I sat in Hallie, the middle's, bedroom a few evenings ago just catching up on the events of the day. As I reached down to hug her goodnight my eyes fixed on a Christmas gift I gave her a couple of years ago. It was a simple piece of wall art I found at TJ Maxx.

The words, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star stamped across the board, I hoped, would remind her of her brilliance and encourage her in her endeavors. I'd crudely strung a piece of twine across the bottom to hang her theater ribbons. She was so fond of them her eighth grade year.

Several ribbons have fallen and likely made their way under her bed amongst empty water bottles and socks who will likely never reunite with their partners in the basket that lives in laundry room downstairs. She's won several ribbons since then who are probably stuffed in a makeup drawer or lying in the abyss we call her closet.

This shrine has lost its meaning. I'm glad.

Though I mean well, I've erroneously, through the years, shared a potentially harmful message with my kids.

In attempt to help them be secure, I've spoken words to help them believe that when it comes to beauty, brains and character they're tops! ...Except for when others make them feel they're not. And except for when I make them feel they're not because I have to correct them, or even when I say careless things because I'm cranky (How long has it been since you've washed YOUR HAIR?!, How are you NOT getting this?) 

Correction should be given carefully, but so should compliments.  When our children see us put confidence in their flesh, they will inevitably be disappointed when their flesh fails, as it will time and time again.

Our children need to see us bewildered at how God has made them and who God is making them to be. When they see our focus and confidence is clearly on God and his work they are more able to love themselves without having to shine above others (or else shrink in the shadows).

Marveling at God's work in their lives, rather than in their stellar behavior or their awesome talents or features, enables them to love others without the need to try to continually outdo (to ensure they hold their I am special title). It permits them to believe that I am special (and that others are too) because we're created and spurred on by a God who does the incredible in each of us

Here's what I wish we all had the faith and courage to tell our children:

  • You are special. You're special because God made you with a unique story to live. You're not special because you're better than anyone else.
  • You're beautiful; a fearfully and wonderfully made individual...just like everybody else our amazing God lovingly created.
  • You're knowledgeable and capable. God has given you the ability to do the good things he wants you to do. You're wise when you don't boast of those capabilities. You're wise when you need not be convinced of this gift through the compliments and acknowledgement of others. You're wise when you remember that God's grace is available when you fail to properly use your knowledge and abilities. You're wise when you remember to use your abilities for his purpose.

I pretty much stink at this right now. I often choose the fast track to security for my children; a quick pat on the back, a graceless remark about another child (in effort to make mine feel better), and through puffy words that deflate as quickly as they inflated a false sense of confidence.

I can do better. I'm sure we all can. After all, God's still working in all His children.

For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. 

Ephesians 2:10

Check out my book here.

It's a surprising story,...my deciding to model. 

You see, I've only had one opportunity to model apparel and I skipped out. Around five years ago there was a fashion show planned at our church. The girls (Hallie and Rylie) and I were invited to participate. I begrudgingly agreed. 

We went to Dillards where somebody else (who declined to ask about my taste) picked out my clothes. The girls were thrilled, especially Hallie who was given a black and white polka-dotted top with a cute hot pink blazer and some skinny jeans. Rylie could have cared less what she'd be wearing, she was just excited she'd be on stage. Outfits were planned. 

The closer the fashion show got, the more nervous I grew. I don't care for being a visual focus. Put some clothes on me that don't suit me and I really don't enjoy being a spectacle. 

The day before the show, Hallie came down with a bad case of the flu. And you want to know what? Besides being sad that my baby was terribly uncomfortable, I was secretly relieved that I had an excuse to ditch my modeling gig. 

That's it. That's the only time I've had a chance to model (unless pageants count). I was a contestant in The Old Settler’s Reunion Pageant when I was around ten. It was held outdoors in a pavilion the last week of July. In the middle of our parading ourselves in front of judges and the audience, a strike of lightning blew out the electricity. All contestants were summoned backstage where we near melted. I was with my cousin who was also a contestant when we found out that our Granny had just been taken to the hospital. 

I cried backstage for a host of reasons. I cried harder when I didn't win. 

So here you have a few reasons I despise putting myself out there. 

  • Fear- What if I'm ineffective? What if I'm ill-received? A laughing stock? What if I fall? 
  • My avoidance of discomfort- Modeling usually requires I wear something that isn't me. Typically, the apparel is itchy/strange/not me/confining. Modeling is in opposition to one of my favorite pastimes, relaxation. 
  • It's a contest (of sorts). Will I get picked? (Win the contest/Be adored because my clothes and myself are cute…) If I'm not going to get picked, I'd rather not play. 

That's why I guess I was surprised when I opened scripture yesterday and felt a special calling, not only for me to model, but to invite you to do some modeling too. 

 For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. 

You became imitators of us and of the Lord...with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 

And so you became a model

1 Thessalonians 1:4-7

Maybe it's more than an invitation. Do we really get to choose if we model or not? People are watching. Rather than choosing whether or not we want to model life in Christ, we choose to be a good model or a bad one. There's no such thing as a closet Christian. You're on stage whether or not you know it. 

Sure we’ll face rejection when we speak truth and live it. We may fear others watching us fall when we don't live truth because we’re human. 

Modeling Christ can be uncomfortable. It calls us to put on clothes of humility and forgiveness which are often confining. 

Often we won't be adored. We’ll lose in an earthly sense when we put ourselves out there with the idea that a life like Jesus’ should be mimicked. 

If you're a Christ follower then you've likely been blessed to have observed a good model or two yourself. Either a grandmother, parent, Sunday school teacher or neighbor showed you what it was like to live for Christ. Their comfort, their fear and their need to make life all about themselves lost priority when they experienced the power of serving the Savior. And you saw that. 

How can we not follow suit? 

The world, our neighborhood, our homes need models, imperfect ones, who point them to the fullness found in Christ. They need to be shown, to be told.

The deepest of joy is often found in the midst of fear and discomfort. 

Can we go out on a limb? 

To check out my book, click here.


Dear Jason,

We're about to be busy, busy this weekend (not that the past month hasn't been a flurry of activity). But it's Father's Day weekend, a time to reflect and be grateful (even though you were smart with me this morning). 

I've been fortunate enough to be surrounded by good fathers. I can't say enough about my dad. He's always been the picture of the invincible. He's strong, but gentle. He has such a love for God's word; a love that has influenced me greatly. 

Your dad's pretty amazing too. I've half grown up under his care. I'm grateful for how he's always been there for us in every way that counts. 

I've also got my brother and brothers in law who do a great job fathering their kids. (I do have some awesome nieces and nephews for which I suppose they get some credit). 

And I can't forget to mention the host of fatherly figures we've had through the years in the churches we've been in. God has been good to place Godly men in our lives who have cared for us and loved us much like we were their own. 

Let me get back to the point, which is you. 

You're a great dad. You make the kids erupt in raucous laughter. You've faithfully and calmly been the driving instructor for the two oldest (and teacher of other things for all three) because I apparently freak them out. Your even, collected nature provides stability in times of imagined crisis and keeps us held together when things are really out of whack. I could keep going, but I've near reached a good word count without even having got to the point. 

One of the most valuable things I believe you do as a father is love me well. I know I run the slight risk of sounding self-important. That's not what I mean. 

A good father intently loves the mother of his children. 

He hugs her when he comes home from work. He lets her emote when he really can't relate one iota with what she's feeling. For those times he has no idea what to do for her, (Do I hug her, reason with her, or hide?) he makes a best attempt, even with the high risk of failure. 

He is supportive; encouraging her to do the thing her meager confidence didn't convince her to do. He's her confidant in matters he doesn't even understand. His children can't help but notice he is always for her. 

He shows his son that leading a family is accomplished by sacrificially loving his wife. He shows his daughters that there are men out there who put themselves second to the one they committed their life to. He teaches his children the meaning of love, honor and cherish as he sticks by their mother's side. 

His love for the mother of his children is a model that will not only aid in the raising of his children. He offers them a picture of what their future ought to look like when they outgrow their first home. 

A good father plays with his children, teaches them and protects them, but he also prepares them to love well and look well for love when they come to an age where they seek to start a family of their own. Just wanted you to know you do a good job with just that. 

Your most grateful beneficiary,

Your wife 

Check out my new book here

I sat cross-legged on my living room floor last night bubbling with joy. Everywhere in front of me sat a beautiful girl or woman with a story. What's so special about that, you might think. Everybody has a tale. (Of course they do.) 

I sat encircled by ladies who have graciously shared tender parts of theirs.   They took their own personal experience, whether it was embarrassing or still even a little painful in some cases, and they laid that experience bare for the world to see. I'm just plain lucky to call them friends, but more than that, I've been personally touched by their willingness to be agents of God's grace in the telling of what He has done in their life to whomever will listen.  

These are the local faces of The Village Girl Handbook. Along with fifteen other fabulous ladies (who live elsewhere), this group has put more than words on pages. Between the lines they're cheering on growing girls by becoming vulnerable and committed to an audience they've never met. 

But I guess that's how life works. There are people who watch our life stories play out and then those who will never know of the things we've overcome, or learned from, unless we tell them. We can do life simply working by the clock, influencing and encouraging those in our peer and familial circle or we can recognize that there's a larger audience who could benefit from a display of God's faithfulness. 

We're mindful of what God has brought us through, what he has taught us, and our intent is to share that very thing in the hopes that it encourages. 

  1. Please pray with us that those who pick up The Village Girl Handbook will feel encouraged and empowered. Pray that they will be reminded that God loves them and is writing a good story even in the midst of struggle or a season that seems directionless or fruitless. 
  2. Please consider your own story and how you might share it with someone who would be encouraged by it. Share this post with someone you know who has a powerful testimony. 
  3. Think about getting a book in the hands of a girl who needs to know more about God's grace. 

A second volume of "The Village Girl Handbook" is now being complied. The deadline for stories is August 11. Each story needs to be around 400-600 words and presents a personal story of struggle during middle or high school that ends in overcoming or perspective. (I've got an outline I can send to anyone interested).  Let me know if you have a story you'd like to share. 

Jesus prayed:

 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them... John 17:26 

Let's follow suit. 

More faces of VGH contributors:


Get The Village Girl Handbook book here

Learn more about it here

What is wrong with me?

I'm sitting in my car writing this post on my phone after carefully diverting my tears with an eye-roll designed to distract. 

I just dropped Rylie, the eleven year old, off at Lamar for volleyball camp. I'm nervous. I'm kind of sad.  And I'm hot (from sitting in the car). 

It's not like I'm going to miss her or anything. I'll pick her back up at noon. McDonald Gym (though it took me a little time to find) is only about ten minutes from the house. So why am I a mess? 

Maybe driving here this morning brought up thirty-year-old feelings from when my mom and dad took me to basketball camp at San Marcos for a week when I was about the same age. It was the first time I remember going to a place where I'd have no one I knew with me. 

My mom helped me to be ultra prepared though. Boy is she a packer. Whatever was on the things to bring list? My mom made sure I had it. Hygiene products? Check. Wash cloths, towels and bedding? Check. Snacks? Check. Check. Quarters for the vending machine. Had them. Plenty of clothes? Check. She even got me several new pair of the freshest Hawaiian style knee-length jams Walmart had the offer. 

Still, I remember being a little nervous. 

I'm a little nervous right now. 

After circling through wrong parking lots and going into the wrong building this morning Rylie and I finally found the right place. I could tell we were finally in the right spot because of the kids I saw getting out of a sweet looking Toyota Land Rover. 

At least six tall lanky girls stood in a parking space reminding me of everything I forgot we  probably should have brought to facilitate Volleyball Skills 101 success. These girls had the the right stuff, from high ponytails and cute headbands, to shirts and shorts that actually coordinated, to cinch backpacks that held who knows what. I think their water bottles might have been monogrammed. 

We forgot a water bottle.

 She is wearing deodorant. And clothes (They're  clean). That's about it. 

Inside was more of the same. Girls stood cheerily; their knee pads and confidence apparent. 

Rylie found a spot by the bleachers to stand and take it all in. I shot out of there. 

So here I am battling the mom thoughts. Is she prepared? How long will she stand by herself? Will they let her go to the water fountain? Does she know anything about volleyball? 

I have nothing smart to say. The heat is starting to melt my brain cells. I only know that I'm glad I'm not without recourse when the weird mom feelings take over. It's always good to be prepared, but even when you're not thank goodness there's prayer. 

Note to self: She'll be fine. Just bring a water bottle when you come back at noon. 

Purchase my new book, The Village Girl Handbook here

Find out about it here


In my most tired moments I've aimed the car clicker at my front door expecting it to unlock the door to the house. I wish that access were that easy, especially when I have eleven bags of groceries hanging from both arms. 

This morning I've been inquiring about a package I'm supposed to receive any day now. I looked up my confirmation of shipment email and tried to track my package. I got an instant message that informed me that my tracking number (the one they gave me) was invalid. 

Feeling rather adventuresome, I decided to call the company. I had my non-working tracking number scrawled on my notebook. That would do it, right? 

Of course some robot (with a smooth voice) answered the phone asking me to have the following ready:

  • My Member ID#
  • Title ID#
  • And my (invalid) Tracking #

I clicked end call and searched for the information. I found my numbers and even an additional number, my customer ID# , but ran into more technical difficulties. 

This is the kind of stuff that makes me want to get in my car and go to WalMart to pick stuff off of crowded shelves in congested aisles and then wait in long lines before pushing my lop-wheeled cart out to the parking lot in the rain to load my stuff in the back of the car which still has stuff from when I visited my mom two weekends ago... Almost. That stinks too. 

I love accessibility. 

I appreciate those moments I find an answer, get what I need,  or at least hear a caring human voice without being asked for my password which I forgot because it was supposed to have one upper case letter, one lower case letter, a special symbol and a retired emoji. 

I was recently struck by a verse in Genesis. 

...the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day... Genesis 3:8

God.  In the garden. I might be wrong, but the words he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day makes it sound like His presence wasn't a rare occurring phenomenon. We can't be sure of the level of intimacy the two had with God in the garden, but what we do know is that sin eliminated direct access to God. 

I was a part of an intimate Lord's Supper last night that reminded me of the price Jesus paid to restore access to God. Instead of us being punished or abandoned for our sin, Jesus took our sin upon himself enabling us to walk with God and giving us the privilege to approach God. 

We need no customer or title ID#. 

There's no lengthy paperwork or tiny boxes on your phone to fill out when you have a question or are in need. 

There's no password to remember. 

Through the blood of Jesus we lift up simple requests and cry out our most urgent pleas. 

Our requests are found valid. Accepted. We're valued. 

And even if we must wait for an answer or we get one that we'd wished not get, we're heard. We're cared for and we have his presence to carry on. 

In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. Ephesians 3:12

Thankful today for the access I have to God through Jesus. 

Purchase my book, The Village Girl Handbook, here

Find out what it's about, here

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I made a bad choice tonight. I've been under the weather for a week. I welcomed a steroid shot this morning and got some antibiotics. In the past hour I've gotten a little energy surge (but not one that inspired me to get the whites out of of the dryer.) 

The energy is mostly in my head and in my fingertips; the two parts that allow me to work where I don't have to get up. I bought a package of Mrs. Baird's chocolate donuts thirty minutes ago (another thing I'll blame on the shot) so I need to do something to assuage my guilt and keep me busy so that my hands are out of the donut bag. 

For these reasons I thought I'd add a few links (that you may already know about) that provide activity/entertainment suggestions for your children or grandchildren or the kids you're babysitting this summer. 

 Feel free to email me anything else you're aware of and I'll add it to the list. (A link and a pic would be nice). I'm missing a ton of stuff. Maybe we could make this a collaborative effort. I love that kind. 

Summer events: 

Let's go to the movies.  Good clean (rated G or PG) movies for $3 showing every week at B&B in Central Mall. 

Lamar Summer Camps for all ages. I just signed my fifth grader up for volleyball camp.  They have quite a few camps to offer (sports and other). Check the camps out out here

VBS. My goodness. I couldn't begin to put the links up for all the Bible Schools that will be put on locally this summer (which is a really cool thing). Check out First Baptist Nederland's VBS on the First Baptist Nederland Facebook page. Let me know when your church's VBS is and I'll post it. 

Summer Rec is provided at several of our local schools.

We also have Wednesday night kid and youth events all summer that I'll try to get more info on. And there's GA camp for first through sixth grade girls coming up in July. I'll try to get more details. 

Sno cones Let's not forget the sno cone stands on 27th Ave and Helena Ave here in Nederland. 

Check out the Marion & Ed Hughes Library for some cool FREE summer activities. JASON and Rylie are summer book club members working on getting their names in a pot for a great drawing.  

Baking Camps/Baking Party

I've heard rumors about baking camps. Trying to confirm that. If it's true, my daughter will go bezerk. She has an official chef jacket.  She would give anything to have an opportunity to wear it in AND bake in public. (Link hopefully coming soon). 

BUT I do happen to know about a Pajama/ Baking Party at Calvary Baptist this Friday. All girls and their guardians are invited to come. Bring a finger food and your favorite drink and be ready to bake, play games and watch a movie. If you're interested in this I'll hook you up with the coordinator of this fun event. 

Doorbos Park (Pool) has some fun family nights planned too. 

Here's contact info and the pool summer schedule. 

My donut energy has run out for now. Help me out. I know this list could be much longer.  I'd love to add some Port Neches/Groves (or other Nederland church) events too. Shoot me an email and I'll add them.  


The Village Girl Handbook 

If you know of a girl who will be in middle school/lower high school grades (around age 10-15) consider giving them this book authored by myself and some fabulous girls/ladies. The Viallage Girl Handbook has stories and activities which remind girls that there are seasons where particular struggles invite themselves into your life. 

Girls make mistakes and will likely suffer the consequences of others' choices. This book cheers them on and gives practical advice on how to face struggle with grace and courage while knowing they're not alone. Consider mentoring a middle school girl by purchasing this book and making a time weekly to go through the book with her. She'll be entertained and encouraged this summer.  She'll also be better prepared to meet the new school year with new perspective. 

Check it out on Amazon here

Happy Summer. 

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An apology is an expression of remorse. It's saying I messed up. Will you forgive me? An apology should send the message that you wish you hadn't done what you did or said what you said. 

Typically an apology is given to the person you wronged. A genuine apology accepts responsibility for a mistake, a mishap or a misunderstanding. I apologize. I thought we were supposed to meet at 6. 

One exception is the passive sorry said when you regret something that happened to someone, even though the occurrence wasn't any fault of your own. Example: I'm so sorry for your loss. 

I'm sure I've made disingenuous apologies using sarcasm. I've probably said sorry just to get a tiff over with, even though I still thought I was right (I'm kind of stubborn). And I've probably apologized and then let needless words fall out of my mouth that reversed my apology, I'm sorry for yelling, but when you won't listen to me any other way I sometimes have to....(Sorry, not sorry.)

Any guesses on what has me thinking about apologies today? 

Yep. Kathy Griffin. You know, the redhead comedian who held up a severed head that resembled President Trump covered in blood for a photo shoot while she wore a blue blouse with a neat bow tied at her neckline. More here

(photo credit to fstoppers.com) 
She issued an apology:

Griffin apologized for the images following online backlash, despite initially defending them. "I sincerely apologize," she said in a video on Twitter. "I went way too far. The image is too disturbing. I understand how it offends people, it wasn't funny, I get it."

She also asked for forgiveness and said she would request for the images to be taken down. -The HollywoodReporter 

If she'd stopped there, I would've still been disappointed in her stunt. I would've thought that she should be fired because consequences do come with our choices. I wouldn't, however want the vilification of her to continue on and and on. She messed up. People spoke up. Squatty Potty and CNN, two entities that have employed her fired her. Let's move on. 

But then she had to go and have a press conference where she not only undid her apology, but made it clear that there was nothing genuine about it in the first place except for maybe a passive apology to viewers (other than the Trumps) who were offended. She promised to continue to be vile and hateful toward the Trump family without any regard for his eleven year old son. 

I get that she has the freedom of speech to do that. That's fine, but when you extend an apology filled with eye-rolls and you're not even apologizing to the people you wronged, your words become useful for little else besides entertainment. 

Let me make a quick statement. What she did was gruesome. I also believe those who made an effigy of Obama being hung by a noose are vile. Those who made fun of Chelsea Clinton's appearance were mean spirited. I could go on...PS Trump has things he should apologize for too. 

What Kathy Griffin did has nothing to do with politics, but has everything to do with human decency. 

We all behave indecently. But if we're people of any substance, we've got to learn how to apologize and then zip it. 

Apologies, because we're so prideful and self righteous, should be short and sweet. I guess I'm not really talking to Kathy Griffin here. She's not sorry. I guess I'm talking to those of us who goof, sometimes royally, and then try to fix our goof, goofily. 

A few things to remember when apologizing:

  • Don't serve your apologies half-baked. Take the time to focus on what you should (and shouldn't) say. 
  • Never say I apologize, but... You cancel out your apology because you're justifying your error. 
  • Don't make yourself into the victim. Often when you're making an apology, you've been wronged too. Apology time isn't the time to bring that up. Your remorse is supposed to be about what you did wrong, not misdeeds done toward you. 
  • Don't bring up the other person's mistakes. 
  • Don't threaten to make the same mistake again (for crying out loud).  I mess up. I'll probably do it again. I'm human. (That's like saying my mistake wasn't that big of a deal and you can expect it to happen again). 

Apologies are hard. 

Pray before you apologize. 

And for real, let's pray for Kathy Griffin, Donald Trump and all those other shiny people (to use the term Kathy used in her press conference). We're watching and we want to see better. 

Check out my new book, The Village Girl Handbook. It's now available here 

I woke up to rain and gray skies. Are you ever gonna get here? I'm peeking out of the blinds that face the street in hopes that I might see you turn the corner and pull in to our driveway with your warm rays in tow. Hope you packed well. I look forward to your visit every year. 

You bring old and new.  Both are welcome. 

Without doing exact math, I figure we'll have seventy-something days together, you and the family. It's important to know how much time we have so that a plan can be made, even if it's a relaxed plan with days mixed in where there's no plan at all. 

Like I do with all guests, my mind has been plotting the things we should do while you're here. I want a list that creates anticipation not exhaustion, so here's what I've come up with. 

Let's get outside. I know. We'll have sweat beads on our lips in less than sixty seconds and our hair will be a poofy mess. Who cares. There's fresh air to breathe (even if it feels like dragon breath). Let's not miss the opportunity to get ourselves outside four walls. Adventure waits. 

Let's go barefoot. Our feet unencumbered we'll tell the world we're not subject to shoes or a schedule. 

Let's sleep in.  Well not everyday.  Even if it's just once, let's not set an alarm, letting our eyes open when they're willing. Beauty sleep. It's a real thing, right? 

Let's not waste our time on our phone. This could be a tough one. We'll miss out on being the first to know important things like what celebrity couple has decided to part ways. We may also miss wishing that person we met at an event one time Happy Birthday! on Facebook. For what we miss on Facebook we'll make up for by reading a book or watching our kid have a big time in the pool.  Wait...What if we got in the pool?

Speaking of Facebook... Let's make use of Netflix, but not too much. 

Let's go places. Let's do road trips. We can visit that museum only six miles away that has been on my list since I moved to this town. Let's get ice cream from the convenience store. 

Lets talk to people in the checkout line and to folks after church without feeling that every tick-tock means we're getting behind on something that needs to be done. Genuinely engaging with people is something that needs to be done, even though most days of the year try to convince us to move, move, move.

Let's stay home. And not brush our hair. Let's turn on loud music while we spiffy up the house; taking time to dance in the kitchen (even if we don't know how). 

Let's watch a sunset remembering that God makes a picture for us every day. How many busy days do we miss it? 

 We should stay up late at least a time or two, squeezing every minute out of the day we've been given. 

Let's cook something new, eat something we've never tried before, play Farkle and cards, listen to a new song...really listen. Let's sing an old song LOUD. 

Let's tell stories and pay attention to the stories  told by family we visit, even if it's a story we've heard a dozen times.  Let's make s'mores using jumbo marshmallows and let our kids sell lemonade on the street. Let's use the hydrant to fill water balloons and write our names in big letters with sidewalk chalk. Let's listen for crickets at dusk and encourage little ones to hunt for frogs. 

You're magical, yes you are. The days ahead would mostly be ordinary, but you in your bright warmth add the extra touch. Summer, you're extraordinary.  May we make the most of our time together. 

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12


 The book I've been working on is now available through CreateSpace and Amazon. The Village Girl Handbook, I'm praying, will encourage and inspire adolescent girls. You can learn more about it here

Better yet, you can check it out and buy it here on Amazon. 

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So you've probably seen a post floating around the past couple of days;  8 Things Kids Need to do by Themselves by Age 13. 

 This list says that parents need to make sure that kids can wash their own clothes and make their own breakfast and lunch. It also suggests kids learn before the age of 13 to plan ahead (or face the consequences). There are five other things kids should be doing independently (making their breakfast and lunch only counts as one thing even though I count it as two when I do it.).  

All 8 things are appropriate suggestions, even if highly ambitious. 

This list (which is actually a very good list) puts parents into one of two categories. 

  • Super Parents- These parents make up approximately 8% of the parenting population (according to my keen sense of guessing). These moms and dads are raising capable children who will become responsible adults. And honestly, they and their children, are to be applauded.
  • Fantasizing Parents- Parents who buy cute new laundry baskets with hopes and dreams that it will encourage the kids to want to do their laundry-  These parents  show their children how to separate and wash laundry one or two times before forgetting about this goal and then going back to doing all the laundry themselves. These moms and dads give their kids multiple reminders to set their own alarm and take care of their business before the last minute. The problem with Fantasizing Parents is that their resolve fizzles before their kid develops these good habits (or else they're so darn busy that they forget to get their kids to do these things). These moms and dads are also rescuers.  Fantasizing Parents make up 92% of the parenting population. 

If you find yourself in the second category, a parent who dreams that one day your children will efficiently and successfully take care of paperwork and remember all of the school items they need from day to day, without reminding or rescuing, don't fret. I've made this modified starter list. You've got to begin somewhere. 

8  7 Things Your Kid Needs to do Before They Turn 18; A Modified List 

  1. Throw away empty toilet paper tubes       I don't know what it is about my kids (Oops.) kids. They seem to have a hard time understanding that when the toilet paper is gone from the roll that you can throw the tube away. Maybe they're planning on repurposing them for some neat craft. Still, before your kid's turn 18, they should be disposing of toilet paper tubes (or else using them to make something... like a soundless windchime for your birthday). 
  2. Tie their shoes They know how to tie them, but keeping them tied tightly requires skill. Noticing when they're hanging loose on the ground requires awareness; one that can and should be taught before they graduate from high school. Make it happen. 
  3. Turn in their homework While it's important that kids do their homework before the last minute and remember to take it with them to school, every kid should do their homework and get it turned in even if it means (occasionally) it's done five minutes before the tardy bell rings at school. 
  4. Close the cabinet door  This is a hard one. Oftentimes they have a glass, a towel or some type of object (like their iPhone) in their hand, leaving only one free hand to shut the cabinet door. Though difficult, all children should be able to close the cabinet door independently and without prompting before they turn 18. 
  5. Wash the toothpaste/spit residue out of the sink  If your kids are brushing their teeth daily without being asked, give yourself and them a pat on the back. The next step, which requires a lot of reminding and patience is teaching and expecting them to wash their toothpaste spit down the sink after brushing. All kids should be doing this by the age of 18. 
  6. Fold towels (If this is too difficult a task for your teenager, at least teach them to make sure they don't unfold other towels when they get a towel out of the cabinet). They can do this with your help. 
  7. Pick up hangers off of the floor Someday your grown child will develop the skill of washing laundry. Until then, have your licensed teen practice picking up hangers that fall on the floor (or else are placed on the floor when they put their clothes on). This is a skill that takes years to develop, but have your child keep attempting this task. 

Stay strong friends. 

Are there any you would add?