Welcome

Join me in my daily walk through the joys and struggles of parenthood. Share a word of encouragement or be encouraged. Cry a little, laugh a lot, but know it is all in divine order.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Words of Wisdom - Achieving Goals - Inspirational video

YouTube Video Credit: l3ianaSerrano

Monday, December 28, 2015

Muffins with Mom – Whispered words – when a teen speaks




A mother and son moment
It was the morning of our annual youth Christmas program at church. I sat on the front pew with the other Sunday school teachers to assist the kids if they needed prompting. My teen son arrived at church after I did, since I had to be there early.
When my son arrived, he came and sat next to me on the front pew. As I watched the kids recite their lines, my son leaned in and whispered something to me. In a muffled tone what I heard was, mumble, mumble, “Mustache is long.”
In a hushed tone, I repeated what I thought my son said. “Did you say your mustache is long?”
He smiled at me and said, “No yours is long.”
I lovingly elbowed my son in his arm as I clapped for the little girl who had just finished reciting her lines.
As we left church, walking side by side, I leaned over and whispered to my son. “When you decide to marry, may your wife’s mustache be as long as mine.”
My son just looked at me and said, “Wow.”
Has your child ever said something awkward in public? How did you respond?

Friday, December 25, 2015

Feel Good Friday - Merry Chrismas

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Wishing you a Christmas filled with family, friends, and fun. As you enjoy your festivities, remember Jesus is the reason for the season. Take time to give thanks as you spend time with loved ones.

Here's a peek into my family Holiday...

 

 
 
Mummy Wrap Contest (winner)
 
 


Unwrap the gift of thankfulness.

 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Muffins with Mom – Dashing through the house


 
Dashing through the house, ready for visitors on the way,
Planning a meal for them to eat and games for them to play.
Before my son arrived home from college for the holiday season, I told him everything was the same as it was when he left…a mess. He arrived just in time to help prepare for the family, pre-Christmas dinner.
I waited for help with game ideas for our dinner, but instead, my teen boys were busy dashing through the house playing. From another room I heard the bumping, thumping sounds of WWE Wrestle Mania in my living room. My help had go astray.
I was left on my own to hurry and scurry,
To hang stockings with care and not worry.
In just a couple of days my home will be filled with the laughter and sharing of family that make the hustle and bustle of the holiday worthwhile. There is always at least one story that is etched in our memory from the previous year.
Creating memories is the best part of this time of year. There seems to be a lot of dashing off somewhere. At our house, it’s dashing off to church, dashing to the store and of course, dashing through the house in preparation for family.
What are your plans for the Holiday season? Will you dash around hurriedly with last minute preparations or relax and enjoy a slower pace?
Wishing you a happy holiday season!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Fun Friday –Bloopers on the job




Have ever had anything funny happen to you while at work? It happened to me recently and it wasn’t the first time.

Before I begin the story, allow me to give you a little backstory. I have always encouraged my teen boys to take speech classes and to accept speaking roles. “It’s a good way to become comfortable speaking at gatherings,” I told them.

My words of speaking advice for the boys has been threefold…
·         Speak slowly
·         Speak clearly
·         Project your voice

As I made an attempt to follow my own advice, I fell flat. It happened when I was called upon to say a few words at a luncheon. Here’s my story.

Holiday Luncheon
It was our annual Holiday Luncheon for one of our programs at work. There were over 150 people present. Just before lunch was served, my coordinator asked our public officials to greet the crowd. Each person gave a few remarks, then returned to the back of the room, where I also stood.

I had already circulated throughout the room greeting regular members and welcoming new faces. It was not my plan to speak at the mic. However, as soon as I popped a peppermint in my mouth, my coordinator said, “Angie, would you like to say a few words?”

I quickly crunched my peppermint as I walked around the maze of tables to the front of the room. My comments started out with correct grammar, I projected my voice, and then at some point, my tongue got twisted and did a thing of its own.

When trying to say Merry Christmas, it came out Murray Crit Mas. And when I tried to correct myself, I said it the same way again. I explained to the audience that I really did know how to talk, but my tongue was not cooperating at the moment. I wished them a Happy Holiday as they laughed with me.

I had mastered the art of speaking fluent gibberish.
When I told my son about my fumbled speaking moment, he shared an embarrassing moment on his job.


An escalator ride


Going up the down escalator
 
My teen son, Donovan, is working at a department store for the holiday season. He told me about an episode that happened the other day. He was given the task of returning a few clothing items from one department to another. This required taking an escalator ride.

My son stepped onto the down escalator with his arms loaded with several pair of pants. About four steps down, he looked back and realized that he’d dropped a pair of pants at the top of the escalator.

Donovan turned and attempted to run up the moving steps while they were still moving downward. He said he felt like he was on an elliptical machine just moving, but not going anywhere.

A customer noticed Donovan’s signs of struggle, grabbed the pants from the floor and tossed them to him. He caught the pants, chuckled and said, “thanks.”

What bloopers have you experienced recently?

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Monday, December 14, 2015

Muffins with Mom – Reflections-A Letter to God

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If you wrote a letter to God, what would it include? During my teen years, my brother and I attended a special “Watch Night” church service with my mom on New Year’s Eve. We attended a non-denominational church and the service was different than what I was used to at other churches.

The singing was quiet, no menagerie of instruments or cymbals, just peaceful songs. The New Year’s Eve service consisted of singing Let there be peace on earth, a message from the pastor, then writing a letter to God.

In writing our letter to God, we were to list affirmations, positive things we wanted to see happen in our lives in the coming year. In a way, it was like praying on paper. You could let your emotions flow as you expressed things you may not have been ready to verbalize.

We addressed our letters to ourselves and left them at the church. Six months later the letter was mailed to us. It was an opportunity to reflect on the direction life had taken us and see if we had accomplished what we wanted.

When my teens were younger, I had them write a letter to God. I let them treat it as a private conversation between them and God. I tucked away their completed letter for six months then returned it to them.

The boys were amazed at the things they had included in their letter. Some things had actually happened others, they still needed to work on. They included things like-improved grades, better attitude in school, etc.

More than anything, for my boys, the process of writing down their thoughts helped put things in perspective. For me, the letter writing process was a way to express gratitude as well a symbolic representation of my faith.

As this year comes to a close will you take the time to reflect? What good things have occurred in your life? What are you looking forward to in the New Year? Put it in a letter to God.


Friday, December 11, 2015

Don't Worry Be Happy - Six Silly Situations

What do you do to release a little silly after a stressful day? Try laughing. Experts say endorphins from laughter promote a sense of well being and can temporarily relieve pain. Find something that will help you get your giggle on.

Here are my six silly situations where giggles filled the atmosphere.

 
 
 
 
 
 





What have you done to create a little silly? Your challenge for the upcoming week is to create six silly situations or situations that make you giggle.

 


Monday, December 7, 2015

Muffins with Mom – In time for Christmas – Holiday Traditions


It’s the most wonderful time of the year-Christmas. During this time, my family celebrates the birth of Jesus and we engage in fun, friendship and fellowship. It’s all a part of our Holiday tradition. What are your Holiday traditions?

Our top three Holiday traditions are:

1.      Decorate the Christmas tree
2.      Family dinner at our house
3.      Participate in the Sunday school Christmas program at church

In case you’re wondering what this looks like at our house, the story begins the day after Thanksgiving.

Once upon a Holiday, on a brisk November morning, I asked my teen son to help decorate our pre-lit Christmas tree. Yes, the tree is one with lights already attached, so decorating should be pretty simple, right? Wrong, it’s a matter of perspective.

The day after Thanksgiving is when I like to put up the Christmas tree. This gives me plenty of time to enjoy the multi-color lights as they illuminate our living room. When I asked my son to help hang the bulbs and garland, he was less than excited. He said, “Can we celebrate Kwanzaa instead?”

I kept hanging bulbs as I replied to my son, “You know, celebrating Kwanzaa is not a replacement for Christmas. And you still have to help decorate.”

“Oh, never mind,” he said.

While decorating the tree was completed in a timely manner, getting my son to hang the Christmas lights outside was another hurdle. After several days of prodding, I arrived home to dangling lights hung with care, well almost.

I’m not sure whether my son carefully hung the lights or just tossed them in the air and hoped they landed in the right places. However, he managed to complete the job in time to go to a basketball game at school. It was mission accomplished according to his teen priorities.



Once upon a Holiday, on a cozy December night, I received a text from my other son who is away at school.  He said he is scheduled to work the day of our family Christmas dinner. Hmph. So my options are to have the dinner without him or reschedule it for a different date. I’m working on changing the date.

Our final Christmas tradition, the Sunday school program, is in the planning stage-lines for the kids to learn, rehearsals to schedule and shopping for goodie bags. And this will conclude the scheduled traditions-just in time for Christmas. The only thing left to do after this is to curl up with a good book and do nothing more.

What are your family Holiday traditions?


Friday, December 4, 2015

Fun Friday – The lighter side of parenthood

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As a parent, there is never a dull moment. Some days are more challenging than others. I encourage you to make an effort to uncover the lighter side of challenging situations. Here are a few stories from my tool belt of life situations.

Kids and grades
When you ask your kids about their grades or upcoming tests do they willingly tell you? Mine don’t. The best way to get information from them is to threaten to show up at their school, looking like you just got out of bed. And I sleep with a purple doo rag on my head, tied in the front, looking like Aunt Jemima.

On the drive to school one morning, when my son was in middle school, I asked him what class he was going to have a test in next day. He said, “I don’t know.” So I asked, “Well, what’s going to be on the test?” His response once again was an exasperated, “I don’t know Ma, energy or something.” I said that’s ok I’ll go inside when we get to the school and ask your teacher.

He said, “Nooooo, energy = mass times the weight of….?” So Jr. Einstein did know a little something.

Aging
I had to renew my drivers’ license at the Secretary of State office. The clerk had me read an eye chart. She could clearly see that I was wearing glasses, so why put me through the torture of squinting and trying to read those little letters? But she did.

I pressed my forehead against the desk top machine and tried to adjust my eyes in the appropriate lenses (glasses on). The letters were fading in an out and looked like they were floating. I read them aloud very slowly, A….E…no, B. She stopped me and said, “thank you.”

She took out her industrial sized stamper and stamped my paper work. When I looked at the paper, the large red words read, CORRECTIVE LENSES. I could have just told her that I need my glasses to drive.

Weight Challenges
My forty something year old brother maintains a workout regimen in an effort to hold onto his youthful muscular body (hehe-good luck with that one). On his way to the gym one morning, he grabbed his workout shirt from the closet and headed out.

Once at the gym, my brother changed into his workout shirt, a compression shirt. I would consider a compression shirt along the same lines as Spanx for women. He hadn’t worn the shirt in a while and forgot how it fit.

My brother described the scene to me. He popped his head through the neck of the shirt like a turtle, then struggled to push his arms through each hole. He wrestled to pull the rest of the shirt over his chest and stomach.

Finally, the compression shirt was in place and was doing its job…compressing his overflowing areas. Success was achieved, my brother had on his man girdle. I welcomed him to the world trying to camouflage your weight.

What funny situations have you experienced lately?


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Words of Wisdom – Two Traveling Angels

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Below is a story I came across while surfing the web…be inspired.

Two traveling angels stopped to spend the night in the home of a wealthy family. 
The family was rude and refused to let the angels stay in the mansion’s guest room.
Instead, the angels were given a small space in the cold basement.
As they made their bed on the hard floor, the older angel saw a hole in the wall and repaired it.
When the younger angel asked why, the older angel replied, “Things aren’t always what they seem.”
The next night, the pair came to rest at the house of a very poor, but very hospitable farmer and his wife.
After sharing what little food they had, the couple let the angels sleep in their bed where they could have a good night’s rest.
When the sun came up the next morning, the angels found the farmer and his wife in tears.
Their only cow, whose milk had been their sole source of income, lay dead in the field.
The younger angel was infuriated and asked the older angel,
“How could you have let this happen? The first man had everything, yet you helped him!” She accused, “The second family had little, but was willing to share everything…and you let the cow die!”
“Things aren’t always what they seem,” the older angel replied.
“When I stayed in the basement of that mansion, I noticed there was gold stored in that hole in the wall. Since the owner was so obsessed with greed and was unwilling to share his good fortune, I sealed the wall so he wouldn’t find it.
Then last night, as we slept in the farmer’s bed, the angel of death came for his wife. I gave him the cow instead. Like I said, things aren’t always what they seem.”

The moral of the story: If you have faith, you just need to trust that every outcome is always to your advantage. You just might not know it until sometime later!

Author Unknown

Monday, November 30, 2015

Muffins with Mom - Coping with holiday stress


Family dinner

As I pondered what to write for today’s post, I came across an article I’d written several years ago. I thought it was fitting to post it here since the Holiday season is upon us.

Deck the halls with lots of family, fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la. This was the opening line of my letter inviting family to my house for Christmas dinner. The disclaimer that followed told them: “Due to the state of the economy and the state of my wallet, Christmas dinner will look different this year.” I asked everyone to bring a dish to pass and I would supply the fun and games.

The holiday season can seem hurried with concerts to attend, Christmas programs to prepare and so forth.  And that’s just for the kids. Every committee, church auxiliary and board of directors wants your time too. However, there’s no need to go on strike for the Holiday.

Take a deep breath through your nose, hold it, then slowly breathe out through your mouth. Spirituality & Practice gives tips for de-stressing your Holidays. They say the baseline of stress reduction is to take care of your body- get regular exercise, get enough sleep, and limit the amount of caffeine, sugar and alcohol.

Another tip that I found easy to relate to was one that said, “Dose your day with humor.” My kids sometimes make this easy for me with the things that they say. I told my children to make a wish list of items they wanted for Christmas. My teen son went so far as to include prices next to his items (and they were pretty accurate). The ten or so items totaled somewhere in the vicinity of $500.00.

As we stood in WalMart the other day browsing around, my teen son asked me if he was going to receive everything on his list. I doubled over with laughter exercising stomach muscles I didn’t know I had. Once I regained my composure my son just smiled at me and said, “I take that as a no.”

In addition to using humor to de-stress, we must be realistic and know what we can manage during the holidays. Spirituality & Practice says, “Wrestle your perfectionism to the ground and don’t let idealized expectations press you into doing more than you can realistically manage.” It is ok to say no and to set limits. For me, the best part of the holiday is having family over and watching their faces as they wrestle over the best gag gifts.

Take time to notice little moments of beauty-a smile, a gracious act, a loving gesture. It may sound simple, but this does have a calming effect. “Practicing gratitude for these bits and pieces of daily life is a potent way to de-stress, and it’s contagious too.”

For a detailed list of de-stressing click here

What are your favorite tips for de-stressing during the holiday season?


Friday, November 27, 2015

Feel Good Friday – Giving Thanks


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The Thanksgiving Holiday is behind us, but there’s no reason why we can’t continue to give thanks. What are you thankful for? You can always find something to be thankful for. Today, I am thankful for my faith, family and friends.
 
I have challenged my family to find one thing each day to be thankful for. In this challenge, each of us will create a Gratitude Jar. Every day we will write a note listing something that we are grateful for.
After one year, we will dump the contents from the jar and count the slips of paper…counting our blessings. Instead of creating New Year’s resolutions that fall by the wayside in 2016, why not create a Gratitude Jar?
Below is a poem to give you a bit of encouragement.
Be Thankful
Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire,
If you did, what would there be to look forward to? 

Be thankful when you don’t know something
For it gives you the opportunity to learn. 

Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.
 
Be thankful for your limitations
Because they give you opportunities for improvement. 

Be thankful for each new challenge
Because it will build your strength and character. 

Be thankful for your mistakes
They will teach you valuable lessons. 

Be thankful when you’re tired and weary
Because it means you’ve made a difference.

It is easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are
also thankful for the setbacks.

GRATITUDE can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles
and they can become your blessings. 

Author Unknown 
 
photo credit
 
Will you take on the challenge of giving thanks?

Monday, November 23, 2015

Muffins with Mom – Release a little “silly” into your day


Have you ever had a day where you felt like being a little silly? It was evident to me that my teen was enjoying his silly side when he left a voicemail message on my cell phone. This is the son who is away at college, I think he was missing home.
My son talked with a nasally voice as he left this message… “Hey Angie, its Bob calling from the office, I won’t be able to make it in tomorrow. Sorry about the late notice and inconvenience. My daughter has a recital, I just can’t miss it.”
The phone message did not end with my son’s fake work call. He did say, “Just playing” but he then continued talking as though I was on the phone with him.
“I just got off work and I’m bored. Let me tell you what happened to me today. I got a cold sore and don’t know how. The Blistix I have is not working, I guess it’s just a chapstick. So I had to spend my last $2 on a new Blistex.”
The message continued…
“Call me back when you get this message. I didn’t want anything, just calling to see how you were doing. I guess you’re sleep since its 12am there.”
When I finally listened to my son’s 2:30 minute message it was 5:30am. I thought about returning his call saying, “Hey Bob its mom, I guess you’re probably sleep since its 4:30am. Just calling to say hi and help you get your day started.”
 
Has your child ever helped you experience a little “silly”?

Monday, November 16, 2015

Muffins with Mom – Trapped in paradise – A teen’s tale


Anytime friends get together, it's like being in paradise.

Paradise, an ideal or idyllic place or state. One of our favorite family movies is Trapped in Paradise, starring Nicolas Cage.  In the movie Cage and his brothers were stuck in a town called Paradise. On a recent road trip, my teen son felt trapped with his Mama and her friends and that’s part of the reason he made reference to this title.
My son was not initially part of our girl’s night travel plans, but due to unforeseen circumstances, he became our traveling companion.  He packed his overnight bag, grabbed his spending money and we were on our way. A four hour car ride with four women, was not at the top of my son’s weekend plans.
The thrill for my son was the anticipation of finding a sports store where he could buy the latest “fit” (sports outfit) and boots. As we drove, I asked my son if he wanted some of the Canada Dry pop I packed for the trip. He made a grimace and said, “No, ginger ale is for older people. It doesn’t taste like anything, just bubbles.” I guess asking him to listen to a few hit songs from the 80’s would have been out of the question.
In order to accommodate my son traveling with us, one of my friends brought along an air mattress. As my son pumped up the mattress, he looked at me questioningly and said, “Ma, why is this like a bike air pump? What happened to the battery operated kind of mattress?” I turned away to hide my laugh.
The next morning at breakfast my son informed me that the air mattress deflated sometime during the night. He said he tried to turn over onto his side to get comfortable, but felt like he was rolling over on concrete. That is when exclaimed, “I feel like I’m trapped in paradise.” I asked my son to explain what he meant.
“I was glad to get out of the house, I had money in my pocket, but I didn’t expect this kind of adventure. I had to listen to everybody crack corny jokes and I feel like I had to shadow the adults.”
A teen's (window) shopping trip.
 
So there you have it, a teen’s version of being trapped in paradise.
Have you ever had an adventurous road trip with your child?

 

 

 

 

Friday, November 13, 2015

Fun Friday – All in a day’s work – An Embarrassing Moment

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Embarrassing moments seem to strike at the oddest times. I guess that’s what makes them embarrassing. I seem to collect these like a child collects rocks.

Most recently, I was at a department head meeting, sitting at a table surrounded by fifteen fellow co-workers. As I was listening to the guest speaker, my cell phone buzzed, I let the call go to voicemail.
A few minutes later, I played the message. The alarm company was calling to say there was a problem at my job location. I hurriedly pushed my chair back and stood to go into the hall. My foot didn’t cooperate with my energy flow.

As I backed away from the table, my open backed shoe slipped off my foot with a thud that seemed to echo through the room. A couple of people looked up, but I felt like all eyes were on me. I just smiled at the colleague next to me and said, “I might need that,” referring to my shoe.

I slipped my shoe back onto my foot and exited the room to make a phone call. When I returned, I walked with my head held high as though nothing happened and slid back into my seat.

How do you handle an embarrassing moment? Here are three things to try.

1.     Laugh at yourself – when you laugh, others will laugh with you and not at you.

2.      Admit you were embarrassed – accept that you were embarrassed, this is a way of starting a friendly conversation with the person next to you.

3.      Minimize the incident – this is along the same vein as, laugh at yourself. You can minimize the incident by saying something like, “it happens to the best of us.”


Have you experienced an embarrassing moment lately?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Monday, November 9, 2015

Muffins with Mom – Hoodwinked





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I’ve been hoodwinked, bamboozled and hornswoggled. I’m not referring to the animated movie Hoodwinked, but all references lead to my teen son and his shenanigans. Has your child ever led you to believe one thing, only for you to discover something different? Here’s what I’m talking about…
My son has been pulling the wool over my eyes. He can accomplish more than I thought he could. I made this discovery on two recent occasions. The other day, I left the house before my son awoke for school. I called him at 7am to make sure he was up, his answer was “I already left the house.”
Now that my son is driving, he can get himself to school and not have leave early to ride the bus. However, this was a non-typical day…he was already out of the house by 7am. Amazing. So, my next question was, “Why did you leave so early?”
“I wanted to stop by the store.”
This is my child that I have to pull from a comatose like sleep to get him out the door for school, but he can rise early to go to the store. Hoodwinked!
Parent teacher conferences were held a couple weeks ago and that was the second time I was hornswoggled. My son’s grades were remarkable. They were the best he’s had so far in his high school history. And he accomplished this during football season. This leads me to believe that he’s been holding out on his abilities. Bamboozled and hornswoggled.
Now that my son has allowed me to peek through his window of abilities, I will have to raise the expectation bar a little higher.
Has your child ever displayed less than his potential? What did you do?