Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Change – Part II

A little less Martha…

When we think of Martha, we think of the perfect hostess who can make a haute couture bridal gown out of 800 count Egyptian cotton sheets. I’m speaking, of course, of the mogul Ms. Martha Stewart.

But do you know about the other Martha?

Way before Martha Stewart was born, there was a gal that was a bit of a control freak in the home, too. I’ll sum up for those of you that don’t want to pull out The Bible… Luke tells a tale of two sisters. One who is busy being busy busy busy. The other sister, Mary (sure were lots of Maries in the Bible, huh?) is sitting at Jesus’ feet listening to His teachings and just being in his presence. Martha gets ticked off and goes to complain to Jesus. Jesus is like, “Martha, Martha, Martha… you don’t get it!” (or something to that effect.)

It’s very easy to get too busy with our busy work and sometimes we forget to unplug. We forget to be still… to be with God (or if you prefer The Universe, which was created by God, but whatever…). Henry David Thoreau once said:

When we are unhurried and wise, we perceive that only great and worthy things have any permanent and absolute existence, that petty fears and petty pleasures are but the shadow of the reality.

For many years, I was Martha. Then I broke my leg and you know what? That will stop the hurrying real quick! The only thing I could control was the remote, and even that got lost more times than I can recall. I had a lot of time to ponder what was worthy and what was petty. For the last five years, I’ve been swinging my pendulum over to the Mary side. Now that I’ve been sitting semi-quietly at God’s feet, I’m confident it’s time to put both of those strengths together. I know I can’t control life, but is time to get up and go forth confidently in the direction of my dreams… (love that Henry).

Nothing like a New Year to get’cha goin’ huh?

What about you? Where are you on the pendulum? What are your dreams for 2009?

Tomorrow: Change Part III: Magic 8 Ball Resolutions!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Change – Part I

What a year. What a crazy year.

Does it feel like we are leaving behind some sort of stinking carcass? It feels like that to me. In so many ways.

The obvious carcass is the political mess and old-fashioned mud slinging that was the election. I usually stay away from politics here, but I’m giving myself permission to get this junk off my chest. There was a lot of change that happened. But a lot of the same that made me feel less than hopeful…

While everyone was giddy with anticipation at the possibility of a black president, women across the country were shaking their heads at the sexism that is alive and well in this country. I wish we were leaving that behind, but Hilary and Sarah might have different opinions. I’m irritated that Hilary was thrown a bone instead of having the chance to run as President, or even VP. I think she deserved that much. I’m irritated that the Republicans chose the ONE woman who probably should have stayed home, almost begging for the argument that women belonged at home and off the political stage. I don’t believe that, but I do believe that family comes first, and that Palin family really needed their mom at home… damn it. I’d rather they’d chosen the stronger candidate, the obvious one being Condi Rice. You know what? I’ll be so proud if Condi runs. Not because she’s black, but because she’s a woman. A smart, strong, attractive, and intelligent woman.

We have not come a long way, baby.

Bush. What can I say. Nothing that hasn’t already been said. A conservative radio host said it best yesterday. “Exit, stage left… please. Enough already.” I was as proud as anyone to see him jump up and grab the bullhorn and yell to the terrorists that we were coming to get them, especially after those animals decimated the Twin Towers. I wanted to feel safe, and for a while, Bush made me think that we might be. But then he kept doing one stupid thing after another. It almost seemed as though he was on someone else’s payroll… hmmm… kind of like McCain. If ever a candidate threw an election, this was it. Suspending his campaign? What the hell? Bastard. Never liked him. Never. Ask my father-in-law. We’ve had some serious arguments about that one. I even had a remote control thrown at me because of my thoughts.

If I could click my heels and make everything sort of okay, I’d ask for Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank to be sucked away by aliens. Those two have done more damage to our country than Bush these last eight years. But all three together… well, that was just the perfect storm, I guess. And now, we are waiting for the outcome of the race in Minnesota to see if the Dems will have a rubber stamp. Who would have ever thought that the fate of the Senate would hinge on Stuart Smalley?!

You know what else? I wish the Republican Party would get away from being the Moral Right. Theocracies don’t work. Ask the people who were under the rule of the Taliban. Plus, it’s awfully hard to run on a platform of Godliness when you are human. Every mistake you make as a person will be held under a microscope. It’s got to be pretty difficult to get any work done for your constituents when you’re busy juggling the image of perfection. Knock that crap off!

I’d love it if the left would stop politicizing environmental issues. Do they really think that all conservatives want to live in a desert wasteland because we were so greedy and wanted to consume all the planet’s resources like a ravaging horde of locusts? Seriously? Come on…

You know what? I’m kind of glad Barack won. He has become dull as all get out since he won, though, and that’s just a bummer. I like that he was shooting hoops the day of the election. I hate his teleprompter reading and his chin-up-snobby look, but I liked his easy going smile. I think Michelle is, well, meh… but those little girls are sweet and cute and just make you smile to see them with their daddy. I hope they get to pick any dog they want, not one that the public would be happiest with.

And I’m glad that Barack showed the Right what could be accomplished with the good branding and viral marketing, not to mention, staying on message. It was truly amazing. Small groups on the right are trying to move to this century’s communication platforms, but they keep thinking that they can regulate all the creativity out of it. Control freaks. I can’t get behind all the government programs that Dems want to implement and continue pumping money into, but this Republican party is just imploding and really pissing me off.

I hope a third party shows up real soon…


Come back tomorrow for Part II. I won’t be talking politics… thank God.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Self Portrait 12/08

I almost missed this month… with all the craziness… I almost let it go because I didn’t feel like I looked my best. I’m tired and a bit puffy from all the celebrating. But then I thought about the reason I am doing this exercise. It’s not about looking like a model. It’s about capturing my image… before the moment is gone.

I did something a little crazy this time. I didn’t do hair or makeup. I’m kind of regretting it but still mildly excited about my own personal growth. You have no idea… anyway… here I am:

Self Portrait 1208 

Your turn: Leave a link to your latest picture. Don’t have one? Quick! Take one! Before the moment is gone…

Friday, December 26, 2008

Too Much Information

Sitting at the Teppan Table as our chef poured water on to the hot metal, I saw my son’s eyes grow as big as saucers. THIS, I thought, was a great time to introduce him to steam as the gas form of water. The water being poured was reacting angrily, jumping all over the place. It was a perfect portrayal of the molecules as little cartoonish creatures that were bumping into each other all grumpy-like, as they got hotter and hotter. The Boy thought that was pretty funny, so I kept going, pointing up to the steam rising through the vents as the angry little water molecules floated away. “Woah!!!” I clinked the ice in my Diet Coke and asked him to name the solid form of water that he was already familiar with. “ICE!” The Boy was entertained AND he learned something!

Back to dinner…

In swoops The Pilot to snatch the fun away... “Do you know what it’s called when ice turns right into steam?” No, I plead… it’s too much… he just had fun learning the basics… drop it! But I could see it was too late. His know-it-all grin had taken over his face. “It’s called sublimation.” (At this point, the twinkle in The Boy’s eye is dulling) “That’s when an element or compound transitions from the solid form…” (The Boy is now pleading with me with his eyes to make daddy stop) “…to gas phase with no intermediate liquid stage.”

All The Boy heard was the sound of Charlie Brown’s teacher mwa-mwah-mwah-mwaw-ing.

It doesn’t take The Pilot long these days to see that he threw in too much information turning fun into a boring lesson through his need to share all that he knows. It’s an affliction usually left to engineers, but Pilots are special like that. Their personalities are half machine, half ego maniacs and they are compelled to tell you they know what they know or their heads will explode. It’s true! Their heads will come right off if they aren’t boring people with their flying stories or flight engineering knowledge. You can’t prove me wrong because there is not a pilot alive that can’t not talk about flying...

He chuckled at his TMI moment and went back to the ice/water/steam simplicity.

As homeschoolers, we have the opportunity to turn everything into a lesson. Our environment plays just as large a role in our learning as our books and computers do. Since we are the teachers, we have the added benefit of knowing what’s most relevant to what they’re currently learning. We can recall a lesson that might be playing itself out in our every day living. Whenever those living lessons show up, I grab hold of some aspect while they are still thrilled with the moment. But when is it too much for them to take in and when do we cross the line to making everything a test rather than just enjoying the moment itself?

It’s a balancing act: keeping kids’ curiosity piqued while not pounding the fun out of life.


Homeschoolers, Teachers, and non-teaching parents: What do you do to keep learning fun while not falling into the TMI Black Hole?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

We Were Supposed to Get a Dog for Christmas...

A few months shy of six years ago, we talked about getting a dog. Banana Girl would be two, which as we understood, was a good time to introduce a puppy. And the older girls were really hoping they could finally have a dog now that we had our own home and our own yard. We talked about size, type, who would be responsible for what... all that good stuff.

A few nights after the Dog Talk, we all sat in beach chairs at the end of the cul de sac watching a lunar eclipse. It was an absolutely beautiful night. After all of the peering through telescopes and the sipping of hot cocoa, one of the big girls said, "Well, now it's going back to a full moon, right?" Yep. Full moon... full moon... Wait a minute! Full moon? Shouldn't I have had my...

Oh crap!

The next morning, after the big girls went off to school and Banana Girl stayed behind to hang out with her visiting grandma, The Pilot and I went out for a very quiet breakfast. We stopped at CVS on the way back home to pick up a test, just in case. The results were immediate. We got even quieter. The Pilot finally eeked out, "It is what it is." After the initial freak out (understatement), I picked out a lovely name for my presumably fourth daughter; Lily.

I was as wrong about that name as I was about getting a dog that year. That Christmas five years ago, instead of getting a puppy, we welcomed the only boy to our family. His name means "Little King." And it's only completely fitting...

Happy Birthday, Monkey Boy. We all love you to bits!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Memed Again...

I got tapped again to post some narcissistic nuggets. Immediately, I thought, what the heck... how bad could it be to list the Seven Weird Things About Me? Well, according to the Wiki entry on Memes, a simple element of ideas could actually be quite detrimental to it's host. Should I risk losing any new readers by divulging my weirdness?

Screw it... here goes:

1) I chew ice. Lots and lots. All damn day. Yes, I do have dental issues, among my other "issues."

2) I hated Shirley Temple when I was a kid, not because she wasn't cute, sweet, and talented, but because I wanted to be the cute, sweet, and talented girl on TV.

3) I love Barry Manilow. I would love to see him in Vegas. That is all.

4) I used to be able to do the splits against a wall and back-walk-overs on a balance beam. Last time I tried to do either, my chiropractor charged me double.

5) I dyed my hair blonde for a year and a half because women at the park thought I was my daughter's Mexican nanny and kept asking how much I charge. Bitches.

6) My 13th birthday landed on a Friday the Thirteenth. I think it was also a full moon. It was a fun night, so from then on, Friday the 13ths are always celebrated with aplomb.

7) When I was a kid, I wanted to follow in my grandpa's shoes and become a radio DJ. I used to tape pretend radio shows with sound effects and everything. Unfortunately, I was never picked up for syndication.

So now I'm supposed to tag seven more people... but my last attempt bombed and I don't do well with failure. Besides, I'd rather have you leave your weirdness here. Weirdest comment wins a small prize!

Dig deep people! ;)


Oh, and here's part of the Wiki entry for Meme:

A meme (pronounced /miːm/) is unit or element of cultural ideas, symbols or practices that transmit from one mind to another through speech, gestures, rituals, or other imitable phenomenon. The term is derived from the Greek word mimema for mimic.

Meme-theorists contend that memes evolve by natural selection in a manner similar to that of biological evolution influencing an individual entity's reproductive success. Memes are ideas that are spread by the behaviors that they generate in their hosts. Memes that propagate less prolifically may become extinct, while others survive, spread, and (for better or for worse) mutate. Theorists point out that memes which replicate the most effectively spread best, and some memes may replicate effectively even when they are detrimental to the welfare of its host.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

How Social Media Can Change Your Life

I have another guest post today. I wanted Nan (aka Rogue Puppet) to share her HP Giveaway experience. Early on in my contest, she tweeted me to let me know that she had already won another giveaway! I was so excited for her and thankful to have one less great post to consider… WHEW! She wanted to share how she came to win the fabulous prize at Chris Pirillo’s site and how you might benefit from her tactics, not just in winning contests, but in winning at networking.

When I first heard about the HP Magic contests, my mind went into overdrive. I had a list of people that I knew would be touched deeply by receiving a gift like this, and I started cruising through all the host blogs and looking at the requirements. I entered one that was a random drawing ( it went to a really nice lady in Colorado) and one that required me to make an interesting and insightful comment on the blog, along with my plan for sharing. My comment got an honorable mention, but as my daughter said "no laptop". Then i found Chris Pirillo's contest. The rules had been revealed recently: submit a blog post and the blog that got the most unique comments would win. This was a contest that I thought I might have a chance of winning. How many of the folks I knew online and offline could I convince to make a comment?

After writing an article and having it accepted and published, I started the campaign by sending an email to family and friends who were not on any other form of social media. I sent a bunch of emails explaining who I wanted the computers to do to and got a handful of comments. We were not in the lead, but we were running in about 6th place. I was willing to take this as encouragement and started plowing forward. I put the link to the post in my Facebook status and had my daughters send it to some of their friends. I tweeted the link, but did not want to flood my followers with non-valued added posts (OK, it could be argued that this happens even without contest links, but I like to think I amuse, even if I do not always inform). The comments on the post were slowly creeping up, but we remained a steady 5th or 6th place. The next day I did one or two tweets more, hoping to catch some folks I may have missed the first time. when I checked again after work, the tweeple had come through and we had climbed up to about 3rd place. I went to bed and hoped for more the of folks I had emailed to respond.

The next day was the final day of the contest and the difference between my post and the winning post was only about 40 comments. Surely I could find 40 people to respond to a request for a comment. I put in a tweet before headiing to work and then checked it off and on through the day. Our numbers clinbed but so did the leaders' and we remained in third place. By the afternoon I became more determined than ever. I suppose this is the point that other people would have given up- 8 hours to go and still behind-but I wanted this so much for the people on my list that I redoubled my efforts and dug in deep. I decided that perhaps the flow of tweets was so furious that many of my friends on twitter might not have seen my tweets at all. I thought about it long and hard, then decided to go the route of using DMs to send them the link and make a comment.

DMs have to be typed in one at a time, but after just a couple I started getting responses from friends who said they were on their way to check out the article. Chris' blog has moderated comments, so there was a delay between the comments being made and appearing, but I had no reason not to believe that these folks would be telling me they were commenting if they weren't. Encouraged, I started sendiing some more DMs. At the same time, i was monitoring DMa coming back from people and sending them thank you DMs back. I made sure i achnowledged every favor of a comment that came in. It was not long before I learned that there is a 250 DM per day limit on Twiter. Ouch. I was still getting DMs in from people, so I started @replying them instead of DM. I have to admit, I was waiting for my follower count to drop significantly as I flooded my twitterstream with contest mentiions. I did not want to alienate my friends, but had to hope that this one time event would be balanced by months of non-commercial tweets. ( luckily, they were all amazingly tolerant and the losses did not come).I tried to make it fun by setting a comment goal and counting down with every response I made. I tried not to obsess with the contest, but could not help but notice that the moderation had stalled and counts were not being updated (turned out that Chris had food poisoning and was suffering through it that night). I knew I was getting comments, but had no idea how many new comments the others were getting. Finally, 10pm CST rolled around and the contest was officially closed. It looked like comments were going to take a while to get moderated, so I finally gave up and went to bed.

The next morning, I was amazed to see that our count had gone from 45 to 96 in the last 8 hours. I held my breathe, and paged through the rest of the entries (170 in all) and was saddened to see that even though we had had an amazing response from a lot of good people, there were two other entries that appeared to have gotten more posts than us. I took a deep breathe, shook it off and went in search of another contest. That is how I began my adventure here at Sugar's contest. I dug in and took every free moment between meetings and projects that day to dig in and start exploring and building a network amongst the entrants here. I made friends with someone who I continue to Twitter with, and found a potential partner for a community project on another blog. We exchanged emails and have started fleshing out an idea (based off of the article I wrote for Chris' contest) that I think will be a cool community project. I found someone else who had been a contestant in Chris' contest as well-but I discovered him over here. We have hooked up as friends on the comunity and I look forward to more conversations. All this, before 6pm. I became so excited about all the potential in this contest. It became obvious to me that anyone who was trying hard to win was going to win an incredible network of people, even if they did not win the computers. After settling my daughter in to bed, I got back on the computer and checked my email before divng back into the networking challenge. and found a couple of odd emails from Chris, asking about a few of the people who had left comments on my post. Could this mean that they had not found a winner yet after all? The questions he was asking looked like he was checking the IP addresses of the entries. Sure enough, his amazing team spent hours and hours peeling through proxies and getting to the sources of the entries. Remember, the contest was looking at unique entries.

There was another email exchange and then the phone call. Turns out that after they eliminated the duplicates in the other entries, I had the most comments after all. I DM'd Sugar on Twitter and let her know I had won another contest and was no longer eligible for hers- but asked for permission to continue networking, because there are so many interesting people here. She was gracious enough to allow me to continue to "audit the contest" and before it is over, I hope to visit and get to know each and every one of you. I struggled in writing this post to keep from shifting to the third person "we". I finally gave up. It is not because I am thinking in some distant formal structure, but becuase I honestly saw the contest on Chris' site as a team effort. If not for the people who Dugg the article, Stumbled it, passed it on to their friends, shared it on other forums and mailing lists, and found 10 minutes in their day to help someone out I would never be sitting here in possession of tracking numbers watching an amazing stack of boxes make their way toward me. To each of you, I wish the best of luck. Most of all, I hope you connect, respond and hold onto the contacts and friends you make on this web of blogs- you never know when in the future you can help each other out.

-- Don't lose sight of the fun in life:

Thursday, December 18, 2008



My littlest girl is seven today.

Her favorite color is Turquoise. She loves carrots… just like she did when she was a baby. Her favorite thing to do is ride bikes with her friends (and sometimes, her mom).


She loves to laugh and dance and make up songs. She loves her brother and screams with joy when her big sisters visit. She is her aspiring photographer mother’s favorite model, and her Daddy’s little girl.


Every day, when I delicately comb through her beautiful curls, I’m humbled by God’s kindness in bringing her to me to care for. The ten years before I knew her were not easy. I never thought I would have the chance to be a mom to another baby. She is, in a way, a miracle. And I am always very aware of that.

Happy birthday, Banana. I love you.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

How Many Times Can I Say "Amazing" in Five Minutes?

I can't help it!

It has been amazing, so you'll have to forgive me for saying it too much... which, apparently I do. I hope you can see the huge TouchSmart screen (that will be one of yours) behind me when it lights up... I shout out the names, so no worries... you will definitely know if you won. And I don't know how to use my editing software, so this is pretty amateur looking... whatever.

Make sure to come back here Friday. I will be highlighting some of your stories and some of the great seeds that have been planted. A suggestion was made that I thought was a great idea. No matter who wins, having one day of the week or a separate forum dedicated to all of our endeavors continuing the raising of awareness for groups large and small. I always dreamed of that... can't wait to make it happen!

So, here goes:

Untitled from Sugar Jones on Vimeo.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Marketing on the Cheap for the Mompreneur

Since so many of you landing here to enter the HP Magic Giveaway are also Mompreneurs, I asked my Twitter friend, Wendy Piersall, aka eMom to share some ideas on marketing on a budget. Although this article is written with Moms in mind, these tips are invaluable to all entrepreneurs looking to keep costs low while building their dream.

Thanks Wendy!


Ways Mompreneurs Can Market on the Cheap

Most moms who start businesses do so with a budget of next to nothing. While there's nothing wrong with this (it's actually how I started Sparkplugging), I've learned that it isn't always the best foundation for a big, booming business. If you have visions of being acquired by some big company someday, I'd make the recommendation that you find a way to give yourself a healthy budget so that you can give your company what it needs to grow. But honestly, most moms aren't even interested in that route - they just want a business that fits in with their busy child-centered lifestyle. If that's you, then everything you do is all about spending as little as possible and making as much as possible as a work at home mom.

Free Marketing and Advertising Opportunities

If your business is local, run, don't walk (or, erm, 'type') and get to Google Local and Both of them offer free business listings for small businesses. Craigslist, the clearinghouse of the internet, is actually a good place for freelancers and consultants to get the word out about their services. You can post both a classified ad and your resume. If you have a website, check out AdGridwork, an advertising platform that automates the exchange of links between web businesses.

Cheap Online Advertising & Office Supplies

Cheap ads are great - and there's plenty to be found for mom businesses. Be sure to do a little research to make sure that your ad will be seen by people likely to become your customers or clients. A few places that offer good advertising for reasonable rates are DiaperSwappers, MomPack, and AdvertisingMoms. The last one also has good advice on advertising in general for mom businesses. Also, before you buy anything for your home office, do a hunt for coupons first. A Full Cup has a whole section of their forum dedicated to coupons and deals from office supply stores.

Think Creatively & Be Passionate to be Successful

If I had to distill my best business advice into two thoughts it would be these:
  1. After nearly a decade of being a mompreneur, I've found that one of the most important things you can do for the health of your income is to diversify how you earn your money. There might be a learning curve as you branch out, but too many times I've had all of my eggs in one basket and ended up getting burned. If you are a crafter, sell your leftover craft supplies on eBay. If you are a freelancer, write an eBook. If you are a blogger, learn affiliate marketing. Whatever you do, don't rely on one source of income.
  2. Take care of yourself. Life balance can get a little whacky when there is no separation between work and home. The true key to being successful as a Mompreneur is to be focused and do what you love. You can't do either if you aren't taking care of #1. :)
Wendy Piersall is a well known work at home mom and entrepreneur, founding the Sparkplugging Blog Network in 2006. Today she's also heading up marketing for Escalate Media and their new site TotallyHer, The Magazine and Community for Smart & Savvy Women.



Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Here’s the Deal…

I’m going to start off by saying “A Million Thanks” to HP for giving me the opportunity to be a Santa Angel this year. I’d also like to thank them for giving all of the fifty bloggers the room to run each individual contest in our own way.

That being said, here’s the deal:  I love traffic. We all do. So in that spirit, I’m framing this contest to include some link love and encourage visits to all the blogs entering into this crazy giveaway.


Each contestant will post their stories on their own blogs or vlogs for all of us to go read or see. Use the Mr. Linky widget below to sign up. Fill out the fields as requested, using the url for your post, not your site. (This is very important... do not link to your blog, but the post specifically written for this giveaway within your blog!!! If you don't know how, please ask in the comments...)

It would be great if all the contestants would visit the other blogs in this contest to show some community spirit. Not saying that I care, but the judges might... Feel free to share your favorite posts back here in the comments section. If you have a Twitter account, follow me and the other contestants. Our hash tag will be #SugarMagic


Tell us what you are doing to make an impact on the lives of others. It doesn’t have to be a Save-The-World kind of story. I just wrote about an ordinary refrigerator that helped me and many others. But saving the world is not off the table, either. Brian Carter will tell you all about One Day for Human Rights today… if you have a minute.

Tell us what you are planning to do with all this great hardware. I mean, there’s A LOT of hardware. More than one person could possibly ever need. How could all of these gadgets impact the lives of others that you know? How could these gadgets help you in personally inspiring or empowering others?


Winners will be chosen by a secret panel of ineligible (but still pretty nice) people. This group of wise and whacky women will read through all posts and follow the comment trails, so be nice out there…


This contest officially ends at 11:59pm, December 16th, 2008. The winning entry will be announced no later than 11:59pm December 17th, 2008.

That’s it!  You don’t have to pull some silly stunt like getting a tattoo. ;)

So think a little before you write that post. Who would you like to help other than just yourself? How can you make an impact in a way that changes not only your life, but brings opportunities to others? How much time are you willing to invest in community?

This is a great prize package, for sure. I mean, I’m going to be really really really bummed to pack up that TouchSmart… REALLY bummed… not to mention all the other great products. But I know (or at least hope) that it will go to benefit someone that will in turn be of service to others.

Peace and Good Luck!


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Refrigerator

Once there was a refrigerator. It wasn’t a very special refrigerator. As far as appliances went, it was pretty ordinary. No water dispenser. No ice crushing function. It wasn’t really much to look at either. Some color between cream and eggshell and boring.

Just a refrigerator.

The first home of this ordinary appliance was with a family. I don’t know who they were. I only know that when they upgraded, they passed on the plain vanilla fridge to a young couple just starting out in life. They had both recently graduated from college and were in their first “real” jobs as managers for big companies with household names. In fact, this fridge was regularly stocked with some of the products that the groom represented. They worked hard and did well and soon moved into a home stocked with all new appliances.

What were they going to do with the fridge?

The bride had an assistant at the hotel that she worked at. That assistant was a single mom that always seemed to be just a little behind, no matter how hard she worked. The single mom not only worked for this new bride, but for brides-to-be on their wedding days as a coordinator. She was even known to work during the holidays checking coats for all the big parties at the hotel. And she heard that she was also waiting tables at night. She would do well some day, but at that moment, this mom was struggling. “Could you use this fridge?” The assistant was so thankful and tears filled her eyes at the kindness of this woman. She finally would have more than a cooler to store her family’s food.

The assistant did work hard and eventually was awarded a position opening up a new hotel in another city. She found a home for the fridge. It went to a struggling family who had just moved into the complex she was leaving. It wasn’t anything pretty to look at, she told the family, but they didn’t mind. They were just happy to not have to worry about paying extra rent for a place to keep the food that would feed their own family.

Just a plain, no frills, no ice maker, boring vanilla refrigerator.

I’m not really sure where that fridge ended up. I think about that simple appliance all the time and wonder… I hope it gave a few more families some relief, however small, for a few more stops. It’s amazing how something so plain and so simple made such an impact on the lives of so many.

How do we impact the lives of others? How do our small offerings make a big difference to those around us? Some of us will never know the peace that a person feels after being given something of little value to others, but of greater consequence to them. This is the season that we remember those little things. My hope is that the spirit of giving stay alive throughout the year. This is going to be a time in history when we will have many opportunities to find simple solutions for others that may possibly impact not only how they live, but how we all live. I pray for God to open my eyes to those opportunities and that I continue to be blessed with the chance to fill some needs for others... however simple.

Please come back VERY soon for a chance to impact the lives of others. VERY VERY soon!


Monday, December 8, 2008

Which Three?

I got this question from the lovely ladies of Twitter Moms.

If you were stranded on an island and could have three movies with you, which three would you choose?

So, I’m going to make a few assumptions here… I’m assuming that I have brought some sort of tracking device with me, and at worst, I will be located within a few days. I’m also going to assume that all of my hours of watching Survivor Man, Man vs Wild, and of course, Castaway have prepared me to live and keep busy for those few days. So, I’m going to redefine stranded here. I’m thinking something more like snowed in at your in-laws. That’s scary enough, I suppose, right?

These are the three movies I would need to keep me sane:

Princess Bride - I saw this one when it first came out in the theater. I say that because I want you to know how long I have been madly in love with this snarky fairy tale. I could repeat the movie, and usually do, line by line. “She doesn’t get eaten by the eels at this time.” “As you wish.” “True love is the best thing in the woild. Except for a nice mutten lettuce and tomato when the mutten is nice and lean… mm… they’re so perky! But that’s not what he said!” “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father… prepare to die.”

Big Fish - I love that the father was always just a little too big for this world. I love the unending devotion the mom had for the father. I always completely lose it at the end, when the son, finally understanding his father, tells the final adventure, carrying him off to the river, parading past the cast of characters, waving goodbye before being released. And then at the funeral when the characters are retelling the adventures… you can’t hear any of their words. You only see their expressions and gestures... and their smiles. I always think about my eventual “last party” and hope that my “guests” will be doing something similar.

Forrest Gump - So many simple truths about life in one little movie. I’m always amazed  how I can be Jenny in life, striving, searching, chasing… and really, if I’m a little more Forrest, I’ll fall ass-backwards into the good things in life.

Now it’s your turn. Which three movies would you take with you if you were stranded at visiting your in-laws for a month?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I'm Not That Kind of Mom

It dawned on me that many people being directed here from the blogoshpere might be wondering if this is a "Mommy Blog." Since humans like things in categories, I might bug you a little... and I'm okay with that. While I am a Mom...

I'm not *that* kind of mom.

I'm not the kind of mom that makes breakfast and packs lunches and whistles the whole time. I'm the mom that makes her kids get their own cereal, not only because I want them to learn to do things on their own, but because I'm a late riser and like to sit with my coffee on the patio in peace during my ME time before starting my day as "mom."

I'm not the kind of mom that cares if the Chicken Dinos will cause my children to lose 3 days at the end of their life. Chances are, they will live full and happy lives regardless. I do buy organic milk and eggs and read labels like crazy, but I need easy. Microwavable chicken in the shape of T Rexes make my life easy!

I'm not the kind of mom that will smile politely when your child is being naughty and say "Oh, how cute." I will call him out on his behavior, usually beginning my interaction with a strong, "Hey buddy! Don't do that!" If you have a problem with that, control your young...

I'm not the kind of mom that will let a mom bash another mom while she's not there to defend herself. I don't think there is anything that shows the ugly side of humanity more than a bunch of women clawing at the reputation of another woman. I'd love to see those same catty women try to say this with a straight face to their kids: "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."

What kind of mom am I?

I'm the mom that will squirt whipped cream into her kids mouths when they say they want dessert.
I'm the mom that will suffer mess after mess so that her kids can be creative.
I'm the mom that screws up... a lot... and cries about it... a lot.
I'm the mom that is ALWAYS late. To everything.
I'm the mom that hates homework more than her kids ever could. That's one reason we homeschool.
I'm the mom that hates volunteering in the classroom more than she hates homework. Another bonus reason for homeschooling.
I'm the mom who never folds the laundry and some mornings forgets to check if the kids brushed their teeth before leaving the house.
I'm the mom who tells the kids to turn the music up.
I'm the mom that unabashedly and imperfectly loves her kids.

I'm responsible... but I'm not perfect. And I don't ever want to be.

So I blog and I happen to be a mom. I guess I'm a mommy blogger if that's how you want to categorize me. But don't forget... I'm not *that* kind of mommy.

And if that bugs you... don't look.