Foster Parent Prayers Day 3

  Join us on Instagram @melissasmallwood or Facebook @melissasmallwoodwriter for a month of #fosterparentprayers in honor of Foster Care Month. … [Read more...]

May is…for moments and memories and miracles

May is National Foster Care Month. This thirty one day month contains Mother's Day as well. A day both bitter and sweet. Then, there is tomorrow. May 22nd.  The day, sixteen years ago, I physically became a mother. May brings a mixed bag of feelings to this heart of mine. A desperation to help, heal and hold foster children across the country {and orphans across the world} that need and deserve a mama. A desire to connect with my own mother while understanding relationships take the effort of two. A deep gratitude for the child that saved me from myself. and each amazing, beautiful, unique child God has gifted me with since. A profound sense of surprise at the joy that being a "Mimi" brings. And, a thrilling heart song of joy that God can take the mess of me and produce … [Read more...]

Giving Up On God {part two}

Read part one here. Why was God letting this happen?  What did I do wrong?  This isn't how it was supposed to be. It didn't take but a few days for my family and the authorities to find me when I ran away.  The family court judge deciding my fate took my "strong feelings" into account and allowed me to attend a boarding school close to my paternal grandparents rather than return to foster care. That decision did improve my immediate circumstances. From the outside looking in, I had a good life.  Friends, good grades, acceptance to an elite academy, grandparents that loved me, material possessions-- you name it, I had it. But I also had a heart of stone.  A determination that no one would hurt me, a desire to manipulate before I could be manipulated. An entry from my journal at the time … [Read more...]

Giving Up On God {part one}

I remember the day I gave up on God. I held the phone to my ear while angry, hot tears streamed silently down my face.  As I listened and realized that I had been lied to for months by those closest to me, I made a rash and defiant decision.  If no one was looking out for me, I was going to have to look out for myself. I gently depressed the button on the phone so that my grandmother would not know I had listened in and started to pray. Prayer was an automatic response to crisis for me.  Prayer had been my constant companion in my brief 13 years on the earth. This time the prayers felt empty.  It was as if my heart's cries were not being heard and I determined God must not be any more trustworthy than the rest of the adults in my life.  Right then, in that moment, hurt and confused I … [Read more...]

Keeping it Real at Christmas

My chest tightens, my temples throb, my palms get sweaty. I breath faster and the desire to run away, RUN AWAY, is breathing down my neck. Am I in a dangerous situation? No. I sit on my comfy living room sofa, feeling like something heavy sits on my chest and wanting to lace up my running shoes. Life has just hit me this month.  Not in any bad, specific kind of way but the every day stressors that add up and build up and stack up and make my flesh want to call a big time out.  The house full of clutter and teenagers and infants and toddlers and presents and dogs and laundry and the husband and the to-do list and the unexpected company for Christmas.  The finals, the basketball practices, the shopping, the mom-taxi moments that take me away from the house that is full of clutter.  … [Read more...]

What message are you sending?

The message. One of the critical aspects of tackling the talk with your kids is defining your message.  Our boys internalize our values by observing us and listening to us.  The message that we communicate to our sons about sexuality needs to be thought out and prayed over, not an afterthought or happenstance. How do you accomplish this? I am continuing my series on "Tackling the Talk" at The M.O.B Society today, please join me there to read the rest of this article. And, as always, if you have a post about parenting teens/tweens please link it up below: … [Read more...]

To Save a Teen’s Life

This weekend our family went to our church's annual fall family retreat.  You can read about one of my take away experiences here. The first night youth and their parents were invited to watch a movie in the chapel.  The movie was called To Save a Life.  To watch the trailer of the movie, click here. The first thing the leader had us do {parents and kids alike} was relinquish our cell phones in exchange for snacks during the movie.  I thought this was a creative way to make sure kids weren't texting throughout the movie and increased the chances of them actually *gasp* paying attention.  I had no intention of turning in my cell phone {hypocrite, much?} but since my kids were with me and ratted me out encouraged me to give it up, I complied. The movie was truly good.  It tackled issues … [Read more...]

Avoid the Summer Reading Slump

Guest contributor and producer Wendy Toone, offers great tips on how your kids can avoid brain drain when they're out of school. Take a look... It's Summertime! Catching fireflies, eating dinner on the deck, swimming, no school!!! What have your kids been doing? Waking up late, lazing around in front of the TV? It's nice to decompress after the school year. For a few days. But now what?? Camps, classes, playdates can fill up the days and keep the kids active and occupied. But my fear is always that their brains will turn to mush by mid-July, leaving them (and in turn, me) frustrated and floundering come mid-September when they're back in school with flabby grey matter that hasn't been exercised in way too long. According to Kent State Graduate School of … [Read more...]

Training up a Child(ren) when you don’t agree

I love my husband.  He loves me. That being said, we often have differing opinions about raising up our boys. Not that one way is better than the other, just that we come at this parenting thing with different experiences, different ideals and different wounds. Yes, I said wounds.  I have found in my almost fourteen years of parenting that the issue that clouds my parental judgment most often is the foggy lense of my personal wounds from childhood. For instance: when my boys were little I wanted them to be involved in ANYTHING they wanted to be.  That quickly led to a pooped out mama, tired and overscheduled kids and a dad with that look of "I told you so" in his dark brown eyes. When I stepped back and looked at the situation, I was trying to give my kids something I missed out on.  … [Read more...]

Raising future men

My boys went on a little adventure last weekend.  They rode their bikes 1.5 miles from home (each way) to a convenience store to buy some candy- without permission!  My husband and I only found out because they ran into a couple from our church at the store (thank God!). My first reaction was UGLY!  I was so angry at them- for breaking rules (riding their bikes on main road, not telling us where they were going- I could go on).  I seriously thought I wasn't going to let them ride their bikes ALL SUMMER.  Overkill?  perhaps but this mama was mad.  Thankfully, the hubby and I made the choice to defer our discipline decision for a few days so we could pray about what to do. And, this is what God reminded us: Last year (as a family) we read the book Wild at Heart by John Eldredge.  In this … [Read more...]

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