Who Are You Spending the Day With?


My alarm rings and I hear Hannah Keeley say, “Get Your Butt Outta Bed!” I’ve been listening to her podcasts lately.  As I dress, I put on the scarf that my daughter bought me so she visits me in my mind for a bit.  As I apply my eyeliner, I think of Judy and her teaching me how to use my new eyeliner.  I hear her teaching me, “one slow steady line,” and then I hear her teasing me about being cheap when I worry about wasting some. I apply deodorant and remember the conversation about Susan’s sister-in-law who applies an antiperspirant at bedtime and not first thing in the morning, so I hear Susan’s gentle voice. I greet the family members that are physically here in my home and then I check my text messages to see a video from Nicole, a text from Lori and a missed call from Kevin. When I put my dirty laundry into the washing machine, I think of Susan who recommended this front loader and later I may read a book that Becky recommended, look up a scripture that Kim sent me and think of Kelly and Lori and our plans for our Godly Girls Club on Friday. I notice the way that Linda G. arranged my knick knacks on the table and I laugh when I remember Suzanne and our conversation at lunch yesterday.

You see, even though today I plan to be home alone, I am never alone because of the imprints others have left on my memory and in my life.  All the instruction, recommendations and lessons come to mind as I go about my day. All of the skills I have were taught to me by others and I continue to be encouraged by the “teacher” long after the lesson has been learned.  I am very appreciative of all of those who have taken the time to recommend the best lipstick, given me the easiest recipe for Mac and Cheese or taught me to “Pick up the big stuff so it looks like you cleaned.” Long before Facebook and websites were dedicated to Life hacks, friends shared their wisdom.  Thank you, friends!  I’m glad the memory of you will be with me today.  Now let’s go grab a cup of tea and relax with the book that Becky recommended.  Have a good day!

Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.
                                                          –Deuteronomy 32:2
FYI – Life hack (sometimes written Lifehack) – A real word!


  1. a strategy or technique adopted in order to manage one’s time and daily activities in a more efficient way.

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The Good Friday Story

aa0e1ad2d67bf1ce0bd254d3a3601881_is-clipart-sore-feet_301-279Maybe not THE Good Friday story, but definitely in our family, the following story is referred to often.  Paul will say, “Does she know the Good Friday story?” or “You should tell him the Good Friday story.”  It is definitely a story that has survived the years and the telling.

It was a good Friday, the Friday before Easter and my kids had the day off of school. They were 13,11, 9 and Paul was 4.  We didn’t have plans for the day except for my nephew coming to install a new kitchen floor for us so the kids were all in their separate rooms, probably playing a video game of their choosing.  My friend who is a pastor’s wife called and said that our family should join her church family for their cross walk.  Annually this group of worshipers carry a wooden cross through the streets of town to represent Jesus carrying the cross to His crucifixion. Of course, I thought it was a good idea, but my older kids were reluctant to be drug away from their activities.  I nagged at them to remind them of the true reason for the season and that they should thank Jesus that they were out of school for the day.  They were donning their hats, gloves, and coats as I nagged and preached.  It’s what moms do to instill righteous guilt during the Easter season. We arrived at the church complete with somber scowls and bad attitudes. Between taking their turn carrying the cross, they would come to me and whine, “I have snow in my hood.” “My socks are wet.” “My glove has a hole in it and my fingers are cold.”  Each complaint was met with my canned answer. “Jesus suffered a lot more than this, so keep going.” Each time, they came to me with their complaint and I responded with the same answer.  Last but not least, Paul came up to me and quietly said, “Before I say anything, I want you to know something…Jesus was NOT wearing these shoes!!!”  I gasped!  You see, Paul had a physical disability and had received new orthotics the day before. He received these braces that fit inside his shoes with the instructions that he was to wear them for an hour, then take them off for two hours, then try to wear them for another hour and then take a break for two hours until his feet adjusted to wearing them.  I had totally forgotten that he had them on as I whisked him out the door.  The poor kid’s feet were swollen on the bottom and I didn’t carry the cross to the church, but I carried him to the church.  I’m not sure if scripture says what kind of shoes Jesus was wearing that day, I don’t believe any and at that moment, Paul wishes he would’ve been the same.

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I Am An Adult!

unnamedPosted on the door of my studio was a sign that I scrawled out on a piece of paper.  It says, “Screaming, “I am an adult” means that you are NOT!!”

I took it down because I felt it contained a negative message and the fact that I saw it every time I entered the room did not put me in the positive mood I try to maintain.  SO, the note came down, but the message still rings true in our house.

Our son turned 18 in October.  It has been a journey since then.  He has battled with us and probably with himself over if he truly is an adult or not. We should’ve expected this process to involve more than the date on the calendar. Though we celebrated his birthday with family and friends the Sunday prior, he celebrated his actual birthday while my husband and I attended a church meeting.  A typical Thursday night, we return home from the meeting and our house smells like cigar smoke.  WHAT?!  We don’t allow cigar smoking in our house.  But, his reply was, “I’m allowed.  I’m 18!” We’ve been trying to teach him the difference between being legal and being allowed ever since.  He’s taken up smoking, enjoys R-rated movies even more and buys an occasional lottery ticket. He does all of these things for the thrill of showing off his state ID (He doesn’t have a drivers’ license.) He loves to show others that he truly is an adult.  That’s what the laminated card proves!

I wish it were that easy.  I wish we knew what stage in life we were in simply based on our chronological age.  It would sure take the guess work out of things.  We would enter school at age 6, no wondering if we should send kids on the younger side of the cut-off date.  School would be entered at 6. Three would be the age that kids were allowed to view television, potty training would be successful at 2, iPods could be gifted at 12, iPhones at 14, ears pierced at 10, learners’ permit at 15.5, license at 16.5, dating at 16, etc.  I think it would be wonderful if maturity simply matched actual age.  It would save me from quoting things like, “You are acting like a two-year-old,” and “That looks like it was done by a toddler.” Not to mention, “I don’t care if she has a cell phone or not, you aren’t old enough to have one.” There is definitely a lot of gray area in all of this.

So, my son is an adult.  The government says he is.  (He is, however, an adult who is still not able to consume alcohol.) I think instead of a State ID to deem this, though, we should have a Maturity ID.  I read a great definition of maturity.  Maturity is: The ability to stick with a job until it’s finished; The ability to do a job without being supervised; The ability to carry money without spending it; and The ability to bear an injustice without wanting to get even. When he can achieve that I’ll get him the laminated statement of his adulthood.  Heck, I’ll even engrave it on a medal for him to wear around town.  I am so looking forward to him becoming an adult and a mature adult at that!

But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.  –Hebrews 5:14



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Today’s Chuckle


Four-year-old Kevin was fascinated with a dead fish floating in the river.  After studying it for hours, he asked his mother, “Will the fish go to heaven?”

Knowing she was out of her theological league, she said, ‘We’ll ask Pastor Dave on Sunday when we get to church.”

“Why? Does he know lots about fish?”

Originally published in Nov/Dec 1994 issue of The Christian Reader.

Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
    and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then they said among the nations,
    “The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us;
    we are glad.   –Psalm 126:2-3


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Miserly Moms Recipe – Baking Mix

recipe-575434_960_720In an attempt to clear the clutter of my home, I looked to my bookshelves.  So many books, so little time.  And, my cookbooks?  I’ve mentioned them here before.  I LOVE books and I LOVE cookbooks and there has been one book on my shelf for years that was a little of both.  Miserly Moms by Jonni McCoy. I read it cover to cover once and wanted to share it with a friend.  I didn’t give it to her, however, because there were a couple of recipes in it that I wanted to save for myself.  Every morning as I sit to journal at my dining room table, I see the title and think I should give that to my friend so she can learn from it too.  But, I never take the time to look for the recipe to copy down. Last week that day came.  I got out the book, I scanned the index, I found the recipe (& a couple more) and I made copies of the pages I wanted.  I delivered the book to my friend explaining that it was intended for her for years.

Today, I again, face clutter.  Now, instead of one book on a shelf, I have 5 pages of paper with recipes on them from the book.  Highly unlikely that I will use any of them…except for perhaps the one that I sincerely wanted and meant to copy in the first place.  So, to clear the clutter again, I am copying the recipe here and the wasted paper and loose pages will leave my home….never to be thought of again.  Oh, and next time, I’ll give the book away and just search the internet for a recipe!

Baking Mix (Similar to Jiffy Mix or Bisquick)

8 C Flour

1 1/4 C Nonfat Dry Milk Powder

1/4 C Baking Powder

1 TBS Salt

2 C Shortening

Combine flour, milk powder, baking powder, and salt in a very large bowl. Cut in shortening until it resembles coarse cornmeal. Store in tightly closed covered container in a cool place (cupboards are fine). Makes about 10 Cups.

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Spring. Here Today. Gone Tomorrow.


Isn’t that what it feels like?  Today the sun is shining and tomorrow it may snow and temperatures will drop.  Oh, life in western Pennsylvania.  Many of us choose to live here and when asked why we say, “I like the four seasons.”  However, truth be told, we like some more than others and it usually depends on the season we are currently in.  For example, winter is great during that first snowfall when the flakes fall big and fluffy and cover the ground in a pure, clean, blanket of white…..AND Christmas hasn’t arrived yet.  The same type of snowfall in March causes people to get angry!

Summer is a joy when it is 75 degrees and sunny and you have the day off and are sitting in the shade beside the river.  The same season is unbearable when it is 100 degrees with high humidity and it’s the day you had scheduled to take the kids to the zoo.

Fall, my favorite, with crisp air, cinnamon apple scents in candles, pumpkin spice in everything and a sweatshirt to chase the chill…however, sometimes Fall is invaded by an early Halloween winter like snow which makes leaf pick up a nightmare.

Spring.  All things bright and beautiful. The daffodils are poking through the ground, the buds are forming on the trees and yet some of them will be nipped off with that lingering surprise night of frost.  Spring, please don’t come too soon, but please don’t make us wait!

Today I read a scripture I don’t remember reading before. Hosea 6:3:  Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.”

Actually, we should acknowledge the Lord in winter rains, spring rains, autumn rains and summer rains, since as surely as the sun rises, he is appearing there….he created them all!



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Stage Mom – Theater Memories – Part 2

theater-masksWhen I drove my daughter to rehearsals every day last week, I was struck with a different memory each day.  You can check out my blog from yesterday to get caught up, but I’ll share some more fun ones today!

When my oldest was selected to be a munchkin for the Sound of Music, I dreaded creating her costume.  I’m not a seamstress (as you can tell from yesterday!) and I fretted and worried where we would come up with her colorful costume.  I called a bridal shop and they were happy to sell me a garbage bag full of old bridesmaid dresses for a reasonable price.  These dresses were adult dresses in large sizes and my daughter was in elementary school and very small.  How would I ever cut the dress down to size and have it look right?  As I stood looking at my daughter in this huge dress and complained to my husband, he simply grabbed fist fulls of material in the back, got out a pair of scissors and cut straight down the middle of the back of the dress.  While my daughter stood there, he stitched the dress up with her in it and told me that this was a costume and that no one would see the craftsmanship of the sewing from the audience.  This valuable lesson carried me through many shows and that costume was worn as a Halloween costume on more than one occasion and also got to appear in a different production of The Wizard of Oz!

Being cast as a lead as a freshman was a huge honor for my daughter.  I had never heard of All Shook Up so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Her grandparents were in Florida and I asked the director if I thought I should fly them home to see this show.  She gave my daughter rave reviews and thought that Mimi and Papa would hate to miss it.  Not wanting them to have to miss too much of their already scheduled vacation, we made arrangments for them to fly home, spend two nights here and then return to the sunshine.  A whirlwind trip.  It looked so good on paper, but then a huge winter storm hit.  They returned home, but the roads were so bad, we weren’t even sure that “the show would go on!”  Thankfully it did go on after an hour delay (to make sure that all the cast arrived) and though inconvenient and extremely stressful the performance was definitely worth it. (There is even a story about the flight cancellations and rerouting that my mother in law could share that involved her running through the airport without her shoes on because she was so rushed to catch her flight, but that is her story to share!)

Show week always involves a very demanding schedule.  There is school, homework, rehearsals and rush, rush, rush!  Always running late to get to the dressing room for makeup and warm ups.  Always a blur but usually successful in the end.  One night as we raced as a family to get the chores done, dinner on, homework completed, costumes ready, etc, I sent Paul to check on the chickens while I cleaned the kitchen.  The chickens were fed, our bags were gathered and we headed out.  As we entered the school and were walking down the hall, Paul pulled an egg out of his pocket!  An egg?!  He said, “I forgot to leave this at home!”  What are we going to do with an egg as we had tickets to watch the show? I told him to take it out to the car which he did and we took our seats in the audience.  After the show, we gathered our actor and headed out.  Paul called out, “don’t forget about the egg.”  I didn’t forget about the egg, I unlocked the car door and took my seat behind the wheel.  The minute I sat, I knew where he had left the egg before the show….on the driver’s seat of the car!  He reminded me of the egg, but I just didn’t think he would put it on my seat!  Never a dull moment in this family!

I needed to schedule shoulder surgery one spring during “show season.” I was concerned about my recovery because I didn’t want to miss any of my daughter’s involvement in this show.  I asked the doctor if he thought I would be recovered by opening night which was a week away and he said, “Seriously? You’re not IN the show, are you?” I said that I wasn’t in it, but that I wanted to attend.  He assured me that I would be well enough to attend. I don’t think he understood how important a mom is to a high school actress on show week. I’m sure he didn’t know that I would be an important part of her performance.  Moms set the tone for the family and we are sometimes in charge of hair, costumes, makeup, and rides, but we are also integral in handling jitters, frustrations, lost props, criticisms and all the other drama that the Drama Club entails.  Only a Stage Mom would understand for sure!




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