The Good, The Bad, and The Hilarious of Parenting

Moved To Self-Hosting Site — whatsupyournose.com

I have had an amazing time learning how to blog at wordpress and have decided to continue with my blog but on a self-hosted site which will give me more control.  I do hope that you will visit my parenting blog at whatsupyournose.com

I would love your continued support, comments, ideas, and suggestions.  See you there!


Are Those Horses or Cows?

I say ya’ll; I own a few chickens; I love a good piece of deer meat;  I have been down the dirt road to pick wild blackberries so my granny could make a fesh blackberry roll;

Blackberry fruits11

Blackberry fruits11 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have drank from a water hose on a hot summer day, and I have teased the cows to make them mad.  As a matter of fact, the school I teach at and graduated from has “Camo Day” and cows across from it.  I pride myself in being a bit country.

However, I have failed as a country girl.  I have not passed along the country spirit to Fa.  The other night I drove to my mother’s house, and as we passed the cow field, Fa squealed and said, “Look Mom!  Look at that tall grass where the horses lived?”  Horses?  How can my daughter not tell the difference between horses and cows?  And tall grass?  That was clearly corn even in the moonlight.

I took a moment to explain the differences between cows and horses and between tall grass and cornstalks, and felt maybe with that explanation I had restored her “country” gene!  That was until we got out of the car at my mother’s house.

English: Cows in polish mountain (Masyw Śnieżn...

Country Cows.

When Fa opened the car door, her eyes grew big.  She ran to myside of the car and latched on to my arm, “MOMMY!  WHAT IS THAT?”  “What is what?” I said.  “THAT SOUND!  THAT SCRATCHING SOUND!  WHAT IS IT?”  I chuckled and told her it was the frogs, crickets, and other bugs singing the night time song.  I explained how beautiful it was.  She explained how creepy it was.

It made me kind of sad on two levels: first, I longed for those times out in the country catching fireflies with my cousins or eating strawberries out of Grandaddy’s garden.  Second, I am sorry that I can not give those amazing experiences to my children so that the night song is beautiful and not “creepy.”  I can only try to expose them to as much as possible and hope they develop an appreciation for the beauty of nature.

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American Girl Birthday Party At The American Girl Store

Birthday parties are a pretty big deal around here.  We spend oodles of time debating girl birthday party ideas. This year Fa will turn 6, and she wanted to get an American Girl doll.  She also wanted to have a party at the bowling alley.  We weighed our options and decided that because of the cost of the doll and accessories we would have to have a small party.  I recorded our party in pictures and have to say it was a blast.  Anyone with a little girl 6 and up that is looking for birthday party ideas, I highly recommend the American Girl Doll Store!

We made it a girls day!  It was myself, Fa, Nana, Auntie B, and cousin Cassidy.  We live about 2 hours from Washington DC which is where the store was located and usually traffic is awful, but we made it ok to the mall; however, finding the store was no minor feat because it is the 11th largest mall in the United States.  Today, the mall has 2.1 million square feet of retail space on three levels, 16 movie screens, and nearly 300 stores.

Talking about exciting once we found those bright red walls!!  Once inside, there was no containing Fa.  It is as if all her little 6 year old dreams had come true!

I wanted her to take her time and explore what they had to offer on those two levels, and I have to admit even I was feeling a bit giddy looking at all the cool stuff!!  Fa was most fascinated with the accessories.  That is the kind of girl she is.  In the picture, she has discovered a miniature version of the game Apples to Apples!  Notice her shoes?  They are actually mine — shows I am not a perfect parent because I didn’t even know she had them on until we were walking into the store!

The bath tub was a huge hit with her.  I loved watching her play with the display items and using her imagination.  It was cool that the store was interactive, and the kids felt comfortable enough to explore.

Trust me as she played her list of items she wanted was growing!!

We had limits so she just created a Christmas list, a 7th birthday list, a New Year Eve’s list, and well, you get the picture!

Since Fa has been dancing for two years now, she was excited to find the ballerina outfit, and it was quickly added to the list!

After an hour or so of shopping and exploring and listing, Fa discovered the arts-n-crafts table.  Next to dancing, arts and crafts are her favorite things.  She made a bracelet and an inspirational mirror.  The store encouraged creativity and a respect for being a young girl.

After we partied in the store, I had reservations for a birthday meal in the American Girl Bistro.

As you can see by the look on Auntie B’s and Cassidy’s face, we were all famished.  Spending money makes you hungry.

Here you see Cassidy with her bitty baby, Mary Elizabeth.  Fa loved sharing this day with her cousin.  Cassidy is very kind to Fa and made it a very special day for her!  GG loves her Cassidy a ton.

Here is Fa with her doll, Brooke.  Notice that the dolls have high chairs to sit at the tables with their moms, and if a girl comes to eat and doesn’t have a doll, they have ones they will loan to you.  How nice is that?

Appetizers for everyone — Fa had fruit kebabs with yogurt dipping sauce.

I had artichoke and spinach dip which everyone at the table seemed to like, and I wanted to lick the bowl!

Nana and Cassidy each got the cheese fondue which I tried and also found delish.

And Auntie B got a salad.  She threatened to cut our fingers off if we tried to eat hers!  Just kidding.

Our entrees were just as good as the appetizers– Fa ordered the itty bitty Picnic meal which came with with a slider hamburger and a mini hotdog and a salad kebab.

Auntie B and I ordered an out-of-this-world chicken sandwich with fresh mozzarella and roasted peppers.  Can you say YUMMMM?  because I sure did!

Even Brooke got an amazing tea cup with berries.  Fa loved that touch.  Notice her hat and sticker?  I am telling you those tiny details did not go unnoticed by my birthday girl.

After such a delicious meal, they brought Fa a beautiful cake.  Of course, pink and white!

And then they sung happy birthday to her.  She tried to act embarrassed, but she was loving every minute of the attention.

The cake was delicious served with ice cream.

Fa and Cassidy were getting their babies ready for the ride home after a fun and exciting day in Washington DC at the American Girl Store.  Notice the bag in the forefront of the picture.  That was a goodie bag given to Fa and her guest which included a doll balloon and shirt as well as a book.

Overall,  I would have to say, the birthday party at the American Girl Store was a success as evident by her deep sleep!

Next year it has already been decided the party will be at the bowling alley!

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“AHHH Mom! No TV! What Will I Do Now?” — 10 Things To Do Besides Watch TV

In a past post about  the movie Gifted Hands, I discussed how much Ben Carsons’ mother, Sonya Carson, inspired me.  She set very clear boundaries for her two boys, and she held them to the highest standards.  Of course, the children didn’t like it at the time; however, it paid off because one became the world’s best neurosurgion and the other became an engineer.  Their mother’s determination and focus played a major role in their success.

One of her rules only allowed her boys to watch 2 pre-selected TV shows a week.  Their free time was filled with reading!  I have compiled a list of 10 activities we can have our kids do other than watch tv.

1) READ — You knew this had to be number one on the least for several reasons.  1) I am an English teacher. 2) Sonya Carson made her boys read. 3) Reading is an amazing skill that will impact you in numerous ways.  Want to find ways to encourage your children to read?  Check out this post.

2) GET CREATIVE — Encourage your children’s imagination with some great activities such as puppet shows, scrapbooking, or play dough.  This is a great opportunity to find activities that interest your child and maybe discover a new talent.  And yes, this means you have to get off the TV and computers too!  Remember lead by example!

3) GET ACTIVE — Burn some energy and develop some muscle!  This is another great opportunity to share a sport that you love or develop talents of your child.  You can do something as simple as go for a walk or a bike ride or something more complicated as get a neighborhood kickball game going.  Whatever you do make it fun!

4) VOLUNTEER – I deeply regret that I didn’t get my oldest daughter more involved with volunteer opportunities when she was younger.  Volunteering is not only a terrific way for kids to get out, but it also teaches them about service and helping others as well. There are lots of agencies that would be happy to have children volunteer, provided an adult comes along too. Suggestions include Meals on Wheels, local nursing homes, local library, and I know there are many others.

5) TAKE A FIELD TRIP — I am sure there are some amazing places for you to visit with your children right in your town.  A local park, a museum, or a local garden/farm are great suggestions.  This summer I plan to take Fa to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.  The exposure helps young people broaden their horizons and see life from different perspectives.

6) CELEBRATE — I think we should celebrate more!  Celebrate what you say?  Well, how about the “UNbirthday” party?  Or have a party because it is Tuesday?  Or celebrate the fact that it is July?  I don’t know — just party like it is 1999.  Turn on some music dance, play party games, and eat cake (that you baked together of course)!

7) PLAY A GAME — There are a million games to play, and there are so many skills that children learn when playing games, and they don’t even know they are learning something!  Play “I Spy”, hide and go seek, charades, Simon Says, flashlight tag, and don’t forget the countless board games and card games you probably have tucked away in the closest.  My two oldest children still laugh about a game we played one time at the beach, and I acted like a pirate!  Obviously, I was a very funny pirate because they fall on the floor laughing each time someone brings it up!

8) BUILD SOMETHING — Building something is on my Summer Bucket List!  Creating something develops the very important skill of problem-solving!  You can make it as simple as building a fort in the living room or as complicated as building a tree house!  Whatever it is do it together and have fun!

9) LEARN SOMETHING NEW — “You never know until you try it.”  Let your children try new things.  Teach them how to bake, to identify the stars, or to make origami.  Who knows what you may discover.

10) BE STILL — Sound strange in this day and age when everyone is go, go, go!  Some of my favorite times were sitting under the mimosa tree with my grandparents.  We didn’t talk.  We just sat.  We were still!  It quiets the soul and is a skill that most of our children have not mastered.  Help them learn the beauty of being still.

Enjoy life!!!  Live life!!!  Don’t just watch it!!

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Sweet 16 – A Mother’s Reflection

July 16, 1996 — I entered Henrico Doctor’s Hospital nervous and excited.  My labor was being induced that day.  I was getting ready to be a mother for the first time, and I didn’t know if I was having a boy or a girl.

IT’S A GIRL!  K came into this world quietly foreshadowing her approach to life.  She didn’t kick or scream or give me any problems during birth.  She simply appeared and quietly made the statement that she was here changing lives forever!  When they placed her in my arms, and she gazed at me intently, I realized that I would never make a decision without considering her well being and that my life was no longer my own.

July 16, 2012 — My baby is turning 16 today.  She is over in Greece celebrating with her friends and exploring the world.  As most parents do, I look around her room and see her ipod, makeup, and softball gear and wonder at what point did I miss this transition from baby to young woman.  I only blinked once!

Being her mother is my most treasured role and accomplishment.  She is a beautiful soul who teaches me so much about life by just being herself.  K and I grew up together!  I was a single mother pretty much from the time she was born until I meet my current husband when K was 7 years old.  We were buddies!  I always wanted to be a positive role model for her, but I have to say she has become my role model!

K is strong, focused, motivated, kind, caring, and generous.  She has overcome the burden of having 2 households that didn’t always get along, of having siblings that are as much as 10 years younger than her, and of  defining herself in a trying world.  I learn so very much about life from K.  Trust me, we have our arguments but after the dust settles, there is another lesson I can put down in the books because what she is teaching me are things within myself that I still need to work through.

The relationship between a mother and daughter can range greatly.  I am first her mother!  Being friendly is an extra bonus.  Being her friend is not my priority.  I strive to provide K with the best foundation of information and experience possible.  She is quickly approaching adulthood.  The goal is for K to be a self sufficient, financially independent, healthy and happy woman.  That means I must be her mother first!  She most likely will not understand or be excited about the decisions I make when it comes to privileges or life decisions.  That is okay with me, because I have to do what I believe is the very best for her at the time.

Our relationship continues to evolve.  As I was teaching her to drive, I would look over and see a 5 year old much like that commercial for Subaru.

I ach for my baby and cheer for the woman she is becoming.

As a result of being a mother, my love and understanding for my parents has grown immensely!  I realize that much of what I choose to do today for K may not be understood until she is a mother with a teenage daughter.  I have called my mother to apologize for my behavior as a child/teenager multiple times.  I am greeted with laughter, love and reassurance.  I will be there to do the same for K.

In honor of K’s birthday, I have posted a video of what I say is “Our” song!!  Since, I was a single mother waking up to K each day was a gift.  So, this is “our” song:


A Trip To Italy and Greece

Yesterday, my oldest daughter, K, left  for a tour of Italy and Greece.  When this opportunity arose, I thought to myself, “This is amazing!  A once-in-a- lifetime opportunity.”  I love to travel and see new places and meet new people and try new things.  My father blessed/cursed me with the wanderlust!  But you know the excitement of traveling, seeing, meeting, and trying quickly have turned into fear when I thought about K.  Fear of what you say?

Well, she is only 15 (she will turn 16 somewhere in Greece!  Pretty amazing birthday gift if you ask me). So, I have begun to question myself:  Will she have separation anxiety?  Will she be able to handle her money properly?  Will she be able to sleep in strange places?  Will she avoid dangerous situations?  Will she…. well, if you can think of a question, I can assure you I have asked myself that very question.

I have tried to prepare her as much as possible for the unknown.  Of course, we have shopped like there is no tomorrow buying beautiful outfits and neat travel gear.  But will she know to use an umbrella if it rains?  Will she pick the correct outfit when she visits the Vatican?  Will she know how to take advil if she gets a headache?

I have even talked to her about situations that she may encounter overseas that she hasn’t experienced here in the US.  Such as drinking! Alcohol that is.  Yes, she can drink alcohol over there (GASP!).  She has never even had a sip of anything alcoholic and only on rare occasions does she see me sip a glass of wine.  Her father drinks nothing at all.  I didn’t want to tell her she couldn’t drink because I want her to feel free to make that decision, but I worry she won’t understand how quickly a glass of wine will impair her.  We have talked about pick-pockets and how to protect her cards and what to do if she loses anything.  And of course we had the Stranger Danger talk!  I basically told her everyone over there is a stranger; so, don’t talk to anyone!  Too extreme?

But in reality, it isn’t about what I bought her or how many talks I have had with her.  It is simply about knowing that she is a smart, honest, caring, and intelligent young woman that is stepping out to explore the world and discover more about herself.  That is exactly what I want for her, but at the same time, I want to swaddle her in a blanket, hold her in my arms, hum to her, and watch her fall asleep.  This trip represents another step in her journey to independence and adulthood and another hurdle that I must leap in order to understand myself and my new position in life.

She is growing up.  I can not turn back the hands of time.  And as I watched her walk away, I have to accept that it isn’t negative.  She isn’t walking away from me, but she is walking towards a wonderful life of her own that I have helped prepare her for.  I just hopes she knows no matter how far away she goes, my love for her is never out-of-reach!


Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story

Today I watched the movie Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story.  K read this book last year and did a project on it for English class.  I had every intentions of reading the book because I firmly believe that books are always better than the movies, but as I waited for my hubby to get home with the supplies to put down our hardwood floors, I stumbled across the movie on Netflix which by the way I love!!  So, I just had to watch it.  It was only an hour and 30 minutes long, and it portrayed the life of Ben Carson a pediatric neurosurgeon who overcomes enormous obstacles to study medicine and save lives at Johns Hopkins Hospital.  It was a good movie.  I would encourage all parents to watch it, and if you have a child 12 or older, they should watch it as well.

Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story

Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

However, I am not going to write about the amazing Ben Carson.  Instead, I want to write about his mother!  She was an amazing woman.  She grew up in foster care and only had a third grade education.  She often worked two or three jobs as a single mother to keep her family afloat and together.  She married at 13 and 10 years into the marriage she discovered that her husband had a second wife.  She also battled bouts of depression. Those are obstacles that could drag anyone down, but instead, she preserved and lived a positive life.

Yes, Mr. Carson had to overcome some obstacles, but without his mother pushing him I am not sure that he would have tried.  For example, she demanded that her boys always work beyond their potential!  She was a cleaning lady and noticed that the man she cleaned for had hundreds of books.  Books were even stacked in front of the TV.  Well, that night she went home and turned off the TV and told her boys that they had to read 2 books a week and write a book report which would be turned into her.  The boys were only allowed to watch 2 pre-selected shows a week.  I know this isn’t a novel idea limiting the amount of TV that children watch but seeing the direct impact it had on her children reminded me of the importance of providing structure and clear boundaries for our kids.

While Ben Carson is an inspiration to many, I found Sonya Carson very inspiring.  Mr. Carson clearly credits his mother for his success in this quote, “I not only saw and felt the difference my mother made in my life, I am still living out that difference as a man.”  What a tribute to his mother!  Throughout the movie, this woman was positive, strong, and focused.

It isn’t easy to provide that structure and boundaries that our kids need because we are tired or busy or don’t want to deal with them whining.  I know I give in all too often because I don’t want to fight with my oldest one or I don’t want to hear the youngest cry.  However, I realize what a disservice I am doing to them by caving!  To be honest, I don’t find it as hard with my youngest child as I do with my oldest child.  I think it is because I am not sure how to parent a teenager yet.  I want to respect her independence, but at the same time I have to maintain discipline because she still has more to learn.  It is hard to find that balance as a parent.

With Fa, I have already established an educational schedule that will carry her through the summer, but I know I need to limit her TV time and implement a chore  chart.  For K, I have already required her to find a job or volunteer opportunity for the rest of the summer, but I need to limit her TV time and implement some type of chore chart for her too.  Yes, they will get mad, but I owe it to them.  Thank you Sonya Carson for reminding my of my duties.



Happy 4th of July: Raising A Patriotic Child

My father was a very patriotic man.  He loved the USA.  He often wore t-shirts printed with the flag, and figurines of eagles were everywhere in the house.  When he became sick with Leukemia, I even bought him an eagle to keep by his bedside.  He believed that America represents the best of the best.  He stood very straight and tall and proud when he recited the Pledge of Allegiance and sung the Star Spangled Banner!  My father lead by example, and I too am very proud to be an American. 

However, I get very frustrated in my classroom when students refuse to stand for the pledge and argue it is their right not to stand.  I try to make them understand that the fact they even have that right is the reason they should stand.  I point out that in some other countries they wouldn’t have the right to choose whether to stand.  My argument often falls on deaf ears which supports the notion that there is something now called “The Patriotism Gap”. 

What does it mean?  An excerpt from this article sums it up:  “…Independence Day poll on patriotism taken by Fox News in 2005 found when it asked Americans: “All things being equal, would you prefer to live in the United States or would you prefer to live in some other country?”

“Most of us probably feel like almost 95 percent of the respondents over thirty who said they preferred the good old USA.  No big surprise there, but nearly a quarter of our young people—the very Americans who are supposed to fight the war on terror, beat back the economic challenge of China and India, and keep our country strong, safe, and prosperous—would hightail it out of here if they could!”

“And an even higher number of our young teens are pessimistic about America’s future.  In a 2005 Time magazine cover story about thirteen-year-olds, the editors themselves were surprised at how gloomy young teens have become about America: “In a shift from just five years ago, when the new millennial teens were generally optimistic about the future . . . almost half, or 46 percent, believe that by the time they are their parents’ age, the U.S. will be a worse place to live in than it is now.” 

“A startling percentage of our youngsters have little or no hope for America’s future.  Almost half, it seems, have no confidence in their own abilities to ensure that our country will remain a good place to live when they are ready to bring up their own children.”

 So, how do we raise patriotic children and close this so-called “Patriotism Gap”?  And more importantly, why would we want to raise patriotic children?

The why is simple.  If we raise patriotic children, they will become patriotic adults.  They will work to maintain the greatness of this country by acting and making necessary changes, great and small, to better this country and the lives of those who live in it. 

Here are some tips on the how:

1) Fly The Flag:  Take some time to teach your children the meaning of the flag.  The thirteen stripes on the flag represent the thirteen original colonies.  The fifty stars represent the fifty current states.  Figuratively, the flag stands for freedom and democracy. It represents the unity of America, our common cause, and the hope for a better tomorrow.

2)Take Your Children To Vote With You:  I have been doing this for years.  It serves a couple of purposes: first, it allows them to see inside of the voting facilities so when it is time for them to vote they aren’t “scared.”  We often avoid doing the unknown.  Second, it opens up the opportunity to discuss the importance of having a say in our government and how it is done in other countries. 

3) Model Patriotic Behavior: As I have said before, we have to lead by example.  Don’t be afraid to wear a t-shirt with the flag on it or to thank a veteran for their service to our country.  Stand up tall with your hand over your heart when you say the pledge and sing loud when you sing the Star Spangled Banner.  You can even practice democracy at home by allowing the kids to vote on such things as which tv show to watch.

4)Bring America To Life: I am lucky to leave in a state with much history and only a few hours away from Washington DC.  But all of America is packed full of history, and you should take a moment to find local areas that would allow you to explore this history with your children.  You could also take virtual tours of historical places that might be out of reach for you.  Read books about America; watch movies about America; by bringing America to life for your children they can internalize the importance of being patriotic!

5) Make Being An American Fun: Celebrate the American Holidays — Independence Day, Memorial Day, Veterans Day.  Honor such days as the Flag Day, 9/11, and The bombing of Pearl Harbor.  Give thanks for our country during Thanksgiving.  Have cookouts, do crafts, and celebrate the greatness of our country.


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It Finally Happened — The First Official Date

For two long years, I have been the taxi for my daughter and her first boyfriend.  Yes, I know — they have been dating for two years — since the 8th grade which is an extremely long time.  I give a little bit of background about these love bugs in the post “As Long As They Make You Happy.”  Now understand I use the term dating lightly here because does it really count as a date when your mom or dad is driving you around?  Well, those young kids have grown into young adults, and he now has his licenses.

This past Sunday, K popped the dreaded question, “Can [he] take me to Kings Dominion on Monday?”  I kind of fell back a little as if she had slapped me and then I made her repeat the question.  I thought to myself that surely she means that his parents would be taking them just like all the times before.  So, I ask, “Who will be driving?  His mom or dad?” K turned her head slightly sideways like a confused puppy, “No, Mom.  He was going to drive me.  That is if you let him.”  There was no more pretending.  She was asking what I thought she was asking — she wanted me to put her in a car with THAT BOY and allow him to drive her 20 minutes to the local theme park where they could “hang out” and then bring her back home.  I knew exactly how to handle that — I called her father and asked him!

The minute K’s dad answered the phone I burst into tears.  He began screaming, “WHAT IS WRONG?  REGINA, TELL ME WHAT IS GOING ON?”  After I informed him of what his daughter had asked me, I cried even harde,r and he went silent.  We were in shock.  Now he and I haven’t been a couple since K was a baby, but we share a deep love for that amazing baby that still holds us together as co-parents.  In my tears and in his silence, we both knew that our life would never be the same again.  He quickly came to his senses though and told me not to worry…  I looked at K and smiled and said, “Of course you can go!”  A huge smile filled her face.   I followed with,  “Your dad is off and will follow you.”  She screamed, “NOOOOOOOOOOOOO MOMMY!!  THIS ISN’T FAIR!  WHY DON’T YOU TRUST ME?”

That is when it dawned on me.  She thought this was about her.  I mean yea it was her date — her first official date, and yes, I did promise to embarrass her by having her father follow her, but couldn’t she see this was not about her!  This was about me!  With her one simple question, I was bombarded with feelings of sadness, loneliness, and emptiness.  I know pretty selfish, right?  However, at that moment, I didn’t care because I felt that no one could understand the depths of my love for her.  Being her mother helped to make me feel complete.  K had become my inspiration in so many ways.  I didn’t know you could love someone so much, but in her perfect innocence, she made me a better person.  Only K and Fa will ever know the strength of my love because they are the only ones who know what my heart sounds like on the inside!

After I expressed my fears and my love for her and explained that I did trust her but mommy had some growing up to do, we laid out the ground rules for the “first date.”  On the day of said date, I had a long talk with the both of them about buckling up, staying focused on driving, and being home before dark.  Then I looked at him with tears streaming down my face and said, “Please take care of my baby girl.”  He looked very serious when he responded that he would as if he understood my love for her!!  Is that possible?

As that white Ford Ranger backed out of my driveway and headed down the road, I sat on my front porch and rocked and cried — I cried for the young woman my baby had become, and I cried for the new person I have to become.  Once again in her perfect innocence, K has helped me to become a new person!


Burned Biscuits

My mom sent me this email, and it filled my bucket. So, I thought I would share it with you.  I do not know who the author is but I don’t take any credit.

When I was a kid, my mom liked to make breakfast food for dinner every now and then.  And I remember one night in particular when she had made breakfast after a long, hard day at work.  On that evening so long ago, my mom placed a plate of eggs, sausage, and extremely burned biscuits in front of my dad.  I remember waiting to see if anyone noticed!

Yet all my dad did was reach for his biscuit, smile at my mom and ask me how my day was at school.  I don’t remember what I told him that night, but I do remember watching him smear butter and jelly on that ugly burned biscuit.  He ate every bite of that thing…never made a face nor uttered a word about it!

When I got up from the table that evening, I remember hearing my mom apologize to my dad for burning the biscuits.  And I’ll never forget what he said, “Honey, I love burned biscuits every now and then.”

Later that night, I went to kiss Daddy good night, and I asked him if he really liked his biscuits burned.  He wrapped me in his arms and said, “Your momma put in a hard day at work today, and she’s real tired.  And besides – a little burned biscuit never hurt anyone!”

As I’ve grown older, I’ve thought about that many times.  Life is full of imperfect things and imperfect people.  I’m not the best at hardly anything, and I forget birthdays and anniversaries just like everyone else.  But what I’ve learned over the years is that learning to accept each other’s faults – and choosing to celebrate each others differences – is one of the most important keys to creating a healthy, growing, and lasting relationship.

And that’s my prayer for you today… that you will learn to take the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of your life and lay them at the feet of God.  Because in the end, he’s the only one who will be able to give you a relationship where a burnt biscuit isn’t a deal-breaker!

We could extend this to any relationship.  In fact, understanding is the base of any relationship, be it a husband-wife or parent-child or friendship!

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