21 SHARES
4 comments
2022 views
As our family started talking about a summer vacation, we had one thing in mind: the blue-green water and flourlike sand of the Caribbean. That is, until I looked into pricing. It quickly became apparent that a Caribbean vacation for six was not in the Swenson budget.  So with less than a month before takeoff, I googled flights, looked at the U.S. map, and booked the cheapest flights. Turns out Seattle and the Oregon coast are about the furthest thing... Read More
One big answer for anxiety (Part 2)
20 SHARES
2 comments
1904 views
A number of recent studies suggest that Americans are more anxious than ever. Worst-case scenarios churn relentlessly in our thoughts: “There’s going to be an accident.” “Someone could break into my apartment.” “I’m going to freeze during the presentation.” “He’s going to dump me.” Do you ever think such thoughts? What’s worse is how utterly incapable our prefrontal cortex is in the face of our worries. Reason and logic should filter out 99.9% of these worst-case scenarios, but they rarely... Read More
4 SHARES
3 comments
1530 views
We just made it through a really tough winter. If you don’t live in the Midwest, I’m not sure you can understand this, but you should feel a bit sorrier for us than you probably do. I’ll give you the recap: it was dreary and long and snowy and long and frigid and long . . . the kind of winter where my husband asks me the question, “Why do we live in a place where the air hurts our... Read More
23 SHARES
4 comments
1575 views
To get through college, I bartended at a local country club. In many ways, it trained me for pastoral ministry. I learned to serve and listen to people. I also felt like it was a master’s class in human nature. But out of all my experiences, there was one conversation that really stuck with me.   A certain man knew I was studying to be a pastor. So he said to me, “My brother lives in California. He just became a... Read More
8 SHARES
3 comments
1120 views
This spring, my middle kiddo took on a pretty big task. After seeing a story on the news about a young boy with a rare genetic disease, she started brainstorming ways to help this complete stranger. So, in the middle of school and work and track season, my daughter organized a fundraiser, recruited her friends to pitch in, and spent hours (and hours!) making butterfly magnets. Then other people joined in and raised money in other ways, and the family... Read More
To all my fellow people pleasers
24 SHARES
3 comments
1770 views
You know who you are. And I just want you to know I feel your pain. You want to do well. You want to do things that will help people and make them feel supported and loved. So you take a lot on your shoulders. You don’t want to let someone down. You wonder often what others think, and you don’t want anyone to be disappointed in you or think you’re slacking. You really don’t like conflict, and it bothers... Read More
Even better than a mother’s love
14 SHARES
3 comments
1723 views
My plans during college included a lot of things. Motherhood was not one of them. Three and a half years into marriage my husband was a new nurse, and I was trying to figure out how to get to grad school. Oh, and I had a baby. The second I held my firstborn, the list of hopes and dreams and someday achievements vanished. I cared for no other earthly titles apart from wife, mother, and child of God. Ditto with... Read More
Answers for anxiety (Part 1)
44 SHARES
7 comments
3232 views
Do you often feel anxious? Overwhelmed by worst-case scenarios, no matter how unlikely they might be? Physically sick because you are emotionally stuck on a negative thought? Recently, I reached out to a Christian counselor for some advice. While I personally haven’t struggled with crippling anxiety (yet), I know and love many people who do. The counselor replied with a link to a kids’ book published by the American Psychiatric Association entitled What to Do When You Worry Too Much:... Read More
9 SHARES
7 comments
1599 views
I have three teens—ages 14, 16, and 17—so May usually leaves me feeling like the Mayhem guy from the Allstate commercials. This year has an extra bit of sportiness with my youngest’s graduation and confirmation (a time in some churches where middle schoolers state what they believe and promise to be faithful to God throughout their lives), track meets (in the rain, of course), my middle child’s awesome fundraiser (I’ll write about that soon), and my oldest’s high school graduation... Read More
4 habits of a happy marriage
40 SHARES
5 comments
3536 views
The April snow here in Wisconsin is just about over (we pray!). That means wedding season is just around the corner. A few times each year, I have the honor of standing next to choked-up grooms and blushing brides as they join hands and exchange their vows. And despite all of their differences, they have one thing in common: They want a happy marriage. If you’re in a relationship, I bet you want the same thing. Or if you have... Read More