Getting the point across as a parent…musically

As a mom, I sometimes have to make up goofy songs when my children aren’t behaving, ahem, the way they should. These songs sometimes make little sense, but they certainly are effective. If nothing more, we all end up laughing hilariously – probably me the most. :)

So when I came across Tim Hawkins singing parodies to get his point across as a parent, I knew I had to share it. Love the way he even acts like the singers!

He is Risen!

Today we celebrate Easter…the day that Jesus Christ rose from the grave and gave us hope. Hope for eternal life spent with our Lord forever.

After Jesus was crucified, thankfully, He did not stay dead. He rose again and is alive!

This world is but a pitstop, a blink of an eye, really, as we journey through on our way to an eternity spent with Him.

As I contemplate what He did for me – the sacrifice He made, my sins He took upon Himself, I am beyond humbled. Thank You, Jesus, for what You did for me. While I was yet a sinner, Christ died for me (Romans 5:8).

Do you know Jesus and the hope His death and resurrection brings?

Happy Resurrection Sunday to you and yours!

he is risen!

fun and easy chickadee cupcakes

My girls and I recently made these adorable chickadee cupcakes for a homeschool baking project.

chicks3Below are the fun and easy instructions…

Whip up a batch of cupcakes. We used Betty Crocker milk chocolate cake mix, which made 24 cupcakes. Pour batter into cute spring-type colorful cupcake wrappers.

Allow the cupcakes to cool. While waiting, gather Whoppers Robin Egg candies and frosting. (You can make your own frosting or store-bought pre-made frosting in a squeeze bag/tube).

b1Set out a Robin Egg for each cupcake. For the chickadee face, use orange oblong sprinkles for the beak. Attach it to the Robin Egg using Cake Mate Confetti Gel. Dot two eyes using Wilton’s green Sparkle Gel.

b2Set the Robin Eggs carefully aside. Using a “star” tip, squirt green frosting in the center of the cupcake.

Place a Robin Egg gently into the middle of the frosting.

chicks1Wah-lah! You have just created a fun and easy chickadee cupcake, perfect to deliver to friends and neighbors.


how to become an undercover prayer warrior

After Christian historical romance, Christian suspense is my favorite genre. Especially when characters go undercover and the tension builds as covert operations are planned to catch the bad guys.


It may be that I have read one too many of these novels. Or that I have watched Sue Thomas F.B. Eye too many times to count. Or that my grandfather was a retired police officer for the San Diego Police Department.

I’ve recently felt God prompting me into my own incognito activities.

I’ve become an undercover prayer warrior.

Moms buisness card

Don’t get me wrong, I still (and always will first and foremost) intercede for family and friends numerous times a day. There is not a time during the day when I’m not in constant contact with the Lord.


However, now I’ve added strangers to the list. People who don’t even know I’m praying for them.

Want to join me in this venture? Here’s how to become an undercover prayer warrior:

1. Keep your eyes open. There’s a woman I see each time I’m utilizing the elliptical machine at my local gym. A salt-and-pepper pixie haircut and a somber expression line her face. I’ve never seen her smile. Not once. Not when the machine she wanted was available, and certainly not to return a smile. This woman became my mission. Each time I see her, I pray earnestly for her. I pray for whatever struggles she is facing. I pray for joy and peace in her life. And I pray that if she doesn’t know the Lord, she would someday come to know Him.

Had I not been keeping my eyes open, I may not have noticed this woman and had the privilege to pray for her.

2. Keep your ears open. Ambulance sirens? Emergency helicopter? Both denote that someone is injured, or may even be possibly fighting for his or her life. Whenever our family hears either of those sounds, we stop what we’re doing and immediately pray for those who are being transported. We pray also that the Lord would provide wisdom and guide the doctor’s hands, as any necessary medical procedures are done.


3. Keep your heart open. Whenever I pass by the hospital or local cancer center, I pray for those who are receiving treatment. I pray for God’s healing, and that He would make Himself known to those who don’t yet know Him. It’s beyond difficult to struggle with an illness, especially one that’s terminal. Prayer support is the most important thing we can offer someone.


4. Keep your mind open. Some of the hardest people to pray for are those who are unkind. I experienced some unkindness last week from a woman in desperate need of prayer. I didn’t necessarily want to pray for this meanie, but I knew it was the right thing to do. I had to keep an open mind and pray for this stranger. (Matthew 5:43-47)

So become God’s undercover prayer warrior. Slip into detective mode and…

  • Pray for that exhausted mom in front of you at the grocery store with the seven children.
  • Pray for the clerk at the department store or the waitress at your favorite restaurant.
  • Pray for the man in front of you at the doctor’s office who has just been told to go to the E.R. because he may be having a heart attack.
  • Scan the newspaper and pray for comfort for the families of those who have recently passed away.
  • Pray for those in jails and prisons.
  • Pray for those in drug treatment facilities in need of overcoming addictions.

And the list goes on.

God always hears each and every prayer we pray.

Why not bless someone today with your prayers?



easy-to-make smiley face mini cupcakes

Want to brighten someone’s day? These adorable and easy-to-make smiley face mini cupcakes are sure to make someone smile.

Follow the directions on a chocolate cake mix. After mixing, pour the batter into mini muffin pans with liners.


Bake at 325. Check after ten minutes. If necessary, continue baking until toothpick comes out clean.

While the cupcakes are baking, whip up a batch of homemade frosting. (I would provide the recipe for homemade frosting here, but I fear it would look something like our generations-old family frosting recipe: mix several tidbits of powdered sugar, a trifle of butter, and a dribble of milk…).

Once you remove the cupcakes from the oven, wait until cooled, then frost. The secret to ooey-gooey frosting is to melt a small amount in a microwave-safe coffee cup. Slather the frosting on each cupcake. Continue melting more frosting in the microwave as needed.

Before the frosting hardens, add eyeballs. We used Wilton’s candy decorative eyeballs and attached them with Cakemate confetti gel (available in a tube in the baking aisle).

eye balls

Wilton decorating icing tube frosting is easy to use when drawing the mouth.

Wah-lah! You’re finished!


Now deliver a batch and brighten someone’s day. :)


21 awesome family movies you may never have heard of

Penny Zeller, Christian Author
Our family is always on the lookout for wholesome family films for our weekly Family Night. Some of the best movies we’ve ever seen have been undiscovered gems we’ve stumbled across by accident.

The 20 undiscovered treasures below are in no particular order. Some are newer and some have been out for awhile, but they all are must-see movies for your next Family Night!


The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry

The Redemption of Henry Myers (12+)


Finding Normal


The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey

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Though None Go With Me

The Gospel of John

Time Changer

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Last Ounce of Courage

The End of the Spear (13+)

King’s Faith (13+)


Hidden Places

The Perfect Gift

Duma (12+)

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Seasons of Gray

Christmas Angel

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The Good Book

No Greater Love

Christmas Oranges

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Backroads and Lilies

Civil Love


For a listing of other fantastic movies, check out my Mom-Approved Movie List.  Interested in movie reviews? Go to my Mom-Approved Movie Reviews tab.



Little actions…big impacts

Nanie and me spending some time together...

Nanie and me spending some time together…

My grandma recently took part in a prison ministry project with a local church to send Christmas cards to those in prison. Always one to encourage others, Nanie didn’t just promise to send one card, but completed nearly 100 cards.

Her inspirational cards also included her favorite Bible verses and handwritten notes about the hope we have in Jesus.

Recently, the pastor of the church announced that the Christmas cards had been well-received. In particular, one man had written that he felt his life was hopeless and was about to commit suicide.

Nanie’s card arrived just in time.

The Lord softened this man’s heart and used Nanie’s card to spark an interest in the Gospel in the man.

The little action of taking the time to write a card made a huge impact.

My friend, Mariann, and her young homeschooled daughter take the time to haul their pet alpaca to nursing homes where they visit with residents, sing songs with them, discuss the projects she makes from alpaca wool, and, most importantly, Mariann shares about Jesus. If there’s an interest, she elaborates and shares her rich testimony of God’s goodness and grace.

One of the sweetest people I’ve ever met, Mariann is taking the little action of spending time with others and turning it into a huge impact on, not only the residents of the nursing homes, but also her elementary-aged daughter.

A young man named Brock who works with my husband recently attended the funeral of a fellow co-worker. While there, Brock heard the pastor speak of salvation. He later asked my husband and another co-worker about Jesus.

Two days later, Brock met with the pastor from the funeral and gave his life to Jesus Christ. Each day, he and my husband meet during breaks where Brock asks questions regarding his newfound faith. My husband blessed him with a new Bible and two other books to read to encourage his faith.

Because my husband took the time to meet with Brock and pray for this young man, Brock’s life has been changed for eternity.

Little actions. Big impacts.

A man named Philip at our church has a zest for the Lord. It’s seen clearly through his actions. Philip won’t be joining the Newboys matthew 2540anytime soon,  yet he sings his heart out to the Lord each and every Sunday.

While many worry that they can’t carry a tune and what others might think if they truly lifted their voices to Jesus, Philip pushes all that aside. To the newcomers of the church, his faith and devotion toward God are evident.

They see something in him that sets him apart from others. Something they want.

Such a small action. With such a big impact.

We must never think that those seemingly minute things we do will not influence someone.

To the contrary.

God uses us each day to be a light for Him. May we all shine our lights brightly and make an impression for the better on those around us. Friends and strangers alike.

Who knows…that impact we make may just make an eternal difference.