I write. I wander. I read. I remember.

I started writing my first novel at age eight. It was about a family of pencils that came alive at night and wandered around the classroom having various adventures. I was several chapters in when a well-meaning adult asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.

“I want to be a writer. In fact, I’ve already started writing my first novel,” I told her.

“Oh, that’s so cute. Being a writer is hard work you know. Most people never make it.”

This was news to me. I had assumed the only tough part about writing was plot…

A handy guide for desperate parents

Photo by Afzalbek Sadikov (Uzbekistan) on Unsplash

There is a golden ratio in college student to parent texting. For every ten texts sent by a parent there is only one text sent by the student. But the ratio goes deeper. For every ten words in a parent text there is one word in the student text.

So you need to be prepared to extract the most information possible from the limited number of characters or emojis sent your way. This guide is here to help.

Let’s break down some typical parent child text exchanges. The parent portion of these conversations has been seriously edited for brevity’s sake.

Habit #18 in my 30 day journey

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“The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly.”
Soren Kierkegaard, Provocations: Spiritual Writings of Kierkegaard

You would never catch my mom just sitting around reading a book when I was a kid, but if you wandered into the living room early enough in the morning there she would be with enjoying her cup of coffee and her Bible reading before…

Habit #17 in my 30 day journey

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“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”
Thich Nhat Hanh

Look, I’m not about to tell anyone else to smile. You don’t owe a smile to anyone. I’m adding smiling in as habit #18 because smiling makes me happier.

When I was in high school not only was family dinner around the table a command performance so was breakfast. I would stumble to the table and grumpily pour my Cheerios.

“Smile Mary!” my dad would say nearly every morning…

Habit #16 in my 30-day journey

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You can’t hire someone else to do your push-ups for you. Jim Rohn

Pushups are weight lifting using my body as the weight. In my case, that means some pretty hefty lifting.

There is a reason I left this habit to the middle of the month. I knew I needed the two weeks of planks to prepare.

Everyone agrees that pushups done right are an excellent exercise. Heathline.com puts it this way:

Traditional pushups are beneficial for building upper body strength. They work the triceps, pectoral muscles, and shoulders. …

Habit #15 in my 30 day journey

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“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough”
Oprah Winfrey

Why do we find it much easier to focus on what goes wrong in a day than in the good things that happen?

As my good friend Elvis says,

“When things go wrong, don’t go with them.”
Elvis Presley

I’m at the halfway point now in my month of new habit acquisition. This feels like the perfect place to promote positivity.

Habit #15 is…

Habit #14 in my 30 day journey

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“Reality is the leading cause of stress amongst those in touch with it.”
Jane Wagner

“What hath night to do with sleep?”
John Milton, Paradise Lost

No matter how relaxing my bedtime routine and how sleepy I feel as I take off my robe and climb into bed, the moment my head hits the pillow, my mind opens up to all the realistic worries in my life.

So I’m going to add an element to bedtime, progressive muscle relaxation. Anxiety Canada describes PMR this way,

Progressive Muscle Relaxation teaches you how…

There will be pushups involved

Body builder Marine on USO stage
Body builder Marine on USO stage
“171221-D-PB383–049” by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Have you ever seen first graders attempt one-armed pushups? If not, perhaps you need to spend more time around service members.

One of the cool things about life on an overseas US military base is equal volunteer involvement by moms and dads in school life. Commanders are happy to allow and even encourage active-duty personnel to help out at the base school when duty requirements allow.

Unlike my experiences in stateside schools where the dwindling handful of stay-at-home moms shouldered the bulk of volunteer tasks with the occasional working parent taking a day off work to chaperone a field trip…

Habit #13 in my 30 day journey

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Who are you and what do you believe? How do you remind yourself?

“Just keep swimming,” Dory, Finding Nemo

Personal mottos are the things we tell ourselves repeatedly to keep us going, to remind ourselves of our priorities, and to remain on track. You may have just one or several.

Choosing only one personal motto for your entire lifetime is too much pressure. I’m going to choose one motto for this month.

Here’s what I’m going with:

My choices matter

I’m going to say this to myself several times throughout the day. Whenever…


15 comments you hope will make her think

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“So what do you think?” your friend leans over to ask you when her new boyfriend heads to the restroom.

Answering this is tricky if you can’t stand the guy. If you are honest you risk offending her and possibly losing her friendship if they become serious. On the other hand, you certainly don’t want to lie. Here are a few subtle ways to remain truthful while still sharing your opinion.

  1. He sure can talk a lot!
  2. He really does love his momma, doesn’t he?
  3. Let’s have a girls-only night next time.
  4. He is lucky to have someone like you…

Mary DeVries

Writing, wondering, and wandering across three continents. Living, Learning, and Laughing along the way. https://tinyurl.com/MaryDeVries

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