Auntie Em's Guide to Life

A guide to all the important things in life- marriage, family, cooking, gardening, reading, travel, Christian living… And whatever else grabs my attention!

A Merry Heart– March 17

A merry heart is good medicine…

Proverbs 17:22

Good morning! Get your tissues ready– this is one of the best videos I’ve ever seen.

A shout-out to Modern Mrs. Darcy for highlighting this video. Please read her article The Peculiar Sadness of Somebody Else’s Happy Video if there are sad tears. But the good news is, even if you didn’t come from a “happily-ever-after” kind of family, you can make your own. My parents weren’t; nor were either sets of my grandparents (whom I didn’t know). But I knew a lot of what NOT to do, and had a very good friend who became a counselor (Teekay), and I gave her plenty of practice!

Isaac did a proposal video before this one, which is also a feel-good fest. I have a feeling this couple does indeed have the best ahead of them.

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Beauty for Ashes

When Sunshine was in first grade, her school nurse gave her a vision screening and she failed it. We followed up with a professional exam. When it was over, the doctor sent all the kids out into the waiting room, looked me in the eyes and said, “There is a problem…Blah blah… Amblyopia….blah blah… Strabismus… Legally blind in that eye…”

If you are a mother you can understand that I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach and had all the air let out of me.

Visit me at Deep and Wonderful Thoughts to hear “the rest of the story”! It’s part of Lisa’s “Beauty for Ashes” series.

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Since I haven’t been able to get a new post out this week, let me share one from my sweet friend TeeKay– she sings from the same hymnal that I do– as a matter of fact, she gave me the hymnal! She’s the CEO of my Board of Directors!


A Thimble’s worth of wisdom

Take Your Medicine!

Hypothetically, if you get sick, go to the doc, and the doc prescribes a medicine to help you get well, would you take the meds? The medicine is proven safe, is legal, has no side effects, and works well. I think most of us would take the doctor’s advice to take the medicine. That sounds reasonable and acceptable.

But how many of us become exhausted, overwhelmed, frustrated or just emotionally drained, and still do not take care of ourselves by taking the prescribed medicine, which most often is to simply stop the rat race and breathe. Rest, take care of your mind and body, and get better. Take a break and say NO to unnecessary commitments.

That seems so hard to understand and maybe even harder to do.  We can make the decision to do what we know is best for our…

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Battling Unrealistic Expectations

Have you ever had a beautiful plan for Christmas and then been disappointed? Then your whole Christmas is ruined? Join me over to A Biblical Marriage and let’s get our battle plans ready before we see all the ideas on Pinterest that we don’t get done and feel like LOSERS!!

(If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas in southeast Texas, you’re going to be disappointed… this was my house in January 2010, and the first covering snow we’ve had like that in 35 or so years!)



Auntie Em’s Guide to Lazy Girl Housekeeping

How do you rate your housekeeping skills? (HINT: This is not me!)

lazy housekeeping

I’m over at Mel’s Mouthful on Mothering, in South Africa, today, writing about Lazy Girl Style! Pop on over and visit. Then leave me some ideas; I need them!

Busy housekeeper picture


Back to the Future– A Letter to My Mom

Here’s your Hallowe’en treat! For my first official guest post, I asked my friend Kelly from Exceptionalistic! She has a sweet blog, with beautiful photography, giveaways, book reviews, recipes, crafts, and glimpses into her life. Jump on over and visit!

It’s an honor to post here at Auntie Em’s this week. Melinda is such a sweetheart. I’ve enjoyed getting to know her over the past few months. It’s as if we’ve been friends forever. It seems almost like we’ve always known each other. To be honest I love reading her blog and hearing her thoughts.

I decided to post today about relationships. Particularly the parent and child relationship. Now that I’m a mom I know what it’s like to be concerned and worry about my kids.

I was a good girl but I’m sure I make my parents worry a bit.

If I could go back to high school and have a conversation with my mom, I’d jump at the chance. I’d take her to dinner, buy her some flowers, and tell her:

You don’t need to worry about that older guy. He isn’t the one. We will fight back and forth a bit over the four year age difference. In the end it won’t matter. I won’t forget that you gave us a chance even though you were against it. It will show me you are ready (even if you aren’t) for me to become an adult and make my own decisions.

I’ll never forget the encouragement and support in my decision to start college while still in high school. It will allow me to spread my wings and gain independence. Even though it may seem as if I’m pulling away, I’m actually growing closer to you.

I’ll take you up on your college proposal and I’ll make you proud. I’ll succeed in college and even graduate early to save you some money. I’ll grow closer with you by staying at home and graduate without student loans. I’ll learn the value of my education and your generosity.

Your amazing parenting skills will teach me everything I need to know about how to be an adult, a wife, and a mother. So much so that we’ll become the best of friends. You’ll be the one I turn to for advice. You’ll be the one I turn to during some very difficult times. You’ll be my rock. I love you.

As I journey through the next few decades of parenthood I’ll think about the lessons I learned growing up. I’ll remember the empowerment my parents gave me. I’ll do my best to remember all of this again in another ten or so years when my little ones are teenagers!!

Is there anything you’d tell your parents if you could go back?



A Hallowe’en TREAT

Next Wednesday I’ll be guest posting at Exceptionalistic, and sweet Kelly will be be blogging here. It will be my first switch-up and I’m so excited!

Kelly’s blog is a few months older than mine, and she knows a LOT about blogging! She has helped me out many times, and is so kind about it… says she wants to give back, and be a blessing! Well I’m giving her ample opportunity! She has two regular weekly features, Matrimonial Monday and Into the Word Wednesday, that I link up to every week.  She’s shared her heart and some heartbreaking stories on her “All About Me A-Z” series. She does some book reviews and giveaways. (I want to get there but I’m not yet.) She shares yummy recipes and takes some beautiful pictures!

She’s just plain adorable and I hope you all visit her blog and tell her Auntie Em sent you! Then tune in on Wednesday and see what she has to say.

Plus she’s the spitting image of Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden. Can you guess which one is which?


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Lucy Ricardo Strikes, Again!!

I had to share this– simplyjuliana and I have been friends a loooong time, like since junior high! And we both foot a belly laugh out of this one! Auntie Em

Leave it to me!  Yesterday Auntie Em wrote me and told me her number of hits had almost doubled!  She became suspicious and went to the post that was getting numerous hits from all over the world!  She began to read.  All seemed perfectly normal.  The only thing different was she used the term “BFF”.  She began to think, “What if that has another meaning besides “Best Friends Forever”?  Being the smart Auntie Em she is, she researches it out.  She types in the particular phrase.  PLEASE, DO NOT DO THIS!  Sure enough, something terrible came before her eyes.

I began to roll in the floor laughing until I cried!  I began to think, “I am not the Lucille Ball…SHE is!”  I began to think “Thank God nothing like this has EVER happened to me on one of my post!”  Finally, the laugh is not on me for a change!! …

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Auntie Em’s Board of Directors

Who influences you? Who is your role model? Whose style do you study and copy?

We all are influenced by someone. I think it is wise to examine yourself, determine where you need guidance, and then deliberately choose your role models, instead of just accepting the ones who are shoved at us day in and day out. (Paris Hilton, anyone? Maybe not.)

For Style:

I have always been very intrigued by the British Royal Family. I was born just a few months before Princess Diana, and she was one of my stars for a long time. I wore ruffles and opaque tights like she did. I coveted a sapphire and diamond ring; never got one, but I did get a really nice knock-off! I was very sad about all her personal problems, marriage breakup, and untimely death. Now I’ve shifted my style love to her daughter-in-law, the Duchess of Cambridge. If only I were 9 inches taller I might could pull off some of her looks! However, what I love about her besides her great fashion sense and beauty is her modesty, confidence, kindness, and sense of duty. She seems very comfortable in her skin, and those are great qualities to emulate.

In real life, my colleague at work, who is 16 years younger than I, is my role model. My guiding principle has always been comfort, and if I liked an article of clothing in 1986, then I probably still do! In our first year of teaching together, she hid my bathing suit (that I was so proud of, being able to fit in it 15 years after I bought it), then took me on a “What not to wear” shopping expedition! I also consult my daughters- I don’t want to be one of those women who, at 50, is trying to look 25, but a little fashion sense never hurt anyone!

The designer and decorator Laura Ashley managed to capture my decorating tastes completely. I bought several of her books to give me starting places. I love Shabby Chic and have recently discovered Pottery Barn.

For things spiritual: of course the authors of the Bible, but some others have influenced me too.

C.S. Lewis has written some of the best, most thought-provoking literature I’ve ever read. His children’s series (The Chronicles of Narnia– if you haven’t read them, go get them TODAY!) are perfectly entertaining as stand-alone stories, but so much deeper when you look at them through the lens of his Christianity. His Screwtape Letters and Mere Christianity are 2 of my all-time favorites. He has influenced me time and again.

Andy Stanley, the senior pastor of Northpoint Community Church in Alpharetta, Georgia speaks the Truth so eloquently and creatively; every time I listen to him it’s like a V-8 moment!

For mothering: My sister. She is 5 years older than I am, and I got to spend lots of time with her and her young kids before I ever married, so I had a lot of experience going into motherhood.

For music: my piano teacher, Jay. I took lessons from him from 8th grade through college, and a bit again after all the children were here and I needed to work my brain. Then he taught both my girls, so we have maintained a close relationship. If I can’t remember the name of a piece of music, I call him and hum it; he will be able to tell me what it is!

For mental and emotional health. TeeKay of . She left her position as choir teacher to study counseling. I got her job, and the benefit of her new career! She has been a friend and mentor for 30 years now.

For cooking: My mother-in-law and Paula Deen… Use more butter!

For wisdom in decision making: Mr X. He is very level-headed, and can see all sides of a situation easily. He can anticipate problems so that we can work them out in advance, which is very hard for me. I always think everything will work out just fine!

For how to be kind and giving, and to “bloom where I’m planted”: my mother. My goodness, she was the sweetest person you could meet. She took care of people – that was how she related to everyone. She was a 2nd grade teacher, and everyone I ever knew that had her or worked with her praised her kindness. After her stroke, when she lived  alone in an apartment complex, she was the young one of the circle of little old ladies living there. She organized domino games, took them out to eat, drove them to the grocery store or ran errands for them. . When she moved into a nursing home the last 3 years of her life, she had the same sweet spirit among the residents– she was a party waiting to happen!

So dears, think about it. In what areas of you life do you need encouragement or improvement? Choose a board of directors for yourself!


Be Anxious for Nothing!

Do you ever worry over something like a dog with an old bone? You chew on it, take it out and look at it a while, turn it over and over to examine it from all angles, talk about it to your friends, maybe make a Facebook post about it, MAYBE pray about it, then go right back to chewing? (Do I sound like the voice of experience? GUILTY.) I recently read on that great source of sound doctrine, Facebook, (My tongue is firmly in my cheek, but I have so many wise Christian friends that I do call it my Facebook Bible study!) that “Worry is saying that God can’t handle our problems.”

Philippians 4:4-8 is a great kitchen-wall Scripture… the challenge comes in living it!

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (NASV)

The cure for worrying is right here in Philippians. Rejoice in the Lord. When? Always. You mean when there’s lots more month, and not much money? Yep. When my son is failing a class? Un-huh. When my daughter insists on dating a loser? You bet. When I’m sick? Then too. And the reason we rejoice is there too: The Lord is near. Remember, He said He would be with us ALWAYS, even till the ends of time. (Matthew 28:20)

And look a little further. God invites us to talk to Him about what is worrying us. Don’t worry about it, but talk to me (prayer), and tell Me what you’d like (supplication, requests). Thank Me. (Thank You Father for inviting me to talk to You, for wanting to talk to me, for being concerned about my problems. Thank You for what You will do in the situation and in me.)

What will happen? The peace of God will guard our hearts and minds. I love that! My mind needs guarding, because it can go crazy! You’ve done it too, haven’t you, when your child is out late and you hear a siren, or you get called back into the doctor and you have your funeral planned before you get there?

I want to throw in another thing about guarding our hearts and minds. Yes, God is all powerful, but we have brains that I believe we should use. Be careful, dearies, about what you allow in your heart and mind. Pay attention; examine yourself, and figure out what makes you anxious. Then get it out of your life if you can. It is silly to ask God to remove your anxiety while you are ingesting a steady diet that will worry you, just like scooting a book closer and closer to the edge of a table and asking God not to let it fall!

Our modern culture is a worry-maker, and I believe you have to actively fight NOT to allow it to. The very pace of it is exhausting… there’s always something to do, people to talk to, problems to hash and rehash… I’ve chosen to avoid any political show that is not informational– I don’t want to hear people argue, interrupt and talk over each other, with no real interest in having a meeting of the minds. I get the facts in simple lists, and I will vote, but I’m not going to spend a lot of energy listening to “hype.” I used to watch the Law and Order SVU all the time, but I realized that the depravity of the bad guys was just letting too much darkness into my life. One of my favorite book series was Tess Gerritsen’s Rizzoli and Isles, which was much darker than the TV series. With my tendency to depression, I finally decided that it was unwise to expose myself to that kind of literature.

So here’s your challenge, should you choose to accept it: Confess your worry. Tell God that you know He can handle it. Thank Him for His constant love for you and whoever you’re worrying about. Quit talking about it! Find some applicable Scriptures and write them on index cards, rewording them to fit your situation. Avoid anything that makes you feel worse.

So keep that poster on your Facebook wall, and the Scripture verse on your kitchen wall, but be sure and get the passage in your heart!

TeeKay from A Thimbleful of Wisdom, Juliana from simplyjuliana, and I are teaming up to do a series on Philippians every Wednesday in September. We started last week with “Work in Harmony“; and next week will be Whatever… But for today, it’s a favorite “kitchen wall Scripture”…


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