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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.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Muffins with Mom – 3 Signs that you may need a vacation from parenting

Sometimes we all need a vacation...even the kids.

Has anyone ever said to you, “parenting is a full time job?” I know this to be true because I’ve seen the job description. No experience is required for this job, nor is there a possibility of promotion or advancement. However there is on the job training.
Since parents work so hard at their job, there will be more than one occasion where you feel the need to take a vacation. Below are 3 signs that I’ve discovered that may cause a parent to want a vacation.
1.      Your teen is learning to drive – while this is a milestone in the life of a teen, it can be a less than exciting time for a parent. My 15-year old asked if he could drive home from the store the other day. I’m not the best person for the job of driver’s training instructor, but I strapped myself in on the passenger side of the car and attempted to appear calm.

With each stop at a red light or turn at a corner, I gripped the passenger side arm rest and applied invisible brakes. After ten minutes my son pulled into our driveway. My chest caved in, my toes uncurled and I let out a sigh of relief. 

2.      Wardrobe malfunction – I had a fight recently…it was with my jacket. It was a day that I’d stayed a little late at work causing me to have to rush to pick up my son from school. I threw my jack on and zipped it up quickly. I arrived at my son’s school only ten minutes late and we proceeded to our next destination, an afterschool workshop that I signed him up for.

Once my son was settled into his workshop, I prepared to relax. As I unzipped my jacket, the zipper split/separated about half way down. I tried zipping it back up and down again. I was stuck. I matched the metal pieces at the bottom of the jacket together, the zipper went down a little more, but never opened all the way.

I finally pulled the jacket over my head, like a shirt and freed myself. I was determined not to lose the battle. I had won, but I was tired. And I needed a new jacket. 

3.      Outrageous request from your child – “Ma, can you take me to get a tattoo?” My response was, “give me about 5 years to think about it.”
At the end of your vacation, rest assured that there ARE benefits as a parent that you will enjoy – unconditional love and a lifetime 0f hugs and kisses.
What parenting moments have you experienced that let you know it may be time for a vacation?

Friday, March 27, 2015

Feel Good Friday - The Date with Mom – An inspirational story



A mother and son moment
Today’s blog post is a little longer than usual, but it contains a story worth reading. The story below is one that I came across on the internet. I hope that you will find a bit of inspiration as I did.
After 21 years of marriage, my wife wanted me to take another woman out to dinner and a movie. She said, "I love you, but I know this other woman loves you and would love to spend some time with you."
The other woman that my wife wanted me to visit was my mother, who has been a widow for 19 years, but the demands of my work and my three children had made it possible to visit her only occasionally.
That night I called to invite her to go out for dinner and a movie. 
"What's wrong, are you well," she asked? My mother is the type of woman who suspects that a late night call or a surprise invitation is a sign of bad news. 
"I thought that it would be pleasant to spend some time with you," I responded, "just the two of us." She thought about it for a moment, and then said, "I would like that very much."
As I drove over to pick her up that Friday after work I was a bit nervous. When I arrived at her house, I noticed that she, too, seemed to be nervous about our date. She waited in the door with her coat on. She had curled her hair and was wearing the dress that she had worn to celebrate her last wedding anniversary.
She smiled from a face that was as radiant as an angel's. "I told my friends that I was going to go out with my son, and they were impressed," she said, as she got into the car. "They can't wait to hear about our meeting."
We went to a restaurant that, although not elegant, was very nice and cozy. My mother took my arm as if she were the First Lady. After we sat down, I had to read the menu. Her eyes could only read large print. Half way through the entries, I lifted my eyes and saw Mother sitting there staring at me. A nostalgic smile was on her lips.
"It was I who used to have to read the menu when you were small," she said. "Then it's time that you relax and let me return the favor," I responded. During the dinner, we had an agreeable conversation; nothing extraordinary but catching up on recent events of each other's life. We talked so much that we missed the movie. As we arrived at her house later, she said, "I'll go out with you again, but only if you let me invite you." I agreed. "How was your dinner date?" asked my wife when I got home. "Very nice, much more so than I could have imagined," I answered.
A few days later, my mother died of a massive heart attack. It happened so suddenly that I didn't have a chance to do anything for her. Sometime later, I received an envelope with a copy of a restaurant receipt from the same place Mother and I had dined. An attached note said: "I paid this bill in advance. I wasn't sure that I could be there; but nevertheless, I paid for two plates - one for you and the other for your wife. You will never know what that night meant for me. I love you, son."
At that moment, I understood the importance of saying in time: "I LOVE YOU" and to give our loved ones the time that they deserve. Nothing in life is more important than your family. Give them the time they deserve, because these things cannot be put off till "some other time."
Somebody said it takes about six weeks to get back to normal after you've had a baby. Somebody doesn't know that once you're a mother, "normal" is history.
Somebody said you can't love the second child as much as you love the first. Somebody doesn't have two or more children.
Somebody said the hardest part of being a mother is labor and delivery. Somebody never watched her "baby" get on the bus for the first day of kindergarten or on a plane headed for military "boot camp."
Somebody said a mother can stop worrying after her child gets married. Somebody doesn't know that marriage adds a new son or daughter-in-law to a mother's heart strings.
Somebody said a mother's job is done when her last child leaves home. Somebody never had grandchildren.
Somebody said your mother knows you love her, so you don’t need to tell her. Somebody isn't a mother.
Watch your thoughts, they become words. Watch your words, they become actions. Watch your actions, they become habits. Watch your habits, they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.
"Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle".

Author Unknown




 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wordless Wednesday - Parenting and dangerous Legos with comedian Tim Hawkins

Enjoy a few laughs with comedian Tim Hawkins.

YouTube video credit: timhawkinscomedy


YouTube video credit: Jennifer Johnson

Monday, March 23, 2015

Muffins with Mom – 5 Things I wish I’d learned 5 years ago



Parenting a teen includes special moments...whether they want to be there or not.
Is there such a thing as a Parenting Boot Camp? If there is, I need to sign up now. Maybe I could even be a guest speaker for this event. The boot camp could meet weekly and cover parenting tips for various ages and stages of the growing child. I’d lead with preparation tips for raising a teen.
Being in the midst of raising teens led me to write today’s blog post about things I wished I’d learned before NOW (or 5 years ago).
1.      A two minute warning does not work for teens – in the game of football a two minute warning means there’s two minutes left in the game. I thought I could use this concept in parenting. When asking my son to complete a task, he often moves slowly. So I’ve told him he has two minutes to get moving. However, just like in the game of football, his two minute warning can last five minutes or more.  

2.      When someone says the teen years can be challenging, believe them – When my boys were 16 and 13 years old they were typical teens who wanted to hang out with their friends. I thought I had it made as I boasted to myself, the teen years aren’t so bad, people exaggerated. No they didn’t. Challenges will come, but you will make it through if you remain grounded in your faith. 

3.      As your kids grow older so will you – this might sound obvious, but my body was not aware of this. Sometimes I exercise to a work out DVD. During a recent exercise session, the instructor did a lot of kicks and jumping that I had trouble keeping up with. In the past I was able to do the moves without much difficulty, fast forward a couple of years and gravity is now keeping me from flying through the air with ease. The instructor was smiling and talking through the moves. I was panting and reaching for a glass of water. 

I have considered writing to someone requesting that a warning label be applied to the DVD packaging. The warning could read: If you’re over 45, you might want to select a different exercise program. Then again this may be covered under the disclaimer we often hear, “consult your physician before beginning…” 

4.      The high school years go by quickly – One day you’re enrolling your child for high school, then you blink your eye and he’s planning for senior prom. I often heard that “kids grow up so fast” and “enjoy them while they’re young.” All of this is true. My younger teen is still at home so I have another opportunity to experiment and practice raising a teen. Once both my boys are adults, I should be an expert. 

5.      You’ll make mistakes and it’s ok – love unconditionally. 

What things do you wish you’d learned 5 years ago about parenting?

Friday, March 20, 2015

Fun Friday – spring into fitness – how to include exercise in your daily routine


The sun is shining, the air is warm, people are beginning to chant, “Spring is on the way, spring is on the way…” There are signs of spring all around, in fact during a recent visit to my local fitness center, all of the treadmills were occupied. This was a sure sign that people were ready spring into fitness by getting into shape for the warmer weather.
Have you ever said, “I’ll get in shape after the holidays” or “I don’t have time to work out?” Maybe those were my words as Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year celebrations came and went. Reality set in as I tip-toed onto the scale, hoping that would help my weight to register lower. It didn’t work. Nor did standing on one foot while maintaining a yoga pose.
I believe someone has given me their extra unwanted pounds and I desperately want to give them back. If you know who they belong to please have them claim their property. Until that happens WE can begin to change the way we look at exercise. I say WE, because I’d like company on this journey.
You may be wondering how you can include exercise in your daily routine when you are so busy. The key is to get up and get your body moving. Here are a few things I’ve found helpful.
1.      Play Hopscotch – draw a hopscotch grid on the sidewalk and get a game started with your child. If your child is not around, play anyway and if someone happens to see you, just pretend you’re waiting for your child or somebody’s child to join you. While out walking the other day, I walked past a hopscotch grid one of the kids from the neighborhood had drawn. No one was around as I took a turn at jumping over all the numbers on the grid. 

2.      While watching TV, get up and dance during the commercials - this could bring on a bout of hysterical laughter which in turn works your stomach muscles. I experienced this the other day as I danced in front of the mirror. I soon discovered that I was not keeping up with the beat as I thought I was. As I watched my mirror image, I was reminded of those foreign karate movies that are translated to English. You know the ones, where the actor’s lips are still moving after the voice has stopped. 
 
 

3.      Go for a walk after dinner – no explanation needed. 

4.      Housework – yes it’s the dreaded “H” word, but it works. Wash dishes by hand rather than using the dish washer; sweep the floor with a broom rather than use the vacuum. Fold a load of laundry. Okay, only use this tip if you absolutely can’t find another form of exercise. 

What other thing would you suggest as ways to add exercise to you daily routine?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Words of Wisdom – An hour of your time - a story of inspiration

photo credit

Sometimes life gets so busy that we rarely stop to catch our breath and enjoy special moments with those around us. Below is a poem I came across on the internet, may it provide you with a nugget of inspiration to do something differently today.
An Hour of Your Time
A man came home from work late again, tired irritated, to fine his 5 year old son waiting for him by the door. “Daddy, may I ask you a question?”
“Yeah sure, what is it?” Replied the man.
“Daddy, how much money do you make an hour?”
“That’s none of your business! What makes you ask such a thing?” the man said angrily.
“I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?” pleaded the little boy.
“If you must know, I make $20 an hour.”
“Oh,” the little boy replied, head bowed. Looking up he said, “Daddy, may I borrow $10, please?”
The father was furious. “If the only reason you wanted to know how much money I make is just so you can borrow some to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. Think about why you’re being selfish. I work long, hard hours everyday and don’t have time for such childish games.”
The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door. The man sat down and started to get even madder about the boys questioning. How dare him ask such questions only to get money.
After an hour or so, the man had calmed down and started to think he may have been a little hard on his son. Maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that $10, and he really didn’t ask for money very often. The man went to the door of the little boy’s room and opened the door.
“Are you asleep son,” he asked.
“No daddy, I’m awake,” replied the boy.”
“I’ve been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier” said the man. “It’s been a long day and I took my aggravation out on you. Here’s that $10 you asked for.”
The little boy sat straight up beaming. “Oh, thank you daddy!” he yelled. Then reaching under his pillow, he pulled out some more crumpled up bills. The man seeing the boy already had money, started to get angry again. The little boy slowly counted out his money, then looked at the man.
“Why did you want money if you already had some?” the father grumbled.
“Because I didn’t have enough, but now I do.” The little boy replied.
“Daddy, I have $20 now. Can I buy an hour of your time?
 
Share some time with those who need you. They need our time more than we will ever know.
 

Author unknown

Story credit

Monday, March 16, 2015

Muffins with Mom – A dinner invite - finding humor in an embarrassing situation



photo credit
 
I broke my family’s cardinal rule, if you don’t know something, ask questions. I always stress to the kids not to be afraid to ask questions. In my case I didn’t think I needed to ask questions. I was invited to a dinner gathering at a nice restaurant. The hostess showed me to the room where she said my party was taking place.
I entered the room to men in suits, women in dresses and me in my casual Capri pants and slip on shoes.  I didn’t see anyone familiar yet, but I figured these were people I hadn’t met yet. I set my jacket and purse on a chair and proceeded to the hor de’ oeuvres table.  The stuffed mushrooms were great.  I saw another women enter the room who looked as if she were searching for someone. As I headed over to make small talk with her I heard the question that she asked. “Is this the gathering for the freelance writers group?”
“No, this is the dinner for surgeons, blah, blah, blah…” the other woman replied.  I only heard part of the woman’s answer, but I heard enough to know I was in the wrong place.   I searched for a place to set my empty plate as I quickly gathered my purse and jacket and said to my new friend, “Don’t leave me.”
Not only did I have egg on my face, but I had a stuffed mushroom in my belly….from someone else’s party. Together my new friend and I found the correct location of our party. Once I was settled, I shared my adventure with our other dinner guests for a good laugh. I was able to find humor in an embarrassing moment.
There are therapeutic benefits to laughter, according to holisticonline.com. Laughter is said to decrease stress hormones.  Laughter is considered aerobic, “providing a workout for the diaphragm and increasing the body’s ability to use oxygen.” A good belly laugh also helps muscles to relax.
The next time you trip, bump into a wall or do something else that may cause embarrassment, remember to find something funny in the situation.  If you can find something funny to laugh at, others will laugh with you.
How do you handle embarrassing situations?

 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Fun Friday – College Spring Break

photo credit
Have you traveled to any fun places during spring break? When I was in college I didn’t have the luxury opportunity to travel during spring break. My travel included the one hour drive from school to home. So I was supportive of my college freshman wanting to travel with friends during spring break.
My son called and told me where he and his friends were planning to go for spring break. A few days later, the location had changed to a different city. The more his plans changed, the more questions I began to ask.
“So, how are you getting there?" I asked.  "It takes money.” 
“We have it worked out. We’re going to share the cost,” he said.
“You don’t have a job, what part are you sharing!?”
“Oh yeah, I’m gonna need some money.”
I wondered how long it would take for him to mention money. I let my son know that his heavenly father is rich in houses and land, but here on earth we are regular laymen.
My son didn’t let the issue rest there, he continued by giving me his closing argument. He told me, “The Lord loves a cheerful giver.”
“Yes, and It’s better to give than to receive. So show me your money.”
He conceded…for the moment. I can hardly wait to see what my son comes up with next.
Do you have any spring break stories, past or present?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Words of Wisdom - Are you tryong to be "All the Moms?"


Photo credit
Have you ever felt like a one stop mom? It’s kind of like the advertisements that say, ‘one stop shopping’ where you find everything at one store. On any given day you may feel like you’re The Soccer Mom, The Carpooling Mom, The Volunteering Mom, and the titles go on.
An article at iBelieve.com says, stop trying to be ‘All the Moms.” If you don’t keep up with all of these self-imposed expectations, it does not mean that you have failed or are a bad mom. The article asks “What does it mean to be a Christian Mom? Click here for full article.
Here are your words of wisdom quotes for today:
“Every day that we wake up is a good day. Every breath that we take is filled with hope for a better day. Every word that we speak is a chance to change what is bad into something good.” – Walter Mosley
“It’s time to start living the life you imagined.” – Henry James (American writer and author)

Monday, March 9, 2015

Muffins with Mom – Meet the Parents



Cleaning house for a special event.
Have you ever experienced that awkward time when you anticipated meeting the parents of someone you were dating? It happened to me, with a different spin on the situation. I was planning to meet the parents of a girl my son was dating and wanted things to go just right.
The parent meet up was scheduled to take place at my house on a Friday evening. When I agreed to this meeting, I told my son he had to help clean the house. Our deep cleaning is usually put off reserved for the weekend.
Just when panic and stress was about to set in, I came across a housekeeping tip on Facebook that helped put me at ease. The tip said, “Always keep several get well cards on the mantel. That way, if unexpected guests arrive, they’ll think you’ve been sick and unable to clean.” We don’t have a mantel, but we could place the cards on the big backed T.V. that we still have in the living room.
Our Plan B was to keep the lights off and just let the sunset illuminate the living room and perhaps conceal the clutter. I held out hope that we have everything clean the day before our big meeting. It didn’t happen. My son procrastinated and I didn’t want to do everything for him.
On the day of our Meet the Parents gathering, my son stayed after school for football workouts and I stayed after work. This didn’t help our situation. By the time we arrived home at 5:30pm, my son’s friend texted him and said they would be on their way to our house at 6pm. Then my son told me they only lived 10 minutes away.
We dropped our bags at the door and began racing around the house. I tackled the living room while my son worked in a different room. I found a TV remote control and a curtain tie back between the couch cushions. I’m sure that was the last place my son sat. There were also a couple of backpacks that lay dormant near a couch, that needed to be relocated.  After 30 minutes, we were ready for our guests.
The doorbell rang and my son came into my room to tell me our guests had arrived. When I got to the door, I was surprised to see his friend with only her dad. I looked around for her mom. I thought this was an entire family meeting.
I greeted my son’s friend and her dad in our slightly illuminated, clean, living room. We made introductions, shook hands and then he was gone. After he was out the door, I told my son’s friend, “I’m gonna need your dad to come back and sit a few minutes longer. We just cleaned our house.”
We all enjoyed a laugh then went our separate ways throughout the clean house. Our Meet the Parents night didn’t go as I thought it would, but it was just right.
Have you ever had a Meet the Parents episode?

Friday, March 6, 2015

Feel Good Friday - What I’ve learned about Favor


Have you ever wondered what a person meant when they said someone has the favor of God? One definition I came across explained favor as, “tangible evidence that a person has the approval of the Lord.” Favor is not about having more money or easier circumstances. It’s about enjoying the kindness of God.

 My grandfather was a living example of God’s favor. Here is a peak at a moment in his life. 

It was a cool fall evening as my grandfather, known as Daddy Bob to friends and family, arrived home after running errands. At 91 years old, he was still active. As Daddy Bob walked up the sidewalk to his house he was met by two strange men. Each one pointed a gun at him. One of the men spoke, “We want the car keys and your money.”  

Standing just inside the chain link gate of his front yard, Daddy Bob had to think quickly. He threw the keys to the men. As they turned away, Daddy Bob ran along the side of his house to the backyard, and jumped over the fence. 

He ran through a neighbor’s backyard and across the street to the house my mother lived in. He pounded on the door until it was opened. Speaking in gasped breaths he said, “Somebody…stole the car.” Daddy Bob rehashed the accounts of the incident that had just occurred. He concluded the account by saying, “I ripped my pants.” 

 Daddy Bob survived this incident with only a ripped pair of pants and an emotional bruise. He is not unfamiliar with facing adversity. I have learned that when we walk a Christian life, challenges will follow. I have watched Daddy Bob endure trial after trail and come through with the favor of God. Over the years, he had been shot in the neck by a carjacker, had to wrestle a knife from an attacker, and watch his wife of 50 years suffer from cancer for three years. 

No matter what battle he faced, Daddy Bob never gave up. At 94 years old his health began to diminish. He continued to drive his car against the better judgment of family. One day a Good Samaritan found him sitting in his car on the side of the road. She was a nurse and asked him a few questions. She soon realized he was disoriented, but was able to get enough information from him to contact my mother. Not long after that incident Daddy Bob was diagnosed with the beginning stages of Dementia.

 

In 2012, Daddy Bob made his transition from this life, but his living was not in vain. He touched those around him with the same kindness that he received from God.

 

May you receive the favor that God has for your life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Muffins with Mom – Discipline without tears


Photo credit
Completing chores can sometimes be a challenge for teens and their parents.
Have you ever struggled with disciplining your child? Perhaps you disciplined your child then felt like you may have been too harsh. On the other hand, maybe you felt you were not firm enough.
I’ve come across a couple of books titled, Discipline without Tears. My first thought was, is this book referring to the tears of the parent? I don’t have an answer because I have not read the book. However, I’m learning to discipline without tears, whining and kicking and screaming…by  me.
Do you want to know my secret to effective discipline (of a teen)? Beat him at his own game. You may know of a teen who has selective hearing or responds slowly when asked to complete a task. A good example is my teen son who can hear me quite well if we’re discussing money or his wanting to go somewhere with friends.
When asked to do chores, my son’s hearing lessens and he seems to become immobile. Just last week when I asked my son to empty a wastebasket, it took him five days to complete the task. It was like playing a game of chess.
I moved the wastebasket out of the bathroom and into the hallway, as a hint to my son. He walked around it for a day. The next day, I moved the basket outside of his bedroom door. He moved it to my door.
After a few days the wastebasket finally made it to the kitchen, where it sat another day before being emptied into big basket. Whew!
Figuratively speaking, I’ve given up on shedding tears over discipline. I told my son that I’ve found a new way to handle discipline with him. I will talk to him…constantly. He has told me that I often take a long time to explain something, then I keep talking. So, that’s my secret.
I will talk to my son until he tires of hearing me talk. My talking will consist of long run-on sentences with no pauses, no catching my breath, just continual talking, jumping from subject to subject, with no end in sight; kind of like this sentence!
My son laughed at my form of discipline for him, but when I put it into action, it worked. As I talked to him non-stop, he jumped up from playing his video game and rushed to complete the task I asked. I was firm and not harsh and I didn’t regret how I handled the situation.
Disclaimer – not all disciplinary situations are resolved this easily.
What is your form of discipline without tears?