an easter mindset.

Wishing y’all an Easter Mindset this week and every week. Check out Jessica Morris’ Post…

[ M O M S at H O P E ]

easter is always the holiday that sneaks up on me.  christmas i feel prepared for.  i mean i have an endless “to do” list of gifts, decorations, lights, & crafting that seems to take place all in one month.  and halloween, well i have to be somewhat ready for…. i mean who doesn’t love trying to figure out what super cute costume your kids will wear? i may or may not obsess over this a little too much.

but easter (possibly the most significant holiday in regard to my Christian faith) always surprises me.  one time i gave up sweets for lint and that helped me fully appreciate easter… and all of the candy that goes with it.

a couple of weeks ago i spoke at the Stirring (the Sunday night service at Hope Church, here’s the link if you’re interested: ) and discussed the idea of being “unified.”  of how…

View original post 549 more words


Friday follow-up on “When Your Schedule Screams”

It was good week talking about Letting It Go in the area of our schedules, praying for one another, and some of us were able to fellowship over lunch!  Good stuff! 

MoT lunch March 2015photo creds: Brittney Pruitt

We do not have homework for next week. We will have a special guest speaker, a mentor and friend of mine, Lisa Cole. I am so excited for her to join us. You won’t want to miss it.

Lisa is going to speak on a topic that she shared with me many years ago and it has influenced my parenting ever since.

Lisa Cole intro photo

Class Handout from Chapter 7: (If you missed class, consider contemplating the questions on your own.)

{This was compiled and edited by me using information from the author, Karen Ehman, the P31 OBS leader, Melissa Taylor, Moms of Teens Bible Study Leader, Shannon Milholland and the Holy Bible}

Ice breaker: Are you an “early” or a “tardy”?

“Being busy is the new measuring stick of family success.” p 139

1) If that isn’t the correct measuring stick of success what is? What you think God wants the measuring stick of our success to be?

“When someone bumps my day’s agenda, threatening to knock the nice clear outta me, guess what happens: What is already inside of me will spill out.” p 137

2) What are some scriptures that help keep you on an “even keel” when your schedule or day gets “bumped”?

3) On pages 139-142 Karen gives some ideas for having a counter cultural calendar. Which one of these ideas would make the biggest positive impact on you and your teens if you implemented it?

  1. Stand back and ask, “Why?”
  2. Dare to be different.
  3. Consider setting number limits.
  4. Make a list and check it twice.
  5. Realize how each family member’s activities affect the others’ schedules.
  6. Don’t take on more than you can pray for.
  7. Say yes because you feel called, not because you consider yourself capable.
  8. Don’t attempt to set the world record for most consecutive years served.
  9. Ponder this truth: The less you’re involved in, the less your schedule will scream, and the less you just might too.

IMG_4922Psalm 31:14-24

 14 But I trust in you, Lord;

I say, “You are my God.”

15 My times are in your hands;

deliver me from the hands of my enemies,

from those who pursue me.

16 Let your face shine on your servant;

save me in your unfailing love.

17 Let me not be put to shame, Lord,

for I have cried out to you;

but let the wicked be put to shame

and be silent in the realm of the dead.

18 Let their lying lips be silenced,

for with pride and contempt

they speak arrogantly against the righteous.

19 How abundant are the good things

that you have stored up for those who fear you,

that you bestow in the sight of all,

on those who take refuge in you.

20 In the shelter of your presence you hide them

from all human intrigues;

you keep them safe in your dwelling

from accusing tongues.

21 Praise be to the Lord,

for he showed me the wonders of his love

when I was in a city under siege.

22 In my alarm I said,

“I am cut off from your sight!”

Yet you heard my cry for mercy

when I called to you for help.

23 Love the Lord, all his faithful people!

The Lord preserves those who are true to him,

but the proud he pays back in full.

24 Be strong and take heart,

all you who hope in the Lord.

When Your Schedule Screams

Welcome back from Spring Break! And it actually feels like Spring!

An absolutely gorgeous day! I hope you are enjoying it and finding time in your schedule to read

Let.It.Go by Karen Ehman Chapter 7:  “When Your Schedule Screams (and You Want to Scream Too)”.

We had an ice storm mishap with our backyard gazebo (as a friend of Jack’s said “it’s like Viking stadium”) It was disappointing when we woke up to a tangled mess of metal, tarp and ice on top of the grill. Dealing with it definitely wasn’t on our schedule. I just wanted to build a snowman on our day off but that didn’t happen. And making a decision about what to do with the backyard mess wasn’t fun. At All. I don’t really like making furniture-type decisions and when there is angst and a surprise situation thrown in there, it’s not pretty.

After a few days passed and the weather improved each family member seemed to have a different idea of how to best use our back patio now that we were faced with a change. A family decision sounds like a reasonable plan but can also turn into manipulation … cause …well….we all  want our own way. We had several discussions and internet browsing together cause that is a group activity, right? I had to do some serious “letting go” when my husband wanted to “drive” my laptop. And a computer driver does not enjoy a “backseat” navigator. Eventually we took turns looking at the options and narrowed it down. The end result was a new gazebo (we named Z-Bo the gazebo) AND an outdoor sectional with a coffee table from our favorite store, Costco.

new patio furniture

My husband (with some teenage assistance) assembled it this weekend! And right now I am feeling so peaceful  and relaxed as I spend time with the Lord and prepare our outline for Wed. When I first got settled out here, I got comfy, toes in the sunshine, closed my eyes and talked to the Lord and guess what… I fell asleep! Exactly what I needed in my schedule today. And a perfect picture of the memory verse for me. Trusting God with my time.

Psalm 31:14-15a NIV:

But I trust in you. O Lord; I say,

“You are my God.”

My times are in your hand;

And here is the screensaver I created using a photo I took when leaving Denver on Friday:


If you have time to dig deeper, here is a challenge from the Online Bible Study by Melissa Taylor. We will discuss this together this week:


  1. Open your Bibles to Psalm 31:14.  Read Psalm 31:14-24.  Underline what speaks to you personally. Journal about it as if you are speaking to God Himself.

I found this passage so encouraging. God is on my side!!! He’s there to fight my enemies and I can be strong and take heart because my hope is in Him. (v. 24)

  1. Oh let’s keep reading. Look what’s next, Psalm 32.  Any of you struggle with forgiveness? Do you wonder if God could really forgive you?  I know I’ve had that question before and the Bible gave me the wonderful freeing answers I needed and desired. Yes! We are forgiven!

Read Psalm 32:1-11. Mark the verses that you are thankful for the most. The ones that are jumping in your heart right now. Take a few moments to pray or journal.

Wow! I acknowledge my sins, I confessed, and I’m FORGIVEN!!! No more record of that sin. The Lord loves me unfailingly! (v. 10b)

  1. Read Psalm 33:4 and Psalm 33:20-22.

Think, pray, and journal on that!!!

Are you filled with hope today?  Are YOU filled with hope today?  Are you FILLED with hope today? Are you filled with HOPE today?  Are you filled with hope TODAY?

Schedule and Admin 🙂

  • This week is the end of the month so we will have an optional lunch at Panera in Cordova after our meeting.
  • The Moms at Hope will be collecting money for reading tutors for Hopewell Orphanage. Donating is completely optional. If you would like to contribute, please bring cash or checks made out to Hope to our next meeting on March 25th. Here’s a link to learn more about this awesome ministry:
  • There are also volunteer opportunities with Oasis of Hope. Katie and I will be volunteering at the Easter Egg Hunt. We had a great time last year. Shelly and her kiddos were there as well. For more information, check out the website: (this site is managed by our very own Karey Hoff)

Prayer request for Hope Women’s Ministry team leaving on a mission trip this week

Will you join me in praying with Mary Ann Ruff and the team:
Gracious Father, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father in heaven”. Matthew 5:16 The Word you gave to Matthew expresses our greatest desire! Grant that your Light be manifested in our lives, that Love rule in every action, that any “good works” we do would glorify you and you alone. Give those we serve eyes and ears to discern the ways of the Lord and seek ‘the way, the truth and the life’, John 14:6.Thank you that the good work you began in our life you promise to complete until the day of Christ Jesus (Phil 1:6). The hope of this promise inspires us to carry on this side of heaven. We are dependent upon the work of your Spirit and eternally grateful for the sacrifice of your Son. In Jesus name, Amen.

Hovering over the Home followup

{Blog post for Hope Moms of Teens. We are currently reading by Karen Ehman}

 Hello Moms, We had a small group this week. I know many of you had teens home for spring break, are off on adventures or are suffering from illness or injury. We missed you all and I have included the notes and questions for you to read and ponder. We will NOT be meeting this coming week. My teens and I will be traveling to Denver to visit my sister and her teens (remember Amy from her visit to our group this fall?) and also celebrate my Mom and Step-father’s 20th Anniversary. Jane will also be in CO. She is currently 4 hours into a 23 hour drive with a large crowd of our teens. I saw a few photos some of our Moms of Teens posted on Facebook today saying their good-byes to their babies on the buses. What amazing opportunities our kiddos have with Hope Student Ministries. And opportunities for Mama’s grow and let go 🙂 Thank you, amazing Jane, for being the Mama on duty.

This past week, Abby Hamilton joined our group and we were so happy to have her. She shared a funny story of making memories from an imperfect situation.    Abby also shared an opportunity with us that is perfectly in tune with one of the attributes of the Proverbs 31 woman we studied this week.

Proverbs 31:20 “She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.” 

The Moms at Hope will be collecting money for reading tutors for Hopewell Orphanage. Donating is completely optional. If you would like to contribute, please bring cash or checks made out to Hope to our next meeting on March 25th when we return from spring break. Here’s a link to learn more about this awesome ministry:

There are also volunteer opportunities with Oasis of Hope. Katie and I will be volunteering at the Easter Egg Hunt. We had a great time last year. Shelly and her kiddos were there as well. For more information, check out the website: (this site is managed by our very own Karey Hoff)

XO, Melissa

let it go prov 31

Session 3 video clip link on youtube:

{The following class handout was compiled and edited by me using information from the author, Karen Ehman, the P31 OBS leader, Melissa Taylor, Moms of Teens Bible Study Leader, Shannon Milholland and the Holy Bible}

We watched the entire video in class and these are the summary notes:

Pursuing the Appearance of Perfection


Sometimes we over-control because we are pursuing the appearance of perfection and perfection, to us, is having things done our way.

The woman in Proverbs 31 was often cited for her “doing.” Let’s look instead at her “being.”

She was a woman who didn’t pursue the appearance of perfection but was pursuing the person and purposes of God.

How can we go from pursuing perfection (wanting it done our way) to speaking with wisdom and kindness? Ask yourself these questions.

  • Does it matter now?
  • Will it matter tomorrow?
  • Will it affect eternity?
  • Is God trying to teach me something? If so, what?
  • Can I pause and praise instead of interrupt and instigate?
  • Is there really an issue here that needs addressing with my teen?
  • Am I just being a control freak and need to let it go?

Strategies for being more of a Proverbs 31 Mom:

  • Remember there are lots of ways to get to 4.
  • Recognize the difference between goals and desires.
  • Recognize that imperfect can still make perfectly wonderful memories.

  1. Of the questions in the video notes (bulleted above), what stands out to you?
  2. In what areas would it benefit you most to remember that “there are many ways to get to 4”?
  3. Can you name a time in your life when an imperfect situation made a perfectly wonderful memory?

 On pages 119-123, Karen lists some steps you can take to dampen coals of mama’s domestic wrath, which of these do you most need to start doing to assure in a greater degree of serenity in your home? Have you tried any of these this week?

Host a family summit.

Gauge each person’s expectations.

Recognize the trigger-point times.

Pursue compromise.

Make a consequence, but make it equitable.

Come up with family sayings.

Praise often.

Embrace imperfect.

Look for what God is doing in you.

Proverbs 31:10-31 NIV:

A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

  1. What are some actions this woman took or tasks she performed?
  2. What might have been her motives for doing these things?
  3. What other people are mentioned in the passage? What did they think or say about her?
  4. What insights do you gain from her that you can apply to mothering your teens?

What stands out to you most in the verses below? Write out a prayer about your use of your tongue with your teens.

Job 6:24 ~ Teach me, and I will be quiet; show me where I have been wrong.

Psalm 34:12-14 ~ Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

Psalm 64:3 ~ They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim cruel words like deadly arrows.

Psalm 139:4 ~ Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.

Proverbs 15:1-2 ~ A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.

Proverbs 21:23 ~ Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.

James 1:26 ~ Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.

my story: Kristin Funston

A very honest account of how important Moms groups can be in our lives. Check out Kristin’s story:

[ M O M S at H O P E ]

one of the things i love are stories.  stories of how people became who they are; of how life tried to knocked them down or how plans drastically changed (for the seemingly worse).  i love hearing how the beautiful mess of plans and expectations and trials ultimately shape (and better) people.  & i really love seeing how God uses the chaos and pain and loss to lead us to our destiny.  it really is an incredible thing.

one of the things that will be woven throughout this blog are those stories.   stories of people whose lives were changed.  people who experienced great pain or loss or chaos and can now say all of that mess, all of that pain has led them somewhere (maybe unexpected) but ultimately somewhere beautiful and free and full of purpose.

So, first up is Kristin Funston.


In June 2009, I became a mom.

I was…

View original post 1,367 more words

Moms of Teens: Hovering over the Home

{Blog post for Hope Moms of Teens.  We are currently reading by Karen Ehman}

This week’s chapter is “Hovering over the Home”! Somehow I injured my back last week while hovering so I have been taking it easy.  I enjoyed reading chapter 6 in Let.It.Go. (except for the family exercise… reading is so much easier than practicing…I may blog share that story later. see comment below).

Part way through, Karen Ehman asks us to read about the woman in Proverbs 31. Even if you aren’t up to speed on our reading or you are on spring break consider meditating on this portion of scripture. If you don’t have a bible handy, you can look it up on the internet.

On the computer, my go to site is

On my phone, I use the app: YouVersion Holy Bible

Verses 10-31describe the woman. I have chosen verses 26-28 for our screensaver. This is the concept we are trying to embrace in Chapter 6. To have kindness in my household that begins with me (God in me) and have the members of the house call me blessed! It’s a goal, alright!!

I created two choices for our screensaver. I took 2, slightly posed photos from my household and added bright colors on this dreary sky day.

p31This pic is in my laundry room (and at that moment, most of the clothes were clean and put away. At least from the perspective of that room … no inspection of the kid’s rooms required when you are NOT hovering)

 Prov 31-26-28 orange

This is a slice of my kitchen counter…the clean, colorful, healthy, dinner-organized and posted to the chalk board part. Okay…maybe I got the chalk out after I decided to take a pic… but we did have steak cause it was Sunday. Routines make planning easier for us.


Abby Hamilton, the Hope Moms groups leader, will sit in with us on Wednesday. She is going to tell us about an optional service project the Moms at Hope are participating in. I will add more details at the end of the week.

Many private schools are on Spring Break this week. I hope you are enjoying the break. We will be meeting. Next week is public school spring break and we will not meet.

Please join me prayer for our Hope Student Ministries spring break trips. I saw Darrin and Jane Hillis’ smiling faces on Instagram this morning as they headed to Gatlinburg with our youth. I am so grateful for all the opportunities HSM provides for our teens.
I  love that they mentioned their focus verses: Proverbs 3:5-6. We can pray that specifically.

This was my first memory scripture and it was and is a challenge for me to “lean not on your own understanding.”

And I’m pretty sure our teens are challenged by that as well since generally they “know everything”. 🙂


xo, Melissa

a jesus plus theology.

Moms of Teens: check out this blog post by Moms at Hope’s Jessica Morris (it is a good read and I couldn’t resist trying the reblog button to see what happens. Blog PLUS reblog ??)

[ M O M S at H O P E ]

i tend to like the “pluses” in life.  Carmel macchiato PLUS whip cream. yep.  Subaru outback PLUS heated seats.  absolutely.  dinner PLUS dessert. a necessity. i like the “pluses” in life.  especially when it comes to food and comfort (hence the whip cream and heated seats).

but recently i’ve been wondering if these comfort “pluses” have carried over into my spiritual life.  like what happens when it becomes the Bible plus? or church plus? or the most terrifying of them all… Jesus plus?  recently i have been studying Galatians and (honestly) have been getting my “Christian” butt kicked…a lot.  Paul says things like:

“You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with…

View original post 481 more words

God and Spirituality

God and Spirituality  ….

that is the topic we will discuss this week.

We had a day of beautiful snow on Wednesday. It started just as I was leaving Panera and our fellowship time together. I am so grateful that I could share my heart and my journey with y’all. And thank you for praying over me this week. God is so good and faithful even in hard situations.
Seeing the ground covered in white reminded me of Jesus covering our sins. It is a picture of his mercy and grace. (I feel a photo developing in my brain) ….

Pop! Here it is:

Romans 4-7-8 snow

Oh, how the message of salvation can change our lives. And our teens lives.

Learning lessons in grace and forgiveness has been at the forefront for us lately. And it is drawing us closer to the heart of Jesus.  I know it is for me and I trust in God’s timing for others.

Keep your eyes open for God at work in your family.

We don’t have reading for this week in our book. Matt Tubinis from Hope Student Ministries is going to speak to us on God and Spirituality. This is one of the areas that I circled on our questionnaire and I’m looking forward to hearing his perspective.
I have mentioned to y’all before that I am doing a read through the bible plan with an online group. I know a few of you have joined us. You can start at any point. On Monday, we start the book of Matthew. It has great timing with Easter. I am hoping that my family will join me this month. Since we don’t have any homework this week, why don’t you give it a try too?




We had an awesome discussion lead by Matt Tubinis. I have attached his notes and they are full of great points.

Matt Tubinis notes on God and Spirituality

One of my biggest take-aways for me was Matt’s own story of resisting youth group when he was a teen. And how his mother tried different strategies of encouragement. And how it takes a lot of patience for Mamas. We must wait on God’s timing while still guiding our teens and setting boundaries.

Mot collage March 2015

I know Matt’s Mom from Women’s bible study many years ago before she moved to Nashville. I only recently realized that they are related. I posted the photo to Facebook and added a comment to her that read:

Melissa Schultz Fagan:  Shawne Sills, We were so encouraged by your son. He shared his teen attitudes and your Motherly actions which apply to us in our current season. And how amazing to hear where he and his brother are in their walks with the Lord in their post-teen years.

Shawne Sills:  Melissa Schultz Fagan thank you so much for sharing this with me. I am so very proud of the Godly men and leaders they have become.

What an encouragement as we raise out teens. Trusting God. Walking in Faith.