When strangers become your people

We all have our people, the tribe of folks providing a safety net of security so that we can take courageous leaps that would otherwise paralyze us in fear. These are the same faces that breathe encouragement into us when we are broken and joyously celebrate with us in our highs.

We can live life more fully because of the support of our people.

This weekend I had the opportunity of attending the Allume writer’s conference in South Carolina. On my way home, I stopped through Atlanta for a night with my sister’s family.I love (cried through) this story about complete strangers who come together to become this 78 year old woman's people. | the House of Hendrix

As I waited at the Marta station this morning to take a train to the airport, I noticed an elderly woman standing uncomfortably, hunched over, clutching her bag as if somebody were going to grab it and run. Her acute self-awareness clearly communicated this was her first and last Marta trip to the airport.Story of people coming together on the Marta

In an effort to put her at ease, I engaged in small talk about my three children. Her flight was not for another 6 hours, but she worried about this trip to the airport, a ride her children had assured her was a simple process.

The direct train to the airport never arrived. I explained that we needed to hop on a different line and switch trains but not to worry because we were going to do this together. This overwhelmed her. She did not yet trust me but realized what we both knew…I was her best option. She had no people.

We rolled our bags onto the train to get situated. The next few minutes felt like slow motion as the train jerked into gear. My new friend had such a death grip on her bags, she had forgotten to hold on. Her 78-year-old self went flying through the cabin. Several of us attempted to break her fall but failed. She went down…hard. She yelled in panic. Bags scattered. We all jumped to her aid.

A homeless man locked eyes with me before speaking,

“Ma’am, I may be dirty, but I’m honest. I’ll get your bags, and you help her. She don’t want me touching her.”

I saw straight into his kind heart, wishing for a different conversation I knew we had no time to have.

A teenage punk previously entranced by the music on his headphones turned out to be a medic-in-training and assessed her for injuries before two construction workers lifted her to a seat.

As the homeless man gathered our bags and purses, he guarded them with great pride. A sweaty runner who had just finished a 5k offered up her water as I rubbed our shaken friend’s back.

Hips were thankfully not broken, but her spirit was. Embarrassment now trumped her trepidation over this adventure. We surrounded her with reassurance and comfort, little of which was received. The construction workers made some cute jokes to ease her tension before everybody went back to their seats.

I sat in the next row, offering her enough space to recover alone, but close enough to jump to any need.

As her head leaned onto the train window, her eyes shut. I quietly prayed. When her eyes opened, tears poured down from underneath her wire-rimmed glasses, falling onto the gray shawl draped across her shoulders. Her pale skin was still void of any color. Her hands shook. I understood the recovery was temporary. I asked,

“Is there anybody I can call for you?”

She responded in a whisper.

“They said this would be easy. But it’s not. Unexpected things happen that change everything. This is too hard for me.”

In that moment, my eyes filled with tears. I understood exactly how she felt. She’s right. It’s hard. All of it. So often when it’s supposed to be easy…it isn’t.

Just before exiting the train, a businessman sensitive to her embarrassment gave her a wink.

I didn’t see a thing, Beautiful.”

A little color reappeared in her cheeks. Each person in our group spoke to her before exiting, and with each comment, her breathing deepened, and confidence was reestablished. But the homeless man at the second to last stop got me. He looked at her and simply said, “Ma’am” and then gave her a nod.

With tremendous grace and gentleness, she uttered,

“Thank you, Sir, for helping me with my bags today.”

And she offered him her hand. He looked at me as if for permission to accept, and I smiled. He shook her hand, a physical touch meaning more to him than she understood. As he turned to leave, he stood taller…exiting the train with a greater sense of dignity than when he arrived.

Seven people entered a train this morning from very different walks of life and, in a matter of moments, became a team with one purpose: to support a 78-year-old woman we had never met. We became her people, even if just for a train ride.

Sometimes, our people look different than we imagine.

Sometimes, they are only in our lives for a train ride.

But we need them to get us through the unexpected.

Today I am grateful for my people, both the ones that support me in my daily walk and the ones God provides simply for those unexpected moments when it’s just too difficult to stand on my own.


This article has been featured on The Bert Show, a syndicated radio morning show,  which you can listen to the emotional segment here, as well as on Ann Voscamp’s blog in her multivitamins for the soul feature.

To receive future posts straight to your inbox by sign up below. I’d also love for you to join our Facebook community and check our Pinterest boards.  If this post resonated with you, you are welcome to share it through the icons below.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

19 Ways to Protect your Marriage

19 Ways to Protect your Marriage

In the busyness of raising children, we often forget that we need to actively and intentionally protect our marriages. Here are 19 Ways we can do that. |the House of HendrixBefore I tell you about my encounter with the 6 foot French goddess, you need some back story.

We had a 3- 1/2 year old and a 12-month old, and I was pregnant again. My husband decided to get his MBA through a Business School program designed for those already in the workplace; therefore, classes met on nights and weekends.

A week into the program, the college held a cocktail party to welcome the spouses, thanking them in advance for the sacrifices this program required upon their family time. It was a nice touch.

The dean of the program gave an inspiring speech about the life-long relationships the students were going to form and suggested we get to know the 6 individuals assigned to our spouse’s “Study Group” because this is who they’d be spending much of their time with over the next 2 years.

I was ready. I was excited. I was supportive.

I met 4 middle-aged married men and a lovely, engaging single woman. We chatted about their careers and families.

Then the sixth group member walked up, or should I say slinked. We all stood silently, mouths hanging open. She possessed the French Goddessthat type of beauty that wasn’t subjective. She was unaware of her exotic, stunning presence, but at 25 years old and 6 feet tall commanded the room.

In the strongest of French accents, she said “Hallo,” and for a moment, I thought she was seducing me.  The next thing I heard her say was,  “Maybe some of you men could help me move into my apartment on Saturday? Yes?”

As we wiped our drool, I quickly saw other wives speak for their husbands regarding prior commitments to soccer games and birthday parties. My husband locked eyes with me and, with the biggest grin, whispered, “Honey, I can hear you. Do you realize you are laughing out loud?”

I covered my mouth, attempting to suppress the increasing humor I found in this situation. I just couldn’t contain my pregnant myself. This French goddess will be my husband’s late-night-and-weekend study buddy for the next 2 years? It felt like an episode of Punked. Can somebody wave a Red Flag please?

I have never been a jealous wife. I trust my husband completely but I am not naïve.

We shared more than a laugh when we got into the car after the party. I asked why he hadn’t mentioned there was a French goddess in his study group. He explained he wasn’t sure how a pregnant wife with a baby and toddler at home would receive such information. He reassured me of his love and devotion, which was unnecessary but always good to hear.

Then my tone turned serious as I asked him to be discerning of the situations he put himself in, knowing we were both entering a period of sleep deprivation and exhaustion.

The next morning, I called my sister with residual laughter about my husband’s new study buddy. After a few witty jokes, we committed to praying for protection over his heart, his study group, and the coming two years. Prayer was our strongest line of defense.

A week later, my husband called me from work saying the French goddess had to switch to a different MBA program due to scheduling conflicts.Prayer Works

Yes, my friends, it works. Sometimes, it’s not answered quite so obviously or exactly how we imagined, but it has the power to transform situations and relationships.

Although I have much to learn about marriage, I have been surrounded by quite a bit of divorce. What I do know is that we have to intentionally protect our marriages and that starts by protecting our own hearts.Great and funny story! In the busyness of life, we often forget that we need to actively and intentionally protect our marriages. Here are 19 Ways we can do that. | the House of Hendrix

    1. No marriage is immune from conflict or temptation. Not one.
    2. Pay attention to red flags. At the beach, a red flag cautions us of potential danger, often an undertow that can’t be seen. Sometimes, we don’t see the hidden danger behind a choice. Listen to your discerning friends and family. Read scripture. Pay attention. Notice the signs so that you can head in the other direction.
    3. Understand each others love language – I highly recommend The 5  Love Languages by Gary Chapman. You can read my post on it here. It suggests we each have a predominant way of showing and receiving love. Understanding you and your spouses can strengthen your ability to effectively communicate love more meaningfully in your marriage.20 Ways to Protect your Marriage
    4. Forgive easily and often – Don’t wait for apologies. An angry heart can lead us to regrettable choices.
    5. Be careful with relationships of the opposite sex. – There are only a few men that I will text or e-mail. They usually involve my children, but I make sure my husband is aware. Similarly, my husband does not even drive female babysitters home.  Our choices have nothing to do with an insecurity in our relationship. We want to protect both our hearts and those of the opposite sex with whom we come into contact.
    6. Keep short accounts – I once gave my husband the cold shoulder for several days regarding a dirty pan. Frustration can turn a heart bitter, so we try to talk it through before it escalates. I love the verse “Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry,” although sometimes a good night’s sleep provides a much-needed break from conflict with a renewed perspective in the morning.I'd chose you every time
    7. Don’t compare spouses – Resist the urge to point out how Super Dad down-the-block takes the kids all afternoon so his wife can go to the spa. None of us want to be judged or compared to another. Our families are not supposed to look alike. Embrace the one you got.Protecting your relationship
    8. Pursue your spouse – Men want to feel desired. Leave a note in an unexpected place, send an amorous text. We would be naive to think nobody is flirting with our spouse. Last week I watched a saleswoman giggle a little too loud, flip her hair, and touch my husband’s arm while she checked him out. So I of course sent the kids over to hang on him.  But when somebody flirts with my man,  I hope it’s simply a compliment to his ego, and his innate need to feel desired is being filled by me.20 Ways to protect your marriage |the House of Hendrixvia

    9. Stop using the words “always” and “never”. You always leave your towel on the floor. You never help with the kids. Such exaggerations are unnecessary and divisive. My husband reminds me of this often.
    10. Password privacy – Don’t keep passwords for phones and computers from your spouse. If you don’t want your spouse reading a text, ask yourself if you should even be sending it.
    11. Date Night and Little Moments – As parents, we often pour into the needs of our children but overlook our marriages. In the busyness of the life, we forget to see each other and simply co-exist in our daily routine. Last year it had been too long since my husband and I had gone on a date alone, so we took advantage of having a babysitter for a funeral and actually went out afterwards.  It was a little creepy awkward at first but, it is necessary to steal little moments of time for each other where ever you can get them.
    1. When he is discouraged – you have a choice. You can beat him down further with your own frustration or use it as an opportunity to breathe life into him. The latter is going to strengthen our marriages a heck of a lot more than the first.via
    2. Marriage is not a scoreboard – Do you keep track of who’s doing household chores or putting kids to bed? Sometimes we forget marriage is a relationship not a game with a winner and loser. Marriage is not a scoreboard. the House of Hendrix
    3. Finances – Debt or financial pressure can destroy a marriage. I used to closet-shop and leave the shopping bag hidden in the trunk or closet until my husband wasn’t around. If you have to hide it, you shouldn’t be doing it. Get on the same page with your budget. Being financially united is the unglamorous work that adds tremendous depth and trust to your relationship.Are you a closet shopper? Do you hide purchases from your spouse?
  1. The Internet – The temptations are obvious and often hazardous to marriages. This goes beyond simply looking at inappropriate images and coveting homes on Trulia that you can’t afford. Over the weekend, my husband and I sat in bed for several hours each on our own Ipad…not speaking. Simply the presence of the internet took away from an opportunity to connect. How does the internet affect your marriage?via
  2. Respect around the clock – We know not to belittle our spouse at a cocktail party, but are we showing that same respect in the home? Do we unwittingly show disrespect with our off-the-cuff comments?  Disrespect is not strengthening our marriages.
  3. Accountability – Find trusted people in your life you can confide in about your marriage and personal struggles and be there for them as well. My husband has a men’s accountability group where they share temptations and ask each other hard questions. I don’t know what is said, but I am grateful beyond measure.
  4. a Heart of Gratitude – What about your spouse are you thankful for today? Tell him. Who and what in your life are breathing refreshment into your soul? Being thankful is the quickest way to bring joy to our hearts, and that joy produces a renewed ability to love our spouses and families well.
  5. Don’t give up. – Fight for your marriage even when you can’t stand one another. Pray for God to intervene and replace anger with love, and pain with forgiveness. I have seen Him reconcile the messiest of relationships, mend the broken-hearted, and restore peace to the most fractured of homes. It can happen. But if your marriage has failed, know that God still adores you. His grace overflows upon you. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. – Proverbs 3: 3

May your home be filled with peace, your hearts with thanksgiving, and know how deeply you are loved. May we remember to protect our marriages even when we’d rather not, and let us rest knowing that His power is made perfect in our weakness.

To receive future posts straight to your inbox sign up below. Also join our Facebook community and check our Pinterest boards.  If this post resonates with you, you are welcome to share it through the icons below.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

* If you are in an abusive relationship, please get help. You can call 1-800-799-3224 or visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline. In Florida, you can call Safe House at 855-655-safe.

5 ways to be more Intentional today

Just a few little changes can make all the difference (the House of Hendrix)One minute they’re there, the next minute they’re gone. 20,000 photographs…births of my children, school plays, Christmas mornings, the last photographs of grandma…all gone. In a matter of moments, with the crash of my computer hard drive,  they slipped through my fingers and became a memory.

If I had to name my most treasured possession, my pictures are it…They were it.

Next to my computer is an external hard drive…in its package, untouched. I intended to back everything up, but I regretfully put it off.

Life is like that. We carry-on taking for granted so many things. In a moment, they can be gone.

our health, our marriage, our money
a friendship, a sobriety, a career

What else in my life do I intend to “back up” but simply haven’t? What is it I treasure? My photographs, YES! They are a visual representation of my life until now. But they are not my life. They are just pictures of it….and pictures which I can manipulate to tell any story of my choosing.

What is it I truly treasure?…the people in those photographs…the relationships in my life today. Do I live in a way that says “I TREASURE YOU”?

5 Ways to Live Intentionally Today {the House of Hendrix}

So today I embrace not what I’ve lost, but what I have. My heart is thankful and challenged to live life more completely.

Today I want to be more intentional.

Today I want to

Not rush through the bedtime routine with our children.  They feel my love through the tickling of their backs, my breath on their foreheads, and my arms snuggling them tight. They crave my touch. That trust, that physical closeness brings, opens up their hearts for deeper conversations. As the lights go out and their minds settle from the distractions of the day, I get that glimpse into their soul. Their anxieties. Their passions. Their unanswered questions. But I rush it. Every night, I cut them short. But not tonight.

Today I want to5 Ways to Live Intentionally Today (the House of Hemdrix)

Encourage my spouse more– There are certain areas I feel awkward intentionally encouraging him in. It feels contrived.  It’s easy to compliment him on what a great father he is, or his handiness around the house. But in other areas, I listen, offer my perspective, and problem solve…but I rarely encourage. Yesterday I decided to intentionally encourage him before work. I affirmed in him some of his God-given qualities which were going to be utilized in him that day at the office. I half-expected him to laugh, but he didn’t. He hugged me and didn’t let go. Today I’m going to encourage him more.

Today I want

The people in my life to know my heart. I don’t know what tomorrow holds. A car crash could change everything. It did for my aunt who left her 4 children weeping over her grave. Do the people I love know it? Have I told them, shown them? What about my friends? Do they know what I cherish about them? Sometimes I don’t say it. Do you have a friend who has made a huge impact on you but she doesn’t know it?  I do. On her birthday I showed her my heart. I told her why I thought she was different. Why I cherished her insight. I shared the impact and influence she has had on my life.  I laid it all out there. We weren’t at that intimate level in our friendship either, so I was vulnerable…but I wanted her to know. She could die tomorrow. I could. Nothing was left unsaid and our friendship is that much stronger. Today I am reminded to not withhold my affection from those in my life. I want them to know my heart.

Today I want to

Stop the judgement. Life’s hard and we don’t know what other people are going through. I want to be filled with compassion not comparison. I want to extend forgiveness. Am I holding on to a subtle grudge? Are there areas I need to put aside my pride to forgive? Today I want to be sensitive to the needs around me, the ones that may be disguised in condescending comments, cold shoulders, and abrupt tones. Today I want to see through them and meet their real needs with understanding and love.

Today I want to

Celebrate life. I don’t want to wait for the weekends to have fun. I want to live it now. I want to celebrate my family. I cherish a life with dance parties on Tuesdays and board games instead of clean kitchens. I want an ice cream sunday party just because we’re all together. Today I want to celebrate that I get to live this beautiful, imperfect life for another day. Today is a gift I treasure.5 Ways to Live Intentionally Today

I’m grateful for my readers and would love to have you follow The House of Hendrix below.  We would love to have you join our FACEBOOK COMMUNITY or find me on PINTEREST. 

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


When People are Hard to Love

When People are Hard to Love

13 days ago Florida got cold. On the first chilly night, my daughter brought her 2 bunnies from the outside hutch into our home for protection from the weather. She created a makeshift cage in her bathroom.

When we checked on them the next morning, Peyton Manning was sprawled in a corner totally relaxed, while the other bunny was frantic. She was hopping circles around the bathroom completely out of control.

As I put this crazy bunny back into her outdoor hutch, I immediately understood her unsettledness. Just before we had brought her inside, she had given birth to a litter of bunnies. These babies had been cold and alone all night hidden underneath a nest of mama’s freshly plucked white fur. Her erratic behavior was simply her determination to get back to her kits.Bunny nest

She had no desire to be held or removed from the hutch. In fact, mama bunny just wanted to be left alone.When people are hard to love

Baby Bunnies

First Hops

We rigged a landscaping spotlight to add warmth to the bottom of the hutch…which worked great until last night when the hutch caught on fire.

The section where the babies had nested was a pile of ashes. The wooden floor was gone. A portion of the hutch with a chicken-wired floor remained intact, and on it were 4 displaced babies and a freaked-out mama.When people are hard to love

I spent this morning in the warmth of my kitchen, checking each of the babies. Their fur smelled of smoke, an odor certain to linger for days to come. When I picked up the usually frigid mama to check her sizzled fur for deeper burns, she hid in the nook of my arm. For the first time since we got her, she fell asleep against my chest. She was exhausted from her night and embraced the security of my arms. Mama Bunny finally wanted my comfort.

I spent an hour with her like this grateful I had tried one more time to comfort her. In this moment, I understood it is the same with us.

There are people in our life who are hard to love. They emotionally shut us out or push us away with harsh words because it feels easier to tackle the fires of their life alone. We think it is about us and so we retreat, but it is so often not.

They put up a hardened exterior to protect themselves. It might come across as abrasive or feel like a personal rejection.

This is NOT an easy relationship… so we focus our gaze elsewhere.

I am not getting what I need from this person… and so we leave.

Have we conditioned ourselves to be drawn only to the easily lovable people in our lives? The ones that are both fun to be around and authentic with where they are at? We need those relationships to refresh our souls but it can’t stop there.

I have been in that place of despair where friendships have struggled because I had nothing to give. What sustained me were those few people who continued to show up. They were loyal in my brokenness. They loved me despite my ugliness. They wanted nothing from me.

I didn’t share my struggles… my sadness…or my pain because, at that time, I didn’t know how. I was just trying to get through lunch.

As the fires of that season in my life went out, my perspective on people changed. I understood brokenness needs to be met with compassion and ugliness with love.When people are hard to love

I knew I wanted to embrace others exactly where they were at…requiring nothing in return because that is the gift I had been given…God’s relentless love extended to me through people.

People who are hurting feel your love even if they don’t accept it right away. If they snap, seem insensitive, or miss your birthday, show a little grace. Keep showing up. Keep loving them. Be drawn to their hidden vulnerability because we absolutely need each other. The fires of life were not meant to be fought alone.

♥ Allison

If this post resonates with you, you are welcome to share it through the social media buttons below. I’d love for you to receive future posts straight to your inbox by signing up below. I’d also love for you to join our Facebook community and check our Pinterest boards for more ideas

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

3 Reasons to Lean In to other people’s children…especially when they stumble

3 Reasons to Lean In to other people's kids...especially when they stumbleBrrrring.

Melissa hesitated to answer. It was the dreaded phone call from the mother of the boy her 6-year-old foster child had just punched in the face on the school playground.

Melissa’s family brought Joey into their home 2 years ago while his mother tackled the consequences of her addictions. Their family loves really well, even welcoming Joey’s mother into their house every Friday for an overnight while she works through her recovery.

Joey, therefore, looks forward to Fridays all week. Friday was a special day. Friday had significance. He knew that he would be with his mama. He didn’t see her struggles, just the face of a woman who he loved.

But 2 weeks ago, Friday came and went, and Mama didn’t come…didn’t even call. Then again, last Friday, there was no word from her. She had a setback in her recovery.


Melissa humbly answered her cell phone, ready to apologize for Joey’s playground punch.

Any parent knows that terrible feeling when your child has wronged somebody else’s beloved child. It’s not a fun place to be.

But before Melissa could speak, the other mother began,

“Hi, it’s Tam. We were hoping Joey could come over this afternoon for a playdate. We want to make sure he knows how much we still love him.”


I imagine Melissa’s mind went something like this,

“My foster child just closed-fist punched your son in the face two hours ago, and you are inviting him over for a playdate… today? So he feels loved?”

I burst into tears hearing this.

Can we just pause at her response?

Oh the love!

So much beauty is said through her words. What if we met the people in our life with a love like that? A love filled with grace and mercy that doesn’t turn when we stumble. A love that says when you wrong me, I still love you.How do we look beyond behavior to the heart of a child? Great insight into why and how we can Lean In to other people's children

What if we met other people’s children with a grace like that?

The teenager who texted inappropriately

The middle school clique filled with girl drama and gossip

The bully on the school bus

 Why and How to Lean In to other people's children when they struggle3 Ways to Lean In to our children when they stumble

Why it is important to Lean In to kids when they are struggle.

Our instinct is to pull back.

To judge.

To gossip.

To ultimately feel better about our own children and parenting.

But what if we leaned in as a community, not with judgment but GRACE and LOVE?

What would change?


3 Reasons to Lean In to other people's children...particularly when they stumble.

A book that has rocked my world in understanding grace is Parenting A Wholehearted Child by Jeannie Cunnion. If you desire to better understand how the grace of God can radically change your family, read it.

We don’t know the hidden stories and unseen struggles of the people around us. We often see their actions, not the pain in their heart.

For the 6-year-old foster boy longing to see his mother at week’s end… what was it that caused him to lash out?

Just 3 innocent words spoken by his friend.

“It’s not Friday.”

And with that his heartbreak came out in a punch.

But because one woman chose to lean in, he was met with what he really needed…Love.

Often we pull away from the trouble maker kids when what we really need to be doing is the opposite. Here is why and how to lean in.

  1. Kids need other adults speaking truth into them. This is especially important as children reach middle and high school. Often, teenagers hear things from teachers, coaches, and other adults they might not receive from their parents. It is a different role than the parent, yet it can back them up by reinforcing truths from a different angle.

Andy Stanley once said, to have influence in a person’s life, we must start with a relationship. We need a relationship before our words will ever have influence. At that point, loving correction can help children see that although their actions may seem justified, there are consequences to poor choices. Our goal is not simply acceptance but changed future behavior.

  1. We can affirm in children who they truly are, not who their missteps dictate they are. It is a powerful moment when a child understands their identity is not based on performance or actions but on who they are as a child of God, forgiven and covered in grace.
  1. The easiest way to show love to your friends is to love their children wholeheartedly. Invest in those relationships. I feel most loved when my friends graciously and compassionately lean into my children when they stumble. They offer hugs, encouragement, and guidance, and speak truth into their souls.

This is community.

Often we pull back from the trouble makers and "bad" kids when they really need us to Lean In. This post explains why relationship is the gateway to influence.10 Ways how we can Lean Into other people's kids who are stumbling and 3 Reasons why this is incredibly important.

 ♥ Allison

If this post resonates with you, you are welcome to share it through the social media buttons below. I’d love for you to receive future posts straight to your inbox by signing up below. I’d also love for you to join our Facebook community and check our Pinterest boards for more ideas

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

A letter to my children at the start of school

A letter and challenge to my children as they head back to schoolTo my children,

I love watching the excitement build as you get ready to go back to school. You’ve labeled your supplies and placed your colored pencils in rainbow order in your pencil box. For the moment your clothes fit perfectly, and your newish school shoes are still relatively shiny. Your lunch boxes don’t have that end-of-the-year grime, and your backpacks no longer have duck tape covering the holes where you dragged them to the car.

We ‘meet the teacher’ next week with anticipation of a new year and reconnecting with our friends. We will clip flowers and make the teacher a card. We will give hugs… a lot of hugs to all of our friends.

It is an exciting day, but I want to remind you of something.A letter and challenge to my children as they head back to school.

There might be a new student in your class who doesn’t know what to expect. Remember how you felt when you were the new kid at church and didn’t know anybody? I want you to look for them and learn their name. Did you know a big smile can make a huge difference in their day?

Make a difference in somebody’s day.

When you look around, you might see a friend from last year with a broken smile. At some point that has been each of you. Maybe their smile is broken because they are nervous and uncomfortable. Maybe there’s a lot of yelling at home or their dog is sick.


I challenge you to notice them because everybody needs a friend.

That broken smile is sign they need one right now.

Be that friend.


To my middle schooler, you have a locker. You change classes. You are at an age where your friends care about hair and shoes and who is in class together. It is perfectly normal to want to be accepted and blend, but I want more for you.

My challenge to you whether you are feeling insecure, or confident, is to look beyond those immediately around you. Understand I DO want you connect with your friends, but I want your gaze to extend beyond that.

A back to school challenge as you start school

Amidst all the excited energy in the hallways, I challenge you to see the girl timidly standing by her locker not talking with anybody. Ask her about HER schedule. Invite her to walk with you (and your friends) to class.

Have room for more.

When lunchtime rolls around, intentionally notice if somebody is sitting alone or wandering awkwardly with their food. A simple invitation to eat together can make a potentially ‘horrible day’, one filled with hope.

Like I told your brothers, look for the girl with a broken smile.

Use yours to make hers whole, and in the process, yours will get a whole lot bigger too.

Have a great day!


If this post resonated with you, you are welcome to share it through the social media buttons below. I’d love for you to receive future posts straight to your inbox by signing up below. I’d also love for you to join our Facebook community and check our Pinterest boards for more ideas

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.