Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Top Five Food Finds of 2017 and 2018 for Your Family!

Food and the family,  they go hand-in-hand. We are always shopping, cooking, cleaning up, and preparing for the next meal. So, I wanted to share a few food finds that might make these tasks more enjoyable for you. Here are my top five food finds of 2017 and 2018!

#5. Meijer brand frozen grilled chicken breasts. Natural, frozen-to-ready in 60 minutes, no messiness in the kitchen!

#4. Homegrown Organic Farms Freeze dried blueberries - crunchy, super healthy snack! Add sunflower seeds + chocolate chips + raisins + walnuts for on-the-go.

#3. Crunchmaster Multigrain Crackers - vegetable flavor. Gluten free and they taste amazing!

#2. Great Value Organic Brown Rice and Quinoa Penne Pasta with Newman's Own Marinara Sauce - not from genetically modified crops, and no sugar added!

#1. Sonoma Flatbreads: Gluten Free Four Cheese Pizza - no preservatives, natural ingredients, and great taste!

Enjoy, and thanks for reading!

~Melissa Seng

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Teaching Your Children A Christian Response to Evil in Our World

 With much talk about the school shootings, we need to consider how we are going to talk to our kids about the recent events. We can take these real situations and teach our children valuable lessons.

A few steps that you might consider are below. They are simple steps, although it is not a simple situation for the people affected. Here is how to begin a conversation with your children:

1. Briefly explain the situation.
2. Explain that Jesus teaches us to love our neighbors and love our enemies.
3. Pray for the families.
4. Pray for the "bad guy," that he will have a change of heart.
5. Apply the situation.
6. Let them ask questions.
7. Notice their responses. Did they listen to what you said to them? Did they converse or were they confused? Did they have a change of heart in caring for all people?

The Bible gives us great advice in Romans 12:9-21. Consider reading this as a family:

"Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. 

"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. 

"Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,' says the Lord. On the contrary:

"'If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.'

"Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

When you focus on the heart of your child and the Biblical teachings that you can instill, you will be delighted to see hope in these times.

Thanks for reading!

~Melissa Seng

Thursday, February 15, 2018

School Shootings: What to Make of It

In the news today, we all see the most recent school shooting, which took place in Florida, and killed 17 people and injured dozens more. Parents sent their kids off to school, expecting to see them when they returned. However, for some of them, that was not the case. It's terrible for all of the families affected and frightening to those who send their kids off to school everyday.

So, what are we to do about it? Everything we do is a risk. Taking out the trash, shoveling snow, driving our car, playing sports - everything can be potentially risky. But, at what point should we re-evaluate our routine to see if there are better options?

For our children, we should always be re-evaluating. Wise people say to evaluate your actions every single day. Did you make good decisions today? Are there areas you can improve?

It's great to have faith in a system, until that system continues to malfunction. It's the same with your car. You can have faith (confidence) that your vehicle will get you to where you want it to go. But, after it stops on you once or twice and all the engine lights come on, you may no longer have faith that it will get you to where you want to go. You may consider a new vehicle, even if it costs you extra money. The same is true for education. If the system malfunctions frequently, maybe we should consider investing in another vehicle for our children's education.

Public schools offer so much to our communities. Sports, clubs, music, art, drama - all of these areas are fun and educational. School plays, art shows, Christmas concerts, and sporting events help us to enjoy our children, as they are growing up right before our eyes. They, also, provide opportunities for children to make life-long friendships and learn relational skills.

But, there are other options. And, what better time is there to consider these opportunities? Liberty University has a home-school curriculum, so that your children can learn and grow right from home. Classical Conversations is another option, where you children can be schooled at home and still learn once a week in a classroom environment. In both of these options, you do not need any prior knowledge in home-schooling. Private schools are another great option.

What hope do we have in this style of education? As the number of home-schoolers increases, the need for online teachers will increase, and the opportunity for children to participate in extra-curricular events will improve. Our youth will receive practical education and time to develop personal expertise in their areas of interest. This brings much hope for our kids in the future.

I have met people who have educated their children from home, and their children grow up to be doctors, engineers, accountants or leaders in their company of employment. If your children can read, work hard, have a positive attitude, and apply themselves, they can be successful in any area they desire.

I would encourage you, that if you have been considering other options, that you would take the time to do so. You will not regret it.

Thanks for reading!

~Melissa Seng

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Why I Write Blogs

Until recently, you were probably wondering why I write blogs. About a month ago, I added a short biography to my page on www.williamhseng.com. And, I will include some of it here.

I graduated from Liberty University with a Master's degree in Marriage and Family. I have taken courses in psychology and childhood development, as well as marriage, counseling, and family life.
My Bachelor's degree is in Health Science from the University of Findlay. I have taken courses and completed personal study in nutrition, exercise, anatomy, and physiology. Nutrition, exercise, and family life have been the topics of most interest to me. And, as I study the Bible and converse with my husband, who graduated with a Master's of Divinity from Winebrenner Theological Seminary, I enjoy sharing Biblical insight, as well.

As I read and learn information in these areas, I am amazed by the knowledge that can help in our daily lives. Even though we ultimately need God for every good thing, we can use tips for living in this complex world that God created. We may know, for instance, that we are to discipline our children; but how do we do that in love and in their best interest? We may know that we are to have joy. But, how can we overcome some obstacles that may be robbing us of that joy that we long for?

Our world, our physical bodies, and our relationships are so complicated. Sometimes we need all the help we can get.

In my twenties I had a lot of questions and not a lot of answers. I knew people excelled physically, mentally, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually. I knew people had strong families, were excellent parents, skilled cooks, and felt great physically, and I knew I had a lot of room to improve. So, I decided to search for ways to become better. And, I wanted to make that information readily available to the people who were in search for wisdom in these same areas.

In reading my blogs, I hope you find pieces of knowledge and insight that might be of help to you. As one of my favorite writer's says, you can take what you find helpful and leave the rest.

If you have any comments, questions, or topics you would like me to write about, feel free to send a message on the comments page at www.williamhseng.com. Also, if you would like to check out previous blogs that I have written, look along the right side of the page. Click on a specific year or month, and then, click on the specific blog title that you want to read. I hope you find it a great source for wisdom and encouragement!

Thanks for reading!

~Melissa Seng

Saturday, February 10, 2018

How to Use the "I'm Going to Count to Three" Rule in Parenting

You are probably thinking that this is going to be a really short blog. All I have to do is remind you how to count to three with authority in your voice. Right? Well, not exactly. I want to give you some tips on using the "I'm going to count to three" rule, including when and how it works best. They are not tried and true for every situation or kid. But, I believe they might help.

First of all, I suggest counting backwards. When you count forwards, your children could start to think that it's a game, and they can just let you keep counting. Especially as they are learning numbers, they might actually enjoy hearing you count for them.On the other hand, when you count backwards, there is a definite stopping point. Kids do not expect their parents to go into the negative numbers (if they even know about negative numbers), so they tend to take you more seriously.

Second, start with the number five. You want to teach your children to think and make wise decisions, not to be robots. In three seconds, they only have time to react, emotionally, or just without thinking. Five seconds gives them more time to think clearly and decide if they want to listen and be rewarded (with positive affirmation) or not listen and get punished. A longer period of time helps in training them to develop good character and decision-making skills.

That brings me to another point. Third, be patient and teach your children to think through their dilemma. When you rush them, they only respond with negative emotions. Children can make more wise decisions if they are not rushed, and if they are not making decisions based on emotion. You want them to make choices because they care to listen and they know it is the right thing to do. You, also, will be rewarded in the process.

Thanks for reading!

~Melissa Seng

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Do You Work Towards Success or Sharing the Good News?

I am the type of person who likes to focus on one task at a time. I like to master it. And of course with kids, that is just about impossible.

Recently I was deliberating in my mind about how people can know whether they should work towards success or sharing the good news. To be really successful, you have to have lot of focus. You have to focus on money, managing your time, sharpening your skills. But, as Christians, we know that it is not wise to focus solely on success. Our time could end tomorrow, and our money is not what would matter to us. Instead, it would be our family and our eternal security that would be of prime importance.

A pastor I listen to said that he read articles from Hawaii on the recent false missile alerts. People were not running around trying to make more money, as you might imagine. They were running to their families and the ones they love.

But, there is a struggle. Yesterday as I was getting lunch, I was thinking, "I can't believe I have to eat every single day." My need for food never goes away. I can't just decide to stop spending money on food because I always need food. God created us that way. The same is true for bills. Even if debt is paid off, you still need to buy food to survive. Of course, it is much easier when you have acquired wealth, but the need is still there. We are always consuming, and we are always in need of spending. Therefore, we are always in need of money.

As Christians, we do not like to talk about money. Messages get confusing because we see our need for a constant income, but we are encouraged, most of all, to share the gospel. God can take care of us, but Proverbs tells us if you don't work, you don't eat.

So, how do we know what our focus should be? Do we focus on work or do we focus on sharing the good news? Well in my own deliberation, I decided to compare the dilemma with more familiar territory. In our day to day, do we ask ourselves, "should we eat healthy or should we bathe today?" "Do we brush our teeth or do we drink our daily supply of water?" It particularly works best when we do both. We do not have to try to figure out which task to complete. We do it all! The more positive habits we can bundle together in our days, the stronger our lives will be.

What would that look like? In the analogy of a healthy lifestyle, if we can bundle together drinking lots of water, with brushing our teeth, exercising, getting outdoors, eating healthy, taking vitamins, and getting plenty of rest at night, we can be physically strong and healthy. We will be best prepared for our days. In the same sense, if we read the good Word, pray, spend time in fellowship with other Christians, attend church, and serve others, we will be spiritually strong and healthy. In our careers, if we give it our all, and do what it takes with integrity and hard work, we can be financially strong and healthy.

God has created us to be very complex. It is amazing to think how the animals do not have to cook their own food or go to work. We, being made in God's image, get to juggle all of these responsibilities. The more positive habits we intertwine in our busy lives, the more we will be able to take advantage of our opportunities to serve others by sharing the Good News and the more we will be able to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

Thanks for reading!
~Melissa Seng

Sunday, February 4, 2018

The Bible, Zig Ziglar, and Success

"Life's too tough to get to the top without passion. You're going to fail, be taken advantage of, be disappointed by people you trust, disappoint yourself, run out of resources - almost every day you're going to encounter a good, solid, logical reason why you ought to give up. And without passion, you just might" (Ziglar, 2006).

Whether you are working at raising kids, moving up in your career, earning more money, losing weight, becoming a better cook, gaining genuine friendships, learning a new skill, training for an event, we can all find good, logical reasons why we should just quit. Life is tough, and we can easily conclude that our dreams and our reality are never going to be one in the same. But, what if that is not the case? What if we can add a few factors, like passion, purpose, and God's promises to the equation? Could that yield much different results?

Zig Ziglar teaches us to have hope. "I have learned through the years that, for reasons I can't scientifically or even theologically explain, how I expect things to be greatly influences how they become (Ziglar, 2006)."  We should expect great things. But, do the Scriptures tell us to do the same?

John 10:10 states that Jesus came that we might have this life and have it abundantly. When God speaks about abundance, He is talking about more than we can fathom. He is able and willing to do "exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think" (Ephesians 3:20). And, Scripture tells us that He wants to give us good gifts. These are God's promises to you! Can you imagine what that could look like in your life?

Knowing God's promises is the first step. Then, we must know our purpose. Our purpose is to trust and obey His word. We can be obedient in faith, love, and in doing good works, which God has prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10).

It is fascinating to me that God tells us that if we love Him, we must obey His commands (John 14:15). We would expect to see a huge list of commands. But, instead, he tells us that His command is this: to love one another (1 John 4:21).

Third, after we know God's promises and our purpose, we must have passion. Passion is emotional energy that you use to accomplish your goals and dreams. Passion can be derived from finding your God-given talents and formulating your goals and dreams, which are, often times, the desires that God has placed on your heart.  When you have passion, purpose, and God's promises, you can clearly see that good things are to come. "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" (Jeremiah 29:11).

Whether you are a parent, who is happy to raise a family, or a career person, who wants to make a difference, if your heart is turned toward God, He can give you the love, the courage, the strength, the faith - everything that you need - to see positive change.

Thanks for reading!
~Melissa Seng


Ziglar, Zig. (2006). Better Than Good: Creating the Life You Can't Wait to Live. Integrity Publishers:  Brentwood, TN.