What’s in Your Attic? What the Items You Save Say About You

by Sally Matheny

Attic Stairwell by Van Gogh, courtesy of wikimedia
I’m thankful for many things, however, I have too many things.
Are you a collector?  I’ve reduced my collections. My Santa figurines are long gone, and my angel assembly has reduced to three or four—if you include the one that sits on top of the Christmas tree. Although I’ve held onto my collection of teacups, I no longer scour second-hand shops for another lovely addition. As I’ve grown older, I’ve realized these things take up too much room and too much time dusting. So, I stopped collecting these things. Sounds liberating, doesn’t it? It sounds like it. Yet, I still cringe when I look in my attic. I’d die if you saw my attic right now. Even though, I stopped collecting items years ago, I still have too much stuff. I’m not a hoarder, but maybe I’m holding onto some things which I need to let go. This week I went to the attic and considered long and hard why I’ve saved the items I have.  Perhaps what I am learning will help you determine what the items you’re saving say about you.


How Do I Prodigal-Proof My Child?

by Andrea Merrell

How Do I Prodigal-Proof My Child?
The number of prodigals in our society has risen to epidemic proportions. According to recent statistics, eighty-eight percent of children raised in an evangelical Christian home will leave the church by the age of eighteen. Most will turn away from authority, parental values, and biblical teaching, losing their potential, their health, and their destiny—sometimes even their life.

Without exception, everywhere I go I meet someone in the middle of a crisis with either one or more of their children. These are the questions I am most often asked:
           * Is there hope?
           * What can I do in the meantime?
           * Is there a way to prevent this from happening to my younger children?


Praying for the Prodigal

by Sally Matheny

Praying for the Prodigal
by Andrea Merrell

Do you have a wayward child? Perhaps one that grew up attending church, yet later walked away from his faith?  Praying for the Prodigal is a book that offers spiritual encouragement as well as practical advice. And, who better to write this book than the mother of a prodigal son and a prodigal daughter.

Andrea Merrell shares heartbreaking stories of her teens spiraling down dangerous paths. They became distant, not sharing where they were or whom they were with, even to the point of not coming home at all. Between the time spent in the magistrate’s office and the hospitals, Andrea and her husband were carrying heavy burdens—financial, emotional, and spiritual.

She also shares the difficulties she and her husband had of carrying those burdens alone--secretly from friends. Andrea says, “If I learned anything in those dark days, it is that God is loving and faithful. His Word is true and prayer works.”

Thirty prayers, accompanied by scripture, provide parents a guide to get them started. Practical advice is offered, including how to set boundaries, how to stay calm, as well as a helpful parent-survival checklist.

At the end of the book, the prodigals, who finally returned home and to the Lord, share their thoughts and suggestions.

This is a book that every parent would benefit from reading.  It will impart wisdom to those just beginning their parenting journey and offer hope to those who are waiting on their prodigals to return.

This week, I have a special, two-part post. Andrea Merrell, the author of Praying for the Prodigal, kindly accepted my invitation to guest post on my blog. Please be sure to read Andrea's wonderful post, "How Can I Prodigal-Proof my Child?"


Young Couple Made a Wise Decision Before Announcing Engagement

by Sally Matheny

Young Couple Made a Wise Decision
Before Announcing Engagement
Not long ago, I wrote a post encouraging young couples to seek godly counsel, or work through a Biblical workbook, before setting a wedding date.  

Since my husband is a pastor, we have several copies of a Bible study workbook titled, Before You Say I Do, by Norman Wright. He uses this book when counseling young, engaged couples.

Much to our delight, several months before our daughter became engaged; she and her boyfriend, Samuel, asked if they could have a copy of the workbook. Even though they both regularly talk to their pastors, they wanted to work through the book together while they were away at college. It took some finagling, but they squeezed the Bible study in between their classes and work schedules. 

Since the post,  Get Engaged? Before You Set the Date, There’s One Thing You Need to Do ranks in the top ten of most viewed posts; I thought you might like to hear from Emily and Samuel about their experience of working through the Before You Say I Do book together. Here is our conversation.