Three Little Words

There are three words that my children say that I really don’t like and they’re not, “I love you”. Can’t hear that enough. No, the three little words I’m speaking of are, “Don’t tell Mom”. Really?!

First off, my kids are all grown so what do they think I’m going to do? Ground them? I think we’re a little past that. Maybe they don’t want to upset me. They’re being protective. Again, we’re all adults here. We get upset sometimes and we get over it. In my case, I probably won’t even remember by next week so they should take advantage of THAT. Unless they’re planning a surprise of some kind I don’t see a reason for keeping things from me. Doing that probably upsets me more than whatever it is they think they need to keep from me. It makes me feel excluded from their lives and that just makes me sad.

There were plenty of things I kept from my parents when I was a kid because A: I didn’t want to get in trouble and B: I didn’t think they’d understand and . . . I didn’t want to get in trouble. That changed when I became an adult because I couldn’t be punished by them anymore. Also, I came to understand that they understood a lot more than I gave them credit for. Granted, I still didn’t want their disapproval, and that was something I had to get over.

So, to my children who say those three little words even now that they’re grown – get over yourself! I understand that; you’re human, you’re not me and don’t share all of my opinions and beliefs, and that I’m not always going to be happy about every decision you ever make. That’s okay. You’re a grownup now and get to make your own choices and live with your own consequences.

You don’t need to keep anything from me or worry about whether I will disapprove or be upset. I’m a big girl with a big God on my side, not to mention your extremely loving and supportive dad. I can handle anything you can throw at me (some things may require more time than others, but I will eventually always be okay). Never forget that regardless of your choices, actions, and attitudes my three little words to you forever are, “I love you”.

👩‍👧‍👦💕

Focusing on the Christ in Christmas – Day 2

“You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.” -Isaiah‬ ‭26:3‬ ‭NKJV‬

Around the holidays it is so easy to get caught up in the festivities and preparations, to get frazzled and stressed, and to lose focus on what really matters. It’s easy to forget the real reason for the season. I’m as guilty as anyone. 🙋🏻‍♀️ I lose my peace when I focus on all the “to-do’s” and nothing else. That’s no way to enjoy the season and that’s not how God intends for us to live our lives – all year long.

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” -John‬ ‭14:27‬ ‭NKJV‬‬
So, the key to a peaceful holiday season? Keep your focus on Christ, trust in Him, and “let not your heart be troubled”.

Enjoy time with family and friends, perform random acts of kindness, and help someone in need this Christmas. There are so many opportunities to serve this time of year and no better way I can think of to keep our focus on Christ when we’re out there going and doing. Slow down a little and even just share a smile. The simplest gesture of kindness can go a long way!

Prayers for a peaceful Christmas to you and yours!
🙏🏻😊💕

In Honor of Mother’s Day

purple petaled glower besode pen

Photo by Giftpundits.com on Pexels.com

A Mother’s Heart

The pain of a child is magnified
In the loving heart of its mother
She carries the burden and feels the hurt
more deeply than any other.
Regardless of the child’s age,
she never really lets go.
The apron strings may have been cut,
but with heartstrings it’s never so.
Joy to joy and trial by trial
she watches her baby grow.
Tenderly caring, worrying and wondering
in what direction their life will go.

The happiness of a child is multiplied
in the loving heart of its mother.
She cherishes the smiles and records the laughter
all stored in her memory forever.
Regardless of the child’s age,
she lives for those happy moments.
Their laughter is music to her ears.
Her children fill up her senses.
Their smiles are her treasure,
their hugs her fortune,
and when they say, “I love you”
her day is won!

The life of a child is held forever
in the loving heart of its mother.
The deepest pain, the greatest joy,
The heart of a mother is like no other.

                                                                                                      © 2019, Brenda Lenz

Moving On

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Photo by Markus Spiske temporausch.com on Pexels.com

I’m going to be totally transparent here.  I am a dreamer, and I’m a little spoiled.  I blame my husband for the spoiled part.  He does everything in his power to make me happy and  when I really want something, he’ll move heaven and earth to get it for me.  Just as a small example; I decided I wanted a dog a couple months back.  Rich has NEVER wanted a dog.  In fact, he has been adamantly against living with one the entire 27-years we’ve been together.  It is the ONE thing I thought he would never let me have my way on.  I was wrong!  We lived with a little bundle of half beagle/half rat terrier energy for exactly one month. At which time I decided I’m not such a dog person and this particular dog needed a younger home.  My husband spoils me.

This combination of spoiled and dreamer causes me to have a hard time with the harsh realities of life.  I’ve been this way my entire life, even when I was up to my eyeballs in harsh realities; being homeless for one (that story is for another post).  My oldest son once referred to me as an “ostrich mother hen”.  Even he was aware of my need to bury my head in the sand while attempting to control my circumstances  at the same time.  Interesting visual, isn’t it?  😂

I enjoy making things look beautiful, my life included.  So, when things get ugly I do my best to spruce them up.  When my efforts end up being futile I get frustrated, confused, sad.  Eventually, (recently actually) I learned an important lesson.  Sometimes life is just ugly.  Sometimes things are really hard and there’s nothing to be done, but do your best to move on.  Sometimes God’s answer to my prayer is, “No. My grace is sufficient for you.”  Which means that He will help me to move on because that’s what I need to do.  And sometimes I really need His help!

When I’m tempted to try and resurrect something that is long since gone, or recreate the original situation when I don’t like the way it has changed.  Those are the times when I really need the strength, peace, and grace of God.  My kids are grown and they’re not magically going to turn back into 5-year olds.  My health has diminished, I’m aging, and there’s nothing I can do to be 25 or even 30 again.  The one constant in life is change and it amazes me how much I fight against it if it’s not a change I wanted.

In the midst of many changes in my life, I am doing my best to adapt and adjust my attitude. I’m trying to look forward rather than back.  It’s not easy and I have moments when I feel only loss.  Maya Angelou once said, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” Attitude is everything.  I believe that.  Every day I need to make the choice to look forward, to have a positive attitude about the future and all the possibilities that are there for me to discover.

God is good and He has good planned for me.  “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” -Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11‬ ‭NLT.‬‬  Sometimes the good takes the path of hardship on its way to me and I have to look hard for it, but it always shows up.  I was never promised a perfect, pain free life.  None of us were.  Quite the opposite, in fact.  “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” -John‬ ‭16:33‬ ‭NLT‬‬. Sometimes things are just hard and there’s nothing to be done except pray for what you need to get through it and move on.

😊💕

This I Well Know!

man and woman standing at seashore

Photo by Ibrahim Asad on Pexels.com

Milestones.  I’m not exactly sure why we mark them except that we seem to have this innate desire to keep track of events that we consider important.  I am no exception. I am our family’s self-proclaimed historian and an avid scrapbooker.  My husband and I recently marked a milestone that we are very thankful for – our 25th wedding anniversary!  Yay!  🥳💕

To mark the occasion and celebrate we spent a fun-filled week in Branson, Missouri with very dear and long-time friends.  It was a wonderful week!  Branson is not just for retirees.  There is something for people of all ages.  We shopped, saw a couple of shows, ate amazing food, and saw some awe-inspiring views.  We took a helicopter ride, rode on a riverboat, and thought about horseback riding 😉  Most importantly, we spent quality time together.  Some of my favorite memories from the trip were sitting on the deck of the condo we were in, watching the river go by and talking.  It was so peaceful!

Twenty-five years is a long time to spend with one person.  My history prior to meeting Rich would lead one to believe that I would never celebrate a 25th wedding anniversary (three failed marriages and many abusive relationships), but God is good!  He changed my path, changed my story, and here we are!  More in love than ever and still the best of friends!  I am convinced that there are two secrets to a happy and long-lasting marriage; friendship and Jesus. Rich and I were friends before we were anything else and Jesus is the foundation on which we’ve built our life together.

It hasn’t always been easy, by any means, but in comparison to what I experienced before Rich it has been bliss!  We’ve had a few rough patches, but our friendship and our faith have seen us through.  We have almost always been able to talk to each other and I have never forgotten why I fell in love with him in the first place. As for him, he gets more adoring with each passing year. He spoils me and truly makes me feel like I’m the most important human on this planet to him. I can’t really put into words all the ways in which he is perfect for me. I truly believe that God created Rich just for me.

As of today, we have made it twenty-five years and one week.  I don’t know whether the Lord will give us another twenty-five years or twenty-five days. Either way I look forward to every minute I get to share this life with my best friend and the love of my life!  I am a very blessed woman and this I well know!

😊💕

Kitchen Genius

Last week I had a couple of grandgirls over for a sleepover. One of them, Leah, has enjoyed being in the kitchen since she was little.  She’s very creative and likes to invent things.  My plan was for us to make banana muffins together.  Leah, however, needed to take it to another level.

We started with our basic banana muffin recipe and this time Leah did most of the work while I supervised.  After all, she’s 11 now and quite capable in the kitchen – not to mention tall enough to reach just about everything that I can reach. 

After the muffins were baked is when the real fun started.  Leah decided she wanted a peanut butter filling in the muffins.  So, we brainstormed a couple of ideas for doing that with muffins baked in a liner.  After trying a couple different methods including sticking an icing tip directly into the top of the muffin to extrude filling into it that way, and using a straw to make a small indentation to put filling in, Leah had a stroke of genius.  She used a small spoon to scoop out some of the muffin from the top, piped filling into the indentation, then sprinkled it with pieces of the muffin she had removed.  Brilliant!

 

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The result was quite tasty and not too bad to look at.  I’d say our little pastry chef has some potential.  The recipe is below if you’d like to try it out for yourself.

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LEAH’S PEANUT BUTTER FILLED BANANA MUFFINS

3C. Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1t. Baking Soda
1t. Salt
1/2 t. Baking Powder
2C. Sugar
1C. Vegetable or Canola oil
3 Lg. Eggs
2t. Vanilla
4 Ripe Bananas, coarsely mashed

Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.  Preheat oven to 325°F.  Mash bananas and set aside.  Whisk together all dry ingredients except the sugar in a medium bowl.  In a large bowl, beat wet ingredients and sugar to blend.  Stir in the banana.  Add the dry ingredients and stir just until blended.  Drop batter into muffin cups with an ice cream scoop.  Bake 25-30 mins. until tops are golden brown.

PEANUT BUTTER FILLING

1C. Creamy Peanut Butter
1/2C. Unsalted Butter, softened
1/2C. Powdered Sugar

Using a stand or hand mixer, combine all ingredients until smooth and creamy.  Let muffins cool completely. With a small spoon scoop a small amount of the muffin out of the top.  Using whatever icing tip you prefer, pipe a small amount of filling into the recess you created in the muffin.  Sprinkle the filling with pieces of the removed muffin and enjoy!

A Very Thankful Thanksgiving!

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The food table. We did buffet style this year.

I know Thanksgiving has passed, but now that I’ve had some time to reflect, I’d like to share some important things that happened and for which I am truly thankful.

As most of you know, for the past six months or so I have been living with Cervical Dystonia.  What that means is that doing simple tasks is no longer simple.  Pain, frustration, and a soft neck brace are now my daily companions.  So, as you may imagine, the thought of cooking a Thanksgiving feast was a bit daunting.  The past few years my sister has been doing most of the cooking with everyone else bringing a dish or two.  This year, however, she was blessed with the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving in Hawaii with her son.  So, Thanksgiving at my house was on this year.

Praise Jesus, I had some help!  My sweet daughter brought several dishes, two of which were family traditions that I handed over to her.  My son and husband were big helps as well.  I feel I should stop here and explain that my idea of a Thanksgiving feast includes appetizers, a plethora of desserts, and a drink station to rival Buccee’s (that’s Texas for 7-eleven on steroids).  Just for fun, this was our menu plan:

164C0249-4EDB-42CC-8A38-B5681764275BOh!  We added deviled eggs which I boiled, two of my grands peeled, and Shauna deviled once she got to the house Thanksgiving day.  I also added Pumpkin Bread to the dessert list and the cocoa was homemade from scratch, as was everything, actually.  So, what happened that made me so thankful besides the availability of all this amazing food?!

Aside from all the help of my awesome family (my grand-girls Leah and Karlyn were especially helpful), I was able to do all that I did!  Two days of shopping and three days in the kitchen – cooking, baking, cleaning, and prepping.  I wasn’t sure that everything on the menu would make it to the table, but it did and then some!  We fed eleven people at a beautifully set table and the food was amazing!  In addition to all of that, we also had a thankful tree that my grands crafted and hung by the front door.  Beside that was a basket of leaves, pens, and tape so everyone could fill out a leaf with what they were thankful for and hang it on the tree.  I think we filled it up pretty good.  😊

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I am amazed at God’s goodness! At one point during our planning and doing, my daughter, Shauna, said to me, “Do what makes you happy!  If it’s more stressful than happy, just step back from it and breathe instead.  We’re gonna love you either way, it’s going to be a great day!”  How sweet is that?!  And, she was right.  That’s exactly what I did and it all came together . . . beautifully!  In spite of missing some significant loved-ones, it was a fantastic day!  Great food, lots of love and laughter, and much thankfulness!

And today I rest!  I’m not gonna lie, I’m a little wiped and my neck muscles are a little more unhappy than usual.  All-in-all though, I feel extremely thankful, grateful, and blessed!  Bring on Christmas!!

🎄😃💕