Celebrate Your Child’s Uniqueness


Celebrate Your Child's Uniqueness

Just like a snowflake or a fingerprint, every child is unique in their own special way. Every child has a unique way of feeling, thinking, and interacting with others. Some children are shy, while others are outgoing; some are active, while others are calm; some are fretful, while others are easy-going.

As a loving and nurturing parent, it’s your job to encourage your children to embrace their uniqueness and celebrate their individual qualities. During my seasons of raising biological children, a step-son, and now an adopted son, I have experienced how I need to help encourage each child to be their own self, instead of me directing how they should be.

I love these ideas for helping to keep me focused on creating individuals rather than molding them all to be like how I would see them.

Allow Individuality 

Allow your child to express themselves through their interests. They may find a creative outlet in theatre, dancing, or art, or they may be exceptionally talented in the sciences. Encourage them to embrace what they like to do, what interests them, and what makes them happy. Help them realize that they don’t need to worry about being “like everyone else.”

Power of the Positive 

Teach your child to make positive choices, and praise them for good deeds, behaviors, and positive traits they possess. Be specific when identifying these things, rather than just general statements. Encourage them to become actively involved in their community, and introduce them to activities that promote a sense of cooperation and accomplishment.

Firm and Fair

Be firm yet fair when handing down discipline for misdeeds or misbehavior, and make certain the rules and consequences for breaking the rules are clearly defined. Show a cooperative, loving, and united front with your spouse when it comes to discipline.


Accept and celebrate your child’s uniqueness. Remember that your child is an individual. Allow your child to have his or her own personal preferences and feelings, which may be different from your own.

Mistakes Happen

And finally, encourage your child to be true to themselves by doing the same. Show your child how to make positive choices with the choices you make, and that nobody is perfect and you too make mistakes. Show your child that mistakes can be a great learning experience, and that they should not be ashamed or embarrassed about making them.

Birthday Party Etiquette Tips


Birthday Party Etiquette Tips

Kids’ birthday parties are lots of fun, but planning them can be somewhat stressful. There are decorations and favors to buy, refreshments to choose, and games to plan. For the guests, there are arrangements to make and gifts to buy.

Also, there are lots of etiquette issues to consider on both sides. Here are some birthday party etiquette tips to help you get through it all.

When Your Child is the Host

  • If you can invite some, but not all, of the children in your child’s class at school, mail the invitations or deliver them to their homes if possible. Doing so will save hurt feelings. If that is not possible, have your child give them to friends as discretely as possible, and tell your child to try to avoid talking with friends about the party at school.
  • Be as specific as possible on the invitations. If you want the parents to drop the child off, put the child’s name on the invitation. If a parent or sibling is welcome to come as well, add the words “and parent” or “and guest.”
  • If guests do not RSVP, feel free to call and ask politely if they are coming. It is their responsibility to let you know, but some people just don’t. Calling to find out one way or the other will make planning much easier.
  • Talk to your child before the party about their responsibilities as the host. Reinforce good manners and encourage your child to make sure that all of the guests are having a good time. If your child forgets to thank guests for their gifts, a gentle reminder should suffice.
  • Have extra food and favors on hand. An unexpected parent or sibling may show up, even if you were extremely clear about who was invited on the invitations. The best thing you can do is be prepared for this.
  • When the party is over, have your child write thank you notes. If your child is too young to write, he/she can help you by telling you which guest brought which gift or signing the cards. The idea is to show that it’s the right thing to do, even if your child is not capable of doing it all on his/her own yet.

When Your Child Is a Guest

  • Read the party invitation carefully to see whether the parents should stay or the child should be dropped off and whether the child is invited to bring a guest. If it is unclear, don’t be afraid to call the parents and ask.
  • Get your child to the party on time. If you’re dropping your child off, be back to pick them up on time too.
  • Refresh your child’s memory on the subject of good manners. Even the best mannered child in the world has a lapse every now and then. It doesn’t hurt to remind your child of the finer points.

There you go! Here’s to a great party season!

Obedience, Fellowship and No More Excuses


Obedience, Fellowship and No More Excuses

Today is a BIG day in our house. Our family is stepping out, into an unknown area, but one we know beyond a shadow of a doubt we are meant to do.

I am nervous, a bit scared, apprehensive and maybe even overwhelmed.

We are hosting our very first meeting for our new small group in our home.

YIKES!! Yes, this introvert who is extremely private and loves to be a homebody and struggles immensely with hospitality perfectionism, is saying YES to something that will likely lead me to grab hold of HIM even more.

Isn’t that the place God does the biggest work in us?

For years I have been involved in a small group of women and it has been wonderful. Both my husband and I felt it was time to share life together as a family/couple in a fellowship group, yet our search for a new church was exhausting us and breaking us down. Incredible renewal was ignited when we found our new church home and we are able to step out in this calling.

We are meant to be in community with other believers, and not just on Sunday. It was clearly presented to me recently one morning while I read through my daily devotional on YouVersion written by Rick Warren:

“You are called to belong, not just believe. We are created for community, fashioned for fellowship, and formed for a family, none of us can fulfill God’s purposes by ourselves. The Bible knows nothing of solitary saints or spiritual hermits.” – Rick Warren

It was confirmation to me that we were headed down the right road. However, I struggle with some significant things that make stepping out to host a group in my home a challenge.

Hospitality for the Introverted Perfectionist is Scary

This is a true step of faith for me and I will have to pray hourly for HIS strength to carry me through. You see, I struggle with wanting my home to be perfect, welcoming, inviting, spotless and everything done perfectly. I have come to realize – and it has taken me many years to truly grasp this – if I wait for that to happen, I will never be ready. I will never be able to serve God with the strengths He has given me right now.

Serving in New Ways

Our family had gotten in a rut in finding ways to serve. We have been blessed to monetarily contribute to causes we find called to help (one of those is the FIVE girls this blog supports in India through Compassion with your purchases using this Amazon affiliate link!) and with physical goods to those who are in need – but we’ve been able to make the excuse that we don’t have time to serve in the ways that so many places need. People have a hard time giving up their time to serve, and we have been guilty of this excuse.

So our group will find relevant and real needs in our community to step out and serve. I am excited to see what presents itself. We are in the process of reading Barefoot Church by Brandon Hatmaker.

It’s All About Relationships

Getting to know new people is scary. Opening up in a real and honest way is hard – but I know I am called to be vulnerable, honest, genuine and authentic as we gather a group of believers together to search for relationship beyond our church doors on Sunday.

As an introvert I want to just keep to myself, be a homebody and tithe and serve in ways that I think are “good enough.” Yes, I did just say that – I was not looking for excellence in this area, going beyond what was good enough. From the quote above, this stuck out to me, kind of like a slap in the face: “none of us can fulfill God’s purposes by ourselves”.

So I am jumping in – and yes, I am busy. I don’t have time. I will be anxious that someone will think my house is not clean enough. I’ll be afraid to run out of food or surprise someone with something I say that may embarrass me. However, I am being called to step out and do more. So I will obey and be obedient and see what God can do when I stop making excuses.

Are you involved in a small group with your church? Or do you feel called to step out and join one?

This video really touched my heart and encouraged me in this journey. So many are lonely – even myself. This will be a great journey!

(Click through to the blog to view the video.)

Grab this book NOW – SERIOUSLY! It’s wonderful – For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards.

Our Simple Family Devotion Time


Our Simple Family Devotion Time

I will be the first to admit – family devotions are not an area of strength for me. And to be really honest, I can carry a lot of guilt around this topic because I always feel we as a family should be doing more.

I have gone through seasons as a parent where we would spend 30 minutes with family devotion time. When I was a single mom and my children were much younger, we had our devotion time right before bed. It worked at that time for us, and I used this book as my guide, The One Year Devotions for Kids #1.

The One Year Devotions for Kids #1I really enjoyed that each day’s lesson had a focus on a key theme from a Bible story. My kids really enjoyed the contemporary story that was shared and there were application questions as well as a memory verse. We would then pray after reading and had an index card system to pray through requests from family, friends, and our sponsor child. We mixed the cards each evening so we all had turns praying for different people.

It worked for several years.

When we became a blended family and the age span of our kids really spread, family devotion time became really rigid and, honestly, a bit boring. It was hard to incorporate everyone’s age level and comprehension into one time. So we began just discussing things during our dinner hour, maybe a question from our Sunday service or a topic of conversation that a child had with regard to something that was going on at school.

Let me just say, there is a never ending source of topics you can discuss and filter with scripture from everyday life – and honestly it is so valuable. It worked for a period of time.

Then we had a little guy come into our lives and we were thrown back into the toddler stage – along with having teens and young adults. WOW! Talk about tricky.

We have tailored our family devotion time back to being very simple. We end our dinner time reading a short story that is directed toward our preschooler (well, now kindergartner) and it also has worked well. The older kids still participate and often times help the younger one understand the story and how it is reflective of everyday life.

Then after we are finished, the conversation may continue with the older kids sharing some takeaways from their lives.

These are the two books we’ve used in the past two years and I really like them. They are economical and well-written.

The One Year Devotions for Preschoolers (Little Blessings) The One Year Devotions for Preschoolers 2 (Little Blessings)
I hope this gives you some help in determining what might work for you and your family. I  am no theologian, no bible scholar either, but I do want to attempt to bring something to our family devotion time.

Thankfully for me, my husband is the one to lead in this area. However, I know that many of you may struggle with that and perhaps your husband has not made a step up to help in this area. If you’ve shared your desire, and you do not see engagement, then I would suggest you doing something small and intentional and invite him to participate. You just never know how the Lord will work in that area for your family.

6 Tips to Strengthen Your Teen-Parent Relationship


6 Tips to Strengthen Your Teen-Parent Relationship

I have survived the teen years with two kids so far (still have two more to go). I have picked up a few strategies I feel have helped me create a space to encourage the relationship with each of them. I felt the back to school season might be the perfect time to share with those moms who have some older kids.

Just like when you were a teenager, you wanted to spend time with your peers rather than with your parents or family, right? Or at least that was me. I had a healthy mix of both. However, I think it can be a tough transition for parents, especially when you have your first child enter the teen years.  

There are ways to create conversation and continue to stay connected without being the parent that asks too much or seems too much like you are giving a speech. Here are some tips:

1. Talk More

It’s better if you start the conversation. It can be just, “How was your day?” Try to discuss many things instead of interrogating. Find interesting topics, such as sports, entertainment, friends, and school experiences to make it relaxing.  

2. Listen

If your teen shares some criticism, listen and ask what he/she expects you to do. Talk about this wisely, not emotionally. It’s good for your teen to be able to express his/her feelings to you. Just be an ear to listen.

3. Set Rules

Your teen needs to recognize what is and isn’t acceptable and what the consequences of misbehavior are. Therefore, you should set (or rather negotiate) some rules with your teen to keep him/her on track. Allow some freedom of choice, but when things do not work out well, pull back the reins.

4. Consider Your Teen’s Point of View

See your teen as your friend and respect his/her opinion whenever you discuss something. This also shows that you pay attention to him/her and consider him/her as important. I have found this particularly important when we have dinner conversations and specifically when we have discussions about our faith. I have to remember that this is a time of growing and discovery, so encouraging that path is good.

5. Encourage Your Teen’s Interests and Talents

Most teens like to try new things. Let yours choose what he/she desires, even if don’t agree with it because, for example, it has the potential to be dangerous. Giving support is the best you can do, while you keep monitoring that the new activity is actually safe. Moreover, this idea is a good way of teaching your teen how to be responsible.

6. Do Things Together

This one is surely a great opportunity for you to improve your relationship with your teen. Our schedules are busy, but when you set aside time to spend with your teen, it sends a powerful message – YOU ARE IMPORTANT! I love that. Games, biking, soccer, playing catch, and going for a frozen yogurt together are great examples of just “hanging out”.

Warm and positive communication without underestimating your teen is key to a successful relationship between the two of you. Clearly it won’t work at once. Try the tips progressively and enjoy your time being a parent of a teenager.