Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Today may be the most important day of 2012

(Editor’s Note: By the time you receive this it will be after Nov. 15th, but the message of the article is valuable! You can have your goals made by December 1st and still meet the objectives of the article.)

Today is November 15th. I don’t know if that’s significant on your calendar but it is on mine. For many years now I’ve made it my plan to have my goals completed for the upcoming year by November 15th.

Here’s why. Most people wait until January 1st and then think “I need to have some goals.” But then it’s New Years Day – ball games are on, surely I can take the day off. The next day it’s back to work , new things are being talked about at work and the first two weeks fly by. By the time you get some goals laid out it’s nearly February 1st. At that point you think, how can I have the sequential progression over 12 months when one month is already gone. It’s easy to rationalize, I’ll just start next year. And thus weeks turn into months, months turn into years and all of a sudden 20 years have gone by in your own personal version of Ground-Hog Day.

On the other hand, what if you had your goals clearly laid out in 7 areas of your life by November 15th? You know exactly what you want success to look like for you next year – financially, physically, spiritually, socially, in your family, in personal development and in your career. Then you relax and enjoy the holidays, confident that your thinking is already helping you make the choices necessary to see that success come into view.

And here’s what will happen – guaranteed. Because you have clarified what those new levels of success will look like and you’ve written them down – your life will begin to change before January 1st. Even though you are busy with holiday activities you will be amazed at how subtly things start to shift in the direction of your goals. There is something almost magical that happens when you clarify in your thinking and on paper what an ideal life would be.

Give it a try – humor me and be prepared to be astounded at how you can get a jump start on making 2012 the year when you leapfrog forward. And then let me know in about July how things are going.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Give the gift that gives Christian encouragement all year!

The Nebraska Family Times gives readers “inspiration, encouragement, and motivation” in their Christian walk, every month! For only $20 you (or someone you love) will receive 12 issues of the Nebraska Family TimesEvery issue is full of devotions, local features, and state and national news from a non-denominational Christian point of view.

The Nebraska Family Times is the perfect gift for anyone on your gift list—old or young, male or female, with or without Internet access or someone who still enjoys reading a “paper” newspaper.

When you give the Nebraska Family Times as a gift:

          o The gift recipient will receive a gift card indicating your gift
          o YOU will be entered into a drawing to win Christian books or CD’s or the grand prize of a Nook or Kindle e-reader
          o The Nebraska Family Times will donate a food item to the Columbus Rescue Mission/Living Water Rescue Mission for each subscription ordered (our goal is to donate 300 food items!).

          o UPDATE--OFFER EXTENDED! Until Friday, December 16th, at noon, you can also purchase a copy of the book Home is Where the Mom Is; A Christian Mom’s Guide to Caring for Herself, Her Family, and Her Home, for ONLY $5! FREE shipping and handling included. ($5 offer good only with purchase of Nebraska Family Times subscription.) To read an excerpt from Home is Where the Mom Is, go to

ORDER TODAY! You’ll be giving a great gift, helping the Rescue Mission—and you’ll have a chance to win something for yourself, or to give as a gift.

To order, go to the right sidebar of this page or e-mail

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Bible is the BEST source for learning about God's plan, receiving His guidance, and discerning His plan for your life. But do you wonder how to study the Bible? Follow this link to find "Simple Steps to Solid Scripture Study." I've been following them for several months, reading the Old Testament. In January I plan to start reading the New Testament, following this plan. I've learned so much just following this plan--and I'm excited to read more every day. I hope you enjoy it too!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

How to have a parenting “do-over”

By Jill Savage

I remember when Mark and I took a parenting class and learned about expecting first time obedience from our kids. Our habit, up to that point, had been to count to three, or to threaten, or to get angry.

Now we had a different vision for our family and for discipline in our home. But how do you change mid-stream? How do you handle a change in expectations, discipline, or how you will handle things?

Mark and I have had to do this over the years when we’ve realized that we’ve either allowed something we shouldn’t, or haven’t parented well or consistently. We call a family meeting and talk to the kids about what we’ve realized or what we’re learning. We apologize for not being consistent or not handling certain situations well. And we set a new standard on how we as a family are going to act, behave, or handle situations in the future. We have found that this is a respectful way to change the direction the family is headed in and our kids have responded relatively well to it.

If you find yourself needing a parenting “do-over,” consider these strategies:

1) Tell your child/children of the upcoming change. One mom had allowed her daughter to sleep in her bed with her. When she realized this wasn’t healthy for her daughter or her marriage, she sat her daughter down and explained that “beginning tomorrow night, you will sleep in your own bed.” This gave her daughter a heads up and a time of adjustment.

2) Apologize to your kids, if needed. An apology isn’t a sign of weakness…in the parenting realm it’s a sign of strength. Your kids will understand that you make mistakes and that you know what to do to clean up your mistakes. When we sat down and explained to our kids about first time obedience, we apologized for not holding them to a higher standard that would serve them well in life (what boss wants to tell his employee to do something three times?)

3) Train to the new expectation. If your kids are old enough, do some role-playing to train them to the new standard. When we were teaching first time obedience, we did some pretending. I told them we were going to practice first time obedience with a happy response. I said, “In a minute, I’m going to ask you to bring me a specific toy. When I ask I want you to say ‘Yes mom!’ and bring it to me.” Then we made it into a game. We played that game for several days.

4) Give a grace period. When we introduced first-time obedience, we trained for several days and then we began our grace period. It was one week of having the new expectation in place, but if they responded inappropriately, they were reminded of the standard and told that after the grace week, they would receive a consequence for that kind of a response.

5) Be willing to be the parent. The standard is set, the training done, and the practice time is over. Now it’s time to stand firm on your new direction. Most parents find if they are consistent with communication, expectations, and accountability, they are able to move in the direction they desire to go.

If you’re dealing with teens, you probably won’t need the training, but the communication, grace period, and consistent accountability will do the trick.
Reprinted with permission. Jill Savage ( is the founder and Executive Director of Hearts at Home (, an organization that encourages, educates, and equips every mom in every season of motherhood. She is the author of seven books including Professionalizing Motherhood, Real Moms…Real Jesus, My Heart’s at Home, and her newest release, Living with Less So Your Family Has More. Jill and her husband, Mark, have five children and make their home in Central Illinois.
The Nebraska Family Times considers parenting one of God's greatest blessings. Our goal is to include at least one Christian parenting article in every issue of the Nebraska Family Times. When you subscribe to the Nebraska Family Times, you'll receive articles like this in your mailbox every month! And when you subscribe (or give a gift subscription) by December 16th, you'll be entered into a weekly drawing to win Christian books or CD's, and a grand prize drawing for a Nook or Kindle e-reader! Go to   for details.