Author: Monica.Swanson

Simple ways to add adventure (and a lifetime of memories) to your family this summer

When life begins to get a little mundane, my sons have an interesting pass time:  They entertain themselves by recalling—really reliving—favorite memories.  The four of them literally sit together and talk through full days of memories, sometimes from beginning to end.   One of my boys in particular, who happens to be a textbook Enneagram 7, is often leading the charge in this nostalgia.  (On the Enneagram personality profile, type 7s live for fun.  They wake up thinking of the next fun thing to do, and they struggle to face anything that hints of drudgery, hard times, or, generally...

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When Your Son Is Lonely

Perhaps the only thing harder than being lonely is being the parent of a lonely child. We all want our kids to be happy, fulfilled, and surrounded by people who love them and think they’re as wonderful as we do. Yet most kids will go through a season or two (or eight) where they experience some degree of loneliness. Unfortunately it’s just a part of life. The good news is that lonely seasons will not last forever. Though telling our kids that may not make everything better, this truth can help us as parents to keep perspective. And as a...

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Giving Is the Sweetest Gift

I often enter and exit the holidays with mixed emotions. There is no doubt: I am a a big fan of Christmas everything, savoring the season start to finish. I probably shouldn’t admit this but, my boys and I even start dabbling in Christmas music right around … hmm, mid-September!  Yes, I love everything about Christmas—the lights, the food, the spiritual lessons, the music, the decorations. Everything! Except the commercialized/materialistic side of the holiday. And it’s not so much that I reject the material side of Christmas. It’s more that I tend to embrace it. And that bothers me....

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Our Hope Is Built on the Rock

My husband and I met and married relatively quickly.  We knew each other less than nine months when we stood before hundreds of people and said “I do,”  committing to a lifetime together.  This went against conventional wisdom, of course, and now twenty years later, I even sometimes shake my head wondering what we were thinking!  (and please boys, don’t do that!) Well, we might have been young and in love (and a little foolish too) but one thing we did choose wisely was a theme for our wedding. Or I should say:  A theme for our marriage. We had...

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The Healthy Way for You (and Your Kids) to Face a New Season

Whenever I face change, I think of the old willow tree. The big weeping willow that sat on the edge of the bay in front of my childhood home was where I would go to sort through my feelings, and maybe shed some private tears.  It’s actually a bit funny because I was not very emotional as a kid.  Being raised with only brothers, I was a tough little tomboy, but change did something to me.  Whether it was the changing of seasons, or the changing of friends, new school year, or an old crush, change of almost any kind would bring on a stirring in my soul.  And there you could find me,  under the old willow tree. Now that I’m all grown up, and living thousands of miles from that old willow tree, I still have a funny relationship with change.  Here in Hawaii, I no longer experience the falling leaves or any obvious signs of changing seasons, but I do find myself extra thoughtful as we end a school year, head into the holidays, or wrap up summer and look ahead to what’s next. I still believe that taking some time to reflect on the old and ponder the new is healthy and good. I also think our kids are more affected by change than we often realize, so it’s wise to talk to them about it, and give them some space to process...

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