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.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Motivational Monday - Finish Strong

Inspiration comes in many forms. Recently, words of encouragement came to me in the form of a bracelet that I received as a gift. The word inscribed on the small silver metal plate read, “Life isn’t about surviving the storm, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

Were there storms that you weathered in 2018? Every trial you experienced made you stronger. You learned to dance in the rain.

Finish strong. As you close out 2018, give thanks for your many blessings, those that were small, large, and unexpected.

Make 2019 even better, expect amazing things to happen.

What great things are you anticipating in the New Year?

Monday, December 24, 2018

Motivational Monday - Live Your Best Life

Live your best life. Live your blessed life. Are your ready for your next chapter? Take some time right now to acknowledge how far you’ve come along your journey this year. Get ready to step into your blessings in 2019.

Get out of your own way. Evict the naysayers that are taking up space in your head. Celebrate the small achievements along the way to your goals. It’s your time.

Quite often we want to achieve success at something, but we come up with many reasons why it can’t be done. Don’t quit on your dream before you even start. Live your best life.

Think of one positive word, to sum up how you’re feeling right now. Don’t over think it, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Here’s my word…GRATEFUL.

Your challenge (and mine)…

Beginning with the first week in January 2019, come up with one positive word each week that will keep you inspired. Attach your words to a vision board, write them in a journal, or store them in a memo on your phone.

Make this challenge as creative or simple as you want it to be. This is your motivational tool. What will the next chapter of your life look like?

Live your best life.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Fun Friday - 5 Nutrition Tips from a Teen (for storing leftovers)

Photo Credit: Fine Dining Lovers

Just in time for Holiday gatherings and leftovers, is a story I wrote a couple years about what my son learned in his nutrition class.

 “Ma, what’s for dinner?”

My sixteen-year-old son held the refrigerator door open and gazed at the contents. “I don’t want leftovers today.”

“You can choose what’s in the fridge or you can cook something different,” I said.

My son proceeded to tell me what he learned in his nutrition class.

“My nutrition teacher said leftovers are not safe to eat after four days.”

This statement was all my son needed to hear to avoid eating leftovers. He even attempted to pull his brother in on his shenanigans.

“Donovan, remember when Mama would cook something on Monday and still try to get us to eat it on Saturday?” They both laughed.

Once my son recovered from his bout of laughter, he told me three tips he learned in class.

·         When storing leftovers, let them cool before putting them in the refrigerator. A drastic change in temperature before putting the food away can cause an increase in bacteria.

·         Wrap lettuce in a paper towel, then return it to its usual packaging to retain freshness longer.

·         Wrap the tip of an unpeeled banana with saran wrap if you want to keep it from becoming ripe too quickly.

·         Food shouldn’t remain sitting out more than two hours.

·         Leftovers shouldn’t be eaten after being in the refrigerator for more than four days.

And those are your nutritional tip provided by a teenager and his teacher. Do you have any nutrition tips share?

Monday, December 10, 2018

Motivational Monday - Reflections: A time for remembering

What seasons of life have you experienced in 2018? Take a few minutes to reflect – what were your greatest accomplishments? What were your challenges? What will you do differently in 2019?

There is a Bible verse that relays the spiritual purpose of “seasons” – Ecclesiastes 3:1-5.
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die, a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to breakdown, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing…”

Seasons come and seasons go, often we don’t take the time to enjoy the journey. Starting today, challenge yourself to find joy in every journey.

What will you do differently as you begin your journey into 2019?

Friday, December 7, 2018

Fun Friday - 12 Days of Christmas Fitness

Photo Credit: Fitness is Sweet

As you jingle jangle around, shopping for the Holidays and visiting friends and relatives, don’t forget to take time for yourself. Whiles you’re cooking, baking and decorating, why not sprinkle in a little exercise? Your body will appreciate you.

In the spirit of the Holiday, I’ve come up with a list of 12 exercises you can add to your routine. These are exercises that are led/demonstrated by coaches at the fitness studio that I attend. Disclaimer – I am NOT a trainer, do what your body will let you do.

Just to make this fun, I want you to sing the 12 Days of Christmas as you work through each exercise. You know the song…On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, a partridge in a pear tree.

Here we go…

12 Day of Christmas Fitness
On the first day of Christmas, my fitness coach said to me - 1 Burpee Challenge
On the second day of Christmas, my fitness coach said to me - 2 Power Jacks and one Burpee Challenge

Okay, I think you get the idea now, so I’ll just list the rest of your challenge and leave it up to you to build them into the song.
3   Mountain Climbers
4   Squat Jacks
5   Plank Jack Burpees
6   Hammer Curls
7   Curtsy Lunges
8   Jack Knife Sit-ups
9   High Knees Leaping
10  Tricep Extensions
11  Bicep Curls
12  Sumo Squats

There you have it, the 12 Days of Christmas Fitness. Feel free to engage in all 12 exercises every day for 12 days. You will feel better just getting your body moving.

What exercises would you add to the list above?

Photo Credit: TeePublic

Monday, December 3, 2018

Motivational Monday – 3 Signs your fitness routine is effective

Have you consistently worked on your fitness goals, but sometimes wondered what’s the point? You leave home in the morning and its dark outside, you return at night and it’s dark. It feels like an endless cycle. However, there is a point. You’re getting stronger.

Do you remember the childhood story of The Little Engine That Could? He was a little train that had to carry out a big task. The little engine did a little self-talk. He said, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.” Finally, he did. He reached his goal.

If you’re struggling with your fitness regimen, you may need a little self-talk. Don’t talk yourself out of success. When you put in the effort, you will see results. Below are 3 signs (I’ve discovered) that your fitness routine is effective.

1.      You can move your kitchen stove (to clean behind it) without assistance.

2.      Your muscles develop (not bulky, just enough to know you’re strong).

One day as I was stretching my arms, I reached around to my back, just under my arm and felt a knot. My mind raced, I thought, Oh Lord, I hope this is not a tumor or some other health ailment. I felt the other side of my body and it was a mirror image. I mentioned my episode to the fitness coach the next day and she said, “that’s from doing pull-ups.” As it turns out, I was developing muscles. I’ve never had them in that spot before. Now I know what it feels like to be strong.

3.      Your clothes fit differently.

Perhaps you feel a little extra space in your waistline when wearing a pair of pants that used to fit more snug.

Keep your fitness regimen if it works for you. If you become discouraged or reach a plateau, do something different to provide variety, but don’t quit.

What signs have you experienced that indicate your fitness routine is effective?

Friday, November 30, 2018

Fun Friday – 5 Silly Situations That Can Steal Your Holiday Joy

Photo Credit: Ministry Matters

The scent of pine fills the air, twinkle lights illuminate Christmas trees, and Holiday movies fill T.V screens - all are signs of the joyous season. I love this time of year. Then there are situations that make you wonder what is going on.

Tradition at my home is to put up the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. Mainly because I like looking at the lights, it’s relaxing. Close your eyes and visualize a Christmas tree in a picture window with still colorful lights.

Curtains are open, no other lights are on in the room besides the tree lights. The sun has disappeared for the evening, replaced by a quarter moon. You sit curled up on the sofa in a fuzzy robe and a cup of hot chocolate. Ahh…serenity.

Before you can get to that serene feeling, you must set the atmosphere. You begin by pulling all of you Holiday decorations from their yearly hibernating spot. This is where the trouble begins.

Below are 5 silly situations that can steal your Holiday joy if you let them.

1.      Your pre-lit Christmas tree only lights up around the middle of the tree.
2.      Your twinkle lights no longer twinkle.
3.      Your artificial poinsettias have lost several leaves.
4.      You discover that your favorite Holiday movie is missing from your collection.
5.      You notice that someone ate all the candy canes from the Christmas tree…except one.

In the grand scheme of things we have to remember the real reason for the season. Jesus.

The big take away thought for today…things don’t have to be perfect for you to have joy.

As the scent of pine fills the air and twinkle lights dance around a window sill, cherish the magic of the season.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Words of Wisdom - Inspiration

"When you are grateful - when you can see what you have - you unlock blessings to flow in your life."     Suze Orman

"Don't rely on someone else for your happiness and self-worth. Only you can be responsible for that."
Stacey Charter

"Patience is not just about waiting for something...it's about how you wait or your attitude while waiting."   Joyce Meyer

Monday, November 26, 2018

Motivational Monday – Becoming You

I sat in bed reading the preface of Michelle Obama’s book Becoming. In the background, Pandora was playing Encourage Yourself by Donald Lawrence and the Tri-City Singers. Scenes from my younger years flashed through my head like vignettes of my life.

It was only weeks before graduation that the seniors gathered in our high school auditorium. We waited for our name to be called, then went to the stage to review our accounts with the senior coordinator.  I had butterflies, we were going to receive our cap and gown.

My name was called, Ms. Simms searched for my name on her typed list of seniors. She found my name and said, “Oh, you still owe a payment on your senior dues.”

In a soft voice I said, “I paid that a couple weeks ago.”

“Do you have the receipt?”

“No, I don’t know where it is.”

Ms. Simms told me I needed the show the receipt before I would receive my cap and gown. Deflated, I walked off the stage as tears began to form a well in my eyes. My best friend came over and asked what happened. After explaining my conversation with the senior coordinator, my friend spoke to the teacher on my behalf.

My friend was able to convince the teacher that I had paid all of my dues, she was with me when I paid. The teacher allowed me to take my cap and gown and asked me to search for the receipt at home. She knew that I was a quiet A/B student who didn’t cause trouble and I was trustworthy.

That quiet eighteen-year-old girl that I was back then, had not yet begun to blossom. She did not yet have the confidence to speak up for herself. I was still becoming. I applied to several colleges and selected the one my best friend was attending. It was a college that wasn’t far from home, not far from my safety net. I was still becoming.

Over thirty years later, with many accomplishments under my belt, I am still becoming. I have learned to enjoy the journey and celebrate the small things that come my way. I am a mother, a writer and a child of God. I am becoming, an author, a speaker, an entertainer.

In this land of the free, we can become whomever we want to be. Set your sights high, if you believe it, you will achieve it. Reflect on your life’s journey, celebrate the peaks and valleys that you’ve traveled. All paths lead to becoming you.

Tonight I will sit in bed, snuggled under warm blankets and begin chapter 1 of Becoming, by Michelle Obama. Hmm, isn’t that amazing, not even into the first chapter of Mrs. Obama’s book and I’m inspired.

Become the best you that you can be.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Fun Friday – Home for the Holidays

A throwback memory
The Holiday season can be crazy busy with people dashing here and there. It is also an opportunity to appreciate the little things that bring great joy. Family home for the Holidays satisfies my immediate joy, in an amusing manner.

College Kids
College kids. Can we still call them kids if they’re in college? Anyway, both of mine are home. I had temporarily forgotten what it felt like to have both my young adults home. It didn’t take long for the flood of memories to resurface.

My house is well lit on the inside, with lights on in every room…rooms that are unoccupied. I guess this is my gift to the utility company. Perhaps the lights were left on so I could see the stack of empty pizza boxes that never made it to the trash.

Before I make it to where the pizza boxes reside, I stop along the way to pick up sweatpants, a hoodie and one sock. The bending and stooping serve as a prelude to my exercise regimen. It’s wonderful to have my offspring home, but I believe they’ve forgotten the house rules.

A few of the rules are fairly simple…

--if you take it out, put it away.
--turn off lights when leaving a room.
--take care of other chores as assigned.

The sound of a T.V. blares from a bedroom, there are sounds of grunting and bumping against a wall, and lots of laughter. My college kids are home for the Holidays, creating more memories.

Another trip down memory lane

Mama’s House
Ahhh, Mama’s house, always a place of comfort; moments filled with laughter, watching movies and napping after dinner. Before to trekking off to my mom’s house for Thanksgiving dinner, the following conversation ensued.

My brother (to mom): What do you want me to bring to your house on Thanksgiving?
Mama: A hammer, nails, screwdriver and a plunger. I have a lot of things that need to be fixed.
Me:      I’ll be there after all the work is done.

A short while after this conversation, I received a text from mom that said, “Your brother will bring tools and make Kool-Aid.”

I said, “Is he using the tools for the Kool-Aid?”

The tools were not for the Kool-Aid. My mom got her home repairs, we ate a small feast and enjoyed everyone being home for the Holidays.

Wishing you a season of all things joyous.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Words of Wisdom - Thanksgiving

Oh give thanks...

As you sit down to a feast with family share the things you are thankful for, both large and small.

YouTube Video Credit: coachingandgrowth

Happy Thanksgiving

Monday, November 19, 2018

Motivational Monday – About last night – An Evening of Elegance

Beautiful Body Transformation Celebration
A-Train's SuperFit

Twinkle lights hung near the ceiling, tea light candles flickered on each table and the aroma of barbecued chicken filled the air. A chorus of laughs could be heard bouncing from various sections of the room. Our women’s fitness studio was transformed for an evening of elegance. What were we celebrating? Accomplishments.

For eight weeks many of the women from A-Train’s SuperFit took on a challenge called Beautiful Body Transformation. They set goals, dedicated themselves to a fitness routine that worked for them, and ate healthy. There were no losers, correction, there were many losers. There were women who lost 13 pounds, 20 pounds, and just a few pounds.

Every woman who participated in the fitness challenge walked away a winner. They were winners because they made a positive change toward a healthier lifestyle. There were some who stood on the sidelines (me) and cheered on those in the challenge. As a sideline cheerleader (this time), I am motivated and encouraged by the success of my SuperFit Sisters.

The evening of elegance was an opportunity to come together in fellowship, friendship, and funship (okay, I made that one up). Women shared their talents (Superpower), some entertained while others displayed their entrepreneurial side as vendors. There was a photo booth (vendor) to capture the joy of the evening.

Photo Credit: Golden Image Entertainment
Golden Mirror & Halo LED Photo Booths

About last night (Saturday night)…

Alisha singing His Eye is on the Sparrow

Strong women. Healthy women. Motivated women.

Are you ready to kick your fitness journey up a notch? Check out A-Train’s SuperFit.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Fun Friday – Kids say the darndest things…at church

Kids have a way of warming your heart, causing you anxiety, and making you laugh, sometimes all at one time. It usually happens when you least expect it. Here’s what I mean…

Sunday School Teacher:  Sarah was really old when she had a child.
Eight-year-old youth:  She probably had wrinkles. I’m not ready for wrinkles. I’m not ready for puberty either. It will probably hurt.

In a conversation at the end of Sunday school class…

Nine-year-old: I like designer shoes.
Sunday School Teacher:  I bought a pair of Gucci sandals on sale at_______
Nine-year-old:  Oh, yours are fake.

There is never a dull moment when you work with children. What has a child done to bring a smile to your face lately?

Monday, November 12, 2018

Muffins with Mom – A menopausal moment

As I write this post, it’s been one of those days where it’s hot one minute and cold the next. It’s not a result of the crazy Michigan weather. It’s a result of my crazy menopausal body temperature.

How do you recognize a menopausal moment? Below are my top 5 signs that indicate you may be experiencing a menopausal moment.

1.      Your young adult son is searching for his razor and you realize you had it last for your mustache.
2.      Your friend says, “Oh, I’m turning into my grandmother.” Your response is, “I’m turning into my grandfather…same beard and everything.”
3.      You’re riding in the car with the heat on and the window slightly down.
4.      The eyebrows you drew on to cover your grey hairs, begin to sweat off.
5.      You take a supplement for hair, nails and skin; your hair begins to grow strong…under your chin.

If you experience any of the above signs of menopause, you are not alone. Make a deliberate effort to uncover the humor of the situation. Know that this phase is only temporary. Remember this mantra, “a chuckle a day, keeps stress at bay.”

Don’t sweat the small stuff…literally and figuratively speaking.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Halloweensie Contest

(from Susanna Leonard Hill’s Blog)

The Contest: write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (children here defined as 12 and under) (title not included in the 100 words), using the words shivercauldron, and howl.  Your story can be scary, funny, or anything in between, poetry or prose, but it will only count for the contest if it includes those 3 words and is 100 words (you can go under, but not over).

Here’s my entry…

How Do Ninjas Trick or Treat?

Ninjas tip-toe street to street,
Faces covered don’t you peek.

Cauldrons filled to the brim,
Ninjas leap limb to limb.

What’s inside? Hold your nose,
Icky, sticky, stinky toes.

How do Ninjas trick or treat?
Dance and prance to a beat.

Howls heard far away,
Ninjas rush to save the day.

Cauldrons filled to the brim,
Tip and spill, leave faces grim.

One Ninja shivered, one Ninja shook.
Two Ninjas sprinted to the nearest brook.

Cauldrons empty, sticky toes no more,
Toes hop to the brooks bumpy cool floor.

Ninjas tip-toe street to street,
home at last ready for sleep.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Muffins with Mom - National Carve a Pumpkin Day - 3 ways to celebrate

Photo Credit: Good Housekeeping
It’s the time of year where kids are going to Trunk or Treat parties, harvest gatherings and door- to- door trick or treating. It’s also National Carve a Pumpkin Day, celebrated on October 31st. This is a good opportunity to involve the entire family in creative fun.

Put a different spin on your Halloween festivities. Here are ways to celebrate National Carve a Pumpkin Day:

1.      Hold a contest – gather the family and carve pumpkins together. When the carving is complete, determine the funniest pumpkin, most creative pumpkin, or scariest pumpkin.
2.      Cook something pumpkiny – not sure that pumpkiny is a word, but it sounds fun. Bake pumpkin seeds, pumpkin pies or pumpkin muffins. Of course, you must carve a pumpkin first.
3.      Have a pumpkin story time – after carving pumpkins as a family, gather in your favorite cozy spot at home and share pumpkin related stories.

Most of all, have fun. The emphasis should be on the process and not the end result. Happy Halloween.

If you want more ideas on ways to celebrate National Carve a Pumpkin Day check out the article, 40 ways to celebrate National Pumpkin Day. Click here.

What would you add to this list of ways to celebrate National Carve a Pumpkin Day?

Friday, October 26, 2018

Fun Friday – All in a day’s work - The bird lady

photo credit: VideoBlocks

This week has been super busy, so I've grabbed a blog post from my archives, that I had fun with. Enjoy...

I am not a bird whisperer by any means, but my employee (Mary) has become our in-house expert at handling birds. No, we do not work at a bird sanctuary, but a community center. Our facility is a place for physical activity, family gatherings, and youth programs. Not for stray birds seeking to have a little fun.

It was a warm sunny day when Mary called me from my office and said, “Angie, we’ve got another bird at the entry door.” It was the second time within two weeks that a bird had gotten into the vestibule area of our center. Stuck between the outer double doors and the double doors leading inside, the bird was hiding somewhere unseen.

I walked to the door, followed by Mary – dubbed by me as the bird lady. I gave her this name because she reminded me of the bird lady from the movie Home Alone 2. She had no fear of birds. In fact, since Mary had just scooted a bird out of the center a week prior, I should have let her lead the way.

Assuming the role of fearless leader, I was the first to walk through the double doors in search of the bird.  I peeked behind a couple of pillars, no bird. I looked up at the ceiling no bird. Then out of nowhere, the bird swooshed up in the air. I screamed and ran back through the door to our lobby area and told Mary, “You’re on your own from here.”

After Mary roared with laughter, she asked me to bring her a cloth so she could gently escort the bird back outside. I’m all about empowerment, so I let Mary take the lead on this situation and I followed her direction. Yes, empowerment, that’s what we’ll call it (wink). The bird was released and I was glad Mary was a part of our team.

Every day is different in our office, but there’s never a dull moment. Thanks team for all you do to make our place operate smoothly.

What has been your recent, All in a day’s work experience? Was it something that happened during your daily at home parenting?

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Wellness Wednesday - 3 Tips for financial wellness

We often place emphasis on our physical health and well-being, but how is your financial health wellness? Does it feel like your paycheck is gone as soon as you get it? Are you left with the feeling that there’s more month than money? You are not alone.

I’m no expert, but I have perked up, tilted my head like a puppy, and listened when there was a conversation about finances. I’ve heard people say things like, “You have to set goals” or “cut back on your expenses.”

Recently I came across an article that gave tips for financial wells. Below are 3 tips from that article.

1.      Create a plan
2.      Pay off debt
3.      Pay yourself first

Click here for the full list.

Prudential says the first step to financial wellness is to know where you stand. They offer a quiz you can take as a quick assessment.

Do you have tips for financial wellness?

Monday, October 22, 2018

Motivational Monday – Don’t Quit

We are in the last quarter of the year, it may seem like time has gone by at lightning speed. Yet, there are things you still want to accomplish. Don’t quit, regroup and go after whatever it is you want to accomplish.

Perhaps you’ve experienced financial difficulty, health challenges or parenting woes; Don’t give up. You are not alone. One scripture tell us, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

One of my favorite poems is Don’t Quit by John Greenleaf Whittier
When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.
Life is strange with its twists and turns
As every one of us sometimes learns
And many a failure comes about
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up though the pace seems slow—
You may succeed with another blow.
Success is failure turned inside out—
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell just how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit—
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.

Go out and conquer this day. God’s got your back.