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Posted 10/19/15 at 8:55 PM | Marianne Kurtz

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…I’m not a Chameleon After All!

I had discussed previously how I felt about living your life basically through someone elses eyes for your life. There has to be a point when you say STOP! No more, I am going to think for myself, be myself, impress myself, and be happy within myself. How can that happen when the constant opinions and thoughts of what others might feel are weighing in on every decision?

It’s time ladies, stand up and think for yourself. If you’re married, I don’t mean go against your husband, I’m talking about what is it that you like? And why?

I also shared about my wall that tells my story…this is something I wake up to every morning that reminds me of my independence of what others think I should like or dislike. If I dislike/like something it is because I have formed a well thought out opinion…if I say I don’t know it’s pretty simple, I haven’t the facts to weigh into a decision, but I’m not afraid to do that.

I like sausage Pizza!! I don’t like peperoni but I will tolerate it because Inu (my Shitzu) can eat the peperoni so its ok…I’ll share. FULL POST

Posted 10/14/15 at 9:39 AM | Veronica Philips

Yeah.....that SUCKED.
I'm So Blessed To Still Have Her

We don’t really joke about it, because that would be crude (and wrong), but sometimes, we pull a Chris Farley and say, “Hey, remember that day you screamed SEIZURE, and I thought you said SPIDER, and I told you I’d be right there?” Yeah, that SUCKED! He’s right….It did SUCK. Another crude one, “Remember when were were in the hospital on my 40th birthday?” Yeah, that SUCKED. He’s right….It did SUCK. Finally, “Remember when our baby girl had to have an MRI, and they put her to sleep with the gas, and you told the technician to bring her back, because she looked dead on the gurney and you couldn’t take it?” Yeah, that SUCKED. He’s right….It did SUCK…..but in all things Graceful….THIS DID PASS. Thank you Jesus.

My baby girl, the up and coming leader of the Walkers, couldn’t have a simple virus……she had to have a misfiring of her brain waves. We witnessed the misfirings as “IT” held her captive on the floor, with a mommy, an EMT no less, who could do NOTHING to save her. I wish it had been an intruder, jay walker, zombie, or Jason, because then, I could have made him STOP. The Final Seizure, the Last Act to a Crap Play, took her a full 5 minutes to work through. The irony is that she was in the EEG lab at the hospital at the time. The second irony is that the ER RN’s could do nothing, but watch her die with us. Yeah….that SUCKED. FULL POST

Posted 10/14/15 at 8:02 AM | Marianne Kurtz

As I Find Myself

There was a time when I lost myself in who everyone thought I was.

Before Christ it was a party girl who was always ready for a night out...but really I just wanted to stay home but I just couldn't tell people that because I was the party girl! Pretending to love that lifestyle was very difficult.

After Christ it was a whole other kind of chameleon lifestyle. Listen to the people in my life and do whatever they say because it must be right!! I mean they are Christians, how can they be wrong??

One thing remains the same through all the "finding myself" going on and that has always been my love for the word of God and the way it ministers to me! It's so freeing to read about the love of God!

I recently found myself at a crossroads where I started to lose all of who I found that I am. I needed to remember and not lose myself in the emptiness of my home! God inspired me to design a wall that tells my story. At first glance it looks like jewelry but get closer and it tells who I am and what I love, even who I love. I don’t want to be among the people who loose themselves in the other person or even in my kids. I gave MY ALL to my kids, but I’m talking about things that define our personalities. FULL POST

Posted 10/13/15 at 11:16 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices

How Do I Talk To My Kids About Sex?

A mom wrote in and asked:

I have an 3 kids under 8. We have had conversations about aspects of the relationship between men and women, how babies come out of the women’s body (not yet talked about how they get in there in the first place though) and other things like that. But we have not yet talked about the actual act of sex. I’ve heard reports that you need to have this conversation with your kids between the ages of 7-9, after that age they will have most likely gotten the information from friends or stumbling across it online.

So my question is, how do you start this conversation? I am very comfortable talking about sex with adults, but my 8 year old son is a whole other area! So I thought i’d see if you had any thoughts or advice on how you may have done this with your kids. Thanks so much!

Great question! And so I’ve asked Luke Gilkerson, from Intoxicated on Life, who has just come out with a book on this very subject to chime in. Here’s Luke: FULL POST

Posted 10/10/15 at 12:37 PM | Veronica Philips

Let It Go
They aren't perfect, but they're all mine.

Duchess has been running around the house singing, "Let it Go" with the occasional, "For the First Time in Forever" thrown in for spice. I've never seen the movie Frozen, so last night, I righted a horrible wrong. With Sweetness in the kitchen watching some cheesy (appropriate) Vin Diesel movie, and Duchess running around the living room dressed in a scarf screaming, "I'm a Princess", I sat on the couch to watch the movie all my adult friends had labeled, "Their favorite movie". Well, it still isn't my favorite movie (Nemo is), I gotta admit I wasn't disappointed.

As a society, we're pressured, by Hallmark, into buying into the unrealistic ideal of hearth, hot chocolate, blanket on the lap, and favorite sweatshirt as the mandate for a perfect family night, and when that doesn't happen, guilt for being a horrible mommy sets in...LOL, you gotta "Let it Go". In this house, that Martha Stewart mess, ain't gonna happen. Oh sure, once in a blue moon, there will be a movie, like Toy Story, that we can sit down and enjoy together, but more often than not, I'm just grateful that we're under the same roof. Family isn't relation, sharing a common tree... it's an emotion, and while that's some Liberal stuff KNOW I'm right..... FULL POST

Posted 10/9/15 at 7:57 AM | Veronica Philips

The Stand

I have a fear, that makes spiders look like Chunky Monkey Ice Cream. I was pregnant with Princess the summer of 1989, when I picked up the book that would bring my first real adult fear. It remains in my top 5 reads of all time. I've been rather braggart about not fearing any man because I've known TRUE FEAR. If I don't feel, what I felt that day, I will not fear you....I may actually fight back. I wonder if Stephen King meant for the book to be so prolific and realistic to today's events? Hmmm.

The Stand is a book about a disease called Captain's Tripp that takes over the world, and wipes out an entire population (95%). The survivors hear and follow the voice of a Nebraska woman who leads them to the eventual battle ground of Las Vegas via Boulder Co. It's a story of good vs evil, it doesn't end the way one would want, and it's graphic....but there's something else. The real threat of dying, and leaving our children alone to fend for themselves. With the viruses, flu's, germs and superbug's in the world today, are our children safe? Who will care for my babies should I leave this world? THAT keeps me up at night..... FULL POST

Posted 10/8/15 at 12:35 PM | Audra Jennings

Authors Help Parents Teach Young Children How to Protect Themselves

An interview with Justin and Lindsey Holcomb,

Authors of God Made All of Me

God Made All of Me by Justin and Lindsey Holcomb
New Growth Press

Its perhaps a parents greatest fear  that at some point his or her child will become a victim of sexual abuse. The statistics are alarming: Approximately one in five children will become victims by his or her 18th birthday. Authors Justin and Lindsey Holcomb have responded to parents’ concerns by writing God Made All of Me: A Book to Help Children Protect Their Bodies (New Growth Press/September 8, 2015),a resource for moms and dads who want to protect and educate their children.

Q: What prompted you to write God Made All of Me? What age range was it written for?

The book is for 2-to-8-year-olds. We wrote it because we have two young children and know parents need tools to help talk with their kids about their bodies and to help them understand the difference between appropriate and inappropriate touch. It allows families to build a first line of defense against sexual abuse in the safety of their own homes. Our goal is to help parents and caregivers in protecting their children from sexual abuse. Because private parts are private, there can be lots of questions, curiosity or shame regarding them. For their protection, children need to know about private parts and understand that God made their body and made it special.

Q: What do the statistics about childhood sexual abuse tell parents about the importance of tackling this topic with their kids?

Child sexual abuse is more prevalent than most people think, and the offenders are usually people parents and the children know, not strangers.

Approximately one in five children will be sexually abused by his or her 18th birthday. A child is much more likely to be sexually abused by a recognized, trusted adult than by a stranger. Most victims of child sexual assault know their attacker; 34% of assailants were family members, 58% were acquaintances, and only 7% of the perpetrators were strangers to the victim.

Of child sexual abuse victims, approximately 10% of victims are age 3 and under, 28% are between ages 4 and 7, 26% are between ages 8 and 11, and 36% are 12 and older.

Q: You were intentional about using the terms “appropriate” and “inappropriate” when referring to kinds of touch, instead of the words “good” or “bad.” Why?

It is important to be clear with adults and children about the difference between touch that is appropriate and touch that is inappropriate. Experts discourage any use of the phrases “good touch” and “bad touch” for two main reasons. First, some sexual touch feels good, and then children get confused wondering if it was good or bad. Second, children who have been taught “good touch” or “bad touch” would be less likely to tell a trusted adult as they perceive they have done something bad.

To your child say something like: “Most of the time you like to be hugged, snuggled, tickled and kissed, but sometimes you don’t and that’s OK. Let me know if anyone — family member, friend or anyone else — touches you or talks to you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable.”

Q: Why do you encourage moms and dads to use the proper names when referring to private body parts, even for young children?

It can be uncomfortable at first, but using the proper names of body parts is important. This knowledge gives children correct language for understanding their bodies, for asking questions that need to be asked and for telling about any behavior that could lead to sexual abuse.

Offenders most likely will not talk to children about their private parts by using the anatomically correct names for genitalia. They will likely use some playful-sounding term to make it sound more like a game.

Justin Holcomb
Justin Holcomb

Q: How did you approach talking about this issue with your own children?

We started by teaching them the proper names of their private parts at an early age and telling them their bodies are strong, beautiful and made by God. We read books to them from an early age on this topic and would talk about who can help them in the bathroom or bath and that it was OK for the doctor to check their private parts at appointments when Mom or Dad is present.

We would also role-play different scenarios to get them thinking what they would do if someone approached them and wanted to touch their private parts, show theirs, take pictures, etc. Play the “what if” game with them at the dinner table with different scenarios to see their thinking and problem-solving skills. “If someone asked you to show them your private parts and promised to give you candy if you didn’t tell anyone, what would you do?” Remind them they can tell you anything and anytime without fear of getting into trouble.

We’ve also tried to instill a sense of control our kids have over their own bodies. We would tell them to say “no” or “stop” when they were all done being hugged, tickled or wrestled. We encourage them to practice this with us so they feel confident saying it to others if the need arises. We also tell them they don’t have to hug or kiss a family member if they don’t want to and teach them how to express this without being rude. It is important to empower children to be in charge of their bodies instead of at the mercy of adults.

Q: Is there a way to educate your children about this without instilling fear?

To teach children about sexual abuse it is important to explain about private parts. Clearly identify for your child which parts of their anatomy are private. Explain to your child that “some places on your body should never be touched by other people — except when you need help in the bathroom, or are getting dressed, or when you go to the doctor.” You can do this with young children during bath time or have your child dress in a bathing suit and show them that all areas covered by a bathing suit are “private.” The bathing suit analogy can be a bit misleading because it fails to mention that other parts of the body can be touched inappropriately (like mouth, legs, neck, arms, etc.), but it is a good start for little ones to understand the concept of private parts.

To teach about sexual abuse offenders, it is important to teach your kids about “tricky people.” Tricky people are grown-ups who ask kids for help or tell kids to keep a secret from their parents. Teach your kids not to do anything or go anywhere with any adult at all, unless they ask for permission first.

Q: What do parents need to know about child offenders?

Although strangers are stereotyped as perpetrators of sexual assault, the evidence indicates a high percentage of offenders are acquaintances of the victim.

Most child sexual abuse offenders describe themselves as religious, and some studies suggest the most egregious offenders tend to be actively involved with their faith community.

Sex offenders are often religious, and many of them attend church. In a study of 3,952 male sex offenders, 93% of these perpetrators described themselves as “religious.”

Dr. Anna Salter, a sexual offender treatment provider, states it is important for parents and child-serving organizations such as churches to avoid “high-risk situations.” This is because “we cannot detect child molesters or rapists with any consistency” and thus “must pay attention to ways of deflecting any potential offenders from getting access to our children.”

Many youth organizations have prevented the abuse of children in their care simply by limiting the access of potential offenders to boys and girls. Child abusers count on privacy to avoid detection of their criminal behavior. When churches or other faith institutions remove this privacy, it becomes more difficult for the offender to succeed.

Q: Is it a bad idea to force our kids to sit on an uncle’s lap or to return Grandma’s kiss? What are some ways parents help their extended family understand the physical boundaries they allow their kids to have?

It is important to teach kids how to say “stop,” “all done,” and “no more.” You can reiterate this by stopping immediately when your children express they are all done with the hugging or tickling. Your reaction is noteworthy for them as it demonstrates they have control over their bodies and desires.

If there are extended family members who may have a hard time understanding your family boundaries, you can explain you are helping your children understand their ability to say no to unwanted touch, which will help them if anyone ever tries to hurt them. For example, if your children do not want to kiss Grandpa, let them give a high five or handshake instead.

Lindsey Holcomb, author of God Made All of Me
Lindsey Holcomb

Q: What are some practical things parents can do to protect their children?

In our book, the last page is to parents and is called “9 Ways to Protect Your Children from Sexual Abuse.” Some of the key practical things parents can do are: teach proper names of private body parts, talk about touches, throw out the word “secret” and identify whom to trust.

Q: What advice do you have for parents who want to create an open environment in their home, so children always feel comfortable talking to them about issues related to their sexuality or body?

We remind parents some people are out their looking to prey on our children. We have a duty to protect and prepare them for the world and to fight for them. By talking with them candidly (and again developmentally appropriate) about their bodies, we are setting up safeguards around them.

Dr. John T. Chirban has written an excellent book, How to Talk to Your Kids about Sex, that we highly recommend to all parents. He explains: “Someone is going to teach your kids about sex. . . . Shouldn’t it be you?” His book gives parents tools to talk with their children about the connections between sex, intimacy and love.

Q: What is personal safety education?

Education is important in preventing inappropriate sexual behavior or contact. By teaching children about their bodies and discussing appropriate and inappropriate touch, you are helping them understand their ability to say “no” to unwanted touch, which will help them if anyone ever tries to hurt or trick them.

Our friend Victor Vieth, the senior director and founder of the Gundersen National Child Protection Training Center, explains, “Personal safety education involves simply telling children that the parts of their body covered by bathing suits are not supposed to be touched by others and, when they are, they should tell someone. If the person they tell doesn’t believe them, they should keep on telling until they are believed.”

Parents are quick to teach about fire and swimming safety but are hesitant to encourage personal safety training, which is designed to empower and protect children against offenders.

Q: It’s every parent’s worst nightmare, but what should a mom or dad do if he or she suspects his or her child might have been the victim of sexual abuse?

You can call your local sexual assault crisis center and talk with a child advocate or hotline volunteer about your concerns. They will be able to point you to the proper authorities. Some areas would have you speak with a detective, where other areas would have you talk to a victim witness advocate. Don’t ask probing questions that could instill fear in your children. Just assure them you are so proud of them for telling you what happened and that you believe them and your job is to keep them safe.

Q: Tell us about GRACE. What does it offer to the church and families?

GRACE stands for “Godly Response to Abuse in Christian Environments,” and the mission is to empower the Christian community through education and training to recognize, prevent and respond to child abuse. We help educate churches and other faith-based organizations about how to protect vulnerable individuals from abuse, and we help churches love and serve survivors of abuse who are in their midst. Check out GRACE at

To keep up with Justin and Lindsey Holcomb, visit You can also follow Justin’s page on Facebook or follow the Holcombs on Twitter (@justinholcomb and @lindseyholcomb).

Posted 10/8/15 at 11:40 AM |

Q&A with Shannon Perry Author of "Stand: Staying Balanced with Answers for Real Teen Life"

Q: You actually had ten teenage girls help with the contents of this book. Talk about that process.
A: I was so honored when the teen girls I approached agreed to help write the content for the book because they are all remarkable young ladies. For eight weeks, we met in my home for three hours each week and I had a topic prepared that we would discuss. One week we would talk about boys (which was ALWAYS interesting), and another week we would talk about communicating with parents effectively. The girls’ ages ranged from 12-18, so they would divide into groups by ages and discuss the questions I gave them for that topic. Then, we would all come together as a group and share. That was always interesting because the younger ones were often more graphic than the older ones! They know so much, so it was never awkward for the younger and older ones to talk about the topics and they all learned a lot from one another. I know I learned the most! One of the greatest parts for me was hearing their stories, and they asked me to be sure to include some of those in the book. They also gave me some marketing advice by saying, “Ms. Shannon, girls our age will buy this book if you have a cute cover on the book, good stories inside, and they know you’re not preaching to them.” :) FULL POST

Posted 10/7/15 at 12:57 PM | Veronica Philips

The Nesquick Dilemma
Oh yes, she can do it. Now I have to guide her.
The 2yr old has decided that she does not want the Cheerio's, instead, she wants to go straight for the Nesquick Chocolate Milk that's offered every am, after her breakfast. It's maddening really, because she's old enough to understand that we do not drink Chocolate Milk (does this sound familiar?) until we EAT, but in her small, stubborn mind, one only has to cry to get what one desires. It doesn't work with me, but there are others it works this house. Sigh....we now have The Nesquick Dilemma.

I don't blame her really. Honestly, who doesn't want to go around the "work" to get the goods? If I could eat all the Chunky Monkey I wanted, without the workouts, I would, but I have to teach her now, when she' the smartest she'll ever be (trust me, she's brilliant), that the only true success in life is one that's earned. We call that intrinsic reward.....working...for the satisfaction....of a job done well.....To me, a beer doesn't taste as good on Monday night, as it does on Friday night, after I've had a bad week, and at the rate I'm's going to be a damned delicious beer. FULL POST

Posted 10/6/15 at 1:05 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices

HELP! My 8 Yr. Old Son Masturbates!

What do you do if your son masturbates–especially if he’s really young?

Today I thought I’d tackle this one: I have a lot of moms writing to me saying, “my son masturbates and I don’t know what to do!” I want to tackle the issue of PRE-PUBESCENT masturbation today (so kids under 11 or 12).

One mom wrote this:

A few months ago, my 8 year old son discovered that he could use the floor as friction on himself (so to speak) when he’s lying down on his stomach reading a book. Not knowing what to do and hoping he would stop on his own, I pretended I didn’t notice the first few times and then read some advice which I’ve partly taken already.

I’ve told him a few times not to do this outside of his room. I asked him why he did it. My tone was casual, not condescending. He looked at me blankly, and I asked him if he did it because it felt good and he said yes. I left it at that. I know that the behaviour has not stopped. FULL POST

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