middle school

The Four-Part Plan to Save Summer Sanity

Congratulations! You white-knuckled your way through May with all of the final projects, celebrations, and awards days. Welcome to summer! Summer promises a hot sun, lazy mornings–and kids who bore easily and fuss often. Our sanity is seriously at risk! A solid plan and clear expectations help to maintain our sanity during the long summer days. Establishing boundaries around time and activities [Read more...]

True Confessions of a Bad Friend (A Never Unfriended Book Review)

I have a history of difficult friendships. In my early years, I would go so far as characterizing myself as a bad friend. A sampling of my friendship highlight reel: When a small group of friends failed to do things my way at a birthday party, I hid in the closet until they all left. It was my own birthday party. I called a really sweet girl an ugly name behind her back—and to her face. A [Read more...]

How to Pray for Wisdom Using Scripture

In the first few months of motherhood, I felt completely in over my head. Being the oldest of four children, the mechanics of caring for a child were not new to me. However, being completely responsible for a baby around the clock was a shock. Add in postpartum hormones and the shift from full-time employee to full-time mother, and I was sinking. Things didn’t get easier as she grew. Soon, [Read more...]

How NOT to Panic When Your Kid Asks for a Cell Phone

“Mama, I want a cell phone.” The requests for a cell phone started around third grade. The list of friends who possessed this technological treasure started growing. By the time fifth grade rolled around, my daughter was sure she was the only one without an iPhone. I pointed out a few friends still on the outside. She relented, outsmarted once again. At middle school orientation, the [Read more...]

Mamas, Be Kind to Your Future Self

Do you ever get to the end of your day and say to yourself, “Good job! You got it all done?” No? Me either. I perpetually transfer tasks from today’s to-do list to tomorrow’s. I am never finished. Yes, I am busy, but my main enemy is procrastination. Why ruin this moment by doing something I don’t want to do when later seems like a perfectly good time to do it? What [Read more...]

Parents Can Make Digital Media Matter with SmartFeed

Every Friday night, my family gathers around our living room for Pizza Movie Night. Plates piled high with pizza and cups with lids (because we spill a lot) sit in laps and on the oversized ottoman. Because we rarely turn the TV on during the week, the kids buzz with excitement. Mom and Dad exhale the final breath of our week-long race, wordlessly proclaiming, “we made it through another [Read more...]

How to Encourage Gratitude in Your Children During the Holidays

I remember my excitement the day the Sears & Roebuck catalog landed in the mailbox of my childhood home. I carefully looked through each section circling the gifts I wanted to find under our Christmas tree. The Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine, Barbie’s Dream House, and a Cabbage Patch Kid made the list more than once. The more pages I turned, the longer my wish list grew. Every year, kids near [Read more...]

Gifts to Encourage Spiritual Growth in Your Tween Girl

This time of year, kids can’t get through a conversation with an adult without being asked the million dollar question: “What do you want for Christmas?” Around October, I start jotting down ideas for my own kids. We keep it simple with three gifts per child, so I only need a few ideas to get me started. This year, my tweenager surprised me by asking for a new Bible. The [Read more...]

How to Get Rid of Glass Half Empty Gratitude

I have an almost-teenager at my house which means sour attitudes float around here like pickles in a jar. My middle schooler is generally an optimist, but this stage of emotional development sometimes sabotages her sunny disposition. Phrases like “I will never…” and “it’s always…” transform temporary hardships into eternal absolutes. Hope flutters away as [Read more...]

The Heart of Hospitality

“I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.”  ~Dr. Maya Angelou Chaperoning a middle school field trip is not everyone’s idea of a fun day, but I didn’t mind. I enjoyed spending time with my daughter and getting to know her friends. However, my comfort level dropped during lunch. Because we are fairly new, I didn’t know many parents on the [Read more...]