Engaging Each Day with Action Words

Splash. — A 41st Birthday Haiku.

There’s no better way

To begin a new year than

With a few splashes.

Water parks and slides,

tubes and tunnels and surf boards

with laughing kiddos.

Giggles and squealing.

From dripping, sliding, swimming

to wrapped up in towels.

To start another

trip around the sun for the

forty second time.


Reflect. — The Life Cycle of Our Mirrors

She looked at me with tired eyes and said, 

“Sometimes I look in the mirror and I don’t recognize the face looking back.”

I’ve had my own similar encounters with the looking glass over the years.

And here, on the eve of my 41st birthday, I am becoming more and more aware of how I view my own reflection.

How I have seen my reflection.

How I will see it in the years ahead.

And how this has changed over the years.

Our mirrors have their own life cycles.

When we are very young, we don’t have time to pause in front of mirrors. We are far too busy and focused on more important things. Like playing and being with our friends.

So, our Mommas remind us to comb our hair and check our outfits, because we have not bothered to take a look at our bed heads or mismatched, untucked ensemble.

A few years go by and we begin to discover that we care about how we look.

We stand in front of our mirrors and admire our new hairstyle. We turn and spin and look over our shoulder, on the left, on the right to see our new outfit and whether it looks best with flats or boots.

And then we are overwhelmed with the knowledge that we suddenly care about how others think we look.

And our mirrors now become more than a reflection, our mirrors turn into comparisons. Our mirrors create opportunities for us to criticize.

And then it changes. Or how we look at it … changes.

And it no longer shows us what we are.

Instead, we can only see everything that we are not. And surely someone else is.

The color of our hair. The shape of our eyes. The size of our nose. Our complexion. Our height. Our weight.

We give these mirrors so much power during these years.

Power to push us forward and power to hold us back.

But if we are lucky, eventually, we find a way out of its grasp, we take back the power and we move on.

And then, if we become a Tired Working Momma, the mirror becomes irrelevant for a few many years.

The mirror disappears again for a time.

Because we don’t have time to stop and look in a mirror. We are far too busy and focused on the important things … again.

We are busy looking into the eyes of our babies and on the piles of laundry.

We are busy looking after toddlers and checking over homework.

We are busy going to games and running schedules.

And for years, this goes on.


Life goes on.

Until it settles down, every now and then,…  or 50 years later.

And we stop and really look in the mirror again.

Which is why we are surprised sometimes by what we see.

And we think we miss what was once there. The reflection that we saw before.

Before years. Before years of life.

Before kids. Before kids full of life.

That image in the mirror that we come to notice, an image that may have more wrinkles. More gray hairs. More pounds.

But what it doesn’t show, is really us.  As we still see ourselves.

So if we look closely, there is a more accurate reflection all around us.

For me, I see myself better in Y.

In her profile. In her smile. In her words. In her attitudes. In her personality. In her style. In her flair.

She is my mirror.

A mirror I can trust.

And for the record, …

A mirror that comes full circle.

She was beautiful.

She is beautiful.

We have to look. We have to see. We have to believe.

Yes. You. All of YOU… really are the fairest of them all.


Thanks for coming with me on this 41 day journey.

It’s been magic.

Let’s all, Go. Do that.


Rest. — And Get Some Work Done.

I’m taking a little break.

A little break to get some rest.

No. Not rest from blogging. Are you kidding me?! This close to the 41 Days to 41 finish line?! No way!

I’m just taking a little break from work.

Taking a little break from work so I can stay at home for a couple of days and do some other work.

Work to finish many projects I’ve been working on.

Work to catch up on work around the house.

Work to get ready for the busyness of the upcoming holidays and travels and celebrations.

Work to do things that I haven’t been able to get to lately.

Appointments. Assignments. Projects.

So, yes, I’m taking a break from work to get some rest…

And get some work done.

Let’s all, Go. Do that.

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Question. — A Prompt to the Rescue!

mommyverbs questions

I have now officially been daily-blogging for 38 days straight. 38 days. I have 3 days left to meet my self-imposed countdown to my birthday.

NaBloPoMo says that I have 10 more days.

We’ll see, NaBloPoMo , … we’ll see.

So, it is 9:50 p.m. after a long, long day AND after just reading a work-related email that just raised my blood pressure by many points and annoyed me to no end.

But, I’m not one that quits easily, so I went to the record store WordPress Reader to check in on my friends. (Name the movie reference in the comments. Random, meaningless points and my endearing movie quote adoration goes to the readers with the correct answers!)

Thankfully, PhrogMom’s Weblog was there for me, to the rescue, with a link to Suzie81’s Blog and her challenge to answer a few questions.

With the clock ticking, knowing that this deadline is looming and being so close to this finish line…

I’ll take it. Thanks to both PhrogMom’s Weblog and Suzi81’s Blog for the inspiration tonight…and saving my bloggy arse at the last minute!

1. Why have you chosen your blog name?

I have always loved action words. Verbs are my favorite. I wanted a name that would help me keep my writing focused on engaging in action words every day. I’m a Mom and knew that most or many of my stories would be about this parenting journey. So, MommyVerbs was born.

2. When you have an hour of free-time, what do you do?

I write.

3. If you could choose to stay a certain age forever, what would it be?

I’m completely cool with where I am right now, counting down to 41. Bring it.

4. If you could learn to do something, what would it be?

I would love to learn to play the guitar. I regret not learning to play a musical instrument. What an absolute gift it is to be able to make your own music whenever you want it. This is why I am pushing piano lessons on the kiddos…trying to convince them that they want to do this!

5. What would be the first thing you would buy if you won the lottery?

Plane tickets. For four. For lots of places.

6. What is the thing that makes you absolutely unique?

I am me. First child. Type A. People pleaser. Daughter. Sister. Wife. Mother. Teacher. Writer. Entrepreneur-wanna be. Book tour ready. Oh. Not unique?

Well then, here’s something else. I have become more and more claustrophobic as I have gotten older, but I love to have really heavy blankets on me at night. I feel like I sleep better if the blankets are ‘pushing me down’ at night. I think it is also a subconscious way to decompress and wind down after multi-tasky spinning all day long.

7. What is your favorite blog?

I don’t know that I have a favorite favorite….but I am thankful to many new blogger friends here in WordPressland: Rarasaur, Jenn’s Midlife Crisis, BonneVivanteLife, Lead Our Lives, who have made me feel so at home ever since I arrived. And I love and admire the work of Finding Joy and Momastery and I Want A Dumpster Baby and so many others…I could go on and on…and on.

So there it is. #38. In the books. A few questions answered.

It’s late. Call it done. As it is. Done.

Let’s all, Go. Do that.


Bother. — The Little Brother Trick Revealed and Debunked.

Years ago, I taught Y the classic and infamous “Little Brother Trick”.

Fail-safe. Sure thing. Works every time. 100% guaranteed.

You know this, right? The Little Brother Trick?

Step 1: You want something that your Little Brother has. Or you want him to do something for you. Or more likely, you want him to leave you alone and do not want to share with him right then.

Step 2: Completely and politely ignore him … BUT…go do something nearby that looks gloriously more fun and exciting than anything he is doing at the time.

Step 3: As he gets distracted by the amazingly awesome activity you are engaged with and comes over to investigate…slowly and carefully transition him to the ‘new and improved’ game and sneak away to do what you wanted in the first place.

Win. Win. Big Sister gets what she wants. Little Brother is happily entertained. And….Momma is left completely out of it and never has to endure the sibling squabbly-scream from the living room, “MOOOOOOOooooo-OOOOOOOOooooooMMMMMMMmmmmm! He won’t leave me aloooooo–ooooooonnnnnneeeeee!”

Win. Win. Win.

Except, I have to say …. this isn’t working for Y.

Yes, it seems she is the exception to the rule. She is the anomaly. She is the glitch in the Matrix.

Because it seems her Little Bother Brother gets the best of her 9 times out of 10.

Two weeks ago, he decided to try to trick her by sneaking in her room, swapping her real five dollar bill with a fake one that he made.

Last week, he drew a picture letting her know that that he kidnapped a bear from her room.

Yesterday, he was bargaining over 4 quarters and a dollar bill to pay her for helping him (aka getting her to do it instead) clean his room.

He’s five. But he seems to be really good at it.

And the Little Brother Trick doesn’t work for her.

She just wants it too much. Whatever IT is. And he knows that.

He’s had her number since the day he took his first step. He is … immune to her tricks.

They are so different, these two. In so many ways. Their spirits and personalities are almost complete opposites.  How they see the world, how they interact with it. From the minute they get out of bed, until the very last minute before sleep takes over.

She wakes up a little grumpy and needs a few minutes to be left alone before much is expected of her.

He pounces down the stairs before anyone and is ready to take on the day…after a cup of his caffeine of choice: chocolate milk.

She needs 17 reminders to get her jobs done in the morning; brush your teeth and hair, get your shoes on. Hurry!

He just gets it done.

And then some days. They are completely the opposite of this. They switch roles in a heartbeat.

She is up and ready with her hair in a ponytail and her tennis shoes and backpack on.

He’s still in a ball in the floor in his Avengers pajamas bemoaning the fact that he has to wear pants instead of shorts to school today.

We call it the good child/bad child effect.

When one is falling apart, the other one pulls it together. When one’s horns are showing, the other is polishing the halo.

She is the Yin to his Yang. And visa versa.

And he is the Neo to her Little Bother Brother Tricks.

And even though they don’t always get along…they love each other.

Because that is what family does…and there’s no trick there.

Let’s all, Go. Do that.


Complicate. — Thanks a Lot Windows 8.1

When I was a kid … and sleepover-slumber-party-try-to-meet-up-and-play-together plans with my friends were getting out of hand, I remember my Mom would always say,

“When it is this complicated, it’s not meant to be.”

Ugh. I hated to hear that. Because it meant that I wasn’t going to be able to do the thing that would totally be a ton of fun if only the 17 steps worked out just perfectly.

And because it meant that she was right.

When things are unnecessarily overwhelming,

maybe it is not meant to be.

Like tonight. I am tired. It is 11:05 p.m. I just had to restart my computer because it selfishly wanted to get the new Windows 8.1 update which was promised to take only a few minutes and I could keep working. But in reality, it took what felt like 17 years and now my eyes are too tired for me to write anything.

Like the holidays. Work schedules and travel plans and photo opps and seating placement and hotel reservations and dinner menus and shopping lists.

When things get complicated, we may just need to simplify.

Let’s all, Go. Do that.


Mark. — How will you remember?

As a social studies educator, I have always been fascinated by the intricacies and complexities of public memory.

It is the art and science of remembering.

Remembering and honoring a place. Or a person. Or an event.

Our land is full of monuments and statues and signs. All of these are a mark.

A mark that is thoughtful and intentional and sometimes even political. But ultimately it serves as a way of remembering.

A unique way of marking time. A way of memorializing for now. And for future generations.

This morning, the awesome preacher in the little church in the little town doing big things shared a story of Samuel.  Specifically, I Samuel 7:12 “Samuel then took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah. He named it Ebenezer (which means “the stone of help”), for he said, “Up to this point the LORD has helped us!”

(Semi-related, he also threw a shout out to MommyVerbs and the pilgrimage to the 40th birthday tattoo as well, as he played around with a tattoo machine as a prop this morning. Have I mentioned that I love this little church in this little town doing big things?  Well, I do.) 

In MommyVerb’s lingo: Samuel took a large stone and created a memorial. He marked this place as a way to honor a monumental event in order to always remember what happened … here…then.

Which makes me wonder…how do we leave our mark?

What do we leave behind as a momento that something important happened here? That we did something that matters. Something that needs to be remembered? That we loved and were loved. That we helped and were helped.  That we created and were created. That we forgave and were forgiven.

We are surrounded by these. By these marks. It might be a gravestone. It might be a tree planted as a memorial. It might even be a road sign or a historical placard. 

Or it might even be a scrapbook of pictures.

Or a book …or maybe even a little ol’ blog.

All of these things say, … I was here. I helped here. I was helped here. I hope I made a difference.

Why do these marks matter? Once something has happened, once someone has been there…and then it is over or they are gone…why does it matter? Why does it need to be carved in stone? Why does it need to be remembered?

Because. Because it does.

Because what we do and what we believe and how we live and how we act…it all matters.

And it needs to be remembered.

So. Write it down. Take the pictures. Plant the trees. Pile up the rocks or get the tattoo.

As a way to remember.

Because where we have been and what we have done with the people that are important to us…

it all matters.

Let’s all, Go. Do that.

Today’s Action Challenge: What is your mark? How do you want to be remembered? What is your memorial to your life’s work and passions? Design it yourself. What does it look like? Is it a sign? Is it a park? Is it a living flame? What is the experience of remembering all of the awesome that is you?

Let’s all, Go. Do that.


Schedule. — What’s Wrong with this Picture?

Yesterday, I got an email that canceled Y’s morning Girl Scout meeting.

So, I got out my handy dandy white out tape that I L.O.V.E. and erased it from the page.

Which is when I realized…


So, you would think that I got a great deal accomplished.

You would think that I really made a dent in the never ending To Do list.

But I didn’t. I worked all day long on this project or that project.

And still I don’t feel like I finished a single thing.

Which frustrates me just as much as this:

iphone email

That is just wrong. 855 emails. You have got to be kidding me. I blame it on NaBloPoMo and the already self-imposed 41 days of blogging that started back on October 13th.

This MommyVerbs post brought to you by a day spent  mostly in pajamas, laptop on my lap working on a few projects, interrupted often by tickling sessions with the boy child and quick trip to town with the family, but still almost utterly unproductive. I did take a shower eventually. And I made the bed. 

Take that NaBloPoMo.



Choose. — Opportunity Costs of Being a Mom

Have you ever heard of the economic term, opportunity cost?

I think it sounds like it might be a much harder concept than it actually is. Something from that terrible, horrible, no good, very bad college economics class.

Opportunity Cost.

Simply put, it is …  the next best thing.

It is the thing we didn’t choose.

Opportunity costs become clear when we have narrowed our choices down to two things and we can pick only one of them.

The opportunity cost is the thing that is still on the table.

It is the value of the thing that we didn’t choose.

It is the thing that came in second place behind our first choice.

As Tired Working Mommas,  (and as Tired Working Daddys), we make a lot of choices during each day.

And each of those choices has an opportunity cost.

We choose where to go. We choose what to do. We choose what to eat and who to call.

We choose how we spend our time and our energy.

And the things that don’t make the list, the next best things, are the price we pay, what we give up, for what we do.

Today, I chose a grey skirt over my favorite blue jeans.

Then I chose to go support a friend at a doctor’s appointment for an hour today instead of having a lunch hour … and ate a salad at my desk while I answered emails.

This evening, I took the kiddos to work at the Food Pantry instead of enjoying a casual Friday evening on the couch.

And now, I’m cuddling with a cute five year old, watching “A Bee Movie” instead of…

…actually, this is perfect. I don’t have a ‘next best thing’ for this.

Let’s all, Go. Do that.

Today’s Action Challenge: We all know that grown up decisions are hard. Our time is limited. Our energy is limited. Our resources are limited. So, how do you decide? Where will you spend your time and energy? Start being intentional about your choices and your ‘next best things’. Is the reward of this thing, better than the cost of not doing or having that thing?


Request. — Just To Be Rich.

An adorable strawberry blonde, freckle-nosed, one-dimpled Kindergartener walked into a classroom.

It wasn’t his classroom. Instead he made a stop off at a neighboring Kindergarten room, where the teacher happens to be one of my best friends.

He very confidently walked up to her and said, “Good Morning. Mrs. K.”

And then he followed up with his request. “Can I have a dollar?”

Completely unaware that this probably shocked my friend, 1) to see him there in her classroom and 2) because he was hitting her up for money so early in the morning.

He continued to explain that his Mother borrowed a dollar from him this summer (ahem, 3 months ago) and never paid him back. But he remembered (incorrectly)  that Mrs. K owed his Mom a dollar, so if she could just give it to him, that would be great.

I give him credit. It was a good idea. And in some universe, it could have worked.

Except Mrs. K. didn’t have a dollar. She only had a five dollar bill.

The five year old responded, “That will work.” As he held out is hand.

Sadly, Mrs. K. told him that she was surely sorry, but she wasn’t going to give him a five dollar bill, no matter his cuteness level or  how logical his argument.

Before he left the room, she stopped him to ask, “What did you need the money for?”

He smiled charmingly and replied, “Just to be rich.”

That’s my boy-child. My X.

Working the angles. Trying out the theory: “you never know unless you ask.”

We could all learn a little lesson here.

It’s worth a try.

Let’s all, Go. Do that.

Today’s Action Challenge: Is there something that you want, but are afraid to ask for? Is there something that you want to do, but are too scared to take a chance? Write it down. Then write the worst thing that could happen if you try. Then write down the best thing that could happen if you try. Ask yourself, even if you landed somewhere in the middle of those two options, is the risk worth the reward? If the answer is yes, then maybe you should go for it. You should ask. You should try.

Let’s all, Go. Do that.

Here's his own five dollar bill that he made to trick his sister. He took her five dollar bill and left this in its she would never know the difference!

Here’s his own five dollar bill that he made to trick his sister. He took her five dollar bill and left this in its place…so she would never know the difference! Cute and Clever!

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