Happy August and Back to School Planning

I was thinking about y’all and remembering that August is a great time to plan for the new school year.  I have some ideas for you whether you homeschool or send those kiddos off.  Check it out on this post for some great ideas.  Happy August, y’all. xoxo

The Very Best Prayer for our Kids No Matter the Age

Praying for our kids

Sometimes we need to be reminded.  I have published this prayer before, but thought you might like the reminder.  I know I need reminders and you are probably not that different from me.

I love this reminder of a great prayer for our kids.  Good for all ages.  All stages.  It is one of those things over the years that I am growing in and learning more about.

Sometimes I make things more complicated than they need to be.  Prayer is one of those things.  What to pray for my kids?  Over the years I have read books, been to studies, downloaded calendars, all of which are good, but here is a prayer for you that is simple and lasts through all your days here on earth.

God, I pray that ________ would be all that You created them to be.

This prayer.  Simple.  Easy to remember at any age.  Helps me to loosen my grip on these kids and hand them back to their Maker, their Father, their King.  Covers all the bases.  All the years.  All the fears and worries.  Joys and good times.

Sometimes the simple is the SURSEE.  Do you have a special prayer that encourages you? Do tell.

Embrace the Family God Created You To Be

embrace the family GOd created you to be

One thing that helped me embrace my family was to take time to reflect on how God created me and my husband.  What were we like and what did we like?  Take the time to discover this and then Embrace the creative way God made you.

Do you love music?  Then sing!

embrace the family 4

Did He create you or your husband to love running? Then run all the races and time your kids with a stopwatch in the front yard.

Does little Billy or Susie or you love nature?  Then camp and hike and be outside.

embrace the family 5

Are you artistic?  Then go to art museums and spend a fortune on art supplies.

Do you like to create?  Then invest in Legos and blocks. Build and tear down and build some more.  Or buy sewing supplies and fabric and yarn and popsicle sticks and craft kits and C R E A T E .

Is Johnny or Jenny competitve? Then collect and  play all the  boardgames there are and enjoy winning and losing.

Do you love gardening?  Then grow beans and corn and tomatoes and get dirt between your fingers and toes.


embrace the family 2

God did not create you to C O M P A R E. No, sir.

Comparison is the thief of all joy!  Don’t look at other families or their kids and wonder and wish….

Embrace who you are.  Embrace those kids you have.  Embrace the Family you were created to be.  Talk about this with your husband.  Dream a little.  Talk about this with your friends and get some good ideas.  Talk about it with the Lord and gain His wisdom and insight.  Be the Family He wants for you.

I would often say, We are the Johnsons and Johnsons __________________ , and I would fill in the blank.  For example, The Johnsons play the piano and love music.   So we invested in years of piano and listened to music all the time at home and in the car.  That was our gig.

Or, The Johnsons are helpers and we share the work around the house.  Each of the boys had a chore chart and started helping around the house at a young age.

It doesn’t matter what goes in the blank, but it does matter that it isn’t blank.

What is your gig? Or you sweet spot? DO IT!

Today, E M B R A C E the way God created your family to look and work:  the Gifts, the Talents, the Quirks and the Fun!  The Sursee is to discover how He created you and your family and then R U N with it. Embrace it.  For more on this subject of embracing, go read my post about Embracing the children God gave you


These photos are from the giant tree swing in Red River that sadly, is no more.  What fun it was to swing out and feel like you were flying…



Mentoring Moment :: You Have What You Need



You have what you need.  I am thinking here about wisdom for living.  Being a friend.  A wife.  A mom.  A neighbor. Just being YOU. You have what you need to live.  You just have to receive it.  But let’s go back a few years ago to a conversation I had when I was stressing out about raising teens.

My mentor spoke some wise words to me when I was wondering what books she would recommend to me to read about raising our teens.

Her words kind of took my breath away.

“You don’t need another book, Leslie.  You have what you need.  In the scripture.”I remember thinking, Whaaaatttt?  But I have so many books, and so many of them half-read on my night stand.

The other part of me thought. Yes. She is right. Again.

We are all into simplifying right? So how much simpler can it get than to search God’s word for wisdom in raising your kids?  It is all right there.  And, if you have joined me in the One Year Chronological Bible reading, you will get to it all in 2016.  It is all right there, divided into 365 beautiful bite-sized pieces.

Now I don’t think she was saying that we never read a book about kids or spiritual life or whatever.  But the crazy, frenetic pace of life that I was in and thinking that just one more book would have the answer to all my questions was just not true.

She encouraged me to trust that the Lord could speak to me through His Word and to have faith that the Holy Spirit could speak to my spirit and give me what I needed for the everyday.

Another mentor, just a few months ago, challenged me that I needed to study scripture with my Mom Heart group.  She asked me what we went through when we got together and I told her a book about marriage or kids, or sex or spiritual life.  She looked squarely at me and with no hesitation said,

“You need to be teaching those girls that they can get into God’s word and study it for themselves.  Teach them they don’t need to go through a study or another author.”

She was very firm. She always was.  And I have thought and thought about her words.  They are true.

You have what you need in the word of God.

So. I am telling you gals; I am passing on what I learned- You have what you need.

Spending time in the Word is all you need for life and godliness.  You have what you need, gal. There are wonderful Sursees waiting in God’s word for you today.  Let me know what you find.

Hebrews 4:12

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two edged sword, and piercing as fas as the division of soul and spirit , of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.




How to make authentic friendships with your kids in tow

how to make authentic friends

I was on the God Centered Mom podcast recently talking about friendships and wanted to write a little more about some of the things I did when my kids were younger in the area of friendship with other women.

As I was talking with Heather, a flood of memories came back about how I connected with other women when my kids were young.  I think I needed women’s friendships and was looking for ways to live life with other gals.  One way I made meaningful authentic friendships was to invite people into what I was already doing.

Sports? With four boys you know I was involved in sports.  I would bring cooked hotdogs/buns/chips and a camping table and serve a quick meal to the families of the ball players.  Not so hard, really.  I had to feed my troop; I might as well feed others.  And hot dogs were an easy go-to.  I would grill at home and then wrap in foil and put in a cooler to keep warm.  I learned to embrace the sporting event and see that as a place to make relationships, instead of dreading the time sitting in lawn chairs in the heat.  It took a little while I might add, to figure that out.

In the summer we had a membership to a neighborhood pool, and I would invite friends to come swim with us.  Scheduled around lunch, we would swim for a few hours, eat lunch and then everyone would go home ready for a long afternoon nap.  When my kids were babies, they would nap in the shade in the pack-n-play.  Lots of good conversations happened around that pool.

Sometimes I would do things without my kids.  I had night time events where I would make a gal’s dinner and we would have a speaker or work on crafts.  Have a girl’s night once a month at your house.  Serve easy snacks and have a topic to discuss or watch a chick flick or talk about what you are cooking.  Make the time for girlfriends.  You will find that you will be rich in relationships when you are done.

I would invite friends over for a casual lunch and let the kids play in the backyard and then sometimes let the younger ones nap while the older ones played and the moms visited.

For a weekend night, we would invite another family over to eat an easy pizza supper and then lay kids down on pallets while the adults visited or watched a movie.

I tried to get involved in women’s ministry and have that morning be a time of conversations and teaching.  Good for the soul.  Look around the circle of your group and pick one gal to call later that week and connect with her.  Make intentional choices- cast that net.  It is worth it to step out and reach out.  We are all wanting connection. You be the one to do it.

Through my homeschooling circle, I signed up for all kinds of fun field trips and would enjoy the fellowship that happened over a quick lunch after.  I remember going to the What-A-Burger by the airport and the boys loving watching the planes take off and land while I got in some quick conversation with the mom before the whole thing fell apart.

I mentioned on the podcast that I had to embrace the chaos and not expect everything to go perfectly.  That worked better when I thought through our schedule and made sure no one was hungry or in need of a nap during a time with friends.

I met friends at some of the cool parks in town and was always ready to explore new outdoor spaces.  Lots of good conversation can happen around the swing-set and climbing forts.  I always tried to remember water and wipes and snicky-snacks or made a quick lunch that we ate there.

I also piled the kids in the car and would go visit friends who lived in another city.  The picture above is when I drove a few hours to have the life-giving love and conversation of a dear friend. What a gang of kids!  Those were good times.  The fun of lots of kids running around and deep and long conversions with a friend who lived on the other side of the state was worth all the hassle of packing up all my people and driving.

I used to have a day a week when I would set these play/field trip/ friend times so that it worked with my schedule.  It was a fun day to look forward to all week.

As you can see, I like to schedule. I feel like that helps me to make connections.  If that is not your forte, hang out with someone who has that strength and let her plan for you. I have several friends who tell me all the time, “If it were not for you, I would never do anything fun!”  Well, alright then.  Find those gals who plan and link up with them.

I also scheduled in time to call or write friends.  I had to schedule it.  Back in the day, it was expensive and you had to call on the off hours when it was cheaper.  Now, I text a friend to find a good time we can both talk.  Ahh,  so much easier.  But I still schedule those phone calls into my week.  And I write a lot of letters.  What is more fun than getting some snail mail?

As your kids get older, pick moms in your kids classes to be intentional with and get to know.  You will be surprised at the relationships you will gain, such a treasure trove.  In each of my boy’s classes I have dear, dear friends that I met and grew to love because I was intentional in serving with them at school, calling them, hanging with them at the basketball games and having them over to eat.  I also organized fun activities with the boys and their friends as they got older and would invite other parents to join us- a trip to the swimming hole in Ft Worth, A Senior Ski trip with the whole class, trips to check out colleges, TV watching binges- hello LOST watching group, after game pizza and ice-cream parties. The list goes on.

Another way to have authentic friendship in the midst of the crazy is through a mentor.  She can listen, encourage and laugh with you.  She also can give you ideas of ways she spent time with others when she was younger.  She will often be able to meet you where you are and be more flexible than someone your age.  I had mentors that would come stay with the boys while I went to get my hair cut and we would have a good visit on the front end.  A mentor will be a life-giving gal who can breathe energy and new ideas into those days that seem impossible.  I know mine have done that and still do!!

Hope some of these Friendship Sursees help you figure out how to make connections with other women.  Would you share ways that you connect with others or find the time for friendship? We all need a little help and imagination in this area.  I would love to hear from you…. xoxo




4 Great Podcasts to Follow



podcast pic

Listening to podcasts is fun for me.  I listen while I put on my makeup or drive in the car or fold laundry or iron…you get the picture.  Have you ever listened to a PodCast?  It is not hard to download through the Podcast App on  your iPhone or on your computer. I subscribe to a few and listen to them while I work or walk or drive.

I am a learner and I find listening to a variety of podcasts is stimulating to my creativity-kind of like going to an art museum or being outside in nature feeds me.   Another perk of podcasts is you can listen with your older kids.  Sitting side by side in the car listening to a podcast is great for teens.  They need loads of creativity at this stage of life to spark their imaginations, and it is important for them to hear about all the jobs and possibilities that are out there.

So check out my favs below.

Happier with Gretchen Rubin

Such a fun listen.  Gretchen and her sister Elizabeth talk about all kinds of ways to live and work: like new creative habits to try, or suggesting ideas for how not to procrastinate, to giving you permission to stop reading a book.  What?

I like the Try it at Home Tips she gives.  I have read her Happiness Project book and the sequel and gleaned so many fun, creative SURSEES from her.  When I listen to Gretch and Elizabeth, I feel like I am sitting with my gal pals sharing and connecting.  You will be encouraged.  The link above leads to her site and also gives the deets about her podcast.  I would love to hear what you think about her Gold Stars.  Fun to listen with your kids and discuss or try some of her ideas.

The Accidental Creative by Todd Henry

This guy is just plain interesting and also talks with all kinds of intriguing people.  One of my favorite episodes was when he talked about Your Collective  about the relationships we should surround ourself with to help us do our best work.  Fascinating.  I would go back and listen to it again. Love his tagline at the end- “Don’t be a cover band.  Cover bands don’t change the world.” Yeah, baby!  Good for teens.

God Centered Mom by Heather MacFadyen

Back to the gals.  Heather is an awesome podcaster over at The God Centered Mom and talks with so many different people.   She encourages no matter what life stage you are in.  I am often forwarding her podcasts to other women; Heather is a great resource.  From talking about movies you can watch with your kids to learning new ideas about discipline, to trusting God in the hard times,  her interviews are always helpful and succinct and make you want to know and love more.  Love Heather!  Listen to Heather and I talk here.

Smart Passive Income with Pat Flynn

Pat Flynn is all over the place talking to entrepreneurs, bloggers, business owners.  I found an amazing Banana Cream Pie recipe after I listened to this gal from The Woodland Bakery and heard how she grew her business and blog through an online presence and videos.  Her pies are Amazing! Craig and I have also listened to a few and have had some interesting discussions afterward about career and life.  A great place to be inspired.  Also a good listen with your teenagers.

Tell me what you think about these podcasts and also share what podcasts you are digging.  I am always surprised when people say they don’t listen to podcasts or haven’t heard about the ones I like.  So do tell in the comments and help us all get smarter!







Planning your School Year:: Some Ideas and Tips

Planning your school year


I have been seeing the school supplies at the store and the parents scrambling to stock up on back packs and small bags of chips, and bright yellow pencils.  Oh, how I love the back to school time.  The newness of the year stretching out in front of me and the kids.  The new supplies. I love school supplies- bright folders, happy spirals, fresh pens and reams and reams of notebook paper.  I have also been thinking about some tips for planning for the school year.  Although I homeschooled and did private school, I think these tips are for us all, whatever schooling you choose for your kids.  So check out the ideas below and be encouraged.

One Year At a Time

Yep.  One year, gal.  Plan for one year and let the Lord help you see what will happen after.  You don’t have to plan all the way to the end photo op with Grad caps and diplomas.  It is much easier to gear up when you tell yourself, I can do it this year. You and your hubby can decide later, like next spring, how it is working out for your family.  But for today, you are Homeschooling This Year.  A good mantra. A nice answer when the family member or neighbor asks with that LOOK, “How long are you going to Homeschool?” You confidently respond, “This year.”  Done.

Every Mom is a Homeschool Mom

Yep.  We are all homeschool moms, whether you do it all day at home or you do it when they hit the door at 3:00 pm.  Trust me.  We all homeschool. We are all given the care of our kids’ education whether you do it full time or when they come home in the afternoon.  You matter, mom.

Which leads me to my next point.

Have a verse for the school year

Ask the Lord for a verse.  Discuss with your husband and decide on one.  Write it out on your planner.  On your wall. Memorize with your family.  This will be a guide for you this whole year.  This verse will be an encouragement to you when the days are long.  It will be a framework for you when you lose heart because you probably will lose heart; we all do.  God’s word is a strong hand rail to hold onto when the going gets tough.

Decide Your Family Values

Decide with your husband what you value as a family. It won’t look like anyone else’s family. Be strong and stick to your values.  Not what you think should matter, but what matters to y’all.   For us, one of our family values was music.  We already valued that.  We listened to music all the time. Loved all kinds of music. So when I planned the year, I included musical events and  field trips that involved music and we listened to all kinds of music in the car and at home. Our most important investment of our homeschool was years of piano lessons.  Deciding on your values will color your school and family time.  You don’t have to be a homeschooler to discuss your values.   We should all have goals for when the kids launch.  A target to aim shoot our arrows toward. Bam.

August Planning Time is Super Importanto

Every August I had a planning session at my dining room table.  I would write down on big sheets of art paper everything I wanted to accomplish that year in school.  Then I circled like ideas or drew arrows connecting the similar ideas.  This will give you a visual of what is going on in your brain.  This brainstorming is so good for us and helps us see relationships that we might not see.  It also helps unload our little brain and give it a place to think, instead of trying to hold onto all the information, schedules, and plans.

This brainstorming also helps when you are teaching mulit-levels of kids.  You can see like ideas themes and categories that you could teach together.  This simplifies your day when you can teach all the kids together multiple subjects.

Field trips

Think through all the field trips you want to take in the fall and spring during your brainstorming time.  It helps to list them all and then start loading them into the calendar year.

Vary the Schedule: Six weeks on—One week off and other patterns

Scheduling is important.  Make it work for you family, your goals.  I liked having the discipline of six weeks of teaching and one week off to refresh me and the kids.

I often took the whole month of December off so that we could do A Christmas Around the World Unit or just do Christmas stuff.  I knew there was a lot of adventure and fun to be had in December, and I wanted to be foot loose and fancy free to grab hold of it.  I would still do a few core subjects- you decide what those are, and I always did my read aloud because we all loved that and reading was one of our core family values.

I also did Four days on, Fridays off and I would use the Friday for field trips or catch-up.

Join up with some other families to plan

Make your plans and then join up with some other families to create some weeks when your kids do a Unit Study together.  Or start a Mini Co-op where each mom teaches a subject in her own strength.  Sometimes I did this with one other mom,  on one day a week.  She would teach  a unit to the kids, and I would have the day off.  Then the next unit I would teach all the kids at my house and she would have a break.  The kids loved it and friend and I did, too.

Once I started a small co-op with several families and we each taught what we were passionate about and had lunch together up at our church.  It was a no cost way to get some excellent teachers and community learning for the kids.  A caveat: I didn’t do this co-op until my oldest son was in upper elementary. You just don’t need to be running around when your kids are in Pre-K and 1st grade.  Enjoy those quiet years at home and switch babysitting with a friends and do some fun field trips to get out.

Block out your week

Spend some time blocking out your weeks from the Brainstorming Sheet you made.  Once you have your brain dump down on the paper and you have organized like ideas that fit into your family values, start putting things down on days of the week.  Start with the non-negotiable.  I also looked at the fall and tried to block out when the field trips and special events like the State Fair or a Fall Break vacation occurred.  I wrote out the week days and started stacking the subjects according to our family values and my curriculum needs.  Each day was a column and I would write in how many days each week we would spend on Math or Writing according to my values.

I would try to not have all the hard subjects all stacked on one day.  The brainstorming was very important as I dumped things into days because I knew that writing was important to me and I would have it 3 days a week.  Science wasn’t my strength so I tried to have one day that we did that.  And I didn’t worry about that, knowing that science would come through some other form.  I always checked out loads of sciencey books and bought funky tapes to listen to and did experiments with the boys.

I didn’t sweat science knowing that they would catch up in that area later because I was raising Learners.  And they did catch up.

Buy a calendar or a planner and put your final ideas in it

My last step was to fill in a planner that I bought at a school supply store.  All the field trips, breaks, units were all written in pencil on the monthly calendar pages.  Big broad brush strokes, with my detailed daily calendar fleshing out the daily week calendars.

Tweaking of the calendar and schedule was allowed after 2 weeks of school and more tweaking occurred in January as I saw what was working and was realistic.

I hope this helps as you plan out your school year. Remember this is just one way and this is what worked for us.  No matter if you are a homeschooler, university model family, private school parent or public school mom,  I hope this has encouraged you.  I still try to use these principles as an Empty Nester as I plan out my fall.

If you know a homeschooler or a mom who needs a little encouragement in this area, could you pass this on to them?  Do you have any tips for how you plan out your fall?  Do tell in the comments.  We can all use the encouragement.




Saturday Sursee :: May Graduations and Seeing that Nest Empty

empty nest thoughts for pinterest


Are you there?  Are you about to enter the Empty Nest?  Are you looking at your son or daughter as they graduate and realizing this is it?  Maybe you are Wondering, What Next?

I was thinking about this today as I thought of friends who are entering this next stage of life- we all enter it, right? May is the month. Differing levels of our nest being rustled and blown and changed.

Baby sleeping through the night and crawling to freedom.  Toddler climbing up and over and under.  Kiddo running through elementary school.  Tween Getting Through middle school.  Almost adult rounding the last corner of the track that is high school.  And then bam.  You are done.  The nest is empty.

We really can’t prepare so much.  But we can trust that He who is faithful will meet us and walk the path with us.  

I wrote some thoughts about the path through and in the Empty Nest.    Wondered if you needed to be reminded that He is able and more than sufficient for all of our needs.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. II Corinthians 12:9

I need to say that outloud.  I need you to say it outloud to me.  We need each other, for sure.  If you have a friend who is turning one of life’s corners, might you share this SURSEE with them?

On this Saturday, remember that His grace is sufficient for whatever nest you find yourself in today. xoxo

Words for the End of the School Year :: Dear Middle School Mom,

Tips for May transitionsHere it is May again, and I always feel busy during this month and I don’t even have kids at home!  A friend told me once, “Never schedule anything for May.  No doctor appointments, no lunches with friends, no nothing.”  I think she is right.  There is enough crazy without me scheduling in more.

May is the end of the school year and the time of graduations and moving on.  Even with grown kids, I find May to be a month of transition.  So I looked back in the files of Sursee Gal and found this Letter to Middle School Moms, and I bring it back to you because I think it might be just the encouragement you need right now. Even if your child isn’t about to enter high school, I think there are some truths here to get you looking down the path with hope.   I am praying that as you face this time of transition and endings and beginnings  you will see the Lord in the middle of it all and that you don’t have to go it alone.  So read on dear friend and be encouraged.

Could you pass this on to a mom who might be struggling with this time of year?  That would be an awesome Sursee!
Dear Middle School Mom,

As I look back over my 11 years at our school, I remember what it was like to have a middle school student just beginning here. For those of you who don’t know me, I have four sons and my youngest is about to graduate in a few short weeks.
Gretchen Rubin author of The Happiness Project, says, “The days are long, but the years are short.”  And I am here to tell you, that is true!
So here, at the end of these years,  as I am rounding the corner and heading toward the finish line, I wanted to encourage you with some truths I have learned along the way.
First, I want you to know it has been a good ride.  And, yes, the work was worth it !
I want to exhort you as a mom to not be afraid.  No fear!   God is in control of all the details of your life and your child’s life. Your child will go to college somewhere when it is time. I promise.
Mom, No comparing.  It robs you of all joy.   No one else can be you with your gifts and talents.  No one else has the same child you do.  So, No comparing, friend.
Embrace life and all the ups and downs of mothering.  When we say yes and embrace wherever God has us, we are saying, “I trust You Lord, and  I believe You are in control.”
Middle school is the pitts.  It just is.  It was when you were in middle school. And it still is.  But, Your child’s class will survive. Your child will survive. And I promise, YOU will survive. The mean girls will get nice and the goofy boys will grow up. So encourage your child that this is true, and teach them how to extend grace.
Pray for the kids in your child’s class. Get to know the kids in your child’s class. God is using them to shape and mold your child.  The small classes here are like  your family, you don’t get to choose your family, and  yet, you love them and accept them. Show your child how to love those who are not like them. And in the end, when they graduate, you will be amazed how your class jelled and came together.
It is not too hard for them up here.  It is work, but it is not too hard.  Learning and being engaged is demanding and it requires discipline, but it is not too hard.  It is a new way to study.  A new way to think.  It is worth it.  There are no shortcuts.
Latin is one of the most important subjects your child can take.  Have them take as many years of it as possible.
Read. Read the books your child is reading.  Read the school newsletter.  Life works better when you are in the know.  Read your emails from your Class Mom. In fact, be the class mom one year.
Join up and join in. Our school works best when you participate. Serve on a committee.  Come to the parent meetings.  Head up something.  You might meet a new friend. Attend Moms in Touch.  Pursue friendships with other moms up here.  You will be thankful you have others to walk through these years with you.
Believe in the professors.  Get to know them.  Pray for them. Speak words of life to them. And, speak well about them to your child.
Make breakfast for your child.  It really is the most important meal of the day.
Go to events that involve the older students at your school.  See the finished product.  It will encourage you.  It will give you hope and fuel you to inspire your child through the years. Go to Declamation.  Attend the Ladies Tea.  Send your son to the Men’s Cook-out every year. Sit front row and center for the plays.   When you see the seniors and older students at these events, you will see what the target is and so will your child.
Attend all the different sporting events.  Lots of conversations and life happens there.  On that note, get your student involved in sports here. Character work goes on here that you don’t want them to miss.  Plus, it will be some of their favorite memories.  And yours.
Drive a carpool to a school event.  You learn so much.  Enough said.
Go to bed.  Teach your child to go to bed.  A good night sleep cures almost everything and things always look better in the morning.
Kiss and hug.  A lot.  Before they go to school and when they get home. Even when they are a senior.  Even when they are a boy.
Use less words with your kids and Believe in them.  They know the right thing to do.
So Middle school mom, this school isn’t a perfect place, but it is a great place.  And, it really is worth it.

Mentoring Moment :: What Did You Do When Your Kids Compared or Used Unkind Words?

Mentoring Moments What Did you do when your kids talked unkindly or compared

What did you do when your kids compared or used unkind words with one another?

I just received a question like this, and as I was emailing this sweet mom back, I thought that maybe there might be others who would be encouraged if they heard this.  We need each other.  We need to talk about things like this. Here is the answer I gave her:

Hey gal,

  • You are the Best Mom for your kids

One thought to remember is you are the best mom for those precious kids the Lord gave you! I didn’t say perfect- but you are the best.  God picked you to be their mom and will give you wisdom and direction when you need it.  I think I always was second guessing myself and wondering if I had what it takes…you do! You have what it takes and More- you have Jesus!

  • Safe Place
One thing we tried to do is make our home a safe place for everyone, and we would  talk about that.  I would say,  “I want everyone to feel safe here and loved because God created each of you in  a special way.”   I would try to guard that- not letting unkindness or mean things go on and on.  Discipline when needed.  Separate when needed.  Always remembering if they were too tired or too hungry to obey.  It does make a difference.
  • Big Muscles

Kids need to use their big muscles every day, especially boys.  I would make sure they were active every day.  That meant I had to go out with them in the back yard and just chill or watch them play or read.  Whatever.  But I needed to be out there, too.  I wrote more on that here.

I think when they are using their big muscles and being physical for some parts of the day, some of the other issues disappear.

  • Rest Time is a Must

I also made them have a Rest Time every day.  It is hard to be kind and slow to anger all day long.  It is for you and me, and it is for them. They need separation and time to be by themselves.  Everyday.   At Rest Time, they didn’t have to go to sleep, but they had to be by themselves…reading on their bed.  No talking to me or to others during that time.  “This is what the Johnsons do,” is what I would tell them.

  • Verses that Teach

Now on to some verses.  A good verse I remember is this one.

Proverbs 12:18

 The words of the reckless pierce like swords,
    but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

We would talk about how their words could be like swords or  they could bring healing.  Great imagery.
Another great group of verses that popped into my head were these:
Ephesians 4:29-32
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
I would talk about the ability for their words to build up their brother.  And I would say, “Hey, we want our words to be building words not tearing down words.  That sounded like you were tearing down your brother. Let’s try that again.”  Or I would just prompt with the word “building” and not give a big lecture.
Or I would use verse 32 and say, “Hey- we need to be kind and compassionate to each other….what does that look like?  Can we practice that right now?”
  • Night Time Prayers
One big thing I did a bunch is pray through these verses at night when I tucked them in.  In the dark I would talk about things that I had seen that day and remind them of God’s truth.  A lot of the time I would just pray what I wanted them to do out loud- ha! 
“God, Help _____ to remember he is the older brother and he needs to build _______ up, even when ______ makes him mad.
 Help______ to be kind when _______ is driving him nuts.”  
Especially as they get older, at night in the dark, is a great time of sharing.
I hope this helps.  I did not do this perfectly.  I wish now that I would have memorized more verses. But God is faithful, and He will fill in the cracks.  Talk about about a Sursee!
Readers, do you have a special verse that you use with your kids when they compare or are unkind?  Do share, please.