Kids/Parenting, Link-Ups

Summer Fun

Well, mamas of school-aged kiddos, that time is upon us…summer…in some households, I think it could be considered a curse word! 🙂

For our house, this is the first time since I’ve been a mama I’m not working full-time this summer. The work that I will be doing is part-time (and I can take the kids with me), and of course improving my writing craft.

In case you don’t know, I have a 10 year old daughter, a 9 year old step-daughter, and a 9 year old son.

summer fun

Here are a few things that we will be doing for activities this summer:

  • Free bowling. Yep, I said FREE! If you go to this website:, you can see if this is available in your area. The kids get to bowl two free games every day, and for a small one-time fee (I mean SMALL, like $20 or something) you can add 2 adults to bowl with the kids. So, we are basically getting two games of bowling every day of the summer for less than the price of a movie!
  • Speaking of movies, I know in the past, our local theatre has done free or reduced price movies during the summer. While it may not be the latest blockbuster, it’s sure to kill some time and entertain the littles!
  • Of course, there’s always the park and the pool. Our local pools offer discounted rates for swimming after 4:00 pm. You could see if your pool does the same.
  • There are also crafts to be done during summer. Especially on those gloomy days. Here is one I really like: Heart Wreath Craft.
  • One thing we did over spring break was go to the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis. While we were there, we purchased a membership. Economically, it just made sense. For the five of us to go one time, it was over $100. For a full year membership for the five of us, it was just over $150. Plus, we get free carousel rides!
  • Other things that we will likely do to fill the days are: visits to the library, bike rides, walking some local, easy trails, and fishing (my son tells me that McDonald’s french fries make the best bait — which is good for me, since I don’t like slimy worms!).

The kids have some sports and church summer camps they’re planning to attend, so that will also use some time.

I know that, with a little planning, and some whitespace for down time in our schedule, we can make this the best summer ever!

I’m really anxious to see what kind of mischief we get into, since this is the first summer we’ve been able to do this. Don’t worry…I’ll report back as the summer progresses!

What about you? I would love to hear what your summer activities will be.

Link-Ups, Series

Dairy Queen, Hotels, and Racing

When my husband and I started dating, we knew that we would be in for some wild rides. I mean, how could we not be? We each had school-aged children we were bringing into the relationship. I have a ten year old daughter, a nine year old son, and he has a nine year old daughter.

One such adventure brings me back to Labor Day weekend of 2015. We decided the five of us would travel to Brownsburg, Indiana, to visit my brother and his family. Living outside of Lafayette, Indiana, Brownsburg is easily a day trip, but we wanted to allow the kids time to swim by staying overnight in a hotel.

A week or so in advance, I, with gusto, jumped at the chance to prove my hotel-booking abilities to my new fiance. I did a search for area hotels, and, having found one that proved to be satisfactory in the two big requirements: breakfast and pool, I booked it. Success!

The day of our trip comes. We head south to visit with family. The weather was gorgeous. The food was fantastic — of course, when is grilling out NOT a supremely awesome choice for summer meals? And the company was enjoyable.

As the day turned to early evening, we knew we needed to be getting to our hotel to check in. We say our goodbyes, and get everyone loaded up. At some point after we left, I decided I wanted Dairy Queen. Being such an excellent navigator, I opened my Mapquest app on my phone and got right down to finding a Dairy Queen in the area.

It seemed the closest one was quite a distance away, but hey, it was a warm night, and our spirits were high from the wonderful day we had. We ventured on.

As we traveled, it was becoming unclear where this elusive Dairy Queen might be. We ventured on.

As we turned into the golf course, my fiancé was beginning to question where Mapquest was taking us. He was adamant that there would be no Dairy Queen in the middle of a golf course. I was adamant that THIS is where Mapquest was taking us, so there MUST be a Dairy Queen. To which he replied, “Unless there is someone living in this neighborhood named Dairy Queen, there is NO Dairy Queen here!”

Well then. I guess my fine navigational skills just got knocked down a notch or two. Ok fine. Well, Mr. There-Is-No-Dairy-Queen-here, then by all means, please lead us to a Dairy Queen.

Sure enough, he did just that. He pulled out his phone (we both have iPhones, both with AT&T as our carrier) and opened his Maps app. Which promptly delivered us directly to a Dairy Queen parking lot.

Ok, there’s my first slice of humble pie for the evening.

Once we had our fill of ice cream and the kids were beginning to get a little stir crazy, we decided it was time to call it a night, and headed to our hotel.

Now, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the festivities in Brownsburg, Indiana over Labor Day weekend, let me share something with you. Brownsburg is the NHRA drag-racing capital of the world (if not the world, certainly the USA). And guess when their biggest event is? Yep, you guessed it, Labor Day weekend.

Suffice to say, every decent hotel room within a 15 mile radius of Brownsburg was booked. Which, was of no consequence to us, because I am a master-hotel-room-booker.

Or so I thought.

My charming and gentlemanly escort pulled up to the hotel I booked and walked in. Confident in the fact that his woman, with two degrees, has this room ‘in the bag.’ Poor fella. He didn’t know what he was about to face.

Apparently, when I booked the room, the website had defaulted to a day two weeks in the future. So, we had our room booked…for the Saturday in two weeks. Um, not the best situation, considering where and when we were staying.

Humble pie slice number two was a little rough going down.

Not to worry, my man is a problem-solver. There is a hotel right next door. Let’s see what their room availability is.

He goes into the hotel, and comes out successful. We have a room! We were so excited.

Until we got to the room.

It was a room with two full-sized beds. Not exactly prime sleeping conditions for 5 people. But we managed to make it work, without anyone falling out of bed. But not before we went swimming in their outdoor ‘heated’ pool. Oh yes those are my air quotes, because there was NOTHING heated about this pool. Fortunately, the woman at the front desk of the original hotel, you know, the one with the room booked in two weeks, felt bad for us. She allowed us to swim in their hotel pool. Which was thankfully, indoors.

You know the old saying, “We will laugh about this someday”? Well, we do, now. Although that night, I was really beating myself up.

I felt inadequate. Incapable. And most of all, I thought for sure that this would be the beginning of the end of our relationship. I mean, really? Who wants to be with someone who can’t navigate or book a hotel? I just knew our demise was approaching.

Fortunately for me, my husband is a wonderfully forgiving man, who gives me more grace than he gives himself. He was cool as a cucumber the whole time, which was a good balance to my embarrassed, red cheeks.

I guess the lesson I learned is that we all make mistakes, no matter how much we try to be ‘perfect.’ And the important thing is how we handle the mistakes. Do we let them make us bitter? Or better? Now, when things begin to escalate between us, and one of us is about to say something we might regret, all we have to do is say ‘Dairy Queen’ and this event comes back to mind and we can laugh together.

His Word, Kids/Parenting, Link-Ups, Soul Relationships

What’s Your Season?

 Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NLT) For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away. A time to search and a time to quit searching. A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace.


Ahhhh, spring.

I love this time of year. The weather begins to get a little warmer, the flowers begin to pop up from their winter slumber, and new life is forming

Have you ever had a particularly rough season in your life? Like the seasons of the weather, seasons in our lives come and go. And most of the time, we are able to learn a lesson or two.

We know that there is a purpose for every season of life, season of the weather, season of marriage, season of parenthood. Each season has its own intent.

My husband and I love the fall. We love the changing colors, the cooler weather and, of course, football! We love the fall so much, in fact, that we chose to get married in the fall. We made the decision to have a small outdoor wedding with only our parents, our children, our siblings and their children.

The rainbow of colors on the trees, the green grass, and the brown fields served as the backdrop for our intimate ceremony.

Our fall nuptials led us right into the holidays and the winter season. I love the winter season, for different reasons. Sometimes, I feel like I should have been born a bear. I love the cold weather for hibernating. I love the smell of hot chocolate and the feel of the brisk air on my cheeks.

The winter was a tough one for us. We faced some challenging circumstances with one of his older daughters. I had a battle with my son’s father looming in the not so distant future.

And then there’s the fact that I wasn’t working. Which was a blessing in itself; however, from the time I was able to work at age 16, I’ve always had a job. I had tied my worth to my monetary contribution to the house, therefore, I was feeling pretty insecure.

Through each season change, I’ve seen God’s faithfulness demonstrated. I feel Him bring the chill of the colder weather so we can all experience a season of rest. I see the new life that is coming around the corner with the spring.

I know that each season God has me in serves a purpose. I know that the grey winter, filled with challenges, sets me up for His blessings of the spring.

But the spring is all the evidence I need that God hasn’t given up on His creation yet. This is the season of beginnings, fresh life, and new experiences.

For me, this spring is helping me to lean into God’s light. I am ready to leave behind the darkness and struggles of winter and look to the promises of spring.

I am ready for a season where my husband and I grow together, toward Christ, rather than apart. I’m looking forward to the longer days, filled with more light. Days spent outside with our children, forming new bonds based on shared experiences.

This will be my first summer as a mom without a full-time job. This summer will be a season filled with many firsts. The long summer days that bleed into the warm summer nights will afford my family opportunities to create new memories.

Memories of seasons with life-lessons and love set to the tune of the cicadas in the trees and the smell of burgers on the grill and s’mores over an open fire.

Recently, a dear friend explained seasons of life and God’s priorities to me in this way: an idea, action or priority can’t be judged by one season our your lives. The essence of who we are can only be measured at the end when all the seasons are up.

If we give up when it’s winter, we will miss the promise of our spring, the beauty of our summer, and the fulfillment of our fall. We can’t let the pain of one season destroy the joy and pleasure of the remaining seasons. We can’t judge life by one strenuous success or formidable failure.

We must always persevere through the difficult times and know that pleasant times are coming. Leave the rest to our Creator and He will show us our priorities if we seek Him through His word and prayers.

His Word, Kids/Parenting, Soul Relationships

Hard Lessons Learned

Happy Wednesday dear friends.

After driving for 22 years (you can do the math on my age), I can proudly say that I’ve never locked my keys in my car.

Until this morning.

I went into the kids’ school to talk party stuff. Tomorrow is the big Valentine’s Day class party. I chatted with a few other teachers and was headed out the door.

Until I heard my daughter crying out to me from the front door of the school. I was *almost* to my van. She informed me that she needed money for the book fair today.

So, I did what every good parent does. I grumbled under my breath the rest of the way to my van, got my wallet, and grumbled the whole way into the school. Once there, I discovered that I had a five-dollar bill and a ten-dollar bill. No way this could be split equitably between two kids.

I stopped in the office, knowing they must be tired of seeing me already this morning, to ask if they had change. No such luck. My next stop was the book fair. I mean, after all, wasn’t the blasted book fair the whole reason I had to make a second trip into the school this morning? The least it could do for me is give me change for a ten-dollar bill, so I could split it evenly.

The volunteer working the book fair so kindly gave me 2 five-dollar bills and as I was leaving, two mothers from my daughter’s class asked what they could send in for the party tomorrow. Being so grateful for their donations, I shared with them what we still needed and continued on my way.

I made what I thought was my final stop in the school office, so they could deliver money to my children for the book fair. YAY!

As I’m just getting ready to walk out the door, I realize I don’t have my keys. Trying to play it cool to the ladies in the office, I’m all like, ‘oh gosh, I’m sure they’re in the van.’

I leave the office and walk out to my van. The walk, which normally takes 2 minutes tops, felt like an eternity. I was thinking to myself the whole way that I NEVER leave my keys in my van. Nor do I ever leave my van unlocked.

You’re a smart bunch of people, you’re my friends, after all. You know where this is going, right?

I get to my van, look in the window, and see that sure enough, my keys are in the van. In a split second, I look down and notice that the door is locked.


AWESOMESAUCE! I’m so loving my luck right now! I only had about a gazillion things on my mind for what I needed to accomplish the rest of this week.

See, my husband and I have been having some *ahem* difficulties with one of our children. I will NOT name names, but suffice to say, said child has had a little bit of an attitude lately. So, I’ve been thinking about ways we could improve things with said child.

We also have a legal situation with another child that is looming over us. I know that God already has that situation worked out for His glory, but hey, I’m human, right? And I can freak out and worry and stress with the best of them.

Also on my ‘list of worries’ is previously mentioned Valentine’s Day class party that I promised and swore to myself that I wouldn’t wait until the last. minute. to plan…but, well you know how that turned out.

Then of course, are everyone’s every day worries and concerns.




Weight. (I’m a woman, remember?)


All of these concerns and issues came together in a perfect storm to cause me to lock my keys (and my phone) in my van today.

When I realized what I had done, I called my husband from the school. I knew the odds of him answering the phone call were slim, for two reasons. First, it was an unrecognized number. Second, he was at work and I rarely catch him the first time I try to call. Typically, he sees my call and calls me back. I had to get my daughter’s iPod from her class to text him and ask him to answer my call.

He called a local tow company and they said they would be out as soon as they can. Y’all know what that means…

After waiting for over two hours, and many more trips to the office (I’m CERTAIN the lovely ladies in the office were really ready for me to go), they finally showed up to unlock my van. During this two hours, I endured multiple well-meaning individuals sharing with me how I might be able to avoid this fate in the future.

Also while waiting, not so patiently, for my rescuer to come, I did some thinking. I thought about how, when we are in the waiting rooms of life, we typically don’t wait patiently. Most of the time, we are trying to figure out how we can get out of our current situation as soon as possible, with the least amount of pain.

As I was waiting, it occurred to me that God might just want us to chill for a while…or two hours…

We might need to learn something in that waiting room.

Perhaps He is keeping us from something worse.

Perhaps He is keeping us from something better, simply because we’re not ready.

Perhaps He has us there because we are going to encounter someone else in that same waiting room and we can positively impact their life. Or vice versa. Maybe we need someone to be a positive influence in our life.

My point here is that, if I had my books or my laptop (or even my phone) with me when I locked myself out of my van, it wouldn’t have accomplished the same mission.

While there is nothing inherently wrong with reading or, in my case, writing, to pass the time, it would have distracted me from the lesson God wanted me to learn. The hard lesson learned.

That patience is a virtue. And one that doesn’t come easily or without cost. (To the tune of $68, as a matter of fact.)

One further point I would like to make is from a book I recently started reading called Your Sacred Yes by Susie Larson. The subtitle to her book is ‘Trading Life-Draining Obligation for Freedom, Passion, and Joy.’ You can assume that this book was written to help free us from saying YES to everything that comes our way. Instead, we should select only those activities that He has called us to.

In her introduction, she says this, “Life is a gift. Time is a treasured commodity. When we open our hands and give what we have to Jesus–be it our moments, our gifts, our time, or simply room and space for Him to show up–we find life to be a sacred journey.”

This spoke volumes to me. When was the last time you had whitespace in your schedule? Whether it was for a lesson learned the hard way or whether it was to sit with your grandmother helping her figure out her phone–without having to rush to the next thing?

Either way, we all need to determine what our sacred YES is, so that we can truly be open to the nudgings of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Link-Ups, Soul Relationships

Do You Measure Yourself?

This post was originally published on April 25, 2014…

A journalist visited a town famous for its rampant unhappiness to see if he could understand its origin. Walking down the street, he noticed a man ahead of him. 

Suddenly, a little man, no more than a few inches high, appeared and ran up the man’s leg. He started sticking pins into the man and sewing things to him. 

Instantly, the man was covered by these tiny tailors, all sticking him with pins. He looked completely miserable as he shuffled off.

The journalist saw this happen to one person after another, until he was ready to give up and go home. The town was completely infested with tiny tailors; no wonder everyone was unhappy.

Then the journalist noticed one woman covered with tiny tailors who apparently said something, and the tiny tailors just melted away. 

The journalist ran over to her. “What did you say to get free of them?!” he exclaimed.

“Oh,” she answered, “it was nothing. I just told them I’ve decided to stop measuring myself.”

–Guy Finley

How many of us allow tiny tailors to attach themselves to us? To our outsides…to our insides…

How many of us walk through life feeling defeated, because we feel like we don’t measure up to some impossible standard of living?

Whether it’s the way you feel you should be talking to your spouse, or the way you feel you shouldbe interacting with your children, or the way you feel you should lose weight, or the way you feel youshould treat yourself.

In all of these examples, we should ourselves. We should ourselves almost to the point of exhaustion and defeat.

Surely, I’m not the only one?!

This year was supposed to be the year I came to accept myself and who I am. Not that I was content to just remain stagnant where I was when the year started, but to just accept ME. for ME.

I’m not sure I’m progressing in this goal.

And it makes me kind of sad.

What example am I setting for my children if I walk around with LOADS of negative self-talk going on? That does nothing for the environment in my home.

Just this morning, I felt like I was failing at life. And then my daughter, my beautiful daughter, wrapped her arms around my neck and said the sweetest words to me, “I Love You, Momma.”

WOAH! It was like a ton of bricks were lifted off my shoulders.

Then, my son echoed her sentiments. He said, “It’s OK, Momma.”

And I knew I was right where I was meant to be…being ‘measured’ by the ones who love me most. Who see me at my best…and at my worst…

We are our own worst critics. Let’s band together and silence the inner voice which tells us that we’ll never measure up…