Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The Baby Decline

In Uncategorized on May 6, 2016 at 5:17 am

childlessby Tashica Jacobson

It is common belief that the world’s population is increasing, but the opposite is in fact true. While demographers don’t agree on what this fully means, for the human race, they do agree that it will have drastic consequences for generations to come. This decrease in the human population is called demographic winter.

The fertility rate, which is the average number of children born to a woman in the course of her life time, is decreasing in many countries. Many countries are below replacement fertility rate, or the amount of children needed for a couple to replace themselves. Replacement fertility is equal to 2.1. Many counties have a fertility rate below replacement level. The United States is currently at 2.01. While Russia is 1.61, Japan is 1.4, Germany is 1.43, and China is 1.55. Most European countries are below replacement level also. Since 1990 60% of the US population growth has been from immigrants and their children, mainly due to the Hispanic immigrants (indexmudi.com).

It is estimated that worldwide there are 6 million fewer children than there were in 1990, and that by the year 2050 there will be 248 million fewer children (Feder, 2008). In the 2011 State of our Union, after talking about this decrease in children it states “this obviously means that adults are less likely to be living with children, that neighborhoods are less likely to contain children, and that children are less likely to be considered in daily life. It suggests that the heed and concerns of children—especially young children—gradually may be receding from our national consciousness” (p.23).

The things that lead to this decrease are also many of the same factors of the breakdown of the value upon the family…Working women, a richer economy, the sexual and divorce revolution.

“Working women” puts mom outside of the home and also makes her less likely to have children. A richer economy creates the mindset that we live life as an individual. This decreases the value placed upon the family. Thus, people are less likely to have children, and to have fewer so they can invest more into each one.

The sexual revolution has made it so that contraceptives are available, and that sexual relations outside of marriage are the norm. Cohabitating couples generally have fewer children. When people recognize that divorce as an option they are less likely to have children. A divorce takes time, between separation, paper work, and possible remarriage leading to fewer children.

Some of the effects of this decrease in population are labor shortages and decreased prosperity. It is said by economist that a competitive market promotes growth and prosperity. We are also seeing the populations pyramid is inverted. This means that we have a higher number of elderly than the young. When this happens the working population cannot support the elderly. The scale becomes imbalanced. Those working cannot support the demand for social security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

As sex becomes common outside of marriage it also affects our economy. Children born to single-parents are more likely to live in poverty, and have less education. They then have a disadvantage in the job market. Technology and knowledge instead of manual labor are what our economy is built around. Many times we see that these children lack the skills needed to compete in this job market (Stout).

As it becomes the trend to have less children that means that there will be many children who could lack the interaction of siblings. While not all sibling interactions are positive, there are many benefits that come from siblings. Studies have shown that having siblings improves both the physical and mental health of the child. Children learn how to help others and take care of themselves if they have siblings. They are also less likely to feel lonely, self conscious, and fearful (Virginia, 2010).

It has also been shown that children with siblings have better peer interactions, and adjust to school better. They are less likely to fight with other children and show more sympathy to others’ feelings. They show a greater ability to understand others’ emotions. “In particular, this understanding is revealed during episodes of teasing, pretend play, conflict resolution, and through their use of emotional and mental language during conversation” (Howe, 2006).

Fewer children means not only less positive interaction with siblings, but none with aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, or nephews. This will rid society of vital  extended family support. The effects of this “demographic winter,” will be far reaching. It will not only affect our children but their children for generations to come.


Indexmundi.com. (2014) Total fertility rate.

Stout, Rick. (2009). Demographic winter.

Feder, F. (2008). ‘Demographic winter’ exposes the century’s overlooked crisis. Human Events.

Howe, Nina. Recchia, Holly. (2006). Sibling relations and their impact on children’s development. Centre for Research in Human Development, Concordia University http://www.child-encyclopedia.com/documents/Howe-recchiaANGxp.pdf

Posted by Virginia, d. L. (2010, Aug 09). The benefits of having siblings. Spokesman Review. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/743961094?accountid=9817

People statistics. (2011). Total fertility rate (most recent) by country. Nation Master.

Social indicators of marital health and wellbeing: trends of the last four decades. (2011). The National Marriage Project.


Gratitude: A Matter of Character

In Uncategorized on November 25, 2015 at 12:43 pm

ThanksgivingCarol Soelberg

I love November and December and that they bring with them a joyous season of “THANKS” and “GIVING”.  With a grateful heart to each of you for your continued support in strengthening the families of the world, I offer a few personal thoughts on gratitude.

One of the great influences in my life is my grandmother Mynoa Andersen.  She left with me the legacy of a grateful heart.  I heard her often say: “I spend half of my time counting my blessings and the other half thanking God for them, and that leaves no time left to feel sorry for myself.”  Blessings? I used to think as I recalled her life as a widow of nearly 40 years, raising most of her children alone.  She endured the loss of two homes, one in a flood, and one they were driven from.  She lived much of her life in what might today be considered dire poverty.  Yet to her, she felt blessed beyond measure, for all she could see were the blessings.  I learned from Grandmother that gratitude is a matter of character not circumstance!

Gratitude is a feeling of appreciation and thankfulness for blessings or benefits we have received. It is an uplifting, exalting emotion.  Those who cultivate a grateful attitude are more likely to be happy and emotionally strong. (Please scroll down and you can see some of the research on the “Science of Gratitutde.”)  Have you ever know a person with a heart full of gratitude to be bitter, resentful, or mean-spirited.  I do not believe such emotions can exist together.  I learned from my Grandmother that a thankful heart is a happy heart!

Gratitude when truly felt, demands expression.  We can be thankful to our parents, family, friends, and teachers. We can express appreciation to everyone who has assisted us in any way.  I will never forget the year our family decided to consciously thank people who did things for us routinely that we usually took for granted: the clerk in the grocery store, our teachers in school. We even thought of the mailman.  We decided to write a thank you note for the mail carrier and leave it in our box.  A few days later, we got a knock at the door.  It was our mailman with a note of appreciation.  He was retiring that December and he stopped in to say that in his entire career as a postal worker he never remembered having ever been thanked.  He said it made his retirement complete.  A simple expression of thanks touched both his life and ours.

I love the poem “How Different” by Richard Trench which helps us to recognize the effect of gratitude in our lives.

Some murmur when the sky is clear
And wholly bright to view,
If one small speck of dark appear
In their great heaven of blue:
And some with thankful love are filled,
If but one streak of light,
One ray of God’s good mercy, gild
The darkness of their night.
(Richard Chenevix Trench)

With ingratitude we lose sight of the blessings we have by comparing them to the seemingly endless blessings of others.  Developing an expectation that more is deserved can cause our plate of plenty to appear empty. Comparing distorts reality giving way to ingratitude.

It is my hope that we will approach the weeks ahead with an eye for and heart full of gratitude:  That our homes and families will be strengthened by expressions of heartfelt thanks; and that we like Grandmother Mynoa, will experience a happy heart, born of a thankful heart.

Carol Soelberg is a former president of United Families International and currently directs UFI’s chapter development programs.  Carol and her husband, Glade, are the parents of 13 children – you guess how many grandchildren they have!  Carol has been an unparalleled and eloquent voice for motherhood and family around the world.

 Research on “The Science of Gratitude”

Happy Thanksgiving 1Grateful students reported higher grades, more life satisfaction, better social integration and less envy and depression than their peers who were less thankful and more materialistic. Additionally, feelings of gratitude had a more powerful impact on the students’ lives overall than materialism.  Froh, Jeffrey J., et.al. (2011) Gratitude in Adolescence:  An Understudied Virtue. Journal of Happiness Studies.

Those who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, had fewer health complaints, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events. Emmons, R. A., McCullough, M. A. (2003) Counting Blessings versus Burdens:  An Experimental Investigation of Gratitude and Subjective Well-Being in Daily Life.  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(2), 377-389.

“[F]amilies who are able to redefine a stressor event more positively appear to be better able to cope and adapt.” Price, S.J., Price, C.A., McKenry, P.C., (2010). Families & Change, Coping with Stressful Events and Transitions. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE publications, Inc

In a sample of adults with neuromuscular disease, a 21-day gratitude intervention resulted in greater amounts of high energy positive moods, a greater sense of feeling connected to others, more optimistic ratings of one’s life, and better sleep duration and sleep quality, relative to a control group. Emmons, R. A., et. al. (2003), Dimensions and Perspectives of Gratitude. University of California, Davis.

Newlyweds who showed gratitude for one’s partner improved marital satisfaction and adjustment.  Schramm, D. G., Marshall, J. P., Harris, V., & Lee, T. R. (2005). After ‘I do’: The newlywed transition. Marriage & Family Review, 38(1), 45-67.

“Feelings of gratitude and generosity are helpful in solidifying our relationships with people we care about, and benefit to the one giving as well as the one on the receiving end.”  Everyday gratitude serves an important relationship maintenance mechanism in close relationships, acting as a booster shot to the relationship.  Algoe, S. A., Gable, S. A., Maisel, N.C. (2010), It’s the Little Things: Everyday Gratitude as a Booster Shot for Romantic Relationships.  Personal Relationships, 17, 217-233.

Gratitude improves one’s feeling that life is manageable and meaningful.  Lambert, N. M., Graham, S. M., Fincham, F. D., & Stillman, T. F. (2009). A changed perspective: How gratitude can affect sense of coherence through positive reframing. The Journal Of Positive Psychology, 4(6), 461-470.

People with a strong disposition toward gratitude have the capacity to be empathic and to take the perspective of others.  They are rated as more generous and more helpful by people in their social networks. McCullough, M. E., Emmons, R. A., Tsang, J. (2002), The Grateful Disposition: A Conceptual and Empirical Topography. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 82(1), 112-127.

Feeling and expressing gratitude significantly predicted marital happiness among long-term married couples. Gordon, C. L., Arnette, R. M., & Smith, R. E. (2011). Have you thanked your spouse today?: Felt and expressed gratitude among married couples. Personality And Individual Differences, 50(3), 339-343.

Grateful people report higher levels of positive emotions, life satisfaction, vitality, optimism and lower levels of depression and stress.  The disposition toward gratitude appears to enhance pleasant feeling states more than it diminishes unpleasant emotions.  Grateful people do not deny or ignore the negative aspects of life. Emmons, R. A., et. al. (2003), Dimensions and Perspectives of Gratitude. University of California, Davis.

Participants who expressed gratitude to their partner for 3 weeks saw greater strength in their relationship. Lambert, N. M., Clark, M. S., Durtschi, J., Fincham, F. D., & Graham, S. M. (2010). Benefits of expressing gratitude: Expressing gratitude to a partner changes one’s view of the relationship. Psychological Science, 21(4), 574-580.

Gratitude is associated with higher satisfaction with life and lower materialism.  Lambert, N. M., Fincham, F. D., Stillman, T. F., & Dean, L. R. (2009). More gratitude, less materialism: The mediating role of life satisfaction. The Journal Of Positive Psychology, 4(1), 32-42.

Pornography: Endangering Matrimony

In Uncategorized on August 25, 2015 at 2:22 pm

pornBy Tashara Carnahan

The Story Has Become Commonplace

I couldn’t breathe. My world started to spin around me, frantically, closing me in at all sides. No, I thought, this can’t be happening. This can’t be real. My eyes burned from holding back the salty tears that threatened to fall at any second. How did I not know? How could I have been so blind? How could he do this to me? To our marriage? To our family? Fear and anger swelled within my being. I’ve been betrayed, I thought, bitterly, he cheated on me. He cheated on me without even leaving the house.

The façade had gone on long enough. I was tired of pretending that everything was fine, when it obviously was not. I was tired of feeling broken, not good enough, and unappealing. I was going to confront my husband about his addiction to pornography, and we were going to make things right. We were going to salvage our marriage.

My experience of having a husband with a pornography addiction isn’t uncommon. As much as I would love to say that it is, in reality, it’s getting more and more common everyday. The average age that a child is first exposed to pornography is age 11.[1] That’s a child who hasn’t even entered middle school! In addition to the shockingly low age, there are also a shockingly high number of viewers. There were roughly 14.7 billion visitors to Pornhub, the most popular pornography website, in 2013.2 With that kind of popularity two years ago, imagine where those numbers are at today! And that’s not even counting all the other pornography websites available!

Face the Facts

In 2000, a study was done to address the problem of compulsive internet pornography use, and to bring to light how that behavior affected the partner and children of the user. A survey was sent out to the partners of the addicts asking about the effects of pornography on their partners and their efforts in fixing the problems, either by themselves or as a couple. It also asked about the effects that they personally felt by the addict’s use of pornography.

17.6% of survey respondents reported that their partner’s pornography use had progressed to live encounters with other people, such as chat rooms, visits with prostitutes, and affairs. Many spouses said that their partners did not believe they had a problem or weren’t motivated to do anything about it if they did recognize it as a problem. Because of this refusal to recognize the problem or go to counseling, many spouses separated, divorced or were planning to leave. Many significant others described “some combinations of devastation, hurt, betrayal, loss of self-esteem, mistrust, suspicion, fear, and a lack of intimacy in their relationship…feeling sexually inadequate or feeling unattractive and even ugly, doubt one’s judgment and even sanity, severe depression, and, in two cases, hospitalization for suicidality.”

Another study was done to measure the correlation between pornography exposure and family values. By the end of the study, the researchers concluded that exposure to pornography made the subjects “more accepting of premarital, extramarital, and extracohabitational sexual engagements” compared to the controlled group. The exposed group also accepted the idea of nonexclusivity more than the control group, and compared to perceived notions regarding married couples held by the control group, the exposed group believed that married couples were less faithful and engaged in more affairs. After the consumption of pornography, “fewer persons considered marriage an essential institution” and 36% considered marriage to be obsolete and abandoned eventually compared to the 15% of participants in the control group. The desire to have children was also decreased after exposure to pornography (65% compared to 77.7% in the control group).4

Why Does It Matter?

family on hikeIf this is the kind of reaction pornography use is having on marriages (emotionally abusing partners, accepting the practices of marital affairs and premarital sex, as well as having a lesser desire to get married and have children because users don’t view it as important), then pornography is a huge threat to children and families. Marriage will become just a piece of paper instead of an institution based on love, mutual respect, and commitment, making it so children won’t be born into a home with married parents, if they’re even born at all.

What’s even more of a threat are those who speak up about the “good” effects that pornography can have for your relationships. These are they who claim pornography leaves couples happier and in better relationships with higher levels of satisfaction and lower levels of distress when their partner is honest about their pornography use and they view it together. They say that “couples who engage in watching porn together and have a mutual agreement on what’s considered to be acceptable pornography are more likely to have thriving relationships because of their level of honesty and communication.”5

Now What?

So, what can we do? How can we combat a $13.3 billion industry6 that continues to make the very videos that are sucking people into their addictive vices? How can we combat the claims that say pornography is actually healthy for marriages and relationships?

We can fight for policies that crack down on explicit websites. We can fight for policies that will help addicts receive the necessary help to recovery. We can fight for policies that educate the public on the destructive nature of pornography from actual studies that have been done.

We can keep raising our voices for change. Because if we don’t, who will?

My husband and I ended up going through the process of recovery from his pornography addiction. It was hard and taxing, but so worth it. Are there still times when I feel those same hurt emotions I had after discovering my husband’s addiction? Yes, there are. But it’s not nearly as often as the relief and grateful feelings I feel for getting the help that we both needed in order to heal and rebuild our marriage. Recovery is possible for anyone and everyone, not just me.

Tashara CarnahanTashara Carnahan is a wife and mother of one, as well as a student at Brigham Young University-Idaho with a passion for family advocacy. She started to become more aware of family matters that are happening in our world once her own daughter was born and felt inspired to share her findings with others. She enjoys reading, writing, and defending the family, as well as encouraging those around her to do the same.

[1] http://unitedfamilies.org/default.asp?contentID=34

2 http://www.pornhub.com/insights/pornhub-2013-year-in-review

3 Schneider, J. P. (2000). Effects of cybersex addiction on the family: Results of a survey. Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity: The Journal of Treatment and Prevention, 7(1-2): 31-58. doi: 10.1080/10720160008400206

4 http://search.proquest.com.byui.idm.oclc.org/docview/1300082250/citation/AF3F04FF735F4CFBPQ/1?accountid =9817

5 http://www.medicaldaily.com/why-couples-who-confess-watching-porn-are-happier-and-have-better-relationships-266505

6 http://www.covenanteyes.com/2012/06/01/how-big-is-the-pornography-industry-in-the-united-states/


Pornography Negatively Impacts All Ages

In Uncategorized on August 6, 2015 at 4:36 pm

pornography harms 1By Natasha Rasaka

Growing Up

Babies grow up becoming terrible at two, leave for the very first day of school at five, and can read a book by age seven. Around 12 years of age the baby you used to have is really a young adult and could by now have developed a very dangerous and terrible disease. The symptoms of this disease are numerous, including greater acceptance of sexual permissiveness, sex at an earlier age, negative attitudes toward women, less commitment to family and school or careers, minimal social bonding, and sexual disorder and dysfunction. This disease is pornography. Pornography is a very serious, habit-forming, life-altering, and damaging disease.

Adulthood and Marriage

Sheila Hageman changed her name to Kyrie at the age of 18 when she became a stripper. She said that she become obsessed with her body at the age of 12 right after her parents divorced. It was at this time she came across a trunk-full of her father’s pornography hidden in the basement. The pictures showed women in erotic poses. To Sheila this showed her what she could do with her body to please men. She would go back to the basement often and kept looking to see more of what her body could do. She was hooked on pornography. Anorexia became her way of life wanting to be perfect and beautiful. She knew that there were more important things than her looks but she was obsessed because of the pornography. “I thought that [pretty looks] would bring me the love I longed for,” she said.

Not only is the person directly involved with viewing pornography affected but the effects spread to the whole family and to society. In the story about Sheila, her father’s use of pornography led her to be exposed to sexual images, leading her to become insecure, anorexic, and eventually making herself a play thing for the boys and men around her. Other teenagers who view pornography often have sex at an earlier age. This can lead to babies conceived and born to teenagers placing a heavy burden on the family and often on society. Pregnancy in a young mother causes health concerns both physically and emotionally for the mother and unborn baby.

Another symptom of viewing pornography is the negativity toward women. Women become an object to those who view pornography instead of a person with feelings and needs. Wives of men with pornography addictions have insecurities that they don’t measure up. One woman said after finding out about her husband’s addiction, “Sex was always warped; I felt fat, ugly, worthless.” Other women are so hurt by their husband’s pornography use they experience severe trauma and exhibit symptoms of anger, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and uncontrollable crying.


Focus on the Family outlines how pornography becomes addictive. Early and multiple exposure to pornography hook your child. Then escalation happens as viewing pornography becomes more frequently and is more graphic and violent until they become desensitized. At this point it becomes harder to get a peak physical experience that releases chemicals in the brain like drug addiction would. Becoming addicted to pornography happens from the same changes in the brain with all addictions. The brain rewires to accommodate the extra chemicals given and then needs even more chemicals to get the same high feeling as they first had. This leads to a dangerous situation where the child begins acting out what he has seen which is often violent, abnormal, and deviant sexual behavior.

Be a Protector

You must find the right way to protect your children from this disease of pornography. Do not allow the use of it by anyone in your home. Put blocks on your computer and devices with internet always keeping them in public, high traffic areas. Do not allow your child to take this poison into their bedrooms or bathrooms. Check history and pay attention to missing time on the history in all the internet browsers. Use passwords for the computer and internet if necessary. Make specific rules everyone in the house knows, understands, and follows. Do not make exceptions.

There really is a problem

Maybe you believe your kid would never be susceptible to this disease. Consider thefollowing:

  • 93 percent of boys and 62 percent of girls are exposed to internet pornography before the age of 18.
  • 83 percent of boys have seen group sex on the internet.
  • 79 percent of accidental exposures to internet porn among kids take place in the home.
  • Only three percent of pornographic websites require age verification.
  • The average age a child first sees internet pornography is 11.

No matter what is done, pornography can still enter your homes. The Youth Pornography Addiction Center gives some behaviors of teenager with an addiction problem: a tendency to isolate self and stay up late at night on the internet, depression, irritability, anger and over protectiveness of their technology. It is possible that teens can keep their addiction a secret. It may be only when repeated attempts to stop viewing pornography have failed that they start to show these behaviors more obviously. Pay attention to these warning signs from your child.

Do something

Remember that moment you first held your little one in your arms. Any disease so debilitating as an addiction to pornography is something to keep far away from any loved one, but there is no sure way to keep pornography out of the home and still have the conveniences of today’s society. Family Lives gives advice about helping children with an addiction to this poison.  Children do want to talk about their problems. They must be taught the difference between realistic sex and sensational sex. Ask your children what they think about pornography. Get a conversation started and then listen. You probably don’t want to start a conversation by saying, “when I was your age…” because children will stop listening. Try not to over-react if you find your kids viewing pornography, even if your religious principles are offended. A car ride can sometimes help to keep both parents and children to stay calm as they talk. Being calm is better when trying to help our children because it shows love and concern instead of anger.

Be Proactive!

Imagine if your 12-year-old broke his leg. Putting a Band-Aid on a broken leg is not going to help it or change anything. But a cast will keep those bones set in place and not moving so the bone can heal effectively. Use a figurative cast to fix this problem.  Parents need to be educated on the problem; recognize the signs, then actively engage and assist in the healing process. Wishful thinking won’t make a porn problem go away.

Most beneficial for your children and family would be never to allow the poison to enter your lives. If it is too late and not possible for dear little ones never to start, it is the responsibility of parents to help them stop. Talk to your children and then listen and then listen some more. Counsel and be attentive to your little ones at every step. Remember pornography is a horrible, engulfing, addictive, life-altering, dangerous disease and remember to do your part to keep it out or get it out of your child’s and family’s lives.

Natasha RasakaNatasha Rasaka is a student at Brigham Young University – Idaho.  She and her husband, Brandon, are the parents of two young children.  Natasha is interested in family advocacy – helping to make the family safe, healthy, and helpful for the children involved.


In Uncategorized on May 21, 2015 at 4:21 pm

norman rockwell paintingby Vanessa Duersch

Early settlers to the American continent were not privileged to have the high quality telephones, paper printing methods, medicine, transportation, or even the fancy internet abilities to watch HD movies on Youtube. The best conveniences that they could speak for was the switchboard, horse and wagons, hand-sewn clothing, alcohol as a painkiller, and the printing press; just to project an overall image. We glance back at all the museums that seek to preserve and recreate what our ancestors had. No doubt that they may find themselves jealous at what conveniences we can enjoy today. No more days of harvesting, butchering, and trapping your own sustenance. There were many things that made life different than what it is today. Families had to work hard together to obtain so many things that technology has replaced for us today. It seems that while technology has come as a blessing in our lives to take care of us, it is hard to imagine that a quality of life was lost and forgotten with the changing culture of technological toys.

There is so much to learn from the elder family generations that led up to your existence. They may not have been the early pioneers, but they teach so much about how modern technology has boomed since they were growing up. When discussing how life differs to now, it becomes clear that they loved their lives of hard work and accomplishment and they were very sure of themselves on what the most important things in life were. Aunts, uncles and grandparents love telling their fascinating stories about being farmers during The Great Depression and how things were when they were lucky to have a radio. For them, that was enough for their childhood. Families worked hard and became closely bonded beyond what families seem to have today. After work, there was always playtime. They would play games like CAT, Annie Annie Over, Spoons or just go swim in the creek on a hot day. During the winter seasons, they would gather around a fire and read stories, listen to the radio, or just play music and dance. Couples would enjoy a nice walk and a picnic, or go on sleigh rides in the winter under a starry sky.  Everyone was involved and working together, bonding or reflecting on what is important to them-without the modern technologies squelching any chance of them shutting out one another.

You don’t have to throw out all modern technology and live in a cave for the rest of your life; but be able to know what your top priorities are in your life without the distractions of technology. Do your children know how to bake a sheet of cookies? Who is the best local family doctor when your kids get sick? Does your spouse know how to change the oil, change a diaper or soothe a crying baby? Do you know when your child is being bullied at school? How about what unique traits are hidden behind each special, strange, wonderful and quirky member of your family? What makes them happy? What makes them tick? How do they feel about their lives? Who are they? Do they know that you love them and think they are important to you? If you can’t answer the questions that show you care, then it is not too late to become your family’s hero. Get off the couch, turn off the smartphones, tvs and computers and take them somewhere beautiful, full of fresh air, water and trees. Be patient, and you might be amazed at what you learn.

Words from the Recently Engaged

In Uncategorized on May 20, 2015 at 8:18 am

happy couple 3by Tashica Jacobson

Two months ago I said “yes” to the biggest decisions of my life, and now both my fiancé and I are extremely happy. But with this one “yes” the wedding planning piñata blew up in my face, and now I’m wading through endless wedding planning, coordinating around everyone’s schedules, and counting down the days. There are many times, amid the stress, I have to stop and remind myself that this “yes” was also the start of us building our future family together and me personally living the things for which I’ve been advocating.

I’ve been told the benefits of marriage over and over again, and could list several of them, but as I look towards my own marriage things take on a different meaning. It’s not an accumulation of research papers any more, it’s life. I will be the one exemplifying what a marriage looks like for my friends and family, and what I accomplish with my marriage will influence many of them more than what anyone else will say.

When I review the progression of our relationship a study from the National Marriage Project comes to mind. They reported that premarital relationships influence marriage quality. In other words the patterns that a couple sets before marriage will continue to affect their relationship once married. One of the items listed is “sliding vs. deciding.” Sliding is when the development of a relationship happens without any real definite decisions. It may seem old fashion, but our relationship progressed with definite decisions. We have clear dates for the stages of our relationship. He announced his interest, we started officially dating, and we got engaged. Each step happened because we both decided to move to the next, the lines were not blurred.

All this has allowed me to look at the patterns that we have set for ourselves and what it is I hope to accomplish with our marriage. As we have started to make our plans I am realizing how important it is to be upfront with each other and create a strong foundation for the family we are going to have in the future.

A commitment to the community

One study discussed the importance of the wedding. Those with a larger public wedding report higher levels of marriage quality. While many factors play into this, one being that a public marriage shows a clear public commitment to one another. In The Case for Marriage, Maggie Gallagher argues that marriage is more than a private decision. She states “when you marry, the public commitment you make changes the way you think about yourself and your beloved; it changes the way you act and think about the future; and it changes how other people and other institutions treat you as well” (p. 43)

John Gottman’s quote “happy marriages are based on a deep friendship,” (p 19), makes me realize the foundation couples need to be developing. Friendship is what keeps couples together as they deal with the stress of daily challenges, and I like to think that this is what we have for each other and what we will continue to develop.  For example, he is the first person I want to tell when something silly happens at work. I find myself caring about things I never thought I would, simply because he cares about them. We were friends before we even started dating, and he’s someone I have always thought the world of.

The thing that I’m most in awe about is that this is the start of our own family. The other day I brought up a fear of having a child, and my concern that we get pregnant before we were planning for it. His response to this was, “That wouldn’t be a bad thing. I’m marrying you because I want to someday have a family with you, and if that happens sooner rather than later we will survive and it will be a good thing.” It is marvelous to see that as much as I love him now, I know that part of the love for him comes because I know we are going to grow together. Marriage is more than just the couple, it will extend for generations and the pattern that we establish now, will influence them.

It was once told to me that marriage was just doubling all of your problems, and that may be true. We are going to have to deal with my stubbornness and his forgetfulness; the fact I typically can’t stand movies, but he can name all the new releases for the year; his spending habits and my being a tight wad. We’re going to have to deal with groceries, insurance, children, health care, extended family, pets, dental visits, employment, and the lists goes on and on. But I wouldn’t want it any other way. I want to plan my life with someone who has just as much invested in those plans as I do.

Marriage is the basis for everything that I care about and advocate for, and now it’s becoming real for me. While I realize that I’m naive when it comes to the challenges and problems that we are going to face, I know that it is all going to be worth it; and that marriage will make us better, just as it makes society better.


Gallagher, M., & Waite, L. J. (2000). The case for marriage. New York, NY: Broadway Books.

Gottman, J. M., & Silver, N. (1999). The seven principles for making marriage work. New York, NY: Three Rivers Press.

Rhoades, G. K., & Stanley, S. M. (2014) Before I do: what do premarital experiences have to do with marital quality among today’s young adults. The National Marriage Project.

The Best Moral Code!

In Uncategorized on May 19, 2015 at 7:42 am

Dennis PragerThe following is an interview with Dennis Prager, a nationally syndicated radio talk show host, columnist, author, conductor, and public speaker. His insights on the importance of living our lives by the Ten Commandments makes this well worth the read…


How Honest Are You?

In Uncategorized on May 18, 2015 at 8:44 am
mother and daughter talkingby Rebecca Mallory
 “Honesty is the best policy” is a famous proverb written by Benjamin Franklin. Even Wikipedia says that “Honesty refers to a facet of moral character and connotes positive and virtuous attributes such as integrity, truthfulness, and straightforwardness, including straightforwardness of conduct, along with the absence of lying, cheating, theft, etc.” Furthermore, honesty means being trustworthy, loyal, fair.” It’s so much easier to just be honest in the first place rather than having to back track, recall what you said to whom in what situation, and then possibly get caught anyway. People don’t trust you then.  Trust is very fragile and fickle and hard to regain.
If this is true, why do we see such a void of honesty today? Perhaps because often, honesty is the hardest policy. We’ve all heard stories, or experienced ourselves, being caught in a web of deceit or lies that made us feel uncomfortable or got us in even bigger trouble. What’s the big deal with honesty? In today’s world where so many high-profile celebrities and politicians are anything but honest, how do we protect our children and teach them right from wrong?
Back in the 50’s and 60’s, children were taught right and wrong which was then reinforced at church and at school. Children were punished for treating each other unkindly, taking things that were not their own, or punished for cheating on tests and other assignments. Fast forward to today where churches are losing members because of the persecution of religious beliefs and dishonesty is often rewarded or ignored because “we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings or single them out by embarrassing them.” This is a destructive and backward policy. People, old and young, need to be held accountable for their actions. Embarrassment and shame are natural consequences of bad behavior. That’s how they learn, that’s how they progress and become valuable members of a successful and well-functioning society. Everyone makes mistakes but we need to learn from those mistakes, however painful. Honesty should be a basic principle that parents and teachers revere and hold in high priority. If you love your children, teach them honesty. Today’s public schools have reverted from teaching values and morals. Ridiculous. It makes no sense to me.
I recently read a story about a large family growing up in the mid-west. They had little money. The father, in order to keep his children safe in the yard, strung a large rope around the perimeter and made each child promise that they would not cross that rope for any reason without permission, which they all did. One day they were playing with a ball which flew over that rope and landed well beyond. Later, their uncle came to visit and saw the children lined up looking longingly at that ball. They had never considered breaking their promise to their father to retrieve the ball. Their uncle was impressed to say the least!

What would you have done? What would I have done? After all, either you’re honest, or your not. There is no in between. It is sobering when you look at it as a black and white issue especially in a society where “50 shades of grey” is the disappointing norm. Seemingly small stories like this one absolutely pale in comparison to the horrific displays of criminal dishonesty that we have all witnessed from NFL stars and politicians vying for the nation’s top office. “Winning at all cost” is cried from the rooftops of almost all venues. It doesn’t matter if you cheat, lie, steal, or even cause pain or death to others as long as you win and, of course, have a great team of lawyers who can get you off just in case you get caught.

We all watched in horror at the events in Ferguson, MO, and Baltimore as criminals were allowed and almost encouraged to loot and destroy property because of their supposed disadvantaged lot in life. What a horrible way to treat people! To expect despicable behavior from anyone should be condemned by every living person. Why not do our best to lift them up and give them hope and encouragement? Expect honesty! Yet the “go to” band-aid is to throw more money at impoverished communities. Here again, dishonesty prevails as much of these funds never make it to the streets to help those who need it most. Google for yourself where the billions of dollars that we’re allocated to Baltimore from the stimulus in 2008 actually ended up.
It’s criminal.
So here’s your only chance for survival, America. Be honest in all you do. If you see that the paper towels at the bottom of your grocery cart were not paid for, take your children back in to the store and let them watch you pay for it. If not, you’re stealing it. (Plus the look on the clerk’s face will be priceless!) Teach your children to be honest in everything they do. Teaching by example is a most powerful tool, as they watch and mimic your every move. The temptation to take the easy road of cheating, lying, and stealing is alluring. Especially when they see celebrities and even their own peers getting away with it. Teach them that what’s even more alluring is being respected and revered by all because they can be trusted. Just weigh the results of each.  Which will help them most in the long run? Our world is starving for honest and forthright men and women. Let’s you and I be those people. Let’s consciously raise the next generation to rise above a dishonest and depraved society. Hey! I guess honesty is the best policy!

Could the Supreme Court End Religious Freedom

In Uncategorized on May 15, 2015 at 10:31 am

supreme court in rainbow colorsby Gary Boyd

For many years, large numbers of Christians have put their religious belief to work through countless humanitarian projects at home as well as abroad. Though believers in Christianity, they have, to this point, taken the role of pacifism in the culture war.

John Inazu, associate professor of law and political science at Washington University School of Law, opines that Christians who have involved themselves in good works, but have not taken a clear stand on societal issues that effect religious freedom, may well be pulled into the fight. The catalyzing event would be the Supreme Court’s anticipated June ruling on same-sex marriage, depending both on the decision, and how the decision is written.

Douglas Laycock, a law professor at the University of Virginia, while arguing in favor of same-sex marriage, also expressed concern in an amicus brief to the Supreme Court about the ramifications that would certainly surface if the Supreme Court rules in favor of same-sex marriage in all 50 states. The broad effect would leave no aspect of daily business involving Christian nonprofits and church’s untouched. Mr. Laycock’s brief makes concise summary of the potential situation:

Must pastors, priests, and rabbis provide religious marriage counseling to same-sex couples? Must religious colleges provide married student housing to same-sex couples? Must churches and synagogues employ spouses in same-sex marriages, even though such employees would be persistently and publicly flouting the religious teachings they would be hired to promote? Must religious organizations provide spousal fringe benefits to the same-sex spouses of any such employees they do hire? Must religious social-service agencies place children for adoption with same-sex couples? Already, Catholic Charities in Illinois, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia have closed their adoption units because of this issue.

“Religious colleges, summer camps, day care centers, retreat houses, counseling centers, meeting halls, and adoption agencies may be sued under public accommodations laws for refusing to offer their facilities or services to same-sex couples. Or they may be penalized by loss of licensing, accreditation, government contracts, access to public facilities, or tax exemption.

While June is still a month away, and no decision has yet been made, those concerned about religious freedom should be concerned, particularly organizations that could potentially be sued out of existence, and should start considering what services they will still continue to provide, and what measures they will take to maintain the integrity between their beliefs and practices.

Free Speech no More

In Uncategorized on May 13, 2015 at 6:20 am

First Amendment on Trialby Diane Robertson

Two hundred forty years ago, there were tens of thousands ready to give their very lives for freedom. With God on their side, and a sacrifice of blood, they were able to bring freedom to the world. Today on the very land hallowed by their sacrifice, millions upon millions of people cower at being called names, and those freedoms that men bled and died for will be taken away without a single shot fired.

On May 9th, Alliance Defending Freedom, posted a warning to the American people on their Facebook page. They wrote:

“Americans need to prepare for the same sort of surveillance-society if the Supreme Court rules to ban marriage as a male-female institution. It means that no matter what you believe, the government will be free to regulate your speech, your writing, your associations, and whether or not you may express your conscience.

Americans also need to understand that the endgame for some in the LGBT rights movement involves centralized state power—and the end of First Amendment freedoms.”

This prefaced an article making its way around the web. Canadian citizen, Dawn Stefanowicz, wrote about the changes gay marriage has initially made in the Canadian government and society. She wrote it as a warning to the American people who may be facing a sweeping ruling from the US Supreme Court ordering the nation to legalize gay marriage. I summarized this in an earlier article titled: 3 Ways Gay Marriage Has Changed Canada. Since gay marriage became legalized in Canada, the citizens can no longer speak freely about homosexuality without legal consequences. They may no longer write blogs, newspaper articles, or anything that speaks against gay marriage, homosexuality, or the laws governing marriage and family. Parental rights are trampled upon and the government justifies intervening in how parents teach their children about religion and sexuality. Churches are loosely monitored for any public teachings that include the common religious beliefs on homosexuality and marriage. Canada is now under a surveillance-society. There is no right to conscience and there is no freedom that allows Canadian citizens to disagree with gay marriage or homosexuality.

To keep the United States government from ever making laws that would trample upon the natural rights of the people and destroy all that the soldiers fought for in the Revelutionary War, James Madison penned these words:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

After more than two hundred years of freedoms guaranteed by the sacrifice of blood given freely by our founding fathers, we have come to a point where these freedoms may be done away. And why? Because too many people, too many American citizens, cowered and watched silently, as they eroded. Guns did not need to be pointed, too many have given up their freedom simply because they could not stand up against words.


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