Happy Holidays!


turquoise balls 2

My figurative plate is filled with activities, friends and family while my literal plate is becoming brimmed with goodies. I’ll be back in the new year. I wish you the merriest of holidays!



“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11 NIV Bible


A look back at October as November Slipped In


November seems to have arrived for me quicker than usual. The holidays are just around the corner and I’m still trying to recuperate from the month long writing challenge. If you missed the posts from my #write31days writing challenge on Wisdom From the Animals, you can find all of them here.

October was filled with writing, reading, and teaching. I think, at last count, I was participating in four Bible studies. Obviously, God is working on me and knows I need constant surveillance!

On books, I’d recommend To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee which I reread and  For the Love: Fighting For Grace in a World of Impossible Standards by Jen Hatmaker. I really enjoyed both of these books.

For movies, my recommendations for old releases are The Good Lie about the lost boys of the Sudan starring Reese Witherspoon and The Big Year which is a comedy about amateur bird watchers and the competition to count the most species in a year starring Jack Black, Steve Martin and Owen Wilson. The best new release that we saw was The Martian starring Matt Damon and based on the book by Andy Weir. So excellent!

In the music category for October, I downloaded a lot of Andrew Peterson. I particularly like The Burning Edge of Dawn CD and Behold The Lamb of God CD. I’m pretty excited about Adele’s new music too.

We went to see our son at the end of the month. I was so glad to see my boy. I missed him. He is doing great and school is jam packed with study. He is pursuing his doctorate in Geographical Information Science from the University of Illinois. I have no idea what he does but I’m proud. His advisor is tops in the world in this field so I think he is getting the education he needs as well as an introduction to Chinese since his advisor and most of his doctoral candidate group is Chinese. We ate at some great restaurants in the Champaign/Urbana area and learned a lesson: Never-ever-under-any-circumstance book a hotel room just off campus on a Halloween weekend. Bad idea. 4am. Two nights in a row. Enough said.

Jack got his undergraduate degree from U of I so he was pretty excited to be on campus again. We took the Amtrak train with a sleeper car. An excellent way to travel. You do need earplugs since the train whistle blows at every intersection.

austin and jack

Delta spent almost 2 weeks with my parents in Arkansas. We affectionately refer to her time with them as doggie boot camp.

daddy and delta

That rundown concludes the days of October that fell like fall’s leaves and ushered in November so quickly I barely got a chance to notice.



“Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12 NIV Bible

Wisdom From The Animals: Day 3


Wisdom From The Animals: Day 3

Orangutans spend the majority of their life in the trees. They are the only ape from Asia and live on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo. These gentle creatures share 97% of our DNA and are critically endangered. The mother orangutan only bears young 4-5 times in her lifetime. Her children remain with her sometimes into their teens. According to Orangutan.org, “Such prolonged association between mother and offspring is rare among mammals. Probably only humans have a more intensive relationship with their mothers. Primatologists believe that orangutans have such long “childhoods” because there is so much that they need to learn before they can live alone successfully.”  

A mom’s work never seems to end. I would feed, wipe, bless, burp, clean, snuggle, and dress my children until I felt I performed these actions in my sleep and maybe somedays I did. I had crisis moments when I never wanted to hear someone yell, “Mom” one more time. While at other times, I would gaze at them in wonder that I, who still felt unqualified and like a kid herself, was entrusted with these precious gifts to train and nurture to adulthood. Orangutan moms know that the very survival of their offspring and species depends on them educating their children on how to survive. Don’t we know the same?

This world is tough and children need a parent to educate them. My heavenly Father has educated me in so many ways since I became His child. He is continually training me still. Likewise, no greater responsibility exists for a Christian mom than teaching her child to walk with God. The very survival of our species as Christians depends on it.

“Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.’ Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:28-30

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To view all of my posts from the 31 Days Writing Challenge 2015: Wisdom From The Animals, click on the icon above. I hope you’ll come back to visit over and over again. I’d love for you to follow me on the blog or any of my other social media sites. Thanks! 



Wisdom From the Animals: Day 2


Wisdom From The Animals: Day 2

Are you familiar with the expression, proud as a peacock? Chaucer spun this turn of phrase in The Reeve’s Tale. The expression symbolizes vanity and pride; the kind of pride that makes you think you’re better than others. The male peacock unfurls his magnificent multicolored tail to attract a mate. He parades back and forth showing off his colors trying to entice the female. On occasion, I’ve been known to remark to my children when they were very proud of an accomplishment or proud of how they looked that they were struttin’ like a peacock. But a fine line exists between the type of pride that honors God and the type that doesn’t. I hate to admit it but being prideful is one of those issues that has reared its ugly head in my life at different times. Even hating to admit it shows the work I still need to do in this area. Our high and prideful opinions of ourselves should not be the clothing that we wear. In 1 Peter 3:3,4, Peter states,

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” 1 Peter 3:3.4

Looking good is not the problem. We can be as magnificent as the peacock but if our insides aren’t pretty, no amount of pretty colors and feathers will make us pretty to God or others. I don’t want to be seen as someone who struts with vanity and pride like a peacock. Rather, I want to be viewed by God and others as someone who possesses the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit as the scripture states. My daughter has heard this statement from me many times but it holds true – “pretty is as pretty does.”

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To view all of my posts from the 31 Days Writing Challenge 2015: Wisdom From The Animals, click on the icon above. I hope you’ll come back to visit over and over again. I’d love for you to follow me on the blog or any of my other social media sites. Thanks! 




Welcome to 31 Days of Wisdom From The Animals

Welcome to my 31 Days Writing Challenge 2015! This year my topic is 31 Days of Wisdom From The Animals. I hope you’ll come back to visit over and over again. I’d love for you to follow me on the blog or any of my other social media sites. Thanks! 

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Wisdom From The Animals: Day 1

Isn’t it amazing how a haircut can change your perspective or even change your day? We adopted a pound puppy a little over a year ago. They told us that she was a retriever mix, and yes, she does have some retriever characteristics, but as the months went by her fur kept growing and growing. Delta began to have problems seeing and had to peer out from under her bangs. We tried to help the girl out with cute little bows and ponytails but she just ate them.

I think I’ve tried doing the same thing. Sometimes I let things slide and allow them to affect the way I view the world. These words, behaviors, beliefs, or actions seem small at first but if I don’t pay attention, they often pile up and cause me to see things skewed and through a haze. I’ve even tried to fancy up situations where I don’t have the right view or perspective with cute bows but they’re only bandaids. Paul writes;

“Be very careful, then, how you live -not as unwise but as wise,.” Ephesians 5:15

When I realize that stuff has piled up in my life, I know that the best thing for me to do is get a haircut and clear up my sight. I need to clean house and rid myself of words, behaviors, beliefs, or actions that are not in God’s best interest or mine. Our pound puppy Delta can attest to the importance of a good haircut because once she was blind but now she can see.

Delta dog collage



Tidying the Nest


Earlier in the summer amidst all of the clutter and chaos my house became after we began a renovation on an RV all summer (post to come), I looked around and thought, “This house is a disaster and as soon as the kids move out I’m purging all this stuff BIG time!” Technically, I might have actually said that statement out loud more than a few times. I think my receptors to words like clean, tidy, organized, and stress-free were heightened because I heard these words everywhere associated with Marie Kondo’s book. So, after much hype on blogs and GMA, I drank the koolaid and bought the book.

Ms. Kondo is touted as an organizer extraordinaire. She has developed a method of organizing called the KonMari method that has literally swept Japan’s households clean of clutter. Ms. Kondo describes her methods in detail throughout the book as well as sharing some of her personal history. All of that aside, I was underwhelmed by the book. I’ve read organizing books before, and just maybe I was hoping for a cleaning fairy wand, but I was disappointed.

What I did like about the book:

Her methods for folding are genius. I’m still working through the discarding of my clothes but I’m impressed so far. As a lifetime baller of socks, the idea for storing socks has really helped me save time and helped me to quickly get to the socks that I want. Also, the order and manner of discarding is unique. When I sorted my tops, for instance, the book instructs you to pile all of your tops from everywhere in the house (except the ones in the laundry) together to sort. Instead of room by room or closet by closet, she has you gather all of the like items into the same location before you discard. I found this idea easier than other methods and quicker. Lastly, Ms. Kondo states that the discard will take months. She’s right. Her approach is more comprehensive but I believe it will yield better results. This idea is obvious yet candidly refreshing.


What I did not like about the book:

Some of the practices that she would like you to incorporate as you are tidying are unrealistic and are perhaps better understood in a Japanese culture. I found some of them odd and off-putting. For instance, she suggests that you remove all of the contents from your purse each night, thank the purse for its service and allow it to rest for the evening before refilling the purse in the morning. Not going to happen here. Poor purse. She also requests that you verbally greet your home when you arrive and as you tidy your space and discard items that you thank the items for their service. Again, not for me. These practices are probably a reflection of her Shinto beliefs.

Ms. Kondo also shares parts of her personal history to explain her passion for organizing. I found most of these personal stories distracting to the book’s purpose. One story would’ve been sufficient instead of interspersed throughout the book. Perhaps, these personal insights would’ve been better suited to a memoir rather than a book on organizing. In addition, I also found the English translation glitchy at times. While the words were probably translated right, the overall gist was wonky in these places.


Ms. Kondo’s mantra to use while discarding is: Does it spark joy?  Overall, I’d say this book is a 2.5 stars joy out of 5 stars joy rating. I’m encouraged to use what I like from the book and discard the rest.



So clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk. You’ve had a taste of God. Now, like infants at the breast, drink deep of God’s pure kindness. Then you’ll grow up mature and whole in God.” 1 Peter 2:1-3 The Message


Which one?


Every day we make decisions. Some are huge and others are tiny in comparison. Still, others are made without us ever really engaging our brains. We’ve made the same choice so many times we don’t even register it. More likely than not, we do what we do because our mama or daddy did it that way or we saw it done that way or perhaps we learned it along the way. Then one day, an opinion opposes our own and suggests a new alternate path. The suggestion might’ve come from a person or something you’ve heard or read but all of a sudden, you find yourself faced with this eternal question.

Which one?

  1. Thick or thin pizza crust?
  2. Creamy or crunchy peanut butter?
  3. Install the toliet paper to be pulled over the top or pulled from underneath the roll?
  4. Squeeze the middle of the toothpaste tube or squeeze from the bottom of the tube?
  5. Close the lid or leave it open when flushing the toilet?
  6. Sleep with the pretty side of the sheets against you or the seam side towards you?
  7. Eat with both hands above the table or 1 hand above and 1 hand in your lap?
  8. Coke or Pepsi?
  9. Leave book jackets on books or take them off?
  10. Remove the ‘don’t remove’ tags from pillows, blankets,etc. or leave them on?
  11. Take a bath or don’t take a bath before bed?
  12. Sweet or unsweet tea?
  13. Heinz or Hunt’s ketchup?
  14. Brand name or generic?
  15. Decorative pillows or no pillows on the bed?

So many choices – Which ones will I choose today?



“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” 1 Corinthians 1:27 NIV Bible