Moms Of Teens Summer Happenings Update

Here’s what I am up to and you are welcome to join me:

(Okay, I should clarify…it’s what I am up to bible study-wise. Personally I have a busy next 2 weeks and I can’t take you all with me but I can keep up with this in my free time. My Bro-Trip traveling son is due home from his 4,000 mile adventure trip at 6pm tonight!!! Next week, Katie goes to camp and Jack and I fly to DC for his college orientation. Then we come home for 1 day of laundry and repacking and then off on our family beach vacation!)

I started reading the bible one chapter/week day almost a year ago
with the Women Living Well website. You can join at anytime. I love the fellowship Screen Shot 2015-06-18 at 3.41.48 PMand accountability every morning on Facebook but you can participate on the website if you are not a facebooker. The book of Proverbs began this week, consider giving it a try.

I have signed up for the Lifeway Seamless online summer study. (Angie Smith covers the entire Bible and the way Jesus is stitched in to every story, from Genesis to Revelation. This is a great study for both new believers and those who have been in Sunday school their entire lives to understand the Bible as one complete story.)

Katie is going to do the teen girl version that runs parallel (at least she is interested not sure if she is totally committed) If you want to do it as well, we can participate online together. It works great for summer schedules.

It starts today. But it is not too late to sign-up. Here is the email I got today:

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Welcome! We are excited about studying the complete story of Scripture with you this summer! We can’t wait to hear what God teaches you through His Word and the words of Angie in Seamless.

Here’s how this will work: Each week, you’ll come here and watch the video with Angie Smith. The videos are about 5-10 minutes long and have some fresh insight from Angie. She will lead us through the Seamless study week by week. Once you watch the video, we have some questions for you to answer in your group or in the comments section of the post (or in both!). We want this to be available to those who are studying together and those going solo. Some of the questions ask you to get to know your fellow Bible study participants and we hope the interactions you have will be both challenging and encouraging. Each week at the end of the video, Angie will let you know the homework assignment for the next week. You can do the homework in the Seamless Bible Study Book. We highly recommend you getting a copy for this study, since that is where most of the studying will take place! You can get a copy at your local LifeWay Store, by clicking here, or get an ebook version here. That’s it! The study will be seven weeks long (including this little introduction week).

If you can’t participate right now, or if you miss a week, don’t worry. We will leave these posts up for you to do when you’re ready! You can find all the older ones using our Online Bible Studies tab at the top of the blog. Just click on it and then the Seamless study.

A note about the Bible study videos: Seamless is a video-based Bible study, so there are videos available for purchase at your LifeWay Store and online (for groups or individual use) and also through the purchase of a Leader Kit. These videos are not the same as the free videos available here on the blog. The videos for purchase are longer (around 15 minutes each) and dive deeper into the topic of each session. They are the videos that go with the viewer guides in the Bible study book. We recommend them if you want to hear more of Angie’s teaching and learn even more about the seamless thread uniting all of God’s Word.

Are you ready?

To sign up for the study, fill out the form on the website:

When I get back from my trips, I am excited to participate in these great classes at Hope:imageimage

I posted this to facebook but I’ll list it here for y’all as well:

Hope Student Ministries has regular weekly summer activities for our teens started this week!
We hosted the Sr. High LOL (Ladies out to lunch) this week and it was great. I love getting to know the interns and leaders.

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Here are the rest of the options:
Mondays Basketball • 1:00-4:30 pm, “LOL” (Ladies Out To Lunch) • 11:00 am-2:30 pm
Tuesdays Binghampton Art Garden • 3:00-6:00 pm
Wednesdays “GELOW” (Guys Eating Lunch On Wednesday)11:00 am-2:00 pm,
All Ladies Movie Day • 1:00-3:00 pm
Fridays Frisbee Friday • 1:00-4:00 pm
Tuesdays “TLC” (Tannin’, Layin’, Chillin’ – Girls Only) 10:30 am-2:30 pm
Wednesdays Guys’ Outdoors • 2:00-5:00 pm,
All Ladies’ Movie Day • 1:00-3:00 pm
Thursdays “STUF” (Service Thursday Until Four)
Fridays “Fly” (Friday Lunch Ya’ll – Guys Only) • 11:00 am-2:00 pm

Our sweet Jr High Girls Director, Brittney Pruitt, shared the post below with us. I love these conversation starters. (And Katie is pretty tired of me asking “have you seen any porn on the internet this week?”) I will say that driving home from VBS everyday last week was awesome for conversation.
August 29, 2014 by liZ

On Wednesday I posted 25 ways to ask your kids “How was school today?” without asking them “How was school today?” and the questions came from a list that I made to ask my own children who are in elementary school.

But all of those questions are geared toward elementary school aged kids….and I started to think…if I think it’s hard for me to get school stories from my 10 year old boy now what is it going to be like 5 years from now?!?

And then I remembered that I know what its going to be like. I taught either junior high or high school for almost a decade and I get that communication with that age group is an art. BUT when you get dialogue, engaged dialogue with a teen it’s never disappointing, it’s guaranteed to be interesting, sometimes it can be very enlightening, and it’s ALWAYS worth the work. ALWAYS.

So tonight my husband (who also teaches high school) and I sat down and made a list of 25 ways to ask your teens “How Was School Today?” without asking them “How Was School Today?”…in an effort to get some sort of engaged, interesting dialog…even if it only lasts in that brief time in between them texting friends…

25 Ways to ask your teen how was school today

#1. Where in the school do you hang out the most? (Like a particular hall, classroom, parking lot, etc.) Where in the school do you never hang out?

#2. What would your school be better with? What would your school be better without?

#3. If you were a teacher what class would you teach? What class would be the worst to teach? Why?

#4. What was the coolest (saddest, funniest, scariest) thing that you saw today.

#5. Tell me one thing that you learned today.

#6. If your day at school today was a movie what movie would it be?

#7. Besides walking to their next classes, what else do people do in the halls in between classes?

#8. Who do you think you could be nicer to?

#9. What is your easiest class? What is your hardest class? OR What class are your learning the most in? What class are you learning the least in?

#10. If they played music in the halls at school what would everyone want them to play over the loudspeaker?

#11. If you could read minds what teachers mind would you read? What classmates mind would you read? Whose mind would you NOT want to read?

#12. If today had a theme song what would it be?

#13. Which class has your favorite group of students in it? Which class has the worst group of students?

#14. What do you think you should do more of at school? What do you think you should do less of?

#15. What are the top 3 (or 5) things that you hear people say in the halls?

#16. What do you think the most important part of school is?

#17. Tell me one question that you had today…even if it wasn’t answered….actually, especially if it wasn’t answered…

#18. What class has the most cute boys/girls in it?

#19. If an alien space ship landed at your school who would you like them to beam aboard and take back to their home planet?

#20. Who did you help today? Who helped you today?

#21. If you could be invisible for the day at school what would you do?

#22. What part of the day do you look forward to? What part of the day do you dread?

#23. What would you change about school lunch?

#24. What classmate is most likely to be arrested, made president, become a millionaire, be in movies, let loose a flock of wild chickens in the library, etc.

#25. If you had to go to only one class every day which class would it be?

#26. Tell me one thing you read at school today.

#27. If your day at school was an emoticon which one would it be?

#28. What do you think your teachers talked about in the faculty room today after school?


Ok, so I know there were a few more than 25…but with teenagers…we all need all the help we can get! 🙂

Good luck with those teens and happy conversing! (And for a printable version of this list you can click here: 28 Ways To Ask Your Teen So How Was Your Day Printable



I don’t have teenagers of my own but I’ve worked with my fair share of them….and one thing that I’ve found is that when you want them to open up just sitting them down and asking questions isn’t really effective. BUT, if you….say….trap them in the car…and talk to them while you are driving…and they don’t have to make eye contact… they are more willing to offer up more information or ask more questions.

This also happens while you are working with them on things like making dinner, folding laundry, rearranging furniture, etc. You can casually talk and ask questions without making them feel like you are grilling them.

When I taught school sometimes I would make up work project jobs to do with students that I was worried about just so that we could have some heart to hearts while scrubbing desks or cleaning out closets. It sounds lame, but I’m telling you, it works. got a facelift this week. Check it out. 

I have some personal reflections to blog about on out Comparison Trap study and a few other things God has been doing in my heart but for today I want to publish this update. Time to make some Bayou shrimp for my adventure teen’s return!




Do you envy me?

Do you envy me?    Will you admit it?

Do I secretly hope you do?  SOMETIMES.

Do I envy you? PERHAPS.

Do we all compare ourselves to others? OF COURSE

How about: do I compare my kids to your kids? YEP

Do I envy my own kids????  and their awesome adventures??

These are some of the photos I posted on social media this week:

image image image image image In my conscious mind, I posted these photos with the intention of sharing life. Rejoicing in the adventures of others and appreciating that they are experiencing God’s beautiful creation. I have been truly at peace and not jealous of them having adventures without “Mom”. I have also been free of worry and trusting God with their safety. And that is such a gift. Thank you Lord, for my peaceful heart.

But after listening to this week’s bible study lesson on the comparison trap by Andy Stanley, I have been reflecting on social media and the effect it can have on others.

Cause then I posted this:

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Yep, an honest post but when Kim mentioned my nails, I realized the photo had some underlying pride. UGLY! what a constant battle we are in in this world!

If you haven’t seen the video, you can watch it now for free.

I highly recommend it for you and your family.

Comparison Trap Session 1 link

Here is the handout for reflection:

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I have been reflecting on several verses since I watched the video.

A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.

Proverbs 14:30

Sean and I even had an in depth discussion about it at dinner. And I brought up question 5. Is there anyone you secretly enjoy seeing fail?  Who want to admit that!!! not me. But I thought about Facebook and although I don’t want people to fail, I have noticed that I don’t hit the “like” button on certain photos. which ones and why, you might wonder… confession ~ generally it involves cheerleaders. There I said it. And it is ridiculous but it stems all the way back to Junior High. A group of new friends (we had moved that year) were staying after school. I asked why and they informed me that it was cheerleader tryouts. I was clueless that there were even cheerleaders in Jr. High. The Catholic K-8 school that I had attended in Pittsburgh didn’t have them. These new friends didn’t ask me to join them in tryouts. I felt judged and rejected and a seed of bitterness was planted.

I truly don’t believe that cheerleading was a gift of mine, heck, I could never do a cart wheel. But that didn’t stop me from comparing myself to this soon-to-be popular crowd.  And envying their after school fun and friendship as I got on the bus headed for yet another lonely afternoon watching “The Guiding Light” alone.

As I told my husband a bit of this at dinner on Wednesday, he smiled and said “It is time to let it go”. Yes, yes it is! Letting it go…a theme this year! It can be as easy as recognizing it, confessing it, accepting forgiveness and repenting. Okay, maybe that isn’t EASY but it can be. I am done with resenting cheerleaders!

Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.

Ecclesiastes 4:6

Chasing after the wind… that is another whole blog topic and it is time to wake up my sleeping teenager that has returned from her adventures.

Looking forward to next week’s video. and what God will Reveal and Heal in me next!

Moms of Teens Summer News

Hot off the press:


I have been missing y’all. I am using this post as a central reference for our group. Most of this has been posted to our Facebook group but I want to keep y’all in the loop.

First of all, my heart is heavy today with the recent news of teen deaths. I know it has personally touched Karen Clark and Shelly Cheng as they knew the victims in the car crash. Both of you, and of course the families and students have been on my mind today. Cheryl Goodwin shared the post below and I thought it was really good. And he touches on some of the exact things we have been talking about in Moms of Teens this year.

Joey Sulipeck FOX13 Memphis
We’re waking up this morning to heartbreaking news.

Three mid-south kids lost their lives.

We live in a world where we tragically lose loved ones every day. But after enough time, and enough bad news, it’s human nature to get calloused. It’s how we protect ourselves … we toughen our hearts. It helps us deal with bad news.

But it also makes us lose part of ourselves.

We’re reminded of that when we’re struck in the face with losses like these.

Young people – bright, promising young people – on the cusp of just starting their lives.

The future wide open.

The possibilities endless.

And they’re gone in the blink of an eye.

Rachel Lynch and Maddie Kruse. Both 17 years old.

Frank Gaines Whitington, Jr. 18 years old.

As a parent, my heart breaks for their parents. I mourn with their families and their friends. I ache for their loss, and the years ahead of them.

I don’t want to waste words here. I don’t want to repeat the things you’ll likely hear over the next few days.

Let me just remind you all to remember that our kids are only given to us for a short period of time until they’re out the door … to school…to jobs….or sometimes to Glory.

Remember that the next time they act like kids. The next time they make you crazy. The next time you’re so frustrated that you don’t know what to say or do.

It’s just a suggestion, but next time you’re searching for an answer to something they’ve done that defies logic and sanity?

Go against your human nature.

That space you’d normally fill with an angry rant or admonition?

Fill it with a bone-crushing hug. Squeeze them so hard they can feel your love in their soul. Let them know, however your love-language speaks. Let them hear it.

And treasure those moments together.

My original comment from yesterday was:

Moms, My heart has been heavy with this information. Both of my kids left on trips this morning and are on the road as I type. I had to pray hard to keep my prayers from turning to anxiety and fear for them. This memory verse from the spring came to mind. Trusting God and praying for the grieving family and friends.


I am so grateful for scripture and how God uses it in my life.

For things going on at Hope that I think you might be interested in:
Judy and Marla are kicking off the June Bible study at Hope Church this Wednesday at 9:30 in Room 238. Enter Hope Church in the South Hall foyer. Room 238 is at the top of the stairs closest to the Chapel. There are two rooms tucked into a corner up there, and 238 is to the left. Just outside the room is a small vestibule with a small table where we will provide light refreshments.   The beauty of this study is you can attend 1, 2 or all 3 video sessions knowing God will reveal something to you! “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones” ~Proverbs 14:30.  For all of us who struggle, this video series is a awesome first step….No homework. No book purchase. Friends & flip-flops are welcome.

I would like to go to Panera afterward to visit. Let me know if you would like to join me.

This is a great opportunity to volunteer with your teens. It was one of my highlights from last summer. This year Katie and I are doing Kindergarten bible story lessons.

Are you ready for an incredible journey? “Everest” VBS is a week away and we couldn’t be more excited!! Come and be a part of something awesome June 8-12 from 9:00 am-12:30 pm as we explore “Everest” with the help of our awesome Bible Buddies! This summer we’ll learn how to conquer life’s challenges with God’s mighty power. VBS is free and open to kids 4-years old through entering 5th grade and Special Kids & Adults with any disability. VBS at Hope is something your kids won’t want to miss as they create life-long memories. Invite every kid you know and register them now online at    Early online registration ends Wednesday, June 3.


Separately I have also signed up for the Lifeway Seamless online summer study. I bought the book and also bought Seamless for Teen Girls. Hopefully Katie  will do it with me.  If you want to do it as well, we can participate online together. It works great for summer schedules.

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Here is the description and details from Lifeway:

We’re excited to be offering Seamless as an online Bible study this summer! Angie Smith covers the entire Bible and the way Jesus is stitched in to every story, from Genesis to Revelation. This is a great study for both new believers and those who have been in Sunday school their entire lives to understand the Bible as one complete story.

The study is 7 weeks long and we will begin June 18 and end July 30 (the posts will stay up after that time, though!). Each week, we will have a blog post with a video message from Angie unique to the online Bible study and a few questions for you to answer in the comments. We believe strongly in learning and growing in community, so we hope you’ll invite a few local friends and neighbors to join in this study with you. We also understand that isn’t always possible, so we hope you will develop community with others here on the blog. We have loved seeing the interactions between our online Bible study participants in past studies.

Here’s how the online study will work:

Purchase a copy of the Seamless Bible Study Book at your local LifeWay store or online or get an ebook version.
Return to the Lifeway blog each week to watch a video of Angie talking about the chapter and sharing additional stories and insights.
Participate by answering questions in the comments of this blog.
This Bible study also has an additional video component. The Seamless study features videos for each week, around 12-15 minutes each. These videos are available as individual downloads here. It is not necessary to watch these videos to participate in the online Bible study. We recommend them if you want to learn more about Angie and dive deeper into what you’re learning.

Seamless is also available for teen girls. We recommend it for grades 8-12, and we think it would be great for teens to do alongside their moms, aunts, sisters, friends. The teen study varies from the adult study, but they run parallel. Girls doing the Seamless teen version are welcome to participate in our online study, too!

To sign up for the study, fill out the form on the website: