{ Haha…Mmm }

My darling daughter made cookies today.  What was the occasion?

To celebrate her successful driver’s license test yesterday?


She has been waiting to try this new recipe: Trader Joe’s Jo-Jo cookies encased in chocolate chip cookie dough, then baked to delicious perfection.

In her venture, she filled the whole house with the invigorating scent of melting Jo-Jo’s and chocolate chips.

She left her masterpieces on the kitchen table.

She even sliced one open, revealing the exquisite beauty of the inner Jo-Jo.

Does she think that anyone can resist such temptation?

How comical.  How very droll.

Excuse me as I fetch a glass of milk.


Word Prompt of the Day — [witty: showing or characterized by quick and inventive humor.]

Synonyms: humorous, amusing, droll funny, comic, comical…



{ Just Listen. }

listen“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” —Bryant H. McGill

I knew I needed help with my listening skills, so I picked up a book by Michael P. Nichols, PhD. It’s called The Lost Art of Listening.

He says, “Listening is so basic that we take it for granted. Unfortunately, most of us think of ourselves as better listeners than we really are.”

Listening is key to connecting, understanding, and knowing another person.

Why is so hard to listen to others; to be totally engaged while another person speaks?

This is especially true:

–If we don’t agree with what they are saying.
–If their words make us angry.
–If they are taking lots of time to say it.

Listening requires true patience and unselfishness, which can be lacking in the best of us 🙂

Experts agree that good listening makes all the difference between poor communication and healthy conversations.

With that in mind, here are some things I want to work on to be a better listener:

  • Watch body language. When I focus on the talker and look at someone’s eyes, it shows I want to listen.
  • Cut out distractions. And don’t squirm, roll my eyes, tap my fingers or look at my phone while someone is talking to me. Don’t act like I have something better to do, even though I might….

[Okay, what about if your little boy wants to tell you the (lengthy) dream that he had last night? It’s okay to say, “Can you wait a few minutes? There’s a fire starting on the stove…” or…”Why don’t we sit down and write this out later? Then you can read it back to me and you’ll have it forever!”]

  • Listen the talker have his say. Resist the strong temptation to interrupt with a similar story or disagreement. There will (hopefully?) be time for your side later.
  • Ask thoughtful questions.  Before taking your turn, make sure you have understood her point of view. 

Finally, here are some inspiring quotes about listening:

There is a difference between listening and waiting for your turn to speak.~ Simon Sinek

Listening, not imitation, may be the sincerest form of flattery. ~ Joyce Brothers

Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk.~ Doug Larson

You can’t fake listening. It shows. ~ Raquel Welch

It’s not a coincidence that God gave us two ears and only one mouth. ~Epictetus

Word Prompt of the Day: Coincidence“>

{ Focused }


Hebrews 12:2 urges us to “fix our eyes” on Jesus while journeying through the Christian life.

The Greek word for this phrase is apharao: to consider attentively; to turn the eyes away from other things and fix them on something.  Picture an infant fixing her eyes on her mother. She is absorbed with mom and completely delighted with her presence.

Temptation, sin and even ordinary things coax us to turn our eyes away from Jesus. Jesus looked beyond the pain and shame of the cross and stared at the joy ahead of Him. As we fix our gaze upon Jesus, we can endure the distractions and trials that come our way. Someday we will share Heaven with Him, where He is victoriously seated at the right hand of the Father.

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face.  And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.” – Helen Lemmel

“…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2



Planet“> /Focused“>

{ School Can Be….Interesting. }



The first report drafted by one of my students included this summary:


Iceland is truly an interesting country with interesting people and interesting traditions of which I will leave you to read about on your own.


As I sigh and circle the word *interesting* three times in red, I make a mental note to shun this overused word.

Four years ago, my cheeky son (then 14) wrote this farce report on Iceland just to shock me:

Iseland is cold.

Amarica is worm.

Iseland is a plas explowding with culcher and tradichin.

Maybee U wil visit som day.


What is it about Iceland? Maybe it’s one of those places you must see rather than write about 🙂

On a better note, we have had some school success thus far:

Last week, everyone earned at least 90% on the final spelling test!

Words like crumb, subtle and acquire were even mastered by my 8-year-old.


Note to self~ The 2017-2018 school year: It’s a marathon, not a sprint.




{ Glorious }

niklas-tidbury-327468“I want to know God’s thoughts; the rest are mere details.” –Albert Einstein

There is always more to discover in this world, although people have been finding, inventing and exploring for thousands of years.

Here are some recent quotes from news headlines:

  • “The exact size of the universe is still unknown.”
  • “Scientists have discovered 1,451 new species in our oceans this past year.
  • “Until recently, no one knew that the smaller-than-microscopic pentaquark existed.”

Likewise, there is always more to discover about the God of the universe.

The riches, wisdom and knowledge of God are deeper than I can imagine. His ways are inscrutable, meaning impossible to understand or interpret. When I think have God’s ways figured out, Isaiah 55:8 reminds me: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.”

But the eternal, infinite, inscrutable God wants to be known.

James 4:8 says that if we draw near to God, He will draw near to us.

Paul prays in Ephesians 1:17 “…that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.”

I can pursue knowing the infinite God through His Word. There is so much yet to know, and it makes me praise our deep, rich, wise, and glorious God.

“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and how inscrutable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been His counselor?”
Or who has given a gift to Him that He might be repaid? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever.” Romans 11:33-36


Photo by: Niklas Tidbury

{ Recreation }

A recent soccer game, watching MN United in their inaugural year.  Go Loons!

Word Prompt of the Day:

Recreate ~ to refresh by means of relaxation and enjoyment, as restore physically or mentally.

Walking (me) & rolling (them) at Carver Park on a sunny September day.
Art fair in Edina / Centennial Lakes
Just sitting in the sun. Doing nothing but smiling. Amazing!



{ Before You I Kneel }

kristina-flour-185602 (1)
This is one of my favorite songs: a hope, a prayer, a daily mission:
Before You I kneel, my Master and Maker,
To offer the work of my hands.
For this is the day You’ve given Your servant;
I will rejoice and be glad
For the strength I have to live and breathe,
For each skill Your grace has given me,
For the needs and opportunities
That will glorify Your great name.
Before You I kneel and ask for Your goodness
To cover the work of my hands.
For patience and peace to shape all my labor,
Your grace for thorns in my path.
Flow within me like a living stream,
Wear away the stones of pride and greed
‘Til Your ways are dwelling deep in me
And a harvest of life is grown.
Before You we kneel, our Master and Maker;
Establish the work of our hands.
And order our steps to seek first Your kingdom
In every small and great task.
May we live the gospel of Your grace,
Serve Your purpose in our fleeting days,
Then our lives will bring eternal praise
And all glory to Your great name.



Daily Word Prompt: Thorny“>

Photo:Kristina Flour

{ My Penchant List }

door-2103035__480Penchant – the word of the day: a strong or habitual liking for something or tendency to do something.

Synonyms: liking, fondness, preference, taste, partiality, soft spot, fancy, weakness, bent
  • Coffee with cream
  • Chocolate
  • The color red
  • Whole fat plain (not Greek) yogurt
  • Stories about underdogs
  • Clean comedy
  • Books about introverts
  • Making treasures out of trash
  • Hearing about how God uses weak people to do something wonderful
  • Working alone in cozy, tucked away places with no interruptions
  • Audiobooks
  • Drying clothes on the line
  • Walking around lakes and on trails
  • Antiques and houses with character. (Especially if they have red painted doors)
  • Thrift shops
  • Crafting, selling and giving away things I have made
  • Getting rid of clutter
  • Zinnias
  • Gingham
  • Crock pots




{ Sympathy & Comfort }

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”—Psalm 34:18

Last fall, God gave me an opportunity to comfort a grieving friend.

At the time, I realized three things:

  • I wanted to say the right thing.
  • I hoped not to say the wrong thing.
  • I wondered how best to help grieving people.

Romans 12:15 says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”

Grieving is part of life. Watching others grieve their losses is part of life. We aren’t really taught how to comfort others. It’s something we learn by watching and doing. 

One of my favorite recent books on this subject is called What Grieving People Wish You Knewabout what really helps (and what really hurts) by Nancy Guthrie.

Pure, uninterrupted listening is sometimes the best balm for the grieving.

In the Bible book of Job, we read about a suffering soul who endured incredible hardship. He was surrounded by so-called friends who excelled at saying the wrong thing.

If only Job’s friends would have just listened– without lecturing Job on what they guessed God was doing.

Job sums up how he felt:

“I have heard many such things; miserable comforters are you all.” Job 16:2

Since death and grief are part of life, the art of comfort & sympathy will never go unnoticed or unused.

“Grieving people are not expecting you to make the pain go away. They’re really just hoping that you will be willing to hurt with them.” – Nancy Guthrie