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Coming Soon! Parenting for the Launch

Launch Cove Web Res

It’s been two and a half years since the release of What I Wish I Knew at 18 and, oh what an amazing time it’s been! We could never have envisioned the success and impact it has had. We have been humbled and awed as the book and its accompanying course have made their way into homes, schools, mentor programs, and around the world.

           

One of the surprising responses to What I Wish I Knew at 18 has been the resounding plea from parents, educators, businesses, mentor and faith organizations, and at-risk youth programs: Please write a book for parents!

           

Here’s why. Colleges and employers report that an alarming percentage of today’s high school graduates are ill equipped to handle the pressures and responsibilities of the real world. As our world is becoming more competitive, kids are often lacking the personal skills and qualities to succeed. The economic climate and job market are especially challenging these days, not to mention the cultural climate that offers innumerable distractions and potential de-railers that most of us never experienced (or even imagined!).

 

Many parents describe feeling isolated, ill-equipped and under-prepared, with kids who don’t appear be listening during this crucial time of life. They are anxious about their children leaving home and their relationships are often strained. At a time when parents want to become closer to their teens, they feel like they’re being pushed away in favor of other voices. These questions fill their thoughts:

 

1.     Have we covered the bases?

2.     How will our relationship change?

3.     Are they ready?

4.     Are we ready???

           

I collaborated on this project with Dennis (author of What I Wish I Knew at 18)  because we firmly believe agree that young adults today need more than head knowledge. They need a solid, comprehensive leadership foundation that will support them and enable them to make key decisions in these crucial years and beyond. This includes having a purposeful life perspective, solid character, strong personal disciplines, the ability to develop healthy relationships, career smarts, financial management skills, and the capacity to overcome adversity.

           

We believe, along with our spouses, that the first place this training needs to happen is in the home. Parents have a unique role in preparing their children for a successful launch to the real world. And, while there are many excellent parenting books out there, many focus on behavior and discipline without offering the complete picture of life readiness. 

 

So that’s why we put our heads (and computers) together to write Parenting for the Launch: Raising Teens to Succeed in the Real World. We hope it will inspire, equip, and encourage other parents with proven principles and innovative strategies to confidently navigate the later teen years, particularly in that strategic period leading up to the “launch.”

             

Parenting for the Launch is expected to be released in late October, 2013. Please help us grow our circle by “liking” our FB page and following us on Twitter! Help us spread the word by joining our Launch Team and sharing Parenting for the Launch with your friends, family, and associates. And if you’re not already on our email newsletter, you can sign up here.

You can pre-order Parenting for the Launch by clicking on this link:
http://www.atlasbooks.com/marktplc/03217.htm

 

 

 

 

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No Worst Case Scenario

Granted, I’m an optimist. I like my life, as well as my eggs, “sunny side up.” Pollyanna was one of my favorite movies of all time (I even named one of my daughters after the actress who played the main character, Hayley Mills).

That being said, even if I weren’t an optimist, I would still believe this: With God, there is no worst case scenario.

I was reminded of that just this week, facing a medical situation. Thankfully, the combination of my swollen lymph nodes and bottomed-out iron levels did NOT equal something cancerous.  But they could have. And yes, a couple moments of fear did cross my mind before the hematologist ruled that out and pronounced me simply, profoundly anemic. IV iron infusion, here I come …

Being confronted with fear (i.e., getting my boat rocked) once in a while is probably a good thing. It sure shows me where my trust is, anyway. It reminds me that fear says, “What if?” whereas faith says, “So what!” I want to be a woman of faith. Not flippant faith, but sound, solid faith that knows the facts and looks past them to a truer reality: Faith says that God is bigger than anything life, the world, or the devil can throw my way.

You might think I’m being overly simplistic and maybe I am a bit. But if my life belongs to God, if I’m really trusting Him in the driver’s seat, then I can trust that He will direct. He will provide. He will make the crooked ways straight and the broken things whole.  It’s what He does. He’s a compassionate, powerful, redemptive Father who always comes to His children’s rescue (Psalm 103:8-14). Maybe not always in the ways I would like Him to. But He always shows up!

And in the meantime, I  believe Jesus’ promises: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world … I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you” (John 16:33; Luke 10:19). I am with you. I have given you authority to overcome. Nothing will harm you.

I’m not being a Pollyanna when I say I don’t believe anyone should live held down by fear, anxiety, hopeless, sorrow, or panic: What if? What if? What if???

If IF happens, He will still be there.  He will still be good. He will still provide, direct, redeem, and restore.  It’s who He is. It’s what He does. And I’m so very, very glad about that.

“There are eight hundred happy texts, did you know that? If God took the trouble to tell us eight hundred times to be glad and rejoice, He must have wanted us to do it.” ~Pollyanna

 

Birthday Bashes for Our Grown-up Kids

It was Hayley’s 20th birthday last weekend. So, we braved the avalanches threatening Snoqualmie Pass and headed over the mountains to visit Tyler and Lexi and Hayley and Spencer, to celebrate.  Hayley and Spencer drove over from Pullman and had a much nicer drive than we did.  Ours looked like this. In fact, we barely made it through; they closed the pass right after we crossed, for avalanche control.  Whew!

Ironically, just four short weeks ago we did the same thing for Tyler’s birthday: We braved the pass and met up with Tyler and Lexi and Lexi’s family in Roslyn, WA, which is half-way between their house and ours.  And I kid you not, there was at least four feet of snow. Heather, five and half months pregnant, was not anticipating the snow and was wearing a raincoat and suede boots with heels. 

Four out of our five kids, celebrating Ty’s 25th birthday at Village Pizza in Roslyn. Not much to choose from in Roslyn. Good thing they serve great pizza. 🙂

Back to Hayley’s birthday. First thing on the celebratory schedule was birthday breakfast.     Bacon, eggs, and BIG HUGE FLUFFY Belgian waffles.

As for birthday activities, Hayley has come a long way from princess parties. This is not particularly how I would like to spend my birthday. But it was what Hayley wanted to do: shoot her brother’s guns!  So she and her Dad and Tyler and Spencer went and did that, and Lexi and I stayed home and planned a baby shower.


Now I’m going to show you how to make Pesto Salmon Packets, which was Hayley’s request for her birthday dinner.  I had to send a Facebook message to Claire Hammond in England to ask her how to make them.  (Thanks, Claire!) It was Hayley’s favorite meal when she was in the U.K.:

1. Start with a pile of green beans on a square of aluminum foil. Salt and pepper them.


2. Place a piece of delicious fresh salmon on top of the green beans. (Portion size for one person)

3. Place a dollop of pesto on top of the salmon. Get Mom in the photo, just for the photo record. Mom is not in many family photos. She is usually on the other side of the camera.

4. To ensure quality control, bring in an inspector to approve the generosity of the pesto dollops.  Very important. Hayley makes sure I get enough on each one.

4. Fold in the corners of the foil to make a packet. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for around 30 minutes. (Some of the larger pieces of salmon needed an extra five minutes.)  Unwrap, slip onto a plate, and serve with white rice. Num! No wonder Hayley loved it. (Claire made it for me when I was in the U.K. in November and I loved it, too.) Super easy.

Finally, the birthday cake. Or, in this case, CAKES, plural.  Lexi made Molten Lava (chocolate) cakes in little ramekins, served hot with vanilla ice cream.  AMAZING.  We licked the platter(s) clean. Pretty much.

We stayed an extra night in Ephrata because the trip there was so arduous; who wanted to turn around and drive back over the pass in THOSE CONDITIONS the very  next day?! Heather said she was sure glad she wasn’t with us on this trip!  It was a little disconcerting. But no avalanche warnings on Monday, so home we went, jiggedy-jig, having accomplished our second snowy over-the-mountain-to-show-our-kids-how-much-we-love-them birthday expedition. (Which we do. Love them, I mean.)

Who said kids’ birthdays parties got easier the older they get?

NOT!!! 🙂

Perogies and the 12th Day of Christmas

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS – DAY 12: January 6th

What is the 6th of January?

a.  Ukrainian Christmas Eve

b. Epiphany

c. the 12th day of Christmas

d. the perfect opportunity to pig out on perogies and cabbage rolls

Answer: ALL OF THE ABOVE!

January 6th is the proverbial 12th day of Christmas, and it is also the FIRST day – Christmas Eve – of Ukrainian Christmas.  (If I was really orthodox about it, I could start all over with yet ANOTHER 12 days of Christmas if I wanted to. But I won’t. I think I’m finally Christmassed out.)

Why do I care? Mostly because I LOVE perogies and Ukrainian Christmas is the perfect opportunity to indulge in my favorite childhood Ukrainian food. Both of my paternal grandparents emigrated to Canada from the Ukraine. They were both culturally and linguistically German but part of the lingering Ukrainian legacy in our family was – you got it – perogies!  And cabbage rolls!

Growing up in Winnipeg, Canada, where there is a large Ukrainian population, a number of my childhood friends celebrated Ukrainian Christmas. I was always a little jealous that we didn’t, because they always got two rounds of gifts! (Either that or their parents got great deals on buying presents because they could wait and shop the AFTER Christmas sales!)

Nonetheless, we enjoyed the perogies and cabbage rolls.

So guess what we had for dinner tonight at our house? Yep. Perogies. (They taste a lot better than they look.)  But maybe that’s just because I grew up on them.  I’ve linked the recipes if you want to try to make them from scratch. They’re kind of a lot of work, though. So I just stock up in bulk at Costco every time I go to Canada. 🙂

Do you have any favorite foods that connect you to your family history? What are they?  Do share!

The Great Send-off

(even if they won’t arrive by Christmas)

“If instead of a gem, or even a flower, we should cast the gift of a loving thought into the heart of a friend, that would be giving as the angels give.”   ~George MacDonald

I can count on one hand, if that, the number of years I have actually mailed Christmas cards IN TIME for them to be received by Christmas.

But timing is hardly the point.

One my MOST FAVORITE things about Christmas is the cards and letters that keep us connected with people whose lives and paths have crossed ours through the years.  Of course, these days with Facebook and all, some might argue that we don’t need Christmas cards anymore … we can chatter with far-flung friends 24/7. But you can’t hang a Facebook post on your bulletin board, your refrigerator, the garland on your stair bannister, or your kitchen window (my newest way to display photos of dear friends; thank you Lisa G. for the idea!). Facebook posts flash across your screen, seen once then (pretty  much) lost forever in cyberspace.

You can send a generic Facebook post in thirty seconds on your phone while waiting in line at a fast food joint. Sending a Christmas card, on the other hand, says …

… you mean enough to me that I stopped my busy life for a few minutes to put something in writing (how old-fashioned!).

… I care enough to spend time, money, and thought to send you a personal message and something tangible to let you know you’re being remembered and thought of warmly.

… I am grateful for the deposit you made in my life at some point, many years ago or maybe just last week.

… Christmas is special and so are you!

So that’s what I’m doing this evening … putting on a movie, munching on Doug’s spicy rendition of Mom’s Nuts ‘n Bolts recipe, and addressing envelopes … maybe with you in mind!

“I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers…” Philemon 1:4

Letting Go

There’s something that often strikes me when I hear remarkable stories about people who overcome tragic abuses, losses, and injustices and go on to live lives full of joyful and dynamic impact. How do they DO that, I wonder?

It’s a sharp contrast to others I encounter who DON’T have that same peace and joy and freedom—who live life scarred and beaten down, bitter, and full of self-pity.  What makes the difference?

I think it’s the freedom of forgiveness.

I put a little post on my FB page the other day about unforgiveness vs. forgiveness and—oh my goodness!—it was my most commented post ever!  I think it’s because the tension between the two is so common to the human experience.

The desire NOT to forgive, to hang on to offenses, is a temptation for all of us.  So why don’t we ‘fess up, admit it, and talk about it more?

Jesus did.  He said we’re supposed to forgive those who hurt and offend us even up to “seventy times seven.” That’s a pretty radical suggestion! It’s way beyond our humanness sometimes.

That’s why I think much of the work necessary to truly forgive happens first through prayer. Prayer is a way I can interact personally with the Father’s heart—a heart that is full of infinite forgiveness and unconditional mercy and love (unlike my own).

That’s not religion.  That’s relationship. When I connect with Him, by faith and through prayer, those qualities can become mine. He gives me the desire and power to forgive, and the strength I need to do so. That’s the only way I can fulfill Jesus’ radical commandment to forgive seventy times seven.

I’m speaking from experience here, not just theory. I’ve had to forgive hurts and injustices just like anyone else. Big ones and little ones.  It’s a day-to-day exercise, isn’t it?

One of the biggest forgiveness tests for me came once when I had to go back into the very environment where I had been been wounded and subjected to a significant injustice.  Could I do it? It was hard to think of coming face to face with my offenders. But having forgiven them first in my heart, through prayer and in concert with my Father’s heart, I was ready to do it with my actions.

It was one of the most healing things I’ve ever done.

When we forgive, WE’RE the ones who are set free. It’s not so much about letting the other person “off the hook.” WE are the ones released from the prison of unforgiveness.  That was certainly my experience! And I hope it’s yours, too.

 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you.  Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.

Colossians 3:13

 

Is there a person, an offense, or an injustice you want to forgive, but are having trouble with it?

Can I suggest doing it WITH GOD FIRST, in your heart, through prayer?

THEN put it into practice with your thoughts, words, and actions.

Was it any easier?

I’d love to hear your forgiveness stories!

 

 

Fruit of My Labor

Self-sufficiency in any degree feels good, don’t you agree? … and besides, the green beans and tomatoes from my own garden just plain taste better. I love the feeling of knowing I grew something or made something myself…  whether it’s a flower, a green bean, a quilt, or, for that matter, even a book!

Right now, late September,  is the season when, in years past, I would have been quite happily canning pears and peaches and filling up my panty and garage shelves with lovely jars of nummy fruit for the winter months.

Alas, not the case this year (or last year, for that matter).  Sigh.  A season for everything.  And this particular season (of my life), my harvest is more books than produce.  Not quite as nummy.  But equally satisfying, I suppose–in an odd way–when I see said books all stacked up and know they are a “fruit” of my labors. In a way, they feed other people. As my 14-year old says, “Books are candy for the soul.” (The librarian overheard her saying that and posted it on the wall of the school library.)

So I guess that’s my contentment advice for the day: Every season has its own harvest.  Can’t moan that this season is different or worse than another.  Just different fruit.

My blog slogan is “Who Says You Can’t Have It All?”  I still stand on that principle.  I just don’t try to do it all in one day (anymore). Or in one season.  🙂

What is the “fruit” of YOUR  labor in this season? I would love to hear what you’re doing that may be different than what you’ve done in other seasons of your life!