4 Strategies to Win the Fight for Your Family in Challenging Seasons

Win the Fight for your Family

Challenging times are fair game for EVERY marriage and family. And whether you give up or stay and fight for your family makes all the difference in your outcome. Get 4 strategies to stay in the fight to develop healthy relationships with your spouse and children. #Marriage #FamilyLifeWe’ve all been there – tension is high and patience is slow. When the temptation to give up and is greater than the desire to stay and fight for your marriage. Challenging times are fair game for EVERY family. And what you do in the face of these tough times makes all the difference.

To fight means to strive or contend for victory, in battle or in single combat; to attempt to defeat, subdue, or destroy an enemy, either by blows or weapons.

When a boxer gets in the ring, he’s not there to lose. He’s going for blood to win the fight!

I personally didn’t get into too many fights when I was a younger, but I was in enough to learn a few tricks. And the first thing girls did, is take out our earrings and pull our hair back. No one wants to get an earring ripped out or loose a chunk of hair!

Why am I talking about all this fighting? Because we have a very real opponent in this ring called LIFE, who’s already throwing punches. And we need to be ready to hit back and not get sucker punched.

Right now families are under a sneak attack.  Meanwhile we’re so busy with life that we don’t see the enemy’s strike coming right at us.

We live in a world that’s becoming increasingly antagonistic toward families. One that’s dulling what it means to be committed to someone else for a lifetime. I remember 20 years ago being the odd one in any group because my parents were still married. Now, it’s much worse.

Stay in the Ring & Fight for Your Family!

The world around us is yelling at us to give up. It says when our teenager starts acting out, “It’s just a phase… She’ll grow out of it… It’s what all teenagers go through.”

It says when our spouse becomes physically and emotionally detached, “he’s not worthy to have you anymore… There’s someone else out there who will really love you… She can’t expect you to wait forever for her to change.”

And chances are some of these comments might even come from people in your own inner circle trying to offer “well-meaning” advice.

There’s nothing keeping us in the ring anymore. But let me urge you not to throw in the towel. Whether your marriage and family life is strong or weak and barely hanging on; we need to know we’re standing in a real ring.

Related: How to Complacency Proof Your Marriage and Family.

We’re fighting a real opponent who’s swinging whether we fight back or not.

My husband and I have seen so many couples that we looked up to in the “marriage department” end up divorced. You know those couples you admired when you first got married? It shows how vulnerable all are.

But I’ve realized we’re only weak in the areas we neglect. Just like a boxer must continuously train for his fight, we must do the same. And it’s never too late.

In fact, we’ve also seen couples who were divorced for years, only to be reunited in marriage once again. It wasn’t easy, but it can be done through the grace and the love of God.

Remember Your Original Vision

What do you want for your marriage? A spouse who’s your best friend? A spouse who works to make your life better, easier, and happier? One who understands you, or at least tries to?

What kind of relationship do you want with your children? Children who respect you? Children who ask your advice and guidance before their friends or their i-pad? Children who are kind and have a positive vision for their future beyond the school years in front of them?

If we search our hearts we’ll find those visions we once had for our family. The ones we had when we said, “I do,” and when we held our newborns for the first time.

We naively think we get to experience those visions and desires simply because we want them. Maybe that was true in times passed, but not now.

Today, we have to get dirty and take out our earrings and fight for our marriage and for our kids.

Good things don’t “just happen.” And neither do bad things. We’re either fighting or throwing in the towel.

Related: 2 strong Enemies of a Healthy Marraige

4 strategies for winning the fight for your family.

Strategy #1: Hit’em with the jab of sacrifice.

As with any fight, you don’t win with the knockout punch at the end. You win with the many well placed jabs at the start of the fight – wearing down your opponent. And this jab is the most damaging. In order to win the fight for your family, you first must be willing to sacrifice yourself.

When I was about 12 or 13 years old, I started my crazy teenage years. I was skipping school, getting into trouble when I was at school, and was no longer respecting my mom’s authority in the house. I’m not proud of that fact, but it was true.

All my life, I was a military brat and moved all over the world. My dad was a high ranking officer in the Navy and served most of his days out to sea on the aircraft carriers he was in charge of leading. He had a great career and an even more promising one ahead of him, but when he heard of the trouble I was in he decided he need to make a change.

He transferred to a position that allowed him to work on the base full-time. He wanted to be home to take an active role in raising us. And watching over me. And this is a sacrifice you don’t often see dads making in our society.

My mom also chose to remain a stay-at-home mom so she could be home when my sister and brother got home from school. She tried her best to be present and involved in our lives. I thank God for my unselfish parents who worked hard to give us the best life.

Related:How to Complacency Proof Your Marriage and Family

Strategy #2: Become Slippery to the Haters

Taking off your earrings isn’t the only thing girls did before a fight; they also got their Vaseline! Slathering it on your face keeps fingernails from scratching your face.

When you step out to do anything out of the ordinary there will be haters and online trolls lining up to say something. We’ve got to be willing to do anything and everything to keep our families thriving and strong. And people (even your extended family, friends, co-workers …) won’t always get it. And may even try to talk you out of your plan.

That’s because people don’t like different. People don’t like radical. But let me say, radical change is necessary in the times we live in.

Maybe radical for you is choosing to forgo your quiet comfort in order to be the fun house where your kids’ friends can come hang out instead of your kids going out all the time. Or maybe it’s deciding to homeschool your children as you’re led by God.

What ever you do, let those criticisms, comments, and opinions slip off like nails on a slippery face.

Related: How to Get Your Kids to Listen Without Yelling

Strategy #3: Pray

Prayer is like oxygen blowing on a flame. It fuels the fire on the inside to do whatever it takes and not take on a passive stance like so many today.

Prayer heals the hurt, exchanges hope for disappointment, and lessens the blow of offense. It’s the daily power that keeps you in the fight.

It keeps your heart and eyes from being deceived into believing that your spouse and children are the enemy. Prayer keeps your weapon locked and loaded on the real enemy – Satan.

Having a regular quiet time allows you the time to be still and pray. Learn how to jumpstart your own quiet time in my blog post: How to jumpstart a life-transforming quiet time routine.

Strategy #4: Become what you desire

Remember earlier when I asked you what kind of marriage and family life you want? But there was a question I didn’t ask. What kind of spouse/parent are you willing to become? If we want our spouse to be kinder and more gentle with us, are we providing the model for that desired behavior?

If we want our children to be more respectful, are we providing the model of a respectful person? If we want a more fun family life, are we becoming a more relaxed and fun person?

We need to become skilled in becoming what we desire in other people. It’s easy to look at what others aren’t doing right, and forget about our own faults.

Related: How to Find the Courage to Fearlessly Follow Your Dreams

Whether your family is happy and strong or struggling; use these strategies to get in the fight. Don’t give up on your family, and NEVER be passive. There’s always a level higher than where you are. You just have to reach up and grab it. And throw a few jabs along the way!

Leave a comment and share where you are and what strategies you’ve used in difficult times. We all need support and encouragement from others!


Family Date Ideas Checklist

51 Easy Ways to Uncomplicate Your Life and Live It More Simply

51 Ways to Live Your Life More Simply

Is your life feeling complicated, hard, and overwhelming? Sometimes we just need to make a few simply adjustments to simplify our life and make it so much more enjoyable! #MomLife #SimpleLifeI have a tendency to over-complicate my life. Can you relate? Most often without realizing – but sometimes fully aware – I do things the hard way. Largely because I’m comfortable and familiar with the hard way. It’s my cozy friend.

I can do it without even thinking. And doing things better and more efficient requires me to slow down and learn something new. Meh!

And when you’re already feeling buried by your to-do list, slowing down isn’t an option. Right?

I thought so until I read John Maxwell’s book Today Matters. He shares many powerful lessons in this great book – too many to mention here – but a piece of wisdom he shared from his father stuck out for me the most.

His dad taught him the principle of pay now or pay later. The point is, we all have things we need to do. But how and when we do them is just as important as what we do.

We can choose to do tasks early when they’re easy and manageable, or later when they’ve piled up – becoming a burden. We all “pay later” once and a while and that’s fine. But when we live our lives day after day putting out fires and cleaning up messes – we’re not doing ourselves any favors.

For example, I can let dishes pile up on the counter over the course of the day and clean them up in the evening after they’ve become a mountain of dirty dishes. Causing me to dread the evening ritual.

Or here’s a bright idea… I can take care of them as they’re used throughout the day!

Then my evenings become a stress free time to do more important things like reading a great story to my kids before bed.

Thankfully, I’ve learned over time that change is good and necessary for growth. I just needed to finally make the decision to invest time in making my life easier and learning how to create a lifestyle of paying now.

Here’s a simple list to get you started – 51 easy ways to make your life simpler so you can rock out the rest of your life with ease!

  1. Get up at least 15 minutes (or more) before your family wakes up. Enjoy the quiet before the day starts.

  2. Do something that scares you – frequently.

  3. Make yourself a warm drink in the morning just for you. And sip it slowly.

  4. Keep a notepad by your bedside and before you go to sleep write down all the stuff that’s trying to keep you awake. Take care of it in the morning.

  5. Write in a journal every day. Even if it’s just a paragraph.

  6. Exercise daily. Whatever that is for you – it’s something!

  7. Let the kids make a mess.

  8. Teach your kids to clean up their mess when they’re done.

  9. Don’t compare your family or life with anyone else’s.

  10. Learn the art of going with the flow.

  11. Order your groceries online for store pickup. Better yet, have your groceries shipped to your home if you can.

  12. Live with the belief you were created for a purpose. Because you were!

  13. Plan your meals at least one week in advance. Cook them all on a weekend day if possible.

  14. Give all age appropriate children chores. Only leave chores for yourself that they can’t do.

  15. Get comfortable with telling people no.

  16. Live in the moment and don’t be distracted when spending time with your kids and/or spouse.

  17. Read at least 5 pages of a good book per day.

  18. Exercise outdoors whenever possible. A good walk is plenty.

  19. Allow yourself to daydream. It’s good for you.

  20. Watch one less show on TV.

  21. Set and follow a discipline system in your home for your kids. And don’t waver!

  22. Make sure trash always goes straight into the trashcan and never on the counters.

  23. Keep a recycling container in your kitchen instead of allowing recyclables to pile up on counters or on the floor.

  24. Sweep your floors every day.

  25. Hug and kiss your kids and spouse every day.

  26. Stop caring about what other people think of you.

  27. Call a friend and just talk for no reason.

  28. Love yourself – flaws and all.

  29. Give away or throw out beauty products that don’t work for you.

  30. Practice forgiveness regardless of the offense.

  31. Donate clothes that don’t fit or are outdated.

  32. Write out a vision for where you still desire to go in your life.

  33. Take a break once and a while.

  34. Let your kids be bored. It’s good for them.

  35. Make double batches of your dinners and freeze the 2nd batch for busy weeknights.

  36. Take power naps for 15 minutes when you’re feeling sluggish.

  37. Instill a love of reading in your home. Visit the library often.

  38. Grab a glass of water and a piece of fruit instead of another cup of coffee.

  39. Don’t buy unnecessary things like clothing on credit. Pay cash instead.

  40. Give yourself permission to be imperfect.

  41. Allow and encourage your children to be self-sufficient.

  42. Have eye to eye contact with each of your kids daily.

  43. Laugh often and cry when you need to.

  44. Don’t beat yourself up when you have to let the TV entertain your kids once and a while.

  45. Teach your children that disrespect is non-negotiable in your home.

  46. Wipe your kitchen counters clean after every meal and before bed.

  47. Do something you’re passionate about at least an hour a day.

  48. Make simple goal setting a life style.

  49. Be grateful for what you do have and what is working.

  50. Breathe.

  51. Pray.

Below is a link to a FREE checklist with 60 more ideas on how to simplify your life and care for yourself well! You deserve it!


Please leave a comment below and share your ideas for living a simpler life. Don’t keep those goodies to yourself!

Related: How to Reverse the 4 Mindsets that are Stealing your Enjoyable Life

What to Say to Your Child After Violent & Tragic News Events

Tragic news events seem to be happening daily. Hearing them can be hard, but even harder for children. Here's a healthy perspective to share with your child.

Tragic news events seem to be happening almost daily. Hearing and processing the emotions following can be hard for us, but are even harder for our children. Here's a healthy perspective and framework to share with your child to bring comfort and peace in times of senseless tragedy.My heart is heavy this morning as I wake up, yet again, to hear about more innocent lives tragically being taken at the hands of a violent killer.

It’s so hard to make sense of all the hate and violence happening all around the world. It seems no place and no one is off limits from becoming a victim. It’s happening in our churches and schools and to our most vulnerable, even children.

Feelings of fear, panic, unforgiveness, and maybe even hate can invade our minds and hearts if we’re not careful.

How can something like this happen?

Who’s really at fault?

Am I ever really safe… anywhere?

These are just some of the rambling questions that hit ALL of our minds after hearing of the latest attack. Though difficult, us as adults, are able to adapt, adjust, rationalize, and move on. Not callously, but as we eventually settle into our day to day lives we find peace along the way.

I, like many others, spend time regularly praying for those impacted by these tragedies, and ask Christ to point me where He wants me to go or what to do to bring comfort to others.

That’s why I’m writing this post right now. I just didn’t have peace to do anything else until it was done – to be an agent of peace.

This brings allows me to choose joy instead of hate for those who choose to commit such acts.

What Do We Say to our Children?

Even though hearing news of tragedy isn’t easy for us as adults, it can be extremely difficult and even damaging for our children if not addressed properly and lovingly.

It’s important to know exactly how to approach and discuss these terrible and scary events with our children.

As parents, we are like a barometer setting the tone for how our children think and feel. If we are fearful, or hateful toward those responsible, or passively ignore the events all together – those little ones we’ve been entrusted with will most certainly adopt our ways.

Even if you don’t watch the news in your home, if your children are old enough, they’ll often hear these events discussed at school, church, or simply with friends or family. And many children either won’t feel comfortable or can’t articulate their feelings, and will keep their thoughts to themselves.

Depending how they’re internally processing this information, holding it in can be very damaging to the child.

Now, let me be clear, I do not have a sit down discussion with my children every time something tragic happens in our world. I do this on a case by case basis. If I know they are unaware of such events, I do my best to lovingly shield them. The younger the child, the more I do my best to keep them from these issues as best I can.

But just because they don’t directly come to you and tell you about it, don’t mean they haven’t already heard about it. In fact, I prompted my oldest daughter if anything interesting or strange was discussed at school that day and neither of my daughters hinted that they heard the news.

The next morning, I asked if her and her friends ever discussed the news. She responded, “like the shooting in Las Vegas?” Umm, yes. If I hadn’t prompted her, she would have held those images in her head with no guidance.

Our goal as parents is to walk the balance of protecting, shielding, answering questions, providing wisdom, and pointing them toward the only thing powerful enough to stop it all – LOVE.

Most people, including children, will jump to an instinctive question when faced with tragedy.

Why would someone do that to another human being?

The answer is both very simple and very complicated at the same time, but boils down to that person having a gross lack of love in their life and heart.

Love is a healing balm that when offered to someone, has the ability to seep deep into the empty, hurting crevices of their hearts and to heal what’s damaged. It further works to seal out further damage from getting in.

Love is the ONLY cure for what’s wrong and broken in our world. Love is the very expression of who God is.

When we don’t have love, we’re wide open to the poisonous nature of hate in all its insidious forms.

Hate is a tool of the Enemy that roams to find broken hearts not sealed with love. It literally poisons a person from the inside out. A person who commits violence has been poisoned by hate long before we ever saw it manifested on the outside.

It’s really very sad if you sit and think about it.

As we talk with our kids about how someone could do such a thing, we must try very hard to approach the offender with compassion. To explore what hate, loneliness, or abandonment they must have felt and taken root at some point in their lives.

That as we think about and pray compassionately about the victims of violence, we need to open our children up to having compassion for the offender – as hard as that may be.

This gives our children the opportunity to think like Jesus, who had compassion for the thief on the cross and all other sinners. It’s only God’s Love that can snuff out the darkness in our world.

Showing them that we ALL have the power to show love to others and our actions (good and bad) can have lasting consequences that can last a lifetime.

For example, a child who is isolated or bullied in school by their classmates or abused by their parents can harbor feelings of hurt and hate in their hurts that can open them up to Satan’s devices. Who is at work behind EVERY tragedy we see! It’s NEVER God.

When our children learn how to have compassion for those who aren’t worthy of compassion, it empowers them to not feel helpless. They can allow love for others to have an IMPACT in their world and directly contribute to stopping the violent cycle from continuing.

How can I ever really be safe in this world?

Once we teach our kids about the root of tragedy, and how we ALL play a role in stopping it – we need to give our children a solid foundation of peace.

As those, devoted to Christ, we have a promise of protection, according to Psalm 91. We can rest in the promise and should confess as believers that no hurt, harm, or danger will come near us!

That’s not to say that those who’ve tragically lost their lives to violence somehow did anything to deserve to lose their life. No one can truly answer why bad things happen to innocent people.

We can however, choose to trust in our Heavenly protection and believe in the voice of God who speaks to us daily – warning us, delaying us, and even speeding us up to keep us out of all types of danger in our path everyday.

I know without question, my angels have prevented many terrible situations from hitting my family because of His love. Things we’ll never know about!

I personally, teach my children to listen closely and obey quickly the voice of the Holy Spirit leading them even in the simplest things.

This way, when they have a sudden leading to do something different, illogical, or even strange comes up – they’ll obey it. As it could one day save their life!

We’ve all heard the countless stories of individuals doing very uncharacteristic things or experienced an annoying delay, which in turn, kept them away from senseless tragedy.

In closing, my goal is to prepare you as a parent to comfort, inform, and uplift your child. To prevent them from walking around in silent fear unable to find their way to cope by opening the lines of communication.

Some other tips to help you have these discussions

  • Allow your child the freedom to share their feelings without judgement.
  • Ask them how these events make them feel, and lead the conversation from there.
  • Don’t allow the news to play following these or other disastrous events. Usually, in the days following there will be death toll counts rising and many retellings of individual’s personal experience. These can be very graphic in nature and can encourage fear.
  • Pray together with your child, or allow them to lead.
  • Remember you will set the tone for how your child feels.
  • If your child seems disturbed, becomes distant, refuses to talk about it, or changes in some way – don’t be afraid to seek professional help.

How do you talk to your child about violence and other difficult situations? Please share in the comments.

Also, share this post to others, so we can all work together to put LOVE to work and stop the cycle!


3 Keys to Overcoming Selfishness in Your Life and Family

3 Keys to Overcoming Selfishness in your life and family

Selfishness is something that affects all families but there are 3 simple keys to help you overcoming selfishness in your life and family!

Our families need many things to be healthy and strong, but the one ingredient our families can’t live and thrive without is LOVE.

Love is strong and beautiful. It was created to take root and bloom right in the middle of all the craziness and ever-evolving seasons of a typical family. We simply can’t survive without nourishing, life-sustaining love. It never gives up, never quits, or stops believing the best.

When a home’s functioning without it; it’s no longer living.  It’s a “Walking Dead” family.  And I don’t know about you but I didn’t start out with the vision of me and my family walking around like a bunch of zombies.

The Enemy of Love

A sure-fire enemy of love is selfishness because it’s so subtle and dangerous at the same time; sneaking up on each of us. And if we’re not careful and watchful over the garden of our hearts; the weeds of selfishness can shoot up quickly – choking out the love we so desperately need.

And no matter what age, station, or season of life we find ourselves in; we all have to do constant battle with selfishness. I’ve struggled with it my whole life and too often was totally oblivious to it.

That’s because selfishness doesn’t always manifest itself in major things like spending a large chunk of the family budget on myself for things I didn’t need, or constantly going out with friends and neglecting my family.

No, it was not calling my parents for weeks or months on end because I was tired and just didn’t want to be on the phone for more than 5 minutes.  Or choosing to say no to my girls who were begging to play a game so I can catch up on my shows waiting for me on my DVR. Or refusing to admit I was wrong in an “discussion” with my husband even when I knew I was.

It’s small, everyday stuff that honestly feels like no big deal, but if different choices were made, deeper relationships would be formed.

It’s not that we have to be constantly available for everyone at every waking moment. That would be crazy and impossible. But I’ve learned to take a moment before making a decision and evaluate if this moment is worth it.

Our children will only be little for a few years. Our parents won’t be with us forever. Our marriages can only remain strong with invested time.

Can my shows wait a little longer? Can I take a few minutes on the phone to hear the voices of those I love? Can I stop whatever I’m doing to check in with my husband to see what he might need?

It’s love that drives the right choices and selfishness that kills relationships.  The leading cause of failed marriages isn’t money or communication.  It’s selfishness at it’s root. Plain and simple.

And the leading cause of healthy marriages is LOVE.

Love is a Decision

The fact is, the love we all so desperately need isn’t an emotion that soothes us into doing the right thing by others. Nope.  It’s a decision.

The love you have for your spouse, children, parents, and friends is a decision you made and haven’t given up on. For example, the love a mother or father has for their child doesn’t come automatically after a baby’s born.  That love was decided long before the baby ever showed up.  My husband and I prayed for our first child for 4 1/2 years before we ever got pregnant.  She was loved and adored by us long before she was ever even conceived.

But look around us.  There’s story after story of parents who have committed unspeakable acts to the children they brought into this world and the ones that never had the chance. How do you explain that? The decision of love was never made.

Love is a decision.  And everyone hasn’t made it for themselves.

But not so fast!  Selfishness is just as much a decision as love is. Every time a thought of selfishness springs up; it’s our responsibility to reach in our hearts and root it up.

We have to remove the root of selfishness before the roots go too deep and take hold of our hearts.

I was riding in the car one day and my girls were in the back playing a game of rock, paper, scissors.  I suddenly heard what I thought was my younger daughter shout out, “God is one of the weapons!”

I spoke up, “Did you say God?”

They said this was something they heard others kids saying at church one Sunday.  Hmm.  That’s some advantage.  I said, “isn’t that like cheating?  I mean, nothing beats God, right?”


Using God in a game of rock, paper, scissors may be a little unfair but using God’s weapon of love to defeat selfishness isn’t.  It’s our right and responsibility.

If we choose love over our natural instinct of self-preservation; we win the battle every time.

But neither selfishness nor love operate independent of us.  Whether we come to admit it or not; we’re in control of our thoughts, words, and actions.

It’s funny how we can take ownership when we do or say something really great.  But somehow when we behave badly we step back and claim the devil made me do it.

So our ability to stand by our good actions proves we’re in control of ourselves. Therefore, we’re either surrendering ourselves over to the will of our Creator or to our own will. Here are 3 Keys to help you overcome selfishness and cultivate more love in your family.

Key #1:  Put on the other person’s shoes

This is old-school advice, but is no less effective in its power. It also requires more effort that a fleeting thought.  We really need to make a true attempt to see situations through the eyes and heart of the other person.

If if there’s something they need from us; we should make a personal connection to that need. We may not always be able to fulfill it, but at least we can understand it and communicate that understanding. Sometimes that’s all that’s really needed anyways.

Key #2:  Practice the sacrifice

A sacrifice is giving up something of personal value, for something you see as more valuable.  In order to defeat selfishness and grow love, we must be willing to give up some things for something greater.

For example, we practice (or at least try to) give up always trying to be right in order to preserve the peace in our home. This one needs constant reminding, though.

Love also grows unhindered when we take an interest in the interests of those in our family. My husband LOVES sports of all kinds, and I … don’t. But I will take “shop” with him and watch games. I rarely complain when he turns on a game. I’m not perfect with this but I’m a whole lot better. 🙂

Key #3:  Know how deeply we impact those we love

When we act selfishly, our actions quickly come and go; but for the other person it can go much deeper and linger longer. When we say no to our children who want to spend time with us; they can feel rejected if it happens too often. Those wounds can go deep and stay for a lifetime. The same goes for our marriages.

Our ability to turn off the TV and put down the i-phone to truly connect with those in our home is how to have lifetime bonds in a family. Our smart phones should be used to connect us when we’re apart; not disconnect us when we’re together.

The Power of Staying Full

I do want to add balance, however, to the issue of selfishness. I don’t want to send anyone, especially those struggling with people-pleasing syndrome (you know who you are), into a total tail-spin.

Selfishness is unnecessarily and repeatedly neglecting the needs of others so your needs can be fulfilled. Regular selfishness is also a symptom of not taking care of yourself.

As women, wives, friends, and mothers; we must learn to put ourselves first – first. That means I must intentionally and regularly take care of myself so that I stay full – BEFORE everyone else comes calling.

We are like beautiful vases that hold all the good stuff our family needs; which are poured out on a daily – moment by moment – basis. But sadly, so many of us are trying to pour out of an empty vase. When we’re empty; selfishness has no choice but to take over because we have nothing left to give out.

We must be sure we love ourselves and our families by staying FULL.

Find what fills you up on the inside and carve out some time – first – so you can do that everyday. A little intentional self-ishness first will lead to a whole lot of self-lessness the rest of your day for everyone else

My heart is that you take some of this wisdom and use it as weed-killer to spray on your weeds of selfishness; so that your beautiful and strong love can finally bloom big in the garden of your home.

Leave a comment and share how you’ve battled with selfishness and how your family grows love.


The Gift Idea Guide for Your Teen or College Student

High school and college aged kids are sometimes the hardest to buy for because everything we (translation: adults) pick can be “lame.” Or whatever the word for uncool is these days. 😉



But no fear! I’ve done the work for you and scoured my favorite store Amazon for some amazing gifts that are perfect for your older child.

Since this list contains an overwhelming number of unisex gifts, I didn’t divide the gifts by sex but some are distinctly boy or girl. So, have fun getting inspiration to get those big hugs or exuberant high fives for whatever the occasion.

And to make your life even easier you can shop right from this page! Just click right on the image to go straight to that specific item on Amazon.

Disclosure: I do earn a small commission anytime a purchase is made using any one of my Amazon links. If you do decide to purchase any of these awesome gifts, it actually helps to keep this blog running smoothly by purchasing through one of my links. Thanks a bunch! Happy Shopping! 😉 

Gift Ideas Guide for the Older Child in High School or College


Miracle-Gro AeroGarden Sprout LED

Miracle-Gro AeroGarden Sprout LED

This is a really cool gift for the kid who loves to grow things, is into science, or if you have a budding chef. This complete kit allows you to grow herbs, salad greens, vegetables, or flowers. They can grow up to three plants at a time! The high performance LED is tuned to the specific spectrum that allows for plants to at their maximum and even blinks to remind when nutrients are needed.

Vintage Lighted Star Marquee

Vintage Lighted Star Marquee

This is a cool marquee light that will liven up any desk or dorm room and is your secret way of letting them know they’ll always be your star! 😉

ATTCL 2016 Vintage Fashion Round Arrow Style Wayfarer

ATTCL 2016 Vintage Fashion Round Arrow Style Wayfarer

These stylish sunglasses are totally on trend right now! And they won’t break the bank and are available in a variety of cool colors.

Hangry Kit Sweet & Salty Snack Sampler

Hangry Kit Sweet & Salty Snack Sampler

If your kid is away or on their way to college, this gift will let ‘em know you’re thinking of their nutrition. 😉 We don’t want them getting hangry!

Fandango Gift Cards

Fandango Gift Cards

Movies, movies, movies … Need I say more?

Start Where You Are: A Journal for Self-Exploration

Start Where You Are: A Journal for Self-Exploration


This cute and fun journal is a welcoming way to ease your teen into the habit of journaling and thinking about themselves and their future.

Emojicon Backpack

Emojicon Backpack

Who doesn’t love emojis at any age?!

Premium Metallic Tattoos

Premium Metallic Tattoos

These aren’t your typical “kiddie” tattoos. These are premium metallic tattoos that last for days and won’t lose their shine. And they’re non-toxic and come with a 30-day money-back guarantee!

APIE Portable Wireless Outdoor Bluetooth Speaker


For the outdoors lover who wouldn’t want to miss listening to their i-tunes playlist this speaker is a great option. It’s also completely waterproof and delivers HD acoustic sound for crystal clear sound. To top it off, it comes with a built in SOS emergency button!

Herschel Supply Co. Charlie Card Holder

Herschel Supply Co. Charlie Card HolderThis is a simple and easy gift for pretty much anyone. It comes in 24 difference colors and designs to there’s one everyone would love.

1 Page at a Time: A Daily Creative Companion Diary

1 Page at a Time: A Daily Creative Companion Diary

Here’s another great tool to get your young person to journal and reflect on their life in a meaningful way. The benefits of journaling everyday are too good to pass up, so this is an entry level way to develop the awesome habit.

iPhone 6S Leather Case, iPhone 6S Case

iPhone 6S Leather Case, iPhone 6S Case

This is not just another phone case. It holds money and important cards, but it also folds to prop up the phone for easy viewing! And the best part is it comes in over 40 unique colors and designs.

Amir 3 in 1 HD Clip-on Cell Phone Camera Lens Kit

Amir 3 in 1 HD Clip-on Cell Phone Camera Lens Kit

This lens kit turns your cell phone (i-phone, Galaxy, and other Android phones) into a professional camera. You get 3 in 1 HD Lens – Including superior quality 0.4x Super Wide Angle Lens + 10x Macro Lens + 180° Fisheye Lens. Enjoy the high quality and incredible images

Sephora Gift Card

Sephora Gift Card

You can’t go wrong with a Sephora gift card for the girl who loves all things beauty! This is an easy win.

Man Up!: 367 Classic Skills for the Modern Guy

Man Up!: 367 Classic Skills for the Modern Guy

This is a totally cool and relevant book for any guy in your life. This book really thinks of everything!

Umbra Fotochain Picture Frames, Set of 3

Umbra Fotochain Picture Frames, Set of 3

This frame set is a really cool way to put their favorite photos on display. I think I want a set for myself!

Luxury Inflatable Lounger Sofa by Airlug

Luxury Inflatable Lounger Sofa by AirlugThis has to be one of the coolest things I’ve seen in a while. This fully inflatable lounger inflates instantly and doesn’t require a pump!

Portable Charger Mopower 3000mAh

Portable Charger Mopower 3000mAh

This charger is a must have gift. You don’t want your child out and about with a dead cell phone! This inexpensive gift could be a life-saver.

W7’s Ultimate Eyeshadow Collection

W7’s Ultimate Eyeshadow Collection

This eyeshadow palette set has every color base covered and you’ll look like an expert without needing a PhD. in beauty!

Bobbi Brown Makeup Manual:

Bobbi Brown Makeup Manual:

If your daughter loves but is new to the arena of make-up, this gorgeous and easy to follow book will help them look and feel their best.

Ikee Design Acrylic Jewelry & Cosmetic Storage Display

Ikee Design Acrylic Jewelry & Cosmetic Storage Display

This storage unit is sleek and functional for many uses such as cosmetic, jewelry, and even for art and drawing supplies! So this gift could be for a girl or guy!

All-New Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice RemoteAll-New Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice RemoteThis is a great gift! It’s the smaller version of the Amazon Fire TV Box which is what our family uses to watch TV. This is a low cost way for your kid to get their own!

I hope you love this gift idea guide for your higher schooler or college student. Let me know in the comments sections if you found this gift guide helpful and add any other gift ideas you’ve found to the list!

Related Posts

Guide Idea Guide – Non-Toy Gifts for the Science, Engineering, or Crafty Kid

Non-Toy Gift Ideas for the Science, Engineering, and Crafty Kid

This gift guide is full of year-round gift ideas for the kid who loves to create, tinker, construct, craft, and build. Those kids who are crazy over crafts, STEM activities, and engineering projects will LOVE these gift ideas.



If your child is anything like my oldest daughter, traditional toys usually end up in the back of the closet or lost under the bed. She loves the “idea” of having the latest toys that flash on the screen in the commercials that interrupt her favorite shows.

But what she really loves is anything that allows her to express her creativity. If you have a kid in your home that loves to build, experiment, create, draw, or craft; you MUST look at this gift guide. Your creative kiddo will thank you!

I’ve left the gift guide open to both girls and boys because most of the gifts are perfect for either. I’ve just separated them between the younger and older kids.

And to make your life even easier you can shop right from this page! Just click right on the image to go straight to that specific item on Amazon.

Disclosure: I do earn a small commission anytime a purchase is made using any one of my Amazon links. If you do decide to purchase any of these awesome gifts, it actually helps to keep this blog running smoothly by purchasing through one of my links. Thanks a bunch! Happy Shopping! 😉 

Gift Ideas for Younger Kids (Ages 4-8)


Melissa & Doug Catch & Count Wooden Fishing Game With 2 Magnetic Rods

Melissa & Doug Catch & Count Wooden Fishing Game

Wooden magnetic fishing game that’s excellent for developing hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, core strength, problem-solving, and interpersonal skills

Scientific Explorer My First Mind Blowing Science Kit

Scientific Explorer My First Mind Blowing Science Kit

This 20 piece kit allows your young scientist to explore and learn the basics of science from chemical reactions to the use of science tools Which is it? Might wanna fix that!

Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. Jungle Crew Lab Set

Scientific Explorer My First Mind Blowing Science KitThis kit is the winner of the Parents’ Choice Silver Honor! It shows budding scientists how to conduct simple experiments with 10 hands-on activity cards.

Creativity for Kids Do Art – Pottery Studio

Creativity for Kids Do Art - Pottery StudioThis pottery kit introduces little hands to the history and art of hand sculpted pottery. The kit includes 3 lbs. of clay, a pottery wheel, and everything else your child will need to make their very own masterpiece!

Backyard Safari Cargo Vest

Backyard Safari Cargo Vest

This adorable little safari vest gets your little explorer outside and exploring their environment. The vest includes binoculars, tons of durable pockets for gathering findings, and strong D-rings for hanging other equipment.

Build & Imagine: Malia’s House

Build & Imagine: Malia's House

This award winning dollhouse allows your child to design her very own playhouse for her dolls just the way she likes. This magnetic construction set stimulates imagination and play as she puts her designer skills to work.

Spirograph Junior

Spirograph Junior

The classics are making a come-back! I recently bought this kit for my 7-year-old daughter and she loves creating tons of designs. Plus the kit is portable and self-contained right in the handy case.

Candy Construction Building Set

Candy Construction Building Set

This building kit encourages the STEM skills by allowing kids to build their own sweet structures with sticks, gumdrops, swirls, and more. This is a great and fun learning tool that blends every kid’s two loves – building and candy!

Osmo Coding Game

Osmo Coding Game

Osmo is the easiest way to introduce your child to the concept of coding. This fun and engaging game guides Awbie, the game character, on a Strawberry-munching adventure!

Seedling Design Your Own Headphones

Seedling Design Your Own HeadphonesKids can design their own headphones with stencils and paints to express their creativity. This is a gift that’ll definitely come in handy.

Gift Ideas for Older Children (Ages 9-12)


Piper Computer Kit

Piper Computer Kit

This is an educational computer kit that teaches STEM and coding through Minecraft. This is a pricey gift but if you have a Minecraft lover who has the desire to learn how to tinker with electronics instead of just playing with them. This kit comes with everything they’ll need to assemble their own computer.

K’NEX Education ‒ STEM Explorations: Swing Ride Building Set

K’NEX Education ‒ STEM Explorations: Swing Ride Building Set

This engineering toy has 486 colorful pieces that complete a fully functioning battery operated swing ride. They built, then play!

ALEX Toys Craft Knot-A-Lion

ALEX Toys Craft Knot-A-Lion

No sewing required, just knot and stitch super soft double sided fleece. The kit includes fleece pillow and blanket shapes, strips and tail pieces, felt shapes, stuffing, embroidery floss and needle and instructions. This is another gift that’s sure to get tons of use.

Craft-tastic String Art Kit III

Craft-tastic String Art Kit III

This is a fantastic new way to make string art. The kit includes 3 string art canvases to make a bird, starburst, and “fun” designs, or create your own designs. Just push the pins right into the pre-patterned foam bases and string away, no hammer or nails needed.

Project Mc2 Bubble Gum Chemistry

Project Mc2 Bubble Gum Chemistry

The Popular show Mc2 has a line of chemistry related kits geared toward young girls. This kit lets kids make their own gum! Yum!

Real Cooking Supreme Baking Set

Real Cooking Supreme Baking Set

This 70 piece baking kit includes all mixes, chocolate, candy, and frosting to inspire your budding baker to create yummy treats for your family and their little friends!

 Scientific Explorer Young Architect City Planner Set

Scientific Explorer Young Architect City Planner Set

This architecture kit gives your child the ability to plan an entire 3D city! They start on paper and then build their plans into a real 3D model just like the real thing.

Meccano – Micronoid – Blue Basher

Meccano - Micronoid - Blue BasherThese little robots are actually built by your child and then programmed to do all kinds of commands likes talking, walking, and whatever they come up with! This allows kids to tinker and understand how things work.

SmartLab Toys Get Growing! Greenhouse

SmartLab Toys Get Growing! Greenhouse

If you have a green-thumbed child, this will make a great gift. The kit includes the pots, seeds, and growth chart to tracks their plant’s progress. All they need to add is soil, water, and sunshine!

3Doodler Create 3D Pen

3Doodler Create 3D Pen

This no mess, and non-toxic 3D pen allows your child to easily create imaginative 3D pictures. This is the world’s first and best selling 3D pen on the mark

These are wonderful gifts ideas for the “non-toy kid and ones I personally plan to purchase this year! Let me know in the comments below if this gift idea guide was helpful to you.

Related Posts:

Gift Idea Guide for your Teen or College Student

Words of Wisdom When You Feel Overwhelmed

Words of Wisdom when you're feeling overwhelmed and need encouragement to keep moving forward!

Words of Wisdom when you're feeling overwhelmed and need encouragement to keep moving forward!There are days – those days – when the sun goes down way before I’m ready, and my too long and largely untouched to-do list must get rolled over to tomorrow – AGAIN. When my flawlessly planned day gets sideswiped because my toddler wakes up with a fever of 102.6 and is screaming. Or when I’m driving home after dropping my girls off to school and my car suddenly overheats leaving me stranded.

We all have bad days like this. And after the immediate shock wears off, we move on and get over it. But when a horrendously bad day turns into a week, month, or even a year – it’s open season for overwhelm.

I’ve experienced the feeling of overwhelm too many times to count. I think I may even be an overachiever in the realm of letting stress and the demands of life get the best of me.

You may be in the thick of an overwhelming day, or even a really bad year. Maybe you have a new baby at home and can’t get more than two hours of consecutive sleep. Or maybe you’ve decided to go back to school with everything else still in full effect. Maybe you’re like me and are launching into a new business. Or your family is dealing with disappointment or tragedy.

There are endless reasons and seasons that can cause even the strongest and level-headed person to get overwhelmed. I’ve been there a thousand times both for the exciting blessings in my life that required all of me and the curses that I’m thankful I’ll never see again.

Feeling overwhelmed is the place wherein we’re overtaken completely by something and the rest of our life is crying out – Hey! We’re over here!

And it’s this division that really amps up the stress and anxiety.

Just know things have a way of smoothing themselves out over time. New and unfamiliar things eventually become second nature, and hard things become easier over time or go away all together.

The key is knowing how to focus in on what is going to be most helpful to YOU. For example, if you have a newborn baby, soaking up that little blessing and keeping your body healthy and rested needs to be your main focus – NOT the laundry. So, get help if you can. And let your other kids watch some Doc McStuffins so you a take a nap!

On the other hand, if you’re overwhelmed by the daily demands of your life; focus on all the areas you can’t let go of and find ways to make them easier. Then get rid of the dead weight. Oftentimes, our comfortable ways of doing things are broken and ineffective. But we keep doing things our familiar way because we fear the learning curve of doing something new will be too high. It may be in the short run, but you’ll be thanking yourself in the long run.

Even though life is sometimes tough – YOU’RE TOUGHER!

You need to roll up your sleeves with your goal in mind and get it done, bit by bit. There’s no magic formula for overwhelm – just the sheer belief that it won’t always be like this is all you need.

In the meantime, we all need words of wisdom and encouragement in the middle. The following quotes and scriptures were designed to infuse you with strength and remind you to KEEP GOING. And don’t forget the smile!











When you find yourself getting overwhelmed, the first thing to do is STOP. Take a break and look at your current situation and identify what’s causing you to feel overwhelmed in the first place.

Decide what is most important and focus on that and let everything else wait. For example, if you have a sick kid or kids just focus on tending to their needs and making them feel better. And it’ll pass soon and you can get make to normal life.

If you’re working on a time intensive work project, look for ways that allow you to spend more time getting that project done, so that looming deadline can stop hunting you down!

Don’t feel guilty for changing your regular routine for a season if it’s needed. Focusing on what’s most important and learning to make peace with what you can’t focus on will lower stress and anxiety.

Worrying doesn’t benefit you or the situation, so going with the flow will serve you well.

Part of getting on the other side of overwhelm is knowing you’re not alone. Do all the other moms reading this post a favor and type in the comments how you handle challenges and difficult situations.

Ready to Start Really Connecting with your Kids and Developing Meaningful Relationships?

Get FREE Access to the simple and effective steps to get your kids talking and avoid the most common communication traps along the way!