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, July 17, 2017

Muffins with Mom – 3 tips for coaching your teen through a first job

photo credit: The Odyssey Online

My son came home after interviewing for his first summer job and said, “Ma, they said I gave a great interview.” His voice dripped with proudness. After passing his preliminary interview, my son received notice that he had been awarded a job with a summer day camp. And this is where the story really begins.

At the end of day one on the job, my son came home and said, “The kids didn’t want to do anything. They just wanted to sit in the shade outside or keep going inside the building, saying they were thirsty.”

My son briefly talked to me about his day, then announced, “I’m taking a nap.”

“You only worked four hours,” I said.

“I need to rest, I worked with every group. And I had to tell my partner what to do.”

I told my son that he was learning what having a job was about-responsibility, team work and being flexible.

After two weeks on the job, my son said, “I haven’t been paid yet. I feel like I’m working for free.”

Here was yet another opportunity to discuss the inter working of a first job. In this era of Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter, there are still some things that are not instantaneous. No matter what I said, my son thought he should be paid sooner. Our discussion branched off in several directions.

Some things I attempted to explain to my son, only for him to say, “I know, BUT…” As a result of our conversation, I came up with the tips below for coaching your teen through a first job.

1.      Be responsible – remind you teen about showing up at work on time and focused on assigned tasks.
2.      Save – “pay yourself first” is a saying I’ve heard often. Demand Encourage your teen to save money rather than spending right away. Have a discussion about impulse spending versus delayed gratification.
3.      Give your best – don’t be afraid to ask questions if there is something you are unsure about.

My son finally received his paycheck and he was very conservative about spending his money. He said to me, “Ma, I need some gas money.”

“Didn’t you just get paid?” I said.

 “Yes, but I need to save my money.”

There you have it, my son’s interpretation of our discussion.

What tips would you share for coaching a teen through a first job?

Friday, July 14, 2017

Fun Friday – 3 tips to achieve your fitness goals- The lighter side of fitness and nutrition

So you want to be fit and fabulous…what does it take? Shhh, come a little closer so I can whisper this best kept secret. Are you ready? The biggest thing you will need is a sense of humor.

1.      Use Humor – there will be times along your fitness journey where you will laugh at yourself. In my case, there are endless occurrences of giggles.

I had a conversation with a nutrition coach about my eating habits. I told her I love salads of all kinds.

She asked, “Do you drown them with salad dressing?”

I said, “Is that a problem?” Of course I don’t drown my lettuce, maybe it swims a little, but drown? No way.

You may not think you’re a humorous person, but consider this… Have you ever been in an exercise class and the instructor has everyone performing abdominal crunches? You say out loud (or think to yourself), “I’m not doing those, it hurts my stomach.”

You’re using humor.
2.      Get massages regularly – treat yourself to an occasional massage as a reward for achieving mini goals you set for yourself.

3.      Do anything to get moving, just make sure it’s something you like – if you do something you like, the chances are higher that you will stick with it.

photo credit: Pinterest

4.      Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself – yes I know this relates back to using humor, but it brings things full circle. You can uncover the humor in any situation.

Go ahead, get started on your fitness goals. Stop reading this, get up and get active. Stand up now and stretch your body. Give me some neck rolls and five arm circles….you’re on your way. 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Muffins with Mom – Happiness is…

One item after the next slowly slid across the conveyor belt as I waited for the guy in front of me to unload all of the groceries from his cart. While waiting, I browsed magazine covers that were on the end cap of the aisle. The cover of Time read “The Science of Happiness.”

As I began to skim through the article, the final item on the conveyor belt was stuffed into a bag. I didn’t have a chance to read the article, but the title did stir a few thoughts. What does happiness look like? Stop and think about that moment. How would you fill in the blank, Happiness is______________________.

I’ll start with a few ideas. For me Happiness is…
·         Spending time with family & friends
·         Laughter (laughing with friends, laughing at myself)
·         Reading a good book

As you discover your happiness, identify the things that affect your happiness – the good, the bad and the ugly. Here are 3 things you can do to experience happiness.

·         Smile
·         Show gratitude
·         Give – it has been said that giving provides physical and emotional benefits. You connect socially, you feel thankful and this may encourage others to give as well.

Since I seem to be stuck on a list of 3’s, here is a Recipe for Happiness that includes 3 ingredients.
·         1 Scoop of ripe friendships
·         1 Dash of love
·         Sprinkle with joy
Stir ingredients through all circumstances, until well blended.

Back home after my grocery shopping trip, I unloaded my few items. A wave of happiness filled my mind, body and spirit. I was grateful…grateful for the little things that filled the day with joy.
What makes you happy?

Friday, July 7, 2017

Feel Good Friday – Things Work Out

Things Work Out
Poet: Edgar A. Guest

Because it rains when we wish it wouldn't,
Because men do what they often shouldn't,
Because crops fail, and plans go wrong-
Some of us grumble all day long.
But somehow, in spite of the care and doubt,
It seems at last that things work out.

Because we lose where we hoped to gain,
Because we suffer a little pain,
Because we must work when we'd like to play-
Some of us whimper along life's way.
But somehow, as day always follows the night,
Most of our troubles work out all right.

Because we cannot forever smile,
Because we must trudge in the dust awhile,
Because we think that the way is long-
Some of us whimper that life's all wrong.
But somehow we live and our sky grows bright,
And everything seems to work out all right.

So bend to your trouble and meet your care,
For the clouds must break, and the sky grow fair.
Let the rain come down, as it must and will,
But keep on working and hoping still.
For in spite of the grumblers who stand about,
Somehow, it seems, all things work out. 

…wishing you a weekend filled with things that “work out

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Wordless Wednesday - National Parks & Recreation Month

The entire month of July is celebrated as National Parks & Recreation Month. It's a great reason to "Get your play on."

Picnic at a local park

Play Pickleball - if you've never played, you have to give it a try

YouTube Video Credit: Pickleball Wisconsin

Pick an activity you haven't done in awhile and "Get your play on"

Monday, July 3, 2017

Muffins with Mom – 3 Tips for preparing your child to leave home

photo credit: Home and Family Life
When a child leaves home for the first time it can be a daunting task. After a visit to the college my son will attend, I relate the experience to the game show $100,000 Pyramid. You know, the show where one person gives their teammate clues to the word they want him to say.

While apartment hunting for my son, we discovered a location that was impressive. A rental agent walked us through one of the models. The décor throughout the apartment had a definite theme; the place setting on the kitchen counter had the color scheme of the faux leather sofa and throw pillows.

I checked drawers, open doors, and discovered a treasure. In the dark corner of a closet, lurking in a small space, was a broom. I snatched it from its resting place and displayed it for my son. Of course I had to ask him, “Do you know what this is and how to use it?”

My son rolled his eyes and said, “It’s a mop” sarcasm evident on his face, but I didn’t let him off that easy. I began to throw clues at him.

“It’s something used to clean dirt/dust from a floor, people use it in place of a vacuum cleaner. It’s used for one of those chores you rarely do.” This was my version of the $100,000 Pyramid.

“Your sarcasm is wasted on me. I will keep the apartment clean.”

My son understood what I was indicating to him. Yay.

Whether you’re sending your child off to camp for the summer or getting her ready for college, preparation is required. If you asked me my top three tips for preparing your child to leave home, here’s what I would say:

1.      Teach them to be respectful – be mindful of those she has to share a space with; keep her area clean.

2.      Have a cooperative spirit – be willing to help where needed (without the excessive moaning, groaning and grumbling).

3.      Teach him to be resourceful – problem solving skills can come in handy when a child is away from home. Whether it is conflict resolution or knowing how to stretch a dollar, awareness in this area can go a long way.

What tips would you add for a parent preparing child to leave home?

Friday, June 23, 2017

Fun Friday – 3 Signs it’s time to change your routine

Photo Credit: The Daily Quotes

Sitting in bed nestled under a blanket, I fell asleep with a book on my chest. After a short time, I popped one eye open and glanced at the clock – 11:00pm was displayed in red letters. It was past my bedtime.

A routine provides comfort, stability, and eases stress. You may not even realize how easily you slip into a routine. There are subtle signs that you have established a routine. Those signs may even alert you that it’s time to change your routine.

1.      Favorite coffee shop visit – I’m a coffee drinker and I have a favorite spot I frequent to write and enjoy my cup of java. My son was talking to a friend one day and sometime during the conversation, the friend said, “I know your mom…small coffee, double cream, double sweetener.”  The cashier knew me by my favorite beverage.

2.      Writing checks – I like to read. When a new book was released by one of my favorite authors, I dashed off to the bookstore to purchase a copy. At the checkout register, I pulled out my checkbook to pay. The cashier said, “Oh, you’re writing a check? Not many people write checks any more, but your checks are pretty.” Was my method of payment archaic?

3.      On the job – If you do things the same way day in and day out, but expect different results…it’s time to change something.

I’ve learned that is ok to deviate your routine, break the norm…or begin a new routine. What is one thing that you do routinely?

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Word(less) Wednesday - 5 Ways to celebrate National Pink Day

Photo Credit: Askideas.com

Celebrate June 23 as National Pink Day! Here are 5 ways you can join the celebration.

1. Wear pink

2.  Make cupcakes and add pink frosting or sprinkles...or make other parts of your meal pink. How about a pink milkshark, cookies, etc.

3.  Write a poem or short story using the word pink.

4.  Send someone pink flowers

5.  Watch a Pink Panther movie

Monday, June 19, 2017

Muffins with Mom – Some Kinda Sin – A work of fiction

Photo Credit: Blue Maize

Step out of reality and into Tamara’s world. At 30 something, Tamara is a bright business woman and God fearing Christian. She is a natural born leader in her professional life, but when it comes to matters of the heart, her morals and Christian values take a vacation.
Below is an excerpt from my work of fiction. All characters are made up and in no way resemble people I know.
Some Kinda Sin
Chapter One

Tamara sipped from a steaming cup of coffee as she watched the door of Café Latte open and close too many times to count. Sitting and waiting wasn’t her cup of tea or coffee.

“Can I get you another chocolate mocha?” the waitress in black nylon pants asked.
“No, I’m waiting on him now,” Tamara replied.

“Excuse me?”

“Oh, you meant the coffee. No thanks, I’m waiting for someone.”

Tamera looked at the young woman’s plastic name tag just before she turned to walk away.
“Oh Mandy, I will have a glass of water.”

“Coming right up.”

As Tamara was talking to the waitress, she didn’t notice Carlton Braxton approaching the table.
“Oh I didn’t see you walk up.” If that man knew what I was thinking.

Carlton was simply dressed in a pair of designer jeans and a button up collared shirt, but he still looked like he had just stepped out of GQ magazine.

“Maybe I didn’t want you to see me coming up.” He leaned in and kissed her on the cheek.
“So what’s our plan for today?” She asked gazing into his eyes.

“Whatever your heart desires.” He leaned across the table and stroked her cheek with the back of his hand.

Tamara was wrapped up in her thoughts. This man is too good to be true. This has got to be some kinda sin.

Tamara pushed her chair back and walked around to Carlton’s side of the table. Leaning over his shoulder.

“You know what would be even better?”


Carlton stood up and gave her a deep kiss that made her whole body warm.
As Tamara and Carlton embraced, a loud explosion threw Carlton on top of Tamara. She hit her head on the wooden floor as Carlton passed out. The glass storefront window exploded sending sharp slivers all over the café. Some of the glass spiked all over the back of Carlton’s head, sending a stream of blood down the nape of his neck.

“Aaaarg” The waitress screamed when she realized what just happened. The few customers who were sitting at tables in the café were now on the floor, some covered in blood.
Tamara moans and slowly sits up. Carlton lay lifeless as she began to rock back and forth as his head lay on her lap.

Mandy rushed around the cafe’ to assess the damage of the explosion. A couple of people had scrapes, but nothing critical. Then she saw Tamara and Carlton and ran over to them.

“Is he breathing?” she asked.

“I don’t know?” Tamara’s entire body trembled as she spoke between sobs.

Mandy checked for a pulse as she assured Tamara that she knew what she was doing.

“It’s ok, I know CPR.” Placing two fingers on Carlton’s neck, she found a light pulse. “Call 9-1-1 while I look at his wound.”

Mandy grabbed a cloth napkin that was dangling from an overturned table nearby and applied it to Carlton’s forehead.

It wasn’t long before the paramedics arrived, but to Tamara it seemed a lifetime.

“How many people are hurt? Are there people in any other areas? One of the paramedics rattled off.

“There’s a man in the corner with his wife, bleeding from the forehead area. And there’s a cook in the kitchen, pinned under a shelf,” Mandy explained.

Sirens blared as ambulance after ambulance pulled into Blissfield General Hospital. There was one paramedic in the back of the ambulance keeping Carlton as comfortable as possible. Tamara wanted to ride in the ambulance, but she knew she shouldn’t be seen with Carlton. It would be too difficult to explain, to his wife and her husband.

Being the other woman to a married man was not her dream life, but it was just the way things happened.

Would you like to learn more about what happens in the lives of Tamara and Carlton?

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Words of Wisdom - Courage


Dusting is not my favorite household task. My opinion changed when I uncovered a treasure, sitting on a shelf at the back of my curio cabinet. I pulled it from the cabinet and let it dangle from the blue ribbon on my fingertip. I shook it gently and watched the sparkles dance around inside.

A miniature snow globe, with the word courage inscribed inside along with a quote. “When we face challenges or things go wrong…it builds our courage and helps us be strong.”

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Photo Credit: Pinterest

The small act of dusting, led me to a large shot of courage.

Do you know anyone who could use a little dose of courage?

Monday, June 12, 2017

Muffins with Mom – Avoid the pitfalls of being outsmarted by a teen

When a teen gives you that look
photo credit: Pinterest
Graduation season does not end with graduation day. A parent is thrown into the next steps…open house, awards banquets and packing for college. Let’s not forget about the other things called everyday life.

Everyday life reared it’s head in the midst of my planning for my son’s open house celebration. It appeared in the form of an early morning workshop I needed to attend, then an evening dinner dance, just for fun. My son also had a Rugby game scheduled in a city two hours away.

After getting everything organized, I left my teen son with a few chores to be completed before he left the house. When it was time for him to leave for his game, my son sent me the following text.

My son thought he was going to tug at my heart strings. I told him, while I admired his creativity, he was not off the hook. I came up with a poem of my own…

Roses are Red
Violets are Blue,
You still need college tuition,
And I love you too.

My son thought he had outsmarted me, but he only delayed completing his tasks. How can you avoid the pitfalls of being outsmarted by a teen? Here are 3 tips for avoiding those pitfalls.

1.      Set expectations and have consequences when expectations are not met.
2.      Be firm, yet loving – there may be times when your teen needs coaching. He may need you to explain why a particular expectation/rule is set.
3.      Acknowledge your teen’s point of view – listening to your teen shows that you value their opinion, but it doesn’t mean she can do anything she wants.

We know that teens will try our patience at times, but at the end of the day, they still want a parents love and approval. If you are ever faced with a teen who thinks he/she can outsmart you, listen to their point of view and respond with love.

Have you ever had a teen try to outsmart you? The next time a teen tries to look at you with puppy dog eyes to get his way…give them right back at him.

photo credit: Attack of the cute

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Wordless Wednesday - National Chocolate Ice Cream Day

National Chocolate Ice Cream Day is celebrated June 7th

Photo Credit: Business Insider

Photo Credit: Pralines Ice Cream

Photo Credit: theCHIVE

Monday, June 5, 2017

Muffins with Mom – The new normal- 5 Tips to ease the transition

The morning of his high school graduation, I snapped a picture of my sleeping son. It was the beginning and end of a journey. The day flew by with preparations for the soon to be graduate. A yard sign was staked in a corner of our front lawn – 2017 graduate lives here. A banner was draped above our garage, announcing congratulations to the graduate.

Inside the house, my son secured the graduation cap on top of his hairstyle of braided dreadlocks. The blue and white tassel dangled from the side of cap. Four years of high school athletic events, parent-teacher conferences and homework hurdles. And that’s just the parenting side.

Changes occur in our lives, causing us to readjust…to a new normal. The things that were once routine have changed, the people in our lives may have changed, job loss may have occurred or your children move away. My son graduated from high school and will attend college away from home. Both of us will experience a new normal.

My new normal will be that of an empty nester. My son’s new normal will involve adjusting to life away from home. When you move into a new state of normal, embrace it, consider it a change in seasons. Below are five tips to help ease your transition into a new normal.

1.      Start a new hobby
2.      Surround yourself with friends and family
3.      Volunteer
4.      Schedule a date with yourself every month-go out for an ice cream sundae; take an art class; change your hairstyle
5.      Do something that you’ve always wanted to do, but never made time for it

Have you experienced a New Normal? When it happens will you be prepared? Life happens, embrace it.


Friday, June 2, 2017

Feel Good Friday – Miracles

How do you know when you have experienced a miracle? My nephew discovered the answer to this question one wintry day. It was mid-day as he drove along the I-94 highway, snow was blowing and drifting. It was typical Michigan weather, cars drove at the posted speed, some more cautious than others.

Before he reached his destination, a truck slid into his car and pushed him into another vehicle. My nephew attempted to control his car, but swerved once, twice, then end up on the median facing the opposite direction of traffic. He emerged from the car shaken and with a few bruises, but he was able to walk away to retell his story. A miracle.

A miracle is defined by Merriam-Webster as an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs. There are Biblical definitions of a miracle as well, but let’s focus on this one for now. The term divine intervention stands out to me. There are situations we experience in life where we look back and say, I don’t know how I made it through that. Divine intervention. A miracle.

Miracles, divine intervention, faith all fit together like pieces of a puzzle. You discover that ah-ha moment when something happens to you or someone close to you. I was reminded of this when I received a group text message that said, please pray for Sis J, she was in a car accident with an 18 wheeler. I was sitting at my desk working as I read the message. I let out a gasp… that’s my friend.

As my friend drove home from work along the dark highway, the last thing she remembered before her accident, was driving side by side next to a semi-truck. In an instant, she heard a boom. She pressed her foot on the brake, but nothing happened. Her car was somehow hooked onto the rear of the truck. Her car skidded back and forth across the highway.

The window on the driver’s side shattered in small pieces like grains of sand. The car came to a stop on the shoulder of the road, only after the semi-truck stopped. The car began to smoke, my friend was strapped in her seat belt. Adrenaline pumping, my friend’s first instinct was to escape from the vehicle. She had to crawl to the passenger side.

My friend was taken to the hospital and treated for cuts and bruises. One thing that did not need to be treated was her faith. A miracle? Divine intervention? Grace.

Have you ever experienced a situation that you felt involved divine intervention?

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Muffins with Mom – When mom needs a helping hand

My helping hand on her big day

Have you ever had so many things to do that you wished you could clone yourself? You may have discovered that there are many benefits that come with the job of parenting, but a paid vacation is not one of them. Now that my bundle of joy was almost a high school graduate, I decided to take a vacation, without him.

As I was approaching the gate where my flight was to depart, my cell phone chimed. I looked at the caller-ID, it was the employment agency. My son applied for a summer job and a representative from the agency was calling me with more details. He said my son needed to have an adult accompany him to the mandatory orientation.

Pulling my carry-on luggage behind me, I found a seat and conversed with the man on the phone. “Can my older son attend the orientation with his brother?”

“He has to be at least 21 years old.”

“Oh,” was all I said. What I really wanted to say was, “He’s 20 years 6 months, 8 days…he’s almost 21, doesn’t that count?”

There was less than an hour left before time to board the plane. I needed to find a mom substitute, someone who could stand in my place at the orientation, but who? My mom and brother were with me. My options were limited…then the thought occurred to me. My babysitter. The young woman began babysitting for my boys when she was only eighteen years old.

My former babysitter was now a married woman, I needed to pull her out of retirement. I scrolled through my phone until I reached her number and with the tap of my screen, the phone began to ring. In a rushed tone, I spilled all the information from my head to her listening ear. “I can be there,” she said.

Clutch. My babysitter came through in a clutch. That’s the word my teenager uses when someone comes through for you in a challenging situation. My retired babysitter was my helping hand in that moment I needed a stand-in. Her kindness is appreciated and goes a long way.

Have you ever needed a helping hand in your parenting journey?

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Word-less Wednesday – National Photograph Month – 3 ways to celebrate

Typically on Wordless Wednesday, I post pictures or very few words. Today is designated as Word…less Wednesday since I have still posted fewer words than I do on other days. Getting to the article…
The month of May is celebrated as National Photograph Month. Do you have favorite photos that you’ve take or that have been taken of you? It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words.

What do the photos below say to you? How do they make you feel?

How will you celebrate National Photograph Month? Below are three was to get you started celebrating.
  1. Dig out old photos that you haven’t seen in a while, share them with family members and reminisce about the experiences they hold.
  2. Walk through a park and take photos of things you see along the way-flowers in bloom, a squirrel standing upright starring at you…you get the picture
  3. Sign up for a photography class at your local Parks & Recreation Department or Community College.
Make this month an opportunity to take lots of photos and save them for generations to come. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words and they tell a story.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Fun Friday – 3 tips to creating a memorable vacation

When was the last time you vacationed with family? Not just a getaway with your significant other and the kids, but one that includes other relatives? It happened to me, actually it was a planned vacation.

Here’s how my vacation began…

It was the cruise of a lifetime. We traveled with 682 folks who were a group ballroom dancers and steppers. My mother and uncle are seasoned ballroom dancers, but my brother, my other uncle and I were along for the family camaraderie.

I should have known from the turbulence in the air on our flight to Florida, that my trip would be rocky. On the airplane, I sat next to a husband and wife. I had the window seat, the husband was in the middle and the wife was on the aisle.

At one point, we hit a lot of turbulence and the wife screamed and grabbed her husband’s arm. I just shut my eyes tight and grabbed her husband’s other arm. I apologized once the turbulence ended. We chatted after that and I had made new friends.

Tip #1 – Don’t be afraid to make friends

My family and I, along with 100 or so others in our group spent the night at a hotel the day before our cruise was to leave.

With so many people in our traveling party, there were 3 buses and 3 time frames that the buses traveled from the hotel to the port we were leaving from. No one from my family was scheduled to leave the hotel at the same time I was scheduled.

My mom went to the waiting area with me to see if they would allow her to board with me. I wanted someone else to go with me because I was unfamiliar with the process and my mom and uncle have traveled with this group for the past few years.

We waited along the side walk until the leader told us we could board. After a few minutes, the leader made an announcement. “If your ticket does NOT say 9:30, you will not be allowed to board the bus.”

The line began to move. I told mom, “I guess I’ll see you at the port.”

I pulled my luggage behind me slowly. You would have thought I was 5 years old and not 51. I felt like I was being torn from my mother. I almost reached out like an actress in a movie and said, “Mama.”

Tip #2 – Relax, don’t sweat the small stuff.

Once aboard the ship, it was smooth sailing…almost. On the fourth day of the cruise the ship docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico. My family and I disembarked together ready for an adventure. As we walked the quarter mile from the ship to our destination, right in front of us was our first tourist stop - Walgreen’s Drug Store.

I said to my brother, “Really…we came all the way to San Juan to shop at Walgreens? Can we go somewhere else first?”

I actually made a purchase while we were there – a few souvenirs and some candy, so all was not lost.

Once we left Walgreen’s we hopped on a tour bus a wonderful experience.   We saw Old San Juan, visited historic areas and walked along a beach.

All in all if was a fantastic trip.

Tip #3 – Live, love, laugh – it’s okay to laugh at yourself

What tips do you have for creating a memorable vacation?