All the Ways to Laugh Together

Our family has experienced so much laughter lately. It’s something I’ve prayed for; we needed some lively amusement in light of a hard few months. As I think about the gift of laughter, I’m amazed by how precious a gift it is to look someone in the eye–even a complete stranger–slap your thigh, throw back your head, and laugh uncontrollably about anything: our own blunders, a well-timed joke or pun, a shared memory, animal antics, and irony.

We love irony.

We also love finding the amusing thing when we’re otherwise disappointed (again, another challenge here at Live with Flair). I remember the time as a little girl when my mother made a beautiful roasted chicken. She set it on the porch to cool, and as we stood there in the kitchen, we saw a family of bold raccoons arrive and proceed to eat our entire dinner. We laughed so hard even though we never ate that delicious chicken.

We pray for laughter to enter our relationships. I think God loves to answer this prayer, and perhaps He’s laughing with you.

Did you laugh really hard today?


The Challenge of Thankfulness

Happy Thanksgiving! I’m thankful for YOU as readers and friends. 

I love thinking of thankfulness as a challenge; if things seem awful, it’s that much more rewarding to find the good news. There’s always a bit of good if we look for it. There’s always God’s loving care and comfort to experience. 
I’m thankful that God gives us the ability to see Him in every trial–if we look. If we seek, we will find Him. 
Thank you! Thank you, God, for being here.

A Great Thanksgiving Quiz for Around the Table

The Amazing Baker Family sent my family a fabulous Thanksgiving quiz to try around the dinner table. Of course, they didn’t provide the answers (that would be too easy!), but I’m sure you’ll have fun debating the answers and looking them up yourselves.

I hope this quiz creates some great conversations.

The Baker Family Thanksgiving Quiz 2013—Baker Family

1. What is the ONLY animal whose testimony is allowed in a court of law?
2. What is the ONLY continent without mold or mildew?
3. What is the ONLY fruit with seeds that grow on the outside?
4. Which is the ONLY state in the USA in which houseflies cannot live?
5. Who was the ONLY woman to win two Nobel Prizes?
6. Which are the ONLY other creatures apart from human beings that go into battle into formation?
7.  Which is the ONLY mammal that cannot jump?
8.  What is the ONLY musical instrument native to the USA?
9.  What is the only word in the English language that is pronounced the same after the last four letters are dropped?
10. What are the only animals to shed emotional tears?
11.  Which is the ONLY South American country with English as its official language?
12. What is the ONLY ancient Wonder of the World still standing?
13. What is the ONLY city located on two continents?
14. What is the ONLY mammal that can fly?
15. What is the ONLY human food manufactured by an insect?
16. Which is the ONLY country with a 100% literacy rate?
17. What is the ONLY substance on earth that is naturally present as a solid, liquid and gas?
18.   Apart from human beings, which is the ONLY animal that can learn to stand on its head?
19. Which is the only continent without any glaciers?
20.  Who is the only president who later became a senator?
21.  Where is the only place where the USA flag is flown continuously?
22. Who was the only president to give his entire salary to charity?
23. Who was the only president with his name inscribed on a plaque on the moon?
24. What is the only crime mentioned in the US Constitution?
25.  What is the only mammal with a bill?

     How did you do? 


A Prayer for Children

My friend directs me a great daily email that provides a different prayer each day for children. I have loved receiving these short daily emails, so I thought I’d share the joy. Here’s the link to the website, and you can sign up for the daily email if you wish:

Today, for example, I read a simple but profound prayer from Galatians 6: “Encourage my children to share each other’s problems and troubles. Help them keep each other on the right path being careful not to fall into the same temptations themselves. Give them Your wisdom so they can gently and humbly help others overcome sin.” Galatians 6:1-2 (from Prayers Over Our Children).


The Turkey Vegetable Platter

As you get ready for a wonderful Thanksgiving, don’t forget the Turkey Veggie Platter for the children! 

Here’s the link from last year with working links (otherwise, just read below!)

Cutest Turkey Vegetable Platter

I find this adorable vegetable platter made to look like a turkey (thank you, Amy Locurto at “Living Locurto” for the great idea), and I can’t resist.  After the Boo Platter tradition began, I learned that even my simplest attempts to create whimsical traditions don’t go unnoticed or forgotten.

We arrange bok choy and spinach, then carrots, and then sliced peppers of alternating colors for beautiful feathers.  We use cucumbers and then half a green pepper as the face.  We improvise with olives and a pepper slice to finish the turkey’s expression.  Finally, we use celery for feet.

Turkey Vegetable Platter

I actually have to force my children to stop eating the vegetables so I can take a photo.   Welcome, Turkey Veggie Platter, to our Thanksgiving traditions. 

Isn’t it funny how children will eat vegetables made to look like something else? 


A Quick Family Correction: The Return of the Warm Welcome and Happy Greeting

This week, we bring back The Warm Welcome and The Happy Greeting because we’ve lagged terribly as a family.

If you remember, The Warm Welcome aims to de-stress those around us by offering a greeting, a nice beverage, a relaxing atmosphere, and kind conversation (imagine candles lit, soft music, and hot cocoa). We’ve been too rushed and demanding lately, so we reinstate this immediately.

The lack of Happy Greetings saddens me! My oldest tried to introduce herself to a new girl on Tuesday, and this girl looked away, acted supremely annoyed, and essentially ignored the greeting. I later tell my daughters what it means to greet another person. The greet is a polite declaration of recognition and respect.

We, as a family, forget to greet one another in the morning and after school when we see each other again after some time has passed.

Yesterday, the oldest daughter decides to warmly greet the other–Hello! I’m so glad to see you again! How was your day?–and the youngest beams.

The Warm Welcome and the Happy Greeting: It changes the whole mood of our home.


In Advance

Are you someone who thanks God in advance for what is about to happen? Last night, the youth pastor tells us how Jesus thanks God in advance of the miraculous feeding of the five thousand. 

I remember years ago listening to a woman pray. When she began to ask God for something, she always thanked Him in advance for what she was certain He would do. 
What faith! What an understanding that God is good and will do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine! 
We thank God in advance today for what we know He will do. 

The Element of Fun

This morning, I hear Mary Poppins declare:

“In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. Find the fun and–snap!–the job’s a game.”

I immediately remember the “Fun Theory” Volkswagen initiative that attempted to change people’s behavior by making what you wanted them to do fun. Here, people choose to walk up stairs instead of riding the escalator because it’s more fun. 

Can I add in an element of fun to whatever job I’m doing? I think so–especially with Mary Poppins music in the background.

I’m excited to find the element of fun in vacuuming the minivan right now. I think I’m going to see what treasures I can find that have been missing for months.

Have fun with your jobs today!