A Birthday Gift for Jesus

A few years ago a friend shared with me an important part of how she celebrates Christmas every year. When…

The Baby Who Changed Everything

It’s almost Christmas. Children are eying presents under the tree. Adults are perhaps both tired and expectant. Church volunteers are…

Why Free Will?

Couldn’t God have created us all to automatically love Him? Why did sin ever come into existence? Why free will…

Why Can’t I Stop Sinning?

You’re still frequently angry and bitter. Curse words are still coming out of your mouth. You keep satisfying your sexual…

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.…

Love is NOT All You Need

If you’re over a certain age perhaps you can hear it in your head even now: “All you need is…
Single at Christmas

Single at Christmas

Christmas is only a few days away – and you’re alone. Well, not really alone, not totally. But you’re single.…

My Grateful List

Today is Thanksgiving in the United States. Scientific research, countless personal stories, and good old common sense demonstrate that being…

Are You Spiritually Healthy?

I hope you are. I really do! Hopefully your spiritual practices bring you joy and growth, you feel connected to…
prayers too small

Are Your Prayers Too Small?

If it seems as though God is not answering your prayers, it’s probably not because your prayers are too big.…
Experience Intimacy with God

How to Experience Intimacy with God

Some people are hyper-religious and super-spiritual – and obnoxious. If that’s what “intimacy with God” produces, who wants it? Others…
what intimacy with God means

What Intimacy with God Means

You’ve heard people talk about it. Perhaps it sounds a little weird, and at the same time something in your…
Digital Diet Causing Anxiety

Is your Digital Diet Causing Anxiety?

Feeling overwhelmed with life. Distracted without a sense of purpose. Overstressed and overanxious. Lonely, without close relationships. Unable to focus,…
Come out of Hiding

How to Come Out of Hiding

How we love to hide! It’s been that way ever since the Garden of Eden. (Genesis 3:8-10) Wounds create shame.…
marriage in the real world

Marriage in the Real World

The marriages you saw and experienced growing up were a mixture of good and bad. If your parents were happily…
creating a new marriage

Creating a New Marriage

Every marriage experiences mess-ups. It’s easy to get caught up in shame, blame, and misery. But taking the necessary steps…
OK to ask WHY

Is It OK to Ask WHY?

For as long as human beings have tried to survive in a sinful world they have asked WHY. The problem…
the SCENE in your marriage

The SCENE in your Marriage

Today’s Western culture is often less than helpful or friendly to long-term Christian marriage. Few believers would dispute that, and…
Antidote to self-doubt

The Antidote to Self-Doubt

What does the self-talk in your head sound like? What do you tell yourself? Perhaps like so many people you…
when you feel lonely

What to Do When You Feel Lonely

Pain is perhaps the loneliest thing in the world. That goes for emotional pain, physical pain, spiritual pain. It becomes…
Is Your Marriage an Idol?

Is Your Marriage an Idol?

God gave marriage to humankind as a good gift. But just like food, rest, pleasure, money, authority, or any other…
Who are you becoming?

Who Are You Becoming?

If you are the same person tomorrow as you are today, your life will pretty much be the same as…
All Belongs to God

It All Belongs to God Anyway

God’s in charge, right? Then why do bad things happen? We can’t fix things ourselves! But God has given humankind…
Jesus There With You

Take Jesus There With You

God doesn’t simply rain down healing or transformation from “on high.” Instead, He came to be with us. And in…
Find a Good Spouse

How to Find a Good Spouse

If you’re single and want to be married, you desire a good thing. Proverbs says, “He who finds a wife…
Keys to Lasting Love

Three Keys to Lasting Love

Valentine’s Day is coming up next week. If you’re a wife, you may be thinking, “I hope he remembers!” If…
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…
Christmas Story Reading

Our Christmas Gift to You

Perhaps you are celebrating Christmas with many friends and family, with food, presents, gifts, and perhaps football. Or perhaps you’re…
Loving Others

How Loving Others Changes You

Ask almost any Christian believer, and they will say Yes to the question, “Are you interested in becoming more like…
my spouse is cheating

Help! My Spouse is Cheating!

Among the possible sources of pain a spouse’s betrayal ranks as one of the worst. The person you expected to…
What Gratitude Does For You

What Gratitude Does For You

Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States. Many are gathering to celebrate with family, food, — and football. It’s…
Fake News or Good News

Fake News or Good News?

In the United States we’ve just been through a very contentious election cycle. There’s been a lot of talk about…
Intimacy in a fallen world

Intimacy in a Fallen World

How you do relationships is both a reflection of and the determining factor in the quality of your life. If…
Your Change, Your Choice

Your Change, Your Choice

The God who created you has treated you with amazing dignity by giving you the gift of choice. Your limited…
Different Ways to Pray

Different Ways to Pray

Prayer is talking with God. We develop prayer habits just like other habits. Perhaps you’re in the habit of sitting…
Is sex a need?

Is Sex a Need?

Oh my, we’re getting touchy! Perhaps even asking that question feels like sandpaper in the most sensitive parts of you.…
Can your feelings change?

Can Your Feelings Change?

Feelings color everything we do. Some feelings are wonderful. And sometimes worry, anger, loneliness, depression, irritation, overwhelm, fear, or other…
Speaking and Listening

You Spoke, We Listened

Last week we invited you to tell us a little about yourself, about your opinions around Dr Carol Ministries, and…
Help Me Help You

Help Me Help You

If there’s one thing that makes my heart sing, it’s connecting with YOU! And I want to do that even…
Listen for God's Voice

How to Listen for God’s Voice

We communicate with the people we care about. There’s no relationship without communication. It’s the same with you and God.…
Conversation

What is Your Communication Style?

Relationships can’t survive without communication. In marriage—the closest relationship on earth, communication breakdowns are both common and destructive. When asked,…
Warm Thank You

YOU Make All the Difference

Dear Friend, Counting your blessings is good for your physical, mental, and spiritual health. As 2017 comes to an end…
Dishonest businessman

Christians Behaving Badly

When someone complains about Christians behaving badly a common response is to admonish them to look to Jesus rather than…
submission in Christian marriage

Submission in Christian Marriage

Hear the words “submission” and “marriage” in the same sentence and you may feel something visceral rise up in your…
End of the Story

The End of the Story

The Bible as a true story, an epic play, a blockbuster movie, should come with a warning; Spoiler Alert! We’re…
Couple praying

How to Pray With Your Spouse

Praying together with your spouse can be one of the most intimate, healing, and meaningful aspects of your relationship. You…
Mother and daughter doing pushups

Love is not Wimpy

Say love and chances are your immediate mental picture is soft, squishy, and colored in pastels. If you’re over 40…
When is it Abuse?

When Is It Abuse?

God designed marriage to be a transformative, healing, growth-producing, fulfilling relationship full of intimacy and love. In our sinful messed-up…
Overcoming Fear and Anxiety Header

It’s Over on Tuesday!

Your opportunity to get the FREE bonuses for preordering Overcoming Fear and Anxiety through Spiritual Warfare lasts only until the…
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…
Child with Bible

Positive Thinking and the Bible

Is it magic? Is it “mind over matter?” Does faith mean white-knuckling it with positive thoughts and affirmations? What do you…
Sunrise

HOPE for the In-Between Times

The in-between times can often be one of the most challenging. The Christmas celebrations are over. The New Year is…

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…
Women's Health and Shame

Women’s Health and Shame

Women’s health topics bring up such strong emotions – “for” and “against” and everything in-between. By listening to some people you’d…
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…

Christmas Greeting 2015

I and all of us at Dr Carol Ministries want to wish you a very Merry Christmas! If you’re gathering…

A Big THANK YOU!

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

Christians, Christianity and War

“Christianity and war” seems like an oxymoron. But unless you’ve been in the jungle with no means of communication with…

Helping the Least of These

There’s a long-running commercial on television in the US that tries to raise money for an organization helping abused and…

This Is NOT God’s Will

Bad things are happening – to people you know, to Christians here and in other places, and perhaps to you…

Getting Over A Bad Attitude

A bad attitude isn’t all in your head. Sometimes it’s very much in your body as well. A bad attitude…

Helping the REAL Problem

Trying to fix spiritual problems with physical “fixes” doesn’t work. And trying to fix physical problems with spiritual activities rarely…

How God Makes A “Real Man”

God’s not done creating and recreating men, remember. God still needs your viril strength, your adventurous or creative spirit, and your protecting, leading presence. Yes, those dreams you had as a little boy do need to grow up. But don’t just let them go.

Couple Together

The One Thing That Will Make You IRRESISTIBLE To Your Wife

You don’t want to look outside the marriage for satisfaction, but sometimes you’re not sure how much longer you can put up with things the way they are.
But you won her heart once. Wouldn’t you like to do it again? Wouldn’t you like to be her Knight in Shining Armor? Wouldn’t you like for her to look at you the way she did when you first said, “I DO?”
Sure, you want her. You want the physical connection of sex. You want to feel like a man. But you also want more than that. You want her to want you!

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.

In Charge

10 Things God Has Put You In Charge Of

Try to take charge of what is in God’s hands, and you will become frustrated and anxious. Neglect to take charge of things God has placed in YOUR hands, and you will become depressed.
I’ve gotten confused over the difference many times, and perhaps you have too. Understanding the difference can change everything about your happiness, peace, and success in this world, and more.

Difficult People

How To Deal With Difficult People

Some people are impossibly difficult. At least for you. You can’t stand being around them. Every time you have to deal with them, you have a bad day.
If you’re a Christian, you may wonder what’s wrong with your spirituality when trying to deal with someone you can’t stand. Aren’t you supposed to love them? Isn’t that what Jesus would do?

“Why Don’t I Feel Like Praying?”

Some part of your heart believes you “should” pray. Prayer is a good thing. But you are struggling to find it in you to actually pray.
Does that mean you’re just not “spiritual enough?”
Not necessarily. God made us as whole, integrated human beings. Something that happens in one part of our lives may impact every other area. And that includes your spiritual energy.

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.”

Where Are YOU Looking For Love?

If you’re a single person, you’ve certainly been asked the question, How’s your love life?
As for the single life, I know what that’s like. During much of my single years I was decidedly unhappy about being single, and felt terribly lonely. But I did learn a lot. And I’d like to share two of those things with you.

Number One New Year’s Resolution: Losing Weight

Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions this year? If so, there’s a pretty good chance that losing weight is at the top of your list.
If weight is YOUR challenge, the costs are much more personal. You pay in ways such as decreased energy, self-esteem, or perhaps a sense of discrimination. I see women in my office regularly who break down in tears over their struggle with weight.
But now it’s a new year, and you’ve resolved to do something about it. And before taking any other action, I want you to think FIRST about what’s eating you!

You’re Not Afraid? I Don’t Believe You

You might say, “Nothing scares me.”
But I don’t believe you.
You and I are human. We have feelings. God made us that way.
The question is not, “Are you afraid?” The question is, “What are you afraid of?”
And even more importantly, “What are you going to do about it?”

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.

Weight loss

Does God care if you’re fat?

If approximately two thirds of Americans are overweight, and one third are obese, surely God has something to say about the situation.
Christian preachers and gospel singers have a reputation for being seriously overweight. Some data asserts that Christians are more frequently overweight than those of other religions, or no religion at all.
But again, what is God’s perspective on this?

5 Ways to Get Through the Holiday Season Happier and Healthier

Too much food. Too much stress. Too much spending. Too much drinking. Too much unhappy family time. No wonder many people start the new year heavier, unhappy, and in more debt.
There’s no holiday magic that gives you a free pass on what it takes to be healthy physically or mentally. The principles of healthy living apply during the next six weeks just as they do the rest of the year. It’s not too late to plan some better strategies.

When You Dread the Holidays

I have a friend who dreads this time of year. Come each November 15, he wishes he could fast-forward to January 2. The stress, the rush, the shopping, the expectations – he hates it all. And most of all, he hates being lonely.
There are a number of reasons why you might not look forward to Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s. Holidays make our normal vulnerabilities more apparent.
If that’s you, there’s one important thing you must do this holiday season.

MEMO: Getting Past Your Past

Have you ever felt really stuck? It feels like something big has its claws in your brain and you just can’t move. No matter how hard you try you can’t get rid of the baggage that is weighing you down and holding you back.
We all come with a past. Some of our baggage is stuff others have done to us. Some of our baggage is stuff we have done to ourselves.
But how do you get past all that? Here’s how:

How to Find the Freedom of Forgiveness

You’ve been wronged. Badly.
There comes a time after every such horrible wrong where you must make a decision. And it’s yours alone to make. You have only two choices. Do you remain hurt and miserable, or do the hard work of forgiveness.
Forgiveness sets you free. It does much more for the one doing the forgiving than the one needing to be forgiven.
Forgiveness is also one of the hardest things for most people to do. There’s a sweet misery in nursing your wounds. Having been hurt is a wonderful excuse for all kinds of bad behavior.

Why It Matters Who Is In Charge Of Your Life

“Who’s in charge around here?” That’s a very good question. For any endeavor to succeed, someone must take responsibility.
If your life is a project, or an expedition, or a book, who’s in charge? If you are playing a part in some great drama, who’s directing? It makes a difference.
There are three basic choices when it comes to who’s in charge:

Sapling

What Does Spiritual Maturity Look Like?

Just because you reach a certain birthday does not mean you are mature. And there is no area where that is more true than in matters of the heart and soul. But what does it mean to grow up spiritually?
You know people who are emotionally and spiritually children, even though they have lived many years.
Here’s what spiritual maturity would include:

How A Christian Faces Trouble and Tragedy

We live in a world where there is no shortage of trouble. And that trouble often presents a great challenge to our faith.
Perhaps it’s a natural disaster. Then there is the almost unspeakable violence both near and far. Or perhaps it is your own private trauma. When trouble happens, it’s normal to ask questions: Why me?
In the face of unexpected tragedy, the challenge to faith is real. When trouble comes, here are three things to do:

How To Influence Others for Christ Without Being Harmed

The people you hang out with have a big impact on your character. Values, attitudes, beliefs, habits – they are all very contagious! You may not even notice subtle changes in your own soul until you have changed more than you wish.
But didn’t Jesus call His followers salt and light? How can you influence others for His Kingdom if you’re not around them? You must get out of the saltshaker if your saltiness is to flavor anything.
How can you deal with this seeming conflict? How can you influence others positively without being corrupted yourself?

Healing From The Bondage Of Addiction

The numbers concerning addiction are truly staggering. And the problem is huge in the Christian church as well. But numbers tell little of the personal devastation caused by addiction. And the most devastating cost of all is to the soul of the person held in bondage by an addiction.
Yes, addiction is powerful. But as powerful as addiction is, there is ONE who is more powerful. There is ONE who is the Bondage Breaker, Jesus Himself. He has already gone to hell and back for you, and He offers you a way out.

Having a bad day

18 Things To Do When You’re Having A Bad Day

Sometimes it’s a bad hair day. And sometimes it’s a whole lot more than hair that’s going bad! Sometimes everything that can go wrong does go wrong, your stability feels threatened, and you’d just like to go away somewhere and forget everything.
When you’re having a really bad day, here are some suggestions on what to do. Choose one, or two, or three, and see if you don’t feel more able to get through the difficulty:

Disappointed

When You Are Disappointed in Your Marriage

You expect certain things of your spouse. But sometimes you want more. You believe your spouse loves you, but it’s not enough. You crave something you’re not getting. You want adventure, intimacy, emotional connection, time, trust, help around the house, more money, children, support, more sex – something more.
The only way to keep “wanting more” from coming between you and your spouse is to address the problem head on. If you feel you want more than you are getting from your spouse, here are the steps you can take:

10 Things To Look For In Your Friends

The people you align yourself with will determine your future, good or bad.
It’s important who your friends are. You become increasingly like the people you hang out with. Your attitudes, behaviors, and values naturally move closer to those of the people around you. It’s possible to know much about your future by looking at your friends.

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.

Woman in Meditation

Your Soul Gets Hungry! 5 Ways to Feed Your Inner Being

We need to eat every day. So does your soul. Sometimes a mental fast-food snack will keep your soul’s hunger at bay for a time. But you regularly need to bring some real nourishment to the deeper parts of you. Neglect doing so for too long, and you will become irritable, short-sighted, frustrated, angry, and ineffective.
Here are several possible ways to give your soul some gourmet nourishment:

Getting Your Spouse To Change

Marriage is risky! Expecting or demanding change from your spouse is likely to result in profound disappointment. Getting your spouse to change is very much like God’s work to change you and me.

Where Is Your Body Vulnerable?

Stress exacts a toll on your body, mind, and soul. But how your body responds is unique to you. The same outside stressor may create a very different reaction in your body than in mine.
If you are paying attention, your body will tell you when you need to take action to prevent further damage. Each of us has one or two body systems that are most vulnerable. Some common vulnerable areas are:

What Two Little Girls Running to School Can Teach About Spirituality

Two little girls were walking to school. It was a beautiful spring morning, and they took some time to enjoy the flowers and the fresh air.
Suddenly they realized that they had taken so long enjoying the flowers that they were going to be late for school. Soon the bell would ring, and they’d be marked tardy. Not wanting to get in trouble, the first little girl said to her friend, “Let’s kneel down right here and pray.”

10 Things A Woman Wants and Needs

If you’re a guy, you probably would do just about anything to impress your lady love, or win her heart.
But do you know what she really wants?
And if you’re a woman, do you recognize what your heart really wants – and needs?
In the deep parts of a woman’s soul most of us share these common needs.

Searching For The Fountain Of Youth

Even before Ponce de Leon spent his years searching Florida for the illusive fountain of youth, men and women have searched for ways to look and feel younger, and to keep from getting old. Most of us recognize that with maturity often comes wisdom, but we long for the freshness of youth.
Something in our soul understands that getting old, weak, and dependent is not our original destiny. Deep inside we sense that 70, 80, or even 90 years is not long enough.

Body

Women and Hormones: No Excuse!

A woman is beautiful, complicated, fascinating, strong, and loving. Much of a woman’s fascinating, complicated nature comes down to a woman and her hormones.
As a gynecologist, I see women at some of the most intimate and challenging times of their lives. And I’m honored to help. I’ve also seen some women use their hormones as an excuse for bad behavior.
Here are a few suggestions I make to women struggling with their hormones, and the men who love them:

The Ripple Effect: How One Lifestyle Change Creates Another

Making lifestyle change takes a lot of effort. And it can get discouraging at times. Setbacks are common. Your original motivation becomes cloudy. Is all that effort really worth it?
But when you start to notice benefits in other areas, it may be easier to find the motivation to stick with the change you know is important. Here are a few ripples that are easy to understand:

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:

2 Lessons to Guarantee You Will Have a Positive Impact

Part of you really wants to make a difference. You want your life to count for something. But how do you do that? In the middle of a busy life it can seem like most of what you do is fruitless.
So here are the two lessons that will guarantee you will have a positive impact on those who come after you:

Sad young woman

25 Messages Women Hear

Think of the messages you hear during an average evening. Some of them come in pictures, some in words, some in feelings. Here’s what they sound like:
1.You’re not young enough anymore.
2.You’re not pretty enough anymore..

What It Means To Be A Man

I’m a woman, and I’m talking to men about men. Sure, that’s a little dangerous, but here’s my perspective.
Men have challenges to face that our modern society perhaps makes even harder. Today’s jobs and today’s families often give men the message that they are unnecessary. And perhaps the church can be especially faulted for making a goal out of becoming a “Mr Nice Guy!”
But I believe that God created men the way they are on purpose.

5 Ways to Know if Your Faith is Working

Sometimes we all wonder if we’re doing this thing called Christianity right. Even if you are certain of Jesus as your Savior, what kind of difference should that be making in your life now? Do you have to be “super-Christian” to be successful? How do you know?
Checklists can be a little dangerous. But a spiritual checkup every now and then is helpful.

Why Miracles Don’t Happen In a Day

God can do amazing things. He just might step in and part the Red Sea for you. I’ve seen God do it. And it can be exhilarating! But what if it doesn’t? What if you wait – and wait, and wait?
It may well have taken a long time to get where you are now. And it may well take time to make things different.

What A Difference A Father Makes

We just passed Father’s Day. Many of you celebrated the memory or presence of a father who passed on a godly heritage, important values, and a readiness to take life on. Others of you were not celebrating: your earthly father was either absent, uninvolved, or abusive. One thing we all agree on – a father makes a difference!

Baby and father alseep

Sleep – Good for Your Body, Mind, and Soul

I’ve never especially liked going to bed. There’s so much to do.
We all know that our human bodies need sleep and rest. But that’s not all. Your mind, emotions, ability to handle stress, and how you relate to your children, spouse, God, and others are all affected.

How to Make Your Doctor Happy

One of the most common question I hear from most patients is, “Does my insurance cover this?” But why should some group of number crunchers on the other side of the country decide what happens between me and the woman sitting in front of me? It’s just wrong!
It’s a very different experience for me and my patient when there is no middle-man.

“Are We Playing God?”

It was a relatively common, simple medical procedure designed to help her get pregnant. Although it was somewhat uncomfortable for her,…

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…

Why Patients Care About My Faith

In just the last couple weeks I have been almost surprised at how many patients of mine have asked to talk about matters of faith. As a doctor I am privileged to touch people’s lives at very vulnerable times, and it’s at those times where faith makes a significant difference.
Here are a few vignettes:

Growing Up Without Regrets

Growing up has never been easy. But in today’s culture young people have more challenges to face than ever before, especially in the area of sexuality. The basic issues may be no different, but the speed of life and the multiple pressures teens face make the risks even greater.
A few sobering statistics:

Interruptions ARE Your Job

Look for the interruptions: they are your job security!
If you work with people in any capacity, expect to be interrupted. The only people who are not interrupted are hermits and prison inmates. You and I should be thankful for interruptions.
But think of these situations where interruptions are the whole reason your “job” exists:

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:

When It’s Time to Say Goodbye

Losing a loved one in death is one of life’s most difficult experiences. It’s something each one of us either already has or someday will go through. Knowing it will happen does not make it any less painful.
The journey of grief is just that – a journey.

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.

Seeing You from God’s Point of View

We’re not used to waiting. And we can get rather irritated when we have to do so.
God’s long term view is a whole order of magnitude larger than ours. Think of these Biblical examples of how long God’s friends sometimes had to wait for Him to fulfill what He had promised:

Couple talking

7 Conversation Starters with your Spouse

Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. Yes, that’s the secret of a great relationship. Although good communication between husband and wife is so important, it may not seem easy to do.
“But I have nothing to say. What do we talk about?”
That’s why you’re reading this! If things tend to be somewhat silent between you, here are some suggestions for conversation.

7 Benefits of Healthy Living Beyond Being Healthy

For many people, lessening the risk of disease or living longer is a rather boring, un-spectacular motivation for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Understanding more of the “other” benefits of healthy living can help us find more of the motivation necessary to actually make those healthy lifestyle choices. Here are some of those benefits.

Who is Your Role Model?

Suppose you had to choose a role model among contemporary Christians. Who would it be?
Take “Christian” completely out of the equation for a moment. Who would you choose to be your role model?
Now what is it you admire about these potential role models? We have too often equated being weak with being godly. And nothing could be farther from the truth!

What Your Lifestyle Can – and Can’t – Accomplish

Going to extremes is only human, but it’s not healthy. Many people have a difficult time finding a healthy balance in lifestyle choices.
On one extreme are those who throw caution to the wind. On the other extreme are those who wouldn’t eat a piece of bacon or a candy bar if they were starving. And then there are those who jump between those two extremes – with no better results.

Listening

Hearing God’s Voice

God speaks to us, and we can hear Him.
Is that really true? How can we know it’s Him? What does that look like?
I have learned some things about hearing His voice that make it much less confusing and more practical. Here are some characteristics of God’s voice:

Marriage in a Pressure Cooker

Marriage is under assault. And most of the “enemies” your marriage faces are very close to home. It’s possible to be so concerned with assaults from “out there” that we overlook the very real things that can weaken our marriage from the inside.

Nature or Nurture: Managing Your Genes

The more than 3 billion base pairs that make up the DNA in each of your body’s cells provide a blueprint for everything about you. But are you doomed to live out the results of whatever your parents passed on to you – good or bad?
The genetic package we are each left with simply means we have to work harder in some areas than others.

The Easter Story for Today

We call today Good Friday. But remember – the very first Good Friday was anything but good!
We know the end of the story. We know what happened Sunday morning. But imagine for a moment what it was like for those who loved Jesus on that Friday.
At moments like this there’s only one thing to say. In the words of the old gospel preacher: “It’s Friday. But Sunday’s coming!”

Business man

5 Reasons I’m Proud of My Husband

When the person who knows you best also thinks highly of you, it fills your heart like little else can.
If you are not used to praising your spouse, it may seem difficult to find honest reasons to praise him or her. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t there!
I do my best to remind my husband how proud I truly am of him. Here’s what I tell him:

Lifestyle

10 Tips for Losing Weight

Losing weight is one of the top resolutions people make every year, and yet one that people find hard to follow through on. The emotional, physical, and relationship cost of being overweight is heavy!
Here are some tips that I give to my patients when they want help to lose weight. I believe a lifestyle change is the safest, healthiest, and wisest way for most people to lose weight, but you may need some help along the way. Here are some tips to provide some of that help.

“God Is Your Father” – Good News or Bad?

If you’ve gone to church or read the Bible you’ve surely heard that God is your Father. You’re supposed to feel safe and secure knowing that. The thought of God as your Father is supposed to make you want to run into His arms with joy, knowing He will handle all your problems.
But does it really make you feel that way?

Couple in love

The Impact of Sex Outside the Bedroom

We get into trouble so easily over sex. For many it is the ultimate slippery slope.
The misuse of sex is a common denominator in a whole host of problems. Sex touches something very deep within us. There is probably no other area that so strongly impacts our sense of identity and value as sexuality does.

5 Different Kinds of Hunger

There is a difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger. Feeding emotional hunger with physical food may lessen the “Feed me!” screaming in your brain, but that only lasts a little while.
Understanding – and meeting – the different needs we have with appropriate “nourishment” will make a huge difference in our health and happiness.

The Journey From Being Squeezed to Thriving

We don’t like being squeezed! Just the thought of it is uncomfortable.
When some people get squeezed they become bitter, angry, and isolated. And other people take those times of being squeezed and leverage them into an opportunity for growth. What makes the difference?
Here are some critical steps that can take you from being squeezed to thriving on the other side.

Fast Food or Gourmet Meals – for the Soul

The average American eats fast food several times a week. Most of us realize that fast food is much less healthy than most food prepared and eaten at home.
We love fast food in other areas of our lives as well. We settle for fast food all too often, and miss the deep pleasure, satisfaction, and nourishment we really crave.

Asking Your Input: What Changes You?

Change is fascinating. The basic message of the gospel is one of change.
I’d like to know from your own experience what changes you. Perhaps your comment will be helpful to someone else.

4 Heart Reasons to Change

Any significant change in our habits, patterns of behavior, ways of thinking, or lifestyle is tough.
But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Doing something different will become easier and easier as new pathways are established in your brain.

Would Jesus be Conservative or Progressive?

The majority of the people I’ve been around during my life have been conservatives. On the other hand are the progressives. Both are sure they have God on their side.
If Jesus were here on earth today, would He be a conservative? Or a progressive? What WOULD Jesus do? It’s not such a simple answer after all.

People talking

5 Thoughts Before You Speak Harshly

Words can hurt! It takes real emotional and spiritual maturity to pause before speaking, and to consistently use our words for good and not for ill.
Thoughts affect words. The thoughts you think when your spouse frustrates you can dramatically affect what comes out of your mouth. Here are some questions to think about in that moment before speaking harshly.

The Ethics of a Christian Doctor

As an OB-Gyn physician I come face-to-face with the ethical edges of medical care perhaps more often than most.
Here are some principles I take seriously, and use when faced with challenging ethical decisions.

What God Will NOT Do For You

There are a few things God will not do for you. We human beings sometimes presume on God’s grace and think that will excuse our bad behavior.
So don’t be angry with God when you experience some “natural consequences.” Do seek God for His grace in changing your character.

Hands reaching

An Entitlement Mentality in Church

Our Western culture has incorporated an entitlement mentality into much of our lifestyle. I want to talk about how this entitlement mentality displays itself in the Christian community.
The entitlement mentality can show up in church when we feel “It’s all about me!”

The Gift of Your Transformation

There is real joy in giving. When someone we care about is in trouble it’s natural to want to help.
But your own transformation is the most powerful gift you can give to someone in trouble.

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.

Being REAL or Being Helpful

Do I share my feelings completely? ALL the time? Will it hurt other people if I do? If I don’t, will keeping secrets hurt me – or them? If I know this, shouldn’t I share the information?
So how can you know if this is a “secret” you should keep or not? Maturity, wisdom, counsel, and prayer are all very necessary for some of these tough decisions.

5 Tips for Getting Past the Drama

Just coming through the holidays, you may have experienced some family drama – as a couple I saw in my office had just been through. These tips may help you keep your sanity in crazy-making situations.

No More Conversation!

Talking is good. Communication is even better. Having a good conversation warms the hearts of friends and improves understanding when people disagree. But talk is cheap!
Waiting until there are no obstacles guarantees that nothing will be done and nothing will change.

Pain at Christmas, Part 2

The topic of painful holidays really touched a nerve with our readers/listeners! I wish you could see some of their responses.
There’s no magic wand to make those painful things go away, even for one day. But there are a few things that can help.

Run – or Pray?

As a physician and a minister I see both extremes: I see those who live an unhealthy lifestyle become frustrated, angry, or depressed when they experience the physical or emotional consequences of those behaviors, but they often seem empty spiritually.
I sometimes see others who try to live a wholesome lifestyle – natural foods, exercise, manage their stress, etc.,

5 Laws You CANNOT Make

One would think that legislators couldn’t come up with any more laws regulating anything else. Until they do!
Everything we do, every activity we touch, has laws controlling it.
Those laws, rules, and regulations we’ve become accustomed to. But then we get to some laws that are truly pushing the edge of sanity.

The Intimacy of Vulnerability

There are few things that bring two people closer together than vulnerability. Being physically, emotionally, or spiritually vulnerable with someone is a powerful force welding two hearts together.
Where two people of good will are in a relationship together, being vulnerable is one of the most intimate things they can do.
What does vulnerability look like in a relationship? Here are some ideas:

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 Anxiety

Anybody out there want to be anxious? Probably not.
Anxiety is a very unpleasant feeling. Your heart may race. Your stomach may be in knots. You may have trouble sleeping and trouble concentrating.
But there IS something very positive about anxiety. And that comes in the process of change.

Happy Farmer

5 Times to NOT Care What Anyone Thinks

I might not say it in quite those words, but it’s really true: “I don’t care what you think!” In fact it HAS to be true, or I’m no good to you or anybody else.
For a people-pleasing person like me, that conclusion is a hard one to come to.
Here are some specific situations where it’s important to NOT care others think:

Happy girl

Doctor, Doctor: Bitterness and Unforgiveness

Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.
That’s exactly what bitterness and unforgiveness does. It’s terribly toxic physically, not to mention emotionally and spiritually.

Married – and Lonely

My heart has been breaking. I’m sure it’s nothing new, but I’m hearing it a lot lately. Middle-aged and older women who are married – and desperately lonely.
As a gynecologist I’ve heard these sad comments from women I’ve seen just in the past couple weeks.
Don’t let that happen to you! Here are a few suggestions:

Things growing

5 Tips For Growing Up

Have you ever grown up in some significant way when everything was easy?
Probably not.
There’s the cliché that says, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” I don’t believe that’s always true. Sometimes trauma can stunt our growth: child abuse, rape, severe poverty, and others.
I DO know that the times when I’ve grown the most have definitely been some of the most difficult.

The End of Healthcare As We Know It?

I’m frustrated – in case you couldn’t tell from the title.
Our country has the best scientific innovation in the world. The rapid explosion of knowledge in genetics, pharmacology, bio-medical engineering – just to name a few – are enough to make anyone’s head spin.
And yet we aren’t living much longer. We aren’t living any healthier. And we spend about twice as much on healthcare per person as our friends in any other country.
I believe our country is rapidly moving toward a two-tier system in healthcare.

Hot Flashes, Power Surges, Grey Hair – and Wisdom

I’m getting old!
That’s a very subjective statement. I don’t feel old. And I do subscribe to the adage “You’re only as old as you feel.” Do I guess I’m not old.
As a gynecologist I speak with many middle-aged women about very personal things. Passing through the menopause transition is sometimes very emotionally challenging. Although freedom from the risks of pregnancy is usually a welcome change, issues of body image, desirability, mental and physical health, and multiple life pressures are difficult for many of them to manage.

A Big Enough Reason

Making a change is hard. Habit, routine, addiction, convenience, or a thousand other reasons keep us doing the same thing over and over again, even if it’s terribly unhealthy. Or dangerous. Or even deadly.
It takes a big enough reason to endure the anxiety, setbacks, difficulty, or even pain that may be involved in making a lifestyle change. Sometimes that reason is positive, where the outcome you wish is enticing enough to work hard for. Sometimes that reason is negative, where the pain of remaining where you are is big enough to force a change.

Doctor, Doctor: Your Mental/Emotional Health

Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I get angry. Sometimes I feel strong, and sometimes I feel very small. Sometimes I get anxious and upset. Sometimes I feel so happy I can’t imagine ever having a bad day ever again. Sometimes I feel like I could change the world, and sometimes I feel like nothing I do makes any difference.
Life has emotional content, and that’s a good thing. One of the best signs of psychological health is the ability to experience the whole range of human emotions.

It’s Not Their Fault: Taking Responsibility

The young man who drove me to the airport this afternoon was like a breath of fresh air. We shared a wonderful conversation about life, culture, the upcoming elections, and personal responsibility, and it made me think.
Arturo moved to this country from Mexico not that long ago, legally. He’s working very hard here – legally. He’s married, not yet with any children. “We’re planning to wait until we have a little more money before having children.” I’m already becoming impressed.

Doctor, Doctor: Your Physical Health

You don’t feel good, so you snap at your spouse. You’re tired, so you make a quick unwise decision you later regret. You wake up with a headache, so you try to sleep in, and skip your morning quiet time.
Our physical health impacts every other area of our lives. If you are in shape, at a healthy weight, with good nutrition, and well rested, you are a comparatively formidable force against any obstacle in your way. On the other hand, if you are sick and tired, overweight, full of junk food, and never exercise, you have no reserve to handle even the “normal” stuff life throws at you.

What is Your Body Telling You?

Our physical body takes a hit when we experience stress. Even if that stress is not especially negative or traumatic, our body takes the wear.
And if the stress involves danger or trauma, or continues over a significant period of time, our body may just “shut down” in some way.
It has been estimated that 75% or more of the time a patient visits a primary care physician the true reason is stress, psychological difficulty, or something related.

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!

Olympic Rings

Faster, Higher, Stronger: Your Gold-Medal Run

The 2012 Olympic Games in London have just come to an end. For these two weeks every two years I spend more time watching sports on TV than probably the entire two years between them.
Names like Michael Phelps, Usian Bolt, Gabby Douglas, Missy Franklin, Oscar Pistorius, and others are now household words around the world. There’s something about the Olympic Games that draws us in.

Doctor, Doctor, Tell Me

I do it almost every day. Someone doesn’t feel well. They come to see me as a doctor and talk about their symptoms. I ask questions, do an exam, order tests, and prescribe treatment. For some “simple” medical problems, that is enough.
But more often than not there are so many more issues beyond just the physical symptoms. If I ignore these other factors, the patient may or may not get better. And I have done the patient poor service.

The Bad (or Good) News about STDs

There’s one part of my job as an OB-Gyn physician that I dread. And I’ve had to do it several times in the last two weeks.
I dread telling a woman that she has just been diagnosed with an STD.
Within just the past few days I’ve had to address HIV, HPV, herpes, and chlamydia. There’s just no easy way to tell someone that kind of news. The tears, the physical distress, the fear, often the shame, in a woman’s face just tears at my heart.

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 Salute to all Caregivers

I have not been a caregiver in the sense that many are. But if the statistics hold, one day I may be. The number of adults serving as caregiver to a parent, a spouse, or another family member is enormous.
With more of us living longer, the number needing care for illnesses such as Alzheimer’s or other dementia, stroke, or other brain disorders is only getting larger. Numbers can’t describe the emotional, financial, and physical toll caregiving takes on one’s life.
Not having experienced caregiving myself I’m sure anything I say would be inadequate to honor those who take on the responsibility for caring for a loved one. But I do want to say Thank You!

Alzheimer’s Disease: A Scary Thought

What was I going to write about? Oh yes, I remember. I just had a senior moment there.
Have you ever felt like that? Are you worried about whether it’s “just” a “senior moment”, or something much more scary – Alzheimer’s?
Losing one’s mental capacity ranks near the top on any list of fears about the future as people get older.

Why is Health Care So Expensive?

The United States has the dubious distinction of spending more money on health care for every man, woman, and child than any other country in the world. Just check the graph at the right.
And yet we are far from being the healthiest.
Why is it so expensive? We want to be healthy, but our spending doesn’t seem to be getting us there. Some of the major factors driving costs are:

Did You Build Your Health?

President Obama stirred up some strong controversy last Friday when he stated in one of his speeches, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” While the politics of that statement have occupied a great deal of the airwaves over the past few days, I have a different take on this controversy. What about your health? Who is responsible for your health or the lack thereof?

HALT: Five Ways to Stay Filled Up

We human beings are needy. It seems like we are always leaking and in need of getting filled up.
Our souls need communication, intimacy, encouragement, challenge, hope, meaning, depth, joy, and love. And when we don’t experience these, we go looking.
And it’s in the LOOKING that we can get into trouble.

steps to forgiveness

Steps to Forgiveness

Holding on to wrongs done to you will eat away at your soul, and eventually your body and mind. We have heard about forgiveness from preachers, and well we should. But I believe we need to hear more about forgiveness from doctors.

Hope Is A Choice

Hope is a powerful biologic force.
We know, for example, that even a relatively small degree of hope can lessen physical pain through the release of endorphins and enkephalins – natural brain substances that block pain and cause a sense of well-being.

Staying Healthy On the Road

Keeping a healthy lifestyle is a challenge at any time. But when you’re traveling it takes special determination to keep from falling back into less healthy eating and exercise patterns. These tips for eating healthy and exercising on the road will keep you feeling better and healthier.

Why Should I Change?

Lifestyle change is hard. Our brain is addicted. Yours is. Mine is. Everyone’s is. We’re addicted to doing things the…

Don’t Run: Do SOMETHING!

Men love to fix things. That’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s a very good thing! It’s the way…

Wisdom to Know the Difference

“God is in control.” What statement could be more spiritual, more mature than that? Certainly God is in control. As…

It’s Not Just About Me

“I’m not hurting anyone but myself.” “It’s a victim-less crime.” “It doesn’t matter what I do: nobody cares.” On the…

Do Less to Do More

It’s not working. And as hard as I try, it’s not getting any better. In fact, the harder I try,…

A Victim No Longer

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

God In A Box

We so easily put God in a box. OK, so who’s right? Your pastor? The Pope? The head of some…

You’re Single, Still?

I know what it’s like to wait. And wait. And wait. And wait some more. And get frustrated when it seems…

Are We There Yet?

Ever say that when you were a kid? You were on a road trip, and your sense of time was…

Can I Trust You?

We want to be trusted. We want people to think well of us, and believe the best about us. We…

Men, Women, and Healthcare

Men and women are different in many ways. Some may argue that the only difference is plumbing, but both you…

Healthcare and You

If you haven’t already experienced frustrations with the healthcare system, you will! For all the innovation, research, and high-tech options…

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…
Person needing help

What Breaks Your Heart?

How do you know what you’re supposed to do? How do you find your purpose? How do you figure out…

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