"…And she smiles at the future." ~Proverbs 31:25

Archive for the ‘The rest’ Category

Worst. Picnic. Ever.

I wake up this morning thinking, “What a gorgeous day! I should take the girls on a picnic.” So I pack up my two youngest kiddos and some grub, and we end up at this beautiful park.

minding our own biz

We’re minding our own business, just relaxing on a bench and watching graceful butterflies flit about as we enjoy our lunch in the fresh air.

And then it happens.

My twelve year old straightens suddenly and asks, “Is that…a RAT?”

And sadly, friends, it is. Yes, a RAT crouches just across the path from us, staring at us as we picnic in what now appears to be his territory.

He's watching us...

And if you know much about me, you know that this quickly becomes the shortest picnic ever.

I start yelling at the girls to “Hurry up and finish eating!” so we can get out of this ridiculously RAT-infested park. (Yes, I know we just see one at the moment…but there must be more, right? In fact, I’m seeing them everywhere I look now, and feeling them crawl up my legs, and they might even be spitting on me. Do rats spit? I’m pretty sure this one does.)

Although we can see our uninvited guest still lurking in the shadowy grass, at this point I’m thinking that maybe there’s still hope—that perhaps we can hurry up and finish and get out of here—when all of the sudden, the rat decides to leave his foxhole—and yes, that’s exactly what it is, as I’m sure he’s just waiting to attack us—and he comes right onto the path, not three feet away from my feet…or, I should say where my feet WERE, because you know I am up on that bench in no time flat.

Photo by Addison (I would NEVER have been able to hold the camera steady!)

Rat photos by Addison (I would NEVER have been able to hold the camera steady!)

Now I hear a lady from way across the park yelling, “What was THAT?” and looking in our direction. She proceeds to call out that she thinks she hears a bird that is sick or hurt. No, lady; settle down. That’s just me choking on my own screams. In the meantime, the rat is still moving toward us, and sadly enough, my five year old is cooing, “It’s OK, Mommy; it’s going to be OK.” (Hang on a minute…shouldn’t I be comforting her?)

But there is no comfort to be had. I feel sick now. My older daughter is delighted with this, because now she gets to eat my lunch. I just can’t down another bite.

He's coming! RUN!!!

He’s coming! RUN!!!

So maybe my shouts and squeals do disrupt the beautiful day at the park for every visitor within half a mile (or, as I prefer to think of it, they warn other park guests), but they also send the rat back into his hiding spot (temporarily, I’m sure). I take this opportunity to grab our stuff, jump down from the bench, and high-tail it out of there. I’m yelling to the girls to come quickly, as I’m pretty sure he’s chasing after us now. They shake their heads (as though this is funny?) but I can still feel those beady eyes boring holes through my legs and feet, which are now touching the same ground the rat is standing on. This makes me uncomfortable, to say the least.

As we rush to exit the park, I refuse to make eye contact when I pass the lady who worries about people only when she thinks they are hurt birds, but apparently doesn’t give a hoot about defenseless women and children, even after they scream, “A RAT! There’s a RAT over here!”

During our hasty retreat, my older daughter remarks, “Of all the living creatures on earth, I think the one most dangerous when frightened is YOU, Mom.” I just lock the car door, shiver, and try not to leave marks in the parking lot as we escape.

(Have I mentioned how I feel about RATS?)

The next time I wake up to a beautiful day, you can bet I’ll think twice about taking the kids out for a picnic.

Thanks for stopping by,


FREE PRINTABLE: New Year’s interview–updated for 2014

Due to the popularity of the New Year’s interview I created last year, I’ve updated it for 2014 so you can, once again, capture a slice of life from your child right now–whether that child is a new baby or is about to graduate!

You can find the updated printable here.

2014 New Year's Interview

2014 New Year’s Interview

Thanks for stopping by!

My imperfect life

It’s hard to imagine anyone thinking I have “the perfect life.” (I giggled just typing that phrase!) But just in case I’ve given anyone that impression, I want to set the record straight. Right here. Right now.

This is a blog about why I smile. I share with you the happy parts, hoping they’ll make you happy, too.

But trust me: Things aren’t always all “sunshine and rainbows” around here!

I have bad hair days.

I  oversleep.

I  lose my temper.

I  let the laundry pile up.

Less than HALF of what is waiting in my laundry room at this very moment…..

I  miss deadlines.

I  lose things.

I  let the house get way too messy.

I eat junk.

I  run late.

I  spend foolishly.

I  get my feelings hurt.

I  make bad decisions.

I  waste time.

I have, on more than one occasion, found things growing in our fridge that I could not identify. I have been afraid to look under my child’s bed. I have lost things that weren’t even mine.

I get discouraged. I get overwhelmed. I get frustrated.

Many days I am surrounded by dirty dishes and sticky floors and overdue library books and at least one cranky kid.

But I am fully convinced that, even on those days, there is always something to smile about. ALWAYS. And that’s why I continue to post to this blog.

I love these words from Melissa Wiley, which perfectly explain the way I think and write:

“Every day is complicated, messy, and full of friction. And every day has glorious or cozy moments worth celebrating. I seldom bother to chronicle the friction and the mess because writing time is fleeting and precious—and childhood even more so. I’d rather capture the small joys that I might forget—or take for granted—if I don’t take time to set them down in words. I don’t want anyone to be under the impression that things are always perfect around here! Heaven knows we are anything but. Perfect, frictionless, orderly? Nope. Happy? Most of the time!”

My other reason for sharing “the good parts” with you? In Mark 5:19, Jesus said to a man He’d just healed, “…Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you.”

My God has shown me great mercy, which I do not deserve, and He has done many great things for me. I want to share some of them here. He’s done much for you, too, and I want to remind you of that.

I want to daily look around me for blessings to acknowledge, for reasons to give thanks, and for excuses to smile. And I want to motivate you to do the same.

I am just like you, living with struggles, with sadness, and with sin. But together we can be on the lookout for the joy in everyday life…..the small victories…..the smiles and successes we might not notice if we aren’t actively looking.

So let’s keep looking!

“I told them how the hand of my God had been favorable to me…”   (Neh. 2:18)

Thanks for stopping by!

Because he wears the hat

The 2012 election is over. And now, we move on to the difficult task of showing respect for a man’s office, regardless of our respect (or lack thereof) of the man who occupies it…and teaching our children to do the same.

Although I disagree unequivocally with most of our newly-reelected president’s ideology, I must continue to show respect for his position.


As the old, well-loved song says, “For the Bible tells me so.”

“…for it is written, ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’” (Acts 23:5)

In the above verse, Paul was referencing Exodus 22:28, “You shall not curse God, nor curse a ruler of your people.”

It won’t be easy. I know there will be many issues I will feel very strongly about. I may rant and rave about those issues, and I may point out where the president’s actions defy biblical authority. But what I will not do is call him an idiot or tell everyone how stupid he is. His actions will speak for themselves, I fear, but I will not slander him, and I won’t allow my children to do so, either.

“Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.” (Titus 3:1-2)

Verses like the following are hard to swallow at a time like this. But, if I stand by the Bible, I stand by the Bible, tough parts and all.

“Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.” (I Peter 2:17)

Dishonoring our leaders by calling them hateful names is a poor reflection on us. It violates God’s will and hurts our example among non-believers. Yes, I am angry. I want to lash out. But there are bigger concerns at stake, like my soul and the souls of those I influence, so I must exercise self-control when I speak of the president of our country.

May God bless us as we do our best to fulfill ALL His commands.

Psalm 22:28

Thanks for stopping by!

The family that votes together


Yes, I am extremely thankful for the privilege of voting. But, even more, I love going to vote together as a family! In our family, we take advantage of this opportunity in each election, whether presidential or midterm.


Why, you might ask, would we go to the trouble of hauling all four kids to the polling place with us—even the ones young enough to be carried in, in our arms? Why mess with car seats and deal with six people in line, when we could just pop in solo and get out so much faster?



Reason #1: We want our kids to know how important our elections are—whether local, state, or federal—and how important our roles as individuals are in each of them. Sure, we can (and should and do) talk about it with our kids, but how much more powerful is it to take them along and let them SEE the process in action?


Reason #2: We want our kids to be very comfortable in polling places and with the voting process. One day (very soon, for our oldest) our young citizens are going to be casting their own ballots, and we want it to be a very familiar procedure. So we squeeze them into the voting booths with us and discuss what we’re doing as we’re doing it, and even our three year old can tell you how we turn the dial to find our candidates, which button we push to vote for them, and that when we see the American flag we know our votes have been cast. Hopefully by the time they can go out to vote on their own, there won’t be any discomfort or fear of the unknown, and they’ll feel right at home doing what they’ve seen us do so many times before.


Reason #3: Going to the polls together gives us yet another chance to talk about important topics, like the freedoms we enjoy in America, the need to be well informed in our choices, and how to evaluate the issues we face in each election.  It’s one more way we can pass our patriotism on to the next generation.


I’ll admit it: I get a little bit emotional each time we go to cast our votes, and my family gets to enjoy teasing me about that. But they will also always know that I love this great country of ours, that I am proud to be a citizen of the United States of America, and that I am so, so thankful to be allowed a small part in determining our nation’s future.


Thanks for stopping by!


Time to speak up

Ronald Reagan once said, “I’ve noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born.”

I often wonder how people can defend abortion without stopping to think: What if that had been my child? my mom? my husband? my best friend? me? Would it really have been OK to eliminate that person from society because they were inconvenient/imperfect/fill-in-the-blank-with-whatever-else?

More than 50,000,000 American babies in less than 40 years…slaughtered.

Who might they have been?

What might they have done?

Why do we still not get it? With ease we criticize the Nazis, then turn around and scream out, “God bless the USA!” Are we blind to what’s really happening here?

We tend to focus a lot on the latter part of Proverbs 31–“The Worthy Woman.” But there are some other really important verses in that chapter, too:

Open your mouth for the mute,
For the rights of all the unfortunate.

Open your mouth, judge righteously,
And defend the rights of the afflicted and needy.

(Proverbs 31:8-9)

The world says, “Speak up for women’s rights!” God says to speak up for the rights of those who cannot speak for themselves.

The world says, “Don’t judge!” God says to judge righteously.

The world says, “To each his own!” God says we need to defend each other.

Are you willing to defend those who cannot speak for themselves? To set aside worry and fear and attempt to do things God’s way? Let me hear your thoughts!

Thanks for stopping by,

I rode the roller coaster

It was an emotional day. I rode the roller coaster of deep sadness and incredible happiness…all in one day.

It breaks my heart that there is so much misunderstanding and misinformation out there. Christians do not hate gay people. We are not afraid of them. We are simply concerned for their souls. We believe deeply in God’s plan for the family as outlined in the Bible, and want to be able to uphold those teachings and to encourage others who do so, too, even at personal cost (such as damage to their businesses). We certainly don’t believe that we are perfect. We are simply trying each day to do our best to live in a way that pleases God…not by our own standards, but by His.

It breaks my heart that there are such crazy double standards in place. I must be tolerant of your views, but you don’t want me to be able to give voice to mine? What?!?  Our constitution gives us the right to free speech. More importantly, God’s Word tells us to “speak the truth in love.”  It’s part of growing up!

“As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ” (Ephesians 4:14, 15)

There was so much more that saddened me…but this is a blog about why I smile, and there were plenty of reasons for that, too.

I smiled each time I read another account of someone’s visit to Chick-fil-A. The same phrases popped up in every e-mail and facebook status I saw:

“cars wrapped around the building”

“hour-long wait”

“could hardly get in the parking lot”

I smiled because they were all followed by statements like, “But I didn’t mind at all!” and, “It was so worth it!”

I smiled about the fact that even in the crowded restaurants, people were patient and kind. And, the employees were still friendly and gracious, just like always. (My son said, “In the midst of all that, they didn’t lower the quality of their service. That’s impressive!”)

I smiled because I had to squelch my desire to hug everyone waiting in line at Chick-fil-A and tell them how proud I was of them for standing up for what they believe is right, and for doing their small part to encourage that in others. (Can you imagine if I’d given in to that desire?)

I smiled because, as I sat among tables full of friends in our church fellowship area at supper, surrounded by red and white bags and cups, I heard no gay bashing, no people bashing at all, no death wishes…nothing at all like the comments I saw repeatedly by some of those who opposed customer appreciation day and the moral stance behind it. I simply heard sweet fellowship and expressions of joy over the opportunity to stand up together and make our voices heard.

I smiled each time I heard someone say, at supper, “Yeah, I ate there for breakfast, too.” Or, “I went yesterday and today for lunch.”

I smiled as I read of those who don’t have Chick-fil-A restaurants in their area, who supported the company anyway by buying gift cards to send to friends and relatives in other parts of the country.

I smiled when I saw two other fast food companies–Chick-fil-A’s competitors, in other words–who showed public support for a company whose leader was willing to take a stand.

I smiled as I read news reports of stores running completely out of food supplies that had been stocked for the whole week.

I smiled because while reading this article, I noticed this interesting comment: “With regards to Cathy’s statement on same-sex marriage, Bloom said it appeared to have been a ‘bad business decision…’”

Hmmm…I’m pretty sure the buycott outweighed the boycott!

I smiled when I read my friend’s account of standing in line at a Chick-fil-A restaurant where the waiting crowd burst out singing “God Bless America.” (I got chills again just typing that!)

I smiled because I’ve been reminded that my children can still grow up in a world where there will always be people who stand up for truth, no matter how many tell us to be silent, because we still believe in the words of Acts 5:29: We must obey God, rather than men.

What made you smile this week?

Thanks for stopping by.

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