrapbooking, turn off the computer - whatever it is that you're doing - and give them your undivided attention and time." In our stress, time driven world, we are so busy trying to achieve and be that we forget these simple truths. When Jesus was asked what the most important commandments were, He answered:

1) Love God above all
2) Love your neighbor as yourself

and THE GREATEST OF THESE IS LOVE. Of all the things God could have chosen for His creation - LOVE. Wow. Not legalism, not judgment, not condemnation, not being right, not being rich, not having the right car, the right house, the right clothes, the right education (they may have a place, yes). But love - choose to love & choose to live with others. Not around others.

Driving home Matt asked me if I felt conviction. Hell yes (yes, I did say Hell yes). Because Hell keeps me from connecting to my own kids who are just down the hall from me as I struggle through my own internal issues of dealing with adult life. People scare me. Personally this is a big issue for me. I am a loner and I like it that way because people hurt and wound & I don't recover quickly. I LOVE technology! Email & texting - wonderful! And I've fallen into the black hole of not having the time to talk to anyone. Other then those I have to see face to face. I even email my boss from my office next door (because that 20 step walk is SO far!) The enemy wins by dissecting us and diverting us and destroying our unity. Where two or more are gathered, there so is The Lord! We are powerful together! Great good has come out of technology but it has also alienated us from those we love to a depth we are wandering alone disconnected.

And while we do, each generation grows up around us, even though they need the older generations to succeed! To win the fight! To march on through life's adventure and turmoil. Instead, I found myself blind to the fact, one day I will watch their back walk away and wish... I had more time.




(if you'd like to hear the message, go to this link)

http://mcaweb.org/index.php?s=rs&nid=103097

Apr 11, 2010

Raising Sons

The challenge for mothers of sons is to realize that because we do not share a sexual identity or have not grown up in a male body, we cannot presume to understand everything there is to know about a sons world. There is as much to learn from the experience of raising young men as there is to teach young men about what it is to be female. -Patricia Stevens

Apr 10, 2010

A quote

"Recently a young mother asked for advice. What, she wanted to know, was she to do with a 7-year-old who was obstreperous, outspoken, and inconveniently willful? "Keep her," I replied.... The suffragettes refused to be polite in demanding what they wanted or grateful for getting what they deserved. Works for me." Anna Quindlen

Amen!

Apr 8, 2010

10 Medicine Mistakes

Last year I quit going to our local Rite Aid because the staff there appeared incompetent. From fighting with each other in front of customers, to having a careless attitude with the prescriptions, a seemingly general sense of disorder and not knowing what they were doing - I decided to take our prescriptions elsewhere. Shortly afterwards a co-worker's son's medication was mixed up with another medication, ending in a hospital visit & a nice quick settlement from Rite Aid.

Ten common but preventable errors
By Melanie Haiken, Caring.com senior editor

From: http://www.caring.com/articles/medication-mistakes

The numbers are simply staggering: Every year 1.5 million people are sickened or severely injured by medication mistakes, and 100,000 die. And yet all of those deaths are preventable. What's the answer?

We have to protect ourselves[1]. Here are the ten medication mistakes experts say are most likely to kill or cause serious harm.

Confusing two medications with similar names


It can happen anywhere in the transmission chain: Maybe the doctor's handwriting is illegible, or the name goes into the pharmacy computer incorrectly, or the swap occurs when the wrong drug is pulled from the shelves. "Most pharmacies shelve drugs in alphabetical order, so you have drugs with similar names right next to each other, which makes it even more likely for someone to grab the wrong one," says Michael Negrete, CEO of the nonprofit Pharmacy Foundation of California.

According to the national Medication Error Reporting Program, confusion caused by similar drug names accounts for up to 25 percent of all reported errors. Examples of commonly confused pairings include Adderall (a stimulant used for ADHD) versus Inderal (a beta-blocker used for high blood pressure), and Paxil (an antidepressant) versus the rhyming Taxol (a cancer drug[2]) and the similar-sounding Plavix (an anticlotting medication). The Institute for Safe Medication Practices's list of these oft-confused
pairs[3] goes on for pages.

How to avoid it:
When you get a new prescription, ask your doctor to write down what it's for as well as the name and dosage. If the prescription reads depression but is meant for stomach acid, that should be a red flag for the pharmacist. When you're picking up a prescription at the pharmacy, check the label to make sure the name of the drug (brand or generic), dosage, and directions for use are the same as those on the prescription. (If you don't have the prescription yourself because the doctor sent it in directly, ask the pharmacist to compare the label with what the doctor sent.)

Taking two or more drugs that magnify each other's potential side effects. Any drug you take has potential side effects. But the problems can really add up whenever you take two or more medications at the same time, because there are so many ways they can interact with each other, says Anne Meneghetti, M.D., director of Clinical Communication for Epocrates, a medication management system for doctors. "Drugs can interfere with each other, and that's what you're most likely to hear about. But they can also magnify each other, or one drug can magnify a side effect caused by another drug," says Meneghetti.

Two of the most common -- and most dangerous -- of these magnification interactions involve blood pressure and dizziness. If you're taking one medication that has a potential side effect of raising blood pressure, and you then begin taking a second medication with the same possible effect, your blood pressure could spike dangerously from the combination of the two. One medication that lists "dizziness"
is worrisome enough, but two with that side effect could lead to falls, fractures, and worse. Be particularly careful if you've been prescribed the blood-thinner Coumadin (warfarin), "the king of drug interactions," according to Pharmacy Foundation of California's Michael Negrete. "You need just the right amount of Coumadin in your system for it to work properly; too much or too little and you
could have serious heart problems such as arrhythmias or a stroke[4]. But so many other drugs interfere with its action that you have to be really careful."

How to avoid it: Ask your doctor or a pharmacist about potential side effects when you get a new prescription, and make sure the pharmacy gives you written printouts about the medication to review later. Keep all such handouts in a file, so that when you get a new prescription, you can compare the info provided with the handouts from your older prescriptions. If you see the same side effect listed for more than one medication, ask your doctor or pharmacist whether it's cause for concern. Overdosing by combining more than one medication with similar properties.

Think of this one as the Heath Ledger syndrome, says Michael Negrete of Pharmacy Foundation of California. It's all too easy to end up with several medications that all have similar actions, although they were prescribed to treat different conditions. "You might have one medication prescribed to treat pain, another prescribed for anxiety, and another that's given as a sleeping pill -- but they're all sedatives, and the combined effect is toxic," explains Negrete. The risk for this kind of overdose is highest with drugs that function by depressing the central nervous system. These include narcotic painkillers such as codeine; benzodiazepines such as Ativan, Halcion, Xanax, and Valium; barbiturate tranquilizers such as Seconal; some of the newer drugs such as BuSpar, for anxiety; and the popular sleeping pill Ambien.

But oversedation can also happen with seemingly innocent over-the-counter drugs like antihistamines(diphenhydramine, commonly known as Benadryl, is one of the worst offenders), cough and cold medicines, and OTC sleeping pills. This type of drug mixing is responsible for many medication induced deaths, especially among younger adults.

How to avoid it: Pay attention to the warnings on the packaging of over-the-counter medications, and the risks listed in the documentation for prescriptions. Key words are sleepy, drowsy, dizzy, sedation, and their equivalents. If more than one of your prescriptions or OTC drugs warns against taking it while driving, or warns that it can make you drowsy, beware. This means the drug has a sedative effect on the central nervous system and shouldn't be combined with other drugs (including alcohol) that have the same effect.

Getting the dosage wrong

Drugs are prescribed in a variety of units of measure, units that are usually notated using abbreviations or symbols -- offering a host of opportunities for disaster. All it takes is a misplaced decimal point and 1.0 mg becomes 10 mg, a tenfold dosing error that could cause a fatal overdose. Some of the most extreme dosage mistakes occur when someone mistakes a dose in milligrams with one
in micrograms, resulting in a dose 1,000 times higher. This mostly happens in the hospital with IV drugs, but it's been known to happen with outpatient meds as well.

Insulin, the primary treatment for diabetes, causes some of the worst medication errors because it's measured in units, abbreviated with a U, which can look like a zero or a 4 or any number of other things when scribbled.

Another common problem, says pharmacist Bona Benjamin, director of Medication-Use Quality Improvement at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, is getting the frequency wrong -- so, say, a drug that is supposed to be given once a day is given four times a day.

How to avoid it: Make sure your doctor's writing is clear on the original prescription; if you can't read the dosage indicated, chances are the nurse and pharmacist will have difficulty as well. When you pick up the prescription from the pharmacy, ask the pharmacist to check the dosage to make sure it's within the range that's typical for that medication. In the hospital, when a nurse is about to administer a new medication, ask what it is and request that he or she check your chart to make sure it's the right one for you and that the dosage is indicated clearly. Don't be afraid to speak up if you think you're about to get
the wrong medicine or the wrong dose.


Mixing alcohol with medications


There are plenty of drugs that come with that cute bright orange warning sticker attached, telling you not to drink when taking them. However, the sticker can fall off, or not get attached in the first place, or you might just really need that cocktail and figure it'll be OK "just this once." But alcohol, combined with a
long list of painkillers, sedatives, and other medications, becomes a deadly poison in these situations.
In fact, many experts now say you shouldn't drink when on any medication without first checking with your doctor.

Alcohol can also have a dangerous interaction with OTC drugs such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and cough and cold medicines -- and if the cough or cold medicines themselves contain alcohol, you can end up with alcohol poisoning. Alcohol can also compete with certain medications for absorption, leading to dangerous interactions. Mix alcohol and certain antidepressants, for example, and you have the potential
for a dangerous rise in blood pressure, while alcohol and certain sedatives such as Ativan or Valium can depress the heart rate enough to put you in a coma.

How to avoid it: When you get a new prescription, ask your doctor or a pharmacist if the medication is safe to take while drinking alcohol. If you're a heavy drinker and you know it's likely you'll drink while taking the medication, tell your doctor. She may need to prescribe something else instead. Also, read the handouts that come with your prescriptions to see if alcohol is mentioned as a risk. And read the labels
of all OTC medications carefully, both to see if alcohol is mentioned as a risk and also to see if alcohol is an ingredient in the medication itself.

Double-dosing by taking a brand-name drug and the generic version at the same time.

With insurance companies mandating the use of generic drugs whenever they're available, it's all too common for patients to get confused and end up with bottles of a brand-name drug and a generic version at the same time without realizing it. "For example, a common diuretic is furosemide. The brand name is Lasix. A patient might have a bottle of furosemide and a bottle of Lasix and not know they're the same
thing," says internist Bruce Mann, M.D. "In essence, the patient is taking twice the dose." Since generic drugs don't list the equivalent brand name on the label, you might not spot this unless your brand-name version lists the generic name in the fine print.

How to avoid it: When your doctor prescribes a new medication, make sure you have a chance to go over all the details you might need to know later. Have the doctor write down the name of the drug(brand and generic, if available), what it's for, its dosage, and how often and when to take it. Try to remember both names for future reference. Also, look up the generic names for each of your brand-name prescriptions and vice versa; then line up all of your medicine bottles and see if you have any duplications.

Taking prescription drugs and over-the-counter or alternative medications
without knowing how they interact. It's easy to think that something you can grab off the shelf at your local grocery or drug store must be safe, but some of the most common OTC drugs can cause serious reactions. A top contender is medicine-chest staple Maalox, meant to calm digestive upset. A new and very popular version, Maalox
Total Relief, contains an ingredient called bismuth subsalicylate that can react dangerously with anticlotting drugs, drugs for hypoglycemia, and anti-inflammatories, particularly ibuprofen and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, or NSAIDs.


Another standby to watch out for is aspirin, which thins the blood. If you forget to stop taking aspirin before a surgical procedure, the result can be life-threatening bleeding. Then there's the herb Saint-John's-wort, which many people take for depression. The fact that Saint- John's-wort can interfere with prescription antidepressants has received a fair amount of attention, but few people know that it also interferes with the liver's processing of blood thinners such as Coumadin
(warfarin) and heart medications such as Digoxin.

How to avoid it:
When your doctor is writing out a new prescription, this is also the time to mention or remind her about any OTC meds or supplements you take. Never add a medication without discussing how it interacts with what you're already taking.

Not understanding interactions between medications and your diet

The most serious culprit in this situation is grapefruit juice, which has unique properties when it comes to inactivating or overactivating medications. Grapefruit juice inhibits a crucial enzyme that normally functions to break down and metabolize many drugs, such as antiseizure drugs and statins used to lower cholesterol. The result? The overloaded liver can't metabolize the medication, resulting in an overdose,with potentially fatal consequences.

Other less serious interactions to be aware of include coffee and iron; the coffee inhibits absorption. Doctors say they frequently see coffee drinkers who take their iron in the morning with breakfast, yet their anemia doesn't go away because the iron isn't absorbed. Grapefruit interactions are serious enough that they're often listed on medication handouts, but many food and drink interactions aren't mentioned.

How to avoid it: When you get a new prescription, ask your doctor or a pharmacist whether you should take it with food, without food, and if there are any particular dietary issues to watch out for.

Failing to adjust medication dosages when a patient loses kidney or liver function

Loss of liver or kidney function impairs your body's ability to rid itself of toxins, or foreign substances, so medications can build up in the body at higher dosages than intended. According to Bona Benjamin of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, a common -- and often serious or fatal -- mistake that doctors make is not decreasing medication dosages when patients begin to suffer impaired kidney or liver function. There are many medications that doctors shouldn't prescribe without first ordering liver and kidney function tests, but safety studies show that's often not happening.

How to avoid it:
When you bring home a new prescription, read the fine print to see if liver or kidney function is mentioned. If so, ask your doctor if you've had recent liver and kidney function screenings.

Taking a medication that's not safe for your age


As we age, our bodies process medications differently. Also, aging[5] brings with it an increased risk of many problems such as dementia, dizziness and falling, and high blood pressure, so drugs that can cause these side effects are much riskier for people over the age of 65.

Since the early 1990s, a research team led by Mark Beers, M.D., has compiled criteria for medications that should no longer be considered safe for those over 65. This list of Inappropriate Medications for the Elderly, known informally as the "Beers List[6]," is a great resource if you or someone you're caring[7] for is over 65.

How to avoid it: Take the Beers List to your doctor and ask her to check it against all medications prescribed. Sadly, a recent Beers survey found that among those over 65, more than 16 percent had recently filled prescriptions for two or more drugs on the Beers list, suggesting that many doctors are still uninformed about the risks of these drugs. If you discover that you or a family member over 65 is taking medications that are considered risky, you may need to be proactive and ask the doctor to find alternatives.

Apr 7, 2010

Stay Connected w/your spouse

The minute you or your spouse returns home from work is the most important 60 seconds of the day. It is the moment, say Les and Leslie Parrott, when you and your spouse reconnect, and the quality of that connection sets the emotional tone for the rest of your time together. If general busyness and the demands of daily living are eating away at your marriage, then don't miss today's broadcast as the Parrotts offer encouragement and advice from their book Your Time-Starved Marriage: How to Stay Connected at the Speed of Life.

"Rather than coming in and saying, 'Hey, what's for dinner?' or 'Did you get the mail?' ... just take 60 seconds for tender touch, to caress and say, 'How was your day? How are you feeling?' Just get a little read on that. That sets the tone for the evening together."
— Les Parrott

http://listen.family.org/daily/A000002552.cfm

10 things credit card issuers don't say

1. "We're waiting for you to screw up."

Despite new credit card rules, there are still many factors that can cause a credit-card issuer to raise your interest rate. Among them is when a lender reviews your credit history and decides to change the terms of your credit card after it's informed that you missed a payment with another credit issuer.

The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act does offer consumers some protection here, though. Should your credit-card issuer change the terms on your credit card, in most cases it can do so only for purchases going forward, not the balance you're already carrying.


Credit card horror stories
The credit-card industry claims that what it's doing is managing risk. "Prior to these reforms, most of the larger issuers would review risk profiles on average every 90 days," says Peter Garuccio, a spokesman for the American Bankers Association, a trade group. He says many of them build their own risk models, basing them on reports from the credit bureaus. He anticipates that this practice will continue. "It's a matter of sound underwriting," Garuccio says.

2. "We'll give you advance notice -- but your options are limited."

With the Credit CARD Act, issuers need to give you at least 45 days' advance notice before making a significant change to your account.

"The key is the flexibility with which they can apply any change to a customer's profile," says Garuccio, explaining that the customer has the right now to reject any new terms a credit card issuer plans to impose. If a customer rejects the changes, the issuer can either maintain the account under the existing terms until its expiration date or close the account. Either way, the customer is responsible for paying off any balance under the original terms.

The options for consumers are limited. Shutting down a credit card will lower a credit score, while the alternative often means having a card with a higher interest rate.

3. "When it comes to identity theft, you're at risk."

Credit cards are a common gateway for identity theft, and it's almost impossible for consumers to be certain that their identifying information won't be compromised, says Murray Jennex, an associate professor of information security and information systems at San Diego State University. But there are some basic steps you can take to minimize the chances.

Before you give your credit card information to a Web site, make sure it's secure; look for a URL beginning with "https://" and for the image of a padlock by the Web address. Don't store personal information online, and update your computer's antivirus software each year.

Also, don't respond to e-mails requesting your personal information and don't click on links included in them. "Your bank won't contact you in an e-mail asking for this," says Margot Mohsberg, an ABA spokeswoman. And if there's a link in the e-mail, "just by clicking on it, fraudsters can download 'malware' that would allow them to coast with you when you go into your bank account." If you're unsure whether the source is actually your lender, call and ask.

Consumers who fear their credit card information has been compromised should immediately notify the issuer and, if possible, file a police report. In most cases, credit card issuers will work with you; while you will likely be liable for the first $50 of unauthorized charges, the issuer typically covers the rest of the losses. Mohsberg says that credit card issuers are increasingly waiving the $50 payment. They've "found it's not worth it to charge customers that amount of money; it's much better for the company to completely reimburse that fee and to ensure consumer trust."

4. "We haven't forgotten about your kids."

Many of the new credit card rules are geared toward protecting those under 21 years old. But don't think the rules will keep credit card issuers at a distance.

For example, issuers no longer can give free stuff to college students in exchange for filling out credit card applications on college campuses or at college-sponsored events. But issuers can still give out those freebies as long as they don't require students to sign up for a credit card to get them. Representatives of Citigroup and Bank of America say their banks aren't doing this.

5. "Our rewards can throw you off track."

In the credit card marketplace, rewards are a way for issuers to target niche audiences -- frequent fliers, for instance. Before signing up, figure out how much you'd have to spend to earn the incentives from a given card and if the card is geared toward your spending habits. And check to see if rewards on specific purchases are offered throughout the year; some credit cards rotate their rewards every few months, says Gail Cunningham, a spokeswoman for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. With rewards cards that offer cash back, find out if the amount you can earn has a ceiling. And for cards with travel rewards, inquire about blackout dates and other limits.

Consumers who are approved for these credit cards should also avoid carrying balances, because interest payments can eat into savings, cancelling out the value of the reward. "What people tend to do with rewards cards is charge everything," Cunningham says. "But if you're a person who carries a balance month to month, don't consider (such a card), because you'll be paying interest on it and probably not gaining the rewards you should."

6. "Deferred-interest plans can leave you worse off than when you started."

Stores often promote deferred-interest credit card plans with the sale of big ticket items like furniture, electronics and watches. But often these plans really are too good to be true.

Typically, such plans -- financed by a lender -- allow a consumer to purchase an item without paying interest during a promotional period, such as six or 12 months. But if the promotional period ends and the consumer hasn't paid off the balance in full, interest kicks in and the shopper is retroactively charged interest on the balance for the entire promotional period, says Chi Chi Wu, a staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center.

Also, if a consumer is more than 60 days late with a required payment during the promotional period, the 0% interest could be replaced with retroactive interest charges. "Even if consumers understand the pitfalls, such a tactic relies on consumer optimism or failure to think of the worst," like losing a job or getting sick and being unable to make payments, says Wu.

7. "Double-cycle billing isn't entirely a thing of the past."

A big change in the Credit CARD Act is the elimination of double-cycle billing. This is a formula that computes interest charges based on the two previous billing cycles -- effectively penalizing consumers who go from paying off their balance in the first month to carrying a balance in the second.

However, if your card doesn't have a grace period -- the period in which an issuer allows a cardholder to avoid paying interest on charges by paying off the balance in full -- you still could be exposed. "The provisions against double-cycle billing apply when a credit card has a grace period, so if a credit card doesn't have (one), the rules don't apply," says Wu. For cards without a grace period, some credit card companies refund the interest if a consumer pays the balance off in full each month.

8. "We're accepted around the globe, but beware of our rates."

By now, plastic has all but replaced the traveler's check as the preferred way to make purchases abroad. But beware of the charges that accompany these transactions.

At issue is the foreign transaction fee, a charge for converting a currency into U.S. dollars. Currently, Visa and MasterCard charge a foreign transaction fee of 1% for any purchases, and most banks that issue these cards add a second fee. For example, Bank of America charges 2%; when combined with the Visa or MasterCard fee, card users end up with a fee of 3%. Foreign transaction fees are often this high, says Gerri Detweiler, a personal finance advisor at Credit.com and author of "The Ultimate Credit Handbook."

Consumers who purchase items from an online vendor based abroad are also typically charged a foreign transaction fees.

9. "Late fees are still with us."

With the Credit CARD Act, consumers should be aware of the new changes to the time their payments are due. Prior to the new rules, many banks were setting deadlines as early as 9 a.m. or as late as 2 p.m. on the payment due date. Payments are now considered on time when received by 5 p.m. on the due date. And if the due date is on a weekend or federal holiday (when payments aren't processed), the credit card issuer must consider your payment on time if it arrives on the next business day.

"This change gives you a better shot at getting your payments in on time," says Detweiler. For consumers who are late with their payments, though, issuers can still charge a late fee, which they aren't as quick to refund anymore, she says. Such fees run as high as $39 and they're not proportional to the amount owed. So a consumer who is late making a $20 payment can incur a late fee nearly twice that, she says. The Federal Reserve has a announced a proposal that includes changing the way late fees are assessed, but it remains under consideration.

10. "Go ahead and exceed your credit limit -- we like that."

With the new credit card rules, consumers have two options: Consent to be charged an over-the-limit fee or refuse to opt in and risk being denied if they try to exceed a card's limit.

You can be charged a fee of around $30 to $35 each month you're over the limit (or more if you exceed the limit with another transaction in a subsequent month), says Wu. The Fed has proposed rules to limit the amount of the "opt in" fee.

Wu says consumers have reported that credit card issuers are trying to persuade people to opt in by offering the incentive of a lower fee and implying that by opting in they'll have extra protection in case they need to use their credit card. "It's a way for credit card companies to make more money off fees, and we recommend not opting in because it will more likely hurt you," she says.

Garuccio of the ABA says he hasn't heard of credit card issuers doing this.

This article was updated and adapted from the book "1,001 Things They Won't Tell You: An Insider's Guide to Spending, Saving, and Living Wisely," by Jonathan Dahl and the editors of SmartMoney with additional reporting by Nancy Nall Deminger.

Updated March 23, 2010

Apr 6, 2010

Words Are Powerful

It is important to take a few moments to see the history of the power of the spoken word, and how it all got started. Let's go back to the beginning in Genesis 1.

God said on the first day, "Let there be light," and there was light (Genesis 1:3). (There it is — the first spoken word!)

God said on the third day, "Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear" (Genesis 1:9).

Then on the sixth day God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness ..." (Genesis 1:26).

Take note! The first thing God did with Adam and Eve was to speak a blessing upon them: "God blessed them and said to them, 'Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it' " (Genesis 1:28).

God's written Word reminds us how much God wants to bless us, as well as how we are called to bless others: "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing" (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

Blessings Lead to Celebration

Webster's Online Thesaurus lists these related terms to "keep" or to "celebrate": honor, praise, bless, revere or consecrate. (Can you believe it? Blessing and celebration are synonymous!)1) As I [Doreen] was researching the word celebration in the Bible, I recognized that all celebration started with and comes from the heart of God. It is evident that our Heavenly Father loves to celebrate and bless His children.

God's heart of celebration is a reminder that we truly must be created In His image, because we, like God, love to party! Isn't it interesting how, between the U.S. government and Hallmark Corporation, they have created many days for us to celebrate?

With a quick search on the Internet, one can find more than three million opportunities to celebrate something. Doesn't it seem much more logical to celebrate personal moments in a powerful way that can breathe life into a young person's heart and future? As you grew up, did your cheerleaders in life (family, friends, teachers and coaches) remember your significant moments with celebration?

A new year, a graduation, a birthday or an anniversary — all such events mark a rite of passage.

Think back in your own life. What word of encouragement or affirmation spoke life and hope into your heart? Was it a comment from your mother? A high-five or "Way to go!" from your dad? A hug and kind whisper from your grandmother or grandfather? Perhaps a teacher or a coach complimented your character or talent? Maybe it was a pastor or youth worker who took the time to give words of encouragement?

Take a moment to jot down 10 nice things that you remember an adult saying to you when you were between the ages of 10 and 21.

If you could list 10, you are fortunate, and you will likely want to repeat the gift of words in the life of a young woman (or women) in your world. If you cannot list 10, you may even more strongly sense the need to be an encouraging adult in the life of a young woman. You can offer words of affirmation and set up opportunities for others to give her powerful, life-giving words of encouragement, too.

In addition, for many young women, the first prom serves as a pseudo-rite of passage, and we relegate this vital duty to a 14- to 18-year-old boy who may or may not have the best interest of the "princess" in mind. How much more valuable it is to celebrate a young woman's life through a rite-of-passage experience and celebration ceremony in the company of adults, leaders and friends speaking truth and encouragement to her.

We believe it is in the nature of every culture to celebrate significant moments in life. A ceremony defines a moment and helps a young woman embrace her family, church and friends who will come alongside her as she ventures into her future. A ceremony also solidifies her decisions and requires accountability — both are key in holding her to her commitment to live as a daughter of the King.

Excerpted and adapted from Pam Farrel and Doreen Hanna's book Raising a Modern-Day Princess, a Focus on the Family book. Copyright © 2009, Pam Farrel and Doreen Hanna. All rights reserved. International copyright secured.

http://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/building_relationships/rites-of-passage-for-your-daughter/words-are-powerful.aspx

The Ross Sisters - Are YOU flexible?

Apr 2, 2010

Dealing With Physical Distance in Marriage: FOTF

Whoever coined the phrase "absence makes the heart grow fonder" was likely single, speaking of his pet or, if he was married, taking an afternoon jaunt to the golf range. He probably wasn't leaving his wife and kids for a three-month contract project five states away, or deploying overseas for six to 18 months.

When we marry, few of us picture spending extended amounts of time away from our mate. Then reality sets in. Be it contract or missions work, relocation, a business trip, higher education, deployment, coming to the aide of an ailing family member or similar situation, uninvited circumstances force us into a world of "temporary singleness."

During this separation, you and your spouse will need each other more than ever as you "work out" your wedding vows, just as Paul called believers to work out their salvation in Philippians 2:12.

While absence can make the heart grow fonder, long-term separation comes with a host of hurdles: less frequent communication, no physical contact and the potential for danger, to name a few. Though your upcoming time apart will be difficult, it won't last forever. And good can come of it. Consider Romans 8:28: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

Whether you're facing one long separation, or a series of frequent separations, there's light at the end of the tunnel. There is more to look forward to than the end of this trial. Expect God to use this time apart to strengthen your marriage; anticipate amazing results.

http://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/marriage_challenges/dealing_with_physical_distance_in_marriage.aspx

NEXT IN SERIES:

Absorbing the Initial Shock of Temporary Separation
Preparing for Your Time Apart
Your Time Apart: Making it Through and Back
Fanning the Flame From Afar
Fifteen Months Apart
Next Steps and Related Information
 

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