A friend suggested I share some little-known facts about Liz. Here are fifteen:

When I was six, I was on a local kids’ TV program. I sat next to a dog puppet in a box.

In high school I won a composition contest. My essay “Investing a Career in Education” explained why good teachers are important and was printed in the town newspaper.

I’m a Batman fan. I grew up watching the old Adam West Batman series, and I named my teddy bear Robin. Now I like the Chris Nolan Dark Knight movies and the Gotham TV series.

I met American Idol winner Taylor Hicks in Las Vegas. He signed my CD.

I have traveled to Germany and Paris, and I ate lunch in the Eiffel Tower; but my favorite trip was to Hannibal, Missouri, to see the writing desk of author Mark Twain.

The day I got my first car, I ran into a tree. It was a small tree, and my car knocked it down.

I don’t like avocados, raw onions, or green peppers on anything.

I have never eaten sushi or gone bungee jumping, and I have no plans to do either.

My daughter took my wisdom teeth to school for show and tell.

My first blog was called lizology101, but it ended when I started howtobeasinglemom.com.

My first published short story appeared in the magazine Tattooing by Women.

For a year, I worked as a proofreader for the state legislature.

During that year, I went to work one morning with gum in my hair and didn’t notice until after I’d had an entire conversation with a coworker.

I collect owls, ceramic pitchers, and children’s books. I buy old clothes in thrift stores and cut them into pieces to make quilts. The quilt I’m making now includes old tee shirts, sweatshirts, and a pair of jeans.

I am grateful for my family and friends who support my dreams. I want to know more about my readers and would love for you to leave a comment with a few fun facts about yourself.

What are you grateful for? What are the happy memories that have made you who you are?

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This week I’m exploring a few truths I have learned about God.

"For I know that the Lord is great" (Psalm 135:5).

God is always listening. I was raised to avoid conflict by keeping my mouth shut. I have learned that God is not offended by hearing our true opinions. He created us with minds and emotions, he knows our every thought and feeling, and he encourages us to share every truth with him. We need not keep any secrets from God, but we can always tell him how we feel and know that he will still accept us.

God wants me to listen, too. I have been guilty of not always paying attention, of being busy, self-centered, and caught up in my own agenda and goals. I forget to focus on others, to hear their stories and concerns, to offer my understanding and compassion. God wants me to listen to the people in my life, and he asks that I listen for his voice, too. He gives me quiet promptings about the next steps I should take, and I need to be receptive to those moments when he speaks to me.

God blesses me, whether I notice or not. An old friend once told me this simple prayer: “Thank you for my many blessings, even those I cannot see.” I often take for granted the good things that come to me each day: the loving friends and family, my safe and comfortable home, my gifts of health and purpose. I try to remember to thank God daily for all my benefits and blessings; but I know that on the days I forget, he is still giving. I have been richly blessed, and I am grateful to the God who always listens, loves, and gives me everything I need.

What are you grateful for today? What have you learned about the God who always hears and responds?

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As usual, I’m avoiding the mall and spending my Christmas in quiet contemplation, but there are a few gifts I have been grateful to receive.

Peace. At Christmas I will take all the time I can to relax and rest, to put my feet up, reread The Long Winter, and be grateful that I have a safe and comfortable home, warm central heating, and enough food to eat.

Hope. As 2017 ends, I am particularly excited about the future. I know 2018 will be a year of action, and I’m looking forward to all the positive changes ahead.

Purpose. This year I am grateful for the sense of meaning this season brings. I give thanks that I feel God’s presence in my life, and I know he is guiding the next steps I will take.

Friendship. Today I thank God for all the special people I am blessed to know. I am thankful for my loving and supportive family and the positive, encouraging friends who share my life each day.

Treats. One goal I hold for 2018 is to make better food choices, but the occasional indulgence reminds me that life is sweet. It should be savored and shared.

This Christmas I hope you receive everything you wish. What do you hope for this holiday season?

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Every Christmas I see pictures of brightly lit Christmas trees surrounded by mountains of presents inside elaborately decorated homes. I see videos of Christmas shoppers standing for hours in crowded malls and checkout lanes. I won’t criticize anyone who enjoys the bustle and excitement of Christmas shopping, but I have never wanted to spend the holiday in that way.

Instead I prefer to create a simple, quiet Christmas of few gifts but many meaningful memories.

I don’t really decorate. My daughter grew up in apartments where we had limited space and little money for trees and tinsel. For years we had a two-foot table-top tree that my daughter decorated with tiny ornaments and lights, and that was adequate for our cozy home.

Though we have a larger home now and more room to decorate, we also have a high-energy dog who leaves a path of destruction everywhere she goes, and I don’t feel the need to fill the living room with decor and greenery I drag out of the boxes in the garage. This year I draped my corner shelf with garland and white lights, hung a wreath on the door, and declared that enough for me.

I buy few gifts. We already have too much stuff. Everyone in my family has much more than we need, and I don’t want to add to the burden of unnecessary possessions. Every time we have moved, I’ve donated carloads of kitchen gadgets to Good Will, unloaded bags of clothes and boxes of books on friends and family, ditched leftover furniture in apartment dumpsters, and generally gotten rid of more than my share of excess. I cringe to think of the wasted resources we throw away every year and I don’t want that amount to increase.

I don’t want gift giving to be the focus of my Christmas celebration, so I give my daughter and son-in-law one gift each, a gift card, and a few odds-and-ends. A few others I care about receive a gift and many good wishes. I don’t expect anyone to buy me more candles and figurines to fill my dusty shelves. I know that with the love of a few friends and family members, I have everything I need.

I concentrate on spending time with people. I like to cook, and I enjoy planning quiet dinners, gathering the family, and watching old movies together. I appreciate going to parties and events, and spending my time talking with old friends and coworkers who share my life throughout the year.

This year I hope to attend the Christmas play written by my friend Susan and produced by her church. I will spend time in my own church remembering that the birth of Jesus is the reason we celebrate the Christmas holiday at all. And I will be grateful for the gifts I have already received: my home and my loving family, supportive friends and encouraging colleagues, the feeling of meaning and purpose in my life, and the hope that the future will be even better in the years ahead.

This year I pray you celebrate Christmas in the way that is most meaningful for you. I hope you receive all you wish for this holiday season.

How do you like to celebrate Christmas? What traditions do you enjoy?

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It’s that time of year when our thoughts turn toward gratitude, and we are made more aware of the many gifts and blessings we share. Here is my list of the top 10 things I am grateful for this Thanksgiving.

I love spending an evening at home with my family, and I’m grateful anytime we can share a quiet dinner together.

 

Apple pie and coffee are a perfect ending to that dinner at home.

I’m starting a new quilt to wrap around someone I love. I’ve collected a pile of old tee shirts that will soon become something new and useful.

 

I love to spend an afternoon reading on the couch. This is what I’m reading now.

 

 

This cute electric heating stove creates cozy warmth for my home.

 

I love my old soft, fuzzy slippers,

 

 

And my old owl print pajamas.

 

 

Every year I get nostalgic about classic Christmas films. My favorites are: It’s a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story, and Elf. Click here to check out the Freeform Channel’s 25 Days of Christmas movie schedule.

 

I love this great source for Christmas presents. I won’t spoil the surprise by showing photos of the gifts I bought, but I recommend ordering from John’s Crazy Socks. When I received my order, I was touched to also find a personal note from the company’s co-owner, John. A portion of sales proceeds supports the Special Olympics and Down syndrome awareness.

I am grateful for my family, for my husband, my daughter, and son-in-law, for Bratty Maddie, and all the friends who have supported and encouraged me throughout this year. Thank you all, and I wish you the happiest holidays!

What are you thankful for this holiday season?

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I am thankful for the autumn leaves, cooling breeze, and sunlit skies.

I am thankful for God’s constant care and the ways he shows his faithfulness each day.

I am grateful for warming mugs of coffee or cider and all the tastes this season brings.

I give thanks for another day to make a difference and move a step closer to fulfilling my goals.

I am grateful for time to spend with family and friends, for warm dinners around the table, and for the home that shelters and comforts us.

I am grateful for the knowledge that all life has meaning and we are all loved by God.

I hope that you will know you are blessed and feel the love and presence of God. This Thanksgiving season, I offer a prayer of gratitude for God’s unending love and grace.

What are you grateful for this season?

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Father, thank you for all the goodness of your creation that surrounds us. Please help us see all the beauty in our world.

Thank you for all you do to protect and provide for us, your children. Please be always our leader and King, our advisor and friend.

Help us follow the guidance of your Spirit as we learn to live and grow in peace. Help us help others by giving generously with care and compassion.

Be with us always to show us your ways, and teach us to show others your love. Thank you for the love of your Son who promises eternal life in your presence.

We love you, and we ask you to help us remember how blessed we are to share life in this country.

Amen.

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