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, November 30, 2016

Words of Wisdom - Be Inspired

YouTube Video Credit: allgreatquotes

Monday, November 28, 2016

Muffins with Mom - Tickling God’s Funny bone

When life throws you a bone, bite it. Have you ever asked yourself the question, why Lord? Why me? If you sit still long enough and listen, you may hear God say, “why not you?” Over the years I’ve come to learn that things happen in God’s divine timing.

Sometimes you’re broken down to be built back up even stronger. As you travel through the fiery furnace, you will come out different than you went in. Your character has developed, you become stronger. Somehow, you survive your storm. That’s God.

My grandmother used to say, “Trouble don’t last always.” I find myself reciting the same phrase through tough times. It is during tough times we must still find joy. What outlet do you have for releasing your joy? For some it may be taking a long walk, listening to music or reading a good book. While you figure it out, sit back in your favorite spot and discover your funny bone.

Funny bone, a sense of humor. Did you know that God has sense of humor? As situations occur in my life, I visualize God doubled over with laughter saying, “My child, my child, I really did make you unique.” There has been more than one occasion that has led me to believe God has a funny bone or a sense of humor.

As you read this the story may you find a mustard seed of hope and inspiration to carry you through your daily walk. When the going gets tough, find something that makes you smile.

Praying for a job
Ask and it shall be given unto you.

Take a walk back in time with me, about five years ago. Peek through the window of a day in my life...

I had a conversation with God the other day. I explained how it was time for me to find a job earning more money. I had been laid off from my job for a year and was earning a little money working part-time, but not enough to sustain by bills. Little did I realize that God had positioned me to become a certified fitness instructor.

My first question was, “Are you serious? You want me to teach an exercise class? I feel like Humpty Dumpty.” I was not the picture of what I thought a fitness instructor should look like. However, I did say I needed more money. And I wanted to loose weight.

I participated in fitness training so that I could lead group fitness classes at the facility where I worked part-time. A weekend training lead to a three day workshop, a CPR certification, recruiting participants and leading demonstration classes. Prior to completing training I had two offers to teach a fitness class. The offers were from sources who didn’t know I was working toward certification.

Needless to say, the door was opened to new opportunities I would not have had without the fitness training.

What are you praying and asking God to do in your life? Pray and believe that it is already done.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Fun Friday – Surprise guest

It was a chilly fall evening when I slipped into my fleece pajamas and fuzzy socks. My hair was pulled back into a ponytail secured with a hair clip, and covered with a bonnet. I was the spitting image of Little Red Riding hood’s Grandma…except with a tan. My teen son decided to bring company home, unexpected.

The house was dark as I began to descend the stairway from my bedroom. I was halfway down the stairs when I heard the front door open and my son said, “Ma, I brought company home.” At the same time, he flicked the light switch on and said, “Ma this is….”

“Noooo.” I didn’t wait to hear the rest of his introduction as I turned to flee the stairway. “I am not ready to receive company.”

I rushed back to the bedroom, snatched off my bonnet and covered my fleece jammies with a fleece housecoat. My appearance was a far cry from glamorous, but at it least it didn’t look like I’d just crawled out of bed. I reemerged from the bedroom with a smile and greeted our house guest.

After a brief interrogation engagement with our guest, I retreated back to my cozy spot, topped my head with my bonnet and curled up with a book. Sipping Hazelnut coffee and reading, it was easy to drift back into my relaxed state. There would be time later to converse with my son about house rules.

My son obviously didn’t realize there was an unwritten code about bringing guests home. In this day of instant messaging, I should have at least received a text indicating company was on the way. Even a ten minute lead time would have allowed me to give the house a quick glance and shove things in a corner if necessary.

Have you ever had a surprise guest appear at your home? What did you do?

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Words of Wisdom – Celebrate Family

Funny, silly, smart, resourceful…just a few words to describe my family. Our recent outing reminded me of the quirkiness of my family. Dinner at a local family restaurant proved to be anything, but average.

I accidentally I tried to hold a conversation with my brother. When he didn’t respond to a comment I made, I realized the problem right away. His attention was directed at the big screen T.V. above our table. Michigan was playing Iowa in college football and I was distracting him. Oops.

Trying to organize our small tribe for a photo was like trying to round up a herd of cattle.  As soon as I got a few people together, a few others wondered off somewhere. Then there’s my great nephew who went from pretending he was asleep to showing us all of his teeth with a huge grin.

My teenagers added to the festivities by rough housing with their little cousins and nearly bumping into a table of diners near us. I was ready to bury my head in a hole and slither out of there. It was at that moment my niece said, “Let’s take a group picture near the entrance.” She had recruited a hostess to our picture.

Once again, we attempted to assemble ourselves into a picturesque arrangement of professional photo readiness. We came close to it, really close, then remembered, that’s not really who we are. We’re resourceful, smart, silly and funny. Anything, but average.

As we head into the Thanksgiving holiday why not take the time to create a lasting memory with your family? Here’s a poem that celebrates family –

A family
is made of love and tears,
laughter and years.
It grows stronger
More precious
With the making of memories.

It’s the place you find
Someone to encourage you,
Believe in you.

Celebrate with you and comfort you.
A family is where your heart
Feels most at home because you’re
Always wanted, always welcomed,
Always needed,
Always loved.

Author Unknown

Do you have a funny family story to share? Wishing you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Feel Good Friday – Giving Thanks

Thankful for little brothers...they grow old with you.

What are you thankful for at this moment? Have you heard the saying, “I may not be where I want to be, but at least I’m not where I used to be?” Celebrate where you are right now and know that your best days are yet to come.

Today I celebrate this old body of mine through a poem

This old body of mine
Woke up this morning right on time
Said a quick prayer for this body of mine

Gave thanks for my hair, though it’s gettin’ thin,
Even said thanks for the hair on my chin.

Legs got stiff from sittin’ too long
Stomach muscles no longer strong.

Eyes that used to see so well,
Now need glasses to read the mail.

Still got my mind, sharp as a tack
But sometimes there’s pain in my lower back.

Woke up today feelin’ real fine,
Gave thanks to the Lord for this old body of mine.

What are you giving thanks for today?

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Wellness Wednesday – National Take a Hike Day

Go take a hike! Lace up your favorite walking shoes and get moving. Did you know that November 17th is celebrated as National Take a Hike Day? This is a great opportunity to get out and enjoy nature and the fall colors. You might even improve your health.

Utilize your local park, trails or take a vigorous walk through your neighborhood. If you live in the Ypsilanti/Ann Arbor area walk along a portion of the Border toBorder Trail. The trail extends over 
24 miles and includes paved shared use paths.

Hiking can burn 400-550 calories per hour. Go take a hike…for the health of it.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Muffins with Mom – 7 Mother/Son Bonding Activities

Mother & Son Dance - Laser Lights
It was the end of high school football season and my son was not playing a second sport this time. This left him free to help me with a work activity. It was early in the week when I asked, “Hey do you want to volunteer at my Mother & Son dance at work? There will be other high school students helping.”

“I guess, if you really need me.”

My son worked the dance with me. I didn’t know it would be that easy to get him to do it. It’s never that easy. He actually got out onto the dance floor when the Wobble (hip hop dance) blasted through the speakers. We danced side by side as he asked me, “What do you know about that song?”

We leaned and rocked along with the other Moms and sons until the end of the song. Then I sent my son back to his volunteer duties. The dance was a time for mothers or mother figures to bond with their young man. If you’re looking for bonding experiences with your little guy, below are some suggestions.

1.      Volunteer together – this time for my son and I the mother/son dance was a chance for us spend time together. When my boys were younger, we delivered meals on wheels to homebound senior citizens on Christmas. They still talk about that experience that was over seven years ago.

2.      Visit a museum or aquarium

3.      Play a video game

4. Go on a hike

5.      Attend a sporting event – the options are many in this area. You can attend a little league event, catch a college game or even a professional game in your area. My younger son and I took a road trip an hour away to watch his brother play basketball. This gave us one on one time together.

6.      Read – select an interactive book and act out parts as you read.

7.      Watch a movie

Monday, November 7, 2016

Muffins with Mom - A time to vote

The presidential election is upon us. Have you talked to your child about the importance of voting? My oldest teen voted in his first election during the primaries. My younger teen discussed the voting process, polling statistics and other information in his Economics class.

When the boys were younger they learned about the voting process through mock elections at their school. Below is a reflection of that time through an article I wrote for our local newspaper several years ago. The information is still relevant.

In their version of a town hall meeting, middle school students participated in mock elections. Signs displayed throughout the school encouraged would be voters to elect their favorite candidate.

When I asked my son about the candidates platform he said, “what?” After further explanation on my part he went on to tell me what the students hoped to achieve if they were elected. “One person said he would try to have breakfast served at school,” he said. “Another person said he would try to have recess extended but said, “it would be a hard request to carry out.”

The concept of holding mock elections seems to be beneficial to students. In making observations as I walked through the halls, I could see so many benefits of this exercise. Students are learning public speaking, they are standing up for something they believe in, and they’re learning good citizenship.

During the schools morning assembly, there was mention of core democratic values. One sixth grade class helped to lead the assembly by giving short statements about core democratic values. This experience and other conversations about the democratic process help to teach our children that they have a voice. Teaching children at a young age will help them to make informed decisions later.

What can families do to teach their children about voting and the democratic process? An article I read recently called Democracy North Carolina, suggested that families develop the following habits:
  • Give your children a vote in family decisions whenever possible.
  • Provide books, magazines, newspapers and other resources that offer opportunities to discuss political issues and different ethical or moral views.
  • Show your interest in civic affairs and include your child in conversations about what’s happening in the world.
  • Read to your children from books that promote responsibility, good citizenship, making a difference and teamwork.
Voting is a powerful tool and an election is the perfect time to teach children about the political system in our country. Depending upon their age, we can teach them how to choose a party to vote for.  One way to do this would be to encourage them to choose a party that reflects their beliefs and ideas.

When you venture out to vote on November 8th why not take the kids with you? This could be the starting point for a discussion on voting.