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 30, 2019

Motivational Monday – 7 Things to quit in the New Year

Count your blessings more than your problems and you will change the outlook of your situation. It was obvious to me this Holiday season how much my sons have matured. As they decorated our Christmas tree I smiled as they hung decorations all around the tree and not just near the bottom.

My artificial Christmas tree has been around so long that’s it’s like one of the family. My sons are nearly the same height as the prelit tree with lights that no longer work. I like the tree because it’s easy to assemble. This year I added lights, but only half of them worked. I could have complained, but I didn’t.

Instead of complaining (this time), I reflected on the memories that surrounded my out-of- date Christmas tree. There was more than one Christmas where my boys would tip-toe from their bedroom, creep up to the tree and shake every gift trying to determine the contents. Other evidence of Christmases past include photos of the boys in pajamas in front of the Christmas tree or wearing matching sweaters.

As I count my blessings, I’ve thought about things I can quit doing in the New Year. One idea is to Quit Complaining (or at least complain less). Take a moment to reflect over your year and count your blessings. Then come up with a list of things that you can quit doing in the New Year. Below is a list of ideas to get you started – 7 Things to quit in the New Year

1.      Thinking you’re not good enough
2.      Thinking you’re too old
3.      Giving away all of your time
4.      Toxic friendships/relationships
5.      Giving excuses for not focusing on self-care
6.      Stressing over past mistakes
7.      Negative self-talk
Never give up on yourself.
Wishing you a prosperous New Year.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Wordless Wednesday - Merry Christmas

Jesus is the reason for the season. May your days be filled with an overflow of blessings and you sing praises of joy.

YouTube Video Credit: Lindsey Stirling
I don't own rights to this music

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Muffins with Mom – The Negotiator meets The Little Red Hen at Christmas

Family at Christmas gathering

Have you ever seen the movie The Negotiator with Samuel L. Jackson and Kevin Spacey? In one of the opening scenes Kevin Spacey is negotiating with someone behind a closed door…it was his young daughter. When my sons were younger I found myself in the role of negotiator. Now that my sons are young adults, not much has changed.

It’s Holiday season and time to make preparations for family to visit. All I needed was a little help getting the house ready. In my Little Red Hen voice I said, “Who will dust the coffee table?”
After a pregnant pause my son said, “I can do it after I finish this game.” He continued to play his video game.

And that is when I transitioned from being the Little Red Hen and became a negotiator. I needed my sons help sooner rather than later.

“Dust the table and take out the trash and I just might add a little something extra in the grocery cart when I go to the store. By the way, you’re in charge of family games this year.”

My son still didn’t move right away, but he got the job done. “Ma, this one is going to cost you. I want two frozen pizzas, a taco kit, and a pack of Fruit Roll-Ups.”

He received two out of the three items and he came up with a couple of fun games for the family to play after dinner. There was an avalanche of laughter as we played a game called Head-up. It was like a game of charades using a cell phone. We were divided into two teams. The person doing the guessing selected a category and held the cell phone in front of their forehead.

The cell phone displayed a single word or phrase. Team members had to describe the word(s) they saw on the phone. We had one minute to guess as many words as we could. The game ended on a high note as family members prepared to travel back to their homes. Kids ran for their coats, cousins packed plates of food to-go, and I settled in to a cozy spot on the couch.

No more negotiating…just one final request from The Little Red Hen. “Who will put away the leftovers and load the dishwasher?” I napped on the couch snuggled under fleece blanket while two of my flock took care of the dishes. And we lived happily ever after…until the next episode.

Have you entered into negotiations during the Holiday season?

Friday, December 20, 2019

Fun Friday – Uncovering humor for the Holidays

Photo Credit: Health Journal

Tis’ the season to be jolly…you know the rest. It is also the time of year many people experience a lot of stress. Take a step away from what is causing you stress and find something funny in your day. You may have to uncover the humor in a situation.

On many occasions, a young child brings a smile to my face; it happened most recently on a Sunday morning during a youth Sunday school class. Here’s the scenario…

Sunday School Teacher:          Today our lesson is about David
Six Year Old:                           I know David
Sunday School Teacher:          I don’t think you know this David
Six Year Old:                           Are you serious?

The Holiday season seems to be a time when sweet treats are plentiful and many people vow to begin a health regimen in the New Year. I am one of those “many people.” A few situations caused me to think about changing my fitness routine. Here are my thoughts:

You might need to change your fitness routine if…

·         Your fitness app is draining your phone battery, and you don’t even use the app.

·         Your arm exercises consist of lifting your fork to your mouth.

·         You step on the scale and your prayer is, “please don’t let that peach cobbler have put me over my weight loss goals.”

Jesus is the reason for the season, and it is the season to be jolly, joyful and living your best life.

What humorous situations have you uncovered during this Holiday season?

Happy Holidays.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Wordless Wednesday - Ring in the Holidays

I love creativity. Check out what the Michigan State University College of Music has created.

YouTube Video Credit: Michigan State University College of Music

May your Holiday be joyous and bright.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Susanna Leonard Hill's 9th Annual Holiday Contest

Photo Credit: Pinterest  -  Vegan Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies- click here for the recipe

It's that time again, another picture book contest presented by Susanna Leonard Hill. Visit her blog to check out all of the stories. My story is below.

Cora’s Christmas Cookies
(250 words)

Neigh, quack, Moo, cluck a-doodle-doo. The animals were in an uproar. The Farmyard Christmas Carnival was in two days and Cora was sick. She was a chicken with a wheezing cough.

Who would make her famous Crunchy Cranberry Cookies?

Animals from all around sought after a bite of Cora’s tasty treats. They were a secret recipe handed down from her great grandmother, Little Red.

The recipe was a secret because no one could read Cora’s handwriting. Chicken scratch that’s what it was.

Cora unhurridly clucked from her coop into the kitchen, “What is going on in here?” She squawked.

Goat dumped flour into a bowl, clouds of white dust drifted onto the floor.

“Hush Cora, get back to bed. We have this under control,” said Goat.

Duck waddled to the table, leaving footprints in the flour. “Sugar is what we need.”

Cow witnessed the mess, “Mooove over, let me add the milk.”

Goat clip clopped over, “Use my milk, it has a better flavor.”

“Too much milk,” said duck.

“How do you know? No one can read Cora’s chicken scratch.”

Stir, mix, squish. Cookies ready for baking.

Before you could say cluck-a-doodle-do Merry Christmas to you, the cookies were ready.

“They don’t look like Cora’s cookies,” said Duck.

Crunch, crunch, crunch. “Tasty,” said Cow. “But something is missing.”

“I added the raisins,” Duck squabbled.

“Craisins, NOT raisins,” Cora squeaked. “Craisins for the cranberry taste.”

Neigh, Quack, Moo, cluck a-doodle-doo, crunchy, not so cranberry cookie treats ready for the Christmas Carnival.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Feel Good Friday – Reflections – A picture is worth a thousand words

Ypsilanti Junior Braves Football Banquet (years ago)

The text message from my son came with a photo from ten years ago. Pictured were my two sons and a friend they met in school that year. A flood of memories instantly came to mind for me.

The Three Amigos, as I dubbed them, played together at the afterschool program. One day as I picked up my sons from school, one of them said, “K plays for the Braves too.” His reference was to the little league football team that they played for.

The next day as I picked the boys up, we were walking through the parking lot when one of them said, “There’s K’s mother.” I flagged her down as she was driving off. I smiled, waved my arms and introduced myself. I found out her name was Angela, something we immediately had in common.

I told Angie we needed to carpool, “There’s no need for both of us to go to the football field every day for practice.” I didn’t give her much room to say no. For the next three years, we carpooled to football practices and to school. The picture below was taken at the end of season football banquet. That was one of the good days.

Some carpool days came with challenges. When we had extra passengers, there was bickering over who had to sit in the middle in the backseat. The boys would run to the car, jump in from either said and not move over. I would grit my teeth and tell my son to move over. It seemed as though an eternity passed before anyone moved.

On other days the boys would laugh together, pass gas (with me trapped in the car) and yell who did that. I can only wonder if things like this happened when it was K’s mom’s turn to drive the carpool.
The boys are now young men, all in college and still have the occasional get together. One day I came home from work and their intimate group of three had grown. There were seven young men around my dining room table engrossed in a game of monopoly. I wish I had captured that photo. It was priceless.

Before this year ends, take the time to reflect on some of your fondest memories. Take out a photo album (I know you still have one or two), browse through it, see what memories come to mind. Never stop creating new memories.

Take lots of pictures. A picture is worth a thousand words.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Wordless Wednesday- National Cookie Day

It's Wordless Wednesday for me, but....it's also National Cookie Day. Check out a Vegan Cookie Recipe by Susanna Leonard Hill. Stay for a while and peruse her Would You Read It blog post. She has a fun blog.

Photo Credit: Susanna Leonard Hill
Click here to view her blog.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Muffins with Mom – Home for the Holidays

The screen door squeaked, locks click clicked, and heavy footsteps trampled across the hardwood floor. From the other room, I heard the endearing words, “MAMA…I’m home.” My sons arrived home one day apart. Each one entering the house with cherubic smiles and a load of dirty laundry. College kids, home for the holidays.

I had already decided that the holiday season would be a time for family and plenty of relaxing. My adult children had other ideas. One sons’ shenanigans began as we prepared for a visit to my mom’s house. I stood in front of my bathroom mirror with my make-up bag spread open across the counter.

As I applied concealer, contour creams, eyebrow pencil, etc., my son popped into my doorway.
“What is that on your face?”


“Oh, I thought you were doing Painting with a Twist.”

And he wonders why he often appears in my blog posts. This was one of many moments we treasure as a family. Are you creating family memories? If not, it’s not too late to begin. It doesn’t cost a dime and the moments are usually priceless.

My sons both attend college out of state. Our Thanksgiving gathering revolved around family updates. Each one of them said, “Ma I’m going to need some groceries.”
 I said, “Me too. We can’t all need food at the same time.”

My younger son looked at his brother and said, “One of us is going to have to come home.” They both chuckled. Their banter continued throughout the night. The “Grown-ups” (my brother and me) claimed a comfortable spot on the couch, watched a movie, napped, and woke up in time to see the end of the movie.

Siblings, breaking bread together

It was the best night ever…having everyone home for the holidays.

It’s your turn, go out and create memories.