Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category

de la CroiX in Concert at American Lutheran Church

September 18, 2015 Comments Off on de la CroiX in Concert at American Lutheran Church
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Come experience the inspiring message and uplifting sounds of de la CroiX at American Lutheran Church in Bourbonnais on September 26. Doors open at 6:30 PM and the concert begins at 7.

de la CroiX is a family band of traveling “musicianaries.” Mom and Dad Tim and Danielle and their young adult children Dylan, Cyrus and Sydney hail from here in the Kankakee area and now call Oakdale, California their home. Their music is an eclectic blnd of country, folk-rock and blues, all with a Christ-centered message. There’s something for everybody to enjoy, with music, audience participation and amazing, inspiring testimony from this family that gave up everything they own to follow God’s call to a life on the road.

ALC is also hosting a special LYO Event and Youth Concert with de La CroiX on Sunday, September 27, at 5 PM. This concert is fre and open to all area youth groups and young people, junior high through high school. Young people are also invited to a youth event supper and ice breaker session at 4 PM that Sunday. Supper is $5 per person, and reservations can be made by calling ALC at 815-932-7515. Hurry–your reservation has to be in by September 23.

Learn more about de la CroiX at their website. American Lutheran Church is located at 1560 Career Center Road in Bourbonnais. Admission is free but love offerings are welcome. For more information, call the church at 815-932-7515 or visit

Growing Kids Chicago featuring Kent Olney

August 10, 2015 Comments Off on Growing Kids Chicago featuring Kent Olney
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Presented by the GEMs (Godly Encouragement for Moms), our own Executive Director Kent Olney will be presenting at Trinity Church of the Nazarene’s Cornerstone Gathering on Saturday, September 19, at 5:00pm. Dr. Olney’s talk is entitled “Little Things Matter Most.”

To register for the event, visit and click on the Gems tab. For more information click here or scan the QR code above.

Save the Date: Date Night 2016

June 1, 2015 Comments Off on Save the Date: Date Night 2016
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Date Night 2016 is happening on Saturday, February 20, 2016! Check back soon for more updates.

Marriage Mentor Training

May 29, 2015 Comments Off on Marriage Mentor Training
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Are you interested in…

  • Strengthening premarital couples’ relationships and preparing them for marriage?
  • Improving the quality of marriage for newlywed and married couples?
  • Enriching your own marriage?

Marriage mentoring may be an option for you!

Marriage mentoring is a couple-to-couple relationship that seeks to help couples live out their vision for marriage. For couples who are intent on building a happy and healthy marriage, mentoring brings sage advice, personal support and encouragement, and help in hard times.

Marriage mentor training will be available June 11 and 18 in the Kankakee area. Registration for this training session must be completed by June 1, so if you and your spouse are interested in being trained as a marriage mentor couple, contact Kathy Heck at (815) 939-5385 today.

How to Get Exactly What You Want from Your Marriage

October 29, 2014 Comments Off on How to Get Exactly What You Want from Your Marriage
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Photo taken 17 May 2003 and uploaded by photographer (Casito).
by Michelle Klavohn

What is Your Marriage Bull’s-Eye?

If you were to fast forward your marriage a year down the road, what would you hope to see? How about 3 years? 10 years? And what will create that picture?

More than what the economy does, more than what grades your kids get, more than what job you or your spouse may hold, having clarity on what you really want for your marriage holds powerful influence on your outcome. Author Joseph Murphy declares, “We go where our vision is.”


But exactly how does a couple come up with that picture? In my coaching work I find that people often have much clearer vision for the future than what they realize. I could ask someone “what is your vision for your marriage?” and I would get the response “Gosh, I don’t know.” Maybe some vague generalities… happiness… health… income…??” Blank stares fill the space.

But when we explore additional questions, there are often very vivid pictures buried down inside. Beautiful pictures. Full of life. Captivating. Oozing with energy and motivation.

It’s the process of getting to those pictures that’s where the gold is found. Here are some simple action steps to get you started:

Create space.
The reality is that many people are foggy about what they desire for their relationship because they live with so little margin that there is no room to consider it. Start small if you need to. Mark an hour on your calendar right now to find a quiet, beautiful spot and open your mind to the dreams that you want for your home. Maybe make a coffee date with your partner to reconnect with some of the hopes and dreams that you share. What on your agenda is more important than that?

Get clear on several important questions.
What do we want people to say about us as a couple?
What are 6-8 times you know your marriage was in your “flow” of who you want to be?
What was happening then?
What made it meaningful?
What legacy would you like your marriage to have?

Some bite-size steps like these could be just enough to get you going on a piece of life that holds great reward. There are certainly many questions and resources to use to go deeper, but choosing to start is very empowering.

After all, it’s hard to hit the bull’s-eye if you don’t have a target.

Mike and Janet LaReau: Standing Firm on Common Ground

October 15, 2014 Comments Off on Mike and Janet LaReau: Standing Firm on Common Ground
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Stan Shebs [GFDL (, CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or CC-BY-SA-2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons

“Janet is a realist, and I’m a dreamer,” says Mike LaReau about their 50-year marriage. “She’s supportive, steady as a rock.”

“I like being married to Mike,” Janet adds. “We have a lot of fun together. We have a lot of similar interests and common ground.”

Since their wedding in 1964, this couple has pursued an active life together, dedicated to serving young people. With degrees in sociology and social work, Mike has worked with troubled and neglected children in a variety of settings. Janet taught special education for 26 years in the Bradley, Illinois school system.

“We like working with kids in special populations,” Janet says. “Especially those with drug and abuse problems.”

“You can learn a lot from a kid just by talking with him or her,” Mike adds. “It’s very rewarding work.”

During their professional careers, they often worked together – Janet as the classroom teacher and Mike as the school’s social worker. Being supportive and understanding of the challenges and demands the other was facing strengthened the foundation of their marriage.

Making their home a welcoming place has always been important for Mike and Janet. Welcoming their children’s friends is a top priority. And they make it a point to get to know the kids and their families. “We’ve built eight homecoming floats at our house,” Mike recalls. “Darcy’s friends were always here eating. Our son’s friends are usually busy on their smartphones.”

Both credit their family traditions as another important way to keep their marriage strong. “We had a cabin in the Black Hills of South Dakota,” Mike says. “Our family went there every summer for 30 years in a row. Other family members often joined us there.”

“We’ve always done a lot of things together,” Janet says. “Remodeling projects, camping, going out to eat, vacationing. I appreciate the common ground we share.”

3 Empowering Habits for a New School Year

August 28, 2014 Comments Off on 3 Empowering Habits for a New School Year
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And, they’re off! The school year has begun.

A fresh season offers great opportunity to cultivate new habits. Check out three habits that hold immense possibility for your child in this new school year:

Be a friend to have a friend

What kid doesn’t want to have more friends? Crazy thing, kids (much like adults), hope that friends will magically appear and that those connections will invite them to be a part of all that’s happening. When it comes to friendship, the world is desperately in need of more initiators. The start of a new school year offers a time to encourage your child to give away lots of smiles, keep a look out for the new kid in class or the student who is sitting alone at lunch. Offering friendship is the best way to fill life with strong relationships. Encourage your child to initiate connections rather than waiting for them to come along. What would happen in this world if we all taught our kids to give to others what they want to have for themselves?

Do 1st things first

“We do the things we have to do before we get to do the things we want to do” has become a mantra around our house. Think about it… You go to work, earn a paycheck, pay your mortgage or rent, and then get to enjoy your home. Nobody gives you a beautiful home, lets you lay around as long as you want, watch 5-6 hours of TV, and then – if you feel like it – go to work. Right? The world operates by doing first things first. And, this is a crucial lesson for any young person.

What are the things your child has to do? Obviously, this varies based on the age of your kids, but homework and chores top the list for those that are elementary aged and over. When your child asks about something he wants to do, like heading over a friend’s, or jumping on the video game, check in with him, “Have you done 1st things 1st?”

Practice gratefulness

The benefits of having a grateful spirit have gotten much attention recently. Many parents I work with express concern that the more their kids receive, the more they seem to want. Developing a grateful heart tops the list of qualities that will greatly serve your child, and it certainly doesn’t need to wait until adulthood to make it into daily habits.

Research conducted with students who wrote down five things for which they felt grateful for, once a week, for 10 weeks in a row, experienced exciting results! Less stress, more joy, increased optimism and greater life satisfaction topped the list of outcomes. Here are some ways to practice gratitude with your kids:

  • Use dinner time to have each person express one positive thing from the day. This can even happen in the car on the way to the next practice!
  • At bedtime, spend time with your child sharing the top three things from the day for which you are grateful.
  • Have a family “gratitude board.” Hang a whiteboard in the hallway or laundry room and have family members write on the board things for which they are grateful daily.
  • Write weekly/monthly letters of appreciation. A teacher, a family member, a coach, a friendly clerk or waitress are all people who will be encouraged by a letter of appreciation from your child.

Family Coach Michelle Klavohn holds over 20 years in the field of Human Development. With a Master’s degree in Communication and 10 years as a Communication Educator, she equips families to close the gap between the family they dream of and the family they experience each day. She passionately pursues her vision to partner with families who want to thrive!

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Doc’s Corner: Is Your Marriage a Covenant or a Contract?

May 6, 2013 Comments Off on Doc’s Corner: Is Your Marriage a Covenant or a Contract?
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 A contract is a legal agreement that may be broken. A covenant is to never be broken, as it is a binding agreement, to love unconditionally and sacrificially to the end of one’s earthly life. A covenant vow is a covenant promise, foundational to a covenant marriage.   A covenant marriage is the unique one-flesh relationship of a man and woman joined together by God in a union that He wills to be both permanent and exclusive, binding the couple to each other in a life-long companionship of common life and sacrificial love. Your covenant vows and marriage are not meant to be broken.  They are a promise of a lifetime.

Vital Signs of a Covenant Love


·         Covenant love is a sacrificial love.  There is a cost for covenant love– the giving of our lives.


 “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” 1 John 4:10-11


·         Covenant love is a love full of tender mercy, grace and forgiveness.   It is where you are loved unconditionally and where you can count on that love even when you least deserve it!


“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?”  Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Matthew 18:21-23


·         Covenant love is a love that serves one another. Couples are mutually committed to each other. It is  not a  50/50 deal, but it is each giving 100 percent.


 “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28


·         Covenant love is a love of choice.  It is choosing to love and not relying solely on our feelings of love. 


 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.   It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.   It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.


·         Covenant love is a love of restoration.  Couples are committed to resolving hostility, and to work things out among themselves. Couples are restless when they realize something is wrong between them.  They seek reconciliation with God and strive to be reconciled and restored to each another.


 “Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.  In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” Ephesians 4:25-27


·         Covenant love is a love of being the best friends for life!

       “The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.  The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.”  For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” Genesis 1:18; 22-24


How do you see your relationship contractual or covenant?   


How is this displayed?


What can you do to get it your relationship more covenant?




Doc’s Corner: The Covenant: A Biblical Model for Empowering Your Marriage

April 30, 2013 Comments Off on Doc’s Corner: The Covenant: A Biblical Model for Empowering Your Marriage
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In our society there appears to be tension between a covenant framework and a contractual framework for marital and family relationships.

 A contract can be broken, but a covenant is to never be broken, as it is a binding agreement, to love unconditionally and sacrificially to the end of one’s earthly life.  In our society, many get married based on the contractual conditions to satisfy “self”.  It’s living to get and not to give. If these needs are not met or there are difficulties or disappointments, then by virtue of contractual living, one has the right to break their contractual vows.  A contract is based on mutual and bilateral terms.  If one or the other defaults the contract is broken and is no longer binding.

 On the other hand, a covenant is based on a unilateral, unconditional love and commitment.  If one or the other defaults, the covenant remains intact through the faithfulness to covenant vows. Contractual living diminishes any depth to one’s commitment level in a marriage.

 Vital signs of a covenant love


  • Covenant love is a maturing love.  It reconciles the illusions of romance and disenchantment in a way that opens our relationships to a vast range of possibilities. This love emerges through the difficulties and challenges of one’s life and marriage, deepening the love and commitment to one another.  No matter how difficult the situation, couples will not give up on each other.            

 “Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
 James 1:4


  • Covenant love is a love based on God’s unconditional love

   “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:16, 19


  • Covenant love is a committed love. Commitment becomes a structure in and of itself which maintains a line of action that makes it difficult to discontinue the commitment even if the other person’s commitment declines. It is an unbroken loyalty regardless of any change, disappointment or conflict that may occur. Covenant love and commitment are non-negotiable. 

 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34


  • Covenant love is an affirming love.  The ability to freely communicate our thoughts and feelings in our relationships that is contingent upon not fearing one another. It puts self aside in an effort to be a blessing to the other. The marriage is meant by God to be an intimate environment where we can be ourselves without fearing rejection.

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…” 1 John 4:18


Is your marriage a covenant or a contract?

Marriage Needs Legs

January 14, 2013 Comments Off on Marriage Needs Legs
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Marriage Needs Legs

Kent Olney, Ph.D.

Co-Director of Marriage, Inc.


Marriage is teetering on one leg. That leg is personal happiness.

Next year the U.S. Supreme Court will determine whether marriage continues to teeter or gets reinforced. The nation’s highest court has agreed to hear challenges to laws that define marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Why does this matter?

Marriage has long stood on three pillars, or legs: spiritual significance, social benefits, and personal needs. However, over the past half century these foundations have been crumbling to the point where only a single leg remains strong. Marriage has largely been reduced to a private relationship that meets my personal needs and contributes to my personal happiness.

We should not be surprised. This is not a new trend. As early as 1969, no-fault divorce laws began changing the marriage landscape one state at a time. Soon people were elevating their own happiness above all other relationship concerns. It’s as if marriage was transformed into a “happy meal,” intended to entertain us and make us smile while we eat – or in this case, while we attend to the duties of daily life. We made marriage adapt to our needs, rather than adapting to it. We entered and exited at will, we made it optional for starting a family, and we declared the right to marry whomever (or whatever) we wish.

Such thinking is based on the singular idea that personal happiness trumps all else.  The tragedy, of course, is that the two other legs that have historically supported marriage have been knocked off the marriage stool. Social benefits and spiritual significance have been marginalized.

For example, the social benefits of male-female marriage are rarely emphasized in national discussions on marriage. Let’s consider one such benefit of this leg. Mountains of research indicate that children do best with their married biological parents. Though it is currently popular to argue that any two loving adults will do, that is simply not supported by reliable social research. Children are most likely to thrive when they are raised by their married biological parents. On average, these children do better academically, behaviorally, economically, and in terms of physical safety (i.e., they are less likely to suffer abuse). Married biological parents provide the optimal environment for a child’s healthy development. Marriage is a public good in that it builds and nurtures the next generation.

The spiritual significance of marriage is also eroding. Though the overwhelming majority of weddings are led by the clergy, though the Catholic Church considers marriage a sacrament, and though Judeo-Christian teaching has long held that God created the male-female-union to reflect His image, the spiritual leg of marriage is at risk. This is particularly odd considering a 2012 Pew Research Center poll indicates that over 90% of Americans believe in God, over 70% claim to be Christians, and nearly 60% note that religion is very important in their lives.  Clearly, most Americans still value religious faith. If U.S. marriage laws are overturned, basic religious liberties will be in jeopardy. The right to practice and teach one’s faith as it pertains to the holy institution of marriage could present a serious legal conflict.

When all is said and done, the issue before the Supreme Court in 2013 is far bigger than whether same-sex couples will be granted the right to marry. The issue is whether we will fundamentally change the definition and purpose of marriage. Will children’s needs and religious liberties be ignored to the exclusion of personal happiness?  For the sake of society, both present and future, one can only hope not.  Marriage needs all its legs.


Originally printed as a “Guest Viewpoint” in The Daily Journal, Kankakee, IL, December 22, 2012, page E2.