X-Plan: Giving your kids a way out (#xplan)

hi friends…i don’t quite have a teenager-teenager yet—but we are REALLY starting to have real conversations … and these situations are just around the bend. THIS is a really good article to read. perhaps some of it will resonate with you an ah-ha moment or give you ideas for your own brood. xoxo b

Bert Fulks

Friends, as most of you know, I get to spend an hour each week with a group of young people going through addiction recovery.  Yes.  Young people.  I’m talking teenagers who are locked away for at least six months as they learn to overcome their addictions.  I’m always humbled and honored to get this time with these beautiful young souls that have been so incredibly assaulted by a world they have yet to understand.  This also comes with the bittersweet knowledge that these kids still have a fighting chance while several of my friends have already had to bury their own children.

Recently I asked these kids a simple question:  “How many of you have found yourself in situations where things started happening that you weren’t comfortable with, but you stuck around, mainly because you felt like you didn’t have a way out?”

They all raised their hands.

Every single…

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Week 6 &7: What is in a name?

Help your children discover the amazing names of God! Click here to read a weekly devotion for children and families at Missions 52. This week: What is in a Name? Exciting Valentine’s craft and science experiment to do, as well, while discovering the names of God. http://www.missions52.com

Missions 52!

This has been an exciting week for our family—our baby turned 11!  She is our firstborn…our biggest surprise.  AND SHE TURNED 11!


And, to be honest, one of my favorite parts about having children is getting to NAME them!

I think I would easily have 10 children—just so I could keep using some of my favorite names (sing to Favorite Things, Sound of Music)…

But, at the time of our announcement of her, we only had 1 to start.  And one BIG JOB ahead of us.  Not the nursery.  Not the birthing classes.  JUST THE NAME!

Of course, before we found out if she was a boy or girl, we had @16+ weeks to come up with boy and girl names.


My husband…completely sure he was going to have a boy…looked at me with WIDE eyes and said, “What am I going to…

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Week 5: Encourage Your Kid To Eat The Sardine

Enjoy the humor of the sardine! Click on the link attached 😉 xoxo b

Missions 52!


Okay…seriously.  I could be FAR OFF.  Perhaps your kid already LOVES the sardines.

Mine, however, do not.

Yet, we live in a culture that pretty much does.  At least herring.

Or some sort of canned and oiled fish.


So, my husband and daughter went to snowboard.  And, for lunch, her daddy bought crackers, cheese, and sardines.

The video shows daddy opening the can, preparing the cheese, and eating the sardine.

Next up, Sweet Adelyne…

It’s her turn to take a bite.  For the camera.

And that’s when it happens.

The refusal.  To eat the sardine.

“You don’t blame her,” perhaps you are thinking.

“Why is it taking so long,” the rest wonder.

Whether you are pro or anti sardine, Adelyne simply did not care.  Nor did she care for the sardine.

But she did still take a risk…

And lick the sardine.


I am rather sure whether you…

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Weeks 4 and 5: Ode to Sickness, Semester’s End, Snow, and Screaming!

***Hope you hop on over to Missions 52 for a poorly executed poem about life 😉 I am mom.  Not awesome.  Simply that.  Mom.  HAHA!  Love to all you CRAZIES!!!!  ***  (link in below)

If I was a poet, I would compose a poem right about now sharing my exact moments. I am not, however, screw it!  I will!  This will be my attempt to let you all know how this missionary momma……

Source: Weeks 4 and 5: Ode to Sickness, Semester’s End, Snow, and Screaming!

When your 10-yr-old daughter is surrounded by machine guns and stands her ground…


We went through two metal detectors before we could enter the areas of the Western Wall (under Jewish control) and then the Temple Mount (under Muslim control) in Israel.  It wasn’t too bad—except we forgot we had a knife for making sandwiches.  Big oops.  Gracious security warded off angry men security and allowed us to keep our sandwich making materials—including the knife.

As soon as we entered the Temple Mount, bought by King David to build the Temple upon thousands of years ago, I was accosted.  I had read it was conservative, so I wore a dress and scarf and tights and boots for the day. Apparently if you can see the boots and the dress, you are a harlot.  Forget the fact that all of the other touring women are in trendy skinny  bun-hugging jeans…my boot showing dress was enough to stop the entire Mount.

So, there I was, on my way to becoming a harlot on the Mount…getting accosted for my boots showing, having to cover and hobble the rest of the tour while having a scarf tied around my boots.

Can you say troublesome?  I can.

But I entered the Temple Mount area and, therefore, chose to abide respectfully by the rules brought to us by the machine-gun wielding security there.

We toured the area and began our ascent to leave.  That is when it happened.

What you need to know is that the Mount is only open 2 different hours throughout the day because it is the Muslim holy ground and has extremely strict rules.  So, as the hour was ending when we needed to leave, we were doing just that.  Leaving.

On our way out, however, one young gentleman asked my 10-year-old to take his photo.  She obliged politely and waited for him to get in position when two machine-gun wielding men rushed her and the 2nd tourist.  A lot of loud yelling took place.  I am helpless mom on the other side of chaos while my 10-year-old and the random tourist are surrounded by guns.

A few moments pass, the security move, Adelyne takes the photo, the random tourist is hauled off with the machine guns, and we grab Adelyne and practically run out into the nearest hallway, where Rich is then given the task to get rid of the world’s worst tour guide—oh the gut-wrenching laughter stories I’ll tell later about him—and we sit for Turkish coffee and delights in a darkened hallway surrounded by non-machine gun wielding men and telling Adelyne how brave she is to stand her ground…

Even amongst the chaos of adventure!

Don’t Scare Maxwell, Momma…He’s my BEST FRIEND!

“Dear Lord, help me!” I cry out everyday.  All throughout the day…even as I drift into sleep at night.

My kids are a circus of never-ending entertainment.

Today is the LAST day before my amazing parents arrive in Poland to stay with us for a month!  I AM SO THRILLED.

That, actually, is an understatement.

And, as with any arrival of guests, a serious scouring of the house has been had.  BUT — oh GLORY day…on Monday of this week, actual professionals came and helped clean my place.

Woohoo.  Can we say, “Angels in disguise?!”  I can!

The last time my house was cleaned by anyone outside of the Nungesser family name was about 18 months ago.  THIS … THIS gift of a clean house that I simply got to enter and breathe in was one of the most angelic gifts anyone could receive this glorious Christmas season.

Okay—enough about the CLEAN HOUSE (must shout that, as it only stayed clean for approximately 30 minutes).

There is so much going on this holiday season.  I won’t bore you with my list, as I know yours is long.  WE ARE ALL CRAZY CHICKENS BUSY this glorious season—my literally FAVORITE time of year!!!!!

And amongst all of the lists and lists and lists of STUFF we must get done and are going to do—I still am a mom.


Apparently not.


So, as I am needing to go upstairs and finish every drop of laundry to make room for two extra big people in a 3-bedroom house, I turned off Maxwell and Josephine’s cartoons and said, very sweetly, “Okay, you two, up the stairs.  Time to play!”

“NOOOOO!  I am not going up the stairs.  I want my TV!”  (the kid knows how to work the remote, so he knows that turning the TV off is only the start of our mommy vs. 4yearold-son battle.

Knowing he is about to turn the TV back on, I take one STERN look at him (believe me—terrorists would FLEE), I said, “MAXWELL LOREN!  UPSTAIRS NOW!”

Boy howdy…You would think the use of a stern voice and two names was like the most horrible infliction that could have been bestowed upon this meek (insert sarcasm) 4-year-old, undies wearing boy.

“MOMMA—you scare me!  I don’t go upstairs with you.”

Momma eye roll…

“MOMMA—don’t scare Maxie!  He’s my BEST FRIEND!”

Now I’m being scolded by a 2-year-old chubby naked toddler??????

DEAR LORD—serenity now 😉

Needless to say, despite their best attempts to shame me—I am Momma.  I cannot be shamed (insert mwah-ha-ha!).

AND two half naked littles made their way up the stairs—while I have finished nearly every drop of my laundry!


Serenity is now 😉

When You Are Raising a 4-Year-Old


Several years ago, I was sitting in a meeting of International Women.  I was seated next to a beautiful Danish woman.  She had 2 children.  I had 1.  One 4-year-old daughter.

We bonded over that mere fact.

Being moms.

And, as we were virtually strangers, yet with something HUGE in common, we had a lot to talk about.

Okay—we had parenting and mom-ming and kids to talk about.

But it was one of the deepest conversations of my life.

We looked at each other and both of, respectively, said, “We are so thankful that we don’t beat our children.”

It’s as if we were leaning over to give one another high fives for keeping our children alive.

Like really.

We spoke on HOW difficult parenting is.  How hard it is to practice restraint.  How MUCH  you want to, well, basically, put your child in a VERY big box and shut the lid.

It was so refreshing to have an honest parenting conversation with another mom.  A mom that looked like she had EVERYTHING together.

Because parenting is HARD HARD HARD.

IT, your beautiful baby, your precocious toddler—turns FOUR…FOUR!

And you think…have I spawned the devil?

And these precious creatures we have spawned literally live to drive us bat crazy.  You feel as if you have no shred of self control left.  You literally have to physically leave the presence of your spawn.

Parenting is hard.  And I get so ridiculously crazy of these soft-spoken moms that are like “Blah, blah, blah…the beauty of parenting…AND MAKING BUTTER..” because I am all like…MY KID LIVED TODAY!!!!!

And I feel as if I should run outside and SHOUT IT ON THE ROOFTOPS!

And I feel as if they should literally make a MADE FOR TV movie about my heroism.


This woman.  This stranger.  She got all of that.  We talked for a long time about how people really should praise mommies for maintaining control.  We talked about parents that struggled with doing what’s right.  We talked about how much help we need as parents.

We need help.  The good parents.  The bad parents.  THE PARENTS.  We need help.

Because our job is the biggest in the world.  And it’s the hardest in the world.  And we have little little little people that trust us for safety and protection and life—as they should—even while they are trying to snuff that VERY life out of us.

Right now I am raising my second 4-year-old.  I say second, because my daughter was my first and she is now 10.

And she is the FINEST decade gal you will ever meet (decade gal is what she calls her 10-year-old self).

She is funny and kind.  She is smart and hardworking.  She is silly and fun.  She is outgoing yet shy.  SHE IS THE BEST!

I couldn’t ask for a more amazing child.

Yet when she was four—I thought she was the she-devil herself.  And I could hardly see straight because she drove me so insane.

And I PRAYED that we would BOTH live through that phase.  That phase of her being 4.

Stubborn.  Screaming.  CRYING…PUBLIC HUMILATION.  Up the wazoo.

I felt ashamed every time I walked in public with her because of her meltdowns and fits and tantrums.

I wanted to return this child I prayed so hard to receive.

And I thought I would never make it past this phase of being the WORST MOMMY EVER!

Yet here she sits at 10 as the BEST version of any kid I could imagine building on my own.  Like, literally, if I could design a child, this child would still not come out as great as my decade gal.

And so I have chosen to write this post today for me.  For you.  For every HONEST mom out there that is pulling her hair, just trying to survive.

I write this for the solidarity of US!

We do deserve high fives.  We do deserve made for TV movies.  We deserve honor and recognition that our children are alive despite the fact that we are now bald.

You are doing a fine job.  Maybe some days you want to cry because you feel like you are the worst.  But take a deep breath.  Go in the other room.  Cry.  And then breathe again.  Because your 4-year-old will not be a 4-year-old forever.

One day your 4-year-old will turn into your decade gal…and you will be able to look at your child and see that you have made it.  You have survived.  And you are doing a darn fine job of it.

Drink a coffee…Eat dessert.  And breathe.

Because the teenage years are just around the corner.