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Susan Wanderer has worked with families in kids ministry for 20 years, with the last ten years serving as Kids Minister at Mount Ararat Church in Stafford. Susan and her husband Ed reside in Fredericksburg and have three amazing kids who joined their family in 2011 and who fill their days with adventure. Come join the conversation over at 

My Stomping Grounds

On Monday morning my kids will begin their sixth year of school in America.

Each year I tenderly recall taking my Amharic-speaking children into school on their first day of American school life.  The lump in my throat was so thick I absolutely Could. Not. Swallow.

I was so hopeful and scared and proud. Their smiles were so wide. They whispered Amharic hope in my ear every time they saw a potential new friend or teacher. I winked, kissed their foreheads, and tried to swallow that lump.

Here we are almost to the eve of another school year. This coming Monday night I will be hearing first-day-of-school stories from a newly crowned second grader, fifth grader and junior. And I simply can’t wait. Even on the hard days, Mama-hood is such a gift to my soul. They bring joy to parts of my life I never knew were empty.

This summer has been an intense season for us as a family.  And as I sat this week with my kids I decided my theme for this coming school year needs to be: Linger Longer.

My junior will be gone before I type this next word, my second grader will ask for the car keys tomorrow and my fifth grader will be off on her first job interview in the morning. Time is flying. And while there is a bit of heartache, there is also excitement in the new discoveries, adventures and independence that are ahead.

So this year, I want to Linger Longer.

Linger longer in their stories…

in their giggles…

in video games with my son…

in family walks…

in holding hands with my husband and smooching him in front of my kids…

in gathering on the couch as a family watching our favorite shows…

in encouraging at the homework table…

in relaxing on the back porch reading books…

I even want to linger a bit longer in the heartache moments and the words and experiences that provide healing because that’s where the growth really happens as individuals and families.

Six years ago I was not a Mama. Today, I am. And I never want to take that for granted. My kids gave me one of the greatest joys I’ve ever known. They made us family.

And on Monday, I will Linger Longer in the lunch making, the prayers prayed, the goodbye kisses and the hopes of a great first day.

My hope for you this school year, parents: many lovely, busy-free moments to Linger Longer with your kiddos. 

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Pouches' Community Corner

Trains, Planes and Automobiles Kids' Race Series


From a small beginning, Cathy Weise of the Ron Rosner YMCA has developed an ambitious three-race series for kids for this summer, with the help of The Great Train Race, Shannon Airport, Dominion Raceway & Entertainment, the Fredericksburg Area Service League and Race Timing Unlimited.

Great Train Race Director Jennifer Taylor was one of the first on board.