Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 93 – Having a Spiritually Successful Summer!

There are lots of things we love about summer: Warm weather, free schedules, days at the pool or lake, cookouts. In this episode we talk to families about using the margin in their summer to build their faith and relationship with Jesus!

Here’s some ideas on how to do that:

  • Set spiritual goals and do them as a family. Plan to read a certain portion of the Bible. Memorize some scripture. Get involved in a ministry. Take a weekly media fast.
  • Make attendance to church a priority.
  • Finance special spiritual experiences.
  • Consider starting a family worship time.
  • Pray through a sunrise or sunset.
  • Take a pilgrimage.
  • Serve together.

We pray that you will make a plan to have a spiritually successful summer! Be Abnormal!

Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 92 – Fun on a Budget!

With summer almost upon us, many families are planning their seasonal vacations. We want to encourage you to plan to make a trip – even if it’s just some day trips – with your family this summer as a way to build relationships and memories.

In this episode we talk about Carlos Whittaker and his family. They are a very interesting group of people that Randell and Mark have followed for years. (If you’ve never seen their viral video “Single Ladies Devastation” you should take a minute to do so now!). In Episode 18 of his podcast Human Hope, Carlos and his wife talk about their vacation hacks.

Their podcast struck a chord with us and so we wanted to share some of our vacation hacks as well. Here’s some highlights from our ideas:

  • Carpool to multiply the gas budget
  • Look for State Park Camping sights or reasonable Airbnbs near your planned destination to save on lodging.
  • Consider packing and cooking some of your own food. Mark’s family uses a “one-meal-out-a-day” rule on vacations.
  • Travel to places where there are lots of free things to do. St.Louis is one of the best places in America for free attractions for families.
  • Vacation out of season to beat the crowds and find deals.
  • Find rhythms and routines for your family that maximize funds and create expectations of fun!

We hope you can plan to make some memories with your family this summer. We’d also love for you to share your vacation ideas and stories with us! Be Abnormal!

Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 91 – Missional Motherhood REVIEW

Moms are so wonderful, important, valuable, and irreplaceable, and we are thankful God created them! In this episode we take a look at Gloria Furman’s book Missional Motherhood.

This book is a case for God’s biblical design for women and how that empowers them to be the best nurturers. It includes a very interesting overview of the whole Bible in reference to this design. We also take a self-indulgent moment to review the cover of this really cool book!

We recommend you check out Missional Motherhood and maybe get a copy for a mom in your life! Be Abnormal!

Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 90 – Being a Student of Spiritual Parenting

In this episode we talk about the importance of being a lifelong learner, particularly as we try to lead our families to follow Jesus.

Here are some of the resources we highlighted:

We encourage you to pick a place to start, find someone to join you for accountability and start growing in your passion and knowledge of spiritual parenting. Be Abnormal!

Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 89 – Get Engaged!

We all love a good engagement story…unless it ends with rejection! Too often parents feel that is the end of the story when they try to connect with their teen or young adult children. In this episode, we take a look at some ways to get better engaged!

First we talked about identifying barriers: expectations, distractions, influence of other relationships, and differences in personalities. Our journey starts with researching who our children are and what they like. We’ve got to do that with learning to ask good questions and being good listeners.

We shared a couple of resources to help parents with this process: Kara Powell & Brad Griffin’s 3 Big Questions That Change Every Teenager and D6’s Family App (Google Play or Apple Store). These have great tools to start conversations.

We also talked about some “games” suggested by Dr. Ron Hunter:

  • Best Thing/Worst Thing
  • What Are You Excited About
  • Who’s Got the Ball?

We hope this episode equips you and encourages you to find the creativity, courage, and commitment to engage with your children. Be Abnormal!

A Fifth Tuesday Recommendation!

Today is the fifth Tuesday in March and, while we won’t be having a new episode of our podcast this week, we wanted to recommend another great resource!

A few weeks ago, our church attended a youth conference where Arlene Pellicane was the speaker. She was energetic and interesting and told us all to burn our phones! The teenagers loved it! Seriously!

Arlene teaching at the 2022 Collide Retreat in Branson, MO.

Arlene is a speaker and an author who combines her love for Jesus, her experience parenting, and her research into technology to help families navigate some of the difficulties of living in a digital age. She’s written several books, hosts a podcast, and even has a Masterclass!

We want you to encourage you to check out Arlene’s resources. Our suggested place to start is a recent episode of the Happy Home Podcast where she talks about the wonder of creation with guest Louie Giglio. Louie is a pastor, author, and one of my favorite speakers!

So check that out and then plan to join us next Tuesday with a brand new episode of our podcast! Until then, Be Abnormal!

Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 88 – Why You Should Check Out the Bible Project!

We all have questions, but where do we go for answers?

As Christians, we tend to say “the Bible”, but for most of us understanding and connecting these ancient Eastern writings with our 21st Century lives can be a challenge.

The Bible Project is a great resource to help individuals and families begin to read through the Bible while avoiding common pitfalls and misunderstandings. In this episode we highlight some of the different tools they have. Here are some great ways to start connecting with this resource:

We hope this resource can help you continue following Jesus better and leading your family to do the same! Be Abnormal!

Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 87 – Helping Your Children Find Help

It’s hard to ask for help. In this episode we talk about the important and growing issue of mental health for young people. As parents we need to be equipped to identify the need and access help for our children.

Here are some of the suggestions we mentioned.

Be observant and learn how to ask good questions:

  • What are some of your biggest challenges?
  • How do you feel about those?
  • Have your feelings changed?
  • Where is God in the midst of those things?
  • What does God think or feel about these things?
  • What help do you want?
  • Who else would you want to talk to about this?
  • What is one step you can take right now about this situation or your reaction?

Notice changes:

  • major change in behavior or mood
  • exhibiting sings of hopelessness, numbness, or lethargy
  • experiencing unfounded fears
  • trouble doing normal daily behaviors such as eating, sleeping, or simple tasks

If problems persist find others to help you. We discussed Dr. Eddie Moody’s book First Aid for Emotional Hurts. In it he helps discern what type of help you might need. Here are some examples:

  • Pastors
  • Counselors
  • Medical doctors (and medication)
  • Psychiatrists, Psychologists  

Lastly, we talked about healthy and preventive activities we can do for and with our children:

  • Pray
  • Read and meditate on God’s Word
  • Engage with the church
  • Foster healthy relationships

Remember, it is best to ask for help early. We are glad to be a first contact if you have questions. We’d love to guide you to specific help for you and your family. Until next time…Be Abnormal!

Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 86 – Survey Says…

In this episode we talk about the results of our recent parent listener survey. We hope that this podcast can create a community where we can support each other as we navigate the really difficult, hard, and wonderful process of raising families to love Jesus.

We found that most of us are truly concerned about the spiritual development of our children and want to find training and resources to help us do that better. In the coming months we’ll be sharing some episodes based off the survey results on topics such as:

  • Developing strong relationships
  • Resolving conflict
  • Finding training and resources that help us grow as parents and followers of Jesus

In this episode we also re-aired part of one of our survey responder’s favorite episodes – ITN Episode 8: Drinking Coffee and Rites of Passage. You can get the notes and links for that episode here.

Join us in two weeks for a brand new episode on helping our children find the help that they need! Until then.. Be Abnormal!

Is That Normal? Podcast Episode 85 – Social Media Do’s and Dont’s

As we strive to raise our children to live for and love Jesus, sometimes we are going to have to challenge them to be abnormal.

In this episode we take a look at a healthy approach to introducing smartphones and social media in our children’s lives. Here’s some highlights:

  • Should the technology or media they are asking to use be Accepted, Rejected, or Redeemed?
  • What are they developmentally ready for?
  • How am I helping my child with monitoring and accountability?
  • What are the boundaries or rhythms for their technology and media usage?

In all of these discussions, make sure you have a predefined plan and clear discussion with your child. We want this process to foster trust and healthy, not secrecy and resentment.

We would also love to hear from you. Make sure you take a few minutes and fill out our Parent Survey. We will be talking about the results of that survey in our next episode! Until then…Be Abnormal!