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Ellis and Tyler

Mornings with Ellis, Tyler and Tracy…A positive way to start your day!

Today’s Positive Thoughts

Give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men.
Psalm 107:31 NIV

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18 NIV

Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
Hebrews10:24 NIV

Depression warning signs and understanding what to do about it

A special report from Dwight Bain


The Associated Press reported for decades that Oscar-winning actor Robin Williams struggled with clinical depression. He had won every award, had achieved fame, fortune and the status of a global celebrity. Yet, in interviews he described his life as a “meaningless struggle.” Fame will not make you feel better, and drugs or alcohol only numb the pain. He had trouble getting out of bed and was hospitalized or placed in treatment centers multiple times. But it didn’t change the outcome. Why? How come a talented man with so much to live for wasn’t able to reinvent his life to move past depression and what can we learn from his tragic death to help the people you care about?


I believe if you can talk through it – you can get through it, so talking about the subject of depression may lead thousands of others to take time out to evaluate their own lives, or the lives of those they care about. Depression affects children, teens, adults and seniors. The following special report and depression warning symptoms check lists can help you better understand depression, what often causes it and what to do about it. Remember, if you are experiencing overwhelming symptoms of depression that you will need to see a licensed medical or psychological professional for assistance because depression doesn’t get better by itself – but left untreated it can get much worse and often lead to a premature death.




Depression is more than sadness or having a ‘bad day.’ It is a long-lasting, often recurring illness as real and disabling as heart disease or arthritis, Adults who experience clinical depression may feel an oppressive sense of sadness, fatigue, and guilt. Performing on the job may be difficult … going out with friends may be unthinkable … merely getting out of bed may be impossible.  The person who has depression feels increasingly isolated from family and colleagues – helpless, worthless, and lost. This is why it is so important to reach out to be there for those you care about struggling with depression. Your presence can make all the difference.


Depression is a very common emotional condition.  In varying degrees of severity, it affects 6-10% of all U.S. adults, more than ten million people in any given six month period, according to the American Psychiatric Association.  At least one in five Americans will experience a major depressive episode during their lifetime, with women twice as likely to develop depression as men and remember that children and teens can also be at risk for depression.  Listen to the words of author Don Baker as he describes his own journey through depression.


It is impossible for those that have never been depressed to fully understand the deep, perplexing pain that depression causes.  For four years I appeared healthy, without bandages and without crutches.  There were no visible scars, no bleeding, and yet there was the endless, indefinable pain that no doctor’s probing fingers could locate- no drug could totally relieve. There was always the pain and along with it the desire for oblivion- that would only come in restless snatches of restless sleep.  I seemed to be out of touch with reality.  Life was a blur, often out of focus.  My life seemed to be nothing but pretense and fantasy.  No one really cared, I felt-not even God.  The only solution-at times-seemed to be suicide.  To be told that Christians never get depressed only pushed me deeper into my black hole of depression.  The way out of that black hole was a long and painful process- one that required the sensitive and insightful counsel of a friend… friends can help you through it, and God can use it to enhance and enrich your life.   –Don Baker, from the book, “Depression”





If you or a person you know has exhibited four or more of the following symptoms for more than two weeks, professional help should be considered:


  •      Sleeping too much or too little
  •      Frequent wakening in the middle of the night
  •      Eating too much or too little
  •      Inability to function at work or school
  •      Headaches, digestive disorders, nausea, pain with no medical              basis
  •      Excessive crying
  •      Thoughts of death or suicide
  •      Lack of energy, constant fatigue
  •      Slowed thinking
  •      Difficulty in concentrating, remembering, making decisions
  •      Loss of interest in daily activities
  •      Loss of sex drive
  •      Persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety, hopelessness
  •      Restlessness, agitation, irritability
  •      Feelings of inappropriate guilt or worthlessness





We know that depression results from an interaction of several factors – environmental, biological, and genetic.


Environmental Factors.  Stress resulting from the loss of a job, death of a family member, divorce, or ongoing health or family problems can trigger depression.


Biological Factors.  Depression may also be tied to disturbances in the biochemicals that regulate mood and activity. These biochemicals, called neurotransmitters, are substances that carry impulses or messages between nerve cells in the brain. An imbalance in the amount or activity of neurotransmitters can cause major disruptions in thought, emotion and behavior. Some people develop depression as a reaction to other biological factors such as chronic pain, medications, hypothyroidism or other medical illnesses.


Genetic Factors.  Because depression appears to be linked to certain biological factors, people can inherit a predisposition to develop depression.  In fact, 25 percent of those people with depression have a relative with some form of this illness.




Doctors know more about depression than perhaps any other emotional illness.  Because of research and medical advancements, 80 to 90 percent of those with a depressive disorder can be treated successfully.


Evaluation.  A complete evaluation with a qualified professional is the first step in seeking treatment.  Only a licensed physician or psychologist can diagnose a person with a psychiatric disorder.  During the diagnostic evaluation, the physician or psychologist will determine if any other factors are contributing to or even causing the depressive symptoms.


Professional counseling.  Various psychotherapies, cognitive behavioral therapy or “talk therapies” commonly used in the treatment of depression focus on the causes and effects of the illness.  Interpersonal therapy helps people deal with problems in personal relationships.  Cognitive therapy helps patients change negative thoughts or perceptions, such as high achievers who are convinced they are failures.




The purpose of this checklist is to help you assess patterns of depression. There are no good or bad answers — only honest ones. Please answer Yes or No to each question as it applies to you.


_____ 1.       Do you feel sad or “empty” much of the time?

_____ 2.       Do you find yourself becoming irritable and quick tempered?

_____ 3.       Have you lost interest in ordinary activities?

_____ 4.       Do you find it hard to get out of bed in the morning?

_____ 5.       Do you tire easily?

_____ 6.       Is it becoming increasingly difficult to focus or concentrate?

_____ 7.       Have you gained or lost weight recently?

_____ 8.       Do you find yourself crying frequently or more easily?

_____ 9.       Do you feel anxious or tearful much of the time?

_____10.      Are you having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or waking up                                            early in the morning?

_____11.      Do you feel guilty or overly responsible for others?

_____12.      Is your attitude more negative than it used to be?

_____13.      Are you overly critical of yourself or do you find yourself lacking?

_____14.      Do you feel taken for granted by family, friends, or other                                                         relationships?

_____15.      Are you increasingly impatient with your children?

_____16.      Does your work day stretch on endlessly?

_____17.      Do you have thoughts about dying or death?

_____18.      Have you started drinking or using drugs to dull your pain or have                                           previous habits worsened?

_____19.      Do you sometimes feel that other people are criticizing or talking                                             about you?

_____20.      Do you find yourself experiencing headaches? Stomach aches?

Muscle pain?  Chronic aches and pains?

_____21.      Have you tried to hurt yourself or put yourself in dangerous                                                     situations?

_____22.      Is there a past history of depression for you or another family                                                           member?

_____23.      Do you find it hard to make decisions about everyday matters?

_____24.      Are you pulling away from family and friends and spending much of

your time alone?

_____25.      Have you lost interest in your sexual relationship?


If you found yourself answering “yes” to more than a few of these questions, it may be time to reach out for help. Remember- Depression doesn’t go away by itself or get better if left alone – it only gets worse. Please don’t let the people you care about suffer with depression alone – be there for them.




  •      People who have a family member with depression
  •      People who have experienced a stressful or traumatic life event
  •      People who lack the social support of a spouse, friends, and                extended family
  •      People who abuse drugs and alcohol
  •      People who have chronic medical illnesses or persistent pain




  •      Remember, your depression is not your fault and it can be                   effectively treated.


  •      Seek treatment.  Don’t let misconceptions about emotional illness or the      discouragement of your depression stop you.  Either on your own, or by      asking a friend or family member, contact your family doctor, community      mental health center, or local medical or psychiatric hospital for help.


  •      In the weeks until treatment becomes effective, you can take some      simple           steps to help you deal with life on a day-to-day basis:  Break large tasks         into small steps; set easily managed priorities; participate in light exercise      and relatively undemanding social activities, such as attending a movie or visiting a friend.  Simply being with others can be helpful.




  •      Encourage treatment.  Remember that the symptoms of depression may      prevent a person from trying to get help. Your           personal physician, mental     health center, or local psychiatric hospital will be able to help you find a      treatment specialist.


  •      Adjust your expectations and offer support, understanding, and


  •      Demonstrate that you know the person is in pain.


  •      When the person says or does something upsetting because of the      depression, try to put your reaction into calm, reasonable words.  This will      help the person understand how his or her conduct affects others, and      help you better cope with a trying situation.




How do you know it someone is depressed?


  • Appearance – sad face, slow movements, unkempt look
  • Unhappy Feelings – feeling sad, hopeless, discouraged or listless
  • Negative Thoughts – “I’m a failure!” “I’m no good!” “No one cares about me”
  • Reduced Activity – “I just sit around and mope” “Doing anything is just too much of an effort”
  • People Problems – “I don’t want anybody to see me” “I feel so lonely”
  • Guilt and Low Self-esteem – “It’s all my fault” “I should be punished”
  • Physical Problems – sleeping problems, weight loss or gain, decreased sexual interest or headaches

Suicidal Thoughts or Wishes – “I’d be better off dead!” “I wonder if it hurts to die”


If the warning signs and symptoms of depression sound like you or someone you care about, it may be time to reach out for some professional help. Call a hotline, speak to a pastor, chaplain or counselor. Don’t go through depression alone.




Reach out for help … because the more you learn about depression, the better you will understand that it has specific causes and effective treatments.  And like any illness, depression can affect anyone at any time.


By reaching out for information you can recognize the signs and symptoms of depression.  That knowledge may someday allow you to help someone get the treatment he or she needs to live a healthy and fulfilling life.



Behavioral Strategies to overcome Depression


  • Make a short “To Do” list of activities you can succeed at today
  • Think of ways you can improve your health
  • Ask for what you want – you might get it!
  • If your health allows, run, jog, walk or swim with a friend
  • Help someone else who is less fortunate
  • Make play a high priority – remember “Laughter is the best medicine”
  • Reach out and touch someone else.  Join a ball club or a homemaker club.                  Reach out to someone who is lonely.  Give away a dozen friendly smiles.
  • List the ways you belittle yourself
  • List the ways you can let go of your depression
  • Answer these questions: Do I really want to change?  What benefits do I get for being depressed?  What does it do for me?  What payoffs would I get if I let go of my depression?  If I was not depressed what would I be doing?
  • Ask yourself, “What do I need that I am not getting?”  Often the basis for our feeling depressed is the fact that we do not like ourselves.  And what we need to do is start liking ourselves.  Find one thing you like about yourself and think about it.  If you have trouble with that think about the fact that you are still alive.  You have come this far in life. You are still here.  You have a purpose in life – and as you find it you will find greater meaning and strength – so keep walking toward the kind of life you want to have and don’t stop.
  • Get busy doing things you enjoy, like being with a friend
  • Make a “stroke” file.  It is almost certain that at some time in your life people said they liked something about you.  Jot down that positive stroke on a scrap of paper and put it in a box or file.  Add any letters or cards from people who let you know they appreciate you. You can add to your collection at any time.  Then, when you feel down, look in your stroke file and let yourself enjoy the compliments you have received from others.
  • Make a list of things you like about yourself.  Think about and enjoy your positive assets and accomplishments.
  • Pamper yourself. Give yourself some pamper time.
  • Take a soothing hot bath for 30 minutes while listening to your favorite music.
  • Take a leisurely walk.
  • Lie down under a tree and experience your oneness with nature.
  • Have a cup of hot tea.
  • Bake some cookies.
  • Go for a walk with a pet or friend.


And remember to pray for guidance. You are not alone in battling depression. God will be there for you if you call out to him. Thanks for reading and remember to share this important information with others. Thank you.


Breaking Out of Summertime Stress

by Dwight Bain

“Life should be easier this summer, so what am I doing wrong?” Was the hectic plea of a stressed out mom I talked to recently. She was facing what millions of other moms go through. It’s the middle of the summer without set schedules or routines, yet it is still one of the most stressful times of the year. Ever wonder why extended family time away from school or work can lead to greater conflict and tension?

First, realize you are not in a Disney movie. Summertime is like any other season of the year. It has a different temperature pattern, but that doesn’t mean it will be any happier. In fact, if you are facing financial challenges it can be harder since there are increased childcare costs, summer camp tuition fees and more meals eaten in the car between events. The traditional school year isn’t easy, but it is predictable, and from a budget perspective is often less stressful than trying to keep up with the continual obligations of summer. For people in high conflict relationships the relaxed schedule means more time to fight. It’s like they have more fireworks in their home every day than the fourth of July. Verbal violence is wrong no matter who starts it and extra time with greater financial pressure can lead to a continual battle. If you are in an abusive relationship don’t wait for it to get better – because it won’t. Call for help now.

Second, remember you are the parent and you set the tone for your summertime expectations. If you try to keep up with everyone’s fabulous vacation, or travel over to meet another family at the beach, or go to the movies to see every summer blockbuster, or go boating with the neighbors, or attend every barbeque and picnic you will stay broke and tired. Trying to live out the expectations of someone on a reality TV show will only cause disappointment. Figure out the schedule and budget you can responsibly manage during the summer and stick to it. Breaking the bank and losing sleep to be like everyone else will only exhaust you. Besides – everyone else is probably lying about how fantastic their lives are, which is why they may brag so much about their fantastic lives. If someone is constantly telling you how wonderful their life is – it could be a cover up. Either way, live your life, within your means to avoid the comparison game of beating someone else.

Next meditate on the words of Jesus, who once told his disciples to “Come apart and rest for a while.” This simple wisdom is essential to avoid summertime stress. Finding times of peaceful rest will take you from seeking family entertainment, (theme parks, go-cart tracks, movies, putt-putt, cruises, and the cross-country trek to visit “Wallyworld”), to move over to a deeper and more meaningful process of building family experiences. Face the reality that children rarely will remember spending money on something trendy, but will always remember catching fireflies, or making s’mores on the grill, or playing Lego’s because a thunderstorm knocked out the electricity. Creating a family experience involves time and creativity – not cash. But be warned, once you experience the laughter and peace of just being together as a family without all the distractions of expensive entertainment – you will never be able to go back to being a group of strangers who try to avoid one another with the latest, greatest event because active connection with the people you love trumps passive observation of another meaningless event. One engages your family, (think of tubing down river together – it’s not expensive, but it is a powerful memory that creates more connection than watching the latest Transformers film), while the other allows them to escape real family connection.

Finally, get back on schedule. One of the sources of summertime stress is being off your regular routine. Sleep the same, get up at the same time, and go do free stuff, (like story time at your public library), instead of sitting home watching TV. There are many subtle stress producing emotions that come from sitting and being bored, or worse, discouraged by how ‘perfect’ everyone on television seems to have it. Stop it! Turn off continual TV and it’s temptations or distractions, (same goes for Facebook), to get up, go out and live life – instead of staying inside and watching others live their lives on the small screen.

You don’t have to stay stressed this summer – but you do have to make the decision to be different. Start by changing your schedule to be out and about with activities that matter. Then move forward to have real conversations with the people in your life. This could be the best season for those you care about if you make the decision to break out of summertime stress to push toward meaningful relationship. Moving from relationship fireworks to relationship friendship is a good trade- and when you make it, you will be glad you did.


About the Author –  Dwight Bain helps people rewrite their story to move from stress to satisfaction. He is a Nationally Certified Counselor, Certified Life Coach and Family Law Mediator in practice since 1984 with a focus on solving crisis events and managing major change. Bain partners with media, major corporations and non-profit organizations to make a positive difference in our culture. Access more counseling and coaching resources designed to save you time by solving stressful situations by visiting his counseling blog with over 800 complimentary articles and special reports atwww.LifeWorksGroup.org

Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group weekly eNews, (Copyright, 2004-2014), To receive this valuable counseling resource every week, visit www.LifeWorksGroup.org or call 407-647-7005


Nomophobia Changed My Life

Yep, it finally happened to me. 12 days ago I dropped my iPhone into water and experienced “Nomophobia” which is the phobic reaction to being without your cell phone, (no-mo-mobile-phone-phobia).

For the first time in my adult life I don’t have a mobile phone, and for the first time in a long time I wasn’t able to talk/text/FB/Instagram/Tweet/Post or watch baby panda’s sneeze on YouTube. (Don’t judge until you’ve seen this adorable video).  Oh, and I found out that while my phone was dead, I’m actually more alive. Here’s what I’ve noticed during these days of technology detox and full scale withdrawal. A lot of people are seriously addicted to their smart phones and sadly, I was one of them.

There are a series of very clever YouTube videos about the dumb things people do with smart phones, (missing the love of their life, not seeing cash right in front of them, running into trees, buildings, traffic, trains, all because they were watching their phone instead of their feet), and while they are funny – the truth they illustrate is quite sad. Our culture is addicted to smart media – and that’s quite dumb. One study found that 7 in 10 people are actually afraid to lose or be separated from their mobile phones. Dr. Leslie Perlow from Harvard Business School did some pioneer research on the addictive nature of mobile technology and discovered from 1600 respondents that –

70% check their smart phone within one hour of getting up.
56% check their phone within an hour of going to sleep.
48% check over the weekend, including on Friday and Saturday nights.
51% check continuously during vacation.
44% said they would experience “a great deal of anxiety” if they lost their phone and couldn’t replace it for a week.

In fact, a study commissioned by Nokia discovered the average cellular phone user can’t ignore their phone for more than 6 minutes and check their phone for updates150 times per day!

While this may seem excessive, think about how many times you pick up your phone to check a text message, or email, or tweet, or Instagram or Facebook, or the weather report, or view your bank account balance. Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project found 56% of American adults now have smart phones while 36% have only basic mobile phones and 9% don’t own a cell phone at all.

Sadly, more than 50% admit to texting and driving, even though a Mythbuster’s controlled experiment showed this behavior was 6 times more dangerous than driving drunk. (Did you see the news story of the woman who posted, “So Happy listening to the Happy song,” on Facebook right before she had a car wreck from texting and driving and died at the scene of the crash).

Smart phones are more than just phones because for many people they represent a soul mate, a constant companion and source of connection to the world around them. According to a poll by SecurEnvoy, 70% of women have phone separation anxiety, (panic over the thought of losing their phone) as opposed to 61% of men.  Almost 75% of participants in the study indicated their smart phone is less than 5 feet from them at any given time. It’s like our culture is now more connected to their smart phone than they are to their own family.

So, how can you tell if your smartphone connection has become a full-blown addiction?

Here are the symptoms to watch out for in you or a loved one –

  • Feeling stressed worried or anxious whenever you don’t have your phone in your hand or sight, (like it was a small child that needed constant attention)
  • Continually checking your cellphone for new tweets/posts or the need to instantly respond to text messages
  • Not really listening to the person in front of you because you are “just checking a text” or posting a photo on Instagram or liking something on Pinterest, all of which directly say to the other person that Twitter was more important than them.
  • Running an errand and turning around because you left your phone on the charger. (what did we do at Publix before we had smartphones to scan and comparison shop? Oh, that’s right, we had to think ahead…Gotcha)

One of the elements of addictive behavior is the classic denial dynamic that thinks,“well, I might have a problem, but my problem isn’t as bad as your problem”. And while doing research on nomophobia came to understand I was in the denial group. Simply stated – it had become a way bigger problem than I ever realized.

Over the last week and half I’ve had time to write some letters, read 3 books and exercise more. I was able to go visit a friend and got more sleep. Where did all the time come from? You guessed it – not having a phone to continually check, monitor and respond to. It’s hard to admit it but I was way too connected to my mobile phone and was more stressed because of it. Here’s how I define cellphone stress.

S – Self-Absorbed

T- Tired

R – Rushed

E – Exhausted

– Serious

S – Solitude

The last one may seem unusual to you, but clinical research shows the more someone uses technology or social media, the less they are really connected to people. That’s right. MORE = LESS. More social media = less connection to real people . That’s a very bad trade, but one I’ve been guilty of making – How about you?

Anything can be abused to the point of dependence or addiction, including smartphones. It’s interesting to notice as culture becomes hungrier for smarter/faster technology to stay connected that cellphone-free zones are more common. Remember when restaurants and airports began to ban public smoking because it affected others? Now the same places are banning cellphone use by creating “Quiet Zones” and one chain even offers discounts for guests who deposit their mobile device with the hostess to pick up after their meal.

Maybe the rapid rise of smart phones that lead to dumb behavior, (for me wasting a lot of time), has reached a peak because there are national campaigns to get people to turn off their smartphones for a day, (Serenity Saturdays), I’ve heard that many spiritual leaders take an actual “Fast” from technology to better hear from God. What about the 9% of people in the US who don’t have cellphones? Interestingly enough they mostly don’t want them. Why? Because they have less stress from technology trying to steal the simplicity of their lives.  I define this type of minimalist change in these words to move away from stress and anxiety to a better quality of life. Not having a smart phone creates people who are –

S – Self-Aware

I – Insightful

M – Meditation

P – Peaceful

L – Listening

E- Experience Life

Losing a phone, (or having it stolen as the case might be), might make some people panic, but the experience gradually has given me a welcome respite to a simpler life. It’s been almost two weeks without the temptation to check messages at traffic lights. Instead I listen to music safe for the little ears on www.Zradio.com or audiobooks from the Library. I’m able to watch people in public places, or read another book on my Kindle. When our family watched a movie, I actually watched the movie, instead of checking the time or texts on the phone in my hand.

In short – my life is simpler with less stress. Nomophobia for me turned into Mo-Life-to-Enjoy. Maybe it will for you too. All it takes is a bathtub full of water.


(Update – since writing this article I did surrender to the voices around me that said no human could survive in today’s modern world without a cellphone… “It’s a safety issue” they assured. So I went back to the drawer of old technology and found a flip phone from 2009 and reactivated it. Works fine for calls and won’t play “Words with Friends”. Saves money and time over the smartphone. Simple.)

About the author- Dwight Bain is dedicated to helping people achieve greater results. He is a Nationally Certified Counselor and Certified Life Coach in practice since 1984 with a primary focus on solving crisis events and managing major change. 

Reprint Permission– If this article helped you, you are invited to share it with your own list at work or church, forward it to friends and family or post it on your own site or blog. Just leave it intact and do not alter in any way. Any links must remain in the article. Please include the following paragraph in your reprint. “Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group weekly eNews, (Copyright, 2004-2014), To subscribe to this valuable counseling and coaching resource visitwww.LifeWorksGroup.org or call 407-647-7005.


What My iPhone Stole From Me

by Christi Straub, MA, MBA
“The first thing I reach for the in morning. The last thing I say goodnight to before bed. Always within arms reach. If not, I search until I find it. How could I live without it? Present in all my moments—the stressful, the memorable, the mundane. An ever-constant presence. Dulling the pain, lulling my anxious heart, entertaining my brain, bringing brief happiness. Another alert, another scroll through a newsfeed, another email check, another “urgent” request for my attention.
My iPhone.   When I found out we were pregnant with baby Straub #2, I was elated; but quickly an odd sense of sadness set in. I realized my days with our first-born were numbered. Where had the time with Landon gone? I felt the pace of life picking up. The baby days were a blur. I mourned the losses I felt.
I didn’t hold him long enough. I didn’t watch him sleep, the gentle and beautiful rhythm of his little chest rising and falling. Did I take the time to see his perfectly formed little hands curl around mine as we read books? Did I notice the way his little eyelashes flutter with excitement over blowing bubbles? While he ran through the backyard with every ounce of power his little legs could muster—beaming with pride—I missed his look over to me silently asking, “Are you proud of me, Momma?”
The moments were slipping by, out from under me, as I was consumed by to-do lists and entertained by devices.
I was missing out on life. A precious little life that was real, alive, full, and joyful.
And it’s my iPhone’s fault. (Who am I kidding?)
I found myself making dinner off my iPhone, a recipe pinned from Pinterest, while Spotify plays in the background, while returning three texts to girlfriends, while scrolling through Instagram one more time—all while spending “quality time” with my little boy.
Good gracious, what happened to my life? No wonder the time with our son feels short-lived—it has been. In the name of “connection,” I’m shortening it.
I hear my husband often say, “Anything you cannot fast from, owns you”. If this is true, I am owned. Sadly, I see it happening all around me.
We’ve become master multitaskers—in the most unfortunate of ways. It’s literally changed our brains—our ability to settle, to play, to be still. To enjoy and be present in moments and in conversations with people.  Especially with our little ones. This epidemic is degrading our relationships, lulling us into screen life and out of real life.
When was the last time I considered the spiritual war raging for my heart and mind? When was the last time I thought of another scroll through Facebook as a celebratory win for the enemy?
Another few moments of life wasted. She’s lulled again.
Lulled into apathy. Lulled into amusement. Lulled into entertainment.
Those moments add up –hours, days, weeks, months, years of wasted life. Years of not living real life, something a sly and subtle enemy relishes – because we’re doing nothing to grow. Nothing to change the life of another. Nothing to widen our perspective, harden our hands, or soften our hearts.
We will never get back the time we waste on Pinterest, Facebook, or Instagram. Will you ever look back on your life and wish you’d seen another duck-lipped selfie or another friend’s vacation pictures through the Valencia filter?
Look back at your life this past week and tell me about the moments that mattered. The ones that made you feel real joy, belly laugh, and take a deep breath of thankfulness. The moments you’ll remember ten years from now. I doubt any of them happened on a screen.
I think our technology-laden generation is desperate to feel, to live, to love—but has been so lulled we know no better way. We’ve been lulled and duped and amused into a screen life existence.
Our kids are growing up just the same.
I saw it most clearly on a recent trip to Disney World. The most magical place on earth— filled with nonstop entertainment, color, lights, music and make-believe. Yet I was astonished to watch adults and children alike walking around zombie-like staring at their devices.
Apparently Disney World isn’t enough anymore. Constant stimulation, music, texting, sights, sounds, people, noise. Somehow, we need more.
Yet, somewhere deep inside, we know what we really need is less. Much less.
Less amusement. More musing.
Less entertainment. More creating.
Less sitting. More moving.
Less multitasking. More focus on one thing or better yet, one person.
Less watching. More reading.
Less texting. More talking.
Less screen time. More outdoor time.
Less comfort. More adventure.
Less apathy. More passion.
Less self-centeredness. More serving.
Less lulling. More living.
Less of me. More of you, God.
Are you living a screen-balanced life? Or is your iLife consuming your real life?
After seeing the need in ourselves and those around us, we created Are you Living a Screen Balanced Life? Screen Balance Quotient Test (SBQ) to help you assess how you’re balancing screen time. It’s totally free. Our desire is to come alongside you and your family as you take an honest look at how technology is affecting you personally, relationally, mentally, and spiritually.
To take the Screen-Balance Quotient Test (SBQ) click  http://www.joshuastraub.com/screen-balanced-test
Christi Straub, M.A., M.B.A. is a wife, momma, writer and speaker who blogs at meleea.com. Christi is the Co-Founder and Chief Operations Officer of the Connextion Group. Passionate about families in her generation, Christi desires to see women be real, thrive in their marriages and give themselves a break in their role as momma. With a background in kinesiology, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and marriage & family counseling, Christi is convinced that living a balanced life physically, emotionally, relationally and spiritually is essential to living life to the fullest. Her honesty, wittiness and transparency are contagious. Christi is “Mummy” to Landon, and married to her best friend, Josh.
Source –  http://www.joshuastraub.com/blog/what-my-iphone-stole-from-me  Used with permission of the author.

Living in Your Current Season

From Linda Werner

Recommended Resource:
Your Life in Rhythm, Bruce Miller


Main Points:
•  Release Expectations: this is the commitment to live well in the current season…not looking back…or wishing to go forward.  Depending on the season I must fully embrace where I am..

Seize Opportunities:  Colossians 4:5, “Make the most of every opportunity.”  Look for “Such a time as this” moments.

• Anticipate what is next: Anticipation breeds HOPE!


Chronos Seasons: Relate to Time

1. Pace Yourself:  Must be able to think and see the cycles of activities and then place them in your calendar.

2. Build Rituals: A ritual is a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order.

What are LIFE ENHANCING rituals?

•  Begin your day the night before – “The evening and morning were the first day.”  Gen. 1:5

•  Engage in conversations that bring life.

•  Family time

•  Early bedtime, no TV

•  24 hour Sabbath Rest

3. Oscillate between Work and Rest – Intensity and Renewal:  Ask yourself, “When am I at my best, and when do I need to rest? ”

“Stress is not the enemy, but uninterrupted stress is.” Jim Loehr

Money Can’t Buy Me Love

A relationship strengthening guide for intimate connections
By Dwight Bain

Can a stuffed animal with a romantic message solve a relationship problem? Nope. Neither can a trip to the jewelry store, boxes of chocolate, sappy cards, balloons or vases of expensive flowers… none of these can fix a distant, damaged or dying relationship. But the VASE can.  Let me explain why.

Relationships take work. There is no easy way to achieve closeness and connection on an intimate level without time, talking and gentle touch. It can’t be done. We’ve all seen the commercials about a couple having a romantic exchange in a restaurant as the waiter brings them a special dessert with a diamond ring attached to a note that says, “Marry me”.  But as a counselor of more than 30 years I can tell you if that couple were distant or detached from each other before they got to the restaurant the jewelry would only be a shiny trinket that didn’t repair hurt, selfishness or neglect. 

Expensive gift cannot fix relationship problems. They can cause debt, which complicates problems, (84% of couples report they fight over spending according to Money Magazine), or cause a momentary escape from what isn’t working in their relationship… but the old saying is true. “Money can’t buy me love.”

So what can you do to really connect to the one you care about? Get a VASE. Here’s why.

Stuffed teddy bears and expensive perfumes affect the senses- the VASE approach affects the soul. Tina Turner got it right when she sang, “What’s love got to do with it?” because the feeling of romantic love is a fickle and temporary emotion. Having a fun dinner date on your anniversary is special – but not as powerful as really connecting over a bowl of Cheerios every day. Lasting love is about going deeper and that’s what this process creates… lasting committed relationship instead of a temporary feeling of chemistry. Real relationship connection on the heart level will grow a relationship closer than anything offered for sale at Macys.

V.A.S.E. stands for VALUES, ACCOUNTABILITY, SILENCE, EXPECTATIONS and here’s how it works.

Values-  Most couples have never sat down and actually talked about their core values. They might be able to guess what their partner believes, but haven’t communicated these issues to one another.

When you find a safe place to discuss your belief system with the person you care about the most it creates a powerful connection on a deep emotional level. One that is stronger than anything you could ever buy at a store. When I know what my wife believes about life, kids, family, money, love, politics, fun, God and everything else important to her I know her on a heart level. And when I know her heart, I can actively work to meet her there. Knowing and respecting your partner’s values removes silly arguments and power struggles from the conversation because you are working together out of shared beliefs instead of working against each other.

A-Accountability This isn’t a word most people like and it definitely isn’t a word people seek out. It’s tough to have someone in your life who asks you the hard questions like. “Haven’t you had enough to drink?” or “How is eating that going to affect your diabetes?” or “Why did you close the computer when I came in here?” or “Can we afford to do this?” When someone asks you a tough question you either have to face the issue and answer it, or you have to get really, really mad at them for having the courage to speak up. You know what path most people choose. They would rather fight than be held to a standard of behavior… one that matches what they say they believe, (see core values section above for more on this).

S-Silence isn’t golden in relationships, it’s deadly. If you go silent on expressing your feelings, fears or future with the one you say you love there is nothing a cute card with a talking dog that makes it better. I know card shops exist for the purpose of saying what you don’t know how to say… but can I be your friend for a moment and say “get a life?” There is more information available today on how to communicate in a loving way with your partner than there ever has been in the history of the world. Books, webinars, seminars, podcasts, workshops, retreats, teleseminars, counseling, classes, YouTube clips, even old episodes of Dr. Phil have tips on how to connect verbally. Too many people spend $5 on a piece of recycled card stock that says what a copywriter in Kansas thinks about love instead of sitting down to express what they believe about the one they care about. Want a more powerful relationship connection? Learn to express love. It’s worth every penny you spend to the people who won’t have to guess how you feel about them because you took the step, (and the risk) to verbalize your heart.


E-Expectations lead to great joy or great pain, which is usually heartbreaking and it goes back to silence. Here’s why. Picture a woman who thinks this is the year her guy will remember their special day and take her to their special place. She tells her friends, her mother and her therapist that they are going to the bed and breakfast for a romantic getaway because she has been dropping hints for months that were so easy a caveman could figure it out. Problem is her guy isn’t a caveman – he’s a guy and men often aren’t listening carefully to what their lady may be saying. In fact if the relationship is distant he may not be listening at all. Expecting your intended to read your mind isn’t going to get you what you want, but it can cause some huge explosions of rage over misunderstanding. If you expect a physically exciting weekend and you get ESPN instead your feelings are going to be hurt – and you may have caused it. I know some people like the feeling of being surprised that their hints led to a temporary feeling of being special, but most of the time their hints set them up for hurt. Better is to learn to speak up about what you want in the relationship. If you want more romance – say so. If going to a particular movie is what you want to do– bring it up. If something is important to you learn to express it directly. This may take away the pleasant feeling of surprise, but will guarantee you won’t experience the painful feeling of shock that silent expectations always bring.

So how does this VASE formula help?

It takes the cultural feeling of romance being something that money can buy down to a practical level of relationship that is priceless. The Beatles were wrong on this one. Money can’t buy love, but VASE’s can.


About the Author – Dwight Bain is a Nationally Certified Counselor and Certified Life Coach who has been making a difference in people’s lives since 1984. Follow him online atwww.Facebook.com/DwightBain or @DwightBain

Big Dog Chili

Big Dog Chili

  • 3 dried red chili peppers
  • 1 pound ground breakfast sausage
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound 80-20 ground beef, coarse or chili grind
  • 4 cups Vidalia onion, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh Anaheim pepper, diced and seeds removed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced
  • 7½ tablespoons chili powder (Gebhardt preferred)
  • 1 tablespoon hot chili powder (Gebhardt preferred)
  • 3½ pounds chopped smoked beef brisket, lean cut
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • ½ tablespoon dried oregano
  • ¼ cup cumin
  • 1½ cups tomato sauce
  • 2 cups Rotel Original chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup corn tortilla chips, crushed
  • ½ tablespoon cayenne
  • 1½ tablespoons brown sugar


  • Fritos corn chips
  • Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Corn bread
  • Sour cream
  • Pickled jalapeños
  • Hot sauce


Add dried peppers to 1 cup water in a small saucepan.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer for about 30 minutes, or until peppers are soft.

Remove stems and puree in a blender with 2 tablespoons of liquid from pan.  Set aside.

Brown sausage in vegetable oil in a large stockpot over medium heat.  Remove meat with slotted spoon and set aside.  Add ground beef and brown; remove with slotted spoon and set aside.  In same pan, sauté peppers for 3 minutes  Add garlic and continue to sauté until onion is translucent, taking care not to brown the garlic.

Combine chili powders in small bowl.

Add brisket to stockpile with half of chili powder mix; cook for 15 minutes.  Stir in tomato sauce, Rotel tomatoes,  and dried-chili puree and continue to simmer for 15 minutes.

Stir in cooked ground beef, sausage, remaining chili powder, chicken stock, and crushed tortilla chips.  Cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes.  Stir in cayenne, brown sugar, and a pinch of cumin just before serving.

To serve, spoon chili over a handful of Fritos in a bowl, then top with cheddar cheese, crumbled corn bread, and a dollop of sour cream, pickled jalapeños, and a dash of hot sauce.

New Year, New You Worksheets


If you heard us talking about resolutions yesterday with our friend, Linda Werner, these worksheets might help you work through some of what she was talking about.  Take a look and then join us next Monday at 8:10 for more.

Goal Worksheet

Four Ps Worksheet

Follow Up to The New Year, New YOU Conversations

January 2014

The new-year brings many new desires, goals and resolutions.  We all have desires to be better, stronger, healthier, wiser, and more spiritual. But these desires will never be accomplished if we don’t take time to put a realistic, sustainable plan in place.

Every person’s desire must have picture of who they want to be. Based on that picture or desired end, goals can then be set and worked on.  That plan can be best accomplished when an individual aligns their plan to God’s heart.

What do you believe that GOD wants done in and through your life?

What are your passions and dreams?

What breaks your heart?

What do you feel compelled to give your life to that is bigger than yourself?

Based on your answers, what has GOD uniquely gifted you to do to meet the needs that burden you?

The answers to these questions could be the beginning of living life with a more intentional focus.  God has given us each the incredible opportunity to plan.  In the planning process there must always be recognition that it is the LORD who then will direct our steps.

Often times we can feel like we are not hearing the Lord.  I would ask this question, Could it be that your heart has not taken the time to plan?

Proverbs 16:9 says, A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.

Attached is a simple worksheet that I use to work through my thoughts, desires and plans.  My GOALS have become my God Ordained Activities for my Life.  When I see my goals in light of what I believe God wants done for His glory, I am motivated.

If you would like to know more about taking your desires and turning them into realistic plans, consider joining the Legacy Principles Five Month, Coffee Conversations as we take a look at living in 2014 FULLY ALIVE!


For More Information:


Linda Werner

Night of Joy 2014

Disney just announced the artist line up for Night of Joy 2014!  We’re so excited to share it with you!

Friday, September 5, 2014:

  • Hillsong United
  • Chris Tomlin
  • Matthew West
  • for KING & COUNTRY
  • Mandisa
  • Building 429
  • Matt Mahr
  • The Neverclaim

Saturday, September 6, 2014:

  • Skillet
  • Casting Crowns
  • MercyMe
  • Israel Houghton & New Breed
  • Colton Dixon
  • Rhett Walker
  • We As Human
  • One Girl Nation