Parents! Ask the Hard Questions!

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When I graduated from college (Central Michigan University), I packed up my 1978 blue Mustang with as much stuff as I could get in it.  I then drove from my hometown of Fraser, Michigan (literally a 4-square  mile town) and drove to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  I was 22, starry-eyed in-love, and had a job waiting for me (sort-of) when I arrived.  The details of it were a little bit sketchy, but great big adventure was waiting for me, and the love of my life lived there (some of the time).  And so I went.

As as parent, I never would have let that young girl do that without asking some questions:

  • Where will you live?  (Answer: In Philadelphia – the city of brotherly love – In a big house with 10 or 11 other people)
  • Who will be there to help you?  (Not sure about that one)
  • What kind of job is it — really?  (Well, office work for a traveling ministry)
  • How much will you be paid?  (Maybe $75 a week – if there’s money to pay me each week)
  • Is anyone going to travel with you?  (No, Just me and the wide open road)
  • How in the world will you make it?  (Oh my gosh, I have no idea!)

These seem like reasonable questions (and crazy answers) — don’t you think?

I wish someone would have asked me these questions and then given me some good advice on how I might be more successful if I choose to take this road.

I appeared confident.  It looked like I had a plan.  It seemed that I knew what I was doing.  Truth be told, I was scared.

Parents, do not be afraid to ask your kids the hard questions.  Ask, even when they seem to have all the answers.  Make sure they know you are so interested in their good that you will do whatever it takes to be satisfied yourself in their decisions.  They  need you to care enough to do that.

I took that 450 mile ride 34 years ago this month.  It worked out.  I married the man of my dreams and followed after God with everything within me.  We made it.  If I had to do it all over again, I would ask for more parental partnership, good advice, and additional wisdom.

You have confidence in your kids.  Let them know they can have confidence in you too.

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Cookies for Breakfast!

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Remember Bill Cosby’s “Dad is great! He gives us chocolate cake!”  Cake for breakfast?  Sure – it’s got eggs, milk.  That’s all you need to know.

Well in case there’s no cake around, try these instead!  This recipe is from the book Bread and Wine by Shauna Neiquist.

BREAKFAST COOKIES

3 large ripe bananas, well mashed (about 1-1/2 cups)

¼ cup coconut oil, warmed just a little so it isn’t solid (or alternatively, olive oil)

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups rolled oats

2/3 cup almond meal

½ teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

2/3 cup shredded coconut

½ cup chopped walnuts

¼ cups chocolate chips

 

In a large bowl, mash the bananas with a fork, then add in coconut oil and vanilla.

Add the oats, almond meal, salt and baking powder, and stir until combined. Add the coconut, walnuts, and chocolate chips, and stir again.

Form the dough into 12 balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet and flatten them a little bit.

Bake at 350 degrees for 14 to 16 minutes.

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Mr. and Mrs . . . 2 Years Already!

Two years ago today our daughter got married.  Nicole and Jordan still act like goofy,  funny newlyweds – with a bit more marriage experience under their belts too.  It’s a beautiful combination!  The honeymoon is not over and though the more serious parts of marriage have made them stronger and smarter,  they still have that silly “I love you like crazy-ness” going on.

Anniversaries of dates (like birthdays, weddings, serious life events) cause me to reflect and track progress.  This year, even my daughter’s wedding anniversary has me doing the same thing.

Jimmy Evans has a great blog – “Marriage Builder Weekly”  (You should sign up for it).  He recently wrote the following to help couples see that God’s purpose for you is to have a successful, fulfilling relationship.  We must remember:

  • You will not be the same in five years – as individuals and as a couple.
  • Success happens on purpose and never by accident.
  • In marriage, success only happens if you’re both in agreement and committed to the same purpose. Amos 3:3 asks “Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?’

Whether you are married 2 years, 5, 10, 30, 50 or more, keep asking each other the questions that provoke meaningful conversations.  Dialog and discuss.  Vision and Dream together.

You have not been married too long that you can give up on at least one more honeymoon!  Start talking again like the future is big and wide in front of you.

Because it is.

 

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Graduation = Crying Parents

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We were made for relationships.  The whole purpose for our being created and born is to share relationship with God and with others.  So they matter a lot.

When a significant relationship changes in any way, it causes our emotions to step it up and take notice.  During this season, peoples’ lives are about to change – every where.  Graduation is one of the most important, exciting, wonderful experiences in life.  It’s an important marker in the life of a student.  It means something is finished successfully!  It’s cause for celebration!

As parents, we know all of that.   But yet, this is also a time of reflection, and nostalgia and “where has the time gone” conversations. It’s good to do that. These moments are indicators of wonderful memories, great joy of where you have all been, and the deep connection you have with your children.

Embrace every single piece of every single day.  Take lots of pictures.  Cry when you want to and thank God continually for the beautiful, bright, wonderful kids He has given you.  Thank Him for the assistance He has given you to coach these kids to be brave for their next great adventures.

Then thank Him too, that He will sustain you through these days and weeks and months ahead.  Thank Him that you see the next victory your kids will enjoy and know that you helped them get there.

Good job Mom and Dad!  Good Job!

It’s time for some ice cream!

 

 

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Give Thanks – It Will Change Everything

1.  Being thankful can you help you know what to do next.  Do you want to know the Will of God for your life?  Next steps?  Giving thanks is one of those things that IS the will of God.  Do that first.  The second step will come.

  1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18:  Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

2.  Worried?  Dealing with Anxiety?  Being thankful is the best way to present your stuff to God.  Request of Him – with thankfulness in your praying.  Worry will dissipate.

Philippians 4:6: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God.

3.  Thankfulness with your whole heart leaves no room (zero) for discouragement to have a place.  Remember the wonderful things you have experienced and seen with your eyes that God has done.  You’ll find yourself remembering His faithfulness!

Psalm 9:1-2: I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.

Being thankful will change your attitude.  Try it.

 

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7 Keys For Joyful Living

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  • Know your purpose
  • Live purposefully
  • Stretch yourself
  • Give more than you take
  • Surprise yourself and others too
  • Indulge yourself sometimes
  • Laugh a little – no, a lot!

Okay . . . 8:

  • Stop and notice the flowers
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Kraft Mac and Cheese . . . Stir a memory?

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Childhood is made up of memories – lots of them.  As parents, you have to help create good ones.  It does really require doing just that . . . on purpose.

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.  Stir a memory for you?  I bet it does – somewhere.  For me, I can go back to high school and remember eating it.  It was a treat of some kind.  For some reason.

In college – yes of course!  5 boxes for $1!  Are you kidding me?  We ate it often.  You couldn’t afford not to.

Newly married?  Oh yes.  Goes back to “We couldn’t afford not to.”

As mom, we know that almost every kid will eat mac and cheese (and chicken nuggets).  When my kids were small, they ate it . . . and if not every time, almost every time —  We did this:  (See picture!)

Silly.  Nonsense.  Simple meals made a little more fun.

Childhood is made up of things like this.

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The very littlest things speak

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What’s the last thing you found in your washing machine – that was not clothing? In my 30 plus years of doing laundry for other people (my family, that is)  I have found some cool stuff:  Money, chap stick, tic tacs, chocolate wrappers, candy,  pens, but my favorite thing of all:  Guitar pics!

This had been a common occurrence for many years since Scott had played guitar while traveling with Mylon and Broken Heart, played in church, played on album projects. My son, a serious amazing musician in his own right contributed his fair share of guitar pics to the laundry piles too. They floated out of pockets weekly.

However, in recent years, these sightings were far and few between. My son went away to college and settled in Tulsa, and Scott’s job didn’t allow him much time for guitar playing.

And yet . . . music is what they are both made to do.  Seeing this pic in my washer this morning made me smile.  I like it a lot that the gifted musician I married is spending a little more time with his beautiful guitar collection and making some melodious noise again.

Perhaps that small symbol encouraged me to pick up my “pen” again and write about it . . .

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How many kisses does it take?

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I read a headline that said “The secret to a happy marriage is kissing 10 times a week.”  What?!  That’s all? There’s hope for everyone!  (You can read the article here).

Personally, I think 10 kisses a day is much better!  I also think it’s a bonus if one — just one — of those kisses is 30-seconds long.  As a married person, I can tell you those are the best!

Today is Valentines’ Day.  A day to celebrate love, relationships and kisses!

Find your spouse, your special someone, even your sweet kiddos  Kiss them at least once!

Celebrate Love today!

 

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You are the Comfort Zone!

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“I feel better knowing you are here.”

In my opinion, that’s the best compliment there is.

How does that happen?

  • People feel safe with you.
  • There’s wisdom for tough situations when you are in the room.
  • There’s calm in the atmosphere because you are full of peace.
  • Joy walks in when you enter.  You laugh easily and find hope in the day.

This kind of attitude comes first from time spent with the One who made you.  The God of Love who has your present and your future in His sight, gives you all you need to be love to those around you.

Leave your comfort zone to make one for someone else.  Get close enough to see how you can help.  People everywhere are looking for a safe place.  They need to be near someone with strength, confidence and wisdom.

Change the atmosphere, just because you walked in.

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