SMM 027: Letting Children Have Agency + Building Lasting Family Traditions || Alisse Coil

A few months ago I posted on Instagram asking for ideas on keeping extended families close. Since I’m entering a new phase of motherhood, I wanted to know how I can keep my family close as children start leaving home. So many people responded. I gathered amazing ideas. One of the people who responded was my friend, Alisse Coil. She had great family traditions to share that resonated with many. I invited her on the podcast to talk about how she established her family traditions.

Show Recap

Lean Into Strengths

Alisse is the mother of 5 and had her first four children in a five-year period. Her four oldest children are now grown and she also has 3 grandchildren. Alisse started her motherhood journey thinking she would be “supermom” but quickly learned that doing everything perfectly wasn’t going to work.

Over time, Alisse learned to lean into her own strengths as a mother and not focus on what she wasn’t good at. She said, “I am the whole package, just as me.”

Let Children Have Agency

We had a great discussion about how Alisse learned to let go of control. She learned to let her children use their own agency. She and her husband established “silver bullets” like honesty, open communication, modesty and being kind that they weren’t going to budge on. They left pretty much everything else up to their children to decide for themselves with guidance.

Alisse has seen that giving children the opportunity to use their agency helps build a lasting parent-child relationship. She also believes it’s a big way a mother can show her child love.

Build Lasting Family Traditions

Many of the traditions her family now values started when her kids were very young. They didn’t have much money but they always found ways to serve together. They started a Christmas tradition 20 years ago of hanging a stocking for Jesus at the beginning of December. Family members were invited to place slips of paper in the stocking with kindnesses they had seen during the season written down.  On Christmas Eve they read what everyone has written. This simple tradition has endured for over 20 years and is now being passed on to Alisse’s 3 grandchildren.

You’ll want to listen to the end to hear what Alisse feels we can learn as mothers from Noah’s wife. She said, “For God to truly be my partner, I have to trust in His process.”

To end, Alisse shared this powerful quote: “The power of prayer resides in listening to the Spirit and accepting the words God puts into one’s mind and into one’s mouth. Prayer is more about listening and feeling then it is about speaking and asking.” (Matriarchs of the Messiah by Joann Skousen)

How to Listen

Listen to the podcast below or on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher or Sound Cloud.  If you like the show, please subscribe and leave a review.

Show Notes

Follow Alisse:


Go here to see the Instagram post where Alisse and many others shared their ideas about keeping extended families close.

Alisse shared this quote during the podcast: “God places a Goliath in our life so we can find our own David.”

To read more about the story of Noah and his wife go to the Bible to Genesis chapters 6, 7, 8 and 9.

Follow Spiritually Minded Mom:

Podcast: Spiritually Minded Mom on iTunes

How to Stop Being a Frazzled Mom at Christmas

As a mom I had a secret I kept for a long time. Inside I secretly dreaded Christmas. For me, Christmas was a chaotic time I didn’t look forward to. I had busy kids year round. Adding on everything that comes with the season felt overwhelming and stressful and made me into a frazzled mom at Christmas.

As a result, I am not proud to say that two years ago I found myself uttering the words, “I hate Christmas” under my breath more times than I would care to admit.

I knew something had to change.

No More Frazzled Mom at Christmas

Last year I found one thing that totally turned everything around for me and I didn’t say “I hate Christmas” once. Consequently, Christmas 2017 turned out to be one of the best Christmases our family has ever had. My schedule didn’t get any less busy and there were still moments of chaos, but I shifted my focus and that made all the difference.

If you are dreading December and feeling like a frazzled mom at Christmas already but you want to make a change, here’s something to turn everything around.

Last year, I brought my focus for the Christmas season back to Jesus Christ through a campaign my church did called “Light the World.” Every day for the 25 days leading up to Christmas my family had a scripture to focus on and a suggestion for a small act of service we could do to remember Jesus.

I felt prompted to keep the whole thing simple and I did. I printed a ready-made calendar off the church website and stuck it on my fridge.

How to stop being a frazzled mom at Christmas

The True Meaning of Christmas

Each morning, my family and I looked at the calendar, read the scripture (sometimes watched a video to go along with the theme of the day) and then tried to think of some form of service we could do during the day to remember Jesus Christ.

One day my husband and I went to bed to find cards for each of us on our pillows. Our kids had gone to the store, picked out funny thank you cards and each written a little note to us. The day’s focus was on honoring parents and with no prompting from us, our kids found a way to do that.

Another day, I was up early and headed to the store because we were out of milk for breakfast. I saw a homeless man as I was leaving the store. It was cold outside and my heart ached for him. What could I do to help him? The thought came to me to just pray for him and I did. I couldn’t stop thinking of him and ironically, I saw him again in the early afternoon. He was crossing a crosswalk as I was waiting at a red light. Again, I wanted to give him something or help him in some way and again the prompting came, “Just pray for him.” I did pray and I prayed for him for days after. I didn’t do anything massive but following a prompting to utter a few simple prayers for someone I didn’t know made a huge difference in my life.

A Different Christmas

After a month filled with small acts of service, we got up on Christmas morning. After breakfast, we looked in stockings and headed to church. We had spent the month focusing on the Savior.  Now we got to worship at church on the day we celebrated his life. It was perfect.

Last week, I opened the spreadsheet I use every year to keep track of Christmas gifts. I found a note I had written to myself after Christmas last year, which I had completely forgotten about.

“Dear Darla. When you open this spreadsheet to plan for 2017, remember this has been the least stressful Christmas ever. The presents weren’t overflowing under the tree, but we had a great season remembering the Savior. We helped to ‘light the world.’ You are so blessed. Remember to increase your budget for holiday food. Remember gifts for bus drivers. Remember to wrap everything as you get it. Remember how much joy your kids had in picking out the perfect gifts to give to others. Plan more service for 2017.”

Light the World this Christmas

If you’re ready to help your family put more focus on Christ, here’s how you can access Light the World for this year.

Go here to download the calendar with the Bible references for each day.

You can find a video to watch with your family or share on social media for each of the 25 days here.

I will be posting on the Spiritually Minded Mom Instagram account throughout the month about the things my family is doing for Light the World. Feel free to follow along and tag us in your posts about Light the World.

If you have any questions, leave a comment, fill out the contact form or message me via Instagram. I would love to help you!

Light the World came into my life last year at just the right time. No more frazzled mom at Christmas for me. I can’t wait to do it again this year. I hope you will feel Jesus Christ’s love as you celebrate His birth this year.