The Joyful Stepmom
Posted on June 28th, 2020

The past couple months have been trying on the mind and heart. We're all dealing with a little extra stress in light of recent world events. If you're like me, routine has gone completely out the window.

One thing that should not fall by the wayside is our quiet time with God. Even just a few minutes a day should be made a priority to keep us close. If you are struggling keep focus, I'd like to show your a daily devotional from Bible Gateway.

This devotional is a short morning and evening reading. The Charles Spurgeon Morning and Evening devotion takes you back to the classics. The audio is also provided. 

Posted on March 18th, 2020

We love printables! These are Word documents you can print and post on the fridge, carry in your Bible or purse. I think you can open on your phone and save too!

During this time of uncertainty, we wanted to share hope. These printable pages are free. Free to print, share, whatever you would like. Please spread the hope and love! Click on the listed item to open the document.

Verses of Hope - favorite verses collected by the members of The Joyful Stepmom

Memory Verse Sheet - simple verses to store in your heart

Posted on February 23rd, 2020

I was reading in Ezra this morning. In this book we are looking at the Israelite's return to Babylon -  during their time away, people had made some bad decisions. They had walked away from the will of God.

One bad decision had spiraled into many and affected crowds of people, whole families! Sound familiar? It's why I'm reading ;) As stepmoms, our lives are often dictated by the decisions of others. Many times, those decisions feel wrong.

Looking at the situation, Ezra was overcome. He was so distraught at the sin of the people and anger of God. He fell on his face weeping and praying.

Look at Ezra 10:4 - the people said "Get up, for it is your duty to tell us how to proceed in setting things straight. We are behind you, so be strong and take action." Verse 5 - "So Ezra stood up."

I have a quote in my Bible from Lori Wilhite, she has a study on Ezra called Rise Up. You can follow the clickable link or find her study on YouVersion. She writes "We can sometimes find ourselves on our backside.Maybe we made a bad decision. We might end up on our back ends because of someone else's poor decisions. Either way, we all have moments when we need to rise up. Take courage, rise up, choose faith."

Ex spouses, the court, lawyers....we all have these outside influences directing traffic in our lives. Sometimes the actions they take feel wrong, we get put in a position that is really hard to handle.

 What are you going to do about it? Sit and weep? Yes, there's a time for that. But then we need to look at the heroes of the faith. We need to Rise Up in our faith and carry on. There's more work to be done. 

Posted on February 2nd, 2020

Confession, I'm an older stepmom. At least when it comes to technology. When my stepson was young and we were keeping track of calendars, it was all on paper. Our Family Wizard wasn't available. The advancements in technology and how they affect custody management are really helpful! We want you to know they are available to you.

Below we address a couple areas of frequent topics that come up in our Facebook group.

Favorite Calendar Apps:
Monitoring the schedules of two or more homes takes planning and organization. We often get asked about favorite calendar apps. There are two clear winners -
Cozi Family Calendar
Google Calendar
Each of these can be shared and color coded. They are mobile and laptop friendly.

Printing texts:
For clear and detailed documenting, we often need to save or print out texts.
This is tricky. A lot of stepmoms just screenshot and email to themselves. I have screenshot and printed at Walgreens as photos.
Apps that have been recommended: iexplorer, decipher tools

Software:
The below programs are available as software or apps. They cover a wide array of custody managements and we encourage you to look into their advantages. This is by no means an exhaustive list. 
Our Family Wizard
Two Homes app
Custody Toolbox



Posted on February 2nd, 2020

We frequently get questions from members of The Joyful Stepmom Facebook community about phone monitoring apps. To assist in protecting your family, we wanted to share some resources.


A book I really like on this topic is Screens and Teens by Kathy Koch. When your children are entering the stage of using electronics, I highly recommend this as part of your reading stack.  
What to monitor?
Primarily, we received requests for phone monitoring apps. We can't stress enough the value and importance of monitoring ALL devices for your children. Apps, texts, websites - you want to watch it all.

Focus on the Family's Plugged In has a great, quick guide for parents on the what and why. CLICK HERE to read. 
Recommended Monitoring Apps
Consumer Advocate gives a list of the Top 10 Parental Control Apps. Each app has a bullet point description that is very helpful in breaking down the advantages and directing parents in what to look for. I see that Qustodio is on this list, which is frequently mentioned by parents in The Joyful Stepmom.

Focus on the Family's Plugged In recommends some of the same parental control apps. This list also adds Covenant Eyes which is another app recommended by members of The Joyful Stepmom.

Below is a list of parental control apps that made both lists, including those frequently used by members of our stepmom community:
NetNanny
Norton
Qustodio
Covenant Eyes

We share this information with no ranking or bias, only in the hopes that when you are on the search for this information it helps to have a few resources gathered. As mentioned, we have received the question enough times from members that we wanted to gather our own list to provide a little information for you. Protecting the hearts, minds and eyes of your family is precious to us as parents.