Organization and Technology


using technology to keep on trackMany people make resolutions each year and those same people sometimes find themselves wondering where the time went and how in the world they missed their goals.

It could be a goal of getting fit, getting organized, spending more time with the family or even being kind to themselves.

Whatever goal you’ve set, have you considered the technology you have right in the palm of your hand to help you reach and maintain those goals?

Let’s look at a few:

Getting Healthy:  

  • Daily Ab Workout (free) – Just what it says
  • MapMyRun GPS Running (free) – A tracking app that keeps up with your distance, pace and calories consumed/burned
  • Nike Training Club (free) – This app has over 100 featured drills that will help build your strength as well as endurance. You can also Track your progress and workout history.
  • Nike+ Running (free) – This app helps you to map your trail as well as distance, time and pace to record your progress.
  • My Net Diary (free) – Has a barcode scanner which allows you to track calories by scanning items.  You can record your exercises and it has various exercises listed for you.
  • Lose It (free) – Lose it helps you track your calories by scanning the barcodes of items.
  • My Fitness Pal (free) – Has a huge database of food to easily track your calories. With the bar code scanner you can easily track your calories.  You can diet with friends and encourage each other.  The report features are nice so that you can see everything in a glance.



Getting Organized:

  • Evernote – (free) from jotting down notes, blog ideas etc, you can organize as well as retrieve most things with this handy app.  It will sync with all of your devices.
  • CardMunch – (free) this is a business card reader that will scan and convert your business cards into address book contacts.
  • DropBox – (free) share documents, video files – etc. , keep necessary documents handy for instant access.
  • Instapaper – (3.99) When you want to save web content to read later, use this handy app to save them into one area to read later.


Miscellaneous Apps:

  • Life360 (free) – Very cool app that keeps families and close friends connected by being able to see where everyone is on a private map. Group and one on one messaging, emergency button and gps tracking.
  • My Verizon Mobile – Instant account access from phone or tablet.  You can easily update your account, monitor your usage and messages as well as pay your bills and more.
  • Lettrs – Sending a paper letter through snail mail & using technology to do so is amazingly simple. This free app lets you compose and send or you can post it as an open letter for everyone.  It’s handy, easy and fun

Family Game Apps:

Here is a link to some of the other apps that I adore

What are your favorite apps for helping you reach your goals?

Is there one that isn’t listed here that you just can’t live without?

Do you use technology to help meet goals and stay on track?

Share your thoughts and app suggestions in the comment section below and thank you for Spreading Joy to others who may not know about the apps that you love.


I’m part of the VZWBuzz Lifestyle Blogger Team.  For more helpful tips, hints and helps, please check out the weekly #VZWBuzz Twitter chat each Friday at 3pm EST as well as the Verizon Insider.  Good stuff! 


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The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

learned from walter


The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

After a few long weeks of chaos, busyness and not enough time with the Mr, we decided to have a date “day.”

This consisted of using some gift cards, lunch, movie, more shopping, coffee, dinner and a trip to the bookstore.  Side note: No date is complete without a trip to the book store.

Not knowing what was playing, I briefly viewed the comments about The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and thought it looked like a good movie, and besides, who doesn’t like a little day dreaming? Ok – another side note – that small statement just cause a brief moment of song “I like dreaming….dreaming can make you mine…”  (Does anyone else have that issue where random words and phrases will just cause them to break out in song? Surely I can’t be the only one.)


Without ever seeing previews or anything about the movie, we start out on our date.  Movie time rolls around and Ben Stiller – I must tell you young man, I was completely impressed.  Not to many movies resonate with me like this one did….but then again, you might be surprised to know that I’m a horror flick chick, so we are ALL thankful that horror, shoot-‘em up movies DON’T resonate with me….mostly….usually.

Again… ANYWAY…. (sorry…sorry back on track)

This is an awesome movie that simply encourages you to LIVE.

Many people have the bucket lists, but what are you doing to work on it? Are you saving some for that big trip? Are you exploring some states around you so that you can enjoy adventures in all 50 of the United States?  What are you doing to reach those goals?

Here are 10 things that I took from the movie:

  • Live.  Simple hmm? Do something that you love doing today.
  • Love.  Gosh – simple too? Let those that you love know it!
  • Explore – You don’t have to travel to Greenland or Iceland like Walter did, unless you want to – but explore! Every one of us have “historical” areas near us – Go…explore…have fun!
  • See.  Seriously – do we really see the beauty that is right around us?  Walter was completely surprised by the photo on the negative.  Open your Eyes!
  • Think of Others – Yep, that was there too! Walter brought back a skateboard for a friend from his journey.  Talk about Spreading Joy! He was thinking of others while he was on the mission to find the negative
  • Inspire. You never know who you will inspire.  Walter would have never been able to get into the helicopter with a drunken pilot if it weren’t for some kind words. A simple thank you inspired me to give a name to what I love doing – Spreading Joy.  Inspire Others!
  • About Courage. Courage comes when you need it, if you just take the first step.  Step out. go ahead… you’ll be just fine.
  • About Fear. If you think you are the only one that battles this beast – you’d be dead wrong.  We are all fearful. Be Bold!
  • About Assumptions. Don’t assume.  What you think you know or just saw, might not be what the actual truth of the situation is. Don’t assume.
  • About The Moment. Sometimes we need to just “enjoy” the moment. Don’t capture it with a photo, don’t record it – just ENJOY it.


Those were just a few things.  You may have seen different things and if you did, I hope you’ll share. Go see the movie or rent it when it comes out.



“Beautiful things don’t seek attention”

(My memory is horrible, I need to watch it again and add some of my favorite quotes to this page. Will likely do that – what were yours?)



Disclaimer: this is in NO way a Movie review.  Ben Stiller didn’t ask that I do this, and I haven’t received any kind of compensation for this article on his movie.  This is just a summary of a movie I saw with the Mr. on a random date and the things that I took from the movie.  You are free to leave your comments about the movie – good or bad, just keep it nice.  Everyone sees things differently.  I’d like to see how YOU see things.  Did I miss something?

What did you see? What was your favorite quote/quotes?

JOYn the conversation.  Do you have an actual review to this movie? You can feel free to leave the link in the comments below.





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Tragedy turned to Triumph

So Shines a Good deed in a weary world


You work hard to make ends meet.

You have little children that depend solely on you.

You can’t do much for them, but you decide to go and enjoy an inexpensive but fun meal at a local burger place.  You load the kids up in the double stroller and you walk there, singing and enjoying the time together.

You order your meal, get the kids situated and simply enjoy this time together….right?

Amazing how quickly circumstances can steal the joy of a fun meal right out from underneath you.

This is a true story.  The mom came out after her meal to find that her stroller had been stolen.

It wasn’t a BMW type stroller that was valued at $500.00 but it WAS hers and it was in excellent condition.

There isn’t extra funding to simply go right out and purchase another one.  There isn’t even a car for “quick” transportation to go and pick one up; because that is the reason she was on foot to begin with.

Can you imagine her shock when she, with two young children in tow.  One probably on her hip, the other, holding her hand and her stroller is gone?

Can you imagine the tears of frustration stinging her cheek? Can you imagine the disbelief running through her heart?


That’s where YOU come in.  YES…you. 

Every day, ordinary Spreading Joy Heroes! 

I find out about this, I take a few days and tell everyone I know and with the help of social media, and a few friendly phone calls – funds for a new stroller have been raised!

See what you did? Well, if that wasn’t blessing enough, there was extra given.  After speaking with the kind young mom, I found out that the kids birthdays were approaching.  PERFECT – I thought.

The extra can help to get them extra gifts for their birthday.

Tragedy turned into Triumph…

As you see, Spreading Joy is not just book bags filled with school supplies and Christmas Gifts to forgotten kids, but it’s much more than that.

It’s caring….every day! 

It’s spreading joy to others every day.  It’s taking the little that a LOT of us have, and doing something great with it.

Thank you for being a HUGE part of what we do!

Some give because they realize how great they are blessed.

Others give because they’ve “been there, done that” and KNOW how huge $10 gift is.

Others give because they want to show God’s love to those around them.

Regardless of the reason – THANK YOU!!  Thank you for being a huge part of Spreading Joy and impacting this young mom’s heart forever!  I’m sure her heart smiles each time she thinks about how people she didn’t even know came to her aid.

YOU are amazing at Spreading Joy!

Thank you for your financial gift and partnering with us to impact the hearts of others! Thank you for Spreading Joy across America with us! Thank you for your monthly support!

Have fun Spreading Joy!

Giving – Christmas JOY 2012

Christmas Joy

A time where we do what we can, where we are with what we have for some awesome ladies and their children.

We’ve hosted a Christmas Bash for the ladies and children of a local Women’s shelter for several years now and love it each time.  Watching these kids grow up has been a huge blessing to my heart and seeing them a few times a year reminds me that all the work, the emails, the asking for donations is completely worth it.

Putting together this event is hard work, but it’s always done with great love.  I’m thankful for the many many people that worked hard to make it possible and for the amazing financial donations that came through to bring Christmas to these kids.

We don’t get to select the toys, the food and drinks as we simply graciously receive what is given to us and turn right around, dress it up and pass it on with some fun and encouragement.  This year was no different!

There were over 170 total people in attendance this year.  The biggest we’ve ever had.

Everyone received a delicious meal from Olive Garden as well as the option of enjoying hot dogs, sloppy Joe’s, a wide variety of desserts, including gourmet cupcakes from Gigi’s of South Park and drinks.  There was no shortage of food and everyone ate to their heart’s content.

We split the parents and children so that the shopping could begin.  The excitement was high and soon the wrapping, laughter and fun would continue!

The kids shopped for 30 different candies! They were allowed to go through the shop twice and even received “extra” of some other candies! Their bags were HUGE when they finished!  They heard the Christmas Story, about how Jesus came as a baby; the shepherds visited and worshiped Him.  I love being able to share this with them as children can understand but also so that they can see that no matter what, children CAN make a difference and regardless of what kind of job you have, you matter.  The shepherds were the lowliest but on that night; they were the first to see the miracle of Christmas.

We then treated the children to a board breaking demonstration.  My son is a black belt in tae kwon do and connected the breaking with the fact that we have to trust God.  We don’t know what is going to happen when we “try” but trusting God will get us through.  The wood is pretty thick and he did three separate breaks.  1st break was with 1 piece of wood, 2nd was with 2 and then 3rd, using his elbow, was with 3 pieces of wood.  The kids were thrilled and many of them have a reminder of this because Todd signed each piece of wood for them putting his life’s verse on there for them to be reminded that God already KNOWS what we need.

WHILE all of this was going on, the ladies were hearing some encouragement of their own, shopping, wrapping, laughing and hearing a few stories of my youth from my cousin.

We talked about what we are becoming and how we can’t always see it or realize it but we ARE becoming so much more than we ever realized.

After all of this was done and the presents were wrapped and securely bagged away, we allowed the kids to walk through and pick out a toy or 2.  I love that they can have a small gift to take home with them.  None of the children complained about what kind of toys we had and so many were bubbling over with joy and happiness and were giddy with delight.  One little girl ran up to me and hugged me, exclaiming “Merry Christmas Ms. Marie!” I just hugged her and smile, fighting the tears, I whispered Merry Christmas!

Before allowing them to leave, I showed the mom’s the type of wood that was broken by banging it on the side of a pew.  They have requested a board breaking demonstration for THEM next year!  I hugged every single person as they were leaving, giving each child a pack of Reese’s Cups of their very own.  They are always soooo thrilled to get these and I will always be delighted to give it to them.

We were also able to give each family a bag of food to take home with them too, which was very much needed as well as a gift bag for the mom’s.

I can’t thank everyone enough for the help that was given, the financial contributions that are made by our Monthly Donors as well as those that faithfully give for each even that we host. 

Those that collected toys – you have no clue the impact on these hearts! Thank you!

Those that gave a financial gift – thank you for being a huge part of what we do and for continuing to support us!

Pastor Taylor and the members of New Grace – Thank you for helping, supporting us and for allowing us the use of your facility.  Your prayers and support are a huge blessing.

Thank you Olive Garden for the amazing meal that you provided for us and to the others that donated food for this event!

For those that gave their time and used their voice, thank you!

Thank you for Spreading Joy and for how you care!

Please watch the video below and see the smiles that you gave! I pray your heart is flooded with great joy knowing that you are the reason these kids are having a better Christmas then they normally would have. 




Thank you! 







20 Inexpensive yet Heartwarming Gifts

Christmas is a time for giving, loving and sharing. 

If you are like me, you have so many people you want to give to but finances just don’t allow you to give at the level your heart desires.  Instead of cutting people off of your list, adjust it a little bit with some inexpensive gifts that are easy to make and will warm the heart with fond memories.

Practical, easy….memorable…let’s get to it hmm?  (Read all the way to the bottom to see how easy it is to make gifts dipped in chocolate, I think you’ll be surprised.)

Talk about fun ways of spreading joy – this will be great fun!

Inexpensive, Easy yet Heartwarming Gifts:


  1.  Notes in a Jar – This gift can last an entire year long! A gorgeous jar from the dollar store and 365 notes, quotes, smiles and virtual hugs will warm hearts each day for an entire year!  You can easily doll up the jar with ribbon found in the dollar store as well.  Using notes like “Cause JOY”, “You Matter” to inspire them or use your favorite quotes.  If you know they love the Bible, mix it up with your favorite encouraging Bible Verses.
  2. Framed Photo – Give a gorgeous photo of the family that is already framed.  Take a beautiful sunset/sunrise photo and add a quote to it and frame that.  If they love the ocean or mountains, use a picture from there, add in a verse or quote and frame that.  Every time they look at it, joy will fill their heart with thoughts of you!
  3. Cup of Joy – Take a gorgeous coffee cup, tea cup and saucer and fill it full of sweet treats, coffee, coffee creamers etc for the coffee enthusiast in your world.  It will serve double duty as it holds some delicious treats as well as provides them a cup of warm thoughts throughout the year.
  4. Homemade Treats – Easier to do than you realize! Bake up a batch of brownies, chex mix or even dip some pretzels, marshmallows or Nutter Butter cookies in chocolate and drizzle with favorite sprinkles for a sweet gift.  You can get the little kids involved here and have a day of making memories as well as gifts.  The sky is the limit with these delicious gifts!
  5. Heartwarming, hand written letter – Sometimes there is just nothing better than a hand written letter of thanks, love and appreciation.  It can be read and re-read anytime!  You’d be surprised a just how heartwarming this gift truly can be.
  6. Photo Collage – We love photos and when you add 3 or 4 in one, the smiles just get bigger.  Make a photo collage of your times together, the parties or celebrations.  Do one with kids through the years, skipping a few years in between so they can see how they’ve grown.  If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this will surely be priceless!
  7. A box of Kisses – With the decorative boxes that are available these days, this will be super easy and bring lots of smiles each time a kiss is unwrapped.  Find a cute box, fill full of kisses and toss in a handwritten card and you are handing over a gift of love!  Mix it up by giving “hugs and kisses” together.
  8. Handmade Ornament – For the crafty types, this is quite an easy gift.  Me, not so much, but some of them, I feel like even I could do.  Take a clear round bulb, square or whatever you have, toss in some gifts you’ve cut off a garland, some shiny gift filler, or write on it with paint pens and poof, you’ve got an awesome gift that will be treasured each Christmas.
  9. Gifts in a Jar – Brownies, cookies, soups and spices can be amazing gifts when you toss all the dry ingredients in a jar, attach instructions and package in a fun, creative way.  Thousands of recipes will provide HUGE smiles as they are being prepared! If the jars are too expensive, use some Ziploc bags and then place in a Christmas Cello Bag that you get 10 in a pack from the dollar store.
  10. Personalized Cookie Plate – Using a Christmas plate from the dollar store and some markers, and a little baking in the oven, you can personalize this gift and then add some cookies you’ve prepared just for them.  The plate can also have a memory such as hand prints, feet prints etc.  When you combine a foot with 2 hands, you have an instant angel for Grandma and Grandpa.  Be sure to jot down what year and the age of the child.
  11. The Write Stuff – Give a nice journal and gel pens to someone.  On the first page tell them how thankful you are for them and that you hope they can fill this journal with warm thought s from their grateful heart.
  12. Board Games & Snacks – inspire a time of food and fun with friends with this gift. There is nothing like game night! Great laughter, lots of memories and some whining….if you are like me and lose most of the time.  PRICELESS!
  13. Note Cards and Stamps – A gift that will keep on giving! The stamps will cost the most, but you can get the cards for a buck at the dollar store.  Package it in a nice cello bag and know that your gift will encourage more than the one you gave it to.
  14. Fuzzy Socks & Lotion – What a nice treat for the often forgot about feet.  Use jergens or another non girly smelling lotion just in case someone is particular about smells, toss in some cute fuzzy socks and you’ll be warming hearts as well as feet.
  15. Cocoa – A cup, chocolate dipped spoon, chocolate dipped marshmallows, chocolate dipped peppermint stick and you’ve got a sweet treat!
  16. Strawberries and Chocolate – After you’ve dipped your strawberries, place them in some mini cupcake liners, put in a cute Christmas box and you’ve got a sweet treat that is sure to impress!
  17. Candies in a Jar – You’ve seen it in Cracker Barrel and other country stores, talk about easy to make. Purchase some fireballs, m&m’s, reese’s pieces or other old fashioned candy and toss it in a jar, add ribbon and card and instant goodness! Did I mention fireballs?
  18. Fudge a little bit – I’ve never made fudge but hear that it’s really easy.  Pour it into metal cookie cutters or muffin liners, wrap and you’ve got a perfect little gift that is sure to please.
  19. Personalized Survival Kit – By personalized I mean things that the recipient will adore, personalized. For instance, one year the kids got their dad a survival kit, it included his favorites & things he uses often: Honey bun, Starbucks cold coffee, BC Powder, cassette tapes from the thrift store, tie (also from the thrift store), note pad, pens, Sponge Bob stuff, gum, mints, and other things that I can no longer remember.  Point is – everyone has little things that they love and adore, why not package it up and make is special just for them.
  20. Video One True Media will take your pictures and make them into an amazing video for FREE.  What a gift!  Have fun gathering up all the memories and preparing them for a video that will easily import over to youtube.

There you have it! 20 easy, peasy ideas that are sure to warm the heart.

The thing you have to keep in mind is that people will love the fact you took the time to put something together like this for them.

Enjoy Christmas and other times of gift giving without the unnecessary guilt, even times of simple laughter together is a priceless gift that will last for a lifetime.

May I add in one more?  A Bonus:

The Spreading Joy Daily book, pair it with a mug, Reese’s Cups or just a note will be a gift that keeps on giving. You will be empowering others to make a difference without breaking the bank.  It’s filled with practical ideas for each day and you’ll find that as you make a difference, your heart will be flooded with great joy!  (PS, all proceeds goes right back into making a difference for others….double the joy.)


Ohh, I almost forgot -  Giving chocolate dipped items is really as easy as melt, dip, decorate and package.


Many of these white chocolate bars or milk chocolate bars have their own microwavable dish so the cleanup is easy.  For about 10 bucks, you can get 2 blocks of these melting candies, package of marshmallows, pretzel rods, graham crackers or my personal favorite Nutter Butter Cookies, dip, sprinkle with fun and package for gifting.

I’d love for you to post pictures of what you’ve done over at our fan page –

Also if you have a link on easy gift ideas, please do feel free to share it below in the comment section so others can be inspired and encouraged!

Spreading Joy is as easy as sharing this article on twitter, facebook, pinterest or emailing to your friends.  Use the handy buttons below to do so.

Thank you for your efforts in Spreading Joy and making a difference!


Powerhouse of JOY

I was gifted an iPhone 4s and immediately fell in love with it!  (Thank you honey!)

I love how quick it is, how I can have my music and even purchase music.  I love how everything is just right there….the JOY of easiness.  I’m a happy camper!

BUT – being a person that loves spreading JOY, I want it to be a powerhouse of JOY to others.  I’m hoping that after you read what I’m using, you’ll be able to suggest apps that will enable me to use this powerhouse gift in even a more JOYful way than I ever imagined!


I love being connected, but on my own terms.  I’m just that way.

To do this I have ALL notification turned off, with the exception of a few (and I’ll share that below) that I choose to have remind me of things.  I don’t even allow my email to publish to my phone automatically.  It’s just one way that I make sure that Social Media and technology work for me, not the other way around.

Here are the apps that I have…I use them to bring me great JOY as well as bring Others JOY.  (For the sake of time, I’ll only link to the lesser known apps. You don’t mind do you? hmm?)


Social Media:

Twitter – The Standard Twitter that comes with it is awesome to me.  But, in all fairness, I love Tweetdeck and have that on there…just incase.

Instagram – I love Instagram! I love seeing the things that bring JOY to others.  I love sharing photos (almost as much as I love sharing music)

Facebook – you’d think that I’d check fb more often than I do with the ease of this app…. [shrugs]

Skype – I love being able to see my family whenever we are apart.

Google + – still learning how to better use it for spreadingJOY but love seeing the things posted there when I hop in.

LinkedIn – Do people really find other jobs, connections and such with this? Maybe I’m not using it properly.


Fun Stuff:

Quotes WP – I love quotes. I love the motivation and inspiration found there

Weird Facts – I love relaxing and flipping through the #RandomFacts here. I will often tweet them with my initial reaction to them. #makesmesmile

Gives Me Hope – Short stories of hope.  Amazing how the little things truly make a difference.

Demotivation – the silly pics with “motivational” thoughts…just check it out, you never know, you may love it.

DoodleBuddy – I am not an artsy kind of gal and this is just plain fun.



YouVersion – Bible App. There are so many reading programs and bookmarking abilities.  You can share any verse and use just to read from the Bible.  I love the ease of this!

American Greetings – This is a free app and for now, the ecards are free.  I just saw recently that their site was charging to use it, so I’m not sure how long this will be free. I love how easily it works with my address book or my Facebook. This is one that I have reminders set for.  It will remind me of birthdays that are listed from my facebook friends.

Starbucks – mm mmmmm mmmmmm justsayin

Pinterest – I love this! I actually didn’t think I’d like it and that it would be just something else to keep up with.  I love the ease of seeing a picture that appeals and pinning it so that the entire article or recipe is there.

God Thoughts – This is one that I leave on the notifications.  I can set the amount of times I’m reminded to think about the Lord.  I have it set for the Max, 3.  You can easily tweet or Facebook the verse that is sent to you. (and I do…often)  I love this app.  Thank you @TheePottersHand for this gift of encouragement.

To create cute signs with quotes or my own thoughts:

I’m not artsy in any way, shape or form.  To be creative I use the free versions of the following to create cute pictures that will encourage.






Using these apps, the most non creative individual can have moments of creativity.  Total JOY!





TOO many to name and I’m sure a million more are being created as you read this!   Explore and have fun with this one.  But – if there is a tried and true one that you turn to time and time againPLEASE leave the name and link to it in the comments below!


Pandora – everyone loves that

NBC – love seeing shows on MY time

ABC Player – love full episodes

TV.Com – CBS player – keeps me close to the NCIS and CSI episodes that I love

Kindle – I looooove my Kindle, but when I can’t get to it, this is awesome to have

Olive Tree Bible Reader – You can get some awesome free books here too

Netflix – movie night with popcorn and m&m’s can happen anywhere



AngryGran – I don’t get this game. But I DO love wacking the people that go by with my umbrella.  LOLOL I know…that is just oooooozing of ick and not joy.

Words with Friends – I love this game, but I’ll tend to go 3 to 6 days before I remember it’s my move.  Remember, notifications are turned OFF.

Piano – This is for Megan

Whirly Word – I love this game.  You get 6 letters and make all the words out of it you can.  This game is all kinds of fun! I’ve only actually completely filled in 3 or 4 of the puzzles, so It can be a challenge sometimes.

Wordsearch – simple fun

BeJeweled – free version is just not long enough but it’s fun

Temple Run – I can’t turn the corners well, so it’s doubtful I’ll ever get past the first few turns.  No, I’m not even kidding.

Angry Birds – I have it, but suck at it, so I don’t play often.

Sky Burger – Megan has been to the moon on this one.  Me, I do ok. J This is a lot of fun.



MobileRSS – I love this! I can tweet the articles, email, Facebook and many others that I don’t even use.  If you love having all of your favorite blogs in your Google Reader, then this app is for you!  Read, comment and share.  Easy, peasy….done!  I just love easy!


I know that there is soooo much more that my powerhouse of JOY can do for me and others!  I also know that even as you read this, it is changing and more great things are being created!

I hope that you’ll take a moment to share with me the apps that you turn to time and time again!  (PLEASE….pleeeeeeeeeeese do)

I need easy – as technology is usually not kind to me.

I prefer free – I know that we often get what we pay for, but I’m just that way.  [shrugs]

I love fun.  Who doesn’t?

Thank you for sharing with all of us and helping us to get more out of the technology that just brings great JOY!



Sweet Little Things


mmmm mmm mmmmm complete GREATNESS!

I’ve always loved the little things in life.  Just to make sure that I wasn’t dreaming this, I verified it with my mother and she says, yes….it’s true.  If you don’t believe me, just take it up with her, but I wouldn’t recommend it as she is a feisty little booger and I completely adore her.


Sometime ago, I sent off a package to a self professed Reese’s Cup lover.  It was pretty sizeable package of peanut butter and chocolate goodness.  I will often mail off a Reese’s Cup or 3 for no reason at all and expect that it is received with the joy that it is intended….  Just a friend thinking of another and spreading joy to them.

Side note: I will “give” you your own package…but if MY package is open…don’t EVEN think I’m gonna share.  That is just not going to happen. :) 

This friend gets the box and is wowed by all the Reese’s Cup in one box.  I smile and am thankful that I could brighten the day.

About ten days later, I get a box in the mail with flaming duct tape.  I giggle with delight because the tape is a dead giveaway.  I don’t even need to see the return address as I KNOW who it was from.  I’m thinking “yuuuuuuum…. Chocolate chip muffins!!!!”

I rip into the box (huge box) and my heart nearly stops!  I’m blown away by the amount of Reese’s Cup, reesepieces and other peanut butter, chocolaty greatness that is in my box!  It had to be 4 times the amount that I had just shipped off a week or so prior! My heart was in awe at the amount!

I immediately tore into one (ok….3, but still) and started looking for where to hide the rest.  Some would go into the freezer for Megan but most of them were being stored away for when I needed a fix…errr, ummm  a treat.

I’ve said all of THAT to say this:

When you give what you can to make a difference for someone, your heart will be flooded with great joy! There is literally no escaping it.  Just do it.  Give.  Don’t worry about what, how much or things of that nature.


 Here is what I’m hoping you’ll do.

1st – if you’ve ever given little things like this tell us about it, what you did and how you felt afterwards.

2nd – if you’ve ever been on the receiving end of little things like this – tell us about it and what was the situation surround it.  How did it impact your heart?

Hearing these stories from you is important as they will give others courage to give what they can, regardless of what it is.

If you’ve ever received just ONE Reese’s Cup from someone, let us know what happened.  (or ONE thing out of nowhere.)

All too often we discount these things because we’ve forgotten how delightful it is to receive even the smallest gift for no reason whatsoever. 

It’s huge and my hope is that you’ll always remember just how wonderful it is.

So… tell me…. What’s your story about spreading JOY and about doing what you can, where you are, with what you have? Hmmm? 

Others need to hear it and your heart will enJOY thinking about it again….so do tell in the comment section below!


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Making Memories

give them memories

Maybe it’s because I just turned another year older recently.

Maybe it’s because the reality of an empty nest is upon me.

Maybe it’s because my baby will be graduating high school the same year my oldest baby is graduating college. (2013)

Maybe it’s because I never want to forget.

BUT lately, I’ve just been remembering and waltzing down memory lane.

It probably doesn’t surprise many of you to know that I’m a happy go lucky kind of gal.  Roll with it, fix what you can and smile through the rest.

Seriously, what else can you do? Right?

It’s in that kind of spirit that I wanted to give you some fun things to do to simply make memories.  After all, that will mean more to you than a clean house, money in the bank and a nice car one day.  Mom’s seriously, if someone comes over and you have a sink full of dishes but you PLAYED with your kids, smile and say – dishes can wait, my kids can’t.


Making Memories is as simple as:

  • Laying on a blanket looking at clouds and or stars
  • Having an afternoon tea party with your princess and her stuffed friends
  • Playing basketball in the yard
  • Painting fingernails
  • Walking in the park
  • Reading out loud together
  • Late night movie fests, with popcorn and m&m’s
  • Mail cards to your small children. They LOVE getting mail. (ok, mail cards to your child…period. ) We all love mail!
  • Take silly photos. Yes, we want the pretty family pictures, but always, always ALWAYS take the silly ones too.
  • Dream together.  Know what your children dream of doing.  Secretly work to make it happen
  • Toss the football
  • Handle problems together
  • Bake a cake and don’t wait for it too cool before frosting it and eating it. Such a treat.  And do NOT cut perfect squares.  Just scoop it out.
  • Try new recipes together. If they don’t turn out, laugh!
  • Share PB&J’s
  • Buy chocolate chip cookie dough for the sole purpose of eating it raw
  • Walk in the snow together. Try to catch snowflakes. Close your eyes and enjoy the coolness on your cheeks
  • Sing in the car! Sing loud.
  • Go to the park and swing.  If they have a tall sliding board, slide! If they have a see-saw, even better
  • Explore your city together.  Let your child take pictures.  You’d be surprised at what they love….pictures are worth a thousand words
  • Plan a day of NOTHING. NO chores, no dishes, no cooking – tell everyone – it’s a lazy day all around.
  • Let your child play with the camera on your phone and be silly with them.
  • Color. Seriously.  When is the last time you got a HUGE box of crayons and colored? (psst..make sure you color outside the lines)
  • Ask your child what made them smile this week.
  • Sit on the floor and play.
  • Have a mad, crazy game night.  Order in Pizza and play one board game after another
  • Hot Chocolate out with the kids
  • Picnic outside with an ordinary meal
  • Pop some popcorn and sprinkle with different flavorings. Try ranch, taco or even cinnamon sugar
  • Text your kids.  Seriously.  Text them randomness, facts of the day, verse of the day, silly photos.
  • Give turn down service. Leave a small piece of their favorite chocolate on their pillow and a note saying you love them.
  • Play in the rain.  Just do it.  Treat it like snow.  Have fun!
  • Hold hands.
  • Always play music from a juke box. ALWAYS. Do not let this opportunity pass you by
  • Have cereal for dinner
  • Enjoy the extra sprinkles without question
  • Roast marshmallows and hotdogs
  • Blow bubbles
  • Write on the porch or driveway with sidewalk chalk
  • Play hopscotch
  • Cry together.  (Not only will you make a wonderful memory of support, you’ll let your child know that it is ok to cry.)
  • Shower them with hugs and kisses. Even when they don’t want them. They will thank you for it one day
  • Always answer the question. Even if they’ve asked 100 times already.  Just answer it.
  • Eat cotton candy together
  • Collect sea shells together
  • Gaze at a rainbow
  • Volunteer together
  • Have water balloon fights
  • Play “cars” on the floor
  • Enjoy go-kart riding with your kids
  • Have dessert first
  • Experiment with homemade pizza.  Use tortilla shells, wraps or bagels.  Have fun creating different kinds
  • Have your kid’s friends over and have a peanut butter contest. See how creates the coolest sandwich w/peanut butter.
  • Dance with your kids.  Be footloose and fancy free
  • Catch lightning bugs
  • Make homemade banana splits or sundaes.  Have toppings galore
  • Spend time in a hammock together
  • Host a neighborhood art exhibit
  • Have a watermelon seed spitting contest. Only rule is EVERYONE must participate
  • Play in the sprinkler
  • Feed ducks
  • Enjoy a petting zoo together.  Pet something you are afraid of
  • Start a Thank you Journal, and add pics and notes about people who make a difference in your world and then DO something sweet for them
  • Start a lemonade stand and donate proceeds to Spreading Joy
  • Build a fort out of blankets and camp out in the living room
  • Play in the town of “____” with huge cardboard boxes
  • Silhouette art – draw an outline of your head and frame it.  Lamp without shade, black construction paper and it’s practically done.
  • Jump rope
  • Hula hoop
  • Play in the band.  Mom, grab that broom and make it sing! Pots and wooden spoons make great instruments
  • Make hand turkeys each year and watch how they grow
  • Make, freeze and enjoy frozen kool-aid
  • Whip up some mud pies.  Ohhhh the memories there.
  • Watch the rain together.
  • Go roller skating together
  • Disney for everyone
  • Make Snow Angels
  • Remember out loud with your kids.  Talk about the fun, silly, serious things that you love about each of them.
  • Send your child something unique to them for no reason. Again, everyone loves surprises in the mail
  • Go for a long walk
  • Fly a kite
  • Plan a scavenger hunt.  Do it at a mall with pictures, or at home.  Leave fun clues.
  • Cozy up by a warm fire and talk about nothing
  • Bake cookies together
  • Saturday Morning Cartoon Fest.  See if you can find some awesome cartoons of Yester Year.  Bugs Bunny, Road Runner etc.
  • Pancakes for everyone.  Make a wide variety, chocolate chip, banana or sprinkle in some cinnamon for a delightful flavor.
  • Is your child going on a sleepover or away for the weekend, week, summer etc? Slip a note into their bag telling them you’ll miss them and love them. This seems so very small, but is actually HUGE in their eyes.


Tell me, what are some things that you do to make memories?  What memories do you have as a child that has just stuck with you?

I love making memories with my kids

Please share them with us as you never know who you’ll inspire to do those things to make memories of their own.

Share your links that relate to making memories or ideas to make memories with your family! It will allow our readers to find you easily!


**photo credit – the top photo was taken with my amazing Nokia Lumia Icon that I received as a part of a wonderful group of Verizon Wireless influencers. No other compensation was given and all opinions expressed are my own.

Inspire us in the comment section below

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The Birth

The Birth is a stunning drama that literally has one simple focus…. The Birth of Christ.


I had the privilege of a sneak preview via the Producer Nathan Rouse and found it nothing short of amazing.


With obvious love for what they do and the message they are presenting, the cast pours their heart into each of their roles as they focus on the one thing that is so often overlooked during the Christmas Season, The Birth.


As you listen to the actors, hear the music and see the performance, your mind will resonate with the characters as you consider their words. Me, personally – I was struck by the Inn Keeper.  He saw them from a distance and knew what they wanted and the MILLION things he had going on instantly told him he didn’t have time for them.  I wonder how many of us get so busy during the Christmas Season that we are just like the Inn Keeper and don’t have room for the very One we are celebrating.

This production is a refreshing reminder to focus on The Birth of Christ.  It is done in a fashion that anyone, even those that are not active in a church, can enjoy.

If you are available to see The Birth, I hope that you will.  Go with a group or with a special someone, regardless, you are in for a treat!

If you look at the materials on the website and decided you’d like to have the crew do a performance in your Church, please Contact them, you’ll be glad you did.


Thank you Nathan for inviting me! It was an honor and pleasure to meet you! I’m excited to see where The Birth will be headed in years to come!


To Purchase your Tickets – Click Here



  • Starving Artist Productions’ SIXTH YEAR staging The Birth.
  • Performing eight shows (or more if needed) over 7 days at the Duke Energy Theatre at Spirit Square in uptown Charlotte.
  • Shows run December 12 – 19, 2011
  • Show times, tickets and more information can be found at
  • Show has been twice-nominated (2009 & 2010) for Creative Loafing’s “Theatre Event of the Year”
  • “The Birth” is available for a limited number of private engagements for the holiday season
  • The Birth will host its annual Celebration Event with show and concert on Saturday, 12/17.
  • Check out previous reviews and stories about “The Birth” from Creative Loafing and the Charlotte Observer at
  • The show features both original and traditional holiday music and is based on the writings of Pulitzer Prize nominated author and theologian, Frederick Buechner.
  • Source material for the monologues is from The Magnificent Defeat by Buechner.

Here’s a video of the Cast performing Shepherd’s Song

Shepherd Song – The Birth – from Starving Artist Productions on Vimeo.




Rocks on My Desk

I think collections are pretty cool.  We all have them and they’ve changed as we change.  When I was younger, my room was full of stuffed animals, bells and unicorns.

I loved the feel of the soft plush babies and animals! Everyday I would arrange them randomly on my bed.  My unicorns and bells were on my shelves and counters.

I still have ONE unicorn from my original collection, a Christmas Ornament that I hang on my tree each year.

I hang an ornament like this every single year!

When I married, I couldn’t take them all with me, so I started giving them away to the children that I worked with each week. With the exception of  a monkey that I got when I was 11, I packed up all of my stuffed animals, hoping to “save” them and I don’t recall what became of my bells.  Odd.

Fast forward to today.  I collect spoons from the various places I travel and without realizing it, I collect rocks.  The top shelf on my desk has about 50ish rocks there.  Each rock was carefully selected by a precious little princess and brought in with a gleaming smile.  After receiving a huge thank you hug, the adorable princess, Megan, would  scamper off with her heart soaring because she gave me a treasure.  The unique thing about this collection is that I never once told Megan that I collected rocks.  I don’t.  BUT…I truly do love rocks.  All shapes and sizes.  Don’t ask why, as I haven’t got a clue.

It started when I was younger.  We’d travel to the mountains and I’d see smooth stones, flat rocks or sparkly rocks and would admire them.  Even now when I go on hikes or nature walks, I’m draw to huge rocks, especially if they are near a river, creek or even ocean side.  Nothing like sitting on a HUGE rock near a body of water.  I could sit and gaze for hours.

Here are some collections that I’ve run across:

Largest collection of Hair

Toilet Seats

Sugar packets – who knew?

Condiment Packets

Toast Portraits 


Do you collect anything without realizing that you do? Look around, you may be surprised.

Let me take a peek into what brings you joy…. tell me – What do you collect?

Is that different than what you collected as a child?