I Want My Mommy…

I want my mommy  Children tell it like it is…

Like the little girl trying to keep up with her mom while she calls to her “Why can’t we go barefoot?” They were coming out the house, both in summer dresses – she didn’t understand why barefoot didn’t work. Being a Florida girl I don’t understand either – someday I think in eternity shoes will be optional.

How about the little boy riding in the car with his grandmother “Grandma, am I a handsome laddie?” “Yes, you are a handsome laddie” she tells him. “No I’m not, my hair is sticking up in back.” That’s what I think too: it’s hard to be handsome/pretty if your hair is sticking up, or your skin is breaking out, or your legs aren’t shaved. Yet our heavenly Father doesn’t look at the outward appearance, He sees beauty based on our hearts.

My favorite is this, and I’ve heard it everywhere from the preschool to the lost child in the grocery store “I WANT MY MOMMY!” Nothing else will do and until Mommy returns the tears will continue. Lots of days when things are tough and I don’t have the answers that’s what I say to myself ‘I want my mommy’ – my mother didn’t always have the answers but she was always there. Now she’s gone – but I know I’m not lost, I’m not alone because the One who does have all the answers is always there.

No wonder Jesus said “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Sincerity, no pretenses, being real – receive the kingdom of God like a child…

7 Days to ‘Grate-Full’

TN Mountains Recently I attended a conference. Lots of exciting events and learning opportunities were available. At the beginning of the first day the speaker said “Good morning, Ya’ll are going to have a great, full day!” Immediately it struck me… “What if we had a grateful day as well?”

A great, full day could go something like this: wake up from a full night’s sleep, feel really good, have a great hair and make-up day, nobody says or does anything that bothers you, lots of reasons to smile, great meals, and on and on… That truly would be a great, full day.

Yet, I think we can all have ‘grate-full’ days. Think how different it would be if we were grateful at each turn in our day. “Thank you for a bed to sleep in, thank you for a healthy body, thank you for hair to make look decent, thank you for all the interruptions in my day, thank you for the smiles and frowns throughout, and so on.” I’m fairly certain we would begin to have a lot of great, full days along the way.

I tried it… (Now, I was on vacation in the Tennessee mountains, but vacations can have pitfalls too.) So as we drove around the curves, I thanked HIm for the road through such a beautiful place. I thanked Him when we pulled over on the lookout that beheld mountains as far as the eye could see. I thanked Him when the surprise of water rushing off the side of the rocks splashed our car. I thanked Him when we took a selfie in the most beautiful setting. The thanking, the being grateful made all of it even more special.

So I challenge each of us this week to daily have GRATEFUL days… (Record your 7 days in a journal – you’ll see God’s hand moving in your life.)


When Your Nice Runs Out…

Just the other day I was all out of nice, thank goodness no one was around. Then today I met the nicest 65 year young lady who said “When my husband gets home, he just wants a quiet place, because after his long days his nice has run out.” I thought ‘Oh good, it’s not just me’.

Nice is what we are at the beginning of the day. Nice is what we are when we meet someone new. Nice is what we are most times with most people. That’s a good thing; but sometimes, nice gets all used up.

Like the time we didn’t have much money when the kids were young. I had enough to buy a small roast and we each had a small piece and then went out to one of the children’s events. When we came back I went into the kitchen to clean up and slice the remaining roast for sandwiches. I couldn’t find that meat anywhere. I knew no one had broken in and stolen the roast. The only suspect? Our Black Labrador…and he did seem very content. He must have devoured that thing in a gulp or two because he didn’t even make a mess. My nice ran out…

Or the time my husband and I are making a three and one half hour drive home. A drive he’s made countless times. Suddenly I realize we’re a few miles beyond the exit we should have taken and I say “Are you going a new way?” He replies “What do you mean? Aren’t you paying attention so you can tell me which way to go?” We have to drive over seven miles to the next exit before we can turn around or ‘re-route’, he’s still miffed and thinks this is all my fault. My nice ran out…

Sometimes nice runs out in a hurry – over small things. Like making a special trip to the post office to mail a client something they said they needed. Then calling to let them know it’s on the way. They reply “Ok thanks, we’re going out of town for two weeks, there was no rush.”

Fortunately, I have people around me to remind me that often it’s not the other person who is making my nice disappear. It’s usually my expectations being out of line with reality. The dog was hungry, the meat smelled good, and no one was around. What’s a dog to do? The clients were interested but my sense of urgency wasn’t the same as theirs.

So when your nice runs out next, step back, and remember what your mother used to say: “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” I’ve noticed a lot less elevated anxiety when I choose to ‘treat others the way I want to be treated’. Even if I just painted my toenails and in my hurry to get to the phone I make a beeline through the deep pile rug…

Fireflies or Lightning Bugs?

I suppose it depends on where you grew up.. Fireflies? Lightning Bugs? Either name is so much fun. The minute you hear one or the other you have visions of children chasing through the night air with jars at the ready…

Once, at an out of the way but very awesome Inn in the eastern Tennessee mountains, I sat in the dining room for dinner. This was my first trip to Tennessee and I hadn’t seen lightning bugs since I was a kid. As we sat and talked I looked out the window and said to my husband “They have that whole tree lit up with lights, that’s so pretty.” I continued to talk and eat and when I looked next I noticed the lights were off. No they were on again. No they were off… The whole tree was full of lightning bugs. That night I fell in love with the Tennessee mountains.

Not too many months later as I sat on a porch swing the little night lights began to appear. One blinked here, another there. Soon more joined in. Kind of like a silent symphony. Mesmerized I swung back and forth in the quiet watching the show. One flew right up where I was sitting. he landed on the arm of the swing, little light going on and off, on and off. In the dusky evening I could make out his whole form every time his little light came on. They do look like a fly with a green light on their rear.

Then I found out that in June every year up in the Smoky Mountains there is, believe it or not, a festival to watch the synchronized lightening bugs. They even play music while you watch. And apparently there is only one other part of the world where they appear to be synchronized. Fascinating… God’s creation is something to behold. Doesn’t it seem like some of it was put here just to entertain us, whom He loves so much?

One more reason to say ‘Thank You’ for all He bestows on us…

A Friend Loves…At All Times

Do you have a friend? I hope you do. There are people who go through life and don’t have that friend – the one who knows them almost as well as their mother. Friendship is a lot of work. You give, they take. You take, they give. Sometimes the giving can seem lopsided, other times you know they are going above and beyond.

Friendship is about a lot of things. It’s about laughter – the good times. It’s about tears – the hard times. It’s about finishing each other’s sentences – it’s about discovering something you never knew before. Most of all friendship is knowing in your heart that life is better because of your friend.

God tells us much about friendship including the sweet reminder “…the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice.” Proverbs 27:9 I have a Best Friend – twenty-seven years in the making. The friendship we share is heartfelt, it takes time and it takes prayer to have this kind of friend. A life long friendship means many stories to share of the experiences you’ve enjoyed and grown through, from the hilarious to the heart wrenching.

Here’s a suggestion…Dive into life with someone, forgive when you need to, knowing you’ll need forgiveness along the way. Give all of yourself, share fun, be there. You may just find yourself, twenty-seven years from now, savoring the bliss of having a B.F.F. (Best Friend Forever)

Happy 4th of July!

flag   Today is my favorite holiday – I’ve often been asked why…

Could be that I love summertime and it’s the true summer holiday. Could be that it usually means barbeques and our children. Could be I love fireworks…

I was blessed with great history teachers in grade school and high school. They made history come alive. American history was my favorite. Aren’t we all intrigued by a people with courage, a cause worth fighting for, and the sacrifice they made for their stand?

Have you ever studied The Constitution, The Declaration of Independence, The Federalist Papers? Such insight these men had – their clarity of thought has stretched 200 plus years into the future. Only now are the protections they tried to afford us being destroyed. Abraham Lincoln rightly predicted “Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant to step the ocean and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia, and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest, with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force take a drink from the Ohio or make a track on the Blue Ridge in a trial of a thousand years. At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer. If it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher.”

Let us never say lightly ‘God Bless America’. Say it with conviction. If He withholds blessing, those who enjoy our freedoms yet are not proud Americans, will succeed in tearing down this great country… God Bless America and Happy 4th of July!

Pedal Pushers, Puddle Jumpers, and other funny ‘P’ words…

P is a funny letter – literally. Once an author, known for her humorous style, said that she purposely used funny sounding words to get the reader’s attention.

Pedal pushers are today’s capris. Not so long ago it wasn’t acceptable for a girl or woman to wear anything other than a dress or skirt. An exception that came along in the 50’s were pedal pushers – invented so girls could ride bikes and not have their skirts get caught in the spokes. Also from the 50’s were poodle skirts  – the ‘thing’ to wear to dances – soon they were a teen’s everyday fashion.

Puddle jumpers doesn’t refer to clothing but to small planes making short trips. Ponytail is a fun ‘p’ word – little girls with one pulled up on each side or a teen beauty with one bouncing as she walks. Price Pfister is fun with the silent ‘P’ in Pfister – in the 90’s they made a series of commercials playing off ‘f’ words by putting a ‘p’ in front  – “The Pfabulous Pfaucet With The Pfunny Name”.

How can you help but smile when hearing ‘patty pan pie crust’ or moms playing ‘patty cake, patty cake, baker’s man’ with their babies? Gotta love pickles, but steer clear of prickly pears 🙂

Lots of cartoon characters have ‘P’ names: Popeye, Power Puff Girls, Porky Pig, Pebbles, Peter Pan, Pink Panther, Pinocchio, Piglet, Pepe lePew – to name a few! Mary Poppins was practically perfect in every way!

So why this post about the letter ‘p’? Perhaps it’s because plenty of us need to pause in our busyness, ponder the funny, and project a little humor into another’s path.

Thru the Window…

Clouds swirl, turning from white to gray to almost black. One large drop splatters, followed by scattered pelts of drops here and there. Drooping heads and wilted petals need relief. Suddenly – with a whoosh – the rain begins to soak thirsty ground. Winds become still, puddles form, leaves glisten. Once again what was needed for tree and flower, grass and herb has been provided.

Thru the window I see it, I watch it, I come to know it.

It is much like our souls. Clouds gather and darken. We look for the quenching our thirsty hearts need. We try fixing things ourselves, little relief arrives. We enlist others to lighten the load, maybe a little relief is found. But still the clouds linger, the knowing that all is not well. Yet if we’ll bow, if we’ll call on Him – then whoosh – like life giving rain the peace we need descends. Calm restores us, rest finds us. Once again what was needed for today has been provided.

Thru the window of His Word I see it, I feel it, I know Him…


This week I’m sharing fun vacation spots, remembrances, and mishaps… Since this blog is about the Stories of Our Lives, email me with your funny/memorable vacation story. I will select one to ‘re-tell’ it in the month of July – come on now, share those stores. (parisrenae1@gmail.com)…

Favorite vacation spot: East Tennessee. The Smoky Mountains offer everything from the tourist trap fun of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge to the pristine beauty of nature. There’s hiking, tubing down the river, blue grass festivals, biking, caving, river rafting, and my personal favorite: lightening bugs, also known as fireflies – I think it’s the last place in America where they are still in abundance.

My favorite vacation memories are with kids and camping. There’s nothing like being so far way from the city lights that you see a zillion stars at night. Kids, marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers go together like peanut butter and jelly. They can eat a ton of the gooey things and still go to bed without complaining because they were worn out from the fun of the day. Water has to be part of camping – either a lake, river, or campground pool – but it’s a must. The morning ritual of frying bacon on the camp stove is my favorite part, somehow it just smells yummier. Returning home everything we took with us smells like smoke, but that’s all part of it.

Since we’re on the subject of camping I’m reminded of the time my husband had a week long business meeting in Southern California, not too far from Santa Barbara. We lived in Northern California and thought it would be great for the three kids and I to drive down after the meeting and head to the coast to camp on the beach, something we had never done before. Everything was going great: the packing up, the drive, the potty breaks, the directions (long before gps). I was beaming when I picked up my husband.

Keep in mind we were tent campers during those days. Arriving mid-afternoon our first clue something might be wrong was when we pulled up to our assigned spot and ALL the other spots had RVs parked in them. We quickly discovered why: the wind was anything but mild. After several attempts to anchor the tent in the sand, we finally drug the heavy, wooden picnic table in to hold it down. I think we were the entertainment for the day as most watched from afar shaking their heads.

We made the best of it while playing on the beach before the sun set. Hungry now, we discovered it was too windy for the camp stove or a camp fire. That meant cold hot dogs, cold beans, and no smores. We told stories and went to bed early. Sometime in the wee hours I awoke hearing drip, drip, drip – apparently the dew at the coast was so heavy it was seeping through the tent – at least the wind had died down.

When morning arrived we surrendered, packed up, and headed home. Even so it was a memory we laughed about for years to come – too bad I didn’t get a picture of the picnic table in the tent!


Have you noticed all the fun names for hair salons: Shear Talent, The Mane Event, Hairpeace, The Tease, Tangles, Head Hunter, Cuttin’ Up, Hair Force, Off the Top, Sophisticuts, – and my personal favorite – Curl Up & Dye!

Hairdressers are a breed all their own. They even have their own lingo (layers, razoring, bob, leave-in, shag, highlights, weave, nape, etc.). In Steel Magnolias’ the salon was Truvy’s Beauty Spot and it was an awesome portrayal of the atmosphere in a small town salon.

In the 60’s a hairdresser went through rigorous training to get their license. They had to know the anatomy of the nerves and blood vessels in the scalp, how chemicals react with hair and skin, and even some counseling techniques. Back then they wore uniforms and uniform shoes – no short dresses or high heels. These women were on their feet eight hours or more a day. They went home and picked hair out of their pantyhose and sometimes out of their feet (hair can work its way into the skin). Varicose veins and carpal tunnel syndrome often plagued these women after twenty years of making others beautiful.

Keeping their continuing ed up by going to annual conventions and learning the latest styles, colors, cutting techniques, perms, etc. was always an exciting event. Hearing the entire town’s gossip, whether from their own client, or the ones in the chair next to theirs, made the day go fast. Being asked to work a miracle was a regular experience: how can I get rid of the bald spot, how come you can’t cover every white hair, I want a natural looking perm – to name a few.

Now I’m not a hairdresser – but my mother was. I was too young to remember her time in cosmetology school but over the years she would explain how hard it was back then. I remember the nights she came home and rubbed and soaked her feet. Her tips used to be in quarters when I was little. She would drop them in her uniform pockets and empty them for me to count when she came home. I just wanted hair that looked like everyone else’s when I was in school, but I often had the latest whether it was the latest someone my age wore or not.

She loved to have a good time, she loved going out with the other stylists, and she loved the conventions. She opened her own shop after I was grown; she called it Hair-Em, a play on words that went over well in the small town she lived in. Long after she retired her favorite smell was a salon. Sometimes she wouldn’t do her own hair just to go enjoy the salon experience – and then come back home and fix everything they did wrong.

Once when my children were young, we were at the airport waiting for my mom to get off the plane. My seven-year old piped up and said “Mom, what color will grandma’s hair be this time?” I cracked up, but it was so true. You never know if you’ll recognize your hairdresser the next time you see her!

So to my mom and all the hairdressers out there I say “Thank You”, thanks for trying your best to make us look presentable, thanks for listening to all our troubles, thanks for standing behind us (literally) without complaining. Remember: old hairdressers never pass away, they just ‘Curl Up & Dye’ : )



thoughts on love, family, wine and food


PLaY CReaTivEly WitH YoUr LiTtLe OnE

Mandy Hughes



A blog full of humorous and poignant observations.

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