Last week was a week of milestones for my family. My youngest graduated from eighth grade, and my oldest graduated from high school. My friends and I were mentally preparing ourselves for how much we would cry. We all spent a few minutes (or hours) looking at baby pictures and school photos, recalling all the good memories.
Because it’s graduation season, I know there’s a whole bunch of parents in the same emotionally melancholy boat right now, wishing we could... Read More
I’m a husband, and I’m a father. Like many men, I feel it’s my duty to fix whatever is broken in our home. Unfortunately, I’m not very handy, but I try my best. In most cases, I end up calling my dad or a mechanic to finish the job. The problem is, I don’t always restrict my “duty of fixing” to washers and dryers and sinks. I feel it’s my duty to fix the people in my home as well. ... Read More
As our family started talking about a summer vacation, we had one thing in mind: the blue-green water and flourlike sand of the Caribbean. That is, until I looked into pricing. It quickly became apparent that a Caribbean vacation for six was not in the Swenson budget.
So with less than a month before takeoff, I googled flights, looked at the U.S. map, and booked the cheapest flights. Turns out Seattle and the Oregon coast are about the furthest thing... Read More
A number of recent studies suggest that Americans are more anxious than ever. Worst-case scenarios churn relentlessly in our thoughts: “There’s going to be an accident.” “Someone could break into my apartment.” “I’m going to freeze during the presentation.” “He’s going to dump me.”
Do you ever think such thoughts?
What’s worse is how utterly incapable our prefrontal cortex is in the face of our worries. Reason and logic should filter out 99.9% of these worst-case scenarios, but they rarely... Read More
We just made it through a really tough winter. If you don’t live in the Midwest, I’m not sure you can understand this, but you should feel a bit sorrier for us than you probably do. I’ll give you the recap: it was dreary and long and snowy and long and frigid and long . . . the kind of winter where my husband asks me the question, “Why do we live in a place where the air hurts our... Read More
To get through college, I bartended at a local country club. In many ways, it trained me for pastoral ministry. I learned to serve and listen to people. I also felt like it was a master’s class in human nature. But out of all my experiences, there was one conversation that really stuck with me.
A certain man knew I was studying to be a pastor. So he said to me, “My brother lives in California. He just became a... Read More
This spring, my middle kiddo took on a pretty big task. After seeing a story on the news about a young boy with a rare genetic disease, she started brainstorming ways to help this complete stranger. So, in the middle of school and work and track season, my daughter organized a fundraiser, recruited her friends to pitch in, and spent hours (and hours!) making butterfly magnets. Then other people joined in and raised money in other ways, and the family... Read More
You know who you are. And I just want you to know I feel your pain. You want to do well. You want to do things that will help people and make them feel supported and loved. So you take a lot on your shoulders. You don’t want to let someone down. You wonder often what others think, and you don’t want anyone to be disappointed in you or think you’re slacking. You really don’t like conflict, and it bothers... Read More
My plans during college included a lot of things. Motherhood was not one of them. Three and a half years into marriage my husband was a new nurse, and I was trying to figure out how to get to grad school. Oh, and I had a baby.
The second I held my firstborn, the list of hopes and dreams and someday achievements vanished. I cared for no other earthly titles apart from wife, mother, and child of God. Ditto with... Read More
Do you often feel anxious? Overwhelmed by worst-case scenarios, no matter how unlikely they might be? Physically sick because you are emotionally stuck on a negative thought?
Recently, I reached out to a Christian counselor for some advice. While I personally haven’t struggled with crippling anxiety (yet), I know and love many people who do.
The counselor replied with a link to a kids’ book published by the American Psychiatric Association entitled What to Do When You Worry Too Much:... Read More