Archives for Living Outside the Lines

The Most Important Book in Our Home

We read to our kids out of books like Berenstain Bears, Dr. Seuss and Thomas the Tank Engine, but do we regularly open God’s Word to our children?

This common, all-time best seller—the Bible—isn’t just a book; it is a powerful tool for parents and children. Hebrews 4:12 declares this truth, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit…discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” 

We may have multiple Bibles in our homes, but are we using them?

A well-known Christian psychologist and author was vulnerably sharing how he used to set up an overhead projector at home to do lengthy Bible studies with his young children. He stopped when he realized he was on the devil’s side! His academic approach was turning his boys off to God.

I think the best way to equip our families spiritually is to make the Bible and prayer a way of life. Be consistent, but don’t try so hard that it becomes mechanical and binding, bringing death instead of life.



Model a lifestyle of living the Biblical principles you’re reading about, and loving God above all else. Realize there are seasons in life. Every season brings change. The methods that have worked for me are many and varied and have been practiced in the appropriate season. They include:

  1. Bible time around the breakfast table with Mom reading Proverbs aloud from The Living Bible and inviting input and practical application from two, three, and four-year olds.
  2. Bible time using the One-Year Bible for Kids or the adult One-Year Bible, keeping sticker charts and celebrating the year’s grand achievement with a dinner party and special friends.
  3. Bible time reading mountains of colorful and exciting Bible stories for children. Day after day after day of cozy time, snuggling with Mommy or Daddy before naptime, bedtime, or anytime.
  4. Private Bible time one-on-one with Mom when one child just seemed to be in a season when he needed more personal direction and attention.

Find what fits your brood, your mood, and your season. Formal Bible studies with accompanying manuals weren’t my style, but they may be yours. Morning or after lunch have been our chunky Bible reading times, but you might be nocturnal. The vital ingredient is consistency.

Over the years our boys also enjoyed lots of supplemental Bible stuff at bedtime. I’ve found a variety of different, fun, and humorous tapes of Bible stories to play after tucking them in. I’ve added to this audios with the Word being read aloud, as well as sung in worship. Those minutes before your children drift into sleep are a great time for capturing their attention with God’s Word.

In every form and fashion, I have attempted to get the Word into my kids. Some methods have been seamless and alive; while others have been very dry. We can be confident that whether our Bible and prayer times have been “heavenly,” or “not-so-heavenly,” they are never wasted according to Isaiah 55:11 in which we are reminded, “My Word that goes out from my mouth . . . will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” 

Your Two-Minute Takeaway 

  1. Ponder this: we can love and feed and clothe and nurture our children; we can do a lot, but we can’t humanely give them everything they need. The Message version of Matthew 4:4 reminds us that It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God’s mouth. 
  2. The seeds we plant and nurture in our gardens this spring will surely sprout and emerge as the mature plants the DNA in that seed determine. The exact same goes for the spiritual seeds we plant in our children! All the Bible reading and sharing and living builds strength of fiber in our children’s souls that will bear fruit for a lifetime. The scriptures that have been implanted will revisit them throughout their lifetimes, encouraging, warning, strengthening them.
  3. You may feel ‘unqualified’ but there is no such thing in this department! Just humble yourself and begin! Reading children’s Bible books to your kids and grands is no different than reading a Mother Goose story book except that with the Bible, you get lasting dividends. I’ve been deeply impacted by the simple stories from these books and my faith has been strengthened as I’ve read to my own kids.

Want MORE? I’d love to be a voice of encouragement on your parenting journey! Grab my FREE gift: 7 Simple Steps to Raising Happy Kids Who Persevere (while building team spirit in YOUR home) by clicking HERE.

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Why Summer ‘School’ is for Every Kid!

Here in the USA the natives are restless in schools across the nation as they wrap up their studies this month and anticipate a lengthy summer break from the monotony of classroom routine.

How we define ‘school’ and ‘education’ is no small thing because our beliefs will determine a heck of a lot about our lives, our children’s lives and our future, separately and together.

Most of us, understandably, have a conventional view of schooling. We’ve watched it modeled, we’ve lived it for decades, thus we became it. It simply is. 

Typically children go by big yellow bus or carpool to institutional settings where they sit in desks in classrooms with peers, line up to go to the bathroom, water fountain, lunch room, and playground then line up to go back to desks for hours and hours with a few variables. Then these kids go home to do homework, play on the computer, maybe play outside if there’s time, sleep and wake up the next day and do it all over again with the occasional holiday, sick day or field trip thrown into the mix.

This was my experience while growing up minus the computer while adding significant time playing outdoors, riding bikes, climbing trees, exploring the neighborhood – because that’s what we did every single day for hours after school, being unencumbered by the copious amounts of homework required of kids these days.

When I had children, I used to believe they were empty buckets needing to be filled with all the necessary information and knowledge determined by an unidentified expert somewhere. As I endeavored to home educate my sons (another story for another time) I nervously eyeballed the ‘scope and sequence’ timelines I would come across, fearing I’d miss a major building block in their education, thus crippling them for life. 

My worries were unfounded.

I’ve come to understand that children are born brilliant and educating a child is simply tapping into the genius already there by nurturing it with the necessary components for growth. God fills in the gaps of the ‘scope and sequence’ organically as we do our part to attend to our little human; loving, training and providing nourishment.

It’s as if mind-blowing seeds of GENIUS are locked within every single child and it’s up to us to unlock that ‘seed-potential’ lying dormant in that kid by providing the necessary components for this ‘human plant’ to thrive, not unlike gardening. Whether it be tomatoes, marigolds, cucumbers or melons we’re tending to out in the backyard, the principles remain the same. When we nurture these seedlings in healthy, rich soil, with fresh air, fertilizer, water, protection from the elements and destructive enemies in their many forms, while providing appropriately-measured boundaries so as to avoid root bound conditions, or watering carefully to avoid root rot, we will be amazed and even ecstatic to see the hearty, miraculous fruit that emerges from our humble efforts.

Children are exactly the same. As I spend time with my grandchildren, these principles are underscored and highlighted for I feel as though I’m homeschooling all over again, just engaging with them, because learning comes so naturally to children. Their hunger for knowledge and understanding – to know what, why, how, where and when – is so God-given that if our radar is on we will see that real, valuable education is happening constantly, even on summer ‘break’ when you think they’re simply playing.

As I interacted with my grandchildren this week, we participated, unintentionally in so much learning – we sang songs, built Legos, named our letters and counted while we played on the swings, colored and drew, investigated the horses next door, the airplanes in the sky, the irritating crows and seagulls.


We chased butterflies, ducks and bees…

…caught a frog then gently led him back to freedom.

We entertained old and new friends, showing hospitality and love, and stopped along the way to reiterate our “please” and “thank-yous” and “I’m sorry’s” and our “yes, Nana’s.”


My granddaughter chose to read to us for over an hour, suddenly left and re-entered the room in her Laura Ingall’s Wilder costume and in-character we interacted about her new teaching job at the one-room schoolhouse and how the kids were behaving – no joke – it’s like our curriculum just rolls on and on and on…

Suddenly she was inspired to create some fresh-squeezed juice drinks for her parents, decorated with fresh fruit.

She interjected little bits of wisdom along the way about how we should train the puppy and what little sister can or cannot do. We prayed, we talked about creation, and we snuggled.

Perhaps I’m stating the obvious, but this holistic approach to life IS AN AMAZING EDUCATION and develops the entire person: mind, body and spirit setting their wet cement according to our values. I’m excited to be able to participate in the informal education of my grands a lot this summer (click here to read my recent post), and I can only imagine what we shall discover together even as their intellect is stirred and our bond is deepened – what a privilege to be available for them in this season.

My heart beats to see all of our children and grandchildren unchained from the stifling menu of staid, conventional order as they learn. I believe the classroom should consist of wide open spaces where they are encouraged to find their unique expression within the freeing parameters of their parents values -this is a curriculum that never fails in its effectiveness. Let’s make every effort to help them grow organically this summer, running toward their destiny!

Your Two-Minute Takeaway

  1. Ponder for a moment how you have defined ‘education’ and ‘schooling.’ After reading this post, are there some tweaks you’d like to make in your definition and approach with the children in your life? Jot down those thots quickly so as to capture them while they’re highlighted in your mind.
  2. Be prepared for all the kids in your life to suggest you ‘watch a movie together, play with Snapchat, look at videos and pics on your phone, play a computer or digital game’, because they will! And be prepared to cheerfully offer a better alternative! Make every effort to keep electronic amusements to a minimum so that your time together is maximized to be meaningful even if it’s simply working together in the kitchen. It’s real life and real life MATTERS!
  3. Be determined to ignore your smartphone and laptop as much as is humanly possible. Yes I snap pics and vids when I’m with my children and grandchildren, but most of the time we’re together, I work to keep my phone silenced and out of sight. Most of us are addicted to our devices in some way, and we must recognize the need for change.

Want MORE? I’d love to be a voice of encouragement on your parenting journey! Grab my FREE gift: 7 Simple Steps to Raising Happy Kids Who Persevere (while building team spirit in YOUR home) by clicking HERE. 

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Is FEVER phobia a part of YOUR Mom life?

A guest post by Heather Michelle*


That dirty little 5-letter word indicating our normal 98.6ish body temp is climbing, spikes our anxiety level as well. Particularly mothers of young children sense fear’s grip as they touch their child’s warm forehead, imagining what’s to come. Visions of crying, sleepless nights, puke, dehydration and potential doctor’s visits back us into a scary corner of panic..we’d do anything to make it go away, disappear – POOF! 

We head to the cupboard and dig out the dreaded thermometer. We eye it with uneasy suspicion, trying to get the most accurate reading.

It hovers at 100 degrees. 


We sigh deeply.

Our first thought is, ‘make that number drop STAT, or chaos will ensue.’

But as the mother of a toddler myself, I would invite you to S T O P for a second and ask yourself “W H Y?”

Why is there a fever? 

Why are we so afraid? 

Why do we feel that number MUST go down immediately? 

What is triggering this reaction in our minds? 

Where did we learn our beliefs about fever?

I attribute much of this consternation to what I call, ‘fever phobia.’ I think parents tend to overreact and over-treat due to this phobia which, according to my informal but diligent studies, took root around the time anti-fever drugs like Motrin and Tylenol were released. I believe God created our bodies wonderfully* and maybe, just maybe, that fever is there for a beneficial reason.

Mom-Life. Keeping it Real.

The simplest analogy I can think of is our kid’s dirty, germy hands and belongings after time spent at the park, the zoo, the grocery store touching communal surfaces, picking their little noses, licking the shopping cart, dragging blankie across filthy floors of public places – you get me – if these scenarios don’t scream ‘mom-life’ right there LOL! How do we then proceed to erase the diabolical dirt and germs threatening? 

With heat. 

We wash our hands with the hottest water we can endure, draw a warm bath for Junior, march straight to the laundry room and toss blankie, teddy bear, and every stitch of clothing into the machine, selecting ‘hottest’ on the Maytag console to sterilize and obliterate the looming infectious microorganisms.

Heat disinfects, and this is what our bodies are trying to accomplish with a fever, yet we sabotage it from minute one by dropping that Tylenol/Motrin ‘ice cube’ into ‘the boiling water pot’ because we are afraid of the inconveniences that come with that word. 

Dr.Kathi J. Kemper, Director of the Center for Integrative Health and Wellness and a Professor of Pediatrics at the Ohio State University weighs in with, 

“Fever is often a good sign of a robust immune system,” and “a fever in and of itself is not dangerous.” She reminds us to, “treat the child, not the thermometer.”

Our Miraculous Physical Bodies

The human body is a self-regulating organism, which means it’s programmed to heal and correct itself when given the tools necessary. Due to our compromised diets and other lifestyle factors, sometimes we need to give it a boost toward healing and restoring; but let’s be careful not to sabotage it just to reduce a symptom. 

Fever is just one tangible indicator of a problem going on within. Removing the fever doesn’t remove the bacteria or the infection, its just removes the engine from the train on the track to healing. Not addressing the root issue just means it continues to live on or grow into something greater like an ear infection, or pneumonia, or a myriad of possibilities.

Dr. Suzanne Humphries says this about fevers,

“trying to smack down a fever when a child is sick, is like shooting your attack dog when someone is breaking into your house!” 

Here are some practical solutions I turn to first, rather than grabbing the Tylenol or calling the doctor when someone in our home comes down with a fever:

Ginger Bath & Detox Bath

The first thing we do is a detox or ginger bath.These natural ingredient baths actually help the body reach maximum temperature quickly, so it’s able to accomplish its duty – destroying bacteria – then the fever breaks and the body releases pent-up toxins through sweating. When ginger is added to a bath it turns up the heat, encouraging this process. Some people will sweat a lot in the bath and after. These baths also encourage sleep, a benefit toward healing.

Dr. Donna D’Alessandro from Pediatrics at Iowa University says, regarding fever,

“the body is basically trying to do the right thing. Bugs like to live at body temperature. So if you raise the temperature, you kill them off.”

She also points out that the body can function very effectively at temperatures as high as 100.5 degrees. 

Ginger baths can be used on children and adults. If using on littles just know that water temp needs to be more moderate and they can rest on your chest or lap in bath at all times. If you have sensitive skin, wearing bottoms in bath may be helpful. 

Ginger Bath:

Fill tub with hottest water tolerable

Add 2 TBS to ¼ C Organic ground ginger powder

Submerge in tub and stay at least 20 minutes

After bath, dress warmly, drink lots of water, avoid sugar, and rest.

Temperature may continue to rise, but fever should break shortly. May need an additional bath next day if fever persists.

Detox bath:

Fill tub with hottest water tolerable

Add ¼ C Baking Soda to water and let sit 5 minutes

(when detoxing you are opening pores to allow impurities out and you will absorb what’s in the water, so by adding the baking soda, the water is ‘shocked’ and will turn your local water alkaline) 

After 5 min, add:

½ C Epsom Salts

1 TBSP Coconut oil

2 TBSP Bentonite Clay

2 drops Orange Essential oil (optional)

Soak at least 20 minutes

After bath, dress warmly, drink lots of water, avoid sugar, and rest.

Temperature may continue to rise, but fever should break shortly. May need an additional bath the next day if fever persists.

These detox baths can be used for fevers, headaches, muscle aches, and any general ‘under the weather’ feelings. When detoxing, symptoms can increase before leaving just as fevers spike before breaking.

Stats tell us that only 43% of parents know that a fever below 100.4 can be beneficial in a child.


Pharmaceutical companies have masterfully used advertising to promote their products using ‘fever phobia’ as a brilliant marketing scheme to keep parents in the dark about what is actually best for children. Before you allow fear and doubt to creep in, running to the doctor for a prescription, trust your body’s ability to heal itself. Help it along by detoxing, hydration, a clean diet and taking quality vitamins/supplements and then if necessary, seek medical attention. 

When our little ones are learning a new skill, it’s so easy to swoop in to do it for them so they don’t have to struggle, but that doesn’t build confidence or muscle for their future success. The same is true with our immune systems! Rushing to erase symptoms with that ‘magical’ liquid will not allow the body to build it’s own defenses in the end. It actually keeps it weak, and dependent on the ‘help.’ 

It’s hard to stand back and watch the struggle of an immune system growing, but if you trust your body and are willing to let it build its muscle, the next time sickness comes calling you’ll be happy you did!

*Psalm 139:14 I will give thanks and praise to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.


Heather Michelle Mira is a wholehearted wife, mommy, daughter and friend. A lifelong learner with a passion for homeopathics and all types of natural remedies, she loves sharing her victories to empower others in their pursuit of greater health. I’m blessed to call her mine! {Disclaimer: Heather is not a medical doctor and encourages readers to do their own research, seek expert advice and find what works for them.}

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When the Test Comes

I opened my Merriam-Webster Dictionary app and the word of the day, CRUCIBLE, flashed at me in psychedelic neon. (I made that last part up.)

OK, it may well be in black and white print, but the effect on my brain was the same. Its definition, ‘A severe test‘ enhanced my reactionary impulse. OMG.

Such a cruel word, it seemed out of place, like WT____?!?  Couldn’t you have chosen more carefully, Merriam or Webster?! Which of you made such a blunder, causing such discomfort and creating a foreboding on the masses looking to you for fresh vocabulary insights today?

You could have gone with, say, SERENE? (tranquil) or perhaps, EUPHORIC? (elated) or maybe, TRIUMPH? (victory), but no, you had to go there??

To the place we all have to live and dwell for extended periods of time throughout our lives, tapping our fingers waiting, wondering, crying “UNCLE!” begging out, bleeding, commiserating, asking “why?” and wondering, what if…when, how??!

And so, as our eyes light upon this word of the day we are reminded of our severe tests and their outcomes.

Perhaps it was a diagnosis. A marriage #fail? A financial crisis? A child gone astray? A career mishap? A church disaster?

None of us participating in this insane marathon called the human race is exempt. It’s universal, right? We’ve all tasted of intense trials, been encapsulated in our extended-play ‘crucibles;’ those lonely, isolated, panic rooms of pain, torture even, awaiting the end of the story, looking to see a better view from the other side.

And how did we react?

Did we, with our life choices, attitudes and investments, ramp up the intensity of our suffering, or, with self-control, wisdom and patience, grow and abound with a bittersweet sense of destiny wrapped around our circumstances?

Are we proud of our responses? Did we make it out unscathed? What did fate decide?

Did we learn, did we change and grow, did we come out better for the ugly trial?? We may indeed limp from the battle, but do we taste of the bitterness of vitriol as we reflect? We’ve lived in the fiery furnace, but do we still smell like smoke?

Merriam, Webster, whichever one of you chose today’s text, you will have touched many a tender nerve and doused some cold water in surprised faces this fine day. You didn’t choose neutrality; you won’t be ignored, skimmed over or easily forgotten.


Well done.


Thank you for reading! Want more?? Here you go…

Denise Mira KNOWS that parents are the superheroes of our culture and she can’t shut up about it! If you’re hungry for MORE in your parenting, grand parenting, midlife parenting and all things LIFE, sign up here and grab your free gift – Denise is always brewing up something good to give away to her VIP subscribers to not only inspire but lift you higher!



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The Beautiful Life of a Cage-free Organic Kid

How do I describe the emotion I feel when I look at this picture?

An innocent little angel girl living in the cocoon of her parents love and protection, being home educated, stimulated by everything that is good…engaged in social interaction with intelligent adults – the most important people in her life – all day, every day.

This is real life.

Hours spent in nature, literature, art, music, cooking, puppy training, and whatever creative pursuits tickle her fancy at the moment.

Time, precious carefree time to Just. Be. A. Kid.

No restrictive institutional boundaries.

The purity that shines from her eyes never tainted by the bullying of classmates who don’t know better.

Taught to believe there is a higher power, a living God, a perfect Father, a miracle maker who loves her unconditionally. Always believing there is a POSSIBILITY! as she reflects on the stories told of her mother’s healing, her little Sissy’s miraculous conception and birth and so many more answers to prayer.

Always supported by her uncles, aunts and two sets of grandparents who adore her, pray for her, have special dates with her and remind her of her Savior’s love and faithfulness.

A little girl who is taught to serve others first and care for the poor, the hurting, the handicapped and lost. A girl who doesn’t notice the color of someone’s skin as she relates to the humans around her.

How precious, how powerful, how priceless is her life’s organic journey?!

And to think that as parents we have the privilege to choose what path, what course, we set for our youngsters.

What will it be?

Thank you for reading, I’m truly honored. If you’d like to read more, subscribe for my updates and grab my TRANSFORMATIVE freebie, 7 Steps to Cure an Unhappy Kid and Revolutionize Your Home Life by clicking HERE. 

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Summer of Love

It’s summer here in the Pacific Northwest, and as I predicted HERE in May, my blog has taken on a new twist and schedule due to my priorities of making every moment count.

I’m committed to seizing the day – it’s a life principle that’s served me well and is especially needful this summer as the traditional season of sunshine is often painfully short-lived here in the Pacific Northwest, and folks are taking their vacation days, popping in for spontaneous get-togethers, meeting up for walks in the park, and even flying in to sleep on our air mattress. 🙂 I’ve been hosting a myriad of well-attended events in my smallish old apartment building; birthdays, brunches, happy hours, and barbecues, proving to me that people really could care less how fancy the setting or food is, they just want to connect. (One sudden birthday meal was Annies Mac n Cheese and peas!)

My happy place is facilitating a comfortable, joyful and accepting atmosphere for strangers, friends and family to enjoy something yum to eat and drink while they meet up and find relationship in this crazy, ofttimes lonely world of ours.

I’ll keep this short as I’ve had a busy weekend of barbecues, a wedding and as I type this I’m preparing our abode for a precious couple to arrive from out of state. They recently lost their son to heart disease and I long for them to find a place to rest and enjoy friendship. I’m determined to do everything I can to make that happen for them.

I don’t always take photos as I’m usually occupied with engaging in all that’s going on when we host, but I’ve included a few pics here.

I want to encourage you to open your home – it may be a mansion or a trailer but it’s not about that – it boils down to heart…and some food and drink, of course. (We like music, too, so you’ll usually walk into our place with tunes playing  on the Bose.)

Grace and peace to you and yours this summer; I truly hope you make a plan to invite a good mix of people into your home, however humble you think it is. When we get our eyes off of ourselves and what we don’t have to offer, and simply give what we do have to give, God multiplies the fishes and the loaves of our lives and feeds the multitudes some pretty miraculous food.

Until next time I’ll be signing off; I’ve got a bathroom to clean and sheets to change.



P.S. Click HERE for another post-with-a-twist I think you’ll enjoy, pertaining to hosting houseguests!

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Your Discomfort Zone – Where the Magic Happens

Yesterday I walked into the kitchen to prep my daily green smoothie. I suddenly remembered – facepalm – I was out of power greens and celery. Hmmm. I’m not easily dissuaded, so I shook down the fridge and found baby arugula and romaine lettuce (surprisingly, romaine lettuce is a solid source of protein).

I packed my Vitamix full of these optional greens, blueberries, a chunk of fresh ginger, chia seeds, maca powder, avocado, organic protein powder and pure water. It was disgusting. And I guzzled every drop to get it down the hatch quick. Why? Because the goal wasn’t pleasure, but nourishment.

Mark Hyman, MD, director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine says, “Food is the most powerful drug on the planet. It can improve the expression of thousands of genes, balance dozens of hormones, optimize tens of thousands of protein networks, reduce inflammation, and optimize your microbiome (gut flora) with every single bite. It can cure most chronic diseases; it works faster, better, and cheaper than any drug ever discovered; and the only side effects are good ones – prevention, reversal, and even treatment of disease, not to mention vibrant optimal health.”

I’m determined to do everything in my power to maintain optimum health and that means enduring some discomfort on a daily basis, whether that be a nasty green sludge smoothie, a power walk including steep inclines, or an early bedtime to get plenty of sleep. (Click here for a quick read on feeding your kids for best outcomes.)

It occurred to me that much of my life has been spent living intentionally in my discomfort zone, from which I’ve reaped many priceless benefits.

Anything you want outside of normal is likely going to be produced in the discomfort zone – that awkward, uncomfortable, at times miserable, redundant, tedious, costly, trying, testing, lonely, d..r..y place.

The place average achievers intentionally avoid.

It’s really the only place to be often if you want to initiate real living, bring about true change in your life and family, and have an impact in the world. All that accomplishment doesn’t take place binge-watching Netflix with a bag of chips and soda every night, yet stats tell us the average person spends 3-8 hours on the internet daily.


When I got married 6 months out of high school to a self-confident Italian 11 years my senior, I was walking the razor edge of heresy according to some. Was I ready for marriage? Is anyone ready for marriage?! Because, let’s be honest, strong marriages that last are not built in you and your partner’s comfort zones. Can I get an ‘amen’?! 38 years later, I’m so glad we determined to push through all the uncomfortable days. (You can read more about that HERE.)

Motherhood and Home Education

When I found the joy of motherhood and continued having babies, one after another to the dismay of some vocal family members – you guessed it, discomfort zone. Then when I decided to homeschool them all with no formal training, well, let’s just say it was unfamiliar territory I had to learn to navigate on a daily basis, despite the jeers in my ears. Life found us pioneering, blazing trails; trudging along bumpy and lonely roads at times over the years, but one step always led to the next, even when it seemed like we’d hit the wall.  33 years later, the outcomes were worth any discomfort. (Read HERE for a glimpse…)


Your New Normal: the discomfort zone

If you’ve got your sights set on building a strong marriage, raising great kids, growing healthy bodies, serving your fellowman, increasing your intelligence, achieving the dreams in your heart, and conquering life’s mountains along the way – just remember the motto of the U.S. Navy SEALs, “The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday,” and gird up for extended periods in the discomfort zone. 

Your Two-Minute Takeaway

  1. List the top 10 accomplishments you see as paramount in your life. Ponder how much time and energy and emotion was spent in your discomfort zone that bore such fruit. How can you apply this same determination in your marriage, child rearing and physical health? Make a plan!
  2. The average person looks at their smartphone at least 100 times a day where they find delicious, comfortable, indulgent, audio and visual delights every millisecond to anesthetize them briefly and distract them from real life and real relationships. Refuse to use your phone for anything more than an absolutely necessary call or text for the first two hours of your day for a week and jot down the affects of your mini-fast.
  3. Embrace the effects of your discomfort zone-you aren’t failing, weak or going backwards. Reframe the thoughts and emotions that feel so heavy and dark – turning them into a buoyant victory march toward the finish line of success. Be the badass you know you ARE deep down inside.

Thank you for reading, I’m truly honored. If you’d like to read more, subscribe for my updates and grab my TRANSFORMATIVE spring freebie, 7 Steps to Cure an Unhappy Kid and Revolutionize Your Home Life by clicking HERE. 


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House hunting?? Here are some upgrades to consider…

I’ve been looking at real estate. Eyeballing all sorts of houses boasting miles of rich wood flooring, grandiose fireplaces, and kitchens equipped for kings, but I’m reminded that a house is just sticks and bricks if it’s devoid of life and love.

It’s not the upgrades or the neighborhood or the size of a dwelling that makes a home, it’s the memories created, the love experienced, the food tasted, the kindnesses expressed, the life lessons learned.

How many grew up living in ‘mansions’ but reflect on a sour note at the emptiness of that abode?
The loneliness.
The barrenness.
The desperation.
The alcohol-induced feuds and chaotic atmosphere.

I recently lived in a cozy, (cramped), loud, bustling, tiny two-bedroom urban apartment where I could look down from my perch and watch assorted unsavory activity taking place on any given day on the city streets below. Some of my happiest memories occurred there in that nest, high above the cold hard world outside while I quietly nurtured my growing family in my temporary home.

What are you building?
How are you building?
Mom, dad, YOU are the home.
You are the PULSE of the home, the fire in the fireplace, the love light burning bright.

How are you living life?
Is your communication just sticky notes and occasional food in the fridge – a pizza box, a frozen dinner with a how-to stuck on top?
Do the hallways echo with gracious words and helpful intentions and tender voice tones?
Or is it f-bombs and threats and screams?
Or perhaps passive anger expressed through cold silence as ships pass in the night down the hall…

Does the aroma of good food linger through the rooms and out the front door?
Are souls so happy to be home they bring friends to share in it all?
Oh the power we have in our hands with our possessions and our schedules.
We rule our worlds.
We can’t blame someone else.

Does grace abound in your abode?

Do hearts sing and are steps made lighter upon exiting your house?

Are prayers offered up continually?

What is a home?!
We all drive by jaw-dropping ‘perceptions’ regularly.
Trimmed hedges, landscaped gardens, BMWs in the drive, lawn chairs on perfect patios.

But where is humanity?
Who sits in the chairs?
Who eats in the dining room?
So much wasted space and tools of love sit empty, gathering dust…day-by-day until they turn into year-by-year.

Why is Junior so distant?
Where is the Little Princess?
What do they value?
Who do they flock to?
What is their anchor?
Where did the years go?

I just heard a lady whine about wishing she could stay home with her miracle baby and be a mom.
So…why not work another miracle and sell the great house, rent a good house, sell the extra car, NOT pay for daycare and afford to stay home?
Her daughter is two..tomorrow she will be 22.

Instead people will work their a$$ess off to keep a great empty shell of a place filled with anxiety and strife and take-out food.
The sounds of silence.
I’d rather live in a love-filled camper and have mom home than in a hoity-toity gated fortress where mama is absent trying to produce more income to pay the debts incurred by discontent and illusions in order to prop up a perception.

That gate ain’t keeping anything out of that house if Mama’s away all day….

Thank you for reading! If you’d like to read more, grab my free E-book 15 Minutes to Raising an Extraordinary Human HERE 

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What’s the Big Deal About Apple Juice and Chicken Fingers??

Moms are savvy. We have to be. Many of us live on a relatively-modest income. We understand firsthand the juggling act of meeting the ever-increasing costs of housing, transportation, clothing, insurance, medical, school supplies, and the myriad of incidental expenditures we incur living our daily lives. We know how to find a screaming deal (or, how to create one!) We don’t mind begging, borrowing, or re-purposing almost anything in order to stretch our dollars like Gumby.

Then . . . there’s food. We raised five boys. Eating machines. Our grocery bill was always our highest monthly expenditure after the mortgage or rent. And nothing’s changed now that our family is expanding with marriages, grandkids and the strays we love to feed. Prices just keep climbing. 1

But groceries cost us more than money. The whole food category can wear a woman down. After inventorying our cupboards and fridge, meal planning, list-making, shopping, paying, loading, unloading . . . we’ve already invested multiple hours of our time and we haven’t even begun to prepare the food to be eaten!


Feeling pressed for time and money, we can become careless about our food choices. With all the other plates we’re spinning, who’s got time to think about balanced diets and nutrition? “Fill ‘em up fast and cheap!” may be your motto. Chicken nuggets, French fries, and mac ‘n cheese, available in bulk at the big-box store, can become very attractive options. An easy fix, and kids will be happy about lunch – one less war. A big fat black checkmark on one of life’s perpetual nagging to-do’s as a mommy, right?

Not so fast. Just by filling them up, doesn’t mean we’ve ‘fed’ them. Food is defined as ‘any nutritious substance that people eat or drink, in order to maintain life and growth.’2 Everywhere I go, kids seem to exist on non-nutritive, high-calorie, refined food-like products loaded with white flour, fillers, chemicals, sugar and salt. Much of what’s going down the hatch simply can’t be considered real ‘food.’

Like I said, “groceries cost us more than money,” but let’s make sure they’re not costing us our health.

What we’re eating is, quite frankly, a life or death matter. Here are the facts:

  • The rate of chronic disease among children has doubled in the past two decades, with much of the increase a result of obesity.3
  • An estimated one-third of American children and two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese. 4
  • Being overweight is a main cause of Type 2 diabetes, an epidemic in our nation, which can lead to heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, impotence, amputations, and mental decline. America spends more than $100 billion on healthcare needs related to obesity every year with prescription drugs for controlling diabetes making up much of that cost. 5b

But, here’s the good news…

  • A diet in which fruits, vegetables, and other natural plant foods supply the vast majority of calories, affords us powerful protection against disease. 6
  • Although at epidemic proportions in our nation, Type 2 diabetes is primarily a lifestyle-induced disease that can often be reversed through lifestyle changes: eating a healthy, fiber-rich diet and getting regular exercise.7

“My clinical experience over the past ten years has shown me that almost all the major illnesses that plague Americans are reversible with aggressive nutritional changes designed to undo the damage caused by years of eating a disease-causing diet.” Dr. Joel Furhman 8

By our daily example, we parents are not only managing our homes and children, we are imparting a lifestyle with far-reaching implications. What happens in our kitchens, ladies, will literally affect every aspect of our family’s lives; body weight, moods, allergies, anxiety, regularity, energy levels, sexual dysfunction, adolescent acne, depression, immune system function, time spent at doctor’s offices, annual medical costs . . . all the way to life expectancy. Many would argue that eating right is too expensive, but eating poorly is costlier by far.  9

Here are five helpful keys to realizing an all-around healthier level as a household:

1. Take inventory. Honestly list and evaluate what’s been on the menu at your house the past couple of weeks. It’s easy to say, “we eat pretty healthy,” because we believe we should, and we know better, but what we’re actually doing may not line up with our convictions. Clean out the cupboards, fridge, and freezer, and trash the ‘decoys.’ It’s time for change!

2. As a rule of thumb, eat food the way God made it. Keep an arsenal on hand of everything that grows in the ground. Require the daily eating of (organic if possible) fresh, colorful salads with a variety of vegetables and fruit in the mix. Radishes, broccoli, oranges, sweet red peppers, sugar snap peas, purple cabbage, sprouts, sweet onion, spinach, apple, romaine, strawberries, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, grated carrot, and turnip are some great salad ingredients. I didn’t say iceberg lettuce drowning in bottled ranch dressing with so many preservatives it will never die.

3. Fresh or frozen fruit should be part of the daily diet. Smoothies made with frozen fruit are a super alternative to a bowl of ice cream. As the blender whirs, toss in fresh spinach, romaine lettuce, chia seeds, peanut butter, cacao powder, celery, and spirulina to get a mega-boost of goodness without any flavor loss.

4. Ration minimal and rare portions of processed foods such as sweetened breakfast cereals, deep-fried chips, cheese crackers, white bread, and candy. We all love our occasional treats, but remember why they’re called ‘treats.’ Sidenote: Beware of snack bars. The plethora available is dizzying and many are billed as healthy or natural. These are typically loaded with harmful fillers like fructose corn syrup, genetically modified components, chemicals and copious amounts of sugar. Ingredients are clearly listed on the items we purchase. Read the labels!

5. Make water the drink of choice at your house. Buy distilled or invest in a good filter. Unfortunately, we often can’t trust our city water supplies to deliver the real thing to our pipes. Apple juice, soda, energy drinks, and iced coffees belong in the ‘occasional treat’ category. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate with pure, filtered H2O.

We cannot feed our families a standard American diet and expect them to excel. Perhaps you, Mom or Dad, didn’t have the privilege of learning this as a lifestyle while growing up. It’s not too late! The power for change is in your hands.  Pioneer a better path of ‘eating to live’ for your family. Before you know it, these forays into nutritious eating will become lifelong habits. 10

Our family is the perfect test case. I remember when one or more of my five boys would wrinkle up their noses at some of the things I habitually fed them; now they insist on those very same ingredients in their regular meals and especially request big colorful salads  at my house, while they enjoy every vegetable under the sun. They thank me regularly for ‘teaching their tastebuds’ to like a broad variety of flavors and textures their friends were never expected to eat.

Want to read more? Here ya go… Grab my free E-book 15 Minutes to Raising an Extraordinary Human HERE






  1. (3 On Your Side: Climbing Food Prices by Jim Donovan.
  2. New Oxford American Dictionary
  3. (, February 16, 2010, “More children have chronic diseases; study cites obesity,” by Liz Szabo.)
  4. ( March 28, 2010 Junk Food Addiction May Be Clue to Obesity: study by JoAnne Allen)
  5. (Helping One Another page 5 a publication of Christian Care Medi-Share. By William H. White, Ph.D, director for Health Initiatives. And Readers Digest, March 2008, Health IQ Type 2 Diabetes, Joel Furhman, M.D. pg 50) 5b(Costco Magazine January 2010 pg 35)
  6. (Walter C. Willett, M.D., Ph.D., chairman of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard’s School of Public Health and a speaker at the American Association for Cancer Research) (Eat To Live by Joel Furhman, M.C. pg 57)
  7. (Reader’s Digest, March 2008, Health IQ, Type 2 Diabetes, pg 50 and Helping One Another, Christian Care Medi-Share, Diabetes Can Be Reversed, by William H. White, Ph.D. Director for Heath Initiatives)
  8. (Eat to Live by Joel Fuhrman, M.D., pg. 143)
  9. (World Health Organization, 1999. World Health Statistics Annual WHO Statistical Information System-WHOSIS-Table 1: number of deaths and death rates, age 55-75 inclusive.) (Eat To Live by Joel Fuhrman, pg. 144)
  10. (‘Why Kids Are Still Obese’ Parents have the greatest influence over what their children will eat. July 5, 2007)
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Waiting for Apple to save YOUR kid? Why I think the stockholders’ counsel to Apple is so messed up.

On January 7th media exploded with Apple’s two leading stockholders’ urgent request of the tech-world  behemoth: SAVE OUR KIDS FROM YOUR DEVICES!

And for a brief moment, the whole wide world snuggled up together and nodded in agreement as we all pondered the negative stats on our kids by overuse of electronic devices. In a nutshell these trends were cited in the article (HERE) in detail:

  1. students’ increased inability to focus on educational tasks
  2. students increasing emotional challenges
  3. students increasing social challenges
  4. students’ physical and social activity lessening
  5. students with higher risk factors for suicide
  6. students getting too little sleep leading to weight gain and high blood pressure
  7. And evidence tells us that, day-by-day as their heads are buried in social media, modern children are becoming heartless automatons.

A study by UCLA researchers showed that after 5 days at a device-free outdoor camp, children performed far better on tests for EMPATHY than a control group.

Do we really need a test, a statistic or a control group to convince us that kids whose days and nights are dominated by electronic devices rather than by human interaction will be less human, thus expressing less active compassion?

Is any of this a surprise to you parents??!

Of course not, because intuitively as the parents of our precious children, WE KNOW BETTER, which the article detailed (HERE) as follows:

  • 58% of parents say they worry about the influence of social media on their child’s physical and mental health.
  • 48% of parents say that regulating their child’s screen time is a “constant battle,” and
  • 58% of parents say they feel like their child is “attached” to their phone or tablet.


We know how our devices affect us personally, as well as those we attempt to interact with who are dominated by their smartphones and laptops.

But apparently, Dads and Moms can’t seem to find the word ‘no’ in their vocabulary or the courage to enforce it when it comes to electronics and their children.

So we need Apple to, in essence, ‘parent our children’ because we aren’t doing our job?!

All this ‘helpfulness for parents’ is the sunny side of something called CONTROL.

Just like Seattle’s new tax (HERE) on soda and other sugary beverages which went into effect January 1st, adding a whopping cost of 1.75% per fluid ounce (HERE for how this affects our wallets)  to ‘encourage citizens to cut down on the consumption of sugary drinks that have little nutritional value and are linked to obesity, diabetes and other health problems.’ BECAUSE SEATTLE’S CITIZENS CAN’T CONTROL THEMSELVES or their children and limit intake of sugary drinks…am I right??

So…since I can’t or won’t govern myself and my kids, someone else is enlisted to do the job at my expense in the form of increased taxes or hiking the price of my Frappucino, iPad, iPhone or laptop.

Furthermore, because there’s a gun to parents’ heads and parents can’t help but give their kids the password to the iPad or the iphone maybe Apple needs to keep the password from the parents, too, and create a new password daily to dole out on a timeline appropriate to the measure of the parent’s character??

Do you see the insanity of all this chatter?!

Could it be that parents are generally so stressed out, in debt, discontented and distracted that by the time they fly in the door from a long, tiring day at work plus commute, they are all too happy to hand their kid the iPad or the iPhone to get some relief from their restless, noisy children who haven’t been trained to entertain themselves with…

  • reading and appreciating good books
  • playing outside
  • crafting
  • artwork
  • building Legos
  • playing with the pure bred pooch their parents gave them
  • using the expensive playground equipment Santa brought them??

Could it be that children aren’t being trained to regularly carry weight and develop emotional intelligence by…

  • doing household chores
  • serving their needy neighbors
  • playing with their siblings
  • preparing or helping to prepare simple meals?

Parents, what are we willing to do to save our children?
How serious are we about what we say we want for our families?

Some ideas for immediate relief:

  1. talk to our children about our sincere concerns, our hearts for them and their best interest and a clear plan for immediate change
  2. changing passwords and pressing restart
  3. unplugging during the school week with appropriate measures of time allotted as a reward on weekends
  4. declare that evenings are reading/digging in the dirt/art/sibling play time rather than vegging-in-front-of-the tablet time
  5. listen to music
  6. cook together
  7. take a walk together and appreciate nature
  8. sell the iPhones and get pre-paid flip phones
  9. go back to VCRS and dvds

And if that doesn’t quite go to the root of the issue and you really want to go for broke:

You might consider selling the house with the inflated mortgage, buying a lesser home, or renting a modest apartment, selling the second car that’s on payments, stop eating out and cut up the credit cards. Consider job/schedule changes and reduce hours spent commuting, so you have some mental, emotional, and spiritual margin left to cope with this serious mission to raise amazing children.

Parents WE are the example
Parents WE must unplug
Parents WE must address our overspending
Parents WE must make peace with OUR JOB to PARENT our children
Parents WE must train our muscle of ‘delayed gratification’ first, then apply this training to our children

Parents the power is in your hand

We have as our example a man who decidedly chose not to throw his hands up in the air and beg for help from Apple. He knew the power in his own hands.

In a 2010 interview, asked whether his kids loved the iPad, the late Steve Jobs, former CEO of Apple, famously said, “We don’t allow the iPad in the home. We think it’s too dangerous for them.” Even he recognized the threat to the children of the world he himself had unleashed.

If you found this post helpful, and would like some more practical empowerment for your parenting, grab my free E-book 15 Minutes to Raising an Extraordinary Human for a limited time HERE 

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