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

Posts tagged ‘messes’


If you are like me—and I suspect you are—you can look around your home at any given time and see the “evidence” of the people who share that home with you.

Sometimes the clues are kind of cute.

Oh, did you need to use the stairs? Sorry, those are taken.

You didn’t want your laptop, did you? I’m kind of using it.

Pie? What pie? What makes you think I touched the pie?

Other times, those “clues” are not really that cute at all. Like the other day when our four year old went to the bathroom (and I mean REALLY went to the bathroom) and then decided to do us a big favor and clean the toilet…only she forgot to flush it first. (That was not on the list of why Amy smiles. And don’t worry, I didn’t take a picture.) She was just trying to be helpful, but…  AGGGHHHH!!!!!

Finding sticky spots on the floor, dirty dishes in the sink, shoes all over the living room, and crumbs on the couch are all evidence of the people who live in this house. And while I don’t exactly consider those things fun to find, I do try to remind myself often that these are simply signs that I am surrounded daily by the people I love the most.

I will always remember sitting in a Bible class one Wednesday night and listening to an older lady who had lost her husband. Her advice to those who were married was this: “Be thankful every time you have to bend down and pick up your husband’s dirty socks from the floor. He may not have thrown them in the hamper the way you’d have liked, but be glad he’s still around to get them dirty.” I think I was in junior high that year, so of course it didn’t apply to me then. But to this day I still think about her wise words when I catch myself gritting my teeth as I clean up a mess I didn’t make. Because she’s right: I would rather have them AND their messes than to not have either!

Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean,
    but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.

(Proverbs 14:4)

I hope you are smiling as you look around at the “evidence” of your loved ones …even if it’s on your floor. Aren’t they worth it?

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!

Off on the right foot

I suppose it doesn’t really matter what the calendar says. After all, homeschooling year round means the first day of school could fall just about anywhere. And yet, I am a diehard, day-after-Labor-Day starter. It’s what we did as kids, and it just feels right to me!

Since we’ve now made it to the end of our first month of the school year, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite “schooly moments” so far.

We started off the first day with our annual, cake-for-breakfast tradition.  This year I made Butterfinger Cake, and let’s just say no one complained!

Another important tradition: those first-day-of-school photos. (My kids do NOT consider this a highlight of the school year, but I certainly do!)

(I printed the cute little signs from here.)

There are so many things I love about teaching my kiddos at home. I love that I see learning going on no matter which room I enter, whether it’s the kitchen…

…or the living room…

…or the bedrooms…

…or the school room…

(I adapted Remi’s printable from here.)

…or the game room…

…or the dining room.

Yes, that means there are school-related messes everywhere, but they are worth it! This year, even our bathroom showed signs that school had started!

(That was for me, by the way…not the kids. Thanks, Troy!)

I love all the hands-on activities that go on in our home, like science experiments…

Observing fat and protein molecules moving in milk

Addy is rubbing vegetable oil on a bird feather to see how down works.

Now, getting it wet…

…and observing the difference. See how the water beads up on the one she oiled, on the left?

….and history projects.

Addy made sesame circles for Greek food night while studying ancient Greece…

…and Greek salad, too, of course! Mmmmmm….

I love finding activities around the house that I didn’t even assign, like when Addy decided to experiment with growing her own green onions…

…or when she decided, on her own, to illustrate her Latin vocabulary words the first week of school, and put them in a card for us:

I’ll admit that some days are harder than others…like when the mom who already has issues with touching raw meat has to help a child break open and compare the densities of chicken and beef bones. (Eeeewww!)

The things we do for our kids, huh?

We also took a couple of field trips during our first month of school…but I’ll save those for another post.

And, you can see lots more of our first weeks of school at my new preschool blog, coming soon!

Wherever you or yours go to school, I hope you’re all having a great year so far and learning what’s most important. I’d love to hear about it—so please, leave me a comment below!

Thanks for stopping by.

Always means always

My youngest daughter and I have the same, exact conversation just about every single day.

Making “flour pies”

It took a little while for her to know the right answers, but she has it down now.

The exchange goes like this…

Me: How long am I going to love you?

Her: For always!

Me: But what if you do something really bad?

Her: You’ll STILL love me!

Me: Even if it’s really, REALLY bad?

Her: Yes. You’ll STILL love me.

Me: Will I be sad?

Her: Yes.

Me: How sad?

Her: Very sad. But you’ll STILL love me.

Me: But for how long?


We started having this conversation when she was two, and at first when I’d ask her how long I would love her, she’d say things like, “Ummm, I don’t know. Until Thursday?”

So why did I keep asking her until she could consistently get the right answers? Why would I want to have the same, exact conversation every single day?

It’s because I want her to know.

Right now she’s only three years old, and 99% of the time she is nothing but adorable. But I know the time is coming when everything she does won’t be quite so cute. We’ll be disappointed in some of her choices. We’ll probably get angry with her over bad attitudes and disobedience.

But I want her to know that, just like we do with our three older children, her father and I will continue to love her, no matter what, and there is nothing she can do that will ever change that.

More importantly, I want her to know that her heavenly Father won’t ever stop loving her.



No matter what?

No. Matter. What.

I want her to know this, because like the rest of us, she is going to mess up. She is going to eventually have to deal with guilt and regrets and disappointment in herself.

But I want her to know that even though she can choose to separate herself from God, she can never, ever, ever, ever, EVER separate herself from His love.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

And that’s what I want her to know.

(Do YOU know?)

Thanks for stopping by!

When you have a toddler

Life isn’t always easy when there’s a toddler in the house. For starters, there are the messes–and I’m talking about the kinds of messes you could never have imagined. But oh, they are real…

Notice the oatmeal. Notice the wall beside her. Notice her expression of pure pride.

When you have a toddler, you have to always be sure to watch where you step.

Oh, were y'all gonna use these stairs for something else? 'Cause my children are sleeping.

When you have a toddler, you are constantly having to find creative ways to help her comprehend reality without completely dashing her childhood dreams.

She stood expectantly on the driveway with the net raised, calling sweetly, "Bird, come to me!"

When you have a toddler, she wants to do everything you do…

(although willingness far outweighs ability at this point)

…only she always ends up going a bit overboard.

When you have a toddler around, you note with chagrin that her “helpfulness” often turns out to be not very helpful after all.

You would NOT have wanted to eat dinner at our house tonight. Seriously. This was just the tip of the iceberg.

When you have a toddler in the house, you have to buy all kinds of special, child-sized equipment so that she will feel a part of all the rest of the family is involved in.

No, life isn’t easy when you have a toddler in the house.


There are some really wonderful things about having a toddler in the house, as well.

When you have a toddler around, you always have someone who looks up to you.

Adoration in progress

It’s kind of nice to have a little someone who wants to imitate your every move.

Doin' it like a real mom does...only a little less hip to work with

In fact, it kind of makes you want to do your best at every single thing you do, since you know those little eyes are going to be watching you.

When you have a toddler around, everyday experiences seem new and fun as you see them through her eyes.

And perhaps best of all? When you have a toddler in the house, you always have a reason to play!  You have a built-in excuse to drop what you’re doing and go dance around in the backyard sprinkler.

You always have bubbles on hand. You always have snacks available. You always have a reason to stop at the playground. You even have a built-in excuse to enter the play area at Chick-fil-A, no matter how old you are. (After all, someone has to supervise the toddler, right?)

Lately, I’ve been noticing that some unnamed persons have been taking advantage of this excuse to play. For example, although our toddler really does love to squish Play-Doh…

…I seriously doubt those chubby little hands created this:

(Although it wouldn't shock me if she tried to EAT it)

And, while we’re at it, how do those magnets I put on the BOTTOM of the refrigerator door keep ending up at the very TOP? Can my two-year-old really be held responsible for this?

So I guess we’re all taking advantage of the fact that, yes, having a toddler in the house is not always easy, but it is almost always a great deal of fun.

{Thank you, Lord, for letting us experience this again.}

We are blessed.

Thanks for stopping by!

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