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The School Slide—Avoiding School-Time Parenting Pitfalls

“The School Slide”

Feeling that back-to-school vibe yet? If not, I’ve got a two-part pop quiz that’ll get you in the spirit of the season.

  1.  Complete this analogy:

The “summer slide” is to kids as the “school slide” is to ____________.”

Answer:  Parents!

2.   Define “school slide.”

This one’s a bit trickier, so grab your notebook, Parents, and join me in the classroom for three lessons that just might change the way we all approach the school year . . . Read more

The Things We Leave Behind

What are you leaving behind?

It was her pair of black sandals that initially made me pause. I could remember her wearing them at family gatherings and now they lay on the floor, resting indefinitely.

But it was more than the shoes.

My husband’s grandparents’ home was filled with things Grandmother had left behind when she recently passed away—papers, clothes, quilting projects, and even a pie crust patiently awaiting its filling in the freezer.

But it was more than these items, too.

It was the things she’d been leaving behind for years, though you’d never see them stacked in a corner or overflowing from a box. In fact, you couldn’t see them at all.

They’re the same things each of us leaves behind after every encounter with another:

Read more

Three Directions Every Purposeful Journey Needs

“The Stream”

Imagine a journey with no packing, no airport security, and no overtired-yet-astonishingly-loud children. Sounds easy, but this type of travel’s tough stuff. In fact, this journey of self-development challenges our strength as we discover who we are and what we’re meant to do.

It’s traveling inward, outward, and back home again.

Kinda sounds like we’re going in a circle, right?

Sort of, but this is no simple circle. Where we start and end may be the same, but are we the same? Luckily, nature recently provided me the perfect explanation . . . and it begins at a beach in Cape Cod. Read more

Thoughts Bothering You? Five Steps to Stop the Worry Cycle

“Worrisome Thoughts” –Courtesy of Charlotte Meyer

There’s a small metal box, trimmed in pink pom-poms, that sits on my daughter’s bedside table. In it rest handwritten worries—a collection of thoughts she’d prefer leave her alone.

It’s a special item I loved giving her, but not the first “worry box” I’ve gifted. The original belongs to a friend I met fifteen years ago. And I even have my own version, though it’s only in my mind.

So we have an 8-year-old, a then twenty-something, and a thirty-nine-and-three-fourths-year-old all with one common problem: Read more

Four Truths to Stop Getting Tricked into Tears

Say whaaat??

I’d read the story years before and knew I should step away, but I didn’t. So there I stood in Target’s electronics section, producing tears I refused to release. All because a children’s book was tugging at my heart.

Now, before you get sentimental, this was definitely not an “aww” moment. In fact, I went home and transformed some of those unshed tears into an angry speech that left my hubby wide-eyed.

What was so upsetting? Read more

Four Life Lessons from Camp Tuckaho

Camp Tuckaho Nature Log–I think Darwin would approve.

Camping’s a box I checked off my to-try list about ten years ago. And it’s been purposely absent from all of my lists since then.

I don’t get the whole camping thing. A walk in the woods? Yes. Dining al fresco? Definitely. Getting away from it all? Absolutely. But a community bathroom (or worse) and no bed? You lost me.

I’d successfully avoided a second experience until my daughter came along and with her, Girl Scouts—famous for cookies . . . and camping.

So the Friday evening before Mother’s Day, I drove her and another mom/daughter duo toward our destiny—Camp Tuckaho.

And here’s what I learned in my 24-hour reunion with the one activity I’d hoped to never do again: Read more

Redirect Your Life with One-Letter Shifts

“One Little Letter”

Ever think about how the difference between one word and the next is often just a letter?

Me neither.

Except until the other day when I was searching online for St. Louis events and saw one appearing to be titled “Meditation Matters.”

“Awesome!” I thought, clicking on the link.

All that awesomeness ended when I realized the program targeted the senior population and was actually called “Medication Matters.”

Changing one little letter can catapult a word from your corner of the world to the opposite pole.

So why not apply this “one little letter” philosophy to propel ourselves in a direction we’d rather be heading? Read more

Reclaim & Release—Two Steps Towards Your Dreams

“Left Behind”

Last time it went missing, it left for a week. So when we realized yesterday at 8pm that my 6-year-old’s ninja turtle water bottle had begun another solo adventure—left behind after baseball practice—I headed to reclaim it.

The empty baseball diamond felt like the Field of Dreams set—my mind even started replaying the “If you build it . . .” line as I canvassed the outfield. The bottle lay, of course, in the last possible place I could look, but I eventually spotted its neon-green lid.

All alone on a cold metal bench.

Well, not completely alone. You see, on my search-and-rescue route I discovered a handful of baseballs, a tennis ball, a Gatorade bottle, and a purple jacket.

All left behind—the typical behavior of most kids that age.

But as I quietly walked back to my car, my shoes absorbing the evening dew, two thoughts began developing: Read more

The Two Sides of Realizing Greatness

Why Les Miserables? Find out below . . .

Have you ever tried to convince people of their unlimited potential—that inherent greatness you can see lying dormant? But nothing happens until someone or something comes along and—boom!—they realize it?

Which leaves you sitting there, thinking “I’ve been telling you this forever!”

While we’re happy they’re seeing the truth, we may feel a bit hurt that we couldn’t reach them. We may wonder what it was that made everything click. Or maybe we think of it like this—what were we missing or what could we have done better?

When it seems as though we’ve failed, it’s natural to analyze our performance. But in matters of another’s heart, there are two factors to remember: Read more