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 31, 2014

Muffins with Mom – The day the Incredible Hulk took over my body

My seventeen-year-old son got his first car last summer. It’s not a Mercedes, it’s not a Cadillac. In fact, my son’s car has a huge dent in the driver’s door which one of his friends said looks like the Incredible Hulk punched it.

One brisk, dark morning when my son’s car wouldn’t start, I was transformed like the Incredible Hulk. I didn’t turn green, but I did experience incredible strength. My son left his parked in the school bus lane over the weekend. He carpooled to the championship basketball game with other teammates.

I knew the car sometimes had trouble starting, but I didn’t anticipate we would have much trouble since we had jumper cables. We popped the hood on both cars, mine and his. The cables were placed in position, red on red, black on black. The car sputtered like it would start, but nothing happened.

I revved my engine a little. My son turned the key in his ignition. Still nothing. Finally I said, “We have to push the car out of this spot. The buses will start rolling in soon.”

The car was parked at the edge of the loop. Rather than push it all the way around the loop, I put the car in reverse. He pushed from the front, I steered and pushed standing on the driver’s side.

Headlights were headed in our direction. We waited, then pushed some more. After reaching the edge of the circle. We put the car back in neutral and pushed it into visitors parking area. When we hit a slight incline the car started to roll backward a little.

“Keep pushing,” I said. I had my feet planted firmly in position and moved forward slowly.

“I am pushing,” he replied.

We finally guided the car into a parking space, locked the doors and blasted the heat in my car to warm our hands. After a few minutes, my son went into school and I went home.

I missed going to the fitness center that morning, but pushing a car has got to count as a workout. Arriving home, I entered the house with my gym bag still in tow and got ready for work. I wasn’t sick, but wondered if I could call in tired.

Have you experienced a challenging situation lately?

Friday, March 28, 2014

Feel Good Friday – Where does your strength come from?

Photo credit

It was a typical evening; I was the last to arrive home after a busy day. I had worked two part-time jobs, and then stopped by the grocery store for a few things. As soon as I walked through the door, I began barking orders.

“I need somebody to unload the groceries. The dishes still need to be put away. Whose clothes are in the middle of the floor?” I said.

Nobody moved. The boys pretended to be asleep, one each sofa in the living room.

“Chop, chop, let’s get moving,” I said.

As the boys begrudgingly moved into action, my fourteen-year-old asked a question.

“Ma, how do you do it all?” he asked.

“Do what?

“Work two jobs, raise two kids and blog?”

“I pray a lot,” I told him.

When I settled down later, I thought about my sons question some more and realized that sometimes I do a lot. However, I have also learned to do more things that I want to do, which includes blogging and other writing.

As every parent probably knows, there are many times along our journey where we need strength, both physical and emotional. My strength comes from prayer. Below is a poem I recently stumbled upon that pertains to strength.

Woman of Strength

A strong woman works out every day to keep her body in shape
but a woman of strength kneels in prayer to keep her soul in shape.

A strong woman isn’t afraid of anything
but a woman of strength shows courage in the midst of her fear.

A strong woman won’t let anyone get the best of her
but, a woman of strength gives the best in what she does.
A strong woman makes mistakes and avoids the same in the future
but a woman of strength realizes life’s mistakes can also be God’s blessings and capitalizes on them.

A strong woman walks sure footedly
but a woman of strength also knows God will catch her when she falls.

A strong woman wears the look of confidence on her face
but a woman of strength wears grace.

A strong woman has faith that she is strong enough for the journey
But a woman of strength has faith that it is in the journey that she will become strong.

By Sharon Simani

Are you a woman of strength or do you know a woman of strength? Where does your strength come from? …wishing you the strength to get through your current journey.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wonderful Wednesday – spring into action…with Yoga

Yoga mom Laura Kasperzak
Photo credit

It’s that time of year where the weather begins to change, and so does workout routines. As many begin to crave sunshine, there is also a longing to get in shape for anticipated warm front.
I saw a news clip recently that talked about mommy and child yoga photos that have gone viral. The poses were amazing. I’ve always heard about the benefits of Yoga, but when I tried yoga there was a lot of shaking going (my unsteady poses).

Check out the news article and amazing photos of Laura Kasperzak here. After viewing the photos, you may be inspired to spring into action with Yoga or some other fitness routine.
Below is my best attempt at mommy and child Yoga (if you stretch your imagination).

Would you try mommy and child Yoga?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Muffins with Mom – When kids skip school

Photo credit

Would you allow your child to skip school if he asked you? My teen son had a half day of school on a recent Friday. It was also a big day because the boys’ basketball team which he is part of, was headed to the semifinals that afternoon.

“Can I stay home today?” he asked. “It doesn’t make sense to go in for two hours.”

He was really trying to plead his case. My response was, “It might be an easy day since the entire school is hyped about the game. You said they’ve already sold 400 of the 500 tickets they bought.”

“I would still rather stay home,” he said.

“Well, could you make breakfast for me while I send a couple of emails? Then wash the dishes and work on that scholarship application I gave you the other day.”

He put the bacon on the griddle for me and got the pancakes started. After we ate he got dressed and walked around the house a few more minutes. I looked out the window and saw my son had his car running.

“Are you going somewhere?” I asked.

“Yeah, I’m going to school, you’re giving me too many things to do.”

I was glad he decided on his own to go to school. I don’t think he’s missed a day since the start of school.

Has your child ever asked to stay home from school?

Friday, March 21, 2014

Fun Friday – What does your cell phone say about you?

A teen and his cell phone

Do you think a person can tell something about you by the type of cell phone you have? During a recent car ride with my son, which is where we have many interesting conversations, I began a conversation about cell phones. He sat in the passenger seat wearing his ear buds and listening to music on his phone.
I yelled to him, “You’re doing a good job taking care of your phone.”

He frowned and yanked one of the ear buds from his ear, “what?”

I repeated myself, “I said you’re keeping your phone in good shape.”
My son was proud of his state of the art phone which his Granny bought for him a year ago. His previous phone had seen better days – sometimes the screen went black or his voice messages were delayed. Needless to say the newer phone is greatly appreciated. As he reminisced about the old phone he shared this story with me.

“Did I tell you about the time I was going to get a girls phone number, but my phone wasn’t working right?”
“No, I don’t think you told me that one.”

“I asked her for her phone number and she was going to enter it in my phone. The first time she tried, the screen went black. The next time, the battery fell off the phone and it shut down. She finally gave up and said forget it, I’ll just write it down.”
On the day of my sons’ phone episode, I would say his inoperable phone was an indication that he desperately needed a new one. Below are a few ways your cell phone may be indicating something about you (I resemble 3 out of 4 of the scenarios).

·         If you own a flip phone, you may be over the age of 60 years (according to a teenager)

·         If you have a phone where you constantly have to ask your child to work the many features…you’re probably over 40 years old

·         If everyone in your house knows the secret pattern code to your phone…it’s time to change it, if you know how

·         If your kids constantly ask you, “why do you have a phone you can’t work?” you’re probably…me

Does your cell phone indicate anything about your personality?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Muffins with Mom – Scholarship woes

Green Velvet Cupcake with recipe
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Enjoy a Green Velvet cupcake as you settle down to read today’s episode of Muffins with Mom.
I didn’t know that parenting would require me to also be a salesperson and negotiator. As a senior in high school, my son has been applying for college scholarships. All of the scholarships have specific requirements for recommendation letters.

Recommendation letters (pictured here)...but not the final one needed

The most recent scholarship application requested that one of the recommendations come from a school staff. I have been waiting three weeks for my son to bring home that recommendation. I told him to ask a couple of different teachers, still o luck. I’m not sure if he is following up with the teachers after he asks for a letter.
Tired of hearing myself talk, I came up with a different strategy to remind my son about the recommendation letter(s). I sent him a text message during his lunch hour at school.

“Bring home a recommendation letter and earn a monetary gift.” That was my sales pitch. I didn’t receive an immediate response, but eventually I received message that said, “I’ll try.”
The letter didn’t make it home. I didn’t dish out any money. I think I’ll have to follow up with the teacher myself.

Have you ever struggled with giving your child a task…repeatedly, yet he still doesn’t get it done? Sometimes you just have to choose your battles and not sweat the small stuff.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Public Speaking – When big kids cry

You signed me up for WHAT?!

Statistics show that 74% of people suffer from speech anxiety. I think that number increased when I told my son he would have to enter a speech contest.

After school I knocked on my teen sons’ bedroom door and began talking, “Hey, I signed you up for a speech contest.”

“You did WHAT?”

His face contorted, he pouted, and I thought he would throw a tantrum like a two year old. No tears were present, but he looked like he wanted to cry.
I tried to encourage my son by telling him that there are only five people signed up for the competition (so far). I also told him that I (or Granny) would match his winnings. He was still less than excited about the contest.

As we sat in the quiet room at the first contest rehearsal, my son leaned over and whispered to me, “Can you NOT sign me up for anything else without telling me?”
I didn’t agree to anything. I just smiled and waited for the organizers to give instructions.

In an effort to keep the tears at bay, I offered my son two tips for his public speaking engagement.

·         Visualize – picture yourself having a successful outcome, whatever that means to you. It may mean engaging the audience, making them laugh or projecting your voice in a confident manner.

·         Practice – practice what you’re going to say, where you will place emphasis, and how you will move. Practice, practice, practice.
In an article on public speaking, tips were given on how to deal with nervous symptoms that may occur.

·         Trembling hands – put them together

·         Knees knocking – shift your weight and flex your knees

·         Quivering voice – pause, take a deep breath and smile
My son now has an arsenal of information to aide him on the journey of getting through his speech competition. I’ll wait until after the contest to tell him that I threw up the first I had to perform in front of a large audience (at his age).

Have you ever encounter speech anxiety? How did you handle it?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Wednesday Words of Inspiration - 5 Pillars of happiness

Happiness is...

Over the past couple of days I’ve read two different posts by friends where they focused on what happiness means to them. One fellow blogger termed her examples of happiness as pillars of happiness. I took this collision of coincidences as in indication of what I should talk about today – Pillars of Happiness.
Although we all have different definitions of happiness, we recognize it when we see or feel it. It could be that warm feeling you get when a child comes up and gives you a hug for no reason, or that high you experience after attending a writing conference (oh, wait that’s my reflection).

The experts say pillars of happiness include the following components: gratitude, purpose, values, balance, health & wellbeing and support. If I had to list my top pillars of happiness they would be:

  • Faith
  • Friendships
  • Family Gatherings
  • Reading/writing (anything related to this…attending writing conferences, sitting on my porch reading on a sunny day, etc.)
  • Health (going for walks, eating healthy foods along with the other stuff)
What would be on your top five list of pillars of happiness? Your charge today is to create a little happiness for yourself or for someone else.
Below is a song titled Happiness to get your motivational juices flowing.

YouTube Video Credit: 1amOTHER

Monday, March 10, 2014

Muffins with Mom – The Guinness World Record of excuses given by a teen

Photo credit and recipe

The muffin flavor of the week is a Gingerbread muffin. Grab your favorite muffin as you settle down for this story.
After reading a friends blog about her Guinness World Record of excuses for not working out, I was reminded of my kids and their excuses. When you ask your child to do something does he give you excuses? If not, then you’re lucky. I think my kids have enough excuses to compete for a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Just when you think you’ve heard it all, spilling out of the mouths of babes is another excuse. As life would have it, my poor teen children have to do chores. On many occasions they do not feel like completing their tasks. Below is a list of their excuses.

1.      It’s not my turn to do it

2.      I did it last time

3.      My knee hurts, I can’t walk

4.      I’m on break

5.      I just got home from school, I need to relax first

6.      I need a break

7.      I’m too tired

8.      When asked to take out the trash or check the mail – “why do I have to do all the outside jobs?”

9.      Can I do it later?

10.  Can I finish playing my (video) game first?

So what do you do when your kids give you an avalanche of excuses? Shovel your own set of excuses right back at them. Here’s a way to respond to the excuses above (re-read the excuse above, and then read the corresponding response below).

1.      Mine either

2.      Me too

3.      My back hurts and my side and my legs, but I’m still moving

4.      Me too, that’s why you have to do it

5.      I just got home from work and I’m relaxing first

6.      You have to work first

7.      I’m more tired

8.      “Why do I have to do all the inside jobs?

9.      Can I feed you later?

10.  Can I add more things to your list of chores?

What would you add to the Guinness World Book of excuses given by a child or teen?



Friday, March 7, 2014

Feel Good Friday – The Power of One

Photo credit
I stumbled upon a quote the other day that I would like to share with you. Here it is…
“I cannot do everything, but still I can do something.”

Sometimes life gets busy with many demands and requests of our time. This can leave one feeling overwhelmed. Just take things one step at a time, one day at a time and know there is power in “one”.

The Power of One
One song can spark a moment,
One whisper can wake a dream.
One tree can start a forest,
One bird can herald spring.

One smile begins a friendship,
One moment can make on fall in love.
One star can guide a ship at sea,
One word can frame the goal.

One vote can change a nation,
One sunbeam lights a room
One candle wipes out darkness,
One laugh will conquer gloom.

One step must start each journey,
One word must start each prayer.
One hope will raise our spirits,
One touch can show you care.

One voice can speak with wisdom,
One heart can know what’s true,
One life can make a difference,
You see, it’s up to you!

Author unknown

Take the time today to rejoice, rejuvenate and relax.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Wow Wednesday – Would you wear a paper dress? - Paper Couture dresses

Paper dress with fan pleats
Photo credit

Today I was looking for something artsy to post and stumbled across a video of dresses made of die cut paper. This runway collection of paper dresses was created using paper stacks from DCWV (die cuts with a view). It was an amazing display of talent. Take a look for yourself.

To view more about DCWV and their products click here.

 YouTube video credit: DCWV Utah

Paper Flowers
What did you think?

Monday, March 3, 2014

Muffins with Mom – What happens when a teen procrastinates?

Don't put off until tomorrow, what you can do today

I think I was a teen once upon a time, but I don’t remember procrastinating to the extent that my son does. So, what happens when a teen procrastinates? The situation escalates.
I’ve been known to procrastinate a time or two…or three, but there comes a time when you learn a lesson. Perhaps my son learned a thing or two recently. It all began on a clear winter’s day – trash day.

My son knows it’s his responsibility to bring the empty trash can from the curb, back into the garage on trash day. After all, he walks right near it when he gets off the bus after school.
On this particular trash day, my son took the trash can onto the front porch and left it there instead of taking it all the way to the garage. His explanation was, “my hands were full I had to check the mail too.” The can stayed there another day.

As Mother Nature would have it, a winter blizzard blew our way and the trash can went missing. Wind gusts and four or five inches of snow left our area covered with a blanket of snow. The next day, I opened the vertical blinds that provided a view into our backyard and that is when I discovered the missing trash can.
Of course, my son still needed to complete his task of retrieving the trash can and returning it to its proper location. Only now he had to get through a foot of snow to complete the mission. And his boot were not tall enough to keep the snow out and his feet dry. So what does he do?

Grabbing the first pair of tall boots he saw, my son stuffed his feet in, threw his hood over his head and trekked across the yard. With the first step he took, his toes curled like claws into the cloth of the boot.
“These boot are too tight,” he yelled to me as he dashed onto the deep snow.

My son tried to run with the quickness of a Ninja, to avoid sinking into the crunchy snow. His strategy was to tip toe run and toss the trash can ahead of him so there was no extra weight. The strategy worked, but he looked silly doing it. That is what happens when a teen procrastinates.

And I recorded the end result of my sons procrastination.
Have you ever come across a teen who procrastinates? What advice would you give to a procrastinator?