Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 81 – YouVersion and Your Family

The YouVersion Bible app is one of the best modern tools for engaging with God’s Word. Just recently this app achieved 500 million downloads, which represents lives, families, and households who are being impacted by the power of Scripture!

This episode highlights some great ways to use this tool for yourself and your family in your walk with Jesus.

  1. Use the Bible Reading Plans. There are a wealth of devotionals and plans to help you read through the Bible and apply it to your life. Here are a few we really like: The Curious Questions of Jesus, Reading Galatians with Spurgeon, and Peace on Earth: A 5-Day Advent Devo.
  2. Make Friends. The social aspect of this app is a really great way to hold yourself and others accountable. Use this function to see what others are reading and even read the same plans together.
  3. Highlighting and Verse Images. These functions help make a record of the things God is teaching you.
  4. Stories and Verse of the Day. These functions have been a really great way to do family devotions and spark spiritual conversation.

So we encourage you to get the app, pick a plan, make some friends and start letting God’s Word change your lives! Be Abnormal!

Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 80 – Do You See What I See?

In this episode, we take a look at worldviews!

In this diverse world, there are numerous ways to look at life. We just have to help ourselves and the young people in our lives find the right one! Here’s some of the highlights of our discussion.

Every worldview answers what it believes about six key things:

  • God
  • Humanity
  • Salvation
  • Authority
  • Time
  • Jesus

Here’s a few starting points on how to connect our families to the right worldview:

  • Ask them what they think their worldview is.
  • Lean towards exploration rather than indoctrination
  • Begin looking for “worldview moments” and point them out.
  • Share why you hold to your worldview.

If you are looking for some further resources, check out Focus on the Family and Sean McDowell’s website. Also, if you are interested in that Grow Games and Icebreakers App, check it out here. Until next time…Be Abnormal!

Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 79 – Great Ways to Set Boundaries

Have you ever said “yes” to too many commitments? Do you sometimes want to say “no” to even the best requests? Have you ever realized too late that you ran a relational stop sign? If so, you might have a boundary problem!

In this episode, Mark and Randell discuss the habit of boundary setting. As a part of that discussion, they share some ideas from a great resource – “Boundaries” by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. You can check out more information about their research at boundariesbooks.com.

Here’s a few highlights from the episode:

  • Defining boundaries means we must have a clear understanding of who we are, what we own, and what our responsibilities are.
  • Identifying where we struggle in what we say and what we hear is key to developing better boundaries.
  • We have to learn to say “yes” to the right things and “no” to the wrong things.
  • Regular discussions with our family are a good evaluation tool.
  • Boundaries aren’t set overnight. And even when they are set, they will need constant attention.

We hope this information sets you on the path to making healthier boundaries in your life and the lives of those around you. Until next time, Be Abnormal!

Five Conversations You Must Have With Your Son

In our most recent podcast episode – #78: Five Conversations You Must Have With Your Daughter – we reviewed Vicki Courtney’s book of the same title. If you’ve already went through that material or if you are just wondering “But what about my son?”, we want to recommend Vicki’s other book – Five Conversations You Must Have With Your Son.

In this very accessible read, Courtney covers the same five conversations – just from the perspective of what your son is experiencing. We strongly recommend reading both of these valuable books and having these life-changing conversations with your sons and daughters.

Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 78 – Five Conversations You Must Have With Your Daughter REVIEW

In this episode, we review Vicki Courtney’s book Five Conversations You Must Have with Your Daughter. This great resource covers some of the tough but necessary conversations we must have with the young women in our families.

Here are those conversations:

  1. Don’t let culture define you. We must help our daughters define beauty from God’s standards.
  2. Guard your heart. We must help our daughters discern which voices should shape their views, thoughts and beliefs. Parents need to be good listeners and provide a safe place as we help them reflect these issues.
  3. Respect you body and your sexuality. We need to be committed to having age-appropriate conversations with our daughters about the issues surrounding sex. (Check out our Episode 71 – Let’s Talk about Sex for more thoughts on this conversation.)
  4. Realize childhood is only for a season. We need to help our daughters imagine a healthy adult future for themselves.
  5. Know that you are who you have been becoming. We need to help our daughters take inventory of where they are on their path so they can continue heading to the future that God wants for them. Proverbs 31 is a good tool to use in these times of reflection.

We encourage you to start and/or continue these conversations with your daughters. Until next time, Be Abnormal!

Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 77 – What To Do With Disagreeable Opinions

If you live with other humans, you are going to have conflict. In this episode, Mark and Randell discuss some approaches to making conflict a positive in your family’s story. If you missed our last episode – ITN Episode 76: Personality Profiles, Reaction Scales, and Emotion Grids – make sure to go back and check it out. (We reference it a ton in this episode!)

Here’s some things we shared that have really worked for us: 

  • MODEL RIGHT BEHAVIOR. We’ve got to model how to handle and respond to conflict if we expect our kids to do the same.
  • FIND THE ROOT. Conflict comes from somewhere. We need to take the time and make space to find out what the underlying issues are.
  • SET BOUNDARIES. Set the ground rules on what is and isn’t okay in a conflict.
  • CREATE A CULTURE OF GRACE. True grace forgives but it stands up for truth. It demands right things. It values people over problems. It doesn’t leave anyone behind. 

Remember, conflict isn’t bad – unhealthy and unresolved conflict is bad – but healthy conflict creates change and makes us better. Until next time, Be Abnormal.

A Great Resource for Your Spiritual Journey

On our most recent episode of the Is That Normal? Podcast, we talked about personality profiles and how they impact our relationships. (If you missed it check out Episode 76 – Personality Profiles, Reaction Scales, and Emotion Grids).

If you want to dig deeper into some of these concepts, we’d really recommend Cron and Stabile’s The Road Back to You. This book highlights the details of the Enneagram framework but from a solidly Christian viewpoint. In each chapter it discusses the spiritual side of each personality type as well as gives suggestions for spiritual transformation.

Of all the research we’ve done on personalities, I believe this book offers the best instruction on how our particular makeup effects our spiritual and emotional health, as well as gives very practical ideas on how to head towards health in those areas.

Until next time, Be Abnormal!

Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 76 – Personality Profiles, Reaction Scales, and Emotion Grids

Living together with other humans is tough. We see things differently. We do things differently. In this episode we explored some of the reasons why understanding ours and others personality types can help us navigate some of those conflict points better.

There are numerous tools for determining your personality type. We looked at two – the Myers-Briggs and the Enneagram. You learn more about each of them as well as take a test here:

Myers-Briggs at 16personalities.com and Enneagram at truity.com

Some suggestions we made for parents were:

  • Have your family take the test. Spend some time going over it together and discussion the potential for conflict.
  • Learn language to communicate better. We discussed evaluating our emotional reactions versus the severity of the offense.
  • Help your children build their strengths
  • Guide your family to minimize conflicts by looking for ways to offer grace.
  • Enjoy the diversity!

Until next time, Be Abnormal!

Finding Stories that Teach Us

As a follow up to our most recent episode – ITN #75: Lighting Fires and Leaking Buckets – I wanted to highlight another great podcast.

Out of the Ordinary Books with Lisa-Jo Baker and Christie Purifoy highlight books and authors in each episode that help us on our journey as parents, followers, and humans. They totally get the idea that the right stories can help us find our own place in the story of God and life. Go check them out and be Out-of-the-Ordinary!

Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 75 – Lighting Fires and Leaking Buckets

As another school year gets under way, parents are praying for the success of their children. In this episode, Mark and Randell talk about some of the ways parents and significant adults can help foster an environment that helps students truly enjoy learning.

If we realize that education is more about lighting a fire than filling a bucket, we will have gone a long way in starting that environment. And interestingly enough, parental involvement is the number one contributing factor to the success of children’s education. Here are some practical ways to get involved:

  • Ask good questions about their education
  • Teach them to ask good questions about their education
  • Readily provide engaging materials such as “live” books, field guides, art supplies, and cookbooks
  • Manufacture margin in to their schedule in order for them to have time to get bored and curious

Lastly, we want to encourage you to enjoy the process with your children and find voices that help you keep moving forward. One of the voices that we mentioned in the episode is Sally Clarkson. She is a parent, author, podcaster, and blogger who speaks of the joy of leading your children to enjoy learning. We read an excerpt out of her book Awaking Wonder in this episode.

So spend some time learning with your kids this week, ask some good questions, and Be Abnormal!