7 Gift Ideas to Help You Shop for Your Teen this Holiday Season

7 Gift Ideas to Help You Shop for Your Teen this Holiday Season

One of the biggest questions I get from my family is, “What does my teenage daughter want as far as Christmas gifts?” Since she’s become a teenager, I’m sure many of you can relate, the gift purgatory has risen to great heights waiting in closets and floors to be re-gifted the following year to whoever is “blessed” enough to get them.

She is a toss-up of “I’m too old for that” with a dash of “I want the cute little gifts the littles get because it brings out the 5-year-old in me” kind of gift receiver. How can anyone possibly understand what to buy for a teenager without feeling the bland seemingly non-sentimental gift of a gift certificate but also avoiding the remorse of your gift you really thought they would loveeeee possibly being re-gifted next year?

Now, you may also be wondering where has the meaning of Christmas gone and how come they can’t just be happy with you get them because gifts shouldn’t be the focus anyway?

Well, I’m going to challenge you to step back from yourself for a minute and take them into consideration. I hear what you are saying but wouldn’t you want them to truly light up and actually love the gift you get them?

Think about yourself for a second. You know you have received your fair share of “I can’t believe they got me this” moments. For instance, one year in the first year of my marriage I was going through a major conflict with my in-laws (we were living with them…I know I know…mistake number one!) and Christmas rolls around where I put my best face forward and tried to put any signs of duress underneath the Christmas tree skirt. However, it didn’t stay there for long. My husband gives me my first gift and at the time I didn’t know it was him who got it for me because we did a Secret Santa.

I opened up the package only to find a book called, “Bait of Satan: Living Free from the Deadly Trap of Offense.” I was mortified. To me it was a big finger pointing in my direction basically saying I was the problem.

Now this book ended up being a really good book (when I finally read it two years later). However, let’s just say it was wrong timing especially in front of the very in-laws whom I was having issues with. I felt sort of better when I found out it was my hubby who bought it but the damage was done and Christmas was ruined that year. I’m sure we may all have a story like this or have witnessed this happen.

All of this to say, when you get gifts that don’t suit you at all you or speak to a place of hurt you end up completely feeling misunderstood, sometimes to the point of being insulted. With teenagers, this is a commonplace thing because they deal with it in many areas of their life.

Why enforce this feeling that seeks to isolate them more from the gift giver instead of what I hope we all want and that is to bring them closer?

Yes, Christmas should focus on the true meaning of Who our Lord and Savior is but if gift giving is a part of your Christmas celebration then why not do it with the intention of giving something they truly want and love. Especially because with gift giving there happens to be all the other emotional connection we may never have thought of, like feeling misunderstood, ignored, or favoritism to siblings, etc.

Will we always get it right? No, but that’s okay because at least we can walk away knowing we tried our best and didn’t come at it half-heartedly. Here are just a few gift ideas to help you in this process:

1) Wish lists

Yes, it’s that simple. Just ask them what they want. I will have my daughter give me a list of what she wants and I get the control of picking what I’m going to give her.

Tip: Get what’s on the list, including the brand name, and not something that is similar to the item but less expensive. Otherwise, it might end up in the purgatory pile. Either get exactly what it is or not at all.

Now you may be worrying about your budget and the challenge to afford big ticket items. If that’s the case, then give them a dollar amount. For instance, give them notice ahead of time that they have a $50 limit so they aren’t surprised or disappointed when you look over their list and ask them to change it.

Also, remind them different products and wish items cost different amounts. This way if their sibling got 5 things and they only got 1 thing but they all add up to the same amount then they can’t upset thinking the other sibling is favored. Remind them because most teens haven’t started shopping yet so they might not understand this concept.

Companies like Amazon.com give customers the option to set up wish lists so people can buy from there. I’ve seen so many articles on how this is frowned upon but really? There are a lot of other things to worry about in this world and if this can help you then why not?! Who doesn’t love a wish list? Also, remind them to make sure their Amazon.com or another website wish list is up to date so you don’t get something they already have but left it on the wish list.

2) Gift certificates

Now I know gift certificates may seem really impersonal but when used correctly they are pretty awesome.

Tip: Wait until they want something to use it. Don’t force them to use it because they have it. At this point, almost all gift certificates don’t have an expiration date, unless otherwise stated, so it can be a real-life saver when something does pop up.

I know they get a bad rep but they can definitely be a great gift for teens. A lot of the times teens have been keeping their eye on something all year and with the help of a gift certificate along with money they may have been saving they can finally get whatever that item is.

Ask them where they shop or what are their favorite stores are (sometimes they have a favorite store but it might be out of their budget so they don’t shop there but it doesn’t mean they don’t want to) and get one from there.

If you want to make it more personal, ask them to send you a picture with the gift they chose so you can take part in the excitement of it or offer to take them to the store to go buy it.

If you are lead while at the store, you can chip in for tax or add something else to the cart. Gift certificates don’t have to be impersonal. These are definitely ways to help keep it personal.

3) Experiences

Teens are often so bogged down with homework and other school activities they may not get a chance to go out and enjoy themselves. People in general are pulling away from materialistic items and are now more focused on having experiences.

By giving them an experience, you can be rest assured it’s something that will help add to their character and growth as a person.

Tip: Of course, this should be healthy, Godly, and appropriate experiences. You want to add to their life not take away or possibly traumatize them (strip clubs, drug driven raves or concerts, etc., be present and do research so you know what you are agreeing to…unfortunately, some people do think some of these things are a “passage” into adulthood or think it’s cool to help them take part in these things…stop it!).

For instance, we happen to live about 40 minutes from NYC and from the time my daughter was 7 years old tickets to a Broadway Show has been either a Christmas or birthday gift. Either her grandparents or my husband and I will keep an ear out for one that interests and then go buy tickets. It’s one of our favorite gifts because it’s something we can experience together and we have memories for a lifetime.

This will look differently for everyone because we all have our different interests.

Maybe a rock concert, sports event, or specific vacation they’ve always wanted. Also, we will usually get a babysitter for the littles and take our teenager out for one on one time with Broadway shows or something that’s not as appropriate for the little ones.

Everyone’s situation is different financially or otherwise but ask God for a way to make something special for your teen happen this year in the form of an experience.

This also helps initiate conversation about your teen’s interests. When they know you are interested in what they like, it helps build a bridge from their world to yours.

4) Activities

This is kind of similar to experiences except that you might not necessarily be a part of it directly or it’s something that runs an extended period of time like sports or a dance class.

For example, this past year we asked people to get our middle daughter either clothes or a donation to a summer baking camp for her birthday. People responded enthusiastically and were more than willing to donate. We ended up only paying for half of the camp and the response we got from our middle daughter was so sweet. It was something she could look forward to and it was awesome to witness how friends and family members were genuinely excited to help her experience one of her favorite activities. This can be the same with teenagers.

Activities, especially when there are a number of kids, can get expensive.

Maybe they are really into science and always wanted to go to a summer camp or college hosted specialized event. They might be into makeup and would love to go to a makeup enthusiast trade show or pay for makeup classes at a makeup studio.

It will help get them out into the world. They can get a better idea of their skills and interests while also opening up opportunities for their future. Also, they can add these experiences to their resumes when they first start working giving them an upper hand into the work force.

5) Food gift certificates

Who doesn’t love to eat?! Teens are definitely known to be foodies (people who love to eat…I connect with them in this way…loll!). We know they eat like every fifteen minutes. Even with those teens who don’t seem to eat at all, they can still be pretty particular about what they consume. Sushi gets to be expensive! Plus, vegan and healthy eating are on the rise especially with millennials so maybe a gift certificate to their favorite health food store would help either their parent’s or their own wallet.

Getting them gift certificates to Starbucks or to their favorite restaurant is definitely one way to their heart.

For generations, eating together has been a way to connect with one another. Use it as an opportunity to connect with them. Offer to pick them up and take them out to eat or for a latte.

Tip: I would offer to hang out with JUST them for now because sometimes it’s good to have separate time alone without a bunch of friends tagging along. It gives them the opportunity to open and talk about issues they may feel too self-conscious about or may not trust their friends fully to do it around them. [Again, this is to build a foundation for healthy, Godly, and appropriate friendship with the teen in your life]

Connecting with you on this level will help add to their community and support system of people they trust if they feel like they have no one to talk to which can be another gift in itself.

Food is just the means to get together. Hopefully, the gain is not just in the pounds from an amazing meal but a fullness in community and Christ driven conversation.

6) Personalize something

Now I know you may be thinking this may end up being one of the items that end up in the closet somewhere but I’ve noticed when a gift is given that has either been hand-made or personalized in some way it’s the presentation that matters. This means an explanation of how it was made and why it was made a certain way is important.

Stories behind personalized items gives it significance and a reason to make it special.

For instance, if you make a t-shirt blanket let them know it can be held onto for college so when they are homesick they have a piece of home and fond memories to hold onto. If it’s a mug with their name on it, make sure you add a personal message like, “I pray the warmth of this drink will remind you of my love for you!”

Tell them how special they are and all the POSITIVE thoughts you thought about them while making it. It’s something they will definitely reflect on later.

A photo album with fun memories, a journal bible signed by her friends and family, an ornament dedicated to them, anything with hand writing or personalized with their name makes it unique to them. Therefore, it will be less likely they will want to get rid of it.

7) Jesus inspired-

This is something I will always add on top of whatever else I buy. By adding something Jesus inspired, it gives me a chance to point back to Christ especially during this season. It may not be something they necessarily want but you never know when it will come in handy. Usually, I choose something in the form of a book with a theme directed to what I believe my daughter is dealing with at the time.

I firmly believe in finding items to help speak life and God’s truth into them through the voices and motivation behind the Christ inspired creators.

This could also be in the form of Christian summer camps, journal bible, going to a concert of their favorite Christian band, iTunes gift card dedicated specifically for a worship album, or a seminar with their favorite Christian speakers. This may be a good time to invite one or two friends to join in the experience.

Pray about it and allow God lead you to the right gift even if it doesn’t make sense to you. He works in mysterious ways.

Regardless of how you choose to add Christ to the gifts under the tree, I pray it will be a blessing to your home and produce seeds that will multiply a hundredfold.

 

I pray this helps you on your journey for finding a special gift for your teen and that you will find an amazing gift for them. It’s seems easier with the littles because usually they enjoy whatever it is you give them but we can’t give up on our older ones. We must remember teens are going through a lot more than we sometimes know and it may not be about the gift at all but the feeling behind it or the hidden message the enemy is trying to add to the wrapping.

Again, are we always going to get it right? No, but at least we know we tried and we can always ask how to make it better for the next time.

Let them know you are learning who they are because it is the first time you are parenting them specifically and who they are in this season of their life. They are important and you want them to genuinely enjoy what’s bought for them. Ask for and in return show grace in the process of it all.

Baskets of Blessings,

Nina D.

 

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Besides loving Jesus, coffee, great books, and the Autumn season. I am a wife to an amazing man of God, a stay-at-home-Mommy to 3 beautiful girls, one who is an amazing teenager. I have volunteered at my church’s Youth Group working with teens from 7th-12th grade for the past 11 years and have recently transitioned out to work on my online ministry. I have an Associate’s in Criminal Justice, a Bachelor’s in Psychology, and currently working on my Master’s in Religion.

6 Tips to Help You Talk with Your Teen


One of the many reoccurring issues I hear with parents are the “pains” and struggles on how to communicate with their teen. Whether it’s with big issues or just simply having a normal conversation, parents or any adult with a teen in their life feel like they can’t connect with this generation at all. The sad part is, people just stop trying. Teenagers end up for the most part getting ignored. Unfortunately, this leaves a whole generation getting lead by the wrong influences and desperate to be heard.

Now I have to say this because this is the internet and I don’t know who is reading this but this is in the context of having a healthy and appropriate relationship with teens.

Teens are in an interesting place and it’s what I call “teen purgatory”. They aren’t exactly a child anymore and many people don’t consider them an adult so people don’t know how to treat them.

Let me make it easy for you, treat them with the respect of an adult but with the filter of a child.

This simply means watch what you say around them because they are still very much influenced and if you’re think they’re not listening, you’re wrong. They most definitely are!

So, what do you do? Where do you start? Here are a few TEEN APPROVED tips (I checked with some teens in my life) to help get the conversation started and hopefully be the start of an amazing relationship with the teens around you:

1) Timing is everything.

When it comes to having a conversation with anyone, timing is everything. Usually I have found right     after school is a great time to talk, right before bedtime, or in the car. If you are a friend, Youth Pastor or Youth Leader, then of course the times you meet will be the best or setting up a coffee date. The whens and the wheres are going to look different for everyone.

Keep an eye out and take note for when your teen seems the most open to talk. They are definitely those windows of opportunity so grab hold of them.

Also, be on the lookout for when it’s not a good time to talk. Now you may be thinking or feeling like, “Well that’s all the time!” and this may or may not be the case but the reality is everyone has off moments and we learn to steer clear of them. Teens are no different. Remember, it’s okay if there are times where your teen needs a moment. My own teen daughter will let me know, “Mom, now is not a good time…just give me a few minutes.” Give them that time but schedule a time for later so this doesn’t become a habit to just get you away.

2) Create space for communication.

In the world of technology and how it is today, we can all get lost in our phones or computers.

By creating a space for communication by eliminating distractions can help everyone focus in on each other and give each other space for natural conversation to ensue.

Even playing a board game together, is more effective than sitting with everyone on their phones. It allows everyone to get to know each other on a fun competitive level and creates memories for years to come.

Tip within a tip: Teens still love to play board games.

Another option is to have family meetings where everyone can come with their concerns and talk about what’s going on. This allows a safe sounding board where they feel comfortable in saying what’s been on their mind. For instance, in our house we have kids in all different stages so my teenager may feel neglected and this is the space where she can say so. This allows us to make it more of a point to include her or set aside more time for her during the week. I suggest a weekly family meeting because as time goes on they will experience the safety and trust in that space allowing them to open up more and more.

Tip within a tip: If you title sharing concerns as “prayer requests” I have found teens are more open to share because it supernaturally releases the burden into the hands of an Almighty King.

3) Give compliments or suggestions not insults.

Oftentimes as parents, we are so consumed with the “work” of parenting that we forget they are a person who has feelings and insecurities. Try having a conversation where you aren’t nit picking what they are doing or asking them about certain areas on their body they are having teen issues with. Who wants to have a conversation with someone who constantly points out what’s wrong with them?! I know I don’t! Allow them to come as they are and be free in your presence.

Tip within a tip: Suggest when they ask. For instance, if they are having skin issues, wait for them to come to you for help and then give them your advice.

Side Note: This doesn’t include situations that are a harm to them or others. Obviously, if you notice your teen hasn’t been eating or are severely depressed then we are called to step in and say something. As always, ask the Holy Spirit for guidance.

Also, we can provide information without being rude.

For instance, if my daughter would attempt to walk out of the house with a see-through shirt on I would say, “If you want to wear that shirt, you need to put a tank top underneath it because I don’t know if you know this (give them the benefit of the doubt) but I can see through your shirt.” She honestly may not know. Sometimes even as a woman now, I may not know my shirt is see through unless it’s in a certain light. However, if our aim is to just insult, embarrass, or harass our teen, then we close the door to healthy communication.

Also, compliment! One of the fastest way to a teen’s heart is to compliment. If you like their sneakers, say so. If you like the color of their hair, say so! They have so many insecurities that when you point out great things about them you can literally see them soften and lighten up around you. Fluff their feathers! The world is so busy trying to pluck them out.

4) Small things matter.

Big conversations happen through the small ones.

Adults want to avoid teenage “drama” at all costs. However, what people don’t realize is when they can trust you with their “drama” then they can trust you with more sensitive issues. Also, stop considering it drama. Think of it as little windows into their life that they are allowing you in to. Take advantage because if they notice you don’t care or are annoyed with it, they will close that door and move on.

5) Create a daily check-in.

With teenagers, the more consistent you are the more they believe you care. Now I know our first instinct is to say, “Well they should know I care! Don’t they see everything I do for them?!” Unfortunately, they may not. Teenagers are bullied in various degrees, hold tight to deep insecurities, and have to deal with the world telling them everything they are not. They can be so consumed with these things that it can be hard to see or experience the care you are providing to them.

All of this to say, check in with them every single day. Call, text, Facetime, sit down on their bed, and have a conversation. Even though technology can definitely have its negative attributes, there is an upside to it and that’s being able to communicate with your teen from pretty much anywhere. Whether it’s your lunch break, you are overseas, on the way home from work (obviously don’t text and drive), you can find or purposefully make a window where you can peer into your teenager’s heart and show them you are there.

6) Speak with respect and a filter.

Like I said in the beginning, you want to talk to your teen with respect yet with the filter of a child. Teens are to be treated with respect.

Ask yourself, “If I approached my boss, spouse, or best friend the way I approach my teen, would they be okay with the way I speak to them?”

If the answer is “NO”, then change the way you talk. Teens are no different.

Unfortunately, in many cultures talking down to your teen encourages respect and affirmation from other adults. At what cost?! Your teen diving deep into depression and drugs to heal from hurtful words from a source (YOU) that is supposed to love them unconditionally?

Another thing is that adults make the mistake of making crude sexually explicit jokes, cursing, or attempt to connect in all the wrong ways. This is where the filter of a child comes in. Don’t start dropping F-bombs while conversing with a teen because you think it’s cool. Talk to them like you would if Jesus was standing right next to you. The reality is they will cringe at your words and steer clear of awkward conversation at all costs.

Communication can make or break any relationship. It’s our duty and calling to work at it even if we never had the best example.

Our love for Jesus Christ and His work done on the cross eliminates all excuses for not having the right resource to do so.

He is our Ultimate Resource and when we ask for help, you better believe He will show up and show off in you and your teen’s life.

I pray these tips will help close the gap between you and the next generation. We are called to do community together and in my experience, I know teens are longing to have healthy loving examples of what it’s like to walk this Christian life out in love, family, and everyday life.

Be the person you needed when you were young to a teen in your life.

Baskets of Blessings,

Nina D.

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Besides loving Jesus, coffee, great books, and the Autumn season. I am a wife to an amazing man of God, a stay-at-home-Mommy to 3 beautiful girls, one who is an amazing teenager. I have volunteered at my church’s Youth Group working with teens from 7th-12th grade for the past 11 years and have recently transitioned out to work on my online ministry. I have an Associate’s in Criminal Justice, a Bachelor’s in Psychology, and currently working on my Master’s in Religion.

How to Survive the Teenage Years: 6 Practical Way to Help Parents

 

 

I typed into the Google search bar, “How to survive te…” and waited to see what would pop up. Does anyone else do this? Anyway, I noticed amongst “How to survive terrorist attack, teething, terrible twos…” within the top 10 searches there was, “teenage years and teaching high school.” Wow! Right there with terrorist attacks and teething?! Clearly being a teen and dealing with a teen is a popular concern for many. However, it doesn’t have to be.

As someone who has worked with teenagers for 11 years as a volunteer (yes I did not get paid for this) at my church’s Youth Group and a Mom of a teenager for almost 4 years now, I can tell you that the teenage years can in fact not only be survivable but it can be enjoyable too. So how does one achieve such a mighty task? Here are a few practical ways to help you survive teenagehood (yes I made that word up unless it’s already in existence somewhere…loll!):

1) Get your mind right!

If you enter the teenage years trembling in your pants or with a negative outlook, you’re setting yourself up for failure. It’s like with ANYTHING! I remember a Youth Pastor exclaiming his woes when his then toddler would become a teenager. A Youth Pastor! I told him, “Out of all people, you have the skills already in dealing with teens. Take those skills and use it in your home!”

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philip. 4:8)

If you are already dreading the teen years and are looking at your blossoming child like a mosquito bite waiting to happen, then you will have a difficult time. Walk into this season with authority God gave you! Look at the teenage years in the face and say, “We are going to get through this together, we are going to not only love it but like it, AND we are going to have fun!”

Get your mind right!

2) Incorporate your village.

Yes, it takes a village to raise a child and I happen to love mine. Create a support system of people who will help speak life not just into you but also into your teen. There are both men and women in my teen’s life who are honorable and rooted in the Word of God to help listen and lead her. If you don’t like your village, change it, put boundaries, and ask God for guidance in all matters.

“Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.” (Prov. 11:14)

Talk, discuss, and listen to what others have to say about what they see in your teen and how to help them. This is not a time to be offended but to open your heart and eyes to experience something you might not otherwise know.

A teenager needs many avenues to which she can run in case you are not available for whatever reason.

3) Prepare yourself or reinvent your teen skills.

It’s never too early to start loving your teen. Even before they hit the teen years, everything you do now will help set the foundation for when it comes. What does that mean? Talk to your kids now! Discipline your kids now! People think it’s cute when toddlers are cursing or twerking but then can’t handle it when they are a teen because it means something now. Well, it meant something back then too! It created the space for sin to do what it does best, “hide” and then multiply.

I don’t have to worry about my daughter walking out the house with her shorts being too short or her stomach hanging out. Why? When she was five years old she had shorts under her dresses and I taught her how to layer her clothes. She’s one of the most fashionable people I know but she’s modest at the same time.

Is it too late for me?

Many parents of older teens ask this question and the answer depends on your situation meaning they may not be a part of your life in whatever aspect. However, I believe if your teen is still living under your house or if you have the option to be someone a teen in your influence needs, then the answer is NO! It’s not too late but it may require some work and that’s okay because they are worth it.

4) Give them purpose.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jer. 29:11)

They have purpose! Help them find it. Go to college fairs, volunteer at various events, send them to church     youth retreats, set them up with people in your village in various careers to help answer questions, and talk about their interests. Teens get in trouble because they have no sense of direction or purpose. Take them outside of their environment, especially if it’s a troubled neighborhood, and show them there’s a bigger world than they ever imagined!

When you give them space and opportunities to help them find their purpose, you give them reason to make Godly and wise decisions.

God HAS a plan for them. Help them find it and you’ll have a smoother teen year ride.

5) Pay attention to their friends.

From the very beginning of your kids making friends until as long as necessary, filter, filter, filter! Every household is going to be different as far as how intimate your ministry with teens will be. In my house, I remember having to tell my daughter, “I’m in the ministry of teens but you come first so if I find someone to be a bad influence then I will not have them in my house.” This can look different to many people and some people may disagree with me. However, if a teen is in my house, wants to test my rules, become disrespectful, and cause disruption in my home and relationship with my daughter, then they are not welcomed. I have to release them to God and remember my home is my first ministry.

“Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” (1 Corinthians 15:33)

Friends can be a tricky situation especially considering they are with them at school for a good amount of time. But, God! He will reveal, direct, show you, and guide everyone in ANY matter. So bring it before God, constantly, and ask for direction! This leads me to the final practical way of surviving the teen years.

6) Pray, pray, pray!

I can’t tell you how many times the Holy Spirit has lead me to save, know, and see things about my teen that are humanly impossible! One time I was napping, woke up, and was led to my Facebook where there were several articles posted about a certain TV series that was popular and causing quite a stir because of the graphic nature of suicide it was glamorizing. Holy Spirit was like, “Text her now!” I literally couldn’t text fast enough (she was at her father’s for the weekend) and ask her if she had seen this series. She replied, “Oh my gosh…that’s so crazy…I was literally going to press play right now!” I quickly told her I didn’t want her watching the series and she was amazed at how the Holy Spirit stepped right in to protect her. How amazing is that?!

Here’s the thing though, I know God’s voice and I know when He is speaking to me. How? I pray!

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” (Eph. 6:18)

Your teen is part of the Lord’s people so get to it!

Teenager years don’t have to be scary but you must be prepared. Here’s the other thing too, it doesn’t have to be regret either! Even if you’re in the throes of teenagehood right now and everything seems to be going all wrong, nothing is impossible with God. Maybe your teen is no longer a teen and has moved on, maybe you can have a conversation with them, get therapy together on mistakes made, or be the person you wanted to be to another teen in your life. He is still a God of miracles and He is still a God who resurrects! Every moment is a chance to make things better. We can do this!

Basket of Blessings,

Nina D.

 

 

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Besides loving Jesus, coffee, great books, and the Autumn season. I am a wife to an amazing man of God, a stay-at-home-Mommy to 3 beautiful girls, one who is an amazing teenager. I have volunteered at my church’s Youth Group working with teens from 7th-12th grade for the past 11 years and have recently transitioned out to work on my online ministry. I have an Associate’s in Criminal Justice, a Bachelor’s in Psychology, and currently working on my Master’s in Religion.