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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I've moved!

So...if you are still somehow ending up this page you haven't gotten the memo yet. I've switched to WP.
Go to and change your RS feed, quick. Now! You're missing some really fun posts!!!
Love you bunches!!

Friday, March 9, 2012

What's Been Happening?

I just realized that I haven't updated you in a while on the happenings with Praise and Coffee, so this is my attempt to catch you up.

Next week is our first ever Praise and Coffee Around the World!
March 15th women will be meeting in coffee shops, restaurants, churches and at kitchen tables, sharing life while connecting, encouraging and inspiring each other.

We also have a private Facebook group for all the women who host Praise and Coffee Nights or who are interested and want to chat with other women about it.
We'd love to have you in on the conversation, click on the link and join us!

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, check out our eBook that explains it all.
How Anyone Can Start a Praise and Coffee Night

Basically, it's a fresh approach to women's ministry.
No agendas or studies, just connecting, encouraging and inspiring one another along our journey as wives, moms and women of God over a cuppa coffee or whatever you feel like sipping.

I'm also working on the Spring Praise and Coffee Magazine that is coming out April 1st!!
This one is for the moms...or those of us who have moms...which should cover us all.

On a personal side, things have been busy for me. It's MOPS season! I've been speaking at a lot of MOPS groups in the area.
I love it!
I feel like I basically come in and lift heavy backpacks off the moms. Backpacks that are filled with burdens, worries and pressure to be something that God never called them to be: perfect.

Having small children can be such a trying time in a woman's life and if I can say anything that brings a little comfort and joy to this season, I'm happy to.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!
Watch for our new website coming real soon!!!!

Much love,

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tips on Raising Middle Schoolers

Ok, so that beautiful little cooing baby that you held just five minutes ago has grown up to be a middle-schooler. Those little rosy cheeks that were once irresistible to squeeze are now speckled with acne.

Remember when they were a toddler and their squeals would lead us to say things like, “oh my, he’s found his voice.” And now staring eye to eye, they argue with us and we think, “oh good gravy, he's found his voice.”

Raising kids reminds me a little of that show Wipe Out. It’s a muddy obstacle course that requires you to jump across giant slippery balls.

Yup, I’d say it’s pretty much exactly like motherhood.

But don’t lose heart moms, we can do this. Here are a few tips to help us navigate this exhausting wonderful time of transition in our child’s life.

1. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Moms, we will have plenty of major things in life to lose sleep over, don’t give it up for the little things. Pick your battles wisely. Remember, these kids have hormones and emotions that are spinning wildly inside of them and they might just need us to let them vent a bit.

2. Be careful to be encouraging and not critical. They are hearing critical words all the time, let your words be filled with hope and not criticism. This may take some creative thinking on your part at times, but you’re a MOM, you can do this! Build up instead of tear down, even when we see things that put us on the shady side of crazy.

3. Don’t talk too much! I raise my hand as a guilty party here. I can get rambling and before I know it all that my kids are hearing is white noise. Stop the lectures, they tune us out anyway, why waste the breath. Do speak, but not too much…try to find the balance or you’ll end up like this.

The most important thing to remember is that our kids need us. They need us on their side, fighting FOR them in this world not against them.

God has given us an incredible job, and He really does know what He’s doing. You ARE cut out for this…quite perfectly in fact.

I'd love to hear what things have helped you navigate these precious years.

Listen to the Real Moms of West Michigan every Tuesday at 7:05AM on STAR 105.7.
If you are not in the West Michigan area, you can listen online at iHeart Radio: STAR 105.7

And visit Tommy and Brook at:
STAR 105.7
STAR 105.7 on Facebook
@TommyAndBrook on Twitter

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

How Can We Help Our Kids Do Well in School

This is good news for REAL moms!

Tutors are great but studies show that the best students are not ones with tutors but instead a strong family support makes a child a better learner.

It turns out that the family environment is crucial in forming good habits early on in a child's life. Who'da thought?!

Here are a few ways we can help our kids do well in school:

1. Give them a place to study and do homework. Try to keep the noise to a dull roar distractions to a minimum and as much as possible have it be a consistent time each day.
That being said...this REAL mom has practiced spelling words in the car on many occasions.

2. We've talked about this a few times but it bares repeating...communicate with your kids, ask them how things are going in their classes. Which classes do they struggle in, which class is their favorite and why.

3. Communicate with teachers, find out if homework is getting turned in and how they feel your child is doing in class. And as your child see you doing this, the accountability may be good incentive to work harder.

4. Help your kids learn HOW to study. This will really help them as they get older. If you've ever been super tired like me at the end of a day (like I was in this post) and then you realize that they didn't do their homework and you are tempted to just give them the answers, because I have not that I've done that... but we really shouldn't. A better (more patient and rested) parent will teach them how to find the answers. :)

5. And the most important (well not really but it seems that the last one should always be the most important) remain supportive even when they struggle.

Homework is not ever always a fun time of the day, but investing in our kids is worth it!
Real moms like you and I can make a huge difference, in fact the MOST difference in our kids education.
I'd love to hear any tips you have!

If you are not in the West Michigan area, you can listen online at iHeart Radio: STAR 105.7

And visit Tommy and Brook at:
STAR 105.7
STAR 105.7 on Facebook
@TommyAndBrook on Twitter

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

How Can I Build My Child's Self Esteem?

If you listened you heard that...only I could forget the rest of "sticks and stones will break your bones but..." I had a complete brain block at that moment!! Well, I hope you laughed with me, but if you laughed AT me, at least we both got a laugh :)

One way you can help build your child's self-esteem: speak words that build up and not tear down.
We can help build the self-esteem of our children by focusing more on their strengths and accomplishments rather than their short comings.

A child’s self-esteem is often built on what those close to them say about them, so we can make a huge impact in our kid’s lives if we praise them and encourage the positive decisions they make. And when they fail and make mistakes, speak words like: I know you can do better! Let them know that you believe in them.

It’s so important that moms build up and not tear down our kids.
For instance; I just cringe when I hear parents call their child stupid or dumb, it’s heartbreaking and flat out cruel. Yes, they will do stupid things… so will we…but let’s separate those actions from who they are as a person.

When a parent tells a child they are stupid or even "bad," it tears down the very core of who they are. Let’s not let their mistakes become part of their identity. I sure don’t want to be defined by the many times I’ve fallen, instead I want to be encouraged to pick myself up and do better next time.

Instead we can say something like: That was not the best decision to make, but YOU are smart. I’m sure you’ll do better next time.

And, isn’t that what we want too?

So, think about the words we speak to our kids…speak words of encouragement and praise.

Real moms can build their kid’s self-esteem by building them up, not tearing them down.
Ephesians 4:29

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.

If you are not in the West Michigan area, you can listen online at iHeart Radio: STAR 105.7

And visit Tommy and Brook at:
STAR 105.7
STAR 105.7 on Facebook
@TommyAndBrook on Twitter

Saturday, February 18, 2012

What If Your Church Didn't Exist Anymore?

Many hairstyles ago I stood in front of the church that my husband pastored and shared a thought that burned so deep inside me I couldn’t help but breathe it out loud. With a shaking that reached from my platinum blonde hair to my painted toes I asked the congregation, “What would happen if you didn’t have a church to attend anymore?” It was not an announcement of the church closing its doors; but more a sense of the burden on my heart that we are all too comfortable sitting in the church.

What would you do if there were no church to get ready for on Sunday? What if there were no Bible studies or MOPS groups?

How would your family navigate their Christianity without the church building? Do you feel equipped to teach the truths of the Bible to your children?

Obviously we don’t have to navigate the road of Christianity alone, we have churches and groups and the freedom to assemble, and for this I am grateful. But I still wonder, what if?

I believe that God wants a relationship with us that is not dependent on church attendance.

I have driven home from church and felt a sense of satisfaction by the mere fact that I attended. I hadn’t connected with anyone or learned anything that sparked faith in my heart. But that religious side of me felt approved by God just by walking in the doors, sitting in a pew, picking up a bulletin and smiling at the greeter on the way out.

I want more than that in my relationship with the God of Creation. I believe God wants more for us.

I think it does us all good to stop and think about how our lives would look if the freedom to assemble in our churches disappeared. I’m not saying this because I think that is what’s happening; I’m not storing up guns in my basement or buying rice in bulk. But I think we need to look at our relationship with the Father and consider if it’s authentic enough that it would pass down to the next generation without overhead projectors or flannel boards teaching them about Noah’s Ark.

THE Church (the body of Christ) will exist, but if your building weren’t available, how would you do?

I'd love to hear your thoughts...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

When Moms Should Say Yes

Hello Moms! 
 I’ve talked before about encouraging moms to say NO to the things that keep us too busy and away from the family but today I want to encourage moms to say yes. Turns out that our kids respond better in what is considered a positive atmosphere. Who knew?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not talking about giving in to every whim at the grocery store or all the treats their little heart’s desire because our kids can ask us what seems like a million questions in a day. I’m referring to those times when a “yes” is possible, just not always convenient for us.

It can be so easy to fall into a groove of continually saying NO. We’re busy we’re running around and it’s hard to say yes when we’re on a mission, it’s inconvenient, but…we could probably say yes a little more than we do.

I have the habit of saying no to messy things…play dough, Legos, painting or friends over after school…..sleepovers…you know, the things that get in the way of MY day. It’s also a challenge for me to say yes to stopping what I’m doing to play a board game or the Wii.

And then I read things like this from Mr. Fred Rogers:

In the book The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember, Fred Rogers wrote that, "I hope you're proud of yourself for the times you've said yes, when all it meant was extra work for you and was seemingly only helpful to someone else."

Ok, so REAL moms…every time we consider saying “no,” let’s stop and ask ourselves a simple question: Can I give my child a “yes” instead?

Matt 10:16

And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.

If you are not in the West Michigan area, you can listen online at iHeart Radio: STAR 105.7

And visit Tommy and Brook at:
STAR 105.7
STAR 105.7 on Facebook
@TommyAndBrook on Twitter

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