Silence. How often do we find true silence? How many times a day do we find ourselves sitting in a space so quiet that we can’t even hear the humming of an air conditioner, or the buzz of the electricity in a lamp? For me, that answer is never.

Silence has become an indulgence. Something that we reward ourselves with after we’ve completed all our work, seen everyone we need to see, and finished all the chores around the house. And maybe we don’t even experience silence after that; maybe our reward has become watching television while scrolling through social media.

When I study, I listen to music. If I’m with people, someone is usually talking. When I’m doing chores or getting ready, I pick my favorite playlist on spotify or turn on the TV to provide some background noise. Silence has become bothersome. Silence has become a bad thing.

Last week I visited a small chapel that sits on the back of my college campus, and for the first time in a very long time, I experienced silence. For over an hour, I sat without distractions and was silent; no phone, no homework, no emails buzzing in my pocket. It was in those moments that I realized how loud life truly was…how loud I allowed life to be.

We need silence. We need to sit without distractions and be still. The Bible gives us several verses about this:

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” (Psalm 46:10).

“The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” (Exodus 14:14).

“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.” (Psalm 62:5).

“Teach me, and I will be silent; make me understand how I have gone astray.” (Job 6:24).

“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength,” (Isaiah 30:15).

Yet today we are fed constant noise. Maybe we like the noise because it distracts us from having to listen. God uses the silence to speak, and perhaps the truth for many is that they don’t want to hear what the Lord is trying to tell them, so they fill their lives with noise instead. This reminds me of another story in the bible:

“The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: ‘Go to the great city of Ninevah and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.’ But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish.” (Jonah 1:1-3).

(If you don’t know that story, Jonah eventually gets swallowed by a fish and then comes to his senses, following God’s directions and doing as God asked. There’s a whole veggietales episode about it.)

Basically the point I’m trying to make is this; silence is a good thing. Silence is peace. Silence is sanity. Silence is listening and obedience. And in this loud and pushy world we live in, silence is necessary.

However, silence is still hard to find. But I encourage you to search for it. Find ten minutes in your day that you can dedicate to silent listening without distractions. Maybe it’s waking up ten minutes earlier, maybe it’s staying up ten minutes later, or maybe it’s substituting ten minutes of your social media time. However you can find it, I encourage you to use it.

What’s your “More or Less List” look like?

My “More and Less List” this year. What’s yours look like?
~Garrett from Shine Afternoons

Husband’s Angry Personality is Rubbing Off

Dear Dr. Bill,

I have an angry husband who had an angry father and an angry grandfather.  I am seeing these tendencies in our own young sons and I would love any kind of advice you could give.


Dear Becky,

The best way to help your sons with their anger problem is for your husband to get some help with HIS anger problem.  Kids learn how to deal with life and relationships from their parents…your husband learned an angry coping style from his own father, and now he’s passing that pattern on to your sons.

The bible calls this “generational sin.”  Your husband was sinned against by his angry father.  That in turn has caused him to sin against you and your sons by taking out his anger on you.  Your family needs to break the pattern and the responsibility rests with your husband.

I would encourage you to approach him in love, when he’s not angry, and tell him you are concerned about the behavior you are observing in your sons.  Ask him to consider if it could be possible that they are imitating him.

My prayer would be that your husband has the ability to step back, take responsibility for his behavior and make changes.  If that’s the case, he should find a good therapist who has experience in dealing with anger-management.

The counseling at Focus on the Family can help you find a licensed Christian counselor in your area.  Eventually the entire family should be involved in the counseling process, to learn more effective ways to communicate and resolve conflict.

If your husband is unwilling to acknowledge that he has a problem and simply responds with more anger or blaming, you should seek help and support from close friends or relatives.  You might also consider reading Dr. James Dobson’s book “Love Must be Tough,”

Thanks for writing, Becky.  I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.

Resolutions: Just Pick One

Many of us are forging ahead with our list of New Year’s resolutions. So where will you be a year from now—celebrating a victory or struggling with regret?

For resolutions to succeed, it’s best to lose the list and just pick one. Trying too much at once increases your chance of giving up.

And choose a realistic goal. Trying to lose forty pounds in a month isn’t going to happen. In addition, your goal should be specific. “I want to lose five pounds by March” is much more effective than “I want to lose some weight.”

When you have set a goal, find someone who can hold you accountable—or, better yet, has the same goal. A good friend can keep you motivated.

You can be victorious over a resolution, but you have to make a resolution to start out right.

You can read additional blogs by Dr. Larimore on this topic here. Just scroll down the home page to find and click on the article in which you’re interested. In addition, you can see Dr. Walt’s twice-daily devotional, Morning Glory, Evening Grace, here. Last, but not least, limited numbers of autographed copies of Dr. Walt’s books are available here.

Listen to today’s audio here.

Teen Girls Are Cutting & Legalized Marijuana

Teen girls are cutting themselves in record numbers—and sometimes they are doing it with their friends!

A new study out of New Zealand found that nearly 22% of 13- to 16-year old girls surveyed admitted to cutting.

Dr. Shelly James at Massey University says although the number was shocking, that’s not really what caught her attention.

She says the common perception is that cutters are isolated, unpopular outcasts.  But in reality, the cutters were just as likely to be among the most popular kids in school.

Her study also found that many girls had actually self-harmed in front of other people—or actually that girls had engaged in cutting together.

Dr. James says “Approximately 23% of self-harming kids had harmed in front of other people, and nearly 12% had actually harmed in conjunction with another person, so they had harmed together….that was staggering to me.”

In other news, according to the Pew Research Center’s latest poll, 52% of Americans now believe marijuana should be legal. It marks the first time a majority of those polled have been pro-pot.

Also, fewer and fewer Americans believe that smoking marijuana is a moral issue.

Today, just 32% believe it’s morally wrong, compared with 50% just seven years ago.

So what does the bible say about using marijuana?  Well, although it doesn’t specifically address it, it does command us to show self-control (Titus 1:8) and to “have a clear mind in every situation” (2 Timothy 4:5).

If you’re a parent and would like to get some solid facts on marijuana and your kids, go to

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.

Americans LOVE Billy Graham…and…Rick Warren Challenges Us to “Eat Like Daniel”

Billy Graham has once again been named one of the top ten most admired men in America.

Americans picked Graham for the 57th time in an annual Gallup survey.

The pollsters at Gallup say: “Graham has appeared in the top 10 list far more often than any other man. He has never finished first, a spot typically taken by the sitting president, but has finished second on numerous occasions.”

Billy Graham recently celebrated his 95th birthday, but he’s been in and out of the hospital in recent weeks.  His daughter Ruth Bell Graham recently paid him a visit and said, “His vital signs are very good, he’s very strong, but his body is just wearing out.”

Ruth Graham is writing a book about forgiveness, lessons she says she learned from her father.

In other faith news, Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in Southern California has written a new book about getting healthy and losing weight. It’s called “The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life.”

Pastor Warren says the keys to success are faith, food, fitness, focus and friends.

Dr. Daniel Amen co-authored the book.  He says that says faith should prompt Christians to care for their bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit by eating healthy foods and exercising regularly with supportive friends.

By the way, three years ago Pastor Warren challenged the Saddleback congregation to join him in the fitness program named after the prophet Daniel.  Rick says that Daniel “refused to eat junk food and challenged a king to a health contest.”

15,000 Saddleback members signed up, and they lost a combined 250,000 pounds.  Amazing!

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.

Winning Mealtime Battles

Dear Dr. Bill,

Do you have any suggestions for encouraging a 5 year old boy to eat without it becoming a huge issue?


Dear Kim,

Judging from your question, it sounds like mealtime for your 5 year old has already become an issue.

Many parents give in to their child’s finicky eating patterns when they are toddlers.  They let their child dictate what they will eat, how much they will eat, and when they will eat it.  Now that your son is 5, he’s had his way for several years and he’s pretty much running the show.

It’s time for you to regain your role as parent, and show your little guy who’s boss.  Your job is to provide him with a variety of healthy foods at predictable meal times, and his job is to eat them.

If he decides he doesn’t like what the rest of the family is eating and insists on something different, don’t give in to him.  Simply inform him that this is what the family is eating for dinner tonight, and there are no other options.

If your son decides he wants to go on a hunger strike, let him.  Wrap up his dinner, put it in the fridge, and let him know that when he gets hungry you’ll heat it up for him.  Then you need to stick to your guns, no matter how much he whines and complains.

Whatever you do, DON’T allow him to snack on anything else.  Your son won’t starve, trust me.  The amazing thing about the stomach…eventually it contracts and sends strong signals to the brain that can’t be ignored. At that point, even cold mashed potatoes look good.

Thanks for writing, Kim.  I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.

Resolutions – Make A Plan

A resolution can be life changing or more dreaded than that leftover holiday fruitcake. If you’ve been working on one for the New Year, here are a few tips for success.

First, make a plan. Victories don’t come without strategy, a solid game plan, and an accountability partner or two. Good intentions and willpower alone won’t cut it.

And forget the quick fix. Lasting change requires long-term effort, so don’t fool yourself into thinking success will be instant. You have to ready yourself for a marathon, not a sprint.

Finally, it’s important to realize resolutions aren’t for everyone. If you’re not genuinely ready to change, you’re setting yourself up to fail. If you’re not sincere, then forget it.

Once you have a plan, a support team and the right mindset, it’s time to turn those thoughts and plans into action.

Stronger Families. Stronger Communities. I’m Dr. Walt Larimore for Shine dot FM.

You can read additional blogs by Dr. Larimore on this topic here. Just scroll down the home page to find and click on the article in which you’re interested. In addition, you can see Dr. Walt’s twice-daily devotional, Morning Glory, Evening Grace, here. Last, but not least, limited numbers of autographed copies of Dr. Walt’s books are available here.

Listen to today’s audio here.

“Help—My 12-year-old Daughter Needs Me to be With Her All the Time!”

Dear Dr. Bill,

My middle child is a 12-year-old girl named Audrey.  Over the past few months she’s been dealing with separation anxiety — she doesn’t want me to leave the house without her.  She says she misses me and that when we’re apart, she feels like I don’t love her.  Nothing has changed in our family life during this time, and our household seems “normal” with a great husband and three children.  What should I do?


Dear Stephanie,

If it’s true that nothing has changed at home, then there is a possibility that something has changed in your daughter’s school environment or that she’s experienced some type of stressful event that you don’t know about.

The first thing to do is to talk your daughter about the changes in her behavior.  You might say something like “Honey, lately I’ve noticed that it’s really hard for you to do things on your own or be apart from me.  I’m wondering if you’ve been feeling scared or worried about something in your life.”  If she says “no,” don’t push her, but reassure her that she can talk to you about anything at all, anytime.

Also, could it be that you aren’t actually spending enough time with her?  If you work outside the home, have your hours increased?  Have you or your daughter become so busy with activities outside the home that you spend very little time together?

If it’s simply a matter of clinginess, make sure to praise her when she acts independently or succeeds at doing things on her own.  Even if she takes small steps in that direction, let her know that you’re proud of her for showing initiative and independence.

Also, schedule regular mother-daughter time with her.  This should be one-on-one times, with no other family members present.  It can be as simple as taking a walk together one day each week, reading a book together for 30 minutes on a weeknight evening, or a trip to the grocery store together.

If the problems persist, I would encourage you to consult with a family therapist.

Thanks for writing, Stephanie.  I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.

Lisa’s Home School: Twist on Christmas Giving

A mom says that her boys have way too much stuff! For Christmas, they will not be getting toys but another form of a gift. Lisa shares the twist on giving this season!  Listen here!


Lisa’s Home School: Twist on Christmas Giving

Read this mom’s full blog here!

We’re pretty lucky in our family. I can cross off three out of four of our birthdays in May alone! Then Christmas and the fourth birthday are taken care of in December. This makes for a lot less time worrying about buying and giving presents and a lot more time thinking about how much stuff we have.

In fact, all of that thinking about not buying presents gave me a thought: I really can’t imagine having more things in my house. More toys, clothes, sippy cups… we’ve got so much already. I’m constantly packing and donating toys my boys no longer play with, it seems. Now, I don’t want to diminish or sound ungrateful for the amazing generosity of our friends and family, we’re beyond thankful for all they’ve given us… but it’s just… so much. So much more than they need.

My boys really do not need for another thing.

I know my favorite thing about presents… it’s giving them. I spend extra time and care thinking about giving gifts to my own family, to our friends and to their families. I try to be thoughtful about my own gift-giving and I know how difficult it can be to find that perfect gift sometimes. Occasionally, before a birthday party or event, I get overwhelmed and buy something just to bring it… and maybe that’s not the right approach.

What if…

What if nobody gave my boys presents anymore? What if we only gave GIFTS.

The gifts of experience, adventure and more importantly, familiarity that they truly need. Instead of the things (toys, games, clothes) that they didn’t even really know about or want? The only thing I truly think my boys need to have is more time with their family…

So, starting now, this year, before the holiday season begins, I’m beginning a new tradition. Although we’ll always be grateful for the presents we and our boys receive, I’d ask that our friends and family offer these experiences and time spent with our boys instead of money spent on them.

I’m not going to tell you what to do, or what to buy… but here are some suggestions:

Instead of buying my boys a toy lion, why not take one (or both) of them to the zoo to see a real one? To spend some time with a family member or friend would mean so much more to them than another toy.

Not a lot of time to give? What about contributing towards one of the (shockingly expensive) activities the boys will be participating in? Piano/drum/guitar lessons. Swimming lessons. Summer soccer season. Dance lessons.

Don’t have a lot of money? (Hey, neither do we! No big!) — How about just spending some quality time with the boys? Set a day and take them to the park. Take one of them on a bike ride. Take one to the movies. Take them to a local play center. Instead of in

We have a really good friend who, back in May, couldn’t make it to Cash’s third birthday. She said she wanted to drop off a present at another time and I said, “He really doesn’t need anything, but we’d love a visit! Actually, instead of a present, why not just take him and do something with him just the two of you?” In the end she, her boyfriend, and their friend and her daughter ended up going to the zoo with Cash and he LOVED it. He asks about this friend a lot now, and wants to spend time with her again because he enjoyed it so much.

This is what I would like for my boys to grow up with. Not mountains of toys (which are growing bigger by the minute, I swear!) but experiences and close relationships with the people in their lives who matter most.

Here’s the thing: I always think about the what ifs: what if something happened to me? What if something happened to their dad? They’ve built strong bonds with some family members, but others are only seen on occasion and only for short periods of time. They’re unfamiliar and being young, the boys often don’t remember them on special occasions and it breaks my heart. Building relationships now with these family members and friends will only benefit them in the long run if something were to ever happen to us.

These are the things I think about, people. Deep, I know.

But seriously, if you’re in our circle of friends or family, please don’t buy my kids presents but instead give them the gift of your time and love. It doesn’t have to cost anything, but it’s really the ONLY thing they need.

Christella Morris blogs regularly at, where this piece first appeared.

vesting in their toy collections, invest in your relationship with them.