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.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Halloweensie Contest for Children’s Writer’s

It’s that time of year, children’s author Susanna Leonard Hill’s 7th Annual Halloweensie Contest.

The Contest:  Write a 100 word Halloween story for children, using the words candy corn, monster and shadow.

Hope you enjoy my story (96 words).

Elly’s Trunk or Treat

Elly Phant scooped  gobs of candy corn with her trunk. Something was following her.

“Woooo,” Owl hooted.

“Roooar,” Lion screamed.

“Ooot ooot ooot,” Monkey screeched.

Elly Phant tip-toed past animal cages.

The zoo was creepy on Halloween night. Animals roamed free.

Every shadow looked monsterly.

“Kikiki kuk kuk kuh,” Eagle squawked.

Elly sprayed candy corn in the air.

“Thump, thump, whomp,” Beaver pounded.

Elly sprayed candy corn.

“Squeak,” Mouse stood on hind legs.

Elly stood on hind legs, “Har-ooo.”

A shower of candy corn filled the air. Treats for all zoo animals, from Elly’s trunk.

Elly danced with her shadow.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

The Power of Words

You are beautiful.

            You are smart.

                        I love you.
                                    You are enough.

Words are powerful. Words have energy. Words can cut like a knife or flow as smooth as melting butter.

Share a kind word with someone today, it may be just what they need. Know that you matter and you are enough.

Enjoy the spoken work below.

YouTube Video Credit: Clayton Jennings

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Words of Wisdom - Inspiration - Not Me Lord, You

Bishop Paul S. Morton says, "Not, me Lord, but you." Add a little praise to your day. This was one of my favorite songs to mime to. May you find inspiration for your day through song.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Muffins with Mom 3 Signs kids are maturing…maybe

photo credit: The Gospel Coalition
When my boys were younger people always told me, “Enjoy them now, they grow up so fast.” I would look at those people as though they had two heads and just smile. Their comment often came after I’d just finished gritting my teeth and scolding one of them.

Now that my little cherubs are almost fully grown, I’ve noticed some changes in them. They’re working on maturing, but still have a little ways to go. Below are three signs that I’ve discovered to be indicators of kids maturing.

1.      Becoming more independent
My teenager is experiencing cooking for himself at college. When he was home for a day, he told me that he needed to go grocery shopping when he got back to school. I suggested, “There is meat in the freezer that needs to be eaten before it goes bad. Take it back with you.”
“Um, I’m done eating stuff just so it won’t go bad. Thanks anyway.”
“Well, I’m glad you’ve learned to cook, so you can eat what you want when you want.”
My picky eater finally learned to cook.

2.      Learning to problem solve

My son wrote his first college paper last week. He had a dynamic opening that grabbed the reader’s attention. He also included good examples to support his topic. I was proud that he did this on his own before asking me to proof read the paper.

I fixed his floating commas, pointed out words that needed to be capitalized and reminded him to use spell check. My next suggestion was that he change the font size of all words throughout the paper.

I said, “Are you trying to make sure the paper can be read from a distance?” The font size was so large it was obvious he was trying fill the page to meet his page count. All he could say was, “You got me Mama.”

Although my son was trying to stretch his words to meet the requirements of his paper, I was glad that he took initiative. In addition to asking me for help, he utilized the tutoring lab at his school.

3.      Clean up after self

How often have you said to your child, “Clean your room or you need to help clean up”? Now that my son is away at school this concept has finally clicked for him. Having to share his living space with someone else, my son learned quickly why I always wanted him to “clean up.”

There have been times when he has had to do more than his fair share of cleaning. He has learned to shop for cleaning supplies, compare prices and monitor his spending.

What would you add to the list of signs your child is maturing or at least on the road to maturity?

Friday, October 20, 2017

Fun Friday – What makes you laugh? 3 Tips for adding humor in your day

...when your child agrees to give you a pedicure

It’s 6:00am, you reluctantly roll out of bed with thoughts of your busy day ahead. You have already started your day in anxiety mode. Sometimes we have to take a step back and learn to relax. Create a morning routine that you can ease into and develop a way to add humor to your day.

One of my favorite scriptures is, “Be anxious for nothing…” (Philippians 4:6). My goal each day is to find a reason to smile or laugh, even if it’s at my own expense.

This morning I stopped for a cup of coffee from my favorite spot. The drive thru line was long, so I parked the car and jumped out. As I approached the door to the restaurant, I saw a hand written note taped to the door. It read, “Not open until 8am, due to short staff.”

As I walked back to my car I thought, “Why is it the short people’s fault?” Just the way my mind works sometimes. We have to learn to uncover the humor in situations that can seem unpleasant or frustrating.

The other day I wanted to make bacon for breakfast. I asked my sleeping son if he wanted any bacon. He replied with a muffled, “No thanks.” Back in the kitchen, I turned on the griddle, which my son had not cleaned since the last time he burned cooked something.

Once the dried grease heated, I used a metal spatula to push it into the reservoir that catches grease from the food as it cooks. Black grit particles began to pop into the air, some landed on my arms as well as the food canisters stationed behind the griddle. I couldn’t identify whether the particles were from the worn out surface of the griddle or from burned food that was stuck there.

After scrapping and pushing gunk across the griddle, I no longer wanted bacon. I didn’t realize cooking bacon would require me to have a Hazmat (hazardous materials) certification. No wonder my son declined the offer of bacon. All I could say was, I have my next blog post. Sometimes funny stuff just follows me.

What makes you laugh? Find ways to uncover humor in situations you experience. Here are 3 tips to get you started.

1.      Uncover the humor in tense situations – it’s the same as saying, “When life deals you lemons, make lemonade.” Find a positive outcome for the situation.

2.      Read a funny joke – I have a Reader’s Digest book on my desk at work that's filled with pages and pages or jokes and funny situations. It’s my “go to” when I need a breather.

3.      Watch a funny video – there are numerous short videos on YouTube with comedians speaking on any and every topic you can imagine. Take a quick break in your day and watch a couple of 3 or 4 minute videos.

What are your suggestions for adding humor to the day?

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Wordless Wednesday - Laughing on Purpose

Add a little laughter to you day with Comedian Michael Jr.

YouTube Video Credit: Michael Jr.

YouTube Video Credit: Michael Jr.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Muffins with Mom - 7 Embarrassing moments and how to learn from them

Kids are not the only one’s who experience embarrassing moments. They’ve come my way in a grand fashion. Have you experienced them? Sure you have. There are some moments that we want to forget about and never mention again. Then there are others that we eventually laugh about, and move on.

No matter what type of embarrassing moment you experience there is a lesson to be learned. Below is a list of embarrassing moments that I’ve come across over the years.

  1. While dancing (and driving) in your car, you look over and see the people in the car next to you laughing hysterically.
Lesson Learned:         Get tinted windows or laugh with the person who is laughing at you.

  1. You display your biggest, brightest smile while talking to someone, only to realize later that you had a piece of broccoli from lunch still in your teeth.
Lesson Learned:          Flossing your teeth is important.

  1. When my son was five month old a woman I hadn’t seen in a long time spotted me across a room. She waved excitedly and yelled, “When is the baby due?” I smiled and waved back at her as I said, “He’s five month old.” I started anew exercise regime the next day.
Lesson Learned:          Daily exercise is important.

  1. While shopping, you wait a little too long before going to the restroom. When you finally rush off in search of a restroom, you get there and burst into the wrong one. When did they put urinals in the women’s restroom?
Lesson Learned:          Don’t wait until the last minute.

  1. You’re the loudest one cheering on your child at a sporting event. It may sound something lie this – “That’s my baby; Come on hustle; Get that ball!” You’re not embarrassed, but your child may want you to stay home next time.
Lesson Learned:         Jump and cheer in silence, shake pom pons, anything except call your child’s name. Or…cheer loudly for the entire team so no one really knows who’s parent you are.

  1. You’re so tired that during prayer at church, when you close your eyes, you fall asleep.
Lesson Learned:         Try to get a little extra sleep at night, even if it means something doesn’t get done.

  1. Your umbrella blows inside out and you struggle to return it to normal as rain pounds down on you.
Lesson Learned:          Have a jacket with a hood as back up.

Grandma always said, “You can learn from other people’s mistakes.” I believe the same holds true for embarrassing moments.

What embarrassing situations have you experienced and learned from?    

Friday, October 13, 2017

Fun Friday – Fitness and Nutrition – Eating Healthy

“Don’t play with your food.” Have you ever said this statement to your child? Me too. Throw that thought out the door. I’m telling you to play with your food. Jazz up your nutrition plan, try different food combinations.

Now that I’ve told you what to do, I must live by my own words. Last week I tried Ezekiel bread. It’s not too bad toasted or untoasted with peanut butter. This week I tried Ezekiel cereal. I didn’t know there were so many products with this name. I chose both items because of their nutritional value (and because my nutrition coach mentioned the items).

I did not realize that both the bread and the cereal came with the scripture from Ezekiel 9. It reads, “Take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them in a storage jar to make bread for yourself.” Not only am I learning to eat healthy, but I’m learning Bible verses along the way.

As part of a fitness and nutrition challenge that I signed up for, our group took a Grocery Store Tour recently. We learned to read labels, how to manage our salt/sugar intake, and how to make healthier food choices. Hence my Ezekiel experiences.

Another new food item I introduced to my body was quinoa (keen-wah). Prior to the grocery store tour, I purchased a microwavable quinoa meal prepared in a buttery sauce. It was yummy. During the tour I whispered this to a group member. She smiled at me and said, “I don’t think you were supposed to have the butter sauce.”

I smiled back at her and said, “Baby steps.”

I encourage you on your fitness and nutrition journey to take baby steps. Just begin somewhere. Small gradual changes add up. Add a new item next time you grocery shop. Play with your food by trying new recipes.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Words of Wisdom - Happiness

Happiness is...exploring your silly side, even if it's in the middle of a store aisle

Happiness quotes for your day...

"It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness."  Charles Spurgeon

"Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort." Franklin D. Roosevelt

"Happiness doesn't depend on any external conditions, it is governed by our mental attitude." Dale Carnegie

Find something that makes you happy today and do it.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Muffins with Mom – Going the extra mile

The sky was engulfed in darkness as I left the house to begin the six hour journey to visit my son. It was game four of his football season and I had not made it to a game yet. My car was packed with snacks, black and red pom pons and a stadium chair. Time to hit the road.

How often have you gone the extra mile for your child, for your job, or to help someone in need? At times it can make you feel exhausted. A recent quote I read said, “Excellence is going the extra mile.” Be encouraged and know that excellence pays off. Your good deeds do not go unrecognized. You may be rewarded in unexpected ways.

Enjoy the story below and be inspired.

The other side of the wall
There was a young woman who took great pride in the growth and care of the flowers in her flower garden. She had been raised by her grandmother who taught her to love and care for flowers as she herself had done. So, like her grandmother, her flower garden was second to none.

One day while looking through a flower catalogue she often ordered from, a picture of a plant immediately caught her eye. She had never seen blooms on a flower like that before. “I have to have it,” she said to herself, and she immediately ordered it.

When it arrived, she already had a place prepared to plant it. She planted it at the base of a stone wall at the back of her yard. It grew vigorously, with beautiful green leaves all over it, but there were no blooms. Day after day she continued to cultivate it, water it, feed it, and she even talked to it attempting to coax it to bloom. But, it was to no avail.

One morning weeks later, as she stood before the vine, she contemplated how disappointed she was that her plant had not bloomed. She was giving considerable thought to cutting it down and planting something else in its place.

It was at this point that her invalid neighbor, whose lot joined hers, called over to her. “Thank you so much! You can’t imagine how much I have enjoyed the blooms of that vine you planted.” The young woman walked through the gate into her neighbor’s yard, and sure enough, she saw that on the other side of the wall the vine was filled with blooms.

There were indeed the most beautiful blooms she had ever seen. The vine had crept through the crevices and it had not flowered on her side of the fence, it had flowered luxuriantly on the other side.
Just because you cannot see the good result of your labor does not mean that it bore no fruit.

Author: Randy Reynolds
What has been your experience with going the extra mile?

Friday, October 6, 2017

Fun Friday – Fitness and Nutrition

photo credit: eat this, not that

Did you know that fitness and nutrition go hand in hand? It’s like a marriage, they work better together. I have heard this often, but it has been a challenge to get the nutrition aspect together.

If you want to accomplish something bad enough, you have to make a change. A friend of mine always says, “Nothing changes, until something changes.” The time is now to focus on improving your health.

For fear of being called a hypocrite, I am taking my own advice. I have joined a group of women at the fitness gym, who are taking on a nutrition challenge. Our trainer has identified a meal plan for us to follow for the next eight weeks.

One of the items on our list of nutritional foods is Ezekiel bread. Several of the ladies raved over this item. When I first heard the name, I unclear as to what was being said, so I repeated it, “EZee Key-o?” No that wasn’t it. Then it finally clicked. Ezekiel.

I’m no proficient Bible scholar, but I make an effort to keep learning. I know Ezekiel was a prophet from the Bible. Anyway, I went to the grocery store in search of the bread named after the prophet. It didn’t take long for me to find it in the organic section.

As I looked at the price posted just below the bread, I had to readjust my glasses…$5.99? Is it me, or does it seem like it’s more expensive to eat healthy? Several odd questions popped in my head, as they sometimes do.
Does this bread cost more because it comes with a scripture? “Thou shalt eat healthy.”
Is Ezekiel bread like the fortune cookie of the Bible, with a message included?
Are Martha and Mary coming to my house to help serve this bread?

If you have decided to make fitness and nutrition a regular part of your life, start now. Have fun with it and don’t give up.

“The only way to fail is to give up.”  Susan Lieurance-The Morning Nudge
It may cost a little more to eat healthy, but the ultimate results are worth it. Make a change for self-improvement.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Words of Wisdom - Do Something Nice Day

Photo Credit: Pinterest

National Do Something Nice Day is celebrated on October 5th. Take a moment from your busy schedule to brighten someone's day, do something nice.

Here are three suggestions to get you started:

1.  Buy a cup of coffee for someone in line at your favorite coffee shop.

2.  Send someone flowers, just because.

3.  Share a kind word.

Photo Credit: idealistcareers.org

Monday, October 2, 2017

Muffins with Mom - Memory lane Monday- Driving while under the influence of children

Today I am posting a story I wrote for the Ann Arbor new several years ago. A conversation with my son the other day reminded me of this story. Enjoy.

Driving while under the influence of children

As I browsed through a collection of books at Barnes & Noble, one particular book caught my eye. The book was titled, Driving while under the influence of children, by Rick Kirkman & Jerry Scott. The book was compiled of comic strips from the Baby Blues series.
One of the chapter titles that jumped out at me was, I shouldn’t have to scream more than once. This reminded me of a car trip when my son was 10 years old.  After picking the boys up from school I stopped by my favorite take-out place to pick up an order. I ran inside to get my order and when I returned to the car my son was trapped in his seatbelt. I was driving under the influence of children.
After saying more than once, “fasten your seat belt,” it finally clicked…literally. This is one of those things I don’t feel needs to be said more than one time. Well, he went to the extreme and some how became tangled in the seatbelt. At least I knew he was secure so I began driving toward home.
My son continued to twist and turn, he shifted his legs, and then he tucked his head underneath the shoulder strap. Still stuck. While stopped at a red light, I glanced in the back seat and saw a tortured look on my sons face.
There was a police station just around the corner from where we were. I parked the car and trotted to the door. Once inside the municipal building, I rang the bell on the ledge outside of the bullet proof window. There was no answer.
I went back to the car to tug on the seatbelt some more. It would not budge. My son began taking off layers of his clothing to see if he could slip out of the belt. I refused to cut the seat belt. There had to be some magical way to free him, but I was not coming up with a solution.
By this time my son was sitting in his underwear, I drove to the fire station down the road from my house. They are used to rescuing people, I was sure they could free my child from the bonds of the seat belt. My son slipped back into his pants to save a little bit of his pride.
Inside the entrance of the fire station I rang the bell and a perplexed looking fireman asked, “Can I help you?”
“I hope so,” I said explaining my situation. Two firemen came out to my car and assessed the situation.
“How did you get in there like that buddy?” one of them asked.
My son just hunched his shoulders and looked liked the cat who swallowed the canary. One fireman lifted my son as the other one attempted to detangle the seat belt. It wasn’t working.
“Looks like we’re gonna have to cut the seat belt,” one of the men said. He took out a pocket knife and my son was free in no time.
Driving while under the influence of children can be costly.
As the MasterCard commercial would say –
The cost of gas for running from place to place…$3.49/gallon
The cost of replacing the cut seat belt….$280.
Seeing the sigh of relief on my sons face….priceless.

What has been your experience while driving under the influence of children?