• house flowers

    Broken

    It was broken, of that I was certain.   My arm, grasped firmly by my friend, throbbed at the pressure being forced against it.   A group of long-time neighborhood friends had gathered in the middle of the street to play a game of Red Robin.   Two teams facing each other, ready to have some fun.   “Red Robin, Red Robin, send Ethan right over!” my team yelled in unison.   With that, the shortest, but fiercest, member of the opposing team ran in my direction, focusing all his energy on my scrawny left forearm.   My friend and I held tightly to each other’s arms, refusing to let go.   Ethan plunged into us, but with no luck.  …

  • tin man warm heart

    25 Simple Ways to Warm the Hearts of Family, Friends, and Community

    After a heart-wrenching week of record-breaking violence and death in our country, I came across the following comment online:   “the world surely needs their hearts warmed. I look at what has happened in the last week in Ohio and Texas, and I certainly cannot discredit the notion that exposure to things that desensitize us to violence surely must at least make it easier to commit violence. Surely, if the right stories, films, plays, books, and pictures can warm hearts, the wrong ones can make them cold. With what we are exposed and have access to, is it any wonder that ‘men’s hearts shall fail them?’ Take courage mothers and fathers, and keep warming those hearts, and do all you can…

  • hero

    Emotional Connection: The Missing Puzzle Piece For Boys And Men

    For the past decade, I have been passionate about bringing women together in a spirit of friendship, unity, and authentic connection. For me, this was a divine commission. Together, women of all ages and in all walks of life have been reminded that we are not meant to walk this life alone, that we were made for connection, and that the small things in life are really the big things: eye contact, a friendly smile, a listening ear. We also discovered the power food has to bring us together. Potluck dinners, lunch dates, and tea parties fed our bodies and nourished our souls. Surely, few things are as powerful as gathering together around a table. No words can adequately express…

  • change flowers

    Change: My New Friend

    Bright sunlight filtering through the bedroom drapes was the first thing I noticed as I awoke from a restful night’s sleep. Rolling over and climbing out of bed, I made my way to the kitchen for a glass of water and a quick glance at the clock. 8:56 a.m. Today was my own since my children were spending the day with their grandparents. The thought of my cozy bed quickly lulled me back to the bedroom; however, before I had a chance to climb back between the sheets, I had a curious thought: “Today is the perfect opportunity for change.” The prospect of incorporating a few changes into my daily routine was appealing to me, so, rather than lounging in bed all morning, then quickly dressing, grabbing a bite…

  • paintbrush painting

    Painting Your Life In Color: In Honor Of Suicide Prevention Week

    Personal Note: The beginning of this poem was written during a dark time in my life. I’m so glad I held on because the light eventually reappeared, shining through the darkness. It was at that time, a time filled with light and hope, that I was able to complete the final verses of the poem. Darkness and Light. Life is meant to be filled with both. It’s the contrast between the two that makes life so beautiful. ———————————————————————-   You long to fly away from this dark, broken, cruel world because…   you can’t breathe, nor do you want to, everything is bleak, you welcome the night.   Hope is gone, not even a flicker, the light you sought, forever gone.…

  • smoke fire

    Smoke And Mirrors: A Letter To Our Local Firemen

    Fall is, by far, my favorite time of year. However, fall is also my nemesis, for it is usually during this time of year that I fall prey to the temptation to do all things creative. For instance, one fall season, this is what was simultaneously taking place at our house: Holiday Craft Boutique preparations Reading Fair preparations Geography Fair preparations Allow me to paint a visual for you, lest you think these preparations just magically occurred in the peace and serenity of our immaculately clean home. Picture in your mind, if you will, a normally half-put together house turned COMPLETELY upside down. Imagine yourself entering our front door and standing in our living room, gazing in one direction, then another, trying unsuccessfully to see the…

  • eyes

    Bringing Joy To The Brokenhearted

    It was his eyes that made me do it.   The soft smile on his face did nothing to mask the deep loneliness in his eyes—the type of loneliness that comes from experiencing the death of a beloved spouse.   “Would you be interested in joining our family for dinner and Family Night this week?” I asked him, as we sat with a small group of people who had gathered for the evening.   It was a spontaneous invitation, really, and for a moment I wondered if I hadn’t been too impulsive. After all, with my urgent need for rest, and the paralyzingly social anxiety I’d been battling for the past year and a half, I had good reason to…

  • Nurturing Authentic Friendships With The Help Of God

    Nurturing Authentic Friendships With The Help Of God

    Relationships matter to God. Our relationship with Him, as well as our relationship with others, truly matter to Him. With His help, we can nurture relationships with the richest of feelings. When was the last time you experienced the hand of God in the mist of your relationships with family, friends, or strangers? For me, it was a Wednesday evening in the middle of the dinner rush, and I couldn’t have been more grateful. To read more about how God blessed my life that evening in the most unexpected way, head on over to Be Thee Inspired, where I’m guest posting today.

  • Freedom isn't free

    The Fight For Freedom Deserves Our Last Ounce Of Courage

    The evening began with bowls of warm chili and trembling, nervous tummies.   True, my kids had spent the past few weeks in great anticipation of this Chili Dinner and Talent Show, but now that their turn to perform was quickly approaching, they were having second thoughts.   “What have we gotten ourselves into?” they wondered aloud. Their apprehension was palpable.   The time soon arrived.   All three of them nervously gathered around the piano to perform their piano trio, which went off without a hitch.   One down, one to go.   Next, they approached the stage with high hopes that all would go as planned.   My oldest daughter began the performance by sharing the following with the audience. She had…

  • Hands-Free Mama

    Hands Free Mama: Overcoming Technology Addiction The Family-Friendly Way

    Some time ago, our family sat around the table and discussed Technology Addiction.   My husband and I confessed to our children our particular addictions (which may or may not have something to do with Craigslist and an iPad). The kids shared insightful suggestions on how we might have a more balanced approach with technology, suggestions like:   Don’t use it when we’re in the room   Use it only at certain times of the day   Don’t carry it with you   Have tech-free days   Then we ate dessert, which is, of course, the BEST part of Family Night! We had warm fry bread with honey AND a cantaloupe smoothie—because we couldn’t decide between the two. Life is…