I’ve read that disagreements over money–how it’s earned, spent, saved, and invested–is the top cause of stress in marriage. Whether or not financial issues are at the top of your list, these tough economic times are enough to make anyone’s head spin. Between trying to invest wisely with the volatility of the stock market, the fear of a pay cut or job loss, and questions over how to reduce debt, it’s no wonder we’re receiving so many calls from families seeking wise counsel.
Jean and I were married August 24, 1986. We started with a bang—with lots of travel, the thrill of being newlyweds, and the dreams of spending a lifetime together. While I cannot pinpoint with any accuracy the date when we reached rock bottom, the dark clouds moved in sometime during our second year of marriage. I remember that night all too well. I had stepped into the bathroom to brush my teeth as we readied ourselves for bed.
During our Christmas vacation, Jean and I packed the suitcases, planned the route, and piled into the minivan. Anticipation filled the air as the kids were strapped into their car seats like astronauts preparing for liftoff. With the house buttoned up, the mail stopped for a week, and a prayer for safety shared, off we went on a thousand mile journey to Jean’s parents’ home in Los Angeles.
Everything was going smoothly for a couple of hours .
In Dr. Dobson’s original film series Where’s Dad? he made a point that struck a chord with me all of these years, probably because I’m a father of two young boys. Specifically, Dr. Dobson described the difference between spending quantity time and quality time with our children. More often than not, Dr. Dobson heard parents make the comment that they just want to give their son or daughter quality time–when in reality our kids want quantity time.
As the clock runs out on 2008, just about everyone is assembling a Top Ten list featuring the most popular movies, CDs, books, restaurants, and news stories of the year. You name it, there seems to be a list for it. I figured it might be fun to put together a list of my Top Ten blog posts of the year, based upon the number of comments they generated. Here’s what I found, with No. 1 being the most popular post of 2008:
Cecile Richards is president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. I’ve not met her. Perhaps one day I’ll have that opportunity. If given the chance to sit across the table from her, there’s no doubt that we’d have our share of differences. For instance, here are just three of what she views as “a year full of noteworthy achievements” as summarized in Planned Parenthood’s Annual Report to Stakeholders:
We provided medical services to more than three million people and helped prevent an estimated 621,000 unintended pregnancies in the U.S.
Author, speaker, and parenting coach, Tedd Tripp, is perhaps best known for his book, Shepherding a Child’s Heart. In chapter eight of his latest book, Instructing a Child’s Heart, I love the emphasis that Tedd places on helping our children to be dazzled by God. He believes all of us have been uniquely created for worship, and worship of God occurs almost as a reflex whenever we’re dazzled by His glory.
Personally, I’m dazzled whenever I witness an awesome sunset, one of God’s colorful creatures, or when I’m standing in the presence of a massive waterfall.
Yesterday, I began to share with you the dramatic story of baby Ethan, the son of our niece Cassandra. From the moment Ethan was born, his life hung in the balance. As promised, here’s the rest of what happened.
Fifteen minutes outside of Vero, Florida, Cassandra and Shawn received much needed good news: Ethan survived the trip to Miami’s Children’s Hospital and was in the operating room. A fresh wave of tears hit them as they reflected on the goodness of God.
In 1988, Jonas and Anne Beiler were living in Texas. Having suffered a number of personal tragedies, they decided it was time to pack their bags and return to the place they knew and the people they loved back home in Pennsylvania. They arrived with just $25 in their pockets. Anne’s first move was to land a job at a local farmers market selling pizza, pasta, and pretzels. Business was brisk, but they hungered to go out on their own.
It’s September which means it’s back to school for millions of kids. Many other students are headed to college. True, college is a long way off for my boys. Still, every now and then I’ll plant in their minds the seeds of discovering their unique gifting. My hope is that they’ll have an idea of what to pursue when college rolls around. I’m sure the day when Jean and I ship them off will be here much sooner than I dare admit.