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Hotel shower caps are not just for your head…



Posted by on Aug 3, 2010 | 2 comments

According to my sister-in-law, they're perfect bowl covers for your leftovers.

DSCF1477Brilliant!  A total V-8-"Why-didn't-I-think-of-that?" moment!

And if you DO have need to protect your stylish coiffure, why you've got just what you need for that, too.  

And maybe a snack while you're at it ;).

THIS JUST IN:  Amy passed along another fantastic idea:  use your shower cap to cover the "other" half of a watermelon you aren't yet ready to eat.

The brilliance is without end, I tell ya!

{Photo credit 'cause I didn't have enough sense to take a piccha at the time…!}

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The Cure for Memory Loss



Posted by on Jul 16, 2010 | 14 comments

Sometimes you strike gold when you aren’t even mining for it.

The idea was planted the way a lot of great ideas are–buried in the loamy subconscious, waiting to burst surface at just the right time.

The blame–no, make that credit–goes to Don Miller, an author who has made me think and giggle (and sometimes just aggravates me).  We were first introduced when I read Searching for God Knows What; I started reading the book while browsing at Barnes and Noble, and when his ramblings extracted an unexpected out-loud snort laugh, I had to take it home.

But it’s in Miller’s A Million Miles in a Thousand Years where I unearthed treasure.  I had no idea I was buying a book that would teach me the art and beauty of “story”; not in a heady, intellectual, academic boring sort of way, but in a motivating, inspiring, engaging story kinda way.

In A Million Miles, Don introduced me to Bob Goff.

Unless you’ve read the book, it’s likely you’ve never heard of Bob Goff, but to me, he’s an unassuming, modern-day hero. He’s a husband, a daddy, a lawyer, a pursuer of people, a thinker, a dreamer, a seeker of Jesus, a doer…and a lover of balloons. Bob is founder and CEO of Restore International, whose mission is to make a difference on behalf of those who do not otherwise have a voice.  That resonated with me because it’s close to the exact phrase I’ve used to explain why I so wanted to write as a Compassion partner.


Through memory’s cloud, I recall something Bob shared with Don:  writing down a memory from each day.  Though I don’t remember the particulars of the chapter, this idea has been my ghost companion for months; I’m gifted with poor memory. What a simple, marvelous answer for remembering a lot of little somethings!

In October, I declared it to be my New Year’s resolution.

January first came and went, but I never began.

School ended and I thought, “Now!  Now, I’ll start!”

But I didn’t.

This week, my daughter and I stopped in Francesca’s, a darling little shop stuffed with oodles of this, that and the other, when suddenly fire engines clanged to life in my head–

One Line a Day - Five-year memory book
I picked it up…petted its leatherette cover…stroked its slick gilded pages.  Then I turned it over, saw its price tag and thought “Are you kidding–$16.95 for a blank-paged book?!”  Bob whispered in my ear, quickly reshaping my thinking–“ONLY $16.95 TO CAPTURE FIVE YEARS OF MEMORIES?!”

Peeking over my shoulder, Rachel, who by now had sidled up to me, interrupted my thought, “Well, that’s a good idea,” so I asked if she wanted one, too.  To my disappointment, she declined my offer.

Not half an hour later, she exercised her woman’s prerogative. We didn’t have time to return to the store, so I gave her my copy.

Three days later she declared,
“Mom, I have a feeling this is going to end up being
one of the bests gifts you’ve ever given me.

I’m inclined to agree.

I think Bob would, too.

An idea planted by stranger-friends has blossomed into a most lovely bouquet.

* * * * * * * *

{Note:  If you’re interested in in purchasing your own One Line a Day/Five-Year Memory Book, I found them for under $12 at Amazon!  To me, they’d make wonderful gifts for birthdays, graduation and even wedding gifts.  Click through and purchase any of the books linked in this post and I’ll earn pennies through my affiliate status with Amazon; in five years I might even be able to buy a bowl of cherries!! 😉 }

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Emergency 9-1-1: Saving a wet cell phone



Posted by on Mar 3, 2009 | 37 comments

Did you know you might be able to save a cell phone that has gotten wet?   It sure would've been nice to know that was even a possibility the time I…

  • was driving along minding my own business, and the car in front of me came to an abrupt stop, causing me to slam on brakes; and the cell that was sitting in the little cubbie hole under my radio and above my cupholder took a swan dive to the bottom of my 32-ounce Big Gulp of Mountain Dew. 

Or when…

  • I left my car window rolled down, and for some incomprehensible reason, left my cell in the armrest of the door, so when it unexpectedly rained that night, I found a fogged up phone with indecipherable numbers…

And then there was the time…

  • I visited a friend who was in the hospital following a car accident.  I stopped in the restroom before going to her room…happened to be wearing overalls (clearly, this was back "in the day")…and when I slipped the shoulder straps off, forgot my phone was in the front bib pocket and SPLASH!–that sucker fell right in the toilet.  Thank goodness I hadn't yet "gone"–reflexively, I reached to the bottom of the bowl to retrieve my phone before thought entered my mind what I was doing!  

I think those same ninja-warrior reflexes would've had me reaching for it even IF I had "gone"!

Anyways…should you find yourself with a wet cell phone, follow these tips picked up from Joshua Fruhlinger's video at and you might be able to salvage your phone:

  1. Immediately rip the battery off.  That keeps power from going through the circuit board and potentially creating a short circuit.
  2. Don't shake it around or press buttons; you'll get water where it wasn't already.  
  3. Put your cell phone and its detached battery in a lidded container of dry, uncooked rice; the rice will act as a desiccant drawing the moisture out of the electronics.  

I'd love to know if you've actually tried this, and if so, if it worked.  For fun, if you have a cell phone story, please share it in comments; one of my most-landed-on pages is a guest post by Michelle, about her most embarrassing cell phone moment

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Six Important Reasons Traditions Matter



Posted by on Feb 25, 2009 | 34 comments

Six Important Reasons Traditions Matter by Robin Dance

As a young mom juggling two babies during the “Cheerios and Crafts” phase of motherhood, I had no idea the long-range impact of a “yes” answer to a question posed by my mother-in-law 14 years ago:  she simply wanted to know if I’d be interested in hosting a Valentine Tea Party for my then three-year-old daughter.  To me, a mother-daughter tea party meant temporary suspension from diaper duty and laundry, and my enthusiastic “yes” required, oooh, about .01 nano seconds of deliberation.

Having now graduated to the “Taxi Service and Sports Spectator” phase of child rearing, I realize it was an important decision despite the mindless expediency with which it was made.  More a brunch than a tea, our annual Valentine gathering has crystallized in my mind the value and significance of establishing family traditions.  Traditions have far-reaching implications, and though I’ve written with our Valentine Tea in mind, my hope is

  • to seed ideas in you for cultivating and nurturing your own traditions
  • to open your eyes to the “everyday traditions” you may not yet recognize
  • to realize why they need to be an integral part of your family.

1.  Family super glue

Traditions strengthen and bind families.  Our Valentine Tea brings together the women in our family, particularly important because we don’t live in the same place.  Though there are other times of the year when our guys are welcome, this day is special because it sets aside “girl time” with my sisters-in-law, nieces and a few special friends.  We don’t have the luxury of quantity time; I’m thankful for condensed quality time.

(Except my father-in-law–he’s our Chief Waffle Maker, so we allow him entry…for a little while, anyway.)

2.  Bridging the gap

Traditions don’t see age differences as chasm but they do add depth.  Three generations come together for our annual Tea.  As we sit around a table, younger cousins learn from the older; a grandmother is able to share her heart about what’s most important to her; young (and not-so-young) moms think out loud about parenting, celebrate their children’s successes, share their struggles.

All among people who know them best and love them anyway. 

I say that with a wink, but the truth is, because people are imperfect, families and friendships are imperfect.  It’s good to have reason to get together; holidays often provide the perfect backdrop to share a meal or celebration, mingling the company of those with whom we have shared blood through birth or marriage or faith.

3.  Repetition, Redundancy & Recapitulation

Tradition is like a broken record, spinning the same song over and over and over; its beauty lies in hearing the music, not in being stuck in a rut.  The word “tradition” is derived from the Latin word “traditionem“, meaning “handing over, passing on”.

The structure of our tea has evolved through the years.  In the beginning, it was oriented towards preschoolers:

  • since they attended with their mothers, together, they’d make cards for their daddies
  • they’d construct a simple Valentine’s-related craft (oh, how I loved the Barney Box when my children were younger–glitter and glue all the way, baby!)
  • brunch consisted of heart-shaped PB&Js for the daughters, frosted and sprinkled sugar cookies, strawberry Jello jigglers, Noni’s famous butter mints.  Moms enjoyed a more sophisticated meal, but guess who snacked on the kid stuff, too?

Now, it’s geared more toward “young ladies”:

  • no card-making for the dads any longer
  • no craft making
  • homemade waffles with strawberries and whipped cream has replaced peanut butter and jellies but the butter mints are still found in little bowls just about everywhere

The point is, guests generally know what to expect, though adaptation is made to accommodate age shift.  Some things have been consistent from the beginning:

  • we dress to reflect “special occasion”
  • china, crystal and silver are used, a perfect match to good manners
  • we enjoy a meal that is as pretty to look at as it is good to eat
  • little treats–surcies–are given to each guest; both me and my MIL keep our eyes open year-round to find the “perfect” little gift…sometimes it’s handmade, too

4.  The Heinz Ketchup Effect

Expectancy and repetition translate to eager anticipation for traditions.  When our Christmas decorations are finally deconstructed and stored away in the attic until next year, I know to expect a phone call from Sarah to discuss the date and plans for Valentine Tea.  One of my favorite parts of the tradition is making the invitations; though it’d be easier to have them printed, I can’t bear with losing that personal touch.  Even before they’re mailed, though, there’s an air of excitement about getting together to celebrate; I love watching the little girls play; it’s pure joy to see how they’ve grown from party to party; and I delight in the company of my sweet sisters-in-law and sisters in love more than they’ll ever know.

It’s not just me, either; my sister-in-law told me how excited my niece was about the tea, and my heart absolutely MELTS.

5.  Know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em

Tradition for the sake of tradition isn’t very effective.  Doing something just because it has always been done is not enough reason to continue it in the future.  Sandy, on a post at 4 Reluctant Entertainers, recognized that sometimes traditions do little more than add pressure or rob joy from holidays or special occasions.  She recommends considering how you can simplify or modify existing tradition…or when necessary, eliminating ones that no longer serve your family.

In the early years, we invited my daughters’ friends and their mothers to our party; it grew so large, we eventually culled back to make it more a family affair, with the granddaughters inviting only one friend and her mother.  The resulting intimacy has enriched the tea (as opposed to diminishing it due to fewer people).

6.  Now you see it, now you don’t

Traditions are often thought of only in the context of holidays or special occasions; but perhaps the most beautiful are the things you do as a family every day or on a regular basis. 

Recently, I asked a group of high school girls to share their favorite traditions (I believe it was following Thanksgiving).  I was surprised several of them didn’t realize they DO have family traditions.  When the question was posed a bit differently–“What do you always do at Thanksgiving?”–they recognized eating a meal with family, going to visit grandparents…and even a burping contest IS tradition.  It’s what makes their family unique.  

Some Facebook friends chimed in with a few more thoughts:

  • Blake saw how much the little things have mattered to his own children as they’ve gotten older; that it was less about what it was (going to the beach, Sunday dinner after church or Georgia football games) and more about repetitive, meaningful and one day, cherishable, action.
  • Lori pointed out how difficult it was when you lose a family member, to continue with traditions tied to person; establishing new ones can be just as difficult.

In recent years, brunch has begun with my mother-in-law reading from An Invitation to Tea (Teatime Pleasures) by Emilie Barnes, and I think it perfectly concludes my thoughts; I’ve substituted the word “tradition” where Barnes original text mentioned “tea”:


“It’s what happens when women or men or children make a place in their lives for the rituals of sharing.  It’s what happens when we bother with the little extras that feed the soul and nurture the senses and make space for  unhurried conversations.  And when that happens, it doesn’t really matter what [tradition] fills cups or holds the liquid.

It really isn’t the tea tradition.

It’s the spirit of the tea party tradition.”

Tell me about your traditions? I’d love to hear!

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When words of encouragement hit the mother lode



Posted by on Nov 24, 2008 | 7 comments

What’s the opposite of “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me”?  For someone whose love language is “words of affirmation”, might it be “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can sometimes heal me”?

Lame.  Yuck.  I got nothin’ (please, PLEASE enlighten me if you’ve got somethin’ 🙂 ).

Those who know me understand that “words” speak life into me.  Encouraging words buoy me; discouraging words, torpedo my heart.

My favorite gifts given and received involved words.

It’s no wonder, then, when I read Shannon’s post last week (Rocks in My Dryer) about a husband who created a secret “mother letter” blog as a Christmas gift for his wife this year, I absolutely melted into a puddle of word-gushiness.

From my post today at Inspired Bliss (it’s not plagiarism if I’m copying my own words, right?):

Following a perspective-altering, life-changing trip to Africa last year, SecretDaddy (dubbed by me) decided 2008 would be different.  One of the manifestations of that decision is his family (including extended) will create gifts for one another and contribute the amount they would’ve spent to the village he visited.SecretDaddy, in collecting letters from mothers to mothers, wants to hear your story–your concerns, your wisdom, your perspective–and he will compile them all in book form to give to his wife.  Moms who contribute a letter before Christmas will receive a web-copy, too…. (click here to continue)

If you’re a mother, regardless of the ages of your children, would you please consider writing a letter of encouragement for The Mother Letter Project?  You can leave your thoughts in comments or send an email at motherletter(at)gmail(dot)com.  I’ve detailed additional GREAT ways at Inspired Bliss to become involved with TMLP (including a contest!), so I DO hope you’ll check them out, too!

And if you’re a father or don’t yet have children or just wanna chime in in general?  I sure would love to know your thoughts, too.

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Please tell me the monkeys can’t fly!



Posted by on Nov 22, 2008 | 4 comments

Shaun Groves has a plan.

I received a very impersonal mass email from him today letting me know he was giving away music and offering a free download to anyone who is interested (<—click that link to "meet" Shaun…funny guy, he is).  The name of the song is "Kingdom Coming" and in a word, it's beautiful; musically, lyrically, the song has depth and significance.

Shaun impresses me because of the choices he's making; he's one of those who's "walking the walk" while he's talkin' it, and in so doing, he's advancing God's kingdom in the here and now.  To explain what I mean, here's an excerpt from his email (bold print mine, not his):

"Kingdom Coming" was inspired by my many years of partnering with
Compassion International to release children from poverty in
twenty-five of the world's poorest countries. Four years ago, after
seeing for myself how far a little goes in the developing world, Becky
and I were inspired
to sell our house, cut off the cable and make
several other changes in an effort to simplify our lives so that others
could simply live
. Because of those changes our expenses are so low
that we've been able to do nothing for the last four years but sing and
speak (100 times a year) and blog on behalf of Compassion International
at no charge to the public. In that time thousands of children have
been sponsored through Compassion and have been educated, fed, healed,
played with, and told about the love of Jesus as a result. This free
download, and the ones to follow, are just the next logical progression
for us.

Please, click the link below to download the song yourself.  I think you'll see what I mean :).

Oh…and the title of this post? You'll have to click the link in the first line above  for it to make sense :).

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