Lindsay Franklin shares her story of becoming a teen mom, and she gives some fantastic advice for teen parents, their parents, and their friends. #teenmom #parenting


In early 2000, Lindsay Franklin was about to graduate from high school. She had big plans to go to college, get a Master’s degree, and have an amazing career. But all of that anticipation came crashing to a halt when she learned she was pregnant.

Her first instinct was to research abortion, because she had been pro-choice up to that point, and being a teen mom was not in her plan. She got on her boyfriend’s parents’ computer and searched for a nearby clinic. The first thing that popped up on the screen was images of aborted fetuses, and in an instant, Lindsay knew abortion was not an option for her anymore. She was going to keep her baby.

But what was she going to do? She had always been a bit rebellious, but she had started going to church a few months earlier, which is where she had met her 19-year-old boyfriend. He was an upstanding church boy with a good reputation. This would ruin everything for him. So she turned away from the computer screen and told him she would disappear and be a single mom and it wouldn’t affect his life at all. He could stay in college and continue on with his plans for his life.

Dave chose a different plan. He immediately grabbed her hands and got down on his knees. He told her he loved her, this baby was both of theirs, and they were going to be a family.

Continue reading “Lindsay Franklin: From Teen Mom to Mom of Teens”

Reading Bingo PrintableDoes anyone else often get stuck reading the same type of book or other reading material over and over again? And do you read in the same place all the time?

I do. I’ve been stuck on British crime novels for a long time now (and I’m addicted to British crime TV dramas as well, but that’s an issue for another day). And I always read either in my recliner or in my bed. It’s kind of a routine, and while there’s nothing wrong with routines, I think I need to mix it up a little. Maybe you do too.

With that in mind, I created a Reading Bingo printable for myself and for you, my loyal blog readers. I made it with both adults and independent kid readers in mind, so various ages can use it.

This is a great tool to use with kids who love to read as well as those who need a little prompting to get some more reading time in.

You might want to give yourself a certain time frame to get “bingo”—like summer or a specific month. Maybe your goal will be to cross off the whole board. Or you might want to make it a contest with a friend, child, or even your entire family. It’s up to you to do whatever you wish with it.

If you decide to play Reading Bingo, I’d love to hear about your plans for you and/or your kids. Leave a comment below to give the rest of us ideas.

Click here to download the Reading Bingo pdf: Reading Bingo

Want another way to connect with your kids over books?

If so, you need to check out our companion novels for women and tweens. The two books have an intertwining storyline, but one is written for adults and one is written for children. Adults can connect with kids by reading the books together and discussing the characters, story, and themes of forgiveness and community service. Click below to find out more.

Connect with Kids by Reading Companion Novels // A novel for adults and a novel for kids: both books contain a shared storyline, with the same characters, timeline, and setting, but they're written from two different points of view and for two different age groups. // #reading #parenting #kids #books #fiction #family

The purpose of this website is to inspire people to live well and serve others and then influence the children in their lives to do the same. You can find other resources that will help you influence kids to live well and serve others in our online store and on our companion novels page. 

Tips for parents of kids with autism from a mom who's been there // #autism #autismawareness #autismparent #parenting #kids #specialneeds #advice #tips #support


NOTE: The information in this article is for informational purposes only. It should not be seen as any kind of professional advice, including medical, emotional, therapeutic, or other types of advice. Please consult with a professional before taking any sort of action based on anything you read here. See our full Terms & Conditions here.





An Autism Mom Shares Her Story // #autism #specialneeds #parenting #kids




Staci Grosser has a 10-year-old son who was diagnosed with autism when he was a toddler. If you missed her story of Renner’s autism journey, click here to read it. Then come back here to read her tips. We’ll start out with a few of her tips for friends of parents whose kids have autism or other special needs. Then we’ll move on to advice for other autism parents.


Staci’s Tips for Friends of Autism Parents

  • Check In

Ask them how they’re doing. Ask how you can pray for them. Ask if they need a hug. If you’re not with them, text them. I don’t often have time to talk on the phone, so don’t be offended if your friend doesn’t answer a phone call. But let her or him know you care.


  • Offer Your Support

Especially at first (and even still), I needed so much emotional support because I was hurting and grieving. Listen to your friend and be there for them. Let them talk without judgment. And then follow up. Don’t let it just be a one-time deal.


  • Think Twice About Giving Advice

Advice is a double-edged sword. It can be annoying to the recipient yet can be good at the same time. Make sure what you’re offering might actually be helpful for the person’s child, and don’t push it.


Staci’s Tips for Parents of Kids with Autism

  • Allow Yourself to Grieve

When a diagnosis of autism comes, so does grief for all the things your child (and you) may not be able to do in life. Autism alters your life. You have a child, and in your head you plan all the play dates, you map out vacations, you think about the perfect school, and so on. You imagine them graduating from high school and possibly college. You think about their future marriage and the grandchildren they’ll someday give you.

But then you get a diagnosis like autism, and you don’t know if any of that is ever going to happen. Everything is up in the air. He may be able to do those things. He may not. He may be able to hold down a job. He may not. He may be able to get married. He may not. And the worst part is, he may be able to talk . . . and he may not. That was the hardest for me. That was the most grief I have ever encountered. I didn’t know if my son would ever be able to talk to me. You have to allow yourself the time and space to grieve, and realize that it will take time.

Continue reading “Staci Grosser: Tips for Autism Parents and Their Friends”

Staci Grosser: Parenting a Child with Autism // A mom shares her story of learning her son has autism and all of the hurdles their family has had to jump in the process. // #autism #parenting #kids #specialneeds #story #inspirational


NOTE: The information in this article is for informational purposes only. It should not be seen as any kind of professional advice, including medical, emotional, therapeutic, or other types of advice. Please consult with a professional before taking any sort of action based on anything you read here. See our full Terms & Conditions here.


An Autism Mom Shares Her Story // #autism #specialneeds #parenting #kids

When Staci Grosser gave birth to her first child 10 years ago, she was expecting a four-pound baby due to growth retardation in the womb. However, Renner’s birth weight was a full five pounds. Staci and her husband, Ainslie, were extremely relieved that their baby boy would not need a stay in the NICU and could immediately go home to their house in Franklin, Tennessee.

Renner was a gentle baby, and his parents’ only initial concern was that his mouth muscles weren’t developed enough to suck well. However, the issue was soon resolved, and Staci and her husband, Ainslie, thought everything was fine.

By the time Renner was a year old, Staci and Ainslie noticed that he wasn’t very interactive. He had no interest in playing with them. He also wasn’t doing some basic physical movements that most one-year-old children are able to do, such as pointing and clapping. Staci would take his hands and manipulate them to do the actions but, as she says,

“It’s like his brain just didn’t understand it at all.”

Continue reading “Staci Grosser: Parenting a Child with Autism”

The Vow: The True Events That Inspired the Movie // Read about the story behind the story--and find out how the book is different than the movie. #books #movies #marriage #thevow #love #couplegoals


I’ve been out of town for the past week to celebrate my mom’s birthday and Mother’s Day with my family, so I didn’t have time to get a brand-new profile post put together. But rest assured, there will be one next week! A few weeks ago, I chatted with my friend Staci Grosser about what it’s like to parent a child with autism, and I’m excited about the post(s) that will come out of that conversation.

Anyway, for this week, I thought I’d talk about one of the other stories I’ve written in the past about people who live well and serve others. Well, actually, it’s a book. In a past life, I helped people write their stories, memoirs, biographies, or whatever you want to call them. I want to highlight one of those here, because the story is inspirational. Continue reading “The Vow: The True Events That Inspired the Movie”

Emily Roig: Finding a Refuge in Music


When Emily Roig moved from St. Louis to Nashville to pursue a music career in 2014, she wasn’t looking to make it big. She wanted to see if she could make an honest living with her music, and she wanted to learn. When she left everything she knew and a steady job for the unknown, she did it with a hope and more than one prayer.

Many people take off for Nashville to start pursuing music as a career when they’re just out of high school or college, but that wasn’t the path Emily took. In fact, it didn’t even occur to her to move there until she was nearly 30 years old. But Emily has never taken the normal route when it comes to pursuing music.

Emily and her brothers grew up in a home where it was impossible not to be musical. Her parents met while studying at a conservatory of music, and they’ve been highly involved in musical pursuits ever since. Her mom is an elementary music teacher, and her dad is the music director at a church. Emily says her dad is more of an artistic, creative musician and songwriter, while her mom has always been the interpreter of other people’s songs. Continue reading “Emily Roig: Finding a Refuge in Music”

Videographer Scott Schaefer works with military veterans through his job and via his volunteer efforts with the Central Missouri Honor Flight and other organizations. Read the post to find out more about the ways he serves the people who have served our country, and discover how you can do the same. #veterans #military


If you live in mid-Missouri and own a TV, you’ve likely seen Scott Schaefer’s work. But chances are, you had no idea he was involved in what you were watching. Why? Because he’s the man behind the video camera.

Scott, a graduate of the renowned University of Missouri School of Journalism and 15-time winner at the Mid-America Region Emmy® Awards of the National Academy of Television Arts and Science, lives in Columbia, MO, with his wife, Shannon, and daughter, Lillian. He currently works in the marketing department of Veterans United Home Loans as a videographer, and he and Shannon run a photography business.

But where you’ve likely seen his videography skills is on KOMU 8, NBC’s affiliate in Columbia, MO, where he worked for several years after graduating from Mizzou. Among other tasks, he worked alongside Sarah Hill on her popular “Sarah’s Stories” segments that aired once a week.

Continue reading “Scott Schaefer: Serving Those Who Served Our Country”