As our kids head to college

"The only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday. ~ Author Unknown ~This is a post from my blog's archives. I wrote it in 2014 when one of my sons was headed off to college for the first time~ Dear Son, As you headed off to college last week and started a new chapter in your life, the one entitled Adulthood, I began to wonder if your dad and I taught you everything you need to know. I came to the conclusion that the answer is a resounding no. While I pray we gave you the tools to build a quality life for yourself, I also know that the most important lessons you will learn in life will come through experience and not a lecture or value your parents attempted to pass on. Still, there are a few things I want to reiterate as you start this new … [Read more...]

On “Home School” and Stay at Home Orders

Y'all gon' make me lose my mindUp in here, up in hereY'all gon' make me go all outUp in here, up in hereY'all gon' make me act a FOOLUp in here, up in hereY'all gon' make me lose my coolUp in here, up in hereSong by DMX Now that I've got my "homeschooling" mantra stuck in your heads, let's delve into the topic at hand for this installment of #WhatWorksWednesday. Because for most of us across the country, this pandemic required task of not only keeping our children alive, fed, bathed and entertained 24/7 now also includes educating them as well. For any mama, that is a tall order. But, for us mama's whose children have learning difficulties, come from a background of trauma and/or face both of these factors, this whole stay-at-home thing just got even more overwhelming. I feel like I … [Read more...]

Anxious Kids and the Coronavirus

Anxiety is a big emotion for kids and adults alike. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health diagnosis in the US for those age 18 and older (source). If adults have such a difficult time navigating their anxiety, imagine how anxiety can feel to a child. Our kids don't always have the words to articulate their internal struggles with anxious thoughts and panic. When major events like a natural disaster, a school shooting or the Coronavirus pandemic that dominates the current news cycle happen, our kids that already struggle with anxiety can begin to feel overwhelmed with fear. As parents, our primary job in situations like this is to educate ourselves, reassure our children and take preventative measures to protect their physical and mental health. I asked author … [Read more...]

SOS Podcast Enneagram and Parenting

We have kicked off Season 2 of the SOS Podcast w/Melissa Smallwood. I am truly excited for the line up of superstars I'm interviewing this season. I am sticking to my mission of fostering hope for families and each of these guests live up to that mission in every way. My featured guest for this first episode of season two is Enneagram coach and fellow adoptive parent, Jenny Price. Jenny brings a wealth of knowledge about how the Enneagram can inform our parenting and our relationships with others, including our spouses/partners. Listen in to my interview with Jenny on or search for SOS w/Melissa Smallwood on your favorite podcast platform. You can connect with Jenny on IG @Jenneagram, Facebook and visit her website as well. … [Read more...]

When Kids Lie

Last week's #whatworkswednesday FB live video (you can watch it here) was about lying. Lying can be a major problem, especially when raising kids from hard places. No one enjoys being lied to and we can tend to react in negative ways when a child lies. However, kids lie for a lot of different reasons and when we as parents take those lies personally it can set us up for a lot of conflict in our parent/child relationship. It's important to separate what is about you and what is not about you related to your child's behavior. The first thing I want to do is help you understand the various reasons kids, especially kids with developmental trauma, lie and how we, as parents, can help our kids learn that lying isn't necessary in our families. Understanding the why behind certain … [Read more...]

Tips for Smoother Mornings

When mornings get off to a rough start, the chaos and anxiety that ensue can set the tone for our entire day. On #whatworkswednesday a few weeks ago (check out to watch the videos), I shared my top six tips for developing a morning routine that can help you ensure better mornings. Here are those tips: Simplify your routine. If there are things that can be done to prepare for the busy day ahead of time, do them ahead of time! Plan quick, on the go breakfasts, check backpacks for papers that need signed, lay out clothes, etc. the night before. Only leave for the morning what can only be done in the morning! The less expectations of our kiddos in the morning, the smoother the morning will be.Have a schedule. In order to help manage the chaos that morning … [Read more...]

Holiday Bucket List Trip to Medieval Times

If you follow me on social media, you know that I love a good bucket list! Spring, summer, fall, winter! Heck, this year my youngest daughter and I are making a bucket list for each month. Such fun and it makes family time so simple when everything is already planned out. Last month, we had the opportunity to cross a major item off our family bucket list! We went to Medieval Times in Baltimore, MD. My husband and I took our 14 year old daughter and 9 year old grandson to a dinner show and we all had the best time! Hubby and I Me and grandson, Trenton The show was full of drama, humor and absolutely gorgeous horses! Trenton enjoyed the jousting and watching the horses perform tricks. Daleah takes horseback riding lessons and was mesmerized by the horses used in the show. … [Read more...]

When the Holidays are Hard for our Kids

Let's face it, the holidays are a stressful time for many people. And our foster/adoptive kiddos have the added stress of processing trauma that can simply be triggered by the calendar this time of year. So, what is a frazzled foster/adoptive mama to do? We want to give our kids quality memories of the holidays and we want to enjoy our time with our extended families while also honoring how hard this time can be for our kids. Below you will find some of my top tips for navigating the holidays with kids from hard places. Four things to avoid: Expectations- Avoid having the expectation of picture perfect moments and melt down free visits with extended family. We need to be realistic with our expectations of kids based on their chronological age and development, their trauma … [Read more...]

SOS Episode 9

I thoroughly enjoyed interviewing Denise Sultenfuss of No Fuss Healthy Living for this episode of the Sharing Our Stories podcast. Denise shares her story of healing Lyme disease and turning her passion for wellness into a writing ministry. She was full of practical tips and wisdom for those on their own wellness journeys. You can learn more about Denise on her blog. She also posts regularly on Facebook and Instagram. Be sure to listen to this informative episode and let me know what you think! … [Read more...]

SOS Podcast Episode 8

Episode 8 is one you don't want to miss. We don't talk about mental health enough, as stigma still exists. This conversation is needed, healthy and important. Julianne Van't Land is a writer, wife and twin mom living in Lexington, Kentucky. You can find her on her blog where she writes about faith, deconstruction, mental health and more. You can also follow her on Instagram and Facebook. You can listen by searching for the SOS Podcast with Melissa Smallwood on your favorite podcast platform … [Read more...]

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