Friday, May 5, 2017

Happy Birthday M&M!

It is hard to believe that my baby girl is a teenager today.  It seems like yesterday that we were bringing her home from the hospital wondering how we were so blessed to become her parents.

My sweet Em's, we are so proud of the lady you are becoming.  We hope you have the happiest of birthdays and the best year ever!  Love you bunches😘😘😘😘😘

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Pay it Forward

No doubt you have been blessed with a random act of kindness once or twice in your life.  Chances are you have even experienced this through the hand of a stranger.  Now is the time to repay that favor and pay it forward.

Our daily news coverage is continuously littered with the pain and suffering the people of our world must endure.  Each morning we wake up unsure of what new sadness has fallen upon some unsuspecting stranger, or worse someone we know or relate to.   With all the horrible things in the world, it is easy to just throw up your hands and give up.  But then through the darkness, you see a beacon of hope that renews your faith in humanity. (Romans 12:12 Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles, and pray at all times.)

There are so many ways that you can become that beacon of hope for someone.   You don't have to give millions like Angelina Jolie to make a difference in the world.  If you can touch just one life, you have made that difference.  Consider a local charity....soup kitchens, Habitat for Humanity, Relay for Life, Locks of Love, etc.  These are just a few that my family has participated in and though our actions are not recognized and splashed over the news, they still had a major impact on many lives.  

If we all continue to pay it forward, perhaps one day we can live in a world where the morning news will make a hearts lighter rather than heavier.  If you are having trouble of finding a good way to help out, just let me know and I will throw some more ideas out to you.  And if you have already found some ways that we can help one another, leave a comment and lets get the domino effect going.  How do you plan on paying it forward?

Grab a latte, put up your feet, and join the discussion!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017


Change is inevitable.  Just as the world continuously spins, it is continuously changing.  Flowers bloom.  Leaves fall.  Children grow.  Lives are altered.  Change is inevitable whether it is welcomed or not.

Dealing with change is sometimes unnerving.  Not because it is necessarily bad, but because it is different.   We are creatures of habit.  These habits and routines we create give us comfort.  They become our norm.  To some, sticking to the same routine may feel restricting.  To others, like myself, it may bring you peace.

But ultimately, whether you are ready or not, change will sneak up on you.  It may present itself in a conversation with a child.  It may surprise you in an unexpected compliment.   It may scare you in a new job opportunity.  It may excite you in a spontaneous action.  Or it may take you aback with an unexpected snub.

How ever change begins, it is up to us to deal with it the best we can.  We can moan and complain about how things use to be, but unfortunately, that won't stop the change.  We can also choose to accept it and move forward.  By embracing the change, we can find the positive within. 

Dealing with change has never been my forte`.  Moving to Europe three years ago was completely out of my comfort zone.  However, all the amazing experiences my family and I had will be treasured always.  We explored new countries, experienced new cultures, tasted new foods, and made amazing friends.  If I had hidden behind the familiar, I would have missed out on so much.

Sometimes life throws you that unexpected curve ball.  Catch the ball and run with it.  Whether it is a change of routine, location, or even people in your life, work to keep an open mind and embrace the change. (Matthew 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.)  Are you a creature of habit?  Or do you thrive on change?

Grab a latte, put up your feet, and join the discussion!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Losing Control

Whether we want to admit it or not, we all want to feel like we are in control.  But complete control is merely an illusion.  A very unattainable illusion.  For we can only control our own actions and nothing else.  

For the last eight years, I have been trying to teach my children a lesson that I have yet to learn.  I understand the lesson in theory and I believe it to be true, but somehow I constantly find myself digressing.  We are responsible for our own actions and our own actions alone.  We cannot control what others do or how their actions effect those around them (even ourselves).  Regardless of your careful planning, ideas, or expectations,you are not in control of the outcome.  Things can always go another way depending on those you surround yourself with intentionally or by chance.  Trying to control the actions and behaviors of others is a loss cause.  And it is time for this lesson to actually sink in.  Time to stop, regroup, and be still.  (Psalm 46:10 Be Still and know I am God.)

When you get the sense that you have lost control, it usually stems from an expectation not being met.  If we expect a child to behave a certain way and they don't meet those expectation, we may sometimes describe it as losing control.  But we need to remind ourselves that our children are not puppets to control.  We can teach them right from wrong, but when it comes down to it, only they are in control of their own actions.  The sooner we can learn this lesson in life, the less disappointment we will have.

The same thing goes for our friends and spouses.  We often create unconscious expectations in our head about how they should act, what they should say, or what they should do.  These are ideas that we have created silently and I cannot understand why we are let down when those close to us do not meet the expectations they are unaware of.

So my new goal is to try to worry less about the negative actions of others and concentrate more on my  positive interaction with others.  While others cannot control my actions, I hope that I somehow measure up to their silent expectations and they never leave a conversation with me in disappointment. Do you ever feel like you are losing control?  Is there some part of your life that you just need to loosen control?

Grab a latte, put up your feet, and join the discussion!

Monday, May 1, 2017

The Optimistic Pessimist

Positive thinking is the key to happiness.  It effects your mood, behavior, and your relationships.  When negative thoughts creep into your head today, spin them around and discover your inner optimist.  

All of us are guilty of being pessimistic at some point in our lives.  I guess you could say, it's human nature.  It is easier to be sure of the worse than to hope for the best.  Therefore, we are optimistic pessimists.   Not sure if that really counts as positive thinking though.

Think back to the last real conversation you had with a friend or family member.  Was the majority of the conversation focused around negative things happening in your lives?  Negative things that you were certain were going to happen to you in the near future?   I have caught myself many times over that last few months leaving a conversation and just shaking my head.   Why did I waste all my time complaining?  Why didn't I share about the wonderful accomplishments of my girls?  Or talk about the great weekend I shared with my family?

I know that we often need to vent to those closest to us.  It helps us get out our frustrations as well as being able to solicit some much needed advice.   But when every conversation is focused around the negative, it tends to bring you down. (Philippians 2:13-14  For it is God who works in you to will and to act on behalf of His good pleasure.  Do everything without complaining or arguing.)

Starting today, I will give myself permission to vent, if so needed, for a maximum of five minutes.  After that, I am determine to live as an optimist.  I want to think positively about all the wonderful blessings that are in my life and not dwell on things that just can't be changed.   I have a feeling that it will improve my mood and therefore improve my daily interactions with others.  Are you guilty of being an optimistic pessimist?

Grab a latte, put up your feet, and join the discussion!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Take Back Your Happiness

 We live in a world of procrastination.  Why take the time today to do what could be done tomorrow?  But what if tomorrow never comes?  What if tomorrow is always a day away?  Do what makes you happy today!  Enjoy your life in the present because you never know when tomorrow will eventually arrive.

Bills, work, meetings, chores, obligations, commuting...... Not everything in life is all fun and games, but some things should be.  We all have a single life to live and it is up to us to make the choice to live it.  It is very disheartening to look around and see how little joy is left in the world.  We all have so much in our lives that we should be thankful for, but we somehow focus only on the negative.

Maybe work sucked today, or maybe the kids drove you to a migraine. But the big picture is you have a job and kids you love more than anything.  I know it is hard to do, but try to leave work at work.  Try to play an extra game with your children.  Focus on what makes you happy and the hardships that were just weighing you down will be lifted away. (Psalm 47:1 Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.)

It has been over 5 years since I've written for Between the Lines.  I use to love this blog because I loved writing.  I enjoyed sharing my favorite recipes and ideas for the kiddos and loved the feedback.  But then I allowed my blog to morph into something else.  At first, this new blog full of reviews, promotions, and advertising was fun.  It was new and exciting and I was making money from something I created.  But then I realized that I didn't have time anymore to include the things I liked on MY blog.  I didn't have time to write whatever I wanted (not even my book I was working on) because I had a calendar full of clients that I had to write for first.

That is why 5 years ago I stepped away from Between the Lines.  I fulfilled all my standing obligations and then I just let it go.  The problem was I was so frustrated with writing for other people that I stopped writing altogether.  My finished novel sat and collected dust.   My unfinished novel remained unfinished.  I stopped visiting other blogs that I use to enjoy.   I just disappeared from the writing world altogether.  But recently I started writing again and remembered how much I loved it.  I stopped thinking of the bad things and focused on what made me happy.  I often find myself procrastinating and saying I will work on it tomorrow.  I have too many things to take care of today.  But I am getting better.  The kids can play alone for a bit.  The dishes and the laundry aren't going anywhere.  And whoever is calling on the phone will leave a message. 

Don't get lost in the must-dos.  Do what makes you happy today.  Your happiness may be contagious and help others find their happiness again too.  Have you been putting off doing things that make you happy?

Grab a latte, put up your feet, and join the discussion!