101 Tips for a Happier Marriage: Simple Ways for Couples to Grow Closer to God and to Each Other

December 3rd, 2014 Comments off
Your guide to a happier marriage. Start now with Tip #39 and Dr J's challenge.

Your guide to a happier marriage.

Reviewed by Mary Ann Paulukonis

This review was originally posted at For Your Marriage here.

Where some books have a dedication, this book has a page with three centered lines.

“God is God.

You are not.

Your spouse is not.”

Those ten words sum up the philosophy of 101 Tips for a Happier Marriage. It is a slender, easy-to-read volume of 101 pages (plus an introduction and a few chapter heading pages), each with only two paragraphs: one spelling out the marriage tip and one saying a little more about it. How long could it take to read 202 paragraphs? But this book is not for speed-reading. Each tip needs to be thought about and practiced for at least a day, more likely for weeks and months. Therefore I would suggest reading no more than one page—two paragraphs—per day. Add another day, really just a few minutes, to read the Introduction. Read more…

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The ambiguous legacy of The Pill

December 3rd, 2014 Comments off

Contraceptives didn’t solve all of women’s problems. In fact, they created whole series of new ones.

by Jennifer Roback Morse

This article was first published at Mercatornet.com on December 3, 2014.

I am in the process of writing a book which argues that the Sexual Revolution has been a rich person’s hobby horse from the beginning. The rich and powerful like the idea of separating sex from child-bearing. While this idea is sometimes wrapped up in a disguise of helping woman and the poor, the fact remains that the rich and powerful pioneered and implemented these ideas, quite often at the expense of women and the poor. Read more…

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Children of Divorce and the Holidays: a Stressful Time

December 2nd, 2014 Comments off

InequalityDo you know a child of divorce? Maybe you are divorced and you have children. Maybe you have a young relative or a young neighbor whose parents are divorced. Maybe your child has a friend whose parents are divorced. The holidays can be stressful and chaotic for a young person who must navigate between the two–often shockingly different–worlds of their parents. As a child of divorce myself, I thought it might be helpful to share some thoughts so that readers can understand what these children go through during the holidays.

Sometimes holiday stress can manifest in anger, combativeness, tears, sadness, stubbornness, withdrawal… all of which may seem inappropriate or unjustified to an untrained observer. People might wonder, “Why is this child acting out?”  If you know a child of divorce, please be sensitive to their feelings during the holidays. The holidays may serve as a magnifying glass as to how broken their family feels to them. For example, they might feel very divided. They might not know how to talk about the division they feel. Whether real or imagined, they might not feel like they have permission to talk about it. In point of fact, they might not have permission to talk about it.

Here are some situations that the child of divorce must navigate every holiday season: Read more…

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Categories: Children, Divorce Tags: , ,

Christianity without Christ

November 30th, 2014 Comments off

Jody Bottum’s new essay at The Weekly Standard explores the way religious themes are emerging in some of the most radically secularized movements of our time. He observes that “white privilege” has become the modern equivalent of original sin. Political correctness includes the “shunning” of sinners, akin to that practice by sects such as the Amish and Jehovah’s Witnesses. He notices that book burning has returned. The apocalyptic nature of radical environmentalism allows its advocates to abandon the practices that are part of normal life, in favor of taking radical measures to deal with the impeding Weekly Standard cover .Bottum.DaveCleggend of the world as we know it.

This is all very interesting, and no doubt, mostly correct. I feel called to add to Bottum’s point, however. I take as my starting point, the unapologetic position that Christianity is true, and that the Church is not just another political or social institution. Accordingly, I believe that each and every person has a desire for God, implanted into their hearts by God. The desire for Truth, Goodness and Beauty are all manifestations of that desire.

This is why the attempt to create Christianity without Christ has failed. It is why the further attempt to eliminate all vestiges of Christianity has not worked either. Even its enemies cannot resist using Christian tools. Almost in spite of itself, the modern world smuggles Christian concepts back into society.

Even more pointedly, Bottum asserts that the modern world uses these Christian concepts but without the coherence and systematizing of Christianity. So for example, the secular version of the public shunning of sinners does not include any Read more…

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What should Conservative Catholics say when someone says “I just love this new pope?”

November 24th, 2014 Comments off

We are in the midst of a curious phenomenon. Everyone loves the pope except conservative Catholics.

Elton John loves Pope Francis

Elton John loves Pope Francis

Elton John loves the Pope. I think he thinks the Pope is about to change Church teaching on homosexual practice and the definition of marriage.

“He is a compassionate, loving man who wants everybody to be included in the love of God,” John said of the Pope. “It is formidable what he is trying to do against many, many people in the church that opposes. He is courageous and he is fearless, and that’s what we need in the world today.”

James Robison, conservative Evangelical Southern Baptist, also loves the Pope. I think he thinks the Pope is leading people more to have a fervent, personal experience of Jesus Christ. Robison described his meeting with Pope Francis this way:

He said he wanted everyone to have a personal life-changing encounter with Christ and enter into a personal relationship with Jesus and become bold witnesses for the Gospel. Religion is not the way; Jesus is.

So fervent was his message that as he concluded I said, “As an evangelist, I want you to know what you just said deserves a high five!” The translator communicated what I was saying and in a moment of exuberance he raised his hand and gave his first high five ever. What a beautiful picture of love and supernatural oneness for the sake of the Gospel and those Jesus came to redeem.

Read more…

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Watch Dr. Morse on EWTN

November 23rd, 2014 Comments off

November 26 at 8:00 pm and 28th at 7:30 am–FIFTY SHADES OF GRACE NOT GREY: FINDING PURE LOVE IN A PORNIFIED WORLD: A discussion of Bishop Paul S. Loverde’s letter: “Bought With A Price”, the impact of pornography on EWTN’s The Catholic View for Women.

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Smart Sex – Finding Life Long Love in a Hook Up World – CDs

November 22nd, 2014 Comments off

smrtSexAudioNo time to read? Not a problem. Get this  three-CD set, based on Dr. Morse’s best selling book of the same name and listen while you drive!

Dating is difficult, especially if you’re looking for a serious relationship and not just a casual hook-up. If you or someone you love is hoping to get married and stay married, get this CD set for yourself or as a Christmas gift for a friend. Find it here.

Do you prefer turning pages? We’ve got you covered. Get the book here.

Pst! There’s also a digital read-only version for only $4.99 here! But don’t tell anyone!

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Donut hands

November 22nd, 2014 Comments off

Some churches provide donuts after Mass for parishioners to munch while they mingle. This is a great bribery tool for parents who want their children to behave well at church. One son drew his Mother’s attention to his folded hands during Mass, saying “Look, Mom, donut hands!”

And here’s a little something from a friend of mine who teaches religion. This is CLASSIC!

I had my students do a journal entry for Isaac when he was going to be sacrificed by Abraham. Here is the end of one girl’s entry:
“….We sacrificed a ram instead. Then we went home, and as we were walking, my father said to me, more

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Tip #38 from 101 Tips for a Happier Marriage

November 19th, 2014 Comments off

Give your spouse the benefit of the doubt, even in your mind. If you find yourself mentally rehearsing your grudges, change the subject. Harboring negative thoughts will make you sour.

Have you ever taken a picture of someone right as they sneezed? Those pictures never turn out well. And sometimes when we talk, we say something we didn’t actually mean; it didn’t come out right. Sometimes we’re just having an off day and speak or act more harshly than we normally would. If your spouse does something out of the ordinary, in a hurtful way, he or she may just be having an off day. Give him or her some space and time, and think of that incident as the moment when he or she sneezed as the picture snapped. Throw the photo, and the incident, out of your mind.

Get a copy of 101 Tips for a Happier Marriage for yourself and those you love. Click here to have it personalized and autographed by both authors.
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Tax Advantages of Donating Appreciated Stock to the Ruth Institute

November 19th, 2014 Comments off

appreciated stockHere is a unique way to help the Ruth Institute. If you have stock that has appreciated in value, you may be able to donate it to the Ruth Institute and receive great tax advantages for doing so. The general idea is that when you donate appreciated stock to a charitable organization, you can write off the stock on Schedule A at the market value, and you don’t have to pay capital gains on the gain (neither does the charity). For example, according to the Wall Street Journal:

You also can give appreciated stock to charity. If you’ve held it for more than one year you may take a charitable tax deduction for the market value of the stock, and neither you nor the charity has to pay capital-gains taxes when the stock is sold. The combination can result in a bigger deduction (and more tax savings) for you and a bigger gift for the charity than if you sell the stock, pay the taxes, and donate the net proceeds.

Sandra Block at Kiplinger.com has this to say about it:

If you’re in a charitable mood, consider donating appreciated securities – stocks or mutual funds — instead of cash. When you give $1,000 in cash, you get to deduct $1,000, and that saves you $250 in the 25% bracket. (Any state-income-tax savings are gravy.) 

But let’s say you have $1,000 worth of mutual fund shares that you bought more than a year ago for $500. If you sell the shares, you’ll owe $75 in tax on the profit, even at the preferential 15% capital-gains rate. But if you donate the shares, the charity gets the full $1,000 (it doesn’t have to pay tax on the profit when it sells), you avoid the $75 tax bill, and you still get to deduct the full grand. It’s a win-win-win situation.

For those who would like a more concrete example, Wells Fargo Advisors has a chart with examples from two different tax brackets. Click here to see it.

If this sounds like something you would like to do: first, speak to your tax advisor about it to make sure this fits with your tax and other financial goals. After doing so, call our office at (760) 295-9278 for more information. Thank you!

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