Engaging Each Day with Action Words

Continue. — Random Holiday Traditions NOT To Be Monkeyed With.

I believe in tradition.

Growing up with some family traditions gives you a strong foundation. Because you know what to expect. You get excited about little things. You look forward to these little things happening. And as you grow up, you share these traditions, these ways of doing things with others.

Sure, you adjust. You are flexible as you need to be based on events and people and time.

Traditions are a guide. Traditions give you a place to start.

And I believe with all of my heart…that you don’t … “monkey with tradition.”

A line I stole from the movie, ‘Mystic Pizza’, and made it one of my life’s ambitions.

I am the glue. I am the memory. I am the keeper of the tradition.

I feel a responsibility to keep them going. To keep them alive. Even if no one notices or is even paying attention, it is important to me that we keep doing these things.

So here is a list of our random family holiday traditions.

That should never ever be monkeyed with.



1. We open all of the family presents on Christmas Eve.

2. Santa brings unwrapped presents on Christmas morning.

3. Our elf on the shelf is named, Holly. I know, he has a girl name, but he’s a boy. Elf’s do that sometimes. Apparently. Especially when they are named by 5 year old girls.

4. Holly shows up on the first night that the Christmas tree lights go on. That’s how he knows to come.

5. The tree always goes up after Thanksgiving and usually comes down after New Year’s Day.

6. On Christmas Eve, the kiddos get to hug and kiss Holly goodbye. But he must be on the tree before bedtime so Santa can find him and take him home.

7. You may not go downstairs on Christmas morning before Momma. She must get the picture of the kiddos at the top of the stairs in full excitement mode.  It’s a Momma Rule. And Momma Rules can’t be broken.

8. We will have Monkey Bread for breakfast on Christmas morning. And we eat our Monkey Bread off of little blue Snowman plates. That is the only action those plates see all year.

monkeybread plate

9. We drive about 45 minutes to see Santa each year. We meet family friends for lunch and listen to THE Santa sing songs, play guitar and tell stories. It is pure Christmas magic. We believe.

10. We will always give our friends an ornament of some sort as a Christmas present.

11. We will always give a photo calendar to our Nanas, Maws and PawPaws.

12. There will always be 3 new ornaments added to the tree each year: one with a picture of X, one with a picture of Y and one with a picture of me and Felix together. Each with the current year engraved on it.

13. At Maw Betty’s house, we will always hang the “Horton Balls”, handmade ornaments with each person’s name on one.  New additions of babies or unions are added each year.


14. We open presents one at a time. Sometimes we clap for each present. But not always.

15. We watch the TBS 24 hours of A Christmas Story for … well, almost 24 hours. I’m actually sad when it is over.

New Year’s Eve (My favorite holiday):

16. We bring the neighbors some oranges.

17. We eat 12 grapes at midnight.

18. We make our Family Mind Map of Goals for the new year.

Valentine’s Day:

19. Is always Family Fondue Night! A night for us to stay in and enjoy each our family, while dipping random food into chocolate.

Christmas 2010 - Feb 18 2011 387

Fourth of July aka Y’s Birthday:

20. Fireworks. No matter where we are. Fireworks.


21. We use the classic plastic pumpkins to go trick or treating. No bags or pillow cases for us.

Halloween 2010 031


22. We go to an indoor water park on or around this holiday.


23. You can have Monkey Bread for Breakfast if you would like. You always get to choose the food for the day.

24. There will be a sunrise walk and photo shoot on the beach and I will make you hold up your fingers to show your age. Guaranteed.

25. There will be number candles on your cakes. Not just the number of individual candles, but candles (and sometimes even the cakes) in the shape of numbers. Because they are cool.

July 4th weekend 130

And because it is … tradition.

And…say it with me“You don’t monkey with tradition.” 

You just keep making new ones.

Merry Christmas, Action Worders!


Perfect. — Please Pass the Mashed Potatoes.

Norman Rockwell's Thanksgiving  Freedom From Want

Norman Rockwell’s Thanksgiving
Freedom From Want

Traffic might be heavy.

The weather may be dreadfully dreary and cold.

It might be too windy for the iconic Macy’s Day parade balloons to fly.

You may forget your toothbrush.

Or forget an ingredient that was on the shopping list.

Someone may say something that hurts someone’s feelings.

Or ask a question that crosses the line.

The kitchen might get too hectic.

The cook may feel overwhelmed trying to get everything to come out at the same time.

The mashed potatoes might be lumpy.

The gravy might get cold.

The turkey might turn out to be a little on the dry side.

A kiddo might refuse to eat. Or say something is yucky.

Or … spill their milk on the nice table cloth. Or on the carpet in the dining room.

Someone might drink a glass too many of wine.

Or may have one too many helpings to cause a belly ache.

There might be an awkward silence.

Or too many people talking at once.

Someone may not help clean up the dishes even though they didn’t help cook and it is their turn.

A piece of china might get chipped.

Or maybe someone wasn’t able to come home. Or schedules conflicted. Or someone is ill or too far away. Or doesn’t have family, related or not, to gather with right now.

There are so many things that can go wrong on days like Thanksgiving.

Here’s a gift for you to make this holiday just a little bit easier, simpler:

It is not supposed to be a perfect day.

It is just another day. Another Thursday, where we set the intention to come together as friends and family and just be together.

So, accept it all. Everything that might go wrong and know that it is all part of the story.

The story that is this holiday, this Thanksgiving.

Because families are all about their stories. Their pictures. Their times. Their memories.

The traditions. The laughter. The dessert. The time and place. The table. The gathering. 

It doesn’t have to be perfect.

Remember it all. And just be thankful.

For every little piece of this day.

And please pass the mashed potatoes.

Happy Thanksgiving!


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.


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.



Check. — You will be yelled at.

In a world full of uncertainties, there are only a handful of absolutes that you can count on in this life.

My grandmother’s house is full of a few of these…a few things you can count on.

1. There will be homemade Ma Betty cake and lots of food to choose from.

2. There will most likely be a Chinese Checkers game.

3. As much as she loves you, Ma Betty will NOT let you win this game.

Ma Betty is the most amazing Grandmother. She loves us like nobody else loves us. She dotes on us all and is proud of us and wants us to enjoy the time at her house.

But as much as she loves us, I am here to tell you that she takes her Chinese Checkers seriously.

And by seriously, I mean, it does not matter if you are 5 or 45, she plays to win.

So, my advice to you is this: Do not get in her way. Do not make stupid moves with your little multi-colored marbles.

And whatever you do, do not block her highway and create a traffic jam in the middle. 

When you play my grandmother in Chinese Checkers, I suggest you bring your A game.

Because you can count on it…if you mess it up; if your little blue person gets in the way of her little red person…

You will be yelled at. With love, of course.

As much as she loves you, when it comes to Chinese Checkers…

Just get out of her way.


Today’s Action Challenge: Play a game. What are your favorite board games? Play those with your family and friends. What were your favorite board games growing up? Make sure you introduce your kiddos to those and let them experience a bit of your childhood.

Just play some games. Make some memories.

And…Be like Ma Betty. Play to win.

Let’s all, Go. Do that.

Chinese Checkers

Daily Post Prompt about playing a game…the rules, the relationships and the rivalries.



Help. — Invent Your Own Helping Verb Job.

Everywhere I look, I see them.

Verbs. Action words.

Eight years ago, when I was busy nesting and being all creative and artsy, (read before I had any kiddos!) designing a theme for my daughter’s nursery, I had no idea that I was beginning a theme that would define my purpose.

Verbs. Action words.

I decorated her room with canvas kites, painted by me, in different colors, each with a different verb. (See, before I had kids!)

Learn. Sing. Dance. Play. Read. Believe. Imagine. Dream.

Action words. Wishes for her. Challenges for her life.

Since her room is now all pink and full of horses and … other stuff… These now decorate the rest of my house. Play hangs above the toy box in the living room. Read holds the books in place on the bookshelves. Dream lives above my desk where I say I do my work. Sing and Dance hang out with my record collection.

Sometimes I don’t see these words. These literal calls to action. Sometimes they are just a part of the background.

Other times, they are screaming directions at me, telling me, reminding me what I should be doing.

When I forget.

And they remind me of all of my little mantras that I like to toss around casually and often:

“Eat well. Play more. Choose happy.” Or,

“Whoever does the most work, learns the most.” As an educator, I try to apply that concept daily, helping everyone actively engage in the work of learning. More of them, less of me. Or,

“A little less conversation, a little more action.” Ok, I stole this one from Elvis obviously and then turned it into my own:

“Either do it, or stop talking about it.”

I recently read the book by Bob Goff, Love Does.  I even wrote about it here.  I’ve been trying to use this phrase around my house when my kiddos ask me things like, “Why do I have to pick up these toys or carry these dishes to the sink?” Instead of saying the good ol’ standard of “Because I said so”, I’ve been trying to replace it with “Because that is what love does. Love picks up the toys and helps a Momma out!”

And since I like to play it fast and loose with punctuation and words,  I changed the verbs and turned it into all of the actions that Love looks like, sounds like, feels like, moves like.  What love actually does. Love reaches. Love helps. Love lifts. Love carries. Love holds. Love shows. Love goes on and on.

But we need to remember, that “Does” is really its own verb. It is one of those cool little helping verbs. Helping us do the work of (fill in the blank with your favorite verb.)

Family does. Church does. School does. Community does. Work does. Mission does.

Momma does. Felix does. X does. Y does.

Last night, I watched a bunch of people show up on a Friday night, after a long week full of verbs. They showed up at the local food pantry to help others. Others who are in need. I showed up, too, and tried to do my little part of helping. But I also did some watching and observing; some soaking up of all of the action around me. And I watched Y.

The girl-child so desperately wanted to help that she invented her own job. She went behind a table and helped. Helped people reach things they couldn’t reach. Helped people know just how many veggies and fruits they could take. Helped people know what was available. And when her little brother wanted in on the action, she did her best to help show him the way, too.

Grocery bags were filled by many hands who acted, who listened to the call, who purchased cans and boxes, who stacked and sorted and counted, who organized and ‘spread-sheeted’ and color-coded, who greeted and welcomed and shared with some folks who needed a little help.

While Mr. Sauter, my 11th grade English teacher would tell me that sentence is grammatically incorrect due to the overabundance of commas, I can only see the overabundance of action words.

Action. Verbs. Helping verbs.

Go. Do that. Go. Love. Go. Help. Just Go Do.

Take your talents. Your gifts. Your tools. And act.
What do you love to do? Do it. Invent a new helping verb job.
Help others as you can. Show up. Be kind. Help someone.
Do something.
With love. With intention.
Make it happen.
Go. Do what love does.
Be awesome and Act like a helping verb.
Let’s all, Go. Do that. More often.
helping verb
Today’s Action Challenge: List 40. Yes, 40 ways that you can help others. You can do it. No help is too small. From a phone call, to an errand. From a hug, to a note. From a gift, to a smile. How can you help someone else?
How do you show that you are desperate to help?
Are you willing to invent your own job to be able to help others?
Let’s all, Go. Do that.

Pretend. — I think this costume is broken. I don’t love Halloween: Part 3.

Lil’ X told me this morning: “Nothing is real on Halloween, Momma.  It’s all pretend.”  He was looking into the little Jack-o-Lantern that I had plugged in at the last minute, my feeble attempt at pretending to be a little festive on this day.  He looked into the plastic pumpkin and said, “You’re not real.  You just have a little light bulb inside your mouth. You’re just pretending.”

photo (12)

I think I will use that way of thinking to my benefit today.

I’ll pretend that my house is all decked out for Halloween and we have all kinds of good holiday spirits going on in our home. I’ll pretend that I wasn’t feeling like the proverbial ‘bad Mom’ this morning, because I wasn’t really doing anything super special for the kiddos for Halloween today. Instead,  I’ll pretend that I fished out the fun black and orange socks for everyone.  That I donned my witch’s hat to greet them in their beds just for fun. That I  even made orange and green pumpkin pancakes to make this October 31st just a little bit memorable.

I’ll pretend that I got up early and made it to the gym this morning like I planned.  I’ll probably enjoy the fact that I missed the circuit this morning, that I believe involved Burpees and Wall Squats, when my legs aren’t so sore later.  (Secretly, I like Burpees and Wall Squats, so I’m actually a little sad that I missed this one.)  I’d like to pretend that my day isn’t so busy that I could sneak off to the gym later this afternoon, but that’s not gonna happen.

I’ll pretend that I’m excited about walking around tonight in the cold for Trick or Treating.  Actually, I’m already dreading it a little, but I’ll pretend that I’ll change my attitude before 6:30 p.m. No, really, I will. I will manage to adjust that mentality and focus on some fun…even if I have to pretend that I’m having fun just a little bit.  The truth is, I don’t like being cold and I’m not ready for Winter.

My kiddos are probably living in a fantasy world, too, dreaming that they get to eat all of the candy they collect in their plastic pumpkins tonight.  Ha! That’s a good one.  They can pretend all they want, that they will have open access to their stash instead of giving them up to the Switch Witch who will leave them a toy instead. When they start to have sugar withdraws, they’ll say we are mean and that we don’t love them (or else we would let them eat all of the candy that they want, be all jacked up on sugar and have rotten teeth), but I know that they don’t mean it–that  is just pretend, too.

photo 4 (3)

So, meanwhile Y is pretending to be a random softball superhero tonight.  X was going to be Iron Man, but when tried on his costume a couple of weeks ago, he had to pretend that he wasn’t just a little bit disappointed when he casually said to me, “Hmmmm….I thought I would be able to fly.”

He’s decided to be the Incredible Hulk instead so he can walk around and yell, “Hulk: SMASH!”

Happy Halloween!

It’s a good day for pretend play.

Let’s all, Go. Do that.

Today’s Action Challenge: What do you pretend? What do you make believe?  What would you like to believe is true? How do you suspend disbelief? Doodle things that you believe are make believe that you wish were real and true?

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Publish. — Thanks Huffington Post, but I’m Still Just Mom.

huff post title 2

Yesterday, a blog that I submitted to The Huffington Post was published.

A post that I wrote about pausing to find your pause button.

Published. As in online. On The Huffington Post.

I immediately felt like I needed to hit the pause button and share the news with family and friends.

For the rest of the day and evening, I was completely overwhelmed by everyone’s response.

You all provided me with … pause.

Pause to bask in some of the beautiful “Likes” and “Comments” and “Shares”.

Pause to look at the amazing and inspiring people that I’ve been collecting all of my life.

Pause to count my many blessings.

Pause to remember that you read these words I string together. More of you read than I realize.

Pause to recommit; because you read these words, I want to be mindful about telling the truth and minding the gap between my beliefs and actions.

Pause to even feel the fears of “Is it good enough?” and “What if?”

Pause to be excited about setting this intention and following through, with the fears in tow.

But oddly, yesterday afternoon when I picked up the kiddos…

I was still just Mom.

There were no balloons. There was no confetti. Not even a stinkin’ parade!

I’m still just Mom.

They don’t read The Huffington Post. Huffington Post? What’s that? Sounds like something out of a Harry Potter book, which for the life of me I can’t get them interested in. (I’m hoping they are just still too young.)

I’m still just Mom.

They didn’t notice the outpouring of “Likes” and “Comments” and “Shares” on Facebook. (They are not on Facebook precisely because they are still too young.)

I’m still just Mom.

But. They were excited to see me and ran with open arms to greet me.

They had their own big news to share, too. Bigger news. Bigger than Huffington Post news!

X got to eat lunch in his classroom today because of the field trip to the pumpkin patch!

Y made it to the elusive and proverbial “Super” on the behavior chart today, earning her a purple smiley face in her book and a trip to the treasure box.

X had a new “Scat the Cat” book to read to us along with 18 more words to sing in the “Banana Nana Bo Bo Bana Fee Fi Mo Mana” song. (Yeah. I’m ready for this phase to be over…maybe just a little.)

Y finally got to meet with her reading group today and read the next chapter of “Shoeless Joe Jackson” which she is so excited to be learning about. Of course my references to “Field of Dreams” were completely lost on her. I will have to work on that one. Soon. She’s not too young for that one.

And with their bigger news, I once again, found my pause.

Pause to remember that at the end of each day, no matter what happens…

I’m still just Mom.

I could have had the best day or the worst day.

I could have met my goals or experienced complete failure.

I could have been published or rejected.

I’m still just Mom.

There were still errands to run.

There was still dinner to make/get.

There were still baths and showers and “Brush your hair and teeth” to do and say.

There were still the 7 tuck in songs, 24 hugs and kisses and countless repeated “Good Night. I love yous”.

I’m still just Mom.

They love me. Unconditionally.

Just like I love them. Unconditionally.

I once heard someone say, “There is nothing you can do to make me love you less. There is nothing you can do to make me love you more.”

Nothing changes.

Because I’m still just Mom.

And I love you that much.

Let’s all, Go. Do that.

huff post title

P.S. I did sit down with Y to show her the post online. The post with my name in the byline and the little black and white picture of me at my brother’s wedding. I wanted to show her to let her know that she can do anything. Anything she sets her mind to.

Her response: “Cool.”

So now, I’m still just Mom.

But maybe just a slightly cooler version of … Mom.

Today’s Challenge(s):

Pause. Again. To recognize and appreciate the amazing and beautiful people you have been collecting all of your life!

Pause. Again. To take a look around and notice your family and all of their love. Just walk up to them and hug randomly.

Pause. Again. To scroll through your facebook friends list and leave messages of kind words on the pages of folks you haven’t heard from in a while.

Pause. Again. To set an intention. Name something you want to do. Enjoy the pondering about how to make that happen.

Pause. Again. To be You. Maybe even just a slightly cooler version … of You.

Let’s all, Go. Do that.


Solve. — The Puzzle of Life in Six Easy Steps.

I keep thinking about a phase that X was going through a few months ago. He was really into puzzles.

Solving puzzles. Putting puzzles together. He would sit for the longest time and really work a puzzle. I loved watching him to do this.

I learned so much about his little big personality.

And I decided that four year olds really know how to live. They have it figured out, this puzzle of life. It is really not so difficult.

If we just stop for a little while. Stop and watch the four year olds. We might just find the pieces we’ve been missing.


There might be 100 pieces to this puzzle. 100 pieces is a lot. They are all different shapes and sizes and can be overwhelming when we open the box and look at everything that has to be accomplished. Today. Tomorrow. This week. Before the holidays. We can choose to just say, “Nevermind. This is just too much.” and put the lid back on the box. And put the box back on the shelf.

Or. Like the four year old, we can throw them all out over the coffee table, and just pick up one piece to start with.

To the Mommas, all of those pieces, just laying around in a pile, might look just like a huge mess. We wonder if we can really do this all by ourselves. Put this all together in a way that makes sense.

And the Momma of the four year old wonders just how long he will be able to keep up with all of the pieces before he loses one.

We wonder about this for ourselves, too. How can we keep up with so many pieces, so many things to be and do?

But if we just pick up one. Like the four year old. Just pick up one to get started. Then find one to go with that one.

One by one, we can piece it all together.

From the four year old, here is “How to Solve the Puzzle of Life in Six Easy Steps.”

1. You start with what you know. You focus on the important stuff.

You build the people first.

In the case of X, the superheroes.

Watch the four year olds. They will always put the people, the animal, the characters together first. They are the first things that get ‘pieced’ together. They stand out the most. They have the brightest colors, the expressions. They deserve to go together first–they are in fact the most important part of the puzzle.

As the Mommas, we should follow his lead.  He’s right. Shouldn’t the people in our lives, come… first?

Shouldn’t we focus on the people we love, the people we care about.

Make the people in your life the center of your puzzle.

2. You start in the middle and work your way out.

When I was younger, my grandmother told me that you always start with the pieces with the flat edges. You find all of those and you build the frame first. I tried to pass that sage advice on to the boy child, but he had other plans. I don’t say this often, but I think this time, she might have been wrong, after all. Sure, it is another way to do it. But the frame is not usually the most exciting part of the puzzle. Yes, it holds it all together, and it is needed for sure. But it is usually just the background pieces, the landscape.

The four year olds intuitively know that the action, the real action, is right in the middle of the puzzle.

Why not start there and let the background fall into place as you get to it?

The action is where it is at. It is not the clean counter tops or the folded laundry in drawers. It is not the mopped floors or the perfectly picked up toys. We all know it is the Family Wii tennis tournament challenge in the living room. It is the squirt gun fight in the kitchen. It is the tickle monster chases down the hall. It is the belly laughs at the dining table.

As the Mommas, we will get to the frame. We will pick up the toys and put away the clothes and wash up the dishes. We will do that stuff because we are the Mommas.

The trick is not to miss the action in the meantime.

Our lives need to be lived from the middle … out.

Let’s focus on the middle, the heart of our homes and lives. We can build the frame as we go.

3. It is ok to ask for help, but you want to put the piece in by yourself. You can’t let someone else do it FOR you.

And it is. It is ok to ask for help. Ultimately, the four year old is right again. As the Mommas, we can show him where a piece might go, but he has to figure out the direction. He has to be the one who turns it over, matches the shapes and colors. He has to be the one to determine if it is a good fit.

And if he gets frustrated. If a piece just doesn’t seem to fit just right, he can ask for help.

As the Mommas, we want to help. We want help.

But just like the four year olds, we have to learn that we have what it takes. We can do this. We can reach out and get some help, but ultimately, it is our puzzle. It is our life. We know how these pieces go together. We have to trust our instincts. Stop second guessing. Stop comparing.

We know how this puzzle goes together.

4. You have to keep going. Take a break, sure. Have a little ice cream. But then keep at it. You will get faster, the pieces will come together easier.

The four year olds totally understand this. There are sweet things in life that must be enjoyed. Sometimes we have to stop. Take a breather and then come back at something with even more perseverance and determination.

The Mommas in us need to remember that it is okay to stop. It is okay to take a break. We deserve it. We deserve to call a time out, for ourselves, and then come back to the puzzle to start again.

5. But…Sometimes you have to get IN the puzzle to really make it all come together.


The four year old said to me, “Ok, this top part … is the hard part. I have to look close.” Isn’t that true? When things get hard; when things are difficult–You do have to really be there. Pay attention. Focus. Get in it and get messy.

Stop multi-tasking. Slow down and focus. When things get hard, we have to get into the puzzle to figure it out.

And if nothing else works, a little change your perspective can do wonders.

And last but not least…

6. Be proud of it. Leave it out on the table. Admire it. Brag about it. Call people from the other room to come and see it.

Life is made to be shared with others. Don’t hide your accomplishments. Share your talents. Brag a little.

This puzzle of life is hard. 100 pieces is a lot. As the Mommas, we spend too much time trying to live small. Trying to keep the focus on others. Trying not to sound too proud or shine too bright.

The four year olds know how to live. Jump up and down. Squeal a little.  Celebrate the big accomplishments. Make sure everyone knows that you finished this puzzle and you are ready for the next one.

Because, Mommas…it is a big deal. It is okay to be proud of the puzzle you are piecing together.

Show it off a little.

Just like the four year old, it is okay to say, “Hey! Look what I did!”

Let’s All Go, Do That.


Today’s Challenge:

Create a puzzle of your life. On each piece, write something you are proud of. Something you are. Something you have done. Include a few pieces that you are still working on. Do all of the pieces fit? If not, stand up and move. Get a new perspective on it.

Stand back and admire the whole that is you. Call people from the other room to come and see it.

Let’s all, Go. Do that.

blank puzzle


Accept. — What Lands Through Doors and Windows.


Sometimes, things happen. Good things happen with bad things.  Tragic things happen alongside miracles.

Doors Close. Windows Open.

There are red lights followed by green lights. There are complaints followed by compliments.  There is hard. There is easy.  There are family game nights and seven year old meltdowns. There is the perfect meal and then the sunken homemade birthday cake.

Sometimes the stress of a situation can take your breath away. Then a random text from a friend can relieve the anxiety. Just a little bit.

You find the parking space. You run out of gas. You are first in line. The machine breaks. This is starting to sound a little bit like an Alanis Morissette song.

Whatever IT is—it is true that you have to accept the situation. We accept that things happen. We accept complications.  We even accept credit.

I recently heard the phrase, “Accept what lands.” I find this so interesting.  Be accepting of what comes our way, both good and bad and accept it for what it is. The traffic jam. The three hour wait in line. The lost contact lens.  The sweet message from a friend. The unexpected check in the mail. The favorite movie randomly on T.V.

Accept what lands implies that we welcome our destiny. We accept the events that happen to us.  But…NOT in a passive way.  We are not victims, helpless to react to what is landing in our lives.  No. Accept implies action. Actively accept what lands, catch it and then do something with it.

But what will you do with it? How will your acceptance of what lands in your life motivate you? To be still or move forward? To Stay home or work elsewhere? To Cry or laugh?  To Begrudge or forgive? To Choose sad or choose happy?  To Wallow or Appreciate?

We accept situations, just like we should accept the people in our worlds. I accept my best friend/partner/hubby for who he is and what he brings to my world.  I accept Y for her firecracker ways, for her sweet, sincere spirit, for her over extremes. I accept X for his red-headed monkey loudness, his interrupting manners, and his incessant talking at times.  I try not to make excuses for them. I accept them and their behavior and their gifts and their mess ups. Just as they are.

Accept what lands means that I have to accept me, too. For what I am and who I become. For what I see in the mirror and the number on the scale. For my triumphs and overcomings and my foul-ups and shortcomings. For when I have it all together and for when I just… don’t.

The good, the bad, the beautiful. I have to accept it all.

Accept what lands.

Let’s All, Go. Do that.

Today’s challenge: Free write about acceptance. Set a timer for 5 minutes and just write. Don’t edit. Just write.

What does acceptance mean? What does it look like? When have you found it? When have you given it?

When have you not felt accepted? When have you made others feel this way?

What good has come from bad? What miracle have you found in tragedy?


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