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Lina AbuJamra

Sue Badeau

Dianne Barker

Twila Belk

Dr. Michelle Bengtson

Gail Bones

Harriet Bouchillon

Mary Carver

Jeanne Cesena

Pamela Christian

Lisa Copen

Erin Davis

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Kelly DeChant

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Debbi Eggleston

Pat Ennis

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Pam Farrel

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Sheila Gregoire

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Holly Hanson

Becky Harling

Debbie Harris

Nali Hilderman

Cathy Horning

Kathy Howard

Mary James

Priscilla Jenson

Lane P. Jordan

Rebecca Jordan

Ellie Kay

Maria Keckler

Sylvia Lange

Debby Lennick

Peggy Leslie

Kathi Lipp

Kolleen Lucariello

Kathi Macias

Paula Marsteller

Melissa Mashburn

Dianne Matthews

Cindi McMenamin

Elaine W. Miller

Kathy Collard Miller

Lynn Mosher

Karen O'Connor

Yvonne Ortega

Arlene Pellicane

Ava Pennington

Laura Petherbridge

Gail Purath

Marcia Ramsland

Kaley Rhea

Rhonda Rhea

Vonda Rhodes

Cynthia Ruchti

Julie Sanders

Judy Scharfenberg

Deedra Scherm

Laurel Shaler

Joanie Shawhan

Stephanie Shott

Poppy Smith

Susan K. Stewart

Stacie Stoelting

Letitia "Tish" Suk

Jill Swanson

Janet Thompson

Janice Thompson

Teri Thompson

Brittany Van Ryn

Elizabeth Van Tassel

Leslie Vernick

Laurie Wallin

Julie Watson

Joan C. Webb

Shonda Savage Whitworth

Cherri Williamson

Kathy C. Willis

Debbie W. Wilson

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Jamie Wood

And UPGRADE'S Founder

   Dawn Wilson


Entries in UUpgrade with Dawn (5)


I Don't Like Correction, but It's Good for Me

Kathy Collard Miller is a wise woman. She writes much about the heart and how to please the Lord. In this Biblical Thinking UPGRADE, she encourages us to see God's correction through a biblical grid.

“If we can see the value of being corrected by God,” Kathy says, “we will be much more receptive to receiving His love through it.”

I (Dawn) have never much liked being corrected. It was a pride thing. But shortly after I became a Christ-follower, I learned about the love motivating my Heavenly Father whenever He corrected me. In a life story, Kathy writes about how the Lord helped her understand His loving correction.

Kathy continues . . .

Years ago, I remember feeling guilty about not giving my toddler daughter enough attention, but I didn’t know how to change.

Then one day the water bottle man dropped off a five-gallon glass bottle for us to use later. As I watched a soap opera on TV, I looked over at my two-year-old daughter who played near the bottle. I thought, “She can’t possibly be strong enough to push over that bottle.”

Then she pushed on it.

Over it went and the bottle shattered, spilling five gallons of water onto the carpet.

For once I didn’t get angry at my toddler. I realized I had the problem, not my toddler, and God was gently correcting me about my lack of attention to my daughter.   

In the future, when I was tempted to watch television at the exclusion of my daughter’s needs, I remembered that glass bottle. I also reminded myself God wasn’t wanting to punish me but teach me how to be the good mom I wanted to be.

The Bible tells us a lot about being corrected. We can learn He intends our good.

1. Receiving correction shows you are smart!

I don’t like to be thought of as stupid. I’ve been bothered by that since childhood mainly because being stupid seemed to get me in trouble. I concluded, “If I’m not seen as stupid, I won’t get in trouble!

Interestingly, Proverbs 12:1 tells us,

“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.”

I didn’t know that principle when I resisted anger after the water bottle incident. Now I see God was showing me my sinful escape method of soap operas! I was smart to learn to pay more attention to my daughter.

2. God corrects us in many different ways, even painful ones.

God’s correction may not always seem evident, because we can interpret His loving action as harmful.

He can correct us through the words of others, through unwelcome circumstances, or as He gives insights into our past wrong choices. Correction might be involved anytime we stop and evaluate: “Is my response godly and glorifying to God?”

James 1:2-3 tells us,

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.”

We may not like that verse because trials are not fun, but God intends to use something difficult to bring the good results He wants—our holiness for our good.

3. Being corrected is a gift from God offering a sense of love.

Children rarely say, “Thank you, mom, for giving me that correction. I’ll be happier because of it.” But that is exactly what God wants to hear from us.

We may not see it at the time, but God's correction helps us feel loved and valued.

Hebrews 12:5-6 assures us,

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”

The next time you recognize God’s correction, you can actually tell yourself, “God is loving me!"

4. Correction helps us see when we are at fault.

Every one of us has a tendency to blame someone else for why we were unloving, unkind, unwise and a host of other ungodly reactions.

A miserable person is one who never takes responsibility. She never learns to make better choices resulting in her own joy, peace, patience, and self-control, and the good of others.

Proverbs 19:3 verifies that.

“When a man's folly brings his way to ruin, his heart rages against the Lord.”

Let’s stop blaming God for our own choices. You will better know how to change and avoid ruin.

Being corrected doesn’t seem positive at the time, but as we change our attitudes about it, we will:

  • gain wisdom,
  • value God’s involvement in our lives,
  • feel more loved, and
  • take responsibility for our actions.

Those choices will result in our good and the good of others.

What lie have you believed about being corrected? What truth would you like to replace it with?

Kathy Collard Miller is the author of over 50 books, her most recent is Heart Wisdom: Daughters of the King Bible Study Series (Elk Lake Publishing, Inc.). She loves to speak at events and has spoken in over 30 US states and 8 foreign countries. Visit her website.

Graphic of water jug - 20 Canada Drinking water jug - offered at Wayfair.


How to Create a Stronger 'Sibling Bond'

Sue Badeau, a child welfare and trauma expert, knows a lot about encouraging children. She and her husband parented 22 children (20 are adopted)! In this Parenting UPGRADE, Sue challenges us with a riddle.

“What is the longest lasting relationship most people experience in their lifetime?” Sue says. “If your answer involved a parent, spouse or friend, you’ve missed the mark. For most people, the longest lasting relationship in their life is with a sibling (or two, or more).”

Even after years of separation, my (Dawn’s) sister and I have a sweet relationship. But it wasn’t without some ups and downs. I wish I’d known Sue’s tips for creating a stronger sibling bond.

Sue continues . . .

Scripture reminds us of the preciousness of these relationships in Psalm 133:1:

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!”

As a parent of twenty-two, I know when the ‘dog days’ of summer stretch lethargically before us, we may feel like we are raising Abel and Cain, or Joseph and his brothers—nothing really pleasant about it!

Do you ever feel like the sibling relationships in your household need a little upgrading?

While there is no “I” in team, I have found three “I’s” are essential in building and nurturing positive sibling relationships in a family, whether the family is created by birth, adoption, step-parenting or foster care, and whether or not any of the children have unique special needs.

These bond-building essentials are:

1. Individualize

Each child needs to be valued as an individual, not simply as one of the group. Siblings will be less likely to fight and more inclined to get along when they each individually know they are cherished for who they are.

Make sure every child has some private time and space. Plan one-on-one time with each child. 

For example, I always took a different child grocery shopping, and my husband took a different child to breakfast each Saturday morning. This not only gave us time together, it gave the children needed breaks from one another.

Private space might be a “footlocker” or dresser drawer where a child can keep a few treasured items that do not have to be shared.

2. Incorporate Interests

Mix and match children for activities in a variety of ways. Pair children up by interests rather than always by age or gender, and give them opportunities to work on tasks together (such as making dessert, washing the car or decorating the porch for a celebration). 

A shared accomplishment often becomes a foundation for a strong sibling relationship.

We had a teenage son and a six-year-old daughter who both enjoyed tap dancing, so we signed them up for lessons together. Another pairing matched a disabled older teen with a younger brother teaching each other computer skills. Many years later, these siblings share special memories and bonds.

3. Include Everyone

Each child needs to feel connected to the whole family. Create opportunities for bonds to grow between siblings who are often rivals.

“Catch” them getting along and frame that photo as a reminder of good times. 

Invite children to create a “last week of summer” family night, planning board games, snacks or other activities designed to bring the whole family together. Practice “planned spontaneity.” Announce a “backwards day” (breakfast for dinner) or jump in the car for a mystery ride to a park you’ve never visited.

When family members find themselves in new situations, sibling connections can blossom in creative and fun ways.

What are some of your fondest sibling memories? How can you recreate these precious moments with your own children?

Sue Badeau is a nationally known speaker, author, and child welfare and trauma expert. Sue and her husband Hector are lifetime parents of twenty-two children—two by birth and twenty adopted. They wrote the book Are We There Yet: The Ultimate Road Trip Adopting and Raising 22 Kids. Learn more about Sue at and


Mom, Don't Forget to Take Care of You!

Melissa Mashburn, a busy pastor's wife, knows the importance of caring for herself so she can be strong to care for others. She shares this Upgrade for moms (with solid truth for all women).

As moms," Melissa says, "we wear many hats, we are a referee, a tutor, a police officer, a maid, a chef, a boo-boo kisser, a nighttime cuddler and also a taxi."

Oh how well I [Dawn] remember those busy days of motherhood. I gave and gave and gave, and it wasn't long before I felt depleted. I needed to step off the motherhood treadmill sometimes!

Melissa continues ...

Yes, we are always on the go and usually with our kids in tow. We manage our households with great care and grace, but when was the last time you actually did anything for yourself ... or better yet, by yourself.

Did you just shake your head and giggle a little? I think you did.

I know you might be thinking, “How on earth can I stop and do something just for for me? Don’t you know how many things there are to do right now?”

Listen mom, I know you’ve been running around getting a ton of things done for everyone else in your family, but do me a favor and don’t forget to take care of you too. The Psalmist said God cares for us:

Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall (Psalm 55:22 NLT).

But it's good for us to cooperate and take care of ourselves too!

You know when you are on a plane getting ready for take off and the flight attendant does the safety instructions? They always say, "In case there is a change in cabin pressure the masks will drop down. You need to place your mask on first before helping children or anyone else."

As a mom, that used to really bother me. But then I realized that if you don't, then you won't be able to help anyone else in an emergency. The same holds true in your everyday, ordinary life.

Taking care of you doesn’t mean you neglect all those other things, it simply means doing things a little differently so that you can enjoy the peace and perspective that comes when you do something just for you.

My kids aren’t little any longer. I learned along the way that I could be a better mom to them by taking care of myself a little in the process. It will take some planning and coordination on your part, but when you do take time for yourelf, you will actually be giving yourself the margin you need when life gets stressful and hectic.

Here’s a few ways you can take care of you:

1. Don’t forget your quiet time - Start your day in prayer, even if it means getting up earlier than you normally do. 

2. Make time for your marriage - Once a month, schedule a "date day" with your husband. Go ahead and hire the babysitter, and block the date on the calendar.

3. Call upon your girlfriends - Schedule some time for you to go get some coffee, lunch, a manicure, or something you can do and enjoy, either alone or with friends.

Get creative on how to make that happen:  babysitting swap with a friend, or even share a babysitter between the two families.

4. Get involved at your church, preferably in a Bible study or a community group. Get connected with other women and/or couples.

Here’s a tip though ... go into it with open hands. Life can get complicated, and even the best laid plans don’t always come together the way we would like them to.

By having your hands open, you release all the stress and pressure to make things “perfect” and allow room for life to happen even in the middle of the change. Rest in God's loving care: You gave me life and showed me your unfailing love. My life was preserved by your care (Job 10:12, NLT).

Making it a priority to take care of you isn’t a selfish thing, it’s not even something that “other moms” get to do. It’s a chance to stop and count your blessings in the midst of being a busy mom.

Go ahead, try it today.

What about you? What’s one way you can take care of you this week?

Melissa Mashburn passionately pursues God daily, taking her ordinary life and placing it as her offering to Him. She is a writer, speaker, mom, pastor’s wife, and trained communicator through CLASSeminars, with extensive background in Women’s and Kid’s Ministry, and her passion is helping women “keep it real” in their lives and ministries. Melissa is married to her best friend, Matt (20 years), and they have two teenage boys. She loves to relax with a great book and giant cup of coffee. You can find her at Mel’s World with Melissa Mashburn.


'Financial Language' - Are You a 'Thinker'?

In her first post about Financial Language, Janice Thompson, wrote about the woman whose "financial language" is expressed as The Driver. This post describes the woman whose financial language is "The Thinker."

"The Thinker's goal is to understand her financial situation," Janice said.

That makes sense to me. If we don't understand our financial situation, how will we move forward? We can't even apply wisdom principles until we "get" where we are regarding our bills, debts and investments. The Thinker takes time for critical study before making decisions.

Janice continues ...

To illustrate this point - William A. Ward wrote, "Before you speak, listen. Before you write, think. Before you spend, earn. Before you invest, investigate. Before you criticize, wait. Before you pray, forgive. Before you quit, try. Before you retire, save. Before you die, give."

Consider the biblical story of Esther. When called upon to make hard choices, Esther made them based upon the character she developed growing up. She was willing to suffer the consequences that came as a result of the decisions she was making.

This young woman was wise beyond her years as she sought the counsel of her cousin Mordecai.

She was willing to be used by God and knew how to ask good questions and analyze potential options and outcomes without reacting impulsively.

God was working in Esther for His time and His tasks. God had raised Esther from an orphan to royalty "for such a time as this" (Esther 4:14). She fasted, prayed and waited until the time was right to reveal her petition. God delighted to work through her step of faith.

Does this sound like you? Friends or family would probably never describe you as impulsive. Like Esther, you like to ask a lot of good questions. (I guess I would too, if my future and that of my people was at stake!)

You like to have all the facts laid out before you so you can thoroughly examine and analyze your decisions.

Since you are not naturally inclined to make impulsive decisions, you may need some accountability or motivation to ensure you act on the best possible directives with what you know.

A word of caution: to try to know absolutely everything about every dynamic might become a frustrating pursuit of endless detours, so ask well thought-out questions, analyze the data you collect, and take appropriate time to review your solutions.

Then make decisions that move you forward with your goals while allowing you the flexibility to edit the plans as more information becomes available.

The Bible encourages us, "Grow a wise heart - you'll do yourself a favor; keep a clear head - you'll find a good life" (Proverbs 19:8, The Message).

Are you a financial "Thinker"? Where do you go - who do you consult - for your financial decisions?

Janice Thompson is the founder and president of Strategic Financial Solutions, Inc., a comprehensive wealth management firm focused on biblically-based financial solutions. Janice is a Certified Financial Planner®, Certified Life Stewardship Advisor™, and serves on the Board of Directors of Kingdom Advisors. She has two married children with one grandchild on the way. She and her husband Tom live in San Diego.

Note: Material adapted from the book, Managing Your Money Maze by Janice Thompson (Revive Our Hearts, 2009).

Photo in text: Courtesy of Stuart Miles at



Upgrade Your Saving Power!

Holly Hanson is one of those multi-talented individuals with words of wisdom in so many areas, especially parenting and financial “smarts.”

“My plunge into motherhood almost nine years ago,” Holly said, “has taught me a lot about sacrifice.”

Anyone who’s been a mom understands that word, “sacrifice;” but I admire Holly, because she  turned financial stress into positive living with creative, productive choices. When I called her a financial expert, she said, "No, I'm not an official financial expert, just a civilian price warrior!"

She continues ...

The biggest sacrifice I made was giving up my producer job at a TV station to stay home full time. In order to make it all work and still be able to eat, I discovered a multitude of ways to be a good steward of my money each and every day.

I see this opportunity as one way to emulate the creativity and household responsibility of the Proverbs 31 Woman. In verse 27 it says, “She watches over the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.”  I want that to be the way others describe me, as well.

If you can turn some of these tips into rock-solid habits, you can live a two-income lifestyle on a one-income paycheck!

1. Pick Your Time to Shop. This tip works best for major purchases.

Buy a car or a mattress on a holiday when there are sales and no tax. Buy a barbecue after Labor Day when they all go on major clearance.

If you have children, shop the clearance clothing rack at the end of the season for the next year’s sizes—your kids will definitely grow, while the price of the clothing stays small! I keep all of my daughter’s too-big clothes in an under-the-bed box. I review the inventory each season to see if anything new fits. 

This works for BOGO [buy one, get one] sales too. I buy two pairs of tennis shoes, one in the current size and one in the next size up.

If you need party supplies, shop for them after every major holiday. Heart napkins on sale after Valentine’s Day will work great for your anniversary dinner. Spring napkins/plates/decor on sale after Easter can beautify a table any time of the year!

2. Know the Menu.  When you go to a restaurant, don’t always assume the “combo” is the best deal, or that the sandwich has to be ordered the way it is described. Take a minute to review your options.

If you like lettuce and tomato at Wendy’s, you can add it to the dollar cheeseburger for free. Some Mexican restaurants allow you to add “items” to an existing combo for less than the price of a regular entrée.

We sometimes order one meal and “add on” enough to feed the whole family for much less than three separate meals! Denny’s does this with their Grand Slam breakfasts. I never get the kids’ meal when I can just add on a 99-cent item or two for my daughter!

3. Use Those Coupons! I have made it my personal mission to NEVER buy something at a store that I know I have (or can get) a coupon for. It’s amazing how much you spend on impulse items, if you can’t discipline yourself to follow this rule.

In the age of smartphones, a simple Google search can yield plenty of online coupons, many of which can be redeemed by simply showing your phone to the cashier. I’ve done this at restaurants, too, like Souplantation and Fuddruckers, when I forgot to print the email that they sent me with the offer. 

Vons also has a wonderful program called Just for U, which allows you to select coupons on your phone or computer that are instantly added to your club card. (I have even added coupons in the checkout line!) Coupons are like free money!

Don’t be foolish. Don’t waste the chance to upgrade your saving power!

Which of these helpful tips are you using now? Which would be a great new choice?

Holly Hanson is a veteran Emmy Award-winning journalist who finds her calling in her family motto: “Love God, Serve Others.” Holly has written and produced internationally for Women of Faith, Turning Point Ministries, and locally with KFMB-TV, KFMB-AM and KPBS Radio. She is married and is a mom, step-mom and soon to be step-grandma. Holly is active at Shadow Mountain Community Church, serving on the Women's Ministries Council, singing in the choir, and running Moms Inc., a ministry she founded and directs.  

Photo in text: Image Courtesty of Grant Cochrane at