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, May 30, 2012

8 Things you should know before your next road trip

We are getting into the season where people begin to make travel plans. Before you take a road trip make sure you know what you’re getting into. As an “expert” (because I took one very long road trip recently), I would like to share a few travel tips with you.

The following tips may help your trip go a little more smoothly:

1.      Take someone with you who likes to drive. If your travel destination is more than 6 hours away it’s good to have a second driver. If another driver is not available, at least try to find another adult as a travel companion. Talking to another adult can help the time pass quickly.

2.      Take someone who can read directions and/or follow the GPS navigation system. If you use a navigation system, be sure the volume is up loud enough for you to hear it. “Laura”, my GPS person told me a couple of times to “turn around when possible.” The volume was so low that I didn’t hear when she told me to “exit right, ahead.”
3.      Limit luggage to one small carry on per person…oversize bags subject to a service fee. My mother’s suitcase was so large that I think she had enough clothes to change twice a day. I encouraged her to wear everything that she took. She did a good job honoring my request.

4.      If you’re traveling with kids, practice saying no. If you’re staying at a hotel you might say, “No you can’t stay in the swimming pool until your skin becomes wrinkled.” “No you can’t race your brother down the hotel hallway.”
5.      Travel with snacks. Eat your snacks in moderation or you may bring home more than souvenirs. You may bring back a few pounds with you. I’ve lived this one.

6.      Plan to stop frequently to avoid frustration....your frustration and that of your traveling companions.

7.      Be sure you know what type of currency is accepted at the places you will visit. My mom took travelers checks and they were not accepted at many of the places we stopped. People looked at us as though we had fallen through a time machine. When we gave the travelers checks to the waitress at Applebee’s she said, “Oh, I remember these, but I don’t remember how we process them.” The hotel we stayed at didn’t even accept the checks. It’s a good thing we had a back-up plan.
8.      Take someone who prays or pray yourself. If you’re traveling with kids you’ll need this for sure. If you’re traveling by yourself you’ll still need prayer for safe travels.
What are your tips for planning a road trip?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Flags, Flowers & Family – A Memorial Day Celebration

Originally called Decoration Day, Memorial Day is a day of remberance for those who have died in our nation’s service. Some celebrate by attending a parade or visiting the gravesite of a military person.
Memorial Day and weekend is also a time that families come together in celebration. This year my family celebrated with a family reunion held in Kentucky. We visited Fort Campbell military base where we toured a museum and visited the family cemetery.

Fort Campbell Museum
There was a lot of history shared, friendships started and memories created. Getting together with family is a good investment of time. We strengthen family ties and even learn new family facts.
When I arrived at our family reunion there was only one person there that I knew. I had never been to a reunion for that side of the family. The one cousin I knew smiled and whispered to me, “I don’t think we’re really related to these people.”
I had just driven nine hours for a trip that should have taken seven and a half. I looked at my cousin and said, “We’re family now.” I eventually learned how we were all connected.
What I have learned from our Memorial Day weekend celebration is that it’s good to know your roots and who you’re related to. The following are reasons why you need to know your family:
  1. You could be marrying a cousin. When in high school, my cousin found out that a boy who had a crush on her was her cousin.
  2. You have relatives to stay with when you go out of town, it saves you money on hotel expense.
  3. When your kids act out and you don’t understand where the behavior came from…you can blame that side of the family.
It’s good to know your family just because they are family. Over the Memorial Holiday is when we see people waving flags at parades, refreshing flowers at gravesites or simply spending time with family.  It’s all about creating memories.
What are your favorite Memorial Day memories?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Feel Good Friday – I am thankful for…

Sometimes it’s nice to reflect on the blessings in our lives. My most recent reflection came by way of looking at photographs. My mom and I were sitting in her backyard on the canopy swing. She was showing me photos taken on a trip she chaperoned with my son.
The seventh grade class took a trip to Cedar Point Amusement Park. It looked like the kids had a really good time. There were photos of the kids running from ride to ride and posing with the huge characters in costumes. Granny had as much fun as the kids.

Josh & friends

Mama (Granny)

I am thankful for my mom who can step in and help when she is most needed. She is my pinch hitter in the game of life.
More reasons to be thankful…


Brotherly love


God's Grace
Complete the following statement with your words of thanks giving.
I am thankful for….

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

10 signs that you’re tired and need to rest

Kids get tired too...and fall asleep anywhere.
Photo courtesy of Shon Smith.

I’m sure it’s happened to all of us at one time or another; I’m talking about that feeling of being overworked - too many tasks to accomplish, too many errands to run, just plain tired. Sometimes you just need to rest.

Below is what my top 10 list would look like:
You know you’re tired when…

  1. You go to the automatic car wash, as soon as you put the car in neutral you grab a quick nap.
  2. You fall asleep under the hair dryer at the salon. You wake up when your head hits the front of the hard plastic dryer.
  3. You fall asleep in the dental chair while having your teeth cleaned.
  4. Your doze off during church service, only to awaken as your head snaps backward. You realize you were asleep when you hear laughter behind you.
  5. You fall asleep on the telephone. When you awake, the other person is still talking. You give a quick “um hmm” so they know you are still there.
  6. You invite family over for holiday dinner. Before the last guest leaves, you sit on the sofa and fall asleep.
  7. You go to someone else’s house for the holiday and fall asleep. You try to reassure them that you’re not bored, you just like to get your rest.
  8. You’re watching your favorite T.V show and decide to close your eyes during the commercial. When you awake, it’s three hours later.
  9. You finally go to the movie theater to see a movie you’ve been waiting for, as soon as the opening credits start rolling, you fall asleep.
  10. You only have a 45 minute drive to your destination, but you pull over at a rest area to take a nap.

I have learned to accept the fact that when I’m tired, it’s ok to rest. Maybe not in public, but at some point the body needs to be rejuvenated.

What would be on your list of signs that you’re tired?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday Musings – What board game (or other game) describes your life?

As I worked on spring cleaning, I blew the dust off some of the board games my kids used to enjoy. Organizing the games led me to ponder the question, “Which of these games relate to my life right now.” The game Clue was my first choice.
You may be familiar with the game – each player has to determine who committed the crime. Players have to identify in what room the crime was committed and identify the weapon used. It could be that Miss Scarlet, Mr. Green or Colonel Mustard committed a crime in the Kitchen, Library or Ballroom using a knife, lead pipe or rope.

In my case it would be that Mrs. Verges, committed the crime in the Study using a keyboard. Yes, I would be the culprit. My crime? Attempting to work on my writing at the computer without kid interruptions.

I posted a sign on our “Study” room door that said gone writing, but the kids still burst through the door. I guess they didn’t have a Clue that the sign meant that I didn’t want to be disturbed.

On different occasions each son has been the culprit in our true to life game of Clue. Joshua was the first guilty party… In the Kitchen with the butter knife. His assignment was to unload the dishwasher.  He unloaded all of the dishes except the butter knives. When asked why he left the knives, his response was, “You never want me to handle the sharp objects.”
He’s 12, I believe the butter knives are safe to handle.

Another unthinkable act was committed in the Living Room with a rope, a jump rope. Somebody moved the couch and the coffee table and proceeded to conduct their workout. Nothing was returned to its original location and no one confessed to having the rope, but I’m pretty sure it was Donovan.
When I think about the game Clue as it relates to my life, I realize that each day is a mystery. Will chores be completed without delay? Will homework be completed without prodding? It doesn’t hurt to dream.

What board game can you relate to your life?

Friday, May 18, 2012

A random act of kindness

A small cup of coffee from someone with a big heart, was the result of a random act of kindness.

Have you ever been the recipient of a random act of kindness? It can be a humbling experience. On the drive to work one morning I debated whether I would stop for a Tim Horton’s coffee. I could almost feel the warmth of the cup in my hands. A small cup of decaf with double cream, double sweetner and a shot of vanilla….aaaaaah.
On the morning of my quest for coffee, I had just given my son lunch money for the week and sent him off to school. As I was nearing Tim Horton’s I checked my purse for more money. All I had was $1.00 and some change. I really wanted a coffee. I didn’t NEED it, but I WANTED it.

I pulled into the drive thru at Tim Horton’s, placed my order and collected the change from my purse. As I prepared to hand the cahier the money she said, “The car in front of you just paid for your order.”
I sat there for a moment like a deer in head lights as I said, “Oh, ok, thanks.” I pulled off to try and catch the car. I was able to pull up next to her at a red light. I tooted my horn and gave her a “thumbs up” as I mouthed the words, “Thank you.” We both continued on in different directions.

What happened that day at the Tim Horton’s drive thru was more than a random act of kindness. It was a blessing. The car in front of me had no way of knowing that I was searching for the last of my pocket change. However, her small gesture of kindness went a long way.
I walked around with a warm fuzzy feeling all that day.

What has been your experience with a random act of kindness?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Social networking tips for parents

Kids don't always make the best decisions while social networking.
Photo of scarf (doo rag) my son photograped me wearing. This is a retake, the original photo was much worse.

I picked up a bookmark at the library that listed social networking tips for parents. The way my mind works, I put a different spin on this topic. I viewed this title as tips to help parents improve their social networking skills.
I took the titles listed on the bookmark and added my interpretation.
Be reasonable and try to set reasonable expectations. My interpretation of this tip is - I expect my child to show me the things that I don’t understand on the social networks.

Be open with your children. Here is what I would say to my kids. “I don’t know how to do some of the stuff that you do with technology. I need you to show me and not whine about it.”
Talk with your children. The information on the bookmark said to be sure your child knows the risks in posting personal information and inappropriate photos. I found out that you can’t assume kids know the basics.

When I visited my son’s facebook page, I saw where he told someone to text him and he listed his phone number. My first thought was, “arrrrrrr!!!”

Consider requiring that all online activity take place in a central area of the home, not in a child’s bedroom. Yes all activity should take place in a neutral area of the house; an area where kids don’t have their toys lying around posing a potential safety hazard. Toys in the case of my kids include: basketballs, footballs, PSP.
Try to get your children to share their blogs or online profiles with you. The information here said to be aware that kids can have multiple accounts.
If I were to add a tip of my own to the list, it would be the Golden Rule – Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

My son posted a photo of me on facebook that was unbecoming to say the least.  I had on my comfy pajama pants and my hair tied up with a purple scarf. I practiced a few deep breathing techniques before I talked to him.  I also went into a Karate Kid stance (wax on, wax off).
In order to illustrate my message to my son, I showed up in his classroom with my scarf on. As I walked down the middle school hall, I explained to his teachers what was happening. They were all smiles as they gave their approval.

Needless to say, the photo was deleted from facebook and my son understood my message. This solution may seem extreme to some people, but it worked for my situation.
For addition information (that is really useful) on the topic of social networking, safe blogging, etc. visit www.ConnectSafely.org. The site provides a list of resources for keeping kids safe on their internet journey.

What tips do you have for parents who have kids involved with social networking?

Monday, May 14, 2012

An accidental hug - what not to do when initiating a hug

Kids are not afraid to hug.
Photo courtesy of activityvillage.co.uk/moon_cake.htm.

How can you accidentally hug someone? I managed to do it with ease. It happened on a sunny day on the sideline at my son’s football practice.
Practice had not stared yet, the coach was sitting with a few people. He leaned forward as he said, “Hi Mrs. Verges.”  It wasn’t a sexy deep voiced, “Hiii… Mrs. Verges.” Nor did it give the implication of “Hellooooo Mrs. Verges.”

It was the “lean in” that threw me off. It looked like the coach was preparing to stand to give a church hug. You know, the hug where you lean forward to embrace, but barely touch the person?

I leaned in, gave the hug then realized, he was not trying to give a hug. Can you say awkward? I walked away as fast as I could without stumbling over the unlevel pathway.
When I told my son about the incident he said, “Why did you hug him?” After he erupted with laughter he said, “Wow, really ma?”
What can I say? I had crossed the line of hugging etiquette.

I checked Google for articles about hugging just to see what was out there. I came across an article titled, How to hug. The information that caught my attention was the warning tips below:

  • “Unless you’ve hugged the person before, don’t hug them without asking first. Use your best judgment in choosing when and where to hug someone.”
  • “Hug only when the person you want to hug has their arms out. They may not want to be hugged if their arms aren’t out.” This is where you place the palm of you hand over your forehead and tap gently several times. The aah ha moment.
  • “Avoid a hug with a running start unless the person being hugged is aware you are about to do so, if not this may result in both of you falling over.”

To read the entire article on how to hug tips visit www.wikihow.com/hug.
I felt a little better about hugging when a woman accidently hugged me. I smiled and greeted the woman as she entered the center where I work. She thought she knew me until she released the embrace. She said, "I’m sorry I thought we'd met before.”

I reassured her that it was ok. I said, “I’m a hugger too.”
What I’ve learned about hugging is that if  you’re unsure whether to do it or not, keep your hands to yourself. Stick to smiling and waiving, it’s the safe route.

Are you a hugger? What has been your experience with hugging?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Feel Good Friday - Strength

At some point in our lives we all need strength to accomplish something. It may be the need for strength to overcome an illness, struggles with our children, or to simply get through another day. I came across this poem about strength and felt the need to share it.


Yes Lord, it's me again and like always I'm in need
Though not for fame and fortune my heart is without greed.
I'm just weary from the burdens and the strength I seem to lack
I'm not asking for a lighter load, Lord I just need a stronger back.
There are times when the road gets rough and it's hard to carry on
When rest always seems out of reach and all but faith is gone.
Make my mind think clearly and use the wisdom it's acquired
Don't let decisions come in haste when my body becomes tired.
My feet always seem smaller than the shoes I need to fill
And that's when I still need you Lord and know I always will.
Alone in weakness I would falter but if you'll walk by my side
I can persevere in troubled times and within your strength abide.
When my knees start to tremble and I fear that I may fall
I bow my head and close my eyes and on you Lord I call.
And I pray that you'll walk with me as I strive along my way
To give me strength when I am weak and courage when I'm afraid.
No I don't want a lighter load when this weight is all I've known
All I ask for in times like these is the strength to carry on.

By Roy Benton Freeman Sr.

This poem is a posting from www.scrapbook.com/poems/doc/35657/219.html.
 Here is a quote that I like - "When life becomes too hard to stand, kneel."
Do you have a favorite poem or quote about strength?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Mother’s Day – The gifts that mean the most

A special treat for mom.

As we approach Mother’s Day, I am reminded of times that my boys creatively gave gifts from their heart. When they were younger they made cards decorated with pasta and gave me hugs. Now as tweens/teens, their gifts have taken on a different look.
The kids know I love Sweedish Fish (candy), so this is a gift they can never go wrong in giving. In fact I have already received my bag for this year. I devoured them as soon as I took the photo of them for this posting.

Last year my Mother’s Day wish was for a spa day. I anticipated the warm towel from a facial, jets blaring from a foot bath, and muscle tensions easing in my neck. What I got was a home version of a spa day.

Joshua took out the foot bath and had me soak my feet. Before he trimmed my toenails, he left the room to look for safety goggles. He returned with swim goggles. My pedicure continued until every toe was massaged and trimmed.

A pedicure gone wild.

When my pedicure was done, there was water on my floor and a towel in a heap on top of a bottle of foot oil and toenail clippers.  But my feet felt good.

When I shoved my hand in front of Joshua, he huffed and he puffed like the big bad wolf. He understood that I wanted my hands massaged next. He pushed my cuticles back with his hands, then nearly sanded my skin off with the emery board. When he was done, he shoved his hand in front of me. He was waiting for a tip.

Next year I think I’ll ask for a card decorated with pasta.
One gift I really cherished was the coupon book that the kids created. The coupons included:

  • 30 minutes of quiet time.
  • Complete chores without complaining.
  • Keep bedroom clean for an entire week.
I tried to slip in a few coupons of my own, but the kids said substitutions/additions were not allowed. I was told double coupons were also out of the question.

What Mother’s Day gifts have been most memorable to you?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Monday Musings - Under the influence of kids

What happens when you are under the influence of kids? Almost anything. You may loose clarity of thought on any given situation. This state of being may be brought on by things that the kids get themselves into or get you into.
You may be under the influence of kids if you experience situations such as those listed below.
·         You’ve had to take a forgotten lunch, homework, gym shorts or anything else to your child at school.
·         You’ve had to move at top speed to protect your child – from riding his bike into the street, from putting something non edible into his mouth and the list goes on.
·         Your kids challenge you to do something and you do it. You realize half way through the challenge that it could lead to embarrassment. On a warm sunny day at the park, the boys were swinging on some type of merry go round apparatus. It looked like they were having fun. So when they said, “Come on ma get on, we’ll swing you” I got on. They video taped me flying through the air and landing.
·         After a long night, you sleep soundly, but jump out of the bed the next morning because the alarm did not ring. You rush to wake the kids, hurry them to get dressed…then realize it’s Saturday.
·         You have been out smarted by your kids, on more than one occasion.  I asked my son to clean the bath tub. We like to use Scrubbing Bubbles for cleaning. The directions on the can say, “Spray and wait five minutes for tough stains.” Donovan sprayed the tub and returned 20 minutes later (and only because I reminded him to finish the job). He said he wanted to make sure the tub would be clean and “The commercial says Scrubbing Bubbles works hard so you don’t have to.”
What experiences have you had while under the influence of kids?

Friday, May 4, 2012

Feel Good Friday-Words of inspiration

The Serenity Prayer

(Reinhold Neibuhr-1926)
When children pray...
My son's special moment.

GOD, grant me the serenity
to accept the things
I cannot change,
Courage to change the
things I can, and the
wisdom to know the difference.

Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardship as the
pathway to peace.
Taking, as He did, this
sinful world as it is,
not as I would have it.
Trusting that He will make
all things right if I
surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy
in this life, and supremely
happy with Him forever in
the next. Amen

Poem is from www.dennydavis.net/poemfiles/relfaith.html. Visit this site for more poems of encouragement.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A day out without kids

Shopping without the kids, but still needed their input on my new cell phone purchase.

I was excited the other day to have a few hours to myself. It was my favorite time of day, early morning. I went grocery shopping while the kids were in school. I parked the car and ventured inside to do my shopping.
I wandered blissfully throughout the store. I read ingredients on packages that I wouldn’t normally take the time to read. I am usually like the Road Runner, in and out at the blink of an eye.
By the time I finally left the grocery store, I wandered not so blissfully through the parking lot. I had forgotten where I parked. This would have been a good time to have the kids with me. My adventure didn’t end there.

It was time to purchase a new cell phone. I believe God give all of us a special gift, mine is not technology savyness, if there’s such a thing. The salesperson showed me the Smart phones. I told him I didn’t care whether my phone was smart or not, I just needed it to do basic functions.

The sales guy demonstrated the phone for me then let me play with it. As I navigated through the touch screen, I tried to type the word ‘hi’ but I typed ‘ho’ instead. I didn’t get that phone. Again, if my kids had been with me they would have directed me to a phone they know I could handle.
I went to a different store later that day to check out their variety of phones and rates. My favorite manager, Jeff, was there. He knows me by name because I always try to get a bargain when I go there. Jeff started telling me about all the different phones, “there’s the Epic, the Evo, this one has 4g…” What I heard was, “lions and tigers and bears oh my.”

I called my son and asked him which phone he thought I should get. He said,” Get the Evo.” I got the Epic 4g. Not because I wanted to do the opposite of what he said, well maybe I did. Payback. However, I do like the Epic because the screen is bigger.
I have my new phone safe in hand, but I’m still learning to work all of the features. If you need to reach me over the next few days it may be better to use a different source of technology. I refuse to spend time reading the manual right now. I’ll just keep asking the kids questions and learn by trial and error.

The next time I venture out without the kids, perhaps I’ll do something fun.
Have you had any big adventures without the kids?
Speaking of adventures with/without kids...check out this give away. Answer the question: What funny things do kids say?