Why We Are Better Together

This weekend was my college class reunion.

It wasn’t a “special year” per se.  The department has an annual home-coming event.

But this year, my college bestie (Shannon) said, “I’ll go if you do” and we booked our trips!

I know I’m dating myself a bit to say it.

I don’t care.

It’s been 23 years since the last time I hugged my best friends neck.

23 YEARS! A lot can change with that much time.

I’ve gotten saved.

She’s gotten saved.

We’ve each raised our babies to almost grown.

We each lost our daddy’s since last we were face to face.

We’ve lived our lives from opposite ends of the nation, always staying in contact.

Isn’t that just a rich blessing from the Father and something of His design at play?

He sends us out two by two.

In my case…He’s blessed me with an “other” who makes me laugh so hard I count seeing her as an ab workout!

There is nothing like someone who’s seen you at your best and your very ugly worst and loved you just exactly the same.

Isn’t that like Jesus is with us?

My heart is full of gratitude and hope today.

Do you have a sister (or brother) of the heart?

I challenge you this: take time to connect. Send a text. Give a call.

You will both be stronger for it. I sure am.

-Shannyn Caldwell

Shannyn and Shannon-Wright State University Class Reunion

Class Reunion Boot Camp

When googling “how to prepare for a reunion” the top hits include everything from fancy car rentals to plastic surgery with quick down times.

This weekend, I (Shannyn) am going to my first EVER class reunion and I’m a shocked at the feelings, fears and exceptions this blessed event is bringing to the surface.

Yes…man does indeed look at the outward appearance but the Lord weighs the heart. There is no need to order a Fitness Boot Camp DVD to “tone real quick”.

When he “takes measurements” he looks to kindness, mercy, justice, sacrifice and humility.

I was not saved when I was a student. When hugging me, my mates are meeting a new creation…me! My hope is that while I may be the one hugging them back, they see…Him, not me.  I hope they see it in my ease, which used to strain. In my peace where chaos reigned. In my  joy that is unwavering. I pray that will shine.

So, maybe I’ll get a manicure. Maybe not. What matters is that I’m ready. He has cleaned me up. He has called me His! And that is true of you today, if you are a follower of Jesus.

                                                   If you want to get a new dress or fresh haircut, go for it!

But don’t forget your invisible crown. (The one the Father gave you.)


Dearly Loved.

Welcomed at the Table.

Now THAT’S my kind of reunion!

Cell Phone Etiquette 101

July is “Cell Phone Etiquette Month!”

Here are the top tips from the experts on how use best cell phone practices!

1-Silent your cell during meetings, dates, shows etc.

2-Excuse yourself with an apology  if you must accept a cell. Something like “I apologize, however this is urgent. I will return in a moment”

3- 10 foot rule: When making or taking calls move 10 feet away from the building. Refrain from confidential conversations on planes, trains, cars.

Remember, cell phone addiction is real. Don’t be part of the 72% of the people who won’t move more than 5 feet from their phone. (Unless you are a doctor. Then PLEASE, keep it handy!)

For accountability with your family, consider adding tracking software such as Covenant Eyes or Smart Family!


Being a Better Brother

Today is National Brothers Day!

We all want to be the best we can be, especially when it comes to loving the people God’s placed in our lives.

So, on this National Brothers Day, here are a few characteristics that you can embrace to be a more intentional brother (or sister).

Models Good Behavior
One of the most positive ways a brother can affect his siblings is by being a positive role model. Setting a good example for his brothers and sisters to follow can help younger sibs better navigate social decisions.

Is Closer Than a Friend
Although friends may change over time, a good brother is there for the long haul.  Family members have a unique, special bond with each other that differs from the bonds that friends have, typically also having a deeper knowledge of each other. This deeper knowledge is gained from years of living together as well as having this shared history. Having a positive relationship with his older brother has been shown to increase the likelihood that the younger sibling will have healthy feelings of self-worth and fewer signs of depression.

Is Honest Yet Tactful
Honesty is an essential part of any healthy relationship. This trait is particularly important among family members and siblings. A good brother should maintain an open, honest way of treating his siblings. This doesn’t mean that he should relay the brutal truth. Telling the truth without tact can hurt a sibling’s feelings and cause distress. A good brother is honest and positive, without being mean.

Has a Good Ear
Telling siblings what they should do isn’t the only way that brothers can show stellar communication skills. A good brother is an active listener, takes in what his siblings have to say and processes it before responding. Active listening involves paying attention to what the other person is saying to understand his point of view.

(Excerpted from oureverydaylife.com)

Happy Chocolate Chip Day!

Few things bring a family together faster than a fresh, warm plate of COOKIES!

On May 15th, we recognize a morsel of a thing.  It’s National Chocolate Chip Day!

Have you ever wondered if an ingredient would work in a recipe? It is hard to imagine where we would be without the invention of chocolate chips.

In 1937, Ruth Graves Wakefield of Whitman Massachusetts must have been curious what a little bit of chocolate would add to her cookies. While working at the Toll House Inn, she added cut-up chunks of semi-sweet Nestle chocolate bar to a cookie recipe.  The cookies were a huge success and in 1939 Wakefield signed an agreement with Nestle to add her recipe to the chocolate bar’s packaging.  In exchange for the recipe, Wakefield received a lifetime supply of chocolate.  The Nestle brand Toll House cookies were named for the Inn.

Nestle initially included a small chopping tool with the chocolate bars. Starting in 1941,  Nestle and other competitors started selling the chocolate in chip or morsel form.

Semi-sweet was the original flavor of chocolate chips.  Today the chocolates come in bittersweet, semi-sweet, mint, white chocolate, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white and dark swirled.

The imagination is the only thing limiting what recipes chocolate can be used. Today chocolate chips are used in a variety of baking methods from sweet to savory.  Had Ruth Graves Wakefield never wondered what a few chopped up chunks of chocolate would be like in her baking, we wouldn’t even have chocolate chip cookies.

(excerpted from National Day Calendar) 

Just Open the Door

Today we spoke with (in)courge Author/Speaker Jen Schmidt about her new book on hospitality, Just Open the Door.

Jen reminds us that even if we don’t feel specially gifted in the “welcoming the stranger” department, we all have something uniquely beautiful and needed in our communities.

If you are  a social butterfly or just love the quietness of your own cocoon, our conversation will encourage you today.

A Hope Hero Shines Bright

What a treasure it is to hold a baby in the first hours of life!

That is a gift that a friends from one corner of Family Life Nation experienced, but it didn’t stop there!

Joy Ringhofer from Phoenix is a volunteer at Banner University Medical Center. Last month, a sweet baby girl was born and Joy had the honor of rocking and holding her in the nursery. He gentle spirit didn’t go unnoticed by the baby’s dad, Rubin Swift. As we visited his newborn in the hospital, he was taken my the gentle kindness the Joy showed that’s why when he found that was stranded in AZ, he knew who to call-JOY!

Because his baby was too young (by airline standards) to fly home to Ohio with her daddy, Rubin reached out to the nicest person he’d met in the Valley of the Sun-JOY!

Joy didn’t just offer a ride to a hotel, she insisted on a ride to her HOUSE where Rubin and his beautiful baby daughter stayed until she was old enough to board a flight home, with her pop!

Now, the baby doesn’t just have a daddy who loves her, but a very special honorary grandma!

“She fed me and held my baby all night,” Rubin said, “Who does that?”

We know who…Hope Heroes like Joy Ringhofer, that’s who!

Well done good and faithful servant!


When Your Father Fails

Bart Millard of Mercy Me joined Peter and Shannyn to celebrate the release of the movie version of I Can Only Imagine! (coming to theaters across Family Life Nation March 16th)

In this conversation Bart shares a bit about how being willing to “get real with his painful upbringing” was a key to his healing and to his alcoholic and abusive father coming to know Jesus.

From the Family Life Kitchen

I think we can all agree, that a lasting relationship is often forged over good food.

Today is Pi Day! You can’t go far in Family Life Nation without someone asking if you’ve tried FLR founder Char Bolthouse’s Buttermilk Pie! Here recipe is first. Then…for fun and good health, morning show Co-Host Shannyn Caldwell (A Certified Holistic Nutritionist) makes a slightly healthier, gluten free, low sugar,  no-crust , still yummy version!

(makes one pie)

2 cups sugar
1 stick melted butter
4 TB flour
3 beaten eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1 pie crust (you can make a crust or use…store bought *gasp*)


Mix sugar, butter, flour, eggs, buttermilk and vanilla in bowl. Poke your pie crust with a fork so that it doesn’t puff with air bubbles. Pour mix into pie crust.

Bake at 325 degrees for one hour.

Tip:  wrap a strip of aluminum foil around the edges for the first 45 minutes to keep the crust from burning.

It is best served warm with a little whipped cream on top.



(Excerpted from Shannyn’s blog)

This pie is adapted from Char Bolthouse’s Famous Butter Milk Pie

Now, Char’s recipe is perfection. It’s also…like the opposite of healthy so, I tinkered with it a bit in an attempt to sooth my spirit of it’s never ending desire for healthy AND YUMMY FOOD!

This #healthhack is not 100% healthy exactly, but it lives in the neighborhood and came out PERFECT!

{Read: Best Pie Ever}











Use mixer to blend completely.

Pour into greased (coconut oil) pie tin. Don’t worry about pouring this into a crust.

The crust will appear! *yes, Lord*

Bake at 350 for 50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool.