Family and Personal

How I Decided to Marry a Divorced Man

Remarriage after divorce is one of those topics that can make otherwise “good” Christians become prickly, self-righteous, or downright vindictive.…

How I Learned to Love Well

While learning to love well is a life-long process, loving well was something I was privileged to deeply experience with…

My Grateful List

Today is Thanksgiving in the United States. Scientific research, countless personal stories, and good old common sense demonstrate that being…
He needs you to need him

He Needs You to Need Him

This one is for wives only. (I know; you may read this even if you’re not a wife.) But here’s…
You Warmed My Heart

You Warmed My Heart!

Last week we sent out our 2019 Reader Survey. Hundreds and hundreds of you answered. THANK YOU for warming my…
My Favorite Things

A Few of My Favorite Things

It’s Christmastime! No, Jesus was not born on December 25. But this remembrance of His birth is a worthy time…
First Year Alone

A Widow’s First Year Alone

In some sense “widow’s first year alone” is deeply false. I’m not really alone. I never have been, and I…

How to Know God as your Husband

There’s that Scripture you know should mean more to you: “Your Maker is your husband.” (Isaiah 54:5) But you’re just…
Al Tanksley

Declaring the Death of Death

This weekend we laid my wonderful husband Al Tanksley to rest. Although my heart is broken, my spirit is determined…
Doing the next right thing

Doing the Next Right Thing

You’ve probably heard the adage, “Just do the next right thing.” In the midst of confusion or overwhelm, it’s a…

A Big THANK YOU!

Those of us in the United States have just celebrated Thanksgiving. For many, it was a day for food, family,…

How Shall We Then Live?

Yesterday we celebrated Easter in remembrance of when Jesus rose from the dead, never to die again. The historical evidence…

Who Should You Ask For Help

When you’re successful at doing it all on your own you’re left with feelings of accomplishment and pride. More often,…
Skydiving

13 Things On A Bucket List For Christians

Wanting to “kiss at the top of the Empire State Building,” or “learn to play guitar” may be great goals. But if you believe that God has a purpose for your life, there are some other things that should be on your “bucket list” for sure. Here are some things you don’t want to get to the end of your life without having accomplished:

What Would You Do If You KNEW What God Told You Was True?

I’ve read the Bible many times, but I still remember a Bible story book I had a child. It told the story of Jesus calming the storm on the Sea of Galilee (Mark 4:35-41). Fearing for their lives, the disciples were valiantly trying to save themselves and the boat. They awoke Jesus, asleep in the boat, who then stood and spoke to the wind and waves. “Peace, be still!” And everything became quiet.

Couple talking

How To Talk To Your Spouse About Sex

Sex can become one of the most contentious and painful aspects of a marriage. Or it can be one of the most affirming and bonding parts of your relationship. One of the best way to move sex from something you avoid to something you anticipate is through talking about it.

How To Begin Making The Bible Real To You

If you are like many Christians, the voice in your head may be telling you, “Read the Bible!”
I’ve heard that voice in my head too. Even though I read the Bible from the time I learned to read there have certainly been times in my life when it just didn’t happen.
I want to take away a little of the mystery and the overwhelm, and outline a few things that can give you the chance to experience how life-changing Scripture can truly be.

What’s Different After Good Friday?

How well I remember the Good Friday when everything changed for me. I had gone to church all my life, but something was terribly wrong. I knew a lot about God, but I didn’t know HIM. That night it all changed. It happened to be on a Good Friday when I met Jesus. Right then my spirit became alive, and everything else followed.

Unhappy wife

What To Do When Your Husband Wants Sex and You Don’t

I’m going to assume for a moment that you have a genuinely good man for a husband, not perfect, but one who truly wants to be good to you. You recognize that sex together as husband and wife is important to him, and you’d like to handle it better. Here are some things you can do.

The Message Of Your Life (Or, Why Nobody Likes To Eat With Me)

It’s almost become a joke: nobody likes to eat with Dr Carol! Almost without fail, when eating around me people comment about how they should be eating healthier, and try to convince me how they really are trying. I don’t breathe a word about healthy eating when we’re in public. I order what I want, right off the menu. And I don’t think they really believe him when Al tells them (truthfully!) that he’s lost all his weight without dieting once, or missing a meal.

Clasped hands

15 Ways To Help Someone Who’s Having A Bad Day

Having a bad day yourself is bad enough. But when your friend, spouse, child, or someone else close to you is having a bad day, that can almost be harder.
How can you help when someone is having a bad day? Your loved one will not appreciate it if you ignore them, pretend everything is OK, or get angry or upset yourself.
Here are some possible things you can do that WILL help:

Lonely heart

How God Can Heal Your Lonely Heart

You’re single, with no good prospects in sight. You’re lonely, and you want to do things God’s way. You long for someone to love, and to love you. So why isn’t God coming through with a spouse for you?
You’ve heard people talk about God meeting your heart’s needs, and intellectually you believe He can. But you’re lonely. Right now you want a God with “skin on.”

10 Steps to Spending Daily Time with God

You hear you “should” spend time with God daily. But how do you do that? How do you spend time with someone you can’t physically see or hear? What do you do during that time?
Just like a relationship with a person, your relationship with God can and should grow and change over time.
So here are some suggestions for how to make it work.

10 Things I Learned in 5 Years of Marriage

My husband Al and I recently celebrated our five-year anniversary. It’s been a wonderful five years, and I would say “I do” all over again knowing what I know now. God has blessed us with a very happy relationship.
But that doesn’t mean these past five years have been trouble-free. And it’s some of those challenges that have led to the closeness we increasingly share.
Here are some things I have learned during these five years, some of them expected and some unexpected:

5 Ways Being Single Helped Me Be Happily Married

I had given up on marriage. It just wasn’t for me. It’s not that I didn’t want to be married: I had hoped and prayed for years. By the time I was in my early forties I had come to terms with the fact that I would always be single.
Then God brought a wonderful man into my life. During my single years I learned a lot. It was that kind of growing up that has allowed me to be so happily married now.

How Do You Handle Stress?

In preparation for being part of a group I hope to work with, I underwent a behavioral interview this week. A behavioral interview focuses on such things as how you deal with people, how you handle situations you dislike, what excites and energizes you, and how you handle stress.
How DO you handle stress?
There are many different ways of handling stress. Here are a few:

5 Steps to a Fair Fight in Marriage

Two very different people get married and plan to “do life together” for the rest of their lives. Is it any wonder there are differences, even conflicts?
The more important thing is what you do when those differences arise. Fighting fair is a skill married couples need to practice, and one that some find difficult to learn.
In a fair fight, there are a few things to keep in mind:

When Broken Vows Break the Heart

Forsaking all others, keep yourself only for him (or her).” You said that, or something similar, in your marriage vows, didn’t…
Wedding rings

Preparing for Marriage Success

Ask a thirty-something single person, and you may well hear moans and groans about the lack of any suitable marriage partners anywhere on the horizon. But then ask the person who has experienced domestic violence, a heart-breaking divorce, or a chronically unhappy marriage full of conflict. They will tell you you’re much better off alone.
Before Al and I got married I heard two wise pieces of advice that can make a difference for anyone who is getting married:

You Know Your True Priorities When …

With all the talk about priorities, how do you know what yours truly are? It’s good to decide what you want your priorities to be. But the only way you know your true priorities is when they are tested.
My priorities have been tested this week. My husband became ill while I was out of town, and was hospitalized.

3 Benefits of Being Single

No little girl or little boy dreams of always being single. I was single for 48 years.
Living alone for all those years, I did learn some very important things about the single life. Whether you’re still single, newly single, or temporarily single, there are some real benefits to take advantage of.

Nobody Wants to be Healthy

I have assumed everyone wants to be healthy. But that’s not true!
The most powerful lifestyle changes come from the inside out. For most of us a desire to “be healthy” is too nebulous, too temporary, too easy to compromise. It takes something deeper.

Space between you

The Space Between You and Your Spouse

When your relationship began you probably felt you couldn’t get close enough.
Then life happens. Things change. Something comes between you and your spouse. You start to wonder what ever drew you together in the first place. How did this happen?
Al (my husband) and I have made a commitment to keep the ground between us clean.

Thanksgiving

When You Feel Anything but Grateful

Our world is messed up! And for that I’m NOT grateful. And you shouldn’t be either.
This week we will all see and hear everyone talking about what they are grateful for.
For some, the holiday season is only painful. Once in a while it helps to put our gratitude against the backdrop of what is truly dark in our world. Here’s a short list of a few things I’m NOT grateful for:

The Benefits of Healthy Investments

Investments come in all varieties. Financial, yes, but so much more. Little things you do today make a much bigger difference in your tomorrows.
We marvel at the accomplishments of well-known authors, thinkers, politicians, preachers, sports figures, artists, or entrepreneurs. But we usually only see the end result, not the investment of blood, sweat, and tears day after day, year after year.
Here are a few ways my “investments” have paid off:

Happy Anniversary! Five Steps to a Happy Marriage

First a disclaimer: I’m not sure there are ANY five steps that guarantee happiness in any area of life, let alone something as long-term and complicated as marriage. But I DO know that there are some things that can make or break the union of two people.
Four years ago today (as I write this) I married Al Tanksley, and I’m more in love now than on the day I said, “I do!”
Here are a few things I believe have made a critical difference in our marriage,

Growing Up Is Hard To Do

Our little granddaughter is a month old. Is there anything more precious? We’re told Madelyn will be the last one, so we as her grandparents treasure each moment just a little more.
A newborn baby is a full-time job. Mommy and Daddy do it gladly – at least most of the time! But their biggest job is working themselves out of a job, helping her grow to become thoughtful, loving, wise – and independent.
Growing up emotionally, relationally, and spiritually is often harder than growing up physically.

A Baby: God’s Opinion That the World Should Go On

As an OB-Gyn physician I’ve seen it many many times. A brand new baby comes into the world, takes that first cry, and begins the long journey of life with its ups and downs, joys and sorrows, and more than a little uncertainty.
But today you’ll have to excuse a few of my personal musings. This morning the youngest grandchild in our family entered the world much earlier than planned, but alive and well.

Step-Parenting for Adults

Parenting is forever. Sure, the details change through the years. And for the most part the load gets lighter. But children are always on your heart. You will ALWAYS be a mom or a dad.
And the same goes for step-parenting. Some of those realities have become especially clear to me recently. I married late in life – I was 48. My husband had two adult sons with families of their own. I became a step-mother under perhaps the easiest of possible circumstances. And yet there was still a very real process of adjustment in becoming a family.

Sad woman

When Only Tears Will Do

Last weekend I was around plenty of tears. This time they were not mine, but those of other women sharing their stories.
I had been invited to be part of a conference on domestic violence, addressing the emotional, physical, legal, and spiritual aspects of this terrible reality. During the final session the participants were invited to say whatever they wished, and they started sharing their stories.
And they cried!

A Time for Everything

The Byrds sang it: “A time to every purpose under heaven.”
I wonder how many people who still sing Turn! Turn! Turn! realize that the lyrics were taken essentially word-for-word from the Bible, Ecclesiastes ch. 3. It talks about a truth that those of us who live in this super-charged ultra-fast over-connected society often forget.

A Victim No Longer

Stuff happens. Life happens. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. And sometimes terrible things happen to innocent people –…

I HOPE I’ve Changed!

Change can feel threatening, especially to those looking on. I’m sure you’ve heard some variety of the saying, “The only…
Chocolate covered strawberries

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Love, romance, and Valentine’s Day.  Perhaps you are like many others, making the sellers of heart-shaped baloons, teddy bears, flowers, cards,…

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