3 Things You Need to Carry You Through the Holiday Season

In a perfect world what would your Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays look like to you?

Would you be surrounded by extended family or maybe just your immediate family?

Would you choose to go on an adventure with just friends?

Or would you choose a quiet low key option where you take in rest, and maybe spend some time serving the less fortunate?

Whatever you choose this holiday season there are 3 things you need to carry into every situation you encounter. Are you ready to be equipped? Wouldn't it be great if this season you walked away feeling completely full, both literally and figuratively? Here are the top 3 things that will allow for you to have the best time spent no matter who you are with or what you are doing!

Managed Expectations

Oftentimes we walk into our relationships ill-prepared. It's natural to think that everyone thinks the way we do, which can sometimes get us into situations where we are expecting things from both family and friends that they are not able to give.

Before you go to that next gathering be sure that you have managed your expectations. This looks like giving grace to loved ones (people can't read our minds.) It also looks like having a bit of extra patience (we are all doing the best we can!)

Most importantly - have compassion, and remember that family gatherings are not supposed to be torture. They are supposed to be fun! So, however you need to change your perspective so you can be a part of that fun, do it - you will be so glad you did!


What would your time spent with family and friends look like if you always remembered to come from a place of love? We need to remember this holiday season that love is an action word. Is there one person at your holiday gathering that you typically have a hard time loving? We all have those feelings at some point or another, but this holiday season why not make an effort to show that person love?

Maybe you can prepare something for them or just make an effort to engage in conversation that you normally would not with them. If they happen to be the host of your holiday celebration, bring a small token of appreciation. Love always prevails and it always wins (even when we can't see it!)


Recently in my daily devotion time I read a definition of peace that just made me want to shout! I often find myself telling people to follow peace. But, what does that actually look like? Here is how Priscilla Shirer defines peace in her book Fervent:

Peace is the deep, inner, eternal stability the believer possesses by virtue of relationship with Jesus, a sense of balance that's not subject to external circumstance. It's also the quality that enables us to live harmoniously with others.

Our goal should always be to live harmoniously with others! It does not mean it will always be easy, but with prayer and seeking to understand rather than to be understood, you and I will be off to a great start!

Remember that, as you prepare for your gatherings and celebrations this time of year, you have the power to be the light. Embrace your family and friends, think of new games to play, create those traditions and most importantly - enjoy each other and have fun! We are all working to build our legacies, so choose to build one with love!

I would love to hear from you. How will you be spending your holidays this year? What are some of the traditions that you are looking forward to being a part of? How do you celebrate? Do you play games, carol, or bake together? Feel free to share in the comments below!

The holidays can sometimes be stressful or overwhelming - especially when encountering challenging relational dynamics. These 3 things will help you make it through! |
The holidays can sometimes be stressful or overwhelming - especially when encountering challenging relational dynamics. These 3 things will help you make it through! |

Motherhood Doesn't Have to Be a Hot Mess

I know that I might catch some flack for saying this, you ever get tired of us mamas being portrayed as not being able to handle the portion we've been given?? Now I'm not by any means dismissing the fact that there are some MAJOR tough moments that we face in our mothering journeys.

In fact, I'm writing this post in the midst of a bit of "weekend hangover" (my husband traveled last week and I was flying solo with my four kiddos) there are loads of laundry that need to be done and I'm pretty sure my kids tattled on each other at LEAST 100 times between 6-7am!

I'm not suggesting that motherhood isn't hard. But what I am suggesting is that the struggles of motherhood don't define us as mothers. The real story is in how we overcomes those struggles, not in the struggles themselves.

Mamas, this is my plea: we need to take our power back!

Do you want to know what I learned at the end of last week while my husband was out of town? I learned that I had given my kids way too much of my power.

I found myself getting easily frustrated by the tattling, easily frustrated by the messes made around the house - easily frustrated by just about any and everything they did!

But, after making everybody go lie down so that I could regroup and get my sanity back, I decided it was time to sit the kiddos down and have a talk with them about my expectations for them daily - especially while Daddy is out of town for work.

Typically conversations of correction are followed by long sighs and a bunch of "I didn't do it!" But this time, my kids could tell that those excuses weren't going to fly and if they enjoyed living in a house with warm meals and clean clothes, they had better listen up to the lady in charge! ;)

I am convinced that the reason kids often get squirrelly in their behavior is because they aren't clear on our expectations.

Think about it for a moment. Kids typically follow the rules at school. They follow the rules in church class. They usually even follow the rules when they go to Grandma and Grandpa's! So what makes home different?

When we send our kids to each of these other places we usually also spend time getting our children acquainted with the rules and the consequences there will be for not following them. So, right away our children know they are expected to behave.

The question is: how do we bring about the same kind of behavior in our own homes on a more regular basis?

Now, please know that I am NOT by any means suggesting that I don't have amazing kids. I love all of my little cherubs! But, the minute Daddy goes out of town it's like they've been replaced by wild things and their one and only mission is to keep me pulling my hair out!

Well, this past weekend (after several come to Jesus moments!) I decided I was not having it and that there had to be a better way. So, I sat my kids down and gave them a little review of who their mama is and what she will and will not tolerate.

I think as moms it's SO important to open ourselves up to our kids. They need to see us as human so that they don't grow up one day thinking one of two things: 1) I can never live up to what my mom was OR 2) Wow, my mom sure has a lot of flaws that I just didn't recognize as a kid.

The gift I have always desired to give my kids is to see their mama as a woman who loved herself enough to make herself a priority in her own life.

So, here I am mamas to encourage you in whatever season you may be in. It's time to take back your power!

If that means putting the kids on a solid bedtime routine, dig deep and enlist help if necessary - you can do it!

If that means training the kids to whine and complain less, then teach them your expectations and hold them accountable while making time to hear their hearts and share your own.

If that means sitting down to figure out age-appropriate chores that will help around the house - do it! Don't underestimate the desire your kiddos have to help you (especially when they are little!)

If that means pausing to address difficult behavior, just remember that our kids act out when there is something they are craving or if there is something they are dealing with that we are not aware of. Get in your prayer closet and ask the One who created them to help you on this journey.

Don't ever be ashamed and don't you dare give up your power. You can do this! From one mama to another, I am cheering you on!

I have this little mantra I like to say that I want you to remember: Tomorrow is another day. 

Reminding myself of this truth helps me walk in grace and mercy no matter what areas I fall short in my mothering each and every day.

Instead of handing over my power to my kids, I'm going to allow myself to see where God wants me to grow. I'm going to see where God is trying to do a new thing in me.

I refuse to succumb to my flesh and say I can't. I can and I will, because He has called each and every one of us for such a time as this!

If you could use more encouragement, motivation and inspiration like this to help you through your marriage and motherhood journey, I'd love to invite you to join me in The Guilt-Free Girlfriends community over on Facebook (it's totally free!)

And, I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Mamas, it's time for us to stop celebrating "hot mess motherhood" and take our power back! |
Mamas, it's time for us to stop celebrating "hot mess motherhood" and take our power back! |

How to Choose Extracurricular Activities for Your Kids

Anyone else get tired at the very thought of after school activities for the kiddos? My children attend a school where (thank goodness) the after school activities are offered right on campus.  But what do you do if you have to drive your kids around town for them to participate in after school activities? I intentionally only allow for one sport each season per kid. In a household of four kiddos, having each one participate in tons of sports could easily break the bank as well as cause burn out for the entire family! I like to call it pacing. I’ve learned as a mom to give the kids a couple of choices and to teach them to be happy with their choice.

One of the things that we are working to foster in our home is balance. Our children will only learn this by the example we set as parents. I have to be intentional about creating space in their lives for rest, but also in my own! I have several mom friends that have a season where they do no sports. They use that season to refresh and catch up on family time due to the busyness of the rest of the year.

My kids learned this summer that it’s okay to have time to just be. I love having the flexibility during certain seasons where we are not in a rhythm of rushing off to the next thing.  In our house when the schedule comes out for activities I allow the older kiddos to choose two activities that they are interested in per season. From those two they have to choose the one they are most interested in.

Kids learn to follow suit, so for those of you are wondering what I do if they whine and complain, remember - you’re the boss! You are also the one who has to arrange the logistics of transportation, gathering equipment, and having the energy to support and cheer them on. So choose activities that don’t just work for your children, but for the family as a whole.

There will be some seasons of sacrifice if you find that your child is naturally gifted or talented in an area. In that case that is what you pour your energy into. For example, our older children have really taken to piano and are both quite good at it. So this is a year round activity for our family.  We will take a couple of weeks off from time to time if I sense burn out (always use your mom-tuition!) Then we are refreshed and back to doing what they love.

When kids are little activities teach them how to work together, problem solve, as well as a bit of responsibility. But when you begin to feel overwhelmed it may be because you have too much going on. Always be willing to reevaluate if necessary and make proper adjustments.

I hope you have enjoyed this series and found some helpful tips! Be sure to leave a comment and let me know how the school year is shaping up so far.

"Am I a Good Friend?" Teaching Your Kids How to be That Friend

As the saying goes, you are the company you keep. It’s crucial in this day and age that we teach our kids how to be the friends we would like them to attract. But what exactly makes a good friend? This is a question that I recently asked my kids. They were quite thoughtful in their responses. They wanted to hang out with kids that were kind, trustworthy, and had similar interest. These are all great qualities in friendship, but I’m going to take us even deeper because as our kids grow older it will be necessary for them to understand both the qualities and character of a good friend.

There are different levels of friendship

Having a clear understanding of the dynamic of friendship will set kids up for success as they learn how to interact and develop their social skills. We are currently teaching our two older children how to "spread the love."

When kids are young it can be easy for them to get attached to one friend. When kids learn that they can be friendly to all while also maintaining fewer close relationships it sets them up for modeling the love and compassion that Jesus modeled when he walked the earth.

When you think about his ministry, although he was a pretty controversial figure, he was a friend to many. He had his twelve disciples, but even in that group he had three that got an up close look at his life, and one that he confided in regularly.

The same can go for our children. When we teach them that they will have surface level friendships as well as deep friendships, they won’t be disappointed when they don’t connect with certain people. We have to teach them how to discern which friendships are right and good for them.

Today we are going to talk 4 areas that will build strong character in your kids as you teach them how to be a great friend.


This is one we will spend a lifetime trying to navigate! Sometimes it feels like we say too little and sometimes it feels like we say too much. In our home we us the acronym “THINK” to help our kids with communication. It’s so important to teach them young that they are accountable for the words that they say and that words go a long way both toward both positive and negative ends.

T- Is it True?

HIs it Helpful?

IIs it Inspiring?

NIs it Necessary?

KIs it Kind?

Friendships can be seasonal

We always hope that people are going to stay in our lives forever. But as we grow and life changes we may be separated from those we consider dear to our hearts. I was just having a conversation with my kiddos the other day about a couple of friends that they really adore. I was explaining to them the importance of getting to know and spending time with other friends as well, just in case certain friends are sick or change schools, or there is a falling out. Better to have options than no recourse at all!

Manage your expectations

Sometimes we put expectations on our friends that they were never meant to carry. Teach your children early that they are responsible for their happiness. It’s too heavy of a burden for us to rely on any other person for our emotional health. When we teach our kids proper boundaries in friendship it sets them up to experience healthy relationships. They should know where the extent of their friendships begins and ends!

Teach them how to work through their issues - oh the tattle battles you will face! Teachers combat them every day and work hard to teach our children the difference between telling and tattling. If you ever wondered exactly what the difference is, "telling" keeps us safe, while "tattling" looks to get our “friends” (and siblings) in trouble.

Sometimes my kids come home and tell me all about issues they are having with their friends. After listening and acknowledging their feelings, we sometimes role-play to figure out how we can handle our emotions while keeping our friendships intact.

While we can’t be responsible for how people respond to us, my husband and I teach our kids that they are responsible for how they react towards others. Learning this young really helps kids work through the woes and disappointments that can come with trying to understand other people.

Equipping our kids for life is what we are called to do as parents. When we take our personal growth and relational health seriously we are better prepared to help our children navigate their growth and relationships in a healthy way.

Are you curious about developing stronger communication in your relationships? Click here  to schedule a complementary discovery coaching call!

Working With Your Spouse to Help Your Kids Have a Successful School Year

My oldest kid has now been in school for six years. This is the first year that all 4 of my kids are in school for a full day! This is where I take a minute to do the happy dance! This is also the first year that my husband called me during the first week of school and asked me “How can I help this school year?” Before you read that and think he has not been present for the last six years, let me explain!

With four kiddos under the age of 10 we’ve been a little busy just keeping our heads above water day in and day out. Although we are both planners, maintaining a schedule for four little people is quite a feat. So my heart skipped a beat and I think I may or may not have had butterflies as my husband was speaking my love language when he called (acts of service BIG TIME in this season of life - insert swoon!!)

So what does all of this have to do with you? Well, I can’t tell you how many women I meet who wish their husbands did more to help with the kids. My question is always, have your expressed your expectations?

I learned in our newlywed years that the things that I saw and assumed my husband should see as needing to be done just didn’t strike him the same way they struck me. I was left with two options: expressing my expectations or becoming offended. I chose the former because effective communication always beats not expressing your needs!

So how do we do this for the school year? Here are some practical tips that will help you get the conversation started. If you'd like to dig in a little further in this area click here to schedule a complimentary 30 minute discovery coaching call with me. Let’s get started!

1. Figure out what needs to be done

Will you need help with carpool? Do you need to map out important dates on the calendar for parent/teacher conferences, recitals, and sporting activities? Who will be responsible for getting the kids ready for school? Who will lead conversations and communication with teachers?

These are all things that you should sit down as a couple or co-parents and navigate. The more you can get clear on who is responsible for what the better.

We also leave margin and grace for busy seasons of life. For example my husband is in a new position at work, which is requiring a lot of his time this year. I am very clear, and so is he, that this is just a season. This means that a bit more of the weekly kid duties falls on me. We have had a conversation though about making sure I have adequate help during this season.

2. Divide and conquer

This is not going to be even stevens, but you can figure out how you will both be involved. All of the work should not fall on one person. This means, as moms, we are going to have to allow the men to do things their way (without cringing!)

Remember, kids enjoy the time they get to bond with their dads and the way that dads do things. On the first day of school my husband and I both took our bunch. But they made it real clear that they were all going in dad’s car! I happily followed them in my quiet peaceful car - insert praise dance!

3. Show appreciation and show your spouse how they can help

Sometimes people don’t help because they don’t want to get in the way. If that’s your spouse or co-parent be patient enough to teach and show them how to do things that they don’t normally do. Of course you want to build margin in for this. If you are teaching a new skill remember to do it when there’s time, not in the moment it needs to happen. Encourage and praise the behaviors that you like and want to see more of. People always respond well to being acknowledged for their efforts.

4. Remember you are on the same team

Those sweet little faces should remind you that you are working towards a common goal, especially when the going gets tough! It’s not easy raising any amount of kids so be diligent in having open communication with your spouse or co-parent and remember you both want your child/children to be successful!

I would love to hear from you! What are some ways that you and your spouse or co-parent work together for a successful school year?

How to Support Your Children & Their Teachers Throughout the School Year

As parents we all want our kids to have a successful school year. Before the year starts there is usually  a bit of nervousness on all sides. Teachers wonder what the incoming class will be like. Kids hope to get along well with both their teachers and their classmates. Parents and teachers have an investment in the upcoming school year - what I like to call a partnership. If you are looking to connect with your child’s teacher, be sure it do it early! One of the questions I always like to ask my kids' teachers is, “How can I best support you during the upcoming school year?” Ask this question and mean it!

Check in on your child’s progress regularly. Read the emails, stay up-to-date on important dates, ask your child questions, and be sure that your child knows you will always advocate for them, but they must be respectful and ready to learn every day!

When we work with our kids'  teachers, everyone is better for it! I’ve reached out to teachers from both elementary and secondary school to hear what makes for a positive school year from their perspective.

Below you will find a list of their compiled responses that I hope will help you move through this school year with focus, intention and compassion

  1. Read to and with your kids every day.
  2. Check homework and keep abreast of upcoming tests and deadlines.
  3. Communicate, communicate, communicate! Are there changes going on in the home? Is your child dealing with any health or behavior challenges? The more their teachers know, the more proactive you can both be! Anything that could possibly be affecting your kids' academics and/or behavior should be shared with their teachers.
  4. Encourage your child to have a positive mindset. Teach both small and big kids how to deal with and manage disappointment.
  5. Be as present as you can or send someone to fill in if you can’t. This goes for volunteering or special shows your child may have during the school year. If you can get ahead on the school calendar you may be able to plan for things that you may otherwise be unable to attend.
  6. Factor in screen time at home (kids are getting lots of screen time at school these days!)
  7. Have a consistent bedtime routine. Rested children are a dream for parents and teachers! If you missed our kick off post I discussed the importance of having a fairly early bedtime. Unless your kids are up late to work on a project they should be hitting the sack consistently at the same time every night. Of course, you know your kids best, but here are some guidelines for proper bedtimes based on ages and stages.
  8. Get to know your child’s teachers. They will be spending more time with their teachers than they do with you during the day. This will foster support on both sides. Be an encourager and show your child’s teachers you appreciate them!
  9. Teach your children the value and importance of education. It seems like this would go without saying, but when there is a love for education in the home it will translate to the classroom as well.
  10. No cell phone or Ipod use during the day. This tidbit came from teachers that work with older students. As a former high school teacher myself, I can honestly say this is a huge distraction that teachers definitely need parental support on. Phones are for emergencies only!!
  11. Teach and model respect, empathy and compassion. This goes a long way.
  12. If you can send in any extra supplies it’s much appreciated!
  13. Include your children in taking responsibility for their education. This can actually start in primary education! Often times people are surprised at how much my elementary aged kids can do on their own. But with 4 kids, I only have so many hours in the day. My kids are already learning to be responsible for getting their forms together for school, packing their backpacks and supplies. This will translate into a greater capacity to handle more responsibility as they get older. There will not be an assumption or expectation that mom or dad handles all things school-related, because they are gradually receiving more opportunities to manage these things themselves.
  14. Don’t avoid your child’s teacher. If there is a response needed, be sure to make sure it happen in a timely manner. Their time is valuable!
  15. Partnership was addressed earlier, but I can’t emphasize enough how much more successful your children will be if you truly see working with your child’s teachers as a partnership!

What are some things that have worked well for you in the past when it comes to supporting your children and their teachers throughout the school year?

Beat Back-to-School Blues by Planning for a Successful Year

Does anyone else feel like the summer flew by? Just two weeks before summer break I was talking myself into not having summer dread. I was really hoping I would not be overwhelmed this summer with all four of my kiddos being home from school. I told a few close friends that know me well that this would be the summer that I didn’t have too much of a plan. That the kids and I would just go with the flow. Then, the day before summer break began I panicked and created a summer schedule that I was sure would keep us all sane and loving each other over the next 75 days.

I think we used the summer schedule maybe a total of 8 days. I've actually really enjoyed relaxing with my kids this summer and not having the pressure of a schedule and to-do list. Sometimes you need a good rest and no plans. Now that we are all refreshed, my bunch will be heading back to school on Wednesday.

Although this mama allowed for time to have less structure this summer, I didn’t throw all caution to the wind. Today I want to share with you how to rock those back-to-school preparations and set yourself up for a successful school year!

From purchasing school supplies, to figuring out what your kids will be packing for lunch and making sure that they have good friendships, I will be dishing all my best practices right here on the blog for the next couple of weeks. Be sure to stop by frequently - you definitely won’t want to miss this new series!

Over the next month I will be answering the following questions:
  1. How do I best support my kids' teachers?
  2. How do I help my kids navigate friendships?
  3. What should my spouse/co-parent be helping with to get the school year off to a good start?
  4. How do I choose what activities my kids will participate in for the upcoming school year?

I want to start this series by helping you navigate the next couple of weeks. Although some schools have started already, I know quite a few still begin after the Labor Day holiday, which means there’s still time to prepare those school supplies and begin getting your kids on a new school year routine.

For those of you who have already started school, just tuck these tips away. Some of the things I’m going to discuss are things that you can be doing throughout the year to make for a smooth transition into the next school year.

Stocking Up

Many parents dread those supply lists because let’s face it - they can be a bit of a financial drain! This is why I like to buy personal supplies during the previous school year. For example, I like to purchase backpacks and lunch boxes in April or May for the following school year.

You can’t always know what is going to be on the teacher's class supply list, but you do know that your kids will need new shoes, socks, and underwear. I typically purchase these items 2-4 weeks out. We did shoe shopping 2 weeks ago and can I tell you what a relief it is to do the shopping in stages instead of waiting until the last minute and having the stress of crowds, tons of money spent, and figuring out who gets what!

I buy pencils, glue sticks, crayons, project boards etc in bulk for my kids. I usually take a trip to Costco and we stock up for the year. This way we are not stuck in the wee hours of the morning if someone has a project coming up and we don't have a needed supply.

Setting Expectations

This also leads me to my next point. Teach your kids to be planners! When my kids have projects coming up they have learned (due to natural consequences…I’m not helping you the night before a big project is due, you will be on your own) to tell me in advance! I’m a planner and I don’t thrive well under the pressure of having to stay up and figure out the cuisine of a bald eagle at the last minute.


Do you have a morning and night routine? This was a game changer for our family. Now that my kids are a bit older they fall back in to the school routine pretty easily. So we usually get back on schedule the week before school starts. Hallelujah for 8:30 pm bedtime, can I get an amen!

Here's what our morning routine looks like:

6:00 am - Kids alarms go off they wake up and get dressed. Clothes have been laid out the night before by the kiddos because we don’t have time to fight in the morning about what they think they should be wearing.

6:20 - Kids hang pjs on hook, make their beds, open their blinds, turn lights out and everyone files downstairs

6:30 - Big kids put final touches on lunches and pack snacks while mom and dad get breakfast together

6:40 - All kids eat breakfast

7:00 - Kids brush teeth and get hair combed

7:15 - Everyone piles in the car and we are off

Our kids are pretty good about the routine. For younger kids you can incentivize if you are having a hard time getting them to get it right away. Most days run very smoothly with our routine, but we do have days where kids meltdown and our parenting is tested. Our kids don’t have to be to school until 8:15, so we do have margin for those days. My oldest likes to get to school early so we do try and leave at 7:15 most days.

Here's what our evening routine looks like (this varies if the kids are doing activities):

5:00pm - I'm giving marching orders in the car about 10 minutes away from home. Then the kids recite back to me what they need to do when they come inside.

5:10 - Kids come in and take off shoes, wash their hands, change their clothes, and have a snack

5:30 - Kids do their homework and play (for whoever is done with school work and the littles)

6:30/7 - Dinner time

7:30 - Dinner clean up and baths

8:00 - Make sure clothes are out for tomorrow and backpacks have been packed with all important papers

8:15 - Story time

8:30 - Lights out

Of course you would adjust this to your kids' ages, activities, and abilities. But this has worked well for us over the last 4 years. Having the kids on a schedule also gives my husband and I quality time most nights. Our marriage is not centered around our children. They go to bed so that we can have couple time!

My kids are so excited about the new school year! They have two more sleeps until they meet their new teachers and friends. We hope that you have a fun and productive school year. We will be praying for your teachers, friends, and of course you!

(Ps - Don't forget to snap a photo of your kids on their first day back to school! We are loving these cute printable photo signs from our friend Kelsey at The Home Loving Wife!)

I'd love for you to share your tips below. What are some ways you get ready for the new school year?

How to Safe Guard Your Marriage against Outside Influences

Safe Guard Your Marriage(1) Marriage is one of the most rewarding as well as challenging relationships that we can be called to. How many remember the way you felt when you first met your spouse? The way that he or she gazed at you was sure to make you feel loved and adored. Some of you may still be feeling all the feels because you are newly married.   Maybe you didn’t start your marriage on the best of terms but you are determined to make it work? How do you do this when society tells us “its okay to abort mission and choose happiness over covenant.”


What about when the work starts? Yes, that’s right marriage is a four-letter word called work!   How do we navigate those seasons when transition occurs in our marriages? Whether it’s the birth of children, changes in employment, times of financial hardship, etc. We all need a plan in place to continue to water the seeds of our marriages.


What are some things that we guard fiercely? Typically we guard our finances, we guard our time, and we will even guard our feelings. How many of us are putting that same energy into guarding our marriages fiercely?


It is so important that we take the time to pour into our spouses, to hear their heart and concerns personally as well as in our partnerships. When we date we typically look forward to building this aspect of the relationship. We wouldn’t dream of not having intimate conversations with our significant other. So what happens after we have exchanged vows, partied the night away with friends, and settled into married life?


Ever hear someone utter the words “I don’t need you,” to their spouse? Or better yet in conversation with a friend? I always cringe a bit when I hear this. Biblically speaking, God created us for relationship and intimacy. There are so many verses in the bible that God uses to show how much he values intimate relationships. The first time we see it addressed is in Genesis. When he creates Adam, he realizes there is no suitable mate for him with that knowledge he creates a “help mate” for Adam (Genesis 2:18-24.)   We need each other. This is an extremely important safe guard you can put into place for your marriage. Deciding that you need each other and vowing that you will not use “I don’t need you,” as a part of your marriage vocabulary. Life in death is in the power of the tongue, so choose to speak life into your marriage.


Do you trust that your spouse has your best interest at heart? What are some ways we can cultivate trust into marriage? When God put you and your spouse together he knew that there would be a level of vulnerability that only the two of you would share. Husband’s are the protectors and provide covering over their households. Wives are the heartbeat of the home and provide an intuitive spirit. We both have a role in keeping danger out of our home. How serious are you currently taking this responsibility in your marriage? You should know your spouse intimately. This is not just physical. Spending time together and hearing what’s going on with one another helps build a deeper level of trust and communication. One thing that helps my husband and I foster trust in our marriage is reminding each other that we are on the same team. When you fight against your spouse you are essentially fighting against yourself. Ways to build trust involve, creating a space that is judgment free (we already have enough critics in the world and don’t need our spouse to be one of them,) listening to your spouses heart, trusting that when they are sharing it may be an area that they need you praying for them in. Remember that scripture everyone was charged to remember growing up…do unto others as you would have them do unto you (Luke 6:31). Do you think about how your words and actions will make your spouse feel? We should always seek to leave our spouse better when they leave our presence.


How often are you communicating with your spouse? This is huge. I don’t mean an occasional surface chat. This is connected to trust. Those on the outside of your marriage should not know more about you than your spouse. Before you ever run an “idea” by your family of origin, inlaws, best friend, co worker (you get the point!) You better have talked to your spouse about it first. They should never get news about you at the same time or after others. In marriage sometimes you know you need to have a conversation that may be difficult or uncomfortable. In this case you exercise wisdom and make sure that you get your timing right! My husband and I recently played a conversation starter game! It was so much fun. Don’t allow your marriage to get stuck in a rut. Find new ways to keep things fun and exciting. Don’t forsake communication, as this is so important in keeping your marriage safe.


Your spouse should help identify your weaknesses and help them into strengths. Have you ever felt a little awkward when your spouse has pointed out your weaknesses? I know I have.   It takes some maturity to hear a person point out areas where you may not be strong. One of the things that I’ve learned over the course of my 10-year marriage is God fit me perfectly with a husband who is strong in the areas that I am weak. This is not a bad thing; we have found ways to “lovingly” point out each other’s weaknesses. Do you know why God may show you the weaknesses of someone close to you? It’s never so that we can harp on their inabilities, but instead to build them up and speak life into areas where they may have some growing and maturing to do. I’m remind of (Ecclesiastes 4:12) though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. When the Holy Spirit points out to you a flaw in your spouse, partner with the Holy Spirit on praying for and helping you help your spouse gain strength in this area.


I’ve saved the best for last! Have sex often. This type of intimacy is what sets the marriage relationship apart from any other relationship. God’s gift to marriage is sexual intimacy. We should be working to serve and please our spouse in this area of our marriage.   For a couple whose marriage is pretty whole and healthy there should be sparks flying in the bedroom. Get creative, don’t use tired as an excuse. Keep your bedroom space a space that feels welcoming and sexy! Focus on each other and keep outside chatter to a minimum. Locker chat about whose getting what does not help with what’s happening in your own marriage. Ever heard that saying “the grass is greener where it’s watered!” Focus on keeping your marriage healthy in thriving in the area of sexual intimacy. Guard your ears, eyes, and heart where the marital bed is concerned. You get to make a choice every day to love your spouse.


Marriage is work but it can be so rewarding and fulfilling. It is such an honor to partner with another person and only have shared experiences with that one person. Build your marriage on a solid foundation with God first. Pray and ask him to give you wisdom in safe guarding your marriage. Take the vows you said seriously. Fight for what is yours! Surround yourself with like-minded friendships. Sometimes it can be scary to let go of friendships, but know that if your values are not the same and the relationships are pulling you away from your spouse and your home responsibilities it may be time to examine and let go.


God gift of marriage was created to make you a better person. You should be growing and evolving and looking for ways to help one another. If you are not quite there yet, that’s okay. Continue to work towards wholeness and health in your marriage.


Looking to take your marriage to the next level? I would love to partner with you and your spouse and come up with a customized plan to help you set healthy expectations as well as communication. Click here to schedule a 30-minute discovery session.


What are some ways you safeguard your marriage? Share in the comments below!

Summer: Time to Relax and Refocus

SummerRelax and Refocus One of the things that I absolutely love about summer is the opportunity to rest and refocus. With things moving so fast in the fall, winter, and spring I certainly enjoy giving myself the gift of slowing down. This summer my kids are home with me. I didn’t sign them up for any camps. Most people get quiet when they hear that I have all four home. The first few weeks are usually spent creating a routine that works for everyone. Kids have gotten used to having every minute planned for them, so it takes some time for my kiddos to fall into a routine where they are being creative and finding things to do on their own. Having all four home gives me an opportunity to connect with each of them as well as work on any behaviors that may have gotten out of sorts during the school year. We have play dates, we explore our city, we do activities and games together, and they get a chance to just be. They don’t have to perform for anyone over the summer. They can read and play and even nap if they choose to. I feel very blessed to be able to give my kids this gift of time!


I hope that after this summer they will begin to learn the rhythm of building rest into their lives. I want them to have great work ethic and be go-getters. I also want them to be able to rest and refocus. Here is how I’m teaching these valuable lessons this summer.


Rest: From the wise words of my mother in law “You can’t teach a lesson you have not learned.” This is something we have to model for our children. Most people think of rest as being lazy, but I recently read, the difference between the two is rest gives you the opportunity to recharge because you’ve been productive. While laziness is a state where you are unwilling to work hard. Our creator modeled the importance of rest (Genesis 2:1-3.) Rest gives our minds and bodies the opportunity to rejuvenate, which will in turn get our creative juices flowing. My kids see it modeled by me first. They see me work hard and hustle, but they also see me take breaks. As I raise both boys and girls I find it important to teach my girls the importance of taking time for self. I also think it’s important to model for my boys that the women they choose as life partners will need to rest (teaching them how to manage their expectations early.)


Refocus: Do you take time to reflect? This is a practice that I truly can’t live without. Whenever I get into a space where I’m beginning to feel anxious, it’s typically because I have not spent time reflecting on what is serving me well in my life and what I can let go of. With summer slow down, it’s a perfect time to refocus. What things have worked well for you in the beginning of the year? What habits have you picked up that you can take sometime to tweak or let go of? Do you ever find yourself throughout the year saying, “I’ll get to that later!” Summer is the perfect time to cross off those things on both your bucket and to do list. We use the summer to brush up on skills as well as try new things. Kids do what we do. If they see us making healthy life choices they are more inclined to develop healthy life choices in their own lives!

With summer rest we will all be ready to rock and roll come Fall!

How will you rest and refocus over this summer holiday? It’s not too late to implement some best practices for your summer slowdown. Tell me what you are doing in the comments below!