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    Sidelined is a Temporary Condition

    sidelined Choose NOW Ministries, A Registered 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization

    By Amy Joob, On Emotions Column

    As I write this I am 17 days out from the Chicago Marathon on October 12th. I finished our longest training run of 20 miles this past Saturday but now I am nursing a back injury. I went to see a Physical Therapist and the diagnosis is a bit disheartening….I have a bulging disc at my L4/L5 vertebrae in my back. And here I am sitting with my back taped up and wondering, how will I complete 26.2 miles on October 12th?

    Have you ever experienced the same kind of set-back? You are going along in life and somehow the bottom just falls out. Maybe you suffer a financial setback, a friendship falls apart or your teen faces a major crisis. You feel completely overwhelmed, helpless and without clarity or direction. It’s like your car breaks down on the side of the road and you are just stuck there watching all of the other cars speeding past you.… continue reading

    Make Every Day an Occasion

    celebrate this day2 Choose NOW Ministries, A Registered 501(c)(3) Nonprofit OrganizationBy Ann-Margret Hovsepian, Creative Connections column

    Do you ever have days that feel humdrum, mediocre, ordinary, so-so, middling, routine, uninteresting, dull and um… *putting away my thesaurus before someone gets hurt*… you know… blah? It’s not that anything is going wrong or that your circumstances are terrible. You’re not sick. You’re not angry. You’re not worried. You just feel “meh!”

    I certainly have days like that now and then. I become unmotivated, sluggish or restless as I subconsciously wait for some thrill to distract me from the drabness of the moment.

    Chances are, your teens have days like that, too. When your teenager complains about being bored, you may be tempted to jump in and try to change the situation, to offer something entertaining or stimulating to make him or her feel better. This isn’t necessarily the best strategy. Studies show that most teens today are over-stimulated and given too many choices, which basically leaves them spinning their wheels trying to decide what to do and wondering whether they should wait for something better to come along.… continue reading

    Tiger Training and Raising Pure Teens

    By Sherri Wilson Johnson, On Inspiring Purity column

    IMG 20140924 2315101 300x300 Choose NOW Ministries, A Registered 501(c)(3) Nonprofit OrganizationI went to the State Fair in September. I was thrilled to see that there was a tiger show. Bengal tigers are my favorite wild animals. It was the last show of the day, at 8:30 p.m., and the weather was cooler than it usually is here in the South. As a result, the tigers were feeling a bit frisky. It was also their feeding time, so they all had food on their minds. In fact, it was nerve-racking seeing them all “eye” their trainers. I’m pretty sure I saw them licking their lips at one point.

    One particular female tiger wouldn’t obey no matter what the trainer did. She wouldn’t stay on her pedestal. Every time the trainer turned her back, she’d hop down and start slinking over to her. This girl was determined to do what she wanted to do.… continue reading

    Is Your Teen Fascinated with the Occult?

    occult Choose NOW Ministries, A Registered 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization

    By Shannon Deitz, The On Hope Column

    We stared at our reflections  in the cramped space. Jenny clung to my arm, her nails digging into my flesh. The pungent smell of lavender and Clorox filled the space quickly overpowered by Jenny’s Cheeto breath.

    “What do we say again?”

    “Bloody Mary three times.” Jenny squealed and gripped my arm tighter. “Then you turn off the light and she appears.”

    I wanted to turn around and leave the bathroom but eight other ten-year-old girls were waiting on the other side of the door and I knew if Jenny told them I chickened out they’d shame me for life.

    I didn’t need a silly kids game to freak me out. I’d seen enough evil in my life to surpass them into adulthood. Shame took over. “Okay, ready?” I put my hand on the light switch.

    “Bloody Mary, bloody Mary, bloody Mary.”  I flipped the switch.… continue reading

    When Loneliness Calls...

    single parenting Choose NOW Ministries, A Registered 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization

    By: Jennifer Maggio

    It was Christmas Day and my first Christmas alone. Well, I guess I wasn’t alone. I had my 11-month old with me. It was the darkest of days. I woke up to the inevitable – no money, no family, and a baby who toddled around, not knowing the difference. I cried most of the day. I eventually went to a friend’s home for a couple of hours, but I ultimately finished the day on the sofa in tears, alone.

    Perhaps one of the biggest struggles for any single parent is loneliness. It is easy to compare families who are shopping together on weekends or strolling their precious toddler on a bright Sunday afternoon. It is easy to imagine our lives much different than they are, hence feeding into the loneliness that endlessly lingers.… continue reading

    5 Tips To Help Middle Schoolers Gain Perspective

    fatalistic speech Choose NOW Ministries, A Registered 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization

    By: Brenda YoderOn Middle School Column

    Middle schoolers are notorious for speaking in drastic, fatalistic language:

    • I’m just going to die!
    • I’m never going to….
    • You always say that….
    • Just shoot me.

    Does that sound familiar?

    Kids in early adolescence have emotions that are magnified, extreme, and often fatalistic. Their language follows suit. In a world where words are exchanged through texts and social media, it’s important to talk with middle schoolers about perspective and the power of words. Here are five tips for talking with your teenager about communication and proper perspective.

    1. In today’s world of technology, bullying, and self-harm, it’s important to avoid using fatalistic words such as “I’m going to die,” “Just shoot me,” or “I’m going to kill you.” These words must be taken seriously for teens who are crying out or who may harm themselves or someone else.continue reading

    Ready ... Set ... JUMP Into Adulthood

    Vicki TiedeBehind Closed Doors column

    Ready ... Set ... JUMP 300x300 Choose NOW Ministries, A Registered 501(c)(3) Nonprofit OrganizationMy daughter jumped off a bridge today—her choice. And though I’ve warned her about jumping off bridges for the last 18 years, she’s now an adult, and about to move into an apartment, and she gets to make the call on such things … as jumping off bridges.

    Apparently, her first launch was less than graceful. To hear her tell it, she sat on the edge of the bridge for 10 – 30 minutes (depending on the version of the retelling) before she got enough nerve. She’d received coaching on her “form” and felt as ready as ever … until she pushed off the bridge, at which point she promptly changed her mind and wanted back on solid ground, but no amount of arm flailing was going to deliver her back on the ledge of that bridge. She recovered a little composure just before hitting the water, so she pulled her arms in tight, and stuck that landing in a slightly sitting position.… continue reading

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