The Best Mind Trick Ever: How to Fight Anxiety with Gratitude

how to fight anxiety

How to fight anxiety with gratitude, and why it works.  A blast of cold air came in with my son as he stomped in the door. He dumped his backpack and jacket on the floor. When I reminded him where they belonged, he glared at me and snarled a reply. At my rebuke, he began to sob.  It’s not easy to tuck an angry, sobbing child into your arms, but I did so anyway, making him cry all the harder.  I guided him to the couch. We sat together. He cried, and I summoned up all the patience I could muster while also putting mentally putting together my supper meal plan. “What’s going on?” I asked, when the sobs had simmered down a bit.  Still sniffling, he choked out his response.  There had been a fight on the playground, and a friendship had been declared to be over. Just like … Read More

The Secret Ingredient In Habit Change

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. But sometimes it’s just too hard to start a new habit, or too daunting to think about changing an entire bedtime routine, which is why we look for keystone habits that initiate great change in our families.  Full series: The Power of Simple Spiritual Habits Starting a Brand New Habit … Read More

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

6 tools to actually help your kids online (because your internet filter isn’t helping as much as you thought)

A recent study shows that an internet filter doesn't help

A recent study from the Oxford Internet Institute shows that an internet filter is NOT an effective way to protect our children and teenagers from online pornography. In fact, if you look at their data, it almost seems that the reverse is true – that when caregivers have an internet filter, kids are slightly MORE likely to interact with various types of online pornography. Whoa. I can hear you freaking out. I know I did. There’s hope, but first, you need to confront the facts. “A pair of studies reporting on data collected in 2005, before the rise of smartphones and tablets, provides tentative evidence that Internet filtering might reduce the relative risk of young people countering sexual material. A more recent study, analyzing data collected a decade after these papers, provided strong evidence that caregivers’ use of Internet filtering technologies did not reduce children’s exposure to a range of … Read More

How 45 seconds can change your parenting

Rex (my youngest) giggled as he stood behind the closed closet doors. I pretended to weep on the floor as Dodget slipped behind me and opened the door to let him out. Rex then snuck up the ladder to the top bunk and hid under the covers, while I lifted my head and gasped in astonishment at the empty closet. Dodger gestured upward and shouted, eyes wide and grinning huge, “Jesus is alive!” Rex then burst out of the covers with a shout and we all cheered and danced around the bed. We had just re-enacted the story of Jesus’ resurrection, which we did because I was desperate for a way to connect my non-verbal 3 year old with the Bible. He loved it. And it took us less than 2 minutes. (The first time. We then had to redo it about 5 more times!) This type of short discipling … Read More

The Importance of Forgiveness for Kids

help my kids forgive each other

Let’s talk about the Biblical importance of forgiveness for kids! Imagine this very common scene with me: Olivia and Jack are playing together. They squabble, as kids tend to do when doing anything together. During the fight, Jack whacks Olivia on the head and Olivia starts crying. A few minutes later, the fuss has calmed down, and Jack says to Olivia, “I’m sorry for hitting you.” What does Olivia say? 9 times of 10, Olivia says “it’s okay”. Is that really what she should be saying at that moment? “It’s okay that you whacked me on the head? Go ahead, do it again anytime, because hey, it’s okay!” If you’re anything like me, you’ve coached your kid to say this at least once, but really, the words are meaningless, aren’t they? Assuming that “next time, I’m gonna kick your teeth in” isn’t a reasonable alternative, what should be said instead? I Forgive You. “I … Read More

How to talk about racism with kids

There’s a lot in the news these days about racism and prejudice and diversity. Does talking about diversity and prejudice and racism with your kids make you break out in hives? Let’s talk about that today. (I like talking about things that make us squirm!) Talking about racism and prejudice and diversity is non-negotiable in our world. We can’t pretend these things don’t exist, even in areas where there is little diversity. But the conversations don’t have to be negative. There is hope! If you enjoyed this video, make sure you subscribe on Youtube or Like my Facebook page so you’ll get notifications when new videos are up! Each one contains short, sweet, hope-filled ideas for spiritually parenting our kids. You can find this book, “God’s Very Good Idea” by Trillia Newbell on Amazon. (that’s a referral link, which means I get a small commission if you purchase through it. Thanks … Read More

The two most important things we can do to protect our kids online

2 ways to protect our kids online

As we pulled into the underground parking garage, our 8 year old’s voice piped up from the backseat. “When I was on my Chromebook at school I saw a thing that said ‘Are you single?’ and ‘our girls are very attractive.’” We glanced at each other, eyebrows raised, while my husband carefully parked. Would we respond with fear? My heart was certainly pounding wildly. “What did you do about it?” I asked, sounding a lot calmer than I felt. “I told my teacher.” “Did you see anything else?” “No.” A few deep breaths later, we unbuckled and gave him hugs. We assured him that he had done the right thing by telling his teacher, and by telling us. Over the next several days we connected with his teacher and the principal several times, as it appeared that our son had stumbled upon an unsafe search engine that also installs malware … Read More