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, August 28, 2015

Feel Good Friday – The Victor

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The Victor

by: C. W. Longenecker

If you think you are beaten, you are.
If you think you dare not, you don't.
If you like to win but think you can't,
It's almost a cinch you won't.
If you think you'll lose, you're lost.
For out in the world we find
Success begins with a fellow's will.
It's all in the state of mind.
If you think you are out classed, you are.
You've got to think high to rise.
You've got to be sure of your-self before
You can ever win the prize.
Life's battles don't always go
To the stronger or faster man.
But sooner or later, the man who wins
Is the man who thinks he can.

You can have the victory!
YouTube Video Credit: Michael MyIvaganam

Monday, August 24, 2015

Muffins with Mom – 5 Benefits of peppermint

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Have you ever discovered something about yourself by accident? I just discovered that I am considered an old person. It happened while I was attending a friend’s bridal shower (not the becoming old part, but the discovery that I am old).
Usually it’s my teens who help me make life discovers, but this time it was the teen niece of a friend. We standing at the candy table during the shower, stuffing our goodie bags with assorted candies. There were Starbursts, M & M’s, Kisses, white mints and peppermints, to name a few.
After gathering my share of chocolates, I topped my bag off with a handful of red and white peppermints. It was then that I tuned into the conversation between my friend’s niece and one of her other aunt’s
Aunt: “What kind of candy do you want?”
Niece: “I’ll have some of the mints, the white ones, not the other ones. Those are for old people.”
I put a twist tie on my goodie bag and carried my old person candy to my seat. I couldn’t help but chuckle as I remembered when I also thought peppermints were the candy of choice for old people. As a young girl, whenever I complained of a dry mouth or sore throat, my grandmother had a peppermint on hand.
In my near old age, I still find peppermints soothing. In fact, I have discovered that there are health benefits to peppermints. Here are 5 benefits of peppermints.
1.      Tames stomach problems – peppermints are not a cure all, but they have been said to aid with problems .com) as nausea, menstrual cramps and irritable bowel syndrome. An Italian study found that symptoms of IBS were significantly reduced among 75% of patients who took peppermint oil capsules for a month (huffingtonpost).

2.      May relieve a stuffy nose – one of the biggest ingredients in peppermint is menthol. This minty smell is found in many of the over-the-counter cold remedies. There’s not much evidence that sniffing peppermint actually clears the nasal passages, but it seems to trick the brain that there are benefits.

3.      Eases tension headaches – most often tension headaches are brought on by stress and anxiety. A study (1996) showed that rubbing a peppermint oil solution on the forehead and temples, eased headache pain after 15 minutes.

4.      Curbs cravings – in a study in 2011, people were asked to smell peppermint oil every two hours. They reported not feeling as hungry as people who did not get a whiff of the oil.

5.      Peppermint could boost concentration – research conducted by Wheeling Jesuit University linked smelling peppermint to greater alertness, motivation and performance.
Although you do not have to eat peppermints to reap the health benefits, I will still continue to let the sweet treat line the bottom of my purse; or fill my candy jar. According to the guidelines of a teen, I am an old person, so I am allowed to eat peppermints without further judgment.
Have you made any discoveries about yourself lately?


Friday, August 21, 2015

Fun Friday - 5 Signs that football season is near

It’s the second week of two-a-days. For my son this means two football practices a day for two weeks. For me this means adding to the grocery list, organizing drop-off/pick up at practice time and additional loads of laundry.
When my son is a part of a team…I am part of the team. He suits up, so do I.  My son puts on his girdle, I put on my girdle. We both head to the field wearing the school colors. It is officially high school football season.
Do you have a child who plays sports? What are indicators that the season is upon you? Below are 5 signs that high school football is near.
1.     You receive reminders about the deadline for sports physicals.

2.      You have to sell discount coupon cards.

3.     Your son show you pictures of all the latest (expensive) cleats.

4.     You’re riding around with a stadium chair in the trunk of your car.

5.     You receive emails asking you to volunteer.
Once you have recognized the signs that your season is changing, you prepare accordingly. Just as you dress differently from fall to winter, you must also adjust your schedule from one sport or activity to the next for your child. For our household, this means Friday nights will revolve around football games.
It’s not all bad being a sports parent. It can be a time for socializing with other parents and building relationships. You just have to remember to watch the game too because your child will ask you, “Did you see my play?”
Is your child involved in activities outside of school? What are the indicators that it’s time to begin a new season or session?

Friday, August 14, 2015

Faith & Fitness Friday – Do you have a plan for a healthy lifestyle?

Make healthy choices
What do you do when you can’t pray away the pounds? Change your prayer. If you’ve ever struggled with your weight, you know that there is no easy fix for maintaining weight loss goals. It’s hard work.

I’ve tried wishing the pounds away, “Lord, I sure wish I could lose seven pounds or even five.” It didn’t work.  Then I prayed for the strength to get up each morning to make the drive to the fitness center. 

Next, I prayed for courage to walk out of the locker room with my head up, even when the scale didn’t display the results I wanted. In my mind, lights flickered, digital numbers rapidly increased, then a warning flashed the message “wide load.” This is when I realized that sometimes you have to laugh at yourself.

What does it take to jump start a healthy lifestyle? Identify your goals and make them measurable. Is your goal to eat healthier, exercise more or to lose weight by a certain date? You can do it by making small changes each day.

One goal could be, “I will snack on fruit today instead of chips.” If your goal is to exercise more, what does that look like? If you like to walk on a treadmill, perhaps your goal would be to add 10 minutes to the time you normally walk. 

If you fall short of your goal, don’t beat yourself up. Get through the day with a little positive self-talk and start over the next day. Come up with a daily mantra – I am happy, healthy and terrific; or scripture – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. When you say this enough, you believe it and you feel better.

One thing I’ve learned as I continue to reassess, reevaluate, and rethink my weight loss/maintenance goals, it’s not always about me. Sometimes your struggle can be a blessing to someone else. 

Recently, the adult mime ministry at my church ministered to the song, Not Me Lord, You! By Paul S. Morton. When I compare this song to my weight loss issues, I just have to say, it’s not about me. My lesson can be a blessin’ to someone else.
Adult Mime Ministry in order of appearance: Heidi J., Me, Carol B.
If you are struggling with your weight, set a goal to change one thing tomorrow. I attended a seminar recently where the speaker asked us, “How do you eat an elephant?” The answer was, “One bite at a time.” Don’t be overwhelmed by the big picture, break your task into smaller pieces.

No matter what…love the skin you’re in. And while you’re working out, you can pray for the strength to lift that dumbbell one more time. What twill you do differently tomorrow?

“Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out.” – Robert J. Collier

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Words of Wisdom – The Donkey in a well - Persistence pays off

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This is a story of persistence that you may have seen before, but it's worth viewing again.

Shake it off and take a step up
One day a farmer's donkey fell into an abandoned 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 up anyway; so it just wasn't worth it to him to try to retrieve the donkey.  

He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They each grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. Realizing what was happening, the donkey at first cried and wailed horribly. Then, a few shovelfuls later, he quieted down completely.  

The farmer peered down into the well, and was astounded by what he saw. With every shovelful of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up on the new layer of dirt. As the farmer's neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up.  

Pretty soon, the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and trotted off, to the shock and astonishment of all the neighbors. Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to not let it bury you, but 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!  

And finally, the donkey gave the farmer who tried to bury him a good kicking. 

Author Unknown

Monday, August 10, 2015

Muffins with Mom – Relaxation Day – 7 ways to celebrate

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Did you know that there is a day of the year set aside for relaxing? National Relaxation Day is celebrated on August 15th. My teens obviously began celebrating this day long before I heard about it. In fact, I think they celebrate weekly.
If I ask one of my boys to do something while they’re watching TV or playing a video game, they respond with, “Ma, I’m trying to relax.” No worries. When its dinner time and I’m asked what’s for dinner. I respond with, “I’m sorry I didn’t cook yet. I needed to relax.”
Is there any among us who could benefit from a relaxed day? How would you choose to relax? Below are 7 ways to get you started on your day of relaxation.
1.      Try Yoga – start your morning stretches that help relax tense muscles.

2.      Take a day off from technology – log off social media, power down your laptop and reacquaint yourself with silence for one day.

3.      Have a picnic at a park – take advantage of the warm days of summer and venture out to a local park and take a picnic meal with you.

4.      Watch a movie – watch something funny or a favorite movie that will take your mind off any worries.

5.      Read – read something inspirational. Here’s another opportunity to head out to a park, find a quiet spot under a tree and take your mind off reality for a while.

6.      Take a bubble bath – absorb yourself in bubbles and listen to relaxing music.

7.      Eat an ice cream cone and don’t worry about the calories.
It you want more ideas check out the article at The Huffing Post. The article guides you through an ultimate day of relaxation hour by hour.
Now that you know a National Day of Relaxation exists, how will you celebrate?


Friday, August 7, 2015

Fun Friday – 7 Ways to celebrate National Book Lover’s Day

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Are you a lover of the written word? Get ready, get ready, get ready, it’s almost National Book Lover’s Day. You still have time to prepare for this national day which is celebrated on August 9th.  This is a great time to get lost in a book.
Celebrate Book Lover’s Day with one of the ideas below.
1.      Read to a young child (and make all the voices of the characters) – relive the child in you; act out a character, act silly and laugh a lot.

2.      Host a book lover’s party – do you have friends who also love to read? Invite them over for smoothies, snacks and book related trivia.

3.      Give  a book to someone as a gift

4.      Read a book by an author new to you – you could also try reading a book in a genre that you wouldn’t normally read. If you like romance novels, try reading a mystery with a touch of romance.

5.      Support a local bookstore

6.      Revisit a favorite book – is there a book by your favorite author that you haven’t

7.      Visit your local library
If you like to read, but you’re not sure that you would call yourself a book lover, check out the sure signs of a book lover below.
1.      You pull a book out of your purse and start reading while standing in a checkout line.

2.      You drag in tired for work because you stayed awake late the night before trying to finish the book you’re reading.

3.      You visit relatives for the Holiday, after dinner when everyone is sharing stories, you pull out a book.

4.      While at your child’s sporting event, you read a book between quarters and during timeouts.

5.      You talk to a friend about the characters in your book as though they are real people.

6.      When you receive a gift card to a bookstore, you jump up and down as if you’d just won a lottery.

7.      The staff at your local library know you by name.
Do you have suggestions for celebrating National Book Lover’s Day? No matter how many ways you decide to celebrate this literary occasion, be sure to kick back and relax with a good book.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Muffins with Mom – A visit to the doctor

Doctor's appointment?...I'd rather go swimming.
As the kids prepare for back to school, it’s also a good time to schedule a visit to the doctor. It can sometimes be a challenge trying to encourage our children to live a healthy lifestyle. Scheduling a doctor’s appointment for my teen son brought back memories of an appointment he had several years ago.

I had forgotten about the questions the doctor asks or I would have prepared my son and myself. But what ten year old can’t speak for himself? The doctor asked, “How many times a day do you brush your teeth ?” I looked away because I knew the answer and it wasn’t good. There was a pregnant pause as my son stared at the doctor with a smirk on his face.

I finally blurted out, “One time a day.” The ugly truth was out, I didn’t follow through to make sure my son brushed as he should. Although I tell him repeatedly to brush, I don’t stand over him to be sure it is done (clearly this is what he needs).

The doctor tried her hand at reasoning with my son. She said, “You have to brush on a regular basis. What if you go to school and someone says you have stinky breath?” My son softly replied, “It doesn’t matter what other people think of me.”  I silently thought to myself, you’re on your own doc.
I’m glad my son has a positive self image, but sometimes I wish he would learn when to use it. The volley of questions and answers continued. “Do you eat fruits and vegetables?” the doctor asked.

“Yes, when my mom gives them to me.”

Oh, sure the ball was back in my court now. Of course I provide fruits and vegetables. My son even knows the number of servings he should have each day.

“Do you drink milk?” She continued.
“Only when I eat cereal.”

The doctor looked at me and suggested giving the kids a multivitamin daily. “Chewable vitamins are sufficient and they taste pretty good too,” she said looking at my son.

“Can I get the gummie ones?” my son said with a wide grin.

I’m sure the doctor wasn’t sad to see us leave. She had experienced my daily challenge first hand. My kids understand what it means to be healthy. The challenge is getting them to practice healthy living (eating balanced meals, brushing teeth regularly, etc.).

A fun website for teaching kids about health and nutrition is www.nourishinteractive.com. The site has interactive games that teach kids about the food pyramid. It also tells them how to balance eating and activity. There are individual sections for kids, parents and educators.

Has your child ever had a doctor’s visit that was out of the ordinary? What do you do to encourage a healthy lifestyle with your child?