Who Are You Sir?!

How in the world could that happen? Sometimes a coincidence is so strange, you wonder how that could happen, or why!

We flew to New Orleans for a business function. Our friends booked the hotel room for us to share while we were in town and told us they would be arriving early, Wednesday or Thursday to have some R & R, and play a little golf. We thought nothing about the arrangements, because they’d handled the rooms in the past.How in the world could that happen, we just want to go to the Dome

Our function was at the Super Dome, downtown New Orleans, and we always stay near the event for the convenience, so when we arrived, naturally, we jumped into a cab and headed to the ‘H.I.’ right across the street from the Dome. We just walked up to the front desk, asked for the key to JB’s room, (names encrypted to protect the innocent, Haha) because we were sharing with them and the desk guy, just hands us the key. When we went up to the room, we were quite surprised to find that the room was perfectly tidy and empty of personal things with no evidence of our friends. We are pretty relaxed and often just go with the flow, so we figured that they changed plans and would show up later. The event wasn’t for a few more hours. So, no big deal, right?

We were a bit tired, so we hopped into bed for a nap. The night would go late; well past midnight, so why not catch up? We were definitely, comfortably asleep, when all of a sudden this incredibly loud, angry pounding sounded on the door, and the voice of a very angry man, yelling through the door.

‘Who are you, Sir and what are you doing in there?’ Are you kidding me? He was actually hollering. Oh my goodness, we just about jumped out of our skin. Why would anyone yell like that through the door? Why wouldn’t he just knock on the door and speak to us?

David jumped up, asked who it was, (good grief, it was the hotel manager – can we say anger issues?) and he told him that he would come down to the front desk and talk to him in 5 minutes. When he came back and told me about the conversation and besides being startled, we just started laughing because it felt like we were in some kind of twilight zone.

David calmly explained to the man that we were sharing a room with JB and his wife, and that the desk clerk gave us the key. Mr. Angry Manager yells in his face that JB checked out that morning and why were we to trying to get into his room? Talk about accusing before getting the facts. We were stunned and didn’t know exactly what to say. Our friends said meet us at the H.I., and we assumed the one by the Dome. Suddenly David thought, is it possible that they could have checked into another H.I. in town? So the manager called another one and found a JB checked in there. Ha, ha, ha,. Talk about a change of attitude on that guy’s part. What on earth did he think we were trying to pull and why wouldn’t he at least ask us first before yelling his head off?

But if you think about it, what are the odds of someone with the same name being at that hotel at the same time as we show up and they still have his name on the list? What are the odds they’d give us a key to check in without confirming with JB that he expected roommates?

Who flies across the country and checks into the wrong hotel with the right name and the desk clerk lets you in and the room is registered to the same name as you’re asking for? How in the world could that happen? I sure don’t know. Too many coincidences to be possible. Isn’t that funny? Well, maybe I only entertain my self, but I have a collection of coincidence stories and most of them have great meaning and valuable lessons, but this story…..just amusing.

I know God loves us, He allows cool things to happen sometimes to bless us, but this experience was just interesting. It certainly gave us something to talk about all weekend. It would be impossible to Coincidencerecreate this series of events, so we just left with our heads shaking and feeling surprised and amused. What we do matters; you matter! I believe we make a difference. Don’t kid yourself; others notice you, even when you don’t know it. But this time, I don’t know if we blessed someone that weekend, or offended someone that weekend, but it was interesting.

Have you ever had anything like this happen? Do you have a coincidence story? I’d love to hear it.


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Top 5 Gifts To Give My Children #5

I started a series called the Top 5 Gifts to Give my Children. I had a very clear idea of the Top 4. I was excited to talk about some of the things that we’ve done with our kids and I realized that in the grand scheme of things, the toys and presents that we’ve given have mostly been forgotten. Teaching good character is an important job and everyone of us are growing and developing and what we’ve instilled into our children will last a forever. While I was writing out the 1st 4 gifts, I wasn’t sure of the 5th one. Then I realized that its big. It’s too important and more valuable than anything else. Oh my goodness, I’m not qualified to give this gift in any way, but I will still share it and you can run with it.

The 1st gift of the top 5 gifts is the gift of giving tlearninghem a sincere compliment or well deserved recognition. The power of your words is profound and to use words as a loving and effective tool will shape their dear little lives.

The 2nd gift to give our children is to teach them, and help them practice, how to interact with Top 5 Gifts #2grownups with confidence and respect. This is so important for their future success, because they have to see the chance, seize the chance and break out of their nervousness and put themselves out there to talk to an adult. When they do it, their confidence builds and it will shape them.

top 5 gifts - #3
The 3rd gift of the top 5 gifts is to teach them to be aware of others around them. This teaches them to look outside of their own little self and look at others, and notice ways to give back.

Top 5 Gifts - Make Your BedThe 4th gift that I try to give my babies is the gift of consistency. They know they can count on Mommy to say what I mean and to mean what I say. This builds a very secure world for them. Children push the limits, from toddler to teenager, and when their boundaries are strong, they relax. If discipline is consistent, it will pay off big time for good in their sweet little lives.

I wasn’t sure how to explain #5 gift at first, and it didn’t become clear in my mind until I posted #4 and I got the most lovely compliments and great feedback from some readers that just boosted my confidence and cheered me up. I love the idea that I can offer an experience or share a story that not only resonates with you, but gives you some tips or ideas that renews your hope to regroup and move on with success.

The last gift to give my children is God. No, of course I don’t mean we’ve given our children God. Haha, Calm down 😉  What I mean is that we have taken time, effort, actual hard work and love to try our best to teach our little dears who God really is. I want to instill in them the desire to seek God, the tools to learn who God is and why they would want to seek Him out. I told you I’m not qualified, nor am I a shining example of someone who’s got it figured out, but I can point the way.

Top 5 Gifts #5

I don’t have the words or the ability to give this gift, but I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, and so can you. If you know in your heart of hearts that Jesus is the one who died for you to save you, and that He is God Almighty and loves you and you’re so grateful, then tell them. Tell your little dears, because they need to hear this wonderful news from the most important people in their lives. Your words are powerful, and they are the most powerful to your little precious sweethearts who have been entrusted to you to raise them to success. If you know Jesus, ask Him to help you to communicate this to the kiddos.

On a day to day basis, practically speaking, I’ve arranged my schedule to make some things a priority. Sunday School, Junior High church activities, high school church youth group retreats and mission trips. To do that, it takes planning, money and sacrifice of my time and energy, but what great resources to back me up with what I’m teaching them. These are the activities that I put priority on to help me teach the children, on a regular basis, what’s important in this life. I want them to learn to hear God’s voice more and more as they grow up.

Did you ever wonder if God has actually spoken to you, maybe in a way that a thought came to you and it wasn’t your normal thought process and it was a revelation? I have.

There’s a verse in the bible in the book of Luke: ..To whom much is given, much is required… I’ve heard this verse taught like a warning or admonition. Meaning, I’ve been given so much in life, that I’m required to deserve it by giving back, being responsible, doing my best…lots and lots of work. It felt like a heavy weight. I’ve been given these gifts in life, so I’m required to live in a way that will make payment for them.

Some days, you guys, having the beautiful gift of children feels like so much work and stress, that I have felt like I couldn’t keep going and it made me think about that verse. I have to do a lot of work, tirelessly and gratefully because I’ve been given the beautiful gift of 9 children. What a lovely blessing that I’m working to deserve, right?

You know that the Bible is God’s living word, testifying to us who God is, and there’s deep and continual meaning to it. So I feel like God said to me, you can think about the verse the other way around, ‘To whom much is required, much is given’. Think about it. You’re required to do a lot of work, caring for your dear little babies, teaching young children and trying to manage teenagers, etc. and guess what? At the end of the day, look at what you’re given                  I love flowers, they're like a ribbon on top

I felt like God was saying to me, “I know some days feel like all work, but because you’re required to work, here you go. And when you take a moment to slow down, look at what I’ve given you. I have given you much.”  

Such blessing.


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Top 5 Gifts to Give My Children #4

The first gift, on my list of the top 5 gifts, is the gift of giving my little sweethearts a sincere, compliment or recognition.

The second gift was to help them learn how to interact with grownups, with confidence and respect.

The third gift in my top 5 gifts, is to teach them to be aware of others around them.

The fourth gift that I am giving my babies as they grow up is the gift of consistency. This is a quality that I can continue to develop in my life and then demonstrate it to them on a regular basis. I am teaching them by showing them. Being consistent is something that is very comforting because they will know what to expect from me. They know beyond a shadow of a doubt that when Mama says no, it’s no. My mind will not change, the boundaries are set and it’s important. When I say yes, I will do my best to make it happen or give a rain check, because a yes is a yes.

Top 5 Gifts - Make Your Bed


I’ve learned to not rush when I answer them, most of the time. So that means when I tell the kiddos something, I say what I mean and I mean what I say. That’s my standard. If they’ve been naughty, and the punishment is no movie later that evening, there’s no movie. If I promised candy for a treat if…, and they don’t do if…., then there’s no candy. Its simple, its consistent and they can count on me to follow through. I don’t need to yell, I don’t need to get angry, I just need to wait it out, and they will soon learn that I say what I mean and I mean what I say. It is very effective and it has paid off big time. My kids know exactly what to expect.

Sounds simple, right? Sigh, here’s the hard part. Sometimes, I offer them a movie because I wanted to spend time with them and watch a movie together. Sometimes I’ll offer a reward for good behavior, like some candy at the end of shopping. I’m actually anticipating being the wonderful Mommy who treats her babies with special gifts sometimes, and I’m imagining their dear little grateful faces when they receive that highly desired treat, and when I have to say no and deprive them and be the mean Mom, is tough. Its hard for me to follow through because I’m disappointed too. It comes back to my own self discipline again because its for their good. You were afraid I’d say that right?

If you can stay strong, give a reasonable answer or correction, calmly stick to it and don’t have any more discussion or arguing about it, then after a few tries at begging and crying, those little ones will start to realize, Mommy says what she means and she means what she says. Done. No discussion. No yelling. No anger. Just the facts, Ma’am. I actually found this a fairly easy thing to do with young children. The secret is to be calm, be firm and do not discuss it any further. If they keep arguing for their treats, keep quiet. No is no and they will figure out that I’m serious.

The teenagers are the ones that get me when it comes to following through with what I said needs to be done. This is what happens so often. I say to the teenager, ‘You have to make your bed each morning, eat breakfast before school and your room must be tidy or else…,right?’ Very clear, very easy to understand my expectations. They also know, without me having to spell it out, that ‘or else’ means whatever privilege they’re going to ask for will be no if they’ve fallen down on their side of the deal. They will come to me and say, ‘All the other teenagers are going…, and I can get a ride in 10 minutes, Can I go?’

My mind is thinking that this would have given me a quiet evening, the kids will get some energy out of their system,  they’ll have some quality fun with other good kids, they haven’t been out lately, this will be good for them.’ Here comes the hard part. I have to follow through and ask them if they deserve this privilege and have they fulfilled their side of the deal. Here’s the number 1 answer. ‘I was just going to tidy my room and I can get it done in 5 minutes, don’t worry about it.’ They had fallen down on their end but were very willing to do the job when it was worth it to them, rather and being obedient, contributing to the household duties and being consistent.

If my only goal in all of life was to have a tidy house, I could have my little servants working for privileges all day long. The problem is that I am trying to consistently raise quality, responsible adults who will contribute to society and succeed in life. I can’t let them get away with completing their responsibilities, poorly and at the last minute just to get what they want. What does that teach them in the long run? Again, I have to use self discipline, check up on them and give them the yes and we’re all happy for the night, or absolutely not and they’ll learn consistency, from my consistency.  

Get ready because this is when being consistent starts…

Top 5 Gifts
Happy Baby ;)

Doesn’t this all sound ‘no’ fun’ to be consistent? I totally agree, but think about this. The value of consistency works both ways. I will be responsible for their corrections, to the best of my ability, but I hope they realize that I will consistently love them and be there for them when they need me because ultimately, I’ve got your back, babies. ♥ 

You’re going to love this quick video and you will see that I am totally vindicated. ‘Make your bed little dear. Its good for you’. If you want to really be inspired, watch the 2nd link and see the whole video. I love flowers, they're like a ribbon on top

Make Your Bed (Navy Seal – 1:45 min)

Make Your Bed (Navy Seal – 19 min.)

Do you agree with me now?


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Top 5 Gifts to Give My Children #3

The first gift, on my list of top 5 gifts, is the gift of giving my little sweethearts a sincere, well deserved compliment or recognition. I wish I’d always gotten this right, but I know I remembered sometimes and I hope our legacy continues on with more good stuff than bad.

The second gift was to help them learn how to interact with grownups, even at a young age, and to be mature, respectful and confident when they do.

The third gift is a little bit hard to explain.

The third, very important gift that I’m trying to give my children, out of my top 5 gifts, is to teach them to develop an awareness of others around them.

top 5 gifts - #3

Why? – Why would I bother to teach this to my kids? I think it’s a sign of unselfishness and selflessness to be aware of others around you. When you’re aware, you notice the needs of others and then you can put people first. You’re more available to interact with strangers or friends. As much as I love having dear, little cuddly babies, I know that I’m raising future adults and I want them to be successful in life, so the sooner we instill great qualities in the little dears, the sooner it becomes a natural habit for them, and the greater chance they’ll have of success in their lives, when I’m not around to prompt them anymore.

It’s so natural for kids to be self-absorbed and that’s a terrible character quality. Kids have been use to adults catering to them all of their lives. It goes against the grain to turn the situation around and think about others and give back. If my babies are always self-centered, they’ll never learn to be thoughtful of others or learn gratitude.

Having an awareness of others is natural for me, and probably for a lot of mothers. We need to be ‘tuned in’ all the time. Children often don’t have the awareness naturally, so they need a little training.

How? – How do you teach this? That’s the question, right? This is not a one time lesson, like how to write the letter A. This is ongoing training. It’s a shared life lesson where we can ‘practice’ together. Practice is the key, because thinking outside the box and being aware of others is a skill and not a natural one. So, I take time to talk, on the side to my little dears, when we’re out and about, and point out some people they could talk to, or a new person they could go up to and greet. Another thing I can do to help them is to point out a place where they can complement someone or ask a question to start a mini conversation. Then, as soon as I get a chance, I’ll ask my little dear, what did they find out, and did the other person seem to enjoy talking to them. That’s where we can talk about how it went. It’s a process, but with a few successes under their belt, they develop a confidence beyond their years. 

My friend Jillian is newly married and just had her first baby. She cares for her husband’s little daughter who is 5 and she started telling me about some of the things she’s teaching her. I was astounded at her wisdom and completely impressed that this new mom has such insight and the strength to carry out some disciplines that she thinks if important.

1. She instituted a rule that there are no electronics at the dinner table. That is family time and not to be interrupted, or it will lose its value.

2. When an adult comes to visit, the little girl is to put down her device and greet the newcomer politely and visit until she is excused to go and play.

3. When they were at a restaurant, their little girl had to put down her device and tell the waitress, like a big girl, what she would like to eat or drink. She had to make eye contact and speak up clearly. This one was really hard for her, since she’s a sweet, shy little 5 year old, and was really scared, but they helped her through and it strengthened her ability and her confidence.

4. Ok, don’t be mad at me with this one! Part of the awareness of others, is to be kind. Part of being kind is to say nice things. ‘If you can’t say somethin’ nice, don’t say nothin’ at all” -Thumper. Ok, its Food! Yup, when you’re visiting friends and those silly friends don’t know how to feed your little dear his favorite food. What are they thinking, right? I’m trying to teach the kiddos to look at the food they are sure they hate, and put a smile on their face and just say thank you for dinner. It’s really hard to say something nice about food that you hate! (picture a 5 year old child’s face) It’s important to teach them to be gracious. Please let me know how this one is going for you. Trust me, it’s good progress just to go from Mr. 5 Year Old saying out loud to your friend, “I hate your food” to at least whispering it in your ear, right?

I’m a little older, hopefully a little bit wiser and its good I love flowers, they're like a ribbon on topto look back and realize that the top 5 gifts we’ve given to our children are all intangible. What are some of the gifts you’ve given to your little dears that are helping them become successful in their lives?


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Top 5 Gifts to Give My Children #2 Gift

When we first started having our kids, I felt like it was my job to just teach and train them to be good little children. Raising little dears is so much more than making them into good little robots.

Now that I look back, some of the training techniques I used were actually gifts that we gave them. I was given gifts from my parents that stayed with me for life and benefitted me enormously over the years. Sometime, I should try to think of the top 5 gifts my parents gave to me. One of them, for example, was that my mom paid for piano lessons for years and years. That was a gift in itself, but the real gift, the intangible one was the discipline of practicing that she made me do each week. The second part of the gift was that when I was in high school she told me that I could finally quit my lessons or continue and it was my choice. Guess what, I quit! Silly teenager. I loved the freedom of choice, but then I realized, all on my own, that I was so close to achieving a level of accomplishment, so after a year off, I asked her if I could continue with lessons and take the music exams. Her gift to me was consistent discipline until she felt I was old enough to make my own choices.

Top 5 GiftsThe 1st gift of the top 5 gifts, I’ve tried to give my children is the gift of  sincere compliment and recognition for something they did that was noteworthy. The 2nd gift that I think is so valuable, is to take time with them to teach them how to interact with adults. This is tough for anyone, but children are just not comfortable interacting, on their own, with adults yet.  

I didn’t notice that I actually went out of my way to teach the kids how to interact with adults, until people started noticing how mature our little ones are and how respectful and confident the older ones are with grownups. I’m often asked how I did it. I had to stop and think about what it is that I do.

Here’s the steps that might help.

1.Before meeting with grownups, I’ve stopped for a moment ahead of time, and tried to prep them and I’ve given them a few hints about what to say. Option A, eg. ‘Just say, hello, my name is Caleb.’ That’s it, no worries. Often adults speak first and they usually say How are you. Option B., just say ‘I’m fine, how are you?’ If they can pull this off, and have the guts to speak up, grownups love that from a little wee kid. It’s so adorable when a little one speaks up, and when it works well for them, it can put a real success under their belt and will build their confidence.

2.I‘ve done a mini roll play with the little cuties and demonstrated how to introduce themselves and confidently put out their hand for a handshake. This can be fun with the more outgoing little babes, but a bit stressful for the shy ones. It takes patience and encouragement to teach this to them, but well worth it in the end. When the time comes, to meet the grownup, I nudge them forward and hope they get the hint to put out their hand, but if they don’t, I just quietly remind them, with a smile on my face, and wait for them to go ahead. Depending on how young they are, I have them try again if it doesn’t go well the first time. I might let them cop-out once, and then talk about how great it’s going to be next time when they’ve had a little more practice.

3.The real trick to having a successful interaction between your kids and an adult is your response to the situation. It’s worth it to me to take time with someone I know and have my little cutie try a couple of times to shake hands and say hello in a friendly way. It’s also very important to me to have this be successful so my attitude has to come across like everyone’s having fun and we like to talk to grownups a lot.

We’ve had a lot of success with our kiddos, confidently handling themselves in public, but just in case you think I’m bragging a bit, I do have a cheat card up my sleeve. Their dad is exceptionally and naturally outgoing. When your little’uns grow up having fun times, socially, and a dad being friendly and open in front of them all of their life, well that is training right there. He has also been a great example to me, because I tend to be on the shy side, and I’ve learned a lot from watching him over the years.

Having said that, if they’re still shy, I still practice with them. I tell them that there is no excuse to not take the time to be kind and reach out to people no matter who they are I love flowers, they're like a ribbon on topbecause you never know how they’re feeling and it’s their chance to be unselfish and make someone else’s day.




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Top 5 Gifts to Give My Children

As a Mom, I have the greatest influence when it comes to building and shaping my children into confident and successful adults. I have the ability to start their lives off with some wonderful advantages. So I’ve realized that there are gifts we can give our babes, and none of the top 5 gifts on my list are material things and I’m not sad about this at all. Christmas is coming and they will get stuff, but what will last a lifetime are my top 5 gifts.

It’s easy to give material things. You listen to those little dears as Christmas is approaching and hear how much they want that toy, how they’d do anything for it and how they want it so, so badly, and it’s easy to please the little sweetheart on Christmas morning and the thrill will last for… well a while, hopefully.

Top 5 Gifts - Compliment the effort

The gifts I’m talking about take effort, consistency and love. Ideally, in my mind, I’m thinking absolutely, of course, no problem, I’m on it. What Mom wouldn’t do anything for their babes? But in reality, I’m just a human with so many flaws, so how can I live up to this level of responsibility, successfully? I want to give them what’s valuable and lasting, without screwing it up!

The first thing on my list of top 5 gifts that my little dear needs is to be given sincere compliments. They need to hear how well they did. They need me to ‘catch’ them doing something right and tell them that I noticed and that I’m proud of them. A well placed compliment, said with absolute sincerity, can do so much for their self-esteem, now, and in the long term.

My idea of a perfect complement, for an older child, is more than just saying good job getting an A in history. It should sound more like, ‘I noticed that you brought your history book home and really took time to learn that subject well. Good job putting in all that effort to get an A on your test. Trust me, you’ll have their attention at this point, then after you’ve described in some detail, what you noticed in them, add the ribbon on top. Wrap it up and put a bow on your present. Say, I’m so proud of you today. You showed me what a smart guy / girl you are by trying your best to do a great job.

With a little one, sometimes they’re so distracted, hopping around and playing, that it’s hard to get their attention, right? But if you grab hold of their little hand and look them in the eyes and say, ‘I saw you pick up your toys and put them in the toy box. I’m so proud that you’re growing up to be so helpful.’ Then add the ribbon on top, say ‘I’m so happy with you and I can’t wait to tell Daddy what you did today. He’ll be glad to hear about it, too.’

Good news, for me. I’ve done some of this successfully with my little ones. They’re so easy for me to talk to and I know it puffs up their little chest with confidence when I tell them all about the good things I see. It puts a smile on their face and we both walk away happy.

Bad news, for me. My love language is not words of affirmation. I don’t light up and thrive with a compliment, not that I don’t enjoy hearing one, but it doesn’t occur to me as easily to speak words of affirmation to my older children. I just figure that they know when they’ve done a good job and that’s enough, right? Oh my goodness. This is why I’m reminding myself that being a mom is about sacrificing and giving, and to never give up. I’m so glad I’m surrounded with other successful beautiful mom’s that are an excellent example to me.

I heard an expression. ‘Babies cry for it, grown men die for it’. – Recognition!  Imagine if your boss spent his time watching to catch you doing something well so he could point it out and compliment you. What a dream. How worth it would it be to give this gift of a compliment, and publically recognizing my children and sending them off in this difficult world with some built in confidence to start their own journey through life.

This is another good reason to be a Stay At Home Mom SAHM.

To be continued next time for gifts # 2,3,4,and 5. Do you have a special way that you build up your little dears that makes their little heart sing? If you do, they’ll love you forever and I’d love to hear about it.

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A Gift

What is a gift, really?

Is it a thing, an item, their favorite toy?

 Is it the spirit of giving or the heart of the giver? When something is given by someone with a sweet generous spirit, then the gift is so much special.

Is it kind words? I believe that there is so much power in words that when  words are said in kindness and build you up, they are more valuable than any toy that’s wrapped in pretty paper.

Sweet words that are said in love are the icing on the cake or the ribbon on top.

Mmmm…Warm Coffee. My Favorite!

The ribbon on top is like the gift of warm coffee

 Giving of the Bounty of the Earth. Valuable!

A Gift is a Gift
 Yayyy…12 Little Presents. Fun!
A gift is best with the ribbon on topOooohh…A Surprise. Excited!

I want to celebrate you

Awww…A Rose, the Beauty of God’s Creation.

A flower is pretty like the ribbon on top

The ultimate Gift 


I love you!

Now that’s the Ribbon On Top of every gift.

The season of giving is here. Get ready, there are 7 more Fridays till Christmas. What are you giving this year?

I love flowers, they're like a ribbon on top

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