Thursday, January 29, 2015

What To Do When You Forget To Be the Tooth Fairy

My six year old walked into my bedroom this morning with his head down low and tears streaming down his face.  I knew instantly what my husband and I had forgotten to do!  We forgot to be the tooth fairy!!

Still crying, he gave me the details of this devastating event...the tooth fairy took the tooth but she hadn't left anything.  I stood there frozen.   

Don't panic...don't panic.  What do I do?  What do I do?

Luckily it was early enough in the morning that I was able to talk him into coming into my bed for a few more minutes before the alarm went off.  I told him that I would go investigate the situation.

I literally grew a cape as I sprang into action like a super-hero!  I was freakishly fast and surprisingly sneaky.  I wish I would have clocked how quickly all of this took place...

With the lights off, I ran into the his bedroom and found the baggie with the tooth in it at the bottom of the bed.  Score!  

I'm pretty sure I flew down the stairs.  Grabbed a wrinkled dollar bill out of my purse.  Scribbled a quick note on a random piece of paper.  Flew back upstairs and stuffed it in inside the pillow case in order to give a reason why he couldn't find it. 

Realizing that I didn't know where I put the baggie with the tooth in it, I flew back downstairs.  Found it on the counter.  Stuffed it in my purse.  Flew back upstairs just as my son was coming out of my bedroom...head still down low.   

Think...think...what do I say?  What do I tell him?  Ah Ha!  It came to me...

"I was just checking the tooth fairy's website and I found out that sometimes when little boys and girls have trouble finding their money and note, they've discovered it inside their pillow case.  Let's go check." 

He bought it.  Total super-hero moment!

He quickly ran into his room, and sure enough he found his note and dollar bill "lost" inside his pillow case. 

"No wonder I couldn't find it!" he shouts.  "Good thing that website told us where to look."  His face just beamed! 

I was such a proud momma!  Then it hit me.  Although I was quite pleased with my abilities to think on my feet first thing in the morning and I was thrilled that my boy didn't start his day off so sad and disappointed, I realized what a teachable moment this could have been.  Instead of rushing around trying to "save the day", why couldn't I have taken the time to hug him and discuss with him possible reasons why the tooth fairy wasn't able to make it?  Maybe there was a blizzard?  Maybe she was sick?  Maybe she even forgot?   

As disappointing as it would have been for him, isn't that what life is all about?  Learning how to overcome disappointment...learning how to make the best out of a situation...learning that there are sometimes circumstances beyond our control...learning how to give love, grace, and understanding towards others? 

Yes, I saved the day, but maybe I shouldn't have.  What do you think?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Finding Hope in an Unexpected Place

"I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.  Genesis 9:13

Everyone just stop yelling.  Everyone just stop yelling.  Everyone just stop yelling!  Everyone just stop yelling!!  Everyone just stop yelling!!!  I had it!  I was sick of it!  I couldn't stand the, of course, what do I do?  I started yelling too!
At breakfast, my six year old and three year old were bickering like an old married couple.  My 15 month old was screaming for more food even though he had just downed an entire bowl of oatmeal and some banana and some raisins and some more oatmeal.  At one point all three kids were just...well...yelling! 
I promise you that I started out very calm and patient, but as soon as I realized that no one was listening to me and that everyone was still yelling about something, I couldn't stand it anymore!  My voice got louder and louder until I was yelling too. 
"Everyone just stop yelling!"  I screamed at the top of my lungs.
I was so angry at how these kids had started off my day.  I was so angry at how my two oldest picked on each other constantly.  I was so angry that my youngest was never satisfied with the amount of food he was given.  I was so angry. 
I found myself standing at the sink washing dishes in a huff, with gritted teeth, and pretty much ready to pull my hair out when I looked down at the dish drainer and there it was...a rainbow.  
It was beautiful.  It was so unexpected.  It was God. 
I took a minute to just look at this little dish rainbow, and I felt peace.  And just then, my anger teeth unclenched...and I took a deep breath and smiled.  I smiled at the chaos.  I smiled at  the three little blessings who were continuing to yell despite my efforts to get them to stop.  I smiled that these children were healthy and vibrant and active and can speak their minds (although we need to work on doing it more respectfully).  
I smiled and just shook my head.  I wasn't angry.  I wasn't frustrated.  I wasn't upset.  I wasn't yelling.  I was smiling. 
I love that God used a rainbow as a promise to Noah and his family and to all of us to never flood the earth and destroy all humans again.  He brought them hope. 

I love that God continues to use the rainbow to remind us of that promise, but I believe that He also uses rainbows as a symbol of His trustworthiness...a symbol of His love for us...a symbol of hope.  He brought me hope. 
God cares about every detail of our lives and in the midst of that manic morning, He knew that I felt frustrated and overwhelmed...He knew that I was thinking of every way possible to flee the scene out my kitchen window...He knew that I needed Him.  He took the time to send me a rainbow of hope...a reminder of His love in the midst of all the chaos...a reminder that my day would get better...a reminder that my kids are His gift to me...a reminder that patience and understanding and grace are always there for me...a reminder that I need to give the same to my children. 
So I want to encourage you, dear mom, that no matter what you're going through right now--no matter how big or how small your frustrations are, God cares.  He wants you to know that you can always trust can always believe in His can always find a rainbow of hope somewhere in your crazy day...maybe even in your own dish drainer!   
Thank You, Lord, for giving me that signal of hope.  Thank You for keeping Your promises to us...for loving us...for being there for us.   Thank you for taking the time to care for us and give us what we need when we need it.  When we are frustrated or discouraged, fill us with hope every day and give us encouragement to be the best moms we can be to our children.  Help us to see rainbows of hope throughout our days.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.
Has God ever given you a signal of hope?
*Special Note To the Reader:  After writing this post, I have seen rainbows everywhere!  Look around.  You are going to start seeing them too.  I pray that these rainbows will be a symbol of God's faithfulness to you...God's love for you...and will bring you hope too!  Share your rainbows of hope on facebook or twitter at #rainbowsofhope.  

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

How I Blessed a Stranger Who Became a Friend

Don't you love it when God brings you unexpected friends?  That's exactly what happened to me.  A thoughtful lady from my church sent out an email letting us know that a new family had recently moved to the area.  She asked if any of us moms would be so kind to bring this family a meal and welcome them.  I signed up!

I remember what a blessing it was to have friends bring me meals after I had my daughter, and if the truth be told, those meals were so amazing that I decided to have a third child...just for the meals!!  Only kidding! 

In all seriousness, I know how wonderful it was to have people show up at my door with a hot, delicious meal (usually better than my own cooking).  One that I didn't have to think of, plan, buy, or prepare.  One that all I had to do was say "thank you".  One that all I had to do was sit down and enjoy.  It was AWESOME! 

Because I knew how incredible it was, I was always on board to bring meals to someone else.  Up until that point though, I had only had the opportunity to bring meals to friends after they had a baby, so this was my first "blind date meal." 

I had no idea who this person was.  I knew nothing about her whatsoever...other than she and her husband and her two kids had just moved here and could really use some help.  That's it!

The awesome part is...when I brought her the meal, she and I connected immediately.  Our kids were similar ages.  We were close to the same age.  Our paths began to cross on accident over and over until we finally decided to cross paths on purpose.  And now...three years later?  She has become a very close and trusted friend.  Isn't that awesome?

All because I reached out to bless a stranger...a new friendship was born!  I'm so grateful!

How can God use you to bless a stranger?

4 Ways to Find Quiet Time in Your Noisy Day

"But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." 
Matthew 6:33
I'm sure you laughed out loud when you saw the title with "quiet time" in it.  Trust me, I know.  I have three kids ages 6, 3 and 1 and sometimes our house is just...plain...crazy!  There's no quiet time going on around here, that's for sure!  In fact, I look at this picture and think:  "Will there ever be a day when I can grab a book and find a nice grassy spot and just read or journal?"  I know there will be, but right now that just doesn't seem possible.  Maybe you feel that way too! 
The truth is:  I value quiet time.  Since becoming a mom and since I've gotten older, I value quiet time now more than I ever have before!  I need quiet time to reset and refocus.  I value time with the Lord to refresh and regroup.  I want to hear His voice and feel His presence.  I want to have conversations with Him where I can truly share my heart as well as listen to what He has to say.  I'm sure you do too.  So, how can we as busy moms get the quiet time we need? 
Here are 4 Easy Tips I've learned to help you find quiet time in your noisy day:
1.  ADJUST YOUR DAY BY JUST 5 MINUTES:  Get up early (not for me, but it works for some!) or stay up later (I'd much rather do this!)  By adjusting your day by just 5 minutes on either side, you will have 5 precious moments to yourself to read, pray, journal, or just listen to God's voice!  Or you could even get up earlier and stay up a little later for a bonus 5 minutes each day!

2.  TURN OFF THE TV:  I know...I know...after the kids go to bed or after you come home from work or after you clean up the kitchen (or all of the above), you just want to veg out on the couch and do nothing too.  I'm not asking you to give up that time to relax--you deserve it, but before you turn on the TV, take just 5 minutes to be quiet and bask in His mighty presence! 

3.  DON'T TURN THE RADIO ON IN THE CAR:  I never turn on our radio in the  In fact, I think at one point when my husband had driven the van and left the radio on, my daughter was surprised that there was music playing!  It was almost like she didn't even realize that the van could play music.  That tells you that I never have the radio on!  Why?  I need quiet.  The kids are loud enough the way it is.  I don't need to have extra noise on top of them!  Riding in the car is a great time for some silence.  That may sound crazy to you-especially those of you with young kids who are cranky or fighting in the back, but somehow I can tune them out...somehow, I can magically transform my mini-van driver's seat into a sound proof capsule where it's just me, God and the road!  Even when I'm the only one in the car, the radio is off...well, except for an occasional worship song or two! 

4.  TAKE AN ADULT TIME OUT:  After having my third child, I lost that beautiful two-hour naptime/quiet time that I once had in the middle of the day.  I lost that blissful two-hour I-can-get-caught-up-on-dishes-put-away-laundry-pick-up-the-house-and-have-time-left-over-for-facebook quiet time!  Between my youngest son's crazy nap schedule, my daughter giving up taking a nap altogether (because otherwise bedtimes were crazy!), and having to pick up my oldest at school, I lost that quiet time.  I lost it all!  I wondered why I was so drained and cranky by the end of the day, and I realized it was because I didn't have any quiet time!  So, lately, during my youngest son's 43 minute nap (ugh), I require that my daughter go down in the basement to watch her show so the house will just be quiet for a moment!  I needed that adult time out!  It is then that I can ask God to give me patience to make it through the afternoon.  And for moms who work outside the home, you can take an adult time out by having lunch by yourself sometimes so you can enjoy some silence and spend time with the Lord.

And if all else fails in the attempts to find quiet time in your noisy day, you can always remove all the noisemakers from toys and pretend you're just doing "surgery" on your child's bear like I did!   Aaaaaaah...silence!

Father-Thank you for giving us our children.  As noisy as they are, they are such a blessing to us.  Help us to find little pockets of time throughout our day to just be quiet and still before You!  Help us to seek You, Lord, in all we do as moms.  Allow us to hear Your voice and follow Your wisdom as we raise our noisy children to love you loudly.  And Lord, give us quiet moments even when it's not quiet.  In Jesus' name. Amen.

How do you find quiet time in your noisy day?

4 Simple Tips for Setting Goals

I know...I know... it's so cliché to talk about setting goals at the beginning of the new year.  It's what everyone is talking about, and frankly it can sometimes be annoying--at least to me it is.  But there's got to be something to goal-setting, right?  
The answer is "Yes."  Goal-setting works.  It's a great way to stay focused and move forward.  It's a great way to strive to get the best out of life.  To start off our new year together of weekly encouragement, I'd like to share 4 Simple Tips for Setting Goals that have worked for me.  These tips will help you not just set the goals but accomplish them too!  Wouldn't that be great?
4 Simple Tips for Setting Goals
1.  Write your goals down.  Goals in your heart and head need to be come out from the pen in your hand.  
2.  Make your goals visible.  Put them where you can see them every day and all throughout the day.   (I put my goals on my bathroom mirror.)  They will be there to remind you what you're working towards and help you say no to distractions getting in the way of your goals.  
3.  Tell your goals to someone.  By sharing your goals with someone else, especially someone you trust, you will gain encouragement, prayer, and accountability.
4.  Make your goals realistic.  Goals can be big.  Goals can be little.  Obviously goals should challenge you and help you do things that you wouldn't normally do, but they also need to be attainable.  Look at your current circumstances, your work load, your responsibilities with your home and children, and set goals that will push you forward and not break you down. 

What are your best goal-setting tips?

Friday, January 9, 2015

Why Motherhood is Like a Casserole by Elaine Mingus

They are hungry...again. With six mouths to feed, nourishing my children can feel like a never-ending task.

I raided the fridge to figure out what I could shovel in their mouths for the umpteenth time that week. I had no dinner plans, but I did have cheese, corn tortillas, ground meat and some leftover beans. Victory! Or at least I hoped.

Depending on the day, my children may or may not decide to "like" one of those ingredients.

With that in mind, I opted against adding a can of salsa for fear that the meal would be shunned because of the tiny slivers of "yucky" vegetables.

Without a recipe, I layered the corn tortillas with the bean/meat/cheese mixture. It was when I was adding a little bit of this and a little bit of that that I realized that motherhood is a lot like my makeshift casserole.

Most of us know the basic ingredients to making a casserole. (If you don't, never fear! There is an easy recipe at the bottom of this post!) We know that what goes in this time might not be exactly what we do next time, but as long as we have most of the right stuff the end result will be tasty.

In the same regard, we've all read books and blogs telling us how to be the "perfect" mom. We spend a majority of our time during many gatherings confessing our motherhood mishaps and receiving well-meaning advice for overcoming our parental obstacles.

When we return to the kitchen of our children's hearts, we are equipped with the recipe for becoming a good mother. But like all the mothers before us, we remember some of the ingredients while accidentally forgetting others.

In essence, when we are in the middle of this mommy thing, we wing it -- just like I did with my casserole.
Being a good mom is exactly like making a good (recipe-less) casserole.
As long as we mostly understand how to raise kids, our children will be successful humans -- each slightly different than the next but wonderful nonetheless.

It's when we leave out key ingredients like love and respect that our children will be seasoned with bitterness and hatred.

So today, don't worry if you haven't added all the right ingredients to being "the perfect mom." You're not required to follow an exact recipe, you just have to get it mostly right!  Just remember that love is like butter...and you can never add too much butter!

  • 2 Cans Beans (do not drain)
  • 1 Lbs. Ground Beef
  • 1 Tablespoon Season All
  • 18 Corn Tortillas
  • 2 Cups Grated Cheese
  1. Brown meat and season with spices
  2. Mix in beans anad heat
  3. Layer casserole dish with corn tortillas alternating meat/bean mixture with layers of tortillas
  4. Top with cheese

Elaine Mingus is a Christian performance poet, blogger, homeschooling mother of many children, & fiction writer who wants to inspire her readers to greater depth in Christ. She is an avid reader, ex-bulimic, ex-heroine addict/drug dealer, wannabe missionary, evangelist, and journalist. Her personal motto is "Changing the World, One Baby at a Time."
Visit her blog:  Super Radical Christian Writer Chick


Thriving the First Days of Becoming Mommy (EBook Devotional) 

FREE DOWNLOAD Friday(1/9/15) and Saturday (1/10/15) ONLY!!!

Thriving the First Days of Becoming Mommy by Elaine Mingus - Available on
No one warns us about motherhood. Or maybe they do and we just weren't listening. Thriving the First Days of Becoming Mommy acknowledges that moms spend most of their time keeping up with the new task of caring for a new baby and that their Bibles always seem to sit out of arm’s reach. Thriving the First Days of Becoming Mommy includes a month of short devotionals new moms can digest while tackling nursing, diapering and the whole new world of motherhood. With uplifting and humorous stories, the author, Elaine Mingus, explores her first days of becoming a mommy with the wisdom that comes from having six children. It functions as a gateway back into the swing of having a quiet time with the Lord, despite being busy with a new baby.

DOWNLOAD NOW!!  AVAILABLE FOR FREE TODAY Friday(1/9/15) and TOMORROW Saturday (1/10/15) ONLY!!!