How To Sweeten Your Family Life With This Keystone Habit

keystone habits cover pic

Welcome back to The Power of Simple Habits! In the first lesson I taught about how habits are stored in our brains, as well as the three parts of a habit: the cue, the routine, and the reward. Even though habits are usually formed automatically by a brain trying to save space, we can intentionally create new habits, and we can change old habits. In the previous lessons, I shared the brain science behind creating a brand new habit, which we applied to family breakfast time. We also talked about how to change an old habit like a child’s bedtime. WE NEED THIS SPECIAL KIND OF HABIT But sometimes it’s just too hard to start a new habit, or too daunting to think about changing an entire bedtime routine.  That’s when we turn to keystone habits. Keystone habits are very simple habits that have the power to unlock huge changes … Read More

How to start a new habit

starting a new habit

Welcome back to The Power of Simple Habits! In the first lesson, I taught about how habits are stored in our brains, as well as the three parts of a habit: the cue, the routine, and the reward. Even though habits are usually formed automatically by a brain trying to save space, we can intentionally create new habits, and we can change old habits.  So let’s talk about how to start a new habit. I’m going to give the example of reading the Bible at breakfast time because it’s a habit I struggled to start. I wanted to, but I didn’t know how. You can apply these same principles to ANY habit you wish to start from scratch. So here’s where I started: I would wake up after my children then I would rush around grabbing food and changing diapers and helping kids get dressed and emptying the dishwasher then … Read More

The Power of Simple Spiritual Habits

power of simple spiritual habits

Spiritual habits can be an incredibly powerful influence on our lives. Read on to find out why.  Last week, I walked into a McDonalds with my husband. I ordered a salad, and he ordered a big juicy burger and poutine. The next day he was bemoaning his horrible food choice because he felt so crummy afterward.  But I don’t think what he ordered was truly a choice.  THE POWER OF HABIT Way back in 1892, William James, an American psychologist said “all our life, so far as it has definite form, is but a mass of habits”. More recently, scientific studies have shown that 40% of all our behavior is actually automatic habits, not actual decisions.  A habit is something that started as a conscious decision, but eventually, our brains just turned it into what’s a “habit loop” – we stop making a choice and we just do it. My … Read More

Are you following Jesus or stalking him?

following Jesus

INSIDE: Learn the difference between stalking Jesus and following Jesus, and how to make the switch. Have you ever stalked someone? Even just a little? When I was in high school, there was this guy I liked. He was a childhood neighbor that I had lost track of. It was a shock to discover, many years later, that he was a friend of a friend and attended a nearby school. I didn’t know much about the guy (we lost touch after grade 1) so I asked around. I found out a bit more about him from his friends, including his email address. And I’m super embarrassed to admit this on the internet, but I created a new email account and emailed him a few times anonymously. And NOW you know what a nut job I am. Go ahead, laugh. Please remember this was half my life ago.  Stalking means to … Read More

Did I just hear from God? (+4 ways to know if it was actually God)

Did I just hear from God?

Have you ever heard God speaking to you? Maybe you can answer this question. Maybe not. But there’s another question we have to answer first: how does God speak? The traditional Sunday School answer is that God speaks through the pages of the Bible, but the Bible itself is full of men and women who heard directly from God. Elijah heared the whisper of God on the mountain. Moses saw God in a bush, then had very consistent communion with God. Deborah received battle plans and Elijah received travel plans. Samuel received many messages from God as a child, the first when he was a young child. Simeon received a very personal promise that he would live to see the Messiah. Paul, Joseph, Solomon, and Daniel received messages in dreams. Isaiah, Peter, and John received visions. These people were guided by God in the complete absence of written words. If we … Read More

Why does the resurrection matter?

We talk a lot about Jesus being the substitute for us when he died on the cross, but why does the resurrection matter? When I was a child, I read a story about a boy who, through his own greed, became a dragon. He was a horrid, self-centred child, and becoming a dragon basically showed the world exactly what he was like on the inside. But as a dragon, he began to experience kindness, friendship, and love in a new way. His heart started to change. One night, he was awoken by a great lion who brought him to a pool of healing water. The boy wanted to slip in and receive relief from his dragon body. He scratched at the itchy scales, and he was surprised to find that they peeled off. Delighted, he stepped out of his old skin. But he was still a dragon.  He scratched at … Read More

Why I became a kidney donor

my kidney donation story

I’ve spoken about this event to a few, but always with hesitation because I want so desperately for people not to make a big deal of me. But I realized that in trying to remain behind the curtain, I have unintentionally missed out on an opportunity to make a big deal out of God. So here it is, in plain words. On March 21, 2018, I went to the hospital, where a surgeon cut out my left kidney and gave it to a complete stranger. Why? Because I believe God wanted me to. That sounds crazy, I know. Maybe I am crazy after all. But let me explain. (Watch the video here, or read the full transcript below.) God created this insanely gorgeous and intricate world. Part of that world is us, the humans. I often marvel at how many things could go wrong in our bodies, but don’t. And … Read More

The Bible is not about you (why we have to stop looking for “life application”)

I grew up assuming the Bible was about me. I mean, my Sunday School teachers taught me that every Bible story had a personal life application, so I assumed that held true for every part of the Bible. And that included the really long lists of names in Numbers, the prophecies about all the nearby cultures that were depraved, the bit about long hair being a woman’s glory…all of it. I spent years trying to fit “life application” on top of every word in the Bible. Then, I spent the next decade trying to figure out what the Bible is actually about. And I discovered something. The Bible isn’t about me. It’s not about you either. (Hate to break it to you, but it’s true.) Do you think Jeremiah had 21st century North Americans in mind when he was talking to the exiles? Nope. He didn’t even have 21st century … Read More

The secret to true inner peace

The secret to inner peace

Un-rest (noun)  A feeling of disturbance and dissatisfaction in a person A state of dissatisfaction, disturbance, and agitation in a group of people Have you ever lived in a state of unrest? Being tugged in every direction, paperwork on every corner, appointments busting out of the calendar? It stinks to live in a state of unrest, but my friend, it is just as bad to live with a feeling of unrest deep in your soul. You know the feeling – like no matter how much water you drink or me-time you get, there’s always that parched bit of soul that never feels satisfied. No inner peace. It’s possible to live with a feeling of unrest even when we live in a state of rest. We can watch Netflix till our eyes crust over and have weekly manicure appointments, but those will not satisfy that parched bit of soul. Likewise, it’s … Read More

Bible memory for the chronically forgetful

Bible memory for the chronically forgetful

Bible memory stinks. Well, it doesn’t stink. Rather, I stink at Bible memory. It frustrates me because I have so many great ideas of verses I want to memorize, but when it comes right down to it, I…forget to get right down to it.  Sometimes I joke that I’d forget my own head if it wasn’t screwed on tight…I say it’s a joke, but deep down I know it’s the truth. I forget to memorize Scripture, but when I do get something in my head, it’s not long before I also forget what I memorized. My long-term memory seems have to have a leak. (Fun fact: I can watch a movie several times and still not remember what happened in the movie. Sometimes I don’t remember even watching it. Ask my husband about how much he loves that…) I stink at getting the Bible into my head, but I love … Read More