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, July 29, 2016

Fun Friday – Getting what you want

My magical shirt attracted famous people - author Lisa Wheeler and Professor Beth Myers
Have you ever said to your child, “you can’t have everything you want?” Or “You don’t need that.” I am learning that sometimes you have to take your own advice. My words came back to bite at a writer’s conference.

As I perused items at the bookstore, I picked up a couple of books by authors I’d met, then I spotted something else that called my name. Lying there neatly displayed on a table was a t-shirt lettered with the name of the conference.

The shirt was soft to the touch. It appealed to me because I believed that if I wore it, when I sat down to write, words would just flow form my head. It was to be my motivation when I was in a writing funk.

I held the shirt in the air with outstretched arms. It looked slightly smaller than my size. I looked at the label in the neck of the shirt and it said XL. I bought the shirt.

When I got home, I pulled myself into the shirt, poking my head through the neckline like a turtle, jamming my arm through one sleeve, then the other. I took the shirt off and looked at label again, it still said XL.

My conclusion was that the XL must have stood for “xtra little”.  I wore the shirt anyway. As long as I sit up straight with my back arched, tummy sucked in, and neck held high, the shirt fits perfectly.

Three years later, I still wear the magical shirt as part of my uniform when working on a special writing project. It has no powers, it fits okay, but I wanted so and I got it. Snug fit and all. Just because we want something doesn’t mean we have to always have it.

...and from the right angle, the shirt appears to fit.
What happens when you get what you want and more?

Monday, July 25, 2016

Muffins with Mom – Camp lessons

It’s summertime, school is out, but that doesn’t mean learning stops. My teen son spent the day at football camp and I spent the day at a writer’s boot camp. He huddled on the turf, I huddled at a conference room table. Both of us were going after our passions.

The sun was blazing, the air was dry and it was barely 8:00am. Knuckles on the ground and cleats digging into the grass, my son was in position for the grind of the day.

The day spent at camp was all about opportunities. For my son, it was all about exposure. He wanted a chance to display his skills as well as build upon what he already knew. My opportunity was in the form of being surrounded by fellow writers and authors, sharing and learning from each other.

After camp my son and I had a short debriefing. He said, “Ma, it was so hot, it felt like my cleats were melting on my feet, but I was a beast.”

Translation – he was in top form, did a good job.


While I was not a beast at my camp, I did manage to gain key information to help take my writing to the next level. The lessons learned for both me and my son were – self-awareness, improved skill, and new motivation.

Picture Book Writer's Boot Camp with author Lisa Wheeler
Writer's Bootcamp - Adrian College (MI)

What opportunities have you embraced lately?

Monday, July 18, 2016

Muffins with Mom – Following directions

Destination...football camp.

Have you ever had to stress to your child the importance of following directions? On many occasions I have told my children - be sure you read the directions before taking any medications, read directions thoroughly before beginning a test or task, etc. It is only fitting that I follow my own advice.

My teen son and I were drained after leaving an all-day football camp. He was tired from running drills and I was tired from watching him run drills. Anxious to get home I pulled out of the parking lot of the college and headed in the direction I thought was home.

“Did you set the GPS on the phone?” I asked my son.

“Yes, just keep driving straight. I’ve got this under control.”

After driving a couple of blocks, a voice blared from my phone and told me when to turn and how many miles I had yet to go before the next turn. After 25 minutes of navigating winding roads, the GPS voice came on and told me…“In 50 yards you have reached your destination, Dundee Coney Island.”

I thought I was going home, but my son programmed the GPS to lead us to food. I followed directions, but they did not lead where I thought they would. I should have asked more questions.

Have you ever been in a situation where following directions did not give you the results you expected?

Friday, July 15, 2016

Fun Friday – Comedy in the air

somewhere over the rainbow...

On a recent airplane trip, the flight attendant came on the microphone and announced the routine instructions. He began by telling us, “This is a no smoking, no complaining, no whining flight.” After an outburst of chuckles, he had our attention.

The flight attendant continued with his safety instructions. Some people were actively listening, while others were preoccupied with arranging their belongings. It was at that moment the flight attendant said, “Good luck to the six of you who paid attention.”

I was feeling pretty at ease with the comedic banter of the flight attendant…until it was snack time. Slightly famished, I was looking forward to a quick snack on our short flight. Since I had not flown in a while, I wasn’t sure the quantity of snacks and what type I could take, so I didn’t take much.

After the fasten seat belt sign was turned off, we were told that we could move about the cabin and that snacks would come around soon. It was also announced that since there was someone on board with a nut allergy, we would be served pretzels. Totally understandable, until…

The package of pretzels was smaller than I expected. Just for fun. I dumped the pretzels onto a napkin and counted them. There were 12 micro, mini, minuscule, pretzels. I craned my neck to see if I could find the funny flight attendant. Surely this was a part of his humor. Since it was a no complaining flight, I chewed my mini pretzels slowly, one at a time, to savor the flavor.

At the end of the flight I thanked the flight attendants for their service and gave kudos to the pilots for getting us to our destination safely. Overall, I don’t care about the snacks; I’m more impressed with quality service and a safe landing.

Everyone appeared to have followed the rules on our flight – no smoking, no complaining and no whining.

What comedic episodes have you experienced lately?

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Words Wisdom – Embrace your geekness day

photo credit

What makes you unique? Sometimes it our quirky, geekness that brand us as different from another person. Embrace Your Geekness Day is celebrated on July 13th. Make an effort today to do one thing that you love to do that makes you unique.

I began a little early celebrating Geekness Day. One of the things I like to do is to visit author book signings. As a writer, it is inspiring to hear the stories of published authors and their journeys.
When I went to the book signing for author Kate DiCamillo, I had not done my research ahead of time to familiarize myself with what she had written. All I knew was one of my writer’s groups and other affiliations were commenting that Kate was coming.

Upon my arrival at one of the local libraries, I was greeted by two lines of people that extended outside of a classroom and wrapped around a corner. One line was for people purchasing Kate’s books, the other was a line of people waiting to have their books signed. I squeezed between the two lines to take photos.

It was at the book purchasing table that I experienced my aha moment. There on the table was one of Kate’s book that I was very familiar with, Because of Winn Dixie. It was at that moment I wanted to tell someone, “It’s Kate DiCamillo, the author of…” But everyone there already knew who Kate was.

Being the geek that I am, I sat around awhile, took photos and enjoyed being in the room with other book lovers, writers and young readers. 

Kate DiCamillo - author

Below are a couple of quotes related to being a geek.

“Nerd. One whose unbridled passion for something, or things, defines who they are as a person, without fear of other people’s judgment.”        Zachary Levi

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”    Dr. Seuss

How will you embrace your geekness today?

Monday, July 11, 2016

Muffins with Mom – Distracted parenting

My teen son sent a text message to me the other evening saying, “Ma, I’m going to play night basketball.”

I responded with, “Ok, be home by dark.”

His next response came with several crying emoji and the statement, “I don’t think you get it.”
As I re-read the message I sent back my own set of emoji along with “lol”. I was in the middle of something else when I distractedly read the text message from my son.

If you’re like the average parent, our minds can go in a million places at one time. It may be planning the grocery list, scheduling a doctor’s appointment, checking emails or figuring out where the kids need to be and when. Whew.

How do you resolve the problem of parenting while distracted? Practice doing less.  In a recent blog post I read, the mom said she was going to practice doing less. This meant saying no more often. No to things that will make your schedule jam packed and leave you with an overwhelmed feeling.

Our kids need our attention. One way to do this is to practice what we preach. If we tell our kids to limit their electronic time, we should do the same. Dedicate a specific amount of time each day for no use of electronic devices (cell phone, laptop, iPad, etc.) Spend this time talking or doing something together.

It may be a challenge at first to put down your electronics and resist the urge to check email, Browse Facebook or pick up your phone every time it dings with a message. You have to start somewhere. Are you up for the challenge?

My response to my son’s text message let me know that I needed to pay more attention to my children and what they are saying.

What has been your experience parenting while distracted?

Monday, July 4, 2016

Muffins with Mom – Independence Day

photo credit

Boom, crackle, hiss, it’s the sound of Independence Day in the United States. Time to enjoy the July 4th celebration with family and friends. There will be plenty of parades, picnics and people that weave together lasting memories.

As I prepare to attend our local Independence Day Parade, a thought occurred to me about how we prepare our children to become independent. Perhaps an Independence Day celebration would be appropriate as a child transitions into adulthood. This is still a work in progress with my teens.

I told my teen son more than once to get his chores done. After much prodding, my son dragged himself from the bedroom to the kitchen, where his task awaited. He stood motionless for a moment then talked into his phone. I heard him say, “Siri, how can I get out of doing chores?”

I shook my head as my son chuckled at Siri’s answers. When he showed me some of the responses, I said, “You know that’s going to be a blog post, right?”

As a result of this episode with my son, I did a Google search of my own about excuses kids give for not doing their chores. Below are a few things from a list I discovered from the online list as well as a few of my own.

1.      I need to eat first.
2.      I didn’t know you wanted me to do that right away.
3.      I just remembered a homework assignment that I have to finish.
4.      I had a long day at school.
5.      You don’t understand how tired I am from football practice.
6.      I need to relax for a while first.

All of these ideas stimulated a discussion about the significance of doing chores and how this can help later in life. It wasn’t easy for my son to see the big picture, but I think he understood a few points

When things finally click and my teens mature into adult hood, rockets will blast, fireworks will pop and bursts of color will explode…if only in my mind.

What have been your Independence Day experiences related to your children?

Happy Independence Day!