40 Things I’ve Learned in 40 Years

      This time seven years ago, I wrote a post entitled 33 Things I've Learned in 33 Years. Today, I turned 40 and decided to update what I listed then (in purple) and add seven more life lessons (although I'm sure I could think of more)! Polka dots and hot pink make me smile. (and ruffled sleeves and ankle boots) There are few sounds that bring as much joy as a baby belly laughing. (especially when it's your grandbaby) Marriage is hard work, but oh so worth it. (and gets sweeter with time) There is a huge difference between a job, a career and a calling. (and the magic happens when you can combine all three) When people say “enjoy these moments because they grow up so fast” they are not exaggerating one bit.  Kids literally grow up in the … [Read more...]


I have chosen a word to live by each new year for several years. It is always a profound experience because most of the time the word I choose ends up having a completely different meaning to me by the end of the year than intended when I chose it. Last year, my one word was EMBRACE. I had started the year off with the intention of embracing whatever God had in store for me, not knowing or ever imagining the magnitude and depth of the valleys that I would need to embrace. Embracing felt like colliding into a brick wall repeatedly but having that word in the back of my mind helped me at least attempt to maintain focus on Jesus through it all. I started praying about my one word several weeks ago. I was spending a lot of time in prayer about other things as well as our family was being … [Read more...]

Foster Parent Prayers Day 4

    Follow along for the month of May as we post #fosterparentprayers daily on Instagram @melissasmallwood and Facebook @melissasmallwoodwriter. … [Read more...]

Foster Parent Prayers Day 2

  Join me on IG @melissasmallwood and FB @melissasmallwoodwriter as we pray daily for foster kids the entire month of May. Post your own prayer with #fosterparentprayers and be sure to tag me too. … [Read more...]

Foster Parent Prayers

May is National Foster Care month. If you've ever visited my blog, you know that foster care is a personal passion for me for many reasons. I spent time in the foster care system as a child and my husband and I are currently licensed foster parents. In addition, we have adopted children from foster care. Parenting kids that have been exposed to the trauma that is typical in foster care situations is challenging, rewarding, exhausting and fun, all at the same time. I am brought to my knees daily by the magnitude of the responsibility and the realization that I can't give these precious kids what they need apart from the strength and grace of Jesus Christ. There are many unknowns in the foster care journey. The fate of children you love and the biological parents you are rooting for is … [Read more...]

An Organized Move

As a major life change, moving is one of the top 10 most stressful events in life. It requires a lot of time, effort and planning. Packing all of your belongings and then unpacking them is a hassle and disrupts the entire family. Fortunately, there are ways to make moving a little easier. MAKE A MOVING CHECK LIST: Any big job is easier when you break it down into smaller more manageable tasks. So, first make a Moving Check List and pack in stages – starting 4 weeks out. This list can be customized to your specific needs. You can also download free printable moving checklists online. It is never too early to start planning, sorting and packing. PURGE & SORT AS YOU PACK: Sort your belongings into items you want to keep (meaning they are worth packing up, transporting, and unpacking), … [Read more...]

Organizing the Kitchen

It is often said that the kitchen is the heart of the home. It can often be one of the most difficult spaces to keep organized. Here are some of my tips: Keep counters clear.  Not only does this protect your prep space, but clear counters go a long way in making the space uncluttered.  There are many storage options, including things that can be mounted to the inside of cabinet doors that can help keep items off the counters.  I keep larger appliances like my blender, mixer, crockpot, etc in my dining room hutch.  If you only use an appliance (like a waffle maker or bread maker) once or twice a month or less- consider storing it on a shelf in the garage rather than taking up space in the kitchen.   Use drawer dividers. I sell durable plastic dividers through Clever Container or you … [Read more...]

To my son as he goes off to college

The only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday. ~ Author Unknown 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 adventure.  Things I want you to remember when days seem long and money seems short.  Days when nothing seems to go your way and … [Read more...]

Dear Mama of Michael Brown

I can't imagine the horror and heaviness of heart you have endured in the past week and a half since the tragic, senseless death of your son. I want you to know that regardless of what ANYONE says or ANYTHING your son did in the past, he did NOT deserve to be gunned down and left on the hot, dark pavement for hours. I'm sure that when you held your bouncing baby boy in your arms for the first time, this scenario was the furthest thing from your mind. I'm sure that all you held in your heart for your brown eyed, brown skinned boy were hopes and dreams and love. Hopes that have been dashed, dreams that have died and love that couldn't save him from the realities of the world we live in. I'm sorry- deeply, truly sorry- for the picture that others are trying to paint of your child. It … [Read more...]

The Importance of Rest

I don't know about you but I tend to take sleep for granted. Until it is elusive. When a deadline looms, something stressful takes up space in my thoughts or my allergies are giving me a fit; sleep doesn't come as naturally as it usually does for me.  And, I almost immediately begin feeling the effects of not getting enough rest. My post nasal drip turns into bronchitis.  Or I wake up with a tension headache. Or I feel my blood pressure rise and my pulse quicken.   God set an example of rest from the very beginning.  I doubt the Creator of the Universe actually needed to rest.  But, He thought rest important enough to model the setting aside of time specifically for it.  Rest is crucial for our health, especially as busy women. The medical community also touts … [Read more...]

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