So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

You’ll want to watch this video twice, I promise. You’ll watch it the first time and be surprised. Then you’ll watch it again to see what you missed.

Don’t read on…I’m serious. Watch the video first. Spoilers ahead, and you’ll want to take the two minutes 30 seconds to watch the video.

Go. Watch it. Now.

Done? OK…now read on.

What I get from this video will be slightly different from what you get because our perspectives are not the same. Yes, overall the message is to be aware and watch for the signs of violence. But I also believe there is a fine line between knowing the signs and interpreting them. I mean, not EVERY kid who looks at a gun magazine or researches weapons online is going to be a shooter. The website Sandy Hook Promises makes a similar statement: unless it is an overt, serious threat, it’s usually an accumulation of signs that need to be taken seriously.

Some of our society’s violent problems stem from bullying but also because people are less likely to know how to cope with bullies, negative feelings, stress, and any lack of instant gratification. There is a fine line between suicide and homicide, and many times they overlap because people cannot see other options.

It’s easy to see how negative thoughts pop into people’s minds. They often reach out for help or show signs (such as in the video). Yes, there are those who are able to hide their intents, as well as many of the signs, but there are many people out there who want help. They just don’t know how to find it.

The goal of Sandy Hook Promise is to prevent violence by making people aware of the signs. I was able to chat with Nicole Hockley, one of the managing directors for the group. Her 6-year-old son, Dylan, was one of the children killed during the Sandy Hook school shooting. The mission of Sandy Hook Promise is to “prevent gun-related deaths due to crime, suicide and accidental discharge so that no other parent experiences the senseless, horrific loss of their child” (source: However, the group understands that gun violence is not the only means by which violent crimes are committed, and they reach out to educate people on safety regarding all weapons.

It’s our job as parents, as friends, as co-workers, as teachers, as anyone-on-the-street to pay attention to others. It’s our job to be kind. To be compassionate. To stop judging. To help others. To note the struggling. To teach children that instant gratification and letting our emotions rule our minds is not a balanced way to live. To show others that love is not just a feeling of infatuation and passion, but comes through many choices, and that it comes in MANY forms.

Hockley noted they’ve had a few negative responses to the PSA but that the overwhelming majority have been positive. “It’s a new way of looking at (gun) violence prevention, and sadly it’s based on facts from experts.” Their website contains a downloadable fact sheet.

She wrote “We’re about prevention. Helping people in the days/months/years before they hurt themselves or others, by any weapon.” She noted their free school training was credited with preventing a shooting plot, multiple suicides, other forms of self-harm, firearms/weapons being brought to school, and getting people the mental health assistance they need.

The group is not an anti-weapon group, and they aren’t preaching gun control. They give research, facts, stories, and tips for safely owning weapons. They focus on mental wellness and getting help, as well as appropriate, safe access to weapons. Hockley summed up their tactics as “Very moderate. Very non political. We just want to save lives.”

Hockley wrote that the PSA, to her, says “…we don’t always see what’s right in front of us. But we can learn to see it and respond.” The PSA serves as an introduction to the group’s educational program meant to change attitudes and behaviors, hopefully saving hundreds of thousands of lives.

She wrote “Think of other PSAs – signs of stroke, heart attack, drowning and domestic abuse. Once you learn what to look for and then what to do, you can help a lot of people. In my/our opinion, preventing gun violence no different. But nobody’s looked at it that way before.”

The biggest wake up call came when the FBI discussed the Sandy Hook shooter with Hockley. “The signs he’d given off throughout his life that were not acted on. The same signs other mass shooters give off. Similar signs to what suicides give off. When I asked them why didn’t they educate people if they knew all this, they said their resources meant they could only train law enforcement.”

Most violence is preventable. Sandy Hook Promise is only one group that works to educate people regarding the prevention of violence. There are free programs available for schools, businesses, and communities.

Become aware of the signs. Know how to report and get help for others or yourself. Preventing violence is not a helpless or hopeless situation.

Hockley lost her son in an act of violence; however, she is reaching out to others in hopes of preventing similar pain.

” What they {the FBI} couldn’t do, I intend to.”

Feature image via YouTube

Jessica McCaslin

Jessica is a mom who is working outside the home part-time and who is learning to cope with the ever-changing daily challenges of full-time parenthood. She graduated with her Master's degree in community counseling from the University of Nebraska at Kearney in 2005, and works with a diverse mental health population. Jessica resides in Central Nebraska with her husband and four children on the family ranch.

Mothering One Day at a Time

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother holding daughter in matching shirts, color photo

As I sat with my growing belly, full of anticipation for the arrival of my firstborn, the possibilities were endless for this little girl. Maybe she would lean toward the arts and be a dancer, writer, or musician. Or maybe she would take after her great-granddad and become a scientist. And maybe one day she would be a mother too. Dreaming about the future was fun and exciting. But then she surprised us with an at-birth Down syndrome diagnosis. Special needs were never included in my dreaming sessions.    All of the sudden, my hopes and dreams for this new...

Keep Reading

Fall into the Arms of Jesus, Little One

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Child walking

I have three younger brothers, so I know how crazy and wild boys can be. Lots of falls, cuts, scrapes, bruises, broken bones, and even a couple of head stitches. My husband has two younger brothers. He’d always tell how they used to jump from the banister down two floors onto the glass coffee table. Why anyone would do that, I have no idea. Pure madness and chaos.  Right now, I have a little baby boy who’s only seven months, but I know he will probably be just as wild as his uncles and dad. But that doesn’t mean I’m...

Keep Reading

I Want My Boys To Become Men of Character

In: Kids, Motherhood
Young boys with arms around each other by water

I’m a single mama of two young boys. As a woman raising young boys, I’ve thought a lot about how I want them to act—as kids and adults. We joke around that I’m not raising farm animals, and we don’t live in a frat house. I’m trying to plant seeds now so they grow into men with positive character traits. They burp, fart, spray toothpaste on the sink and somehow miss the toilet often, but I’m trying to teach them life lessons about what it means to be great men and gentlemen.  Interactions with other men provide opportunities for us...

Keep Reading

I Know It’s Just Summer Camp but I Miss You Already

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Kids by campfire

You would’ve thought I was sending you off to college. The way I triple-checked to make sure you had everything you needed and reminded you about the little things like brushing your teeth and drinking plenty of water about a thousand times. You would’ve thought I was sending you to live on your own. The way I hugged you tight and had to fight back some tears. The way you paused before leaving just to smile at me. The way I kept thinking about that boyish grin all the way home. The way I kept thinking about how you’re looking...

Keep Reading

Until There Was a Boy

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother looking at son and smiling, color photo

I never believed in love at first sight . . . until there was a boy.  A boy who made my heart whole the first time he looked at me.  A boy who held my hand and touched my soul at the same time.  A boy who challenged me and helped me grow. A boy who showed me that, even on the worst days, the world is still a beautiful place.  RELATED: I Met a Boy and He Changed Everything A boy who reminded me how to laugh until tears ran down my cheeks. A boy who tested my patience...

Keep Reading

A Mother’s Heart Remembers These Sweet Moments Forever

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and baby laughing

Motherhood gives you all the feelings. It’s hard not to be utterly thankful for and grieve the little things of your last baby, trying to take in all of the firsts and lasts. Every bin of clothes and baby gear packed up produces a tiny crack in a mother’s heart, breaking just a little bit more each time she says goodbye. It’s not that she needs those baby clothes, but it’s the memories each outfit held that are difficult for her to let go of. She does not want to forget those beautiful moments. When she looks at that bin...

Keep Reading

I Want You To Miss Your Childhood One Day Too

In: Kids, Living
Kids jumping off dock into lake

What I miss the most about childhood is owning my whole heart. Before I gave pieces of it away to others who weren’t always careful with it. And some, who never gave the pieces back. I miss my knowing. My absolute faith that my mother’s arms could fix just about everything and what her arms couldn’t, her cookies could. When my biggest grievance was not getting my way. I miss feeling whole, unblemished. Before words cut me. Before people had taken up space in my mind, created permanent movies that were ugly and still play on repeat at times. Before...

Keep Reading

No One Told Me It Was the Last Time You’d Be This Little

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and young son playing in ocean

No one told me it would be the last time I rocked you to sleep. A cry in the night, the haze of a dimly lit room, our rocking chair worn brown. We were the only ones in a little world. No one told me it would be the last time I carried you on my hip. The way my body shifted—you changed my center of gravity. Your little arm hooked in mine, a gentle sway I never noticed I was doing. No one told me it would be the last time I pushed you on the bucket swing. Your...

Keep Reading

The Only Way to Freeze Time Is to Take the Picture—So I’ll Take as Many as I Can

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two kids sitting in wagon, color photo

Life ebbs and flows. Seasons come and go. One of the reasons I take so many photos is because they are the only way to make time stand still. They provide a nostalgia that can’t compete with anything else. They help us remember the exact moment captured and show us how fast time is fleeting. It doesn’t matter if their texture is glossy or matte. It doesn’t matter if they are in a frame or on a screen. It doesn’t matter if they are professional or if someone’s thumbprint is in the upper corner. All that matters is the moment...

Keep Reading

Did I Shelter You Too Much?

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mom and tween daughter

I’ve made so many mistakes as your mother. From moving too much to letting you stay up too late, I know I should’ve done better. But of all the mistakes I’ve made, not letting you make your own was my biggest. It’s the one I regret the most. I only wanted your happiness. Keeping you safe and happy were my most important jobs.  At least I thought so at the time.   If you forgot your homework, I’d drive it in. If you were too tired for school, I let you stay home. If you didn’t want to speak, I spoke...

Keep Reading

5 Secrets to the

BEST Summer Ever!


Creating simple summer memories

with your kids that will  last a lifetime