Join my email list and get FREE ACCESS to the MSM Freebie Library, including my top printables & eBooks.

A Peek Into Our Life This Past Week (+ an update on my 2018 goals)

One thing I’ve really been working on making a priority this year is to show my kids love in a way that makes them feel loved.

Silas loves to go on dates with me — so Monday, we planned a special date to a new restaurant in town that he’s been wanting to try out. We had so much fun together and his face was beaming the entire time.

The girls love hanging out with me, too, but I’ve found another simple way to make them feel loved is to write notes to them. They especially think it is hilarious when I use “teenage slang”.

One day this past week, I put funny notes in their lunches (see example above). When they found them in their lunches before they left for school, they squealed and laughed and hugged me and told me they were the “BEST notes ever.” They told me that they told their friends at school who thought the notes were so funny, too.

I try to pay attention to what makes their eyes light up, what they think is funny, what brings a big smile to their faces when it comes to showing them love. Also, I often ask them when they feel most loved or how I can do a better job of showing them love. And I pray daily that I could walk with them and love them in a way that speaks love to them.

I’ve found it’s often the simple, little, seemingly silly things that make the biggest impression.

I’m learning that last-minute hospitality is the best! Midday on Wednesday, on a whim, I invited my Discipleship small group over to our house.

I was gone most of the day and then had told the kids I’d hang out with them and do some projects in the afternoon, so I literally had 30 minutes to get the house and myself ready.

You guys, I just loaded the dishwasher, wiped down the countertops, picked up a few things, made sure there was toilet paper in the bathrooms, freshened up my makeup, brushed my teeth, lit a candle, set out some tea bags and boiled some hot water, and turned on some music.

The evening was such a special time of hanging out and sharing together, not because I had put out a lavish spread of food or had spotless floors, but because I just opened up my door and said, “Welcome!”

The more that I open up my door, the more that I want to open it up. And the more I’m realizing how much THIS is where real relationships and community develops.

Silas had a rough day on Friday. He had Presentation Day at school — the day once a quarter when everyone in his school has to dress up and get up in front of the entire school and give a recitation or speech.

This time, it was a poetry recitation. He had memorized his poem weeks ago and he rarely struggles with speaking in public so I thought he had it in the bag.

But then, Presentation Day came and everything sort of fell apart. We woke up later than planned, we couldn’t find his tie anywhere (we found it today packed in a random tub from the move!), and then he struggled with his recitation while on stage and forgot part of it and had to start over.

He kept it together on stage and finished the poem, but I could tell he was feeling frustrated and embarrassed when he walked off stage.

I went to him and whisked him into the lobby, because I knew that he needed to hear truth from his mama at that moment.

I looked into his eyes and I asked him how he was doing. He started pouring out words, “Mine was the worst, Mom. I had the shortest poem and I forgot it. I’m going to get a bad grade. I can’t believe I did that! I knew my poem so well!”

The failure he felt was palpable… & there was nothing I could do to change what happened on that stage just minutes before.

But I could speak truth to him. And that’s what I did.

I told him that I was proud of him. I told him that having a good attitude & starting over again when you make mistakes is hard. And that it takes a lot of courage to begin again — especially when you’ve messed up in front of 150 people.

I told him that he did his best — and that’s all I care about. Jesse came & echoed those same sentiments to him.

Within 10 minutes, the shame was gone and a smile was in its place.

You guys, there is power in the truth. The truth sets us free — free to not live in shame and guilt. Free to not live under the lies and labels.

Let’s be truth tellers — not only to our kids, but to everyone in our lives.

And if you’re struggling with feeling like a failure right now, don’t sit there in that junk. It will only fester into more unhealthiness.

Lies kill. The truth sets you free.

(Posted with Silas’ permission.)

2018 Goals Update

Personal Goals

1. Read 100 non-self-help books that will build me up/encourage me/inspire me/recharge me. (Fiction/story-driven/biographies/inspirational living books/devotionals.) See the list of 44 books I plan to read this year.

**Progress: 15 books read so far this year

2. Read through the entire Bible.

**Progress: I’m using the  and am all caught up— yay!

3. Write one handwritten note to someone every week.

**Progress: 12 notes written so far this year

4. Run 500 miles.

**Progress: 90 miles run so far

Marriage Goal

5. Go on an overnight trip with Jesse without the kids.Jesse and I went to NYC together in January.

Family Goals

6. Read 10 books aloud with the kids.

**Progress: I’ve finished one book so far.

7. Take the kids to South Africa.

**Progress: We nailed down dates for our trip!

8. Go on a family road trip.

Financial Goals

9. Save up to pay cash to finish off an office for me and workout room for Jesse and me in the basement in our new house.

10. Replenish our Emergency Fund (we dipped into it to replace my car when it got totaled because of the carpet beetle infestation.)

Business Goals

11. Increase our gross income from the business by 8%.

12. Launch 5 new courses.

**Progress: 4 Weeks to a More Productive Life launched in January and  launched in February. We launched the 4-Week Blog Coaching Program this past week and we’re currently working on a new course that we hope to launch near the end of March.

Subscribe for free email updates from December212012® and get my Guide to Freezer Cooking for free!


  • says:

    I think the fact that you make sure to note that you want to love your kids the way they feel love the best is so important. I think this something a lot of parents miss. Every love language is different and you can still be doing your best and failing because they don’t experience love the way you are trying to show it. Such a small shift in thinking makes such a big difference!

  • Monica L says:


    I’m proud of you, too. As a piano teacher, I hear about all of the mistakes my students say they make. I listen for the good notes, not the bad. My students usually forget about all of the good notes that they play in front of others. When they do think about how many notes were good, their eyes light up and their smiles are huge! Think of the good words and smile big!

    • Jo says:

      This was beautiful, Monica.

      “I listen for the good notes, not the bad.” I was just thinking about how we could apply this same principle in so many other areas of our lives!

  • Jess says:

    Teenage slang! We use it (improperly, we’re told by our 13 year old) just to drive her crazy — and she loves it. We laugh so hard. Lit is such a straaaange word! Give me sweet and awesome any day. ;-). Add a dab and were the coolest parents on the block, yo.

    • Jo says:

      Oh yes! The dabbing. My kids go crazy if they can ever get me to dab! I only do it sparingly so that it continues to be such a hilarious thing for them to watch! 😉

  • says:

    I LOVE how you interact with your kids! It inspires me to keep on trying and keep on going. I also love having people over on a whim and wish it happened more often than it does. It seems like (in my world) everyone is so busy that on a whim is difficult to do, but I do it when I can and think it’s so fun!

    • Jo says:

      I’ve intentionally been working on developing relationships with people who are more of the spontaneous kind and who have space in their life for community and time around the table… because I’m realizing how important it is!

  • Cherry says:

    I loved this post!!! What a great reminder of how we should encourage and bless others.

  • says:

    What a special boy you are raising. And I love that you ask their permission before posting anything online.

  • says:

    Those notes are making me giggle!

    You are the first person over the age of 20 I’ve heard use the word “lit,” in that fashion. It’s a frequently used adjective among the high school crowd in my area.

    Thanks for the idea. My son and I text throughout the day but I think I’m going to leave a little note in his room tonight!

December212012® Comment Policy

We love comments from readers, so chime in with your thoughts below! We do our best to keep this blog upbeat and encouraging, so please keep your comments cordial and kind. Read more information on our comment policy.

Do not be silent