Sticky Notes for the Win!


This past week was a doozy. There’s nothing I wanted to do more last night than to take a hot bath and go to bed. There’s always one little problem with that idea.  The bathtub is in the girls’ bathroom. The way they keep things, it’s a good chance, that even with a bath,  I’ll leave their bathroom dirtier than I entered. 

Their dirty clothes hamper is two steps farther than they can reach. Q-tips, hair balls and empty shampoo bottles are valuable collector items. It’s quite obvious somebody brushes their teeth with their mouth open. I’m assuming that’s what those dried-foam looking specks are on the mirror. Honestly? I’m just glad they’re brushing their teeth. 

Last night I brainstormed ideas on how to get their bathroom clean that didn’t involve me muttering angrily while on my hands and knees “Soft Scrubbing” the tub, or my asking them to clean it and then having to call them back five times after they said they cleaned it grumping, “There’s still dried toothpaste on the counter “. 

I thought about getting a fold-up lawn chair from the garage and setting it up in the bathroom like a director’s chair. I could sit and watch the girls clean, making sure they picked up every empty toilet paper tube (something else they collect). I’d tell them not to forget the five rubber bands that sit along the bathtub’s edge. 

No. That wouldn’t work either. Three girls in the bathroom at the same time with me barking orders? We’d surely be cross at each other for the rest of the day. 

Bathroom clean up always ends up ugly, or else not getting done at the Burden house. 

The bathroom was cleaned yesterday. It’s “cleaned” every week, but by “cleaned” I mean they make sure the toilet is flushed and part with one empty toilet paper tube, throwing it on top of an already mounting pile of trash.  They straighten the bathroom rugs and close the cabinet door. 

Cleaning “at it” is somehow suffice. It’s never cleaned to completion. 

I won’t lie. I have room for improvement in my own cleaning habits. 

I did, however come up with an idea this morning to aid in the bathroom debacle. I grabbed a pen and a pad of sticky notes out of the drawer in the kitchen. I ran up to the bathroom and began to write every single thing that needed to be done; each on a separate “sticky”. 

Anybody notice the plate?

I didn’t take a single task for granted. 

Put the razors and body wash in the caddy hanging on the shower head. 

Clean the mirror with Windex and a paper towel. 

Put your clothes in the dirty clothes hamper…and shut the door. 

I let the girls decide how they would divide the sticky note chores. 

…And I left the house for a meeting. 

An hour later I got a picture from my husband, Jason, of the bathroom looking cleaner than I’ve ever seen it (when they clean it). 

I didn’t have to go in every five minutes to say “Don’t forget to clean around the sink”. 

In writing the chores down, they weren’t made to suffer the agitated tone that they’re accustomed to when I call them to the bathroom to tell them something else that needs to be done. 

Writing out each chore separately made the tasks tangible. They could take the sticky off as each chore was done, knowing that they weren’t finished until every task was complete. 

It’s a little after noon and just one sticky remains. The “I love you” note. We still like each other. AND I have a spot to take a nice relaxing bath should I want to later on, though, strangely, I’m much less stressed this afternoon. 

Sticky notes for the win!!

I’ll have to try them for the bedrooms next. Right after I buy more sticky pads. 

Romans 12:18

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

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Man’s Best Friend

We call her “Bad Dog” because she’s passive aggressive and sometimes plain old agressive. 

On Hallie’s thirteenth birthday she asked for Mac makeup, an iPhone or a dog. I thought she deserved a four-legged best friend. After giving an impassioned speech to Jason about why we should get her a dog, we decided to surprise her. 

I remember searching for the right best friend for Hallie. I looked at the pictures on the Facebook page of the Humane Society. I used my phone to screenshot the pictures of possibilities. 

“Bad Dog” was one of the first dogs I spotted. I thought she was a cutie. The writer started out calling her “Angel”. The next sentence said something like, “Just kidding, she’s a bit of a mess. Her name is Ivy”. 

Well….anybody knows that the writers of these blurbs make the dogs sound as good as possible. If the dog still wets and messes indoors they say something like “mostly trained”. If they’re as wild as all get-out, they say something like “playful…or energetic”. 

I put “Ivy” on the bottom of my list. (She was cute. I had to give her that.). 

My visit to the shelter still remains vivid in my memory. I had a list of three dogs I wanted to look at. As soon as I walked past the first room where kennels lined the wall, I spotted “Ivy”…out of every dog in the bunch. 

I quickly moved forward, intent on sticking with my list. I asked to look at an Australian shepherd girl puppy I’d picked out online. She’d been adopted the day before. “But we still have her brother,” the volunteer smiled. 

I looked at “Brother’s” beautiful blue eyes as he was handed to me. I was immediately distracted by the warm, wet sensation running down my arm. Guessing he was one of the  “mostly trained” dogs, I quickly handed him back. I decided to look at dog number three. 

Dog number three was CRAZY out of control. I get it, they grow out of it. But we needed a ready-made potty trained, calm friend. The volunteer asked if there was any other dog we might be interested in. I remembered “Ivy” who’d caught my eye when I walked by. 

We walked back to the kennel-lined room where my ears were assaulted by barks; some shrill, some booming. There sat “Ivy” as quiet as a church mouse with her paws folded in front of her as if she were engaging in morning meditation. 

The volunteer pointed me to a chair in the next room and left to go let “Ivy” out of the crate. The sweet pup trotted to me and climbed in my lap. She curled up and allowed me to rub behind her ears. Maybe she was an angel. I signed the papers. 

She was a tear-inducing surprise days later as she was handed over to Hallie. Ashlee, as she’s been renamed, has been a surprise ever since, like the time she chewed up my trusty Sunday black heels. I won’t forget one of the first times we had company after getting her. They stayed in the apartment in our backyard. To welcome our company, Ashlee messed on the sidewalk…in three different places. She creatively punishes Hallie when Hallie hasn’t performed in a stellar friend manner by doing things like laying on our other daughter’s (Rylie’s) bed.  

There’s one thing that Ashlee does that doesn’t surprise me anymore. Her ritual is like clockwork. Every morning when we let Ashlee outside, almost immediately she perches herself in front of the low-lying living room window and she waits. She watches, hoping to catch a glimpse of her best friend (even though she’s slept in a crate right by Hallie’s bed). She’s gives no attention, for that moment, with the morning walkers and the cars zizzing down the street. She’s unconcerned. You won’t find her looking for the neighborhood cat, “Moot”, who struts up our driveway for his daily exercise in taunting. 

A loud little thing, this is her time to just be still and silent, knowing she is in the right spot. She takes the time, before facing her day, to be near the one who loves her most. And it’s enough. 

Psalm 90:14 Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,

    that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.



Bad dog. 


Evil genius. 

Whatever you want to call her… I call her wise. She knows the one who is there for her, the one who cares for her, the one who is her best friend. And life is best when she remembers this. When she experiences this. And when she sits and waits expectantly knowing her friend is never far away. 

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A Thursday for your Thoughts; I am Pro-Choice

Every once in a while I have someone who has volunteered to write a guest post. I share these on a segment I call A Thursday for your Thoughts. Today I give you A Thursday for Your Thoughts (on a Friday). It’s been that kind of week.  

 A Guest Blog

By Jane Crain

I am Pro-Choice
Before you get all excited or all incensed, let me explain. Much is in the news about Planned Parenthood and the killing of babies (yes they are babies). My definition of choice is choosing not to engage in sexual activity until such time that you are ready to take care of any result of said activity.

Reasons for abstinence:

• Works 100% of the time, no product failures, etc.

• Free-affordable to all

• No fears of pregnancy afterward

So much of our worth is tied to how others perceive us and that includes our relationships. Realize that your body is YOURS and that you have the power to decide what you do with it.  

Choice is also choosing what God has planned for you. He has some good things ahead if you are patient!

Will everything be sunshine and roses? No, but God is with you at all times, even in what you think are the darkest of times.

Jeremiah 29

11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

He is writing to exiles, people who were taken from their land. If he was with exiled people who believe in him, he will be with you if you let him lead you.

Is abstinence easy? No but for me, it was the best choice and I have NO regrets!!!

2 Timothy 2:22 

So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.


  Jane teaches Sunday school for our high school girls. She’s Hallie’s teacher this year. I’m thankful to entrust my daughter to someone who will talk about the hard things. Jane and her husband Jim invest an unreal amount of time and energy in our youth. She wrote this post last Saturday morning after attending a youth lock-in. As Jason says,… “She’s going to get a bigger car in heaven”. 

If you think you might be interested in writing a a guest post, shoot me an email and then I’ll talk you into it. Or you could just skip the peer pressure and send me a post.  Feel free to write about an idea that makes preparing meals easier, or cheaper. Give us a heartwarming or funny story.  Write about a struggle you’re going through or have just overcome. Share with us something God has placed on your heart, like Jane did. It may be that God intends to place the very same matter on our hearts through you. You needn’t worry about your writing style. Just share. Sharing is caring. 

Here’s my email.

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Ticket or Lecture 

Ephesians 6:4 …do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

I read a thought-provoking article not too long ago. An officer was talking about a person he’d stopped who was speeding. I remember little else about what I read other than a rule the officer mentioned he goes by on traffic stops.  He remarked that those he stops for traffic violations are subject to one thing; either a ticket OR a lecture, not both. 
“Hmmm…” I thought. “I like it.”
Most of the times I’ve been stopped I knew good and darned well why I was being stopped. Surely we all get that gut-sinking/caught red-handed feeling when we spot a patrol car and we know we were over the speed limit. 

When a cop comes at me with the question “Ma’am were you aware you were speeding?”, I usually know.( I make it sound like I’ve been stopped a dozen times. It’s only been four times.) 

The last time I got stopped was about two years ago. I was on hour five coming back from my parent’s house. I had just driven past the city limits of one of the smaller towns and was in the process of speeding up to seventy. 

I saw a cop in the other lane whip around and turn his lights on. I pulled over, still driving, thinking he was after somebody else. I had thought I was in a seventy zone. Turns out I was going sixty-five in a fifty-five.  I explained the misunderstanding. He was unimpressed and gave me a ticket. 

And then he lectured me. I remember smiling and saying thank you while I was really thinking,  “The fine speaks well-enough on its own sir.” I get it. 

I messed up. I’d been ticketed. The lecture was of little benefit. 

I wish the officer who stopped me had followed the “ticket or lecture” method. But more than believing officers should follow such a system I’ve decided to enforce such a system (whenever possible) in my “momming”. 

I’ve been a both/and kind of mom.  And for years it’s sucked the heart out of my message; the effectiveness out of my discipline.

Hallie drew this a while back (probably after I’d talked to her for a while about how messy her room was or something).

I’m swift-giving when it comes to a ticket/punishment. “Turn the TV off”.  “Get up to your room. Move it” “Give me your phone”. 

And after I’ve announced consequences you better bet you’ve got a long, detailed lecture about why you shouldn’t have done what you did and how your actions (or inaction) will probably change the course of your life if you DON’T GET A GRIP AND BEHAVE YOURSELF. 

My kids are getting a little older. They know the rules. I’ve taught them why they shouldn’t befriend people they don’t know on Instagram and not to interrupt when I’m talking to an adult. 

They know that if they’ve made a few bad grades that they do best to tell me before I find out on that online grading system that knots me up near every time I look at it. 

Breaking the rules, in most cases, merits a ticket. I need to take away their Kindle or their iPod or I need to hand over whatever other consequence seems necessary. A ticket speaks for itself in the case of most intentional indiscretions. 

If your kids does something they didn’t know was wrong, maybe a brief explanation of why their behavior was wrong is in order (key word: brief) 

A ticket and a lecture can tend to be overkill (like body spray from Bath and Body Works. It’s unpleasant fragrance stays). 

Of course there are exceptions to every rule. Instances may come up where a ticket and a lecture are in order. 

Choosing to ticket or lecture (and not both) will save time and energy. If you’re extra long-winded and passionate  like me, it just might help preserve your relationship with your kids. 

What’s your typical discipline style? Do you ticket or lecture? Or are you guilty of too often doing both? 

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Wake Up Call

We’ve been in Huntsville today visiting the college kiddo. We took him out to eat at Double Dave’s Pizza; the same spot we took him in fifth grade when he got into his first fight. He took his punishment and then we took him out for pizza. He fought a kid who had thrown rocks at him and a fifth grade girl (the boy had also spoke inappropriately to the girl). I called home and told my family about it. I’d taught the kid to NEVER fight. My brother, proud, made me promise I’d give him some quarters and let him play a few video games on him. Let’s just say our pizza brought back memories. 

I also took Hayden to Target today.   We got what he needed and I let him fill the basket with things he wanted (like a family-sized bag of Oreos). I helped him carry his bags back to his dorm room, leaving something with him as we prepared to go.  I looked at his room trying to commit it to memory in order to carry something of him back home with us. He has his Texas flag hanging above his bed, and on his whiteboard he has a copy of his first parking ticket (and I hope the last). 

Leaving was hard again. This time was different as I realized that him living somewhere else is the new normal. “This is permanent,” I said to myself.  

The thing is, I miss him. But I don’t think that’s the hardest part of this deal. I don’t like things outside my control. 

When you have little ones you feed them, you put them to bed, you make the rules, you hold their hands.

 There are those green beans you can’t get them to swallow and their bedroom that stays a mess even with your warnings of grounding them if they don’t clean it up. 

But if they outgrow their shoes you run to the store to get new ones. They’re never without their seatbelt. When you find out from another adult that a teacher has unnecessarily bullied your kid you go up to the school and lose your cool setting things straight (you shouldn’t of course, but when you’re a mom…sometimes you do). 

There gets to be a time when no manner of hand-holding or mama-bearing protects them.   You’re no longer in control, much less in charge. 

The two road trips (so far) coming back home after leaving Hayden have reminded me of this. I think about him driving back home to see us. There are few passing lanes. Much of the road doesn’t have cell reception. I can’t tell him to watch out for that car or remind him to slow down for that railroad crossing outside of Livingston that jumps up out of nowhere. 

Today on the way home I saw a small figure standing in the middle of the highway. I yelled and Jason quickly pulled the car over.  A toddler then started to move, making his way across the highway towards an oncoming red truck. Thankfully the red truck was able to get stopped. Jason scooped the boy up whose diaper I could now see sticking out of his camo shorts. He carried him back across the highway where his dad and mom were approaching realizing what had happened.  
Minutes passed before we could even process what had just happened. God’s hand was clearly on that baby. 

We think we’re in control. We hope we watch closely enough and make all the right rules to keep them safe. 

But then comes a moment of sobriety. 

We’re never really in control. We make decisions that impact the wellness and safety of our families and even our own lives, but we are limited. We depend on a higher power. 

Thankfully there is a higher power. 

Behold these are the outskirts of his ways, and how small a whisper do we hear of him! But the thunder of his power who can understand? Job 26:14

I think he thundered today. 

I’d be lying if I said I always live like I believe in his protection, his provision. That doesn’t make his omnipotence any less real. 

 God is in control. This doesn’t mean that my kids won’t ever go astray. It doesn’t mean that they won’t get in a fight or find themselves in harms way. It means they will never leave God’s watchful eye.

The eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him-those who depend on His faithful love. Psalm 33:18

I’m going to believe it until I feel it. 

Today has reminded me to open up my closed-fists and hand over what has always belonged to God. 

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Foodie Fridays: Dat Mac Truck


We get to have our Friday lunch today. That makes me happy. We’re going for macaroni. 

Here’s my mood going in:

I can’t get that excited yet. I mean I like noodles, but when I hear the word “mac”, I think of processed cheese; the kind with orange powder that comes in the white envelope with your blue box of Kraft,….or Velveeta. If macaroni had a sound word it would be “Glop” which is akin to goulash (I think that’s called an onomotapeia). I’m going to give it a whirl because I don’t have to cook. And because adventures with food and my best friend are my favorite kind. 

Dat Mac Food Truck
is located at 85 N. 11th in Beaumont, though it moves around (like trucks do). You can check them out on Facebook or Instagram to see where they are. Each “bowl” or dish runs about $8. 

Our good buddy Paul told us about it. It looks like they usually have a menu that has around three items which change every week or so. All recipes are macaroni inspired. 

This week Dat Mac is serving 

 Cheesy Chicken Alfredo- 


Served hot, it’s bowtie pasta with rich Alfredo. They top it with grilled chicken and fresh Parmesan. So good I want to put on my yoga pants on and take a nap. 

Chili Mac (fancy Frito pie) 


Dat Mac broke the rules here. I would never have thought of mixing corn chips with pasta, but it works. This bowl of goodness is basically a light chili mac with Fritos. I’m a texture snob and dismiss any food that disturbs my delicate palate, but somehow the smooth chili and noodles work with the crunchiness of the Fritos. And my friend, heartburn, hasn’t even come for a visit. 

Four Cheese Grilled Dat Mac Sammich-


It’s just as big a mouthful eating it as saying the name. Once again breaking the rules, Dat Mac puts noodles on bread (two ingredients I wouldn’t have seen in a relationship). So it’s like a macaroni grilled cheese. They have add-ons. Jason said yes to all of them. If you can’t see, this sandwich was made more beautiful with the addition of fresh jalepeno, grilled red onion, bacon and a fried egg. Jason says “It was a cacophony of guilty pleasures,” (By the way, I spelled cacophony without spell help, but I would never have thought of using the word). Oh yeah, they top it off with hot sauce. This was probably my favorite.

Dat Mac. Go by and try it out. This was one of our most unique experiences. 

Tip: If you go with two people you’ll be able to justify ordering everything on the menu. Jason and I need no such justification. 

Jason and I write occasional foodie reviews. Other times, I write about my blunderful life. Don’t forget to subscribe if you want to receive these posts by email. 

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Bright Light City Set Our Souls on Fire

Bright light city gonna set my soul, Gonna set my soul on fire…. 

Don’t go singing Elvis yet. I need you to concentrate. 

A friend of mine who shares a love for New York posted a disturbing picture on Facebook yesterday. The Empire State Building was recently lit up with this creepy image. Buzzfeed called it “stunning”.  


An artwork exhibition called “Projecting Change” was displayed in New York City the first week of August.  Filmmaker Louie Psihoyo along with Obscura Digital sought out to raise awareness for endangered animals. The now famous Cecil the Lion amongst other animals were featured in bright lights. 

It was the the concluding image by artist Android Jones however that has raised the most interest; that of a goddess with three eyes and a long red tongue. 

Research shows the image to be that of the Hindu goddess Kali. The Ancient History Encyclopedia describes her as the “goddess of death, time and doomsday”. Other text refers to her as the “Dark Mother”. The most common paintings show Kali holding a severed head. Her skirt is made up of severed arms. Decapitated heads are on a chain around her neck. She wears dead children earrings. 

More can be said of her like the story of how her tongue drips with blood from the demons she has swallowed. 


Sounds like the perfect endangered animal advocate to me. (Insert eye-roll) 

I fight fear (on a daily basis I might add) in reaction to reports of things of this nature. Beheadings in Iraq and Syria weigh on my heart.  I fight anger watching the Planned Parenthood videos and reading about our world’s current refugee crisis. 
But mostly I battle sorrow at the response, or lack thereof, at such events. Lord, break our hearts for what breaks yours. 

Instinct tells me to stay knotted-up about such matters. I find myself too often shaking my head at things I witness. What?! Why in the world?….

The bright lights of New York City, and growing apathy in such matters as the value of human life, tells me that prayer is the answer to all of our questions. 
Millions grope in darkness, in this day and hour 

I will be a witness, fill me with thy power

Set our souls on fire, LORD. 

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A 9/12 Prayer


The most beautiful and moving graffiti I’ve ever seen, “The Praying Hands” in Athens, Greece, are pointing down. A great reminder that we have a God who hears and sees ; reaching down to a world in constant need of his presence , love and guidance.
Yesterday was overwhelming. September the 11th always is. Like so many others I remember where I was that day fourteen years ago. I had taken my second grade class to the library. The TV was on and I could see two skyscrapers and billowing smoke. The librarian, a grave look on her face, tried to explain what had happened. I grasped the magnitude but I didn’t understand. 

 Yesterday morning I also woke to Facebook’s sharing of threats to the Nederland High school through screenshots of teenage tweets warning peers to be ready to run in the event of a mass shooting. These threats were not credible, but unnerving nonetheless to a parent with memories of Columbine. I sent Hallie to school only after repeatedly asking her if she felt well enough to go to school when normally I’d send her with a stomachache. 

Facebook also shared a graphic picture of a young Egyptian boy whose throat had been slit by Isis along with an appeal from a dying people for rescue.  That image cannot be removed from my head. 

Yesterday, like other days where I cower in fear and wallow in sorrow, I was reminded of the importance of and my reliance on prayer. 

Today on a crisp, sunny morning, Jason and the girls and I are preparing to catch the movie “War Room”. I’m reminded of the value of prepatory prayer; speaking with God when the day seems right but you have the feeling God’s about to move you.  

Here’s my 9/12 prayer. Consider writing, and sharing if you feel lead, a prayer of your own. 

Move within us.  Impress upon our simple hearts the power of prayer; not so much the words we speak, but our recognition of you and our listening for you. 
Teach us to pray without ceasing when life seems too heavy to bear and in mundane moments when we’ve been graced with a smile from a stranger or a sidewalk stroll with crunching fall leaves under our feet.

Teach us to pray like Hannah, pouring out our unintelligible plea. 

Like Elijah who prayed boldly on Mount Caramel 

Like Daniel who prayed seeking God’s mercy 

May we pray on all occasions. 

Teach us that you can handle our questioning prayers that come in desperation, like why there are millions of refugees fleeing for their lives while countless others have lost theirs for knowing you…….or worse, without knowing you. 

Teach us to be trusting when we don’t understand. 

Help us learn to be grateful in prayer for what we have. 

Teach us to pray for those in need; impressing upon our hearts that the most important thing we can for the foreigner or the friend is to remember them in prayer; not in a checking off the list sort of way.

Help us to understand that prayer isn’t the only recourse. Move us to action too. 

Be our guide, when those closest to us are in pain and we can’t fix it. May our prayers for our families be a continual offering; an acknowledgement that our loved ones belong to You. Help us to remember that your plan for them is good and not harm. 

May we not only pray for people, but be better about praying with people. 

Teach us to pray according to scripture. Give us a deeper love for your word. 

Guide us in what you would have us do in a sea of people with overwhelming need. Give us a softened heart for our enemies; a greater love for the lost. 

Impress upon our hearts to keep in prayer

those who are lonely, addicted, confused, living in fear, and are full of anger or hate. Convict us of our own chains. 

In the midst of turmoil, let us never lose sight of your holiness. 

In prayer, may our hearts never stop growing in adoration of you.

May we realize that time with you is greater than time itself. 

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The $150 Taco


For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21

I got a lunch invite from my favorite person last night (Surely I don’t have to tell you who that is). Regardless of what we’ve lead you to believe, we don’t eat lunch together that often. It’s quite likely you’ve seen dozens of pictures of our cuisine adventures on Facebook and Intagram, but that’s just because we’re those people you complain about, that post lame pictures of what’s on their plate every time they eat out. 

We’d planned on having lunch again tomorrow, but we know how things come up. We decided that because we were both free for lunch today  (I mean…that doesn’t happen very often) that we should go for it. 

A taco truck (Gonzalez Taqueria) that we found in a refinery parking lot a couple of years ago has a permanent spot now (which seems like a funny thing for a truck).  Anyway…… We headed to the taco truck’s “new home”. Tacos are cheap. They’re fast. And they’re tasty. 

We ordered a few tacos and a “large, everything on it” burrito. We sat at picnic tables and I swigged my Coke in a glass bottle, he his Fanta. It was the perfect way to spend a couple of bucks and an hour. 

Our tab left us with a few extra dollars so we found ourselves at Sonic with ice cream Blasts. Sonic IS on the way to take Jason back to church. And did I mention that the tacos didn’t cost much? 

We’d had the perfect date. We currently have no major kid problems (that we’re aware of) to discuss. Our phones were kindly uninterrupting.  Just tacos and good conversation followed by a a cold treat.  It was quiet nice. I hated for it to be over. 

With the last bites of ice cream and oreo Jason turned the key in the ignition only to hear that dreaded choking sound indicating your car is temporarily calling it quits. 

Luckily he was able to walk to the church and get his car so that he could jump mine.

  We ended up with a new $130 battery AND a warning that we’d be at a Nissan dealership soon to get a new connecting thingy to replace the current one that is apparently in its golden years. 

I was reminded dropping Jason back off at work of something I told one of the kids this past weekend. 

Nothing worth doing is easy. 

Maybe saying nothing is an exaggeration. Hand holding and giving hugs are easy things to do AND they’re worth doing. Hugging takes little effort, barring situations where you’re not mad at the person you’re hugging and you don’t have a cat personality or space issues. 

Smiling is easy most of the time…..totally worth it. 

Other easy, worthy things? Pandora music, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and cheap tacos

-Petting your dog

-Watching those YouTube videos with the kids who act inappropriately like the bullyish six-year-old dancer who practically pushes the girl beside her off the stage at the end of their R-E-S-P-E-C-T routine. You can laugh free of cost because you don’t have to deal with the behavior. You can just watch the clip, laugh, and keep scrolling.  

Other things cost; sometimes more than you bargained for. 

Our tacos today ended up costing around $150, much more than we expected. 

The best things in life don’t come easy. They cost your dollars. Relationships and endeavors require hard-spent effort. Sometimes the cost is disappointment, a lack of appreciation, or heartache. The best things in life almost always cost our time. But don’t quit. 

The best things in life are worth the offering. 

What are you willing to give today?

Who are you willing to give it to?

Proverbs 16 – 1 Mortals make elaborate plans,

    but God has the last word.

2 Humans are satisfied with whatever looks good;

    God probes for what is good.

3 Put God in charge of your work,

    then what you’ve planned will take place.

4 God made everything with a place and purpose

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Commenting on Your Daughter’s Appearance; When in Doubt, Don’t

I have big hips. 

At least that’s what an adult remarked to a group of girls at a slumber party my sister attended back in the nineties. I was around seventeen. My younger sister came home from the party and told me that the girls were talking about who was pretty and who was skinny. I was somehow brought into the conversation when “Mrs. So and So” said of me,  “Her hips are kind of big”. 

That decided it. 

I don’t really usually notice a person’s hips. Honestly. My keen sense is more reserved to someones emotions. I can usually tell if you’re agitated or nervous. I don’t notice, however, if you’re well-endowed or if you’ve lost fifteen pounds. Sorry. 

I really have no idea where my hips lie on the scale of small to big. But I’ve always believed them to be big because of one comment spoken twenty-something years ago (not even to me). It could’ve been taken out of context or, I don’t know, maybe my hips were meant for birthing. 

The point is, those words which were not affirming, stuck. 

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. 

Hogwash. Who came up with that anyway? 

I’m not saying I have scars from the big hip revelation, but it became a truth to me-one that couldn’t be untold. 

Having two girls, I’m usually pretty careful about what I say concerning their image. I grew up with self-esteem that was paper-doll thin. I want them to be confident in who they are. It goes without saying that I don’t want them to be obsessive about how they look. I simply want them to be secure. 

That’s why I have no clue why I would make a completely unnecessary remark concerning the physique of one of them a few days ago. It seemed harmless as it spilled out of my mouth. 

But I could tell as she turned around that it wasn’t harmless. And unlike so many other positive things I’ve told her that have gone by the wayside, this comment was immediately committed to long term memory. 

She’s brought the comment up several times already. I tried playing it off as a joke. I’ve apologized. And I’ve complimented her on other positive characteristics, but I have done nothing to erase what I said. I’ve ended up putting even more focus on her “looks” by throwing out constant extra compliments in my effort to make up for it. Not what I want to do. 

I know the girls have already had figurative sticks and stones thrown at them concerning their appearance. I know that they’ll see things for themselves in the mirror, on the scale, and in comparison to their peers that make them feel less. 

 Why would I add to their catalog of “imperfections”?
Though I rarely say something as outright stupid as what I did last week, I too often make comments like 

“Are you wearing that again?”

“Do you really want to wear your hair like that?”  

And then there’s 

“Is your face breaking out?” 

A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion. Proverbs 18:2

Why can’t I just keep to that which is

1. Necessary

2. Edifying

I’m recommitting to a rule of thumb regarding making comments to my daughters ….


Most of the time giving a moment’s thought to my words will do the trick. But when I’m unsure if my words are necessary and edifying, I do best to err on the side of caution. 

This not only applies to making comments regarding our daughters or the person we’re talking to. This applies most certainly to third person commenting too. It does no one any good to put too much emphasis, good or bad, on the appearance of the girl on the sidewalk or the lady on TV.  After all, our talking teaches. 

Many of us have a history of generously sharing our thoughts. 

We can’t always undo. But we can do better.
Praying for our girls (and still for myself) in a world where pretty is decided by shape, and name brands and the opinions of silly people who speak before they think. Beauty that matters is IN each of us. 

May the God-inspired beauty in each of us better influence what we think, what we say and what we do. 

For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7

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