Book is now available!

I haven’t written a blog post since Feb 2016 because I was busy writing a book!

It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. I wanted to quit often. There were tears. I talked myself out of it more times than I can count.

I wrote for about seven months. My goal was 50,000 words, but I ended around 77,000. When the draft was finished in August, I thought it was done. This newbie author was so naïve. Little did I know that my editor, who has been in the publishing industry for more than 30 years, was going to challenge me at every turn. Can I tell you a secret? Editors are behind-the-scenes heroes in the publishing world. Heroes. She questioned every cite, quote, statement and word. She was patient with me and all my comma splices. I’m so grateful for her and the entire publishing team. After another five months of editing and proofreading, it is finally ready!!

So, what is this book about? I’ve been on a crazy journey. It started four years ago. I’m continuing to learn, but I write in real-time about what I’m discovering because it’s so critically important.

Parenting has undergone a seismic shift, forcing us to address issues that previous generations of parents never encountered. No matter when you decide to give your child a phone (and that is entirely your choice), we all must recognize that online exposure has changed the entire landscape of parenting. If your kids don’t have their own devices, they interact with kids who do. My daughter, who did not have her own phone at the time, was given details about a pornographic video when she was nine years old. Yep, fourth grade. We must face this new reality of cyberparenting.


In part 1 of the book, we dive into the emotional roller-coaster ride of my own cyberparenting journey. In my search for answers, I made so many mistakes. I felt like a failure. But that search led to a deeper walk with God and an amazing discovery that transformed my approach to parenting.

I recognized that monitoring and restrictions are great tools, but they’re not THE answer. Open communication is the secret weapon. It isn’t about family meetings or formal discussions; it’s about creating a healthy, ongoing dialogue between you and your child. It’s a practical, proactive, on-the-go approach to parenting. Amazing things happen when parents and kids begin to talk.

Open communication isn’t as simple as it may sound. It’s a complicated process that requires time and hard work. In part 2, I unpack four key steps that will help you pave the path for open communication in your family. This section is all about grit and facing it. God showed me that He wasn’t going to change my whole family dynamic without requiring me to look in the mirror first. Ouch!

In part 3, we address some of the most difficult topics parents encounter today, and I share how I handle them with my own children. I also offer some ideas for conversation starters and taking things deeper after the discussion gets going. I created this section as a topic list for easy access so that when you’re dealing with a specific issue and need a refresher, you can quickly flip to that chapter. Here are some of the questions we’ll be addressing:

  • When should my tween get a phone?
  • How and when should I warn my child about pornography?
  • How am I going to monitor social media?
  • How and when should I talk about sex with my tween?
  • How do I respond to questions about homosexuality, bisexuality and transgender?
  • How do I address mass shootings and terrorism?
  • What do I say about addiction? Do I have to worry about screen addiction?
  • How do I start the conversation about cyberbullying and suicide?
  • How in the world do I talk about all these difficult topics without causing confusion and fear?

No topic is off limits.

The whole idea of the book is to bring awareness to the new challenges of cyberparenting and create more open communication in families. I’m not an expert telling you how to parent. YOU are the expert on your child. I’m a mom, in the daily trenches, trying to figure out how to address complicated issues at earlier ages because of online exposure. In reality, I’m just trying to answer my kids’ questions over here!

In regard to how I address specific topics in our own family, I do write from a Biblical perspective because that’s how we parent. BUT, please hear me on this: I state throughout the book that it’s your family, your choice.

We may come from different faith backgrounds. That’s okay. We can model mutual respect, even when we disagree. We need everyone, regardless of their beliefs, to be engaged in this conversation and aware of the shift that’s taken place in parenting this generation.

Can you tell we have a lot to talk about?

You can order the book here:  TALK: A Practical Approach to Cyberparenting and Open Communication

Moms, You Need a Mom Squad!

Here’s your PSA for the day: Parenting is tough. Really tough. Don’t go it alone.

When my children were little, I didn’t make a lot of time for friends. With the lack of sleep and chasing toddlers all day, it was an exhaustive time. As they’ve grown and become more independent, I’ve had time to invest in sweet friendships.

This wasn’t an overnight process. Don’t expect best friendships and trust to be built instantaneously. It’s been years of meeting other moms and investing time into others. God eventually knit together a group of moms who truly help and inspire me.

I used to call them “my peeps.” But, my tween recently told me that wasn’t cool anymore. They call it a “squad” now. Whatever you want to call it, it’s your village. Your tribe. Your inner circle.

You need one of those.

Friends you can call at 2am when your world falls apart. Friends who can finish your sentence and know your thoughts. Friends who keep everything confidential. Friends who encourage and support you, even when you make mistakes. Friends who give you constructive criticism, but it’s wrapped in love and grace. Friends who have your back. ALWAYS.

Here’s what my inner circle looks like:

*I have two friends who have slightly older children than me. HUGE BLESSING. I call these my “heads-up mamas.” They tell me what’s getting ready to happen. They guide me much more on the technology side because they’re just a year or two ahead of where I am (and parenting technology changes quickly). Before my daughter started middle school, both of my heads-up mamas said, “Get ready, Instagram is popular!” So, they taught me how to use Instagram. I wanted to know it thoroughly before I even thought about my daughter joining that social platform. Here’s a post I previously wrote on keeping your kids safe on Instagram: Click here for Instagram Safety Tips

*I also have two mentors for this parenting journey. For me, it’s important that my mentors have a solid Biblical understanding. These are people I go to when I need to know, “Why do we believe this?” or “What does the Bible say about this?” They are wise, seasoned women. They’ve raised great kids who are now amazing adults.

*The remainder of my inner circle are moms, just like me, in the daily trenches trying to figure it all out. Have several moms you trust. Because we’re all busy, and it takes a village. We continuously learn together, encourage and support each other.

For me, my squad shares a deep love for Jesus, and we believe the Bible is our moral compass. In fact, the Bible directs us to choose our inner circle carefully.

“Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.” Proverbs 13:20mom-squad

Do you have a mom squad? What are characteristics you look for in developing your inner circle?

If you don’t have a mom squad yet, can I encourage you? I often felt lonely as a mom before I found my village. I prayed about it and sought out ways to meet other moms. Keep trying! When I moved to San Antonio 11 years ago, I felt like I had to start over with friendships. It took me years to find my people here. I promise, there are moms who need you in their inner circle! You have specific gifts, life experiences and stories that God is going to use in your own squad.

Am I Raising Judgmental Kids?

As I’m soldiering through these tween years, I have a new respect for mommas who’ve raised well-balanced, know right-from-wrong adults who also have a deep, true genuine love for everyone.

It’s not easy. Here’s how this has played out in our house:

We teach them our core values. The things we want to stick. The things we think are decision-making foundations. Things that are important to us.

We repeat them over and over. We model them. We use our own past mistakes to try and teach them why we want them to do better than we did.

Here are a few important values for our family:

Sex is a gift for marriage. Wait until you’re married, it will be safe and enjoyable.

Respect your body. God created you and lives in you. Don’t use drugs, show too much skin, etc. Protect your mind and heart from destructive stuff (including images on screens).

Persevere. Don’t quit. Follow the dreams God puts in your heart. Work hard. Don’t ever be lazy.

Integrity. Don’t do the right thing for recognition. Do the right thing because it’s the right thing. Even if you stand alone, stand up for the right thing.

They eventually get it. You notice it in their behavior. You hear them repeating one of your statements. Those core values are engrained in their little hearts. It’s black and white. There are no shades of gray (sorry, I couldn’t resist). This is right, that is wrong.

Then, they see things. They hear things. And some of it doesn’t match our family values.

Our trying-to-figure-it-out tween says, “You know my friend at church? She showed me an inappropriate picture on her phone. Should I still be her friend?”

“When I saw the news today, the singer I love with that cute new song was wearing an outfit that showed a lot of skin. Now, I don’t even know if I like that song.”

And, here comes the judgment.
(*By the way, I altered those scenarios to protect my tween and the other parties involved.)

They’re learning to make decisions based on our core family values and when others don’t follow those same rules, they start to judge.

This is what I’ve discovered in my mothering journey: the talk that happens next is equally as important as instilling those core values. Because, this is when we teach them to love.

We tell them — no one is perfect. We all mess up. It doesn’t make it right, but we are not supposed to judge. God tells us to love. The one-liner I use a thousand times a week is “We’re all still learning.”

“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” Colossians 3:13

That verse is good. That verse in action is even better. My kids need to see me love people who’ve offended me. It’s even more important to show them how to love. They’ll see me loving someone with whom I don’t agree with on a certain value, and they’ll learn to love everyone.

So, I want to hear from you. I’m still in this journey trying to figure it out. How do you keep the balance of instilling foundational truths important to you, while also teaching your kids to love those who don’t follow the same values?