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best family devotionals

7+ Fantastic Devotionals that Help Create Forever Family Connections

(Inside: Best family devotionals that will help your loved ones grow in faith and connect as a family. Ideas that your family will love.)

You know you’ve dreamed this too…ever since the day we decided we wanted to have children, we all looked forward to it…

Our. Awesome. Parenting. Skills.

However, once that sweet baby was placed in our arms we melted apart like putty, then molded back into a completely different shape, forever changed. Starting our parenting journey unlocks a scary realization:  our best parenting days are behind us – before we had kids. That’s when we had all the parenting advice for everyone else because easy-peezy-common-sense-sherlock. 

But we forge ahead because we love these humans so there is no other direction. 

 

best family devotionals
Join our community of moms raising tweens and teens HERE.

A top parenting desire: family devotionals

One of the things, I’ve always aspired to do is hold epic family devotionals. Oh, I had visions: loved ones gathered ’round. All ears open. Hearts ready. Sunshine spotlighting down from the heavens. And the Holy Spirit. 

But, I’ve found this hard to do. Truthfully. I know that you make time for what’s important to you and blah, blah, blah… And…I even have a degree in education. Eh-hem. A master’s degree. Just busyness mixed with life has left me grasping for consistency and depth in this area.

Until a couple of years ago.

Something clicked. I don’t even know what, for sure. We’re still crazy busy, but we manage to come together about three nights a week to check in. And I mean really check in. Like ask questions about school, our mental state, and then read something that helps deepen our faith.

This is working better now, partly because my kids are older. But also, we’ve found some intriguing books and Bible studies that promote conversation and growth. I’m excited to share with you devotions that are a great fit for families of tweens and teens. 

Forget perfection

Before I go on, I must say this because it’s beating so loudly in my heart I won’t be able to hit publish without getting it out: you are still a good mom if you don’t ever do one family devotional. The end. 

There isn’t a perfect formula and one path only to teach your kids faith. 

As moms, we teach our kids the things that pulse in our inner being, and for me, that’s a deep longing to connect over traditional family devotionals. I am moved through Bible study, so wanted to share this method of deepening faith with my sons. But also, I hope this designated family time gives my kids a safe place to share what’s bothering them, me a chance to better get to know my kids, and helps us all create a strong intertwining family bond. 

Some days our family time is great and sometimes everyone’s cranky. Whatever. As a mom, I’m better learning to throw grace-on-ourselves-and-loved-ones around like confetti, not over-analyze and simply move forward. 

Best Family Devotionals

*All of the below links are my amazon affiliate links, meaning, I get a small commition at no extra cost to you.* 

100 Days to Brave (Annie F. Downs)

Best. Devotional. Ever.

We read one page a day. Annie gives a verse, a short story, and a takeaway. This has opened up deep conversations in our family around courage, school, friends and life. I highly recommend it. It is perfect for when life is crazy busy. It’s short, inspirational and each day ends with a dicussion question for families to connect over.

Top 20 Teens: Discovering the Best-Kept Thinking, Learning & Communicating Secrets of Successful Teenagers (Bernabei, Cody, Cole, Cole, Sweeney)

I did the Top 20 training as continuing education through the high school where I teach. As I listened, I felt intrinsically motivated to aim high, work hard, embrace kindness and be a better person. I love how this book communicates to young people. It’s fantastic. No, it’s not the Bible, but much of the principles are what they teach in Sunday school, so we loved it. We read one short chapter at a time and discussed questions listed at the end.

Gideon – Your Weakness, God’s Strength (Priscilla Shirer)

Priscilla’s studies are always rich in learning about scripture, history, and application. I loved this study. It’s about turning weakness into strength and watching God move through the hard parts of your lives. I did this by myself after a particularly difficult season – it’s in the que to do again with my family. 

Book of Matthew – The Words and Stories of Jesus

We read through the stories and words of Jesus in Matthew. It’s so simple, yet promotes good conversation. I wrote out a schedule and it’s in the Empowered Moms and Kids Freebie library. Click on the link below to get instant access. 

Yes, I want the Bible Reading Plan!

Seamless: Understanding the Bible as One Complete Story (Angie Smith)

A friend recommended this to me. It gives an overview of the Bible with life applications. It’s more intense and time-consuming than some of the devotions listed above, but I liked doing this study with my kids. Plus, we did this during the summer when we had more time. It gave a solid overview of the Bible and our salvation story through Christ. 

There is also a teen edition, though my friend has done them both and doesn’t think there is a huge difference. That’s why we did the adult version as a family.

Known By His Names: A 365-Day Journey From The Beginning to The Amen (Elizabeth Spencer)

If you want a short daily devotion that helps your family really see and feel how much God loves them, I highly recommend Known By His Names by Elizabeth Spencer. It is rich in beautiful scripture and deep insight. I read it through like a book instead of one page a day. 

It’s one that you could linger and discuss over at length or is also great for a quick devotional before everyone hurriedly scatters in different directions. Regardless, it’s worth your time. What a beautiful, beautiful book that you can feel the Holy Spirit move through.

Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence (Sarah Young)

This is another gorgeous devotional that helps us all hear God talk daily to our hearts. It opens our eyes to see God work all around us, moving, shaping with purpose, nourishing, comforting, and giving us peace. 

Our family is currently working through this devotional. I like that there are 2-3 scripture references for my kids to look up. I love to see my kids’ hands in the Bible. It’s great for the busy season, and if we miss a day, we just skip it and find the current date in the book. Each day is amazing – you can’t go wrong with Jesus Calling. 

Bonus: Supplement Your Devotional with a Prayer Journal

I created a Prayer Journal for families raising tweens and teens. Included in the digital download:

  • 7 Powerful Reasons to Pray as a Family Inspirational Essay
  • How to use the prayer journal page.
  • 30 days of journal pages: Day 1 (and all the odd days following) starts with a verse that focuses on God’s love for your family. Day 2 (and all the even days following) features a verse that focuses on your family’s love of God. These beautiful pages hold places to write your family’s reflections on what they’re grateful for and their prayer requests. 

    Your family will grow to love this intentional practice of walking with Jesus and learning to communicate and love each other better. Plus, this is a lovely keepsake your momma’s heart will cherish. 

Your turn

What Bible studies are your family loving? Or how do you grow faith and/or create family connect that isn’t in a study or book? I’d love to know. Email me or share in the comments. 

Be encouraged by the full “raise kids of faith” series.

Over the years, as my kids have grown and their seasons have changed, I find myself going back to this one prayer, “Dear Jesus, please let my kids desire to have a relationship with you and follow you.” If as they journey through life, they consistently go back to their Creator for comfort and guidance – it’s all going to be okay.

So, as a mom, I strive to (in my imperfect way) teach my boys faith.

HOLIDAYS
10 Easy Way to Teach Your Kids The True Meaning of Christmas
A Busy Mom’s Christmas Prayer

TEACHING FAITH
Free eBook: Devotions for Kids and Families
5 Fantastic Devotionals that Help Create Forever Family Connections

TEACHING GRATITUDE
A Free Gratitude Journal Your Teen Will Love (Raise Grateful Kids)
The Science Behind Why a Gratitude Journal Works (Raise Happy, Faith-Filled Tweens and Teens)

 

 

best family devotionals
Join our community of moms raising tweens and teens HERE.

Join this community of moms of older kids

You just dropped one kid off at practice, picked up another, and are trying to decide what to make for dinner. Your days are filled with work, parenting, and waiting for password reset emails.-You are parenting tweens and teens.

It’s an amazing life phase, but also challenging in unique ways. In it all, you’d love a little encouragement to help you laugh, grow in faith, see parenting hacks, get ideas to connect with your kids, feel empowered in your personal growth, and celebrate the awesome momma you are.

I got you, friend. Sign up for Empowered Moms and Kids monthly emails and get inspiration, resources, and stories in your inbox geared for someone exactly in your life chapter. It’s totally free and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Plus, you’ll get instant access to all the great resources in the freebie library. Join our community here or below.

coronavirus kids

The Pandemic is Shaping Kids in These 6 Powerful Ways

(Inside: The coronavirus and kids – this is what your children are learning. I hope this pandemic shapes my kids in these six powerful ways.)

I saw a meme that said something like this: This coronavirus pandemic is going to be our kids’ we-walked-uphill-both-ways-during-rain-to-school story they tell their kids.

I disagree.

I think this moment is bigger than that.

Never before have historic events unfolded in this way – we are living what will be discussed in future history classes.

A Century of Experience

“How are you?” I asked my 98.5yo grandma. Her voice came through my phone, “Not only are visitors not allowed at our assisted living facility but we are all quarantined in our room. The staff told me a lot of people are feeling depressed.”

A pregnant pause filled the airwaves.

But my grandma continued, “However…I’m watching on the news how everyone is working so well together to combat this virus…”

She went on to highlight the silver linings of this pandemic: companies switching gears to make medical supplies, everyday heroes working overtime (grocery stores, truck drivers), medical staff being brilliant, community leaders making smart decisions…

“Think of how this is making us stronger,” she mused.

I love my grandma’s ability to focus on what’s going right. I love her grit, energy and growth mindset.

My grandma is one of the most amazing people I know. She rode horseback to a one-room school in rural North Dakota. (I’ll see your walk-both-ways-uphill and raise you a horse.) She married my grandfather and then said pretty much immediately goodbye as he left for WWII. She’s started a business, raised three kids, and nursed my ill grandfather until he passed away leaving her widowed at a relatively young age. My grandma’s seen beauty rise from ashes over and over again in her almost-a-century-long life.

 

Six powerful ways our kids are being shaped by the coronavirus

“Yes, this is making us stronger” is what I thought about long after we hung up. As these safer-at-home days flip past, I’m noticing the good ways in which this pandemic is transforming us all. I’m specifically noticing these six powerful ways that it’s shaping my kids and I hope these lessons stick:

kids and coronavirus
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Joy is found in the simple

My sons jumped on the tramp while I shot pictures. Big laughs. Hearts full. Yes, Disney and sandy beaches are special, but a secret to an amazing life is to notice the sunshine, the trees, and each other. We’ve had so many moments like this one. I hope my kids always pause to embrace life’s simple, soul-filling joys.

Related article: 146+ Best Chapter Books for Tweens that will also Build Character

Everyone has a civic duty to their community

The only way for us to be victorious in this experience is to work together. Everyone needs to social distance. The essential workers need to go to work; quality daycare needs to be provided. The WWII generation acutely understood civic duty, and now our kids are experiencing that they too are important members of society.

Be kind to family

We’re stuck together for weeks on end, so my family is responsible for creating the atmosphere they want to live in. Give grace, speak kindly, and – if you love your mom at all – pick up after yourself. I hope this quarantine is teaching my kids to love their family well.

Eat yo’ crust

My son said to me, “I’m still hungry.” I looked at the two giant pieces of pizza crust and said, “Finish your food.” I wasn’t going to the store anytime soon and he knew it. I hope my kids are learning to see food as a little more sacred and eat their crusts.

Related article: Best Home Exercises for QuaranTEENS and TWEENS

When in doubt, pray

I’ve lost sleep over this thought: how can a virus bring our entire world to its knees? I don’t know what else to do, so I pray. Often. And through it I feel God nurture me, comfort me, and change my perspective. I hope my kids learn that when in doubt, look up – God will find them.

To be thankful

But most of all, when this veil is lifted, I hope my kids learn to not take things for granted. They GET to spend their days at awesome schools. They GET to gather in church with our faith family. They GET to play sports with parents and grandparents cheering them all. I hope my kids walk away from this experience with more gratitude pulsing through their hearts.

Through this experience, I hope my kids are shaped into stronger, wiser people. I hope they become a little more like their beloved and amazing great-grandma.

Join this community of moms of older kids

You just dropped one kid off at practice, picked up another, and are trying to decide what to make for dinner. Your days are filled with work, parenting, and waiting for password reset emails.

You are parenting tweens and teens.

It’s an amazing life phase, but also challenging in unique ways. In it all, you’d love a little encouragement to help you laugh, grow in faith, see parenting hacks, get ideas to connect with your kid, and celebrate the awesome momma you are. 

I got you, friend. Sign up for Empowered Moms and Kids monthly emails and get encouragement in your inbox geared for someone exactly in your life chapter. It’s totally free and you can unsubscribe at any time. 

Plus, you’ll get instant access to all the great resources in the freebie library. Join our community here or below. 

gifts for moms

Want more parenting stories and resources?

AWESOME BOOKLISTS
Book Ideas for High School Teenagers

Book Ideas for Middle School Tweens

Inspirational Books Ideas for Moms

GIFT IDEAS
Gift ideas for Moms of Tweens and Teens (Great for Mother’s Day!)

Gift Ideas for Teenage Boys

Gift Ideas for Teenage Girls

SCHOOL
Teen, These Big Reasons are Why You’ll Like Trying Hard in School (And, no, it’s not about grades.)

FAMILY CONNECTION IDEAS
Connect as a Family Over These Conversation Starters

GROW TOGETHER IN FAITH
7 Powerful Reasons to Pray as a Family

kids and coronavirus
Photo by Yanapi Senaud on Unsplash
exercise ideas for teens

Home Exercises for Teens: Feel Happy & Healthy

(Inside: Exercise ideas for teens that will help spark a love of movement. These home exercises can help your family feel happy and healthy during the quarantine.)

We’re 11 days into this coronavirus-stay-at-home pandemic and here’s what I’m learning. When spending every waking second together, if we don’t exercise, we get a little, ahem, shall I say…temperamental…

Photo by Andre Tan on Unsplash

Growling becomes our thing. It’s really, really…NOT lovely.

But, exercise helps.

A lot. 

Moving our bodies lifts our spirits and makes us kinder, gentler people.

However, even though our brains know this, our bodies want to eat Cheetos and watch superhero movies. We have to force ourselves to push past I-don’t-feel-like-it and just start.

Exercise Ideas for Teens

Since PE class is canceled, sports seasons are postponed and friends aren’t allowed over, we’ve had to be creative and intentional about trying to move for 30-60 minutes a day in our home. 

We’ve made it a family expectation, and honestly, staying consistent(ish) with it is going fairly well. We all seem to like our chosen activity.

So, here are some awesome ideas to release those happy endorphins, written specifically for teens, but also for siblings and parents…

Related article: Compelling Books High Schoolers Will Want to Read

home exercises for teens
Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens HERE.

1. Sports

If your teen loves sports, this quarantine is an awesome opportunity to work on their skills. Teens can research drills for their sport and come up with a training plane. Here are some ideas:

2. Yoga

For those who don’t love high-endurance exercising, yoga just might be perfect for them. The stretching and breathing can be an instant mood booster. Here are a few places to start:

3. At-home equipment

Time to stop using the treadmill or bike to hang your laundry on… Dust it off, tuck earbuds in, crank up the music or inspirational podcasts and get that body moving. 

Related article: 146+ Best Chapter Books for Tweens that Will Also Build Character

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

4. Use the stairs

I grew up in small homes on the various military bases my dad was stationed – we didn’t ever have extra space for equipment. My dad would set a timer and huff it up and down the stairs. Even 10 or 15 minutes will help us all break a sweat. 

Photo by Clique Images on Unsplash

5. Go for a walk

We can grab our dogs (coronavirus is the best thing that’s happened to them), a skateboard, favorite music and enjoy a walk. There’s nothing like nature. 

Related article: 15+ Best Podcasts to Inspire and Motivate Our Teen Boys

Photo by Chris Osmond on Unsplash

5. Ride your bike

There’s a reason why biking is so popular, it’s so much fun. Rekindle the love of two wheels and enjoy being outside through biking. 

Related Link: Everything’s been canceled – but, love hasn’t…

Photo by Murillo de Paula on Unsplash

6. Dance!

I threw on a song and pulled out my nineties moves. My boys were not into it… They ran. But, that’s exercise too so I’m calling it a parenting win.

However, for those that like to dance, here are some fun videos:

7. Strength and conditioning routines

There are so many great videos that focus on strength and conditioning. I can usually talk myself into 10 minutes. Then once I’ve warmed up, I can talk myself into one more video. Here are a few of my favorites:

8. Cardio workout videos

I forgot how much I like a quality exercise video. These are some good ones:

9. Kickboxing

Kickboxing makes exercising way more fun. Here are some quality routines:

10. Play!

There are so many ways to move that don’t feel like exercising because they’re fun:

  • skateboarding
  • rollerblading
  • play tag, ghosts in a graveyard, or capture the flag with your siblings
  • garden
  • jump on the trampoline
  • create street art out of chalk
  • fly a kite
  • shoot hoops – play PIG or HORSE
  • create a fort outside, craft something (think of all the up and down, lifting and moving you do when you create)
  • sculpt your yard – mow, stain your deck, create a pretty outdoor space for your family (working is my version of play)
Photo by Gabriel Jimenez on Unsplash

11. Clean!

I saved the best for last and I’m so incredibly serious about this idea. I can work up a sweat cleaning out closets, vacuuming, and moving laundry around.  Multitask by cleaning/organizing/purging clutter. Get your sweat on and see your rewarding result – a clean, organized room. Need inspiration? Watch Marie Kondo on NetFlix. Or watch her tips below. (Grab a family cleaning chart to help things go well here.)

A clean, tidy space is so nice to walk into – this could be your room!

Photo by House Method on Unsplash

Exercise Ideas for Teens: Your turn!

What’s your favorite way to exercise? Email me or let me know in the comments. 

For more than exercise ideas for teens, read the full “entertaining tweens and teens” series…

The other day, I saw of picture of when my kids were little (like when I wrote this post), and I thought I so deeply want to go back to this season of life. I miss it.

But just as quickly as that thought came, another thought followed Someday, I will see pictures of my current parenting phase (raising tweens and teens) and wish to come back to today. 

So, I want to do my best to enjoy this season of life. These ideas on how to connect with and entertain tweens and teens can help…

 

Entertaining Tweens and Teens Series

INSPIRATION
How a Messy House is Good for Your Kids

IDEAS
85+ Kids Activities That Promote Creativity

READING
146+ Best Chapter Books for Tweens that will Also Build Character
Compelling Books That High Schoolers Will Want to Read

EXERCISE
Home Exercises for Your Teens & the Whole Family (Feel Healthy & Happy)

exercise ideas for teens
Photo by Form on Unsplash

Join this community of moms of older kids

You just dropped one kid off at practice, picked up another, and are trying to decide what to make for dinner. Your days are filled with work, parenting, and waiting for password reset emails.

You are parenting tweens and teens.

It’s an amazing life phase, but also challenging in unique ways. In it all, you’d love a little encouragement to help you laugh, grow in faith, see parenting hacks, get ideas to connect with your kids, feel empowered in your personal growth, and celebrate the awesome momma you are. 

I got you, friend. Sign up for Empowered Moms and Kids monthly emails and get inspiration, resources, and stories in your inbox geared for someone exactly in your life chapter. It’s totally free and you can unsubscribe at any time. 

Plus, you’ll get instant access to all the great resources in the freebie library. Join our community here or below. 

gifts for moms
hope in corona virus

Everything’s been canceled – but love hasn’t…

(Inside: Finding hope in the coronavirus crisis. Everything’s been canceled – but love hasn’t… Read on… Read on…)

Last week was a bit much.

This coronavirus situation crescendo-ing, calming my high school students, taking care of my own kids, worrying about my in-laws traveling, stressing about my fragile 98.5yo grandma, the empty store shelves, scary articles…the whole crazy-full-moon-Friday-the-13th week did me in. But I didn’t realize how stressed I was until I finally sat down on Friday to process it all.

Wednesday we were laughing at the Corona Virus memes; then Thursday we were bathing in hand sanitizer and rushing to the stores.

I held out my hand to see if I was as shaky on the outside as I was on the inside. Stress reigned.

However, as my weekend unfolded…as it most often does…

Hope appeared…

You know that cup analogy that’s been told numerous times, several different ways? It’s the one where a person is holding a cup and she gets bumped. If what’s in the cup is peach iced tea, sweetness slides down the cup leaving her with sticky fingers. If sparkling water is in the cup, then when bumped, bubbles spill over the rim splashing onto the floor. What’s inside the cup is what comes out.

We’ve all been bumped this week.

However, do you know what I’ve seen spill out?

Wednesday we were laughing at the coronavirus memes; then Thursday we were bathing in hand sanitizer and rushing to the stores.

I held out my hand to see if I was as shaky on the outside as I was on the inside. Stress reigned.

However, as my weekend unfolded…as it most often does…

Hope appeared…

You know that cup analogy that’s been told numerous times, in several different ways? It’s the one where a person is holding a cup and she gets bumped. If what’s in the cup is peach iced tea, sweetness slides down the cup leaving her with sticky fingers. If sparkling water is in the cup, then when bumped, bubbles spill over the rim splashing onto the floor. What’s inside the cup is what comes out.

We’ve all been bumped this week.

However, do you know what I’ve seen spill out?

Photo by Thom Holmes on Unsplash

People shopping for their parents, their grandparents, those in need, so we can keep our most vulnerable at home.

Moms reaching out to working families to see if they can babysit their kids.

Women sharing inspirational stories, encouraging each other.

People buying gifts cards to local businesses to keep them afloat while we all wait out this storm.

Grocery store workers being patient with the masses and tirelessly restocking shelves.

Amazing people working overtime (often for free) to prepare for the worst-case scenarios: community planners, decision-makers, hospitals, cleaning staff, school districts, non-profit organizations…etc.

My sons helping me deep clean our home without complaint.

Healthcare professionals still going to work. (They are the biggest heroes in this story.)

Communities organizing free daycare at the local community center.

Teachers working behind the scenes to transfer their curriculum online because for right now schools are just canceled, but we all want to be ready to provide quality educational experiences if we continue to stay home.

Organizations mobilizing to provide extra food to those in need.

family at dinner table
Find hope in the coronavirus stay-at-home season. Connect with your family over these 400+ conversation starters. Grab them here.

Ordinary people donating without hesitation.

And – I’m not even joking here – a friend told me a manufacturing plant in her hometown sent out approximately 250 semi-trucks of toilet paper instead of the 100 normal trucks. (It’s coming everyone. Toilet. Paper. Is. Coming.)

Our cups have been bumped and do you know what’s spilled out?

Love.

Everything else has been canceled.

But apparently – love hasn’t.

Love is never canceled.

Keep on being amazing, everyone. This isn’t going to be easy. We’ve never journeyed this road before. But, we’ll get through this. Together.

Join this community of moms raising older kids…

You just dropped one kid off at practice, picked up another, and are trying to decide what to make for dinner. Your days are filled with work, parenting, and waiting for password reset emails.

You are parenting tweens and teens.

It’s an amazing life phase, but also challenging in unique ways. In it all, you’d love a little encouragement to help you laugh, grow in faith, see parenting hacks, get ideas to connect with your kid, and celebrate the awesome momma you are. 

I got you, friend. Sign up for Empowered Moms and Kids monthly emails and get encouragement in your inbox geared for someone exactly in your life chapter. It’s totally free and you can unsubscribe at any time. 

Plus, you’ll get instant access to all the great resources in the freebie library. Join our community here or below. 

Want more parenting stories and resources?

AWESOME BOOKLISTS
Book Ideas for High School Teenagers

Book Ideas for Middle School Tweens

Inspirational Books Ideas for Moms

GIFT IDEAS
Gift ideas for Moms of Tweens and Teens (Great for Mother’s Day!)

Gift Ideas for Teenage Boys

Gift Ideas for Teenage Girls

SCHOOL
Teen, These Big Reasons are Why You’ll Like Trying Hard in School (And, no, it’s not about grades.)

FAMILY CONNECTION IDEAS
Connect as a Family Over These Conversation Starters

hope coronavirus moms
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash
Hand sanitizer: Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
raising sons

Dear boy moms, you are blessed and this is why…

(Inside: If you are raising sons, your life is so very blessed. Here is why…)

I was positive that when I started having babies, I would have a daughter. Absolutely positive.

So, you can imagine my surprise when I gave birth to one son, then a second son, then a third.

Three boys.

I’ve found, in being a boy mom, I get similar comments. For example, someone will see me with my sons and say:

  •  “So – are you going to try for your girl?”
  • “Three boys… whoa… you must be tired.” (Which, let’s be clear – I am.)
  • “All boys. Man, I feel sorry for you.”
  • Or that awful saying: A son is your son until he takes him a wife. A daughter is your daughter for the rest of your life.
Bring your beloved family of boys closer together in 30 days with the Family Prayer Journal. Read more here…

What raising sons looks like…

A few years ago, my family and I were eating breakfast at my grandmother’s senior living center. It was normal family mayhem. My husband and I helped our kids through the buffet. (“No, you cannot pile only doughnuts on your plate.”) We were up and down during the meal. Orange juice spilled; syrup dripped. Then our chaos was interrupted.

A resident came over to our table and said to me, “You have such beautiful boys.” She hesitated as if trying to decide if she should say more…

I waited for the BUT…

But, I saw those boys wrestling…

I thought the woman might comment with eyebrows raised, “I watched those boys dogpile each other in the lobby.” Yes, they do that. At retirement centers, at target, and in our church foyer. I was not prepared for my sons’ need to daily put each other in a headlock.

But that’s okay because I can get their dad to help. “Husband,” I say, please make these boys stop wrestling. So, his solution? To simultaneously put all three in the full nelson hold. (“Thanks, honey – effective, really effective.”)

Grandpas aren’t any help either…

But, I heard about their schoolwork…

Or maybe the lady would shake her head and say, “But, your grandma told me about the story your son wrote.” You see, I love writing – so I couldn’t wait to read the beautiful words my sons would weave together for school assignments. When my 1st grader brought home his first book, I held it in my hands with great anticipation.

However, the title made me have some doubts. It said, “The Day I Kicked Down a Snowman.” I began reading.

One day my friend and I made a snowman.
The snowman was little.​
We played battle when we were done.​
I kicked the snowman down.​
No more snowman.​
The End.

Then on the last page was a note from the teacher that said: “Sounds exciting! See me!”

But, that bathroom situation…

Or maybe the woman would sigh, “But, I used the family bathroom after your boys.” Oh please don’t let that be the case. I had no idea the toilet would be such an issue in raising little boys. One day, about 5 minutes after I bleached the bathroom (again), I saw that “faithful puddle” at the base of the toilet. It’s so confusing. I know my kids have aim because they always seem to hit the back rim of the oval, so the pee slides down the sides to the floor – that back rim is like a 1-inch by 4-inch rectangle, if they can hit that, surely, they can get to the wide oval center.

At that moment, I was so frustrated, I went all math-teacher-mom on them –  I grabbed a tape measure, measured the diameter of the oval compared to the rectangular back rim, did a little geometric probability, and found that there’s about a 98% chance of the boys getting their streams in the toilet. 

I told my young boys: The. Odds. Are. In. Your. Favor!

I’m a boy mom too…

However, none of those “buts” is what the lady from the retirement home said. Instead, she explained, 

“I have three sons, too, and I love it. They take such good care of me.” She said it with such joy and pride, and went on to give me examples of how her sons loved her well. The wisdom of her 90-something years and the passion in her voice stirred my emotions. She ended our conversation by firmly stating, “My sons take better care of me than…”

(Ready for this?)

“any daughter ever could. I am so happy I have three sons.”

This is also what raising sons look like…

Over the years, I’ve thought about her words – and I’d say they’re true…

My boys have given me a million snuggles and hugs and kisses.

My kids have written “I love you, mom” and drawn pictures of me on cards for holidays.

They’ve scribbled kind thank you notes: “Thank you for helping us with homework, cooking us food, and letting us get a dog.”

At their musical, band concerts, and games they look into the crowd to make sure I’m there.

When we’re walking into buildings, they open the door for me. 

When I pull into the garage with my van full of groceries, they get on their shoes and help me carry the bags in.  

They’ll be chatty with me describing in detail all aspects of their day, but then clam up around other people.

They love when I’m home and tell me so.

In their own unique ways, with their given personalities – every day, my kids show me that they love me.

If you’re raising sons, you are blessed…

So, that morning at the retirement home, I let the sweet lady’s words soak in as she turned to walk away. She took a few steps away and I found myself calling out to her, “Thank you… Thank you for saying that to me.”

She turned back around and our eyes met. We exchanged a knowing look that only two mothers of all boys would understand, connecting us across two generational gaps.

Mother of all boys. I am so very blessed.

Do you want to raise men of faith?

Me too.

I hope my sons believe that God is working in their lives and is always near. I desire for my sons to daily talk to God and ask for his guidance and help.

But there are practices and homework and orthodontist appointments and all the things. How do you teach daily faith in a tangible way?

Growing up my family prayed together as much as our busy schedule allowed in a very imperfect way before bed, and it’s left a lasting impact on me. It’s one of my best teen-years memories. It was short, yet powerful.

Family prayer is a daily routine that gives our kids a chance to be heard, unpack their day, and then point them back to the source of our strength. 

It can take 30 seconds or 30 minutes, depending on what’s going on that evening for your family. Read more about the 7 powerful reasons to pray as a family, then I hope you enjoy the prayer journal as much as my family has. 

 

Join our community of moms raising older kids…

You just dropped one kid off at practice, picked up another, and are trying to decide what to make for dinner. Your days are filled with work, parenting, and waiting for password reset emails.

You are parenting tweens and teens.

It’s an amazing life phase, but also challenging in unique ways. In it all, you’d love a little encouragement to help you laugh, grow in faith, see parenting hacks, get ideas to connect with your kid, and celebrate the awesome momma you are. 

I got you, friend. Sign up for Empowered Moms and Kids monthly emails and get encouragement in your inbox geared for someone exactly in your life chapter. It’s totally free and you can unsubscribe at any time. 

Plus, you’ll get instant access to all the great resources in the freebie library. Join our community here or below.

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Author’s note: When I published the original version of this story on The Huffington Post, it went viral. I had an opportunity recently to audition for a mom-story-telling show. When I thought about the story I wanted to share, I kept going back to this near-and-dear-to-my-heart moment. I love how the power of one person’s words can be so uplifting. So, I combined the Huffington Post piece with a talk I had done at MOPS on raising sons. This was the result. So, here’s an updated version from the perspective of a mom now raising older sons. I hope you enjoy it. 

heal from miscarriage 3

Miscarriage Grief: 5 Reasons Why a Miscarriage is so Emotionally Painful

(Inside: Are you dealing with miscarriage grief? Do you want to heal from your miscarriage? Whether you experienced a miscarriage yesterday or thirty years ago, one way to help you heal is to understand why it emotionally hurt so much. Read on…)

This time he found me sitting on the couch, legs balled up against my chest, tears flowing.

It was 2 am.

The night before, he’d found me in our youngest son’s room. Our 4-year-old had made his way to our bed waking me. For a while, I laid arms tucked around my little guy. But then, heaviness began to descend and the onslaught of sorrow became overwhelming.  I slipped down the hall into my little boy’s empty room. In the dark, I felt for the rocker and sat down. Back-and-forth I tried to rock away the sadness while quiet sobs shook my body.

For six months (at least), I couldn’t get through the night without crying. Sometimes my husband would wake and coax me back to bed; other times, I’d slid in and out of under the covers unnoticed.

What caused this pain? This heartbreak? This feeling that a storm cloud had swallowed me?

A miscarriage.

 

Heal from miscarriage related article: How to Silence the Mean Voice in Your Head

Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

Experiencing the pain of a miscarriage

Between my second and third son,  I’d already experienced one miscarriage that unleashed excruciating sadness and big emotions. However, within a few months, I had my rainbow baby in my belly and “this too did pass.”

After this second miscarriage, the situation was different. This time, we were trying to decide: Do we want to try again? Should we call it done with three healthy boys? What’s the next best step for our family?

Those types of life-changing decisions can be hard when you’re in your best frame of mine. But, when your mind is fogged up by pain, it’s hard to even decide what to fix your family for dinner, let alone if you’re going to try and get pregnant again.

I knew I needed to focus on moving past the pain.

However, pain is a tricky thing. It sends a spiderweb of cracks a million different directions in your life, but you can’t stitch back together the slices with one simple act. It takes multiple kinds of healing from all different angles to slowly bind up the mess.

heal from miscarriage
Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens HERE.

Why a miscarriage is so emotionally painful

One way that I healed a small crack was by figuring out why a miscarriage hurt so much. Somehow, this justified my pain and let me give myself permission to grieve. (Not that I needed it.) Here are five reasons why a miscarriage is so emotionally painful:

Heal from miscarriage related article: What to do when You’re Tired of Your Struggle

1. Your identity is wrapped up in being a mom.

Motherhood is such a life-changing experience, it automatically becomes part of our who we are. (Or who we want to be.) It affects how we see ourselves, how we view the world, and how we feel people relate to us. So, when things don’t work out in mom life, it shakes our core.

But on the flip side, the fact that it hurts so much also means that we put a lot of value in this piece of our identity – being a mom. (Or wanting to be a mom.) Motherhood is a beautiful thing. It’s something that should be valued. So even though our strong motherly longings leave us more vulnerable to pain, I wouldn’t want to let go of valuing motherhood. Caring about motherhood is a good thing.

I like what I’m reading and want to stay connect: SUBSCRIBE HERE 

2. You feel like it’s your fault.

When our bodies don’t cooperate, it’s hard not to feel like it’s our fault. What did I do wrong? Exercise too hard? Drink or eat something? Let myself get too stressed out? My OBGYN has repeatedly told me, “The miscarriage wasn’t your fault.”  The Mayo Clinic backs my doctor saying,

“Most miscarriages happen because the fetus isn’t developing normally. Problems with the baby’s genes or chromosomes are usually the result of errors that occur by chance as the embryo divides and grows. They typically aren’t due to an inherited disorder, and usually aren’t caused by a mother’s behavior or health.”

It’s okay to analyze a situation and ask if we should’ve done something differently. Reflection is smart living. However, in the case of a miscarriage, the answer is “No – it wasn’t your fault.”

3. It’s the loss of a dream.

We have expectations of what we want our family to look like from the number of kids, to gender, to timing. When we miscarry, our dreams feel shattered. But, again, there’s a flip side to that coin. Ultimately, dreaming is a good thing. It’s a great starting point to finding our next right step. So, we should keep listening to our hearts and letting our souls dream.  

4. You feel alone.

Some of our favorite people to confide in haven’t experienced a miscarriage and won’t fully understand our pain. This can make us feel alone. Yet, I’ve found the more I’ve opened up, the more I’ve discovered women who’ve shared my experience. Moms, it’s healthy to crave friends who get us. Know that there is a community of women who’ve shared your pain – we are not alone.

5. You feel out of control

We love our calendars and checklists and goals – we love control. A miscarriage makes us feel out-of-control. (Cue anxiety.) However, when we look back on our lives, often the most beautiful things came from the times our lives went off-course. Moms, we can let ourselves embrace hope – our futures hold good things.

Our pain points also are important, good elements of our lives

The reason that a miscarriage messes with our minds with such intensity is that the elements that make up our pain points also serve as important, good aspects of our lives: caring about being a mom, reflecting and analyzing, dreaming, desiring an understanding community, having some control over our lives. These are life-giving elements in our worlds, so it’s going to hurt when cracks slice through them.

You will heal from your miscarriage

Momma, if you are thick in the pain, lean in and don’t just hear me, believe my next words: You will heal.

If you’re thinking – well you got pregnant again and had that fourth kid, so of course, you healed…you’re wrong.

We decided not to try again.

Was choosing “to be done” the right decision? I don’t know…
If I were to go back, would I do it differently? Maybe…
Do I regret our choice? No.

And am I healed? One hundred percent. But it took two to three full years. I worked hard at healing. I tried multiple ways to heal my shattered cracks. Individually, each step that stitched up one small crack didn’t seem like much, but collectively – those actions held power.

If you are hurting, do something to heal every single day: seek professional help, surround yourself with encouraging people, take long walks, pray, do something you love, take a vacation, meet friends for coffee, exercise, eat healthy, stroke your hobby, snuggle your kids, date your spouse, buy yourself a new outfit, listen to quality podcasts, read inspirational books, grow your faith in God.

Then, trust the process. Little-by-little your cracks are being stitched up. You are healing.

Eventually, you – like me – will be able to get through not just one night, but lots of nights without crying. You will feel joy again. You will heal.

 

Heal from miscarriage related article: Imperfect Faith is Still Faith

Continue to heal from grief through reading the full “Grow Your Grit” Series

When we become moms a light switch is flipped on. In juggling work, family, and household – we grow bolder; we learn to speak up. And somewhere in it all, we find our inner Mama Bear. We grow our determination, knowledge, love, patience, endurance, perspective, wisdom, problem-solving ability – we strengthen our grit. It’s not always easy, though. Growing our grit through motherhood is most definitely a process… Read on…

GROW YOUR COURAGE
Parenting Persuades You to be a More Courageous Mom Every Day
A Mom’s Quick Prayer for Perseverance that Will Lift You Up

FIND PEACE IN THE CHAOS
One Line to Get You Through the Stressed Mom Days

HEAL YOUR HURT
I’m So Hurt: What Healing Sometimes Looks Like
When Life Knocks You Down & You’re Tired of Your Struggle
Miscarriage Grief: 5 Reasons Why a Miscarriage is so Emotionally Painful

EMBRACE CHANGE
Find Hope Now in the Story of a Mom Who Didn’t Want Change

heal from miscarriage
Ultrasound photo by Edward Cisneros on Unsplash Pregnant woman photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

Join the Empowered Moms and Kids Community

You just dropped one kid off at practice, picked up another, and are trying to decide what to make for dinner. Your days are filled with work, parenting, and waiting for password reset emails.

You are parenting tweens and teens.

It’s an amazing life phase, but also challenging in unique ways. In it all, you’d love a little encouragement to help you laugh, grow in faith, see parenting hacks, get ideas to connect with your kid, and celebrate the awesome momma you are. 

I got you, friend. Sign up for Empowered Moms and Kids monthly emails and get encouragement in your inbox geared for someone exactly in your life chapter. It’s totally free and you can unsubscribe at any time. 

Plus, you’ll get instant access to all the great resources in the freebie library. Join our community below. 

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funny parenting stories

Funny Stories about Parenting: Laugh Your Way Through Raising Tweens & Teens

(Inside: Funny stories about parenting to help you laugh your way through motherhood. All these stories are based on true experiences of raising tweens and teens.)

funny stories about parenting

 

You might be parenting teens and/or tweens if you can relate to these stories…

 

The daughter who talks until the end of time.

Your sweet 11-year-old daughter bursts into the kitchen while you drop spaghetti noodles into boiling water. 

“Mom, I had so. much. fun at Joe’s house.” (Your neighbor boy.) 

“Joe was bored so we wandered around his house for a bit trying to find something to do.”  

Like a freight train at warp speed, your daughter’s words pour out…she describes how she fluffed the living room pillows. (“Joe only has brothers – they don’t notice those kinds of things.”) Then, she continued describing how the living room looked after the fluffing was complete. She does not care that you’ve been to your neighbor’s house a million times before, she’s finishing. her. description. by. goodness. 

You nod and “uh-huh” as you listen.

Then she launches into a story of Joe and her deciding what to do

She details the choices they brainstormed and how they whittled down the list. She outlined how they decided to build Legos, whose idea it was, and in great detail explained every… aspect… of…the Lego creation they built. You feel you were with her on every piece selected and snapped into place. 

Her voice rises and falls and great dramatic gestures are displayed as you… make dinner, set the table, and call the family to wash up. Your Chatty Cathy briefly pauses as you bless the food (Thank you, Jesus), then continues through the eating of cheesy bread and pasta. A little brother tries to interject but the cutie-pie with chestnut hair gives a stern glare securing her senior position on the floor.  

As you scrape the rest of your plate, you glance at the clock. She’s talked for 40 minutes straight.  

How long was your daughter at Joe’s house? 

30 minutes.  

How is that even possible, you wonder? But you’re too scared to ask. That’ll lock you into another 15 minutes for sure… 

 

funny stories about parenting

The tween who discovers the truth about Santa.

“Mom, I don’t think Santa’s real.” your youngest son states. 

Your head snaps up. You know you’ve let the believe-in-Santa gig carry on a little too long with your tween, but he’s your youngest kid. He might be ready to give up Santa, but you might not be ready to let him give it up. It’s accepting that you actually are a middle-aged woman and that your children will become adults and move out. (Tears.) You realize your baby (I mean tween) might get teased by his peers for still believing, but that’s a price he just might have to pay to let you hold onto your youth for one. more. day. 

In response to your kid’s declaration, you try not to show panic on your face. You breathe deep. You smile. Yes, smiling is good you tell yourself. You also tell yourself I am young because even if it isn’t true it makes you feel good and you deserve to feel good. 

“Why don’t you think Santa’s not real?” you cheerfully ask. You expect the how-can-he-visit-billions-of-kids-homes-in-one-night question. You’ve heard that before and you have answers. Or even the how-can-reindeer-fly question. (Easy-peasy – magic words and pixie dust, you’ll say.)

But your kid doesn’t ask that. He says…

“Because all the toys he leaves you can buy on Amazon. And I don’t think he owns the right to reproduce all those exact toys. I’m pretty sure it’s illegal.”

Amazon.

Amazon sold you out. If he knows about copyright/patent laws, your son is too old to believe. You’re going to have to drop the Santa-is-in-fact-not-real bomb right then and there. 

In protest, you decide to cancel your Amazon subscription. Immediately – because you feel betrayed and annoyed and that you need to start buying that anti-aging cream that costs as much as your car. 

But, wait…

Who are you kidding? You can’t cancel Amazon.

You are now Santa and your kid knows it.  

Freeze time. Remember how fun your kids were at this age. Read more about this memory book keepsake.

On motivating your tweens & teens to conserve energy at home

Your energy bill makes your eyes bug out. It’s not the cost – that seems about right – it’s the bar chart that compares your energy use with that of your neighbors. 

The first bar represents the frugal neighbors’ energy use. Their bar is short and efficient, just like them. This doesn’t bother you, you are no “tree hugger” (but thank goodness for them), so onward. 

The second bar shows the “average use” neighbors. Their bar sticks out a solid length in the middle and seems to taunt you just a bit. The mom with one more kid than you down the street can get this right, why can’t you?

Then, there’s you. The sky-high bar declares with zest you and your offspring as inefficient. You stare at your bar. You challenge it to Harry Potter it’s way down to the same height as the “average use” neighbors, but it doesn’t budge.

Then you feel your anger bubble. Deep within you, the rage begins to rise. You love the earth; wasteful living is not your goal. You fume… 

What is wrong with my people? Don’t they love the environment? At the very least, don’t they love me, their frugal momma? The retirees can get this right. Even the family with the pool is beating us in efficient-energy-use.

You’re mad…and determined that the planet isn’t going down because of your family. So after church, when your kids just heard an awesome biblical lesson on love and kindness and minding your mother (you might’ve added the last part), you gather them around the lunch table. 

“Listen,” you say. “Our energy bill gave us a year-end summary of our efficiency use. All the neighbors are beating us. Like, we’re using waaaaay too much energy. What can we do?” (You’ve learned the skill-set of questioning until your people think that your idea is theirs. You’re ready for this conversation.)

“Take shorter showers,” your kids say.  

Yes, you nod. Your kids are so smart. They take after you. You knew you were raising geniuses.

“Spend more time at other’s peoples’ houses so we use their energy,” your kids add on.

No, you shake your kid. Your kids aren’t smart. You graduated Summa Cum Laude from college. How come your kids are so dumb?

Instead of running water, fill the sink 1/3 the way full and use that to scrub off the dishes before they go in the dishwasher. Use cups more than once. Don’t throw all the clothes in the laundry if they aren’t really dirty. You continue with all the ways to be efficient…

You’re feeling hopeful. Your kids are getting this. These are their ideas. They will follow through. They love trees and clean air and animals. They will do their part. They’ll take care of our beautiful, yet fragile earth.

They’re good kids. 

And you’re a good mom.

You finish lunch and your kids clean up. They scrub plates and cups and forks just like you explained. You go about your business while your kids finish their chores and exit the kitchen.

Five minutes later you re-enter the empty, clean kitchen to see how your kids faired.

The kitchen sink is still running. Water is slowly coming out in a steady stream with no one in sight to turn it off.

You’ll try again with this same conversation tomorrow. 

Your turn: tell your funny stories about parenting

My life is surrounded by tweens and teens. I’m raising three, my friends are collectively raising a billion and I teach high school. From my life (and antics my fellow moms and high school students share with me), these are my stories. (As always – because I love my people, I’m careful with what and how I share their stories. I sometimes change minor details for privacy reasons.)

What are the funny things your tweens/teens have done? Leave your stories in the comments.

 

Join this community of moms raising tweens and teen

Your brain bounces between your day at work, what time(s) your kids need to be at practice, your teen’s missing school assignments, that you haven’t called your mom lately, the load of the laundry to be switched, “What’s for dinner?” and “Why are 3 of my brain-tabs frozen?”  

You are raising tweens and teens – the unique parenting phase where everything gets easier…and harder.

We’re finally believing all those “they grow so fast” comments. This is your last hurray with kids in your home and you want to love every minute.  

You’re taking a second look at your career, your hobbies, how to share your gifts and talents. 

Parenting grows your faith and then makes you wonder where your faith is. 

You long for friendships and deep relationships, but you’re just so busy. 

You’d love a quick place to connect and feel encouraged.  

Join the hundreds of other women who’ve signed up for Empowered Moms and Kid’s inspirational monthly emails. You’ll look forward to opening them. (Plus, it’s free and you can unsubscribe at any time.)  

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Read the complete funny stories about parenting series

Laugh through motherhood with me by reading the complete funny stories about parenting series:

Funny Mom Story: Disastrous Day Turned Parenting Win (Part 1)
Funny Parenting Stories: Raising Tweens and Tweens is the Best (Part 2)
Funny Stories about Parenting: Laugh Your Way Through Raising Tweens & Teens (Part 3)

family bible reading plan

A Fantastic Way for Your Family to be Fueled by the Bible in Busy Mom Life (Freebie)

(Inside: A free family bible reading plan you will love. In your busy mom life, be fueled by Jesus’ words of love and hope. Raise kids of faith who hear Jesus’ voice in their everyday life.)

“I need to hear God’s word.”

This thought slipped out of my mouth unexpectedly. And took me off guard.  My life boasted no crisis. Or drama. Nothing burdened my heart. No life event sent me to my knees. 

In between dropping boys off at soccer practice, scheduling dentist appointments, and teaching my high school students, I longed for a voice that’d lately felt quiet. 

Jesus’s voice. 

It’s like when I haven’t talked to my mom or sister or grandma in a while. A moment washes over me when I need to pick up the phone and simply hear their voices. I need to hear their inflections. And tones. The people I love’s words. 

I needed to hear Jesus in the same way. I longed to hear the stories that nourished my childhood. I ached for the words that change people’s lives for the better. I wished for words that reminded me that all of our lives are a part of a much bigger story. 

 

Related article: 60+ Encouraging and Inspirational Best Books for Moms

Grab the Free Family Bible Reading Plan plus get instant access to the Freebie Library that includes 15+ empowering freebies for moms raising older kids.
Yes, I want all of the Freebies!

The Bible Stories That Fuel Us

But, I didn’t just crave any Bible stories, I specifically longed to hear the words Jesus spoke and the life he lived. I longed to hear…

I longed to hear who Jesus is, how he lived, and what he did for us. I needed to feel Jesus living in me, walking near me, and going before me. 

How do we fit in a family Bible reading plan when we’re so crazy busy?

When we’re busy, we work with the life we have to accomplish our heart’s longings.

Now, my life is taxiing kids to activities, helping with homework, teaching high school, and keeping the fires burning at home. If I’m going to fit in reading the Bible regularly in this season, I need to regularly make it work with where my focus is – connecting witmy family. 

So, I created a free Bible reading plan I’ve been reading through with my family and oh how I love it…

A Free Family Bible Reading Plan You’ll Love

Here’s the skinny… Our focus is on reading about Jesus’ ministry and hearing the words he spoke.

  • We read a bite-size, digestible section a night.
  • We then ask three great questions that have sparked great conversation.
  • And we end with journaling (optional) about we want to remember and three things we’re grateful for. 

 

Related article: Best Podcasts Every Mom Needs to Hear

Get the Free Family Bible Reading plan plus more awesome freebies by clicking on the button below.
Yes, I want all of the Freebies!

Get the Free Bible Reading Plan Here

I’d love to share this Bible reading plan with you. So, I put together a lovely printable outlining reading the book of Matthew four days a week. I included discussion questions and journal prompts for you and your family.

So, onto your turn…

What or who keeps you the busiest right now? How could you realistically include the nourishing words of Jesus in your life? The family Bible reading plan doesn’t have to be read with your people. Maybe you’d like to fit in Jesus’ words into your everyday life in a different way. Here are some ideas:

  • Find a coworker friend and talk about this a few times a week over your lunch break. 
  • Make this dinner-time discussion with your spouse/significant other.
  • Invite your grandbabies (and their parents over) once a week and chip away at the Bible reading and discussion.
  • Make this the right-before-bed discussion about 4 times a week with your children. (This is what we do!)
  • Use this at your quiet time.
  • Moms with babies – leave your Bible out on your kitchen counter and read it as your baby throws her spaghetti lunch on the ground. (Also, take deep breaths – you’re a rock-star-momma and this too shall pass quicker than you’d actually like!)
  • Read these short, digestible passages before you get out of bed in the morning.


However you choose to input Jesus’ words, remember there’s no right or wrong way to do this. Jesus meets you where you are and blesses you in ways you can’t even fully imagine until you simply dive in and listen to him speak to you. 

Grab the freebie below, then come back and tell us how you’re using it. 

Yes, I want the Bible Reading Plan!

Let’s stay connected! Join this community of moms of older kids.

You just dropped one kid off at practice, picked up another, and are trying to decide what to make for dinner. Your days are filled with work, parenting, and waiting for password reset emails.

You are parenting tweens and teens.

It’s an amazing life phase, but also challenging in unique ways. In it all, you’d love a little encouragement to help you laugh, grow in faith, see parenting hacks, get ideas to connect with your kids, feel empowered in your personal growth, and celebrate the awesome momma you are. 

I got you, friend. Sign up for Empowered Moms and Kids monthly emails and get inspiration, resources, and stories in your inbox geared for someone exactly in your life chapter. It’s totally free and you can unsubscribe at any time. 

Plus, you’ll get instant access to all the great resources in the freebie library. Join our community here or below. 

gifts for moms

Want more parenting stories and resources?

AWESOME BOOKLISTS
Book Ideas for High School Teenagers

Book Ideas for Middle School Tweens

Inspirational Books Ideas for Moms

GIFT IDEAS
Gift ideas for Moms of Tweens and Teens (Great for Mother’s Day!)

Gift Ideas for Teenage Boys

Gift Ideas for Teenage Girls

SCHOOL
Teen, These Big Reasons are Why You’ll Like Trying Hard in School (And, no, it’s not about grades.)

FAMILY CONNECTION IDEAS
Connect as a Family Over These Conversation Starters

best podcasts for teenage boys

15+ Best Podcasts to Inspire and Motivate Our Teen Boys

(Inside: Best podcasts for teenage boys. Inspire and motivate our teen boys with these awesome podcasts.)

I stepped out of my car and visually took in his house.

Wow. This is more than I could ever afford.

I knew this man (a friend of a friend) had barely graduated from high school. He certainly didn’t have a 4-year degree. Or a 2-year degree. Or maybe not even a certificate of anything. I was there to tutor his high school son in math. As I entered his home, I was equally impressed with the beauty and show of wealth.

Week after week, I came into this family’s home and helped the son get his grade up. Finally, I couldn’t even stand it anymore. I ask the dad, “Tell me your journey to success.”

And the door was open…

He explained that he was working, not making the money he needed, depressed, and overwhelmed with his lack of knowing what he wanted to do with his life. So, he started listening to motivational podcasts. (Back when they were cassette tapes.) He listened over and over to inspirational words until he believed he could achieve his dreams, which was to start his own business…

And that’s what kicked off his drive to build his empire: encouraging words.

Inspirational and Motivational Men for Our Boys to Look Up To

I understand his story. Podcasts to me are life-changing. I listen to them while I walk/jog. I listen to them on my way to work. I soak them in as I create images for this blog. The positive messages they convey are inspiring. 

Except, there seems to be an amazing amount of women cheering each other on, but I’ve had more trouble finding male influences that speak to the soul of a young man the same way my women podcasters uniquely speak to my heart. (Of course I think women’s voices are vital in raising our sons, but it was bubbling from inside of me to find strong, motivational men of integrity for my tween/teenage sons to learn from.) So, I asked my students, friends, The Google and listened to a bazillion podcasts…

I wasn’t disappointed – I found some great podcasts and I’m sharing them with you…  (As always, I don’t agree with everything everyone says. And not every podcast is right for every listener. But this is a great place to start when you’re trying to find that motivational person who will inspire your family.)

 

Related article: Frustrated Mom – Your Teen Will Find Success

Photo by Reynier Carl on Unsplash

Best Podcasts for Teenage Boys for Inspiration to Grow into Awesome Human Beings

Eric Thomas, The Secret to Success Podcast

A student recommended this Eric Thomas’ motivational podcast. I’ve seen such growth and maturity in my student over the years, I had to take a listen and it’s good!

Listen to the podcast here: The Secret to Success Podcast

Tim Williams, Inspirational Speaker

Tim started a Thrivehood podcast specifically to mentor and inspire young men through the teen years.  With wisdome and humor, he talks about a varietly of topics that help teens thrive through the growth and maturity process. 

Check out the podcast here: Thrivehood Podcast

Miles Adcox, Inspirational Speaker

Because this post is about finding strong men of integrity for our boys to learn from, I’m only going to focus on Miles. (Ruthie, you’re awesome though!) Miles Adcox is the “owner and CEO of Onsite, an internationally acclaimed emotional health retreat center that delivers life-changing personal growth workshops, inspiring content, leadership retreats, and emotional health intensives.” Miles hosts a podcast called Unspoken with Ruthie Lindsey. They have meaningful conversations with their diverse guests. They have a unique way of getting people to open up and share with moves them. 

I listened to this interview with John Batiste and thought it was great. This is the type of man I want my sons to learn from. Jon Batiste work has included being the Musical Director of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Artistic Director At Large of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, and Musical Director for The Atlantic. His first solo album, Hollywood Africans, was nominated for a GRAMMY.  

Find Miles at his podcast here: Unspoken

Dave Hollis, Motivational Speaker

I loved his honest conversation about self-growth and stepping up to the plate with Jen Hatmaker. Listen to this podcast here. (I had my son listen to this!)

Here’s Dave’s regular podcast: Rise Together

Michael Hyatt, Expert on Leadership

Michale Hyatt specializes in motivating people to lead. No matter where our sons are in their lives, we want them to be leaders. Meaning, they lead themselves in striving for excellence, they lead in our homes by being motivated to help clean and contribute to the family, they lead in their peer circles by encouraging others to be “includers” and make good choices, and I could forever go on. Michael speaks to men with soul, passion, and faith. He’s one to listen to. 

Here’s Michael’s regular podcast: Lead to Win

Do you want to connect with your teens over great conversations? Read more here.

Alex and Brett Harris, Motivational Speakers

These twin brothers took the internet by storm as “they challenged their peers to rebel against low expectations and do hard things.” So, here’s the bummer – as engaging and inspirational as these young men are – they don’t have a podcast. (And all the moms of teens cry oceans of tears.) But they’re worth a mention because they speak specifically to motivate and inspire teens out of laziness and apathy. (It should be noted here that in all my years of teaching high school, I’ve found that all teenagers want to find their purpose and learn how to use their gifts. Every. Single. Teen.) So, I tracked down this interview to inspire teens.

Here’s the brothers’ website: The Rebelution

best podcasts for teenage boys

Dream Big Podcast with Bob Goff and Friends, Personal Growth

When I started searching for podcasts for my tween/teenage sons to be inspired by, Bob Goff’s was exactly what I was looking for. His website describes his podcast best: 

“This podcast is all about guiding you to discover, declare, and take action on the big ambitions you have for your life. Each month we’ll focus on one of the foundational principles of the Dream Big Framework.

Every episode you’ll be hearing from one of Bob’s friends, who’s been learning how to chase their big ambitions, despite the bumps and turns life can throw at all of us.”

Listen to the podcast here: Dream Big Podcast with Bob Goff and Friends

Dr. Phil, Psychologist/Therapist

Parents of tweens/teens fell in love with Dr. Phil’s matter-of-fact, common-sense advice through first seeing him on Oprah. But, our kids don’t know Dr. Phil. So, let me tell you, I was thrilled to see that he hosts a podcast. He’s still at it. Listening to people’s problems and with kindness but firmness, sheds practical and inspiring light onto everyone’s situations.  

Listen to the podcast here: Dr. Phil in the Blanks

Richard Nicholls – Motivate Yourself Podcast 

Richard Nicholls is a psychotherapist who does these popular 15-minute podcasts to help you get inspired and motivated. (He’s massively popular in the UK.) I liked this podcast on “How to Feel Alive.” After listening – I felt walked with a little more spring in my step.

Listen to the podcast here: Richard Nicolls – Motivate Yourself Podcast

Trent Shelton – Straight Up with Trent Shelton Podcast 

My son and I listen to this as we drive to and/or from soccer practice. He just speaks a lot of common sense with passion and conviction. I liked Episode 63: Stop Wasting Time on the 99%. Focus on the 1% who Care. He encourages people to think about the people in their lives who really matter, telling a touching and eye-opening story about the people who showed up when his mom was sick.

Listen to the podcast here: Straight Up with Trent Shelton

Photo by Joel De Vera on Unsplash

Best Podcasts for Teenage Boys for Learning About Money

Dave Ramsey

You might be wondering why I am recommending a financial guru, but I have a high school student who loves him. There are tweens/teens out there who are super interested in money. (I have a middle-schooler at home who is planning out already how to make his fortune. I have another elementary-age son who worked really hard in his school fundraiser because he thought he got to keep the money himself. I laughed so hard when he told me this – but I also beamed at his work ethic. *Now if only he’d apply that work ethic to keeping his room clean.*) Not only does Dave know his stuff, but I’m super impressed with his character. He is a strong man for teens to learn from. 

Listen to Dave’s podcast here: The Dave Ramsey Show

Best Podcasts for Teenage Boys for Growing Faith

Tim Mackie & Jon Collins

Tim and Jon dive deep into biblical theology in a way that is profound and thought-provoking. They capture the young minds of our worlds and help them to see Jesus all around them. Their podcasts are something else – in the very best way.

Listen to their podcast here: The Bible Project

Ben Pierce

Ben Pierce spoke at our church about faith and culture and life – I just can’t really describe what an impact he had on our family. He makes you think in the best of ways, and we talked about his message for days. So, I was thrilled to see that he had a podcast. If you’re looking for a faith-based podcast geared specifically toward teens and young adults, he’s a great one to check out.

Listen to Ben and his team’s podcast here: Provoke & Inspire Pocast

Joshua Dubois

Joshua Debois gained notability as The White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships in President Obama’s first term. He sent President Obama daily devotions, which he later turned into a book. Joshua then started his own successful consulting company. He is an amazing voice in our world. He speaks wisely and inspirationally regarding faith, issues specifically impacting African Americans, and living life well. He doesn’t have his own podcast, but he is featured in the below podcast. Joshua is a strong, hard-working, faith-filled, ambitious man for our young men to follow. 

Best Podcasts for Teenage Boys for Creating Life-Long Learners

Robert Krulwich and Jad Abumrad. Radio Lab Podcasts (Science)

This podcast captured my attention because it’s an engaging and interesting way to get our teens thinking about science and the world around them.  The podcast moves through exploring the “big questions” in science, philosophy, and mankind with curious questions, interesting dialogue, and a hold-your-attention speed.

For example, this episode questions where animals go in the winter.  The hosts  (with an 11-year-old) visit a Bavarian farm where they “follow warblers and wildebeests around the world, and get a totally new kind of view of the pulsing flow of animals across the globe.”

Side note: Naturally in science evolution is discussed. Being a Christian who teaches math at a large public high school, I’m okay with all of the discussions. I firmly believe in creation, but bring on the other theories. Let’s talk about it all!

Listen to the podcast here: Radiolab

Chris Anderson – Ted Interview

One of my most valuable teaching strategies in trying to educate my high school students is storytelling. There’s something about the lesson you learn through a story and how it reaches deep into our hearts and finds a place to connect and stays.

The Ted Talk podcast is storytelling. Their website says, “Head of TED Chris Anderson speaks with some of the world’s most interesting people to dig into the provocative and powerful ideas of our time.”

Listen to the podcast here: TED Interview Podcasts

 

Dear Hank & John Podcast

Okay, here’s why I like these two. They talk about the things you notice in life like:

  • Why does my brain release endorphins for things that are bad for me?
  • How do you interject in conversations smoothly?
  • How do we know no two snowflakes are alike?


They discuss these thoughts in an engaging, smart, and fun manner. When I think about one of my parenting goals of creating lifelong learners and listening to men who ask smart questions –  I like the idea of my sons listening to a podcast like this. 

Listen to the Podcast here: Dear Hank & John

How to! With Charles Duhigg Podcast

I first hear Charles Duhigg talk about his podcast here and I was fascinated. He takes smart topics, odd issues, random problems – it all – and helps us all peel back the layers and wonder what is really happening. It encourages us to think analytically and wisely as we solve each other’s problems. There’s a topic that for sure will engage your teen’s brain.

Listen to the podcast here: How to! With Charles Duhigg Podcast

Related article: 146+ Best Chapter Books for Tweens that will also Build Character

 

Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens

You just dropped one kid off at practice, picked up another, and are trying to decide what to make for dinner. Your days are filled with work, parenting, and waiting for password reset emails.

You are parenting tweens and teens.

It’s an amazing life phase, but also challenging in unique ways. In it all, you’d love a little encouragement to help you laugh, grow in faith, see parenting hacks, get ideas to connect with your kid, and celebrate the awesome momma you are. 

I got you, friend. Sign up for Empowered Moms and Kids monthly emails and get encouragement in your inbox geared for someone exactly in your life chapter. It’s totally free and you can unsubscribe at any time. 

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my teen has low motivation

Frustrated Mom – Your Unmotivated Teen Will Find Success

(Inside: My teen has no motivation. What should I do? Help me gain perspective on this!)

My teen has no motivation

I had a wretched evening. My middle school son and I battled over his schoolwork and I felt completely discouraged…

The next morning, I went to a student-of-the-year presentation at the high school where I teach. Each teacher picks a student who has stood out over the year. This award is a big deal.

Low motivation in teens is not uncommon

A teacher stood up with a graduating senior I’d had in previous years. She’d both warmed-my-teacher-heart and broken-my-teacher-heart. Incredibly likable, this girl was kind and fun to be around. But she didn’t like homework, or goals…or really doing anything academic at all.

Despite encouragement and talking-to and phone calls home, her mom and I barely dragged her over the passing line in my class. For three high school years, she struggled to find any success at all in school.

Are you tired of nagging your big kid to take care of their responsibilities? I would through a tough school phase with my son, and communicating through a checklist was a game changer. Read more in the description here.

How this teen became motivated

Then something happened – I don’t know really, but her senior year, we all saw a change in her.

She carried herself differently. With more confidence. Like she’d made up her mind to do well and now she was ready to take some steps.

She started making plans for after graduation – her future excited her. She took on more leadership roles in school – her confidence grew. She focused on getting assignments completed and turned in – her grades went up.

And now she was standing on a stage being applauded by a room full of teachers, administrators, parents, and peers.

Her mom beamed as she came over to say hello after the presentation. I asked, “What changed?” She said, her daughter…

Ready for this life-changing event?

This lighting strike moment?

…she said her daughter simply matured.

Related Article: A family connection activity to increase you and your kid’s happiness

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Moms, we keep giving our unmotivated teens the tools to success

No big dramatic moment, instead, at the end of her junior year, she quietly began to “grow up.” All the things her parents and teachers said to her finally started to sink in. And because she’d been given the tools to find success over the years, she knew to pull them out and start testing a few. Also, because everyone unconditionally loved her when she wasn’t using her gifts, I imagine she knew she had nothing to lose by simply trying.

This mom’s words were exactly what I needed to hear.

Just because my kid fought me on completing homework well, doesn’t mean he always will….

And just because our kids don’t always make good choices, doesn’t mean they always will… Just because our kids are moody and cranky with us, doesn’t mean they always will… And just because our kids can seem apathetic with no ambition or direction, it doesn’t mean they always will…

Sometimes kids just need time…

to grow…
to let it all sink in…
to be a late bloomer…
and mature.

 

Related Article: How to Get Your Teen to Their Aha Moments (Better communicate with your teen)

Have faith – your kid will find their way

Moms, we stay the course. We keep loving and encouraging our kids through the high moments and the low moments. Even if our kids don’t respond to our “motivation” and “wisdom,” we keep giving them tools. We keep placing in their toolbox life lessons and tangible steps of how to be successful along with a ton of unconditional love.

And then we know – we really know and believe…
…that maturity will happen…eventually.

Join this mom community of moms of older kids

Are you parenting tweens and teens? Then you’re in the right place and I’d love to stay connected. Get instant access to 17+ helpful freebies and monthly empowering emails by clicking here (or below).

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Read more in the helping your big kid thrive in school series…

As a high school teacher for over two decades, I love, love, love watching kids learn. It’s okay if there are struggles in their educational journey. Not just okay – normal, even. We just keep stressing the importance of education and giving them the tools for success. And then we encourage our kids and love them well.

I hope you enjoy these articles.

ENCOURAGEMENT FOR PARENTS
Teen, These Big Reasons are Why You’ll Like Trying Hard in School

GETTING ORGANIZED
A Simple Way to Motivate Teens to Be More Responsible

BOOKLISTS
146+ Best Chapter Books for Tweens that Will Also Build Character
Compelling Books that High Schoolers Will Want to Read

my tween has low motivation
Photo by Rubén Rodriguez on Unsplash