Christmas with Older Kids is Different

ChristmasWithOlderKids

As the kids went back to school today, and our lives returned to normal, I kept thinking about the whirlwind that was December. Our kids are older now and the holiday magic changes as they grow up. I'm discovering that I enjoy Christmas with older kids more. It's sweeter in ways I didn't expect. Here are the lessons and rules about celebrating Christmas with the older kids in your life. 1. … [Read more...]

Last Summer at Eden for #NLSW

IMG_7768

Let's celebrate National Lutheran Schools Week with some Last Summer at Eden love. My Young Adult novel tells the story of Poppi, who wants to save Camp Eden, a beautiful place with a mysterious problem that might close it down. Check out what people are saying about Last Summer at Eden here. Or watch the (30-second) book video below. You'll love it. Here are three ways I can connect with … [Read more...]

Mom & Dad Christmas Gift Guide

fullsizeoutput_19b27

    I've got your Christmas gift ideas for moms and dads right here. What do you need--gifts under $10 from the kids? Got it. Something that will make mom swoon? Right here! Practical gifts as smart as your baby daddy? Keep reading... First, for the moms (or wives) on your list. Please try your best this year, dads & husbands & kids. Because I just talked to my … [Read more...]

Christmas Gift Guide #2 (What to Buy the Boys)

IMG_7163

  It's cold outside and if you live in Houston it's crazy wet too. No problem. This weekend is the perfect time to knock out the hardest kids on your Christmas list. In our family, that's the boys. We have a little (8 years old) and a tween (11) and I've searched for gifts that will keep them off electronics (the battle raging in our house all the time). Here are my best ideas for the … [Read more...]

Christmas Gift Guide #1 (For Teen Girls)

fullsizeoutput_19959

I know, I know. You have so many people to buy gifts for, so many websites offering to SHIP THIS TO YOUR DOOR RIGHT NOW, so little time to actually figure out gifts that will inspire, entertain, and delight your family. Here are gifts that middle school and high school girls will love.... (Come back tomorrow for the Teen Boy list.)   Scruchis Put on your favorite Depeche … [Read more...]

5 Lessons from 20 Years as a Writer

FiveWritingLessons

So, all this has happened at once: this is my 1,000th blog entry, at the same time I'm working on my tenth book (Shine). Also, 20 years ago I began classes for my Masters degree in Creative Writing and also began writing professionally. The fact all these multiples of ten coincided felt significant--and the right time to think about what I've learned as an author. Loneliness is a Job … [Read more...]

Dear Elisabeth… on your first day of Fifth Grade

ElFifthGrade

Dear Elisabeth… Fifth Grade will be like none of your other school years. You, my dear Elisabeth, have changed. Your self-confidence has grown and you are shining.  This inner sparkle comes from your security that Jesus loves you. It also comes from your love to imagine and create. God’s love for you will never change; the creativity will be trickier. There will be times that your gigantic … [Read more...]

Dear Catie (on your first day of High School)

CatieHighSchool

Oh, my sweet Catie. Today feels the most significant of all your first days of school. All those other first days—in Pre-K, and elementary, and middle school—seem like they were all leading up to today. The first day of high school feels like the first day of the rest of your life. Grades “count” now. The new friends you make this week will see you through some thrilling adventures and … [Read more...]

Dear Sam (on your first day of Fifth Grade)

SamFifthGrade

Dear Sam…. Yesterday, when I was worrying about some detail about your school year, a friend said to me, “I think this will be Sam’s best year yet.” Just like that, I knew what she said could be true for you, Sam. So, what do you say we just claim this as a promise for this year? Let's just believe that Fifth Grade was made for you. This year will be filled with funny friends, interesting … [Read more...]

Dear Nate… (on your first day of Third Grade)

NateThirdGradeBlog

Dear Nate, Today is your first day of Third Grade! Your older brother and sisters are so excited to tell everything you’ll need to know. They want to teach you everything—from how to earn a multiplication sundae to how to make your teacher like you to the secret of being popular. The truth is you don’t really need their lessons, Nate. You’ve already figured most of this out on your … [Read more...]