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, October 30, 2015

Fun Friday - Trick or Treat – A parents night out

You can't go wrong with Dollar Store jewelry as part of your comedy ensemble.

As a child, at Halloween, my friends and I used to chant the phrase, “trick or treat smell my feet, give me something good to eat.” There were no tricks, only treats at the Evening of Elegance event hosted by the Women’s Ministry at my church. The event was open to everyone, but I viewed it as an opportunity for a parent's night out.

As a parent, how often do you take the opportunity to do something fun? If you had to think about your answer too long, it’s time to get out. Take the time to rejuvenate, relax and reward yourself. The opportunity presented itself for me to be on the program at our Evening of Elegance event. I took a leap of faith and signed up to entertain through comedy.

In search of something to wear to the event, I perused the selection of high fashion in my closet (not). I chose one of the long gowns that I wore in somebody’s wedding over the past ten years. On my way to the church I stopped by the Dollar Store and purchased my most precious jewelry…a plastic necklace with matching earrings. I couldn’t resist the old school candy necklace, so I wore them all.

Felling like the belle of the ball, I glided around the room with as much grace as I could muster up. This sometimes meant remembering not to walk hard like I was wearing combat boots instead of high heeled shoes with a platform. The room was transformed into a café type atmosphere with faux candles and colorful centerpieces on the tables.

Some of the youth from church served as waiters and waitresses. They took our orders from a predetermined menu of sandwiches, fruit, veggies and dessert. I tried to coax my sixteen-year-old son into attending the festivities with me, but he would rather stay home and do chores than to hang out with me. And that’s how my outing turned into a parent’s night out.

The entire event was a treat to those in attendance. There was guitar music, poetry reading, youth mime, singing and comedy (me). I’m not a comedian by trade, but as with my blog, I have plenty of stories of things that happen in the throes of parenting. I told my son that if he accompanied me to the event, I wouldn’t include him in any of my stories. He took his chances, he stayed home. I was bluffing anyway. Most of the stories included his brother.

Have you experienced a parent’s night out? What will you plan as you next outing?

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Words of Wisdom – How is a being a Christian like being a pumpkin?

photo credit

A woman was asked by a co-worker, ‘what is it like to be a Christian?’

The co-worker replied, ‘it is like being a pumpkin. God picks you from the patch, brings you in, and washes all the dirt off you.

Then he cuts off the top and scoops out all the yucky stuff.

He removes the seeds of hate, doubt, and greed.

Then he carves you a new smiling face and puts His light inside of you to shine for all the world to see.’

Author Unknown

Pumpkin days of long ago with my boys

Monday, October 26, 2015

Muffins with Mom – 3 Ways the statute of limitations relates to parenting teens

photo credit

Raising teens can be a challenge, but sometimes you have to uncover the humor in difficult situations. It’s not much fun telling your child over and over to do something, only to have your request fall upon deaf ears. I no longer get frustrated…I write about it.

The antics of my teenagers have led me to compile a list of ways parenting is like the statute of limitations. The list is below.

A statute of limitations for parenting can be interpreted as….

·         The length of time your teen can leave his living space unkempt before you lose patience.

·         The length of time your child can live in your house after graduating high school – if your almost adult teen still has trouble keeping his room and the rest of the house clean, it may be time for him to branch out on his own.

·         The length of time your teen can continue to ask for money without establishing a repayment plan.

What’s a parent to do while waiting for the statute of limitations to expire? Come up with survival techniques. Here are a few to get you started
·         Practice deep breathing techniques before responding to any crazy request from your child.
·         Set boundaries and stick to them (good luck with this one, it may mean sacrifices for you, but it can be done).

·         Love your child no matter what. However, it doesn’t hurt to come up with a mantra…”I can do this, I can do this, I can do this.” You can be more profound than this, but this give you an idea. A favorite quote or scripture works well too.

How does the statute of limitations relate to parenting in your household? Have you experienced any parenting challenges lately? Write about it, you’ll feel better.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Fun Friday – What could possibly go wrong at a fast food restroom?

photo credit
A lot of people don’t like to use public restrooms, at least according to a survey of several of my friends, this was the consensus. My point of view is, if you gotta’ go, you gotta’ go. Just proceed with caution. What could possible go wrong at a public restroom?
The sun beamed through the sunroof of my car as I drove my mom to visit a friend. We decided to stop at a local restaurant chain near our old neighborhood, mom wanted a coffee. While she ordered, I went to the restroom.
As I walked up to the restroom, I noticed a plated sign near the door with the inscription, “This restroom locked, stop at front counter for key.” I stood dumfounded, starring at the sign trying to decide what to do. I understood what the sign meant, but I wasn’t used to a restroom being locked at a fast food restaurant.
A gentleman sitting nearby must have interpreted the look on my face, he said, “Just push it hard, it’s unlocked.” I gave the door a little push, but it didn’t open. Then I put my shoulder against the door and gave a firm push. The door opened. I guess one had to be a frequent visitor to that establishment to know the trick to entering the restroom.
This was one time my workout regime came in handy. I used my muscle to enter a public restroom that many would have avoided.
It seems, I wasn’t the only person to have an episode at a fast food restaurant. My friend told me about her recent visit to a local…um, establishment. My friend had been out running errands, by the time she reached the restaurant she had to use the restroom really bad. She rushed into the restroom, practically running as she entered the handicapped stall.
It was only moments before the restroom door opened and another customer entered. Through the space of the stall door, my friend could see the back of the gentleman at the urinal. The urinal she hadn’t noticed when she entered the men’s restroom. My friend flushed the toilet and bolted from the restroom before she could be seen.
Feeling a bit traumatized, my friend didn’t stop to wash her hands (eeeek). She borrowed hand sanitizer from another friend who was waiting for her in line at the restaurant. My friend’s only thought was of getting out of the restaurant without the man from the restroom recognizing her by the shoes she wore.
Have you ever had anything go wrong at a public restroom?

Monday, October 19, 2015

Muffins with Mom – 3 Ways to handle distractions

photo credit
Has there been a project you’ve wanted to complete, but you can’t seem to find the time to do it? When you finally make time to work on your project, something comes up. Distractions.
Distractions manifest themselves in many ways, some can be humorous while others leave you with a feeling of frustration. The other day while at my son’s high school football game, I fell prey to a storm of distractions.
As the announcer made calls of “pass complete” and “first down and 10”, there were other calls coming from the stands. “Cotton candy $3” and “Get your 50/50 raffle tickets.” And that was just the beginning of my distractions.
The game continued, the announcements continued, “Verges on the tackle.” Then from a child in the stands, “Look at that feather in the air.” The child wasn’t talking to me, but I looked up anyway. Sure enough there was a feather drifting through the air and then another right behind it. Some of the students were wearing feather boas as part of a theme.
The distractions I experienced at the football game were simple ones that can be anticipated at a game. However, there are other distractions that require a little planning to ease frustration.
Below are three ways to handle distractions
1.      Persevere – this requires tenacity; stick to your task until you achieve what you set out to achieve. Perseverance may look different for each one of us. It could mean praying your way through a situation, setting goals and scheduling deliberate time to make something happen.

2.      Schedule time for yourself – if you are a busy parent this will mean creating stolen moments. If your child is involved in after school activities, use this time to set goals, create a plan or just unwind with a book. When you schedule frequent time for yourself, unexpected distractions are easier to handle.

3.      Look for small successes that lead to big gains – set small attainable (and measurable) goals along the way to a larger goal. Celebrate your small accomplishments which aid in building confidence and moves you forward to larger accomplishments.
4.      Slow down – often busyness is a form of distraction. We pack our schedules so tight that we have an event/activity to attend every other day. Reevaluate how you spend your time. It is ok to say ‘No’ to some requests of your time.
If you’re distracted during you’re an event your child participates in, chalk it up to being part of the territory. For other distractions, devise a plan.
How do you handle distractions?

Friday, October 16, 2015

Fun Friday – A friend in need

Have you ever heard the adage, a friend in need is a friend in deed? Well, the other day, I was called to the aid of a friend (almost). It was a warm breezy day…

My friend and I were wearing dresses as we walked to the car after a shopping trip. Suddenly, a gust of wind engulfed us. I grabbed the edges of my dress to keep it down, my friend reached for her head.
She said, “Whew, I thought my wig was going to blow off.”

I told my friend, “No need to worry, I would have helped you retrieve it. Even if it was blowing down the street like a tumbleweed. However, you may have had to wait until I picked myself up off the ground from laughing.”

A friend in need is a friend indeed.

On a different wind day several states away, my college son had a friend in need experience. During a visit to the school library, my son sat with headphones on as he worked. When he was ready to leave, he shoved his books into his backpack and made his way to the stairwell.

As my son entered the third floor stairwell, an alarm sounded, he looked around, but kept walking. As he approached the second floor, the alarm rang more, sounding like an evacuation siren. Suddenly, a student ran from a library door, pointing at my son and shouting, “Stop him he’s stealing.”

Not knowing what to do, my son kept going until he reached the first floor. I asked my son, “Why was the guy yelling at you? Were you taking books?”

My son said, “I had four library books that I was reading and stuffed in my bag with everything else and forgot to check them out.”

“Were the books a rare collection of Shakespeare, Huck Finn, or some other classic?” I asked.
“No Ma, the books didn’t even have a cover, it was just something I wanted to read. I was rushing to get to class and forgot to check them out.”

Between the screaming student and the screaming alarm, my son figured out he was the cause of all the commotion. He could have used the aid of a friend at the moment. 

As the situation deescalated, my son slinked over to the circulation desk to check out, the battered and torn library books that he wanted to read. 

My son and my friend both survived their windy day experiences with hair and ego intact.
Have you ever experienced a friend in need situation? Perhaps you were the friend who needed rescuing.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Wordless of Wednesday - National Dessert Day

It’s here, National Dessert Day, celebrated October 14th . Forget about counting calories for one day and indulge in your favorite dessert.
Homemade Red Velvet Cake

Vanilla Ice Cream with Coconut

Gingerbread with Cool Whip
Do you have a favorite dessert?

Monday, October 12, 2015

Muffins with Mom – Perseverance: A mom’s perspective

photo credit

Has there been a time where you had to persevere through a situation? As my teen son and I were scanning through an old photo album, we came across photos of him playing little league football. There were photos of him in a huddle, running the ball and pumping his arms in victory.

Our stroll down memory lane, led to a discussion about perseverance. This reminded me of an article I wrote several years ago about perseverance. Here it is for you below.

What does it mean to persevere? Wikipedia defines it as commitment, hard work, patience, endurance. I define it as working overtime at being a parent. It means meeting challenges head on. Making sure homework is complete, the kids are in bed on time (that’s relative), and completing house work are apart of a parent’s commitment. However, I don’t remember signing an agreement or work contract to fill these obligations.
As I begin to tackle the weekly laundry, I wade through a mound of clean white socks. I find several without mates, some with holes and some so dingy that Clorox can’t save them. I persevere. One sock at a time, one task at a time, I dredge forward, determined to complete what I started.
Perseverance is getting up every morning to exercise even though the numbers on scale refuse to go down. It must be broken.
Perseverance is preparing a nice home cooked meal from scratch, only to have the kids say, “I like the Kraft (Sponge Bob) Macaroni & Cheese better.” The next time I plan a special meal, I will surely call upon Chef Boyardee, Uncle Ben, Mrs. Dash and Aunt Millie. Perhaps I can do a better job with the lunch menu.
Preparing home cooked meals is not the only area that requires perseverance as it relates to parenting. Kids experience perseverance in their own way.
During a recent track meet, my 11 year old niece experienced a lesson in perseverance. As she was near the end of her run, halfway around the track, she heard her name being called, “Alexis.” She did what all runners are told not to do during their run, look back. When she looked back it was her friend who was running the same race. “Alexis wait up,” she said.
My niece thought to herself, “Is she calling my name in the middle of a timed race?” My niece kept running, despite the minor distraction. Both girls crossed the finish line with the spirit of the tortoise in the fable, The Tortoise and the hare.
As I researched information about perseverance, I discovered some interesting facts. There are many famous people who persevered despite their handicaps and disabilities. Beethoven was deaf, Thomas Edison had a learning problem, Albert Einstein had a learning disability and Vincent Van Go was mentally ill. It seems Wikipedia is accurate, to persevere means hard work and commitment to overcome challenges.

What does perseverance mean to you?


Monday, October 5, 2015

Muffins with Mom – Little Red Riding Hood: The story of a directionally challenged mom

Allegheny National Forest, Pennsylvania (photo credit) 

This is not the forest I traveled through, but it's pretty and works for this post.

Little Red Riding Hood may have liked strolling through the forest, but I’ll stick to the paved roads. As I traveled home from a conference the other day, I could have used the company of some of my favorite fictional characters. Little Red, Hansel and Gretel, and Snow White could have given me some pointers with my directional challenges.

The conference was at a location that was tucked away through a forest of trees. The countryside was exhilarating with is winding roads and stoic farm houses. However, the evening journey home from the conference was…um, an adventure.

Somehow when I pulled out of the parking lot of the conference location I turned in the wrong direction. I traveled about three miles in the direction I thought would lead me to the highway. As I drove further, a couple of turkeys along the side of the dirt path I traveled. Not much further, I came upon a group of llama. At least that’s what they looked like from a quick glance.

I called my teen son to ask about setting my GPS. Scrolling through my cell phone, there did not appear to be an app for the GPS. My son tried to coach me through finding the alternate maps icon. I sat at a stop sign at the edge of the forest and Googled my address…the search engine did nothing but spin in circles…no connection.

There was no wood cutter to save me as in the story of Little Red Riding Hood, nor was there a trail of bread crumbs left by Hansel and Gretel. I was like poor Snow White, lost in the woods…until.
Through the clearing of the woods I came upon a cross street I recognized and turned in the direction I thought was home. It wasn’t long before I realized, I was still on the road to nowhere. Another half mile and I looked up and saw a steeple and a cross, I continued in that direction. It was a church.

The sun was sinking behind the clouds as I pulled into the church parking lot. There was one lone car with its headlights on, preparing to exit the lot. I had found my savior. It was not the seven men who rescued Snow White, but a nice elderly couple who directed me to the highway.

As darkness blanketed the sky, I pulled into my driveway safe and sound leaving behind my forest adventure…for now. On my next trip I will travel with a real friend rather than fictional characters.
Have you ever felt directionally challenged? What did you do?