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Timeless truth in a changing world

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Christian Living

When You Feel Insignificant

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My son is in marching band this year, and each member of the band has his or her own set of steps to learn. No two people have the same drill, and yet everyone works together to form a cohesive show. My son knows this, but it didn’t really dawn on him until they had a competition recently, and the band directors sent a video of their show to each of the members to watch. As he watched the entire show, finally able to see everyone together, he said in awe, “Wow. I had no idea that’s what we look like. It’s neat to see the big picture.”

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When Money Gets in the Way

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There were a dozen reasons to say no. The family asking for help with their bill was well-known around town. They didn’t make wise use of money, often asked for handouts, and were generally looked upon with suspicion. People didn’t trust them, and for good reason. Besides, it’s not good to enable people, right? Let them learn from the consequences of their actions. You don’t want to risk them coming back to you again and again. It’s best not to get involved at all.

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A More Effective Workout Routine

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Apparently I’ve been exercising all wrong. According to my teenage son, who fancies himself an expert on fitness, there are three phases of strength training one ought to do in order to maximize the benefits. Silly me, I’d just been following the number of reps and sets suggested in my program, gradually increasing the amount of weight for each exercise. But my son set me straight. One ought to rotate strength, hypertrophy, and endurance workouts for the best results. With a strength workout, you add as much weight as possible, enough that you can only lift 2-6 reps for each set. Hypertrophy is the “normal” workout, where you do 8-12 reps with a challenging but doable amount of weight. And endurance is a slightly less challenging weight so you can do 15-20 reps per set. All three of these work together for the best results.

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Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?

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1. What do you call a group of crows?

2. Often seen at the end of a sentence, the three trailing dots that indicate the omission from speech or writing of a word or words that are superfluous or able to be understood from contextual clues are known as…

3. How many kingdoms are part of the United Kingdom?

4. Solve the following equation: 5 + 3 * 4 / 2 – 1 = ?

Can you answer these questions? All were featured on the show Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? What made the show funny was that college-educated adults went head-to-head with fifth-grade students and usually had to admit, “I am not smarter than a fifth grader.” Only two contestants actually won the $1,000,000 grand prize. Of course, the students had more recently studied all the subjects, and as the expression goes, “If you don’t use it, you lose it.” I am never more aware of that then when I’m helping my middle-schooler with math. Every time I have to look up the difference between rational numbers, irrational numbers, whole numbers, and integers. My son will ask, “Mom, didn’t you have to learn all this?” And I reply, “Of course, but that was years ago.”

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Far From Home

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Having returned not long ago from a 4000-mile, three-week family trip, we’ve seen our fair share of license plates. In our part of rural Texas, we see mainly other Texas plates, with an occasional out-of-state plate from Louisiana or Oklahoma. But in the Northeast, our destination for this trip, seeing another Texas plate was rare. We took an overnight camping trip to Maine while on our trip, and seeing another Texas plate in the campground was really exciting. We felt an instant bond with the other Texas family that had made the long haul north. The further away you are, the more exciting it is to see someone from home.

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When Sunscreen Isn’t Enough

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We should have listened better. Here we were, college kids from Michigan, on a choir tour to Florida during spring break, a very welcome relief of sun and warmth. Our choir director warned us that we had to be careful in the sun. It was six times more intense that much further south than we were used to, and we would get a sunburn much more quickly than we would in Michigan. He told us to use plenty of sunscreen, drink lots of water, and stay in the shade when possible. Naturally, most ignored his advice. I mean, come on. You can’t very well come back from Florida without a tan. So despite the warnings, many students got some sun on the beach with little or no sunscreen to protect their skin. There were a lot of lobster-red faces for the remainder of that tour.

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What Moms of Young Kids Really Want for Mother’s Day

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Ask any mom of young children what her ideal Mother’s Day would look like, and if she’s being honest, chances are she’d like an afternoon without her kids. All. By. Herself. I know that doesn’t exactly match the spirit of the day, but moms are already with their young kids the vast majority of the time. Every day is “Mother’s Day.” Moms are always caring for their children, changing diapers, making food, acting as peacekeeper and referee, constantly being interrupted from a task they’d like to accomplish. So the thought of not having to do that for a day actually sounds really nice.

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To the Mom Whose Kids Misbehaved in Church Yesterday

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Dear Mom Whose Kids Misbehaved in Church,

I heard your kids yesterday in church. Like, through the entire service. I saw the displeased glances people exchanged and the dirty looks a few people shot your way.  I know you were embarrassed and frustrated and probably wish you’d just stayed home. I’m sure you personally didn’t get much out of the service. Perhaps you left early to avoid people making comments to you about their behavior afterward. But I wish you’d stayed, because I have something very important to tell you: Thank you.

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What Pro-Lifers can Learn from the Other Side

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Last weekend I saw Unplanned. This past weekend I was privileged to hear Abby Johnson speak at a pro-life fundraiser. Both events were thought-provoking and eye-opening, and a few of the insights I’ve gained have little to do with the actual topic of abortion. One of the main concepts that struck me is the mentality of those on both sides of the issue. Those who fight for womens’ “reproductive rights” are clearly “all in.” They display a commitment that puts most pro-lifers to shame. And although my stance on abortion is quite different from theirs, I appreciate and admire their tenacity and the passion with which they defend their cause.

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