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, April 29, 2020

Wellness Wednesday – Cooking through the Quarantine

EggWhite Spinach Omelet with Mozzarella
(surrounded by strawberries and blueberries)

Stay home, stay safe, isolation, quarantine. These are all words that have been used regularly in our vocabularies lately. Although America and beyond is practicing social distancing and staying home as much as possible, there is still the need to focus on our health. This includes making healthy food choices.

Let’s explore cooking through the quarantine. Do you have a favorite dish that is your go-to meal? Spending more time than usual at home allows for exploration and experimentation, leading to edible delights. I must say, I’ve become reacquainted with my kitchen and have even pulled out the special china on occasion.

If you’re looking for inspiration or accountability with your healthy eating, partner with a friend or group. Check-in with each other, post pictures on your social media, share the journey. A fitness group that I belong to also focuses on healthy eating. We post pictures of meals we’ve created for the first time as well as tried and true go-to treats.

Below are simple meals that I’ve made and a couple from friends.

Grilled Chicken Stir Frye (peapods, purple cabbage, broccoli-cooked with olive oil)

Black Bean and Corn Salad (1/4 c each) - Spinach, Mozzarella Cheese (salsa optional)
Whole Wheat Blueberry Pancakes - Drizzled with Honey
by Deodge Hill

Pot Roast - Taste of Home
Read their article - Here's What We're Cooking During Quarantine (recipes included)

Find your inspiration by creating in the kitchen. Stir up something fresh during this quarantine. Feel free to share a recipe idea or picture of your meal on this post.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Motivational Monday – Unexpected Moments Deliver Hope

What do you do when you’ve done all you can? Stand. Anchored in faith.

“Let’s go for a walk,” I said to my sons.

“Okay, I can use a break,” said one son.

“Count me in,” said the other son.

The sun lost the battle against the clouds and refused to shine. The sky transitioned in tones of blue and grey as we set off on our walk. The sidewalk seemed to shrink as we attempted to walk side by side.

“Ma, you’re pushing me into the grass,” said one son.

“She can’t come on my side or she’ll be on top of my shoulder,” said the other son.

The banter continued as my sons reflected on their teen years.

“I remember when this trail seemed like we were a long way from home in the woods,” my son said.

Our walk that led to reflection also revealed how much we have to be thankful for. There were moments the two attempted to speak in code about their teen years. I pretended not to understand. Ha.

We didn’t plan where we would walk or the length of time. We simply walked, talked, and reveled in outbursts of laughter. In unexpected moments as these we find hope, we find comfort, and we are reassured that our storms are only temporary.

There comes a point in our lives when as parents, we’ve done all we can. As caregivers to our aging parents, we’ve done all we can. As health care works, we’ve done all we can. Fighting the COVID-19 virus, we’ve done all we can.

It’s time to STAND. Let the Lord see you through.

In unexpected moments, hold onto a mustard seed of faith, hope, and joy.

Bonding - An unexpected moment of sibling togetherness

Friday, April 24, 2020

Fun Friday – Defining Moments: The Secret to Finding Joy While in Quarantine

Joy - When your kids say, "You've never bought this many groceries before."

Moses went to Mt. Sinai and returned to the people with two tablets. I entered my bathroom and returned with two tablets…aspirin. Moses’s people were in chaos, my people are in chaos (my household). Under quarantine - the culprit…the COVID-19 pandemic. My joy tries to hide.

Joy – a feeling of great pleasure and happiness. How can one possibly have joy when it feels like you’re running against the wind? Create your joy, use humor as a stress release. I know I’ve said this before but, you can uncover humor in daily situations. Below are a few situations that caused my lips to curve into a smile.

Do you know your kids?
Both my sons are home from college and struggling to establish a routine. They wander from room to room with their laptops, their sleeping patterns have changed, all understandable during this time of crisis.
My younger son’s phone is not working, his laptop refuses to hold a charge, and even his game system is on the fritz. Frustration surrounds him. He settled into bed late one night and asked me to wake him early the next morning for a fresh start.

I entered my sons’ dark bedroom and called out, “Jay, it’s time to get up.”

The body rolled over and said, “Wrong son.”

My sons had switched sleeping quarters on me.

Automated Phone Services
All I wanted to do was to pay my bill online. I punched in the number I was trying to call and was immediately greeted by a friendly automated voice. She led with a list of advertisements, but I followed along.

“If you’re interested in an insurance quote press 1, if not press pound.” I pressed pound and she kept talking…

“If you want to save on your groceries press 1, if not press pound.” I pressed pound again. She continued…

“If you’re over 50 press 1, if not press pound.” This time I pressed 1 hoping to expedite the call. It did…not…happen. This time she said…

“If you’re hard of hearing 1, if not press pound.”

Hmmm. I sat there in a catatonic state with my thoughts. If I’m hard of hearing, can I hear you?
All I wanted to do was pay my bill.

I punched end call on my phone. I looked at the paper where I had written the company’s phone number and looked at the number I’d dialed. I had transposed a couple of numbers. The friendly automated voice was not the company where I needed to pay my bill.

Defining moments are the way you choose to handle what’s thrown your way. Choose to uncover the humor.

Go through today in search of things that cause your lips to curve into a smile. This is your secret weapon to finding joy.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Wordless Wednesday - Celebrate Earth Day

Earth Day is celebrated April 22nd to raise environmental awareness and"involve citizens in creating a clearer, healthier world." - U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Photo Credit: Pinterest


YouTube Video Credit: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Check out the full article on Earth Day here.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Motivational Monday – A Checklist of Blessings

Backyard Blessings -Grateful for the sunshine, green grass, and home

Every day is a day of thanksgiving. What is on your checklist of blessings?

ü  Health
ü  Life
ü  Grace
ü  Job
ü  Food
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, many people have been saying the phrase, ‘we’re all in this together.’ The silver lining amidst this pandemic is the outbreak of human kindness. While we are truly all in this together, we all hurt differently, and experience joy differently.

It’s not easy to express joy when you are hurting or a loved one is in pain. However, we can always find a reason to give thanks. Count your blessings more than your problems. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. We are living in perilous times.

When my young adult son was a new driver, I used to remind him to take his driver’s license whenever he left the house. The other day when he left the house, I reminded him, “don’t forget to take your gloves and mask.” Perilous times.

Now is the time to stand firm in faith, build up your spiritual immune system. Chicken soup, 
vitamin c and rest are ways we attempt to boost our immune system when the common cold is lurking. Your spiritual immune system can be built through, Lifestyle, Scripture Memory and Meditation, and Service.

An article on crosswalk.com describes those three immune system builders as this:
Lifestyle – living a healthy lifestyle physically is beneficial to your health. “Living a lifestyle of wisdom and acknowledging God in all your ways is foundational for spiritual health.”

Scripture Memory and Meditation – incorporate scripture into our hearts and minds, in the time of trouble we can easily recall the information.

Service – we are created to serve; we are spiritually healthy when we use our gifts and talents to serve others.

Read the full article here.

All the things listed above contribute to our blessings. Blessings come in all sizes. Celebrate and give thanks for them all.

What is on your checklist of blessings?

Friday, April 17, 2020

Fun Friday – Your College Student is Home: Five Signs They’re Struggling to Readjust

Photo Credit: University of Southern California

Campus life ended abruptly for college students. Living on their own, coming and going as they pleased, all came to an end. Hanging out with friends was replaced with social distancing. The normalcy they knew, crumpled. The pandemic hit – the Coronavirus, COVID-19, Rona.

My two sons are among the college students struggling to readjust to life back home, unexpectantly, not by choice. They are handling this new experience in unique ways. Just for kicks and giggles, let's look at 5 signs that my son is struggling to re-adjust.

1.      Sleeping in – “Please don’t wake me before noon.” When I gave a response he said, “Most of my friends are not getting up before 2pm.”
2.      Chores – I shouldn’t have to unload the dishwasher; I don’t really live here.
3.      Laundry – I don’t want my clothes washed with the general population.
4.      Disinfecting – Why is MY Lysol being used all the time.
5.      Classwork – This is too much work for only a few points. There’s a reason I didn’t sign up for online classes.

Is your college student struggling with finding a new normal? They’re in the home stretch with the end of the school semester within reach. Keep them encouraged by creating new family memories together. Here are a few tips for keeping your student encouraged.

1.      Work Together – when your student sits down to complete classwork, make this a time that you work on a project as well.
2.      Set a schedule – schedule times for classwork, breaks, and playtime.
3.      Celebrate the small things - you don’t have to wait for a large accomplishment in order to celebrate. My son had to write a two-page (short) paper on a current event on the topic of diversity. He looked exasperated trying to come up with a topic. You would have thought he was asked to write a dissertation. We chatted a few minutes and he came up with a topic. He wrote a paragraph, then needed a break. In his case, small increments or work time are best. We celebrated with a dance break and a short competition on his video game system.

What are you doing to help your college student remain focused during this national pandemic?

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Wordless Wednesday - Faith and Humor with Susan Sparks

Have you ever met a comedian who is also a preacher, a trial lawyer and rides a Harley? Meet Susan Sparks. Her ministry is faith and humor.

TEDxPeachtree - Laughing our way to world peace - Susan Sparks

Monday, April 13, 2020

Motivational Monday – The Scavenger Hunt – How to Survive a Shopping Trip During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Photo Credit: Instructables

A trip to the store during the Coronavirus pandemic can be exhausting. The times I ‘ve ventured out to the store have been a cross between dressing for a costume party and participating in a scavenger hunt.

Before entering the store, I sit in my car and dress for the event by pulling my face mask over my mouth and nose. And like Cinderella going to the ball, I must have gloves. Only, I’m not going to a ball, instead, I’m in search of household items. And the gloves are latex. The scavenger hunt begins.

Dashing through the store in my personal protective equipment, I headed directly to the toilet paper aisle. The only thing on the shelf was a sign, taped to the edge that read, Due to the Coronavirus we are limiting the amount of some supplies that may be purchased. There was no Cottonelle, no Northern, not even a pack of Charmin to squeeze.

Since the only item I needed was toilet paper, I left that store and drove across town to a different store. It was the same result, nothing on the shelves except a sign. It didn’t take a detective to figure out I was not going to find buried treasure that day. I returned home to devise a plan for another day.

How do you survive a shopping trip during the Coronavirus? Here are 3 simple tips:
1.      Wear the appropriate safety items (face mask, gloves); Take other precautions as recommended by the CDC (Center for Disease Control).

2.      Have a plan of action – create a list of what you need before heading out to the store, this minimizes the amount of time you need to spend in the store.
3.      Shop early – items will be replenished, especially toilet paper. Be aware of store hours and services offered. Some stores offer early morning shopping for senior citizens, and curbside pick-up.

What has been your experience while shopping during this crisis of the Coronavirus?

“Don’t worry about anything, instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done.”  Philippians 4:6 – New Living Translation

Friday, April 10, 2020

Fun Friday – My WiFi Had a Nervous Breakdown

The mandated Stay Home order from our Governor has taken its toll on everyone, including inanimate objects, like my laptop. My laptop is on overload, so much that it has caused the WiFi to have a nervous breakdown. I should have noticed the signs.

My sons are home from colleges, all their classes are online due to the Coronavirus. Sitting at the dining room table, we each had our laptops open. One son was interacting with his Spanish instructor, while the other son was talking loudly and laughing with a group of classmates. I attempted to join a Zoom call with my work colleagues.

Time had slipped away, and I forgot about the call and tried to hurriedly log on. The volume of the chatter in my background sounded like a movie theater surround sound. One son was saying Como Esta’ into his computer microphone, while the other asked his classmates, “did you finish assignment three?”

I clicked the link for my Zoom call gave my salutation to everyone, then the screen began to flicker. My colleague’s voices sounded disjointed and underwater. The WiFi was going in and out. A message flashed across the screen saying, No internet connection. The WiFi was experiencing a nervous breakdown.

There was no doctor around (Computer Support) to provide a diagnosis. I did my best to coax the system along. I let it rest, rebooted, but the WiFi refused to work at full capacity. It was as though it ignored my efforts and simply said, “Girl bye.” There were too many people in my house attempting to use the WiFi at the same time.

Inanimate objects need rest too.

If you are working from home, be sure to indulge in self-care, for you and for your inanimate objects. Take breaks and rest when you need to.

I’ve heard grumbling that the dishwasher has a story to tell too.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Words of Wisdom - Celebrate National Humor Month - TED Talks with Andrew Tarvin and Michael Jr.

Celebrate April as National Humor Month. Humor is vital in our everyday lives. Check out the TED Talks below, grab a nugget of humor, and share laughter.

TED Talk - The Skill of Humor /Andrew Tarvin

Monday, April 6, 2020

Motivational Monday – National Laugh at Work Week

Are you looking for a reason laugh, or just a reason to curve your lips into a smile? The week of April 1-7 is National Laugh at Work Week. Although many are now working from home, it still counts as work. With that being said, let’s celebrate by finding something to laugh about.

You can find humor in everyday situations. Whenever I try to relax it seems as though something comes up…a distraction. I have concluded that perhaps I don’t know how to relax; this is where I must smile at myself. In case you’re not sure whether you know how to relax, below are 3 sure signs you need to relax.

1.      You’re practicing Yoga, while secretly wishing the instructor would hurry up and finish so you can do something else.
2.      While meditating with eyes closed, you pop one eye open, to see if it is time to end your session of relaxation.
3.      You sit down to read a book and fall asleep after reading one page.

What situations have you experienced that have caused you to say, “I need to relax.”

As I reflect, I am reminded of a time I traveled on Southwest Airlines. They uniquely delivered humor in the workplace. Once all passengers were situated, the flight attendant began telling us all the safety rules. At the end of his explanation he said, “For the six of you who were paying attention, you will be safe.” Humor in the workplace.

Below is a clip of me finding humor at work in a situation that didn’t start out as funny.

While you’re working, take periodic breaks, call it a humor break. During your break read a comic strip, check out a 5-minute set of a comedian on YouTube, listen to a comedy podcast, or call a friend and share a laugh.

Find a reason to laugh at work every day this week.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Fun Friday – 3 Things people are NOT doing since the coronavirus outbreak

The coronavirus is a serious issue that has affected all our lives in some fashion. Today, let’s step away from the serious side and find something humorous to lighten our hearts.

You have heard of the many things we’re not supposed to do in order to protect against the virus. For example, no touching your face, or your nose, don’t touch door handles and wash your hands frequently.

Here are my 3 (less serious) things that people are NOT doing since the coronavirus:

1.      Getting on a bathroom scale
2.      Combing their hair – due to working from home instead of at the office
3.      Wearing jeans (or other snug-fitting clothing) – due to weight gain from working at home instead of the office

Many churches have switched to online service in order to comply with stay home orders. I have a few questions about the etiquette for participating in online church service?

1.      Should viewers answer their phone if it rings?
2.      Is it okay to say Amen back to the screen, even though no one can hear you?
3.      Can you attend in your pajamas?
4.      If you must use the bathroom do you put up your index finger?... the unspoken symbol for “excuse me.”
5.      What happens if you “get happy” and start shouting, are there virtual ushers to assist you?

What are you finding humorous in spite of the seriousness of the coronavirus?

May your faith be stronger than your fear and you find a reason to smile every day.