Category Archives: Take the Challenge

Sometimes it’s the Forgetting

If you, God, kept records on wrongdoings, who would stand a chance?
As it turns out, forgiveness is your habit, and that’s why you’re worshiped.

-Psalm 130:3-4 (The Message)


Have you ever forgiven someone, but then had a hard time forgetting the pain?

I was reminded lately (by a Joyce Meyer devotional) that there are two hurtful situations that I’m having trouble forgetting. One particular situation will never be repeated, and so that person won’t have the chance to hurt me in the same way. I’m pretty far down the path toward forgiving and forgetting. The other person, though, could and quite possibly will hurt me again in exactly that way.

How do we guard our hearts without hurting our relationships?


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I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.

-Psalm 34:1


For the last couple of years, my little family has been making fun of all the hash-tagging.

This began when these symbol-led phrases started popping up on the bottom of our TV screen. I think I noticed it first on shows like Survivor and The Amazing Race. (Yes, we still love those two!) #TribalCouncil #Blindside #UTurn

It was just too easy to roll our eyes at those. Soon we were joking in hashtags.


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Do You Really Know Your Love Language?

I just finished reading The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. Again.

I adore this book and think it’s applicable to all kinds of relationships, from marriage to friendships to family relationships. So, to help celebrate Valentine’s Day, I decided to read it again—this time thinking about my kids as well as my husband.

If you haven’t read it, the gist is that we all appreciate certain kinds of love more than others. Many, many of you will have read this or at least will have heard of it. You probably think you know your love language and that of your spouse (and possibly kids).

You might be wrong.


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How to Avoid Pinterest Panic

“Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done,

and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.”

— Galatians 6:4


I may have mentioned that I really love Pinterest.

I love recreating Pinterest activities with all three of my kids (even my very patient teenage boy—and my very, very patient husband!).  There are so many great faith-related pins… and hosting fun theme birthday parties is totally in my wheelhouse. All those ideas are just waiting to be discovered, and organized!

But Pinterest is getting a bad rap.


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Making the Most of Snowdays

…or fog days, or cold days, or ice days, or even sick days!


Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow…

Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”

-James 4:14-15


In Building Your House, I talk a lot about organizing your home for your routines—about making those frequent daily or weekly happenings that much smoother by putting what you need right where you’ll need it.

A little preparation can clear out a lot of spiritual clutter!

This maxim also applies to less frequent happenings. We seldom think to plan for them, but there will be days when school will be canceled unexpectedly. Here in Ohio, it could be because of any kind of inclement weather. Even homeschooling is canceled when the students are home sick!


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How to Create an Atmosphere of “Yes”

A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

Proverbs 17:22

I’m a positive gal in general, and I’d like to think that I face life with a great big “Yes!”

But I’m also a planner, and when something outside of my plan presents itself, my knee-jerk reaction is, “No.”

Just ask my poor kids. This is the worst time of year to ask me for anything—my mind is so full of things to arrange that it’s like a constantly shifting puzzle without room for one more piece.


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Escaping into True Reality


“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.”

-John 4:23


What’s your favorite way to relax and escape? You probably watch a few favorite TV shows. Maybe you love surfing the web, or playing game aps on your phone. Perhaps you do all three at the same time!

We have loads of ways to occupy our thoughts—plenty of false realities to choose from.


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For the Joy

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.

1 Corinthians 12:4-6


In January we tend to set goals, which I love. I already wrote about the best resolution, but another fantastic goal is to serve God with our time and talents. That’s a no-brainer, right?

It is unless we mess it up.


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The Best Resolution

“Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

-Luke 6:38


Have you ever dropped the ball on a friendship? A friend asks to spend time with you, but you forget to return their email. Their texts go unanswered. Soon they stop reaching out to you, and then it feels almost embarrassing to reach out to them…


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Why “It’s Good for You” Isn’t Enough for Me

Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you,

but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart.

Ephesians 6:6


Last night, I called up the stairs, “Hey, Spencer…”

He replied, “Yes, Ma’am!”

My kids don’t usually call me “Ma’am.” But Spence could tell by the tone of my voice that I was going to ask him to do something, and he was agreeing in advance. (Mom Moment: Awww, he’s such a great kid… but don’t worry, he’s not always like that.)

In Building Your House, I share quite a bit about how The Uptons view chores, allowances, and rewards. (In a nutshell: we assign chores and give small allowances, but they aren’t directly connected to each other.)  I’ve been very intentional about teaching my kids different ways they can help around the house, using Chore Passports (if you missed that post and the free printable, be sure to check it out). I’ve also thought about how much I require them to give me that help. (Again, in a nutshell: sometimes.)

But writing Building Your House made me think about the “why.” Why do we teach them to do chores? Because it’s somehow “good for them” to take out the trash?


Well, doing something because popular culture says it’s “good for us” isn’t good enough for me anymore.


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