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, June 29, 2020

Motivational Monday – Summertime – 3 Ways to Combine Faith and Fun

Sitting on the front porch, sunshine warming everything it touches, and me, biting into an apple, squirting juice everywhere. Not far away are my sidekicks – a book of some kind and my laptop. It’s one of my favorite kind of summertime days. I love fresh fruit on relaxed summer days. As I read a magazine article, I was reminded of a different kind of fruit – Fruit of the Spirit.

The fruit of the Spirit include – love, joy, peace patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. You can share this fruit with those around you. Here are three ways you can share faith and fun.

1.      Pause and enjoy your surroundings
July is celebrated as National Parks & Recreation Month. Take a morning or evening stroll through your local park. Stop and observe God’s creation all around you. What do you see, hear, smell? If you enjoy writing, take a journal, and record your thoughts.

2.      Spend time with friends and family
Spending time with friends may look different than it used to. While the stay-home order was in effect in my area, a few friends and I dressed for our virtual church service, as though we were going somewhere. We took pictures at our individual homes and posted them on social media. It was good to see their smiling faces.

3.      Work in a garden
If you have young children, encourage them to play in the dirt with you (older kids welcome too). Plant flowers and hold a casual conversation about, “In the beginning, God created…”  As a reward for the fruits of your labor, slurp on an ice-cold popsicle or go out for ice cream.

As a bonus…
4.      Humor
What pictures have you seen, or statements you’ve heard, that caused you smile? Below is something my young adult son shared with me – a child’s prayer.

Photo Credit: Author Unknown

As you combine faith and fun, you can also exhibit qualities from the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, patience, kindness.

Wishing you a summertime filled with living in an overflow of all things good.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Motivational Monday – Family Ties

What makes your family special, unique, or quirky? Think of a story, one situation with the kids, your parents, an aunt, or uncle, what happened that made you smile? Now share that story with another family member and let them experience your smile.

Did you know that in the “olden days” our ancestors used storytelling as a way of sharing family history. Today, with technology all around us, there are a variety of ways to share our family history. There’s blogging, vlogging, creating videos, picture collages, and poetry slams, to name a handful.
Quite often my sons provide fodder for my blog posts, it may be a funny statement they make or something off the wall that they do. Allow me to share a recent story.

I hopped in my car, flipped the sun visor down, turned the radio on and the air conditioner, and got on the expressway. I was ready for my 35 minutes excursion; except I drove right into bumper to bumper traffic. Construction. It took 25 minutes to drive five miles. An hour after I began driving, I finally reached my mom’s house.

It was an enjoyable day with mom, we had lunch, and chatted until about 9pm. It was close to 9:30pm as I packed away my laptop and headed for home. As I was backing out of my mom’s driveway, I heard my phone ding. I shifter the car into park and read the message. It was from my son.

“Ma, grab some laundry detergent from the store on your way home.”
I scrunched my face and talked back to the screen – laundry detergent?!  I called my son.
“Are you really going to wash clothes tonight? I am NOT stopping at a store. I may have to fight through construction on the way home.”

Did he really believe I was going to stop at the store, in the middle of the night (it may as well have been midnight in my eyes)? My son and I agreed that he didn’t have anything so dirty that it couldn’t wait until the next day. Besides, if he hadn’t used an overflowing cup of detergent each time he washed a small load, there would have been some left.

By the time I made it home, my son and I shared a few minutes of laughter about his request. Then it was off to a quiet spot for me and video games for him. Our day ended with a smile. It doesn’t always happen this way, but when it does, it’s refreshing.

Below is a collection of our family memories.

What family ties have you created lately? Go out and create a few smiles.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Fun Friday – Adventures in Yard Work

I have never proclaimed to have a green thumb but as Dr. Doolittle talked to animals, I’ve held a conversation or two with my house plants. My plants have been maturing quite nicely over the past year, so I decided – why not test my luck outside?

My Hosta’s plants bloomed beautifully with their two-toned green and white leaves. They shared the flowerbed surrounded by Red and Fuchsia Impatience – aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

Satisfied with my outdoor beautification plan, my confidence was boosted, and I was ready for a new project – coaxing my Brown grass to become Green. This project required the distribution of lime across my yard. First, I had to unbury the Spreader which was in a corner of the garage, wedged between the snow blower and old car tires. Don’t ask.

The Spreader

I pulled the light-weight Spreader into the open and dumped the lime into its base. Squeezing the handle as I paced back and forth across the grass, released tiny seeds onto the crunchy grass. That Brown grass was as wiry as my Grey hairs and equally uncooperative. Lime was my solution…for the grass, not my hair.

Front yard complete, it was time to move on to the backyard. The space was wide open terrain, except for the slight maneuvering around a barbecue grill and a set of stairs leading up to a sliding door. Fresh air penetrating my nostrils and sunshine darkening the hue of my skin, I was again on a mission – to return life to the grass in my backyard.

All was going well, I was walking the last section of the yard, felling proud of my savviness. Then something happened that changed the dynamics of my stride…a small black rodent shot across my path. I was momentarily stunned and stopped for a split second. Was that a mouse? I was not waiting around to confirm my belief.

I grabbed the Spreader, attempted to quickly dump the remainder of the lime. It wasn’t moving quick enough for me. I picked up the spreader with two hands and began swinging it around in circles, dumping the lime wherever it landed. There may be one patch of grass that won’t make it back to it’s normal state. I got out of that yard as quickly as my extra weighted quarantined body would carry me.
I’ll stick to house plants.

Plants in Waiting

When was the last time you had fun working in the yard?

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Wellness Wednesday Music as a Balm

Photo Credit: Pinterest - placesinrhythm.com

Soothing, healing, relaxing...music can be an auditory balm. When you're ready for a relaxing, calming atmosphere check out the video below.

YouTube Video Credit: Yellow Brick Cinema - Relaxing Music

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Monday, June 15, 2020

Motivational Monday – Reflections – Looking Back and Moving Forward

A basketball slammed against the concrete in the distance. Green leafy garden plants swayed with the wind. Me, I was nestled against a plastic lawn chair in the corner of my front porch, absorbing my surroundings.

It was a lazy afternoon in my neighborhood – kids on bikes zooming past in one direction, and joggers in another direction. It was an ideal time for reflection. Can we move forward without looking back? Not need to dwell in the past, but it is part of the backstory.

What were you doing one year ago at this time? Did you have kids in school? Were you preparing for a vacation? It is 365 days later, and the world is vastly different. Our thoughts are different, our kids are in a different place emotionally, and there is a lot of uncertainty.

Yes, stores and restaurants are opening slowly in some areas, malls are reopening, but with caution and precautionary measures. Colleges are preparing for fall classes and planning for distance learning in an on-campus environment. My son asked me, “Ma, where am I going to live this year?”

We made many attempts to get out of the apartment lease, since the school year ended abruptly, and my son was not residing there. Dorms on some college campuses are making single room available to students, as well as decreasing class sizes. These things are in preparation for moving forward with reopening safely for students in light of COVID-19.

During this time of COVID-19 we’re dealing with racial tensions and social justice issues. It is a tough conversation to have with your child, but the elephant in the room must be addressed.  What do you say to your young adult child, your high school student, and younger children? Transparency and honesty will be key. It doesn’t hurt to pray about what you want to say.

Look back and reflect on positive, fun, family moments, and use those moments as a foundation for moving forward. As seasons change, this crisis that the world is going through will change as well. We must create positive ways to weather the storm. Be encouraged, you are not alone. Together we can.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Fun Friday – Humor is Serious Business

Did you know that laughter and humor have health benefits? They are excellent stress relievers. Laughter, and humor has been said to lower anxiety, is good for cardiovascular health, and laughing is plain old fun. Have you ever thought about writing humor or performing comedy?

It is time to take humor seriously. Make humor a part of your daily life. You will soon discover that humor is all around you. Think about a recent episode that made you laugh or smile. What was it about that situation that brought a smile to you face?

During this time of stay home orders, my sons and I have spent more time together than we have in a long time. Quite often we found ways to amuse ourselves. My younger college son stood in front of a mirror with me and made goofy faces.

We cocked our heads to one side, crossed our arms resting them on our chest, and stared at our reflections. I was the first to speak, “You know, we really do look alike. Same eyes, same nose, even the same thick mustache.”

Humor is serious business. My mustache was not really as thick as my son’s, on the bright side, neither were my sideburns. Finding humor is a matter of perception. I recently learned about an online comedy workshop. The workshops are interactive and “focus on writing comedy material and the business of comedy.”

The four-week workshop is taught through Zoom and taught by Dave Schwensen. Dave’s credits include Talent Coordinator for the TV show A & E’s An Evening at the Improv, The Hollywood and New York City Improv Comedy Clubs.

Find out more about the comedy workshops by clicking here. A new session is beginning soon. I do not receive payment or gifts for new students, but the class sounds like fun. Step out of your comfort zone, have fun exploring your creative side.

Write down your ideas when they come to you, they can disappear quickly

It’s time to get serious about humor, your health could depend on it.

Monday, June 8, 2020

Motivational Monday – Back to work after a quarantine – 3 Tips for a smooth transition

As I crossed the threshold into the facility where I work, I was greeted with a defining silence. There were no people walking laps. No members sipping coffee and chatting. Back to work was not business as usual.

I pumped a squirt of hand sanitizer into the palm of my hand and rubbed vigorously. Then I took my temperature and recorded it on the questionnaire. This was not business as usual; it was the new normal.

If you work outside the home, you will return to work soon, if you have not already.  Are you ready for the new normal due to COVID-19? Below are three tips to help you ease into a new normal.

1.      Keep a positive attitude – rules and policies will be different. Understand that it may take time to adjust change. Create a daily mantra or keep uplifting quotes at your desk.

2.      Be patient – this applies not only at work, but during your lunch break, while running errands, etc. There may be longer lines at the grocery store, the bank, and other places you frequent. Take a book to read while in line.

3.       Establish a routine – you are creating a new normal, it’s a good time to set a new routine. Perhaps there are safety measures you are responsible for daily, schedule them at the same time each day.

At the end of the day as the computer is powered down, and lights turned off, I take a final glance 
around the office before closing the door. As I walk away my thoughts follow me, Lord, thank you for this day, no matter what the future may hold.

What tips do you have for preparing to go back to work after a quarantine?

Monday, June 1, 2020

Motivational Monday – Healing

Photo Credit: Biblestudytools.com

We need healing in our country. Close your eyes and look through the lens of your community, your state, our country – what do you see? In my community a police officer was caught on video hitting a woman on the top of her head while attempting to restrain her. At our state capitol, people march openly with guns, in protest of the continued stay home order.

In Minnesota, a handcuffed black man died after a police officer retrained him by pressing his knee on the man’s neck. Many places people are protesting, some are friendly protests, others erupted in violence. We need healing. How has your family been affected? If you have children, what the discussion look like in your home?

As I walked through my house gathering dishes, going through the motions of my routine casual Saturday, my son called my cell phone.

“Ma, I’m heading to the protest.”

My heart sank and I let out a sigh. Do I tell him not to go because there could be violence? Do I suppress his desire to be a part of change? To do so may appear hypocritical. You see, I participated in a sit-in during my college years. My mother marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when he visited Kentucky State. We need healing.

I told my son, “I don’t really want you to go, but be safe, and wear your mask.”
Not long after that phone conversation, my other son came through the door, “Ma, I’m getting ready to go to the protest.”

I simply said, “Ok, stay with your brother.”

Do I need to say, my sons are black? Our conversations have been different lately.

My son left the house one night to go for a jog. He was wearing a hoodie. The first words out of my mouth were, “Please don’t put the hood over your head.” Forget the fact that sky glistened with bright stars and the air held a gentle breeze. It was a great night for a walk, but I feared for his safety, in our middle-class neighborhood.

Let us press pause; Stop what you’re doing right now and pray for your community, your state, our country, our families. We need healing.

“Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress.”     Isaiah 33:2