Category Archives: Guest post

The bullet holes in your marriage.

With the Ray Rice debacle no where near being done, I ran across this article on and thought I’d repost today.

Original article appeared here. Written by David Porter, the Coffee Stains guy
Rome visit, June 2008 - 57

Several years ago an agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration was lecturing a group of kids about gun safety. As he was saying that he was the only one there professional enough to handle a Glock, he shot himself in the foot (or the thigh according to which account you read).

Michael Quinion reports a sobering event recorded in the Appleton Crescent newspaper of August 1857, “Mr. Darriel S. Leo, Consul to Basle, accidentally shot himself through the foot, four or five days ago, in a pistol gallery at Washington, and died on Sunday of lockjaw.” link

People have been shooting themselves in the foot for a long time. But the phrase has taken on another sense in more recent years. According to the Free Dictionary the phrase means, “to do or say something that causes problems for you.” (The Free Dictionary)

Last week I talked about ways to guarantee a divorce. But, those five aren’t the only ways to cause your marriage to flop. Here are three more ways to shoot your marriage in the foot: Continue reading The bullet holes in your marriage.

Confessions of a Closet Cheerleader

Today, our guest post is from Tabby Finton. Tabby is a regular contributor to Bridging the Gap blog. She and her husband Steve Lead Abundant Life in Blaine, Mn.

Be True to You  or “Confessions of a Closet Cheerleader”– Tabby Finton


It took me long enough to figure it out, but I’m a cheerleader at heart. That statement in and of itself cracks me up, quite honestly. This admission will shock a few of my friends. When I tried out for the cheerleading squad in junior high school, I wasn’t chosen because “I wasn’t loud enough.” Really? No one would ever guess that now.

But the truth I’ve discovered about myself is that I was made to encourage people. It’s in the very central makeup of who I am. But I stumbled over that while parenting, and it almost messed up the rest of me too. Let me explain.

I am the mom of three strong-willed sons. When my oldest  was younger, I felt like I had to stay “in charge” for some reason, as if he would take over and I would lose my parental authority. His personality was very intense, and he learned how to push my “last nerve” buttons extremely well. And I played the game. I allowed him to manipulate me through my reactions and failure to admit the issue.

For a few years, my husband kept suggesting that I allow him to be “the bad guy” with our son, and for me to take on the cheerleader role. I tried to see his logic, but I unwisely resisted walking out his plan. With every intention of “rah, rah, rah” in my heart, I came up the stairs one day to discover food all over the living room, which had always been against the rules.  Instead of encouragement, out came frustration. Replay this scenario with different circumstances, but similar reaction, over and over and over, and you will understand those few years of my life. My intentions were not being realized. And my son and I both suffered for it.

In our specific situation, I was not living up to my responsibility within the family because of my denial.

One day I had a brainstorm: let’s try this my husband’s way.  Unbelievable joy was initiated in the discovery of the truth and was totally worth being wrong. His theory worked. And that was the beginning of realizing that in and of myself, I am an encourager at my core. The incredible  freedom that has come from not having to be someone I was never created to be has been remarkable.

So what truths about yourself might be lurking in your heart today, waiting to be discovered? What were you created to do? Who were you created to be? May contentment and peace follow in the wake of your own discovery, and may you walk out every dream you were created to fulfill.

Give us some feedback at or leave a comment.

Know thy neighbor

This is a guest post by Linda Feriera. Linda blogs at I strongly suggest you read her post on Boys will be Boys. You can also find her on twitter.

Know thy Neighbor . .
Know thy neighbor.jpg

Growing up, my mother, just like most mothers, encouraged us to do our best in school, make right choices and to be kind to others. It was a life lesson that my mother taught me not so much with her words, but with her actions and it has been a principle that I have tried to live by and for good reason.

My mother always told us to get to know those around you, the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker so to speak. My mother knew her neighbors, and those she did business with. We would walk into the grocery store and she would know the cashier and the boy bagging our groceries by name. She knew the local pharmacy owner by name and always asked how his wife and kids were doing. We would go through the drive thru lane at the bank and it was “Hey Mary, how’s your son doing in college? Did he get that job?” As a teenager I remember thinking it was a nuisance and even embarrassing that she would do this.

Now as an adult I look back and see just how wise she was. In the earlier years of our lives when we stilled lived with a father who abused alcohol, spending money on his addiction and little on food, it was the relationship that my mother had with the local owner of a small grocery store that he allowed her purchase food on credit and pay it back slowly over time.

When our ailing grandmother lived with us and didn’t have insurance to pay for her medication, it was because of the relationship that my mother had with the owner of the pharmacy that he promised my mother that medication would be given even if it took years to pay off my grandmothers bills.

I could give many more examples but the lesson I learned was to get to know the people in your life. In a world where technology plays more importance than relationships, face to face relationships this can be a challenge, but it’s important.

When our son almost died from encephalitis several years ago, I saw the relationships that we had nurtured come to my aid in ways I could never repay. When we began the process of moving to the south last year, it was a simple text to a handful of friends that I was in need of help, and the responses of “I’ll be there” began to pour in. It was the personal relationship I had developed with our family doctor that when after moving I began to believe something was not right, that I wasn’t feeling like myself that she took my phone call from the south and came to my aid.

It is the very relationships that we nurtured and established over the years that made our move to the south difficult to leave, but have been there to make the transition smoother, even from a distance. Having left a daughter behind to finish high school there have several times where others have been there to fill in what she needed because of our relationship with them. (Not just friends, but doctors, dentists, etc.) Making the decision to allow her to stay there was made easier because of the network we had developed.

Yes, while it’s much easier to text, email and connect on social media, the lesson of good old fashioned face to face conversations is one that I want to pass on to my children. Know who your neighbor is, talk to the person who bags your groceries, and get to know others in a more personal way.

Seems simple, but it’s an art I think the younger generation stands to lose as technology begins to replace face time in our relationships.

Let us know if you know your neighbors or not over on our FB page
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How to be popular: Life Lesson #27

The secret to popularity.

The first popular kid I remember from school was in 4th or 5th grade. From then on, the popularity contest ran full swing until graduation night, populating the hallways of highschool with “in” kids and everyone else, “cool” kids and everyone else. These were rarified airs to travel in, and being included was dizzying.  Why is it then that so many of the “popular kids” were actually quite unpopular with the rest of the world?

To credit my high school, the playing field and measuring sticks for popularity were not as delineated as in other fine institutions of social learning. Something about being in an international environment changed some of the rules.

In college, the game was still there. To be popular, you had to be attractive, confident, put together. But if popularity wasn’t your goal, you could just be you.

Somewhere in my 30ies, I achieved popularity. Not because I was suddenly the favorite of a whole ground of strangers I was forced to associate with because of the educational environment forced on me by my situation. Rather, I was popular because I knew a lot of people that I liked and who strangely enough, also seems to like me.

Once I learned that perfect hair, teeth and abs were history after high school, I started enjoying being me a lot more. And ALL my friends are popular. At least with me.

Life is not school. Life Lesson #26

Life is not school.

“Man, I got in trouble for that one.” A friend told me about something he was called onto the carpet for at work. Really? In trouble? Define that, will ya?

School, particularly the western model, begins around age 5 with kindergarden. For a minimum of the next 13 years, and often longer if college and post-grad are undertaken, we are graded on everything from attendance to attitude to academic aptitude. There’s a measuring stick. Don’t do it right, and you’ll get sent to the principle’s office, or head master, or dean, or whomever.

That mentality is carried over into adult life. It took me a long time to realize that I wasn’t being graded for most of what I did. Sure, there are performance reviews, sure there are promotions, but beyond that, most of life is not graded. Life is meant to be lived.

What makes a great dad? The scale and definition is as unique as the individual being parented. What makes a good husband, friend, employee?

In school, you don’t get graded on loyalty, or innovation, or character. You get graded on spitting back certain content, and perhaps at more advanced institutions, correctly discerning authorial intent, and discerning patterns. The fields are endless and so are the measuring sticks.

You’ll never be graded on a walk in the park, or enjoying a sunset, or standing in awe of seeing your first elephant in the wild, or holding your first child with tears flowing down your cheeks.

Life is not school. The most beautiful moments are rarely graded. They are lived.