Coffee, anyone?!


I haven’t always been a coffee lover. In fact, we didn’t even own a coffee pot until we had our 3rd baby in 4 and a half years. At that point, we knew we needed help. A morning cup of coffee brought me back to life after MANY sleepless nights and became a comforting and well loved part of my daily routine. Often, around 1, I would pour myself another cup of energy – especially if I had nap-refusing littles roaming the house. Coffee quickly emerged as one of my closest mommy friends and I looked forward to creating a special place of honor in my kitchen from where I could serve it..

The problem, as with most projects, was that I was lacking in time and money to dedicate to my dream of a coffee bar. I had ideas GALORE- and with the creation of Pinterest, I found that many others shared my desire for a space to serve this well loved hot drink. These amazing pictures fueled the fire and helped to convince me that this was a need not a want. I had the best day dreams of a quaint little spot where I could prepare and serve this magical brew for myself, my Prince and any visitor that needed a cup of Joe.

I was on vacation this past summer when the planets all aligned and I was able to (in my mind) relocate my roll top desk that fit perfectly in our kitchen to an equally perfect spot in the living room – thus providing an open space for my coffee bar! Once we returned from the Smokey Mountains, I shared my design plans with my hubby. Before attempting to move the desk, we pulled out the measuring tape to ensure it would, indeed work. VICTORY!!! The perfect fit! So you know me, I am such a spaz, I started to move the desk the very next morning. The process was very Laverne & Shirley-esque, since I had to enlist the help of whatever child was available to help push, pull and lift this monster of a desk to its new location. My heart pounded with excitement and I set up my “new” work space in the living room. My heart then almost stopped when I entered the kitchen and stood looking at the big empty spot I had created before finding something to put there next. Time to go shopping!


I had something in mind. I wanted the piece to be wood, painted white, with at least one open shelf and I needed it to be at least waist high for easier prep and pouring. How hard would it be to find something that fits my needs? One quick glance on Amazon, right? OH, NO!  The search began to consume me. Too big, too short, too shelf-less, too not white. I looked everywhere – on-line, resale, big box stores, tiny boutiques. My excitement was beginning to wain as my search continued and I truly felt like I would never find something “just right”. I didn’t want to settle on a piece of furniture that I didn’t LOVE – I’d thought about this little oasis for far too long to not be in love with it once it was finished. After snapping pictures at stores, sending links to my honey and debating between a table, bookcase, buffet – we finally decided on a piece from We placed the order and I waited nervously for it to be delivered.

The day it arrived, I literally clapped my hands (something I do more than any other 43 year old I know). It was entirely too heavy for me to take inside – so I sent a picture to my lovie captioned, “LOOK WHAT’S HERE!”. I was gone the rest of the night running errands and carpooling kiddos, and when I returned…. I found him in the garage almost done putting it together. MAN, DO I LOVE THIS GUY!!! After we put it in its place of honor in the kitchen, I immediately began to add all the fun touches. I bought a white shelf for above it, and several place mats to protect the surface where I would inevitably be spilling coffee. I found a cute little spoon rest for a dollar on clearance (!!!) and I moved my sugar bowl to the prime location next to the Keurig. I happily moved all of my mugs that had pictures of my children on them onto the open shelf. It makes me smile to see the 12 mugs of memories sitting sweetly in my kitchen. I also added a tray and four of my favorite matching mugs to the shelf so they were easily accessible when company comes. Underneath the shelf is a HUGE storage space covered by doors. It is here that I keep the extra sugar, creamer, travel cups/lids and our large crock pot. The additional storage was a bonus that we love!

I’d have to say, that this is one of my very favorite spots of our home. In addition to housing my coffee essentials, it has given me a new area to decorate with seasonal knick-knacks … and who doesn’t love that?! Super happy with my completed coffee bar – if you are ever in the area, be sure to stop by for some coffee 🙂fullsizerender-27


Love your neighbor

differencesWatching my 2 youngest daughters struggle to share their bedroom is like watching a sociology experiment under my own roof. I’ve tried every angle to encourage their peaceful co-existence, but it usually ends with me suggesting in a LOUD voice “Just figure it out!” They are 10 and 13 year old little ladies , mind you. The hormone levels fluctuate like the daily temperatures of a Michigan springtime.

They get along famously when they choose to do so. But their quarreling is usually the loudest when my nerves are already shot. Listening to the two of them makes my head spin and could drive me to drink by 9 AM. The hardest part of all of it is giving these crazy girls logical solutions and watching them continue to spin out of control. It’s a bit like watching our nation right now. Can’t we all just get along?! I am sharing just a few suggestions that I’ve brought to the girls attention in the past. Perhaps it will help others since it has seemingly done nothing in our house. Loving your neighbor is a grand idea and it makes a ton of sense in regards to forming respectable boundaries, accepting each others’  differences and living with others who have completely different belief systems as our own.

                                *BE KIND  *SHARE  *RESPECT  *BE PATIENT  *BE FLEXIBLE

BEING KIND is important above all else. Whatever we are trying to achieve, chances are, if we approach the situation with a caring, encouraging attitude – it will help. At the very least, we can go into the different issues of our lives without a 300 pound chip on our shoulder.

As badly as my girls want their OWN space, it’s just not going to happen. So… Let’s think about how we can SHARE the space, down the middle with compassion and logic. Everyone gets the standard “2 drawers of the dresser”and move on. No more hogging the closet, America – clean it up and organize and keep only what you need.

It’s silly that this needs to be said, but each of us are very different. You will never find anyone out there that follows the exact same thought process that you do. Living with each other is not easy. And by living, I mean sharing a neighborhood, grocery store, work space, etc… Show some RESPECT. Acknowledging the simple fact that each of us have various opinions on a wide range of topics will help us all to live together much easier. Try to honor the fact that your neighbor may not care as much about their lawn, or that your sister is an absolute neat freak. Respecting doesn’t have to mean that you agree with the other person  – but it does mean that you will not intentionally harass, tease, belittle or antagonize them about the way that they differ from you.

PATIENCE is a virtue, from what I’ve heard. It is also a trait that most of us (if we’re being honest) could afford to practice a bit more. We are not patient with ourselves or with others. We want things done now… or yesterday. We expect immediate results. We sigh as we wait 5 minutes and 45 seconds for our dinner to heat up in the microwave. Our dieting efforts better be evident by the week end, or bring on the beer and nachos! I think amazing things would happen if we stop rushing them along so quickly. Good things take time. So do good grades, relationships, business progress and neighborhood development. Be diligent, but patient and you’ll see the results. Be positive in your thinking and encouraging with your support and others will follow your lead.

Or maybe they wont, and that’s where FLEXIBILITY becomes important. We all feel that it’s crucial for OTHERS to be flexible- but not such a stellar idea if WE are the ones that need to bend a bit. Give and take. If you’re married, you’re probably familiar with this concept. Help and you’ll receive help. Life provides us daily opportunities to adapt and if we fight it , we end up becoming crabby pants that people choose to avoid. Flexibility isn’t easy, but it’s beneficial.

These ideas may seem elementary and too simple to actually be taken seriously. Sometimes, we think too much. Maybe we need to take away the big words and complicated scenarios. Share. Be kind. Let’s all try it and see if our friends, families and co workers appreciate our efforts.






nsew Recalculating. This is a word that is very real in my life. Commonplace, used daily.  Most people think of it in terms of directions and being corrected by your Garmin. I am direction-ally challenged and have no qualms at all discussing it. If you need me to get from point A to point B, please don’t use silly words like “East” or “South West”. Shake my head. Just give me a solid “Turn left at the McDonald’s and if you pass the big tree on the left, you missed it.” I feel completely at ease when I am driving to a new destination and have my Garmin along for assistance and support. When it announces “Recalculating…”, I hear “Don’t worry, all is not lost, you will still get there – we have options!” It gives me great hope that God gives me the same guidance in my daily life.

Quite often, my own personal plans must be rearranged in order to accommodate a new errand, unexpected sickness or someone else’s “emergency”. I could let it bend me all out of shape, or attempt to keep my grumpiness under control. As most of us would agree, it’s difficult to keep smiling when a wrench has been thrown into our schedule. Recalculating my day in order to feel accomplished works sometimes, but when unscheduled chaos sneaks in, it’s best to simply shoot for survival and hope that the next day doesn’t come unglued as well.

On other occasions, I change my course willingly. I look around and acknowledge that my current path just isn’t what I thought it would be. I consider my options, pray for discernment, write a pro/con list, talk to my hubby, sleep on it, chat with my friends, read blogs on the topic, and THEN, once I have put the decision off long enough,  change directions. I switch gears. Try a new path. This type of recalculating feels less difficult because I am controlling it.  * The irony is not lost on me here. I am fully aware that I’ve included 27 other people into “my” decision making process. It’s all good – as long as I am the one to pull the trigger, it’s legit. *  Being the one to call the shots helps me to breathe a little easier. I also know where to look if I’m still not content… in the mirror.

Sometimes our circumstances change without any warning at all. A loved one falls ill, we lose our jobs, or our long term plans suddenly fall apart, due to no fault of our own. Then what?! We must adjust our thought process, find new resources and plot a new course. This creates awful feelings of anxiety and uncertainty. Thankfully, we are never alone in our fear or confusion. God is forever available with a new direction to suggest, a shoulder to lean upon, and hope for the future.  We are reminded of our strength (through Him) as life has brought us to our knees. God also provides angels on Earth to lead us, or better yet, accompany us along our new paths.  He opens our eyes to options that we might not have considered and opportunities that may be the perfect fit. He is forever present and eternally aware. With His help we can survive – even thrive – during each and every season of life that we encounter.

Recalculating doesn’t have to be a negative word. Sometimes, we don’t see the danger that is right in front of us – or we convince ourselves that we can get through it unscathed. Others really may know best on some occasions. Being flexible and willing to try ideas and avenues that were not our original choice could possibly benefit us more than we could ever imagine. Remember, we all have options, there are several courses available to each of us. So long as getting to my new destination doesn’t involve heading “Due North”, I’m all in!


All of my eggs…

eggs in one basket

I have the best conversations with my friends. And a lot of them happen when I am on the elliptical. This is good for several reasons. First, I can schedule these chats ahead of time, as in “Hey , I’ll be on the elliptical at 9, want to chat me up?” Second, and most importantly, it takes my mind off of the God awful activity that it is my goal to do 40 minutes a day, four times a week. Talking to a bestie helps me to shift my focus from *NOT DYING* to solving all of the world’s problems – as long as we can wrap it all up before my cool down.

ANYWHO- the other day I had one of those great conversations, this time about being the Mom of a teenager. This particular friend and I were sharing stories about being a bit lonely in our homemaker roles. We shared feelings about how we feel that our postion has been downsized, and we are not ready for it, nor happy about it. This Mothering gig is a confusing one, we spend over a decade on these babes teaching them to be self sufficient. Then, they want to go out into the real world and be independent. The nerve.

I know, I know, we are still necessary- vital, I would even say- for a smooth running household. A home that contains a well fed and clothed family still provides “chores” for it’s Mama, even if the children are over 10 years of age. But, it’s different. At least it feels different. There are days when I literally feel like the hired help- although I don’t ever collect a paycheck. There are days when the only time I hear “Mom” said with any urgency is when “Have you seen my red shirt?!” or “Can you give me a ride?” is the question. It’s almost as if  the work that I do is important, but not me. Not every day, but sometimes. Sounds pretty pathetic when it’s written down, but it’s the truth – and I’m guessing that I am not alone in this thought process.

Back in the day, I was their world. I decided their menu, their schedule and picked their outfits – and most of their friends, for that matter! They played and wanted me to join them. They cried and wanted me to comfort them. They had a great experience and needed to tell me all about it – admittedly, I am still needed for this {THANK GOD!}. I was more than a chef/driver/laundry doer. I was a companion. I wasn’t AN option, I was the ONLY option. I guess that is what I miss the most. The little hands reaching for my cheeks as I read to them. The little feet following me everywhere… except to the bathroom. That was gross and awkward.

I was warned by many to not “put all of my eggs into one basket”. In other words, I couldn’t expect for my husband and family to be the only things in my life to bring me joy. I completely understand this logic, but I also know that for 20 years now, being a Wifey has made me very happy. And the 17+ years of parenting has also left me quite fulfilled (and exasperated, exhausted and utterly dazed at times). I refuse to take those eggs out of my basket. I have, instead, started adding more eggs… writing more, speaking engagements, teaching religious education, a weekly Bible study, TAKING NAPS. I have more time now that my children can bathe, dress and feed themselves. Time that was once allocated to their care and safety can now be spent reading a book (that has nothing to do with parenting!).

I know that God has things planned in a certain order, as in written in Ecclesiastes  3:1 “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens”. It was necessary for me to first be the nose-wiping, meal-making, booboo-kissing Mom in order  for them to trust the homework-helping, friendship-fixing, college-selecting Mom that I am today. There is joy and pain in every season, but God is also in each season, which means I can handle it and even {maybe} thrive in it. I pray the very same for you, as well. So – if you still wish to chat about it, I’ll be on the elliptical tomorrow at 8 AM – give me a call!