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.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Fun Friday – The family that plays together

I’m a fan of the saying, the family that plays together, stays together. However, I didn’t know this saying would be a part of my Thanksgiving dinner. When my mom invited my brother and I over for dinner, I took a dish to pass. Once I arrived, I realized I should have taken a rake.
Some families get together during the holidays to have dinner. Our family got together on Thanksgiving to rake leaves. If my mother had sent out an invite, the small print would have read, come prepared to do chores after dinner.
When my mother said she wanted us to help clean around her house, I thought she was joking. As it turned out, the joke was on me. After dinner, we bundled up, grabbed a stack of leaf bags and began our task.
It was just before dusk as we stuffed bag after bag with sticks and leaves. After filling a few bags, we took a break to toss some of the leaves into the air. Thus began the fun part of gathering leaves. My teen son wanted to get the task done, but my brother humored me and took part.
Almost every time I get together with family something funny develops. I’ve learned to accept the quirkiness of my family as part of who we are. We could probably change, but why?
What fun things have you done with your family lately?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - Happy Thanksgiving

YouTube Video Credit: bluemountainecards
YouTube Video Credit: americangreetings

Monday, November 24, 2014

Muffins with Mom - The shopping trip – bonding with a teenager

A mom (me) as a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle
How do you bond with a teenager…? Do something that he likes to do. In our case, my son and I stumbled upon an unplanned bonding moment. It was a typical Sunday afternoon when my son and I ventured out to our local discount retail store after church.
There were only a few items on our short list of things to buy. Our main quest was for a pair of long johns for my son. While in the men’s department we discovered something amusing. There was a section of Superhero pajamas that were Onsies – a one piece pajama minus the closed foot.
As I circled the clothing rack, I tried to imagine someone lying next to a full grown Superhero. Keep in mind this was not the children’s section of the store. Feeling quite silly, I told my son to try on the Batman pajamas.
Right there in the middle of an aisle, my son slipped on the Batman pajamas over his clothes. And we took photos. It was not enough that he looked silly, he wanted me to look silly too. So I stepped into a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle pajama set. We snapped more photos.
We shared our photos with my son who is away at college so that he could experience a piece of home life. Often, our bonding times involve stepping out of what is considered to be the “norm”. We explore our silly side, even if it’s in the middle of a public place.
In addition to being silly, the shopping trip with my son opened the door to other conversations. We talked about school, football workouts and whose turn it was to pick a movie to watch after dinner. Every day does not include a bonding moment, but that day was classic.
What kinds of things do you do as part of the bonding process with your child?

Friday, November 21, 2014

Fun Friday – When kids try to help

This is how it looks when youth help with grocery shopping.

Do you remember when your child was not quite big enough to accomplish certain tasks, but he tried anyway? When my son was younger he used to try and carry the gallon milk jug.  Usually he was holding it high at his chest with two hands and his back arched. He always seemed to make it to his destination without a disaster.
Sometimes when your child tries to help everything turns out okay and other times, parental guidance is needed. As my teen son as grown, I have encouraged him to take on more mature responsibilities.
“As a college student, you have to be able to speak up and ask questions about your education,” I told my son this on more than one occasion.
“Ok, I’ll go to financial aid on Monday, they’re closed today,” he said.
I was so proud of my son when he called the other day and said he went to financial aid office to inquire about his tuition payment.
“Good job,” I told him and gave a virtual high five. He also sounded proud of himself.
“The counselor said we need to make a payment on the balance before I can register for next semester.”
“Oh, ok we can pay something on it,” I said.
“I told him I would pay half,” my son replied.
“WHAT? You’re going to pay half of whose money? You don’t have a job.” I think my hair stood straight up on my head in shock. My first thought was, I’m going to have to do damage control and call and tell the financial aid office how much “we” can really pay.
My son was doing his part to help by making a commitment to a pay on his account. This was one time I wished he had consulted before helping. My next parenting lesson will be to teach my son to be financially responsible with his money rather than mine.
What type of things does your child do when he thinks he’s helping?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Words of Wisdom - Inspirational videos

Always Take Chances Make Mistakes, That's How you Grow
Video Credit: Video Inspiration
Famous Failures
Video Credit: A Sabbath Blog

Monday, November 17, 2014

Muffins with Mom – A Holiday request from a teen

Before they were teens....there were still Holiday requests, for some of the same things.

It’s the time of year where people begin to make holiday requests. The bell ringers are in front of stores asking for donations and there’s talk of getting the Angel Tree ready at church. These are small requests in the big scheme of the Holiday season. There’s a feeling of altruism when giving in these instances.
On my home front there was a different type Holiday request made recently. In a phone conversation with my college son we discussed our annual family Christmas dinner. Somehow the conversation led to talking about Christmas gifts.

“Do you want to know what’s on my Christmas list?” my son asked.
“No, why don’t you tell me?

“I want an X-Box – One.”
Can you imagine my next question? “How much does something like that cost? I asked.

“About $350, but I have a $50 gift card you can put with it,” he said.
After pausing briefly I said, “Maybe you’d better go to the mall and give your request to Santa.”

I could hear a chuckle on the other end of the line, but I continued talking, “How about socks for Christmas?” There was more laughter.
“I have enough socks, but thanks mother.”

I noted the sarcasm in his comment, but it was happy sarcasm. Our mother and son conversation ended with a Holiday request from me.
“My request for you is twofold, first I want you to bring home better than average grades. Second, come up with a way to give back during the Holiday season.”

My son agreed to my request. However, there are several weeks left before we find out how this story ends.
In the meantime, enjoy a Strawberry Lemon Muffin (recipe above).
Has your child ever made any special Holiday requests?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Fun Friday – Campus Life – From the journal of a college freshman

My son is a college freshman. He doesn’t really have a journal, I don’t think. If he had a journal, there are a few conversations that I’ve had with him that would be suitable for a journal entry.
About a month ago I called my son to ask him if he received a package I’d sent to him. His reply was, “No, everything on campus and in the city was closed.”

“Why?” I asked.

“Because it’s Homecoming weekend. Classes were cancelled on Friday. BET (Black Entertainment Television) will be here and comedian Ruben Studdard.”

“Wow that sounds like fun. So how are classes going?” I couldn’t resist asking.

He told me that classes were going pretty good.
On another occasion, I called my son one evening just to say hi. He answered the phone with a dragged out, “H-e-ello.”

“Are you ok,” I asked.

“Yeah, I’m taking a nap.

He did sound like he had his face buried in a pillow. “Shouldn’t you be studying or something?” Although I couldn’t be there in person using my helicopter mom tactics, I had to hover over him. I was still wondering how those grades were coming along.
“I’m getting up in a little while. It’s just so hot. It’s hot outside and the heat kicked on in the dorm.”

I didn’t have a lot of sympathy for him as I sat curled up in a blanket.
In a recent conversation with my son, I found out he was playing basketball on one the intermural teams at the school.

“I don’t think you told me you were playing on a team,” I said.
“Oh, it happened kind of quick. And do you know if my warm up is in my closet?”

My son went on to tell me that he had a game coming up that week. I wished him luck and told him to let me know how the game goes. On game day I received a text that said, “I scored 18 points and had 10 rebounds.”
Attempting to speak his language I said, “That’s what I’m talkin’ about. Congrats.”

Inside my head I was saying, “how about those grades?” As of this cold November day I’ve heard many tidbits about my son’s life on campus. There have been roommate stories, dorm food tales and even requests for money.
It doesn’t seem like my son has had any trouble adjusting to being eleven hours away from home. Campus life has been a learning experience for him.

What parenting episodes would you enter in a journal at this moment in your life?



Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - World Kindness Day

World Kindness Day is celebrated on November 13th, what will you do as a act of kindness. Do something totally off the wall and have fun with it. Take a look at how Ellen DeGeneres brightened someone's day.

YouTube Video Credit: The EllenShow

YouTube Video Credit: The EllenShow

Monday, November 10, 2014

Muffins with Mom – What happens when kids give directions?

Photo credit
Have ever watched horror movies like Freddie Kruger (Nightmare on Elm Street), or Texas Chainsaw Massacre? Maybe you’ve seen a Lifetime movie where a woman is running down a dark deserted street. You know the one, where the woman looks back at the person chasing her, then she trips and falls. This is the kind of journey we were on the night my teen son asked me to drive him to a party.
My son asked if he could go to a party at a friend’s house. I asked the typical questions – Who sis the friend, where does he/she live? Will their parents be there? Etc. My son was ready with his rehearsed answers. As he searched the directions on his phone, he even told me it would take 13 minutes to get to the friend’s house from where we lived.

After about 10 minutes the road we were supposed to be on ended and the GPS rerouted us. At the same time, one of my sons’ friends called and wanted to ride with us. He said he know where the girl lived, so we turned and went back for him. Both boys programmed their phones with the address and we were on our way.

We rode up and down the rural street supposedly where the party was to take place. On one end of the block the address numbers were too high. When we crossed the road to the other side, the numbers were too low. My sons’ friend told me to pull over at the dark house on the corner and he would go to the door and ask if that was the house. I turned on the dome light so I could glare at him as I said, “NO.”
First of all I was wearing a hooded sweatshirt, sweat pants and flip flops with socks (a hot mess). Second of all, I was not sending a teenage boy to a strange house in the middle of nowhere. So we kept driving.

My son’s phone battery died and then so did his friends. My phone was the only one left with a partially charged battery. This was Scene one, act one of our journey. As we continued to drive we saw a van on the side of the dark road. The trunk was open and it looked like there was a large clear plastic bag in there. The driver looked to repairing a flat tire. That was one time I could not be a Good Samaritan.
Thirty minutes later we still had not reached our destination. As we followed the GPS we reached a road closure. My son told me to go through it (the road was open to local traffic). I drove around the barriers, which after half a mile, led us to another barrier. By this time we were driving past corn fields.

I told the boys, “If we ever find this house, I’m going in too. And you’re only staying 15 minutes because I’m tired now.”
My sons’ friend was in the back seat laughing and singing spirituals. I joined him by singing one of our Sunday morning songs, “I will trust in the Lord, until I die.” Then I thought about the words. “Maybe we should sing a different song.” We all broke into laughter.

We gave up on finding that party. I told the boys that there probably wouldn’t be many people there because the location was too hard to find. They found out later that not many kids from our area went to the party because it was hard to find.
The lesson I learned that night was that I should obtain directions in advance when taking my son somewhere. When kids give directions, you need to be prepared for the unexpected.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Fun Friday – All in a day’s work

The garage door at my job was similar to this one.
Photo credit
Has anything funny happened to you on the job lately? Reader’s Digest used to have a humorous section in their magazine titled, All in a day’s work. This section provided humorous stories that happened on the job.
One of my favorite scriptures is, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4: 13). I repeated that phrase the other day at work while attempting to complete a task.

The UPS guy delivered a couple of large items to my job on a palate. The items were too large and heave to fit through the front door of our center, so I directed him to the garage. As he drove the truck to the back of the building, I walked to the garage. This is where my reciting began.
I attempted to lift the garage door, but it wouldn’t move. I double checked to make sure I had taken the lock off and tried again. I slid locks, pulled on chains…nothing. Meanwhile the UPS guy was on the other side of the door patiently waiting.

I kept telling myself, “I can do this, I can do this.” Our custodial staff didn’t begin their shift until later in the day, so I couldn’t enlist their help. The maintenance guys were already in their vehicles and off to satellite sites. There was our Clerk who was manning the front office and me.
I slide one more bolt, gave a slight push to the door and up it rolled. And there was the UPS guy patiently waiting. I’m glad it wasn’t a Federal Express delivery or there may not have been a person waiting patiently on the other side of the door.

Has anything funny or odd happened to you on the job lately? How did you handle it?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Words of Wisdom - Never give up – Donkey in the well story

Photo credit: SpiritHoods
One day a framer’s donkey fell into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered anyway; it just wasn’t worth it to retrieve the donkey.

He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone’s amazement he quieted down.

A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up.

As the farmer’s neighbors would continue to shovel dirt on top the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and trotted off.

Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a stepping stone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up.

Author Unknown

Never give up.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Muffins with Mom – When kids grow up: how do you handle change?

Did you realize that kids seem to grow up right before your eyes? One day you have your little lying on your chest rocking him to sleep, the next thing you know, he wants to drive your car. I’ve often heard the phrase, kids grow up so fast…not I see the meaning behind that.
Here’s what I mean…

My son ventured off to college at the end of July and he hasn’t been back home yet. I have to confess that I don't do face time, mainly because I don’t own an Apple product. If I did have one, my younger son would have to show me how to use it.

I am not totally in the dark when it comes to other forms of communication. I text my son often and call him on the phone when I feel the urge. It caught me off guard the other day when he texted and attached a photo. I hadn’t realized it had been so long since I had seen him.
My son wanted me to see his new “fit” (as my younger son calls it). The outfit looked nice on him, but I zoned in on the hairstyle and the NEW facial hair.

“What is that under your chin?” I typed.

“LOL, that’s been there,” he replied.
I had to stop texting (because I text slow) and just call him. I had a lot more questions. He had hints of facial hair above his lip when he left home, not a full mustache, goatee, and seven inches of hair on top of his head.

As I stop and reflect, I see that my children have gone from babies to big boys, and now young men.
I didn’t go shopping with my “baby boy” when he needed to buy a suit for an upcoming event. So, I had him try everything on when he got home. My first thought was WOW, he has grown up too. The boys young men stay in constant contact with each other, so we took photos for him to share with his brother.



If you were to ask me how I handle my boys growing up, I would say cherish every moment. If I think of something funny that happened to me, I’ll text my son and share a laugh. My younger son and I sometimes bond as we travel in the car. And it seems that photos are at the forefront of special moments with both boys.
How are you preparing for your child to grow up or what have you already experienced?