Monday, April 23, 2012

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Goal Setting 101

Okay--I'm a goal setting person. I really do believe some people are--just as the song says--born this way. I make lists on a daily basis, so it would stand to reason I would be one to set new goals at the first of the year. But--in my more mature years, I have learned a few things about setting goals. First, I've learned that goal setting isn't for everyone. Just as I seem to have been born to set goals, others are more "fly by the seat of their pants" kind of folks. And that's okay. Some of my dearest family members are this way and manage life beautifully. Secondly, I've learned that any goal that leaves God out of the equation isn't worth having in the first place. You might be thinking your goal to stop biting your fingernails or to lose weight isn't really about God, but experts say for a goal to really be effective one must seek the deeper value in it. So including God in your goal setting automatically gives the goal deeper meaning. Think about it. Even your goal to stop biting your fingernails--if your deeper meaning included that you want to represent God in every way, right down to your fingernails, you are more likely to follow through with accomplishing the outcome you desire. The same with weight loss--your desire to lose weight might include your desire to be around longer for your children, to be the mom God desires you to be in every way. In this way, you are giving yourself deeper reasons to meet your goal weight.
You might be afraid to set new goals this year, having failed to accomplish them in the past, but don't ever be afraid to begin again. God is all about new beginnings. That's what a new year is for! Put all those old fears aside, decide where you want to be in January 2013, and ask God to help you get there. Here's a great passage that will encourage you: Psalm 34:4-5
New International Version (NIV)

4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.

Never be ashamed to look at God and smile. He is NEVER EVER ashamed of you when you do! The action of looking toward Him gives you a radiance that will light your way when your path may seem dark.

Have a great day and Happy New Year!

Hugs, Chrys

Monday, November 7, 2011

Soup and Sound Advice

Don't do it! Don't let the marketing geniuses who make the decisions to put spooky ghosts on the same shelf as jolly Santas trick you into thinking you have to rush around to get it all done TODAY!

Relax, you have plenty of time to get presents wrapped and cookies baked. And, here's the good news, if you don't get it all done---SO WHAT?---Thanksgiving and Christmas will still be great.

Here's a recipe I found on Good Housekeeping that I'm definitely trying. It looks SIMPLE and YUMMY and will be great as the cooler days approach. Perfect for that Thanksgiving week when company comes in. It should only take 20 minutes from start to eating. Love it!

Herbed Winter Squash Soup


  • 2 package(s) (12 ounces each) frozen pureed butternut or winter squash
    2 can(s) 14 1/2 ounces each, 3 1/2 cups, chicken broth
    1 jar(s) (16 ounces) unsweetened applesauce
    1 tablespoon(s) fresh thyme leaves
    1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
    1/4 teaspoon(s) coarsely ground pepper


In 4-quart saucepan, combine all ingredients with 1 cup water; heat to boiling over medium-high heat.

Speaking of thanksgiving, here's a great message from our brother Paul, who wrote to the Colossians. It's also a great message for us.

Colossians 2:6 The Message (MSG)

6-7My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you've been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him. You're deeply rooted in him. You're well constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you've been taught. School's out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving.

We do live in trying times, but guess what?----Every generation has its difficult days. We need to take Paul's advice and start living our life with thanksgiving on our hearts. I love how the Message puts it—school's out! In other words, you have already been taught the importance of living this way—so do it! Good point, don't you think.

Have a blessed week.

Hugs, Chrys

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A New Beginning

Hey moms! I know--it's been a while since my last blog, but--honestly---life just got too crazy. Are you with me??? I love this pic of my youngest grandson's team. I think it's how we all feel! Totally bonkers on some days!!!

I know you are all with me on this.

So, I'm going to try a new format with my once a week blog and see how that goes. Of course, your feedback is always welcome.

AND that brings me to my thought for the day--new beginnings. I've been teaching a parenting class this fall and it's been so much fun! I LOVE all my sweet moms--they are all ages, which is fabulous--great mentoring going on---plus they make me smile each week as we share our hearts about our precious kiddos.

This morning we talked about taking an honest look at our families and, when we realize we're not headed in the right direction in one or more area, it's time to STOP and start over.

We looked at this verse in Jeremiah 18:3, in The Message: "So I went to the potter's house and, sure enough, the potter was there, working away at his wheel. Whenever the pot the potter was working on truned out badly, as sometimes happens when you are workig with clay, the potter would simply start over and use the same clay to make another pot."

WOW! What a neat concept. When something you are working on (in this case, your kids) is not going in the right direction, simply START OVER. I love that. Maybe you're in a rut with begging your children to clean their rooms or allowing them to talk sassy or whatever--well, this is the day to stop it. Call a family meeting and say, "We're starting over and from this day forward you will....(fill in whatever you need to fill in)."

New beginnings are such fun and a way to refresh your life. Give your kids the opportunity to GROW by sharing with them, in an honest and kind way, the ways they are not living up to their God-given potential in their behavior.

Have a super duper great week.

Hugs to you all! Chrys

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Washington and an Eventful Week

Wow, there's too much to talk about today. I'm mentally overwhelmed. So...I'll just tell you a little about the Washington DC fifth grade field trip I just got home from. First of all, every child had to have an adult with them and the adults had to sit on the aisle side of the bus and the kids sat by the window. Can I just say that's the way to have a quiet trip with fifth graders! I'm not kidding, there was virtually no talking. After all, who wants to talk to their mom, dad, or grandparents for ten hours!

We left bright and early last Monday morning from Madison, Alabama where my grandchild, Macy, lives. She attends Madison Academy where she is in the fifth grade. The first day was just traveling, but on the second day we were at Monticello, the beautiful home of Thomas Jefferson. We continued on to Jamestown and Colonial Williamsburg, then to Mount Vernon, home to George Washington, and finished up with two days in Washington DC. The DC part included the Capitol, the Supreme Court, the Holocaust museum, the many monuments, the Smithsonian, and the Cheesecake Factory :). I couldn't leave that visit off! It was a fantastic trip, full of the historical happenings of our early formative years as a nation.

What was very clear from every angle is our country was founded on a stong belief in God. From early documents, it's evident that a belief in God and a desire to live according to His principles shaped our foundational laws. It's sad to see how far we have strayed from what was once held in high esteem. I know there are still many of us who hold God's values close to our hearts and are doing all that we can to keep them alive in America. It remains our job to elect men and women to represent us in Washington who also represent God, just as our forefathers did.

On our last night, we learned of the death of one of the most evil men this world has ever known. Since it was late at night, each mom, dad, or grandparent was alone with their own child. How do you rejoice in the death of anyone and explain to a child that it was okay to kill him? As a mom and grandmother, I was concerned that this be handled in the best way possible. First I realized the twin tower incident seemed just as far away to my fifth grader as the Holocaust did. I had to explain to her what happened on a date that for the rest of us only needs to be referred to as 9/11 and the scenes of the incident begin to play in our head as if it were yesterday. We talked briefly about that incident and how evil exists in our world and how people who do evil things have to pay for their crimes. I told her that this man had been hiding from us for nearly ten years. Since that was really all we knew at that point, I left it at that, and we went to sleep.

We went to sleep. How does that happen? The news of Bin Laden's death wasn't the only thing these children had to handle the week we were gone. The second day of our adventure, we learned of the tornado that was tearing through Alabama, their home state and, in fact, it was heading right for their homes. We stopped what we were doing and prayed for God's hand to keep their loved ones out of harm's way, and spent the day with one ear listening to the tour guide and another listening for news from home. That night, we had heard from every family on the trip and there were no deaths or injuries among them. We went to bed thanking God for His protection.

Psalm 4:8 says, "In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety." I have to think that verse was quoted by men, women and children during such trying times as the Revolutionary War and the French and Indian War and the Civil War and the Vietnam War and certainly during the Holocaust---right up to today where we live in such uncertain times: where the price of gas threatened our budgets, where our young men and women are sent to defend other countries where people the freedoms we have, where natural disasters leave loved ones homeless, where politicians want more from themselves than they do for their country, and the list goes on and on.

Thank you, God, that in You and You alone we can find safety and rest. Just as our children will climb in bed with us when a storm is raging outside and quickly fall asleep, all we have to do is climb in bed with the one who loves us the most--our Heavenly father--and we will also find rest.

Have a blessed day.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Tribute to My Mom

My mother turned 80 this week. That would seem fairly old in most circles, but considering her uncle is 100, she's one of the youngin's--at least to him. She's a remarkable woman who continues to run her own company, dresses extremely fashionable, and regularly turns up at "grandkid" events. On top of all that, she's over-the-top healthy with a beautiful smile.

In her "old" age, she won't wear short sleeves AT ALL, refuses to sleep in front of someone else (even if she's at the hospital sitting for hours), and STILL would rather be the driver than the passenger any day.

Did I say she is remarkable? She dreams of snow skiing "one more time" and never misses a vacation to the beach, where she reads and cooks and smiles as she watches the great-grandkids play in the ocean. She loves to read and always has a audio book in her car ready to listen to as travels the state on business or pleasure. She also loves linen and a good pair of shoes and she loves SALES. She passed that trait down to all of us girls. We don't go shopping like we used to anymore, but we've got memories of driving home from Dallas with sacks of clothes wedged between us girls on our ride back home. She loves for her family to stop by her house. She NEVER acts like she has anything else to do except wait for us to appear, but we know that's not true. If she says she has nothing in her cabinet to cook, it won't matter because she can turn "nothing" into a feast as easy as Jesus fed the 5000. There's nothing better than a meal at Mamaw Jo's house.

As a child, I knew my mother to be a strong woman. She had a look and a snap that could get all six kids' attention right fast. She never let a morning pass that breakfast wasn't on the table and we were expected to eat it and not complain. After all, it is the most important meal of the day, she would warn. The same was true of the dinner table. Everyone was expected to be there, in our assigned seats, with pleasant faces and kind conversation.

When we were very young, our home was too small for such a large family, but no problem. With a fearless, "can do" spirit, my mom bricked in the garage to make us a family room, which came in handy when the out of town cousins came to visit. As we reached our teenage years, mom never wavered as the "in charge" person and no matter how tall you got, you looked up to her. She led with a kind, but confident spirit that left us children feeling loved and secure. Our home was always open to our friends coming over and she would rather have us there than any other place in the world. She had a smile and a hug for all of our friends, even those that she felt were not the best examples for her impressionable teens. You see, most of her six children were teens during the turbulent late sixties and early seventies. I've no doubt she and my daddy lost sleep, praying and worrying about one or two of us during those years.

During my college years, mom went from angel to super-angel as three of my grandparents needed assistance. All three ultimately moved in with my mom and dad and, with the same confidence and concern given to us six kids, my mom cooked, cleaned, and cared for all of my grandparents until their deaths. I know, I've already used the remarkable word, but what else can I say???

Now all of us children are grown with children and even grandchildren of our own, but she's still the mom. She continues to "check" on us with phone calls and text messages (yes, she's also very tech-savy. Did I use the word remarkable yet?), cook for us when we're sick, listen to us as we share our hurts and disappointments, celebrate with us when we report good news, travel with us to see the rest of the family that we can't get to stay on our street, join us in our ministry efforts, and never miss an opportunity to tell her six children, twelve grandchildren, and nineteen great-grandchildren and some super-special nieces and nephews that she loves them.

It's been almost three years since mom lost her best friend, our daddy, on July 2, 2008. We all miss him on a daily basis, but rejoice that he is resting comfortably or fishing or selling a house or whatever else God lets him do Heaven. Mom continued to be the rock for our family as we dealt with his illness and death, but we knew how very hard it was for her. Her example has made us all stronger and love her that much more, if that was possible.

Remarkable--indeed! Was I blessed to be one of her six children? Indeed!

Mother's Day is fast approaching, but who has to wait for that holiday to tell your mom how much you love her. I don't think I'll wait.

Love you mom!! You're the best.



Monday, February 28, 2011

The Road Home

Last week a small portion of our family (there's lots of us, so having only 13 on this trip was small) spent the week skiing in Big Sky, Montana. It was a great week. Skiing, of course, was the goal, but it was joined by challenging card and domino playing, fabulous home-cooked-meal eating, necessary computer working, unnecessary, but fun facebooking, more-beautiful-than-you-can imagine scenery looking (including ooh and ah-ing), lots of picture taking and then more picture taking, Yellowstone National Park snow coach touring, and plenty of memory making. Of course I have several stories, but I'm going to share only one of the many adventures a week in the snow gave us southern folks.

After three days of ski school, our youngest skiers "had it down," so to speak, and joined us veteran skiers (not that we're a ton better, just more experienced) on one last run down the mountain. We were so proud of them. Will, who is nine, fearlessly tackled each run like a football player ready for a championship game. Bella, our skinny little eight-year-old, did the same. Her tiny legs dug into the snow like little snow plows as she worked hard to maintain control and keep up with crowd. They were skiing with such confidence that we were happy to let them lead the way to our ski house.

Apparently, we mistook knowing how to ski for knowing how to get back to our house. Clearly, we were also oblivious to another potential problem that comes with skiing—once a turn is missed, there's no easy way to fix it. Still, none of this crossed our minds until Will, who was in the lead, missed a turn. Okay, no problem—maybe. My daughter (Will's mom), Korie, quickly followed him. She's a great skier and I was confident she would get them home. The rest of us were now behind a fast-moving Bella who made a quick right turn when she should have turned left. My last visual of her occurred as she disappeared over a short drop off (about three feet) onto a road--a REAL road where a car COULD have been driving. Like any grandmother worth her salt (whatever that means), I followed her down the hill to that road, instructing everyone else to stay where they were. As I made my way down to Bella, I knew that the only way back to the path would include a WALK up the hill we just came down. In skiing what goes up, must go down, but the opposite is also true—after a wrong turn, that is.

Once I reached Bella and discovered she was okay, I took my skies off and instructed Bella to do the same, then we started the long walk UP the mountain. Can I just say—walking uphill, carrying skies and poles, in a high altitude, after a long day of skiing, wearing heavy ski boots-- is never a good decision, but it was our only way home. The good news, no, the great news, was Bella never complained. She stopped for breaks, but never cried or whined about our situation or asked me to carry her skies. I was very proud of her. Maybe it was my heavy breathing that told her this wasn't the time for favors. In any case, she was a trooper. We eventually reached the ski path, put our skies on and, with me in the lead, made it home. Safely inside, we asked about Korie and Will. They were still not home. After a frantic few minutes, we got a phone call telling us to send a car for them. They came in exhausted from their journey, but were safe. Korie was also proud of Will as she told us he never complained either. I truly believe that in serious situations like this was, children know they have no option. For all of us, when we do not have options in a difficult situation, we don't have the luxury of complaining. In those times, we're happy to do whatever is necessary to get out of the bad situation. The next day, no one argued when someone proposed that only grownups lead the way home.

These kinds of stories make for great dinner conversation, or good blogging material, after all the parties involved are safe and warm inside the house, but while you are "in the moment" they can be extremely challenging and scary. I couldn't help but think of our heavenly Father who so patiently follows us down some very dangerous trails and then gently leads and guides us back to the life-saving path when we're ready to go home. And when we're truly ready to find the right path, there will be no complaining or whining. We'll be so happy that someone loves us with such a mighty power that they would walk up a snow-covered hill with us and lead us home. I love this verse in 2 Corinthians 5:6-8. I especially love the way The Message translates it: "That's why we live with such good cheer. You won't see us drooping our heads or dragging our feet! Cramped conditions here don't get us down. They only remind us of the spacious living conditions ahead. It's what we trust in but don't yet see that keeps us going. Do you suppose a few ruts in the road or rocks in the path are going to stop us? When the time comes, we'll be plenty ready to exchange exile for homecoming."

Have a great week knowing you serve a God who loves you so much He will run after you and guide you home.

Hugs, Chrys