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family at dinner table

The Lasting Power of a Simple Meal: It’s Not Just Your Family at the Dinner Table, It’s More

(Inside: Moms, we think it’s just our family at the dinner table, another meal, nothing special, but it’s so much more than that…)

It’s not just dinner.

Moms, we think it’s just dinner, but we forget.

It’s not just noodles, a jar of spaghetti sauce, and a side of broccoli.

Or pizza showing up at our door.

Or chicken sandwiches ordered from a booth.

It’s a place for our family to fill their empty bellies – a mood booster and an energy-giver.

It’s a place to unpack your thoughts and process your day. To be heard and to listen. And for your family to speak truth and encouragement into each other’s lives.

It’s a place to just focus on eating because everyone’s too tired to talk, but it’s your safe place to simply sit and be. The dinner table is a place to belong.

It’s a place for good conversations. And belly laughs. And heated debates. And dumb topics. And intellectual thoughts.

family at dinner table
Do you want to make your meals more interesting? Discuss these awesome conversation starters for families of teens.

At the end of a busy day, we can quickly throw together/order/pick up something to eat and not think anything more about it. But it’s not just dinner.

It’s a pause in life to soak in the people you love. To refuel your body. To show and receive emotional support. To create and deepen family connections. To nurture a sense of belonging.

Life gets busy and this certainly isn’t going to happen every single night.

But, that rhythm of continually coming back to family meals.

It’s not just dinner.

It’s life.

Want to connect more than over your family at the dinner table? Read more in the “Create Family Connections” series.

We all want to feel connected to our family. I know, I do. 

One of my favorite things to do with my family is to create family time. Yes, life gets busy, and no I don’t do this all perfectly (who actually does!?!), but it sure is fun to try. 

I hope you enjoy these family connection articles and ideas too…

FAMILY ACTIVITIES
400+ Great Conversation Starters for Families of Teens
7 Powerful Reasons to Pray as a Family (+ Prayer Journal)

INSPIRATIONAL STORIES
My Big Kids, No Matter How Fast Your Grow, I’ll Always Be Your Mom 
Moms of Big Kids, Get Lost in Motherhood if You Want

CELEBRATING HOLIDAYS
30+ Ways to Connect With Your Family Over the Holiday Season

family at dinner table

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 kids, 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 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
family at dinner table
teen struggle

You Can’t Fix Your Struggling Teen’s Problems, But You Can Do This One Powerful Thing

(Inside: Watching your teen struggle can be so incredibly hard. We often can’t fix their problems anymore, but we can do this one powerful thing.)

One of the hardest things in parenting is watching your teen (or big kid) struggle and feeling helpless.

That’s where my mom was with me when I was in my early 20s.
 
I can’t exactly put my finger on why I was in such a funk. I’d followed the formula (college, then career), and yet there I was in the golden-young-twenty-years feeling lost.
 
Not just lost, panicked. With screeching anxiety. Pounding me every second.
 
Maybe it was that everyone else was getting married and my boyfriend had written a two-sentence letter, put a stamp on it, licked the envelope, and mailed it to break up with me. (Me calling him: “Did you just break up with me in an actual letter?” Dumpster fire moment.) Or maybe it was that everyone else seemed confident in their direction, and I was bouncing between temporary living places and uncertain about my career.

I just couldn’t.

Couldn’t manage my emotions.
 
Couldn’t make decisions.
 
Couldn’t get on top of life.
 
But, my mom…
 
My sweet momma.
 
She invaded my space in the best of ways: she typed up all of her favorite verses about hope, printed them out, and hung them all over my doors, next to my bed, by my mirror – nourishment sprinkled everywhere.
 
Y’all my mom doesn’t even like that kind of crafty stuff.
 
I was overcome.
teen struggle
It’s so hard to watch your teen struggle. If you want to save time and simply download some encouraging scripture verses for teens, click here.

Now, two decades later, I get why that simple gesture meant so much to me – because I better understand pain.

Pain is like a spiderweb of cracks that slices through your life in crazy directions. There isn’t one magic “thing” that instantly heals the mess. Rather, it takes an accumulation of solutions to slowly bind up your wounds. For example, one small slice of crack gets better through taking care of your body (long walks, water, eating well, sleep). Another by connecting with your people (hugs, conversations, petting your dog). A different crevice mends through inputting inspiration (books, podcasts, church, prayer, encouragement). And other slice heals by seeking professional help (doctors, counselors, therapists, medication). Each little step towards self-care stitches small sections of your cracks back together until, over time, you feel healed.
 
Changed and maybe different – but definitely better.
 
During that period, I worked hard at healing and did “all of the above.” But when I look back, what sticks with me the most were the actions of my mom. Her going out of her way to remind me of her constant presence and support through hanging up God’s promises was powerful.

Now, I’m the mom. And I’ve experienced how excruciating it can be to watch my teen struggle.

Often, I can’t often fix their problems anymore.
 
But I remember that the small gestures…
 
A text.
 
A hug.
 
A warm dinner.
 
Words of encouragement.
 
Listening.
 
Or printed out verses plastered everywhere.
 
The tangible ways of reminding our kids that we’re always there for them – they all matter. Parenting will always have its ups and downs, including difficult seasons with unclear solutions. But, in the hard, when we feel helpless…moms, we can encourage. We can choose to operate from a place of hope knowing that being a mom who is always there for her kids has a positive ripple effect.
teen struggle
Download encouragement for your struggling teen.

It’s so hard to watch your teen struggle. Read more for encouraging parenting resources to help…

My two oldest sons are in high school now, and I’m still in a coma because of it. Even though I’ve taught high school for over two decades, I’m confused as to how I’m actually old enough to be a parent of a high schooler. 

Teaching high schoolers has always been a passion of mine, but not parenting them is as well. I could research, write, and talk about this topic until eternity. I hope you are encouraged by some of my articles.

Parenting Tweens and Teens Series

TEACHING GRIT
The Pandemic is Shaping Kids in These 6 Powerful Ways

ENCOURAGEMENT FOR TEENS
A Simple and Effective Way to Encourage Your Teen

COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR TWEEN/TEEN
How to Get Your Teen/Teen to Their “Aha Moment”
How to Get Your Tween/Teenage Son to Open Up to You
400+ Conversation Starters for Families of Teens

PARENTING
Parenting is Hard: This One Thought Can Help You Better Thrive
Dear Kids – Know the Difference Between “Chores” and “Maintenance”
To the Mom of a High School Freshman
Your Teen’s Maddening Behavior is Age-Appropriate and Here’s Hope
Raising Tweens and Teens – THIS is what it looks like…

HEARTWARMING STORIES IN RAISING OLDER KIDS
I Will Miss These Years of Raising Tweens and Teens
7 Reasons Why Raising Tweens & Teens is the Best
To the Mom Who Mourns That Kids Grow Too Fast

Watching your teen struggle can be so hard: encouraging downloadable printables can be found here.

Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens (We’ve all been there watching our teen struggle. You are not alone!)

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 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
conversation starters

400+ Great Conversation Starters for Families of Teens

(Inside: Do you want good conversation starters for your teens? Or great questions to ask your teens to help them open up to the family? Read on…)

Conversation Starters For Teens

Moms want to connect with their teens. We want to know what our teens love and don’t, what’s going well and isn’t, how they best feel heard and loved, and about their friendships, school, and life.

We want to know how they think.

We want to know what makes them happy.

And I could keep listing because the truth is we want to know everything about our teens – we want to know who those sweet babies that we carried and nurtured and rocked are growing up to be.

Teens Want To Be Known

Similarly, teens want to be heard. They want to be seen, loved, and wanted by their parents. Even when they are at their worst, they still want their parents to pursue them, over and over telling (and showing) them they are worthy and loved.

Connecting With Our Teens Can Be Hard

However, life isn’t flawless. Teens can hold it together all day and fall apart when they come home, their moodiness tearing through the house with unbridled force. Or they find themselves lost in stress, or emotions or impulsiveness or self-sabotaging or apathy. But, as moms, we don’t buy any I-don’t-need-you signs. Not even one pennyworth – our teens long to connect with their families.

A Simple Way To Connect That Your Teen Will Like


As my sons grew older, I wanted to add tools to my box of ways to connect with them. In my high school classroom (I’ve taught for 20+ years), I’ve noticed that when I put students in small groups and had them answer anywhere from dumb to ridiculous to basic to thought-provoking questions, kids came alive. They loved sharing their thoughts and flourished in the framework of the presented questions. So, I took this idea home and found my quiet sons opening up with these conversation starters – be still, my heart.

Asking The Right Questions Is Key To Teens Opening-Up: Conversation Starters for Families of Teens

But not everyone feels like opening up at all times. Some teens love to jump into all the talking, while others need to warm up. So, these conversation starters include a variety of questions like…

  • Expected get-to-know-you questions: If you could interview someone who is famous, who would that be?
  • Yes-or-no-quick questions: Is chili a type of soup – yes or no?
  • Get-to-know-their-world questions: What’s the best YouTube or TikTok video you’ve watched lately?
  • Get-to-to-know-their-friends questions: If you were planning a cross-country road trip from Florida to Washington State, which three people would you hope would go with you? Tell me why you chose each person.
  • Reflective questions: You come home super stressed, go into your room and lie down on your bed. You flip on a song – which song is it?
  • Insightful questions: If you were told you had to switch friend groups, which peers at school would you like to get to know more?
  • Faith questions: What do you understand about the trinity?
  • Plus, questions about quotes,  scripture verses, deep topics, tricky subjects and more…

400+ Conversation Starters for Teens Are Broken Into Three Categories

Then these questions are broken into three categories, depending on how deep you want to go with the people involved in the discussion:

  • 200+ Fun Get-to-Know-You Questions: Great for enjoyable conversations between friends, among extended family, or for low-stress evenings.
  • 100+ Dive-Deeper Questions: Designed for close family who wants to really get to know each other. There are hard subjects and personal topics covered in these conversations starters.
  • 100+ Faith-Filled Questions: These questions were created to help everyone reflect on their faith journeys and connect over deep discussions.

How To Use The Conversation Starters For Families Of Teens Resource

I’ve found the most success with these questions when I’ve made “a thing” of it. Meaning, just like when we’ve declared family movie night, we plan a family discussion time where everyone is prepared to talk. Here are some ideas of what this could look like:

  • Dinner discussion: We’ve cut up the questions and put them in a gallon-size ziplock bag. Then maybe every Tuesday is “talk night.” Each family member draws one question to ask the group and discuss.
  • Evening Activity: Instead of playing cards or watching a movie, grab some snacks and get comfortable and everyone picks a number. Those are the questions that you ask each other.
  • Car rides: When you’re riding to church or the store or a game together, maybe you pass the time with a question.
  • And more: There is no right or wrong way to implement the question asking – the purpose is to get to know each other. If teens are asked, they usually have good ideas of how to roll out fun and some would like to lead when/how the questions are asked.

The Goal Is To Connect Over These Conversations For Families Of Teens

Remember, the goal of the conversations is for those involved in the discussion to connect. So even if it’s not all going perfectly, if everyone is talking and laughing and getting to know each other – we’ve nailed it.

Here are 12 Conversation Starters For Families Of Teens for your family to try…

1. What’s that one funny thing that pops into your head when you’re supposed to be serious (at church, in class, at a funeral) that will make you laugh every time?

2. Is chili considered a soup? Yes or No. Is lasagna a casserole? Yes or No.

3. Would you rather be someone who makes a ton of money but isn’t sure if you made a positive
impact on the world or someone who made very little financially but touched many people’s lives?

4. When you’re having a terrible day, what do you do to calm yourself down and shake the stress?

5. If you just got elected governor of your state and you could make one rule that the whole state had to follow, what rule would it be?

6. If you were taking a road trip from Florida to Washington state, which three non-family members would your take with you?

7. What’s a bad habit you wish you could break? Or which bad habit do you have, but you don’t care one bit about giving it up?

8. What’s the best gift you’ve ever gotten? What’s the best gift you’ve ever given?

9. What’s the class at school that has the best environment? What’s the subject you find the most interesting? Which class do you have the most friends in?

10. What age do you think is the best to be? Why?

11. What is your favorite app on your phone? What’s one app that you really should give up?

12. Would you rather own your own business with some risk but more earning potential or would you rather work for someone else and have a stable income that covers your expenses but not much more?

If you liked those questions, grab the full list of 400+ The Conversation Starters For Families Of Teens…

Click the below link to grab the conversation starters for families of teens. As a bonus, I’ll add you to my monthly(ish) parenting tweens and teens inspirational email list. The monthly emails are free, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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. 

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

gifts for moms

Read the Full Raising Tweens and Teens Series

My oldest son started high school last week and I’m still in a coma because of it. Even though I’ve taught high school for over two decades, I’m confused as to how I’m actually old enough to be a parent of a high schooler. 

Teaching high schoolers has always been a passion of mine, but not parenting them is as well. I could research, write, and talk about this topic until eternity. I hope you are encouraged by some of my articles.

TEACHING GRIT
The Pandemic is Shaping Kids in These 6 Powerful Ways

ENCOURAGEMENT FOR TEENS
A Simple and Effective Way to Encourage Your Teen

COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR TWEEN/TEEN
How to Get Your Teen/Teen to Their “Aha Moment”
How to Get Your Tween/Teenage Son to Open Up to You

PARENTING
Parenting is Hard: This One Thought Can Help You Better Thrive
7 Reasons Why Raising Tweens & Teens is the Best
Dear Kids – Know the Difference Between “Chores” and “Maintenance”
I Will Miss These Years of Raising Tweens and Teens
To the Mom of a High School Freshman

pray as a family

7 Powerful Reasons to Pray as a Family

(Inside: Should you pray as a family? Does prayer actually work? Will praying bring your family closer together? Yes! Read on to learn how…)

Evening family prayer time is one of my favorite teen-years memories.

Our evenings weren’t perfect. But they were us – our family.

Before bed, we’d gather in the living room. We’d discuss the frustrations of school, friendships, our big emotions, family conflict, joys of life, stresses at work, happenings in our sports and activities, latest successes, disappointing failures, and how come we could never find matching socks.

Some nights a spark ignited, and we lingered over words and gratitude and requests. Other times, we rushed through the prayer anxious to go our separate ways. (Or didn’t have time to sit down together at all.)

We never read long devotionals or hovered over eloquent prayers. And one of my siblings and I usually laughed inappropriately. I don’t know what happened but when we all bowed in solemnness, my sister and I could not get our giggles under control. My parents gave up on fussing at us; it became part of the routine.

As an adult, I look back and cherish those evenings of all us sitting on our blue couch and lazy boy chairs.

I felt heard.

I felt part of a family.

I felt like God cared about my life and wanted to be near.

Prayer is powerful.

Praying as a family is even more powerful. Here are seven reasons why…

pray as a family
Pray as a family, bring your family closer together through the Family Prayer Journal – Get it HERE.

1. Prayer Nourishes Us

It’s no secret that both sides of the teen-years-coin (being a teen and parenting a teen) can be over busy and full of pressure. There are plays to audition for, teams to make, schoolwork to complete, the social scene to navigate, work to do, places to be on time, and anxiety to wade through. Just say “ACT test” in a room full of juniors (and their parents), and you’ll feel the tension rise.

But, in it all – God has us.

Specifically, one way that God soothes us, comforts us, ministers to us, and brings us peace in the crazy-town-hustle is through prayer.

Science supports the benefits of prayer. Richard Shiffman discusses reasons in his article Why People Who Pray Are Healthier Than Those Who Don’t.

He says, “Dr. Herbert Benson, a cardiovascular specialist at Harvard Medical School and a pioneer in the field of mind/ body medicine discovered what he calls ‘the relaxation response,’ which occurs during periods of prayer and meditation. At such times, the body’s metabolism decreases, the heart rate slows, blood pressure goes down, and our breath becomes calmer and more regular.”

Shiffman outlines additional benefits of prayer including increased levels of dopamine (associated with happiness), reduced headaches, stronger immune system, reduced stress, and slower cell death. 

In the busy, we can surrender to the One who knows in the unknown. We breathe out our praise to Him, confess how we messed up, and share what’s worrying us. We breathe in knowing that He is on the Throne and loves us dearly. We ask for wisdom, direction, a peace that transcends all understanding, and in it all – we let ourselves feel God’s nourishment.

pray as a family
Pray as a family, bring your family closer together through the Family Prayer Journal – Get it HERE.

2. Prayer Builds Our Relationship with God

One thing that’s always puzzled me about scripture is why Jesus prayed so much. I mean, there were so many other important things to do. But, despite the rush, Jesus continually talked to God…

Jesus constantly wanted God’s input and thoughts and presence. God was Jesus’ buddy, his friend, his father.

Think about how we build a connection with our loved ones: we text, interact on social media, grab dinner together…we consistently check in with our people. When we put it in that context, it makes sense that Jesus was in constant conversation with his Abba. God invites us to talk to him all of the time too (I Thessalonians 5:16-18).

He wants to weigh in on the decisions that we are making. He wants to cheer us on when things are hard. He wants to refocus us on what’s important. God wants to be in our years, our days, our moments – let’s build that friendship with Him through prayer.

3. Prayer Changes Circumstances

Does prayer actually change circumstances?

The short answer is yes; however, the answer is as complex as the question.

Besides witnessing prayers being answered in our own lives, there are examples in scripture when prayer transformed a situation; like when the Old Testament prophet, Elijah, prayed for the drought to end, and in 1 Kings 18:41-46, the sky broke open with rain.

But we also know that God doesn’t grant our every wish, so why prayer changes some circumstances and not others is a mystery I will never completely understand. This puzzling aspect of faith leads me to this big question: If God doesn’t say yes to all of our prayer requests, yet is in control and knows what’s going to happen, why even bother to pray?

I don’t know that I will ever have my question fully answered, but in my research, I found Dr. Stephen E. Witmer gave me fresh insight.

In his article What’s the Point of Praying?, he explains that “God ordains ends and God ordains means.” He uses the example of Elijah from James 5:16-18.

Dr. Witmer says, “God ordains the ends (that the rain will stop) and He ordains the means (Elijah’s fervent prayer for the rain to stop). Elijah’s prayer really was effective to stop the rain! God really answered his prayer.

Both the prayer and the answer to the prayer were ordained by God. This explains how prayer can have real results and God can be sovereign at the same time. God ordains the end result and God ordains your prayer as the means of getting to that end result. Why does God choose to work this way? Why not just do everything Himself? Why include us? I believe the answer is so that His people can be involved in His work and thus be drawn closer to Him.”

Dr. Whitmer went on to likened why God includes us in his work through prayer as to why parents expect their children to participate in family chores. Parents could clean the house themselves – and often that’s easier – but instead, they want their kids to contribute to and take ownership of their family as they learn to journey through life as part of a team.

Prayer is one way we can all be a part of God’s great work on this earth by helping change circumstances. So, we pray with hope, knowing that God is working in our lives and that he can provide, heal, and make all things new.

4. Prayer Transforms Us

As we just talked about, so often, we go into prayer because we want the One Who Knows to change what’s going on. And yes, that’s one reason to pray – there are needs to be met, healing to take place…we should pray for situations to be altered.

However, through prayer, God does something that some would argue is even bigger than changing circumstances.

He gives us peace in excruciating situations.

He provides hope when it doesn’t feel like there should be any.

Despite the pain, he grows in our core strength and courage and fierceness.

In troubling times, he opens our vocal cords and helps us find our voice.

When our surroundings seem muddled, he points our hearts to what’s most important.

He gives us a fresh perspective.

He renews our minds.

His gentle whispers shine just enough light that we can find our next right step.

Through our prayer journey, our wisdom grows, our relationship with Him strengthens, and our faith is built.

As Oswald Chambers says: “Prayer is less of a matter of changing things externally, but instead of working miracles in a person’s inner nature.” 

A powerful reason to pray is this: it transforms us in the very best of ways.

pray as a family
Pray as a family, bring your family closer together through the Family Prayer Journal – Get it HERE.

5. It’s a Place to Share Your Heart

When you’re a teen it can be hard to sort through your big feelings and share what you’re thinking. When you’re parenting a teen, you love your family so much that over-sized emotions around situations swirl and communicating can also be hard.

And the sit-down-look-me-in-the-eyes-share-your-feelings moments can sometimes feel like a bit much. It’s easier to talk in the car or as you walk the dog – shoulder-to-shoulder communication seems more inviting. Similarly, it can be easier to say what you’re thinking to God and let your family listen in.

Prayer is a safe place to lift the curtain of your heart so others can learn more about you. Also, by listening to your family’s words, you get to better understand their inner workings. Prayer connects – and that’s powerful.

6. When We Pray as a Family, It Gives Us a Chance to Bless Each Other

A friend told me that when she was a teen living with her grandparents, her grandpa would old-fashioned-style kneel in his study and pray out loud for his family. She teared up as she described his words: he’d tell God how much he cherished his granddaughter; he’d list off everything he loved about her; he’d ask for the Holy Spirit to protect her. Then, he would conclude by asking God to walk with my friend and guide her, give her hope, and fill her life with joy. (Now, I’m tearing up writing this.)

Family members should let each other hear their prayers.

Let’s let our family members hear us say how much we love them.

Let’s ask God to be the defender of our family members.

Let’s let our loved ones hear us ask the Holy One to shower peace and joy and blessings on them.

Let’s cry out to God to give our family members guidance and hope.

A family’s love for each member of their crew is unique and powerful. To love each other through supplications to God on behalf of each other is lifegiving and something everyone remember forever.

7. Pray as a Family to Teach Healthy Routines that Will Get Us Through Hard Times

I’ve already talked about Elijah, but I want to continue – he is my favorite. He was such a complex character in the Bible. In one moment, he had such faith, and in the next second, he was in despair with dwindling trust.

Elijah’s known for the big story in 1 Kings 18-19 when he challenges Baal worships to a whose-God-is-real-dual? The short version is that both sides built two altars. The Baal worshipers cried out to their god to light their altar on fire and nothing happened. Then Elijah cried out to the One True God and poof – flames. This made the ruler of the Baal-people angry, and she set out to have Elijah killed.

And that Elijah, the one who just witnessed the miracle and power of a God who supernaturally lit his altar on fire, well – he ran. He ran like Forrest Gump. When he finally paused, he was depressed and anxious and told God that he wanted to die.

What does God do? Tell him to pick himself up by his bootstraps and keep going? Scold him for not having enough faith?

Nope.

God tenderly cared for Elijah. He told him to eat and sleep. Next, God instructed Elijah to travel to the mountain, Horeb. However, it took 40 long days, so during that time, Elijah was to eat, drink, keep walking, and listen to God.

Do you see?

God gave Elijah the gift of mindless purpose through routine, so his brain had time to process his feelings and his heart could start to heal. Healthy routines help ease our anxiety as we hang on during a tough season and wait to find our next right steps.

Life is going to throw us zingers, no doubt. We can be doing “everything right,” being responsible, trying our hardest and at some point, the other shoe will drop. Hard times are a part of life.

But if in the good times, we establish healthy routines like eating well, exercising, carrying on the day’s responsibilities, and praying, then we’re giving ourselves a gift. Because when the difficult hits, we go back to the security those routines provide as we sift through our thoughts, sit in the pain, look for direction, and let ourselves begin the healing journey.

Prayer is a powerful part of our healthy routines and benefits us and our families in huge ways.

The Lasting Effect of When We Pray as a Family

I’m way past those teen years and our family prayer time with my parents. Instead, I’m in the years of raising tweens and teens.

My husband, our three boys (ages 15, 13, and 10), and I had just spent a lovely week visiting my folks. The morning we left, my mom did her familiar grab our hands and circle our family. My dad prayed over us with such love and care as he thanked God for our visit and asked for safety during our long drive home.

I didn’t laugh as I used to when I was a teen. Rather, I felt grateful. For the gift of family. For the gift of prayer, and how it binds us all together.

Pray as a Family using the Prayer Journal: Bring Your Family Closer Together in 30 Days

In raising tweens and teens, parents are acutely aware of the years speeding by and how much we still need to teach our kids about faith and family and loving well. However, between our kids’ schoolwork and places to be on time and ortho appointments to forget (then feel bad about later), it feels like there’s never time.

In the busy, how do we teach our kids (in a tangible way) to daily see God around them and daily walk with Him? How do we create moments that help us really get to know who our kids are and how they think? 

This Family Prayer Journal has been life-giving for my family, so I wanted to share it with your family too.

It’s a simple tool for your family to come together before bed, share what’s on your heart, and pray together. Bring your family closer together in 30 days through the pages of this Family Prayer Journal. Learn more here. 

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.

Plus, you’ll get instant access to all the great resources in the freebie library.  (Including the  school checklist I created for my son – it’s editable, so you can tweak it to fit your kid.) 

Join our community here or below.

gifts for moms

Read the Full “Raise Kids of Faith” Series. Pray as a family and more…

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)

Pray as a family using the Family Prayer Journal – Get it HERE.
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
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

gratitude journal for teens

A Gratitude Journal Your Teen Will Love (Raise Grateful Kids)

(Inside: A gratitude journal just for tweens/teens. Journal includes fantastic writing prompts. Download the gratitude journal for teens today!)

Moms, do you ever go to work already in a funk

Me too.

For example, the other day, my family morning routine was rocky at best.  (“No, you don’t have an actual fever. You’re GOING to school.” “Did you look in the basement for your shoes?” “Didn’t you finish your homework last night?”) I waved goodbye to my boys feeling cranky and on edge.

I tried to reset my mood as I drove to work. But, as I walked into the high school, a dark cloud still hovered over my head. I started my day teaching advisory (homeroom) and it happened to be “Gratitude Journal Day.” As a class, we spent 15 minutes focusing on what we’re thankful for. 

When the bell ended the period, I noticed – my mood had shifted. 

Gratitude. God breathes a holy quality into gratitude. 

Gratitude Journal for Teens

But adults aren’t the only ones who need to use gratitude to shift our moods. Our teens need it too. Have you ever seen your teen…

  • Be overly emotional?
  • Act irrationally?
  • Feel over-the-top anxious?

Teaching our kids to practice gratitude can help. When we do this, we give our teens a tool to help them:

  • Take a mental “time-out”
  • Relax their racing brains
  • Adjust their focus
  • Feel ready to move forward


That’s why I’ve written a gratitude journal just for teens and tweens and you can get instant access today…

Access the Gratitude Journal for Teens Right Now

I created a gratitude journal that you can instantly download from Etsy. You’ll see:

  • The science behind why a gratitude journal works to help your big kids get on board with the idea.
  • 30 days of focused gratitude:
    • Each page starts with an inspirational scripture verse or quote.
    • Weaved throughout the journal are short stories and things to think about in this gratitude journey.
    • Space to write.

Continue to 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
The Science Behind Why a Gratitude Journal Works (Raise Happy, Faith-Filled Tweens and Teens)
 

Shop Empowered Moms and Kids

Join this community of moms of 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 a fantastic 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

Free eBook: Devotions for Kids & Families

(Inside: Devotions for families that will help create family connection, help families daily experience God, and increase gratitude. Get a free Devotions for Kids and Families eBook.)

Empowered Moms and Kids
For moms raising tweens and teens – inspiration, resources, and stories to lift you and your family up.

devotions kids families
Click here to grab the devotions for families with late elementary age kids ebook.

Have you ever asked your parents what they would do differently if they could go back in time and parent again?  

I asked my dad this and without hesitating, he said: I would get to know my kids more. As exactly they are. My dad is awesome – it surprised me that he felt like he could have gotten to know me and my two siblings better.

I’ve thought about his words often since becoming a parent. My heart’s desire is the same as his – I want to KNOW my kids.

But life gets so busy. After days when I’ve hustled my kids to school, focused them on their after-school homework, and driven them to their evening activities, I often find myself later wondering have I even really talked to my kids today?

I needed a tool to make sure I was connecting with the hearts of my children most days.

(Excluding the days we’re simply surviving – the “perfect” connection is not going to happen every day. Also to be noted, when parenting – our family focuses on one thing at a time. You will see lots of ideas on my blog, but rest assured – we keep it simple. We implement one idea at a time and take lots of breaks.)

So, I created a simple devotional that can be done in the car, around the dinner table or during tuck-ins. Not only does the family devotional help unlock my children’s hearts and voices, but it also lavishes other life-giving gifts.

The devotional…

  •     teaches your children that their voice is important.
  •     creates a home where they feel connected.
  •     builds family-relationship.
  •     teaches the truth of what it means to be a child of God – so valued and loved.
  •     opens our children’s eyes (and our eyes!) to see God at work all around them.
  •     helps our children (and us!) hear God’s voice.

Hear me explain more about how this devotional works and how it can empower your family as well.

We hope your family loves this devotional as much as our family does. Click here and you’ll get instant access to the freebie library. Check your email, the link and password are in there.

devotions kids families
Click here to grab the devotions for families with late elementary age kids ebook.

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 Ways to Teach Your Kids The True Meaning of Christmas
A Busy Mom’s Christmas Prayer


TEACHING FAITH
5 Fantastic Devotionals that Help Create Forever Family Connections


TEACHING GRATITUDE
The Science Behind Why a Gratitude Journal Works (Raise Happy, Faith-Filled Tweens and Teens)

devotions kids families
Click here to grab the devotions for families with late elementary age kids ebook.

Join this community of mom 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 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 below.

gifts for moms

10 Easy Ways to Teach Your Kids the True Meaning of Christmas

(Inside: Teach kids about Christmas.  Simply ways to help kids learn about the true reason for Christmas and feel the joy of the season.)

My son’s little legs dangled over the edge of the couch a foot shy of reaching the floor. His usually busy hands were folded neatly on his lap. His legs were still. Alarmed – because my 4-year-old never sits still like this – I asked, “What are you doing?”

“Waiting.”

“What are you waiting for, sweet boy?”

“Christmas to come.”

It was November. The day after Thanksgiving to be exact. We’d busted out the artificial tree, opened boxes of ornaments, and made our best creation out of it all. The tree sparkled to my son’s left, the stockings hung on the fireplace in front of him and he waited – expectantly.

Joy to the world…joy to this momma’s soul.

Christmas naturally awakens delight in our little humans’ hearts. But do they know why? Do they know the gift of Jesus sent to a broken world in need of a Savior? Do they know that in decorating and baking cookies we are recreating the excitement the people felt in anticipation of their promised Messiah? In giving gifts, do they know that we are reminding ourselves of the gift of Jesus to us? In showing us how to live with real joy not dependent on our circumstances? In connecting us with God through eternal salvation?

Though a 4-year-old is not going to understand the full gift and depth of the Christmas message, he can understand parts of why we celebrate. And that understanding will grow as he grows. I haven’t been very intentional with pointing out the “whys” of Christmas traditions, but this year would like to give it a try. So, I came up with a list specifically for busy moms to incorporate the message into the moments of this season.

Teach Kids About Christmas

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Teach kids about Christmas

1. Tell the Candy Cane Story:

Have you heard this delightful little tale? I was late to the party on this one. The skinny version is:

A German choirmaster in 1670 gave the children a white peppermint stick to help them sit still during the Christmas service. The white represented the purity of Christ and the mint represented the hyssop traditionally used for purifying in scripture. Other candy makers in later centuries added to this idea. The stick was turned into a “J” representing Jesus and/or the shepherds’ staffs. The stripes were added to represent the lashes Christ bore on the cross and the red color, the blood that Christ split to save us from our sins. Voilà – the candy cane!

This story is a legend, no one knows the exact facts, so spice it up all you want to tell it your way as you:

Photo by Pro Church Media on Unsplash

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2. Use Candles:

During my stay-at-home mom years, the Minnesota winters would leave me with cabin fever itching to get out but not wanting to put the effort into taking my 3 young boys (all under the age of 5) actually out. One night, over a spaghetti-from-a-jar dinner, I dimmed the lights and set glowing candles in the middle of the table. The room became magical. No joke.  This can be repeated and the Christmas story read as the family breaks bread together. (Or twists spaghetti noodles around their fork as they pretend their one-year-old isn’t throwing it onto the floor.)

Photo by Zoran Kokanovic on Unsplash

3. Listen to Christmas Music:

In the car, as you and your child together set the table for lunch, straighten the toy room, or go over spelling words crank up Christmas music that tells the Christmas story.  At some point, maybe pause and talk about what the words mean for one of the songs. Listen to Christ-centered Christmas songs:

4. Incorporate Drama:

Not, the I-can’t-find-my-shoe-and-we-needed-to-leave-5-minutes-ago drama, but real drama. Like, acting. Y’all my talented friend wrote a script of the Christmas story. And she’s sharing it with us. I have my copy and can’t wait to sit near the tree and read through this story together. My perk? Since I’m the only girl in my house – I for SURE get to be Mary!

Yes, I want the Mary & Joseph Script!

 

5. Set Out Your Nativity Scene:

As you unwrap your Willow Nativity scene (Or the plastic Little People Nativity Scene) tell about an angel appearing to Mary telling her she is going to bear a son and name him Jesus. Talk about Joseph traveling with his pregnant wife to Bethlehem knocking on doors, asking for a place to stay. Describe the shepherds and the wise men rushing to see baby Jesus. Or ask your kids to tell you what they know about the story. Feel the hope and joy the Christmas story brings.

6. Listen to the Christmas Story in the Car:

I did some research on this one and found some stories that share the Christmas message that can be listened to. On the holiday lights drive, the road trip to see Grandma, or your umpteenth trip to Target where you vowed to THIS TIME to get out of there in under $20, these stories will help your kids see Jesus.

7. Watch Christmas Movies:

Watch Christmas movies and as the end credits roll, ask your children:

  • What was the message of the movie?
  • What did you learn about Christmas from this movie?

8. Read the Story by the Tree:

Dim the overhead lights, let the Christmas tree flicker and gather your family near. With legs tucked under blanks and arms around the wiggly ones, read the Christmas story in Luke 2:1-20. (Or a book about the Christmas story like Christmas Stories Heartwarming Classics of Angels, a Manager and the Birth of Hope or God Gave Us Christmas.)  Feel the Holy Spirit’s warmth hover in the air. Finish with hot cocoa, or making homemade fudge, or then take your kid to basketball practice, whatever – life is busy – but a simple pause to hear the Christmas story in the beauty of the decorations can fill our soul in unexpected ways.

9. Go Shopping:

Before you shop, ask your kids, “Why do we give gifts?” This is a teachable moment to talk about why we give gifts. Because we’re reminding each other of the gift of Jesus God gave to us.  This could be a chance to stop and get a Tall Vanilla Latte before you start shopping you know…to talk with your child…not because you’ll make any excuse to get coffee.

Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

10. Enjoy Church:

Dress in your Christmas finest and go to a Christmas service. On the drive home or around the dinner table afterward, talk about what your kids learned and discuss the point of the message. A short conversation can have a powerful impact.

Teach Kids About Christmas:

So, then next year mommas, when one of our children hops on the couch a “waits” for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving, we could say, “Ah, yes – that’s  the same excitement the shepherds and wise men felt as they waited to see baby Jesus!”

I didn’t say that way back then when my son was 4. But now, he’s 11…and I have a few ideas this year of how I’m going to unveil his eyes to see the real reason for Christmas and feel the true joy of the season.

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 capture my kids’ hearts.” 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)

Teach kids about Christmas

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