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Posted 10/2/15 at 2:32 AM | Marianne Kurtz

The Period Chronicles - Volume 1

This chronicling series is dedicated to all those moments when I knew I overreacted but it was too late AND all those predicatments that this little RED dot can get us into.

So here is the first in a sporadic volume of period chronicles:

This happened last month when I flew into California to visit my son, who just joined the navy last year and is the cause of mother growing pains when he left - it is where he is supposed to be, was for his 21st birthday and we decide we would meet at the airport and rent a car and drive, YES DRIVE, 12 hours up the coast of California directly after landing. GREAT IDEA!

Well, guess who ended up driving all night? Yep, yours truly!

Woke him up around 9am and he had to drive…now we are in the Redwood Forest area and stopping EVERYWHER! There is no better feeling than the knowledge that my son was getting a dream fulfilled before the age of 21. This was worth losing two nights of sleep that I would miss because of the period. FULL POST

Posted 9/28/15 at 3:14 PM | Marianne Kurtz

How to Live Single

As little girls most of us probably watched those cute little movies where the prince comes as a knight in shining armor and whisks the soon-to-be princess away from a situation that was not so great.

Maybe it was Snow White - where the evil witch put a spell on her because of her beauty. Then the prince came and with kiss she awakens and her life is changed. All the wrongs were made perfect. Sounds great! Who wouldn't want to be her?


The Cinderella tale in which she was being mistreated by her stepmother and sisters - one glass slipper later and off to the castle. Sounds just dreamy!

These stories are so very sweet and mighty romantic but, they are animated movies and we know they won't happen. But, we dream of our current life changing and dancing with the prince, wearing the crown and everyone wanting to be us.

Then we grow up...

The animated movie that once had the possibility of being reality does not stand a chance. In fact, by now some of us have been betrayed by friends, and/or hurt by acquaintances and coworkers. Quite frankly, the dream just stays in a snow globe on the top shelf of some curio cabinet in the back room of our house NOT CASTLE.

No one has lived up to our high expectations and seemingly never will. If, like me, you ended up in some boyfriend/girlfriend or husband/wife relationship (or both) than WOW the let down and disappointment is huge. Who can ever live up to our dreams now? FULL POST

Posted 9/25/15 at 6:51 PM | Sunny Shell

Being a Mom is Hard Heart-Work

Being a mom, and especially a Christian mom, is hard. It's what I call, hard heart-work. God builds a special bond between a mother and each of her children. There's something inexplicably wonderful about the life that proceeds from a mother's womb. Which is why abortion is such a horrible and wicked thing to encourage women to do—to strip herself of the beautiful life God graciously gave her in spite of what sins she may have committed, or what sins may have been committed against her.

Every child is an unmerited gift from God.

Therefore, in view of God's mercy, we offer ourselves as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God, which is our spiritual worship. This command extends to motherhood also. Which means, rather than mothering our children in order to please and seek love for self, we care for our children in order to please and love God and our children sacrificially, and not just when it's easy, fun and dignified. It means we must love God and our children even when it's hard, painful and humiliating. And those three words often sum up the other side of motherhood that many of us neither want to think about or talk about. But we must. FULL POST

Posted 9/22/15 at 1:14 AM | Marianne Kurtz

Taking Back My Life

First of all I want to thank my friends for always listening and sometimes ranting with me about all kinds of crap and this is one of them…

I have come to the realization that I don’t date! I hate dating! I wasn't sure how I was and I had to find out. It's not that I never dated...I did, but I did not experience the basic idea of putting your phone number on every napkin in the bar and then comes the barrage of messages and they all think I'm beautiful and then some are INSTANTLY in love...that screams Psycho!

I am really a ONE man at a time person! So the idea that online dating seems to imply that you can be with more than ONE person at a time…you date them! Cannot understand that! I’m an all or nothing person, there I said it!

Now, I’m not a psycho! Mmmmmm…yea, no. Not a psycho! But, I do believe that if you “date” someone and you want to go out again then why would you keep looking? So you find someone you like better? How does that make sense? Especially when I’m NOT a booty call! FULL POST

Posted 9/14/15 at 6:12 PM | Marianne Kurtz

Dating...18 years later

Where's My Ring?
Where's My Ring?

Dating…18 years later

For 18 years I lived my life focused on God and kids…nothing wrong with that!

However, my sons have grown and I’m alone…a lot different than what I thought it was going to feel like and be like, because WOW how I wanted my alone time before…and I still like alone time…BY CHOICE!

I have a great idea! It's time I start to see what kind of husband material is out there!
Here I go…to the “dating scene”…kind of!

So, much has changed…
I’m Not really sure how all this is supposed to work with the online scene, but in meeting someone online, the key is to MEET in real life so…Why in the world would you contact me from 534 miles away?! SERIOUSLY!!! WHY???
It’s not like I’m gonna hop on a plane for a booty call even if I was “that kind” of girl!

Scenario plays out: Chat online for a bit, asks for my number…ok (I don’t know you’re 534 miles away). I give you my number…we text…find out all kinds of things about each other…and then find out he’s 534 miles away…this can’t work!! Text a bit more… “Oh that sucks!” is the gist of the conversation. And then…CROTCH SHOT…WHAT?? FULL POST

Posted 9/8/15 at 2:31 PM | Audra Jennings

Protecting Your Child From Sexual Abuse

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

It’s perhaps a parent’s 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/ISBN: 9781942572305/$14.99), a resource for moms and dads who want to protect and educate their children.

God Made All of Me is a simply told, beautifully illustrated storybook for children between the ages of two and eight that helps parents gently start the conversation about appropriate and inappropriate touch. This topic can cause a lot of questions and curiosity in small children, and if answers are given too hastily or abruptly, children can easily hear the message that they should be ashamed of their bodies. This can fuel confusion, embarrassment and secrecy, often preventing children from recognizing or reporting abuse.

Children need to be able to identify and name their private parts, while understanding God made them special and they are worth protecting. God Made All of Me does this in an age-appropriate way, joining with parents as they seek to build a first line of defense against sexual abuse. With colorful, age-appropriate illustrations by Trish Mahoney, the book beautifully conveys the clear message that God made every part of the human body and every part is, therefore, good.

Parents of young children themselves, the Holcombs regularly counsel victims of sexual abuse and are profoundly aware of the dangers kids face. They know a child is more likely to be abused by someone he or she knows than a stranger; 34% of assailants are family members, and 58% are acquaintances. “It is important to teach kids how to say ‘stop,’ ‘all done,’ and ‘no more,’” the Holcombs stress. “You can reiterate this by stopping immediately when your children express they are all done with the hugging or tickling. Your reaction demonstrates they have control over their bodies. If there are family members who have a hard time understanding, explain you’re helping your children understand their ability to say no to unwanted touch. For example, if your children do not want to kiss Grandpa, let them give a high five or handshake instead.”

Allowing moms and dads to approach this topic gently, God Made All of Me will help facilitate open conversations within the family. It will be a critical tool in every parent’s hand as they seek to fulfill their important role of shielding their children from harm. “We want to remind parents some people are looking to prey on our children. We have a duty to protect and prepare them for the world and to fight for them,” the Holcombs explain. “By talking with our kids candidly (and in developmentally appropriate ways) about their bodies, we are setting up safeguards around them.”

About the Authors

Justin Holcomb
Justin Holcomb

Justin Holcomb is a minister and a professor at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He has a PhD in theology from Emory University and serves on the boards of REST (Real Escape from the Sex Trade) and GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in Christian Environments). He has authored, co-authored or edited more than 10 books.

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

Lindsey Holcomb is a former case manager at a sexual assault crisis center and a domestic violence shelter. She earned a Master of Public Health from Touro University.

Together, they helped cofound REST, and they conduct a variety of training seminars on how to prevent, recognize and respond to child, sexual and domestic abuse. They have also written a number of books together, including Is It My Fault? (2014)and Rid of My Disgrace (2011).

The Holcombs live in Orlando and are parents of two young children, for whom they wrote this book.

For more information about Justin and Lindsey Holcomb or God Made All of Me, visit You can also follow Justin on Facebook (justinholcomb) or follow the Holcombs on Twitter (@justinholcomb and @lindseyholcomb).

Posted 8/20/15 at 1:13 PM | Brian Wallace

Teaching Kids To Make Healthy Choices

Kids don't always want what's best for them. Learn how to help kids made good food choices from this infographic!

Posted 8/12/15 at 9:35 AM | Veronica Philips

Why No. She WASN'T an Accident

Merrill and I were asked this weekend if we were the “Grandparents” (humph) of Duchess. I mean, yes, we’ve been asked that before….and no…we don’t get too offended. We get it. We are the amusement, entertainment, and prayer requests of the well-intentioned, nosy, busy bodies who approach us with their, “Ask me about my Grandson” button, and remark on how “adorable” she is. You should see the look of shock on their face when we admit that YES, she’s ours…and NO, she WASN’T an accident. In order to curb, or hopefully prevent, the very long-winded explanation that inevitably follows, I though I would put together a small Top Ten List, explaining why, at our aged Golden Years, we chose to be parents again.
1. At most restaurants we get the Early Bird Special, and our kids eat free every weekend.
2. When she’s accepted into college, we can default on the student loans via death.
3. We didn’t do so well with other two and we needed someone to take care of us.
4. Back to School shopping is easier with the motorized cart, and 10% Senior Discount. WINNING!
5. One word: CARTOONS.
6. We have an excuse to go back to Disney World….every year.
7. The “other two” get to pay for the Wedding
8. She’s the only one who LIKES US…..
9. She’ll never leave. The youngest one never does…
10. Continued Tax Deductions
So you see, Duchess was planned, and wanted, she’s loved and adored. I appreciate that there are those who truly care and mean well, but when you see us, think about this: Would a grandparent have that, “Go Ahead, Say Something” look on their face to any stranger who dares to stare a moment longer than they should? Betcha your answer is a resounding, “NO”, and unless you’re offering to take that child and raise them as your own…keep walking. You’ll be doing your part to keep Peace in the world, one more day. Gotta go. I’m thinking about having another baby…but shhh, don’t tell Merrill. It will be such a nice surprise for his birthday. Be Blessed. Remember you set the Tone, you ARE the Example. BE KIND to each other. Show GRACE and MERCY to all those who cross your path today. With your Daily Affirmations complete, enjoy your Wednesday.

Posted 8/11/15 at 8:49 AM | Veronica Philips

They're Never To Old to LOVE.....

Merrill and I were standing in the kitchen last night when I remarked, “Would you just look at THEM? All three babies are right there, within arms reach. Within the reach of my hugs and kisses”, but of course I didn’t run right in and kiss them because one of them is a very snooty 26 yr old…and we have the 2yr old who'd also spurn my attempt to Love...she does everything her very older sister does....both too old for mommy’s kisses anymore…..but still….I remember a day…..when the 26 yr old was 3....ahhh.....
“Hey, I’m the cops. Got any dead kids in here?” she questioned as she walked into the living room like a boss…..Indeed we did not have any dead kids in the living room with us, but how ironic that she goes into some kind of forensics…..? Later, after losing at a road-trip game of 20 questions, (a game she cheated at often), “I never get JACK, can’t you BOTH make your guesses EASIER?”…..NO…we could not because we knew she was manipulating us. See, the thing with Princess, that no one ever really gave her credit, was that she was brilliant, but very cunning….even more so than the two that followed her. If you were not bright enough to see her wily ways, you too would be conned into making things easier. From her love of all things Jesus, to her fighting the dog off her back (it was the dead of winter, 3ft of snow, the dog had jumped on her back….hilarious), Princess made my life interesting, and complete, but now….she’s an adult……and entirely too much like me…..HUMPH.
She IS like me, just like me, exactly LIKE me; although I do protesteth, as I’ve always been a strong follower of the Nurture over Nature stick. Hubby had to have SOME profound influence over her….I mean more than just, “Daddy’s here…what do you need?”…I’m disappointed that she’s managed to con him too; however, as the apple didn’t fall far, I’d be MORE disappointed if she DIDN’T con him…’s funny because Duchess does it too. I see a lot of Princess in Duchess, and as they’re both MINE….all MINE….I guess I do have to take the blame…ahem…credit. Alas, I say good-by to my oldest this am. Darn it, why can’t they just stay, and live in a different part of the ROOF? I mean, is it too much to ask that they stay at home FOREVER (forever? FOREVER EVER) That’s not weird of anything right? I’ve enjoyed the debates. The very liberal little Ronnie, facing off the very conservative (and right) big Ronnie….it was like some kind of Star Trek time warp……How do I make her see she’s wrong? Well, the same way others tried to make me see I was wrong…..YOU DON’T/THEY COULD’NT. Touché! So, off she goes, after a weekend here, I’m going to miss her snooty attitude, but I’m just going to miss her. She’s my baby, my life, my heart…..beware the man who tries to take her…as even Merrill, her DADDY doesn’t get in between us….wise choice…..okay, gotta go. The other little Ronnie is due up. She’s like Princess, but there’s still time for me to beat that outta her. The two good things they all have in common? They’re mine…all mine….and they’re blessings, all blessings from God…..He favored me….I gotta tell ya….Thank you Jesus. Be Blessed. Remember you set the Tone, you ARE the Example. BE KIND to each other. Show GRACE and MERCY to all those who cross your path today. With your Daily Affirmations complete, enjoy your Tuesday.

Posted 7/24/15 at 8:36 AM | Karen Farris

The High Cost of Free Porn

God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. John 3:19

Each summer I’m blessed with carefree days with my grandson. At ten, he’s busier than before. Soccer, chess, and basketball camps dot his calendar. Playtime with friends, summer reading, and approved video games fill his days. Like most kids, he’s computer savvy and can connect to a larger world I never imagined at his age.

That’s scary. What’s worse is that one in three 10-year-olds access porn. This is the worst news for any parent or grandparent. Recently health experts gathered in Washington DC to discuss the epidemic of pornography. Children are the youngest victims. Now over half of 12-15 year olds are accessing online porn. And it’s warping our next generation. FULL POST

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