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31 Days of Giggles:: Day 3

Laughter is not a spectator sport. You must join in!

My favorite family memories are of times we have spent giggling all together!  Your kids figure out early that grown ups don’t always join in the fun, so when you do, your kids think it is hilarious!  You’re not being graded. Your kids probably won’t boo you until they are teenagers. Don’t be afraid to be silly!

I think laughter is such a sweet gift from God designed to give us joy! Sometimes even the hardest day when greeted with a good dose of laughter changes your perspective. Your kids see your ability to lighten a mood by laughing.

So run through the sprinklers with them when they aren’t expecting you to join them!

Hope you found a way to giggle with your family today! I’m giggling through October writing a 31 Days of Giggles series and joining around 1000 other bloggers over at the Nester.

Be sure and stop by and see what they are up to too! Don’t forget to tell me what your family does to laugh together!

31 Days of Giggles:: Day 2

What makes you laugh?  We all might have a different sense of humor, but isn’t it true there are some people who have that contagious laugh that when you hear them laugh, you can’t help but laugh with them?

It’s that way with kids. Who can’t laugh when a child gets a case of the giggles?

Are you looking for a way to laugh with your kids?  This book, I Love to Laugh, was given to my son by my dear friend from college. She shares a love of children’s literature. It has a button you push and you hear a choir of kids giggling. You’ll giggle listening to the kids on the recording laugh, and then your children start to giggle and then you’ll giggle some more.

Disclaimer: Once they’re old enough to figure out how to push the button repeatedly, it might not be as funny when they do it a million times.

Figure out what makes your kids laugh and laugh with them! I’m giggling through October with a 31 Days of Giggles series.  Hope you’ll join in and tell me what makes you laugh with your family?

Want to see what other 31 Dayers are doing over at the Nester? Click here.

31 Days of Giggles :: Day 1


You know that laugh that makes your side hurt, or the quiet laugh when you’re not supposed to be laughing like in church but your shoulders keep going up and down and you just can’t stop? Or the tee hee laugh that is kind of funny but maybe just to you or the kind where you kind of had to be there? Then there is that belly laugh of a child that seems to radiate joy out of every ounce of their being?  And then there is a great big laugh that erupts slowly and builds and builds and builds until your side is hurting, the shoulders are going up and down, your cheeks begin to hurt because your smile is outgrowing your face, the tears start streaming down your face uncontrollably? Yeah, those laughs take it all out of you and you are exhausted and certain you burned 1000 calories just laughing.

Laughter is a divine gift that builds bridges, heals brokenness, breaks the ice, bonds friendships and keeps joy in your relationships. Giggles, they come in all shapes, sizes and sounds in our house.  I thought for the 31 Days of Giggles series I’d share some of our favorite things to do to laugh with our family. It’s not going to be a stand-up routine.  I won’t be telling jokes.  Life is a just lot more fun when you’re able to laugh with your family and most of the time at yourself!

We had a couple sets of those Groucho Marx glasses in the house that I pulled out to show my son. He put the first pair on, then handed me the second set to put on. He started giggling. I put him up to the mirror so he could see himself and he could not stop giggling.Then he put his face right up to mine plastic nose to plastic nose and did an Eskimo kiss and got himself laughing so hard, then got me laughing so hard.

Later that day I was hurrying to try to get him into the car.  “Put your shoes on, mommy needs to find her glasses.” I was of course looking for my sunglasses and was handed a pair of the Groucho Marx glasses by my two-year old wearing his! We were late, but I couldn’t stop laughing!  When I went to take them off, my son pitched a fit.

So I did what any mother would do to get her child in the car, I kept them on! I loaded up the diaper bag and got him in the car, hit the garage door opener and pulled out and started driving down the street.  I glanced in the rear view mirror pulling out of our neighborhood to answer my son’s question and started laughing all over again at the site of him in his glasses and then looked in the mirror and realized I still had mine on too! Remembering I had waved at the elderly neighbor passing, I got laughing all over again!

Yes, I’m laughing right now remembering it all.  Maybe you had to be there!

Buy a pair of these glasses and you’ll never leave the house angry at your family for being late.

Have you lost your joy? Need some encouragement? Forgotten how to be silly? Hope you’ll stop by during this 31 Days of Giggles series! Be sure to check out the other 31 Dayers here.


31 Days of Giggles!!

Welcome to the 31 Days of Giggles series!!

Last year the Nester and 700 of her closest friends spent 31 days in October writing on one topic for the whole month and then linking up here to share them.  They are doing it again this year.

The thought of writing on just one topic can seem easy one second, then daunting when you really think it through and then just a challenge that you have to try.  So try I must!

So after several attempts to figure out just the right topic, I settled on a topic  I could give expert advice on. GIGGLES!!  They come in all shapes, sizes and sounds around our house so I thought I’d take you through 31 days of giggling with your family!

If you’ve lost your joy, need something to encourage you, or forgotten how to be silly, stop by for the next 31 days!




First Day of Autumn in Calfornia

It’s still been in the high 90’s here in California and no real signs of the seasons changing. I keep seeing my friends post pictures of their crisp, cool fall mornings back east and I’m ready for fall.  Today is the first official day of autumn and even after six years in California, I still wonder how cool it has to be to hang my fall wreath and put out my fall decorations?  Starbucks is already advertising their pumpkin spice latte and fall drinks and I still want a cold glass of sweet tea! We thought a trip to the mountains would do our family good and get us in the fall spirit.

Our MOPS group got together to go apple picking in the mountains today at a small local family run farm.  Yay for small businesses!   I like to feature small businesses because there is always a story and family behind all the hard work.  The Pulford Farm in Tehachapi, California graciously hosted our little MOPS group giving us a tour of their washing, sorting, and refrigeration areas.  Then they set a bunch of pre-schoolers loose to pick their own apples! What fun!

I love the chance for our son to learn about how food is grown and who is behind getting it to the store. It might not have been much cooler in the mountains, but it was a great day to enjoy some cider and pick apples. Yes, and I came home and hung the fall wreath too!

What are some things your family is doing this fall?  When do you put your fall decorations out?

Dear Me,

To my teenage self:

So I would try to tell you to quit hunching over but everyone tells you that now and you’re not listening. But seriously, quit hunching.  You will be grateful for your height eventually and even wish you were a little taller.  The boys really do catch up even though from 5th grade to college is a long time to wait.

Don’t worry about all the teasing you get about wearing braces, but I do have to warn you, you get them back on when you’re 28. The good news is all that big hair goes out of style!

God carries you through those hard years that seem too much to bear. Even though you pray all the time that your mom will win the lottery, she never plays it and you never win it, but God uses it all to show you He is your provider and you’ll have a great work ethic thanks to your mom. You know how you watch your mom sit at the kitchen table every morning reading her Bible and praying for you? Well, just wait to see how all her prayers are answered. You will see His faithfulness over and over again.

Oh and that pesky little brother who doesn’t listen to you, well you get close, really close and He follows hard after God and you might want to tell him he marries a beautiful , godly women…wait don’t tell him, he still thinks girls have cooties.

I wish you would listen to me when I tell you not to worry about what others think and that you should have more confidence in your gifts.

That passion for writing and telling a story that’s from God you know.  God gives you a story that you’ll need to steward well.

Your love of maps will serve you well too. You travel all over and meet interesting people & experience different cultures. Take it all in! God connects all the dots and uses those experiences!

Your heart for God will grow tender for high school and college girls and for reaching women. All that brokenness in your life, well, He uses it all.

I would really love to tell you that life gets easier and that you won’t suffer loss, but I can tell you that you will only get stronger, and that your relationship with God will be the one constant.

You will have times you feel like you were given more burdens than one should carry in a lifetime, and you will have times when you feel like you have been given more blessings than you deserve.  Be grateful for it all!!

Pay particular attention to your college roommate’s cute younger brother. He grows up and he’s WAY cute. Oh and he’ll be the one!  That list you make, yep, he is all that and more! He will love you more than you ever thought you could be loved! Oh and your son, such amazing joy!!

Don’t let others’ misconceptions define you, keep laughing, and give thanks! It’s a great life ahead!

The letter writing is a result of reading Grace for the Good Girl this summer and Emily Freeman’s blog Chatting at the Sky. If you have a small group of high school girls or a teenage girl in your life, you will want them to read Graceful. I’m not being paid to endorse her book, I just wish Emily would have written it when I was a teenager!

Should I ever forget


This blog post is being re-published from September 11, 2011 to honor our 9/11 families.

A letter to my son.

Should I ever forget what happened on 9/11/2001, I want you to remember.

Seared into my memory are images from that day, conversations with my uncle and that unexplainable pit in my stomach that something so evil had happened.

I thought it was a tiny plane that had a major malfunction when the first tower was hit.  I watched the second tower get hit live on television and I knew it was not an accident.

I yelled for my uncle who was at my house visiting,  “ Hurry get out of the shower.  Something terrible has happened!”

I stood in disbelief and shock as the first building fell, peeled away to the ground.  Helplessness, I felt utterly helpless and I reached for the TV as if I could hold up the building and keep all those people from their death.  Unspeakable evil.

We sat for hours watching horrible images as the story of what was happening unfolded.

Next winter my two friends and me made our way to NYC.  Something in all of us had to see Ground Zero.  We had to pay our respects to those that perished.  We had to say thanks to those who were cleaning up.  We walked past the old cemetery fence that had become the public memorial with flowers, photographs & cards all stuffed into the fence.  I remember walking out onto the plywood make shift observation deck and looking out over the massive area that once was the World Trade Center.  I can still smell the dirt and dust, I can taste the air, I can see the worker who I nodded thanks to and I can feel the sting of my tears on my cheek on that bitter cold January day.

With a sharpie pen, we wrote our names and words of encouragement.  I penned my favorite Scripture hoping that somehow, someone might take solace.  I couldn’t pick up a shovel and dig.  I couldn’t hug each family.  I couldn’t even make a meal.  I could only pray that the God would bring healing, hope, and peace.

My eyes locked with one of the workers and I nodded to my camera to ask permission if it was ok to take a photo. He shook his head no and I nodded back to say I understood. I mouthed thank you for what you are doing.  His eyes teared up and he made his way to me and my friends.  He said, “Don’t take my picture. Come with me. Tell others what you see.”  We walked over a few streets and he met us in golf cart and ushered us past the police officer guarding the entrance.

The images from television hadn’t captured the vastness of the gaping hole and the debris that was everywhere. Steel girders crumpled like straws.

He took us to the private memorial the rescue workers had made. Ladder company tributes, photos of lost police officers, it was too much to see and feel all at once. It was a private memorial for private moments and prayers lifted to God. Out of respect I didn’t take a picture, but I can still see the faces. I tried to show a brave face but I couldn’t contain the emotion. In an instant I was overwhelmed with emotions I still can’t explain and it happens each time I see photographs from 9/11.  He took us past an area of debris piled so high, nothing was recognizable. Each worker we passed had the same look of determination as they cleared debris.

The sun was peeking through the buildings to an American flag that workers had hung and then there it was, the CROSS. It wasn’t a sculpture that had been erected, it was steel. The way the girders fell, it made the shape of the cross.  The workers merely hoisted it up as a reminder that God was there.

I have a piece of steel rebar from Ground Zero that one of the workers gave me to keep. It’s not a souvenir, it’s not for a museum, it was for me should I ever forget. But now it is yours son, should you ever forget to pray for the men and woman who died that day and the families who lost loved ones.   Should you ever forget to pray for the brave soldiers that protect the United States and the rescuers who were courageous and selfless that day, let it be a reminder. Should you ever forget to give thanks that God was there on that horrible day, hold it tightly in your hand and remember His promise.

It’s been 10 years and today as I reflect and pray for all the families, I still remember it all.   Should I ever forget, I want you to remember.

All my love



A Taste of Heaven From Grandpa’s Porch

Grandpa’s porch slows down this restless heart looking to check off another to do. You can see for miles in all directions clear across Bozeman to the Bridger Mountains. You almost feel the sounds as they carry across the fields and then it is still. The wind here at night rustles the aspen trees and it sounds to me what I imagine the rush of angel wings to sound like. This place for me is just a taste of heaven and a place one can be still and know that He is God.

I want so much to honor you the way your creation proclaims your glory. Make my life show others who you are the way I look at this sunset and see you. In the constant buzz and busy-ness of this season of life chasing a toddler, being a wife, and leading a ministry, I want to hear your voice even when it’s difficult to find moments of quiet like on this porch. Teach me to discern your voice in the LOUD and the QUIET.

You give me glimpses of your hand and still I try to do it myself and not just BE. Quiet appears to be inaction to the world, but you keep showing me this summer that stillness trusts in you, not always all the activity.

Thank you Lord for the way you slow down this restless heart to take in all you needed me to hear. Thank you for how you set creation before us so we see how BIG your love is for us.

The way the sun glides so effortlessly down behind the barn over the fields at sunset declares what my heart knows is true.
“Your love, O Lord reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.” Psalm 36:5

What causes you to be still? Do you have a place you feel God’s presence?

I’m linking up with some friends today. Stop by and say hi!

Beholding Glory

friday favorite things | finding joy

Remembering Our Military & Their Families Today

She left immediately after their wedding to the place they would be stationed for the next two years-Hawaii. To the outsider it was the ultimate honeymoon…beautiful beaches, great surf and one big Luau! If you’re a military family you know the hardship of any move. New homes to get settled into, another DMV visit and finding your new normal in this new city sometimes apart from your spouse.

They would next be sent to Clarksville, TN and her husband would have his first deployment to Iraq and then two more. She would wear a brave face & a black pearl necklace to remind her of their time in Hawaii together. She would say good-bye and pray that God would return him home safely to her. Then a new single life would begin: working, caring for home repairs, mowing the lawn, figuring out why the hot water tank wasn’t working, changing flat tires in the middle of the night and cooking for one again.

Strong, capable & selfless are words her friends would use to describe her before watching her face her first deployment. There are no words that adequately describe her sacrifice, love and service after watching her the last 11 years being a military wife. We don’t often see the faces of all the military families that support our troops and maintain life back home. Thanks to her I look harder for these families.

She didn’t sit back and just hope & pray. She lead her Family Readiness Group (FRG) on base. She communicated news to families who hadn’t heard from loved ones. She provided updates, welcomed & rocked new babies and even was a birth coach when a daddy was still deployed. She cried with widows & children when they learned their father or husband wouldn’t return. She taught moms to balance check books, she made meals, she listened, she laughed and she loved all while waiting too. She wore that brave face & pearl necklace encouraging others and continuing to pray for her husband.

Three deployments to Iraq later and he’s home safe.  To Dave & all our military personnel this Memorial Day thank you for the sacrifice and service to our country. Today we remember and honor you.  To my friend Curly & all our military families, I hope we always look for your families in our communities and find small ways to give back to you the freedom you have sacrificed for our families. We are grateful!

I’m linking up today with my friends at The Better Mom. Stop by and say hi!

Don’t You Love the Story Behind the Music? Then Sings My Soul Book Review

In Then Sings My Soul, Book 3 by Robert Morgan he once again provides historical context behind some of the most beloved and sung hymns in church history. If you have ever wondered what the author may have meant when he penned the words to Victory in Jesus, you learn his daily battle and the victory he gained.

In volume 3, Morgan elaborates in further detail on the history & tragedy behind one of my all time favorite hymns, It is Well With My Soul. However, the history behind How Great Thou Art surprised me and reminded me how God uses all circumstances and all people.Tim Spencer was the author of Cigarettes, Whiskey and Wild, Wild Women who traveled with Roy Rogers. Throughout his time on the road, his devoted wife continued to write him notes of encouragement while he was away and one night reading those letters and a Gideon Bible in a hotel room he trusted Jesus as his Savior. In 1949 his son gave him a copy of of the song How Great Thou Art by Stuart Hine. Spencer would help it become one of the most beloved and well known hymns of our time.

The chorus goes, Then Sings My Soul My Savior God to Thee, How Great Thou Art. This song is what gave me inspiration to write this blog Tiddlywinks I feel God’s pleasure and my soul sings when I do that thing that God has designed me to do and all I can say is How Great Thou Art. After learning of Spencer’s life, I can’t help wonder if his new found understanding of God and using his gift of song, he felt God’s pleasure as he sung this song and couldn’t contain himself, but say How Great Thou Art.

If you are like me and enjoy hearing the rich stories, difficult circumstance and joy from which the songs of our faith were written, you will love hearing all of this history behind some of the most classical hymns.

Disclosure: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson as part of the BookSneeze program. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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