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The Greatest Escape

Posted by on Mar 27, 2017 in A HAPPY HOME, Blog, History by the Slice | 0 comments

I trudged along a canal in Berlin back in 2011, hoping to see the inside of one of the few remaining watchtowers in the city—a guard tower where East Berlin soldiers kept an eagle eye out for people escaping to West Berlin. The guards had shoot-to-kill orders. When I paid my visit, the Berlin Wall had fallen 22 years earlier, and this watchtower was only a distant reminder of one of the most bizarre barriers ever created—the Berlin Wall. In August of 1961, the border between Communist East Berlin and the free democracy of West Berlin closed overnight, and work on the Wall began in earnest. Some called it a “surreal cage,” which enclosed an entire nation behind a wall that snaked through the heart of Berlin. I had featured this watchtower in the novel I was writing in 2011, so I was disappointed when I showed up at the guard tower, only to discover that it was closed. I was also confused. This watchtower had been converted into a small museum and was supposed to be open every weekday. So why the locked door? Fortunately, I encountered a high school teacher, who was there with his class, and he had some answers. He explained that the watchtower was preserved and operated by Jürgen...

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Why Teaching Your Children to Mind is Vital

Posted by on Mar 24, 2017 in A CHERISHED FAMILY, Blog, Mom Voice | 0 comments

There were days that Alison wondered if her kids would ever learn to mind her when she told them to do something. I think all of us parents can understand that. We tell our teens to clean their rooms, and an hour later, we walk by and it’s the same mess it was before . . . or an even bigger disaster. We instruct our younger kids, “Don’t leave the yard.” And then we see them down the street where they aren’t supposed to be. Or we say, “You can’t have any chocolate tonight because you didn’t eat your dinner.” And then a while later, we see melted chocolate on their faces and clothes. It can be pull-your-hair-out frustrating. But here’s the thing—we can’t give up. We must keep working with our children until they follow our instructions. Why is that so important? Their safety might be at stake. If your children learn to hit their “brakes” immediately when you tell them to stop, it might save them from being hit by a car or from falling off a steep hillside. Two people can’t be in charge. Trust me when I say that you should be the one in charge instead of a pint-sized version of you or your spouse. Everything will go much...

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You Have a Special Place in the Family

Posted by on Mar 23, 2017 in A LASTING FAITH, Blog, Parenting Perspectives | 0 comments

Underneath the picture wall in our hall sits a long table. On the table I have additional pictures and I enjoy them every time I walk to my office. Recently I noticed the pictures on the table facing the wall. I turned them around and the next time I passed, they were again facing the wall. I wasn’t sure what was going on until I caught our three-year-old in the act of turning the pictures to the wall. “Why...

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Putting Out the Fire of Anger

Posted by on Mar 21, 2017 in Blog, Bonus Days | 0 comments

Jenny watched in shock as her son slammed the book shut and flung his pencil across the desk. “I can’t do this stupid stuff and I’m not going to try,” he muttered. Anger was evident in every word. What had happened to make her normally mild-mannered son so angry? “What’s the matter with you, Son? I’ve never seen you act like this before.” He began crying. Once he calmed down, Jenny was relieved to discover that she hadn’t suddenly...

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Decorated Corner Spaces

Posted by on Mar 20, 2017 in A HAPPY HOME, Blog, Making Your House a Home | 0 comments

I want to share an idea today for those boring kitchen countertop corner spaces that usually end up filled with toaster ovens, food containers, and other unsightly items stuffed into them. This makes our kitchens look messy, cluttered, and creates a feeling of chaos. Why not jazz up your corner space with a mirror positioned on the angle, a lamp, a picture of your family in a special frame, and a small container of greenery—live or artificial. If you...

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A Royal Calling

Posted by on Mar 17, 2017 in A CHERISHED FAMILY, Blog, Mom Voice | 0 comments

I turned and saw her in a cloud of white lace and my heart stumbled. Smiling, confidant, and clutching her daddy’s arm. Playing dress-up. But, no, this wasn’t my four-year-old pretending to be a princess, or cowgirl, or race-car driver—this was the grown-up version of my daughter—ready to pledge her life and love to her beloved. I blinked. And in that moment I realized: It mattered—all of it. The folding of little hands, the wiping of messy chins. Steadiness...

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The Importance of Handwritten Notes

Posted by on Mar 16, 2017 in Blog, Bonus Days | 0 comments

Last weekend, I cleaned out our filing cabinets. For the first time in eighteen years of marriage, I thoroughly purged our many files. I spent about four hours going through loads of paper and ended up with more than a laundry basket full of paper to throw away. I found receipts from every pregnancy, doctor visits for babies, paperwork for every vehicle purchased, and invitations to our wedding. It’s fun to see it all, and it is fun to...

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