Let the Games Begin!

Christmas is over. The New Year is here. It seems as though it’s finally time for things to settle down. Now that parties with your friends are over, exams are behind you, and routine is becoming, well, routine again, gather your family, and settle in for an evening at home.

One great way for families to spend time together, without the formality of pressured conversation, is by playing a game. There are literally hundreds to choose from. Not only do you have the classic board games––Monopoly, Life, Scrabble––but you also have some of the more recently popular “party” games––Taboo, Scattergories, Cranium. And this plethora of game choices doesn’t even begin to include all the card games that are available. You can purchase, if you don’t already have, many fun card games, such as Phase 10, Uno, and Skip-Bo. Or you can use a classic deck, or two, of cards for dozens of other games, such as Hearts, Spades, and my all-time favorite, Spoons.

To set up a family game night, choose a night when all family members will be home, and when everyone can put aside all major responsibilities, such as writing reports or studying for a test. While this may be difficult to accomplish, it is necessary in providing a stress-free, undistracted evening of fun and games.

Remember to keep it light. The idea is to enjoy each other’s company, not to be the best at a certain game, so choose games that will make your family laugh together. Gather some games and ideas that can include, in some way, each member, regardless of age or ability. There are some all-ages games that don’t require many supplies, like charades, or pictionary. You can also research online to find many variations of card games if you do not have access to an abundance of board and party games. Start the evening by throwing on some pj’s or other comfy clothes. Keep dinner simple––order a pizza, or better yet, make one as a family. Set out some snacks to enjoy while playing, and let the fun begin!

Ephesians 3:14-15 “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.”

By Lisa Grimenstein

‘Tis the Season to Be Giving…

The holidays are a time when many of us are with our families. I know that some of us have lost people who we’re very close to, often making this time of year a season of mixed feelings. There are also some families who are unable to, or aren’t interested in, volunteering time or money to those in need. If that is the case in your home, ask friends to join you in one or more of these activities, or join a friend’s family as they volunteer to share their blessings, because this time of year is a perfect time to round up your family or friends and give. This year, choose to contribute money or time to help others have a memorable season, which in turn is giving back to God (Matthew 25:35-45).

Here are some ways you can give this holiday season:

  • Look around the house and find unused and outgrown coats in good condition. Donate them to a winter coat drive in your area.
  • Select an angel off an angel tree at a local school or grocery store. Choose to offer some of the money that would be spent on your Christmas presents to buy presents for a less fortunate child.
  • Spend a day with your family or friends preparing a meal for someone in the community. Then deliver it together.
  • Bake cookies and take them to several people (shut-ins, single or working mothers, etc.).
  • Make Christmas cards to send to serving soldiers in the Middle East. Also send them a box of goodies (homemade cookies, razors, and other items they may need). Look online to find a list of approved and needed items to send.
  • Baby-sit for a busy mother so that she can do some shopping, cleaning, or relaxing. (Don’t let her pay you remember, you are giving your time.)
  • As a family, shovel driveways and sidewalks in your neighborhood after a big snow.

There are many ways to give this season. Does your family already have “giving” traditions? If not, be creative and come up with additional ideas that suit your family. Be the one in your family to initiate giving! Encourage them to remember all the things they are blessed with. And when you give, whether it’s of your time, money, or talents, remember to give with a cheerful heart.

By Lisa Grimenstein

How does your family like to give? Feel free to leave a comment stating your own giving ideas.

Family Thanks

This month is a time when people are typically more expressive in their thankfulness for others. While we should always be expressing a heart of thanksgiving, it’s wonderful to live in a country that, while it often encourages discontent and greed, also dedicates a day to being thankful for what we have.

I know that many people grow up in families where there seems to be little to be thankful for; however, I hope that we can all recognize blessings, even amid serious struggles. First Thessalonians 5:18 encourages us to “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Below, several of our staff share some of the things they are thankful for in their families. Take this month (and every month) to reflect on your own blessings and express your thankfulness to those in your family.

We’re Thankful For…

I’ve had a lot to be thankful for this past year.  God has blessed our family tremendously.  I have a great immediate and Christian family.  We are all healthy and happy.  What more could you ask for!
––Nathan Parks

I am so thankful that I have parents who love me enough to tell me no. So many parents don’t care what their children do and don’t take the time to correct them. I have parents and grandparents who make rules but still had time to play with me as a child and who support me now in everything I do. I am blessed with a sister and a brother who were always there to keep me company as a child and who are here now for me to talk to whenever I need them. I am also grateful that we can get along enough to go on family vacations and grow even closer to each other.
––Rachel Conley

I’m thankful that my family loves being together, whether it’s doing a fun family activity, cleaning the house to loud music, or going on road trips.  We enjoy being in each other’s presence, and we don’t need an occasion!  I’m also thankful that my family respects one another’s need for time alone.  If one of us desires a break from everyone else, the other family members understand and happily work together to give the person in need time to themselves.  Since we’re all able to refresh ourselves separately, we are happier and able to fully appreciate our time spent together, playing and working with each other, and growing for God.
––Davonne Parks

Some of my fondest memories around Thanksgiving time is the day after Thanksgiving. While most people are out shopping in the crowded malls and shopping centers, my family was at home decorating for Christmas. We always ate red, green, and silver Hershey’s Kisses and other Christmas candy, turned on the holiday music, and decorated the tree and house for the Christmas season. It was an enjoyable time that drew us closer as a family. I’m thankful for those memories.
––Carol Gartman

From my childhood, I am thankful that my mom stayed at home with me and my two brothers. We were blessed to be financially able for her to do this. I loved the feel of her presence at home––cleaning, canning, or gardening. I have so many fond memories of us just spending time as a family at home. Now that I have my own family, I am thankful for a husband who loves his family more than his job. I am so thankful for two healthy boys who are growing and learning every day, while so many children are suffering from disability and illness. Most of all, I’m thankful to be a part of God’s family.
––Lisa Grimenstein

“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.” (Heb. 12:28)

(Compiled by Lisa Grimenstein)

Good Morals – Bad Company

As far as “Bad company corrupting good morals,” my sister wants her 14 yr old daughter (not a Christian) to join a Christian youth group. I wouldn’t want my daughter in a youth group with a bad girl like her. Where do you suggest the bad girl go to be under good influences without corrupting those around her? Isn’t it true that it’s easier to be dragged down than lifted up? She currently lives out-of-state with her non-Christian dad and his family. Please help if you can!
– Andromeda


First, let me say that I understand your concern. I do think that, as Christians, we should be discerning about who we choose to spend our time with. “Bad company corrupts good character” (I Corinthians 15:33).

However, I also think that, as Christians, we are commanded to share the gospel with the lost. “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation” (Mark 16:14-16).

Your sister’s daughter sounds like she really needs good influences in her life. She needs God. And we are commanded to share Him––-not wait for others to do so. As long as she is not disruptive, disrespectful, or defiant while in the youth group class, I think that she should be reached out to and included. There were many opportunities for “bad people” to have rubbed off on Jesus, yet He knew the importance of reaching out to the lost and chose to do that. I know we tend to think that Jesus was too superhuman for this to apply to, but the Bible tells us He was a man and was tempted just as we are tempted. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin” (Hebrews 4:14-16).

I think that this could also be a challenge to the youth group. It could be an opportunity for them to develop a closer bond with each other to withstand ungodly influences. It should also challenge them to study the Word more so that they can recognize when something is not in tune with what God says. I know many youth groups are too comfortable being with fellow believers and are not concerned enough about sharing God with the lost. This could be a wonderful opportunity for them. I don’t know of any better place for a lost sinner to be than with believers. Christians are warned against being unequally yoked with non-believers. “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:4) but in this case, your niece will be the one who is unequally yoked, which is a good thing!

Again, if she joins this youth group and is disrespectful and disruptive, then her heart is still hard to listening about and accepting Jesus. Pray for her that she will be open to hearing about His love for her, and convicted that she is a sinner. Also, pray for your own heart, that you will be open to showing her God’s love, and that your heart with be softened to see the positive things about your niece. Be a godly example for her, and encourage your children to be a godly example as well. Pray for your sister, who is most likely having a hard time dealing with a disobedient daughter. And lastly, pray for this girl’s father and his family. Remember, there are specific examples in the Bible of when a new believer helped lead his lost family to Jesus. This could be one such occasion. God works wonders in people’s hearts, and there is nobody who is so far removed from Him that they can’t come to Him if they desire to and are willing to repent.

– Lisa Grimenstein

Remembering Grandparent’s Day

Shortly after I was married, several important people in my life divorced, including my parents. These divorces completely shattered my faith in marriage. I started to think that couples could never love each other forever and that anyone who stays married their entire life only puts on a happy front. I felt insecure in my own marriage, thinking that it was only a matter of time before my husband and I became dissatisfied with one another.

I began spending more time at my grandparents’ house, clinging to one of the only things that had been the same since my childhood. The time I spent there gave me hope again. My grandparents are not only still married after 60 years, but they are obviously still in love!

When my grandpa had knee surgery, my grandma took care of him around the clock. After my grandma had her stroke, my grandpa, still recovering from his own surgery, got rides from family members to the hospital and sat in a chair by her bedside until she made him go home to get some rest. One day while Grandpa and I were both visiting her, I was deep in thought, worrying about my grandma. I glanced over to her hospital bed and saw her and my grandpa holding hands, both with peacefully contented looks on their faces. At that moment, I realized love really can last forever. My grandparents are proof.

My grandparents have taught me, through example, how to hope, love, and most importantly, fully trust God with my life, future, and marriage. Thank you, God, for choosing Gaylord and Mary Gardner to be my grandparents.

By Davonne Parks

This article first appeared in the September/ October 2008 issue of Christian Woman magazine. To request an issue, or to subscribe to the magazine, go here.

Protective Parent

We recently received the following question from a mom, and due to the family content in the question and answer, we decided to post it in our family column this month, in hopes that it will help other moms and daughters struggling with similar issues.

I am a mom, dealing with an 18-year-old daughter who has her first boyfriend. He is 23–a scary thing for me. Anyway, my daughter thinks it’s fine to be on the phone at all hours of the early morning. I know this is wrong. She says, “Get over it, Mom; it’s summer. I can talk to him whenever I want.” Well . . . can you show her why it is not wise, let alone that her parents have asked her not to do it, and month after month she still does it?

Dear Concerned Mom,

Your question has caused some debate among a few of the staff members, so we are going to take the best of what everyone had to say and try to give you a practical answer.

First of all, it’s important to remember that your daughter is 18, and an adult. She is old enough to vote, get married, go to war, attend college, or move away from home. Most people will test their limits and want to try out new freedoms as they reach adulthood, and that is very normal. If the only thing your daughter is doing is talking to her boyfriend on the phone too much, that might be something to let slide. If, however, she is sneaking her boyfriend into her room at night or staying out with him until three in the morning, action will need to be taken.

Since this is your daughter’s first relationship, this is a very new and exciting time in her life, and if you are making a big deal of her talking on the phone too late at night, she is probably not going to feel like she can share this part of her life with you. If you place too many restrictions on her, she may rebel and be pushed closer to her boyfriend and farther away from you, which will hurt both you and her.

Before you do anything else, pray! Pray that God will open your daughter’s eyes to the type of person her boyfriend really is if he’s not good for her, and pray that God will open your heart to your daughter’s boyfriend if he is good for her. Pray for wisdom on how to handle the situation.

If you have serious concerns about your daughter’s relationship with her boyfriend, we recommend sitting down with your daughter, at a neutral time, and lovingly voicing your concerns about her relationship. Begin this session with a joint prayer, asking God to open both of your hearts to each other, and to help you both understand how the other person feels. Explain to your daughter that you’re concerned for her, and that while you understand being in a relationship is very exciting, it’s not wise to allow a relationship to take over one’s life. If staying up all night on the phone is causing her to be too tired to go to work or help out at home during the day, that is a problem, so lovingly discuss that with her. If you have made a bigger deal than you should have made about the situation, ask her forgiveness during your discussion. Tell her that you want her to feel like she can share things with you, then make a sincere effort to not judge her or give her advice unless she asks. Just listen to her. Listen to her tell you why she likes her boyfriend, let her tell you about what she sees in him, and love her as she explains to you what she wants in a future spouse. If your daughter isn’t ready to talk, respect that too, and let her know that the door is open whenever she’s ready to share that part of her life with you.

After you pray and talk to your daughter, let go. Remember that she is an adult and that she will mess up, but that’s just part of growing up. Love her and be willing to comfort her when she’s hurting, but allow her to be an adult. You’ve raised her for eighteen years, and now you can start to stand back a little and enjoy the fruit of your labor!

A few of the moms at Pierce My Heart

Relationships with Families and Friends

Please read our July dating column to get the background information on the three behavior types before reading this article.

The Dominant, Childish, and Adult behaviors can be applied to other relationships as well; for example, your relationship with your parents, friends, or teachers.


What do you think will happen if you have Dominant or Childish behavior tendencies and you start to become Adult-like? People generally start to treat you differently! You start to gain respect and you are trusted. Have you ever asked your parents, “Why do you treat me like a child?” Well girls, are you acting like one? Answer honestly.

Have you given your parents any reason not to trust you? Do you argue, pout, or slam doors? Have you ever lied to them? Can they depend on you to be where you say you are going? Do you keep your curfew? Take a good look at yourself and be totally honest!

If you aren’t getting the respect you want, read back over the Adult personality type (see July’s dating column), and start making some changes. You might gain some freedom!

Sometimes you can negotiate with your parents whenever you want to do something special. Try this approach: Say, “If I wash the dishes all week, or if I clean out the garage (or whatever you want to agree with), may I go to the football game on Friday?” Learn to negotiate whenever it’s appropriate.

Whenever you decide to negotiate, it cannot be about things you should be doing anyway, like keeping your room clean or doing your homework without being told. This is above and beyond that. You shouldn’t get a reward for doing what you should already be doing.

If your parents say “No,” don’t argue! Say, “All right, I’m not sure I understand but you must have a good reason.” Don’t whine, beg, or stomp away and slam your door! Ephesians 6:1-3 says, “Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right. Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise; that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” Act Adult-like with them and you’ll probably be amazed at how quickly you are treated like an adult!

Don’t stay out past your curfew. Come home early! I never had to give my youngest son a curfew because he was always home by 11 PM. He probably had more freedom than my other three children, even though my other children were very good kids! I just knew I could count on him to be home by a specific time. If something ever came up and he wouldn’t be home by 11 PM, he would always call and tell me why he was delayed and what time I could expect him back home.

That is a great gift to a parent! He was very Adult-like because he took responsibility for himself. You will gain a lot of respect from your parents for that. They will appreciate your being responsible for yourself.

Do your parents have to wake you up every morning to make sure you leave for school on time? Do they constantly need to tell you to clean your room, to feed your pets, or to wash your laundry? If you want to enjoy the benefits of the Adult-like behavior, you must be responsible for yourself.

You can start to develop a friendship with your parents only when they don’t have to monitor you like a child. As you reach the age of 18, when you can officially be considered an adult, make certain that you act like one. If you haven’t started behaving Adult-like, begin now. Start to be responsible for yourself! It’s time to grow up, ladies.


If you have a friendship where your friend is always talking badly behind other people’s backs, you can be sure that they’re talking about you whenever you’re not around. Tell that person not to say unkind things about people. Stand up for what is right in a kind but firm way. That’s being assertive, and very Adult-like!

Remember that they are exhibiting Childish behavior when they gossip or slander someone. Childish people are jealous and have a low self-esteem. The only way they can feel good about themselves is to tear others down. God warns us against associating with such people (Romans 1:28-32).

If they won’t stop talking about others, tell them you are not going to be a part of the slander and gossip. Then, quietly walk away. In 2 Timothy 3:2-5, we are told of people we are to avoid, one of those being gossipers. Maybe they will get the message, or perhaps you need to find new friends! First Corinthians 15:33 says, “Do not be deceived: Bad company corrupts good morals.” Be careful whenever you choose your friends. Someone can pull you down to their level much easier than you can bring them up to yours—if someone is standing on a chair, it’s easier to pull them off of it than for them to pull you up. Think about it.


Are any of you having trouble obtaining the respect you deserve from a teacher? Sometimes, even when you are acting Adult-like, another adult has to maintain control because that is the nature of their profession. That is just a part of life and you’ll have to learn to adjust to that.

You can only control your behavior and remember to be as Adult-like as possible. They are in authority and they can pass you or fail you. Sometimes we just have to accept that fact. Some teachers like to push their authority around, and there is nothing you can do about that either. The other person’s actions are a reflection of their true inner self. We need to exhibit all the godly traits we can all of the time. You just might be the example that teacher needs to change his/her ways. First Timothy 4:12 tells us, “Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.” In most situations, an Adult-like person will treat you with the respect you deserve whenever you exhibit Adult behavior yourself.


I hope this discussion about the three basic behavior types will help you for the rest of your life. It should give you a better outlook on why people are the way they are. It should help you to decipher what is happening when you deal with people, why they act the way they do, and how to handle them.

Hopefully, this will help you make good choices in the friends you choose, in those whom you will date, in your relationship with your parents, and in your communication with your teachers.

Remember, also, that when we live how God tells us to, we will automatically behave Adult-like. Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

By: Carol Gartman

Happy Father’s Day!

To my dad, Douglas Davis, who brought me Starburst when I was upset, made up silly songs about me, and always knew just how to embarrass me in front of my friends. You taught me to find the good in the bad, that there is always a time to laugh, and that embarrassment is only temporary. To my husband, Roger, on his first Father’s Day: thank you for being there for our son. I am so grateful he has you as his dad!

Sarah Ancheta

Thank you, Gaylord Gardner, for teaching me to be kind, loving, gentle, and tender-hearted. I’ll always cherish my special times that I spent with you as a little girl, when you bought me my Teddy Bear, on our trips to the market to buy bubble gum, as we studied the Bible together, as I talked to you while you worked in the garden and followed you everywhere you went. You’ve always been there for me—to laugh with me, to cry with me, and to encourage me to keep on living a godly life no matter what comes my way. I love you Daddy!

Carol Gartman

My grandfather, Robert Garrett, is the best man I have ever met. Through these years of confusion and simplicity, he has always been there to listen and give advice. He has taught me so many things about God, safety, and life. Last January, when he went into surgery, he taught me to pray and trust God with my whole heart and soul. When it comes to safety, he taught me to never unbuckle my seatbelt until we have come to a complete stop and put the car in park. In fact, if I unbuckle my seatbelt when we turn onto my street, he will stop in the middle of the road and wait until I buckle back up before driving again! In life he has taught me what a real man is supposed to be and has been an example of the kind of man I hope to marry someday. So, here is a huge thank you to the one who is not only my Poppa, but has also been like a father to me.

Shelby Garrett

My dad always has good advice. I think sometimes he thinks it isn’t wanted or valued, but I know he cares enough to want to help.

Nathan Parks

(About Nathan Parks) I love to work on cars with Daddy. I love to play and type on computers with Daddy, and watch TV. I like to play soccer with my daddy. I like Daddy to brush my hair. I like to play ball with my daddy. I have the best daddy in the whole world.

Lily Parks, age 3 (as told to Davonne Parks)

My father, Greg Conley, has been such a huge influence in my life. His godly influence has inspired me to strive to be the strongest Christian I can be. I see others each day either without a father or with one who doesn’t care and am so happy that I am blessed with one as great as mine. He has always been there for me, whether to play with me on a rainy day, to sit in the stands and watch me play, or to just hug me and say “I love you.” So I want to say, “Dad, thank you, and I love you too.”

Rachel Conley

I love my dad. I know that I’m a “Daddy’s Girl,” and it’s for good reason. My dad is a godly man who desires to know God’s word. He tries to demonstrate his obedience to God in every way he can. I am thankful God gave me a father who cared enough to teach me His Word from the time I was born. He has been faithful through many trials, and I cannot say enough how thankful I am to have him as my daddy. I love you, Dad. Xo

Lisa Grimenstein