Be Faithful, Leave the Change to God

When I watch the trailer for the upcoming film, "Like Arrows" from FamilyLife ministries, I am overwhelmed with a sense of commitment. But is it that easy? Can you really expect change from adults by just sending them to a movie theater to watch a compelling story?

"Like Arrows" is a new film produced by FamilyLife. The story is one that will ask many hard questions, and though there will be enjoyable laughter at the sillier parts of parenting, eventually we will end up being hit hard with the failures that most parents face today. In the story you will follow two parents as they begin, and struggle through their journey of parenting. From just the trailer alone I was convinced that this is the movie the world needs to see.

At FamGrowth my wife and I are convinced that the world's problems stem from a direct cause of broken relationships. And a lot of those relationships are in the home. When you get down to it, healthy homes lead to healthy societies (if you doubt what I'm saying, then tell me about your childhood and how it is affecting you now as a grown-up).

Watching, "Like Arrows" will not change an adult into a caring parent or guardian. But the world needs to unveil the tragedy that is happening in homes across the globe. Real brokenness, stemming from parents who are broken themselves. How can their brokenness be healed? How can you put fire under the lethargy of most parents today? Go and watch the film this coming week and find out.

The FamGrowth Family

Be Sure In A Broken World

"Vegas Shooting Death Toll Rises To 58" - ABC News

"Puerto Rico Continues To Reel Two Weeks After Hurricane" - CNN 

"Man Charged After White Nationalist Rally in Charlottesville Ends in Deadly Violence" - The New York Times

Headlines like these are appearing more frequently. It is no wonder that hope seems to be waning as victims and their families suffer the brutal attacks of heartless people, hurricanes, and earthquakes. And those who do their best to fight against the evil in this world can oftentimes grow tired of fighting for a cause that seems further and further out of reach. But as families in a world of brokenness and evil attempt to remain strong, how do we cope with these tragedies? How do we tell our children that everything is going to be okay when we ourselves aren't even sure?

One thing is sure. Many people find strength in their faith. This foundation of faith is the most unbreakable protection one has during their time of need and can provide that place of hope they so desperately desire. But an important element of this faith is the belief that something bigger than themselves is in control and has an ultimate plan for their lives. For me personally, I've found much solace and peace in my belief that there is a God who loves me dearly and has a plan to save us from this broken world.

Do you have faith in something outside of yourself? Have you ever wondered what the benefits of faith are and how you can grow in faith? Faith is the foundation for a rock-solid life. When storms arise and darkness seems to be overwhelming, our faith is what anchors us and reminds us that there is still love and joy and peace to be had. And that's amazing! When I see these blessings from God in my life the problems do not go away, but are put in their proper perspective. My faith sustains me because I know there is a way out. We are not doomed to perpetual failure as a human race! This is where you can grow, in the faith of true love that will save you.

The FamGrowth Family

You are the HERO your family needs

The FamGrowth Team is super excited to share this post with you about strengthening family relationships! At FamGrowth, we believe that in your home the positive and healthy affections for each other should be cultivated. The cultivation of love, sympathy, and true courtesy is vital for the healthiness of a family unit.

That is why we, The FamGrowth Team, want to share a podcast episode with you that inspired us to further pursue nurturing relationships within our family. Dr. Meg Meeker is a pediatric doctor who works with children and was interviewed by the Ziglar Show. To listen to the show click here or the link below. Dr. Meeker carefully unveils from her new book that fathers with intention will be a blessing to their children.

Listen to the show and let us know on our Facebook Page what you think!

Podcast episode 466 of The Ziglar Show

The FamGrowth Family

Vows That Bind

 It’s been three years and two months since I’ve looked at my wedding vows. I remember when I first got married, I was hoping to make these artsy looking pictures with my vows and add wedding photos and engagement photos.  I never quite got around to doing that. Time went on and responsibilities grew. At times life got out of hand and I could barely hang on. But tonight, all my plans of sentimental decor came back to me.

In the silence of our bedroom, I sit on our queen size bed as I nurse a nasty flu. The room is quiet, and my thoughts in comparison are so loud. It almost feels like the first time in a long time that I’ve just sat in silence not having to worry about doing anything for anybody or making sure everyone is OK. It’s just me in my room looking at the walls and sneezing on occasion. I stare for a moment at the bookshelf and see something. It’s my journal that I’ve been writing in for quite some time. So I pick it up and as I skim the pages, I find my wedding vows. Just for fun I read them out loud, but as I read I begin to cry. Not to toot my own horn, but they were pretty beautiful vows (toot). And as I finish, I can’t  help but wonder if I have been keeping these vows for the past three years. Do I plan on keeping them for the rest of my life?

As a dating couple, you don’t quite understand how hard marriage can be at times, or how difficult keeping the marriage relationship healthy is. But looking back on my vows and understanding that I wrote them believing that I would keep them until the day I die gives me a renewed sense of purpose and an acknowledgment of how much growth has already happened. It reminds me of the young love I felt for my husband at the time and how that love has, and continues to mature. And although our lives are busy and our relationship isn’t in the infatuation stage, looking back on how we met, fell in love, and took the plunge, makes every day feel as though our lives together are just the beginning of a lifetime of adventure. My vows are still binding to my husband, and they will forever be. (Toot)

The FamGrowth Family

What Christmas Means To A Thriving Family

 As a child, I was obsessed with Christmas. If I could celebrate Christmas all day, every day, I would be truly and deeply happy. I used to be in charge of all the Christmas decorations, (which I appointed to myself) and I was the official DJ of the house when it came to playing Christmas Classics and hyping everyone up so that they can experience the Christmas spirit as well. All of this usually occurred months before Christmas even came around. I was almost worse than a Walmart, trying to advertise for holiday items so far ahead of time that I even began to annoy family members. I loved everything about Christmas (if that wasn’t obvious yet). But as I grew older, something about Christmas began to change for me.

When I became more of an adult, Christmas became more of a burden to me. I felt all this pressure to get everything done, to buy the right gifts, to make enough money to actually afford to celebrate. And I soon realized that Christmas is a consumer holiday,  handcrafted to entice you into purchasing those things that the television tells you that you need. Clever ads put thoughts in your mind about buying that new and shiny thing you’ve been looking at for months because you finally have the excuse that, “Well, it is Christmas time, and I deserve something new and shiny!” That is precisely why we experience the gruesome fights and long stakeouts during Black Friday. For some parents (like mine) who have feel like they never had a whole lot growing up, they use this time to almost redeem their own childhood by showering their children with gifts. And at times, it even becomes a financial burden and the parents just tell their kids that Santa Claus is the one who deserves all the thanks. SPOILER ALERT: Santa Claus isn’t real, and he just stoled all your brownie points.

So what do we do now that we know what this holiday is made of? This is the time to be extremely intentional with how we treat our families with our vacation days. We have the opportunity to give our loved ones the best gift we can possibly give.  And this gift is not found in your local Walmart. It’s the chance for quality time with you in a way that shows them just how much you deeply care about them. There is no greater gift that a child can receive than the gift of knowing that their mother and father truly, deeply care about them and support them. So if you are the kind of person that wants to give a gift around this time, I would suggest that you be very, very intentional with the kind of gift that you give, whether it’s acts of service, words of affirmation, a hug and a kiss, or a gift that really shows that you know a person and care about their dreams and aspirations, and that you support them in their goals.

So in order to create an atmosphere of love and support during this extra time off, make it about the people, and not the material things. Because in the end, we are social creatures and we long for human connection. We want to know that somebody out there loves us for who we are and will be there for us no matter what. No gift under the tree can compare to the gift of love that you can give to your family. It is a gift that lasts a lifetime, and it is absolutely free.

The FamGrowth Family

A father's life

Far from here, in a very little city where the Mississippi River runs through, there lived the town drunk, and his name was Stew, whose ways of living were hazardous to himself and everyone too. But the townsfolk were halfhearted in telling the drunk straight, so Stew went carrying on every evening late.

One night, a woman stormed into the local saloon. She had black hair and black eyes that scanned the whole room. Catching her eye, the drunkard did, and she hollered through and through. "Stew, you unscrupulous pig! What have I to do with you!"

You see, this woman had a mad face on and pulled at the drunkard's stringy beard and yanked him into position and whispered in his ear. "You have a son", she said. And the drunkard became white as a ghost. His eyes widened and his mouth gaped, revealing too few teeth he had. After what seemed like hours, Stew dropped his bottle and ran out like a mad man.

That very little city for years was peaceful and quiet. No fighting and heavy hollering had been there for a time. But the drunk, called Stew, was always behind. Never a father there was that dote on his son, the many fragrances of a bottle emptied and done. 

Then, in a flash bang of violence and terror, a new drunk sprang to life. It was the old drunk's son, Peter, who took up the family life. But now the town had a new sheriff who had no time for foolishness. The sheriff arrested Peter, dragging him to the jail where he could be sequestered.

O' shameful and scared, the old drunk came to bail out his son. He looked at Peter with tears in his eyes and said, "Son, what have you done?" And with anger, Peter faced his father and laid out all of his papa's sins. With fear in his heart, Stew knew what he did.

Let the tale be told far and wide, and let fathers and mothers lend their ears. If you want your children to be righteous, then live righteous in your years.

The FamGrowth Family

Amazing and Fantastic!

Amazing and fantastic! Those are the two words that come to mind after our final discussion, a panel with esteemed guests Pastors Fell and Cherise, Sylvia, and BJ Nate. My previous thoughts of lethargy and sleepiness have been replaced by strong motivations of joy and fulfillment. These are emotions that I hope all who attended this weekend's Teach Them Diligently in Whittier will leave with. That our resolve to have successful home ministry will not waver.

Going home tonight let us focus on:

  1. Unity
  2. Prayer
  3. Truth
  4. Forgiveness

We have amazing content we cannot wait to share with you in the coming days and weeks. Look forward to blogs and a newsletter filled with videos and podcasts from our sessions. Hopefully, if you were not able to join us this time you will be inspired to join us for the next chapter of FamGrowth.

But tonight, we will focus on these amazing and fantastic moments and the resolve to do better always.

The FamGrowth Family

All tuckered out...

All tuckered out...

Meet Us At The Festival!

FamGrowth will be doing a meet and greet near the Los Angeles area on a Saturday evening in November. Come to our booth at the Converge Art & Music Festival on November 11th starting at 6 pm. The whole team will be there and you can ask us questions, get recommendations on excellent resources for you and your family, and learn more about this great movement to strengthen and unite families around the world.

Address:

9664 Broadway, Temple City

We hope to see you there!

The FamGrowth Family

What I Learned From The Canyon Fire

I was sitting at home having a conversation with my mother, when I noticed that the sky was blue out of one window, but brown out of the other. My mother’s first thought which she immediately verbalized was, “There must be a fire nearby!” I didn’t think much of it because my mother has a tendency to come up with worst case scenarios at any hint of danger (her motherly instinct, I assume). But this time was different. We both left our seats for the front door and the strong smell of smoke came billowing in. All we could see were shades of brown and red. The sun was overwhelmed with a large ash colored cloud that quickly made its way across the sky. My first instinct was to check the news. And to my surprise, this fire was much bigger and much closer than I had anticipated. Evacuations had begun only a mile or two from my home. Things were getting serious.

“Will we have to evacuate?”

“How will my husband get home from work?”

“Should he come home at all?”

“What do I need to pack?”

“Where will we go?”

“Do we have fire insurance?” 

 All of these thoughts and more ran through my mind within seconds. I had never been in this type of situation before. I would occasionally consider these things when I’d see a PSA about emergencies, but didn’t spend too much time creating a plan. (I had a busy life, after all, and found myself too consumed with my day to day routine to be daydreaming about catastrophic events.)

But there wasn’t much time for my usual routine as this moment. In case the fire spread, we needed to be packed and ready to leave immediately. So, I began packing. My first thoughts went to photo albums and family memories. I then began to pack up our laptops and other important equipment that we depend on for our careers. I grabbed a large laundry bag and stuffed as many pieces of clothing as I could into it and crammed our shoes and underwear into a suitcase we kept in our closet. Next was our diaries, journals, and Bibles. There were other odds and ends I was able to stick into my purse and gym bag that I thought we might need for hygiene purposes. I had everything that I truly wanted to be saved packed away in my car. I figured that it would be better to have the time consuming task of putting all these things back where they belonged rather than to lose them all in the fire. 

My father didn’t seem to be bothered by the news and believed that our house wouldn’t be touched. My mother and brother were in between, slowly beginning to pack but really waiting for the evacuation order. My husband went to his parents house (since he couldn’t make it home from the freeway closures) and suggested that my family come over there for the night regardless of what happens just to be safe.  

I ended up going, but my family stayed. I am thankful to say that our home wasn’t affected by the Canyon Fire. But others weren’t so lucky. In the moment, all you think about is being safe and saving the things you care about most. But when it was all over, I was able to look back on my choices and found that it spoke of who I am and what matters most to me as a human being. Here is what I discovered: 

1. My family is more important than material possessions. All night long I was checking on my family, making sure that they were alright. I didn’t care much about my things, I just wanted to know that my family was safe and protected. 

2. I truly care about my creativity, creations, and ideas. Out of all the books I collected that night, the only ones I made a point to save we’re the ones I had written myself. My stories, thoughts, and feelings all documented. Those were precious to me.

3. I am capable of acting despite my fear. A big part of me was scared that night. But even though I was fearful of what could happen, I also knew that I had to keep moving, no matter what.

4. I have the capacity to let go of things that don’t really mean much to me. You never know how much something means to you until you’re faced with losing it. And for all my belongings, I knew that the most important thing was my family and my own life. Whatever else would hold me back from leaving in time was actually bad for me. 

5. My appearance is important to me... a little too important. I’ll admit, I did try to save ALL of my clothes. But I believe a part of that was because I didn’t want to go through the hassle of finding clothes that fit me properly all over again (the first time was difficult enough). But I should have just grabbed a few things and went.

6. My family and I desperately need to be more prepared when it comes to emergency situations. We had no clue what to expect or how quickly the fire would come. Some said they had less than 10 minutes to escape before their homes were engulfed in flames. Wow... very eye opening indeed.

7. I am grateful for the things that I have. Each one is a blessing and I must see it as such, no matter where I am at in life. 

So if you ever end up in a similar situation, remember this: Your life is made up of whatever you choose to consume your time with. And in the moments that matter the most, those are the only things you will have time to save. Make sure that they’re worth it and that you truly love them.

The FamGrowth Family

Fight or Flight?

As a human being who is supposedly wired for either "fight or flight" during incredibly stressful/dangerous situations when adrenaline is high, I've discovered that the tendency for "flight" seems to have been all I am capable of doing naturally. My tendency to run away from any situation that seems too big or scary for me to emotionally handle has actually been more of a curse than a safety mechanism. Although safety is what I usually experience for a brief while, the consequences of my fleeing from problems has proven time and time again to be the incorrect response. Yet, for some reason, I keep doing it! I ignore tough talks with people I care about most, or I find it difficult to defend others, including myself. I shut down emotionally when the pressure is too high and physically leave the situation as well. But when I fly instead of fight, nothing gets solved, only postponed to a later date in which I am most likely to encounter again, but much worse and more scary.

Only over the last year or so have I become painfully aware of this unhealthy habit of mine, thanks to my marriage and the counsel of my therapist.  Ironically, my view of marriage as a teen was ideally an emotional haven for me. One where I would no longer have to deal with the stresses of life because I would be safe in my husband's arms, and we'd spend hours upon hours looking into each other's eyes while telling each other of how much we can't stand to be apart. While that still holds true to (some degree), there is another side to this coin that is both uncomfortable and upsetting at times.

In this thing we call "life", issues arise. Whether it be dealing with purchases we both didn't have to make or coping with in-laws or disagreements on fundamental ideas, my husband has the tendency to expose me to these problems which he then proceeds to MAKE ME deal with. Whether I want to or not, I am lead to a point where I am forced to fight instead of fly. It's almost as if I am near the edge of a bridge all hooked up to a bungee cord and I'm doing all I can to talk my way out of having to jump, pleading with him to unhook me and take me home so I can have a nice warm cup of cocoa as I curl up into a nice warm blanket burrito. But he ignores my plea to run away and pushes me over the edge before I can say, "WAIT!!!". And although I am flailing violently and screeching all the way down, I soon realize that I am not dead. Although shaken from the experience, am still alive and well. Yes, my heart is pounding, but I discover in a new way that I was capable of fighting the whole time. And to my surprise, the satisfaction of the fight was so much more rewarding than running away. So as life continues and problems arise (as they most certainly will) I am getting closer each time to the edge, gaining more courage to have tough talks, explore topics that I've never been comfortable discussing, and dealing with issues that I can't possibly run from forever. My husband still pushes me at times, but there have been some occasions where I voluntarily jumped. I purposefully chose to get involved and try to find a solution. Was it perfect? Not always. But that's the beauty of practice. You keep trying until you get it right.

The FamGrowth Family