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, April 29, 2015

Words of Wisdom – Have you ever struggled with being patient?

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One of the toughest things in life is to practice patience when going through a struggle. How do you learn to endure…? Prayer. 

Waiting upon the Lord
Oh Lord, I am impatient
As humans tend to be;
I want my solace now;
I want to be carefree.
One hundred times today alone
I’ve passed my load to you,

But then I pick it up again
As humans often do.

So Lord, this time when I shift the load
And you take it up for me,

Please help me wait with faith
Until a solution comes from Thee. 

Author Unknown

Monday, April 27, 2015

Muffins with Mom – The value of a jar of spaghetti sauce

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My teen son was away one day last week working with my brother. On his way back home, he called me with one request. “Ma, can you make spaghetti for dinner.”
The request was not difficult.  However when I checked the cabinets, I didn’t have any spaghetti sauce, nor enough ingredients to make homemade sauce. Since Granny was driving him home, I told my son to ask her to stop by the store for a jar of spaghetti sauce. This would save me time and I could get the food started.
My son’s first question was, “Are you going to pay me back if I spend my money?”
“It shouldn’t cost more than a few dollars,” I said.
“Yeah, but you don’t know how hard I worked.”
“Hmmm, I think I know a little about hard work, but just get the sauce and we’ll figure things out later, I said.
Before the situation of the spaghetti sauce arose, I’d told my son that he would have to give me $10 of his hard earned money. This would be a partial repayment (at a much depreciated value) for a small bathroom cabinet he sat on and broke. My son’s agreement to this arrangement was a low grunt, “mmm.”
After a yummy dinner of spaghetti, garlic toast and tossed salad, I asked my son for my $10.
“Oh, I have to get change.”
His belly was full and I guess he thought my mind was so full that I would forget about the money he owed me. “Ok, we’ll stop by a store tomorrow and you can get change.”
The next day we stopped at a store for snacks and my son was able to get the money he planned to give me. When we got back in the car he handed me $7.00.
“Where’s the rest of my money?” I asked.
“I kept the $3.00 as payment for the spaghetti sauce.”
“That wasn’t what I planned, but ok.”
I later told my son that I was planning to take the $10 he would give me and put it into a bank account for him. I didn’t have to have the money repaid, but I wanted to be accountable for breaking the cabinet.
Since my son only gave me $7.00, that’s all that would be deposited into his account. And that may not make it into his account if I decide to buy lunch. If that happens, my son would have lost $10 on a $3 jar of spaghetti sauce.
There is a moral to today’s blog post…don’ try to outsmart your parents, it could be costly.
What lesson has your child learned lately?



Friday, April 24, 2015

Fun Friday – Uncovering humor in odd situations

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Do you have a friend who seems to always attract odd happenings? This happens frequently when I’m out somewhere with my mother.
While out shopping at a local department store, a woman approached my mother and I. She asked, “Can I tell you ladies a joke?” My mother and I paused a moment.  I looked around to see if were on some hidden camera show. Then I thought maybe were the millionth customer and at the end of the joke confetti would fall from the ceiling and we would be awarded a prize.
Being the friendly people that we are, mom and I listened to the woman. When she finished her joke, I gave a little chuckle. I looked over at my mother and she was laughing hard. The joke was not that funny, mom’s laughter was a bit extreme, but I guess she didn’t want to woman to feel odd for randomly stopping us. Hmmm.
Yard Work
Let me start by saying I’m a fan of the children’s book, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff. The premise of the story is that when you give someone something they will want something else. And that’s exactly what happened when my mom’s young neighbor asked to do yard work for her.
My mother told the young guy he could rake leaves for her and he was ecstatic. Once he was done raking leaves, he asked my mother for something to drink. She gave him something to drink, then the neighbor asked if my mom could drop him off across town.
In this situation the proverbial mouse wanted a cookie, a glass of milk, a piece of cheese and anything else he could get.

Keeping down body odor
It’s always a good feeling being clean, but I think my teen son has taken being clean to a new level. Every time I ventured out to the store my son said he needed deodorant. A few times I purchased deodorant as my son asked.
 I went into my son’s room recently to open up the windows for spring cleaning and discovered his stash of deodorant. He didn’t need new deodorant every time he asked for it. In fact, he already had 5 or 6, maybe even 10.
After this discovery, I told my son, “You should not have armpit odor for months. There’s no excuse.”
In what odd places have you found humor lately?


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Words of Wisdom – How do you measure wealth? A story of inspiration

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There was a boy whose family was wealthy. One day his father took him on a trip to the country, where he aimed to show his son how poor people live. They arrived at the farm of a very poor family, as he considered them. They spent several days there. On their return home, the father asked the boy did he liked the trip.
“Oh, it was great dad,” the boy replied.
“Did you notice how poor people live?”
“Yeah, I did,” said the boy.
The father asked his son to tell in more details, his impressions from the trip.
“Well, we have only one dog and they have four of them. In our garden there is a pool, while they have a river that has no end. We’ve got expensive lanterns, but they have stars above their heads at night. We have the patio, they have the whole horizon. We have only a small piece of land, while they have the endless fields. We buy food, but they grow it. We have a high fence for protection of our property, and they don’t need it, as their friends protect them.”
The father was stunned, he could not say a word.
The boy added, “Thank you dad, for letting me see how poor we are.”
This story shows that true wealth as well as happiness is not measured by material things. Love friendship and freedom are far more valuable.

Author Unknown


How do you measure wealth?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Muffins with Mom – What happens when a teen takes a cleaning shortcut?

Have you ever asked your child to do something only to discover you didn’t give clear directions? What I wanted from my teen son was deep cleaning, what he displayed was surface cleaning.
I may not have discovered my son’s cleaning habits if it had not been for the fact that he was rushing through the job. And the reason he rushed…because he had procrastinated until the stakes were high. There was something he wanted to do and the requirement was that his chores had to be completed first.
My son had the opportunity to earn money working with my brother. I wanted him to work with my brother for the experience and so he could buy the expensive gadgets he wanted without me having to pay for them. The night before my son was scheduled to work with my brother, he began a rush job on cleaning the bathroom.
When I looked in on my son during his cleaning, I witnessed him pulling one Lysol wipe after another from the plastic container. He was cleaning the sink and counter top with the wipes, using only his fingertips as he swirled the cloth across the counter.
When he was done, the empty container remained tilted on its side displaced in the bathroom. The bathroom mirror remained uncleaned and the floor had trash swept into a pile, but not picked up. I didn’t think I needed to spell out every cleaning detail.
This Is my diehard football player, who is committed to a regular workout regime, who refuses to miss a practice or workout session. He will get down and dirty on the football field, but does not want to touch a wet cleaning cloth. Perhaps if I used football terms my son’s cleaning task would go a little more smoothly.
Next time I will tell my son, “You need to tackle the bathroom. Once you’ve cleaned the sink and the tub you are near the end zone. And if you want to score a touchdown, get everything done without me asking twice.”
I’ve come to realize that sometimes you have to learn to speak the language of a teen.
Has your child ever taken a cleaning shortcut?


Friday, April 17, 2015

Fun Friday – Caring for other people’s children

When cousins get together
At the first sign of warm weather, the kids are ready to venture outside in search of active things to do. On a recent summer like day, I took my son and a friend go cart racing. As I watched them race around the track, I was reminded of our visit to the same course five years ago.
On that day five years ago, I agreed to watch my young nieces for a week. This meant I would have four kids between the ages of six years and 12 years in my charge. For me that was a small army. Here’s the story…
Do you remember the nursery rhyme, “There was an old woman who lived in a shoe? She had so many children she didn’t know what to do! So she gave them some broth without any bread, and she whipped them and sent them to bed.”
Well, I had to care for two additional children, my nieces, for almost a week (wouldn’t that mean forever in dog years?). I didn’t know what I would do to entertain them. After all they think of me as the “fun” aunt. No pressure. Just one of the things we do for our BFF (best friend forever).
Unlike the old woman in the shoe, I didn’t spank the kids and send them to bed. I took them go cart racing, which also included putt putt golf. Did I mention that these were girls who are not as rough and tumble as my boys?
I rode the go carts with my six year old niece because she did not meet the height requirements to ride alone. As our go cart whipped around curves and bounced over small bumps, my niece squealed with excitement. “This is AWESOME.”  I held her knee with one hand to keep her from flying out of the car as I thought, does my liability insurance cover this? I should have called Geico.
The round of putt putt golf was just as exciting as the go carts. My niece played more like Venus and Serena Williams rather than Tiger Woods. She lifted the golf club in preparation to swing it like a tennis racquet. Stopped in the nick of time we were spared any injuries.
Caring for someone else’s children requires making adjustments. Will they eat the same foods as my children? Do they have food allergies, what movies are they allowed to watch? How can one manage these additional responsibilities? It helps to ask the parents of the children you’re watching. Of course the information they give you should be considered a guideline.
My nieces didn’t eat much of the foods their mom said were their favorites. However, they did drink plenty of liquids. Are four juice boxes too much for a six year old? I thought so, but she had them before I was aware of the final count.
Caring for other people’s children can be a challenge, but the way we approach the task can make all the difference in the world. I have learned that the best tools for this job are a sense of humor, flexibility, and patience.
Cousins again...a few years later
What has been your experience when caring other people’s children?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Words of Wisdom – The Graduation Gift

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Today’s post is an inspirational story I discovered on the internet, may it touch you in a special way.

The Graduation Gift
A young man was getting ready to graduate from university. For a long time he had admired a beautiful sports car in a dealers showroom and knowing his father could well afford it, he told his Dad that was all he wanted.
As his graduation day approached the young man began looking for signs that his father had bought the car. Finally on the morning of his graduation, his father called him into his study. His father told him how proud he was to have such a fine son and he told him how much he loved him.

He handed his son a beautifully wrapped gift box. Curious, but somewhat disappointed, the young man opened the box and found a lovely leather bound Bible with the young man's name embossed in gold.

Angry, he raised his voice to his father and said, 'With all your money you give me a Bible?' and then stormed out of the house, leaving the Bible.

Many years passed and the young man was very successful in his own business. He had a beautiful home and wonderful family, but realized his father was very old and thought perhaps he should go to him as he had not spoken to him since that graduation day.

Before he could make arrangements, he received a telegram telling him that his father had passed away and had willed all his possessions to his son so he needed to come home and take care of things.

When he arrived at his father's house sadness and regret filled his heart. He began sorting through his father’s papers and saw the still new Bible just as he had left it years ago.

With tears in his eyes he opened the Bible and began to turn the pages. His father had carefully underlined a verse . . . Matthew - 7:11, 'And if ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father which is in Heaven give to those who ask him?'

As he read these words a car key dropped from the back of the Bible. It had a tag with the dealers name and on the tag was the date of his graduation and the words paid in full.

How many times do we miss out on blessings because they are not packaged as we expected?

Author Unknown

Monday, April 13, 2015

Muffins with Mom – Laughing through my pain – A teen and his bedside manor

There’s Dr. Doolittle who talks to animals, Dr. Phil who gives advice and then there’s my teen son. He has no Dr. before his name, but tried to assist me when I was feeling ill. His intensions were good, but…
The other night I was experiencing stomach pains and I had chills. I tossed and turned in bed, but could not get comfortable. Finally, I went in my son’s bedroom and curled up on his floor with my blanket. I hesitated to stay in his room because he had the TV on with the sound blasting as thought he was at the movie theater. I stayed because he had the space heater on.
As I moaned, my son asked if I wanted to take anything, I told him yes. He left the room in search of pain relief for me. When he returned, I heard drinking glasses clanging around, but minutes passed and he didn’t bring anything in my direction.
“What did you find for me to take? I asked.
“I couldn’t find anything.”
“But I heard you clanging glasses around like you were preparing something.”
“Oh, I was just moving some things.”
I rolled to a sitting position and dragged myself into my room and found the last packet of Alka- Seltzer, then inched my way back to the warmth of my son’s room. Handing my son the packet I said, “Put this in water for me.”
My son picked up one the drinking glasses (that had already been used), filled it with water from the bathroom sink and plopped the Alka-Seltzer in. Maybe he thought that in the dimly lit room I wouldn’t notice he’d given me a previously used glass.
This wasn’t the first time we’ve used Alka-Seltzer for pain relief, so I assumed my son knew how to prepare it. The instructions say to dissolve the tablets in 4 ounces of water. Sometimes I use a little more to take away some of the after taste.
My son dissolved or perhaps diluted the tablets in a 12 ounce glass of water and handed it to me. “Umm, Dr. Jekyll, this is too much water. First a dirty glass, now this. Are you trying to make me sicker?”
After my chills subsided, I broke out into sweat and returned to my room in search of sleep. My son didn’t have the gift of Dr. Doolittle nor Dr. Phil, but he did have the ability to comfort. I told him that next a simple hug would be enough.

Have you experienced a situation where you had to laugh through your pain?

Friday, April 10, 2015

Fitness Friday – 7 Excuses for not exercising

Get up and get moving, fit in exercise where you can.
The alarm clock sounded at 5:30am, as the faint sounds of music filled the room, I hit the snooze button. Nine more minutes of sleep, then I would get up and exercise. The alarm soon sounded again, this time as I reached for the snooze button, I pushed the volume button by accident. Music blared. Might as well get up at this point.
Have you ever had a day where you came up with every excuse you could think of for not exercising? It happens to the best of us. Below are 7 excuses I’ve heard for not wanting to exercise and reasons to counter act them.
1.      I just exercised yesterday, I don’t want to overdo it.
Two consecutive days of exercise won’t cause you to over exert. Go at a comfortable pace and adhere to the signals of your body.

2.      I’m not losing any weight anyway, why bother to exercise.
Look at your eating habits, has anything changed? If you always do, what you’ve always done you’ll always get what you always got.

3.      It’s a Holiday.
Take a break and start tomorrow, but don’t put it off again.

4.      All of my workout clothes are dirty.
Throw something on and go for a walk. Exercising does not have to be elaborate, just get moving.

5.      Exercising makes me hungry.
If you have a Planet Fitness Membership, they serve Pizza on the first Mondays of the month and bagels on the second Tuesdays. I know the food days. But seriously, the experts say have a piece of fruit before exercising and drink water before, during and after your workout. This may help curb extreme hunger.

6.      I’m not motivated.
I wasn’t motivated either until I found something to motivate me. One day I was standing somewhere with my arms folded across my chest when I looked down I realized they were resting on my muffin top. I decided that day to at least try to shrink my muffin top to a mini muffin.

7.      I’m too old.
You’re only as old as you feel. I have an uncle who is over 60 and enters weight lifting contests and wins. He’s my hero and will have represent the whole family because that’s not my goal. Set a goal for yourself and go at your pace.
Do yourself a favor and make time for fitness, you will look and feel better. It’s not always about weight loss, but feeling healthier.
What excuses have you heard for not exercising?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Words of Wisdom – National Poetry Month

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In addition to being National Humor Month, April is also National Poetry Month. Below is a dose of inspiration for your day.
Follow Your Dream
by Amanda Bradley

Follow your dream.
Take one step at a time and don't settle for less,
Just continue to climb.
Follow your dream.
If you stumble, don't stop and lose sight of your goal
Press to the top.
For only on top can we see the whole view,
Can we see what we've done and what we can do;
Can we then have the vision to seek something new,
Press on.
Follow your dream.

Are you following your dream?

Monday, April 6, 2015

Muffins with Mom – A spa day

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Parenting is a job that can tire one out. You must make time to refresh, rejuvenate and renew your body, what better way than a visit to a spa? If you have never visited a spa of have not been for a long time, schedule a visit. It is very refreshing.
In addition to being refreshing, my recent visit to the spa was entertaining, because I was with my mom. I wanted to take her out for her birthday (two months ago) so we finally scheduled our spa date. The services we decided on were facials and foot massages.
As I stretched out in a relaxed position for my facial, soft music played in the dimly lit room. A warm towel was placed on my face and thus began my journey. The massage therapist asked a few questions about my skin as I lay in near silence. She told me the things she was applying, but other than that left me to my thoughts.
My mom and I met up in the small, slightly illuminated waiting area after our facial. We sipped water and talked as we waited for the foot massage. Mom said that while she enjoyed her facial, she didn’t fall asleep as I did. She was busy wondering why the therapist kept leaving the room and was it really her who reentered.
I told my mom, “That’s what happens when you watch the Lifetime Movie channel too much. Your mind is in that mystery realm.” After laughing at with her, I reassured my mom that the therapist was leaving the room to get items to prepare her mask. At least that’s what I was told and I survived.
Mom shared with me that her massage therapist said she had great skin. Then she leaned over and whispered to me, “I don’t even cleanse and moisturize.”
When it was time for our foot massage I went first, there as only one person available for this massage since we scheduled our appointments only a couple of day prior. Again, it was a relaxing massage where I didn’t do much talking. My mother said she would probably take a nap too.
While my mom was having her foot massage, I took a break from reading and went to the restroom. As I walked past her room, I could hear my mom talking. And she was doing most of the talking, so much for a nap.
Once we reconnected after mom’s foot massage she said, “I really liked her. She has a son, she went to the same college as you. She used to work a different a different job for years, but….”
My mother had gotten this woman’s whole life story in 30 minutes! I said, “Ma, did you really go in there and talk her ear off?”
“Yes, I gave her an extra tip for listening to me.”
This just goes to show you that everyone has a different concept of the idea of relaxing. No matter how it works out, we could all use a spa day.
Have you had any spa day experiences?

Friday, April 3, 2015

Fun Friday – What happens when family gets involved in National Humor Month?

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As National Humor Month continues, my whole family seems to want to get in on the fun of laughter. My son called me the other day from college and said, “Ma, guess what? I took my finals early and I can come home Monday.”
“Monday? There’s still three more weeks of school, did you find storage for your big items?” I went on and on. My son assured me that he was taking care of things. Then I had another thought…
“You need to complete the rest of the month at school. I’ve already paid room and board, you need to be there for every meal.” In the middle of my ranting and raving, my son interrupted me and said, “April Fool.”
My son had hooked me and reeled me in, but that’s ok because I paid him back. I told him, “You know that check I sent you, for no reason? There are no funds in the bank to cover it…April Fool.”
Later in the conversation, my son wanted to know if I was getting any income tax money back and if so how much. I said, “Slow down buddy, you’re getting kind of personal.”
His reply was, “If thou doesn’t ask, thou doesn’t know and that’s from the book of…”
I finished his sentence for him, “That was from the book of Fairy Tales, because you just made it up, but good try.”
My other teen son, not wanting to be left out of humor month asked me, “Ma how much are you going to put in to help me get a car?”
I was quick with my reply, “nothing.” I am still trying to recover from the shock that my kids think I have a fountain of money somewhere. This is what happens when family gets involved in Humor Month, they provide tons of situations that provoke laughter.
What stories have caused to laugh lately? 

“A day without laughter is a day wasted,” Charlie Chaplin


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Wordless Wednesday - National Humor Month

April is National Humor Month. Here's a little humor to get you started.

 YouTube Video Credit: doublestufforeo24
YouTube Video Credit: wsrequaolcom

If you're going to laugh at/with someone else, be sure you can also laugh at yourself. And thus, there are a couple of home videos included here.