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, January 31, 2018

Words of Wisdom – Winning thoughts

photo credit: Twitter @vballadvice

Take control of your thoughts today. Words matter. Words are powerful. How often have we let a negative thought or thoughts enter our head and set up residence? Perhaps you’ve told yourself you’re not smart enough, thin enough, or strong enough to accomplish something.

I recently read an article that said to “clean out your thought closet.” Silence the negative voices in your mind. In fact, serve them with an eviction notice, effective immediately.

You are smart, you are strong, you are the size you want to be. Visualize what you want and have faith. Take control of your thoughts, make them winning thoughts.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Fun Friday – A day in the life of a parent

Trash Day
Anyone ever play a game with your kids called Take out the Trash? I must confess, this is a game that was unintentionally made-up in my household. No one ever wanted to take out the trash. My kids would toss items into the trash until it was almost overflowing, but didn’t tie it up.

I would push the trash deeper into the can and wait for one of the kids to take it outside. It didn’t happen. We continued to stack more trash on top, like Jenga blocks. Until finally, I tied the bag and sat it in the middle of the kitchen floor.

My son said, “Ma, did you want that trash taken out?”

I glared at him and said, “Yes, Sherlock Homeboy, take the trash out.”

While chatting on the phone with my mom one day, I was snacking on popcorn. My mother paused mid-sentence and asked, “What are you doing?”
“I’m eating popcorn.”

“Wow, sounds to me like you’re at a manufacturing plant, banging out toys.”

And the moral of the story…it’s not polite to eat while you’re talking on the phone.

Attention to details

While organizing a room, I came across an old photo of my mom holding my eighteen-year-old son, when he was nine months. I texted the photo to my son for laughs. He laughed, then he said, “Why do you still have that same lamp?”

“Because it still works.”

I guess I got my money’s worth out of that lamp.

What parenting episodes have you experienced lately?

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Wellness Wednesday – 3 tips for beating procrastination

Cadillac, Mercedes, Jaguar and the NutriBullet Rx. What do these items have in common? The first three are top of the line, elegant cars. The fourth item is a top of the line “blender/juicer.” All of these items come with an owner’s manual.

My sleek blender and all its parts were packaged neatly in box with cardboard dividers to protect its fragile parts. It was a Christmas gift that I received to help me with healthy meal preparation. Although I was excited about this gift, it was a month before I opened it.

The box was shifted from under my Christmas tree to a new location in the kitchen pantry. I kept making excuses for not opening the box. I needed to buy fruit, needed to reorganize an area to store the juicer, and so on.

When I finally opened the box, it was like Christmas all over again. I had the gleam in my eye of a kid with a new toy. Until…I discovered all of the reading material. There were warranty papers and a 30 page recipe book (that I call the owner’s manual). My first thought was, do I have to read all of this before I can play?

I closed the box and put it back in the pantry for later, when I could spend more time reviewing recipes and make a grocery list. Procrastination had gotten the best of me once again. Don’t let procrastination keep you from starting or continuing your journey to health and wellness.

Here are 3 tips to beat procrastination.

1.      Jump right in – just get started
2.      Look at time – sometimes we have a poor concept of the amount of time a task will take. Decide on an amount of time you want to spend on a task and break the task into small amounts of time if necessary.
3.      Have a procrastination song power song (from forbes.com) – find a song that energizes and pumps you up. Play it whenever you want to tackle something you’ve been procrastinating.

4.      Celebrate the completion of your task – motivate yourself by creating a reward for the completion of your task.

What is one thing that you want to accomplish on your health and wellness journey?

“The journey of a thousand miles starts with a simple step.” Lao Tzu

Friday, January 19, 2018

Fun Friday – 5 Signs you’re losing weight

I think I’m losing weight, but there’s a caveat to my success. Here’s my story.

Early one morning before birds were awake, I dragged myself from the bed and dressed in my flamboyant workout gear. I was feeling daring that morning. My attire was flashy, but not appropriate for what was in store at the gym.

It was a morning of Burpees, Jumping Jacks and a plethora of cardio moves. You must wear what we gym folks call “Burpee pants.” Burpees require jumping onto a step or in front of the step (depending on your comfort level).

After a number of consecutive jumps onto the step, my pants rolled under my stomach and my shirt rose above. However, that was not what made me feel as though I were losing weight. It was the Plank Jack Burpees that got me.

Plank Jack Burpees are not super difficult (until you’re doing a gazillion of them). About halfway through my gazillion Burpees, my footie socks began to slide off my feet. Next, my gym shoes flipping off and on at my heel. I fought through, with sweat running like a faucet down my face and back.

Finally at a gazillion and one Burpees, and breathing heavily, I sat and readjusted my socks and shoes. As my breathing returned to normal, I announced to the women near me, “I think I’m losing weight…in my feet.”

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Here’s what a Plank Jack Burpee looks like

YouTube Video Credit: Sally's Fitness Solutions

True signs that you’re losing weight…
1.      Your clothes fit loosely
2.      You feel more energetic
3.      You feel stronger
4.      Face is thinner
5.      Your photos show your progress

What are other weight loss signs that you notice?

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Wellness Wednesday - 3 Tips for a healthier you

photo credit: Better Homes & Garden - January 2018

Do you like the way you feel when you're healthy? Who doesn't? We often hear experts say, "make time for yourself. Find time to relax." If you want to keep that healthy feeling, you have to listen to the experts.

Here are health 3 tips for you to embrace...starting now.

1. Exercise
2. Establish healthy eating habits
3. Make time to unplug and recharge

The January 2018 issue of Better Homes & Garden has articles that can motivate you to get started. One article tells how to carve out time to recharge your body. It tells which colors and fragrances give a calming effect. Another article tells of the benefits of exercising just 30 minutes a day.

photo credit: Better Homes & Garden - January 2018
What tips would you add to promote a healthier lifestyle?

Monday, January 15, 2018

Motivational Monday – Soaring Higher - Lessons from Dr. Martin Luther King and Tyler Perry

photo credit: Goodreads

Where do you find inspiration and motivation? Many years ago Dr. King gave his electrifying I have a dream speech. The speech represented racial equality, but most of all gave hope. In his book Higher is Waiting, Tyler Perry too gives hope and inspiration.

Are you ready to soar? Are you ready to go after your dreams? Face your fears and “ignite a flame that makes you feel like you can go higher” (Higher is Waiting-Introduction).

Today we celebrate the life achievements of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Take today to reflect on your dream. In spite of difficulties, continue to pursue your dream. Look for the lesson in each situation you encounter. These are the key points I heard in Dr. King’s speech and Mr. Perry’s book.

Each week in church we recite what we call the soaring scripture, this same scripture is quoted in Tyler Perry’s book. The scripture comes from Isaiah 40:31 and says, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint.”

It’s your time to shine. Soar like an eagle. Live a balanced life filled with faith, family and friends. If you’re looking for an inspirational book to add to your must read list, I recommend Tyler Perry’s, Higher is Waiting.

Live your dream. Go after your higher.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Fun Friday – Boost your marketing with creative grammar

photo credit: The Marketing Sage

Dusk blanketed the sky as I drove toward the local carry-out pizzeria. The bright light inside drew my attention. Customers sat along the windowsill waiting for their orders, while others stood in line to place an order. I inched through the door and squeezed in line behind the last person.

My teen son called and asked if I would bring a pizza home while I was out. I agreed, but only if I didn’t have to wait for a special order. Then I saw the storefront full of customers. From the other end of the phone, my reassured me that what he wanted wouldn’t take long. I relented.

“Tell me what you want,” I said.

“Get me the Extra Most Bestest.”

“The who?” I could not have heard that correctly.

“The Extra Most Bestest.”

“Are you sure they have something called that. Don’t have me going in there sound foolish.” I was not convinced of the name.

When my turn arrived, I leaned and whispered to the cashier, “Do you have something called the Extra Most Bes…something?” I almost bit my tongue trying to pronounce the darn thing.

He smiled at me and said, “Yes.”

The cashier retrieved the pizza from the warming spot and handed it to me.

“Most Bestest” that cannot be grammatically correct!! But who am I to judge. There is such a thing as poetic licensing. And this is something that can be done with marketing.

I’d be curious to know what the analytics are on this marketing. Who is the target audience – young adults, kids? I asked my son what makes this pizza rise above the rest. He said it has more (extra) toppings for only one dollar more.

So there you have it. You can play with grammar as you please when it comes to marketing. If it’s working for you, take it and run with it.

Have you experienced any lessons involving grammar?

Monday, January 8, 2018

Muffins with Mom - A round-table discussion with a teen

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…(A Tale of Two Cities). An unplanned round-table discussion developed while sitting at the dinner table with my teen son. I had been begging him all day (a few days) to work on his FAFSA (financial aid for school) application. Pulling teeth would have been easier.

Finally, at the end of the evening, my son sat at rectangle faux marble table across from me. I tapped away at my laptop keyboard and he pecked at his. Before he dove into his task, my son reminisced on a time that I was experiencing high stress and he was the cause of it.

It was photo day. We had to drive to the studio for my son to take a yearbook photo. It was not the best of times; perhaps closer to the worst of times. It was definitely a time where my patience was not a virtue. Here’s the story as recalled by my Baby Bear.

“Ma, remember when you were stressing over picture day and I didn’t really want to go?”
“Yeah, I remember you were moving like a sloth and you were supposed to be looking for your tie.”
Read the following in your best whiny voice. This is what my son said I told him.

“J, look for your tie. Hurry up, we’re going to be late. We’re not going if you’re not ready in 10 minutes. We scheduled this two months ago. You’re wasting time and money. Do you want to be in the yearbook? It takes 30 minutes to get there, we need to leave now. I have to find the place. I’m calling Granny. LET’S GO.”

It was the worst of times. I remember rushing home from work and my son wasn’t ready. He had not gotten everything together the night before as I instructed. We arrived at the photography studio, I was distraught and he didn’t really want to take pictures. I heard the photographer tell him a couple of times to smile. I said, “Good luck with that.”

We both survived the photo session and the end result was satisfactory. The pictures captured…his personality.

Satisfied that he made me chuckle with the retelling of photo day, my son continued working on his application. BUT, he began another story….”Do you remember how daddy used to make me and D sit at the table until we ate all our food…?”

And that’s a round-table discussion for a different day.

Do you have a story of how your child tested your patience and his/her version of the story?

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Wordless Wednesday - Cuddle Up Day

photo credit: NOFO Girl
The coldest days of winter are near. Take this opportunity to celebrate National Cuddle Up Day. The actual day is recognized on January 6th each year. Start practicing now...

Cuddle up with a good book
Cuddle up with a pet
Cuddle up with your someone special

Spread a little joy, hug someone today.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Muffins with Mom – 3 tips for crushing distractions to achieve your goals in 2018

photo credit: happynewyear2018x.com

Haaaappy New Year! Time to crush any distractions that may potentially block you from achieving your goals. Have you ever started a project only to find that as soon as you got into it, something came up that you needed to address? Distractions.

Sometimes we become distracted because a particular task is overwhelming and we don’t know where to begin. I can tell you from experience I’ve done a few mindless things in my lifetime, in a single day.

Just the other day, during a workout session were doing high knees in place. In place is the operative phrase. After 30 seconds we stopped, I looked around, and I was part of the way across the room. Oops.

In another instance I had a nagging hangnail on my finger. I put a band-aide on my finger, after about an hour I noticed the finger was still bothering me. I looked down at my finger and realized that I had put the band-aide on the wrong finger. Huh.

Hurrying to pack my bag for work one day, I unknowingly grabbed the TV remote and tossed it into the bag. I guess I was so excited to be going into work on my day off. No worries, I also wore my warm fuzzy socks that are reserved for the comfort of my home.

Now that I’ve rambled on about oddball silly distractions, here are three ways to crush real distractions.

1.      Persistence and dedication – persevere – if you’re feeling overwhelmed, break task into smaller manageable tasks. I like the saying, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” You don’t have to attempt to accomplish everything at once.

2.      Did in and do it – if it’s people that are distracting you, close your door for a set amount of time. Don’t answer emails, stay off social media, set a timer and work for short periods of time if this will help you focus.

3.      Change your environment – If you typically work from home, go to a coffee shop, the library or take a walk to get your creative juices flowing.

4.      Learn to say no – You will not be able to attend every office party and other celebrations if you want to achieve your goals. It’s okay to say no to some events. This is not to say that you must eliminate all fun from your life, moderation is key. Be selective in the events you attend. Plan dedicated time for what you want to achieve and special outings can be your reward for staying on task.

What are your tips for crushing distractions?