The Best Way To Prevent A Teen Pregnancy

Dear moms and dads of teens,

We all love our teens so much!

choose-life-teeBut, we also know that we’re raising our kids in a world that has some terribly ugly, dark, dangerous corners in it! We can’t be with our kids 24/7 to keep them out of those dark corners, and being a helicopter parent is bad for our kids and bad for us… but sometimes it’s pretty tempting to try, isn’t it?

One of those dark corners we like not to think about is teen pregnancy and abortions. I think most of us feel a certain horror when the topic of abortion comes up, especially in relation to teen pregnancy. “Oh, please God, not my teen!”

Abortions are dangerous! We’ve all seen the news articles about the abortionists with filthy, germ-infected facilities and the news items with women rushed to the hospital with serious complications after an abortion, even reports of women dying from abortions. And then there are the reports of women who can’t conceive because of scarring from abortions.

For the record: I’m pro-life.

I am also pro-safety for the lives of the women who might be tempted to visit an abortion facility. It is my prayer for them that God protects them and redirects them to good prenatal care and pregnancy support, and grants them clear consciences free of the guilt and pain of abortion, and love for the children growing inside them.

I found myself discussing all of this with some Facebook friends today.

How do we protect and redirect our kids away from these horrors? What kind of parenting does it require? What if we’re not perfect?

Oh, big newsflash: nobody’s perfect!

My kids have sometimes said that I am a wonderful mom, but I know–as only each person can know for themselves–that I am incapable of perfection. I’m not Super Mom. I can’t do it all, nor do I have to or need to. I have my flaws and imperfections, my own need for humility and grace. I am grateful for the forgiveness that my kids and family extend to me!

weird-awesomeness-colors-tee-2But there is one are I have put forth extraordinary effort in for my kids in spite of my own flaws and imperfections and my own challenging circumstances:

I have sought to stay emotionally connected. This has required time and effort, and lots of patience, often when I have felt poorly or exhausted, and felt I had no patience or time to give.

Sometimes, I have been aware of needing to give more than I was physically capable of, or even of disappointing my kids, and I am grateful that my kids have understood and forgiven me.

It is important not to live there, though. I want to connect with my kids! I want to have a good relationship with each of them!

Why is it important to stay emotionally connected and invested in your children’s lives?

Did you know that the very best way to keep your kids from experimenting with sex is to connect with them emotionally?

Lots of hugs and “I love you,” lots of talking about dreams and goals, lots of “I’m so proud of you for working so hard” and “doing the right thing feels good, doesn’t it?”

Staying involved, talking about who they’re interested in, the personality traits and character traits that make for “good husband material” and “good wife material,” how to know when someone’s “too good to be true,” meeting their friends, interacting with their friends, being hospitable to their friends…

right-and-wrong-teeEncouraging relationships with the kids whose parents share similar views on discipline and accountability is also helpful, too.

And encouraging spiritual, emotional, and psychological growth (and healing, where necessary).

Accountability, reminders about not wandering off alone with members of the opposite sex, waiting until marriage, even encouragement to engage mentally with other people, not just emotionally are also important!

Talking to your kids about ways to remain pure and to keep safe in a dangerous world shows your love and care for them, and helps them to look ahead and stay out of trouble that could scar them for life!

If you’re emotionally connected and involved in your children’s lives, it’s a lot less likely that they’ll go looking for love and attention in forms that are inappropriate or harmful.

But, nobody’s perfect, right?

Part of loving is also forgiving our children when they disappoint us, when they find themselves in trouble! And being granted forgiveness in our own turn.

If our kids know that we will be there for them no matter what, that we’ve got their backs, then–when they find trouble, they’re more likely to come running to us with their troubles, to talk them over and find a way to face them, than dig themselves in ever deeper. If our kids know we’re loyal to them, they’re also more likely to be loyal to us and stand by us even when we don’t quite it all right as parents.

Do we want our children to go through hard life lessons like teen pregnancy? No. But–I’d much rather deal with a teen pregnancy than the aftermath of an abortion.

Let’s pray for our kids, that God keeps them safe and healthy, and innocent and pure, and thank Him that He’s letting us be a part of that process! And let’s pray that God makes us the parents our kids need us to be.


Whose Strength Matters?

Whose strength matters?

Is it ours or is it God’s?

How many people does it take to change the course of history?

Can we do it in our own strength?

Can we do it by ourselves?

Even if we all banded together to make it happen–on our own–without God’s hand of blessing on it–can we do it?

Polar bear versus robin: who's bigger?

From my book, “A Day at the Zoo: coloring book for adults” Click through to purchase.

I love that old hymn, A Mighty Fortress Is Our God, especially the part of the second verse that reads,

Did we in our own strength confide,
Our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side,
The Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is He…
…And He must win the battle!

You can read the words to the full hymn here, and watch it performed here (and even sing along if you like).

Do you remember the story of Gideon from Judges 6-8*? Gideon is one of my favorite heroes of all time! His story begins like this:

The people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord gave them into the hand of Midian seven years… 6 And Israel was brought very low because of Midian. And the people of Israel cried out for help to the Lord.

The details are horrific: the people of Israel are hiding out in caves, they’re at the mercy of this invading horde, their fields are being wrecked, their crops and herds keep getting stolen, and they are totally, utterly wretched!

Wickedness always leads, inevitably, to a withdrawal of God’s blessing. In its absence, misery and persecution swell to fill the void.

7 When the people of Israel cried out to the Lord on account of the Midianites, 8 the Lord sent a prophet to the people of Israel.

And he said to them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: I led you up from Egypt and brought you out of the house of slavery. 9 And I delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of all who oppressed you, and drove them out before you and gave you their land. 10 And I said to you, ‘I am the Lord your God; you shall not fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell.’ But you have not obeyed my voice.”

I.e., I did all these amazing, fantastic, totally miraculous things for you, and–what did YOU do? You’ve rebelled against ME while singing, “I did it MYYYYY way!” and daring me to stop you. What did you think would happen? Didn’t you know I would stop you?

11 Now the angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites.

12 And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.”

<SNORT> He’s hiding in the wine press because he’s desperate and terrified!

13 And Gideon said to him, “Please, sir, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.”

Why are we always so amazed and upset to discover that God really means it when He says, “Be holy so I may bless you!”? Why do we refuse to embrace and understand that our sin has consequences?

14 And the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?”

Oooh–did you catch the sarcasm? “You strong man, you! You can do it yourself! You can fix it!” etc.

15 And he (Gideon) said to him (the angel of the Lord), “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.”

And here, finally, is an admission grounded in humility and a genuine knowledge of weakness and inability to handle the problem himself.

God gets down to business:

16 And the Lord said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.”

How many people, again, does it take to change the course of history? Whose strength does it take?

Gideon builds an altar, and God sends fire down from heaven to consume the offering.

Gideon abases himself in fear and trembling, recognizing that God is VERY powerful, but he really hasn’t gotten the whole picture even yet.

Gideon’s progression from pitiful self-knowledge and terror of the Midianites to learning the fear of the Lord has dramatic results: he goes and tears down the local altar to Baal– but he’s still more afraid of men than he understands or is comforted by God’s protection on those He calls, so–he sneakily does it under cover of darkness!

But of course everyone soon knows who did it, and this leads to a confrontation…

30 Then the men of the town said to Joash, “Bring out your son, that he may die, for he has broken down the altar of Baal and cut down the Asherah beside it.”

31 But Joash said to all who stood against him, “Will you contend for Baal? Or will you save him? Whoever contends for him shall be put to death by morning. If he is a god, let him contend for himself, because his altar has been broken down.” 32 Therefore on that day Gideon was called Jerubbaal, that is to say, “Let Baal contend against him,” because he broke down his altar.

Oooh… If Baal is really a god, let HIM fight on his own behalf! Go, Joash!

(And of course, Baal, not being a real god, is impotent and nothing happens.)

Gideon is still having difficulty believing that God has it all in hand, so he messes around with a fleece, but God is patient with him…Fast forward to chapter 7!

Gideon puts out a call for men to fight the Midianites, and 32,000 men respond. God isn’t impressed:

Judges 7:2 The Lord said to Gideon, “The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’

He tells Gideon to send home any that are fearful and trembling. 22,000 go home!

Gideon still has 10,000, but God says that is STILL too many, so–he makes them drink from a stream, and only those who drink in a certain way are allowed to remain.

Gideon is left with just 300 men against:

12 And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the people of the East lay along the valley like locusts in abundance, and their camels were without number, as the sand that is on the seashore in abundance.

And God knows Gideon really, really well:

9 That same night the Lord said to him, “Arise, go down against the camp, for I have given it into your hand. 10 But if you are afraid to go down, go down to the camp with Purah your servant. 11 And you shall hear what they say, and afterward your hands shall be strengthened to go down against the camp.”

The end of the story is pretty exciting: Gideon and his pitiful 300 surround the Midianite camp (at night) and sound their trumpets and smash pots hiding torches. The Midianites thinks it’s this massive army, and panic and run, and in the darkness, confusion, and chaos they can’t tell who they’re fighting, and they slaughter each other! Gideon and his men chase after them.

All of Israel turns out to help, and the Midianites and their allies are utterly destroyed.

Gideon becomes a great leader in Israel, and as long as he lives, Baal worship stops.

It’s a great story, isn’t it?

Why does it matter? What’s the application here?

Well, let me ask you: if we embrace sin and wickedness as a nation, will God bless us any more than He blessed the Israelites?

It is God who turns the course of history, not us! It is God who chooses who He will lift up to lead us–not us–though we are always wise to follow!

Sheer numbers cannot overwhelm God’s choice of leadership. There is no human strength that can prevail. To be frightened of wicked people is natural, but this is what the Bible says about the fear of the Lord:

  • the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding. Job 28:28
  • the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. Psalm 19:9
  • The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. Psalm 110:10
  • The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7
  • The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate. Proverbs 8:13
  • The fear of the Lord prolongs life, but the years of the wicked will be short. Proverbs 10:27
  • In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge. Proverbs 14:26
  • The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death. Proverbs 14:27
  • Better is a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble with it. Proverbs 15:16
  • The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor. Proverbs 15:33
  • By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil. Proverbs 16:6
  • The fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm. Proverbs 19:23
  • The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life. Proverbs 22:4

…There are lots of other passages that also describe or illustrate the fear of the Lord in other ways, but I think these are most instructive, don’t you?

God prizes our fear and awe of Him, not because He wishes to terrify us into good behavior, but because He is worthy of our respect and obedience, and when we place a proper value on God, we place a proper (humble) value on our own abilities and efforts, and those of others, and we learn to reject and refuse what is evil, and cling to that which is good, bringing God’s blessings into our lives and protecting ourselves from the harm that comes from associating with evil.

We cannot succeed in bringing our country back to God or in restoring righteousness, and a renewed understanding of good and evil, right and wrong, unless we, as a people, embrace the fear of the Lord, and stop winking at evil! We cannot overcome evil by trying to embrace a lesser evil. God will not honor that. He cannot honor that–

What will move God to intervene and save us is our humility and repentance. We have to turn from our sin, ask God’s forgiveness, ask the forgiveness of others, pay restitution wherever it is possible, and extend forgiveness to those who ask it of us. Only then will God save us from the consequences of godlessness now overtaking our nation.

Don’t Get Trapped In Someone Else’s Fantasy

My dear, dear friends,

Have you ever had to deal with someone who is living in an alternate reality?

No, I’m not talking about writing a novel, or enjoying a good book or a movie for a couple of hours, or even role-playing games!

I’m talking about a serious mental condition that divorces that person from reality.

For a person having issues like that, the real life needs of everyone around them don’t really matter!

Don't get trapped in someone else's fantasyAll that matters to them is that everyone else gets on board with their fantasy, and supports and maintains the fantasy, even when it totally contradicts reality, even when they’ve had a brainstorm and–suddenly–they’re one hundred percent for the complete opposite of what they said they believed or stood for, or desired!

Everyone around them is supposed to read their mind, and KNOW, almost before they do, that the fantasy has changed, and absolutely MUST conform to the new reality! (or at the very least, pretend not to care)

Anything and anyone that challenges or fails to support and enable that new reality becomes the enemy, and MUST BE DESTROYED! Somehow.

Their delusion must, at all costs, be maintained!

How do you deal sanely with that? How do you effectively intervene, or even redirect any of that into safer channels?

How do you escape from that?

I could write a book about this. I don’t really want to, but–I could. If I wrote it, inevitably my number one example would be Donald Trump.

What makes you think that electing a president who appears to have a serious issue with reality, who is fantastic at selling his grandiose dreams (and manipulating and compelling those closest to him to support him in selling those dreams)–but not so great at developing and delivering on them–is going to solve any of our country’s problems?

Don’t you think he might create larger, more serious problems?

What makes you believe that a man who is living in his own, carefully constructed alternate reality is going to care about addressing the very real problems you’re facing in the here and now once he’s elected and given all that power to embellish and expand his own fantasy?

What do you think is going to happen when he runs up against the boundaries of that power, and discovers he really does have to deal with other people who don’t share his fantasy, who are completely and utterly opposed to it? What are you going to do when he discovers, as the mentally ill frequently do (just because he’s mentally ill doesn’t mean he’s stupid), that he still has the power and opportunity to use the office of the president to abuse other people?

Haven’t we already seen what happens, how he responds with verbal and emotional abuse and using every tool at his disposal to try to cow those who disagree with him into silence, if not destroy their reputation utterly?

Hasn’t he even tried to use laws intended for support and development of`public infrastructure to try to seize land from people who refused to sell to him?

Do you think that’s going to be a pleasant experience for any of us if he treats people that way when he’s president?


This is why I want the delegates at the GOP convention to be free to vote their conscience!

I want them free to choose–responsibly–someone sane and competent to address our nation’s problems. Someone who is not going to run us all ragged while he runs amok in his alternate reality.

Don’t Give Up On Doing Good By Boycotting Target

Boycott Target 1For those who’re wondering why you should boycott Target specifically, here’s the recap:

Target has chosen to throw their bathrooms open to any gender-flavor of the day, no exceptions, no restrictions. So that big hairy guy with the man bun and the sweaty hands can follow your sweet little five year old girl into the women’s restroom (or the fitting rooms!), no questions asked.

If you, as her mom, take exception to this, then Target’s opinion is that you should tell little Suzy to hold it until she gets home because that man’s rights to use any bathroom he pleases trump little Suzy’s right (or yours) to safety and privacy in the women’s restroom.

If you also find Target’s policy to be offensive, then I encourage you to join the boycott.

As you may be aware, Target is holding firm on their totally warped bathroom policy in the face of a steep 15% stock tumble that isn’t coming back. It’s been only a month though…

We need to hold firm.

Those of us who are boycotting Target should be in this for the long haul. As someone who’s familiar with how the stock market works explained it to me, Target can handle a brief dip in their stock as long as it climbs again after a quarter. (one quarter equals 3 months)

But when they continue to lose market share over two quarters, the board must take notice. After three quarters of continual losses, the investors are likely to revolt!

And really, it would be better if we encouraged our friends and family to participate in the boycott and drop their profits still lower! A 15% profit loss is a serious problem for a company of Target’s size and limited flexibility, but 30 or 40% would help to adjust their attitudes faster and would also encourage the rest of the large businesses that are considering following their lead (or already more quietly following their lead) to reconsider.

It will also help to send a message to corrupt and immoral politicians like Trump and Hillary Clinton that they do not have the public’s blessing for any more warped social engineering! Sending that message is vital this election year.


Hatred and Violence Solve Nothing

This open letter is in reaction to this post at HuffPo, where writer Jesse Bern espoused and encouraged anti-Trump protesters to greater rage and violence.

Do to others weeping willow 1Dear Jesse,

I suspect you will be amazed to learn that there are those of us who strongly disagree with Trump who are NOT attending the protests and NOT violently attacking Trump supporters. We strongly disagree with Hillary too, but we aren’t out there attacking her supporters either, or protesting against her…and we most especially aren’t violently protesting or attacking YOU… because we know that violent protest doesn’t solve anything or change anyone’s mind for the better, especially in politics!

All violence does is destroy any chance at all of reaching a thoughtful consensus on who should be elected. And it destroys lives and property, and infrastructure that cities need in order to run efficiently and help those who are less fortunate. When it’s your city this happens to, maybe you’ll see it differently than you do now? I certainly hope so!

I believe in the golden rule: Do to others as you would have them do to you.

At decision-making time, Trump is for law and order, which you clearly aren’t. That’s attractive to many people. If it’s a choice between a totalitarian regime which encourages and enables violence and lawlessness and a regime that enforces law and order and suppresses your violence, well…the adults in the room are going to want to pick law and order EVERY TIME.

It is so very tempting to give Trump our vote in support to prove a point to you. We don’t want YOUR violence destroying OUR cities, OUR neighborhoods, OUR families, and most especially OUR kids!

Violent protest never changes anyone’s mind for the better

While many of us STILL won’t vote for him because we don’t vote based on our feelings, we aren’t going to vote for your preferred candidate either; we’d rather choose someone else: someone who believes in loving their neighbors and doing good to others, even when they don’t always agree on everything; someone who believes in upholding liberty and freedom of (preferably peaceful, non-violent) expression…

I’m personally going to vote for Darrell Castle with the Constitution Party–if Trump doesn’t get thrown out of the GOP convention on his ear and someone better isn’t nominated in his place!

Vote Darrell Castle for President 2016

But–how likely is that going to happen with all your rabble-rousing in the background? With you throwing the sympathy vote Trump’s way?

With your antics you really could seal, not just the nomination, but also the presidential election for Trump by gifting him the sympathy vote!

I couldn’t read the hateful garbage you wrote all the way through. I am appalled and amazed that you thought it would benefit you or those you support!

I encourage you to sit down and discuss with adults who disagree with your belief in violence as a way to solve your problems why they disagree, and double-check your logic, and consider all the ways that promoting violence to solve your problems could possibly come back to bite you.