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  1. Hey there Monica! Nice to see things are well with you and yours. I can’t believe how grown up your boys are. I remember when your little one was a baby! Now we see them as young adults! Mind blowing, really.
    Our older daughter is in her first year of college. We kept both girls as cyber the last three months when the pandemic started—2019? It has been so long I don’t even remember. I kept them home the entire next school year, cyber at the school. So my older one was at home her senior year. Both my girls got vaccine as soon as they were able, so she was able to attend senior activities at end of year. Now she’s about 30 mins away in Pittsburgh attending college. Close, but not too close, and adjusting to life on campus. My younger one is 18 months younger, but two grades apart. Since they were a captive audience at home for a year, with only the other as company, they grew closer. So she’s been adjusting to being an “only child” (sometimes !) and learning to drive. She’s back in high school. Both worked this summer too, so the house was quiet occasionally. It’s so odd! Our dogs make up for it in barking. Haha. We started going back to church in person about four months ago, and I meet up in small group once a week. I have been recuperating from an inflamed ligament? Tendon? Can’t remember — in my inside ankle that has hobbled me for about two months. I love to walk and that has hampered me somewhat, this year. Trying to take it easy so it heals up.

  2. Aloha, Monica! Always love to catch up over “coffee”! Over here in Illinois school is back in session- both parents teaching, one 7th grader and one freshman! My historically school-loving freshman is a little underwhelmed with high school. That throws us for a loop because this kid LOVES school!. He doesn’t have a fall school sport ( only club swimming and gymnastics this time of the year) and all of his friends are busy with practices after school. I have referred to your lonely-season blog post a couple of times. Things seem a bit better this week.
    This summer we were truly lucky to visit the Big Island right in the sweet spot. Everything was open and the COVID numbers were under control. That quickly changed about a week after we returned home. What an adventure! Bonus- my mom traveled with us! The boys tried spearfishing, ATV riding, cliff jumping and it was epic! The beauty and aloha left impressions.
    We are already itching to plan our next trip to Oahu to visit family. But, we respect that COVID is unpredictable at best, and respectfully have decided to table any discussion of a 2022 visit.
    I am so incredibly excited to learn more about your book. I am intrigued by the specific topic. Selfishly, I am hoping it centers around the teen/launching chapter in parenthood. Whatever the topic, I’m here cheering you on and sending prayers!

  3. I’ve been reading a lot more lately, what with all that going on in the world, so I’d keep it easy and talk books with you.

  4. Yay for the dining room and book contract! I’m guessing if we were together drinking coffee, we’d talk about books and dremaing up/creating content and timelines for courses. 🙂

  5. I hate a cluttered inbox. My unsubscribe game is strong 😆 I am only subscribed to two emails that I read each time they land in my inbox, yours and Asherita CuiCui’s. Your emails are a breath of fresh air Monica. I can also feel that island breeze hit my face as I look at all of your stunning pictures that you share. Ahhh, to someday visiting Hawaii 🏝. Your words help to remind me not to be envious of yours, or anyone else’s life, but to cherish mine, right here, right now, with my three wonderful boys. Thank you for always being encouraging and challenging us to be in the presence of Jesus, be present, and be intentional. Much love Monica!

    1. Oh this is a very favorite comment ever!! 🙂 Thank you so much for the encouragement! Big hugs to you and your three wonderful boys!! I wish I could transport you here for a coffee on the beach!

  6. I have to share with you a moment where I felt the character training, your wisdom and of course God’s goodness showed up. I have 2 junior high boys, 11 & 13. It’s hard. They are fun, but as you said above, character training is no joke. Well, at a football game the other night one of their fellow players (and my sons best friend) was injured. In the midst of the paramedics tending to their buddy on the field, my 8th grade son asked his teammates to kneel and pray with him. What an answered prayer of mine! That in times of need they will seek God’s hand. This was such an affirmation that he does get it and seeds have been planted. He has just recently really began to complain about going to church so this to me was such a blessing. I appreciate you sharing your experiences raising your boys, the character training you are so intentional about and the speakers that you have had on the podcast that share tips, prayers and wisdom of how to raise Godly children. Thank you! It blesses me so much!

    1. ohhhh you made me cry!! I love this so much and appreciate that you took time to share! Big hugs to you and your sweet boys. Keep up the great work — yes it does pay off! (also, is your son’s friend ok? 🙏🏼) With much aloha, Monica

  7. Congratulations on all the happy things going on in your family’s lives! After a week in NC at both the beach and the mountains (my fave) at the beginning of summer, the rest of it was filled with my boys working summer jobs and my youngest attending 3 different camps. Then we took my oldest to his first year of college, which he is absolutely loving so far. Now we are busy preparing our high school senior for college as well, working on apps, essays, test prep, etc. And trying to keep my sophomore guy from failing school (just keeping it real here). Would appreciate any prayers for wisdom and healing of kids’ mental health.

  8. Kristin Sparkman says:

    Ahh. Love our coffee dates. I do hope someday we can have one in person. My son has gotten the golf passion as well and it looking at colleges for Golfing. Continue sharing the pictures.

  9. Anne-Marie Kelley says:

    After my prayer time this morning, I brought my coffee to my computer and read your blog. It did feel like you were sitting here with me. So many of your comments resonated since I, too, have two that have recently gone back to college, and two that are still home with me. Reading all of your homeschool experiences really inspired me to homeschool my younger two sons last year. I struggled with whether to send them back to traditional school this year, but have taken the plunge because in my heart I know it is the best decision for our family. God bless you and the work you do! Anne-Marie in Colorado

  10. Hi Monica. It sure sounds like you had a great summer! We also had a fun one. It began with my youngest son’s Nationals Dance competition. He’s only 7 but it’s truly his passion. His team/group numbers did well, with one winning first place in their category, and his trio won first place in category and 9th overall…which is huge. My oldest was allowed to join the high school marching band this year even though he’s only in 8th grade. I was a little nervous but it’s actually been a fantastic experience and he’s making some great older friends and has started to come out of his shell more and grow in confidence. It was a long summer of learning how to play while marching but it paid off and he loves it so much. I haven’t see him this happy in a long time. We finished with our annual family vacation to Fenwick Island, Delaware and enjoyed the beach, pool, and fishing. It was exactly the summer we needed, especially post-Covid. Congrats on the dining room and I look forward to the new book!

  11. Hi Monica,

    Just wanted to share that we had a lovely summer, the most enjoyable yet with our boys (5, 4 & 2)…we made a fun bucket list & accomplished most of it…which included going to my parents cottage, kayaking, swimming, reading, doing sparklers, making s’mores & all that sort of fun stuff. It was the first summer I felt like I had a bit more capacity & after the lockdown here in Toronto Canada this winter/spring, it was refreshing to have a the kids play freely with other kids like they are supposed to! Blessings on your book writing and the ever changing seasons with your little men!

  12. Thanks for sharing with us! The world is heavy right now, so more than ever we need God and each other. Can’t wait to see the rest of your remodel! I grew up where Liberty University is and my husband graduated from the online program. It’s a great school! This summer we had our 5th boy. So it’s been a busy, but oh so fun summer. Now we are into our homeschooling year, and I’m learning how to balance teaching 3 elementary kids, a toddler, and a baby. Lots of grace and flexibility going on right now 😂. Hope you have a wonderful fall!

  13. Hi Monica! I love enjoying this cup of coffee with you! ☺️ We had a great summer. We took a quick trip to Savannah, GA over the 4th which was so nice. Our kids in GA went back to school on August 1st. The boys started high school and my daughter started 7th grade. The boys’ social life has kicked up 7 notches it seems. Lots of football games, Airsoft, and hanging out with friends. They are very close with their church small group and staying on the right path so far. My daughter is doing great in 7th. She is a very talented flute player and overall creative little thing. She has surprised us this year with her love for mountain biking. She reluctantly joined the team (the boys ride and hubby and I coach) and she now asks what we’re doing at each practice and begs to go night riding with her Dad. 😉 Our Fall break is next week and we’re going to the beach. ☺️ I’m praying for you! So excited about your next book!

  14. Hi Monica! Thank you for the updates! I am so excited for your new book. I will be praying for you during this process
    I loved what you shared on IG about your thoughts on homeschooling Levi again this year. We decided it was best to keep our boys with their cyber school this year (as well as starting our daughter with Kindergarten) vs. sending them back to their b&m. We are in our 2nd week of school here and although it’s going well, there has been a bit of adjustment. The 3 year old is quite a bit of a distraction when we are all doing school!
    We made a lot of great memories this summer and enjoyed a lot of family time! However, I am ready for fall now!

  15. Emma Johnson says:

    Oh Monica, it’s been so long since I read your blog! I loved this post and it’s like talking to an old friend! I have been busy all summer helping raise my 7 younger siblings, and I start my first term of community college in late September. I am very excited! Last week I endured a short struggle with an ovarian cyst but I am feeling much better now! I have many prayer warriors!

    I hope you have a lovely day!


  16. Sarah Bevan says:

    So good to see you Monica 😉
    We had a lovely summer here in Gig harbor! Lots of time outside swimming and playing. As fall approaches Audrey is starting preschool ( insert excited but nervous squeal) and it just so happens to coincide with Theos napping so I get two hours twice a week to do whatever I like which is new since covid shutdown all our moms groups last year. She is starting ballet friday which she is so excited for. And they both got their first haircuts so alot of firsts! Audrey really is getting her own personality ( and it’s coming through with the potty training) so that character training is coming in handy. We are excited to take in fall and all the things that go along with it ( changing leaves, sweaters and cozy rainy days) so good to see you again 😊

  17. I’d love to chat a bit about transitions over a cappuccino! This is the first fall my boys (9,12,14) are at three different schools (elementary,middle,and high school). Different schedules, busses, opportunities, and friends. So very thankful they are actually attending school in person, however this creates more time/space to contemplate MY transitions as well. As I witnesses their many changes, I have felt the weight of rediscovering who I am apart from being mom.

  18. Wow! You’ve had an exciting summer! We’ve had a lot go on as well. My husband left his full time construction job to pursue full time ministry and start licensing school. (I stay home with the kiddos and do some side work so he was the main financial provider). God is so good! My husband was offered a full time pastor position within our church, God provided us with not one but two new home options and provided me with more VA work to help supplement our income to keep the boys home with me.

  19. Christina says:

    We’ve had a wonderful summer getting to see almost all of our family. It’s been a hot one, so looking forward to fall!

  20. After a year, we have finally started to patch up, paint, etc the house we moved into last summer! We lived for months with holes in the wall where old medicine cabinets used to be, dings from the previous owners, and a torn out half bath (that is even more work than we anticipated!). It’ll be a slow and steady process but I’m excited to see the outcome once it’s all done!

    Our church plant is growing and God has been doing great work in our lives! Satan has also been attacking us but we are so thankful for our body and the way we have seen them come alongside to love and serve as Christ does.

  21. Katie Lonsdale says:

    What would I tell you over coffee? I would say summer has been lovely spending time visiting wider family round the uk, That I am looking forward to meeting church family in the flesh (we joined online in lockdown) and how September brings an excitement for Chris as the nights draw in.

  22. Hiiii Monica!!
    I feel like it’s been a while since we’ve talked and I missed you! I’m so happy for you and that your summer was very action-packed! There are so many great things happening in your life and I’m oh so excited for you!
    I wish I could say that the seasons are changing here in the desert, but that would be the opposite of what’s happening, it’s actually getting hotter, woohoooo🙂 playing golf in 115 degree whether has not been super fun oddly enough, but if I can endure that, nothing’s impossible in the Lord😌 Senior year is pretty gnarly so far, lots of good lessons being learned and God is definitely putting me through a season of uncertainty, but it’s been wonderful learning to give absolutely everything to Him and I definitely have a lot more to learn, so that’s exciting. I’ve been going to a wonderful church and youth group for about a month now and that is really really helping me through the season I’m going through and it gives me a lot of motivation and hope. I’m missing summer and the beautiful ocean so much, but I’m thankful for everything I have now. I’m praying for cooler weather to come sooner than later so I can be outside more often and not have to be sweaty 25/8. Lord, please grant us a miracle and get our temperatures below 100🙏. All in all, I’ve been very blessed and I’m happy to have all these events going on in my life.
    I hope your booking writing is going well, lots of my prayers go out to you and your family. May there be an outpouring of blessing in your life! May your fall scented candles be a burnin’, may your pumpkin bread be a bakin’, and may all your wonderful fall wishes come true. Lots and lots of love and blessings!!❤️😌

  23. Sandy Lasher says:

    I had a very relaxing summer, We went out in our Kayaks a few times each month, took out jet skis a couple times, I ended up with covid myself on fathers day, luckily I had my vaccine so I was only sick for a day and 1/2 and didn’t get anyone sick. It was right thru the hottest days our area ever had 115 degrees where everyone heat pumps well a lot of them crash and needed about a $30 dollar part, We help our local Lions club with a food booth for 4 weeks make so money which we will give back to our local people, We try to head to Hawaii about once a year but with covid and how crowded we hear Hawaii is now, We will skip a year, and hopefully everything will closer to normal soon to be back

  24. Ok, so no coffee for me at the moment (it’s 11pm here!), but I did enjoy reading your update. You sound like you had a very busy summer! We actually had the very opposite. My 2 boys did not have their usual sports to join (thanks COVID), but we made the most of the summer anyway. 2 camping trips and a week away at a cottage. It was great family time and I really feel like we’re heading into fall with a new appreciation for each other.
    Thank you for sharing your family life and wisdom that comes with it. Happy Fall days ahead!🍁☕️🍁

  25. You and Dave are obviously doing an amazing job with raising your boys. I only have one, and I feel like I am in a season of preparing for launch. He’s a junior in high school, and I am sure that adulthood will be here when I blink. I am overwhelmed with a sense of urgency, of running out of time to teach him all the things. At the same time, I am seeking out my path for what lies ahead. Did you know than women can have mid-life crises? That’s where I am at the moment. But I have done a thing, a thing of my own. I finished ice hockey lessons, and I will join a group of ladies tomorrow night for Girls Night Out on the ice. After a summer of struggling with my anxiety and depression, I am feeling some excitement again. And it will be important to have this when my nest empties.

    1. Emma Johnson says:

      I completely understand anxiety and depression. I have an endocrine disorder and it is a struggle to stay positive. Keep up with doing special things just for yourself! Try to cultivate joy in small things. You are already doing an amazing job!


  26. I would love to pick your brain about raising four boys because I am pregnant with my FOURTH BOY! Also would love to hear about health and wellness after baby since I’m ready to reset my diet and exercise consistently ESPECIALLY since this is my last pregnancy. And most of all, I’d love to talk about training and instilling godly character in each of my boys. You’re so right, it IS no joke. So hard but so worth it. So thankful for you, Monica.

    1. wow, Ali! Congratulations!! I’m so happy for you. Oh I love all of those topics so much — wish we could chat. Keep up the great work and thank you for the very kind words! xoxo