Mental Health Awareness Month

mental health

October is Mental Health Awareness month. We are so blessed to have our contributing writer, Morgan, shed light on this subject.

According to, mental health refers to the emotional, physiological, and social well-being of an adult, teenager, or child, and because mental health awareness month is quickly approaching, I deemed it necessary to shed light on this vital but somehow ignored subject. As a 17-year-old girl, I can’t say that this issue has never affected me. I can’t say that I’ve never stayed up all night, tossing, turning, and hoping that maybe, when the first ray of sun strikes the Earth’s surface the next morning, these statistics will improve. I can’t say that these issues that are deemed unimportant by society are not a part of my story. I think that whether we’ve personally experienced it or watched a loved one fight the battle to recovery, mental health issues and awareness have meaning in everyone’s lives. Whether we all want to admit it or not, this issue is more relevant now than ever before.

In a recent study on mental health, The National Alliance on Mental Illness found that approximately 43.8 million adults in the US experience illness every year. Approximately 1 and 5 adolescents 13-18 experience this at some point in their lives, and 13% of children are likely to have undergone some type of mental problem as well. In 2015, NAMI found that 8% of teenagers live with anxiety, 11% with a mood disorder, and 10% with a conduct disorder. Additionally, a shocking 20% of teens experience depression before they reach adulthood, and finally, suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among my generation, with a young person taking his or her life every 100 minutes.

Mental health is not something to be ignored. Among this generation alone, the population of those who have struggled with this detrimental issue has grown exponentially, and the numbers continue to climb. However, there is something you can do to help.

Spread awareness. Let victims know that they are not alone, and help them seek the appropriate help. Most mental illnesses are treatable, and with the proper help from doctors and therapists, victims can be completely cured. For more information about the importance of this topic, please visit

Morgan Champion is an ambitious North Forsyth High School senior who believes in the power of serving others, reaching for her dreams, and having a positive attitude—no matter her circumstances. Besides writing for “Cumming Local,” Morgan enjoys volunteering at her church, at the Forsyth County Peer Court, and at various clubs and organizations throughout her school.

To read more about Morgan and our other contributing writers, click here

Why Do Some People Stick To A Fitness Routine While Others Fail?

Why Do Some People Stick To A Fitness Routine While Others Fail?

Today I’m sharing a post from Jill Thornton, co-owner of Cumming Strength & Fitness. She is sharing her passion with us about fitness and encouraging us all to have a healthy lifestyle. Anyone can do it!

This question has long intrigued me.

As a coach, as much as I like to think I can predict who will end up sticking around and committing to fitness, the truth is I can’t. Sometimes the least likely people get hooked, and people I expect to last years fall off the wagon.

In the last six months, I have come across a number of health transformation stories that have helped me develop a theory as to why some people commit to fitness for life while others fail.

I met a man who used to weigh 340 lb. He drank a dozen sodas a day and a pint of ice cream every night. And it wasn’t uncommon for him to eat an entire brick of processed American cheese in one sitting. Then one day in 2015, he decided to make a change. Today, he’s 205 lb. and hasn’t had a single soda or a bite of American cheese since that day two years ago when he took his health into his hands.

And I met a woman who, at the age of 69, weighed 220 lb. and could barely get off the floor. She, too, made the decision to get healthy and hasn’t looked back. A year-and-a-half-later, she’s down 50 lb., has been taken off a host of medications she was on, and can get up and down off the floor with ease.

When you hear people tell their stories of massive, long-lasting change, it’s impossible not to become inspired.

Unfortunately though, those stories aren’t the norm. They’re kind of the exception. Truth is, most people have good intentions to take real action in their lives and change but don’t ever do it. They think about wanting to change, they verbalize the need for change, and maybe they try the gym for a couple weeks or months, but it ultimately feels too hard or too overwhelming, so they fall back into their own patterns and continue to live their mediocre lives.

The question becomes: What was it that both the American-cheese addicted man and the 69-year-old woman did to be able to create lasting change in their lives?

They both told me, independent of one another, that for them to decide to commit to health and fitness, they needed to throw away the tapes in their head that told them change wasn’t possible. The tapes that told them they couldn’t do it. The tapes that told them they would fail.

Once they were able to beat the voice in their head, they were able to develop a sense of certainty, and more importantly, come to terms with the fact that their pasts were not their futures.

I have come to believe this is the difference between people who commit to fitness for life and people who don’t: Empowering versus self-limiting beliefs.

What exactly is a belief?

A belief is essentially something you feel certain about. Often, there are no solid facts or rationality behind the belief.

Most people don’t realize it’s up to us what we believe. Instead, we blindly believe our beliefs as truths and we let them limit us.

Usually, our beliefs come down to our past experiences. We assume that just because the last job interview didn’t go well, neither will this one. Or that we failed in our New Year’s resolution attempt to go to the gym three days a week in 2010, that we will fail today. This is not the case.

The former soda guzzler and the 220-lb. woman are real people. In fact, you can read about his very real story here. They’re not superhuman, made with more willpower than you. They just chose to say screw you to their unfounded beliefs and choose a new, better, path for themselves.

Jill Thornton is a mother of two, wife, and gym owner. Her passion for helping others is infectious!  She channels her passion for fitness from her athletic background as the co-owner at Cumming Strength and Fitness located just west of downtown Cumming. To learn more about Jill, click here.

Connect with Jill and Cumming Strength & Fitness: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter 

National Service Dog Awareness Month

National Service Dog Awareness Month

As the month of September begins, everyone in our community can’t help but get a little giddy at the thought of pumpkin-spice lattes, beautifully-colored leaves withering and falling from the trees, cozy sweaters, and the proximity of Halloween. However, to me, September has a much deeper meaning than just the beginning of autumn. September is service dog awareness month. Sure, all the hype surrounding the coming of this time of year is great, but last Friday, I couldn’t help but spend some time reflecting about one of the most amazing blessings I’ve ever received. I was born with a physical disability called Cerebral Palsy, which hinders my ability to walk and do some basic tasks around the house and in life. I use a wheelchair with a power-assist motor attached to it, a walker, and canes. However, in the midst of all of my doctor’s appointments and physical therapy visits, my parents and I began to realize that something was missing—a best friend. As a result of this realization, I met my service dog, Gara, when I was about eight-years-old, and we’ve been inseparable ever since.

Gara has been the addition to my life and my family that I never could have imagined. Besides performing her basic service dog duties(picking things up from the floor, opening and closing doors, etc.), she has quickly become the companion that I so desperately needed. She is instantly able to cheer me up when I’m upset, encourage me when I’m tired, bring out some spontaneous energy when I’m happy, and be my number one fan and supporter in whatever I choose to do. For me and so many others around the world, service dogs have been life changing—not just in a physical way, but also in an emotional one. These animals are unlike any other. They are able to use their intelligence to know when their handler needs them, but also use their loving and caring nature to be a lifelong best friend.

However, the magic of these amazing dogs doesn’t begin and end with handlers. The magic of service dogs begins with you. There are dozens nonprofit training organizations locally, nationally, and around the world that could use volunteers who are ready and willing to invest in this cause. Believe it or not, training any type of service animal costs thousands of dollars, and because of this, millions of people who would benefit from one of these incredible dogs don’t get one because they can’t afford it. With a donation of just a few dollars, you could play a part in changing someone’s world.

If you are a dog-lover who would be interested in basic-training young puppies, Canine Companions for Independence offers a puppy raiser program in which families are able to pour into a young puppy until they are transferred into an official training facility. This donation of time and knowledge could not only help future handlers, but also the dogs that will go on to shape lives.

If you are interested in learning more about service dogs and/or want to get involved with an organization, be sure to visit the links below.

For more information about how service dogs impact the lives of handlers, I would highly recommend reading The Thing With Feathers by Mccall Hoyle, a novel surrounding a girl with epilepsy and her service dog and best friend, Hitch. Happy September!


Morgan Champion is an ambitious North Forsyth High School senior who believes in the power of serving others, reaching for her dreams, and having a positive attitude—no matter her circumstances. Besides writing for “Cumming Local,” Morgan enjoys volunteering at her church, at the Forsyth County Peer Court, and at various clubs and organizations throughout her school.

To read more about Morgan and our other contributing writers, click here

What to Wear for Your Family Photo Session

What to Wear for Your Family Photo Session

I don’t know about you but I always stress out when trying to figure out what we will all wear for a family photo session. I was so grateful when Sarah Trulove decided to share some tips on what to wear. These tips were so helpful for me as I planned for my upcoming session.

With further ado – I give you Sarah with Trulove Photography and her 5 best tips on what to wear for your next family photo session…

Don’t Be Matchy Matchy

It’s best to coordinate, not “match”. For instance, avoid the everyone-in-jeans-and-a-white-shirt thing. Instead choose a color palette that works well in your home (because that’s where you’ll be hanging your new family pictures) and have everyone wear some combination of those colors.


Consider bringing your child’s favorite stuffed animal, or a blanket (in your color palette) for everyone to sit on, flowers for a little girl to hold or put in her hair, or your family dog are always great additions to a family photo. Just make sure that whatever you bring coordinates with the overall look and feel of your location and style goals!


A fun scarf, hat, headbands, jackets, jewelry, etc. can help bring out you and your family’s personality as well add an additional note of completeness to a photograph. You can also use accessories to tie the colors together. For example, if one person is wearing a light blue striped shirt, you could put a light blue headband on your daughter or light blue blow tie on your son to tie the color palette together.

Don’t forget to consider shoes! Ya’ll, shoes can make or break an outfit, and they WILL be in your photographs. Consider the terrain of your location! Bring flats to walk in if you’re going to have to walk a bit before getting to the perfect spot. Then switch to your heels.

Again, make sure anything you choose works with the colors of your outfits and location choice, and make sure to choose accessories and shoes that are complimentary but that don’t steal the show. You want your family to be the subject of your photograph, not the enormous glittered bow on your daughter’s head 😉

Be You

Last, but not least, don’t stress too much about your outfits being perfect, and don’t try to make your 5-year-old wearing something totally adorable but WAY itchy. Having happy smiles in your family pictures is more important than perfect outfits and that includes yourself. Don’t overcomplicate things and stress yourself out. Just pick outfits that work for your family’s comfort and personality and if you’re able to make them coordinate perfectly… well that is just icing on the cake!

Do you need to schedule a fall photo session? If so, check out the upcoming mini sessions that Sarah has planned! You can sign up for a spot on her website –

For some tips on what’s in this Fall, check out a recent post that It Is What’s We Do wrote:


Sarah Trulove is a local family and senior photographer, yogi, wife & creative. While photography is her passion, she also loves to paint, run, read, eat & sip coffee in the morning sunshine. When she started her business, she focused mainly on weddings only to realize that families are where her heart is. She’s always loved children, holds a degree in social work and child advocacy, and volunteers with children in foster care alongside her photography business.

Connect with Sarah and Trulove Photography: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Office Phone: 678 856 6313

Top Fall Trends From It Is What We Do

Top Fall Trends From It Is What We Do

I’m thrilled to introduce you to Morgan, our Fashion Editor. Today she is sharing the top Fall trends to be on the lookout for. Morgan and her friend Ashley, run a new local fashion and lifestyle blog. You can follow along at It Is What We Do

Hi everyone! I am so excited to be over here on Cumming Local today!

Today I am sharing some fun fall trends with you all since fall is just around the corner. I am sure most of us are ready for things to cool off here in Georgia.

The cooler weather is what I am looking forward to the most, but the clothes are another thing I get really excited about. Fall clothes are my favorite! The options are endless because you can switch things up with layers and incorporate a lot of fun items into your outfits.

Many of the items I am sharing are great basics to have on hand in your closet. They are practical pieces to add to your wardrobe as we transition into another season. There are a lot of new trends for fall and I want to show you how easy it is to incorporate some of them into your closet. You may have a lot of these items already.


First up are jeans. Jeans are my absolute favorite thing to buy! A good pair of jeans is something you can wear almost daily and you will not regret taking the time to look for the right pair. Everyone’s shape is so different. It can take a lot of trial and error to find the right pair for your body type, but once you do it is worth it!

Don’t just settle and buy a pair because they kind of fit. Get out there and find the right ones for you. The options are endless, so you do not have to spend a lot for good quality anymore. If you are going to splurge, jeans are a great piece to splurge on, since you can get so much wear out of them. Jeans are something I am willing to spend more on if I find the right pair.


Next up let’s talk shoes. I live in booties through the fall and winter. There are some great brands that make such comfortable shoes, so you will be able to wear them all day with no discomfort.

Mules are another big shoe trend this fall. What I love about mules, over a basic pair of flats, is you do not run the risk of your shoes rubbing the back of your heel. The right pair of mules will provide a lot of style and comfort to your outfits!

Shoes are another piece that are worth the splurge if you know you will wear them all the time. Again, like jeans, there are so many options that you don’t have to spend a lot if you don’t want to.


Fall here in Georgia is gorgeous and we are lucky that it doesn’t get too cold. Layering is the key in dressing for fall. Lightweight jackets, cardigans, and scarves are the perfect items to have on hand to keep warm throughout the season. Options are endless and the best part is these are pieces you do not have to break the bank on.

Sometimes we think for a jacket we have to spend a lot. If you need a heavy winter coat, yes you might need to spend more. For fall, a lightweight jacket will do the job, so you can have a little more fun and branch out. Try a military style jacket or a lightweight leather jacket. You would be surprised at how reasonable prices are on these items.

I hope some of these tips you find helpful as we go into fall. Everyone’s style is different so don’t follow a trend just because it is popular. Stay true to what you love and only invest in pieces you know you will get a lot of wear out of.

For a really trendy piece that you might only wear a few times find a cheaper option. I also try a cheaper option if I am trying out a new trend that I am not sure if I love yet. Fashion and clothes can be so fun! Don’t be afraid to try new things. You might be surprised at how your style can transform if you are willing to have fun with it!

Thanks for letting me share with you all today!

Morgan and Ashley
It Is What We Do
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Morgan Brock has been married to her husband Jeremy for 12 years and is mom to two boys, Bennett and Walker.  She graduated college with a degree in Finance but never loved working in that field.  She has always had a love for fashion and shopping.  Her goal is to help people find great clothes that they love and feel confident in. She finds so much joy in that.  She is also a frugal shopper, so she loves sharing where to find great deals.  Her belief is you don’t have to spend a lot of money to look your best!  All of this led Morgan and her best friend, Ashley, to start a fashion and lifestyle blog.

To read more about our contributing writers, click here. 

Balancing Life Is A Lie And, Yes, There’s a Better Way

Balancing Life

Balancing Life Is A Lie And, Yes, There’s a Better Way

Let’s have a little fun. Stand up. Pull one foot back to your butt until you can feel a nice stretch in the front of your thigh. Make sure your free hand is not touching anything. Now stand there for 5 minutes. If you foot touches the ground or if your free hand touches anything, you failed.

A simple quad stretch seems, well, simple. You just need to stand on one foot. But it’s not as easy as it sounds because it requires balance. And balance is a tricky thing.

Balance is such a nice sounding word. It actually sounds kinda peaceful. But balance is difficult. It requires an even distribution of weight so you can remain steady and stable.

While doing your quad stretch (Yes, I am trusting you that you actually did it.), you may have actually been balanced for a moment. But then something happened…
• You moved ever so slightly.
• Your child bumped you.
• You looked in a different direction.

And you had to put your other foot back on the ground or grab something with your free hand. You were balanced but then you lost your balance. You failed, and now you’re a failure.

That’s how life feels sometimes. Okay, a lot of times.

We feel like a failure because we cannot balance work and family and everything else. Even if you happen to achieve balance for a moment, balance is not sustainable. You cannot live life with one foot off the ground. As soon as life changes or shifts, you lose your balance and have to work to achieve balance again.

Have you ever stopped and wondered who made balance our goal in life? I’m pretty sure it was some marketing guru who knew he could sell a lot of product because it would sound so appealing…a balanced life. Ahhhhh. I honestly don’t know who imposed this lie on us, but we can create a new goal. A new way to measure whether we’re winning. Let’s do it!

There are so many demands and responsibilities coming at us, we need a way to manage our lives. What if we could live life with both feet on the ground? Wouldn’t it be nice to quit living life with only one foot on the ground…or trying to just have one foot on the ground?

Instead of living a balanced life, what if we learned to lean into what is in front of us (the important) and what has to be done by us (the urgent)?

Balance says treat all things equal. Distribute the weight of life equally. But all things are not equal.

Leaning means turning your attention to what is important and/or urgent. When what is in front of you has your attention, you can see the meaning in what you’re leaning into. Leaning creates meaning.

Leaning is looking at all of your demands and responsibilities and deciding what or who you need to lean into first. You give that thing or person your attention and energy. Then you lean into the next thing or person. Then the next.

Leaning allows you to plant both feet on the ground and handle what or who needs the most attention. It gives you permission to not lean into the other things and people who need you…until it is the right time to lean into them.

An important part of leaning is having a place to come back to. Your center is where you return to after you’ve leaned. Your center is most likely your health (emotional, physical, spiritual), faith, and spouse…The most important areas of your life.

You lean away from your center because you have to. You come back to your center because you need to.

There is a better way to manage life that leaves you feeling less guilty and like less of a failure. There is a way to manage your life in a way that allows you to give your energy to the right things and people at the right time. Start leaning. Stop balancing.

Casey Ross has been married to Julie for over 20 years and is the dad to one daughter and two sons. Casey and his family share some common loves: the Atlanta Falcons / United / Hawks, Mexican food, Hilton Head Island, and just about any kind of competition. Julie and Casey mentor engaged couples, lead married small groups, and lead small groups called Starting Point at their church. If Casey is not at home or work, you can probably find him at Chick fil A enjoying a Frosted Coffee and a Diet Dr Pepper or working out.

Connect with Casey Online: Blog | Twitter | Facebook 

To read more about Casey and our other contributing writers, click here.

Where Can I Find My Forsyth Magazine in Forsyth County?

Forsyth Magazine

Where Can I Find My Forsyth Magazine in Forsyth County?

For the past seven years, My Forsyth magazine has been delivered to homes throughout the county. Each issue has 22,000 copies printed and distributed in the area (mail and rack distribution). Don’t be left out! My Forsyth Magazine is a great publication! I have enjoyed reading a copy of the magazine for the last few years. It’s not your normal publication in a local community. It’s an editorial magazine with plenty of impeccable reading material including but not limited to subject matters of healthcare, real estate, lifestyle, coupons, and much more!

One question that I receive repeatedly is – “where can I find a copy of My Forsyth Magazine?” So, today I am answering that question for you!

Three Ways to Get Your Copy of My Forsyth Magazine

  1. You can subscribe to have My Forsyth Magazine delivered to your mailbox by entering your information here.
  2. You can download a copy of the magazine digitally by clicking here.
  3. You can pick up a copy at the following locations around Forsyth County:
  • Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at The Collection
  • Physician Offices (at Northside Forsyth campus)
  • Slope’s BBQ on Highway 20
  • Lakeside Pharmacy
  • Lenny’s Subs
  • Palapas Mexican Grill at Windermere
  • Rick Tanner’s Bar and Grille at Vickery Village
  • The Biscuit Barn
  • Sexton Hall Senior Enrichment Center
  • Dream Dinners
  • Kroger Stores:
    • 5665 Atlanta Hwy, Alpharetta
    • 2325 Bethelview Rd, Cumming
    • 2655 Freedom Pkwy, Cumming
    • 1595 Peachtree Pkwy, Cumming
    • 6001 Cumming Hwy, Sugar Hill
    • 3651 Peachtree Parkway, Johns Creek
    • 11877 Douglas Road, Alpharetta
    • 400 Peachtree Industrial Blvd. Suwanee
    • 12870 State Highway 9, Alpharetta

More Information About My Forsyth Magazine:

The mission of My Forsyth magazine, a publication of Market Complete LLC, is to provide readers with stories and information about their communities and its people. Each month, 22,000 copies of your community magazine are distributed via direct mail and throughout local businesses as part of our rack distribution. We welcome your comments, stories, and advertisements.

The viewpoints of the advertisers, columnists, and submissions are not necessarily those of  Market Complete LLC. The Publisher makes no claims as to the validity of any charitable organizations mentioned. My Forsyth is not responsible for errors or omissions. 

Connect Online with My Forsyth Magazine: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Download the Latest Issue of My Forsyth Magazine:

My Forsyth Magazine

Tips from the Cole Team: How to Move Without Completely Losing It

How to Move Without Completely Losing It

The following post is from Cole Team Real Estate. Today they are sharing their tips on how to move without completely losing it! If you or someone you know is looking to buy or sell, call the Cole Team. Let their family move yours!

In my opinion, timelines are always helpful. They help you to plan very intentionally. They also allow you to be prepared for a date coming up. In this article, we are sharing a sample timeline to help you prepare to move. This timeline has helped many of our clients move successfully.

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  • 30-60 Days Before: Reserve Your Truck, Movers & Boxes

When reserving the moving equipment (trucks, movers, boxes, etc.), schedule your move for the middle of the month. You can save up to 25% this way because most people move at the beginning or end of a month.

  • 30 Days Before: Purge Before You Pack

Oh purging is going to be your nemesis, but it’s so important! If you spend some time cleaning out items that you no longer need, packing will be so much easier. The best way to tackle this is to start with one room at a time. We like to bring in either bags or boxes and sort between donate or trash. If you are looking for places to donate in Forsyth County, click here.

  • 2-3 Weeks Before: Check the Attic

Before you pack, you will want to check the attic, basement & garage as well. A lot of times, those are the places that unused stuff accumulates. Yes, I know – more purging!  Just think the excess helps someone else and you because you have less to pack.

  • 2 Weeks Before: Pack A Small Suitcase & Schedule a House Cleaner

When you are traveling from one place to another you will need to have certain items. We recommend packing a suitcase with the essentials. Essentials would be items like: clothes, anti-bacterial wipes, first aid kit, box cutters, toilet paper, etc. Make sure you keep your valuables with you as well. If you have kids, we recommend you make a little suitcase for them as well. In it they can add in a few favorite toys or books to travel with.

If your budget allows, scheduling a house cleaning service will make things simpler on you with the move. You can have them clean the house your are moving out of and the one you are moving in to. Nothing better than a sparkly clean house when you didn’t have to do it!

  • 1 Week Before: Pack With Unloading in Mind

As you begin labeling boxes, write the contents on the side not the top. When boxes are stacked on top of each other, this will make it clear what is in the boxes. To save money, we recommend you use packing paper instead of bubble wrap. The moving truck should be loaded in this order: furniture other than beds, heaviest to lightest boxes, kitchen items, mattresses, and bed rails.

  • Move-in Day: Always Set Up Beds First

After a tiring day of moving, you will want to be able to sleep in the comfort of your bed that night. So be sure to set up the beds first before you do anything else. After the beds, we recommend you work on the kitchen. After that go room by room starting with the ones visited most often like living room, bedrooms, etc.

  • Move-in Night: Make Dinner Easy

Order pizza or take the kids to eat where they are free. Either way – just make dinner easy on the family that night! You might even consider checking out Dream Dinners to make the nights to come while you unpack easy as well.

For more tips from the Cole Team, check out “How To Get Your Home Ready To Sell.

More About the Cole Team:

Cole TeamThe Cole Team, Meriellen Cole Arenz and Stephanie Cole Patterson, is a full-time mother/ daughter led team with over 45 years of experience dedicated to tenaciously protecting their client’s interests. They epitomize integrity, energy, hard work, and creative service in every detail of a real estate transaction. They have earned respect in the North Atlanta community not only for their unparalleled professional track record and high ethical standards but for being an honest, hard working team that does absolutely everything in their power to ensure their client’s success. They have worked in every aspect of the industry representing sellers, buyers, and investors in the residential market. To learn more about this mother/daughter team, watch this video.

Connect with the Cole Team online: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Phone: 770.316.3110

Tips For Moms: Permission To Be Human

Tips for Moms: Permission to be Human

The following post is from our contributing writer, Karen Stubbs. Karen is the founder and leader of Birds On A Wire Moms (BOAW). Through BOAW, her mission is to encourage and equip moms. I hope this article from Karen equips and encourages you today in your role as a mother!

Moms, how many times have you “messed up” in mommy world and then later kicked yourself for reacting the way you did? Maybe you made a rash decision or decided not believe your child’s alibi and later finding out they were telling the truth? When any of these situations happen (or a million different variations on those themes) we beat ourselves up and we don’t let ourselves off the hook very easily, do we?

I know in my life, I cannot even count the number of times I messed up as a mom. Yes, once upon a time I sent my child to school when she told me her tummy wasn’t feeling good. You see she didn’t have a fever and “looked” okay to me. So…how horrible did I feel when the school called and said, “You need to come pick up Emily, she threw up in class?” It’s even worse when you walk into the school office and she is sitting there with eyes filled with tears, thinking to herself, “See, I told you I was sick.” UGH! I could almost cry right now thinking about it, and it happened 15 years ago!

But, here is the point moms – we are ALL human! We WILL make mistakes. As a mom, you have to be okay with making a few mistakes every now and then. We tell our children, “It’s okay, shake it off, you will do better next time” when they make mistakes. So, we need to take our own advice and apply it to motherhood. Shake it off, say your sorry, forgive yourself and move on! No one is perfect.

This week, when you mess up (notice I didn’t say IF, but WHEN, because you WILL mess up), remember you are human. Realize that your mistakes make you more loveable and approachable because perfect people are hard to be around. When you make mistakes, your children realize you are like them and I believe that endears them to you, because they can relate to you more easily. Emily probably wasn’t endeared to me the day she threw up, but we do laugh about it now.

Hang in there. We are all on a journey and it’s our first attempt at this motherhood thing, so you will learn as you go. I’ve been a mom for almost 26 years and I’m still learning and still making mistakes! Give yourself the same grace you give your kids…

More About Karen Stubbs:

Karen Stubbs is the founder and leader of Birds on a Wire, a ministry designed to equip moms through truth, encouragement and community. Karen is the wife of Greg Stubbs, they have four children, Kelsey, Emily, Taylor and Abby and reside in Cumming, Ga. She is passionate about challenging moms to experience motherhood in the way God intended it for them and their families.

About Birds on a Wire:

Birds on a Wire is a ministry designed to encourage moms and equip them with Godly practical advice so that they will be able to parent with confidence and feel confident in their ability as a mom. As a mother of four I know firsthand how difficult raising a child is in today’s society. A mom can feel isolated, ill-equipped and unsure of herself and her mothering skills. BOAW pulls alongside moms to give practical advice and assure them that their heavenly Father is with them in this journey. If you have little ones or teenagers or any age in between, join us on this journey of motherhood.

Connect Online: Website | Facebook | Twitter


We are so excited to introduce you to Birds on a Wire’s newest curriculum, The Six Truths of Motherhood: How To Navigate Culture, Take Care Of Your Children, and Still Have Time For You, which is available NOW!

You’ll hear from Karen as she shares lessons on discipline, courage, family values, boundaries, stress management, self-worth, identity and much more! We hope you love it, and we hope it encourages you. Find out more and buy the new study here:

Back To School Tips & Tricks I’ve Learned To Keep Us Organized

Back To School Tips & Tricks I’ve Learned

If you know me personally then you would know the following things about me: everything in my house has a label, my meals are planned by the month, I’m extremely structured, and I live by my to-do list daily. I will even go as far as to write an extra to-do down that I accomplish just so that I can check it off. Anyone else like me?

Anyway, a few weeks ago – I posted about how everything is ready for back to school at my house. That post ended up having quite a big reach on Facebook and Instagram, so I figured maybe I should share my tips. Maybe just maybe my tips will help you make things easier this school-year for you! So today i’m opening up my brain and pouring all my info out to you! This post is going to be long, so I apologize for that in advance. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me anytime. I’m always happy to help.

Please note: These ways of living work best for me and my family. All of them won’t work exactly the same for you. But please take these tips & tricks and implement them in your home the way that’s best for you and your family! Also, I don’t want you to read this article and think that I have a perfectly run household. Because that is NOT true! I just have these items set in place to keep us running more efficiently. 


  • Breakfast: As far as breakfast goes, I believe it depends on your family’s preference. We are breakfast lovers in this house. I usually cook up a batch of bacon or sausage on Sunday for the week. Then every morning I make either egg sandwiches or scrambled eggs and warm up the meat I made on Sunday. I will also sometimes make a casserole or muffins on Sunday and we will eat off that during the week. If you’d really like to prepare, you can cook breakfast and store it in your freezer. Click here for some ideas on breakfast freezer meals. 
  • Lunch & Snacks: This year for lunches and snacks I’m doing things a little simpler. I got two bins. One bin went in the fridge and other one went in the pantry. I’ve encouraged my kids (ages 5 & 7) to pack their own lunch every night. They are to pull 2 items from fridge bin and 2 from the pantry bin. For the first month of school, I help them to pack a healthy and complete lunch. The bins are filled with items like: fruit cups, sliced fruit, apple sauce, hummus, guacamole, cheese slices, pepperoni, deli meat, yogurt, crackers, pretzel, peanut butter, chips, trail mix, etc. (See picture below)

  • Dinner: I like to plan a month at a time so my month has balanced meals. I always grocery shop on Fridays using Kroger ClickList. And I make a monthly trip to Costco to load up on staple, snack, and bulk items. Disclaimer – As a family we eat mostly paleo style so I plan dinners that way. I use a combo of cookbooks (Danielle Walker) and Pinterest to create our monthly meal plan. I love to meal plan & cook so this works for me. If you don’t like to plan, check out either Eat at Home (provides weekly meal plans and a color-coded grocery list) or Dream Dinners (local company that works as your prep kitchen and fills your freezer with meals that just need to be cooked).
{This is my August meal plan}

House Preparation

  • All the Incoming “Stuff”: In the area between my kitchen and living room, we have a dresser with three baskets labeled as Inbox, Supplies, & Greg (see photo below). All incoming “stuff” goes in the inbox and weekly I sort through what is trash, what needs to be filed, what are bills to pay, etc. In this same inbox bin, I have a folder for receipts to go in. Each week I go through and enter them in our budgeting tool. We use You Need a Budget (YNAB) because it syncs with your phone and/or web. The second bin labeled “supplies” is for post-its, morning devotion books, pencils, markers, etc. This bin also contains a homework folder where I place activities for homework. My kids will typically do their homework at the kitchen table while I prep dinner. The third bin is for my husband. In it, he  puts whatever he needs to. He needed a place so I gave him one!

  • Communication: Above the dresser mentioned above, I have a chalkboard that I created (See image below). It’s simply a window that I painted the glass with chalkboard paint. I update this board every Saturday evening. It keeps everyone in the “know” as to what’s going on during the week and what we are having for dinner each night. On Sunday, we do a family meeting during dinner. During that meeting we all share compliments about one another and then I tell everyone what we have coming up the upcoming week.
  • Laundry: Laundry has always been my nemesis. I have tried doing it daily and also doing it once a week. After some trial and error, I’ve found for me it’s works best to do laundry every other day. On a laundry day, I try to see it all the way through. That means that I wash, dry, fold, and put away. I loathe ironing. Like seriously loathe! I only iron every other week on Saturdays. And I took the summer off from ironing. It was glorious!

  • House Cleaning: Because I work full time now I have a house cleaner that comes every other week. 😊 The only cleaning that gets done is on Sunday evenings, we all pick up our areas to make sure everything is tidy. I also always clean up the kitchen and living area most evenings so we start the day with a clean living space. Before the house cleaner, I used Clean Mama’s method of cleaning 15-20 minutes a day so your house stays clean and a once a month deep cleaning.

Family Schedule

  • Abide by Boundaries: It’s important to set boundaries with your family’s time. If not, you will be a frantic family all over the place. I know because I’ve been there and done that! For us, we only allow one extracurricular activity per kid. For the fall season, Finn chose West Forsyth lacrosse and Selah chose ballet. We will discuss spring as we get closer. As for us (the parents), we’re in small group through Browns Bridge Church and like to go to the gym. So between all that we stay pretty busy.
  • Family/Rest Time: “The days are long, but the years are short.” I know there will be a season where we won’t be able to do this. But for now, we try to eat dinner together every night. Some of the best conversations we’ve had have been around the kitchen table. We also incorporated a weekly game night into our schedule a few years ago. The kids love it! During that time, we play board games, cards, hide and seek, etc. We just rotate between each of us to be the one that makes the decision on what we do. Recently, we found a locally made box (PLAtime) that provides the activities and supplies. You can read more about that here. This year we decided to implement a rest day each week. It usually falls on Sundays, but the day fluctuates each week. During the rest day, we just chill at home. By chill I mean we relax – that means no work is done on these days.
  • No Technology: Last but not least, we put all devices away around 5pm and it stays that way for the remainder of the evening. This is a hard one – especially for me. But I’m really committed this year! Family conversations are much richer when technology isn’t in the mix. We keep a copy of Here’s a Question around dinner time if we need help stirring up conversation.

And that’s all my back to school tips in a nutshell. Now I need to have a glass of wine after all that typing!  Hey, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere. I hope this post was helpful to you! Cheers to being more organized this year, Rachael

Rachael Walkup is a wife, mother of two, and owner of – a website dedicated to promoting events & small businesses in Forsyth County. Coffee, good food, and wine are the way to her heart. She’s a lover of comfy clothes and deep conversation.