A Christmas of Rest

This year the Christmas season started early for us.  My oldest announced that he was taking his family to Germany to spend time with his wife’s family.  With that decision, our family started trying to find a date where we could all still be together to celebrate the holiday.  We unwrapped our presents just eight days into December which turned out to be an awesome day for all of us.

I’ll admit that at first I was a little disappointed that we’d be celebrating so early, but now that it has come and gone, I’m finding myself somewhat glad that our family got together early.  For me the hustle and bustle is over and I’m finding myself humming the Christmas carols with a new depth in my soul.  There’s no stress–just contentment and joy that my family each wanted to make sure we were all together regardless of the date.

With the activities over, I’ve decided to take a couple of weeks off this year.  My youngest will be having another major surgery a few days before Christmas and I want to be fully present for him.  If you think about us, please pray that this surgery goes well and that this one will be the final solution to his pain.  For those who don’t know, he’s been in massive pain for almost seven years now and he so wants to get on with his life.

My prayer for you this Christmas season is that you too will take time to rest.  As busy moms, we sometimes think we have to do it all.  Be sure to take time for yourself as you celebrate our Savior’s birth.

Isaiah 9:6

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Luke 2:14

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

Have a blessed Christmas season!

“Let go…and Let God”,


Do You Offer Hope to Your Teens?

My husband has a saying, “Every teen we come in contact with needs someone to take them seriously.”  

Just the other day, I discovered how true that is as I was sitting in a room of women.  A fifty something woman literally glowed as she spoke, “You’ll never guess what happened this week.  My mother called and told me what a good job I did on _______ and that she was proud of me.  I’ve never heard those words from her.  I guess maybe I have a little bit to offer the world after all.”

The irony of that story wasn’t lost on me.  Through my lens, this woman is extremely talented and way above the norm when it comes to accomplishment.  She is someone I personally have always looked up to–someone I view as a role model–someone to emulate.

Yet, those words from her mother meant so much to her.  She always wondered, “What does Mom think of me?” 

It is natural to want the approval of others. Yet, imagine the power of approval from our mother.

That’s exactly what my husband means.  By “taking our teens seriously” we are letting our kids know that we respect them, that we give credibility to who they are and how they think, that we approve of who they are becoming.  Even when they mess up, we assure them that we will always stand beside them.

  • They are worth it.
  • We believe in them.
  • We know that God has great plans for them.

What if, by taking our kids seriously, we offered our kids hope for their future. 

  • They would never have to doubt if they are good enough. 
  • They would never wonder if Mom and Dad will still be there for them if they make a mistake. 
  • They will be able to bounce back when life gets tough because they believe in themselves. After all, they’ve been given the hope from their parents that they can overcome any obstacle. 
  • They wouldn’t have to wait until they are 50 years old to hear the words from their mother’s mouth that you are proud of them.

So how do we take our kids seriously?  How do we offer them hope that will last a lifetime?

  1. Listen, listen, and continue to listen.
  2. Find areas where you can agree and focus your energy there.
  3. Find the good in what they do and say.
  4. Encourage rather than criticize.
  5. Let them know that when they mess up that you’ll never give up on them.
  6. Offer them a faith that says ‘God is for them and wants the best for them’.

Romans 15:13

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Regardless of where you are in your parenting journey, my prayer is that the God of Hope will flow through to you so that you too may offer hope to the next generation.

“Let go…and Let God”,

If you would like to offer a parent hope during this season of life, why not give them a copy of With All Due Respect: 40 Days to a More Fulfilling Relationship With Your Teens & Tweens?  Parents tell us that for the first time they have a different perspective on their role as a parent.  It’s not only life changing–it’s changing families. 







How Do Your Kids See Christmas?

I had an interesting exchange (or maybe it’s better termed as frustrating discussion) with one of my kids this week that makes me wonder how I could have been so blind.

We were talking about Christmas. 

Christmas for me is all about the surprise.  I typically choose to toss out a few gift ideas to my kids that I know they can afford and let them choose what they will purchase and put under the tree.  That way when I open it I know I’ll be at least somewhat surprised.

Maybe it is still the kid in me.

Maybe it is because of the memories that I have when my kids were little and I could see the surprise and wonder in their eyes and I want to continue to experience it over and over again each year at Christmas.

And maybe I think all my kids should be wired just like me and want Christmas to be the way I want it to be.

Our conversation started out innocently as I’ve been wracking my brain trying to find something for this kid that will be a total surprise–something not on his radar–something that will blow him away and will be the best gift ever.

And I found that perfect gift!

There was only one requirement before I made the purchase.  I needed to make sure he was available to enjoy the “event” on a specific date.

The text message read, “Could you keep the evening of January 3 open?  I have a Christmas gift for you, but don’t want to buy it if you aren’t available.”

“What is it, Mom?”

“It’s the season of secrets and I want it to be a surprise.  Are you available?” I texted back.


Then every event in the city on that date popped up in the text from him with a smiley face.  It felt like he wanted to prove that he was smarter than me and had figured it out.

None of them were right.

“Yeah!”  I thought.  “I’ve stumped him.”

“So, can you be available?” I texted again.


Then the phone rang.  “I want to know what it is before I leave the date open.  Why can’t you just tell me?”

By now my frustration was on the rise.  How dare him ruin my surprise.

After a few exchanges and me continuing to ridiculously keep my secret, I could tell we were at an impasse.  He wasn’t going to budge and I was holding onto my belief that Christmas was about surprises.

And then this wise kid asked me a question, “Mom, what is Christmas all about?”

“Surprise and wonder,” I quickly quipped.

“I thought it was about family.”


And then I remembered my frustration down through the years.  As this kid opened up his presents he would announced to the family what was in each package before it was opened.  And I would be disappointed that he had figured it out.


Was Christmas about me, the gift giver, or him as the receiver?  Didn’t I need to speak his love language during this season?

Suddenly, our exchange changed to one that was more positive.  “You don’t like surprises, do you son?”

“Nope.  I never have.  Are you just figuring that out?”

He nailed me there.  Guess I’ve been pretty slow to pick up on that one–more accurately blinded by my own desires without thinking about his.

And I shared my gift idea with him. 

And I could tell he was genuinely excited!

So, no, there will not be a surprise element to his Christmas.  But he’ll know he is loved–the way he needs to be loved.

And there won’t be any hard feelings because I’ve already apologized.

Ephensians 4:2

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

Dare you to see Christmas through the lens of your children in how they receive love.

Double dare you to ask yourself if it’s about the gifts, the surprise, family time, or teaching the true meaning of Christmas in light of our Savior’s birth.

God keeps teaching me to:

“Let go…and Let God”,

With Christmas around the corner, why not fill a parent or teacher’s stocking with a gift that will help them grow in their relationships.  Order your copy or copies of With All Due Respect here .