Follow us with Google Friends below, or subscribe via email over on there on the right...

Dec 28, 2011

Put Your 2011 Blog into a Book!

From Brent

It's the end of the year and perfect time to have your 2011 blog posts immortalized in a book.

For a couple of years now, I've offered THE most flexible and inexpensive "blogger to book" option available. Check it out at:


Note: for blogs hosted on only

Dec 19, 2011

You'll Be Glad You Watched This... Merry Christmas

From Brent

Here's a couple of heartwarming and inspirational Christmas videos I thought you would enjoy. The first one put a big smile on my face.  Thanks to my friend Bob for sending it. Check out his weekly column here... you'll enjoy his latest about Christmas.

The 2nd video is from my all time favorite singer. I've watched this dozens of times for years and it still gives me goosebumps and tears.

Enjoy! Leave a comment and let me know what you think of them.

Dec 12, 2011

Spend Time With Your Family During the Holidays

From Brent

Continuing a series that is very timely for the holidays, here's are some more ideas for spending time together as a family. The holidays can be so BUSY, it's easy to neglect intimate family time. Hope you enjoy it over on my personal blog.

Read the entire post here...

Dec 11, 2011

Guest Post - Some Myths About Diabetes

Note: Our blog is not about "health" but obviously good medical information is helpful to all especially on such a common topic as Diabetes. So I thought I'd run this guest post from Wendy for whoever it may help... Brent

- - - - - - -

On July 25, 2005, I took our 24 month old daughter to her pediatrician, because I was concerned about symptoms she had been displaying intermittently for a few weeks. Shortly after our arrival, an ambulance was summoned for transport to the Emergency Room; followed by a helicopter flight, and admission to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.

The diagnosis: Diabetic Ketoacidosis, a complication of Type 1 Diabetes.

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, and the global symbol for diabetes awareness is the blue circle. Raising diabetes awareness is very important to me

Over the past 6 years, I’ve discovered some common misconceptions about Type 1 Diabetes, and I appreciate the opportunity to debunk a few myths. . .

MYTH #1: Diabetes is Diabetes, and it’s all the same.

TRUTH: There are several types of Diabetes, the most common being Type 2. Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune condition, in which the insulin producing cells of the pancreas stop producing insulin. Type 2 Diabetes is a metabolic condition which does not completely inhibit the body’s ability to produce insulin, but instead limits the body’s ability to effectively use the insulin it produces. Type 1 Diabetes was formerly known as “Juvenile Diabetes”, but it cannot be outgrown. Children with Type 1 Diabetes grow up to become adults with Type 1 Diabetes.

MYTH #2: Type 1 Diabetes is caused by eating too much junk food, and other poor lifestyle choices. Besides, since we don’t have diabetes in our family, I don’t have to worry about it happening to my child.

TRUTH: No one knows what causes Type 1 Diabetes, but the research is very clear that it is NOT caused by poor diet or lack of exercise. A common theory is that a virus, such as a stomach bug or a simple cold, causes the autoimmune reaction that results in Type 1 Diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes rarely has a genetic link, and no child is immune to the risk of developing it. Adults (usually under the age of 40) can also be diagnosed, regardless of medical or genetic history.

Symptoms can occur suddenly, and include: extreme thirst, frequent urination, sudden vision changes, fruity, sweet, or wine-like odor on breath, increased appetite, weight loss, drowsiness/lethargy, labored breathing, unconsciousness.

MYTH #3: People with Type 1 Diabetes cannot eat sugar.

TRUTH: People with Type 1 Diabetes CAN eat sugar. It is necessary that insulin be given when a person with Type 1 Diabetes consumes carbohydrates in any form. It doesn’t matter if those carbs come from a piece of fruit, a drink, or a sugary treat. Insulin can only be given via injection, either through a syringe or an insulin pump. Insulin is the only treatment available for managing Type 1 Diabetes, but it is not a cure. Without insulin, people with Type 1 Diabetes will die.

My daughter is 8 years old now. Since her diagnosis, she has endured nearly 20,000 finger pricks, 3000 shots, and 500 insulin pump sites. We test her blood sugar 8-10 times a day, including at least twice every night.

She is my hero.

Wendy Rose has been a Registered Nurse since 1995. After spending most of her career at the bedside in the Emergency Room, the Post Anesthesia Care Unit, and Labor & Delivery, she currently works from home as a Pediatric Telephone Triage Nurse.

Wendy’s oldest daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 2005, at the age of 24 months and Celiac Disease in 2008, at the age of 5 years. Wendy herself was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2009.

Balancing the demands of her daughter’s blood sugar management while maintaining a gluten free lifestyle; on top of her role as wife and mother; in addition to maintaining her nursing career can be a challenge at times. She documents her family’s journey at

Wendy and her husband, Jason, have been married since November, 2000. Together, they have three daughters, and Wendy also has a step-daughter who lives out of state. The family resides in the Sonoran Desert with their rescue dog, Ivy.

Nov 21, 2011

How to Get More People To Visit Your Blog and Increase Your Traffic

From Brent

Most of you folks know I own Linky Tools (which is ranked in something like the top 1% of U.S. sites on Alexa who measures traffic and site popularity).

On the Linky Tools Blog, I teach people about building a successful blog and how to do things like increase their traffic.

Since most of you are bloggers as well as readers, I thought I would share a post with you I just wrote about building traffic and getting new readers. This is for both new bloggers and experienced.

Nov 14, 2011

Spend Time With Your Family

From Brent

In a couple of previous posts, we discussed an unfortunate reality of modern life: a lack of time to spend with the family. Obviously this is a problem that affects everybody to different degrees. One family might lament the fact that it only gets a few nights per week to spend together as one cohesive unit, and another might be lucky to get even a few minutes together.

Read the entire post here...

Nov 8, 2011

From Michelle:

We knew going into this adoption that we were signing up to be in a pilot program. We knew that being one of the first families adopting from a newly opened country, there would likely be a few extra bumps in the road. There have been.

Currently our agency is resubmitting paperwork that has to do with the agency, not our family. Basically the government wanted a few simple changes that are easy to fix but take time to send the changes through the proper channels. This is great news for the families that will come after us because they will be able to complete their adoptions much quicker.

We are using a wonderful agency, They are diligently working to find a way to speed things up for our children.

Unlike our previous adoptions, we won't be matched with our children until we travel. We have a heart to adopt children who are seen as unadoptable in some cultures. Since some see them as unadoptable, many don't have the paperwork completed that is necessary for them to be adopted. My hope is that the delays in our adoption have given some of these children time to become "paper ready".

Would you pray that:

1. The meeting tonight with the deputy minister would be very productive.
2. ALL of the children in the orphanage would have their needs met and feel loved. People sometimes wonder how large families care for all of their children. Can you imagine being responsible for an orphanage full of kids?
3. We would receive permission to travel soon.

- - - - - - - -

Wonderful friends of ours are in the process of adopting 2 older boys from the Ukraine. The Patterson's worked hard to raise money for Abby's Wish and were so sweet to our family when Abby was sick.

The shirts they are selling to raise money for their adoptions a at the very top of our whole families Christmas list. You won't believe how cute they are.

- - - - - - - -

During a rain downpour, the kids played in the water coming off the roof.

Nov 7, 2011

My Journey

Another entry in the book of prayers I’m writing… for however it may bless you today:

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

My Journey

Lord of the Journey,

Help me to be a stranger in this world,
Holding the things of this life lightly.

Let me be on a journey to Heaven,
Focusing my gaze on the return of my Savior.

May my life be for You, holding nothing back.
You created me;
You saved me;
You give me purpose;
You own me.

I pray for Your protection from every foe;
I pray you’ll crush every rebellious thought;
I pray you’ll burn away every ungodly passion;
I pray you’ll destroy every fleshly desire in my life.

May every fiber of my being be ignited by Your touch.
Help me to love You with

My whole mind, body and soul;
My spirit, affection and intellect;
My desire, understanding and will.

My God, You are perfection among perfection,
All knowledge and intellect is a gift from You.
May my tiny drops of expression flow from Your unfathomable fountain of ceaseless inspiration.

Compared to Your glory, the sun is a dark nothingness;
Compared to Your beauty, the most beautiful in this universe is a deformed ugliness;
Compared to Your wisdom, the wisest of this world is silly foolishness;
Compared to Your goodness, the most noble of us are counted as weak and evil.

You are worthy of an adoration that I’m incapable of producing; the greatest praise I can offer is dull and vain compared to what You deserve.

I pray You will refresh and energize my love for You,
That in some small way my worship
may be worthy to You,
Rising up to Your dwelling place
and being accepted by You.

Only then will my journey be to Your glory.

In Jesus name, Amen.

Oct 24, 2011

Abby Update

It is hard to believe Abby is getting close to being one year off of chemo. This year has flown by. While the chemo has left Abby with some challenges that she continues to deal with, no one meeting Abby for the first time today would ever guess that she was a cancer survivor (a barely survivor 2-3 times...). In school, among her friends, she is just seen as a normal little girl. I love that.

We were told that because her brain was still developing when she was on chemo, learning might be more challenging for her. Unfortunately, that has proven to be true. She has wonderful teachers at school, who are patient and encouraging. At home we work with all of our children, so she doesn't feel like she is being singled out.

Even with as much as we are working with her, she continues to ask us read "one" more book and to play "one" more educational game. Sweet little Abby was dubbed the Guatemalan Pistol when she was six months old. Little did we know then how that stubborn, tenacious spirit would help to save her life and then help her to meet life's challenges head on.

Even though it is taking her more effort to learn than some of the other children, she IS LEARNING to read. She is making consistent progress and for that we are truly grateful. She loves school, has a great attitude about homework and is determined to learn.

Next week Abby will see her oncologist again, to make sure she is still in remission. We have received great news ten months in a row and fully anticipate seeing perfect labs again next week. God is blessing Abby and we are truly thankful.

- - - - - - - - - - -

We know another family who adopted a 6 month old little girl who just got diagnosed with Leukemia... sound familiar? Our heart really goes out to them.

Why don't you stop by their blog and offer them a word of encouragement? It meant the WORLD to us when our blog friends were praying and responsive. I know you would be a big blessing to this special family too. Cancer is a drag....

- - - - - - - - - - -

Oct 5, 2011

Your Kid, A Pill and a Funeral

From Brent

I've written before (read here) about the trend among kids to raid the parents/grandparents drug cabinet and get high on prescription medicine. It's a HUGE issue now. Don't pretend like you are immune.

Sadly, even innocent taking of medication can kill kids. Read this story about a young man who had everything going for him. He took a "normal" dose of his Grandmothers "pain pill" and died from it. For his bodyweight, he took 4x too much.

He wasn't partying, getting high or experimenting. His shoulder hurt and he took some pain medicine... and died.

Read the story. Then go lock up your pills, and call your parents and tell them to do the same.

Oct 4, 2011

Spending Time With Your Family - Part 2

From Brent

The 2nd installment of spending time with your family is online over on my blog. This time Philip talks about how to spend time as a family even when time seems very short.

Read it here:

Sep 21, 2011

Okay, I’m On My Knees Begging…

When I publish a new book, I let people know it's available and that's pretty much it. I've never begged, coerced, urged or pleaded with folks to buy one of my books.

Purchase: Paper | Audio | eBook

This time I am. My book "Terrorist to Evangelist" is now out through a national publisher and has a real chance to get on the map... but SALES are what drives it up on selling lists and gets it noticed by the various book powers that be.

So for the first time ever, I'm begging every one I know to buy a copy - any format (paperback, audio or ebook). Purchase: Paper | Audio | eBook

I write a lot of material for a limited audience (the serious Christian market). This book has a legitimate MASS MARKET appeal. It is a fascinating and riveting story (read the first chapter below). Every person who has read this book says the same thing: "incredible story" and most of the time they've read it more than once. I wrote the darn thing, and I've read it several times just because I wanted to. Purchase: Paper | Audio | eBook

Gift Idea: Christmas Is Around the Corner

Christmas will be here before you know it, and this book would be a WONDERFUL gift. It's almost 300 pages and its genuinely a "hard to put down" read. Buying a copy is not just doing me a favor... it's a great book you'll read more than once, and give to someone else too. Purchase: Paper | Audio | eBook

Here is chapter one... the entire book is just as gripping:

This Is It

March 24, 1983: McClinton, I thought to myself, this is it. You’re about to die.

I had known for quite some time that it was coming. I was keenly sensitive to the inevitable conclusion of being a man marked for death.

Walking into the break room of the prison, all of my senses went on red alert, sounding the alarm that things were not right. The first thing I noticed was the steam floating across the ceiling. The inmate in charge of boiling water had heated gallons and gallons of water to an angry, rolling boil—far more and far hotter than necessary for making tea.

The two prison guards who had been assigned to protect me were nowhere to be found. I was now alone and unprotected in a room of convicted murderers and terrorists. I felt strangely calm in the face of such imminent danger. Having become a Christian four years earlier while in solitary confinement, it was not my nature now to be the initiator of violence, even though I knew it was coming. I simply took my mug of tea and sat down like usual at the table.

Four convicted IRA terrorists slowly moved to block any escape through the entrance or exit. Each of them was carrying a large redwood plank that looked like a square baseball bat. The ashen color of their faces betrayed their fear and nervousness.

I reached for the little Gideon’s New Testament that I carried in my shirt pocket, but my hand never made it. I felt the heat before the boiling water actually touched my skin. In an instant, gallons of scalding liquid were being poured on my head and back. My first sensation was of the soft skin behind and around my left ear instantly bubbling up and disintegrating. Within a couple of seconds, a large portion of my body had been scalded and burned severely.

It seems strange now, but at the time, I felt no immediate pain. With calm resolve, I stood up and removed the reading glasses from my eyes. I couldn’t see well, because the boiling water had run over my face, but I sensed the danger coming in front of me.

Thud! A hammer from the workshop, wielded in cowardly fashion, struck me on the high right-hand side of my face between my temple and jawbone, quickly opening a profusely bleeding wound.

My natural survival instincts kicked in as I backed into a corner, shaking my head and wiping the water and blood from my eyes. I had not uttered a sound up to this point but knew that I was very badly injured by the boiling water and the blow to my head. The first thing I saw after clearing my eyes was a terrorist-prisoner I knew by the name of Becker. He was making his way toward me, holding one of the three-by-three, baseball bat-like sticks, his eyes already focused on where he was going to deliver the coup de grĂ¢ce. In my heightened state of shock and adrenaline, I took the initiative and lunged straight for him, taking the first swing of the bat into the outside of my left bicep. Whack! He really nailed me, and the pain was excruciating, but I had successfully fended off an otherwise fatal blow. I ducked the next swing, grabbed the surprised Becker by the ankles, and with strength that was beyond normal circumstances, I picked him up and tossed him over onto my badly burned back.

With Becker flopped over my shoulders and my head actually between his legs, I was somewhat protected from the next round of hammer blows, baseball bat swings, and punches that were now coming from the other attackers. Like a movie scene, everything seemed to happen in slow motion, and twenty-two years later, I still remember it all in half speed.

One of the terrorists, a young guy whom I didn’t know, had slipped on the water that spilled on the floor and was now attempting to get a grip around my ankles to hold me for the others who would finish me off. Four others, armed with the bats, were still blocking the door and any attempt to escape. I charged them, holding Becker upside down on my back, and threw him off me and on top of them. The combined force of our two bodies sent the door guards stumbling backward against the wall and into the corner, like bowling pins being scattered.

That bought me an instant of opportunity to dive through the doorway and onto the steps toward the safety of being out in the open where others could see me. Landing facedown on the stairs, I thought I had succeeded in escaping when suddenly the door was slammed shut on my foot, trapping me. I felt the hands of the terrorists grabbing my ankle and holding me fast so that I could not get free. The door opened, and to my horror, another bucket full of boiling water was dumped on my already-blistered and burned body. Almost my entire upper torso now bubbled and broiled in the intense heat. The skin just simply melted away in a matter of seconds.

I kicked my free foot with all the strength I could summon, and suddenly my other foot was unexpectedly released. The door slammed shut. I was left there as good as dead. The pain rushed over me in waves and consumed every nerve in my body with intense fire.

I was still alive. In the coming days, I would wish that I wasn’t.

Purchase: Paper | Audio | eBook

Sep 12, 2011

My Newest Book - FREE - Immediate Download

From Brent

This weekend I finished my latest book, and maybe one of the most important I'll ever write. You can have the eBook for FREE, and distribute it for free. You can email use, use it, print, make it available on your blog for free... with my blessing.

This is knowledge that every Christian absolutely should know and understand, so I don't want a "purchase" to stand in the way of everyone having it.

These are the ESSENTIALS. I don't get into or attempt to persuade on any topic where long standing denominational differences have existed (such as the "end times" or Calvinism). Nothing controversial, nothing specific to a particular church or denomination. I think all Biblical Christian groups and families will find this book highly useful on a personal level, and to teach (family, groups, friends, churches).

If you've been a Christian for a while, you should download it and test your knowledge... make sure you really know the basics of your faith.

A description and the table of contents are below.

FREE eBook

Essentials of Christianity - Vol. 1
FREE eBook | Paperback


A friend called me and told me that a friend of his had just been saved. He asked: "Have you written a book for new Christians, or Christians who have not yet learned some basics?" I had not.

I had often thought about writing something like this and I grabbed on to his request for some motivation. For a couple of decades, I have noticed to my dismay that most Christians, new or not, cannot define the basics of Christianity. They know their job, their sports, their hobbies, and pop culture, but these Christians shrivel when confronted with explaining or defining the most basic of concepts and principles of the very faith they believe saved them from eternal condemnation.

I decided that the best way to teach the essentials of Christianity to new, spiritually immature, or Biblically uneducated Christians would be to:

• Provide some basic education about the basics;
• Explain, define, and illustrate a list of the foundational Christian concepts; and...
• Give a "starter list" of some behavior, attitudes, and practices you should be developing as part of the basic Christian life.

This book is intended to be a STARTING POINT for new Christians, or Christians who have never learned the basics. However incomplete this little guide may be, it certainly can provide a good foundation to begin with; and, regrettably, it contains more than the average professing Christian knows today.

Table of Contents

First Things First.................... 3

A Starting Point........................ 5

A Starter List of Christian Living... 6

Love............................... 6

Discipline.......................... 7

Service............................. 7

Integrity........................... 7

Seriousness........................ 8

Kindness........................... 8

Humility........................... 8

Generosity......................... 9

Study............................... 9

Prayer............................ 10

Worship.......................... 10

Discernment..................... 10

Knowing the Basics................... 11

Some Basics About the Basics.... 12

God............................... 13

Jesus Christ...................... 14

Holy Spirit........................ 15

The Bible........................ 16

Man............................... 17

Heaven........................... 18

Hell.............................. 19

The Church...................... 20

Angels, Demons, & Satan...... 21

Fundamental Truths................. 23

Defining the Fundamental Concepts of Christianity 24

Repentance...................... 25

Faith.............................. 26

Substitution...................... 26

Reconciliation................... 27

Propitiation...................... 27

Remission........................ 27

Regeneration.................... 27

Redemption...................... 28

Imputation....................... 28

Adoption......................... 28

Supplication...................... 29

Justification...................... 29

Sanctification.................... 30

Glorification..................... 30

Election.......................... 30

Foreknowledge................. 30

Predestination................... 30

Sharing Your Faith................... 31

How You Can Explain Salvation to Any Person Who Is Not a Christian 32

Assurance of Salvation............... 35

The Evidence of True Salvation.. 36

Will Jesus Know You?........... 36

Obedience & Morality........... 38

Good Moral Behavior........... 39

Obedience to God............... 40

Religious Knowledge........... 42

Selflessness & Serving.......... 43

Conviction About Sin............ 44

True Repentance................ 46

Religious Acts.................... 48

Separation from the World (Sanctification) 49

Self vs. Others................... 50

Practical Lessons About the Christian Life 54

A Few Basics About Christian Behavior 55

God’s View of Wealth And Status 55

Let the Lowly Glory............. 56

Wealth Is Fleeting............... 57

How to Love God When Life Stinks 58

The Question of Divorce........ 60

God Hates Divorce.............. 61

Divorce on the Grounds of Adultery 61

Divorce on the Grounds of Abandonment 62

The Christian and Remarriage. 63

Divorce and Remarriage Before Becoming a Christian 63

A Word about Biblical Divorce. 64

About Un-Biblical Divorce...... 64

In a Nutshell..................... 65

Ears and Hands.................. 67

Mouth Shut, Ears Open......... 67

Ignoring Your Pimples.......... 68

Rein In That Tongue............ 69

What Is Godliness?.............. 69

In a Nutshell..................... 70

Evil Favoritism................... 70

Dead Faith....................... 74

That Little Thing That Controls Your Entire Life 77

Don’t Get in a Hurry to Teach. 78

The Key to Perfection.......... 78

The Power of the Tongue...... 79

Preach It Brother!............... 79

Squeezing Lemons.............. 80

Two Types of Wisdom.......... 81

There Are Only Two Choices.. 83

Strife and Turmoil.............. 85

How to Cure Your Worldliness. 88

The REAL “Don’t Judge”....... 91

The Bible Says Judge!.......... 91

The Bible Says Do NOT Judge.. 92

Today Not Tomorrow........... 94

Special Instructions About Money (Yeah, I’m Talking To YOU) 95

The Misery Is On The Way...... 96

Who’s Your Real God........... 97

Treasure Heaping............... 97

And Then You Flaunt It......... 99

Patience & Overcoming....... 100

Be Patient Like the Farmer... 100

Establish Your Hearts.......... 101

Remember Job................ 102

Above All....................... 103

Bible Abbreviations............... 105

Sep 8, 2011

Hard Questions Kids Ask Parents

From Brent

A new book I'm working on is "Hard Questions Kids Ask Parents". It is a book for the parent to use as help to answer those questions.

I've got a list of questions but hoping I can compile many more from the group creativity and experience that all you folks have.

If you submit a question (that I don't already have) that gets used in the book, you get a free eBook when it comes out. I don't want to post my list because I don't want to bias or influence the questions you submit. I'm hoping you'll come up with all sorts of good stuff I haven't thought of.

What is a question that your kids have asked or could ask, that you would love to have simple, clear and accurate help with answering? Enter your question in this Linky Tools Questions list:

Aug 31, 2011

Spending Time with Your Family & Thoughts on Money

From Brent

A couple of posts on my other blogs I thought you might be interested in:

I hope you'll take time to read them and let me know your questions and thoughts.

Aug 19, 2011

Job Opening!!! I know of an immediate job opening...

From Brent

I know of a very good job opportunity related to a programming, website development skill set.

Even if this is not a job YOU are interested in, could you forward this information to people you know who might be?

You have to be located near the Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Louisville area in order to be available to travel to a central location in North Vernon, IN on occasion for development meetings. Otherwise you could work from home or your own office (or if you live close enough, you could work full time in the NV office).

The specific work activity is UI development on a web application. The application is ASP.NET built on a SQL DB database. Skills needed/preferred for this work are:

  • ASP.NET web development experience
  • VB.NET server side (though C# is easily converted, so if you are C# developer, that will work)
  • Client side:
    • Javascript
    • AJAX
    • CSS
    • Web Services
  • Other: the application relies heavily on the DevExpress suite (; it is not required that you have experience with DevExpress but is a definite plus. These tools are enhancements to .NET controls. DevExpress can be quickly learned by an experienced ASP.NET developer.

"UI" normally implies graphic design but that is not a requirement here as they have graphic design professionals. It would be a plus but not required.

You would work on a growing team of developers that currently includes a UI expert who is being moved to another project (this is the job opening); a SQL guru and 3 others involved in management, sales and production.

They are ready to hire immediately and this is a very good job opportunity with a growing company.

Email me and include your resume if interested and I'll follow up.

Aug 17, 2011

Are You Worrying About Anything?


If you are having trouble with worry, I wrote some encouragement for you over on my other blog...

Aug 12, 2011

Canvas Prints

From Brent

See that logo over there to the left for Easy Canvas Prints? They contacted me asked me to do a review in exchange for a print. I told them "sure, but I won't be less than honest. If the print you send me is not dazzling, I won't say so publicly."

It was. It is remarkable. Now, having said that, trying to take a photo of a photo is never flattering. So I'll have ask you trust me (as a professional level photographer) that the print is marvelous. It is vibrant and the canvas is perfect. It could be a painting.

Take a minute and go visit them. Get a photo of your kids or wedding or baby stretched over canvas. It truly is really beautiful hanging on the wall. I will definitely be getting several more from Easy Canvas Prints but I have a feeling they are going to make me pay for it. :)

Jul 28, 2011

Where Laughter Lives - THE BOOK - Yours FREE!

From Brent

I just published my latest book (Where Laughter Lives - Volume One)... you can have it FREE.

Our family blog is subtitled “Where Laughter Lives”. We chose that because humor is a part of our daily life. It’s a good thing too. With going-on nine kids, we NEED to have time to laugh. Humor keeps things grounded, light-hearted, and enjoyable.

We believe laughter and humor is healthy, wholesome, and necessary. Godly too.

This new book is a compilation of my (hopefully) humorous musings from the last couple of years. There are three ways to get it:
  1. Buy the ebook here...
  2. Buy the paperback here...
  3. Or get the eBook here totally FREE if you promise to forward it via email to at least 10 people. You're on the honor system. If you want to email it to a hundred people, or everyone you know, that's even better. (I've even prewritten an email for you if you want to use it, just to make it convenient; see below)
Everyone can use a smile and some good clean laughter. That's all this book is. Just good clean smiles. Pass it on and you can have it for free.

- - - - - - - - - - EMAIL NOTE - - - - - - - - - -

Brent Riggs over at just published his newest book called "Where Laughter Lives" and he is giving it away totally free to anyone who will pass it on to others.

It's a bunch of funny stories and anecdotes from his life over the last few years. I thought you might enjoy some good, clean, real-life humor today. Everyone can use some laughter these days, that's for sure!

He's asked that people pass it on via email to at least 10 others if you get it for free but not to feel obligated in any way if you don't want to. Drop him a note and let him know if you enjoyed the book:

Jul 17, 2011

Some Random Thoughts...

From Brent

Some random thoughts on my personal blog to make you mad, cause you to think and hopefully give you a smile or two... in no particular order.

FYI... I do quick thoughts and comments every day on Twitter about life, blogging, business, family, etc.... follow me for a while and see if you get hooked:!/brent_riggs!/linkytools

Jul 16, 2011

Expecting a Nice Christian Answer From Our Kids

From Brent

We were eating dinner when Abby asked "when is Mr. Johnny coming back?"

Mr. Johnny was our elderly neighbor who passed away a few weeks ago (read a funny post about him here). "Mr. Johnny is in heaven, Abby, we'll see him there when we go to heaven too."

"Dad..." Landis chimed in with a slightly puzzled look on his face. "Will I get to see Mr. Johnny?"

"Sure you will" I replied. "You're going to heaven right?" At this point my wife and I were all prepared for an answer that would make us smile from ear to ear... the result of years of devotionals, vacation Bible school, spiritual talks and Sunday's at church. Here's was our proud moment, a perfect inquiry to solicit the fruition of our consistent, effective, nurturing Christian parenting.

"No." No emotion, no expression. Just "no". No.

NO??? Back the truck up! No? What did Landis mean, "no"? Where had we gone wrong? What failure of Christian parenting had reared it's ugly head? Was SpideyLandis about to announce his impending atheism? Was he to join the annuls of the Prodigals? Our hearts sunk. Our minds darted about grasping for understanding, for reasons, for some shred of hope that our wayward son would return to the faith of his upbringing. As the old HeeHaw song laments (showing my age, huh?): "Gloom, despair and agony on me... aaaawwww....."

I gathered myself.

"Um, son, what do you mean 'NO'? You don't want to go to heaven? Why not?" My mind raced, lining up all the possible answers for his forthcoming rejection of God, the Bible, Christian, and all things faith.

"Cuz I'm not dead."

Well there you go. Duh.

Jul 5, 2011

Airline Tickets, Ideas, Experience

From Brent

Thanks so much for all your kind comments, suggestions and inquiries about our upcoming adoption(s) from Montenegro which is the fulfillment of "Abby's Wish" (for new folks, when our then 3 year old daughter from Guatemala almost died from cancer, her constant wish was for us to adopt her a baby brother and sister... we have been scraping, garage selling and saving our pennies for almost a couple years - along with God's blessings from others - to make that wish come true).

We are very close (days maybe) to getting a referral and choosing the children. With God's blessing, they will be home likely by the end of this summer.

Airline Tickets

We are VERY tight on the considerable expenses and trying to cut costs and save money in every way. One huge expense is going to be airline tickets. Looks like the retail cost is going to be in the neighborhood of $6500.00 total not including hotel and meals which we will do as cheaply as humanly possible.

Given that, we are putting out a shameless call and request for anyone with ideas or ways that we can reduce, eliminate or subsidize the airline expense which would really put us over the top on the entire effort:
  • Are you connected with an airline and know any way of us getting reduced or free airline tickets?
  • Do you know anyone with a kind heart and so many airline miles they are looking for ways to use them charitably?
  • Do you know anyone working with an airline who has what I think are called "buddy passes" or something similar who would help us get tickets for this adoption trip?
  • Any ideas, suggestions or experience on how to get airline tickets cheaper?
Keep in mind that we'll only have a week or two heads up at the most about what dates we will travel, if that matters. It will be two weeks in the country there. Fortunately, they have Internet where we will be and I'll be able to work and do my job.

I counsel people routinely that others who are willing to help and have a servants heart cannot help if they don't know there is a legitimate need. It's much harder to TAKE this advice than it is to give it, especially when we are primarily "givers" at heart. So, I'm taking my own advice and put out the request, praying the right person at the right time will read this.

Regardless, we know God has opened this adoption door and paved the way for Abby's Wish to come true. God's involvement and interaction has been unmistakable. He'll see it through, we have no doubt. We're just doing what we think is our part in serving His plan.

- - - - - - - - - - -
Everyone who reads our blog is such a blessing. We are constantly amazed at the friendships, encouragement and love that flows through this blog to us from you and back. Incredible!

Even our blog "enemies" sometimes become friends. One gentlemen wrote me this week with some VERY harsh words about some advice I gave publicly. By the time we wrote back and forth a few times, he had asked for forgiveness for his unkindness, and we seem to start what appears will be a budding friendship.

God can do stuff like that if we let Him.

Parenting – Boys Fighting

From Brent - A reader asks:

What do you think about young boys fighting to defend themselves or to get someone to quit bullying them?

- - - - - - - - - - - -

Wow. There's a lot more to this question than meets the eye, and a pretty good chance I'm going to get myself a lot of "feedback" on this topic (if you know what I mean).

There are a host of issues that go into this: love, turn the other cheek, Christian witness, the feminization of men and boys in our country, the violence of today, courage, and raising boys to be "manly" and Godly men.

As a former Drill Sergeant, black belt and athlete, you might be tempted to think I have a very skewed perspective that oozes of testosterone, but that is not the case. I know, have witnessed, and have experienced the difference between being "manly" in a Godly way versus being "manly" from a fleshly standpoint. I know the difference between Godly spiritual "strength" and fleshly, pride-derived strength.

The Softening of Men

We live in a culture today that seeks to soften and feminize men. That's just a fact (and one might contend it is part of Satan's plan to confuse and weaken the human race). Unfortunately, we are so indoctrinated with feminism, male guilt and political correctness that typically our immediate response is to start defending why it is good for men to act like women (sensitivity, expressing emotions, crying, being feelings oriented, etc.).

Not only does this "feminizing" of men confuse them, it also blurs the definitions and roles of male/female established by God. Combine all this and you get exactly what you see today: disintegrating families, confusion in marriage, rampant sexual confusion, gender perversion and boys and girls who "grow up" not having a clue what being "men" and "women" is all about (and if they do, having to constantly apologize, explain and fight embarrassment over it).

We see an alarming famine of courage, chivalry, patriotism and manliness (and missing for ladies is propriety, true femininity, love for motherhood and loyalty to husbands).

Modern Violence

The modern onslaught of violence in entertainment and real life also adds to the confusion of what being a real man is all about. The gang codes about so-called "respect" teach young men that being a man is all about never allowing "disrespect" and then meeting any disrespect with instant violence. This isn't respect; it's how wild animals act.

We have religions that teach violence and killing is the ultimate act of being manly (and Godly) and will result in eternal paradise filled with the delights of man (sex, indulgence).

We have games, movies and music that teach "being a man" means exploiting women and stomping on anyone that gets your way of getting what you want.

Weak Church, Weak Role Models

All this has affected the Church. We have weak teaching and weak role models to demonstrate for our young men how to grow up to be "manly." Many churches have succumbed to the pressures of political correctness or feminism and have not only quit teaching boys that it is okay to be MEN, but have also turned Jesus into a prissy, pretty, timid hippie that is better suited for the "summer of love" than for saving the world.

The Godly Man

Teaching our boys to be "manly" is simply teaching them to be what God wants a man to be (among other things):

  • Godly - Titus 2:12 - teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, (NKJV)
  • Holy - Romans 12:1 - I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. (NKJV)
  • Loving - John 13:34-35 - A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." (NKJV)
  • Courageous
  • Chivalrous - 1 John 3:16 - By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. (NKJV)
  • Serving - 1 Corinthians 10:24 Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being. (NKJV)
  • Honest - Proverbs 12:22 - Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, But those who deal truthfully are His delight. (NKJV)
  • Hardworking - 1 Thessalonians 4:11 - that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, (NKJV)
  • Bold - Hebrews 13:6 - So we may boldly say: "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?" (NKJV)
  • The leader - 1 Corinthians 11:1 - Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. (NKJV)

Keeping in mind that those qualities are being taught, I come back to the original question. Should boys be told its okay to fight (not sport fighting like boxing, but street fighting)? My answers: sometimes.

Fighting is never appropriate:

  • As part of peer pressure
  • As a dare or for the enjoyment of street fighting (as opposed to controlled, athletic sport)
  • To humiliate or pick on someone
  • Because it's "cool" or to be accepted
  • To inflict your personal will on someone else
  • Out of anger
  • To dominate someone for the pleasure of the "power" you feel

However, I believe there are times when we have to stand up and physically fight, and thus, our boys should be taught the same:

  • To defend a weaker person
  • To defend yourself
  • When it cannot be physically avoided

The last two reasons are closely related. If a man finds himself in a situation where the choice is to stand there and be pummeled, or to defend himself, then I believe we have the Godly right to physically defend ourselves.

Wait! Doesn't the Bible say to love your enemies and bless them? Yes, but notice I didn't say, "Hate the person and curse them." I said, "Defend yourself."

There may be times when you cannot defend yourself or God clearly leads you not to. Ask Paul and Jesus. They suffered specifically for the cause of Christ. And we will too. In those times, God may lead us to endure it, and at times, to defend ourselves. There is no "one size fits all."

As a GENERAL PRINCIPLE part of teaching our boys to "be men" is teaching them that it is appropriate to fight, sometimes to defend ourselves, or if it genuinely cannot be avoided.

As for the issue of defending the weak, I do not believe there is anything more cowardly than coming up with any excuse, including personal safety, to avoid fighting to defend someone weaker who is being hurt. This is a point I have hammered home to my sons since they were little, and it is a tough thing to live up to today in our schools and society. There is hardly anything more cowardly to teach our boys than to have them stand by and watch while a weaker kid is being beat up, picked on or otherwise humiliated. I unapologetically teach my sons that.

In the end, the "fighting" question must be left with each Godly father to determine on a case by case basis. My admonition is that the times we tell our boys to "fight" be few and far between and for reasons that will promote and cultivate both their Christian witness and their spiritual upbringing. And yes, I believe there are times when both are served even in a fight.

I'll leave you with an example from my own fathering experience:

One of my boys had been coming home for several weeks in a row telling me about a boy two years older than him who was picking on him every day at school.

No matter what my son did, didn't do, say or didn't say, this older boy would push him around, "dare" him to fight, and generally humiliate him in front of the older kids.

My son is no "sissy" neither in size or demeanor. At the time, in 9th grade, he was six feet tall, 180 pounds, strong as an ox and pretty tough from years of rough-housing with his Dad and older brother (much to the chagrin of mothers, I believe rough-housing, horse play and competition is healthy between fathers and brothers).

After a time of instructing him how to respond and avoid this bully, I finally decided it was the proper time to tell my son it was okay to stand up and fight (or at least be prepared to).

I explained to him how most bullies are really cowards and all talk. I told him this was probably true in this case because the boy was older and bigger than my son.

I gave him permission to respond, "Okay, let's fight," the next time the bully challenged him but warned him it should be no idle invitation. I told him the bully would probably back down, but if not, he must be prepared to back his words up.

A few days later, in front of a group of kids, the bully started in on him again. He began taunting my son, then pushing him and "daring him" to fight. So my son surprised him with, "Okay, let's go," and proceeded to take his coat off.

My son told me the bully acted shocked but at that point had to either choose to back off (and lose face) or actually fight. So they fought.

My son was thrown to ground a couple of times by the bigger boy, but in the end, my boy pummeled the kid with a few well timed haymakers. He showed the bully that no matter how many times he threw him down, he was still going to be looking at fight when he got on his feet. In the end, the bully said "enough" and hasn't bothered my son again.

Following that, I sat my son down and told him, "Don't get proud." It is the tendency of boys who win a fight to become the bully and start strutting around with a chip on their shoulder enjoying their new found "power" among their peers.

I told him that he did what he needed to do to deal with the bully. The fight served its purpose but now the fighting was over and it was time to try and become friends with the bully if possible.

I sternly warned him (as I had many times before) about EVER being the bully, fighting without real reason, or standing by and watching someone weaker get bullied.

In this case, I cannot see where my parenting choice did anything but instill Godly character, discipline and courage into my son.

Fighting should be a last resort for specific reasons and with the right motivation, but yes, I believe there are times when part of growing up to be Godly men may involve a fight or two.

What are your questions about parenting and family?

Enter your questions in the ongoing question list below and be sure to check out my book full of hundreds of questions and answers:

Jul 1, 2011

Adoption Update

After three adoptions Brent and I thought we had this adoption thing down. Oh boy we were wrong. Adopting from an eastern European country is a much different process than what we have been through before. It's not harder, just different.

We are with an agency we haven't used before, and they are a pilot program. The country we are adopting from is very new to international adoptions. With a pilot program, timelines and adoption requirements can change rapidly. We knew that going in and we are fine with that. So far the changes have been very easy to take care of/handle.

This is our fourth (and maybe fifth) adoption. We have three living, breathing reminders running through our home, constantly reminding us that God is good and that adoption is a beautiful thing.

We adore our agency, love our facilitator and are very excited about the country we are adopting from. Our hope is that as adoption veterans, we can take on being "first" with this new program and smooth the way for other families after us. For those well versed in adoption:

  • Our home study has been approved, dossier is done, the country we are adopting from has approved us and immigration has given us the go-ahead.

For those of you who are not adoption veterans:

  • Abby will be a big sister very, very soon.

We are waiting for our referral. Waiting to find out who our next child\children will be. I can't wait to see their little faces. Would you please join us in praying:

  • We will be referred the children God wants us to adopt.
  • That they will be well cared for
  • They will be in our arms soon

I would love for the children to be of Roma heritage (a poor underclass in that region) because that is where the biggest need is. I have been told it can be difficult to do that because they often don't have the paperwork necessary to be adopted. Would you join me in praying that God would open the door if it is his will?