Doing Life Together

ID-100161678Having an overweight child doesn’t mean he or she will stay that way. That being said, we don’t want our kids to go on diets. We want them to stop gaining weight and grow into the weight they already have.

And while the climbing obesity rates have to do with your child, family, and outside environmental forces, you can become part of the solution.

When you raise a child who is overweight, it’s easy to feel like a bad parent or feel guilty for letting this happen. That kind of guilt isn’t productive. So instead of blaming yourselves, let’s focus our efforts to become informed and then decide what kind of life we want for our children and our families.

As a parent, you can establish an environment that encourages success. There are changes you can make that will make a difference. It’s never too late to instill good eating habits in your children.

In addition, the connection between body, mind, and spirit cannot be ignored. Our faith can empower us to move forward, to be transformed.  As parents we shape our children’s perspective for what they believe and how they esteem themselves and others—we are their earthly foundation.

There’s an old saying, Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. As adults, we know this isn’t true—words pack a powerful punch. Our primary job is to help our children feel loved, accepted, and confident in life. With this nurturing, a healthy body image develops in our children and they learn to find enjoyment and love through channels other than food. Please don’t underestimate the power of your influence. Parents are the biggest motivators—both through their talk and their walk. Talk needs to be backed up by action in our own lives.

Our children are the greatest legacy we have. Their health and well-being are part of the chain that connects us. That being said, the battle of the bulge can be waged successfully as our children grow in confidence and look forward to long, healthy lives. Are you with me?

ID-100178597It’s a common scenario, one person in a couple is a spender, the other wants to save. Fighting over money puts strain on even the best relationship. So how do you work through what seems like a major difference in approaching life?

The key is to understand what is behind the money conflict. Begin, by talking about what your experiences were with money growing up. When couples begin to share on this level, understanding is greatly increase. For example, if one person grew up scrimping for even the basics, spending money on anything that seem superfluous can create problems. If you had parents who planned, paid only cash for things and did not create debt, you will have a tendency to bring these ideas into your relationship. The point is you need to spend time talking about the type of philosophy you were raised with, and what your experiences mean to you when it comes to shaping your ideas about money. I have found that most couples skip this step and simply react to each other.

First, listen to each other and address whatever fears are involved. This is  where most of the emotion over money is found. You need to understand each other and your life experiences when it comes to handling money.

Next set a few long term goals. For example, we want to pay off our credit cards in the next year, save 5% of our income and begin to fund  a retirement account.

Prioritize. Where will you begin? What is the most important change to make to ease tension and get both of you feeling better about your differences?

Once you agree on where you are going and what the priorities are, then set specific short term solutions on how to get there, e.g., we will apply $20 a week to three credit cards, or we will put $100 a month into a IRA, etc.

It helps to establish a budget. It takes much of the emotion out of play and gives structure for impulsive spending and overly rigid people.

Finally, decide who is primarily responsible to pay bills and provide accountability. It is better to do this ahead so that when you have to hold the other person accountable, you can say, ‘Remember, we agreed I will do this.”




ID-10021187I’m often asked on the radio if I believe that God heals. Yes, I do. I’ve seen God heal in my own life and the lives of my clients. Let’s keep in mind that God heals in many ways. Sometimes it is a supernatural touch, other times he uses doctors and therapists to facilitate healing in someone’s life. Sometimes, healing doesn’t appear to be happening at all despite our prayers. The danger is putting God in a box and insisting He only heals one way.

God can heal and transform in ways unknown to our limited understanding. While we use all the training and knowledge extracted from research and clinical practice, we recognize the supernatural realm as greater than our comprehension. We don’t always know what God is up to and whose life is being impacted.

There is hope for even the most desperate case because of Christ. Because of the abiding presence of God, the hope and future promised in Him, promised freedom from bondage and enslavement, and the radical message that, in Christ, past is not prologue to future, we can be transformed and set free.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have past away; behold all things have become new.” 2 Cor. 5:17. 21 is a powerful verse about how Christ changes us when we become one of His.

His transforming power lives in us and works on our behalf. The problem is, as Job discovered, we don’t always have the big picture and understand God’s ways. Scripture tells us His ways are higher than ours. So trust, then, becomes the issues.

When healing doesn’t look the way we think it should, we need to trust. Trust that God has not forgotten us, that His plan for us is good, and that He has us in the palm of His hand and sees the bigger picture. Trust that He is working in the situation in ways we might not see and never understand. Our part is to stay faithful through it all and allow God to do what only He can do.


couple conflictWe all have that person in our lives that drives us crazy and personalizes conflict, making it difficult to handle.

Here are five points to keep in mind when dealing with a high conflict person.

  • Choose your battles. Since most high-conflict people love the battle, minimize your contact with that person when you can. When you do engage, resist the urge to defend yourself, which only ends in more conflict.
  • Set a structure for conflict discussion and talk about expectations. Establish rules for fair fighting, such as no yelling, name-calling, interrupting, etc. It may help to meet in a public place to keep emotions in check.
  • Try to stay calm. When the emotion intensifies, say something like, “We can revisit this when we are both calmer.” The person in the conflict can own part of the problem, rather than singling out the high-conflict person for being so unreasonable. Remember that if the mood is intensifying, you want to calm down the situation. Don’t match the intensity or it will become a contest.
  • Relate to the person around tasks that need to be done or possible solutions rather than reacting to their emotions. Emotions distract from the issue at hand, so keep the issue front and center. Focus only on behavior. Think like a detective: “Just the facts.” Trying to work through emotions usually leads to more blame.
  • Assess your safety. If there are dangerous behaviors like domestic violence or behaviors that could be fatal to the relationship, for example, serial infidelity or out-of-control spending, then you need to make sure you are safe and controls are in place. Other than that, the goal with high-conflict people is to reduce conflict.

Patience is needed with high conflict people. Change is often slow but can happen with commitment to the process and desire to work on the relationship. The person has to experience calmer approaches and see that working through issues can be done and accomplishes more than acting in extreme ways.


Adapted from We Need to Talk by Linda Mintle, Ph.D. (Baker Books, 2015).