Category Archives: All-Or-Nothing

iPhone Mommy

I admit it…I spend WaY ToO MuCh time on my phone.  It is a habit I have been saying I am going to stop for a long time, but have yet to accomplish.  It would be bad enough if I was taking time away from my kids by just talking on the phone, but we all know that is not what I am doing.  I hop around from email, to Facebook, to Pinterest, to Twitter and sometimes throw in a game of skee-ball.  The problem is…NoNe of this is more important than my kids!  If you are hooked  on your phone and have been trying to stop, this letter written by Tonya Ferguson on her blog 4 Little Fergusons might just be what you need to finally put it down.


Dear mom on the iPhone,

I see you over there on the bench, messing on your iPhone. It feels good to relax a little while your kids have fun in the sunshine, doesn’t it? You are doing a great job with your kids: You work hard, you teach them manners, have them do their chores.

But Momma, let me tell you what you don’t see right now …

Your little girl is spinning round and round, making her dress twirl. She is such a little beauty queen already, the sun shining behind her long hair. She keeps glancing your way to see if you are watching her.

You aren’t.

Your little boy keeps shouting, “Mom, MOM watch this!” I see you acknowledge him, barely glancing his way.

He sees that too. His shoulders slump, but only for a moment, as he finds the next cool thing to do.

Now you are pushing your baby in the swing. She loves it! Cooing and smiling with every push. You don’t see her though, do you? Your head is bent, your eyes on your phone as you absently push her swing.

Talk to her. Tell her about the clouds, Mommy. The Creator who made them. Tickle her tummy when she comes near you, and enjoy that baby belly laugh that leaves far too quickly.

Put your eyes back on your prize: your kids.

Show them that they are the priority. Wherever you are, be ALL there. I am not saying it’s not OK to check in on your phone, but it’s a time-sucker: User beware!

Play time at the park will be over before you know it.

The childhood of your children will be gone before you know it.

They won’t always want to come to the park with you, Mommy. They won’t always spin and twirl to make their new dress swish. They won’t always call out, “WATCH ME!”

There will come a point when they stop trying, stop calling your name, stop bothering to interrupt your phone time.

Because they know …

You’ve shown them, all these moments, that the phone is more important than they are. They see you looking at it at while waiting to pick up brother from school, during playtime, at the dinner table, at bedtime.

I know that’s not true, Mommy.

I know your heart says differently.

But your kids can’t hear your words, Mommy. Your actions are screaming way too loudly.

May our eyes rest upon those we love, first and foremost, and may everything else fall away in the wonderful, noisy, sticky-fingered glory of it all.


~Robyn (Jersey Girl)


Filed under All-Or-Nothing, Family, Friends, Getting Real, Hard Reality, Kid Stuff, Life, Parenthood, RANDO•RAMA, Relationships

Leader from Whose Perspective?

Right off the bat I know there are going to be many of you who are going to disagree with me…and that is OK.  This is just my opinion and I don’t expect everyone to feel the same way that I do.  That being said, in light of the recent news coming out of Penn State and the death of Joe Paterno I strongly feel that more needs to be said in support of the boys who were failed by a system they trusted.

Prior to having my children I was a first grade teacher for 8 years.  During that time I took my responsibility to the children I taught very seriously.  Not only was it my job to keep them safe while they were in my care, but it was my obligation to report any signs of abuse they may have been experiencing while at home.  There were always teachers who would look the other way in order to not “cause trouble”.  I however was not one of them.  I couldn’t live with myself if I knew of or suspected something and didn’t report and FoLlOw Up on my suspicions.  Children often have a hard time expressing themselves and I knew I may have needed to be their “voice”.

In the Penn State tradgedy it is my opinion that simply “reporting” the alleged incident was NoT enough.  A TrUe and TrUsTeD leader would have gone above and beyond no matter what the consequences would hold for the school or football program to make sure action was taken to protect all children.  If you want to be a leader you must make difficult decisions in the best interest of those you serve.  Joe Paterno looked the other way in exchage for continuing his legacy.

No amount of football wins can undo the pain that has been suffered by innocent children and their families.  I wonder if those who have been so quick to look past this inaction and lack of leadership when it ReAlLy counted would feel this way if it was their brother, son, grandson, or friend who was one of the abused.

If you suspect someone is suffering any type of abuse please do the right thing. You only get one chance to make a difference.

~Robyn (Jersey Girl)


Filed under All-Or-Nothing, Getting Real, Hard Reality, Life, People, Relationships, Uncategorized

I’m Not There

Do you ever read our posts or talk to someone and think, I am NOT feeling it or I am NOT there?  I have moMenTs like that. Someone may share with me their weight loss journey or new cleaning routine, and in my mind I’m thinking how exercise and cleaning are the last things on my mind right now!

We all need time to shut off our mind now and then.  Often times the bEsT mEdiciNe is taking a break from it all!  Can I hear an “Amen!”?  There are days I need silence.  No to-do lists, no challenges, and no radio or phones ringing in the background.  I just need to escape.

Your escape may be as short as an afternoon, or in certain areas of your life, it may be for months or years.  The good thing about being surrounded by people/things that inspire you is that they are there when you are ready to tackle the world again.  We can’t escape forever, but after we catch our breath, the resources for a pOsiTive outlook on life will be there to greet us when we are ready.  Better yet, these resources may be a pleasant surprise and assist you in an area of your life when you least expect!

So if you are currently on a getaway, know that you are weLcoMe on our sofa anytime.  We are happy to have someone to share our thoughts with and completely understand if you aren’t quite there yet :)



Filed under All-Or-Nothing, Getting Real, Life


Sometimes in life you just have to “LaUgH OuT LoUd”.  That is, at YoUrSeLf.  Stop taking yourself so SeRiOuS (and trying to impress people) and just roll with it.

This happened to Lara and I a few months ago.  We were trying something new on our blog – using a SmArTpHoNe to record a video.  We really don’t do many videos of ourselves and are trying to branch out to help our readers take a PeEk at our everyday lives.  In an attempt to video ourselves and then transfer the videos to YoUtUbE, we (or should I say, I) inadvertantly submitted our videos to Facebook and didn’t realize it until 16 hours later.  One of those videos was the “SuRpRiSe” announcement (the “Live It List” challenge prize – a Coach purse) that was not to be “AiReD” until a week later.  Fortunately, I realized the mistake and only 6 viewers were PriVy to that announcement before I took the video off of Facebook.

What to do?

LaUgH.  OuT.  LoUd!!

We learned a lesson and got a GoOd LaUgH at the same time.

Are there things in your life that you would like to try to do, but are afraid you will make a fool of yourself?  Do them anyway, unafraid of looking SiLLy.  And then be ready to LOL.  You will be able to enjoy yourself, your life, and all those silly moments that life sends your way, a whole lot more, when you do.



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{Peace With Food}

This past April, on the Suede Sofa, Lara and I began a 6-month challenge encouraging our readers to pursue a dream or a goal.  My PeRsOnaL ChAllEnGe was to have PeAcE WiTh FoOd.  I’ll have to admit, although the challenge ended October 1st, I’m still working on that.  In fact, this has been a work in progress for um…. well over 25 years.

I first gained excess weight when I was a sophomore in high school.  During the following summer I joined WeiGhT WaTcHeRs and lost all the weight I had gained.  Because I was an athlete it wasn’t too difficult keeping it off.

Then came college.  I gained the “FrEsHmEn 15” plus some.  Having the freedom to eat whatever I wanted and whenever I wanted, those pounds didn’t come off fast or easy.  The rest of my college years I saw my weight go up and down.  Mostly up.  By the time I got married, 10-plus years after college graduation, I had managed to get back to my HiGh ScHooL WeiGhT.  What a relief!

Then came children.  The scale went up once again.  Over 50 pounds.  But after my 2nd child was born I decided to GeT SeRioUs about losing the weight.  I was tired of all the fluctuations and wanted to establish life-long habits that would sustain the loss.

So, in April of 2009, after having a “CoMe To JeSuS” talk with myself I decided I would do whatever it took.  I had actually begged myself, in the “SpiRiT oF ExPeriMenTatiOn”, to try eating really healthy (lots of fruits and vegetables) and eliminate (for the most part) all junk food for just three months.  Along with eating healthy I wanted to exercise a lot, which wasn’t that big of a deal as it had already been part of my lifestyle.  So the decision was made.  I would live with ReCkLeSs AbAndOn and find out once and for all if this would “work” for me.  Well, three months later, I was 25 pounds lighter, so I guess the answer would be “Yes”.


If you are looking only at the numbers then the answer would be “Yes”, but if you looked at what was going on InTerNaLLy, the answer would be “No”.  Even though I reached my goal exactly by the date I had set, I wasn’t happy, nor at peace.  Immediately after hitting my goal of my all-time low I began to gain weight.  Over the next six months I gained about 13 pounds.  So once again I decided to go on a strict diet and lose the unwanted weight.

TaKe TwO:

This time around I TrAcKed My ProGreSs very closely.   I included everything from what caused my “mess-ups”, the time of the day I messed up, what was going on internally, etc.  The information was invaluable and as a result I have written about all my lessons in a book I hope to get published sometime soon.

On this second try I worked out even harder and lost even more than I had the first time around.  But due to an All-Or-NoThiNg mindset when I failed to reach my goal on the date I had set (I was only four pounds away) I threw my hands up and totally lost control for about a month which resulted in me gaining much of the weight back.

TaKe ThReE.

I’m on my third take, but this time is different.  I have a NeW oBjeCtiVe.  It is not a number on a scale or a number (a.k.a. a certain size) on the tag of a piece of clothing.  No more QuiCk FiXeS.  No more CraZy DiEts.  No more excessive workouts just to lose a pound or two.  No more being fixated on food whether that is dreaming of what I am going to eat, or being obsessed with eating only a certain kind or amount of food and staying within those strict limitations.

Instead it is…




Plain and simple.  And the contentment that comes with knowing that FoOd DoeSn’t RuLe My LiFe.

I’ll be sharing with you the LeSsoNs I have learned.  They have worked for me.  Maybe some will speak to you.  Others you may find obsolete.  Take what works and leave the rest behind.

If you find yourself on this journey I pray you FiNd HoPe and then the CouRaGe to take the steps to get to FrEeDoM and PeAcE WiTh FoOd.



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Filed under All-Or-Nothing, Inspiration, Peace w/ Food, You

It’s Called {Life}

From time to time I do a CoOkiNg shOw on our local cable channel.  Because I live in a small town (pop. about 9,000) the viewing audience is relatively small.  The last show I did featured home-made AppLe bUttEr and PoPcoRn BaLLs.  The popcorn balls were a recipe my dad would make when I was a KiD.  Because of the NosTaLgiC element of this treat, I decided to make these for the audience.  I remembered my dad whipping them up in no time flat and wanted to share a quick, easy, SwEeT tReAt.  So, I called my dad, he gave me the recipe off the top of his head, and I was off and running.  I did a practice run and they came out PeRfEcT.  I was ready to feature them on the cooking show.  So I ThoUgHt. 

Then came time for the ShOw.  Everything was going along fine until it came time to form the popcorn balls.  The host and I began to form the sweetened popcorn into balls.  That is we began to “TrY” to form the sweetened popcorn into balls.  Unfortunately our efforts failed.  The mixture just would not stick together.  The only thing it did was StiCk To oUr HaNdS.  Oops!

We continued the show and did the best job we could.  Turns out that when the show was over, the mixture very easily formed into balls.  It just needed a little TiMe To CoOL.

I suppose I could have stopped the taping and asked if we could start over, but hey, ThIs is LiFe.  And life isn’t perfect.  So, as I am learning, I did the BeSt I could with the ReSouRcEs I haD.  Because afterall, it’s called “LiFe”.



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Filed under All-Or-Nothing, Good Life, Hard Reality, Life

Use The Resources You Have

If you’ve been following our blog you may have seen me talk about dealing with an “All-Or-Nothing” mindset.  I struggle with this thinking and am diligently working to change this crazy TrAiN Of ThouGht.  Here is one thing that is helping me out a GreAt dEaL.  I recently have adopted the thinking, “Use The Resources You Have”.  I actually say this to myself and Lara & I talk about it often.  This gives me “PerMisSiOn” to continue on even when the situation is not “PeRfEcT”. 

So what, that I’ve MeSsEd uP, had a rough day, got off to a bad start or things just aren’t going like they are suppose to go?  I ReFuSe to have the mindset, “May as well throw in the towel for today.  I’ll start again tomorrow.”  I won’t mess up the rest of my day with that notion.  Instead I’ll use the resources I have.  In this case, it is the ReSt oF tHe DaY – completely free of mistakes and disappointments.  Who knows what good thing may be just around the corner?

What are you lacking in?  Time, inspiration, money, education, energy, health, a good childhood, etc.  It really doesn’t matter.  What matters is what you Do HaVE. 

I don’t know if this advice will help you, but it sure has helped me.  Do I have this MaSteReD?  No, but I’m a work in progress.  A LittLe At a TiMe.



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Most Valuable Player

A month or so ago I had the opportunity to speak to a group of CoLLeGe students about following their DrEaM and fulfilling their PoTeNtiaL.  I took this trophy along and told them how I had wanted so badly to be named the MoSt VaLuAble PlaYer in BaSkeTbAll my senior year of high school.  Instead, on awards night, I took home the “BeSt DeFeNsE” trophy.  Defense always was my best asset.  Still, it was a disappointment, even though I knew that award of Most Valuable rightly belonged to another PlAyEr.

The point I made by bringing this trophy along for my talk was that each person is the “Most Valuable ____________ (Fill in YoUr NaMe in the  blank)” there is.  There never has and never will be another person with the combination of GiFtS, TaLeNtS, teMpeRmEnt, and PerSonAlity that you have.

The question is:  are you the best “YoU” that you can be or are you trying to be someone else?  We do a lousy job of trying to be someone else, but when we fulfill our potential we become a truly UnIqUe oRiGinAl.  If you are looking at others wishing you were more like them in LoOks, pErsOnaLity, tAleNts, etc, LeT iT Go!  You were created for a unique PuRpoSe.  There will NEVER be another you, so sit back, EnJoY yourself and take a load off your ShoUldErs wishing you were someone else!!




Filed under All-Or-Nothing, Inspiration, Inspire, Life

All There

In this age of smart phones, Facebook, Twitter, and all the other distractions we deal with throughout our day it’s sometimes hard to “be all there” as exhorted by missionary/martyr Jim Elliot in his famous quote:

“Where ever you are, be all there.”

Where are you?

  • Home –“Be all there.”
  • Work – “Be all there.”
  • Prayer –“Be all there.”
  • In conversation with your child, friend, spouse, co-worker, associate, client, acquaintance – “Be all there.”
  • Church – “Be all there.”
  • Your Child’s Event – “Be all there.”
  • A Volunteer Meeting/Event – “Be all there.”
  • Dinner with friends or family “Be all there.”

I think this is what is meant by savoring the moment.  It’s embracing life.  Because as we all know, life is short so be all there.



Filed under All-Or-Nothing, Faith, God, Inspiration, Life, Marriage, Parenthood, People, Relationships

The Over-Rated “All”

I once heard a quote that said, “I would rather ShOoT for the StArS and HiT the MoOn, than shoot for nothing and hit it every time.”  Unfortunately, I can’t relate.  My natural tendency is to say, “Give me the stars or nothing at all, BaBy”  It’s insane, I know.  But I’m working on it. 

If you have the “All-Or-Nothing” mindset, you know what I’m talking about.  You actually believe that PeRfeCtiOn is pOsSiBle, so while the world is passing you by you aimlessly grasp for the air.  Could it be that American poet Wallace Stevens was on to something when he said, “The ImPerFeCt is our PaRaDiSe”?  One way I overcome this mindset is to think about all the bLeSsiNgS in my life that I would not have had things gone according to my plans. 

What pLeAsUrEs are unknowingly slipping right past you as you pursue an illusive “All”?

Many MoOns have passed without me getting to enjoy them, but not any more.  I’ve had the ReVeLaTiOn that “All” is OvErrAtEd.  I’ll still shoot for the stars, but if I miss them, I’ll take the moon, Thank-you. :)


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Filed under All-Or-Nothing, Life