Little Not Lesser

Kids say the darnedest things, right? They can also spew some of the most thought-provoking truths. 


I’ve never talked down to children. I’ve had great conversations with kids of all ages. When I had my daughter, family and friends laughed at the way I would ask her about her day as she stared up at me bug-eyed. I suppose it did look a little odd, but I didn’t care.

My now 9-year-old daughter lost a tooth last night. She proceeded to bag her tooth and included a letter addressed to Tooth Mom and Tooth Dad. I asked her if this meant she didn’t believe in the tooth fairy anymore.

Without skipping a beat, she said, “Mom, I know why it’s so important to believe in the tooth fairy and Santa Claus. It teaches us to believe in the unseen.”

My jaw dropped. There was nothing I could add, she’d hit the nail on the head. Sometimes to get on a child’s level, we have to realize we aren’t necessarily going down a notch. We can learn from them. I now know exactly what I’ll be saying to my toddlers when the time comes to break the news about the beloved figures they’ve imagined a thousand times. And all thanks to a conversation with a kid.

Lit Conversations

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Why is it so much easier to talk to God about men, than to talk to men about God? As a woman, I’ve perfected the art of small talk. I can easily chalk up a conversation about everything from the weather to current events.  Bring up food, and I could go on and on.

It’s easy to blame our lack of conversation about our Creator on our society. In a world consumed with self-indulgence, it’s much easier to talk about ourselves. What we’re doing, where we’re going, and what we’re wearing takes precedence over talk of our spiritual life. It’s not exactly the norm to break out a Biblical reference when it applies to a given situation. But it needs to be! As Christians, we need to hone the craft of planting spiritual seeds into our everyday conversation.

Ask the Lord to give you the words, and you could be a light in someone’s life today.

A Worry-Free 2016

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Let me fill you in on the last year of my life. I started with a goal of getting back to my pre-pregnancy weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I’ve lost 30 pounds and feel healthier than ever! I’ve changed the way I look at food, incorporated exercises that fit my lifestyle, and eat as much as I ever did! It’s so rewarding to see the scales stay put and not feel like you’ve punished yourself to get there. I’ve found the right balance that works for my body.

Yes, this year has been good to me. My husband and children have all had a happy, healthy, and safe year. Our finances have improved, our homeschool has grown, we’ve found a great new church, went on some fun vacations, and made lasting memories. And that’s nothing compared to the biggest improvement of all: my walk with the Lord! I’ve prioritized my prayer life and scripture time, and it has paid off wonderfully! I’ve learned to give my cares and worries to Jesus, and I’m more at peace than I could’ve ever imagined! I can’t wait to see what 2016 brings!

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:6-7‬ ‭NKJV‬‬‬‬‬‬
http://bible.com/114/php.4.6-7.nkjv

What could you do with a worry-free 2016?

Cereal Brings Out the Kid in All of Us

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What is it about cereal that brings out the eternal nine-year old in all of us? It makes me want to sit the box in front of me as I indulge in its sugary goodness and try to solve whatever riddles are on the back. As a kid, I could’ve read the box three times already and I’d still need it while sitting at the breakfast table.

I went to the grocery store yesterday (ugh, on the weekend I know, but duty calls) and grabbed four boxes of cereal that was on sale. Had I known then what I know now, I probably would’ve bought eight boxes.

As I put the groceries away, I notice an open box. I grab it and out drops a little package. A cereal surprise, oh the feels!! I can still remember the Disney character spoons from my youth that changed color. I swear I’ll buy them up if I ever find them at a yard sale. Cereal never tasted as good as it did in those spoons.

I open up my other boxes and three out of the four contained little Minion key chains. I yelled to my daughter to come check it out and she was just as excited to see what the other boxes contained (well, maybe not quite as excited).

She asked which one she could have and I said, “Oh, well we have to put one on the golf cart key. We’ll all see it that way. And I’m gonna need one for my keys. And…”

“Never mind Mom, I didn’t even want one.”

Something as silly as a cereal box surprise can bring out the kid in all of us, and as much as it hurt, I let her pick which one she wanted to keep;)

10 Things to Do While Ignoring Your Manuscript

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1. Record new ideas! Whether I’m using OneNote, my trusty notebook I keep in my purse, or the notes app on my phone, I’m always noting something. Inspiration can strike at random, so be ready.

2. Find something else you’re passionate about, and dive in, whether it’s a new hobby or an online course.

3. Work on your physical self. Exercise, eat right, and find the right supplements that work for you. Good health will benefit you in everything you do.

4. Indulge now and then! (Yes, I know it goes against #3 but, everyone needs to give in once in a while or they’ll go crazy!) When I say indulge, I mean pizza, greasy Mexican food, and baked goods.  A manicure or a new bag may be your cup of tea, however.

5. Unplug! Disconnect from the Internet for a weekend. It’ll make you appreciate quality time with your loved ones, or yourself (which is just as important).

6. Read. And when you’re done, read some more. And not just your guilty pleasures either, read the market you write for.

7. Get some sun. If not for the vitamin D, for those pasty legs (we’re all familiar with the sun’s harmful rays, so wear your sunblock).

8. Watch movies! Binge watch that tv show you’ve eyed! Make some buttery popcorn….ok, now I’m officially contradicting myself.

9. Jump into your next project with force. Write relentlessly without worrying about grammar and structure.

10. Did I mention pizza?

And when you’re done with all that, go give your work a read.  You may just find you’ve missed it.

Creativity Lies in All of Us

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Creativity lies in all of us, whether we choose to use it or not.

The talented and engaging Kayla Johnson, over at The First Twenty Rows, nominated me for the Creative Blogger Award. Thank you, Kayla! If you haven’t already, I’d definitely recommend you check out her posts on everything from her quirky family, to her faith and inspirations.

First things first, the rules of the Creative Blogger Award:
1. Thank the nominee
2. Share 5 facts about yourself
3. Nominate other blogs and notify them
4. Tell said nominees these rules

I’ll admit, I have decision-making issues and could ponder over which five things to post about myself, for eternity. But I refuse to leave anyone waiting, so here goes.

1. I’m an entertainment buff. If there were a celebrity/movie/tv trivia show nearby I would be an ideal contestant. My family members have learned not to bet against me when it comes to famous faces. I can recall a commercial actor’s supporting role in an 80’s B movie.

2. I have ridiculous food issues. My parents claimed I ate like a bird as a child, so I got to choose whatever I wanted to eat. I just so happened to prefer chocolate pudding to sandwiches and cereal to pot roast. I still have some work to do, but I’ve come a long way. I had never tried Chinese food until I met my husband. On one of our first dates, he took me to a Japanese steakhouse (I realize China and Japan are different countries, but I had never tried either cultures fare), and I didn’t want to look silly, so I just ate it. Much to my surprise, I liked it! He’s still introducing me to new foods almost a decade later.

3. I have zero interest in sports. Yes, I’m that mom at the soccer field that’s in another world until somebody gets kicked in the shin. I will cheer more in basketball, but that’s only because it’s obvious when my kid makes a basket (or is it touchdown, or goal, ha?!). Maybe it’s my lack of a hyper-competitive nature. I’m the one telling my kids to have fun, Daddy’s telling them how to win.

4. Writing a book was always on my bucket list. My grandma still has my childhood works, from comic books, to plays and short stories. I checked it off my list at the beginning of the year, hopped aboard the query train way too early, and have kicked myself in the pants ever since. I didn’t take enough time away from the story. I’ve learned so much in the last few months that I cringe when I read my earlier work. Live and learn, right?! I’m learning something new every single day!

5. My favorite place is the woods. I feel most at home there. The air, the trees, and the wildlife, all play their part in my love affair with the forest. Hiking is my favorite form of exercise, and I wait impatiently for warmer weather so that I can go. Fall was my favorite season, (The leaves turning! Sweatshirt weather! That warm and fuzzy feeling that Christmas is just around the corner!) until I discovered my love for morel hunting, another tree-centric activity, is only in the spring. Let’s just say, I’m hooked. It’s the adult equivalent of Easter egg hunting, but in my favorite place.

Well, there you have it, 5 facts about me. And it didn’t take me an entire day to decide what to pick! Maybe an hour or two, ha! I nominate these lovely bloggers because they rock their words:

Tip of My Iceberg | The value of what’s unseen

home is what you make it | a blog inspired by real life

Beautiful Insanity | A heart on fire, fighting with all its might

a dreamer’s inkwell | …the ramblings, tidbits, and scribbles from the quill of a creative journey.

Lostinthemidwest | A journey through Life

5 Habits of a Happy Woman

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Happiness is the key to a fulfilled life. No amount of money can buy it for you, and no one can gift it you. Yet, to reach your full potential, you must have it. I’m far from perfect, and I have down days just like everyone else. But I know I’ve found true happiness. I haven’t always felt this way, and these habits have helped me along my journey. Here are a few simple things, in no particular order, that contribute to my inner peace.

1. Learn to distinguish what’s important from what’s not.  I put things that truly matter to me first. Would I like an abundance of time for myself? Yes! What mom wouldn’t? But time is important, so spend it wisely. I’m not going to miss a sporting event for my kids, or a road trip with my husband for something that doesn’t really matter. I’m not saying don’t designate time for yourself, but don’t skip a field trip for a hair appointment.

2. Appreciate our world.  With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s easy to overlook the beauty all around us. Get outdoors! Hike a nature trail. Take a walk in the park. It’s not only good for your soul, it’s good for your body, too.

3. Don’t expect too much from people.  No one owes you anything. We are all blessed to be given life, we aren’t entitled it. We should appreciate what the people in our lives do for us instead of focusing on what they don’t. Sally at work didn’t remember your birthday? Your friend showed up late to help you set up your kid’s birthday party? Guess what, people make mistakes, and they have lives too. Don’t allow yourself to be let down, because it’s not the end of the world.

4. Embrace your passions.  Find what you love and explore it! From hobbies to career paths, keep finding new things you love, and learn all you can about them. You’ll get to know yourself so much better along the way.

5. Count your blessings.  I can’t express enough how important this is. No matter what journey you’re on, there is always something to be thankful for. I thank God everyday, throughout the day, for his blessings in my life.

As I sit here, stomach growling, I’m reminded of the sixth habit of a happy woman, PIZZA! Too bad I’m already making spaghetti, at my husbands request, for the fam. We did have pizza last night, but it’s the one food I never tire of (remember what’s important, remember what’s important…).

Owl Teach You A Lesson

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I love painting. I liked it as a child, but I love it as an adult. Kids are overwhelmed with opportunities of fun, and repeating the same task doesn’t fare well against trying something new. I think that’s how my love for the brush and paint got overlooked.

Painting with my daughter last night provided an accidental lesson. Easels in tow, I set us up for hours of creating. We were equally excited to get our hands into the array of colors (ok, maybe I was just a tad more excited!).

My least favorite part about painting is the background. I can’t wait to get it over with so I can get to the fun stuff, the details. As I spread a mixture of blue and white paint throughout, bristles made their way on the canvas. I’m talking dozens of bristles. I have tons of quality paintbrushes, and this still happens some, but this was ridiculous. My image of a colorful owl sitting on a tree branch beneath the Aqua sky, crushed amidst the hairs. I picked several off with my fingers (this works miserably, by the way). I tried a twirl of the brush, scooping them up, one by one. Then I noticed what my continuous strokes did to the background. Specks of white seeped through and the blue boasted just the right amount of texture.  It looked better than I’d originally pictured it.

Sometimes beauty comes from our mistakes. This is true in life, too. Just because we mess something up completely, doesn’t mean that God can’t turn it into something better than we’d originally pictured. But have patience, not everything dries as quickly as acrylic.

 

Top 5 Summer Movies

There’s something about the cinema experience that you can’t get at home, and it’s not just the big screen.  We rent a lot of movies, and recreate said experience with popcorn and chocolate-covered raisins.  I’ll admit, it’s great covering up with a blanket and laying on the couch with my family, until someone has to go to the bathroom, or the phone rings.  It’s so easy to check out Pinterest while waiting on the previews, but this sets the tone for distracted viewing.  When we’re in the theatre, all distractions fade away and nothing occupies our minds but our wildest imaginings coming to life on the big screen.  And there’s the butter.  I love a side of popcorn with my movie theatre butter!  Here are the top 5 movies I’m most excited to see this summer.

  1. Avengers: Age of Ultron
    Rated PG-13, Release Date- May 1, 2015

    This made the list for obvious reasons.  The Avengers was a massive success at the box office, and the sequel is bound to be the movie event of the summer.  I can’t wait to see what baddies Ironman and company are up against when they save the world from destruction once again.  But can we please get more Thor and Jane?  It’s disappointing Natalie Portman didn’t have a cameo in the first (I realize Thor: The Dark World touched on this).  Also, my villain standards are pretty high, so Ultron better bring something that Loki can’t.  Miss you Loki!

  2. Jurassic World
    Expected MPAA Rating PG-13, Release Date- June 12, 2015

    Dinosaurs. Steven Spielberg.  That’s enough reason for me to race to the theatre on this one!  Jurassic Park was an insta-classic and beyond ahead of its time.  I can’t wait to experience velociraptors and the newest monster, the Indominis Rex, with today’s visual effects.  As someone who watches Jurassic Park every time it’s on the tube, it’s been too long since I’ve sat in the theatre in wonder at the beasts of yesteryear.

  3. Max
    Rated PG, Release Date- June 26, 2015

    The story of a Belgian Malinois that helps save Marines in Afghanistan.  After the loss of his owner, he’s sent to live with the grieving family.  As a fan of Marley and Me, André, and Shiloh; I need a good four-legged hero in my life.  The fact that it’s based (loosely I’m sure) on a true story is just a bonus.

  4. Minions
    Rated PG, Release Date- July 10, 2015

    They’re yellow!  They speak their own language!  And they were the most memorable characters from the Despicable Me films.  It’s about time they get their own gig!  My kids and I don’t care what this is about, if it has minions in it, we’re seeing it.  Plus, Sandra Bullock voices the super villain, Scarlett Overkill.

  5. Pan
    Expected MPAA Rating PG, Release Date- Expected July 24, 2015

    Oh Neverland, how I’ve missed you.  This re-imagining tells the tale of Peter Pan before he becomes the notorious child-like hero that we all know and love.  Garrett Hedlund plays the infamous Hook, though Dustin Hoffman’s mustache will forever live on in my heart.  I love a magical film on the big screen, and I hope this lives up to my expectations.

There you have it, the top 5 movies I’m most excited to see this summer.  And, yes, I realize that a few of them actually have a spring debut, but I’ll be in a summer state of mind by then.

Moth Among Butterflies

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It’s easy to get caught up comparing ourselves to the fashion models that fill our Pinterest boards and Instagram feeds.  And sometimes the mirror doesn’t help with our lack of confidence.

A centrally placed zit (thanks new primer), and curls in every direction contribute to my confidence woes at times.  I can do my hair and make-up exactly the same as the day before, only to have it turn out not quite right.  Then there’s the allergies, blah.  If there’s one thing that can make you feel less beautiful, it’s allergies.  Runny nose?  Check.  Itchy throat and eyes?  Check.  It’s easy to feel like a moth among butterflies, a weed among flowers.

Abundant perfect-looking, blemish-free women in the media make us forget the one truth to appearances: outward beauty lies in the eye of the beholder.  I can’t count how many times I’ve pointed out someone’s looks to my husband, only to hear him completely disagree.

If our faces revealed our character, maybe we’d care more about our integrity than our eyebrows.  In a perfect world, right?! (please excuse the idealistic INFP in me).  Until then, put on your confidence like you would your favorite pair of heels, or sneakers, and ROCK IT!  Nothing’s prettier than feeling good in your skin.  Just don’t forget the tissues and nasal spray.