Doing Life Together

Like most of you, I was horrified to see the video of the Planned Parenthood women having wine and food  while discussing abortive body parts for sale. The lack of a moral compass should outrage all of us, but yesterday, as I  listened to Juan Williams on The Five say that this was “gorilla theatre” by the person who shot the video and simply an attempt to politicize abortion, I was also grieved. The discussion on the video is clear, and no amount of editing could soften the harshness of those spoken words.

Political, Juan? Yes, since 1973 with the passage of Roe v Wade. But politics were not the point. We all know the law.

Address the CONTENT of the video, Open your eyes to the truth. The very accusation you make toward the Right is preventing you from being outraged. Your own political lens won’t allow you to say, “This is horrific human behavior.” Drop your politics and simply cry, ENOUGH! WRONG!

This is so wrong. And when we as Americans have to listen to media people defending behavior that is clearly wrong, it’s time to ask, how much do the politics of the day get in the way of truth? Why aren’t women shown graphic videos of how abortions are performed in the offices of Planned Parenthood? This would truly be informed consent. And why do people continue to defend Planned Parenthood as if abortion isn’t part of their services? It is. If it is so right, then come out of the dark and allow women who have the legal right to choose, choose based on real information, not political information that assures their funding and speaks to one side of a moral issue. But that won’t happen because it is all about politics.

So Juan, how dare you accuse the right of making this a political issue? Because of political correctness,  you could not even bring yourself to speak to the content of the video.  When a culture loses its moral compass it is in trouble. These women lost their moral compass and let’s pray they are in the minority. Moral people should be outraged and nothing less.

Who will speak up for the little ones, helpless and half abandoned? This question was asked by songwriter Phil Keaggy back in the 1970s. It’s still a relevant question and yes, Phil, I will.


Dr. Ben Carson, renowned pediatric neurosurgeon and now presidential candidate, was raised in poverty to a single mom who lived in a tough neighborhood. Ben’s mom worked two to three jobs in order to put food on the table. She didn’t want to be a victim. Instead, she instilled a work ethic into both of her boys.

Ben’s mom didn’t have an easy life. She grew up in foster homes as one of 24 siblings and married at the age of 13. When she learned that her husband was a bigamist, she made the difficult decision to divorce and go it alone. When raising her sons, she paid attention to the habits of the high achieving families with whom she worked. She made her boys read books even though she couldn’t read. She believed they could be great.

Single moms have a lot on their plates when it comes to raising strong teens, but the job can be done.

Here’s what one single mom had to say about raising teens. “I have three pieces of advice. Depend on the Lord because you need His strength, wisdom and guidance. Don’t make your child the little man or a second mom. And finally, stay positive, tapping in to support and help when you need it.”

Research supports this mom’s advice. Single moms fare best when they…

  • Have an optimistic attitude about the future and themselves
  • Have reliable support network
  • Have supportive relationships with family members and ex spouses
  • Have firm rules and consistency in values
  • Work at financial and job security
  • Have reliable child care
  • Don’t bad mouth their teen’s father

So if you are a single mom, be encouraged. God will equip you to do the job and raise strong kids! Dr. Carson is just one  of many children who came from a rough beginning, but was positively influenced  by his mother and her faith. With God, all things are possible.


leaderAre you a leader? You don’t have to be a CEO or President of an organization. You can be a leader in your family, school, church or in the community. One definition of a leader is someone who has followers.

We see and hear a lot about unhealthy leaders, but what about leaders who get it right? Can we identify practices that make a leader healthy?

In their “Leadership Practices Inventory,” Kouzes and Posner (1997) propose that exemplary leaders evidence five essential practices. They:

1) Challenge the process (seeking opportunities to challenge themselves and their organizations to improve beyond the status quo). Challenging the process can be threatening in organizations headed by insecure and unhealthy leaders. Challenge is not viewed as an opportunity for growth and creativity, but as a threat to the existing status quo. The healthy leader welcomes challenge, believing that new and innovative ways to see and do things only leads to growth.

2) Inspire a shared vision (a passionate belief in making a difference and creating a living breathing future direction for themselves and the organization). Inspiring vision is critical to providing meaning and direction for the future. Vision is where you begin, but has the end in sight. Vision creates clarity of purpose which is why the Bible says without it, a people perish. You lose sight and often lose heart when a vision isn’t clear or articulated. What is the vision for your family, your community, or your organization. Clarify it and then inspire others.

3) Enable others to act (fostering collaboration and team building) Empowering others to buy in, feel a part of the team and work together marks a healthy leader. Those who micromanage, refuse to delegate and create a top-down organization create an unhealthy dependence and paralysis in organizations and groups. Empower vs. do for!

4) Model the way (providing examples of the standards of excellence they espouse). Your parents said it and it’s true of any leader, “Actions speak louder than words.” No one likes to work for a hypocrite who says one thing and does another. Lead by example.

5) Encourage the heart (an element often also associated with a high EQ leader – emotional intelligence). Emotional intelligence requires awareness of your own emotions as well as the emotions of others. EQ leaders are more successful according to research. They foster a climate that  produces high performance. They have empathy, compassion and understand the needs of those they serve.


upset coupleRachel: “He’s so controlling! I can’t even go out with friends or he gets mad. Should I be concerned about this or does this mean that he really loves me?”

Barb: “You should be concerned! Someone who gets upset when you go out with friends is controlling. Why does he want to isolate you like that? That is not healthy!”

Barb is right. Anyone who is easily angered when you spend time with friends is walking the fine line between control and abuse. Controlling people want you under their thumb and doing things their way. The root of this is insecurity and codependency in a relationship. And the problem is that when someone is controlling, it can escalate to abuse.

So what are the warning signs of a controlling person in a relationship? Ask these 10 questions:

1) Are you feeling manipulated? Controlling people give love and affection in order to get something. If you are not getting the same in return, but feel you constantly have to do things the way the other person wants things done, you are being manipulated.

2) Are you being isolated? Just like the story above, controlling people like to isolate you in order to have more control over your thinking and behavior. Other people are threats because they might challenge the controlling person’s thoughts and actions. Isolation becomes a strategy to shield you from healthy relationships.

3) Are you being put down? Another strategy of a highly controlling person is to tear away at your self-esteem. When your confidence is low, you will be more dependent on the person. So think about if you are given compliments or encouraged.

4) Can you question the person and talk about issues? If the person is easily upset when you question them or want to discuss a problem, this is a sign of control. If they are always right, then you begin to question your own thoughts or build resentment-both lead to problems.

5) When the pressure is on, are you being lied to? The need to control often outweighs the need to tell the truth. If you question the person, know the truth and the person lies, this is a red flag.

6) Are you being asked to change? Does the person not like your hair, clothes, the way you talk to people, your laugh, your outgoing personality,  etc.? If the focus in on you making change to make the person like you more, run from this relationship!

7) Are you experiencing anger over little things? You talked to a co-worker, arrived to dinner five minutes late, forgot to call one night and the person explodes with anger, telling you how insensitive or uncaring you are. Pay attention. Over the top jealousy and anger over small things are signs of control.

8) Are you trying to set boundaries with no success? Controlling people don’t like boundaries. It limits their control. When you say, “No,” they don’t respect it and continue to push to get their way.

9) Are you uncomfortable with the person’s temper or moods? Huge red flag here because moodiness and the inability to regulate moods speak to an anger problem. Everyone has a bad day now and then but if the moodiness is persistent, and you find yourself feeling a little afraid, this is more than a bad day.

10) Are you the only one the person spends time with on a regular basis? Does the person have other friends, who are they? Does the person have good family relationships, relationships in the church or in the community? If the person is alone most of the time, this is a signal that relationships are problematic and may be plagued with control issues as well.