My Books

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

On my vacation, I started rereading Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts. It's one of my favorite books and I figured it was a good time of year to read it again. It's all about learning to be grateful, even in hard times. I highly recommend it. I'm considering starting a gratitude journal, like Ann did, writing down three things every day for which I'm thankful. Voskamp noted in her book that in scripture, giving thanks always preceded the miracle. I wonder what miracles could have happened in my life had I been more thankful.

It's the day before Thanksgiving. Why not start giving thanks early and continue it all year long?


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Celebrate This Day

It's Thanksgiving week and there's nothing more timeless than being grateful. I'll post something I'm thankful for each day for the rest of the week. Today, this meme says it all. 

Psalm 118:24 (NLT) says it this way, "This is the day the Lord has made. 
We will rejoice and be glad in it." 

I'm grateful to live another day, this day. It will be unlike any other simply because I'm a day older and so is the whole world. Whatever God makes is good. The creation story in Genesis tells us that. So this day will be good, too, regardless of what happens. Circumstances won't dictate whether my day is good or bad, but knowing the Creator and that He made this day for me is reason enough to celebrate it. Join me?


Monday, November 23, 2015

I Play the Flute

Happy Me Monday on Parenting With a Smile. I bet you didn't know that I play the flute. I started playing it when I was in fourth grade. I was in the school band from then clear through high school. I played the piccolo in my high school marching band and flute for the concert season. Being involved in music all those years was probably one of the highlights of my growing up years. I loved it.

I hadn't played the flute for many years until recently. My high school celebrated its fiftieth anniversary and organized several events in which alumni could participate. One of them was marching in the band again at a football game. My friend, Becky, who was also in the band asked me if I wanted to go. She even had a piccolo I could borrow. So we went and relived our glory days and had a wonderful time. See?
Becky and I at our band reunion.
I guess playing an instrument must be one of those things you never forget how to do, sort of like riding a bike. It felt so good to make music again that soon I was searching Craig's List for a used fIute. I found one and had a few repairs made on it. Next thing you know I was playing it in a trio at church.

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed playing my flute again after all those years. Which makes me wonder, what else have I quit doing that I enjoyed in my younger days? What's stopping me from picking them back up?

Do or did you play an instrument? Is there an hobby you used to enjoy that you no longer do? What's keeping you from trying it again? Sound off in the comments.


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Easier Decisions

Big decisions are rarely easy. But they can become easier when you're trying to please God. Immersing yourself in Him and His Word helps you do that. You get to the point where the world's opinion of you really doesn't matter as much as His opinion of you. That takes a lot of pressure off. So if you're struggling with a decision today, check in with God. Read the Bible. Seek wisdom before deciding.


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

You Are Enough

This is true. God made you perfectly equipped for whatever will come into or go out of your life. Lean into Him and let him carry you when you feel less than. Don't fall for the Enemy's lie that you're lacking. God knows you, loves you, and helps you when you feel you're not enough. Being Enough. Now that's timeless.  Happy Timeless Tuesday.


Monday, November 16, 2015

I Love Dishes

This is a quirky little thing that I share with you this Me Monday, but I love dishes. Not just any dishes, but the glass kind, especially vintage stuff. I love teacups and saucers, old china, crystal, and any other pretty glassware. I love the idea of setting a beautiful table, even though I seldom do. 

I have a large Amish hutch full of my favorite china that I bought with money my grandma gave me years ago before she died with instructions to buy something for myself. I couldn't imagine what I'd buy. But then my husband, who often knows me better than I know myself, said, "What about that china you've been eyeing?" Is it any wonder I love that man? So I went out and bought twelve place settings of Royal Albert Old Country Roses china and I've loved seeing them in my hutch every day since. No regrets here, except maybe that I didn't buy a few more of the serving pieces to go with it.

So today I'm taking you on a tour of my china hutch and some of my favorite pieces it holds. I hope you love them as much as I do.

My Royal Albert Old Country Roses

My grandma's dessert dishes.

My mother-in-law's glasses.
My grandma's party platter set.
Cup and saucer my sister brought me from England.

My happy holiday salt and pepper shakers.
So there you have it. A mini tour of a few of my favorite things. I like to think all my dishes are as happy living in my china hutch as those salt and pepper shakers. And those of us living outside the hutch? We're pretty happy too. And keeping in mind that these beautiful things that I love so much are exactly that. Things. They do not hold my heart and every single one is replaceable. I like to hold things loosely, so if they get lost, broken, burned or stolen, I won't be heartbroken. My heart belongs to God, who can't ever be lost, broken, burned or stolen. And He certainly can't be replaced. A heart properly placed is priceless.

What are some things you love? How tightly or loosely do you hold them? Share a picture in the comments.


Friday, November 13, 2015

Teaching Your Child to Tell the Truth

(This post first appeared on this blog on Sept. 26, 2012)
We've all stood aghast and listened as our child told a whopper of a lie. Sometimes they're so outrageous you don't know whether to laugh or cry! Some lies seem harmless and indeed may be. But others can be signals of a deeper problem with honesty that must be addressed. How to know the difference? And how can you tell for sure when your child is lying and avoid falsely accusing him?
When my children were young I used to ask them one simple question to ferret out lies. I'd say with a smile, "Now is that the truth or is it just a good story?" This paints the child in a good light either way so they're more willing to admit if they just told a lie. It also helps them differentiate the difference between truth and fiction. If it turned out to be "just a good story," I'd say I really liked it, but in this situation, I really need to know the truth. I'd explain it's important to tell the truth when asked so people will know they can trust them. Then I'd ask them again, what the truth is for that situation. They usually were glad to tell the truth then. I made sure to praise them for their honesty and being so trustworthy.
Here are some reasons kids lie:
  • They're afraid of getting in trouble. Who hasn't done this? In our house, the penalty for breaking a rule was greatly reduced or even done away with if they told the truth about it the first time asked.
  • They want to look important. This could signal some self esteem issues. Make sure you praise this child every time you catch them doing something kind, or performing a chore well. Praise them more for character traits you notice than performance. Also, give them some responsibility you know they'll succeed at. Everyone needs a job and a purpose to feel good about themselves. Praise them for their hard work or perseverance, even if the results aren't perfect.
  • They don't know truth from imagination yet. Children younger than five years old may have a hard time knowing what the truth is because their imaginary play world is so real to them. So help them learn what's real from what's pretend before meting out any punishments for lying.
  • To protect someone. This is especially true of older kids. Their friends may do things you wouldn't approve of and your child may lie to keep their actions from you, even if they themselves aren't participating in them. They may fear you'll cut them off from their friend. Assure your child of your love and concern for them as well as for their friend. If possible, partner with them to help the friend. Pray for him and for your child to be a positive influence in their life. Encourage your child to do the same.
Lying can become a prevalent problem that erodes relationships if not addressed when a child is young. Pray for discernment and wisdom as you guide your child toward a life of integrity. And keep a good sense of humor and laugh at the outrageous when it's obvious he's just telling a good story!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Good Plans

The verse on the verse on this meme is what I call my "life verse." In good times and bad, I bring it to mind and it sustains me. It reminds me to thank God for the good times when things are going well and I feel hopeful for the future. In rough times it reminds me that God's good plan for my life is still in process. It isn't finished yet and in the end it will be good. God's promises are always true. There isn't a single one that has failed. He is entirely trustworthy with my life. And with yours. This verse gives me tremendous comfort and hope. Look it up in your Bible and read it in its full context. Jeremiah 29:11. A healthy dose of hope.


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Life is Beautiful

Most of life isn't spent on the highs or lows. Most of our days are ordinary, small, even mundane. Embrace those days. That's where the greatest beauty lies. Look for that beauty, then treasure it. Life is beautiful and timeless in all its forms. Happy Timeless Tuesday.


Monday, November 9, 2015

I Love Roses

It's Me Monday (again?) and I must tell you that I love roses. How much do I love roses? Well, my youngest daughter's middle name is Rose if that gives you a clue. Now, most girls love to get roses from their sweethearts. I do, too. But what I love even more is my own rose garden. Growing my own roses is something I've come to love as much as receiving a whole bouquet of them. As a matter of fact, when we buy a house, one of the first things I like to do is plant roses because it really doesn't feel like home without them. And if the house already has a rose garden? Well, that's just a sign that it's probably the right house for us. :)

Back yard rose garden

Roses from my garden
We've lived in our current house for fifteen years now. But when we first moved in there was no landscaping whatsoever because it was a brand new house. Over time we added trees, grass, and all those things that make a house look nice. But the rose garden was still missing. So for Mother's Day, my husband got me a rose garden. (I know. He's the best, right?) I picked out a rose bush for each child and grandchild, seven bushes in all. I cared for them with all the love I had for the people they represented.

Over the years, I've had to replace a few bushes that didn't do well, but I love that garden. I delight in going out on a beautiful Arizona morning and cutting flowers from my bushes to bring inside. The picture on the left is one of the many bouquets I've made from my rose bushes.

I also love cutting my roses and taking them to cheer people up. They love the flowers, but even more than that, they love that they came from my own garden.

Front yard climbing rose
Do you have a certain flower you love? Do you grow them? Tell me about it in the comments. And have a great Monday!


Friday, November 6, 2015

Forgiving When Children Disappoint

(This post first appeared on this blog on July 4, 2012. It has been one of my most viewed posts, so I'm rerunning it today.)

No matter how great your kids are, they will probably disappoint you. I'm not talking about small disappointments like forgetting to pick up their toys or clean their room when you ask. I mean deep disappointments that hurt your heart and make you wonder what their future holds.

When they lie to you about where they've been, announce they're pregnant, experiment with drugs, or consistently break curfew, how do you forgive them and keep loving them? Obviously, there are no easy answers. But here are ten things you may want to consider.

  1. Remember your child is trying to find his way in the world. He will make mistakes. Just because he's using bad judgment now doesn't mean he always will. 
  2. Look for any positive quality in your child and focus on it.Let him know you appreciate that quality. For instance, "I love how you're so tender with your girlfriend. You'll make someone a wonderful husband someday." You act as a mirror to your child. Hold up a positive image of him so he can live up to it.
  3. Catch him doing something right and either thank him for it or comment on it. If he picks up his dirty dish and carries it to the sink, thank him. Or say, "You're getting really good at picking up after yourself." Show him you notice the good in him and not just the bad.
  4. Hold him accountable. Let natural consequences be his greatest teacher. If your child won't get up to go to his summer job, let him sleep. Eventually, he'll get written up or fired. Great! This will teach him he must be responsible with his job if he wants to have the money he wants or needs.
  5. Don't make his problem your problem. You can advise, pray, and possibly help, but if he wants to make a bad decision, he will, and there's not much you can do about it. Talk to him about it and decide what the consequences will be.
  6. Speaking of consequences, set them and stick to them. Or better yet, let your child decide what he thinks his consequences should be.Often, they're harder on themselves than you would be.
  7. Pray for your child and let her know you're praying for her. Even if she seems to resent it, I believe deep down, she appreciates it and even expects it.
  8. Keep showing affection. It doesn't have to be hugs and kisses, but a pat on the back, a hand on the shoulder or a smile from across the room convey that you're happy they're your child no matter what you're all going through.
  9. Keep a sense of humor. What would happen if you laughed instead of got mad? How much tension would that eliminate from your home atmosphere? Try it. You'll love the result.
  10. Offer grace. Your child blew it in some way. He expects a punishment of some kind, but seems to be genuinely sorry for what he did. Surprise him by wiping the slate clean. No punishment this time. It's what God did for us when he let Jesus die in our place. We were forgiven when we didn't deserve it and you can give your child the same experience. It sends him a powerful message of how deeply you love him.
When children disappoint us it feels like the end of the world, but it's really not. Keep in mind that most parents disappoint their children, too, so we're all on level ground. Keep loving, laughing, and praying for your child. God has them right where he wants them and is teaching them things an easier path may not have. And don't miss the lessons he's teaching you on this journey. It's all good when it's in God's hands.

How have you coped when your child disappointed you? How have you handled it when you disappointed your child?


Thursday, November 5, 2015

Control Issues

There are things we can control and things we can't. It takes wisdom and acceptance to figure out which is which. But once you do, it becomes easier to release the things you can't control and focus your attention on what you can. Change happens, not only externally, but internally. You'll find there's a certain peace in letting go of what you can't control, especially if you're able to turn it over to God, who can easily do what you can't. We all have control issues. The beginning of mastering them starts with ourselves. Self-control. If we can't control ourselves, we certainly can't control things outside ourselves, including others. So let's focus on learning to control our emotions, our speech, our behavior, our bad habits, our eating and any other thing that demands our attention from within. We're all we really have control over. So let the other stuff go. Breathe a sigh of relief that you don't have to deal with everyone's issues. Because really, don't we have plenty of our own?


Tuesday, November 3, 2015


I admit unplugging from electronics is a hard thing for me to do. But there is value in it. When you unplug, you see things you otherwise miss like the faces of those you love, the sunshine streaming through your window, the beauty (whether simple or lavish) of your home. You hear things you otherwise tune out like birdsong, the sound of the dog lapping water, and children laughing. But unplugging isn't just about electronics. It's about releasing the things that hold you. Letting go of the world and hanging tight to God and who He made you to be. Sometimes we have to fit into a certain mold to function at work or in our roles in the family. Unplugging allows you to stretch back into your God-given shape. You can breathe and relax just being yourself.

I unplug by reading or taking a walk or playing a game with my family. It's downtime that I enjoy without feeling the weight of responsibilities. And when I jump back into the fray, I'm refreshed, more energetic and happy. I'm better at coping with whatever life throws at me. It's important time that is never to be viewed as wasted.

How do you unplug? Is unplugging something that comes easy or is it hard to do?


Monday, November 2, 2015

I Love Scarves

Happy Me Monday! In my home state of Arizona it's just now starting to cool off and feel slightly like fall. To desert rats like me, that means the temps are cool enough (below 80) to open the windows at night even if the days are still in the 80s or above. This week has been unusually pleasant with temps dropping into the low 60s at night, which is fabulous. The highs were only in the 70s for a couple days there. But enough of the weather report. What I'm really excited about is that it's almost cool enough to wear scarves!

I love scarves. I actually use them year round, but more as shawls during the summer months for use in cold, air conditioned buildings, rather than as actual neck warmers. I just stuff one in my purse and off I go into triple-digit outdoor temps, but still prepared for any freezing grocery stores or restaurants that I might walk into. 

The hubs and me out to dinner. I'm wearing one of
my favorite scarves. 
But what I really love is when the outside air cools off enough that I can accessorize with scarves. Really, they're just a larger form of jewelry. Who needs a necklace when your neck is covered by a beautiful scarf? But unlike jewelry, they have the added benefit of keeping my neck warm. Did I mention I'm a winter wimp? I get cold easily. But with a scarf around my neck, not only do I look fashionable, I'm also keeping warm. 

There are so many ways to wear scarves, too. It's not like it's the old same thing over and over. Here's a great video to get you started on some fresh ways to wear your scarf

The other thing I love about scarves is that they hide a neckline that is a tad too low. Just add a scarf and hide whatever you want to. And it's way cheaper than getting a new top. You're welcome.

So there's a new tidbit you may not have known about me. I'm a scarf lover and proud of it.

Do you wear scarves? Why or why not? What do you like about scarves?