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Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Hello from the Truth side of Grace and Truth. As you'll soon learn from your journey through our site, I'm not the writer of the group. That distinction belongs to Joanne. So, I would suggest that you read her post first - since everybody enjoys apple pie more than broccoli! And since this is my first blog post ever, it may seem more like overcooked, mushy broccoli.

Joanne and I have four children. It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child, but I have to disagree. What it takes are two parents who care enough to show up every day ready to parent. Fortunately, we don’t have to do it alone. We have a Father in Heaven who shows up every day, never tires, never leaves, always loves, and is full of “Grace and Truth.”

As Christians, we need grace and truth: in varying portions and intervals. But it is needed nonetheless. We all prefer grace and don’t always enjoy truth. That includes me.

In our family, Joanne is known as the “grace” parent. Need a shoulder to cry on, she has a Kleenex ready. Had a bad day at school, brownies and a glass of milk await. Don’t do what she told you to do, it’s ok as long as you do it soon. That is not to say that Joanne is pushover, just that she is more compassionate.

As the “truth” parent, I am all about logic. Had trouble with your friends today? Find new friends. Lost your permission slip? Enjoy your time in the library. Left your lunch at home? Welcome to “Hunger City” – population: You.

Regardless of whether you are the “grace” or “truth” parent, it is important to remember that your model is always to be our Heavenly Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. That is why we have chosen our signature verse as John 1:14 – And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. [NASB].

Jesus dwells among us whether we are dispensing truth or grace. He is right there to provide guidance and instruction for us as we try our best to raise the gifts He has given us. Jesus was full of grace and truth, and each of us has some grace and some truth.

What is our goal for this ministry? Why are we doing this?

We believe that the cornerstone of a strong society is a strong, Godly family. And the family is only as strong as the parents that are leading it. Families are teams and parents are the coaches. Have you ever seen a football team win the Super Bowl with a coach that everyone thought was ineffective and knew nothing about football? While it could happen, it is very unlikely.

The same is true of families. If the family “coaches” aren’t effective leaders, then the family suffers. When families are broken, so is society. While no football coach succeeds alone, no parent does either. If you are a single parent, this applies to you as well. You need to put together a “team” that includes your pastor, youth group leader, grandparents, neighbors, and anyone else that wants you to succeed as a parent and raise great kids. Word to the wise: the first sign that someone wants you to fail is when they tell you that you can do it alone.

We don’t pretend to have all the answers. What we are willing to do is share with you our struggles and trials, victories and defeats. Along the way, we hope to reap far more then we sow.

So, pull up a computer and grab a glass of milk. You finished your broccoli…now read Joanne’s post and enjoy your apple pie!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

We'd Love the Opportunity

Speaking Topics

The Radical Sabbatical

There is a common affliction known to parents today; A.D.D. - Activity Denial Disorder. The prognosis is good and the treatment sounds simple enough - slowing down. The first step to recovery is recognizing you are sick to begin with. Our family of six took a twelve month activity time-out. Some have called it our radical sabbatical. For an entire year we made the decision to say no to all after-school activities and yes to monthly family field trips. It was our journey from busy to blessing.

He Makes All Things New

Paul and Joanne met over a homicide call, while working at a busy police department. He was a police officer and she was the 911 dispatcher. Be inspired by the testimonies of both. Discover how the Lord is patient as He waits for us. Learn that there is hope for all of us. Be inspired to see how His promises are new everyday and leave grateful knowing our history is His-story.

Grace and Truth Parenting

Parenting is the toughest job on the planet. Raising up both boys and girls, Paul and Joanne understand everything from poor attitudes and pimples to temper-tantrums and texting. Learn two of their favorite sayings, “You can tread water longer than they can make it rain.” and “We don't negotiate with terrorists!” They will have you laughing as they share a few of their own parenting truths learned through the lens of God's grace.

Legacy Parenting

Every President of the United States desires it and every parent underestimates it- their legacy for future generations. Parenting is a living legacy. Time is the tool that molds and forms our legacy into something of beauty. Learn what a godly legacy looks like. Be encouraged. No matter what our child's age, it's never too late to change our legacy. Be encouraged to step into your parenting legacy.

Grace and Truth Marriage

A family is only as strong as the marriage within it. Learn what the Lord says about a Godly marriage. Find ways to guard and protect one another, while building each other up daily. Discover simple ways to grow closer to one another, romantic ways to keep the fires burning, and the three rules Paul and Joanne created to enhance their marriage vows.

Worth the Wait

Paul and Joanne have a heart for young people. The world says one thing about dating and marriage, while God's Word says something completely different. Be encouraged to grow up into who you are in Christ before marriage. Choosing your life-mate is the most important decision you will make. Waiting is never fun, but very necessary, and more than worth the wait.

In But Not Of

As Christians, we are called to be salt and light in the world. As much as we love fellowship with others who are like-minded, be gently reminded He placed our families here with a purpose, His purpose. Be inspired. Your family can be an “in the world” family without being an “of the world” family.

Paul and Joanne will work with you to share a fitting message with your group or church body. The above topics are ones they enjoy sharing to encourage and teach.

Paul and Joanne are available to speak separately to both men and women's groups. Please email them with any questions in regard to their speaking calendar.


Just too Busy - Taking Your Family on a Radical Sabbatical

Our family fought busyness and won. We took a year-long activity time-out, some have called it our Radical Sabbatical, and broke free from the bondage of busyness and the captivity of activity.

The Radical Sabbatical comes from the deep well of life experience. For almost nineteen years, I have been both a full time working mom and an exclusive stay at home mom. All the while, attempting to juggle my husband, children, and umpteen activities.

As a Christian woman, I believe an authentic Christian walk can only come from a transparent life. I've written Just too Busy - Taking Your Family on a Radical Sabbatical in a way that is refreshingly transparent while remaining God-honoring. Writing gives me an opportunity to share with honesty what the Lord has done and is doing in our life. Humor is the anesthesia that numbs the pain, so the truth can go deep.

Just too Busy
Taking Your Family on a Radical Sabbatical

Release Date June 2011 - Beacon Hill Publishers
Excerpt Below

We aren't much different you and I. Not long ago, I too was searching the bookshelves for anything, something, some bit of help for my chaotic, topsy-turvy life. Everywhere I turned I couldn't swing my purse without hitting books for Busy Moms, “The Busy Moms Recipe Book – You too Can Make a Fourteen Course Meal in Eight Minutes!” “The Busy Moms 4.2 second Devotional Book” “How to Change a Flat Tire – for Busy Moms” Sure, there were lots of books that spoke specifically to me, a busy mom. Unfortunately, they all seemed to accept the fact that I was busy, too busy.

I needed help. I needed answers. I needed to hear from someone who had walked a mile in my tired, worn out mommy-shoes. Could there be survivors in a head on collision with busyness? Had anyone been declared victor after jousting the insanity of over-activity?

Why was my life moving faster and becoming more difficult? Slow and easy, that's what I wanted. I looked everywhere for it. I found TV shows that explained simple ways to decorate my home for Christmas, simple ways to make a delicious pot roast, simple solutions for annoying pet odors, but where were the simple solutions for slowing down? How could I get back some of this stolen time? I even bought a magazine with the word simple on the title, thinking surely they would have the answer. Only to discover that anything I did, no matter how simple, really wasn't. Slowing down was easier said than done it seemed.

The captivity of our family's activities were the handcuffs that put us in bondage to busyness. I felt like a prisoner. Our busyness was slowly eroding the joy from our lives. I was being held against my will, while time was dragging our family along for one wild ride.

When I was a fresh-faced newlywed, I dreamed of the day my husband and I would have children. I imagined the life we would make together. As my family-fairy-tale came into focus, I would be cuddling on the couch to read a book with one of my toddlers. The next chapter in my fairy tale included relaxed family dinners around our kitchen table, smiles and snuggles and joy-filled conversations as my babies grew up before my eyes. The scene would then change, my clumsy toddler now a sure-footed teenager sitting on my kitchen counter, keeping me company as I made dinner, seeking a bit of wisdom and guidance. But sadly, the fairy-tale wasn't our reality.

Each day I was given another twenty-four hours and each night I couldn't have told you where all the time had gone. Stories read with my toddlers were in a frustrated rush. Dinner together was almost non-existent, and my teenager wasn't sitting on my kitchen counter. She was seeking advice from the front seat of my car. Her guidance counselor was a middle-aged me. Any wisdom given was in between cynical comments to traffic jams and slow drivers, in between a pick-up or a drop-off.

As a family, we were doing more than we ever had before, accomplishing much less - and growing farther apart in the process. It was depressing. What in the world was happening? A voice in my head reminded me, “This isn't the fairy tale life I'd imagined so many years ago.”

Busyness had become our new normal and I couldn't take it anymore. It was time to make a change. The answer I received surprised me. I had no idea the solution I'd been searching for would be considered radical.

Just too Busy
Taking Your Family on a Radical Sabbatical

Fun Stuff

Raising up a family is not only hard work, it can be lots of fun. We've included a few sites above to help assist you with ideas to make your life at home a fun one.

We'd love to hear how your family has fun together!


The ministry sites above are by no means all inclusive. If you know of a site that's helped you grow, please email us and let us know. We've included these resources as a first step to help equip you in your walk with Christ.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Who & What


Welcome to Grace & Truth Living! We are so happy you stopped by. Our site was created with two things in mind; to encourage families and to lift up of the name of Jesus Christ. We pray that before you leave, you will experience both.

Who We Are

Paul Kraft loves the Lord. He has a gift for teaching complicated truth in simple terms. As an attorney, it comes quite natural for him to speak in logic and truth. He is the “Truth” of Grace and Truth Living.

Paul received his Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice and went on to Law School. He received his Master's Degree from McGeorge School of Law. He enjoys teaching junior college and watching a good football game. His favorite thing? Spending time with his family.

Joanne Kraft loves the Lord, too. As a writer, her work has been published in Today's Christian Woman, Thriving Family, In Touch, and ParentLife Magazines. She's been interviewed by Focus on the Family, Family Life Today, and CBN.com.

Her first nonfiction book Just Too Busy - Taking Your Family on a Radical Sabbatical encourages busy moms to slow down. Stop by her website to download a FREE leader's guide or sign up for her newsletter.

Joanne considers her husband and their four children her greatest blessings and highest crowning achievement. In her down time, she hangs out at coffee shops and enjoys making her husband laugh... sometimes intentionally.

What We Believe

We believe the Bible is the inspired, infallible Word of God and that it is relevant and applicable to man today. Therefore, we place great emphasis on the teaching of the Word to our family.

1 Timothy 4:13, 2 Timothy 3:16-17

We believe God is worthy of all praise, reverence and love. It's our goal to worship Him with our whole lives, whether at home, at work, or in church.

Colossians 3:16, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

We believe every believer is called to be an active part of the body of Christ by abiding in Christ through His Word, prayer and fellowship, and by the yielding of our lives to the Holy Spirit for His equipping and empowering.

Ephesians 4:15-16

We believe Christian service is the responsibility of all believers. As parents, our goal is to demonstrate and encourage ministry within each of our four children, inspiring them to use their God-given gifts for His glory.

Ephesians 4:11-15, 1 Corinthians 12:4-7

We believe love is the greatest demonstration of the reality of Jesus Christ. Love should be exhibited in our lives, by our words, as well as by our actions.

John 13:34-35, Philippians 2:3-5

Test Post

 I've been around ALOT of brand-spankin' new fathers.
None compare to my little brother.
George gets top-billing for the happiest new dad ever.

George and Bonnie at the hospital...before the epidural.

 Impressive, huh?

We had to wear hospital stickers with our names on them. 
Check out George's. 

I had the privilege of being in the room when Bonnie and George delivered their first child.
I captured this picture as they worked together to bring their baby girl into the world.

(It's a miracle any of my pictures came out. I was a blubbering mess.)

I just love this shot.

On March 17th, a miracle came into the world,
 and took her rightful place in our hearts.

 Lydia Louise
One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul's message.
Acts 16:14