Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Extra! Extra!

Well, after much deliberation (and, I admit, procrastination), I am tickled to announce that I've signed with an agency. Since the signing, I've received so much confirmation that this was indeed the right decision. I cannot wait to see where it goes from here!

Read all about it!

Thank you, as always, to all of you who support me and pray for my career. I'm here to tell ya: it works. :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

It's True!

Have you ever opened your mouth, gotten harsh looks, then defended it with those two words: It's true?

Guilty. Repeat offender.

If it's true that it's true, what's the harm in saying it?

Well, think back on some of the not-so-shining moments in your life. There's a lot of "truth," isn't there? But are they all truths that we want proclaimed? Probably not. I know I'd like to omit a few.

True, Truth can keep us accountable. Truth is an efficient teacher. But usually, Truth doesn't need our help.

As with most questionable issues, the Bible clearly instructs us on this one: "Finally, my friends, keep your minds on whatever is true, pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper. Don't ever stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise." Philippians 4:8 (CEV)

Did you see it? The and? That's an inclusive conjunction, friends. 

So if we can defend our words with, "It's true, pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper!", case closed. Innocent as charged. Otherwise, we'll need to keep our mouths--and our minds--on something else.

(And the next time you hear me saying, "It's true!", remind me of this, would ya?)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My Four Fathers (The Boycott of Beer, Gas & Golf Jokes)

Father and Sons
When Father's Day comes around, I have four dads to buy for, so I do a thorough review of the entire card section before finding the perfect card for everyone. But this year, instead of finding heartfelt sentiments, I was struck by just how much junk there was out there. It seemed the majority of the cards were filled with bad jokes about beer, golf, and gas (ahem, not the kind you buy by the gallon).

Is this how we celebrate our fathers? Really?

I can't believe that. 

I cannot believe that the one day of the year we set aside to truly celebrate our fathers, we're going to hand Dad a card about air that comes out of our backsides. And I refuse to believe that we are maliciously unappreciative of our fathers. Maybe we can't sum up the impact of a father in fifty words or less. Perhaps we simply aren't as comfortable expressing our feelings for the masculine leader of the family. And oftentimes to mask discomfort, a (really bad) joke comes out.

There are so many things to thank our fathers for. Yes, even if it's just, "Thank you. Without you, I would not exist." (And, well, that's a pretty big one.)

Thinking of the four fathers I have in my life--Daddy, Gary, Hubby, and Mr. Parker--here are just a few:
  • Thank you for shepherding our family.
  • Thank you for taking responsibility when you didn't have to.
  • Thank you for treating me like a princess (when I wasn't one).
  • Thank you for loving our boys in ways that only a father can.
  • Thank you for wisdom and guidance.
  • Thank you for tolerating me (um, that goes for all of them).
  • Thank you for showing me the Heavenly Father's love by being my father.
This year, my cards may say any of the above, but they will not joke about beer, golf, or gas. That's just not what daddies are all about.

In an event this past weekend, I asked a smiley-faced girl with braces if she would like to make a Father's Day card. She shook her head no and broke into tears. Her aunt later informed me that her father had passed away. I know that if that red-headed girl had the chance to hand her father a card, she would tell him exactly what we all should say. 

If you have a living father to celebrate, make the most of that opportunity, every day. And if your father is no longer with you, spend your days wrapped up in the memories of him. If you have no father to speak of at all, well, just know that your Heavenly Father loves you more than all of the daddies combined. (And that goes for all of us.)

Daddies matter. So much.

How would you say thank you to your father today?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Friday Tip: 7 Ways to Summer-ize!

Celebrating summer!
When we winterize our homes, we seal the windows, insulate the pipes, and brace ourselves for the iciness of the season.

And when summer comes, I'm a strong advocate of doing quite the opposite: throw open the windows, turn on the sprinklers, and dance in the warmth of the season!

Of course, summer can get too hot for comfort, and if you have children at home, summer boredom can quickly set in too. So, to help stay focused on all of the lovely things that summer has to offer, here are seven simple ways to summer-ize:

1. Whenever possible, open the windows! In Tennessee, this is more of a springtime event, but I always prefer fresh air over recirculated air. Old wives (and new studies) will tell you that this just helps to make your home a healthier place. Plus, it conserves electricity (cha-ching!). 

2. Plant something. Anything. Whether you're in a one-bedroom apartment or on a hundred-acre farm, you can grow something. (Trust me: I can. You can.) In the process, you can also work in a little science lesson for the kids. Sunflowers are a rewarding choice, if you have a nice spot to plant them outside. They grow quickly (for impatient gardeners :) and last until fall. Zinnias are easy growers and will usually reseed to grow next year. Herbs and aloe grow well in pots and are quite handy to have around. Tomatoes will do well in patio planters, and radishes are fun, especially when their red tops peek through the dirt to be quickly harvested. (Don't tell the kids, but in my experience, growing your own vegetables encourages vegetable consumption. :) No matter what you plant, playing in the dirt is both productive and good for the soul.

3. Stock up on summer fun! Make it a point to restock your summer supplies for the year. Most importantly, toss and replace any expired sunscreen. For the fun stuff, kids of all ages love bubbles, and something about the controlled breathing and floating, iridescent spheres induce a settling calm. A sprinkler does double-duty, watering the lawn/garden and the kids at the same time. Water-squirters are cheap and entertaining. And I've been known to soak in a ten-dollar, plastic pool on occasion. In fact, just yesterday, we called a Water Day at our house: an easy, two-hour event where the host just needs water and cold treats! A great way to beat the summer heat (and boredom)!

4. Fill the freezer! Ice cream, smoothies, and sundaes, oh my! When sun-strained kids get moody, a cold, sweet treat may be the only attitude adjustment they need. And when you want to limit the chocolate and artificial cherry, stock the 100% fruit varieties too. Frozen blueberries and smoothies are another great way to sneak in some cool, healthy nutrients. The season is always sweeter when your freezer is stocked with these summertime staples.

5. Explore a book (or ten!). Books are super-portable, inexpensive entertainment for any time of year. If you're not vacationing this summer (or even if you are!), let your kids take their own wild adventures to places like Treasure Island or Narnia. Enroll in your library's summer reading program, and check out story times and other library and bookstore events.

6. Make lemonade. Fresh-squeezed or instant, lemonade just says summer. Add a bowl of lemons to your kitchen decor, and use them to squeeze up a summertime drink. You can encourage your kids to have a lemonade stand too. It'll teach them a bit of entrepreneurship, persistence, and the value of money along the way!

7. Hit the beach (or lake or pool)! I know it's obvious, but how many times have you looked back at the summer and wondered where it went? Choose your favorite water destination, and put at least one trip per month on the calendar for June, July, and August, so that you'll be sure to go. It's a great way to pack a little vacation into a day, and the kids sleep so well after a day of water play. :) 

No matter how you celebrate the season, be sure to replace your "Ugh, it's hot!" with "Who needs ice cream?!" and show your family how to fully enjoy the wonderful warmth of the summer.

How do you celebrate summertime?