Happy Mother’s Day!

This time of year, we honor our moms for the way they have shaped our lives. For the sacrifices they have made and the love they have shown us through the years.

I’m thankful for my mom, who taught me the value of hard work. She worked harder than anyone I’ve ever known in difficult labor-type jobs: cleaning businesses and wallpapering homes, so she could stay home with us and help provide income at the same time.

But my mom taught me so much more than work ethic. She taught me to serve others. From the time my siblings and I were little, we “adopted” grandparents and visited them, provided for their needs, and learned to treasure them.

But my mom taught me even more than serving others. She taught me compassion and to put others above myself. She taught me how to nurture and care for those who are ailing. She also taught me to be creative and follow my dreams.

But my mom taught me more than that. Now mostly confined to a wheelchair with serious chronic illnesses, my mom taught me the value of faith and how to rely on God in all circumstances. To keep your eyes on Jesus, even when it’s the hardest (and the last) thing you feel you can do. To still serve others in the midst of struggling with her own hardships. To persevere and to never give up. To love others even if that love is never returned.

Moms—you do make an impact on, not just your child(ren), but also future generations. You do this by the way you live, the words you say, and the actions you show day after day.

To moms everywhere, Happy Mother’s Day!

This time of year, we honor our moms for the way they have shaped our lives. For the sacrifices they have made and the love they have shown us through the years.

5 things moms need

5 things moms needs

Being a mom is the best, but sometimes hardest job.

We yearn to make a difference in the lives of our children. To be the best mom we can be. We love our children with all that we are and strive to bring honor and glory to God in the way we raise them.

But motherhood can be a challenge, too. The baby who doesn’t sleep through the night. The temper tantrums of a toddler. The drama of junior high. The teenage years with all of the frightening things kids have to deal with in today’s modern world.

No wonder we moms can become worn out and tired. I look back at the photos from when my daughters were little, and my eyes are almost consistently closed in those pictures. I obviously tried to catch a wink of sleep any time I could get it.

So what can a mom do? How can she refresh and rejuvenate? What things do moms seriously need in the best, but hardest years of our lives?

Moms need…

Time with God. Francesca Batestelli sings about meeting God for quiet time in the morning before the kids awaken and life gets hectic in her song When the “Crazy Kicks In”.

Time with God is critical. Crucial. Necessary. It starts our day off right. Prayer, then some time in His Word and being still before Him makes all the difference in the direction our day will go.

So what if you don’t have time in the morning to spend with the Lord? A later time with Him, while the children are down for a nap, for example, works too. The only problem is that we, as moms, tend to get so overloaded and busy with our day and all the demands pressing on us from every side that we give what’s left to Him, rather than making Him a priority. That’s why first thing in the morning is the best time to spend with the Lord.

A supportive spouse. Every mom needs a spouse to come alongside her to be a co-partner in raising their children. To be a listening ear. To forge together to make dreams a reality. To be there just to hold her, even when she has spit-up on her t-shirt, hasn’t changed out of her jammies all day, or has been dealing with a rebellious teen and is uber-exhausted. Someone to listen as she decompresses about the day.

Speaking of supportive spouses, be sure to take some time for a date night. Enlist the assistance of a friend, relative, or teen babysitter to watch the children while you reconnect with your spouse.

family 1.jpg

A mentor friend. Ideally, this would be a mom who has been in the trenches and has now graduated from a mom of littles to a mom of teens, or beyond. Empty-nesters work well for this role. A mentor friend not only is there for you when you need her, but she has sound advice (given when asked for, rather than unsolicited), is a devout prayer warrior, a shoulder to cry on, and has wisdom beyond our years as young moms.

Godly older women from church also make excellent mentors.

A best/close friend. We moms all need a fellow mom to text for an impromptu playdate, to call when things get crazy, and a bestie to share a good laugh with about all the adventures (and trials!) of being a mom.

Proverbs 27 9

To recharge. Moms, we need to recharge our batteries. Life can be hectic, stressful, and seem to move at the speed of light. It’s easy to become exhausted and burned out, no matter what our stage as a mom is—a new mom, a mother of elementary kids, a mom to teens, or a mom to all of the above.

How do we recharge? Here are some suggestions:

Take a few minutes each day to put our feet up and relax.

Tackle a chapter in that book we’ve been wanting to read (or have been reading) for the past two months.

Take time to exercise. Many gyms include “drop in centers” for children while moms take an exercise class. Our local gym is starting a water aerobics class for moms while their kiddos take swimming lessons (wish they would have had that when my girls were little!)

Or, if you are the mom of toddlers, put them in a double stroller, pack some healthy snacks, and go for a walk.

Take a bubble bath.

Spend time with the Lord (see #1).

Spend a few minutes on Pinterest pinning your dream kitchen onto a new board.

Partake in a hobby you’ve neglected or one you’ve always wanted to try.

Organize a girls’ night out with your mom friends.

mom friends.jpg

Finding time to spend in the Word, call a friend, exercise, or even scroll through Pinterest can be difficult, if not nearly impossible. To begin, ask the Lord to help you carve out time. It may be at odd moments during the day, or even evening, but doing so will not only help your health and stress levels, but help you be the best mom you can be.

Happy Mother’s Day!


Before you go, check out these other posts:

you might be a homeschool mom if (15 clues)

15 scriptural reminders of God’s comfort

training for the mom Olympics

6 suggestions for getting through the rough times in life

Momlife, Part 1 The Big Truck

6 Ways to Encourage Other Moms

what do you love most about your mom?

how to build close bonds with your kids

the top 10 blog posts of 2021

I can’t believe it’s already almost February! Is it just me or has time flown by faster than ever this past year?

Last year, I posted 47 posts on a variety of topics including faith, humor, parenting and motherhood, writing, movie reviews, blog tours, recipes, songs, devotionals, and how-to posts. Below, I’ve listed the ten most popular of those 47 in order of popularity.

1. The most popular post last year was how to build close bonds with your kids. The inspiration for this post came from a mom who recently posted a question in a Facebook group. She needed encouragement in her parenting journey.

2. The number two spot was another parenting post titled tools to help your child succeed in life. Our culture bases success on many things. But what truly makes a person successful? And what if we, as parents, pulled the following tools from our parenting toolboxes to help our child succeed in life?

3. This post was my very last post of the year posted on the very last day of 2021: tips for keeping your New Year’s resolutions. Each year, New Year’s resolutions are made, and each year, New Year’s resolutions are broken, some within a month or two of making them. Below are some suggestions for keeping your New Year’s resolutions.

4. One of the highlights in my personal life last year was the release of my contemporary romance novel Love Under Construction. A tender and uplifting story with plenty of humor, its main theme is relying on God in all circumstances. I was so grateful to all of the bloggers who joined me in the Love Under Construction blog tour, the fourth most popular post of the year.

5. One of my personal favorite posts made the number five spot. 28 verses for uncertain times, one of the several posts in the Scripture Series. Amidst the anxiety and fear that grips us during these uncertain times, we must keep our focus on the only One who can give us peace and comfort when all things seem lost. These verses are the Lord’s promises that we are never alone, that He goes before us, and that He is our shield and comfort.

6. One of my humor posts made the number six slot, Momlife, part 1 “The Big Truck A fun post in the momlife series based on real life. In it, I reach back into the past and dig into the archives for a story about what happened when an innocent mom of two with a serious depth perception problem has to drive the big truck while her SUV is being repaired.

7. In the number seven slot is my post you might be a writer if… (10 ways to know). Some of my favorite people are fellow writers. We live in a world all our own, full of crazy characters, plot twists, and made-up settings. Here are ten clues you might be a writer.

8. I posted Thankful for the small things… as a reminder that we sometimes overlook the seemingly “small” things.

9. the importance of avoiding false teaching came in number nine. Sometimes it’s not easy to discern false teaching when it is plopped in the center of an otherwise Biblical-sounding sermon or podcast. Sometimes otherwise good teaching is interspersed with falsehoods or even heresy. That’s when we need to be on guard the most. So how do we spot false teaching?

10. And finally, rounding out the top ten most popular blog posts is 31 awesome movies for your must-watch list. I am always on the lookout for movies for the entire family. Here, I list 31 of my favorites to add to your next family night.

To my readers, thank you so much for taking the time to read my posts this past year. Have a blessed 2022!

10 ways to encourage others

In a world of struggles and disappointments, pain and setbacks, one of the most important things we can do for others is encourage them. Below are 10 ways to do just that.

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines “encouragement” as “something that makes someone more determined, hopeful, or confident.” In 1 Thessalonians 5:11, the Bible tells us, Therefore encourage one another and build one another up.

What are some simple ways we can encourage others?

In everyday life:

Give genuine praise and encouragement to family and friends. This can come in the form of how much you appreciate them, value them in your life, or just how much you love them. Little notes of encouragement are big hits. For some ideas on how to encourage your kids, see my post 7 Ways to Encourage Your Children (and for additional ways to show your children you love them, join me next week for my post 9 ways to show your kids you love them).

Did you get excellent service at a restaurant? Tell the waiter and the manager. Did someone at local business go above and beyond? Let them know! The lady who signs members in at our local YMCA always has a smile on her face. She is quick to go the extra mile. I recently told her how much we appreciate her, and I also let her boss know. This can also be done by completing comment card or quality-of-service questionnaire available at many businesses.

My daughters are fond of teasing me about the fact that I’ve never met a stranger. But you don’t have to be extroverted to share encouragement. What about letting the janitor/custodian know how appreciative you are that they keep your place of employment/a local business clean? What about telling the clerk at your grocery store you appreciate the hours they put into their job and their patience in dealing with all types of customers?

Encourage a mom. Motherhood is a hard job at times, and what mom doesn’t need a bit of encouragement? A quick word or note letting a mom know she’s doing a good job means a lot. You can even encourage a stranger! What about that mom in the long line at the grocery store with a hungry infant and grouchy toddler? We can discourage by giving a “judgmental” look or we can encourage by asking if we can help unload her groceries onto the conveyor belt or even by a simple sentence, “Oh I remember those days!” and a smile.

Doing motherhood well is not for the faint-hearted. Whether a mom dedicates her life to raising her children at home, works outside the home, or a combination of both, moms need encouragement. For ways on how to encourage moms, see my post Six Ways to Encourage Other Moms.

Encourage a dad. It’s tough to be a dad in today’s culture, where dads are oftentimes viewed with disrespect. Yet, there are many excellent dads doing their best to provide for their families, lead them spiritually, and help their children be the best they can be. Encourage a dad by praising him for his commitment to his wife and children, for the times he goes to work, even when he doesn’t feel like it, and for all the millions of tasks he performs to make the household run more smoothly. A small token of appreciation, like a bag of his favorite chips or a special treat, can go a long way to encouraging him.

Encourage by mail. In my book 77 Ways Your Family Can Make a Difference: Ideas and Activities for Serving Others, I give ideas on how to Create a Card Ministry. Why not send a card to someone you know is having a difficult time and let them know you are praying for them. This can be done anonymously, or to someone you know.

Sending a card for no reason is especially meaningful in a time when handwritten notes are rare. How about a card detailing a favorite memory with the recipient?

Encourage other women. What about hosting a Girls Night Out? More details are found on my post Sisters in Christ Group.

Encourage on Social Media. Retweet, saving, liking, reposting, and sharing someone’s post is an encouragement. Rather than scrolling past, bless the writer of the post, as well as recipients in your timeline with a “like” or “share”. One of the things I enjoy doing each morning is going through my blog list and “liking” and oftentimes “sharing” blog posts I find especially helpful or entertaining.

Encourage by text. In a world full of busyness, sometimes a supportive text (sometimes for no reason at all!) can be the most encouraging.

Encourage an author. Did you just finish reading a book that you absolutely loved? Don’t be shy about it—spread the word! Post a positive review on Amazon, CBD, Barnes & Noble, or Goodreads. (By the way, this means more to authors than you will ever know—trust me on this one!)

Encourage a neighbor. In our fast-paced society, many of us have never met the people who live in our neighborhoods. Why not go on a walk and stop to greet the neighbor mowing his lawn? Or deliver some goodies during the Christmas season? We were so busy this past Christmas that neighborhood treats didn’t get made, so we decided to make New Year’s treats and deliver those around the neighborhood instead.

Each day, we all have a chance to be either an encourager or a discourager.

Which one will you be?


You may enjoy these other blog posts:

15 scriptural reminders of God’s comfort

6 ways to stick with homeschooling (when you want to give up)

leaving a Godly legacy

how to become an undercover prayer warrior

fantabulous pumpkin muffins recipe

5 ways to be happier

5 ways to start your day off right

5 ways to jumpstart your writing project

9 ways to jumpstart your homeschool year

Homeschooling in the U.S. has exploded in recent months. According to the United States Census Bureau, by fall of 2020, “11.1% of households with school-age children reported homeschooling (Sept. 30-Oct. 12)…That change represents an increase of 5.6 percentage points and a doubling of U.S. households that were homeschooling at the start of the 2020-2021 school year compared to the prior year.”

Such a statistic doesn’t surprise me, as even in my small town, the rate of children being homeschooled has increased dramatically. People have chosen to homeschool for a variety of reasons, including religious reasons, more freedom, and situations regarding the pandemic.

Whatever the reason, homeschooling can be a daunting task. Whether you’re new to it or a veteran, there will be days that are challenging and times when you want to give up.

So how can you successfully jumpstart your homeschool year? Here are 9 ways.

Make sure you have a support system. Find a mentor, join a co-op, and join an online group. If you are married, enlist your spouse’s support. Having an extended family who supports your decision is also helpful.

Take it slow. Give yourself and your children permission to wade through the change in schooling with grace. Too often I hear from parents who attempted to homeschool say that it just didn’t work out for them. When I ask how long they were homeschooling, they typically answer with a length of less than a few months. Give it time.

Focus on what matters. If we get so caught up in finishing each textbook, having our children excel in every subject, or making sure they participate in every possible extra-curricular activity, then we have missed the point.

Be organized (or attempt to be). Notice I didn’t say “be perfectly organized”. In order for your homeschool to function, you will need to have some organization. It helps to have a dedicated cupboard for textbooks, science experiments, art supplies, etc. Because homechooling is so versatile, it can happen in an actual homeschooling room, at the kitchen table, or even outside on a nice summer day.

Expound on your kids’ interests. No child is exactly the same when it comes to interests. One of the best things about homeschooling is that you can expound on what your child enjoys. For instance, my oldest daughter loves to write, so I assigned her a “novel in a year” project, which was one of her favorite assignments. She also loved woodworking and built a dresser with her dad (the woodworking teacher!). History was a favorite of hers, so we focused heavily on that subject as well, and graphic arts and an extra emphasis on editing led her to starting her own editing, website-building, and graphic arts business.

My youngest daughter loves science, so collecting bugs, inspecting things beneath the microscope, science experiments, and anything related to science labwork intrigued her. She also loves to fix things and is very mechanical. I used that opportunity to call upon her whenever something broke and turned it into a learning experience. A friend of ours taught her how to quilt, which instilled in her a love for sewing.

Both girls enjoy baking, so making treats for neighbors, youth group, and homeschooling events was something I included on the homeschool syllabus. Both of my girls are athletes, so we spent many an hour riding bikes, joining 5k runs, playing volleyball, badminton, and soccer, going on walks, and hiking in the nearby mountains for P.E. class.

One of the best things about homeschooling is that we can think outside the box and tailor our children’s learning experiences with their interests.

Be creative with teaching techniques. Be open to changing curriculum if one doesn’t work. We changed curriculum many times. (This is why it’s a good idea to find used curriculum for sale, as it can get pricey). Not every child has the same learning style, so passing one curriculum type on to the next child does not always work. An important thing to remember in homeschool is that one size does not fit all.

In addition, one homeschool type will not fit all children’s needs. We personally chose an al a carte approach that includes a variety of textbooks from many different publishers, some online learning from homeschool providers, some co-op classes, and some unschooling techniques as well. Other parents choose to have their children enrolled in homeschool online learning only or one company’s curriculum, such as Abeka, Sonlight, or the Charlotte Mason Method. Still other parents choose strictly the unschooling route.

The key? Choosing what works for your family.

Glean ideas from current and veteran homeschooling families about what worked for them. The nice thing about homeschooling? If one method doesn’t work, there are other methods you can try.

Don’t compare your homeschool, yourself, or your children to others. Just as each parent and child are unique, so is each homeschool. Embrace that.

Breathe.

And most importantly? Give your homeschooling year to the Lord. When we commit our ways to Him, He guides our steps.


Before you go, check out these other posts:

Looking to homeschool? Here are 7 things to consider

6 ways to stick with homeschooling (when you want to give up)

you might be a homeschool mom if (15 clues)

outside-the-box homeschool ideas

the video camera is always on, part 3

58 fun activities for kids of all ages

tools to help your child succeed in life

Our culture bases success on many things. It may be an advanced education, a sprawling home, a good job, a multitude of friends, nice vehicles, frequent vacations, and the list goes on.

While none of these things are wrong, they’re not what truly makes a person successful.

What if we used a different ruler with which to measure? What if we looked within the heart and focused instead on character, integrity, and honor rather than the appearances of seemingly surface items? What if we viewed success through a different lens than what the world teaches us?

What if we, as parents, pulled the following tools from our parenting toolboxes to help our child succeed in life?

* Help them to develop a strong faith.

*Model for them the importance of a vibrant prayer life

*Instill in them to have gratitude, rather than a heart of discontent.

*Teach them the importance of honesty.

*Teach them to have integrity and to do the right thing, even if no one is watching.

* Teach them to stand up for what is right, even if they stand alone.

*Instill in them the importance of doing everything as if doing it for the Lord.

*Teach them to forgive easily and to not hold grudges.

*Instruct them on how to have humility and the maturity to admit when they are wrong.

*Gently remind them often that the world does not revolve around them, but rather, to count others as more important than themselves.

*Be an example of what it is like to show grace to others, especially when it’s undeserved.

*Train them to have a strong work ethic.

*Model for them the importance of keeping your word.

*Teach them the value of inner beauty.

*Model the importance of overlooking an offense.

*Teach them to love their country and to pray for her on a regular basis

We, as parents, have an important role in modeling for and training our children in the things that truly matter. Someday when we are no longer on this earth, we won’t have taken our college degrees, fancy houses, and expensive vehicles with us. But we will have made an impact on the lives of others when our main focus was living for Jesus.

May we, as parents, make it our goal to instruct our children wisely in the things that matter to Him.


Before you go, check out these other posts!

8 things I want my daughters to know

the video camera is always on part 1

how to survive in an out-of-control world

for such a time as this: finding stability in an unstable world

15 verses for strength in challenging times

Movie Monday: Little Women

5 things moms need

15 scriptural reminders of God’s comfort

the best county fair entry ever

Want a zany idea for your next county fair entry? Read on…

This world has become increasingly unrecognizable with its constant drama, stressors, and problems. As such, I started a new series a few weeks ago with some humor posts to take us away, even for a brief moment, from the seriousness of recent days.

A few weeks ago, I shared a silly blog post from the past about my experience driving “the big truck” while my SUV was in the shop. I followed it up with a goofy post about how a mom can be a successful tooth fairy.

This week, I’m digging once again into the momlife archives. Several years ago when my girls were younger, life seemed easier, more laid-back, and the world in which we lived was a kinder one.

Next week, join me for our regularly-scheduled blog posts, where I’ll be discussing how we can overcome joy zappers. Future momlife posts will be sprinkled in amongst my regular faith-based and writing posts.

And now, without further ado, I present to you the best county fair entry ever.


Our family loves to enter things in the county fair. Each year, my daughters gather homemade goodies, artwork, sewing projects, and drawings and see what ribbons they can earn for their time, effort, and creativity.

I decided to do something a bit unusual this year…

Unbeknownst to him, last year as a surprise, I entered my husband’s amazing steel cutout of an elk. I had been so impressed with what he had created out of a piece of steel, that I just knew the judges would be impressed too. Imagine his shock when we were walking through the exhibit hall and he saw his project on the table with a blue ribbon –the elk was an incredible work of art. Large and polished to a sheen, it’s metal glowed against the woodworking projects that surrounded it. Lon took one look at it and exclaimed, “That looks like that elk cutout I made. Hey, wait, that is the elk cutout I made!”

Not to be outdone by entering the elk project, this year I decided to take a little different route. Yes, this year’s county fair entry would definitely be one-of-a-kind.

One day, Lon decided to take a picture of his foot wearing his size 13, beatup tennis shoe, as though it was some shoe model for decrepit, needing-to-be-retired footwear. Wondering what I would enter in the fair that year, I found my answer when I discovered this picture on our digital camera.

Wasting no time, I rushed to the store and had the photo enlarged to a 5x7and printed it off. Then, finding a reasonably-priced plastic frame, I displayed this lovely piece of “art”. Buffing the glass of the frame to a sheen, the shoe picture was ready to enter in our county fair.

Wouldn’t Lon be so surprised when he saw his picture, one likely taken out of boredom, proudly displayed on the exhibit center wall amongst numerous other quality pieces of photography?

In today’s world, just look around and you’ll see so many varieties of “art”. I just knew this would be a hit at the fair with the judges and the attendees of the fair alike. So, with the framed shoe picture awaiting its artistic debut, my daughters and I entered the door of the exhibit hall with our box full of entries.

I choked back a snicker. It was very difficult not to laugh while unloading the entries. After all, I had to play this cool so my quest would be successful.

I gingerly unloaded the mound of fair entries. Framed photos of mountain scenes and animals, pictures the girls had drawn, and homemade baked goods soon graced the table.

I saved the best for last and did my best to keep a stoic expression. No easy task for someone who is noticing the very real effect of having permanent laugh lines. But I digress…

The entry coordinator reached for another entry card, likely assuming my next entry would be more of the same of the other dozen or so entries.

But when I placed the framed photo on the table, time seemed to stand still. I pasted on my best “isn’t this an amazing entry?” face.

I watched the entry coordinator’s face as she filled out the entry card for the shoe picture. I began to snort, chalking it up to something in my throat. I struggled to maintain my composure and keep my laughter under control. After all, who really enters a photo of a beat up tennis shoe in the local fair?

And moreover, who acts like they are super proud of such an entry?

The woman looked up at me, then back down at the shoe picture, then back up at me, and finally one last time at the shoe picture. She picked up the frame and with a look of concern mixed with disgust, added it to the pile of entered fair projects.

I somehow hoped she’d be a little more appreciative of this fine piece of art.

The following day when our family went to see what ribbons we had been awarded, the girls, sworn to secrecy, and me still attempting to be nonchalant about the whole ordeal, led Lon around the exhibit hall. The girls pointed out their pictures, and when we finally came to one in particular, Lon stopped and stared. “Pen, is that? No, it can’t be…Pen!”

I thought I would die of laughter. Then Lon began to laugh and together we gazed at the unlikely winner of a high-placing ribbon.

The moral of the story? In a world so full of busyness, it’s good to take some time out to truly laugh at the sillier side of life. God gave us the ability to laugh and the ability to take joy in even the most mundane things – even a framed picture of a tennis shoe.



Before you go, check out these other posts…

the importance of avoiding false teaching

training for the mom olympics

you might be a writer if…(10 ways to know)

leaving a godly legacy

the importance of teaching our kids to think for themselves

28 verses for uncertain times

Movie Monday: Duma

Momlife Part 2 “Adventures of the Tooth Fairy”

We live in a different world these days. Stressors that were never stressors a year ago are now commonplace.

Last week, I shared a silly blog post from the past about my experience driving “the big truck” while my SUV was in the shop. This week, I’m discussing the very real problems of being a tooth fairy.

Because we all need a break from the craziness that has enveloped us at every turn, I decided to reach back into the past and dig into the archives of momlife stories of yesterday. Several years ago when my girls were younger, life seemed easier, more laidback, and the world in which we live was a kinder one.

So, over the next several weeks, I’ll share with you some of those momlife memories – ones I wouldn’t trade for the world and ones, some of which, I’m sure you can identify with. Which begs to ask the question…how can a mom be a successful tooth fairy?


Doodle lost a tooth the other day and was thrilled that it didn’t roll down the heater vent like the last tooth, bringing a whole new meaning to “losing a tooth”. All of this losing teeth stuff reminded me of a few adventures experienced by a certain Tooth Fairy…

Once upon a time there lived a mom who doubled as a tooth fairy. She didn’t have wings and she couldn’t fly, and she was larger than the imagined “teeny-tiny Tinkerbell-like fairy”. She didn’t carry a wand and she didn’t have a stash of rolled coins at her tooth fairy cottage.

But she was a devoted, conscientious, and most-of-the-time reliable sort.

Take, for instance, last week when Doodle lost a tooth and the Tooth Fairy actually slept through the night and forgot to pay a visit. Doodle was disappointed when her tooth was still in the tooth jar and there was no money.

I’m sad to admit, this wasn’t the first time this happened. It first happened to Sunshine and she was sure to tell everyone at school the next day (note: before I homeschooled, my girls attended a small private Christian school during their elementary years) the sad tale of woe of how the Tooth Fairy had forgotten her. She seemed not to be convinced when I told her my lame excuse that the Tooth Fairy was so busy that she ran out of time since so many other children had lost teeth on the same night.

Or that the tooth fairy had taken the night off.

Or that the tooth fairy had lost her own tooth and was preoccupied.

None of these excuses worked. The following evening, she wrote the Tooth Fairy a letter about the incident, complete with an artist’s rendition of what the Tooth Fairy looked like.

Or another adventure…one night, I stumbled through the dark at 2:00 a.m. in a frenzy, thinking there were only four hours left until dawn’s daylight and I (once again) nearly forgot again to trade money for a tooth. I reached groggily into my wallet in hopes that there was actually some money in there. I grabbed out a handful of coins, deposited them into a plastic baggie and made the trade. (Hint to first time Tooth Fairies, if you place the coins in a baggie, it makes less noise and therefore doesn’t arouse suspicion in your child).

In the morning, I found out that if my children keep losing teeth, I’m going to have to take up a fund. Sunshine burst out of her room and exuberantly said, “Mom! Guess what?! The Tooth Fairy brought me $4!”

I gasped. The going rate at our house is $1, yet Sunshine had ended up with $4 and it wasn’t even a “special” tooth. In the dark, I hadn’t been paying attention that the coins I’d withdrawn from my wallet were not pennies, but quarters and dimes.

Last week, between my two kids, they lost three teeth in one week. I was running out of change and was desperate, so I did the only logical thing a Tooth Fairy can do. I zipped out to the garage at midnight and found a pile of pennies on Lon’s workbench. I scooped them up into a plastic baggie and made the trade.

The next morning, Doodle had a strange look on her face. “Mom?” She asked, “Does the Tooth Fairy work with wood?”

“What?” I asked. This for sure topped the Tooth Fairy questions.

“Does the Tooth Fairy work with wood? See, I found this wood chip in the baggie with the money.”

Apparently, a wood chip had slipped in from Lon’s workbench. An added bonus, although not too thrilling for kids.

So what about all those questions about this amazing little fairy? “Mom, what does the Tooth Fairy do with all those teeth?”

“How does she lift the tooth when she’s so small?”

“Why does she want teeth? Isn’t that kind of weird?”

“Where does she get the money?”

“How does she decide how much to give?”

“Why are some teeth worth more than others?”

“What does she look like?”

“Is she married?”

“Is there only one or is there a family of Tooth Fairies?”

And finally, “When I’m a ‘big woman’ (the term my girls use for female adults): can I meet the Tooth Fairy?” Depending on the day and whether or not I’m feeling creative, I can usually answer those questions with some degree of creative success.

Speaking of teeth, Sunshine wins the award for the most interesting ways of losing teeth. She’s pulled out a few herself, let me pull out one, and let Lon pull out one. Those are all typical ways.

Now for the atypical – she lost one tooth when she was wrestling Lon and bounced into his rock hard abs. Her tooth fell out immediately. She yanked three teeth at school of her own, plus yanked out a couple of other classmates’ teeth (with their patient and enduring permission, of course). I see dentistry in her future and a life of ease and luxury for Lon and I in our older years.

She’s lost a few biting into food, and finally, she pulled one at the dentist’s office while awaiting a teeth-cleaning appointment.

Doodle’s only lost four teeth, so I’m sure there will be some adventures of losing teeth in her future too.

Phew! Who knew that being a Tooth Fairy could be so interesting?

But isn’t it great to know that whether we are having a Tooth Fairy Adventure, settling sibling squabbles, or changing our 178th poopy diaper, God is there to help us every step of the way? He has promised He will never leave us nor forsake us, no matter what.

He gave us the blessing of our children and will equip us to raise them. What an awesome God we serve!

Before you go, check out these other posts:

58 fun activities for kids of all ages

the video camera is always on, part 2

8 things I want my daughters to know

28 verses for uncertain times

you might be a writer if…10 ways to know

the importance of teaching our kids to think for themselves

5 ways to be happier

Momlife, part 1 “The Big Truck”

Life is super serious these days. Worries we never thought we’d ever have overwhelm us as we struggle in the midst of an ever-shifting culture. A culture that’s changing…and not for the better.

We all need a break from the craziness that has enveloped us at every turn. So I decided to reach back into the past and dig into the archives of momlife stories of yesterday. Several years ago when my girls were younger, life seemed easier, more laidback, and the world in which we live was a kinder one.

In those days, things that are commonplace as of the past year were completely unheard of a little over a decade ago. We had a little more freedom, a little less chaos, and a whole lot more compassion for others. People were more honest and toilet paper, lumber, and common sense were plentiful.

So, over the next several weeks, I’ll share with you some of those momlife memories – ones I wouldn’t trade for the world and ones, some of which, I’m sure you can identify with. We’ll start off our new series with a question…

What happens when an innocent mom of two with a serious depth perception problem has to drive the big truck while her SUV is being repaired?

Enjoy…and I hope it not only brings a smile to your face, but gives you a moment of escape in these crazy times.


Once upon a time in a land not so far away…

Our SUV wouldn’t start last week. Praise the Lord it decided to conk in the garage and not on the road somewhere or at the grocery store full of kids and groceries.

So, needless to say, I spent last week driving our big pickup truck.

My husband’s diesel, his pride and joy, became my mode of transportation. Not only is it high off the ground, but it’s also LONG. This isn’t a problem for most, but for me – a person with a severe depth perception problem – this is a concern! Let me give you some background information…

I have hit three vehicles. Yes, three. Now, this might not sound too concerning until I admit that these were PARKED vehicles. Yep, they weren’t moving. I was, but they weren’t.

The first victim was when my husband, Lon, and I were dating. I had a sweet souped up old-fashioned antique 1971 Chevy Malibu that was a classic long before I drove it. He was driving his dad’s little orange Nissan pickup, nicknamed “The Puke”. He parked behind my car when he came over for a visit one evening. I didn’t realize his dad’s truck was behind me.

You can probably see where this going…

I backed up and heard a slight crunch. I didn’t see any damage, so I didn’t think anything about it until later when Lon asked if I knew anything about the green bit of paint on the front of the The Puke.

Oops.

Now, I’m a firm believer in honesty in relationships – especially those with whom you might someday marry.

So I came clean.

All these years later, I’m thankful for the forgiveness they showed me when Lon’s dad’s orange Nissan suddenly became multi-colored.

Secondly, I hit a vehicle at the bank while trying to parallel park in my black Ford T-bird about four years later. I should have known better. I was the one in Drivers Ed in high school who hit the orange cones while practicing to parallel park.

Good grief. Of course, it had to happen during rush hour. Hopefully no one else saw that old station wagon drive itself forward a few inches.

Good news, though. I don’t parallel park anymore. It’s just too difficult when objects are closer than they appear.

And then, the saddest of all. I was backing our Ford T-Bird out of our driveway and didn’t realize my green Malibu was still parked at the curb in front of our house the same year. I backed the T-Bird out and smucked the Malibu. Ouch. Two more dents. Fortunately they were VERY small dents that could be popped out.

So with this background information, you can see my apprehension at driving the big truck. This is why I normally drive a mid-size SUV with a hefty grill guard. This is also why I wear glasses when I drive. And why my girls wear protective gear.

And why it’s important for my passengers to wear seatbelts.

And why, when I’m driving the big truck, vehicles on the road in our small town part ways to allow me to pass peacefully down the middle of the road.

So on my first day of driving the big truck, my children loaded, I rode the elevator up to the driver’s side door and climbed in. As I backed the truck out of the driveway, I didn’t realize a minor detail in the way.

Okay, so it wasn’t that minor. It was a large green garbage can ready and prepared for the trash truck to empty it since it was garbage day.

“What was that noise?” I asked. (It’s hard to hear anything over a diesel).

A gasp arose from the back seat.

“Uh, Mommy, you just ran over the garbage can,” Sunshine, my oldest, told me.

“What?!” I exclaimed.

Surely not. I had checked my mirrors – had done everything right that that old Driver’s Ed instructor had taught me over a decade ago.

But sure enough, I backed up further and saw the proof. The tire tracks on the green garbage can were unmistakable. The worst part of all? It was our neighbor’s garbage can!

Thankfully, our neighbor is a forgiving soul.

And thankfully garbage cans can be replaced.

And doubly thankful for God’s mercy in all things, big and small.

So, there you have it, my experience driving the big truck. A memory forever embedded in my mind and the reason why my husband won’t buy me that big new Chevy truck I’ve been eyeballing at the dealership. The one that I can barely see over the dashboard with an attached step ladder.

But he has offered to buy me a smart car. To which I say emphatically – no thanks!!!!!

Oh, and a teeny disclaimer: the pictured truck at the beginning of this post isn’t our actual truck. Ours has a grill guard. 🙂


Before you go, check out these other posts:

training for the mom olympics

you might be a homeschool mom if…(15 clues)

the great toilet paper caper

kids write the funniest things

what’s in a name?

15 verses for strength in challenging times

10 Bible verses to start off your day

10 ways to help your kids choose good role models

Movie Monday: Fearless Faith

training for the mom Olympics

I dashed through high winds and zigzagged between the parked station wagons, Pintos, and VW Bugs, in the pursuit of a runaway cart in the grocery store parking lot.

The cart sped through the crowded parking lot and toward an intersection, attempting to mar the glossy finishes of luxury SUVs and sports cars.

And then I knew what I must do. The situation at hand had left me little choice.

I knelt down and tightened the laces on my Brooks running shoes, thankful I wasn’t wearing flip flops today.

Then, with the speed of a cheetah and the grace of a gazelle, I took off across the parking lot after the shopping cart.

My heart pounded. Would I be fast enough?

Finally, I reached for the shopping cart handle just seconds before what would have been a disastrous situation. I wiped the sweat from my brow. Another rogue cart apprehended in the name of justice!

I returned to our SUV, climbed in, and glanced into the back seat. My kids appeared in shock with mouths wide open. “Mom!” Doodle gasped. “You were amazing. You should be in the Olympics – the Mom Olympics!”

So, as of that day a few years back, I began training for the Mom Olympics. An arduous task for sure. And yes, I need a bit of help on my hurdles. Case in point: when my girls were babies, I had a wooden gate up to keep them out of my home office. One day, in my haste to get out of the room quickly, my foot caught on the top of the gate, and I landed with a thud, the air knocked completely out of me. Never have I been so thankful for these strong bones God blessed me with.

But I was not deterred. In time and with much practice, my hurdling became second nature and I was soon able to leap across toys left strewn on the floor in a single bound (Super Mom anyone?)

I closed my eyes and imagined my future self…

So when the application for the Mom Olympics arrived in the mail, I quickly listed my qualifications, beginning with past accomplishments:

  • Carrying my children everywhere when they were younger (which built strong biceps and triceps)
  • Bending and stooping to pick up the toys and food my children continually threw on the floor from their high chairs when they were babies (which built strong quad muscles)
  • Amazing overall body fitness from pushing my two children in the baby jogger up grueling hills
  • Dexterity and balance in hopping on one foot (in agony) whenever I stepped on a Lego or fossilized Cheerio left on the floor
  • The runaway cart episode, showing my aptitude for speed and finesse and the ability to react in stressful situations.

In the “current accomplishments” category, I proudly listed the highlights of the second phase of my training:

  • Totally built biceps and shoulder muscles from constantly lifting and hauling the gym bag that my kids and I share for the local gym
  • Running the kids everywhere for their activities during their tween and early teen years (built endurance as a long-distance runner)
  • Experience in juggling (juggling multiple tasks as a wife and mom)
  • A friendly competition with my oldest daughter (who is a force to be reckoned with) on the rowing machine
  • A friendly competition with my youngest daughter while running (I came in second place)

With all that practice, it didn’t take much creativity to imagine myself in an Olympic marathon. I would be competing against the fiercest of competitors, knowing that it was just a matter of time before the gold medal graced my neck.

Someday, although I’m not rushing this…I will be a grandma training for the Grandma Olympics. Until then, I am thrilled to have been approved by the Mom Olympics CEO to participate in this year’s worldwide event.


To my fellow moms who have/had a collection of shirts adorned with dried spit-up stains; who’ve won awards for the least amount of sleep while promising their infants a trip to Disneyland if they would just sleep for more than a half hour at a time; who daily risk tender toes stepping on Legos and Cheerios.

To my fellow moms who’ve spent hours upon hours on their knees praying for their kids (and still do!); to those who’ve survived the tumultuous teenage years; and to those who’ve risked their lives teaching their children how to drive.

To stay-at-home-moms, homeschool moms, work-at-home-moms, work-outside-the-home moms, foster care moms…to all moms…Happy Mother’s Day!

Being a mom is truly the best job in the world, and I’m beyond grateful God blessed me with this honor. And I’m grateful for a faithful mom who exemplified the importance of loving her family well, being kind, having a strong work ethic, and loving the Lord with all her heart. Thank you, Mom!

Happy Mother’s Day!


Before you go, check out these other posts:

the great toilet paper caper

5 things moms need

leaving a godly legacy

7 ways to encourage your children

13 verses to comfort the weary soul

21 awesome family movies you may never have heard of

6 ways to stick with homeschooling (when you want to give up)

the importance of recognizing your influence