Cherish the Now




Snuggles and hugs, freely given,

Eyes bright with laughter today;

Like apples of gold and of crimson,

I cherish their laughter at play.




Leaves turning colors so vibrant,

Crisp autumn air in these days;

Like pumpkins all shapes and all sizes,

I cherish my munchkins today.



My munchkins those many years ago.


Time passes on – this I notice

As summertime turns into fall;

Do I cherish and notice each moment

Of my youngsters, those short and those tall?




I catch in my mind sweet surprises

To hold in my heart from now on

As the seasons keep moving and changing

My love ever and always lives on.

Pinterest Cherish the Now




How Playing Games Can Help a Child Learn About Life


playing games helps prepare kids for lifeA few years ago my daughter and her cousin confessed to a younger sibling that they almost always cheated when they played the game Go Fish with her. That’s why little sister never won. The misdeed happened long enough ago that they feared no repercussions for their dishonesty.  Apparently, their conscience had finally convinced them that the truth should be spilled.

Cheating in games isn’t a new thing.  It happens because we want to win.  

Why is it that losing is so difficult?  Is it because we want to be better, bigger, and brighter than our opponent?  Is it because we feel the need to prove ourselves?  Do we feel the need to show others how smart or efficient we are – or certainly that we’re smarter than the other person? Or is it just because we’re kids and our natural inclination is to desire to best others?

playing games helps prepare for life

Whatever the reasons, I think it’s fairly safe to say that all kids (and adults) struggle with wanting to go first, to have the highest score, and to cheat, at times, in order to “win”.

We forget that we’re not really a winner if we’ve cheated to get there.

preparing games helps prepare for life

There are, however, some things our kids can learn – especially if we’re there to help them in this journey – from playing games. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing Memory, Sorry, Chutes and Ladders, Monopoly, Rook, Scum, Basketball, Softball, Taboo, Bible Trivia, Tribond, or any other game, there are things that ought to be learned from playing games with others.

The sad thing is I’ve watched parents or uncles or aunts “help” a child win by helping them cheat.  The adults so desperately want the kid they love to come out on top that they succumb to cheating.  Not only do others often notice, their child does as well.  How can we teach them honesty if we don’t model it ourselves?!

It’s also true that rules to games have changed over the years.  Recently Dave played a brand new game with a child and was dismayed at how the rules have changed.  With this set of instructions, a player can move a token out of Start on any number!  Previously, only a card drawn with a one or two on it would permit a player to move.  I couldn’t find the new rules online, but that’s how they were written with this brand-new-for-Christmas-game.  With this game, there was no waiting. Shame, shame.  How are children going to learn to wait if they never need to when playing a game?!

Lessons kids can learn from playing games:

  1. I don’t always have to go first.  Even if I’m the youngest or the littlest; even if I have a “handicap”.  We don’t do our children any service by always letting the youngest or the newest to the game go first.
  2. Sometimes we win, and sometimes we lose.  That’s the game, and that’s life. The sooner we help our kids understand this, the happier everyone will be.
  3. It’s more important to play fairly than to win.  Perhaps we should begin applauding our kids for playing fairly instead of for winning.
  4. Sometimes adults can “help” a child win by not playing the game as competitively as they couldSometimes we need a little encouragement and help on the way, and “helping” someone win a few times can go a long way in boosting self-esteem, especially if the child is young and the game is new to him.
  5. Always being the winner should not be an option, even if the child is the only child playing, the youngest one playing, or the one with a disabilityLife doesn’t always hand a win to the one who has the least going for him.  Needing to try harder is good for any kid, no matter the age or size.
  6. Good sportsmanship only comes from practice. Being a good sport doesn’t come naturally, but it can be developed through focusing on how to respond even when we’re losing.Next time your kid wants to play a game, how about sitting down and playing with them?  Helping them play can be a great way to teach fairness, honesty, and good sportsmanship.  You’ll be able to monitor your kids as they play with others. Plus, they’ll have your full attention. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Go ahead.  Help them learn for life.

Playing Games Helps Your Child Learn About Life

Of Lice, Fleas, and Worms

fleas, lice, worms

As parents, we want our kids to be healthy and happy. We want them to be clean and free from disease and infections. We also want them to be able to play outside, to build and create, to have water and sand and dirt at their disposal. We want them to have pets to love and animals to enjoy.

With those desires and their fulfillment, we sometimes experience not so pleasant things as parents.

fleas, lice, worms


The first entrance of worms to our household came through my two-year-old who was being potty trained. I reached down to empty her potty chair one evening before bedtime and saw those worms. White, wriggling, and very much alive climbing up and around her stool. I thought I would die. How could this happen? I wondered. This proved I was a horrible mother. Really. What good, conscientious mother would allow her kids to get worms?!

I called my SIL who told me to call our friend Cindy*.

“Because,” she told me, “she’ll know what to do. Her kids always have worms.”

My friend Cindy?!  It couldn’t be. Her kids were the epitome of a prince and his princess sisters. They were always immaculate and wore expensive clothes. They also had cats and a sandbox. So did we.

After a sleepless night, I called Cindy, who pooh-poohed my concern. She told me to go to the store and buy Reese’s Pinworm Medicine or Pin-X. It was no big deal, she said.

“Just read the directions and do what it says.” I wasn’t satisfied, so I called the Pediatrician. Guess what the office told me?! Exactly what Cindy had said.

I’m surprised I made it through the check-out or didn’t beg Dave to go pick up the medicine for me. I certainly didn’t want the neighborhood to see what I was purchasing. Horrible mother, you know.

The entire household got treated for worms – except for Dave and me. I figured I’d know if I  had worms and I wasn’t about to take that medicine if I could help it.

We boned up on washing hands before meals, and I washed all bedding, pillows, and clothing. The entire house was vacuumed and all floors were mopped. My house was cleaner than it had been in weeks.

We continued to have a sandbox and cats. So in a few years, I was a pro at dealing with worms. [Don’t be aghast.  We didn’t even have an episode once a year, but once you’ve been through it a few times, you become a pro.] Our worm episodes became further apart as we stressed washing hands before meals and before snacking. As if we tried – some of us did. A few of my offspring could have cared less about having worms and continued to battle it to the point that I got a prescription from the Pediatrician – and that took care of the worms.

Head Lice


Our family was spared the lice episode when we missed a cousin reunion due to a pregnancy. Siblings and cousins weren’t as lucky. Some of them came home to the beginning of school and shared their lice among classmates. It seems the camp where the reunion was held was the contributor to the problem. I’ve helped friends pick through hair, but we were blessed in never having to deal with this. I told a friend one morning when I was checking through hair before school that I was glad we never had to deal with lice. A dose of Pin-X was easier than taking a nit comb through someone’s hair. You know what? I don’t think any less of parents whose kids get lice. That’s because lice are no respecter of persons.


fleas, lice, worms

The fleas came into our household on more than one occasion, and usually from a stray cat who thought she had to be inside. Once we had a niece visiting us who kept sneaking kittens into the house – even though we had told her they had to stay outside because of their fleas. Yet our worst episode came one summer after we had multiple generations of cats and kittens at our place. You can read about that here. Having fleas was always an excuse to spend the day away – and swimming was a great way to fill the time we needed to be gone while our house was being flea-bombed.

We can’t choose, but if I could, I’d rather skip the head lice. I, for one, am glad those days are behind me.  We survived and made it through those mounds of laundry and over the counter Pin-X medication. We made it past the flea bombs and getting them set off in different rooms in the house as we set off the room farthest from the door first and proceeded to the one just inside the door.

fleas, lice, worms

I’ll tell you this. I’m glad those days are over.

If you’ve been through this recently or are going through it now, it will be okay. It will pass. You’ll survive and come to realize that these things aren’t a sign that you’re a bad parent.

Someday, you’ll be looking back and it won’t seem to have been so hard. If you’re like me, you’ll even wonder why you thought these culprits were the sign of bad parenting. Someday, you’ll be glad, like me, that those days are behind you. You’ll realize that being a good parent has nothing to do with fleas, lice, or worms.


*I doubt that Cindy would mind, but I changed her name just in case.



Three Things a Mom Can Do When Her World is Spinning Out of Control

control spinning top 2

I remember those days when my world was spinning out of control.  Oh, how I remember those days!

I learned a few things (the hard way).

Those older women telling me, “Enjoy them now because they grow up so fast!” were not encouraging to me on those I-am-so-weary days.

What helped me most was the time my husband wrapped his arms around me, looked me in the eyes and said, “Figure out what upsets you, then figure out how to fix it. You don’t need to keep spinning your wheels.  Figure it out, then fix it.”

So I did.  Some days I hit the jackpot and other days I failed.  Big time.

There is hope. When you feel like you’re spinning your wheels and not getting anything done, there are some things you can do to make life easier and more bearable, today.  Believe me, I know.  I’ve been there, done that.

control hands just meSee the Bigger

The picture, that is.

Don’t get so caught up in the smaller pieces of your life’s puzzle that you fail to see what the picture is really about.

Life is about people and relationships.

It’s not about stuff and schedules.

  • Be realistic.  Recognize that you can’t be all things to all people, even if they are your little people.
  • Remember this:   that your little ones really don’t care if the toilet hasn’t been cleaned – even though you do.  (And my kids can tell you that I really, really like a clean toilet.)  Kids don’t care if their bedroom curtains match the décor. They just want to be cared for, loved, and understood.  They just want to be important to you.
  • Realize you are making memories.  What kind of memories are you making?  Will they remember that the house was always immaculate or that you had time to play with them and let them help you in the kitchen?  [Can I tell you that I hope none of my kids is reading this – because I know there were days when the house mattered more to me than the kids.]??
  • Recognize that you can make the memories and still make them mind.  You can even have a tidy house, but not all the time.

Just don’t lose sight of the Bigger.

When you compete or compare yourself with other moms or your own mother, you are losing sight of the Bigger.

When you focus on your house instead of their hearts, you are losing sight of the Bigger.

When you remember that building a home is the greatest investment of your time, you will be living the Bigger.

control boom 2Pinpoint Triggers

Figure out the Trigger moments in your day, then FIX them.  This isn’t controlling others; it is the opposite of being out of control.

Ask yourself: How did I get from there (calm) to here? (explosion).

What are the times of day that are most difficult?  List them.  Then figure out the cause behind that Trigger.

  •  If your Trigger point is morning and getting-ready-for-school or work, ask yourself (or your kids):  what can I do to make mornings better?  Is it an earlier beginning?  Is it having better planning the night before?  There’s a way to fix it, and once you figure that out, you’ll be on your way to de-booming that time of day.
  • Is your Trigger point the time when the kids come home from school and the baby is fussy or the toddler feels left out and is getting into everything?  Ask yourself:  What makes that moment the Trigger point?  What can I do to alleviate the tension?   Ask yourself:  what do I do to add to the tension?  What can I change so the tension decreases?  What frustrates me about this?  Why does it frustrate me?  Figure it out, take the right steps, and you will be de-booming!
  • Is your Trigger point when you’re helping with homework or folding laundry and you still don’t know what you’re doing for supper?Ask yourself: could I have folded the laundry earlier?  Should I have planned my menu and started preparing my meal in the morning instead of waiting until now?  Am I trying to juggle too many things at that moment? Go ahead and make a plan.  Deboom!
  • Is Your Trigger point a teen who somehow manages to argue her way into getting what she wants?  Ask yourself:  what do I do that makes her think it’s okay to argue with me?  Take the steps necessary to squelch the arguments: deal out consequences, etc.  Next time, you’ll be prepared and your teen won’t have anything on you!
  • Choose some things that will help you alleviate Trigger Points. Decide before noon what your menu  will be for supper.  Pick up some neat toys or coloring books or “homework” books your preschoolers can work on while the older kids are doing homework.  Fix a light snack that will tide everybody over until dinnertime: graham crackers, ants on a log (peanut butter on celery with raisins), or cheese with crackers. A bag of popcorn can be a treat.  If an older child needs to read for a certain time for homework, let him read to a younger one.  You’re killing two birds with one stone.  You know your kids and your family.  You’re the greatest resource, and you can figure it out!  Go ahead.  Deboom.

control geese flyingDevelop Your Kilter

In case you don’t know what that means, here’s the definition: good condition; working order or alignment.

You need a plan.  It doesn’t matter so much what your plan is or how you work your plan, but you need a plan.

You can change your plan mid-stream and you can re-work it the following week, but you need a plan.

We’ve heard the saying, “Aim at nothing, and you’ll hit it every time.”  That’s why you need a plan.

  • Ask yourself: how much should/can/do I want to accomplish in one day?  Be realistic.
  • Make a list. It can be in your head, on your phone, or written down in a planning book,  but make that list.
  • Prioritize your list:  (A) Things that MUST get done today (a doctor’s appointment, mopping a floor because your feet are sticking to it)
    (B) Things that should get done today barring an emergency.    (C) Things you’d like to do today, but really can wait until tomorrow.
  • Start with the most difficult or the one thing  you least want to do. Putting it on your list is a guaranteed way to get ‘er done.  When I “don’t feel like” returning that item to the store or writing that Thank You note, it gets done much sooner if I put it on my list. Getting it out of the way makes  you  feel better right away.  Make that list, and then start with the one thing that just can’t wait or the one you dread the most.  Is it vacuuming? Cleaning the bathrooms? Cleaning out the freezer? Put it at the top of the list and then do it.  Save the most fun item for last.
  • Cross things off your list once they are done. (I used to add things to my list after I’d done them, just so I could cross them off! ) Complete the “must do” items on your list and then reward yourself.  What will it be?  Calling a friend long-distance?   Reading a chapter in a book? A milkshake at McDonalds?  A piece of chocolate?  A nap? Time on the computer?
  • At the end of the day, move all your incomplete items to the list for tomorrow.
  • Don’t Procrastinate.  If the same project keeps getting moved to the list for the next day, move it to the top and don’t do anything else until you can cross it off your list.

control order hearts

We become frustrated when we try to do more than anybody should fit into a day.When we make plans that aren’t realistic, we fail to remember that little ones are not robots.  Things will happen that will throw a  kink into our best-laid plans.

When that happens, pause for a while and look at the Bigger.

Don’t let that kink send you into a Trigger.

Rework your Kilter and keep your eye on the Bigger.

You can do this.  Stop the spiral.  Things don’t  need to be out of control.

Find a Kilter.

Be in command of your Triggers.

And above all else, remember the Bigger.

control hands with teddy bear