Life’s Puzzles


“I can do it myself.” My two year old son proudly announced as he attempted to snap the giant, brightly colored, foam, jig-saw puzzle – shaped play-mat into place.  I watched as I saw him struggling to put the piece in the wrong place. I was about to go and do it for him, to show him that he had it in the wrong place, when my husband gently placed his hand on my arm. “He’s got this. Let him figure it out.” he whispered to me. I stopped and stood there next to my husband as we watched our son struggling with what must have seemed to him to be the biggest puzzle in the world. I watched as the puzzled, yet determined expression on the face of my son was transformed into a beaming smile as he realized the correct way to fit the puzzle together. “I did it myself! I did it myself!” my son said over and over as he celebrated this victory over the puzzle.

My son is now fourteen.   Since then, there have been many “puzzles” to solve in his life, and with each one, I still had that inside desire to solve it for him. Yet, I gratefully think back to my husband’s wise words that day so long ago. “He’s got this. Let him figure it out.”  My son doesn’t need a “helicopter mom” .   He doesn’t need someone to continuously do things for him, show him the answers, or tell him how it’s done. These things will only hinder him in the long-run. What he needs is room to grow; room to figure things out and learn and discover this big wide world and all of the many puzzles which he will come across in the future.  I’ll be there for him, to help him when he needs me, but I cannot – I must not “do it for him”, for he can “do it himself” !



July Fourth Freebies!

Every July Fourth (Independence Day) our family celebrates by having a big family gathering at our house with lots of fun and food.  We usually pick up Popeyes chicken and sides for the lunch, and I always make my famous “Flag cake”.  This year we will be having some games as well, with prizes of course.   You know, the classic,  “Guess how many    M & M’s in a jar (or whatever candy I decide to use)  The winner of that one wins the jar of candy.   I am also planning on having a door prize.  I haven’t yet purchased the prize for that one.  I plan to simply have everyone write their names on the provided Flag cards which I’ve made, (link for that below) and then will have them put them in a bowl for a drawing.  I just love doing stuff like that!  I love to give and to bring happiness to others.  The best part of all is that no one has any idea that these things will take place!

The above video brings home the real reason why we celebrate on this day.  Games, fun, and prizes are all okay, as long as we remember why we are celebrating in the first place.  I will be showing this video at the party so that everyone there will remember why they have gathered together on that day .    People have given their lives so that we may be free.  How awesome is that!  I hope you all have a wonderful July Fourth, however you choose to spend it!

Now for the link to those flag cards:

July Fourth namecard

Printable Fourth of July party invitation:

Fourth of July Invitation

And to conclude, a printable word search puzzle :

Independence Day


Happy Independence Day!  Keep that Flag flying high, America!

acceptance · Catholic · family · kindness


Has it ever happened to you ?  Has anyone ever been misunderstood – misunderstood by the ones closest to you ?  I have. A lot.  It’s funny, really – how life works; how relationships work.  I have come to accept the fact that being misunderstood by those closest to me is just going to have to be one of the crosses I must bear in life.  It hurts.  But trying to explain often makes matters worse, so sometimes it’s just better to allow the other person to continue in their belief that my intentions were not good.

So, what is all of this babbling about ?

Why is this post not making much sense ?

Am I just someone who wants to complain ?

No.  I don’t want to complain, and I’ll tell you what this is all about.

I smiled.

It wasn’t a big smile – just a quick, little, flash of a smile.  I smiled because I had just told my husband that the smell he was commenting about was not his dinner burning, just a spill on the hot stove.  After I informed him of that, I flashed a quick smile to show him all was well.  Ooops.

Suddenly all was not well.  “I saw that. I saw that smug little smile.” he said to me.  I was surprised.  He had totally misunderstood my intentions.

“No.” I said.  “I wasn’t – I didn’t…”

“I know what I saw.  Don’t be like that.”

Well, I could have done one of two things.  I could have stood there and defended myself, and continue to insist upon my good intentions, which would only bring about an argument.  OR  I could just allow him to continue believing that I was being smug – after all, he knew what he saw.  Well, I chose the latter.

I chose to continue to be misunderstood, rather than to get into an argument with my husband – especially since all of this was taking place in front of my son.

I later practiced that little smile in front of the mirror. Oh boy.  It did appear smug.  Wow.  I will never use that expression again.  I really didn’t intend for it to come off like that.

So, I ended up apologizing to my husband – as always.

I guess being misunderstood is part of life.  After all, Christ was misunderstood more than anyone else ever was.  He didn’t defend Himself.  I should try to be more Christ-like, even if it hurts sometimes.

acceptance · gratitude

A Life-Changing Book

I recently read a book that changed my life.  It changed the way I see myself, and the way I see others.  It is called, “Get Motivated!” by Tamara Lowe, and it’s awesome.  I highly suggest this book to everyone.

Through this book, people have learned how to advance in their careers, improve their relationships, and to achieve their goals.  This isn’t just another book.  This is a life changer.  In addition to the book, Tamara Lowe also hosts her Get Motivated! seminars.  Below is a link to a video of the author as she talks about her experiences and her book.


acceptance · epilepsy · reblogged · seizures

FAQ about Epilepsy

Atypically Correct

In my last post, I talked about how E was recently diagnosed with Autism. I have received outpourings of support. It seems everywhere I turn, somebody knows someone, or has a relative, or has a child with ASD. The current statistics released from the CDC in 2014 are 1 in 68 have an ASD. For boys, the statistic is 1 in 42. So it is actually quite common. This explains why so many people I know have been touched by someone who has Autism. These statistics started me thinking about something else that effects a member of my family. Epilepsy. 1 in 26 people are diagnosed with Epilepsy. **1 in 26**. That is half the number of people diagnosed with Autism. Why then, is my sister the only person I know that has epilepsy?
I decided to talk to my sister about it. Her thoughts were that perhaps people are…

View original post 1,222 more words

acceptance · challenge · kindness

How I did on my challenge:

Well the 24 hours have certainly passed, and I believe that I am a better person because of it.  It’s fun to see the look of surprise on the faces of those around you when an unexpected kind deed is done.  I said I would let you know how I did, so here it is.  I made this list out before starting the challenge, and am happy to say that I was able to complete them all.  The last one was the most difficult for me.

Began the challenge at 3:30pm Sunday, May 7

Give hubby a back rub even when I don’t feel like it

Give up my dessert (let someone else have the last fudgebar)

Show an interest in my son’s interests (his aquarium, his turtle…)

Smile at someone passing by – just to brighten their day

Listen. Really listen to someone who needs to talk.

Refill my son’s water bottle for him

Be nice even when others are not being nice to me

Simply say, “I love you.” to my son just because I do.

Offer to spend some time doing something with my son that he likes, it doesn’t have to be what I like.

Remain silent if I disagree with something my husband says.

My next goal is to give a gift-card to an unsuspecting stranger.   Won’t that be fun!

I did it!  I couldn’t believe it, but I reached the goal mentioned above!  It was so much fun!  The best part is that I told no one!  Here’s what happened, I had with me two $5.00 gift cards to wal-mart.  As I was shopping in our local grocery store, I noticed two of the store workers, box boys probably.  I walked up to them and asked them if they ever shopped at walmart, because I was looking for someone to give these card to.  They looked at me as if in shock.  “Wait – what?”   I handed them each a $5.00 gift certificate and walked away.  They stood there for a moment or two, still wondering what just happened.  Then called out to me, “Thank you!”  It was the best time I had ever had while grocery shopping!


Reblogged from “How to Provide”

Thank you GP Cox! Take a peek everyone:

If you have trouble playing this video, please click the link below.  It will take you to the blog, “How to Provide”  You should be able to play it there.

via Red Skelton’s Pledge of Allegiance — How to Provide


“This country was built on Christian principles, it was men and women who believed in God and believed in His Son Jesus Christ who built this country,” said Rev. Graham. “We’re the greatest nation in the history of the world. It wasn’t built by Islam, and it wasn’t built by any other group. It was those who supported and believed in the Lord Jesus Christ.”

I wonder – do Americans still believe this today ?  Do these ideals and values continue to hold the same standards as they once did  when our country  was originally founded ?  I hope so.

acceptance · Mother & Son

Mama, Will You ?

Mama, will you play with me ?

Mama will you lay with me ?

Mama, I just want you by my side…


I have a toy I want to show

to you, so that you can know,

Just how cool this gizmo is to me…


So, Mama, will you play with me?

Mama will you lay with me ?

Mama, I just want you by my side…


Will you read to me this story book ?

Can I please just have a look ?

Mama, what are we going to do today ?


Mama, will you play with me ?

Mama will you lay with me ?

Mama, I just want you by my side…


Can we sing that silly song ?

Promise I won’t get it wrong,

Let’s just have some fun now, you and me…


The years have flown, I’m bigger now.

I don’t need you to show me how.

Mama, will you please just leave my room ?


Mama, I can do it now

Mama, I’m big. I know how,

Mama, I don’t want you by my side…


It’s all a part of growing up

Doesn’t mean that I don’t love,

Mama, I’m now big enough

to do things on my own…



acceptance · gratitude

My Cup Runneth Over


“God will never give you more than you can handle, but He gives you just as much as you can bear.”  In other words, He fills each one of our cups to the rim.  One might be tempted to look at another and think, “That person doesn’t have to suffer the way I do.  It isn’t fair.  Why would God allow so much to happen to me, while others don’t seem to have to suffer at all ?”   It is hard to be grateful when we are suffering, when we are not getting our way, when our child is hurting…  How are we supposed to be grateful during these times ?  Perspective is how.  It’s all in how you look at it.  You see, the difference isn’t in how much or how little God fills your “cup”, but rather, it is the size of the cup which differs.  This vessel, or “cup” which is being filled is none other than ourselves.  We are the cup.  Our body and soul is this vessel which is so graciously being poured upon and filled with blessings every day of our lives.  These blessings may come in the form of trials and illnesses, of laughter and happy memories, of tears and heartbreak.  Everything that happens in our lives is a blessing to be embraced.  THAT is where the gratitude comes in.  Perspective.  So, knowing this, how can we not be grateful for our sufferings?  How can we not whole-heartedly surrender ourselves to His will for us, knowing that all that occurs in our lives occurs out of His love for us; a love so deep that it is as an endless ocean of mercy ?  During the agony in the garden, Christ Himself, our model, underwent unspeakable sufferings and temptations.  Three times He prayed, “Father, if it be Your will, let this cup pass from Me, only not my will, but Yours be done.”  Christ didn’t have to do this.  He didn’t have to make this request of His father, yet He did this to show us how we should act in times of suffering and temptations.  It is okay to ask God for something, yet it is always to be followed up with, “Not my will, but Yours be done.”  This is acceptance.  It is the acceptance of God’s will being done in our lives.  It is the acceptance that God knows better than we do what is best for us.  “God never gives us more than we can handle, but He gives us just as much as we can bear.”  He fills our cup to the rim with the events that occur in our lives – with what He knows we can handle, but our cups runneth over when it comes to His love for us.



“April showers bring May flowers.”  At least that’s how the saying goes.  But for my family, the April showers are more like hurricanes.  April is the month in which two members of my immediate family have passed away.  True, their deaths were years apart, but even so. . .  The deaths in which I speak of are those of my baby sister, April Theresa, and that of my father, Joseph T. Ruli.  Little April was born on April 3, 1974 and died on April 5, 1974, only three days after she was born. She had been born with only half of a heart.  I was four at the time, and very confused when Mama and Daddy came home from the hospital empty-handed.   All I could think to do at that time was to ask, “Where’s the baby ?”  I can only imagine how difficult that must have been for my mother.  Although she was only in this world for a brief time, little April left her mark on this world, a mark which can never be erased.  I believe that my baby sister, April, is now a saint in heaven and is watching over us in a special way.   Well, fast-forward to April 15, 2014, over 40 years later.  That was the day that my father, Joseph T. Ruli breathed his last.  His death was hard on all of us.  It was almost three years ago, yet it seems as though it were yesterday.  They say time heals all wounds . . .  I wonder.  The loss of my father was devastating, yet we all knew that his time had come.  I thank God that I was blessed with such a wonderful man for my Daddy.  He was one of a kind.

I mentioned earlier that those April showers felt more like hurricanes.  While that may be true, the flowers that they brought are like eternal roses.  While the death of my baby sister left a deep hole in our lives, it also gave us an everlasting gift – the gift of our family’s own little saint.  The death of my father left me hurting, asking why, and feeling a void that could not be filled.  Yet, if I look deeper, I see that my father’s death also left me with a gift.  I believe that my father left each one of us with our own, special, unique gift.  For me, that gift was the fact that he passed away while I was holding onto his hand.  That is something that can never be taken away.  It is a beautiful rose, blooming despite all odds.  It is like the rose in the header of this blog – blooming brightly on a dying bush despite the odds.  This photo was taken by me of a bush in my front yard.  That bush is no longer there, yet the rose that my father left me will bloom forever.  He left all six of us our own eternal rose, and when put together, they form the most beautiful, everlasting bouquet.   May God bring my Daddy home.