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Today is Mother’s Day, and even though my own mother is no longer with us, I still think of her often. When I was growing up, she made it a point to quote literary giants during the course of the day.

If I was dragging my feet getting ready to go to school, she might ask, “How long, O Cataline?”

If my brothers and I were misbehaving, we might get an earful of Shakespeare: “Assume a virtue if you have it not!”

Now, of course, this was said in a playful way. When we really crossed the line, she knew how to tell us so, in standard, and might I add, quite colorful, New Jersey English.

But it was really helpful to have a former English teacher around when I had to write an essay or got stuck on the origin of a word. “If you know Latin, you know English,” she would say.

On the other hand, I came to realize that I was nowhere near the refined, cultured lady that she was. “Enunciate!” she would say. She tried to improve and educate me.

When she would ask if I knew where that “O Cataline” reference was from, I’d say, “Cicero?” She would nod, then shake her head. “It’s pronounced ‘kick-er-oh.”

I wanted to say, But I’m not some ancient Roman, Mom. We live in New Jersey. Why can’t we say it regular? Or as some of us say in Jersey: reg-ya-luh. Still, I secretly enjoyed those conversations. Sure do miss her.

Let’s implement a new rule: for every memory that crosses your mind that makes you sad, come up with two thoughts that lift you up. It’s what your mother would want you to do.

Happy Mother’s Day to all!

Mother’s Day is this weekend, so I thought I’d perform a public service and offer this sage advice: Ask your mother what she wants for a gift. You might think she’d love a box of chocolates, but she may be watching her weight. She might actually get mad at you, thinking you’re trying to sabotage her diet!

To me, the best gift is cash or a gift card. Some may find that impersonal, but I don’t. Here’s why: You’ll never be able to get me exactly what I want as a gift. Let me explain.

I want a nice cardigan sweater. Sounds simple, right? Anybody can find a sweater at the mall. Think again!

My ideal cardigan sweater is one that’s light enough to wear in warmer weather but, paradoxically, heavy enough to keep me toasty in winter.

No zippers, buttons or snaps. No belt or ties of any kind. No itchy tag on the back of the neck. In fact, I’d prefer tagless. Machine washable and dryable. Is dryable a word? If not, I just invented it. If you plan to use it in a conversation, please send a dollar. 💰 It’ll go toward my next seriously-specific sweater.

It should be made of luxe, soft material, but not so soft that you become a lightning rod for static cling in the winter.

The most important feature would be that it have pockets deep and strong enough to hold a cell phone. I need my phone next to me at all times, but often put it down and can’t remember where I left it.

All told, I’m not sure such a magical sweater even exists! In lieu of this perfect, if imaginary cardigan, I’ll accept — you guessed it — cash or a gift card. Remember this: If mama’s not happy, nobody’s happy!

Mother’s Day started with a power outage this morning around 9 AM.

Hm. Looked at my phone. Only half charged.

Can’t use the internet.

I’ll read my books on Kindle. But… no service. My books are in the cloud.

Well. I’ll go start my coffee.

But. No water.

Hm. Oh wait! I saved my coffee from last night. It’s in the fridge! Yay.

But. No microwave.

Getting chilly in here. Let me turn up the heat.

But. No heat.

So I went back to bed to bundle up. Just then, I heard a car pulling into my neighbor’s driveway, music blaring. Man, that’s loud. What an idiot. Had to catch myself there. No need to be unkind.

It reminded me of the time my father was teaching me to drive. “Watch the idiot,” he said, as another driver encroached on my lane. I had to laugh at the memory. He was always glad to see me when I would visit the house. And my mother would greet me by saying, “You’re the greatest!”

It’s fitting that this happened on Mother’s Day, as we all have a mother (here or in Heaven) and we often take for granted how much she means to us.

In today’s climate, just reminding yourself not to be unkind is an act of kindness. Usually, people aren’t blasting their music to annoy you, but to enjoy their own life. The power goes out sometimes. It’s nothing personal.

This was a gift to me today. A reminder to appreciate the power, all the way up to the power source.

Do something today to show appreciation for all that God provides.

Or at least, don’t be an idiot.🙂You’re lucky, and you know it. This is a good day to remind yourself of the blessings you take for granted.

For me, yesterday was Mother’s Day.  As we’ve done the last several years, our family has gone to the latest Marvel Avengers movie.  It’s a Mother’s Day/husband’s birthday tradition.

The funny thing is that I have friends who are “insulted for me.”  Apparently, I’m supposed to get brunch (too early) and flowers.  Do none of these people have cats?  In a cat household flowers are an attractive nuisance to be barfed up on the rug.

But they can have flowers.  And brunch.  And pedicures if that’s their thing.

Still other mom’s I know prefer to ignore Mother’s Day.  Some have lost their own Mother’s or a child.  Others have never had children.

It all makes the truth of Mother’s Day tricky.  It’s hard to give everyone what they need/want/crave.

In light of that, let’s try to be aware of each other today.  If someone is bubbling over with giddy happiness, you can probably safely wish her Happy Mother’s Day.  If someone looks like she’d rather you kept it to yourself, keep it.  Not sure?  My favorite fall back is to wish someone a truly blessed day.  It works for men and women and people of all faiths.

So, in parting, may each and every one of your feel blessed today and every day.



One of my mom’s favorite sayings, and it didn’t matter if she was talking to a five year-old or a twenty-five year old, was “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.”

Yes, she knew she was quoting Disney and she knew we knew.  Bring it up and she’d just give you that stare.

You probably think that Mom came to mind because it’s Mother’s Day weekend.  That’s probably part of it. But part of it was also reading Lori’s post. Even if she didn’t agree with what any and all of these people had done, Mom would have chosen a different path. Confrontation just wasn’t her thing.

When the mom up the street didn’t feed her kids well or keep them clean, Mom didn’t argue or lecture.  She invited the kids down for lunch and she put their coats in the wash. She even put then in the tub a time or two because “we had played outside for too long and they were obviously chilled.”

I never heard her tell another mom off because their child behaved badly, but woe to me if I repeated that behavior in front of that parent.  “We do not behave like that. What would people think?”

Arguments online? That wasn’t an issue way back then, but knowing Mom it still wouldn’t be today. Mom might have gone on Facebook to catch up with an old friend or exchange a recipe. She definitely would have participated in sewing forum’s and shared patterns and tips. But argue? Not Mom.

When they asked Mom to teach Sunday school, they probably thought she’d go for the cute, little kids.  Mom asked for the high schoolers. I was too young to be in her class but I heard about it. They discussed everything using the lesson as a jumping off point for life, the world and everything. The opinions stated by her students weren’t always the common wisdom.  They challenged each other.  They asked her “why do we believe this and not that?” She gave what they asked thought before she answered, especially when she didn’t agree.

And week after week, they came back.

If they didn’t have something nice to say based on someone else’s belief, they could speak their mind but they didn’t name call, they didn’t argue.  It wasn’t about the other person, it was about their own belief, idea or opinion. They could disagree, but they had to be civil.  Otherwise, what would people think?

Wishing you all a Blessed weekend filled with inspiration and memories of the mom’s, grandmothers, Sunday school teachers and others who shaped us into the people we are today!


Oh! So Your Phone Does Still Work Image

By the time I eventually moseyed over for a visit, my mother would have at the ready some carefully curated quotes, knowing full well that, as soon as I arrived, I’d be planning my exit.

“He who fails to plan, plans to fail,” she’d tell me, nodding. “What’s past is prologue!”

I would just shrug, which only led her to say:

“Youth is wasted on the young!”

She’d throw a Latin phrase my way and, like the former teacher that she was, expect me to respond with the correct answer.

“Panacea?” she’d demand.

“Cure-all,” I’d respond dutifully.

“Gallia est omnis divisa…?” she’d tilt her head at me.

“…in partes tres,” I’d say, barely stifling a yawn.

She’d share her pet conspiracy theories as well. “Sir Francis Bacon actually wrote all of Shakespeare’s works,” she’d exclaim, even as I tuned her out. “Known fact!”

After I left home, I could barely get through a visit with my mother. She smoked like a chimney. She’d stockpile every bit of bad news and tale of woe to aim at me, like a missile full of misery. I didn’t realize until later that it was her way of trying to prepare and protect me from things that might go wrong. “Forewarned is forearmed!” she’d say, finger jabbing the air.

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After her passing, I learned that, no matter how old you are, when your parents pass away, you feel as if you’ve lost your moorings. Looking back on old, poor-quality photographs, you realize that your mother had a whole life before you were even born, and now that she’s gone, you ‘ll never get to hear those stories.

Dear readers, if you’re lucky enough to still have your mother in your life, I’d like to gently and gingerly nudge you to spend time with her while you have the chance.

Heck, I think I’ll come at you like the
New Jersey Mama Bear that I am, and say it like this:
So, what, it would kill you to call the mother who gave you life? 🙂

Coffee and cake at a cafe′ once a year on Mother’s Day are all well and good. Being fully present and hearing with your heart? Priceless.

teenTake a deep breath. Tomorrow is Mother’s Day.

I’m never sure what to expect out of this particular holiday.  I have been the oldest woman in my family for something like 12 years now. But I’ve got to tell you – the matriarch thing has never worked all that well for me.

This year in particular I find myself approaching the day with caution. My son is a high school junior and he’s facing some big decisions.  Okay, they aren’t life or death but they could be life defining.  Could be.

You see I’m not really sure that I buy into that.  I don’t think that God gives us one chance and one chance only to be the people that He means for us to be.  Read the Old Testament and you’ll see that he gave the Tribes of Israel opportunity after opportunity.  It wasn’t one chance and then the ground opened up and swallowed them.  Nope. They had a many opportunities to find their way.

But that’s how a lot of people view the decisions that teens have to make.  Inhale or say no?  Abstinence or safe sex? College or military? Make the wrong choice and you are doomed!

Next year is my son’s last year in high school.  He’s working on his schedule and trying to decide what he wants to do, what he wants to study. I’m not sure he’s struggling all that hard to make these decisions, but I do get the feeling that he is struggling to make his decisions heard.  He’s struggling to earn a little respect.

Me?  I’m struggling to give it to him. I pray for wisdom.  And I’ve asked other people to pray that I find this wisdom.  Yes, there are decisions that he is making that could have a huge impact. I should weigh in on these decisions.  But there are a lot more that seem big now but in the long run . . . not so much.

Lord, grant me the wisdom to know one from the other.
Lord, grant me the courage to keep my mouth shut.
Lord, help me to remember that it is only in silence that I can hear You.

Wisdom.  That would be the best thing I could receive this Mother’s Day.


My Mother's Day may not be your cup of tea, and that's okay.

My Mother’s Day may not be your cup of tea, and that’s okay.

Mother’s Day is a tricky topic. I’ll admit that this is my 3rd attempt to write a Mother’s Day post.  Part of this issue is that, for me, Mother’s Day is a mixed bag.

I know for a fact that Sunday will not be a day to celebrate me and nothing but me, morning to night. Part of the reason is that Mother’s Day and my husband’s birthday have a sneaky habit of coinciding.  Then there’s the fact that my son is coming home from a school trip at 6 am after driving for 10 hours.  He’s going to need to get some sleep and then get some homework done. I’m hoping we can squeeze in lunch out and the latest Avengers movie.

Yes, the Avengers.  That’s my version of a wild and crazy Mother’s Day dream.

Not your cup of tea?  Then don’t pick it up.

Part of the reason that Mother’s Day is a mixed bag is that it means something different for everyone. There are the women who want nothing more than a spa day and a massage.  Me?  I’d rather spend time at the archery range as a family.

Then there are the women who have lost children.  Or have never had children.  Or who have lost their own mothers and grandmothers.  For many of them, Mother’s Day is like knowing someone is about to tear off a band aid.

The chance that we are all going to get a perfect Mother’s Day is pretty slim.  But what can you expect?  Perfection is for God alone.  We, on the other hand, aren’t even close, but that doesn’t change something important.  We may not be perfect, but we are His. He created each and every one of us, different as we are.

There is no one perfect Mother’s Day, because we all need something different out of it simply because we are a marvelously diverse bunch.  And that’s okay, because that’s the way God made us.


lamaAs a mom, you often finding yourself doing jobs that no one appreciates.  And I don’t mean scrubbing the toilets or folding the laundry.

We are the ones that have to encourage our kids to do things they don’t want to do.  Sometimes this means doing their homework.  Other times its sitting through the church service when the other kids are outside talking.  It may be a service project or simply picking up after themselves.

Sometimes it just doesn’t feel worth it, this thankless, aggravating task.  For me, this is especially true when another adult criticizes me for pushing my son instead of just letting him “be a kid.”

But when you see him climbing out of the paper recycling dumpster because an elderly member of the congregation accidentally threw a book out with their newspapers, bussing dishes at the spaghetti supper, or working with one of the younger kids to pack a box of canned-goods, it is definitely worth it.

Raising the next generation is never easy but it is 100% essential if they are going to take on the tasks that God has for us all.



Have a Mary Little Christmas

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