Friday, September 29, 2017

Dad-Daughter Dance

Because Dad is always the best date.

Here are some photos from before the dance.

Jasmine is 16 and is allowed to wear a little make up for special events. She thankfully has no interest in make up except for special occasions.

Kayla is 12 and is wearing just a bit of lip gloss.

Dad with his princesses

Friday, September 22, 2017

Quick Tips: Backpack Safety

Today's tips are from me and are two days late because I forgot to post them!

Quick Tips: School Back Pack Awareness Day was September 20, and here are some tips about using them safely.

Back packs are a normal part of school life, but it’s important to use them safely.
  • Backpacks should not exceed more than 15% of the wearer's body weight. That means if your preteen weighs 100 pounds, the backpack shouldn't weigh more than 15 pounds--unless the backpack is on wheels, not on the user's back.
  • The proper way to wear a backpack is on both shoulders with straps adjusted so it fits snuggly on the back with the bottom against the curve of the back. Wearing the pack too low or loose can pull a child backward and cause muscle strain. A waist strap is a plus, too, as it helps distribute the weight.
  • You might want to check what's in your child's back pack. It's not just books making the pack so heavy. Lap top computers, ipods, cell phones and other items add to the weight. Encourage your child to unload items he doesn't need, leave unneeded books at school and pack the rest so that the weight is evenly distributed.

Backpacks are part of school from kindergarten to senior year. Help your child use his backpack correctly to avoid neck, shoulder and back problems in the future.

For more school tips, check out my book The Middle School Survival Manual

Also please check out my Website

Other quick tips you might enjoy are:

Other quick tips you might enjoy:
Handling Grief Sister Day
Make a Difference in the Life of a Child
Preparing a Child's Heart for Easter
Showing Kindness Every Day
Fresh Starts
Keeping Your Mind Strong

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Quick Tips: Choosing When to Volunteer

Today speaker, author, licensed parent-family educator Lori Wildenberg shares tips about choosing when to say yes and when to say no to volunteer opportunities.

Quick Tips:
Leaves are falling and the calendar is filling. Volunteer opportunities invade an already crazy schedule. Be proactive to prevent over committing.

Know these things before saying yes.

1. Know yourself.
What do you enjoy doing? If you like to bake but don’t like working with kids then send cookies for a class party rather than volunteer to help in the classroom.

2. Know your schedule.
Have everything included on your calendar you are able to see what each day looks like.

3. Know your margin.
 Understand how you are wired. If you are an introvert, you will need to create some space in your day to regroup. If you are an extrovert you need margin to prevent burnout.

4. Know how to delegate.
 Kids can pitch in at home. Assign children specific chores.

5. Know how to redirect.
 “I helped out at the fall festival so I will skip volunteering for the Christmas pageant.” It is perfectly fine not be involved in every event.

Finally, realize it is OK not to give an answer right away. It is reasonable to say “Let me think about this and get back to you.”

I will give you a wise and discerning heart. 
1 Kings 3: 12b
About Lori:

Lori is passionate about helping families build connections that last a lifetime. She meets moms and dads where they are with her warmth, transparency, humor, and straight-forward, faith-filled approach. Lori is a licensed parent-family educator, co-founder of 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting, national speaker, author,and parent consultant.
She’s the lead Mentor Mom over at the Moms Together Facebook Community Page and a mentor mom with The MOM Initiative. Messy Journey: How Grace and Truth Offer the Prodigal a Way Home is her 4th most recently published book. She writes for a number of on-line magazines including:,, Life Letter Cafe, and Her View from Home. Her Family Matters column is seen monthly in Reds Rocks Views magazine.
She has spoken in Kansas, Wyoming, Florida, California, Texas, Minnesota, and Colorado and is a member of AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association). The Wildenberg home is nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. A perfect day in Lori’s world is a hike with her Tom (her hubby), five kids (four plus a daughter-in-love), and Murphy– the family labradoodle! 

You can connect with her on Facebook or on her website.

Other quick tips you might enjoy:
Handling Grief
Sister Day
Make a Difference in the Life of a Child
Preparing a Child's Heart for Easter
Showing Kindness Every Day
Fresh Starts
Keeping Your Mind Strong

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Quick Tips: Handling Grief

Today is National Grief Day, and author and speaker Janet Perez Eckles shares how she overcame grief.

Dealing with Grief
Not my Joe,” I repeated over and over again. My 19-year-old son’s tragic death shattered my world. I didn’t think my heart could stop bleeding from the sorrow. And when gloom hovered during my sleepless nights, God’s voice whispered to my soul. With gentleness, He guided me through the steps to conquer grief:
·       He said He could hear my sobs and count my tears because He promised to be close to the broken hearted. (Psalm 34:18).
·       When family and friends couldn’t provide what I needed, God’s help would be constant, reliable and ever-present. (Psalm 46:1)
·       When I longed to have those days back when my son was alive, God reminded me not to look at yesterday, but to gaze ahead because He was making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland of my pain.(Isaiah 43:18)
·       When I was too weak to keep going and I needed protection from my own negative emotions, He promised to be my shield and strength. (Psalm 28:7)
   Sorrow then turned to gratitude for my Savior who saved me from the gloom of grief and turned it into His abundant grace instead.

Janet, originally from Bolivia, is an author, International speaker, radio host and personal success coach. She lost her sight at age 31 and suffered the loss of her youngest son who was murdered. Yet Janet's messages are filled with hope. You can connect with Janet on her website or hear some of her story HERE.

Janet has authored four books:

You also might want to check out these other quick tips:
Sister Day
Make a Difference in the Life of a Child
Preparing a Child's Heart for Easter
Showing Kindness Every Day
Fresh Starts
Keeping Your Mind Strong

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Quick Tips: Sister Day

Today is Sister Day, and Author Jeanette Hanscome shares tips not only for today but every day.

Quick Tips: Sister Day

My two younger sisters and I have a bond 

that friends envy. Here are three of our 

·  Be sweet to each other. When I moved back home after my husband left, my sisters welcomed me, listened without prying, and loved my son. Three years later, when I published a book, they were my biggest fans. 
Sisters grow closer when they share difficulties and successes.

· Play together. My sister Sherry and I are visually impaired—we can’t drive or see colors; Kristy sees perfectly. Shopping together doubles as fun sister time. Kristy is our designated fashion consultant.
Plan sister time. It can be as simple as hanging out a park while the kids play, or setting up Facetime for long distance.

· Don’t overuse “family helps each other.” I am “the aunt who bakes,” but Sherry still asks before assuming I can help her daughter make a cake. We’re family, but we’re also busy grown women. 
It’s easy to take advantage of family. Know when to ask for help and when to give your sister a break. 

If you’re thinking, I don’t have a good relationship with my sister

remember that girlfriends can also be like sisters. The same secrets 


Jeanette Hanscome is an author, writing teacher, and speaker from the San Francisco Bay Area. Her newest book, Suddenly Single Mom: 52 Messages of Hope, Grace, and Promise, published by Worthy Inspired, is her first devotional for women after many years of writing for teen girls and tweens.
You can connect with Jeanette on her Facebook page.
Here are two of her books:

You also might want to check out these other quick tips:

Preparing a Child's Heart for Easter
Showing Kindness Every Day
Fresh Starts
Keeping Your Mind Strong

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Quick Tips: Make a Difference in the Life of a Child

July is make a difference in the life of a child month, but really that should be our desire every month. Author and speaker Crystal Bowman shares her ideas.

Making a Difference in the Lives of Children
One of the ways we can make a difference in the lives of children is to spend time with them. And one of the best ways to spend time with children is by reading books that stimulate delightful discussions. Kids are full of questions, and those questions often arise during reading time. Since there are countless books to choose from, here are a few suggestions:
  • ·        Choose books that are enjoyable to read so the experience is positive. If books are too long or boring, the child will lose interest.
  • ·        Many of today’s toys are multisensory and interactive. Choose books that engage children and bring them into the text such a counting books or books that ask questions.
  • ·        Choose books that help children learn more about God as a person. The more children learn about God’s character, the more comfortable they will be in pursuing a relationship with Him.
  • ·        Choose books about animals and nature so children can see God’s love and care and in His creation.

Reading to a child is an education, spiritual, emotional and physical experience. If you want to make a difference in the lives of children, let them crawl on your lap and read a book together.

Here are some of Crystal's books:

To find out more about Crystal, how she got started writing and all about her books, visit her Facebook pagewebsite or Amazon page

You also might want to check out these other quick tips:

Preparing a Child's Heart for Easter
Showing Kindness Every Day
Fresh Starts
Keeping Your Mind Strong

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Who's Left?

Most of you know that we live in the Florida panhandle. None of the panhandle kids are ones that would fit well in our family. So we are looking out of county. Our limit is 5-6 hours because we have to make so many visits. Well, it turns out that many of the boys we'd chosen are in Miami or just as far down the state on the west side. Two are in Tampa and two are in Jacksonville --a little under six hours for Tampa and a little over 4 hours for Jax. Here are the two Tampa boys and the two Jacksonville boys.

Age: 15

Christian is a polite, reserved, intelligent young man. His hobbies include video games and playing basketball. His favorite subject is math and hopes to become an Architect. Christian's favorite foods are pizza and chocolate but won't turn down any food offered to him.

Age: 13
Parris is a talkative and social young man. He is physically active and enjoys yoga and tumbling. He says that he is pretty good at a back handspring. Parris's favorite color is blue and he loves to eat Mexican food. Parris also mentioned that he enjoys attending church. Parris is open to being adopted and wants to be a part of a forever family. He would do best in a family who can provide the love, support, and structure that he needs. A family that can help Parris get involved in dance, gym, and gymnastics and help him grow in those areas. Parris wants a mom and a dad and is open to siblings.

Age: 13
Tommie is an active, inquisitive kid who loves family and having fun. He's a diligent student who strives for good grades and he especially enjoys reading. Tommie likes sports of all kinds but is particularly good at football and dodgeball. He's a natural leader and would make a great coach or mentor one day. Family is important to him and he is eager to become part of one!

Age: 15
Antwan is an outgoing teen who describes himself as smart and intelligent but with a playful side. He enjoys making people happy either by making them laugh or cooking 
them a meal. He is very active and is hoping to join the track team at his school this coming year. Antwan also has a creative side which he exhibits in drama and performing R&B and gospel music. Antwan is looking for a fun and accepting family that will be there for him throughout his life. Antwan has the potential to accomplish so many great things and just needs the love and support of a committed adoptive family. He would be a joyful addition to any family!

Christian is the first one I discovered on the list. He's in a group home in Tampa. I have not made contact with his case worker. 

Tommie we are not sure about. He's young and we don't get a good feel for him from the little they say.

We fell in love with Parris' photo online, but the fact that he just turned 13, is adorable but still on the list makes us think he has issues. He is only 11 month older than the twins. We hope for the new child to be more of Jasmine's "buddy."

Antwan has become our favorite choice. He goes to church. He sings gospel music, acts and wants to run track. He sounds like a perfect match.

The problem is that he doesn't want to leave his county. 

Parris' caseworker called us today and asked us to send our home study. She can't tell me anything about him until she gets our home study, but I did tell her I have twins about a year younger and she said that wouldn't be a problem.

We have had a situation come up suddenly that we need to deal with before we decide, so please pray for that situation to be resolved.

We also have the situation with Kayla to deal with when she gets home from camp. I really feel she will work through the stealing and lying. We will be constant and supportive while that happens. Kaleb too. He just wasn't in on the last incident so does not have to go to teen court. Kayla's worker would like him to be there though so he can see what goes on. I am hoping the five weeks at mission camp will have an impact on them.

That's all our news for now.

In the next post I'll talk more about our trip, and the one Rick and Tyler are on right now.