What's the big deal about Young Living

On Mom Encouragement and One Rep at a Time

I have 3 baskets of laundry sitting at the foot of my bed. They’ve been there for a while. There. Now you know.

I look at those 3 baskets and think, “I really need to put those clothes away. But first I’ll have to clean out my dresser and get rid of all the t-shirts, jeans, and pajamas I never wear so I can fit those clothes in.” And then I realize we are out of big black trash bags, and I would need to make a run to the store to pick those up so I would have something to put the give away items in to take them to the donation center.

And then one of the kids hollers from the kitchen that they just spilled a gallon of milk all over the floor, and the clothes stay in the baskets, forgotten, for another day.


My long time friend, Michele, called me this week. Do you have a friend like her? We can go months without talking and pick up as if only a day has passed. I love having friends like that.

She was calling because someone had invited her to join her local CrossFit box (that’s what they gyms are called in CrossFit) and she wanted to know the reasons I love it and have continued to go every single morning for the past 11 months.

(Stick with me, now. This actually relates to those baskets of laundry up there and isn’t about gym memberships at all.)

Here’s what I told her.

This morning’s CrossFit workout was SO HARD that I thought multiple times about quitting before the 45 minute time limit was up. I couldn’t feel my arms. I was gasping for breath. I was thinking, “This is ridiculous. It’s TOO HARD. I CAN’T DO THIS.”

But I kept going. Do you know why?

Because the others were cheering me on. They were standing next to me (since I was the last one and they were already finished) shouting, “You can do it! Just do one more rep! Now ONE MORE! You are strong! DON’T YOU DARE STOP! You can do one more. KEEP GOING!”

They were repeating an often stated mantra at my CrossFit box. “One more rep.” You may have heard, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” The idea is that you don’t think to yourself, “There is no way I can do 50 sit ups.” You think, “I can do one sit up. Then I can do one more. And then one more.”

There is no other place I go, no other activity I participate in, where people gather around me to tell me not to give up, that I am capable and strong, that it isn’t too hard for me. 

Now, what in the world does this have to do with baskets of unfolded laundry? Just this.

This is what we should do for one another, Mom Friends.

When the days get so tough that we think we can’t go on, we can come along side one another and say, “YOU CAN DO THIS! I am right here to hold you up! You are doing a great job! YOU ARE ABLE!”

But the thing about our mom struggles is we have to let one another know what they are. Since we don’t gather at the gym to fold our laundry together, since we are each really doing it in what amounts to adult solitary confinement, none of us realizes the others also have 3 baskets of unfolded laundry at the end of their beds, too.

So, let’s be real and vulnerable with one another. On those days when we think we just might fall apart, let’s say, “Sometimes this all feels too big. I just don’t know if I can really do this whole mom thing well. Honestly, some days I don’t know if I can do it at all.”

And that’s when we can gather around and hold her up with our encouragement. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we felt like we had a team of moms who were right there in the trenches with us cheering us on? Moms who really had managed to fold and put away those 3 baskets of laundry and were telling us, “It’s not too hard! It just feels that way way right now. YOU CAN DO IT! One more pair of socks! DON’T GIVE UP! YOU GOT THIS!”

Encourage one of your Mom Friends today. Yours may very well be the voice that keeps her going.

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On Doing Hard Things

I have been thinking a lot lately about doing hard things. I even made a little video on it here.

Whatever hard thing you are doing, whether it is a rigorous workout schedule, homeschooling, foster care, caring for aging parents, single parenting, eliminating sugar, or whatever else you can fill in the blank with, you can count on going through periods of discouragement and wanting to quit.

But keep this in mind when you feel that way: Your children are watching you and learning how to react in difficult circumstances. Is it best to give up when things get tough? Is it okay to throw in the towel when it is harder than you expected it to be? Or do you stick with it and get help when needed?

I believe it is powerful for our children to see us struggle with a task, yet keep on going. They need to see us trying hard things and chipping away at them one day at a time, never giving up because it is “too hard.”

Show your children what it looks like to use outside resources, seek encouragement, and go to God in prayer when hard things discourage you. And show them what it looks like not to be afraid to do something difficult and see it through.

Be sure to click on my video above to hear more of my thoughts on this.

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Fulfilling Your Purpose

Fulfilling Your Purpose Smockity Frocks

Periodically I call all the children in to sit around the table, and I tell them I have another “sermon” to preach. They have become so accustomed to this that my 16 year old informed me that I produce one of these “sermons” at about the same rate a chicken lays an egg: approximately every 25 hours.

So, today they all filed in and sat down, resigned to listen silently to whatever was weighing on my mind.

And here’s what was on my mind.

Fulfilling Your Purpose

Whenever you do a thing, ask yourself, “What is the purpose of this thing I am doing?”

When you sweep the floor, is the purpose to exercise your arms? NO! That might be a nice by-product, but the purpose is to end up with a clean floor. If you finish and don’t have a clean floor, it doesn’t matter how much you have moved your arms, YOU DID NOT FULFILL YOUR PURPOSE.

When you go to church, is the purpose to sit by your friends? NO! That is a happy result. The purpose is to WORSHIP GOD. If you leave church and have not worshipped, praised, adored God, YOU DID NOT FULFILL YOUR PURPOSE.

When you load the dishwasher, is the purpose to merely empty the sink of dirty dishes? NO! Everyone will be glad the sink is empty, but the purpose is to have clean dishes when the dishwasher cycle is done. If the dishes were loaded in such a way that it was impossible for them to get clean, YOU DID NOT FULFILL YOUR PURPOSE.

When you do your math, is the purpose to practice your handwriting? NO! The purpose is to become better at solving numerical problems. If your handwriting improves, but you do not practice solving math problems, YOU DID NOT FULFILL YOUR PURPOSE.

When you read the Bible is your purpose to find ammunition to use against your friend who has a habit of cussing? NO! The purpose is to know the will of God FOR YOU. If you close the Bible and do not know God’s will, YOU HAVE NOT FULFILLED YOUR PURPOSE.

Examine why you do what you do. Don’t fool yourself into thinking because you did a thing that you have accomplished your purpose.

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When No One Likes Your Child

It’s a tough pill to swallow when no one likes your child, but it’s easy to identify.

When no one likes your child

You see other children happily playing in groups, but when your child tries to join, the mood changes. Maybe the group stops mid-game and moves away as your child approaches. Maybe they openly tell your child he can’t play with them. When no one likes your child it can be devastating to him and to us.

Our first response to this is usually to intervene in the group and tell the children it isn’t nice to exclude anyone, and that they must let everyone play. In this age of frequent anti-bullying messages, it’s easy to think the solution is to force the group to change.

But, does this solve the root problem of a raising a child that no one likes? Does this response help the child identify social cues that others find his behavior off-putting? Does it allow him to grow into an adult who can navigate complex social situations and modify his behavior to be acceptable?

Before I go any further and give you my two cents on this issue, let me assure you I am not talking about your child. I am not talking about any particular child that I know specifically. I am telling you some things I have found beneficial in my own growing up years, in teaching in public schools, and in raising my own eight children for 20+ years.

Let me tell you a story of 6th Grade Me to give a grasp of what I am talking about.

When I was in 6th grade, I was a very bright child who was happy and outgoing. I found myself in a brand new middle school that year, which was slightly unnerving, but I was confident in my abilities to excel in school, so I didn’t worry too much.

Sometime during that fall, I remember realizing that the other students in my Language Arts class despised me. I couldn’t understand why. I was smart. I was cute. I was friendly. What could the problem be?

I don’t know how the conversation came about, but I specifically remember Dee Dee Williams telling me point blank, “No one likes you because you always know all the answers. Why can’t you just let someone else answer sometimes?”

This was the very first time it had dawned on me that my behavior had been obnoxious. I mean, the teacher would ask questions, and I would raise my hand to answer them while everyone else sat idly by. She would call on me, and I would always be right. Every single day. I had never realized that what I was doing was discouraging the other students from even trying to answer, all the while alienating every one of my classmates with my “know it all” posture.

This revelation was painful to me at the time, but it also served as educational. I knew first hand from that time forward that no one likes a know it all. This didn’t mean that I pretended to be dumb or refused to answer questions. It just meant that I modified my behavior to allow others to feel they had a chance to answer also. I left room for others to feel smart and important instead of selfishly taking all of that attention for myself.

This brings me to the point of my post. When no one likes your child or no one lets him play in the group games, instead of rescuing him and demanding that everyone can play, what if you allow him to realize and benefit from cause and effect?

I don’t mean for this to be a cruel exercise in allowing our children to be bullied, and I don’t mean for this to apply to children who have mental challenges that make social situations difficult. I am simply suggesting that we allow our children to understand, as much as they are able, that their behavior has consequences. What if they have genuinely never considered how their actions can be annoying to others? How about asking the following questions to help your child explore what could possibly be going on?

  • “If no one wants to play Freeze Tag with you, is it because you cry whenever you get tagged? No one likes to play with a cry baby.”
  • “If no one wants you on their team, is it because you complain about the way the game goes every time you play? No one likes someone who is always complaining.”
  • “If no one wants to talk to you, is it because you only ever talk about Minecraft? No one likes to talk to someone who hogs all the talking time or only talks about themselves.”

Those are just a few examples of how the conversation might go. I have had conversations like this with my children, and although not easy to hear, I believe each time they were able to understand how their behavior was contributing to the problem.

Let’s face it, we all probably know an adult or two who would have benefitted from this kind of frank honesty years ago, before they became set in their habits of obnoxious, self centered behavior. If you don’t want your children to become set in those habits, now is the time for these difficult conversations. 

It is much easier to help when no one likes your child than it is to try to deal with an adult that is annoying and has practiced that for years.

If you enjoyed this post, see also “10 Signs your Child Might Be Spoiled and What To Do About It.”

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Tip to Promote Good Attitude During Reading Lessons

*This post contains affiliate links. 

Reading lesson smarty tip

I have used *Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons to teach all of my children to read, and I am currently using it on my 8th child.  Same old, trusty book, minus the cover, plus a few scribbled on pages.

I love this book for so many reasons.

  • The lessons are short, usually around 15 minutes long.
  • The book is all you need. There are no worksheets or flashcards involved.
  • The parent part is scripted. Simply read aloud the words in red. No wondering exactly how to present the lesson.
  • The child REALLY CAN read on about second grade level at the end of 100 days.

However, my children don’t always love doing these lessons each day. (They also don’t love doing their chores and going to bed on time.) Because the lessons require the child to sit still, concentrate, and remember and repeat what they hear, there is occasional whining, crying, stalling, and/or complaining. They are children, after all, and they don’t always like to do what they should do.

So, sometime during the teaching of 8 total children to read using this book, I figured out the following tip to promote good attitude during reading lessons.

  1. Line up Smarties in fold of book.
  2. Every time student whines, stalls, complains, refuses to cooperate, etc, Mom mercilessly, and without comment, eats a Smarty.
  3. Student gets all Smarties left at end of lesson.

I am telling you THIS WORKS LIKE MAGIC FAIRY DUST if done consistently.

You’re welcome.

*affiliate link

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Winter Summit 2016 ~ Homeschool Moms’ Retreat

winter summit girls weekend graphic

I just spent another weekend with a few hundred of my friends at the Homeschool Moms’ Winter Summit 2016. This is a fantastic, Jesus-centered retreat specifically designed to encourage homeschool moms.

There is really very little talk about homeschooling and absolutely no talk about curriculum, but do you know what there is a HUGE focus on?

GRACE. Rejoicing in the beautiful grace God has given us, extending grace to ourselves when we fail, and offering that same grace to others when they disappoint us.

This retreat will benefit ALL moms who are just looking for someone to encourage them to keep giving it their best shot, and to keep relying on God to give them the strength to do it. Anyone who would like other moms to lock arms with her and say, “We’re in this parenting thing together sister,” would love The Summit.

winter summit dance party

Saturday night dance party

But one of the things that makes it so extra special to me is that this is where my people gather. I know without a doubt that this hotel ballroom will be filled with women just like me who know exactly what it feels like to be a stay at home mom in a one income family who spends all day every day directly responsible for her children’s education.

They know what it is to wonder if they will have to explain again at the family reunion that homeschooling is legal in all 50 states. Or the nervous, deer in the headlights look your child gets when he stalls and stammers upon being asked asked what grade he is in. They know what it is to wonder if you are ruining your child’s chances of getting into college, his future, his life because of your weaknesses and inadequacies.

winter summit blogger skit

Mrs. Homeschool Universe finalists

The whole weekend is chock full of heartfelt praise and worship, hilarious skits, transparent honesty, encouraging sessions, and plenty of advice from moms who have already traveled the road I am still on.

winter summit q&a panel

This picture represents 97 combined years of homeschool wisdom and 23 homeschooled kids whom they have graduated.

GRADUATED! They have completed their homeschool journeys! Can you believe they are all still standing tall and they come to The Summit every year to cheer the rest of us on? THIS IS MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE PART! These ladies take anonymous questions that have been submitted throughout the weekend and they answer even the most difficult ones with honesty and transparency. I am telling you right now that it is SOLID GOLD to have these ladies speak life and encouragement into us bone weary moms who are just trying to get through one more school year without running away from home.

In between the general sessions, delicious food, and skits, there were 12 breakout sessions to choose from during the weekend, so it was easy to tailor the topics to suit different needs.

winter summit bio

I was asked to speak in 2 of those sessions, and I brought along my 15 year old daughter to be a “Summit Server.”

winter summit mother daughter

Cami and me

She had a ball with some of the other daughters running errands, helping ladies find where the restrooms were, and holding babies.

Winter Summit photo booth

Me and Kelly

winter summit bloggers

Kris, Lisa, Heather, and me

Another one of my favorite parts is just getting to hang and laugh with some very dear friends that I have grown to love. When you spend the entire weekend with someone, you never know what you might find out. You could hear that she has met and danced with Jon Bon Jovi, and you might squeal and be very jealous because there was a time that you and Jon shared a very rich history (in your head) and yet he never invited you on stage to dance with him. (No comment on which of the above ladies was the lucky one.)

Wouldn’t you love to grab a few girlfriends and make it a weekend to remember? We would love for you to join us at The Summit next year! Read what these ladies had to say about the weekend below.

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