Archives for Never a victim

Mommy, when you can’t see beyond the mess…Let ME be your eyes.

After 34 years of parenting, I’ve put on a lot of miles in my journey as a mom. I’m now one of those people you young parents scratch your head and ponder…an empty nester.

Yes, I’ve crossed to that mysterious other side; that faraway place you longingly contemplate through the fog of your overwhelm, perhaps while stepping on sharp toys in the middle of the night, or when your toddler dropped your smart phone in the toilet.


Young mama you can’t see right now from where I am because the mess is too big and the noise is too loud and the tedium dizzying and the toilets are filthy and it’s 7:00 am and you’re out of half n’ half *&%!!! And to go get half n’ half you’d have to GAH get dressed, double gah get two toddlers dressed and in their car seats GAHHHH and then you’d have to do it 3 more times by the time you’re home with your purchase – just for half n half??!

And since you aren’t that amazing 5 a.m. yoga mom,  you all look homeless which would make you so stressed while everyone stares at you in Kroger feeling sorry for your kids, the half n’ half would curdle in your stomach anyway. And if by some chance you primped everyone, by that time you wouldn’t want coffee anyway. You’d want LUNCH and you certainly can’t afford to eat lunch out on your husband’s meager salary.

And you’re mad at HIM; that guy you pick up after, sleep with, the utility patrol who comes home after a long day and can’t walk through the room without a helpful suggestion or another request and you really don’t have a whole lot to look forward to – ok story time at the library is pretty decent but the girls with the always-helpful grandma are out shopping til they drop.

As you peer out at it all through tired eyes, it can be hard to see clearly.

BUT I CAN SEE past your present circumstances.

Ain’t nothing better than what’s in front of you RIGHT NOW RIGHT HERE TODAY. I know because if you choose to skip over this inconvenient truth, you will have already lost the game.

Everything in you wants to RUN on many days.
Everything around you tells you “just do it.”
Every media outlet screams at you that your bad a$$ beautiful self has SO MUCH TO GIVE THIS WORLD – YOU CAN BE ANYTHING….and there’s always some free government program with their hands out, just waiting to take your kid.

And you think about it so much that it’s working its way into your soul….that holy place where you make good decisions or bad decisions.

Because there is a target on your back and the goal is to take you out of your little one’s lives for most of their waking hours.
Because there are powers-that-be that KNOW YOUR SUPER POWERS AS A MOM. Yes, YOU. Flawed, uncertain, fearful YOU: the perfectly imperfect mother God gave to YOUR kids because He knows who you are and how capable you are!

These enemies are cunning.

They hide behind your messes and shame you.
They lurk on social media and whisper in your ear…”who ARE you anyway?? Get a life.”

They compare you with others until you’re convinced you are a LOSER; a dumpy out-of-shape ‘housewife’ – that dirty word of the 21st century.

The narrative goes something like this: ‘girl you are better than a nanny, a maid, a cook, a mistress to your demanding not-so-helpful man, you are A WINNER WHO SHOULD BE STRUTTIN HER STUFF out there somewhere before you’re old and gray and washed up.

But I know better
I know the truth
I know what’s coming
I know who your kids are and who they are to become.

Because I’ve crossed to the other side and it’s a beautiful, even miraculous place.
My ROI (Return On Investment) as a Momma far exceeds anything my 401K could have offered me from the perfect government job I quit when my firstborn arrived 33 years ago.

Here’s a peek into my everyday world as an empty nester mom of five sons…

One son recently emailed me to say, “Momma, you gave us boys a conscience.” (401K you say??)

Another son stood in my dirty kitchen last week and declared, “Momma you’re the most empowered woman I know.” (I gave up some great benefits with that government job, you say??)

Another son came over for lunch as I wanted to encourage him about something and he spent most of the time preaching the power of ME, his momma, what I have to offer the world and how I need to go about getting it out there. (I could’ve driven new cars with all that extra money, you say??)

Another son called to check up on me because he had me on his heart and talked at length with me, sharing his wisdom. (how many Nordstrom clothes could I have afforded with that job??)

I woke to a text from another son with an offer of $500 not because I’m poor but because he saw something he thought I could benefit from and he didn’t want me to ignore it because it cost money. (wow the vacations I could have paid for with that job, you say??)

And that’s just a tiny little itty bitty sliver of my midlife mom world…

Girls, I want to shout it from the mountain tops! Popular culture and feminism tried to rob me of the most precious gifts awaiting me as an adult woman! Dream big and take action today! God will meet you.

If you enjoyed the read, there’s more! I’d love to be a voice of encouragement along your journey.

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Building a Strong Foundation in Your Child: the Magic is in the Details

I’m convinced that the fundamental and distinctive characteristics and qualities of an individual – call it their moral and spiritual DNA, is formed by what is taught and trained, ingrained in them day-by-day over years and years. This process creates the very essence of their lives, the vital foundation from which future life decisions originate.

We humans like to compartmentalize everything. But life is holistic.* Everything’s connected.

For instance, our kid gets acne so we buy the cadillac of zit creams and slather it to remedy the crisis. But in actuality did you know that skin issues are most often a symptom of what lies beneath in the gut, the foundation of a healthy body?!

This revelation as it applies to our physical health is truly revolutionary – but it’s just as powerful in our parenting.

The value of a solid, healthy foundation really cannot be exaggerated. It’s essential to a solid life. It’s the result of a consistent, faithful presence doing what needs to be done over the course of someone’s life development.

Find any individual having a positive impact in the world, look over their shoulder and it’s likely you’ll see a dedicated parent or parental figure who invested a lot into their foundation. It’s precisely what made the person who the person is.

A mother and a father have such power. Super powers in fact, but the most important people on the planet are ofttimes hidden and underestimated, and eclipsed by the myths of popular culture.

Historically, many mothers dismiss their influence as inconsequential. They imagine vainly that they’re flunkie moms, glorified maids, dull nannies.

They don’t comprehend that their daily multitudinous tasks for their family’s benefit are setting the mold for their children. They reckon, “if women can have it all, why on earth would I not hire out all the unimportant tasks to someone less gifted?” But very little is unimportant in the scope of parenting.


It’s easy for parents to overlook the fact that the most important moment of their lives is always **NOW**!

Yes, everything matters because this is a holistic, comprehensive approach to developing a human being.

  • the organic green smoothie you’re blending
  •  the chore chart you’re making
  • the book you’re reading aloud
  • the iPhone you’re denying
  • the attitude you’re correcting
  • the big screen television that’s not running
  • the thank you note you’re requiring
  • the bed you’re making
  • the prayer you’re praying
  • the credit cards you’re shredding
  • the marriage vows you’re honoring
  • the political discussion you’re broaching
  • the foster child you’re nurturing
  • the meal you’re delivering to the elderly neighbor
  • the gossip you aren’t tolerating at the dinner table…is all working in synergy to produce a combined effect in your child that is greater than the sum of their separate effects to build a healthy, whole, stable individual who will in turn, build a healthy, whole, stable society with their influence on the world around them.

You are developing a culture in which your child is eternally influenced through all their five senses, soul and spirit.

Children do not primarily need the benefits of a mother bringing home an additional paycheck, but the entire household needs the influence of a mother in the home in these formative years.

We have only to scan the news headlines to see life after broken life, fool after fool, train wreck after train wreck of lives coming undone.
Unstable people without a clue.
Their foundations weren’t laid properly.
They are sorely lacking in substance.
It’s not a speech they need – too late for that.
Rehab may help. But it’s iffy.
It was the tireless, unending, laborious, exhausting, discipline and discipleship of a mother and father that was foisted off on others who didn’t have what it takes to get the job done in a youngster’s life.

Dr. Caroline Leaf, cognitive neuroscientist and best selling author confirms this principle in her book, Who Switched Off My Brain. “Childhood is a particularly crucial time for the brain because neural sculpting is at its lifetime high. Many of our abilities, tendencies, talents and reactions are hardwired in childhood and set a mental stage for adulthood.

Herein lies the root of the corruption of public morals in our day. Character is developed over time and it’s what makes the world go round. It’s what determines decisions and divorces and successes and failures, monies made, stolen and given. Character drives the course of history, the condition of nations, cities, villages, communities and neighborhoods.

The dominant, constant force in that kid’s life is going to constantly dominate in his life.
It’s really quite simple.
Who’s imparting to your children-reminding, hugging, instructing, mentoring, training, re-training, repeat?
It’s all so clear.
This is easy.
This is too easy to miss when so many have their hands outstretched to take this responsibility from you.

It’s about developing values and conscience and conviction and perceptions and judgments and discernment both intentionally and ‘accidentally’ in a human being who will, in turn, touch so many other human beings for better or worse.

Your Two-Minute Takeaway

  1. What specific, helpful thoughts came to mind as you read this post? Write these thoughts down, as they are the revelation you will be inspired by into the future so that you can be aware and take appropriate action for positive change as you build a healthy foundation in your home, for the benefit of your children.
  2. Look at the big picture of your family’s weekly and monthly schedules and evaluate what really needs to change. Are you so busy and distracted that you are missing so much of ‘The NOW!’ of daily life? I’ve been there and I understand. It could be time for a course correction. Pray and ask for wisdom to bring practical change to your weekly, monthly and quarterly schedule.

*Holistic: characterized by comprehension of the parts of something as intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.

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Valentine’s Day Blues Gotcha?? Here’s the Cure.

Here we go again. Barely got past Christmas, then the Super Bowl and now…

Digitized, printed, wrapped, hung and glued on the whole universe: billboards, cards, candies, candles, lingerie, jewelry, steaks, and all that our men can see is…

RED! WARNING! DANGER APPROACHING! As they prepare to walk the tightrope of yet another female expectation based on popular culture’s superficial relational demands.

Can you feel the presssssurrrre as you walk through the drugstore, Target, or Nordstrom? Click on Amazon??
Because Hallmark’s at it again, collaborating with every other media and retail force on the planet to try to define for you what love is and exactly how it should be expressed.
They’re setting the baseline and adding a price tag.
Don’t fall for it.
And, women, snap out of it. Yes, you read that right and, no, I’m not a party pooper.
And yes, I love me some romance. (and yes, monogamy should be HOT!)

But my husband’s ‘performance’ on Valentine’s Day is not the measure of his love for me!

Valentine’s Day is a phony, plastic, blip on the screen.

A massive ATM for retail outlets to peddle their made-in-China wares and for FTD to grab a windfall of profits.


Am I against beautiful bouquets and Belgian chocolates? He!! to the no! Am I trying to discourage men from indulging their women this coming Friday? (Please, I hope you’re smarter than that.)

But I am against Madison Avenue’s effort to present to you the image of what your man must measure up to, comparing him to the Celebrity Class, bringing unrest in your heart and mind and creating angst between partners. And really, who gives a crap what Tom Brady’s buying for Giselle??! Hashtag meaningless. Remember Brad and Angelina, Blake and Miranda, Ben and Jen, Heidi and Seal, Chris and Gwyneth, Tarek and Christina, Naomi and Liev… (should I go on???)

Expectations destroy relationships.

Think about it.
Every disappointing holiday…wherein was the disappointment?
Was the gift not enough?
The calls not verbally indulgent?
The card didn’t arrive on time?
“What card,” you ask?!

Was it…eegads…forgotten??!!
YOUR sacred day—was it not celebrated as the day the earth stood still?! With power and might and trumpets and many and varied $urpri$e$?

You showed your displeasure.
The hmph in your throat.
The sigh in your voice.
Your disappointment was evident to all, or at least to the man in your life.
The clenched teeth. The cold spirit. The pout. How divisive and devilish they are. How much distance they place between loving souls.

So…you didn’t get enough? What’s ever ‘enough?!’
Isn’t love enough?
Does loyalty count for nothing?
Is faithfulness a mere token?

What of the handful of daisies brought you on no special occasion weeks ago?

…the scrawled sticky note of encouragement waiting for you on the door that winter morning?
…that recent deep and meaningful late-night chat?
…that quick call just to say, “I love you?”
…the spontaneous stop for wine and pizza last weekend?
…the takeout latte brought you randomly for no reason?
…the diligent work ethic and the steady paychecks to support the family?
…the foot rub that put you to sleep, or whatever simple task or action or verbiage was expressed to you in love.
Are these not celebrations of YOU? The loved, yes, adored soul of great importance to him?

Expectations ruin simple moments of pleasure and random expressions of affection.

All is lost on the Big Occasion’s perceived ‘#fails.’

And our children notice and form their values according to what we value and place importance upon.

Our culture is addicted to romance but have no clue about L.O.V.E. – that four-letter all or nothing, die a thousand deaths, til the end of time, covenant word.


Nora Ephron, screenwriter of blockbuster romcoms Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail, and Harry Met Sally said “most people learned their beliefs about love from my movies.” Even she knew, after 3 marriages of her own, the reality vs. fantasy of romantic love. Her brilliant writing apparently did not reflect her personal life, for behind the scenes she suffered decades of much relational agony.

Full Disclosure: Yes, of course I’ve received treats and surprises on occasional ‘Valentine’s Days,’ and yes, I’ve participated in the holiday every single year in some way by spoiling my children and grandchildren with fun little trinkets or gifting my adult friends with frivolous fun.

Because I’m not a legalistic, uptight chick. I love life and laughter and celebration any day of the week; I’m simply not willing to allow the systems of our world to stir up discontent and depression and strife in my home, while teaching my sons a big fat lie about LOVE, just because my husband doesn’t dance to their tune and obey their dictates.

Be wise, ladies. Be courageous, men.
Be free to be YOU as you love one another.

If you enjoyed the read, there’s more! I’d love to be a voice of encouragement along your journey.


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So the Stock Market is Tanking – Here’s Where to Realize Your Greatest ROI

The U.S. stock market is experiencing extreme volatility in recent weeks due to the Coronavirus pandemic across the globe, shrinking individuals’ investment portfolios ‘overnight.’

This has been especially painful, since record-breaking stock market growth had become the norm since the day Donald J. Trump was elected President of the United States in 2016.

Anyone who’s put their money in stocks, knows the market can’t be trusted. Ups and downs are cyclical and to be expected, but we all prefer the booming bull market to a sinking bear market.

Successful investing is a marathon, not a sprint. The tortoise wins, not the hare.

Living here in the Seattle area over the past 20 years, where Bill Gates and Paul Allen began their little startup called Microsoft, I often hear folks wistfully reflect, “if only I’d invested 35 years ago, I’d be a millionaire.”


But I CAN say, with absolute confidence:

“Your kids are the new Microsoft – buy stock in them!”

You’ve heard of the magic of compound interest? The genuine interest you show in your kids today will compound magically just the same, but with returns far more valuable. If you consistently make deposits into that relationship ‘account’ over time, 20 and 30 years down the line when you need loyal comrades and friends the most, you’ll have them.

Now that my sons are grown, I’m experiencing the remarkable and satisfying fruit of the investment I made by faith in them, day-by-day, over three plus decades. They are my dearest friends, confidants, neighbors, helpers, and encouragers.
Last week is a perfect example.

I was having a daaaaay :(( after incurring a sucker punch perfectly designed by the devil to abort my mission.


I walked around like a zombie, going through the motions of my decidedly demoted existence doing only those things I do on auto-pilot; tidying, walking the track, listening to an audio book, praying, fighting tears, trying to muster my emotional resources and regain my inner balance. Been there?? I figured.

I trudged through the market selecting groceries at a snail’s pace, loading and unloading, with no relief in sight. I reheated leftovers and, (what else??) ate chocolate and drank wine until I was too tired to watch another mind-numbing segment of my current Amazon Prime series. I collapsed into bed with a heavy heart.

A few sleepless hours later, I grabbed my iPhone and ambled quietly into the kitchen so as not to wake hubby, determined to somehow brave this new day with intention. I glanced at my screen: 5:21 a.m.






A text was waiting from one of my sons.

I was on his heart at midnight; he wanted me to know how much he loves me, that he thinks I’m awesome, he’s praying for me and if I need anything he’s always there for me.

He had no idea what my day had contained. I try not to burden my kids with negative crap.

It’s not the first such message, act of kindness or show of support my sons have sent me this week, month, or year. I’m wrapped in so much love, care and prayer from my adult children, I hang my head in shame at particular moments for complaining about any single thing in my life.

I wanna grab them tight and tell them a thousand times how much I love them. They are such treasures to me and to my husband – such incredible, diverse multi-faceted human beings with incomprehensible value.

Watching them grow into men; husbands, fathers, leaders and entrepreneurs – makes me want to hold them even tighter, as my pleasure in them is mixed with fear for them as we live in uncertain times filled with so many challenges…and yet I’m reminded that in every generation there were significant concerns specific to the timeline in history.

I’m confident they are men fit for the times we’re living in, and I’m on the edge of my seat, watching as this nail biter of life’s journey takes place for each of them as they venture out into the world.

I know firsthand, the investments you’re making in your children today, will return to you and the world around you in more ways than you can possibly imagine.

The character you develop in them by your example and training, is going to benefit you and so many others, years from now and perhaps you haven’t even considered it. Invest well while you have the opportunity – what a privilege to change the world through the humble call of parenting.

Your Two-Minute Takeaway 

  1. Investing a slice of your hard-earned dollars is NO joke. Even if you can spare a meager sum each month, contact a reputable company and get your money working for you. TIME FLIES! You’ll be surprised at what’s possible if you simply invest what you can over time.
  2. YOU are a bad ass parent who is longing for MORE! Otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading this. Consider the ways you can practically ‘budget’ your allotted time in order to set aside a reasonable, quality portion out of your 168 hours per week to spend with your kids.
  3. Here are some ideas: Choose a book to read aloud at bedtime and plan three nights (or more if you have the grace) per week you can commit to reading one chapter before ‘lights out.’
  4. The other nights that work for you, lay in bed next to them for a few minutes and ask them about the best part of their day-what they’re looking forward to-if anything is burdening them…whatever convo works for you and your kids.
  5. Make a date – one a month – to take each child out on their own for a meal, errands ending in ice cream, even a walk with the dog. Nothing beats one-on-one with Daddy/Mommy.
  6. Turn off smartphones and landlines during dinner or as long as is humanly possible until the kids are put to bed.
  7. Limit electronics as babysitters – this is so easy to lean on, but can quickly consume far more time than we’re aware of.
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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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My Thanksgiving Dinner Plan (pretty much)!

We hosted dinner guests from India tonight. Jordan and Nicole. Missionaries’ kids who met and married in India and are relocating to New Zealand. Early 20s and so precious. Jordan is a gifted musician/artist and Nicole is a photographer. It’s so cool to see your friends’ kids grow up and ‘adult.’ Kind of weird really, when all you remember is the little ‘rugrats’ they used to be and now – voila! They’re carrying the torch far and away! So this is what I made for dinner tonight. Comfort food, the kind of meal I’d serve my own kids if they were on the road and wanted home cooking. Chicken Schnitzel is a dish I learned while living in Australia – boneless chicken breasts pounded and dipped in egg/unsweetened coconut milk and breadcrumbs with spices then fried in butter and olive oil, mashed potatoes with sour cream and coconut milk (unsweetened), steamed carrots and corn and a green salad with Asian dressing. All organic. YUM. Here’s a pic of the schnitzel. So easy. Highly recommend! And…made the mashed potatoes in the instant pot – ohemgee I saved so much time and labor!

Below is the note I scrawled quickly when I was planning for our meal. It was a whirlwind day and I didn’t want to forget anything at the last minute so I made a list in the morning to revisit throughout the day – that’s how I roll. I always try to make a detailed list when I’m not stressed out because by the time guests are about to arrive, I’m sure to forget a detail. (One time we all finished dinner and a major dish I wanted to serve was still in the fridge ;(( that’s a drag. This never happens with a list.

So….drumroll please…here’s my Thanksgiving Checklist. Not a fake but the real deal I use every year to refer to for delegating, shopping and preparing. I tweak it along the way as needed.

Thanksgiving Checklist



Cornbread Dressing (celery, onion, broth) 

Gravy (cornstarch/bouillion)

Mashed Potatoes (butter/milk)

Corn (frozen corn)

Whole berry cranberry sauce

Sweet Potatoes (marshmallows/brn sugar/butter)

Ambrosia Salad (mandarins, pineapple, coconut, sour cream, marshmallows)

Cranberry Jello Salad w whip cream

Rolls (frozen dough balls)

Ham (Costco spiral sliced)

Pies and whip cream (Costco)

Wine (Costco)

Sparkling cider, sparkling water, water, ice (Costco)

Egg nog

Decaf coffee/cream

Shopping List (helps to jog my memory so I don’t get ready to cook and find I’ve forgotten the celery, etc.)


Boxed Cornbread Stuffing mix/or homemade cornbread stuffing

Onion for stuffing-Costco

Celery for stuffing-Costco

Turkey cooking bag/tin pan

Chicken bouillion-Costco



Sweet potatoes-Costco

Brown sugar

Canned whole berry cranberry sauce

Mini marshmallows for ambrosia and sweet taters

Frozen corn-Costco 

Crushed pineapple for jello salad

Canned Mandarins for jello/ambrosia salads

Canned pineapple tidbits for ambrosia

Coconut for ambrosia

Mini marshmallows-ambrosia/sweet potatoes

Sour cream for ambrosia-Costco

Raspberry and lemon jello

Fresh cranberries for jello salad


Sugar for jello salad

Butter for both potatoes, stuffing, and rolls

Frozen rolls

Egg Nog

Ready Gravy

Decide on seating-nametags

Placemats/tablecloth/plates, utensils, napkins, wine cups, water cups

Food buffet arrangement


I don’t just ‘wing it’ on where people will sit or where the buffet will be or what they’ll drink out of etc. etc. Planning ahead brings peace to the entire event. If I need to borrow tables, chairs or TV trays, I have time to consider that. We always serve buffet style to facilitate feeding a crowd – I honestly love buffet style for most meals when there are more than 4 people eating.

Here’s how I broke it down this year and how I delegated the bits and pieces:

Thanksgiving Checklist

Menu to feed 20 adults-planning enough food for second rounds and hang out time!

If there’s something missing, please bring it! xoxo

Young couple-Costco ham and 2 bottles white wine/ground coffee and creamer for large coffee tureen

Seasoned cook and family-one turkey/dressing/gravy (please bring coffee tureen and paper coffee cups)appetizer plate

Bachelors-ambrosia salad for a crowd

Gregory and Denise-One turkey, dressing and gravy, 2 bottles red wine, butter, hefty red cups, clear cups, dessert plates and EGG NOG

Young couple seasoned cook-5#mashed potatoes (Pioneer woman recipe can be prepared the day before and baked day of), Costco organic 5# sweet potatoes, 2 bags ice in cooler

Single busy businesswoman-2- 5# bags costco frozen corn and 6 bottles sparkling cider and 3 cans whip cream (all costco)

Young couple and family-2 bags of 36 Rhodes rolls baked and 6 cans whole cranberry sauce, 4 gallons water jugs, 3-2 litre bottles of flavored sparkling water 

Couple who don’t enjoy cooking-Costco 3 pumpkin and 2 fruit pies and 1 cheesecake and hefty  dinner plates, eating utensils for dinner and dessert, napkins for 40 people

Young couple and fam-5# mashed potatoes (Pioneer Woman recipe can be prepared a day ahead and baked day of) and 2 bottles rose wine and appetizer tray 

A couple days before I begin preparing I will make a list of to-dos complete with times of execution and ingredients involved. Something like this:

Sunday: begin thawing turkey in fridge. double check list to be sure I have all necessary food items and paper goods handled.

Tuesday: bake cornbread and set out with white stuffing bread to dry. Clean bathroom, dust and vacuum.

Wednesday: make Pioneer woman mashed potato recipe/dice onion and celery for stuffing. Make ambrosia. Pick out clothes to wear for tomorrow. Check to be sure turkey is completely thawed and if not, fill sink with water and begin emergency thaw process. LOL. #truth

Thursday: wake and simmer giblets, prepare stuffing by 10. Turkey stuffed and in oven by noon. Ice in cooler with wine and sparkling water to chill. Dress, makeup and hair done by 2. Music, essential oil diffuser and candles on by 3:45 (set alarm)

I truly hope these planning and preparation details help you to experience more peace and joy during the holidays, spilling over into all your relationships. May God bless you and yours this holiday season! For those of you who haven’t yet subscribed for my exclusive content, here’s the link to my video you missed on 4 Nuggets of Gold for Making Your Home Irresistible to Your Adult Kids (and everyone!) on Thanksgiving)

(PS you can subscribe on the link below so you don’t miss next weeks great stuff!)

So much love,


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

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When a Little Bit of Heaven Came Down to Earth

Four years ago today, in the early hours of this July summer morning, hubby and I quietly and somewhat soberly drove the long trek to the Medical Center in Seattle where our son and dear daughter-in-law were preparing for an emergency c-section to deliver their second child due to some very unexpected and quite serious complications. They had taken up residence at the hospital for several weeks as the dedicated staff were relentlessly monitoring our dear daughter-in-law, measuring all the vitally important factors leading up to this day. The call came suddenly the day before – it was time.

In a glorious nutshell, all went miraculously well and now, 4 years later, Mommy and baby are healthy and thriving, (and big sister and she are pretty much inseparable.)


I can say of a truth I’m continually reminded that this little doll is a miracle from heaven, and the joy she brings to us is beyond comprehension. We don’t mark her birthday as just ‘another day’ we celebrate it with gusto!

Life has changed in a huge way for me. Grandparenting IS TRULY all it’s cracked up to be.Click HERE for six simple secrets to thrive as a Nana or a Papa 😀

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

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What Lies Beneath

While I was doing my laundry in the basement with quarters, I buried my face in the fragrance of hubby’s clean shirts and felt thankful. At the moment, I live in a big old drafty urban apartment building. I wash my dishes by hand, and I cook out of a ridiculously limited kitchen. But I’m still #livingthedream with all my heart and mining the gold right where life has me today.

I just felt to remind you not to allow yourself to be DEFINED or LIMITED by your current circumstances. Your abode may be in chaos today, your laundry breeding, your kids challenging you at every turn while hubby sits on your last nerve. HGTV, Pinterest and social media keep reminding you of what you’re lacking with their trickery.

Refuse to allow your circumstances to determine your attitude, your level of generosity or your dedication to parenting well. Greatness works from the inside out, not the outside in – and it seems to me that what many people strive for, go in debt to buy, lean on, trust in, and base their self worth on is often only smoke and mirrors. Don’t fall for it. March on, head high and be the bada$$ mama God’s called you to be! Need some more muscle? This post should help Click HERE to read Power for Your Parenting!

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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Parenting: The Priceless Treasure Hiding in the Everyday

Some mothers seem to sail through, knowing just what to do and when. Never obsessing about the details. Not me. I am Queen of Obsession. I can fixate on any minute detail – your choice.
Just ask my kids.
I’ll consider, pray, ponder and get whiplash just trying to make the perfect, life-altering decision.
I’m getting better at menus.
But we’re talking kids. Futures. DESTINIES!

While raising my boys, I could freak out and melt down (and I did at times) about what party they could attend, which girls were calling, how late they should stay up, how early they should rise, whether to say yes, whether to say no, whether to ignore it and it would go away…if you’re a parent, you get me. And sometimes, even after hunger strikes, praying, and collecting the counsel of my trusted advisors…I still think I messed it up.

My glaring inadequacies loomed large. My endless piles of disorganized efforts – my untied loose ends. My #fears and #fails. But I clung by faith to my dreams for my sons like a hungry dog with a bone, and I trusted God to meet me, day-by-day. And He did. Beyond what I could have imagined.

What’s important for you to remember, mom and dad….most days of child rearing aren’t mountain-top days, no matter what Facebook or Instagram tries to tell you. They are plateau days full of ‘dailies.’ Bumps, bills, tangles, re-starts, emotions, disarray, rinse and repeat.

Yes, there were perfect days that shone bright, breathing new life into my mother heart, energizing me to press on toward the finish line, but there were many more quiet, unassuming days of routine and hiddenness…seemingly inconsequential.

But the thing about God is this: He more often than not, hides the significant in the seemingly insignificant.

And that’s exactly why so many women miss the boat.

They get restless amidst the tedium, and begin to scan the horizon above their kids’ heads for something…more…meaningful, lucrative, consequential. Completely unaware that those little ones under their noses are, hands down, the most mind-boggling, remunerative, explosive investments they could ever buy into,

Once upon a time, my five sons were little boys around my feet. Playing G.I. Joes, writing spelling lessons, doing household chores, delighting my heart with their childish antics. The greatest joy of my life on this earth. But I’ve found that as time goes on, their value multiplies exponentially like compound interest on a massive 401K. God’s miraculous nest egg.

Robert Brault put it this way, “Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”

We liberated women have become so smart, we can put a pencil to paper and figure that it’s cheaper to hire out our kids’ training to someone else so we can busy ourselves creating more income and status, building investments for the future, when actually, our children are our future. 
Can I say that again a little louder? Because it’s become so real to me in midlife.

Our children are our future!

I feel quite emotional this very moment as I consider the times along the way when I couldn’t see beyond myself and I missed out on some things of much greater value right in front of me. We all do it. I just want to warn you to do it less!

Let’s think twice about what we think we know about everything. The value of our kids, our marriages, our character, our lifestyles, our daily schedules, our pressing to-do’s. Things aren’t always as they appear. Let’s soften our hearts and look again below the surface of things. We just might find the treasure we seek in the things closest to us.

Your Two-Minute Takeaway

  1. Think for a moment: Are you content with your weekly schedule as it pertains to nurturing those souls entrusted to you? If you hesitated to answer that question, what’s bothering you? What would you like to change?
  2. Where did you learn your parenting style? Did you consciously choose it, or did it become your default because it’s all you knew growing up? Is it serving you and your children well?
  3. Fast Forward 20 years and imagine what kind of friendship you and your children will have, based on the friendship you’re building today. What would you like to add to your recipe?

Thank you for reading, I’m truly honored. If you’d like to read more, subscribe for my updates and grab your free gift, 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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