Saturday smiles: Words and heroes edition

A book sale with 40,000 used books. Sounds delightful, right? And, oh, it was. For the most part. Somewhat overwhelming, but we walked away with a box of books for $15. If we go back today, it’s $10 a box, but that might be excessive. (As if buying a box of books when you haven’t fully unpacked the boxes of books in your new house isn’t already excessive. Don’t judge us. We’re book nerds.)

Also, this.


I got copies of the Thriving Family edition in which my first of three articles appears. Name in print=giddiness. (If you get the magazine, I’m on page 27.)

Tomorrow, Phil and I are heading to Philly to catch a Phillies game so he can cross another stadium off his list and buy a shirt to add to his collection. Last night he informed me that the new interim manager of the Phillies is Ryne Sandburg. (SHRIEK!) Because the only thing that could make sitting in a stadium watching a baseball game between two teams you care nothing about is sitting in the same stadium as one of your childhood baseball heroes. I mean, he won’t know I’m there or anything, but that might be enough reason to wear a Cubs shirt and shout obnoxiously. (Of course, if you know me at all, you’ll know that either of those things would bring WAY too much attention to me so it won’t happen.)

And in the last two days, I’ve seen 6 hot air balloons in the sky. I love hot air balloons.

We’re headed to a missions aviation fair today at a local airport. Looking forward to seeing the kids’ reactions to planes up close.

Saturday smiles: Rise and shine edition

A morning in our house. All times are approximate.

5:35 a.m.: Boy child walks into bedroom. “Mommy, I need breakast.” (He leaves off the “f.”)

5:37 a.m.: Mom staggers to the kitchen, blindly grabs a box of Life cereal and a bowl, pours cereal and milk, offers a spoon to boy child, who evenly distributes his cereal into the milk. Mom smiles at his preciseness then staggers back to bed.

5:45 a.m.: Boy child wanders back in to bedroom. “Mommy, I need more.”

5:46 a.m.: Mom shuffles back out to the kitchen, refills the cereal bowl with Life and milk. Back to bed.

5:50 a.m.: Boy child returns with whine in his tone. “Mommy, you gave me too much!” Dad intervenes and asks if boy child would like to crawl into bed with Mommy while Dad gets ready for work. Boy child crawls into bed. “On Dad’s side!”

6:10 a.m.: Mom sneaks a peek at boy child, who has gotten quiet. His eyes are closing and opening slowly. Mom wonders if maybe a few more minutes of sleep are in the cards.

6:12 a.m.: Boy child rolls over, points a finger at Mommy’s nose and says sweetly, “Hi, Mommy.” He repeats this three times, each time getting closer to sticking his finger up Mommy’s nose.

6:15 a.m.: Boy child is fully awake and begins rolling around on his side of the bed. “Stinky feet for breakfast!” he giggles as he puts his feet in Mom’s face. Mom pretends to sleep, to no avail.

Sometime between 6:15 a.m. and 6:30 a.m.: The girl child has awakened, used the potty and is changing the toilet paper roll. She brings it to the bedroom as an offering, having told her Dad, “It’s never been this hard for me.”

By 6:30 a.m. we are all out of bed, gathering in the kitchen. The girl child is slathering cream cheese on her mini-bagels. The boy child insists he’s still hungry. Dad is eating breakfast. Mom is in desperate need of a shower.

6:50 a.m.: The coffee’s on. The kids are fed. Dad is almost out the door. Now it’s only 12 hours till bedtime. And you wonder why I drink coffee?

keep calm and drink coffee


Saturday smiles: I’ve got the joy edition

There’s a little something bubbling up inside of me right now, and it’s got nothing to do with indigestion.

Call it hope. Joy. A little happy, happy, happy for the Duck Dynasty crowd. :)

I can’t pinpoint a reason and maybe I don’t need to.

But here’s what happy looks like in our house.


The only good thing about drinking hot chocolate because you’re cold after a walk in the last week of May is this amazing chocolate moustache.


Sadly, though, when you “drink” your hot chocolate with a spoon, you don’t get a moustache. But you’re still awesome. (Mom: Do you think we’ll fly away because it’s so windy? Izzy: No! We have bones, so we won’t fly away! Note: She must be learning this from PBS because I never really liked science.)


I love flowers, though my thumb is definitely black more than green. These beautiful roses greeted us on our way to the library, a lovely reminder that even though it was a gray and dreary day, colder than we expected, the weather early in the week made these pretties pop.


And this kid wanted to carry his books home from the library. There are moments, as a parent, when your kids seem older than they are and you get a vision of how they might be as older children, teenagers, maybe even adults. This was one of those moments. Big Man on Campus, anyone?

What’s got you happy this week?

Saturday smiles: little things edition

It’s Mother’s Day weekend, and I didn’t send any cards, and I’m not sure it will be a special day in our house because my husband has worked a grueling schedule this week and has an early start to next week. On the days when I’m tired of being mom and really just want to sit down for 5 minutes without anyone asking for something, I have to try harder to be thankful. Here’s my thanks for the week in pictures. Mother's Day-izzy“Dear Jesus, thank you for our food. And I hope we can get my training wheels on my bike. Amen.” (She looks at me with hope in her eyes. And I have to disappoint her and defer to her father’s expertise.) Mother's Day-corban scooterHe has his own scooter now. And this kid in shorts, a jacket and a helmet while riding a scooter cracks me up every time. Mother's Day-kids holding handsAnd those “aw” moments which sometimes I’m smart enough to capture on the phone while we’re walking. On this day, we were headed to the library. Izzy insists on carrying her own bag now.

Saturday smiles: birthday reflections edition

So, it’s my birthday.

I ran Week 1, Day 3 of Couch to 5K this morning. (My dad: “You’re 35 and can still run?” Har-dee-har-har)

I perused the local treasures at a garage sale down the street and sampled the coffee at my favorite neighborhood roaster.

The kids played outside while I sat on the porch and finished the novel I’m currently reading.

A friend stopped by with a gift and the smell of the lilacs she clipped from the bush at her house is filling my house with my favorite springy scent.


We ate lunch on the porch and the boy fell asleep watching “Toy Story.”

I finished the novel.

I washed some dishes because if I took my birthday as a vacation, we’d be eating off the table and with our hands for the next two days.

We’re back outside.

The sun is shining.

Our bills are paid.

My husband doesn’t know it yet, but I think we’re going out to eat tonight.

Not all is right with the world but today I believe it will be.

Today, I am 35.

And in some ways, I feel life is just beginning.

Saturday smiles: thankful edition


Photo courtesy of Stock Exchange |

I’m away this weekend, attending a writers conference and presenting a workshop as part of the one-day event. So, today, I focus on what I’m thankful for.

  • That my husband’s job is flexible with his time off so we didn’t have to hire a sitter or a beg a friend to watch the kids while he worked and I went away.
  • That my husband enjoys spending time with the kids and has a day full of fun planned with them.
  • That my kids look forward to having a Daddy-Kid weekend so much they don’t even seem to realize I won’t be there.
  • That my husband supports my writing and speaking dreams and encourages me to do things I think are unthinkable.
  • That my friend Carol would let me tag along on her speaking gig and participate in it as well. (She’s as cool as her name would suggest.)
  • That at the end of a rough and eventful week I can still be thankful for family and friends and praise God for His goodness.

What are you thankful for this week?

Saturday smiles: Life edition

Today, the sun is shining and the temperatures are in the 50s and feel like the 50s. Which means spring is drawing us outside.

I see and hear life, and I smile.

The highlights:

Talking to Isabelle while we’re outside with sidewalk chalk. Me: Isabelle can you draw me a picture of the clouds? Izzy: Well, I’m not very good at clouds, but I’ll try. (She then draws a cloud.) Izzy continues: I can draw a pteranodon. (Which she does. So, to clarify, not good at clouds but excellent at extinct animals. Got it.)


Overhearing this in the living room. Phil, looking at something on the computer: “Son of a bee.” (His actual phrase. I did not censor.) Corban, immediately following, “Son of a bee?” Insert uproarious laughter from all parties. (Note to parents: watch what you say. They are listening. We’re still learning this.)

Receiving this awesome prize pack from author Dani Pettrey. Coffee, chocolate, books. I don’t win a lot of things, but this was one great prize.



Isabelle wanting to go to the Good Friday service in town. I’m not sure it’s what she thought it was going to be, but we went because I want to encourage my kids’ faith. On the way out, a woman offered us some treats from her car, so we came home with cupcakes and squeeze tubes of orange gelatin (looks better than it sounds).

Signing another contract for an article I sold earlier this year and receiving a check for the other one.

Registering and planning for a marriage conference this summer. Phil and I are Nashville-bound in July. Woohoo!

And this:


I’m bringing smiles back

This regular Saturday post where I tell you what has made my week has been MIA for a few weeks. Partly because I was feeling sorry for myself and didn’t want to take the time to try to come up with a week’s worth of smiles. (Because truly some weeks it is harder than others.) And partly because we had this BIG event–a 5 year-old’s birthday–and family were in town and life was not ordinary or routine.

So, I return, somewhat reluctantly, and if you missed me, then accept my apology for the absence.

Here’s a short list of what makes me smile this week.

Illustration by Billy Alexander/courtesy of Stock Exchange (

Illustration by Billy Alexander/courtesy of Stock Exchange (

Spring. It’s here, officially. Even though the weather hasn’t played along, I know it’s only a matter of time before walking outside with the kids becomes bearable again and the world bursts with color. It’s my favorite season.

God kept me calm when my son’s head was bleeding profusely. And He kept us safe while driving in the snow to the emergency room. And He’s given us a daughter who jumps in to help and isn’t freaked out by other people’s pain. When we told the nurse that Izzy wanted to watch any procedure on her brother’s head, the nurse asked if she was going to be a nurse or a doctor. “Actually, I’m planning to be a teacher,” she says. And Corban’s head is fine, no stitches required.

I read two great books this week. I can’t wait to tell you about them in April. Watch for the reviews.

I signed a contract for a magazine article I wrote. It’ll be published in an upcoming May/June issue. I’ll share more when the time comes.

We officially own our car. The title came in the mail last week. Getting out of debt feels good, even if it’s hard work in the process. One down, too many more to go.

While calculating our expenses for the upcoming month, I was relieved to realize we might be able to pay them without too much extra help. That’s a relief when lately paying bills causes anxiety.

I applied for a job.

Homemade hot chocolate mix.

Friends who bring a bag of coffee beans to your front door.

A catch-up phone call with an in-town friend.

Okay, maybe the list wasn’t as short as I thought. Guess that’s what happens when you start listing the good. You think of more.

What was good about your week?


Saturday smiles: Hodgepodge edition

I wish all my smiles posts had a theme. Or maybe I don’t because I like variety. The spice of life, you know.

So, here’s the smile-makers from this week.

I sold two articles. Even after years of seeing my name in print on an almost-daily basis, I still get a thrill out of someone wanting to pay me for something I’ve written. Looking forward to sharing the articles with you in a few months, for one, and later this year, for the other.

I read two really great books this week: Forsaken Dreams by MaryLu Tyndall and So Shines the Night by Tracy Higley. I’ll be reviewing both later in the month. If you’re looking for some good inspirational suspenseful romantic fiction, these books have a little bit of all of that and are worth the splurge.

Sometimes I read fiction, and have to finish a book no matter the time of night, to know that things work out all right in the end. When I feel like that’s not true of my life, fiction gives me hope.

So do songs like this one. My husband and I both cried watching this video.

And as usual, the kids came up with some doozies this week.

Me: I’m so glad your grandparents are coming in a week.

Isabelle: So you can leave.

Me: Yes. So I can leave.

Corban: You didn’t get us any juice!

Me: Oh my goodness. Am I fired?

Corban: Noooo. Moms and dads don’t get fired.

And while we were discussing what was in the eggplant casserole, the kids came up with their own casserole combinations.

Isabelle: I would use broccoli, bacon, salt and pepper.

Corban: I would use pencils, coins and Mommy’s head.

Remind me not to let the boy anywhere near the kitchen.

And it’s March, which means spring is coming soon.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI, for one, can’t wait.