Category Archives: Marriage & Family

Encouraging My Teenagers

“Therefore encourage one another and build up one another….”  1 Thess. 5:11

The Holy Spirit prompted me to encourage my teenagers today.  I was in the midst of carrying laundry when He gave me the idea to write them notes and place them on their pillows.  My tendency is to “wait for free time” to do things like this, but then I forget and weeks later it hits me–oh yeah, I was gonna do _____ (fill in the blank).

So I threw the load in the washer, grabbed a notepad I use for my grocery list, and sat down at my dining room table.  As I got started I thought, surely there are other moms like me who mean well, but get caught up in life and forget their kids need encouragement, too.  I know this to be true because my best friend and I talk about this often, especially as we watch our teenagers grow toward adulthood.

Encouraging others is not hard for me.  I can almost immediately see something to encourage in others; it’s one of my spiritual gifts from the Lord.  I have to admit, however, it has been more challenging since my kids reached their teenage years.  The busyness of life gets in the way and, sometimes, so do the attitudes.  And I’m not just referring to theirs.

This got me thinking about why we encourage one another.  Do we only focus on actions?  Do we focus on appearance?  Or do we focus on character, gifts, talents, etc.?  It’s easy to encourage actions and appearance; we can see that more readily.  But what message are we sending our teens when we only encourage what they do or how they look?

We make it hard for them to not become focused on performance and looks to earn approval.  We forget how much more they need to be encouraged for their character and correct heart attitudes.  That was the very idea the Lord gave me:  to encourage their character and attitude.  They certainly hear enough from me about their bad attitude.  Shouldn’t I spend more time praising their good attitudes?

For example, my son has been getting up at 5:45 every morning for soccer since the second week of school.  At first, he was running with the cross country team before soccer practice.  Then he started a performance course in October.   Including all this, is his first class of the day.  Can you guess what it is?  That’s right, it’s soccer.  So, he spends 2-3 hours, five days a week, working out and practicing.  He also has been playing in a recreational soccer league since September.  Apart from the very occasional, “Man, I’m tired,” he never complains.  (It probably also helps that he has been getting leaner and building muscle like crazy, which he often likes to point out.)

I have been so proud of him lately, but I also realized it’s not really in his character to complain.  Philippians 2:14 tells us to do all things without grumbling or complaining.  He has been an example of this as he has adjusted to so many new things this school year:  going from homeschool to public high school, playing soccer for fun to playing soccer for his school and his future (can you say scholarship?), going from no homework to homework almost every night.

Don’t get me wrong; he still has his moments of complaining about doing his chores or cleaning his room like most teenagers.  But he usually does it with humor and eventually gets the work done.  Humor, by the way, goes a long way toward urging our teens to do anything far more than nagging or yelling.  The same is true of our husbands, but that’s a different post.

Hebrews 3:13 tells us, “But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today,’ so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”  Remember a few paragraphs above when I wondered why we encourage one another?  Hebrews gives us the answer.  If we don’t encourage or inspire our children every day, they may become hardened or stubborn by the deception of sin.  We make it easier for them to become entangled in sin when we don’t encourage them.  Whoa!  That’s pretty heavy.  May it never be true of me.

Be encouraged that each day His mercies are new and you can begin again.




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Happy Birthday, My Sweet Girl!

My Sweet Girl,

You are 13 today.  Wow!  Only five years from 18…how the time flies.

You’ve grown so much over the last year…

  • you’re almost as tall as me.
  • you steal borrow my clothes now, but your feet are too big to borrow my shoes.
  • you finally got those mean old tonsils and adenoids removed!

  • you help me by making dinner and are great at it…my little foodie!

  • your entrepreneurial side has become evident–you get it honestly.
  • you’ve learned a lot as a Girl Scout and have taken on leadership.

  • you are smart; don’t ever think otherwise.  You are doing great in your schoolwork this year.  Grow that Science brain!
  • you are a great friend who loves at all times.
  • you have wisdom beyond your years.

I look forward to this year…watching you grow and learn and mature.  Every year of your life has been wonderful to be a part of.  I thank God for the blessing of you!

Love and Blessings,



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All the Single Ladies!

Michael and I will celebrate our 15th anniversary in less than a month.  Though, it’s had its ups and downs aplenty, we are looking forward to the years our children will be gone so we can be all alone in the house.  I will be 40 when our youngest goes off to college.  And 40 is the new 20, so store up your energy, honey!

He is a great husband and father.  He has planned many nights out that are all for me.  He’s even planning to go with me to see the new love of my fantasy life on the big screen, and indulges my obsession often.

He has been involved with taking care of the kids from day one:  changing diapers without question, doing laundry while I napped, taking over bedtime at toddler hood.  He understands my need to get away and often encourages it.  Probably for those moments when I’m acting like the Dragon Lady and he wants me out of the house.

Being happily married (most days), I feel especially qualified to educate those less fortunate than myself.  I would like to offer brief and to the point advice on how to find the right man.  No twelve-step, self-help book required.

Let’s play a game…my own version of the Hot/Cold game.  You remember it, right?!  When you’re getting closer to what you’re searching for, you’re getting warmer.  But when you stray farther from it, you’re cold.  Ready?

  • If your man can do laundry and cook, then you’re really warm.  If he thinks the washer and dryer are for storage of car parts and the kitchen is for stocking beer and Cheetos, then you’re very cold.
  • If a night out consists of your favorite restaurant, the newest Rom-Com at the theater and a visit to the local coffee shop to talk about the future:  you’re hot.  But if his idea of a night out consists of you cooking for and cleaning up after him and his buddies while they watch sports or play Call of Duty 12:  icicles are beginning to form.
  • If he thinks it’s a no-brainer (as in “Duh!”) that he would stay home–with the kids you’ll someday have–so you can get some much needed “me” time:  you’re smoking girl, call the fire department and then go book the church.  However, if you’re talking about the need for “me” time and the roles you’ll share in parenting and he’s looking at you like you just tried to explain quantum physics:  seek medical attention for hypothermia.

These are conversations you should have (not necessarily on the first date) and qualities you should be looking out for long before you say, “Yes” to a proposal and especially before “I do.”

Otherwise, you’ll find yourself 10 years later with three screaming kids (one on your hip, two attached to each leg) looking at your husband expectantly for help, while he stares back and says, “Since you’re up, will you get me a drink?”

This is usually when the wife contemplates homicide running off with Rob Pattinson.  It’s best not to let it get this far.

Disclaimer:  please consult your girlfriends before doing anything drastic like leaving a man who has great potential or running off with the bum because you foolishly believe (while batting your eyelashes and sighing) “he’ll change once we get married.”

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