Sunday, December 10, 2017

Teaching Children to Behave and to Become All That God Has Created Them to Be

Our kids mean the world to us. We want them to have fun, we want them to behave, and we want them to become all that God has created them to be. So how do we help our kids on this journey? Well, I want to share a few thoughts with you on this topic.

As parents, we underestimate the value of one another. We say we are too busy to spend time together. We try to give our kids all the attention they need, but we don't realize that what they need are real relationships with others.

Kids learn to behave when we encourage positive interaction in the home and outside the home. From my experience, the most well-behaved kids - those who are respectful to adults and good friends to their peers - are those who have a lot of positive interaction with others. Often times, cousins are great for teaching kids how to interact with one another. I am grateful for my sons' cousins; for, I know they have made a tremendous impact on their lives. They have taught them what it is like to be included and to have a ton of fun. That is an experience that we do not value enough.

In the church, we like to pretend that we have it all together. We like to pretend that we do not need one another. But, we do need one another. When our kids realize that they matter, that's when they get excited about life. That's when they can learn to have peace and joy, and to be confident, fun, and self-controlled. All they learn in the home, they can apply, so that they can become all that God has created them to be.

Thanks for reading!

~Melissa Seng

Saturday, December 2, 2017

P.J.'s for Your Family This Christmas?

Happy holidays! "May the calendar keep bringing, happy holidays to you." That's Bing Crosby. His song is simple, fun to listen to, and one of the most popular songs of the season. Listening to this tune helps us to enjoy the season with our families and friends.

There is something else that is simple, relaxing, and fun that we can do for Christmas...Wear your P.J.'s this Christmas Day!

We all love the idea, but have you tried it? You get up early, open presents, enjoy cookies and hot chocolate, read the Christmas story, listen to Christmas music, and just relax...That sounds great, right?

But, then, we start to wonder, "How do we make time to relax? That doesn't fit into our schedule." Well the good news is that many stores and restaurants are actually closed for the holiday, so we will not have to worry about running any errands, making last minute trips to the store, etc. We can stay home and enjoy our family.

You might be asking, "Why should I wear my P.J.'s?" Well, for good reason. 1. It can be a fun tradition for you and your family. 2. It helps us to remember what is important on Christmas Day. Sometimes we feel and act like we are only worth something to other people if we look nice, our hair is perfect, our clothes fit just right. The list goes on. The standards we set for ourselves are high. But, God tells us that we are valuable. Proverbs 31:10 tells us, "a wife of noble character, who can find? She is worth far more than rubies." Our value does not come from our looks, or our wealth. It comes from God. When we get to take a day (or more!) to get our focus off of our impossible standards we set for ourselves, we can focus on what truly matters. We can love one another, as God loves us. We can live by the spirit that is within us.

I hope you enjoy Christmas Day with the spirit of Christmas and the joy and peace that come.

Thanks for reading!

~Melissa Seng

Five Great Gift Ideas for Kids in a Christian Home

It's the holiday season, and it's great to hear Christmas music once again. The thought of shopping is exciting as we think of gifts to bless our family and friends. On the other hand, it can be a bit stressful trying to find good buys, especially for those who are not usually big shoppers. So, I wanted to give you some ideas here. These ideas are not wild and crazy, but they are meaningful, and may very well be appreciated for years to come.

1. Movie night: The Star
    *The Star is such a fun, family-friendly movie that teaches the Christmas story in a unique way.

2. Focus on the Family's Clubhouse Jr. Magazine
    *Clubhouse Jr. Magazine is a fun way for kids to learn to apply Biblical knowledge to everyday circumstances. There are stories, crafts, jokes, all in a light-hearted manner for kids to enjoy. It's entertaining and educational for kids. Clubhouse Magazine Jr. is for kids age 3-7. Clubhouse Magazine is for kids age 8-12.

3. The Veggie Tales Bible or The Jesus Storybook Bible
    *The Veggie Tales Bible is an NIRV (New International Reader's Version) Bible. The Jesus Storybook Bible is a much condensed version of the Bible. You can find them at your local Christian bookstore.

4. Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace Jr.
    *Financial Peace Jr. is for ages 3-12 and involves a fun curriculum for teaching children about money, and it's only $19.99.

5. Bill Seng's The Wrath of Giganotus Rex
    *The Wrath of Giganotus Rex is a fictional book that is geared towards middle school kids on up. It tells the story of a reporter, William Stevens, who is searching for truth. It is action-packed, and filled with a definite good vs. evil plot. You can get a copy at

I hope these ideas are helpful to you as you enjoy the Christmas season!

Thanks for reading!

~Melissa Seng

Friday, November 17, 2017

Bringing Up Boys: Lessons from Dr. James Dobson

What characteristics come to mind when you think of boys? Perhaps, rambunctious, energetic, intelligent, strong, fearless, difficult to manage? Boys are definitely unique. They were made stronger; they were made to protect their families. They were made first for a reason.

As parents, we can find it challenging to raise boys. They can be strong-willed, but sensitive at the same time. They can be wild, but deflated if we are not careful with our actions and our words. They can be great listeners, or they can learn to be rebellious. Fortunately, we can seek wisdom in parenting.

Dr. James Dobson is a great place to start for gathering some timeless advice on family and parenting. He has been known as one of the most influential Christian leaders of our time. He founded the radio program, Focus on the Family, in 1977. In 2002 he wrote Bringing Up Boys, which I will highlight for you now.

Dr. James Dobson tells us that General Douglas MacArthur, who was among the greatest military leaders of all time, said "It is my hope that my son, when I am gone, will remember me not from the battle, but in the home." He said, "A soldier destroys in order to build. The father only builds." That is our opportunity: to build our home in such a way that provides our kids with peace, love, and direction.

Why is the family important? Families bring stability and mental health to children. Character, self-discipline, respect for authority, commitment to the truth, work ethic, love of Jesus can all be learned in the home. Boys can learn to be men, who are unwavering in their desire to live according to the truth. They can learn to stand for the only message that can teach us who we are, why we are here, how we got here, and where we are going for all eternity. They can learn to be men, who impact this world.

What's the bad news? Our children need us. They need us to be around, to teach them how to cope with life. James Dobson tells us that, "I believe the two-career family during the child rearing years creates a level of stress that is tearing people apart." He also says that "We live our lives as if we're on freight trains that are rumbling through town. We don't control the speed - or at least we think we don't - so our only option is to get off. Stepping from the train and taking life more slowly is very difficult." But he suggests we do just that65% of children go home to an empty house! They have no one to talk to if they had a bad day, no one to tell them they are worth it, no one to comfort them and give them strength when they most need it.

Dobson tells us that when parents are present, kids are much less likely to be affected by drugs, violence, and criminal activity. Particularly, the absence of fathers is the the biggest contributor of criminal behavior in boys and men. They desperately need parents to lead them in the right direction. When parents are not present for much of the day, children are more likely to rebel, causing these temptations to be even greater. Josh McDowell tells us that "Rules without relationship lead to rebellion."

Dobson also tells us to not be too distracted or exhausted to care for our children. They need us, for what will seem like a brief moment in time, and then they will be on their own. That time is valuable. "I would give anything to go back twenty-five years and live another day with the two kids who graced our home."

What Do We Do About It? Researcher George Barna reports that kids age five to thirteen have a 32% chance of accepting Jesus Christ as their savior. But, from ages fourteen to eighteen, there is only a 4%, and for adults there is only a 6% that they will become Bible-believing Christians. Kids, in their formative years, need parents around to teach them right from wrong and to teach them that, contrary to everything they hear in our culture/at school, there is truth. That truth comes from the Bible. "Phony research has been used effectively by liberals to advance their agenda."  ...of tearing down the family unit. They do this by claiming that families are better without the father in the home, stronger when the mother works, less affected by crime because of abortion, more normal when they allow their children to choose their own identity, etc. We need to defeat those phony teachings in our own homes. Dobson tells us that if the teaching sounds nonsensical, chances are it is. For example, marijuana retards the growth of normal brain cells, has exponentially higher cancer-causing capacity than normal cigarettes, and has the ability to lower the white blood cell count by 39%, damaging our immune system. For these reasons, we must be present to teach our kids to be counter-cultural Christians.

What Does Christian Parenting Look Like? Research tells us that only 34% of all children born in America will live with both biological parents through age eighteen. Just being present, loving, and married to your spouse will make a big impact on your children. Boys need structure and supervision, and they need to be civilized. They need to be taught to pick up after themselves; they need to be taught to have respect for women and authority. In disciplining them, Dobson tells us that "a few quiet words spoken with conviction by a mother or father can often convey this confidence and authority better than a barrage of empty threats and wild gestures." Children will remember how we treat them more so than they will remember the bad things that they might have done.

What Is The Mother's Role? Kids need their mothers a great deal more than our culture teaches. It is not just the cooking and cleaning that matter. It is all of the love and support that we can show our kids throughout the day. We need to listen to them, encourage them, teach them the Bible, and bring them peace. We need to let them have fun, let them learn, let them know that they are wanted. If possible, Dobson suggest to homeschool your kids. Immorality is pushed so heavily in the school systems, so home-schooling is a great option.

What Is The Father's Role? Dobson tells us that the father should be the provider, leader, protector, and spiritual teacher. Protect them at school, at home, in public. Prevent them from being bullied at all cost, even if it means moving or changing schools. Teach respect by showing respect. Have fun. Shoot hoops. Wrestle. Play games. Eat together.

Dr. James Dobson gives us much advice here in his book, Bringing Up Boys. I hope you are able to implement some of it in your life. I think you will be rewarded greatly in your heart and in your life as you value God's gift of children.

Thanks for reading!

~Melissa Seng

(For more blogs, visit Click on the "contact tab" at the bottom of the page to receive them by email.)

Friday, November 3, 2017

How to Become Part of Their World

Dr. Tim Clinton, writer and psychologist for Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk, recently said, "Every time a child is born - so is a mother." Motherhood is a journey that begins and never ends. The same is true of Fatherhood. God gives us family and we become part of their world, and they become part of ours. We get to pay attention to every part of their lives, watching them learn to walk, talk, and eat real food for the first time. We get to see them smile, and we get to see how they understand so much of the world around them. Kids are incredible, talented, smart, and such a fun addition to our world.

But, sometimes life gets busy. We get busy. And we forget to be a part of their world, like we once had been. We get so wrapped up in grocery shopping, cooking, and running our kids around, that we don't take the time to pay attention to them. We throw on their coats, demand that they be quiet and listen, and then days pass without paying attention to them. So how do we change that routine? How do we become part of their world once again?

We can start by making a regular attempt at getting out of our own world. Work, hobbies, and paying too much attention to everyone else, can rob us of paying attention to our kids. Yesterday, I realized, when I was driving around town, feeling unfulfilled, that I was only thinking about myself all morning. It is natural; but, then, we need to make an honest attempt to refocus and redirect our attention.

You might be thinking of all the things you have to do in one day and say that you do not have much time to focus on your kids, you barely have enough time to focus on God. Well, I say to you, from the great words of Ariel in Disney's The Little Mermaid, "Look at this stuff, isn't it neat. Wouldn't you think my collections complete? Wouldn't you think I'm the girl, the girl who has everything." She has everything, but it's not enough. "I wanna be where the people are; I wanna see, wanna see them dancin." She wants to be part of that world, she wants to be where the people are, because the people are more important that the things we worry about.

Being a part of their world means thinking about them, paying attention to them, searching for their needs, enjoying them. Then, we can understand what it means to be a part of Jesus' world. Living for Jesus is not a phrase that is easy for most people to understand, but when we begin to live for others, think about Him, and see the world through God's eyes, we are beginning to live as Jesus lived.

Thanks for reading!

~Melissa Seng

Friday, October 27, 2017

Where in the World Does Time Go?

Where in the world does time go? I find myself asking this question a lot. I am sure many of you do the same. This time of year, the weather is getting colder and the days are getting shorter. We are reminded that these times do not last forever. The morning walks, the afternoons at the park, and the evening trips to get ice cream will be delayed for the time being. The joy of spending time with the neighbors outdoors will be put on hold. But, these times will come again.

Time goes by in the blink of an eye. Our first child seemed to go from age two to ten; however, he just turned four years old. We have long conversations with him, where he comes to so many fascinating conclusions about life. He tells me Bible stories; he understands when he makes mistakes, why he makes them, and how to make things right. He is, also, good at telling me when I have made a mistake, as well. I am thankful that he has wisdom and understanding, which only the Bible can provide.

Our youngest child, who just turned 11 months old, is walking across the room, all by himself. You raise these kids for a year, it seems, and they are off on their own. In the process, you realize that God has done it all.

It is amazing to see kids grow. It is, also, amazing that God provides everything they need to endure in this world. Sometimes little moments of watching them grow is so special that you want time to stand still so that you can take in all the changes that are happening around you. I am encouraged to know that God is timeless. He is beyond time. In fact, he has set eternity in the hearts of man, so that we may know that this life is not all that he has to offer (Ecclesiastes 3:11). We have time for all eternity, with more good times to come.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Raising Kids in a Secular World

In a previous blog, I outlined some of the most important points in Raising Christian Children in a Secular School Environment. In this blog, I want to expand upon that list. I hope these tips are helpful to you. Hebrews 3:13 tells us to "encourage one another daily, as long as it is called 'Today,' so that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin." I believe that having a game plan can be an encouragement to us, and a reminder that He has overcome the world (John 16:33).

1. Display Christian values in the home.
2. Attend church regularly.
3. Encourage your children to attend a good, Bible-based church camp in the Summer.
4. Emphasize character more than accomplishments.
    *Accomplishments take us nowhere without character.
5. Encourage your children to attend a Christian college, not just a church affiliated school or secular university.
6. Teach that God is the authority and the source of moral absolutes.
    *The standard of behavior comes from Him, not from Mom and Dad.
7. Include family Bible time in your daily routine. Bedtime is a great time for Bible time!
8. Pray together. A family that prays together, stays together.
9. Be available to your kids.
10. Spend time with Christian friends. They will make a lasting impact on your kids.
11. Attend extracurricular activities with your kids. Guide them in how to deal with this world.
12. Remain faithful to your spouse. They will see the value in relationships if relationships are valued in the home.
13. Trust and obey. "There's no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey."

Thanks for reading!

~Melissa Seng

Saturday, October 14, 2017

How to Teach Your Kids to Get Along

Do you ever have those days when your kids just cannot get along? You just want to scream, but at the same time, you wish somebody could talk some sense into them. You feel like you don't know where to start. The only thing you know is that you need some help. Well, I have good news for you. I have some simple tips that can help you restore peace in your home. And, it all begins with you.

The Bible tells us in Proverbs 15 that harsh words stir up anger, but a gentle response turns away wrath. When our children act harshly to one another, we should not respond by giving harsh discipline. We must be an example to our kids even as we give discipline. In applying this principle, we must remember that discipline should be used to teach. It should not be used as an expression of our anger.

So, now that we know how to respond to anger, how do we teach our kids to act kindly to one another to begin with? I learned in graduate school that positive reinforcement works better than negative reinforcement. Offer rewards to your kids for good behavior. They will be focused on getting a reward, more than they are focused on getting punished. If you constantly remind them about a punishment they may receive if they misbehave, they will actually be working towards that end result. If you put positive things on their mind, they will respond to the positive. What is on our mind, is what will show up in our lives.

You may be asking, "Why should I reward my kids for good behavior? They should just be good." Well, you have to remember, as adults, we understand the consequences for our actions; therefore, we are more likely to choose the end result before we act in our behavior. We have to teach our kids to choose the end result, and we can do that by offering rewards. We are always rewarded, even in the "real world" for our good behavior.  Kids should be taught to be wise and encouraged to act in wisdom.

You may be thinking, "That is great for them to get along all for the sake of rewards, but how can that desire come from the heart?" To start, reading Scripture to our kids can help them change from the inside out. Kids need to know why they should love their siblings and how to be respectful to them. Kids, also, need to see the consequences that come from good and bad behavior, through the stories in the Scriptures.

In addition to Biblical knowledge, hard work can help kids to change on the inside. Hard work leads to contentment and a positive self-image. A lack of hard work leads to discontentment and a negative self-image. Discontentment among siblings brings about arguing in the home. Older kids should be encouraged to work to their potential so that they do not feel the need to bully younger siblings. Younger kids should be encouraged to work to their potential so that they can feel "good enough." Gaining knowledge and skills in the areas that are of interest can lead kids away from bitterness and jealousy and towards a desire to share positivity in the family.

An outside the heart approach can include changing the environment. Take your kids outdoors for fresh air. Let them get some exercise. Play a game. Do kids' activities with them. When Mom and Dad are around, enjoying time with kids, those are the times when kids are most likely to be content. Try giving more time and attention to your kids during those hours when they seem to misbehave the most. During those times, if there is still a lack of peace, make sure that any frustration is not a result of miscommunication (if your kids are hungry, thirsty, not feeling well, etc.)

In all these ways, I believe you can teach your children to love one another and restore the peace in your home. I love the Scripture that tells us "If you correct your children, they will give you peace. They will bring delight to your soul (Proverbs 29:17)."

Thanks for reading!

Melissa Seng

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Monday, October 9, 2017

Exercise and the Family

Exercise...we have all heard the lectures on the benefits of exercise, and we all know it's important. We desire to run around with our kids, to play games, to have fun. But, what is holding us back from the discipline of exercise?

Recently, my family and I watched highlight films from my husbands wrestling career at Findlay High School. I pointed out to him that these matches were in 2002-2003! That was 15 years ago! When you look upon your high school highlight films or photos, you might realize that that was a long time ago.

So what was different back then that encouraged you to exercise? Obviously you did not have bills to pay or dishes to clean, or kids to take care of. You did not have kids to drive around to their sports activities or dinner to prepare. But, you did have drive. And you did have a desire to do your absolute best. Not in every case, but I would bet that at least sometime in your youth, you remember working hard in exercise or at your sport and the results came.

I saw my husband running the halls of Findlay High School in his highlight film. He was determined to work hard and was fulfilled because he felt great. We all want to be happy, energized to take on the day, and strong to face anything that comes our way. So, what is holding us back?

I think we forget the value and the joy in hard work. I think we believe that life is supposed to be easy as we get older, so we believe we do not have to work as hard. A role model of mine said that he thought life would keep getting easier as he got older, but he is finding out that is just not the reality. Life is always tough, we just have to get tougher.

So, how do you get encouraged to exercise when you do not really want to exercise?

*Know the perks. Do you want a better immune system, a stronger heart, more focus, less stress, a better attitude? Do you want to enjoy your kids more?

*See the potential for positive results. A negative mindset is defeating, but a positive one can take you to reaching your goals. Proverbs 17:22 states, "A cheerful heart makes you healthy."

*Exercise everyday. Do something everyday, even if it is taking a walk or stretching, that way it becomes a habit.

*Get a better perspective on time. A 10 minute jog can go a long way. Before long you will be able to jog for 20, or 30 minutes. Just keep reminding yourself that 10 minutes is not a lot of time. In fact, it's 1/144 of your day! If you do not like to jog, do simple exercises for 10 minutes to start. Remember, when you get to think about you for 20-30 minutes a day, you won't have to be focused on you for the rest of the day.

*Encourage your kids to exercise with you. They could be a great source of motivation and fun, as you get stronger and healthier together as a family.

Proverbs 14:23 tells us that "All hard work brings a profit." The Scriptures, also, tell us to "have respect for the Lord and avoid evil. That will bring health to your body. It will make your bones strong (Proverbs 3:7-8)." How encouraging it is to know that God wants us to have good health and strong bones! We must work and the results will come.

Thanks for reading!

Melissa Seng

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Turning Your Differences Into Fun Opportunities

Do you ever wonder why your child has to be interested in hobbies that are absolutely of no interest to you? Do you ever think about how much fun it would be if your kids played the sports that you enjoyed growing up? You have studied the game and have insight that would greatly help a beginner. Or perhaps you are a great cook and would love to share that skill with your kids, but they have no desire to learn.

It is incredible to see how different our children are from ourselves. My son is interested in drawing, building, and watching "scary" movies; he loves dinosaurs, guns, and playing tackle football. How in the world do I enjoy time with my son when we are on totally different playing fields?

Well, the other day was a great example of how to begin this journey. My 4-year-old wanted to get a movie from the library. Instead of telling him "no" because it was not one that I wanted to watch, I approved. And what happened as a result, displays the blessings that come with embracing our children and their interests.

My son was so excited that he thought it was the greatest day ever. He shared his excitement with just about all the ladies in the library. He was able to be a delight because he was allowed to be an individual. In addition, on our adventures, I got to enjoy some delicious hot chocolate and find some fun Halloween books for kids!

We all want our kids to be happy, but do we sometimes deny our kids happiness for the sake of our own happiness? Perhaps, we can find a way to combine our kids interests with our own interests. We can bring our strengths together and find joy in family time. Say your child likes to play baseball. You think baseball is boring. Instead of just letting him play, you can actually embrace his hobby. Why not do something special for him before each game? Play catch in the yard, or make his favorite dinner. Those moments will end up being more important to him than the game itself. He may not even care if you decide to walk some laps and get exercise in during part of the game. That is a win, win!

When we approve of our kids, including their personalities and interests, we help them to build self-confidence, which they will carry with them everywhere they go. At the same time, we must ask ourselves three questions before we show our approval. "Are their hobbies/interests healthy to the body and mind?" "Are they moral?" "Are they reasonable?" Cupcake club once a week that involves you baking a batch of cupcakes for them every Monday morning is probably not a healthy practice for them or a reasonable request for you. On the other hand, if your kids like to run and get dirty, soccer would be a healthy, moral, and reasonable activity that the family can enjoy. 

Get to know your kids and embrace what they love, and you will be able to teach them so much more along the way.

Thanks for reading!

Yours truly,
Melissa Seng

(If you would like my blogs sent to your email address, visit and click on the "contact" tab at the bottom of the page.)

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

What You Should Start Doing Today for Your Kids

You see it in movies and on television. You think about it, but do you actually take the time to complete the task? You know it is a great idea for your kids, but you make all these excuses and put it off for years. But, is it really that difficult? What is this undertaking I suggest?

Writing a journal, of course. We all have those moments in adulthood when we see life from our parents perspective. When we have kids, we see how they cared for us, and we understand things that were confusing to us before. We begin to see ourselves in similar situations taking care of our own kids. We can understand how much our parents cared for us, and how they could see our potential, as they watched us grow.

Life is complicated. People are complex. But, what if we make it a little bit easier on our kids to understand us and to understand themselves? What if they could read our thoughts and see life from our eyes? What if they could read about all the times that they were able to shine? They could see the child that God really created them to be.

What if your kids could read how awesome they are, and see how much you believe in them? They could find their desire to work hard in life and never doubt themselves. What if, years from now, they can remember the crazy, fun times together as a family because they can read about it in a journal? They could have joy and be ready to move on creating more exciting memories as they grow. What if they can actually understand how much God has blessed them with family, as He intended? They could be at peace, knowing that God is in control. They, also, could see the blessings that go along with God's good design.

I encourage you to start small. Keep a separate journal for each of your kids, and write just a five minute letter to them today. Then, once a week go back and write some more. Tell them about the day, tell them whatever you would want them to know as they read your letters to them years from now. I hope it's a great gift you can give your kids when that time comes!

Thanks for reading!

Melissa Seng

(If you enjoy reading my blogs, you can visit Click on the "contact" tab at the bottom of the page so that they can be sent to you by email.)

Friday, September 22, 2017

Raising Christian Children in a Secular School Environment

Raising our kids, it's an exciting journey. We get to see them run around, having so much fun exploring the world around them. The gift in the journey is that we get to see the joy in their hearts and, at the same time, impact their lives in such a great way. We get to teach them the good in life, and we get to teach them that they are valuable. We, also, get to help shape their surroundings. To our kids, their environment is their world. For this reason, I want to talk about a few tips on how to raise kids in a secular school environment.

As I began discussing this topic with my husband, I questioned whether I had any credibility to write on such a topic. My kids are not school-age yet, and they are not old enough to make statements about their faith. They know truth, as they are taught the Word of God, but their faith has yet to be challenged.

The experience that my husband and I have in secular education for 12+ years, has encouraged us to dive in to this subject. We have had to overcome challenges in order to strengthen our faith and understand where truth originates.

In this blog I want to outline a few important points to remember as we raise kids in a secular world. I will have an entire checklist in my next blog, but the most important points I want to discuss at this time. Some of them are basic principles, but I want to emphasize why they are so vital in raising our children.

1. Display Christian values in the home. They will learn that the Bible actually matters. They will see how being obedient to the Word of God is a great blessing to our lives.

2. Attend church regularly. They will be surrounded by people who encourage them and help teach them purpose and morality.

3. Have them attend a good, Bible-based church camp. There are many church camps that do not abide by Biblical values, but my experience is that a good church camp can make an incredible impact on your life. Kids will be blown away that people in the world, outside of their family, actually care about them. They will see that they can act in good character and actually have a lot of fun.

4. Emphasize character more than accomplishments. We praise achievements with grades and sports, but it is most helpful to teach our kids to be kind and caring to others.

5. Encourage them to attend a Christian college, not just a church-affiliated school or secular university. Some schools are church-affiliated more so in name than in the standards they uphold. Christian colleges teach morality and truth. They help kids to makes sense of life and their learning.

I hope these tips are helpful and a blessing to you! To receive the full checklist, and my future blogs, visit Click on "contact" at the bottom of the page, and send us your email address.

Thanks for reading!

~Melissa Seng

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Positive Vibes or a Good God?

"I need your positive vibes today!" "I am sending some positive thoughts your way!" It's the kind of dialogue we see and hear all the time. It's quite thoughtful and sounds great, but is it doing anyone any good? Is it okay for us, as Christians, to use this kind of lingo?

I am not a fan of the term "positive vibes." People do not always know what they even mean when they say it. But, for many, they are really saying that positive thoughts trump the Christian practice of prayer. People use to say, "I'll pray for you!"Now people say "I'll send my positive vibes your way!"

I'm sorry, but if I am sick, your positive vibes are going to do me no good. If you were to come visit me, you could cheer me up, out of the goodness of your heart, or pray. According to the Word of God, prayer is powerful and effective. James 5:16 says, "confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective."

The idea that we need to rise up positive energy from the universe to use for our own good is a New Age belief. As Christians, we believe that positive energy comes from God. Everything comes from God because he created everything out of nothing. We are not to worship the energy, but to recognize where the positive energy originates.

Zig Ziglar, a motivational speaker and Christian, taught that positive thoughts -> positive action -> positive results -> positive emotion. We are not to act purely out of emotion, but out of our knowledge from the Word of God. We can have joy (emotion) because we first know that we have eternal life (thoughts). We know that good things are to come, so we can have peace and joy in this life.

Sometimes if we do not feel positive or happy, instead of just doing a happy dance, we can think about why we are to be happy. Scripture tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 to "be joyful always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." By being grateful for our blessings we can have joy in our hearts. Romans 8:28 tells us that "in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him." We can be positive today in knowing that God works for our good.

I hope this blog encourages you today!

Thanks for reading!

~Melissa Seng

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Are We Losing Our Kids to Technology and Entertainment?

Technology. It's everywhere. According to, technology is machinery or equipment that is used for practical purposes. It can be in the form of computers, telephones, cars, or microwaves. But, some of the most widely used technology has become laptops, smart phones, and tablets. These forms are changing the way we live, and are changing the ways our children grow up and adapt to the world around them.

It is common for young children to imitate their parents on the phone or on a personal device. But, is it the best idea to buy them one? Some would say that it's harmless, but if you take a look at the culture of our young people today, you might think differently. You might actually wonder where all the kids have gone.

I am not talking about kids in their teens. I am talking about kids, who have barely learned to talk. These kids are staring at a screen all day, when they should be learning about all the wonders around them. In the grocery store, or at a baseball game, or at a birthday party kids are just looking down, missing all of the excitement in their midst.

Kids, from the time they are born, are taking everything in and learning to understand the world around them. They are learning right from wrong, and they are learning how to live in this crazy world. Are we reducing their understanding of life on Earth to a screen? Real experiences of smelling fresh flowers, growing a garden, learning to ride a bike, playing in the dirt, seeing waterfalls, and playing with friends means so much more than seeing it on a screen. Real experiences make life worth living.

When I ask my three-year-old, Jaden, if he wants to watch something (because we do not have cable), he tells me, "Maybe when Daddy gets home." I am so thankful that he enjoys the company of his family and can be at peace without personal, hand-held entertainment systems.

A short time ago, my husband and I were talking with a young man, who was selling us a phone. He saw our three-year-old having fun talking with everyone in the store, and he said, "I wish my son was that outgoing! I come home and he doesn't even talk to me. He just has that screen in front of him." His boy was the same age as ours, just a toddler! The man was obviously saddened that his boy was too busy for him at such a young age. The ironic part of the situation was that that same guy tried to sell us the same tablet that his boy had for just $50! (I could understand if he wanted to just give away his boy's tablet out of desperation to have a relationship with his son.). I didn't have to think twice. Now, a year later, I wonder how many people have sold their kids over to a lifestyle that they are not even a part of, all for the price of $50? Yes, we may want peace in the home, but I'd bet that most of us still want the presence of our children.

Personal, hand-held entertainment systems are not going to go away any time soon. We must take a hold of the situation. We must not let years pass by, where our children grow up with technology, instead of their parents and friends, by their side. We need to encourage kids to have fun, instead of just enjoying such a shallow form of entertainment. We need to teach kids to look towards God and His creation for fulfillment, instead of looking towards creations by mankind.

Our kids do not stay young forever. Our prayer should be that they can enjoy life and all that God created. It seems as though the world is at our finger tips, but, really, it is in the hands of God. Let's encourage our families to put their lives in His hands, instead of in their own.

Yours Truly,
Melissa Seng

Friday, June 30, 2017

Showing God's Goodness Through Faith and Family

If you have been in church long enough, you have probably seen some of the most caring, compassionate, and gracious people that you have ever met. They are delightful in their service, genuine in their faith, and great examples to the young and the old, alike. They help you to see that God is good and that He has good things in store for us.

We ask ourselves, what is the trick? I can think of many people who have been great examples to me in the church. They have been all ages, backgrounds, personalities, and skill sets. They belong to different churches, have different education levels and career paths. But, they all have a few factors in common. They put faith and family in the forefront of all they do. They live out their faith at home, and raise their kids to do the same. Over the years, the messiness of life does not phase them. They let God work everything out by faithfully living their lives according to His instructions. As a result, they amazingly never lose their peace and joy.

The Bible tells us that out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. The same is true of our actions. Out the abundance of the heart, we can serve people. We never have to be lacking anything.
How do we become like those who give out of abundance?  What if we do not believe we have the peace, joy, compassion, or care that others have to give? Well, the Bible tells us that what we sow, we reap. When we read and pray, we have more to give. Pastor Craig Cramer recently stated that only 17% of people in this country attend a Christian church service regularly (at least three times a month), and only 13% of those people read their Bibles daily! Wow. Just attending church and reading the Bible is a great start for having more to give!

Terri Savelle Foy encourages people to clean up at home first. We need to de-clutter our home, our minds, and our lives. We need to get rid of the mess so we can have more to offer. Part of cleaning up at home involves taking care of our family. God commands us to do so. If every Christian takes care of family first, there would be less stress on the church to take care of those in need. We can not take care of everyone, but we can take care of the people that God has placed in our lives.

Some of the happiest and most helpful people in the church are those who work alongside their families. Husband and wife. mother and daughter, brother and sister, parents and kids - it brings great joy to people to see families serving together. And, it brings joy to the families, as they know that God has blessed their faithfulness in serving one another. It is, also, much more fun and productive to care for your family and the church at the same time. To grow the church family, we need to serve as a family and embrace God's gift of family.

It is the example we set before people and the care we provide that allows us to be a blessing. We can be a delight and a joy to God's people, just as others have done for us.

Monday, June 26, 2017

A Brief Reflection from a Wife at Home

The other day something very fascinating occurred to me. I had a million goals for the day, a less than positive attitude, and a desire to just go outside and have some fun. I realized that the day before, I had somewhat neglected my duties as a wife, because it was so much more fun to just go outside. I knew that clutter and mess inside the home would just make me stressed out, so I realized that I needed to get to work. My mind was going back and forth, from telling me to go outside with the boys, to stay inside and clean up. I was so confused on what to do.

You know, on these beautiful summer days, it is normal to neglect some duties inside for the sake of running outdoors in the summer sun. Going on a walk, running laps around the house, going to the park, swimming, having a picnic, those are the good days. Kids need the fresh air and the excitement in order to feel like kids. Running around screaming and hollering is what they do best.

So how in the world do I know when to do the housework on these beautiful days? I know it sounds like a less than intelligent question to ask, as we can all figure that out on our own. But, I hope to share something with you that can help.

I realized my husband was at work. I knew if he was working, I should probably be working too. If he does not get a break, why should I? We work as a team. He does not have the pleasure of working from home yet, but either way, work is a part of our world. God gives us work.

The Scriptures tell us that God prepares good works for us to complete. The good works can be in the form of making money, growing crops, taking care of livestock, and taking care of our home and our children. Sometimes that work can be fun, and many times, if we have the right perspective, it can be rewarding, as well.

Rest is for the weary, but let's stay strong, be thankful for the opportunity to take care of our family, and wait for the proper time to celebrate together when the day's work is done.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Encouraging Your Spouse

Have you ever realized that your spouse needs encouragement? The world tends to beat us down, and we constantly need someone to be there to build us back up. I have heard that encouragement gets us going, and consistency keeps us growing. We need discipline to stay in motion, but that encouragement is so powerful for helping us begin each day in a world that is great at tearing us apart.

I have recently realized that women need just as much encouragement as men. All people need a sense of self-worth. I believe that helping our spouse to feel like they are worth something is one of the greatest gifts that we can give. Our culture tells us that we are not good enough, the work place tells us we are not good enough, the church tells us that we are not good enough. The message comes at us from every direction. How do we combat these negative messages that do nothing but prevent us from enjoying the life God has given us?

It is fascinating how God brings good teaching to us. I hope that I can provide that to you now.

Joseph is a character in the Bible that we can look to in these situations, when we do not feel like we are enough. Joseph was sold into slavery by his own brothers, who basically wanted him dead. I am sure he felt worthless and betrayed. Little did they know that their brother would get the attention of the king because of his ability to interpret dreams, and he would soon be second in command over the people of Egypt. He would have access to the stored food, when the rest of the land was experiencing famine. Joseph tells us in Genesis that when people (his brothers) meant to harm him, God meant it for good.

Encouraging your spouse is important in word and deed. As John C. Maxwell explains, we need to set people up for a win. He said that good leaders take people so far that the finish line is within reach, and then they let them cross it on their own. We should do the same. We can praise our spouse, and then let him/her win. Feed the kids, and praise him/her for helping with the clean-up. Do most of the work cooking, and praise him/her for helping at cutting up the vegetables. Clean up the yard, and praise him/her for watching the kids. In our home, my husband is a good example in this regard. He does most of the cooking (because I am just not a great cook) and he praises me for the little help that I give. And, I am able to do more each time. If we ask for too much at once, we are setting our spouse up for defeat. But, if we are reasonable in our requests, he/she will be encouraged to do even more!

Let's encourage our spouse in word and deed! After all, you are the best person in the world that can provide that gift.

Yours Truly,
Melissa Seng

Monday, June 19, 2017

Happiness: What Does It Take to Attain It?

We all want happiness. At least all of the people reading this blog, I am sure, want to be happy. Yes, there are times in our lives that we prefer to be miserable, out of our own stubbornness, or out of our desire to fully overcome hardship. Sometimes emotional pain is what we need in order to decide that it's time to seek better for ourselves. Sometimes we have to experience hurt, instead of ignoring reality. But, once we are through the tough stuff, we want to be happy.

So, how do we seek out and obtain happiness? What does that look like? For most of us, we can see what it looks like, but it seems unattainable as a personal achievement. The ironic truth is just that, happiness is an achievement; it take works! It may not be considered work in terms of earning a living, but it's earning a state of well-being. It is a choice.

What can we do to make ourselves happy? Well, part of that question you have to figure out on your own, but I can give you quite a start on figuring it out.

*Figure out what you enjoy doing, based on your skills and resources. And do it! It could be cooking new recipes for your family, scrapbooking with all of your keepsakes, reading your next favorite book, going out on a coffee/tea date with your spouse, planning your next vacation and earning the money to get there, playing kickball in the yard with your kids, or going on a camping trip. Take time to do what you enjoy and your years will not feel like they are just passing by.

*"Live Like Your Loved!" I just heard that song by Hawk Nelson on the radio today, and it was exactly the message that can bring us joy to our spirit and happiness to our bones.

*Seek perspective. The other day I called a friend and got perspective from probably one of the greatest people I have ever met. Wisdom is wise, but perspective is powerful. It teaches us how to look at the world, which ultimately changes everything.

*Do not over-exaggerate your yesterdays, overestimate your tomorrows, or underestimate your today. Tomorrow never comes, and yesterday probably was more difficult than you can remember. Know that you can make it a great day today! (John C. Maxwell)

*Follow the instructions that God lays out for us in Scripture. They are written for our own good, and can save us a lot of trouble.

Ecclesiastes 2:26 "To the person who pleases Him, God gives wisdom, knowledge, and happiness..."

Yours Truly,
Melissa Seng

Monday, June 5, 2017

What Does It Take To Raise Up A Winner?

As many of you readers know, I like to go on runs, refreshingly long runs. As I was running the other day, I could not help but think about all the little kids out on the soccer field. Some of those little ones give it their all to make their parents proud. Some of them work hard to be the best, some of them work hard to get a rest. I can remember not too long ago being out in a different field, playing the same game. That game did not mean a whole lot to me; in fact I was one of the ones working hard to get a seat on the bench. Soccer is tough for those of us who have not been blessed with such skills or interests in being a great soccer player.

Running around that soccer field, I could not help but think of the defeat that many kids face these days. They work hard, just to learn that they are not good enough. They want to be valued; they want to be good enough.

It is obvious in the world of sports that not everyone can win. I do not think everyone should win. Winning takes effort; it takes skill. Winning separates those who are serious about the game, from those who just show up. Winning takes character and determination. It shapes our lives towards victory. It impacts our health, our relationships, and our ability to have fun.

Teaching our kids to work hard and win is fantastic. However, three words kept coming back to me as I was running around those soccer fields just a few evenings ago. The three words repeated in my mind: "and then what?" These young kids, from age four on up, win the game. And then what? Do their parents teach them that they are better than everyone else, or do they congratulate their children for working hard and giving it their all? For the kids who were on the losing team, do their parents teach that winning is the key to their self-worth, or do they teach that they are valued and should not waste a second on negative thinking? Are we teaching our kids that their value is derived from their performance, or are we teaching them that they have immeasurable value from their Creator?

It is not a coincidence that those who know they have value are the one's who usually perform the best. In fact, when kids know they are loved and valued, they have all the reason in the world to do their best. They have nothing to lose. In H. Jackson Brown, Jr.'s book, "Life's Little Instruction Book," he says to "Work hard to create in your children a good self-image. It's the most important thing you can do to insure their success." The key is not valuing your children for winning, it's valuing your children before they win.

John C. Maxwell talks a lot about adding value to people. Parents can lead their children to performing better in school, in sports, and at home by letting them know that they are valuable and created in the image of God. We can create winners by letting our kids win first at home.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Being in Awe of God

"Look at that one! And that one! Look at that Gamera!" Every picture to me is just like the last one. They all are pictures of Gamera. All pictures of no interest to me, other than for the fact that they bring much excitement to my son. It's funny seeing him flip through the pictures, as maybe one in ten might impress me for the color and the effects, and that it looks as real as real can be in the world of monsters.

This illustrations reminds me of how we can be in awe of God. It's not clear from an outsiders perspective, but as a Christian, we can see how God is at work in all of our lives. We can see the detail that makes one story different from the next. We can see that there is much to be excited about when the rest of the world is confused and unimpressed. We can see how the pieces of our lives fit together just right. We can see how the big pictures just makes sense.

It's funny how the rest of the world can be so unimpressed. But, just as I was watching my son flip through the pictures of Gamera, I was not paying attention to the details. I don't even know who Gamera is, besides that he looks like a flying turtle!

If people get to understand the God of the Bible, they will begin to be impressed by his creation. The finest doctors around can learn to fix the human body and bring patients to a state of healing. But, I can guarantee that none of them could have figured out how to link the heart and lungs so that they work together to allow us to run, and to sleep, and to swim. Doctors can fix our vision through corrective lenses, but I can guarantee they could have never created an eye to see. Who can even fathom how we see, how our sight is such an amazing necessity?

Who can fathom how our brains can comprehend language? According to Merriam-Webster, there are about 470,000 words in the Webster dictionary. Just how kids can speak fluently at such a young age will always amaze me.

When we lose the awe of God, that is when we are taking his work for granted. Chuck Swindoll teaches that this is the result of overexposure. Let's not let overexposure to God's greatness limit our ability to appreciate his work. Be in awe of his creation today.

Yours Truly,
Melissa Seng

Friday, May 19, 2017

Great Men, Godly Men in our World!

I just got done listening to a sermon on men. The pastor spoke on how men became real men at the age of about 15 years old just a few decades ago. Men had jobs, took care of their families, explored the wilderness, fought in war. Times were tough. Men were even tougher.

I think men are powerful. They can change a whole culture. When you see a good man taking care of his family, bringing stability and protection to his homeland, it gives you a sense of peace and comfort. It is pretty amazing to see the strength that only a man can bring to his family.

According to many sermons I have heard, guys are too busy playing video games, that they don't become real men. That may be true, but I think men are waiting to become men, as they are held back by society's teachings. What is society teaching us that keeps these good men from becoming the great men that we all need around us?

Well, society teaches us that men are not necessary. Women can do it all. Life was not easy for women years ago, with no washing machines, no dish washers, no fast food options. My mother remembers milk delivered to their door step growing up. That seems like ancient times when you see it in the movies. But to my mother, it is just like yesterday. They cooked all their meals, washed dishes as a family, had one ball to play with, and one tire swing. Life was different. Women definitely needed men to work outside the home.

The traditional ways of life are claimed to be sexist these days. However, they can actually display mutual respect. Men respect women for their ability to do such a great job taking care of the home. Women greatly respect men for their eagerness to work for the benefit of loved ones. The family becomes a team, and when the cord has three strands (with God in the mix), it is not easily broken. Due to finances and women's desires to work hard outside the home, the family dynamics have changed. The problem is not the family dynamics, but the belief that men need not be men.

It is viewed that real men are of the past, only to be held as icons in famous films. But, what would this county look like if we were promoting great men to rise up and to lead? I know some great men, and they create stability and peace like none other.

We are blessed in this country beyond what we can even realize. But, we still need men. Our families have become weak, our values even weaker. We need to let great men rise up as leaders. Great men, Godly men give us hope and a picture of the tough guy, full of love, that Jesus really is. Great men are like Jesus to the world.

Giving Your Kids Some Slack

Kids are unpredictable. They can be emotional, energetic, compassionate, and kind all in the same few moments. One minute they are upset, the next they are excited about the new adventures that await. Kids at all ages encounter new experiences and learn the good, the bad, and the ugly about life, all while we, as parents, get showered in their emotions of the time. At one moment, kids may be excited about losing a tooth, and the next they are screaming in pain, or completely weirded out that something so solid just came falling out of their mouth. Kids may be roudy and unbearable and, within seconds, they have fallen sound asleep, leaving you to a peaceful house.

I find that these changing emotions and new experiences require us to give our kids some slack. We need to not get caught up in the emotions, and use our brains, instead. If our children are throwing a fit, we need to ask ourselves a few questions. Are they hungry? Was I too caught up in what I was doing that I forgot to get them a snack? Are they tired? Do they feel neglected? Have I been so busy that I have not paid much attention to them today?

These questions are not for the purpose of excusing our children from misbehavior. They are meant to recognize if our children are in need of food/water/rest/comfort and care. We can address the behavior after we have provided the basic needs. Our hearts and our bodies tell us when we are in need. We were created that way. So, instead of getting upset at your children, use they emotions to help you recognize when they are in need.

My husband and I agree that we cannot excuse bad behavior; however, it would be counter-productive to ignore your children's outcries for attention. When you show compassion to them, they will learn to show compassion for others. If they feel that they are heard, their emotional roller coasters will become more like a train ride through the park. You will be on the journey together, headed in the same direction.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Fear of the Lord: Why Should We Fear Our God?

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline (Proverbs 1:7).

This passage in scripture has been troubling to me since the first time I read it, probably twenty years ago. It is strange to say that I have been reading the Bible for twenty years. But, nonetheless, the idea of fearing the one true God - the God who created us and loves us, the God that wants us to live with him in eternity - has troubled me quite a bit. Why would he want us to fear him?

The only explanations I could come up with was that God was not all that good because he wanted us to live in fear of him or that he was just insecure. Both of these ideas contradict the contents of the entire Bible; so, I knew I needed to dismiss these assertions. I know that God is good.

Sitting up late last night reading the scriptures, I came to a conclusion. It was dark, my family was sound asleep, and I realized something profound. Evil is in the world. I have heard many great pastors speak about this evil lurking around us. The Bible talks about it as a thief that wants to steal, to kill, and to destroy (John 10:10). Pastors speak about this topic only to give us warning that we need to not get lazy on our spiritual walk. We need to pursue following Christ with purpose. We must not get weary, or fall asleep. There is an enemy out there. We must stay close to our Creator.

Last night, I realized that when it is dark, and the fear of the enemy is in our hearts, it would be easy to give in to the enemy. We do not want to be devoured by this power source, so it sometimes seems that if we just do as he says, he will not harm us. We fear Satan's power.

This is exactly why we are to fear God, instead! We do not want to give in to the enemy. If he tries to lure us into action, by getting us to fear him, he wins. If we listen to the enemy, he does not protect us. He destroys his prey. Jesus was tempted by Satan, but feared God instead. What a powerful lesson. That is why we are to fear God and not the enemy! What we fear is what we follow. If we fear the enemy, we give in to him. If we fear God, we follow Him. I pray that you fear God, love God, and know that it is He who wants the best for you.

Yours Truly,
Melissa Seng

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Giving Your Husband Some Slack

(Re-posted from 5-17-17)
Just the other day, I had a revelation that I want to share with you. It was a busy day, and my husband and I were getting a lot of work done around the house. He was so helpful, as always, and I was very thankful for his work. He had helped me with the laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning, yard work, and taking care of our two boys. We work almost like we are running a relay race, to tell you the truth. I entertain our kids and ask my husband to do certain tasks. Then, after a little bit, I hand our 5-month-old off to him, and I continue with the work to be done. Running around, handing the baton back and forth, seems to be a very effective method for getting things done.

Well, the day was finally slowing down, and an interesting thought came to my mind. I know this sounds crazy, but I realized something life-changing (possibly, for my husband, that is!). I realized that not once in all of those 24 hours did my husband ask me to do anything! ... I was in awe. That whole day I had been giving him instructions and asking him for help, and not once did he ask me to do anything for him.

I told my husband what I had realized, and he just gave me a smile and laughed. I listen to talks on marriage, but this was a new revelation. One expert in the area of relationships is Mark Gungor. His wisdom and originality brings helpful teaching to the world of marriage. I remember him saying the laundry can be in the center of the room, blocking the television, blocking a direct route to the kitchen, but unless you ask (twice!), he will not even realize the room looks any different. He taught that he could go to the grocery store completely confident in what he is buying for his wife. He will be so confident that he does not even bring a list. He buys what he needs, comes home, and realizes, through his wife's expressions, that he totally forgot what she needed.

Until now, I thought men were just forgetful by nature, confidently forgetful. You see your husband look like a million bucks as he strides out the door, eager  to go run some errands to make you, his beloved wife, happy. Thanks to cell phones, you can call him half-way through to check up on him and make sure he is doing okay. After realizing that he has forgotten what he is looking for, we ask ourselves, once again, are our husbands just that forgetful?

You may be surprised to find that my answer is no. I learned recently that women sometimes speak at least three times as much as men, meaning the rate that the words just come out of our mouth is way too much for our husbands to hear, let alone remember. That does not mean we have to necessarily slow down when we are talking, but it does mean we should give our husbands some slack. We should listen to ourselves, and ask, "If someone were giving me those instructions, would I remember them?" "If someone gave me those directions, could I follow them?" "Would I forget things from time to time, if I were receiving instructions all day long?" Give your husband some slack.

The encouragement I want to give to you comes from my husband. When I asked him about this revelation, after apologizing for all of my orders that day, he said to me, "The man is the head of the household, but the woman is in charge of the affairs of the house." God can use women in taking care of the home, and we must, at times, instruct others in these matters. When we pair our gifts with kindness and patience, it brings peace to everyone in the home.

Thanks for reading!

Melissa Seng

Friday, April 28, 2017

Teaching Morality to Your Children

Teaching morality to your children, how do you go about such a task? You can probably look around and see all the immorality in our culture and realize that it is an important assignment. Your children are too precious to let them be fooled by the craziness in our culture, but how are our children to know who is teaching them truth? I have a few points to share with you that will help not only in teaching morality to your children, but will help with your children believing in what you say as truth.

*Show grace. In addition to teaching the tough stuff, I teach grace. Jaden told me to be Goliath, as he was acting out the part of David. Knowing that I was the bad guy, he told me that Jesus died to save us. What a great message! We can teach grace through the teachings of the Word of God. The Word of God teaches us how to cope with all the messiness in this world.

*Model good behavior. Don't reprimand your kids for yelling by yelling at them. Show patience and understanding. In the words of Jaden, "don't be a little bit rough, then I'll be a little bit rough too."

*Tell the whole truth. My 3-year-old tells me that bad guys who don't listen to Jesus will go to Hell. Yikes! ...Okay, hear me out on this one. When we sugar coat the truth, the truth is not in them. Kids have to know that there is definitely a right and wrong. There are serious consequences for those who choose the wrong way, but there are bountiful blessings for those who choose the right way to live. When we sugar coat the truth, kids begin to believe that they do not really have to be good kids. They just have to pretend to be good for the sake of rewards. My son use to want to be the bad guy (just for fun), now he only wants to be the good guy. There is much excitement and adventure as he acts the part of a "good guy super hero." He realizes there is no in-between. You still may think I am crazy, but I see that it is of great benefit to teach reality, rather than a fairy tale.

*Value your children. Don't just care about your children, cherish them. When they see that they are valuable in your eyes, they will want to behave. They will see that it is rewarding to enjoy time together as a family. Build them up, and they will make your life better. When they feel valued, they will act valuable.

Just recently, I was listening to Chuck Swindoll, a passionate pastor in ministry. He was teaching on child rearing. He was saying that what keeps kids on the right track is not taking them to church every Sunday and every church activity they could possibly go to. What keeps kids on the right track is getting to know them - learning their strengths and weaknesses, encouraging them in what they love to do, listening to them. Swindoll even went as far to say that when this is not done, kids will hit the road running, once they become an adult, and possibly never return. Swindoll pointed to Proverbs 22:6 in the Message Bible, which reads, "point your kids in the right direction - when they are old, they won't be lost."

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Your Love Is Not Enough

In the spirit of the Easter season, we are reminded of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection. He came to save us from our sins because we could not save ourselves. He came to carry our burdens by carrying the cross for us. His life has given us hope for this life and in eternity.

As we think about Jesus' love for us, I want to share something that I have been thinking about for the entire season of Lent. As I watch my kids, I sit back and think of how I want the best that life can offer them. I want them to always be happy, healthy, and full of life. I want them to know that they are important, and to never get discouraged. I want them to be excited for the future, encouraged to pursue their dreams. I want them to work hard and never give up, to offer their time and energy to help other people, to have joy in their hearts because they are making a difference every day. I want the best for them, as God wants the best for us, as well. The Bible tells us that God wants to give us good gifts, and he wants all good things for those who love him.

Remarkably, God is the one who can do miracles. He is the one who can work all things together for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28). I want to perform miracles for my children, but my strength and love is not enough. I have to rely on God's love, and put my trust in Him for the future. I pray that you do the same.

Yours Truly,
~Melissa Seng

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Expect Great Things!

Have you ever been stuck in a rut? Have you ever felt that no matter how hard you tried, it seemed like you could never get your life on track? Have you ever been discouraged because the direction your life is heading and the direction you want it to go are two very different paths? Life is tough. Sometimes we can manipulate the variables and change our lifestyles, but we still cannot get the desired results, perhaps, with our health, relationships, or finances. From the time we wake up in the morning, to the minute we lay our head down to sleep, life remains a chore. It's exhausting. How in the world can all of this change?

Being a parent of two, I definitely have these thoughts from time to time. My four month old eats about seven times a day, and my three year old eats about that often, as well. Together that is about fourteen times a day that I am feeding one of my children! And that does not include my husband! Then, there are the dishes and laundry, and cleaning, all those chores you are familiar with. Of course, it only makes sense that our lives can sometimes feel like a chore.

Being me, who naturally analyzes everything, I realized some things needed to change. I wanted my daily routine to change, but I was waking up exhausted every morning. I could not figure out why. I knew that part of it was because I have not been drinking my happy drink in the morning, which is my XS (because I breastfeed my four month old), but I knew there was more to the story. I listened to John C. Maxwell and figured it out.

John C. Maxwell said something profound in one of his messages that I wanted to share with you all. He said it is not that he is so disciplined that makes him so successful, it is that he has positive anticipation. How awesome is that?! It is not that he is so crazy disciplined, but his anticipation drives his actions. Wow. What a great perspective!

When we have positive expectation, we are excited to get out of bed every morning to start the day. We anticipate good things to happen, and the results follow. What a relief it is when you expect to have a great day! The weight of your life, and the weight of all your responsibilities, seem so much lighter when you have positive expectation. Instead of just "keeping up with your house work," you do exceptional. You decorate! Instead of "getting in your workout," you have refreshing personal time to enjoy the fresh air and feel great. How much more would you get done with this kind of attitude? Positive expectations yield a positive life.

Have a great day!

Yours Truly,
~Melissa Seng

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Raising Confident Children

"Daddy, you need my help!" my three-year-old yells, as his daddy runs outside to mow the lawn. He knows the routine. When Daddy cuts the grass, he gets to use his toy lawn mower to help. Jaden says, "it's time to do some work," as he waits for me to get his jacket and shoes on, before running outside. He feels important. What a great confidence builder for a little guy! He is a part of the team, daddy's team.

Taking a second look at this example, it is clear that there was another approach I could have taken. I could have told Jaden that "actually Daddy does not need your help. He can do just fine on his own." Wow. Instead of building confidence in him, I would have totally left him feeling defeated, not important enough to be on daddy's team, and not happy at all. I would have been a complete jerk. Have you ever made that decision? Have you ever decided to choose personal convenience over your children's confidence and excitement for life? 

Raising confident children is not all about convenience. It is a choice, and it takes effort. It takes a lot of words of appreciation, a lot of thumbs up, a lot of smiles, and a lot of compliments. When you are in the habit of making these decisions, you will see a big difference in your children's attitudes. The ideas I will be presenting can be useful for parents of boys and girls. Praise them regularly, and they will give you more reason to give praise. If you criticize constantly, they will give you more reason to criticize. Teach them that they are highly skilled, intelligent, strong, kind, and great listeners. If you see it in them, they will see it in themselves. Watching our kids grow from birth onward, it is easy to see them as strong and smart, as we see God's amazing work first hand. 

Give your children confidence-building nicknames that they want to live up to. Let them speak words of encouragement in their own lives. Talk positively in your home. And, give your children boundaries of freedom. Boundaries of freedom involves giving your children freedom to have fun and make decisions within the boundaries that you set before him. For example, if your child wants to run around wild outside, you can give him a time frame and a location in which they can do so. 

Lastly, let your children have fun, teach the Word of God, and teach them to have compassion for others. Children, who love to have fun, who care for the people in their world, and who believe in the one true God, are likely to be confident children with much joy to offer the world around them. 

Yours Truly, 
~Melissa Seng

Friday, March 31, 2017

How Much Time is Enough in Spending Time With Your Kids?

How much time is enough in spending time with your kids? It's a fair question. We all ponder this question quite often. If we are parents working inside the home or outside the home, there is always money to be made and work to be done. There is, also, always those children who need your attention. It seems like parents are always pulled in so many directions, and it gets confusing which way to turn. Most of the time, we second guess ourselves, and still do not find the right answer. Well, I can attempt to help you find the answer right now.

Have you ever learned the power of a daily routine? A daily routine involves sticking with a set of tasks that you complete every day, in order to make sure the most important aspects of your life are taken care of. This routine only has to involve a small portion of your day, because you do have work to do and people to see. It is a busy life we live. After all, we are pretty complex creations, and we live in a complex world. It takes a lot of work to live life to the fullest.

In considering a daily  routine, I believe spending time with your children works the same way. You cannot just leave it all for the weekend and expect them to feel loved and appreciated. In the same way, you cannot just leave the exercise for the weekend and expect to get into shape. It needs to be a daily practice.

So, you may be thinking, "Well, of course I spend time with my kids everyday. I get them ready for school, cook them dinner, clean them up, and do it all again the next day." I'm sorry to say, but that does not count. If that is the best you can do for the time, I understand. However, you should put goals in place to spend more quality time with your children. Your kids are valuable, as you already know. They need your undivided attention every day.

Let's clarify what I consider undivided attention, and then we can look into the question of "How much time is enough?" Undivided attention is not exactly undivided. It just does not involve work (i.e. cleaning the house, cooking dinner, etc.). It can involve reading your kids a story, singing a song, playing a game, running around outside. It involves a time when you and your family are valuing one another and enjoying each other's company. It is a time that your children will cherish.

You may be wondering, "Does this involve the television?" I am happy to say "NO." As you have heard, your brain is more active when you are sleeping than it is when you are watching TV. How often have you been watching TV and hours later you completely forgot that other people were in the room? Exactly. Trust me, they would much rather be dancing around the living room than participating in an activity that does not really involve them anyways. As grown-ups, we realize that it was the quality time with our family that mattered the most, and made the greatest impact in our lives.

Does this mean no television? No. I am just suggesting that you do not consider it to be the undivided attention that you give your children every day.

Let's return to the original question. How much time should this be that we focus on our children? I think a great goal is one hour per day of undivided attention. That could be a half hour in the morning just talking and drinking some hot tea and a half hour in the evening doing a family devotional. It could be a half hour in the morning getting some fresh air outdoors as a family and a half hour in the evening playing basketball. It could involve taking a break in the middle of the day and just hanging out with your little ones.  These times can be completely unique to your family. They are special to your children, and will be invaluable in shaping your relationships with one another. Do what you enjoy together, and the joy will be ever-present in your home.

Yours truly,
~Melissa Seng

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Encouragement for Your Marriage!

Recently, I was listening to Dave Ramsey, and he brought up an example of what it is like to go through life in marriage. He used the example of two Belgian horses to paint a picture of the amazing gift of marriage and the power that lies within a team of a husband and wife.

God's creation is pretty amazing. It is easy to be in awe of beauty, the elegant design, and the details of the work of our Intelligent Designer, One creature that I mentioned is the Belgian horse. Did you know that one Belgian horse can pull 8,000 lbs? That's quite a job that can be done. What is amazing is that two Belgian horses that have never worked together can pull 24,000 lbs. That is three times the load. The horses just have to be pulling in the same direction. If we compare this to marriage, it is like a husband and wife that are headed towards the same goals, but maybe feel like they do not even like each other most days. They have not yet figured out that the person next to them is an awesome gift. They have yet to see the beauty and power in the relationship. But what happens when a couple discovers these truths? What happens when a husband and wife start to like each other again, and maybe even begin training to work as a team? Well, in horse terms, they can pull 32,000 lbs!! That's the power of a great marriage!

The Bible tells us that "He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord (Proverbs 18:22). We are a gift to our spouse, and our spouse is a gift to get God's work done, a gift so that we can have God's best for our lives. It's much more fun to go through life when you are pulling in the same direction and working as a team.

When you are working together, there is one important point you need to keep in mind. This is something that I realized a few months back, and it was just mind-boggling to me. I know you will be surprised, and you might even fall off your rocker, as the saying goes. But, something I realized was that my husband is not God. I know, it's crazy. You would have never guessed. (Okay, I'm just kidding.) But, think about it. Don't we all sometimes act as though our spouse is God. Do you ever expect your spouse to meet all of your needs? If you are like me, you have a pretty lengthy list of needs. A clean house, a restful night's sleep, lots of time to exercise, a few hours to sit back and read a good book (on the beach!) and some good home-cooking are all "needs" in my book. Having a great coach for my kids in life and in sports is also high on the priority list, But, most of all, I desire for someone who can always reassure me that everything will be okay, that my family will always be protected, and that they will be guided in the right direction. I want peace, joy, and comfort. I want foreknowledge that everything in life will be just fine and dandy.

Wow, that's quite a role to fulfill. The funny thing is, we really expect these things from our spouse! We think our spouse can give us these wonderful gifts. and I would love for that to happen. However, God and our spouse are not one in the same. Even if you think highly of your spouse, these wishes will probably only be granted by God.

Our spouse is our team, our motivator, our gift for enjoying life. He can help you to pull a load four times what you can on your own! So, be thankful! 1 Thessalonians 5:18 reads to "give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 5:18). God desires for us to notice the good things in life. So, even if your spouse cannot perform miracles, know that he can pray for them to happen, and he can be God's answer to the help that you need. That is great news!


Think of one thing you could not do without the help and encouragement of your spouse? Have the two of you been able to pull the load about four times what you could on your own? Feel free to comment below or on my Facebook page what you are thankful for (or just let your spouse know how they are greatly appreciated).

Personal example:

I am thankful for my husband's help with cooking. Because of him, I was able to enjoy zucchini noodles with garlic and parmesan, red-skinned potatoes, and healthy no-bake chocolate chip cookies this week! I could not have done it without him!

Have a great day!

Yours truly,
~Melissa Seng

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Tips for the Terrible Three's

I know we have all heard about the "terrible two's," the age when kids learn that they have an opinion. However, the terrible three's can be challenging, as well. This is the time when kids have learned how to talk, and now they are learning how to talk back. They have more freedom than ever before, and they want to take it to the limit. They are loud, proud, and unpredictable.

It's such a challenging time for parents, as we are, most often, left with no idea what to do in fulfilling our role as a parent. Three-year-old's no longer place you solely in charge of their lives. They act as though they are halfway between the stages of birth and adulthood. Three-year-old's can eat, walk, play, and talk on their own; however, they still need a roof over their head and some love and care from their parents.

During this stage in our children's lives, do we as parents take a tighter grip or do we loosen up on our reigns in parenting? Of course, there are many different opinions and many different ways of parenting. Raising our son through this stage of life, my husband and I have made some observations that might help you as a parent. All kids are different, but the tips that I have mentioned below have helped us greatly. We hope they make a difference for you, as well.

*1. Kids don't really want to misbehave. They want power, but they do not want to be a bad kid. Even if they seek temporary satisfaction by being a rebel, they really are most fulfilled when they are at peace in the arms of their mom or dad. Take time to recognize the joy in their spirit when they are behaving. You can see that that is when they are most happy.

Helpful hint: try laughing with your child more often. If he/she gets loud in a grocery store for no reason, or if he/she has an emotional fit at home, or if he/she tells you "no," try laughing. Why? Well, the more you find humor in the behavior, the more your child will see that their behavior is ridiculous. They will realize it's more fun to laugh. and the situation will not be elevated by your negative reaction. (P.S. this is not advised for every situation, but try it every once in awhile. You may be surprised at how well it works. You may actually receive that respect you desire and deserve.)

*2. Try not to raise your voice. Don't build on the emotion or the anger. Kids listen amazingly well when you talk softly and kindly to them. They realize that they are important and, ironically, that what you are saying needs to be heard.

*3. Explain all you can to them. They understand. And, sometimes, take the time to tell them why the answer is "no." They will learn so much from you, and you will have less battles to fight in the future.

*4. Remember their biggest influence comes from the example you set before them. Even beyond the situation, they are watching. If you are calm under stress, your child will learn to be calm. If you are filled with anger under stress, your child will learn to be filled with anger. If you can be joyful and loving, your child will learn to have love and joy. Your reactions make a bigger difference than the discipline you administer.

*5. Compliment them often! Kids are always trying new things, learning new skills, etc. Compliment them when they master a new skill, or say a new phrase, or eat a new kind of food. Notice the little things. They need a ton of confidence! You can make lasting deposits into their self esteem.

*6. Encourage two-way communication. Many times children at this age will get very upset for a specific reason. If we do not take the time to listen, we are not delivering the message that we care. Three-year-old's can begin to learn to have control over their emotions through good communication. As a parent, I am thankful that I have encouraged two-way communication when my three-year-old is upset. Many times there has not been a "battle of the wills" because I have listened to his needs at the time. In some instances, he has gotten upset, and I have learned that it was due to me forgetting to get him a drink or take care of one of his needs at the time. Kids can learn to communicate, if we give them a chance. If you master this concept, you will be glad you did! You will save so much time and energy, as you care to communicate well.

*7. Leave room for fun. Fun is always a great way to help children want to behave. Having fun seems to actually be a need for them. When they are having fun, there is less reason to misbehave. This can even involve the parent. For example, recently, we learned that our son listens amazingly well to Mickey Mouse (a.k.a. my husband speaking in a Mickey Mouse voice and puppeteering our stuffed Mickey).  He also listens well when my husband is just being a weirdo.

You may be one of those people who believes in the old fashioned way of parenting. "You do as I say because I am in charge." That is great, but if it is not working, because your child is a typical three-year-old, than feel free to try some of these ideas.

Start showing mutual respect in your household, and you too will find your toddler respond to you and your family (quite frequently!) with "Yes, Sir!" "Yes, Ma'am!" and "That's a great idea!" It's definitely worth a try!

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Dreaded "I Have To's" of Daily Life!

Isn't it terrible to think of all the things we have to get done in a day's time!? There is just work, followed by more work, work, work, until we finally lay our head down to sleep. The thoughts of work clutter our mind about 18 hours a day. Thoughts from "I have to finish the laundry," to "I have to pick up my kids on time," to "I have to help them with their homework," to "I have to cook dinner," to "I have to go shopping," to "I have to clean the house."

Isn't that awful!? That's quite a bit of pressure we place upon ourselves! Yes, we have so many responsibilities as a mother, and probably an employee. After all, mothers are cooks, nurses, taxi drivers, financial planners, coaches, school teachers, and entertainers. That's quite a list. Not only do we have to fulfill those roles, we have to learn to be successful at them for the benefit of those we love. The responsibilities are rewarding, but the stress of fulfilling these obligations can take away much of our joy. How can we possibly live in good spirits when our days are loaded with duties?  Our role as a mother and wife is fulfilling; we just need the joy back in our life. So, is it possible to have the craziness and the joy in our life? Let's take a look.

In order to enjoy our duties as a woman, we need to gain a sense of control over our lives. Our days are full of "I have to's." Our to-do lists just keep getting longer. And, it looks like there is no break in sight.

Well, there's good news. You have the control to bring back your joy. Your source of control is summed up in one word: attitude. Attitude changes everything. Watching parents pick up their kids at school, or seeing the frantic shoppers in the grocery store, you can guess the mindset of those busy people. They have the typical "I have to" mind set. There is so much they have to do. It robs them of joy and peace they most likely desire for themselves and their family.

But what happens if we take people with the same responsibilities with a different mind set? What happens if their mind set is one of "I get to!"? How does that change the situation?

Can you imagine the peace that would come over you walking through life with an "I get to" attitude? What would that look like? Well, let's take a look and see...

Picking up your kids at school: "I get to see my kids! It's going to be a fun family night!"

Shopping for groceries: "I get to try my new recipe! The kids are going to love it!"

Shopping for yourself: "I get to buy a few things for myself! This is going to be a good day."

Shopping for kids clothes: "I get to buy them new clothes. I am so thankful my kids are healthy and growing."

Playing with your kids: "I am so glad we get to spend time together. These days, I will remember forever!"

Exercising: "I am glad I have the opportunity to look my best!"

Wow! What a change! That simple mindset of, "I get to" instead of "I have to" can change everything. Imagine what that would look like in your life. What a relief. Even amidst the craziness, that joy can return. Amazingly, it's not the responsibilities, it's the attitude that brings the best in life to fruition! Have an "I get to!" attitude today, and enjoy then sense of peace and joy that it brings. :)

Sunday, March 12, 2017

You Know That You Are A Mom If...

Whether you are a seasoned parent or one with very young kids at home, I think you will find some truth to these statements. I hope you see that your role as a parent is important and much appreciated.

You know that you are a Mom if...

  • You can carry an extra 20-30 lb load in your arms without a sweat.
  • You have art work hanging on your refrigerator and are proud of it!
  • You finally get to do things you haven't done in a years! (Like go to the zoo, watch cartoons, run around outside all day just for the sake of having fun!)
  • You realize that relaxing is a luxury.
  • You think you are feeding and cleaning up after an army.
  • You have a cart full of groceries on your weekly shopping trip, and most of it is not for you.
  • You realize that you can be outsmarted by a 3-year-old.
  • You are reminded once again that you have called someone in your household by the wrong name...and you thought that day would never come.
  • You actually enjoy being home.
  • You are always in good company. :) 
Know that your greatest struggles lead to your greatest victories, and to some amazing skill sets, as well! Enjoy the journey!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Miracle of Life!

Children are a blessing. I never understood this concept until I had kids. It was difficult to comprehend why I should want someone to be a part of my life when I did not even know them yet. How could you want something that does not exist, at least from your point of view? There is plenty of stress in this world, so why would you want to add one more challenge to your life? The questions remain, that is, until you follow God's Word in your life. He gave us instruction about many different topics for our own good. Sometimes you just have to have faith and blessings will follow.

So why are children a blessing? After all, your life was perfectly perfect before they came into your life. Well, slowly, living life with those little kids that you never even knew before, you start to realize that you would not want to go through life without them. They are created by God with such complexity and individuality that it is incredible. They have so much energy and a mind of their own. That is a miracle itself! Their personalities allow us to grow abundantly. Children expose our flaws, as they sometimes reciprocate our actions. They help us to see the value of building our character, and they teach us to be kind. Children give us purpose and show us the miracle of life.

Listening to the teaching of intellectuals, while I was in college, I learned that babies are predictable. Psychologists could tell you at what age they will respond to you in different ways. They could tell you what the child could and could not comprehend at every stage of development. They could tell you all the reflexes that allow the child to survive. They were thought to be much like a successful science experiment.

But none of my learning in college taught me about the uniqueness of each human life. I did not learn about the miracle of God's creation. I did not learn that babies are actually very responsive and relational. Instead, I learned that they are mere creatures of existence and are nothing to fuss about. However, reality is much different than the textbook.God is real, and He creates so much variety and complexity that we cannot even begin to sum it up in 300 pages.

Watching a baby, it is amazing to see the life within the child. My three-month-old smiles at me, talks to me, and enjoys the company of his family. At his young age, he operates much like an adult in the way he carries out his day. It may sound silly, but he enjoys eating, sleeping, exercising, talking, and family time. All is good in the world if he gets to enjoy conversation with his family.

It is a miracle and a blessing that God creates children. I hope you see this impressive work of our Creator and give Him the glory.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Fun Ideas for your Rambunctious Kids

Parenting can be an interesting journey. Some days are great! Your kids are behaving, they're healthy, and you've been able to enjoy precious time with them. Other days are an uphill battle. On those days, it can be challenging to think of what to do to make the day count. I have listed some ideas here that might help. Some of them I came up with on my own, others are just reminders to us for when those rambunctious kids are running around and we are in desperate need to get some order in the household. I hope that these ideas are a help to you! I pray you are blessed by your fun-loving, energetic children and you enjoy these activities together!
  • Play Punch Ball! Who needs to catch a ball when you can punch it? (...mostly for younger kids. Just make sure it's not a hard ball.)
  • Play Balloon Volleyball! Who doesn't like an easy game of volleyball!? No net required.
  • Have a Water fight. It doesn't have to be a soaker, but guns + water + a competition = a winner for boys.
  • Race. Just make sure your kids win!
  • Make food. There's power in a mixing bowl. The power of empowerment to your kids.
  • Take a Walk. Need peace? This is wonderful for bringing a sense of peace to you and your kids.
  • Learn Sunday School/VBS Songs: Let them be loud! What better way to have fun than learn about God's Word in the process?
  • Dance. It's amazing the fun that comes from some music and dancing. You don't even have to be good at it.
  • Play Frisbee Chase. You may think frisbee is not for you, but what if it becomes a race? Your child will love it.
  • Spend time around animals. It's amazing how calm kids get when there are animals around.
  • Wrestle. It is great exercise to have the man of the house play tackle football/wrestling with those crazies.
  • Play games. I am amazed at the fun that comes out of simple family games.
  • Let them get messy! Painting or paper crafts can go a long way.
  • Read to them. Having structure is not a bad thing, even for rowdy ones. :)
Have fun and enjoy coming up with your own ideas!