Tools for Getting the New Year Started

Family experiences starting the new year

Learning to Take the Harder Path

Learning to Take the Harder Path

By Keoni Takarada This inspirational story comes from a 12-year-old boy who had a memorable experience after going camping for the first time. I tended to give up easily when confronted with challenges. But it was my experience camping in the great outdoors where I...

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Epiphany Gained from My Dad’s Sharing

Epiphany Gained from My Dad’s Sharing

By S.Y. The following story is about a 20-year-old's experience in the Montana mountains, and her first time camping with her family. Our family rarely had any kind of sharing at home, but one night while camping outdoors, we had our sharing time and it became one of...

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Life Lesson from a 9-Month-Old

Life Lesson from a 9-Month-Old

The following story is a reflection from a mother of a 9-month-old. Watching her son grow, she has realized that she grows because of how he lives – always pushing his limits, always learning, not afraid of challenges and pain, and never giving up.  “While we try to...

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Putting Love into Action in the Community

Putting Love into Action in the Community

By Mike Yakawich My wife, Yukiko, and I have raised five children in Billings, MT. We had a wonderful journey living on the South Side where Yukiko and I started the ministry. It was a time of pioneering. We had to be creative, innovative and resourceful. Certainly,...

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Grandma and Fevers

Grandma and Fevers

By T.J. Whenever my kids fall sick with a fever, I think about my paternal grandmother. In my life, I have only met her a handful of times but my few memories of her are filled with a sunny warmth and images of her small, cluttered house in Kyoto. When I first...

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Extending Our Family Means Extending Our Hearts

Extending Our Family Means Extending Our Hearts

By Ken Bates There is often a significant event that becomes the "defining moment" for an individual or group. As a defining moment, it's some special occurrence or decision that makes a statement on who you are and what matters most to you. It may be overcoming...

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A Precious Gift from My Aunt

A Precious Gift from My Aunt

By M.I. My life has been quite a journey so far, and yet there is still so much ahead of me. It's been hard sometimes, so it's been important that God was always with me, and I shouldn't give up. One of the main people who helped me realize that is my aunt. She taught...

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MaMaw and the Extended Family Ideal

MaMaw and the Extended Family Ideal

By Mark Johnson How does one explain the deepest experiences of love through words? It is impossible, but we try our best. Our families provide a foundation for these experiences and are meant to continue and grow over time, and hopefully expand out to others. I was...

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The Filial Heart My Younger Brother Showed Me

The Filial Heart My Younger Brother Showed Me

By Megumi Tateno  I have two younger brothers and this is a story of something that happened when I was 10 or 11 years old. One day, my brothers and I were at home without our parents. My brother—who was two years younger than me—and I got into a big fight. I do not...

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My Grandmother’s Voice from on High

My Grandmother’s Voice from on High

By Alan Inman A couple of years after separating from my father, I turned about 5 years old and my mother made the painful decision to send my brother and me to live with Mama & Papa in Wilson, North Carolina. My mother was the 11th of 12 children and not so long...

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Reflections for a new start

Studying God’s Loving Design: Caterpillars

Studying God’s Loving Design: Caterpillars

If you do a Google search for “caterpillar to moth”, there are nearly 150,000 videos. And there are almost half a million videos of caterpillars turning into butterflies! This morning, I watched one of these with two of my kids. As we watched, I was reminded of the...

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Why I Choose to Study God’s Words

Why I Choose to Study God’s Words

The following is a note from a tween girl’s diary about her determination to study about God in 2021.Last year my family started studying about God and His principles as a family. After talking together, we decided to make sure to continue studying in 2021. At one...

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Stop Floating, Start Swimming

Stop Floating, Start Swimming

The following is a reflection from a college student. He concludes that life is more fulfilling when we stop going with the flow and commit to living for a larger purpose.  I recently went on a very refreshing, beautiful hike in the wintry mountains of Washington...

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A Chair Needs All 4 of Its Legs

A Chair Needs All 4 of Its Legs

It was in the middle of a busy day, week, month. Rushing, rushing between work, kids, cleaning, cooking… I sat down to take a moment, not knowing that one of our wooden chairs had taken one too many hits. I eased back, expecting the chair to hold my weight, only to...

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Taking out the Trash

Taking out the Trash

The other day, I changed the lightbulbs in the bathroom, but I forgot to throw away the old ones.  The next morning, I walked into the bathroom and saw the new lights shining. Above them sat the old light bulbs dangerously perched on a narrow ledge above the mirror. ...

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Tending Our Gardens

Tending Our Gardens

We have a beautiful yard at the house we are currently renting. I always feel it was clear this was a haven of beauty and serenity for the previous owners. I often imagine an elderly couple where the husband designed the garden out of his deep love for his wife. I...

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Plan, but Leave Room for God

Plan, but Leave Room for God

We have had quite a year, with so many unexpected, unprecedented events, not just in our lives, but in the world. My son approached me one morning. He sat next to me at the table and asked, “Mom, how do you plan for the future when things are so unsure.” I could feel...

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Going Deep – Life Lessons from Plumbing

Going Deep – Life Lessons from Plumbing

We had a clogged sink. First, we noticed the water started draining slower. Gradually, it stopped draining at all. And that is when we panicked. A clogged anything is not a good thing, let alone the bathroom sink. We tried liquid plumber to clear the pipes. That, we...

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strategies to try at home

Win-Win

Win-Win

Sometimes all it takes to resolve a small situation is taking a larger perspective. Some call it the “birds eye view” or the “God’s eye view” but pulling ourselves out of our own feelings and perspective can have a transformative effect on disagreements. What follows...

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Start With Making Your Bed: Taking Time to Build Good Habits

Start With Making Your Bed: Taking Time to Build Good Habits

“If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.” These words from Admiral William H. McRaven at a commencement ceremony made such an impact that it eventually became the title of a #1 New York Times bestselling book. During this quarantine, I made it a...

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Grab Bag of Strategies: Clean ups

Grab Bag of Strategies: Clean ups

It’s not easy to keep a clean house even when the kids are out for a big chunk of the day. This becomes exponentially harder in quarantine. This meme captures it both accurately and beautifully: “Cleaning the house with kids is like brushing your teeth while eating...

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WorkPoint System: An Idea for Screen Time

WorkPoint System: An Idea for Screen Time

A common request I hear from parents a lot lately is ideas to offer as alternatives for all the screen time that kids will inevitably ask for. And, to be honest -- it's nice to give kids screen time because it gives them something to do and distracts us from the...

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Daily Checklist for Learning and Growing @ Home

Daily Checklist for Learning and Growing @ Home

I never thought I would be home-schooling but it looks like that’s how things will be for the time being. The other day while I was talking with my husband, we recognized there are 4 major areas that are critical for our kids in terms of their everyday overall well-being. (These can be quite helpful for us parents too!)

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