Beyond the Valentine

When is the last time you let the words “I love you” cross your lips? Did you truly understand what those words meant when you said them? It is February and Valentine’s items are lining the store shelves. Yet once the candy has been eaten, the cards stored away and the fancy dinner digested what do you have? What remains? Love is a small word that is often overused. “I love this song!” “I love cookies and cream ice cream!” “O my word, I love that car!” Sound familiar? According to the Bible, there are three types of love. Now, psychology will add a few to that, but I have read them and believe that they are not God sanctioned love. Our world has become a vile place and sin has been allowed to run rampant. Sin can be wrapped up in a pretty package and called socially acceptable, but that does not make it right in the eyes of Almighty God.

The three types of love in the Bible are Philos, Eros, and Agape. We will look at each of these individually. For we need to once again look at things the way our Creator did. We need to learn to look at things clearly and then we will begin to understand the true meaning of that indescribable four letter word.

Philos is the Biblical word for love referred to as brotherly love. It is a love that remains for someone without wanting anything in return. It is a love that transcends blood relatives. It does not see gender, age, race or economic status. It is a bond that can never be completely severed. A mother who raises her children- protects and provides for them – does so out of this deep devotion for her young. If those same children decide to leave her the bond of love still remains in that parent’s heart. Philos is a kind of love that commands loyalty to the other person. No matter the miles, the deeds or the status of that loved-one they can always count on you.

Eros is the name of the Greek god of love, and the word for love between a man and a woman. It is where the word erotic came to be. It is a love that creates longing and desire. It is the kind of romantic love that God created between man and woman. He placed Adam and Eve in the garden and told them to procreate. Well, there had to be a longing to do so. A desire that causes one spouse to hunger for the other in order to calm that desire. This love is often what starts a romantic relationship.

Agape love. God’s love. The Almighty’s care for mankind. The love that caused Him to give up His only son to reconcile all people. Being sinners we could not stand before God, but after the sacrifice of His life that Jesus Christ gave we can be the Children of God. Heirs with Jesus Christ. Agape love will see you through no matter what. It is not a feeling, it is an action. You do not have to feel for others to do good to them. Agape is showing God’s devotion by acting in His manner. To follow the examples that Christ set, and to act accordingly. Feelings can often follow the actions but are not a requirement for showing God’s boundless love.

With all three of these in mind, now think about your marriage. What type of love do you show and share with your spouse? It has taken me years to understand this, but a good marriage must have all three kinds of love active to survive. You need a friend (Philo) who is loyal to a fault. Someone you can talk to about your hopes, dreams, and fears. Passion and yearning (Eros) are also key to your relationship. A spark is all that is needed to get that fire going again, and sometimes we need to stoke the fire too. Godly (Agape) love is also required for the survival of a marriage. Sometimes we must do what is right regardless. Out of that love that God has shared with us we must give to our partner daily. Of course, wanting those things reciprocated is only human, but when both people do for the other out of love it falls into perfect order.

I know what you are thinking. Sounds too perfect, and that is not real life. You are exactly right, my friend! Life is not perfect and neither are we! It takes practice. Like anything worth doing right!

I personally strive every day to love my wonderful husband the best I can. I believe he is a gift from God and I want to treat him as such. I want him to know how much he means to me even when it is not Valentine’s Day. I want him to know even when it is raining and the bills are behind, and the car won’t start that he is still immensely important to me. More important than stuff, or my pride or my need to be right. I want him to be proud to have me as his wife. I need to love in a way that goes beyond what other people have experienced. At least I aim to try. I desire to be able to explain to my children how I am finally experienced enough to give good relationship advice.

If you need help to love more and better, I encourage you to talk to the one who IS love. God is Love. He tells us in His Word that if we lack wisdom we should ask Him. That is my highest recommendation. Talk to the Father. He is not a liar. He will answer you and give you deeper love and understanding. All you have to do is ask, and make the effort. He won’t do the work for you, but he will guide you every step. Besides your relationship is a great deal more than some Valentine’s card.

The Clean-Up

The Christmas tree seems a bit lackluster now, yet it shines as bright as it did before. Beneath the tree is barren and next to it like a dutiful soldier a garbage bag stands erect holding all the ripped wrapping and discarded tissue paper. It was a full day. Everyone is in there respective places and I am exhausted. Christmas was good.

The last dish of New Year’s Day is finally put away and I sit in my easy chair. Everyone has gone to bed. Television is off and the soft, saturating quiet wraps around me like a warm, downy blanket. A melancholy feeling envelopes my heart and I wipe away a tear. Happy my family was together, sad that it is over. My heart is full that everything had looked so beautiful, that all my hard work paid off, Yet really unhappy about the clean-up.

When I was a young Mom, My tree went up the day after Thanksgiving and came down on January 2. No ifs, ands, or buts. Yet, as I am becoming wiser and my joints are not moving as they well as they should, That timetable is an unimaginable fallacy. I was much later putting up decorations this year and I will be later taking them down. Mind you I plan to have them down before February, just in case you were wondering. The problem seems to be for myself anyway, that although I love decorating I have begun to nurture a keen desire for more simplicity. Less Clutter, Less storage, etc.

I am not really sure when this happened. Although there have been what I would call spurts of it when the kids were growing up. I’d go on a massive cleaning spree and throw out a ton of stuff. It would be either donated to a charity or we would have a yard sale. I still donate to charity and will continue, but I think I am too matured to try holding a yard sale on my own anymore.

Life starts seeming shorter as you get along in years. Spiritual growth and love of other people become more important than gathering items. Dealing with stuff emerges as a frustration that can be eliminated. Not necessarily easily but eliminated just the same. My focus for this New Year is to begin to slowly eliminate the clutter. And I am going, to begin with, my Christmas Decorations. When I open them next year, they will bring me joy instead of irritation.

The small snow village went dark with one pull of the extension cord. All those little people and animals frozen in a moment in time will remain in a small box marked people. Each landmark individually wrapped and put away for safe keeping along with the large rollout snow. Anything else is going away.

This will be a process. The cleaning and organizing of this conglomeration of Christmas. Our Mess. Okay, truth told, it’s my mess. At least it is now. My responsibility. So, I make a promise to myself. I will handle this as I see fit. I will do it in such a way that keeps my frustration level down. Should I become overwhelmed I will stop and do something else. Even this is not worth giving up my sanity.

To all of the people who are responsible for the cleaning and the sorting and the organizing for your household, God Speed. Maybe work does not come naturally for you, or maybe it is natural but not as easy, YOU HANDLE IT, not at the satisfaction of others, but at the proper speed necessary for you. So much of my adult life has been spent trying to gain the approval of my husband, my kids, my folks, my boss, my pastor, and my church members until it was exhausting! There were times I didn’t even know how I felt about something as long as others were okay with it.

It is my personal opinion that even though we should strive to make others happy, there is nothing at all wrong with being happy ourselves. In fact, it is an intricate part of survival in the mom life. We Moms spend so much time being caregivers that we often forget about us. And we need to care for us as well. No one really understands like Mom the meaning of the saying, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” The family unit will suffer each and every time when mom is not feeling content.

Yes, we must clean up. And it needs to begin within us. We need to decide that we will choose to make better decisions and to make them with our own thoughts and feelings in mind. All the rest will come easier once we start in the right place. So, Happy Clean-Up Season! Make it a Great one!

Dear Mom, From Your Daughter In College WARNING: A TEAR JERKER

My Middle Child, Elyssa, is in college.  She is gone quite a lot for classes and studying and tons of homework.  Her times home are so quick it sometimes sadder when she does finally come home.  We call and text as often as humanly possible, and even that becomes hard when life is so busy on both ends.  Today we texted good morning back and forth and chatted for a bit and then she sent me this link and followed it with I love you.  I followed the link and read the post. Once I wiped my eyes clear of all the tears and calmed down I made a decision.   It was so very special I decided to share it here on my blog.  To all the parents raising kids is really hard.  Letting go is even harder.  Yet I must say from personal experience it is rewarding when you see them becoming their own person, and you begin to feel you have contributed in a positive way.

God Bless Everyone.  This link will take you away from our website, but we hope you come back real soon!


What do I do about Halloween? A Guide for Christian Understanding


I arrived at the local dollar tree to purchase a few new fall decorations while we are still experiencing 100-degree weather.  I love decorating for each season, and quite honestly I need Fall to kick Summer’s butt out of here!  All our stores are getting beautiful sweaters, long sleeve t-shirts, and hoodies, yet you can hardly breathe from the humidity when you step outside.  Nevertheless, I was determined to get in the mood for Autumn, one way or the other.  I transferred my sweltering body behind where two women stood in deep conversation in front of the fall leaves and pumpkin signs.

I could not help but overhear.  The discussion was Halloween.  One woman celebrated.  The other woman did not.  Now in this wonderful country that we live in where we have many freedoms, the lady who celebrated endeavored to convince the non-celebrator why she should be celebrating.  The conversation ended abruptly, with the non-celebrator responding by saying, “I know what I believe.  And I do not celebrate it.  Love you. Gotta go.”

Now because I overthink things too much that moment, obviously, has not left my mind.  I have my beliefs and I adhere to them.  If someone asks me, I will share with them what I believe.  But I have never been one to demand that others believe like me.  I will explain the reasons why I feel like I do, and allow you to make your own decisions.  1 Corinthians 6:12 is always a good way to begin, Everything is permissible for me, but not all things are beneficial. Everything is permissible for me, but I will not be enslaved by anything [and brought under its power, allowing it to control me].

That being said, I will share my personal views and what the Word of God says about this holiday that is called Halloween.  You know the name is even a bit strange.  The Catholic Church deemed Nov. 1 as All Saints Day, the day before became known as All Hallows Eve, and because humans are lazy it soon became Halloween.  Now, in the other communities lesser known to us, October 31 is called Samhain Eve, (pronounced SOW-in, SAH-in, or SAM-Hayne).  Samhain is the end of Harvest time, celebrating the end of summer and the beginning of the winter, or the darker time of the year.  Samhain is a time to remember those who have passed on or Feast of the dead and even Day of the Dead. The Druids and the Celtics would have made sacrifices to the Celtic gods of death, with both animals and humans thrown into huge firepits as offerings. It is also believed that the ancient Druids ate their firstborn children on Samhain, or collected the blood of their sacrificial humans in cauldrons and drank it.

Samhain is considered the Witch’s New Year. It is said that today feasting and drinking of the harvest/all natural items top the celebration.  It is a night that is believed that the curtain between the afterlife and life is the thinnest, and spirits return.  Most Samhain celebrations come complete with tarot cards, palm reading, and communication with the dead and other forms of divination.

Leviticus 19:31, ‘Do not turn to mediums [who pretend to consult the dead] or to spiritists [who have spirits of divination]; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God.

Well, as the old adage goes no matter how you slice it, it is appearing to be a holiday for the dark side.  Today’s witches and warlocks, yes there are real people practicing, are often a part of Wiccan.  It is a group that teaches what they call “white” magic. They claim to only create spells that are good and will not harm someone. They do not believe in heaven, hell, or the like. I like you to note here, Isaiah 5: 20,  “Woe (judgment is coming) to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness;
Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!

2 Corinthians 6:15, What harmony can there be between Christ and Belial (Satan)? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 

Now, I learned a long time ago, the just because someone does or does not believe the truth does not keep the truth from being fact.  It may not be a fact to you, but it still exists as truth.  You may not believe that on a sunny day the sky is blue because you have only been outside on dark, rainy days.  This still does not alter the fact that the beautiful, blue sky is outside waiting to be discovered.  Just because you were ignorant to it, did not change it from being real.  I believe that whether or not to participate in Halloween is the same way.  I have read a bunch of articles, several of them saying that it was a personal decision, and up to the parent. I agree in as much as the scripture says in Philippians 2:12,  “So then, my dear ones, just as you have always obeyed [my instructions with enthusiasm], not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence, continue to work out your salvation [that is, cultivate it, bring it to full effect, actively pursue spiritual maturity] with awe-inspired fear and trembling [using serious caution and critical self-evaluation to avoid anything that might offend God or discredit the name of Christ].” 

With this scripture in our minds let us touch on a few more symbols that were and are pertinent to Halloween.  Let me begin this section by telling a quick story.  I went into my local store looking for some pumpkins.  I have purchased them in years past and wanted them for some arrangements.  I asked the sales lady if she was going to get any in this year, and she assured me that she would have them out the next day.  I go in the next day to find not pumpkins but glittery jack-o-lanterns and skulls.  First and foremost, all jack-o-lanterns are pumpkins, BUT ALL PUMPKINS ARE NOT JACK-O-LANTERNS.

A bit of history here.  As I said before, it was believed that on that night the spirit world would eek over into the regular world.  Food was placed on the porches as offerings to the good spirits, turnips were carved with faces and a candle was placed inside.  This was a place for a spirit that had no place to go could fill the turnip and not harm people. In other words, it was a symbol of or for, if you will, a damned soul. Druid stories are more gruesome claiming that hollowed out pumpkins and turnips would be filled with fat from previous human sacrifices and lit. Today pumpkin jack-o-lanterns are primarily all we see.

Jack-O-Lantern.  Where did that name even come from?  It is from an old Irish folktale about a guy name Stingy Jack.  The short of the story is that Jack tricked the Devil and trapped him inside a tree with a cross on it.  Once he freed the Devil and he died, Hell did not want him because he tricked Satan, and Heaven did not want him because he was such a mean trickster.  The devil gave Jack a lump of burning coal so he could see to wander, and jack hollowed out a turnip and placed the coal inside to light his way.  He became known as Jack of the Lantern, and eventually Jack-O-Lantern.  So we can see that these hollowed-out pumpkins with faces symbolize in many ways a damned soul. My heart just breaks every time I see a small child holding this symbol.  Just seems so horrible for an innocent to cling to that horrible figure.

But test all things carefully [so you can recognize what is good]. Hold firmly to that which is good. Abstain from every form of evil [withdraw and keep away from it],  Thessalonians 5: 21-22.

Costumes originally were worn to protect one’s self from evil spirits.  The people believed that the costumes would confuse the spirit into thinking that the human was one of them and not haunt them. Personally, that is not giving much intelligence to the spirits, but I digress.

Costumes today vary in style and price.  From the very simple to the very elaborate.  The costumes are created for every age and every size.  You may be thinking that if your little man goes to a church party dressed as Captain America you are in a good place, but does it matter WHAT you dress up as, or the fact that you dress up on an evil day?  

Romans 12:2, And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].

Black cats are a symbol we see this time of year. It was believed that cats had/have magical powers and could/can carry evil spirits.  I have also read of them being used in rituals and blood sacrifices in Satanist circles.  As a matter, of fact, in most major cities a black cat cannot be adopted on Oct. 31.  Even if it is not a written policy in some cases they will still adhere to this as an unspoken policy.  

Skeletons/skulls are seen a lot during the Halloween celebration.  After all, it IS the celebration of the DEAD.  What better way to show that skeletons and skulls?  Our culture uses skulls and skeletons all the time in graphics and decorations.  Why have we accepted a symbol of death so readily?  I wonder if the enemy of our souls just laughs at the way he sneaks in at every turn?

And do not give the devil an opportunity [to lead you into sin by holding a grudge, or nurturing anger, or harboring resentment, or cultivating bitterness], Ephesians 4:27.

Yes, it is hard when this holiday is so widely accepted to separate ourselves. However, it is not impossible.  I believe that when it comes to our souls and eternity it suddenly becomes an easier decision.   I remember the dilemma for how to handle the situation for my children in school.  I went to their teachers early on and explained that we did not celebrate Halloween and that I did not want my children participating in anything having to do with it or it’s symbols.  Most of the time there was no issue.  I simply explained that it was against our religion to participate.  Children are resilient, and I explained the reasons to them from early on.  Hate what is evil [detest all ungodliness, do not tolerate wickedness]; hold on tightly to what is good, Romans 12:9.

I understand that the kids love dressing up.  So have a dress-up birthday party or a block party with a costume theme.  We do not want to deprive the kids of fun, but we DO WANT TO DEPRIVE SATAN of any glory or worship. And we moms are aware of the candy aisle and even know what kind they like!  The kids will get their candy.

Do not participate in the worthless and unproductive deeds of darkness, but instead expose them [by exemplifying personal integrity, moral courage, and godly character], Ephesians 5:11.

James 4: 4, You adulteresses [disloyal sinners–flirting with the world and breaking your vow to God]! Do you not know that being the world’s friend [that is, loving the things of the world] is being God’s enemy? So whoever chooses to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

So I present before you these facts.  You are no longer ignorant of this information. The decision is up to you. Earnestly pray and seek God about your decision.  Comments are welcome.

God Bless!

10 Useful Household Products to Make Life Easier

Which is worse? The Craziness of the morning getting kids ready for school, or the afternoons of homework and after-school activities as well as little league games. Oh, and everyone’s favorite part of the day, dinner. Oh, no, did I forget to plan dinner? Okay, I will pick something up on the way home. Only on the way home, half the city decided to do the same thing and traffic is ridiculous! Your annoyance grows as you are standing in line that because of this you are behind on picking up people at the correct time. All you can do is pray that this day will be over soon because tomorrow you get to try again.

Every household needs to function like a well-oiled machine. Matter of fact, the more children and extracurricular activities + the more parents with jobs and social engagements = better functioning machine becomes crucial. Day to day events require us to tick them off the to-do list at lightning speed and without hesitation conquer the following one as well. Anything that happens to cause the wheels to slow down or even stop can cause frustration. There has to be something that can help a parent/guardian keep things rolling smoothly.

Well, Ta-DA. There are useful home products that this writer would venture to say that they are must-haves for every home. Let me first say that I am not trying to sell you these particular products. I am merely placing ideas before you for your consideration. You purchase, test and use at your own discretion which products and brands are right for you.

Add heading (12)
Storage Bags No Copyright Infringement Intended, Display purpose only


Life in our home would come to a screeching halt without storage bags. We use them for all kinds of things. I will make a list of things we use storage bags (all sizes) for in our house.

  1. Craft supplies
  2. Buttons
  3. Index Cards
  4. Cupcake baking cups
  5. Cake picks
  6. Legos
  7. Pens
  8. Medicine on the go
  9. Storage Blankets

There are probably a dozen more I could find if I just looked, but you get the idea. They are cheap enough to toss out if it gets too dirty, plus all the kids can have identical bags on trips. Do not forget freezer bags. They are great for breaking down those large packages of meat into smaller, into easier to handle bundles. Your garden Veggies keep much better that way too, and you can eat them after the season is over.


aluminum foil
Roll of aluminum foil…no copyright infringement intended. For Display purpose only.

This is an item that will aid cook and dishwasher by becoming a convenient way to cook and clean. Foil can be used to line baking pans or the grill, and also to make a pouch of food for quick and easy cleanup. It works wonders to cover the drip pans beneath the stove burners, to keep things looking pristine, and simple tidying up for sticky messes. Sometimes casseroles or meats must be tinted with foil for part of the cooking time to keep it from overcooking. The foil is very versatile and can be used in many different ways. Craft projects too. I try my best to always keep our kitchen stocked with Aluminum Foil.


crock pot liners
silver crock-pot with black crockery, covered in a clear liner no copyright infringement intended. For display purposes only

Now, these little darlings are some of the greatest inventions that man ever made! Second only to the reason it was needed: the Crock-Pot/Slow Cooker. To use these precious gems, simply place them on the pot like a backward shower cap. Now it is ready to hold all your food and liquids. Cook as usual. The best part is that once the food and liquids are removed unless you have spilled down the side of the pot when you throw the liner away your slow cooker is ready for next time! And your next chicken dish! To understand that click here.


small garbage cans
Small garbage can NO COPYRIGHT infringement intended. For Display purposes only.

I know that this may sound like a bit overboard, but trust me when I say it will help with frustration. Small trash cans are pretty inexpensive, and as I always say but my nerves are not. I have a can at all work areas, all desks, all sitting areas. The laundry room, and every bedroom and even my dining room. Now, these cans can be decorated to match the decor of the room or space. Or you can keep it simple and stick to one color. The idea is to not to have to run searching for a trash receptacle. Everyone is responsible for dumping their own trash can or assign all or some of them as a weekly chore. No matter the small details these small additions to your home will keep things running more smoothly.


Green Can with white recycle logo on side
Green recycle can with white logo NO COPYRIGHT infringement intended. Photo used for display only.

Recycling is a wonderful way to help the planet as we all know. But do not be fooled, it is a great way to help yourself as well. Once we had our recycling area, the amount of trash we had to deal with reduced significantly. I created some nice, neat containers for inside that everyone uses constantly. They were large grey totes, with green lids, and I created a sticker for the side that said recycle. It took a little while to get everyone into the habit of what to recycle, but now it is just an everyday maintenance.


colored garbage bags
Colored garbage bags No copyright infringement intended. Display purposes only.

Have you ever asked a question like who put this garbage in the big can and were met with complete and utter silence? I mean we are taking tumbleweeds here. Well, we have color-coded our garbage bags so we always know what type of garbage and where it came from. Let me see if I can break it down for you.

WHITE bags, kitchen 13-gallon size, used for kitchen garbage including food trash.

GREEN bags, Large, lawn, and leaf, used for recycling–never used for food.

BLACK bags, Large, lawn, and leaf, used for regular trash–never used for food.

Small Colored Bags-These fit small trash cans-purchased on a roll. Can be designated for a particular room or person. You can recycle plastic store bags for this purpose as well.


Blue toiletry kit
Personal Bathroom Kit No Copyright Infringement Intended. For Example only.

Hate a messy bathroom? So do I! Bottles cluttering the sides of the shower, razors, and sponges ready to slide off the side. Well, I have an answer for that. Personal Shower Kits. These can be made from zippered pouches like a man’s shaving kit, or a small over nite bag if you need something just a bit bigger. Just make the kit personal to each family member. Then when bathtime arrives everything you need is ready and waiting. once you are clean just toss it back in and take it back to your room. The bathroom stays tidy, and mom keeps her sanity.




How in the world did we ever manage life before them? Oh, I know, it is just so much easier and much less mess.

We use them for:

  1. Calendars-month
  2. Calendar-weekly
  3. Chore Chart
  4. Mommy don’t forget


clear and teal beverage server with silver spout, latch and handle full of ice and water
Large Beverage Server NO COPYRIGHT infringement intended. For display purposes only.

I am not really sure about other places in the world but here in the south, we love sweet tea. I am partial to mine with some lemon also, but that has nothing to do with this, so I digress. It is really easy to go through a gallon of sweet tea a day here at my house. who has time to stop and make the tea that much? I propose a large beverage server. Now, this bad boy will hold up to 5 gallons of tea at the time. This keeps that precious nectar flowing without mom having to stop every single day and make more drink. After all, it could be lemonade, kool-aid, juice with water, doesn’t matter. Kids can serve themselves and Mom can spend that time on something else, because you know there is always something else.


hanger silver
Silver Metal Hangers NO COPYRIGHT infringement intended. display only

Now you are probably saying about now, duh. Everyone knows we need hangers.

But do not be fooled. All hangers are not created equal. According to, there are 29 different types of coat hangers. The basic design is about the same as the original one created in the 1800s. Do some research and find a style that you like and whatever you do, do not take a single plastic, “crap” store hanger when you buy clothing. These are cheaply made in bulk and will not hold up well at home. I mean if they break at the store they have a gazillion more and they just replace it, me not so much.

I personally also think that the wire hangers from the dry cleaners are best saved for arts and crafts. These fall into the category of bulk made, and low quality.

Save yourself some trouble. Color code if you want. No matter, but get something sturdy that will not leave your delicates on the floor and your blouses only partially hung. Everyone will have a favorite and a style that they loathe, but good hangers, my friend, are a bare necessity of life. (Disney Reference there. Did You Catch It?)

Now you need a good recipe for dinner.  Try this one on for size: Porcupine Meatballs


Ding-Dong. Ding-Dong. Ding-Dong. The school bell is beginning to ring. In a matter of minutes, little people will scamper up the steps of the big yellow school bus and start a new chapter in both their parents’ and their own lives. Teachers are ready in their classrooms. Beautiful characters and borders decorating each room in hopes of grasping each child’s attention and subsequentially kicking off a fantastic school year for everyone. Lists have been made and photocopied and are waiting at the store so everyone will know exactly what they need on the very first day.

School supplies: Crayons, Scissors, and Markers

On the purchase list pencils and crayons, notebooks and paper, book bags and lunchboxes. Some schools require uniforms while others let you show your individuality as long as you are within the guidelines. No matter what style you need, it is imperative that one go through the shopping and finding the proper sizes and fit of clothes and shoes.

Backpack, Cell phone, paper, pencils, pens, iPad, and the perfect shoes!

Yes after the busy summer alive with activities, and vacation trips, we parents grab a colorful list and fight through the crowds of other stymied guardians to fulfill that supply list for each one of our children. Now here is the million dollar question: What possesses a relatively sain adult to trade away the fun and frolic of the summer for the long lines, disgruntled cashiers, and general frustration of the stores? It is the absolute peaceful silence and the sheer joy of an empty house when the children are off to school.

Mom enjoying the first day of school in the first socks she found!

Now I am speaking on this subject from personal experience. I have lived quite a while, we will say, and I have come to the realization that school is good in many ways for our children. Yes, there is bad in it as with anything, but I am speaking of the good at this time. School -be it public or private- teaches students many things besides just the curriculum. My children are at the high school level and above now, and things are quite a bit different. However, when they were in grammar and middle school, in the midst of all the hubbub of getting ready to return to classes, we would joke about the party we were going to have on the first day of school. This imaginary party was parents only, no kids allowed. It would be during the day while they were safely in class. In the beginning, this received quite a stunned reaction. Although they finally caught on after a few years and would suggest for us to call some of their friend’s parents so we would not have to party alone. This was a part of our family’s Back -to School ritual, and we had a lot of fun with it! Honestly, my son who is a junior in high school this term asked me who was coming to my back to school bash this year?

Back-To-School spelled in wooden tiles.

When my little hatchlings were small they finally grew big enough to go to school. As each of the three entered preschool I believe my heart broke just a little bit. There were tears that I had to hide from them because I did not want them to know how frightened I was for my baby to be with someone else. I took each of their pictures on the first day in their crisp and clean new clothes. Of course, with a new hairstyle and perfect curls for the girls, it was most expectedly a Kodak moment. Those first-day pictures are always great. Of course, the older the boy gets the harder it is to get a picture. Yet, I will try!!!

Preschool beauty in an antique desk.

Those are pictures that I will cherish forever. I have sat in the car after drop off and cried, and I have followed the bus to the school tears pouring down my face that another little one was growing up. My son actually went to a preschool that was across the street from our apartment. When they went outside to play I would, more times than naught, peek out of my windows to catch a glimpse of my little angel.


Life moves in stages. As parents, we love those little darlings. We care for them and nurture them. To them, we are the whole world, and they are ours. Then they start school and discover that the world is much larger than Mommy and Daddy. It’s good for them to grow and eventually, we realize that it was also healthy for us as well.

Daddy, Mommy, and Baby

It is extremely important to realize going to school is not really a kick in the teeth to parenting, it is an extension of it. Parents+teachers+faculty=working together can cause great things to happen for our students. Afterall, great things for your baby is what you have wanted from the first moment you saw them.

The first look at a newborn baby.

Summer Vacation can be filled with wonderful experiences! You may have camped or seen an 8-foot mouse or stayed home and played outside. Movies at home or at the theatre are also a great time. Time together as a family is unquestionably a necessity in the rambunctious world we live. However, Moms and Dads need to remember that it perfectly okay to have time for themselves as a couple as well as each individually. We can not care for our families properly if we are stressed out and exhausted all the time. So plan a few minutes for you once the kids return to school. You will be glad that you did.

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Okay, those of you in Okaloosa County Florida. Monday- Party at my house…NO KIDS ALLOWED!


Have a great and safe new school year everyone!

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That goes for parents too! God Bless!!!

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Ya Gotta be YOU

Summertime is always an interesting time around our house.  Someone is always needing or wanting to go to the place that they are not.  If they are here they want to go there, but if they are there they need to go yonder.  For those of you that do not understand Southern English, yonder means to go somewhere else besides where they live.

There are beaches, and rivers, and pools to swim in.  Then there is the movie theatre, the Library, the Museum, the Bowling Alley, the Skating Rink and the Park.  Of course, one can not forget that all their friends are also out of school and they want to see these people if at all possible.   That is between working jobs, chores, online classes, and sleeping.

Needless to say, there is a lot going on and a day where several people are home during the day all at once is a rare occasion, but we were blessed with one of those afternoons this week.

Before I go into the meat of our story, I should explain a couple of things to you for clarity’s sake. The morning that this rare occasion occurred, I had accompanied Hubby to the medical doctor.  After a discussion of the issue, the doctor began to discuss how important it was for Hubby to be performing self-examination for lumps as an early cancer screening.  He wanted him to check regularly his neck, underarms, and testicles for any strange changes.  He explained that it was as important as it is for a woman to perform a monthly self-breast exam.

So, everyone was home that afternoon, Hubby was busy outside and my Dad was napping.  So, the kids pulled out a game that I really enjoy: Scategories.  I am not necessarily good at it, but I enjoy it.  Now, in case you are not familiar with the game here are the basics.  You have a category with a set of 12 clues.  There is a die with letters that must be rolled at the start.  Once you have the letter.  The timer is started and you have until it stops to work on your answers.  Say the category is Food, and the letter is C.  If the clue reads “something sweet,” your answer could be a cookie.  If the clue says “something in a salad,” your answer could be Chard.  I think you get the basic idea.  You really need unique answers to score points, because if your answers are the same as another’s then neither of you receives points.

So, we are playing along in the category Potpourri.  The letter was a T, and the timer started. I am working away, answering as many as I can as fast as I can. “Something that is red”, and I answered that one lickety-split.   Then I get to one that says: “something you can’t touch,”  I giggled a little more aloud than I had planned and kept on working until the round was over.

So, Elyssa, my middle daughter is reading the clues and asking folks for their answers.  On and on we go until we get to:”something you can’t touch.”  Finally, it came to my turn to answer,”Mom, something you can’t touch.  What did you write down?”

“Testicles,” I said calmly, and the room erupted in gasps.  Apparently, Moms are not supposed to use or even know those words.  Even after I explained that it was the proper medical term and that I was the one who taught the word to them, there were a few still beside themselves.

Hubby walked through the door just in the nick of time and I said to him, “Sweetheart, will you help me with this for a minute?” He turned and looked at me and I explained my situation in a very mature fashion.

“I don’t know,” he responded instantaneously, “my doctor said for me to touch mine.”  We all just roared in laughter.  Some laughed with pink faces and covered mouths, but they were tickled none the less. Needless to say, it took me quite a few minutes to gain my composure.

Now there are two morals to my little weird story.

  1. Be careful who you play Scategories with.  They may embarrass you without having a single clue.
  2. Be sure you are doing self-screenings in the shower at home, and report anything out of the ordinary to your doctor.  You could save your own life.

If I have offended you with my words it was not my intention.  My actual intention was only to answer the questions of the game.  I laughed at the time because I figured no one would duplicate my answer, and I was right!

Have fun and enjoy life!  Laugh often and mostly at yourself.  That’s some good material there! (At least it is in my case!)  Be who you were created to be: you.  That wonderful, crazy, sometimes lazy, family-loving, faith-believing you.


For more Family Funnies you should try this story: Chick-fil-a Sauce








The men of our household were all gone one late morning, and I found myself alone with just my three kids. Of course, as a reminder, I use the word kids simply because I am a mother, but there is no one less than 16.  When they were little it was more demanding because you always had to stop what you were doing to see to someone’s toilet issues, or to get a drink for someone, or to find “the quiet one” and find out what he/she was up to. Today they all are big enough to fend for themselves, most of the time, yet it is not always true about them staying out of trouble.

My son is busy on the computer, and when that is the case he is pretty well occupied. The only time he seems to stop is when a hunger pain hits. The girls and I are busy with crafts which are really tough on me today because my focus is off. I keep pushing through. I mess up and start over. Sometimes I mess up and revamp my idea completely. Nevertheless, I was finally being productive and realized that Elyssa, my middle child, had slipped into the kitchen.

I kept working. When she arrived back into the room, a wonderful aroma accompanied her. I took a long slow breath. It was sliders she had made from the porcupine meatballs from last night’s supper. The sweetness from the bar-b-que sauce and the freshly grown bell peppers. The aroma of onions mixed delicately with tomatoes and that sizzling beef made my mouth begin to salivate.

Back to work, I looked up and realized that my other daughter had made herself a sandwich of meatballs as well. Hmmm, probably all gone with everyone digging in. I thought to myself. I hear the beep of the microwave and realize that my son is also having lunch now. He has just warmed the meatballs. I feel like I can not stand it anymore. “Nate, will you make momma a sandwich too?” I called to him, “Please and thank you. ”

“Sure.” Came the reply that may have been sarcasm, but I ignored. As I glued my final piece to my project, a plate hovered near my head. “Here Mom.” The 16-year-old presented my lunch. Yet instead of the delectable meatballs that I had been smelling, I had been given a cold chicken and cheese sandwich. From the refrigerator, lunch meat and a cheese slice between two slices of bread.  My heart sank.   As I took a bite I could not convince my taste buds and brain that this was what I wanted.  Finally, I said to my son, “Nate, you want the rest of this sandwich?” He comes around the corner mouth full, with his one hand meal well in hand.  He finally swallows and replies,”I guess so.”  I looked up at him to respond and see his scrumptious meatball sandwich.  “Wow, I guess you got the last of the meatballs, huh?”  I asked resigning myself to the answer.

“No,” he responded,”  There’s plenty more.”

I pondered what I had heard.  If there was…?  Then why did I…?  And why did he…? I felt slight outrage.  Everyone else had a warm lunch, and I was stuck with cold cuts. To top it off my son seemed indifferent to it. “So, I just have to ask,” I chose my words carefully, “why did you give me a cold sandwich while making yourself a meatball one?”

My daughters began to laugh and make snide remarks like,”Oooo, you got caught.”  “Boy, you gonna get it now.”

“Now, Mom, in my defense,” he began to respond to me once the jeering died down,”You asked for a sandwich.  You never once specified what kind.”  I took a slow cleansing breath.  At that moment I felt that there was egg all over my face.  There was no argument to that.  He was right.  I did not specify anything except a sandwich.  I thanked him for his efforts and went and made me a meatball one on my own.  But as I did being “specific” kept rolling around in my mind.

With all prayer and petition pray [with specific requests] at all times [on every occasion and in every season] in the Spirit, and with this in view, stay alert with all perseverance and petition [interceding in prayer] for all God’s people. (Ephesians 6:18)

So God wants me to pray specifically.  Not just generic requests.  Not just God bless So-in-so, but God bless him with a new better paying job and heal his marriage.  See the difference.  Because those specifics are not just for our own personal issues but the petitions of all of God’s people.  It says so right there in Ephesians.  It amazes me how much instruction can be found in just one verse.

So, I have learned an extremely important lesson.  Ask for sandwiches, and pray very specifically, or you might get what you do NOT ask for.


Word Bombs

I am in the family room with my feet propped up watching and listening to my two younger kids play a game. I took my turn and am now waiting. The title of this games is Keep Talking and No one Explodes. It is literally a bomb defusing game. It is played with one person on the computer and one with a printed manual. The idea is to communicate and not “blow” up. We have done fair. Only exploded 60% of the time.  Okay, that is not so hot.   The kids are better at it than me, but they have had a bit more practice. That’s my story and I am sticking to it.

  •  How many wires do you see?
  • 4   
  •  How many red wires are there? 
  •  3 
  • Okay, cut the last wire.
  • The last one? 
  • Yes.
  • Are you sure?
  • I’m sure.
  • Really?  Be sure.
  • Yes, for heaven’s sake, cut the wire!
  • “Snip”
  • Okay, maybe I wasn’t sure


Communication is a huge deal in life. It is a necessity to keep things running smoothly in every aspect where we deal with other human beings. Wow. So, we are referring to work, family, church, shopping, …. this is too much for me to fathom. I am supposed to be cautious and careful in my communication? Why don’t other people just make allowances for me, and then things would be just perfect?  If only!

Sometimes when you need a bit of entertainment, go and people watch at the local Mart store or shopping mall. It is the funniest thing. When you get past the weird way people dress then start noticing people communicating, or not.   People yelling at their family members, some so angry with each other they won’t even speak.  Folk complaining to employees, and occasionally quite boisterously.  Every single person trying to push their point of view on the other, giving no caution about the other’s feelings, or purpose.

Now, as I have said before, I am a Bible-believing person.  I do my best to follow what the Good Book instructs me.  Yet just like playing baseball, you may not get a home run every time, but you should always aim for the fence.  Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (1 Corinthians 15:33 KJV)  Wow, you can sure see that people watching!

Ephesians 4:29, Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.  

Now for those of us who are not Bible scholars, corrupt is having or showing a willingness to act dishonestly in return for money or personal gain.  How many times have I opened my mouth with the intent of gaining personal superiority?  In other words, giving someone a piece of your mind just to make yourself feel better.  We have all probably been guilty of that at one time or another.

Edifying means to instruct or benefit, especially morally or spiritually; uplift.  So, these people who really do need our instruction need to be told in the right way.  Oh, help me, Lord!  Cause I honestly, want to tell them exactly how it is!

Grace in Ephesians 4:29 literally is a Greek word meaning that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness.  When was the last time you set out to say anything that followed that pattern?  Hum, you don’t answer that and neither will I.

Just like the kids had to learn how to talk to each other to keep the simulated bomb from exploding, we must learn to talk the right way and to listen the right way.  Listening is just as important as proper speech.  The person in the game giving the instructions must be heard correctly by his teammate or the instructions are useless.

There is a ton more that could be said here about positively communicating but I will tell you one thing I know for sure.  It must start somewhere, and it might as well start with me.

So the game name should be Keep Talking Correctly or You Might Explode.  I guess it doesn’t have the same ring to it, but I bet the next time you think about telling someone off, you will remember this story and the scripture.  Then hopefully a bit of grace will be on your lips.