Thursday, December 15, 2016

Watch "The Chaos of Holiday Hecticness!" On Demand

Do you ever feel like the best gifts of the season evade you amidst the frantic nature of the holidays? Do you find yourself preparing trappings when you wish you could be preparing your heart for something far richer? In this episode of Chaos to Calm, I sit down with two pastors who are also parents and explore how they try to capture the true meaning of the season. You will hear personal childhood memories plus learn a fun way of engaging your children around Christmas...I am not going to tell you where all of the nativity figurines wind up!

This episode is my gift to you, friends. I pray it enriches your season, home, and heart.

Did you like it? Please SHARE it! I need your help to get the word out about this hopefully helpful and meaningful ministry. What better time to think of someone and share than at Christmas?


P.S. I hint in this episode about a BIG giveaway happening on my January show (thank you, Zonderkidz), plus introduce my upcoming guest. She's an author who has captured the hearts of many, many children, and she will capture yours too!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Winner and Watch "The Chaos of Holiday Hecticness!"


I am pleased to announce the winner of the Zonderkidz giveaway for a copy of author Glenys Nellist's new book: Christmas Love Letters from God. We had readers register from all over the country! Our winner heralds from Connecticut: A. Mones. I will be emailing you to confirm your address, and you will be getting your book soon! We've now added Connecticut to our long list of other prize winning states here on the blog. Winners have also come from Maine, New Jersey, Texas, Indiana, Kansas, Illinois, South Carolina, and Arizona. And readers, A. Mones definitely took advantage of bonus entry options -- note that for next time! 

In fact, two BIG giveaways will be happening in coordination with my January TV show for the parenting series Chaos to Calm. The topic is "The Calm of Building Children's Faith Foundations." If you want to find out more about these giveaways, don't miss December's show! (Hint: Another one of Glenys' books will be up for grabs then too, along with books from many other authors!) Which reminds me...

"The Chaos of Holiday Hecticness!" will be airing on HomeTowne TV TOMORROW night at 9 PM EST. My goal was to sit down with two pastors, who are also parents, to hear how they try to keep the spirit of Christmas alive in their families amidst so many competing forces. If you're feeling run down, or like you're out of touch with the REAL blessings of the season, DON'T miss this! The episode includes a fun way to engage children in the Christmas message...I can't wait to try it!

Me interviewing fellow pastor and mom, Deborah Huggins
For those of you in NJ, tune into channel 33 (Verizon) or 36 (Comcast) on Tuesday. Or, anyone can live stream the show at 9 PM EST by clicking here. An on demand YouTube link will follow later in the week. If you are subscribed my email to my blog (see the upper right hand corner of the homepage), you will get this episode, along with more giveaway information, sent right to your inbox!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

P.S. For those of you who are new to the blog, you can catch up on past Chaos to Calm episodes by clicking here!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Giveaway and Guest Post: Seven Family Activities Around the Christmas Tree

It's a delight to have my friend Glenys Nellist back to my blog! Glenys has a gift in making God's promises personal for every child. She does it this time through love letters from God to your child around the Christmas story. To see just how she does it, watch here. And to register for a FREE COPY of her new book, which is sure to be a new family tradition at your house, enter via the form below on the homepage or by clicking here! (See contest details below.)

In the spirit of her Christmas book (recommended ages preschool-8), Glenys is passing along seven family activities to do around the Christmas tree. Her background as a Christian educator and grandmother is apparent as she encourages these memorable family moments. She writes:

There’s simply no better time than Christmas to make memories and establish family traditions with our children. Set aside some time each night to gather around the Christmas tree and enjoy these activities together!

1. Favorite Ornament: Have everyone choose a favorite ornament from the tree. Take turns telling each other why you chose that one.
2. Bethlehem’s Baby Boy: Download your free color-a-story sheet of Bethlehem's Baby Boy, from the first Love Letters from God book. Read the story, then color it in.
3. Light of The World: Turn off all of the lights in the room except the lights on the Christmas tree. Sit quietly for a few minutes as you think and talk about how Jesus is the light of the world.
4. Carol Sing: Have everyone choose their favorite carol and sing the first verse together or listen to it.
5. Candy Canes: Have each family member thread white and red beads alternately onto pipe cleaners and then bend them into the shape of a candy cane to hang on the tree. (J is for Jesus!)
6. DIY Nativity: Download this free nativity scene and cut out figures from Christmas Love Letters from God. Have fun creating your own special scene!
7. Favorite Memories: Take turns sharing your favorite memories of the year. Now write (or draw) your own letter to God, thanking God for those times. Put each in its own envelope and save them. Next year, open and read them around the tree.

Happy memory-making!


Good luck winning her book! A winner will be chosen one week from today on Monday, December 12th.  All entrants must have a US street address (no PO boxes) for shipping purposes, please. Watch for bonus entry options! Enter via the form below on the homepage or by clicking here. Disclaimer: I was given a free copy in exchange for my honest review.

Also, don't miss the upcoming episode of my new parenting series, Chaos to Calm, on "The Chaos of Holiday Hecticness!" It will air on Tuesday, December 13th. Subscribe by email to my blog on the upper righthand side of my homepage to have episodes sent right to your inbox! Watch the most recent episode on bullying, grief, and anxiety in children here.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Watch Episode Two: The Chaos of School Social Problems!

This month's episode of Chaos to Calm is on "The Chaos of School Social Problems!" Hear an expert bring CALM to the CHAOS of anxiety, grief, and bullying in school aged children. 

Is your child or a child you know struggling with:

* separation anxiety

* performance anxiety
* grief over the loss of a loved one or pet
* being bothered at school

I interview expert Aida Swon on these topics; Aida is a licensed social worker with a private practice, a school counselor for over a decade, and a former elementary school teacher. She gives us practical advice along with suggestions for further reading for both parents AND children. 

Don't miss it! You can watch the episode here: The Chaos of School Social Problems.

Also, if you haven't seen the first episode of Chaos to Calm, you can watch it here: The Chaos of Family Scheduling!

Thanks for watching and SHARING friends! Be sure to subscribe to this blog via your email address on the homepage in order to get each episode sent to your inbox. The topic for December will be navigating the chaos of the holidays with meaning and intention!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Giving Thanks for a One-Eyed Turkey

As we’re rounding the corner to another holiday season, I find myself missing the finger painted turkeys from my sons’ preschool days this year. Young children have a way of capturing the essence of the holiday spirit with their enthusiasm, innocence, and adorable art – even if their turkeys are one eye or leg short!

A recent study found that cultivating Thanksgiving’s spirit of gratefulness in our children actually has many lasting, positive effects. The University of California at Berkeley’s Greater Good publication cites: “…Until 2005, we know of no studies that examined gratitude and well-being in young children. Then, in 2006, psychologists Nansook Park and Christopher Peterson conducted an analysis of parents’ descriptions of their children’s strengths—and found that gratitude had the strongest relationship to life satisfaction.” What a gift to cultivate in our children!

The Bible isn’t shy about promoting a continual spirit of thanksgiving in everyone. In I Thessalonians 5:18 we read, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” When we’re obedient, we can experience the three life-changing characteristics of giving thanks. Local folks, I'll be preaching about what those characteristics are at Central Presbyterian Church in Summit at 5 PM this Sunday.

Looking ahead to Thanksgiving week, the second episode of my new parenting series, Chaos to Calm, will be airing. Tune into NJ's HomeTowne TV at 9 PM on Tuesday night, 11/22, for “The Chaos of School Social Problems.” I interview a licensed social worker and local school counselor on grief, anxiety, and bullying in children. The episode will also be available via on demand. Stay tuned!

To watch my gratefulness segment for TODAY, click here.

To read my most recent article on being grateful, click here.

This post was also shared on Central Presbyterian Church in Summit's staff blog.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Lift Your Perspective, Change Your Life

Fall leaves crunch underfoot, beautiful auburn hues paint the trees, and the smell of warm fire fills the cold air. Thanksgiving season is approaching once again...but what happens if you don't feel thankful? In this article for the Redbud Post, I explore the true meaning and benefits of thanksgiving. Find the motivation to treasure every blessing and the inspiration to change your life.

You wake up late and rush through the morning. You haven’t had your coffee, cereal is all over the floor, and the children are screaming. It’s hard to be thankful.
An opportunity you really wanted didn’t work out. You feel hurt, dejected, and maybe even, forgotten by God. It’s hard to be thankful.
You’re pouring yourself into your commitments. Despite your best effort, you see no change, and instead, encounter frustration, stress, and exhaustion. It’s hard to be thankful.
Despite these relatable scenarios, I’m learning the secret to contentment isn’t necessarily a change in circumstances—it’s a change in perspective. Actually, it’s living each day with thankfulness.
In the often memorized verses of Philippians 4:6-7, Paul writes, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace…” (NLT, emphasis mine). It’s easy to focus on the prayer and petition part and miss Paul’s encouragement to be thankful. Because let’s face it: Life can give us ample reasons to petition to God.
The Bible says that in this world, we will know hardship. It can span from everyday trials to far graver situations. There can be “thorns” in our side, thorns that no matter how much we pray, sometimes remain and inflict pain. I know those thorns, those challenge-me-to-my-core and all-I-can-do-is-fall-on-my-knees issues, and Paul did too. 
Paul writes Philippians as a man who has known great hardship: persecution, imprisonment, beatings. Yet, he professes to be someone who has learned to be content in all circumstances. His contentment flows from a deep-seated conviction that God will never leave him, and his purpose will be fulfilled through him. This kind of man would not advocate a Pollyanna-world kind of thanksgiving. Paul is advocating thankfulness from the trenches. 
Are you in the trenches today? Thanksgiving not only pleases God, but it’s beneficial to us...
To finish reading this article and discover the three ways that thanksgiving can make a difference in your life, click here. If you think a friend or loved one could benefit from it today, please share it!

Also, stay tuned for November's episode of Chaos to Calm on school social problems! It will air on November 22nd at 9 PM on HomeTowne TV. I'll be talking with a licensed social worker and local school counselor about anxiety, grief, and bullying. Subscribe by email to this blog to have the episode sent right to your inbox!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Watch the "Chaos to Calm" Premiere NOW!

Find out how to move from chaos to calm when it comes to family schedules - watch the premiere of my new parenting series, Chaos to Calm, NOW!

Episode One, "The Chaos of Family Scheduling," is available to watch by clicking HERE:

Special thanks to Ike Welsh, Beth Briar, the HomeTowne TV team, my sponsor Central Presbyterian Church in Summit, NJ, and the many others who contributed to this episode. Want a chance to contribute as well? Watch and find out how your children could be ON AIR!

Stay tuned for a the next episode on school social problems next month! Finally, if you loved this episode, please SHARE IT!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Peace Amidst Hectic Schedules!

As fall schedules start up, tensions can reeve up! I’ve been thinking a lot about our often hectic lives. Maybe you resonate with these sentiments:

  • With people coming and going all of the time, my house feels like a hotel – but I want to be building a home!
  • I spend the majority of my time in the car. I feel more like a chauffeur than a parent!
  • Afterschool/Afterwork is the most stressful part of my day! It’s a race to fit in activities, meals, and homework before bedtime. I want to actually ENJOY time with my children!

These sentiments were not hard for me to write as a mom of two, because it’s so easy to engage in the rush around us! But at some point I have to wonder if culture’s pace is actually hurting the very families we are working so hard to build. Quality family time that’s lost cannot be relived. Young children who know the weight of panic and stress have lost a certain innocence. And parents who tirelessly give out of a depleting well of energy aren’t doing themselves or their family any long-term favors.

When culture’s drum beats faster, we have the benefit of marching to a different rhythm as Christians. Scripture reminds us that a harried life isn’t a fulfilling one. It challenges us to recognize the cost of keeping up with the crowd. And it empowers us to make wiser choices that can bring true happiness and no regrets.

I’m convinced God is inviting us off of the mass hamster wheel of culture and into unique, fulfilling lives of purpose. Will you join me in exploring how?

This Sunday, I’ll be preaching at the WAVE 5 pm service at Central Presbyterian Church in Summit, NJ. My topic is “Peace Amidst Hectic Schedules.” This message is for everyone – families with children, empty nesters, or individuals seeking richer peace in general.

On Tuesday, my new parenting TV series, “Chaos to Calm with Noelle Kirchner,” will air on HomeTowne TV at 9 pm. This series focuses on how we can transform all too familiar family chaos moments into calm through faith. Appropriately, my first topic is “The Chaos of Family Scheduling!” Tune in for laughs, pictures, insights, and interviews with two special guests. HomeTowne broadcasts through the Comcast (36) and Verizon (33) stations in New Jersey; for additional viewing information, click here.

Friends, I need these messages just as much as anyone. But what a gift to not only benefit from God’s wisdom, but experience it together! I hope you’ll be a part of these opportunities.

This post appears also on Central Church's blog this week!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Chaos to Calm: My New TV Series!

In less than three short weeks, my first TV show will air! I am writing and hosting a new parenting series called "Chaos to Calm with Noelle Kirchner." It will focus on how we can transform those everyday moments of family chaos into calm through faith. The first episode is about a particularly relevant topic this time of year: The CHAOS of family scheduling!

I remember when my children were little and still napped, and I would sometimes plan an afternoon playdate or enrichment activity to break up the day. Inevitably, naps would run late on those days. I found myself waking up sleepy kids who'd start crying, complaining, or even screaming. My whole body would tense up. As I found myself strapping them into the car, it didn't take me long to have an "Ah-Ha!" moment. This activity was supposed to be fun and enriching, but it's torture for everyone! WHAT AM I DOING THIS FOR?

By extension, what are we doing the crazy schedules we live today for? I'm going to examine the cost of culture's rapid-fire lifestyle on our families. I'm also going to explore how faith can empower us to make different, more enriching choices.

My first guest, Beth Briar, is a mom of two grown children who will share her own chaos story and some wisdom in retrospect. My second guest, Ike Welsh, is a Summit Middle School teacher and baseball coach. He will share his insights into the lives of our children and describe the changes those observations have encouraged him to make at home in light of his faith.

I am reminded of scripture's question, "Why do you labor for that which does not satisfy?" (Isaiah 55:2). Does that describe how you are feeling right now? Are you working yourself to exhaustion as a parent but still feeling empty? We can protect our families and ourselves from the mounting stress levels and commitments of our culture. We can move from "Chaos to Calm!"

Here's the info you need to TUNE IN! The show will air on October 25th at 9 PM EST on Hometowne Television network, reaching over 600,000 homes in NJ through the Comcast (36) and Verizon (33) stations. It will also be available on demand at: or I'll be recording a new show for each month of the school year; eight episodes will air, each with a different theme. Check my blog monthly for these themes and new episode air times. Following an episode’s first airing, additional show times will be Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 9:30 amMondayWednesday and Friday afternoons at 3 pm, and Sunday evenings at 7 and 9:30 pm. All times are EST.

Here's the info you need to PARTICIPATE! I am creating a new "Chaos to Calm" parenting community through the show. I am asking you to share your chaos and calm family moments by posting your pictures either via Facebook or Twitter. Be sure to use the hashtag #ChaostoCalm! Your pictures will automatically be registered for a chance to be ON AIR! 

THANK YOU for your support, and I can't wait to share in this TV journey with you! So many wonderful people are helping make this show possible. Check out a picture of the set below!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

NBC's "This Is Us" Premieres Tonight!

This morning I was honored to gather with other TODAY Show Parenting Team moms to watch an advance screening of NBC's This Is Us, a new drama. The show will air tonight at 10 pm EST after The Voice. As I watched, I laughed. I definitely cried. And I recommend this show!

The premiere introduces us to seemingly disparate characters who are particularly appealing through their imperfections. As the plot unfolds, we see how these characters are connected as we connect to them ourselves.

This Is Us does not shy away from big yet real life issues - conflicted mid-life identity, estranged parenting, frustrated weight gain, and infant loss, to name a few. But amidst its heavy drama, there is well-timed comedic levity, making this a show that you will not only want to watch, but see again.

I was particularly struck by how the premiere artfully handles infant loss. While miscarriage statistically happens one in every four pregnancies, it is hardly a topic of everyday conversation, let alone major network material. But it's handled in a redeeming, even inspiring, way on screen.

I hope you'll watch tonight and let me know what you think. One lead actor in the series, Milo Ventimiglia, stated, "The show will break your heart and reach in and give it a hug too." So get prepared to be drawn in...and don't forget your tissues!

Click here to see the trailer. Please note this is an adult show, so there is adult content.

Thank you, TODAY Show Parenting Team, for this experience! Interested in joining the team? Submit a post here.

Me and Milo

Me and some Parenting Team members

Friday, September 9, 2016

Two Mom-Ready Back to School Prayers

Everyone is back to school this week in our area. Sending our children back to school can feel saddening, because not only do we miss them, but we are not there to come alongside them during their day. The good news is that God can span the distance between our arms and theirs when they are apart from us. We leave them in God's capable hands when we pray. This is a prayer I wrote when my oldest son started full day school - you can easily adopt it for your daughters too. I hope it encourages you today.

Dear God,

You are such a merciful Parent. Thank you for the way you gently guide us through our day. You are a font of infallible instruction and unending love.

Bless my baby as he is apart from me. Form a hedge of protection around him. If he is ever unsure or afraid, draw ever closer to him. Whisper your promises to his heart.

Help him to walk confidently in this new chapter of self-definition with you by his side. Guide him, gentle Shepherd, into your fold and place your call upon his heart. Assist him in its exciting discovery.

You are amazing and will always provide more than I can ever give, for you are a constant and perfect presence. As our family transitions in this new school year, continue to shape me and us so that we can best support him and together shine your light exactly where you've placed us.

We praise you for your faithfulness. We look forward to celebrating life's ensuing milestones with you. Continue to strengthen our family as we seek to be faithful and bask in your love.

In Your Son's name I pray,


The new school year signifies a new beginning. At the same time I'm entrusting my boys to God's care, I'm also asking for God's wisdom as I look to shape their life. I want to benefit from God's strength and direction by opening a prayer lifeline.

Dear God,

Thank you for the gift of a new school year with my child. Before schedules get too busy, help me to pause and appreciate the special opportunity this year of learning and friendship brings.

Thank you for my child. As I know you have chosen me to be his or her parent, I pray that you will equip my family with these blessings in particular this year:

Courage.  I pray for courage for my child - not only to meet the demands of his or her chosen path, but also for strength of character.

Passion.  Lord, fan my child's passions. Use me as an instrument to come alongside to dream, support, and encourage them.

Protection.  I pray for protection for my child - not only from injury or harm, but from culture's pace and expectations.

Sanctuary.  Lord, make our home a sanctuary. Help it not to be a place for franticness and meltdowns, but a place where we regroup, nurture, and redefine what it means to be a healthy, successful family.

Freedom.  I confess there's a strong pressure to compare my family to others. I confess there's a strong pressure to people-please at the cost of added stress upon my family. Lord, direct my eyes only to You; help us to experience the freedom that brings.

Wisdom.  It's humbling that you want to bless us with your wisdom, as the One who made it all. Thank you for never leaving us alone; draw me closer to you. May your wisdom be an open and available lifeline this year.

Love.  Please help love to be at the core of all we are and all we do. May your love inspire my family to grow, heal, give thanks, and enjoy our blessings each day.

I place all that is precious to me in Your capable hands. Thank you in advance for being faithful.

In Your Son's name I pray,


If you appreciated this post, you might also enjoy The Power of a Praying Mom.


I've been working on the details of a new faith and parenting TV series that will air beginning next month! I have been finalizing the line up and set to make it the best, most helpful, and FUN show it can be. The official press release will be out later this month or early next - stay tuned here for the big announcement!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

How We Can Live a Vacation Every Day

My family just got back from vacation. As I've been cherishing new memories, I've been remembering old ones too - like the ones I describe in this post from last summer...I hope you are savoring every sweet last moment of summer!

Everyday my children wanted to go to the beach on vacation. Everyday.  

That meant everyday of rubbing sunscreen thoroughly all over their squirmy bodies. Everyday of lugging beach and sand equipment for what felt like over a mile to our choice spot. Everyday of coming home to a shower to get sand out of every crevice, while I’ll never completely get it out of the car.

But the memories are sweet, I’d remind myself. And the giddy look on their faces would make me want to pause time. And the confidence they’d show in the water through simple swim strokes would make me believe they can do anything.

Keeping that motivation in mind, I sighed a deep breath and got ready for the days’ events one morning. After I got my boys lathered up with sunscreen, they played ball on the deck while I started to apply my own.

“My back is always so tricky - it’s very hard for mommy to get,” I said under my breath, as if to excuse the funny way I was moving to try to get every angle of my fair skin.

Yet at that comment, my older son put his ball down and came over. “Mommy, can I help you put the sunscreen on your back?” he said unprompted.

Surprised, I bent down. I was expecting a hasty, messy application, but I wanted to encourage his thoughtfulness. But my son surprised me. He proceeded to apply sunscreen to my back in thorough, gentle strokes for over five minutes. “I’m doing three coats, Mom, to make sure you don’t get burned.” As I felt his little, sticky hands do their very best, a tear came to my eye.

This is the son who made me a mother. This is the son who inspired the care I give my children every day, the care that felt like a scary privilege with a newborn in my arms to what now often feels like second nature. As I felt his hands dance across my back, I remembered giving them their first kisses as chubby fists.  

This child who I am so used to caring for was now caring for me. He was helping me. He was expressing his love with maturity.  

I was so glad I took the time to receive his offering.  

While the days’ work loomed in my head, I had stumbled upon a moment that made it all worthwhile. And this is usually how it happens. Parenting is a constant juggle between the tasks that must be done and a willingness to let them go and savor the moment. Sometimes we ignite ordinary moments into something special. Or sometimes we just have to allow the space for them to happen.

Why is it so much easier for us to honor those moments on vacation? Is that one reason we look so forward to vacation? 

I loved not living by the clock last week. I loved the freedom that came from the mantra: “We’ll get there when we get there.” Yes, I know daily living can’t always be that way. But one thing I’m sure of is that the work will always be there - even on vacation. Yet the special moments and the heart-felt offerings will not. 

It makes me believe that we all need a little vacation weaved into our everyday. IHandsfree Life, Rachel Macy Stafford says, “This day could either be checked off or it could be lived.” While we made memories to last a lifetime last week, I left eager to invite more unexpected ones that are waiting as gifts - both for the people I love and for me.

Our fond memories include my older son discovering: “Life is better on a boogie board.”

And after burying my shoes last year at the beach (we only recovered one), my younger son stuck to just burying my feet this year. He still had a blast.

You can also find this post at Huff Post Parents.

TODAY Video Clip