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How Do We Make Kids Feel Safe In An Unsafe World?

Growing up I was fearful of roller coasters, bees, and thunderstorms.

Our children are growing up scared of being shot or blown up while at school, the movies, church or at an entertainment venue.

When I was young we used to practice tornado and fire drills at school.

Today, kids are taught to silently hide from gunmen under their desks during classroom lockdown drills.

It’s an unfair and disturbing world that we are raising our kids in today.

How do we raise kids to not be fearful walking out the door of their home?

How do we acknowledge the truth of painful events without frightening our kids?

Our family had a trip planned to Las Vegas over our school fall break. Little did we know that tragedy would strike the city just before we were to head there. Should we even still go? Staying in the safety of our own home feels like a better choice nowadays, doesn’t it?

But, we must help our kids to feel safe in an unsafe world by continuing to live life to the fullest. 

Our family traveled to Las Vegas as planned because we want our kids to see that there is, and always will be, more beauty, than evil, in the world. We won’t hide or ignore the truth of the tragedy that occurred there, but we will certainly balance it with joy, love and laughter.

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Have you visited the Seven Magic Mountains two-year art exhibit in the middle of the desert just outside of the Las Vegas strip? Go check it out before it’s gone in May!

How do we talk to our kids about tragic events without making them fearful and scared in their daily lives?

I would much rather pad, protect, shelter and hide the pain and suffering in the world so that my children can live a carefree existence. The problem is that isn’t responsible, nor is it teaching our children truth when we ignore the suffering and heartache that innocent people have endured at the hands of evil.

We shouldn’t shelter our kids from the truth but introduce today’s painful realities age appropriately.

My friend, Ashley Barden, is a mother of three and was amongst the crowd enjoying the Route 91 Harvest Festival until the evening turned fatal on October 2. Luckily, she and her friends were among the fortunate ones to make it out of the venue alive.

Ashley and her friend, Cassey, just minutes before the shooting began.

Separated from her friends, Ashley ran out of the outdoor venue to an executive airport hanger where almost 60 people hid in a storage room until police released them around 2:30 in the morning. Shortly after she was able to fly home to Arizona and back to her children. What did Ashley tell her kids about her scary experience?

Not much. Fortunately, her kids are young (11, 6 and 3) and overall unaware of the magnitude of the tragedy that their mother was involved in…. for today. Ashley wants to raise fearless kids and is adamant that she will encourage herself and her trio to live life doing what they love.

We must not raise fearful kids, but faithful ones instead.

Our kids were uneasy to go stay in a high rise hotel on the Las Vegas strip understandably after what had just occurred. We talked about how God has us and that we can rest in Him. We must acknowledge that evil unfortunately exists but we cannot let fear override our faith. Our family drove by the site of the mass shooting so that we could see with our own eyes the area where the tragedy happened and answer any questions our kids had.

On our RV trip around the USA, we visited the site of the OKC bombing. Our kids have seen where President Kennedy was shot in Dallas, Texas and they have visited the September 11 Memorials and Museums in NYC.

I wish evil and hatred weren’t a part of the world we live in, but unfortunately, they are. We have to wrap our head around the pain, talk about it age appropriately with our kids, honor those who’ve senselessly lost their lives and continue to pray for and help our hurting people together.

We must lead our kids from a fearless place so that they can feel secure to live the carefree childhood that they need and deserve. We must show children how to live faithful lives instead of fearful ones.

What can we do to help ourselves be safe the next time we, or our children, are in a large public venue? Ashley recommends that you know where your exit options are and have an escape plan in mind, God forbid something happens while you’re out living your life.

Learn more about the Route 91 Victims and how you can help and support their individual families here.

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5 Gifts to Give Your Kid for Their 16th Birthday!

How does this…

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Turn into this… in a few blinks of an eye.

I’m not sure how we’re already at this stage in our family, but I have to say these guys are way more fun now than they ever were 16 years ago!

The big question I’m asked is did we buy them three cars for their milestone birthday?

Not a chance.

If there was no car with a bow, no epic party or promised iPhone X, then what did we give our 16-year-olds besides a little cash?

Sometimes we can get so caught up in what material item to buy or what Pinterest worthy event to throw, that we forget what’s really important to give our kids- the gift of lifelong values.

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1. The Gift of Desire

All my sons desired for their birthday was to get their drivers’ licenses and hit the open road. They wanted the gift of freedom as they turned 16, and that’s what we gave them- a ride to the DMV.

There was no party, no promise of the latest electronic or a new car. We had simply instilled in our boys the desire to set up their own appointments online to take the driving test the minute they could on their birthday. I wasn’t even aware that you could do that. Good for them.

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One Thing Good Parents Need This Back to School Season

We know it’s our kids’ work to do, but we remind them constantly of what needs to be accomplished before school starts back up.

We see no hope for our child to get their reading and math work done if we don’t help them along.

Helpful, not helpful.

Our high schoolers just picked up their freshman and sophomore schedules this week. Some classes and teachers make them happy, while others make them cringe.

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One Thing You Should Not Pay Someone To Do For Your Child

Teach your kids how to sort, separate and put their dirty clothes in the wash now.

Show your children how to treat stains, measure detergent and explain the importance of removing lint from the dryer vent after every cycle.

Don’t turn your son’s sports socks right side out, since you aren’t the one who took them off like that.

Parents should teach their kids how to do their own laundry instead of paying someone to handle the task for them.

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How to Strengthen Your Kid and Your Entire Family

There’s nothing I love more than the week after my kids get home from sleep away summer camp. Our kids hang around home reminiscing about their few weeks away in the Missouri humidity while we tend to their bug bites, bumps, and bruises.

One is nursing a painful ingrown toenail; one is peeling profusely from his sunburn while healing a sprained ankle; another has strained and cut up knees from who knows what and one has no idea how he got the open wounds all up his arm.

Proof of time away at summer camp.

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How to Turn Your Home in to a Living Legacy – Vacation Memory Bottles

If the house goes up in flames, I want my people, my scrapbooks and my sand bottles. Forget the jewelry, just grab the sand.

My sand bottle collection represents memories I’ve gathered over the past decade of my life. The 46 unique bottles grace our master bedroom fireplace mantel and represent travels I’ve made near and far with my family, husband, girlfriends or by myself. Each and every bottle is full of earthly treasure attached to stories of travel and exploration.

Our homes are a haven where our family story is told through what graces our walls, shelves and mantels. Everything we choose to display in our house is a reminder of what we deem important.  Our homes are a tangible way to tell the story of who we are and where we’ve been. Look around. This is us.

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One Sure Way To Strengthen Your Child This Summer

In a few days our kids will shut down their technology. All Snapchat streaks must come to an end.

They will bid farewell to their normally scheduled academic and athletic programming and head to the woods.

Our four teenagers will go live amongst strangers and bugs and humidity and uncomfortable beds. I’m going to assume they brush their teeth, put on deodorant and apply sunscreen on some of the days.

What I know for sure is that these few weeks at summer camp will be some of the most important days spent in their childhood.

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Save Your Sanity with a Summer Screen Time Strategy!

If witnessing your kids laying around on devices after school and on weekends is making you crazy now, how are you going to feel this summer when the time off beckons constant screen usage?

Become your child’s media mentor and make a plan to intentionally decrease screen use in your family this summer.

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Look Beyond your Monday Mess and Find Meaning today!

What if we really looked around our homes and saw the precious moments and memories inside of the clutter.

What if we really looked for blessings disguised as chaos.

What if we really looked beyond the mess and saw meaning instead.

I walked around decluttering on a quiet school day and This caught my eye and I am grateful.

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Could your family adopt from foster care?

You are raising your kids and you think your family is complete. But, there are many children living in foster care who need you.

These kids have no stable place to lay their heads at night and are living in the midst of uncertainty.

There are many older children waiting and wondering if they will ever have a loving family to call their own before they age out of the system at 18 years old.

May is National Foster Care Month and over 400,000 kids are in foster care here in the United States at no fault of their own. No child should have to grow up without a family to care for them.

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