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.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Feel Good Friday – What’s in your spiritual bank account?

Photo Credit: Jubilee Online Church

As we shelter in place, one day transitions into another without much delineation of what day it really is. I’ve often caught myself asking my son, “Is today Tuesday or Wednesday?”

“It’s Thursday.”

“Oh, that’s right trash day was yesterday.” Trash day was my identifier for the day of the week.

Our world is in a state of crisis. How do you handle a crisis? Each of us experiences pain, devastation, and emotion differently. One thing that is constant is that a Spiritual Bank account can come in handy. If you haven’t opened an account yet, it doesn’t take much to get started.

Make small, regular deposits to your account with consistent prayer as your currency. Pray over all areas of your life – family, finances, health. Build up a reserve that is ready for you in the event that a withdrawal is needed. Perhaps you set a low balance alert for yourself. This can simply be in the form of asking yourself, did I stop to pray or give thanks today?

I made a deposit into my account the other day as I ventured out of the house to visit my other. The last time I saw her was February when we got together for lunch. This time, we gathered for a Holiday, Memorial Day; a day set aside to remember veterans who lost their lives serving our country. It is also a time family and friends come together to embrace one another and create memories.

This year’s Holiday was different. Embracing family (outside of your household), and friends is discouraged. We took our chances, we hugged each other.  It was a brief embrace type of greeting, but it felt good to be with family. Don’t get me wrong, we took nothing lightly. There was constant hand washing and hand sanitizer available. And there was also Mama, a praying woman. This counted for yet another deposit into the Spiritual Bank account.

Your Spiritual Bank Account can include praying for others, praying for your community, and praying for healing. You decide your focus. During this time of the COVID virus, let’s take out this trash on Wednesday with the rest of the garbage.

As the adage says, It takes a village to raise a child; It’s going to take a village to fight against the crisis we are experiencing. Together we can do it. Keep a balance in your Spiritual Bank Account with prayer. Have a relationship with Jesus. Believe. Trust. Faith over Fear.

Make a deposit into your Spiritual Bank Account. There are no fees charges. Christ paid the cost long ago.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Muffins with Mom –Do you have a Do it Yourself Project for your child?

Have you ever prepared to leave the house, then spent the next 10 minutes wandering room to room, searching for your car keys? Stop by my house on any given day and you’ll hear someone say, “Ma, have you seen my keys?” 

After being around the house day after day, my son said, “I want to build something.”
I told my son he could rebuild the eight wooden steps outside our sliding door. I could feel his stare at the side of my head, which I’m sure was followed by eye rolls. “I guess that’s not quite what you had in mind.”


After a brief pause, I had an idea. “You could always put up that key hook I bought the other day.” I could tell by the nod of his head that this idea appealed to him. My son walked over to the wall, where he thought the key hook should be located. He tapped on the wall in a few places, with his knuckles.

“What are you doing,” I asked.

“Looking for the stud.”

It only took a few taps before my son found the stud (area of the wall he needed to screw the frame of the key hook into). I asked a few questions as he worked such as: “Why are you placing the key rack so high? Should you move it closer toward the door?”

My son stopped hammering, turned to me with a smirk on his face and said, “This is why contractors don’t like people to be home when they’re working.”

His sarcasm was rewarded with more tasks from me and the promise of a starring role on my blog. Neither of which he was thrilled about. One thing my son WAS thrilled about was he fact that his DIY project was successful, and he accomplished it on his own.

Our keys now have a place to rest, that does not require a treasure map to find them.

If you have a child at home who is looking for something to do, give him a creative project.

What DIY projects do you have planned?

Friday, May 22, 2020

Fun Friday – How do you party during a pandemic?

When was the last time you danced at a party with friends, attended a birthday celebration, or had a girl’s night out? As I reminisced, my mind landed in 1996 B.C. (before children). It was a time when folks my age could still drop it like it’s hot, moving all body parts like a well-oiled machine. Now we must oil those body parts to get them to move. Nevertheless, parties or celebrations are social interactions that connect us to others in a fun setting.

How do you party during a pandemic? You hang out virtually. An invite landed in my Messenger inbox on social media. Let’s have a Girls Night Out. What time works best for you 9 or 10pm? My first inclination was to ask if we can start at 7pm. The consensus was that 9pm worked for everyone. I looked forward to the gathering, but also knew I would have to fight to keep my eyelids in an upright position.

As it got closer to party time, I set up my laptop in a stationary location and dashed off to fix my face and hair.  I slipped on a stylish t-shirt, wrapped a silver necklace around my neck, then pushed my legs through my cotton pajama pants. My outfit was not complete until I added large silver hoop earrings. Five minutes before the party start-time I grabbed a bottle of my favorite flavor of Sparkling Ice water, poured it over a few cubes of ice and I was ready.

After a few clicks on my computer, I was accepted into the celebration. I was greeted with smiling faces, laughter, and subtle music in the background. It was a time of old friends connecting and new friendships established. We played the board game Scattergories. If you’ve never played this game, you must give it a try. You know, I bet the originator of this game came up with this name because you’re given a list of scattered categories.

We played several rounds of the game; the night began to slip away. I yawned a couple of times, then glanced at my phone and saw that it was 11pm. I shut my camera off and carried my laptop to the bedroom and slid under my covers. I must have been off camera a little too long. A friend who was still on camera sent me a text message that said, “Where are you?”

“I’m getting ready for bed.” I clicked my camera back on and rejoined the conversation (as I yawned a couple more times). Shortly afterwards, the host wrapped up the party. Everyone said they had a good time and would do it again. The best part about partying during this pandemic, was that it was a come as you are hangout. Be yourself, relax, and have fun.
Have you been to a virtual party?

Monday, May 18, 2020

Motivational Monday – How do you express kindness during COVID-19?

Photo Credit: Spreading Kindness Campaign

The teal bag with shiny gold polka dots rested on the kitchen table. An envelope peeked over the top of the handles. There was just enough room in the bag for the 16-ounce bottled water, a bag of chips, and the card. As I leaned over, glancing into the bag a voice echoed behind me.

“That’s mine,” said my son.

“Okay, I’m just looking.”

“I meant to tell you, one of the customers left that on their porch for me.”

My son worked for a company where he shopped for people, so they don’t have to leave their homes during this time of COVID 19. The customer who left the card, wrote my son’s name on the inside and a message that read, “thank you for making things a little easier for our family.”

A few words written inside of a greeting card, for someone you’ve never met, and may never cross paths with again, sent a strong message of kindness. Random acts of kindness, things not expected, but appreciated, can brighten someone’s day.

What are things you can do to spread kindness during uncertain and anxious times? Below are a few ideas to get you started.

1.       Leave a note of gratitude for your mail carrier.
2.      Write a note of thanks and tape it to the lid of your trash can on trash day.
3.      Offer to run an errand for an elderly neighbor.
4.      Send a letter or mail a card to someone you have not seen in a while.
5.      Send a gift card to your hair stylist, let her know how much she is appreciated.
6.      Write a fun message with sidewalk chalk – get the kids involved.
7.      Do a wellness check – spend time checking in on friends or relatives; a quick phone call or video chat may bring more joy than you know.

A teal gift bag with gold polka dots held simple contents, yet the message spoke volumes. Kindness.
What would you add to the list of ways to spread kindness?

Friday, May 15, 2020

Fun Friday – Have your clothes been in social isolation?

...that moment when you think, why do I still have these clothes?

Have your clothes been in social isolation since we have entered the national pandemic? My wardrobe rotation has consisted of pajamas, workout clothes, and leggings. My goal has been to continue a fitness routine. As I searched one of my drawers for a pair of workout pants, I stumbled upon a pair of shorts.

The shorts were buried in a corner, in the back of the drawer. I had to pull and tug, to free the Fuchsia colored spandex material. All I wanted to do was to work out in something different than I usually wore. I soon found out why the shorts remained socially isolated from my other workout clothes.

I pulled the shorts on, one leg at a time. I was instantly transported like I stepped into a time machine and dropped into the 1980’s; Me and my biker shorts. It was a sight more entertaining than cute. You remember the 80’s – Jane Fonda workout tapes, Michael Jackson’s hit Thriller appeared on the scene, and big hair was popular.

My virtual workout was energizing, and my body felt refreshed, but when I looked in the mirror, I was still in the 80’s. I started singing, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (Cindy Lauper). I grabbed a plastic spatula from the kitchen counter and sang into my makeshift microphone. “Sometimes I’m just like my mother…(When Doves Cry-Prince).

As I sat down to breakfast, sipping a warm cup of coffee, my mind eased back into resent day. It was quiet in the kitchen, except for the low hum of the dishwasher I had turned on. Just me and my thoughts…and those shorts. It was a humbling experience wearing those throwback socially isolated shorts. Ewe. I have work to do, but I am not giving up yet.

While my clothes were in social isolation so was I, and I did not always make the best eating choices. Yes, I worked out regularly, but that needed to be balanced with my eating habits. If you find yourself in this situation, know that it will be okay. I know it’s a cliché, but I will say it anyway, tomorrow is a new day. You can reboot and start over. If I can do it, so can you. We’re in this together.

The next time I bring clothes out of social isolation, I’m not going as far back as the 1980’s. I will just go back a few months. Create a playlist of your favorite songs and dance around your house. When you finally emerge from social isolation, you will have transformed from a caterpillar into a butterfly.

Go out and spread your wing butterfly. You got this.

Have your clothes been in social isolation?

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Words of Wisdom - Momisms

Photo Credit: healthylivingwithplexus

Has your mom or grandma ever said something that perhaps she should not have said? No filters, right out of their mouths. When I was a young girl, I remember coming home with and friend and my great grandmother said to her, "you sure are skinny."

Readers Digest compiled a list of 12 of the Most Hilarious Things Moms Have Said. Check out the stories here, see if you have a favorite one from the bunch.

Do you have a story to share about a momism you've experienced? Perhaps you were the one who dished out the momism.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Muffins with Mom – Celebrating Small Parenting Moments

A mom and son memory

The front lines of parenting has it’s up and downs. During this time of a national pandemic, it can feel like you’re on a battlefield. The general (mom) lays out the plan to her unit (children) – “One of you can unload the dishwasher while the other folds clothes.” What she hears in return is, “I did the dishes last time.” Or, “My clothes are put away.” Murmurings.

Once we have time to go our separate ways for a while, in different areas of the house, we come back together refreshed. My son’s conversation volleyed back and forth like a tennis match. “Do you remember when Mama used to have to rub Aquaphor on your back every night because you had Eczema so bad?”

“It couldn’t have been as bad as the time you used Clearasil on your face in middle school and your whole face began to peel.” They both laughed.

“Yeah, it was so bad, my teacher pulled me aside and asked if everything was okay at home.”

Traveling down memory lane was fun for my sons and heartwarming for me. They surprise me when I least expect it. These are times to cherish and let go of the minor things that threaten your peace of mind.

Just the other day as I prepared to leave home and stop by my job, I opened the trunk of my car to toss my work bag inside. There was a bunch of random items in there that I had not put there. The tissue box that I keep on the seat was in the trunk, a few work papers that I’d left in the car and a crumpled hand towel. I immediately went into complaining mode. Why is l this stuff in here? Did they use my car without asking?

It was my turn to murmur, and I did a good job with it. Until, I leaned into the car and looked up at the ceiling, then at the seat that was once stained. I took a long inhale and the scent of citrus drifted to my nostrils. My car was clean. I sat in the driver’s seat to absorb my surroundings. What I absorbed was the dampness of my seat. I smiled anyway.

My son had taken my car to have detailed cleaning done; It was my Mother’s Day gift from both sons. I had been putting off having the car cleaned, always had an excuse – I don’t have time. I don’t know how much it will cost, and so on. They made it happen and it was a pleasant surprise. It was a parenting moment that I’ll remember for some time.

What parenting moment can you celebrate right now?

Friday, May 8, 2020

Feel Good Friday – 5 Ways to Make Mother’s Day Magical

Mother’s Day this year will look different than year’s past, but it can still be magical. As we continue to practice social distancing and self-quarantining due to COVID-19, it may not be feasible to visit our moms, grandmothers, or other mother figures. What can you do to make their Mother’s Day magical?

Whether you are near your mom or a significant distance away, consider these 5 ways for sprinkling a little magic dust on her day.

1.      Dance Party – create a playlist of songs, put on your boogie shoes, and face time your mom or set up a Zoom call. If your mom lives nearby drive by her house and dance outside. Dance as though no one is watching, although they might be.

2.      Send Flowers – there’s something about flowers that brightens a room.

3.      Have dinner delivered – does mom have a favorite restaurant? There are delivery services such as Door Dash and Uber Eats that are just a call away.

4.      Watch a mother-themed movie – you may have to be creative with this one. If you are able to visit your mom this is easy. If you can’t visit, decide on a time that you will both watch the same movie at the same time. Here are a few favorites to start with:
Freaky Friday
Imitation of Life
Steel Magnolias

5.      Buy a book – support your local independent bookstore, purchase a book, journal or special keepsake item. While you’re at it, grab a book for yourself. You deserve it too.

6.      Create a video – lights, camera, action…grab your phone and record you and your kids doing something silly or read a poem. Send your video to mom.
Above all else, create a lasting memory. What would you add to the list of ways to make Mother’s Day magical?
Wishing all of you who are mothers or mother figures an over-the-top, fantastic Mother’s Day.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Wordless Wednesday - Discovering Calmness in Chaos

In a world of chaos, what do you find calming?

"How many are your works, Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures."                                                                                                                                       -Psalm 104:24

What are your methods for finding a sense of calmness in the midst of chaos?

Monday, May 4, 2020

Monday Musings - 5 Tips for a Successful Zoom Meeting

Zoom, GoToMeeting, and Free Conference Calls, are a few of the ways people are staying connected during this time of Shelter in Place due to COVID-19. I have been on so many ZOOM calls that I thought my eyes were failing me due to all the screen time.

I logged onto my laptop and had to squint to see the image on the screen, even with my glasses on. After a minute, I realized that my son had used my computer and dimed the brightness. Not only does my son use my laptop, he often walks through my Zoom calls. And that leads to the tips I have learned while participating in Zoom calls.

When operating a new gadget, we often become better with it through experience. After attending many Zoom sessions I have made mistakes and I have learned a few things. Here are 5 Tips to help you have a successful Zoom meeting.

    1.  Sit in a location free of distractions – during my first zoom meeting from home, I sat at my dining room table. Both of my sons were also at the table working from their laptops. As I joined the meeting (with audio and unmuted), on son walked behind me and waved at the screen. Then he had to lean in and help me find the mute button (that I had no need to use in the past).

    2.   Keep your audio muted – check and double-check that your audio is muted. I was on a zoom with about 20 or more people. One woman joined, you could see her sitting down to get situated, she was unmuted. She attempted to press mute, but went back and forth between mute and unmute, then she said a swear word, and began walking around with her phone in her hand. Until finally, the audio was muted again. Keep your sound muted until you need to make a comment.  

3  3.  Turn your video off – Unless you have a key role in the meeting, you don’t have to be on the screen all of the time. Especially if you’re eating/snacking. I caught myself chewing once and it didn’t look professional. I have also leaned over, reached down, and other antics to retrieve my water bottle or coffee. I’ve seen others drink water during a meeting, I wouldn’t think this is totally taboo, just a matter of preference.

    4. Set a Background Picture – an alternative to turning off your camera is to have a still photo of yourself that stays on the screen. There is also an option to select a virtual background form several options on Zoom. Choose carefully. We experimented with this as I talked to my mom. The background she chose looked like she was floating in a waterfall.

5  5. Raise your hand to speak – in a Zoom call, there is an icon you can click to raise your hand when you want to speak. This helps to eliminate or lessen the possibility everyone will talk over each other. Another option is to designate one person to lead and handle the flow of the meeting, calling on people to speak.

What would you add to the list of tips for holding a successful Zoom or other online meeting?

Friday, May 1, 2020

Fun Friday – Life with a Side of Silly

Practice being silly - This sign was spotted while I was out walking my neighborhood.
Yes, I obeyed the sign and so did my sons

When was the last time you did something silly? There is a gospel song with the lyrics, “Sometimes you have to encourage yourself…” Allow yourself to ease up on your inhibitions and let your inner child come out to play. A little silly goes a long way in encouraging and uplifting your day.

Is it just me?
Is it just me or do random thought pop into your head sometimes that cause you to laugh out loud? My hands have been extremely dry due to excessive handwashing during this time of viruses. I’ll spare you the details on the dryness of my feet. Anyway, I set off to the store in search of Vaseline because ordinary lotions were not relieving the ashen tone of my hands.

On two different occasions and two different stores, the shelves were bare of Vaseline. I did not want to make a third trip to the store that week. Then I remembered what one store clerk told me, “You can check the baby section. Sometimes Vaseline is there too.”

I moved expeditiously to the baby section of the store. I looked high and I looked low, no Vaseline. Until at eye level I saw something else…Aquaphor. Aquaphor is pretty much the same consistency of petroleum jelly (Vaseline), at least in my eyes it’s the same.

Just as I was about to grab the Aquaphor and toss it into my shopping cart, I read the small print. “Relieves diaper rash within 6 hours.”

Aquaphor - Will this work for my tough adult skin?

I didn’t have a diaper rash, nor did I have a baby at home. The Vaseline would have to wait until my next trip to the store.

Working from Home
If you’re not used to working from home, be prepared for a learning curve. Things you’ll need to determine are: Where do I set up my office? Does my printer still work? How many trips to the fridge do I allow myself? Yes, you read that right. Some days I find the need to social distance myself from the refrigerator.

What can be done in place of making excessive amounts of trips to the fridge? I tried dancing and drinking water before reaching for a snack. A peek at my effort can be found in the video below.

College Students Surviving COVID-19 at Home
What can be fun about being in a crisis? Absolutely nothing. How do you cope with a crisis? Create an outlet. And that is what three college students did. Check out the video below.

When was the last time you did something silly?