Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Home for the Holidays: 7 Tips To enjoy the Holidays...With Your Family

This picture is compliments of EllaAnne and her artistic computer abilities!
 A few tips for enjoying the Holidays

1. Love your extended family just the way they are. Life isn’t about changing other people it’s about loving them.

2. Stop working. Give yourself work free time with your family…as much as you can physically and… mentally handle that is.

3. Maintain or start a new tradition. Do something that brings you closer together and something you as a family can look forward to all year.

4. Don’t eat too much! Good luck with that one! I know you can do it!

5. Write it down. Write about your holidays in your journal or on your blog. Share it with the people you love and preserve the memories at the same time.

6. Don’t overdo it. “Life is to be enjoyed not just endured.” –Gordon B. Hinckley. The same holds true for the holidays. If you need to buy rolls at the store do it. If you need to delegate the pies do it. If you don’t have the money don’t spend it.

7. Be GRATEFUL – It’s easy to be overwhelmed at the holidays. There is no need for you to be keeping up with anyone. The best cure I have found for holiday anxiety, low funds, and stress is Gratitude. When you start becoming overwhelmed start being thankful. I’ll demonstrate.

-Today I am thankful that my cold is almost cleared up!

-Today I am thankful that my first draft of my upcoming book is almost complete!

-Today I am thankful that my kids go to such a great school!

-Today I am thankful that Julia’s ear infection is clearing up!

-Today I am thankful that Ella gave me hug and told me she loved me before school started!

-Today I am thankful I had time to read Jackson stories!

-Today I am thankful for my hidden stash of Nutella!

-Today I am thankful that Daniel was excited to study for the geography bee!

-Today I am thankful that my husband took the kids to school!

-Today I am grateful for people like you who care about families, who try to do good, and who keep trying even when life is hard! Thank you!

Now you try. Today I am thankful for __________________. (Fill in the blank)

Have a very Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy the coming Holidays!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Successful Marriage Is...

I did a little experiment the last two weeks with my husband. I simply made an extra effort to strengthen our relationship by showing extra love. I did this by avoiding judgement, criticism, focusing on his positive actions and traits, and speaking kindly. I made sure to compliment him on his good looks often and made it a point to show him my gratitude. I put extra efforts into meals and making sure he could have breakfast before he left for work. I tried to do things with him he liked to do, like watch weird alien sci-fi movies. I wasn't perfect at my attempts or always super sweet but I really tried and it really made a difference in our marriage.
     We spoke more kindly to one another. We looked forward to any time we had together. We were more in love and less upset by lifes little nuasances. I was honestly suprised at what a difference my efforts made. My husband had no idea I was doing this. Success in Marriage really is, "much more than finding the right person. It's a matter of being the right person." (author unknown) I have a lot more work to do in being a better person and a better wife but I am trying. Every now and again I think we all just need a reminder. As the Thanksgiving and Christmas Holiday's approach keep this in mind. It's not about what your family or spouse is doing for you, but what you are giving and becoming for them.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Navigating The Trials Of Life

Well, I haven't forgotten my blog today--okay maybe for a bit, but all for good reasons. My sweet son has been having a major two-day allergic reaction of some sort. Two doctor trips one more pending this evening and a trip to the ER. Life as a parent is stressful. It all kind of leads into a great guest post from a good friend and incredible father, Marshall Christensen. Marshall is a special education coordinator at Provo canyon school in Utah. He loves technology, enjoys biking, makes a great Hagrid at Halloween, and considers himself a picture perfect scout--and he assures me of his humility. Here is what Marshall has to say.

Navigating The Trials Of Life
By Marshall Christensen

When we are young, all of us develop a picture of our ideal future. We imagine ourselves working the most gratifying job, being married to the most attractive, caring spouse, and having best children in the neighborhood.  We envision the ideal course our life will follow:   graduating from high school, attending college, falling madly in love and marrying our ideal spouse, landing the perfect job, moving into our dream home,  having sweet little babies and then watching them follow this same ideal path. And then, life happens...

As we journey along this path we call life, we often find obstacles that hinder our progress and detours that lead us away from what we consider to be ideal.  Many of these obstacles are small and easy to navigate:  our job may be stressful once in awhile, our spouse may annoy us from time to time, our children may misbehave every now and again. We may discover that our ideal path is riddled with bumps and covered with potholes. However, we are generally able to roll through these trials without much damage. And then, life happens...

Many, if not most, of us will face larger obstacles in the path of life.  These obstacles often serve to stop all progress on the path of life. Death and divorce, illness and injury often bring us to our knees and leave us feeling like we can't go on. It is at these times that we realize that there is no way we can go it alone. It is at these times that we reach out for help from those who can best help us:  friends, family and our Father in Heaven. It is at these times that life happens...

My life's path has traveled far from the ideal that I imagined in my youth. You see, in the year 2000, an ill-fated blessing was placed in my path.  My daughter, Jessie, was the perfect little baby girl when she was born. By the time she was one, my wife and I realized  that our lives' paths would follow a different course than either of us had imagined.  Jessie suffers from a rare form of epilepsy called Dravet (Dra-vay) Syndrome. This condition causes Jessie to have frequent seizures and has left her functioning at the three-year-old level. Now, at the age of thirteen, Jessie still sleeps with my wife and I (because of the seizures). She still needs help dressing, eating, and using the restroom. Jessie will never date, drive, or graduate from high school. She will not attend college, marry, or have children of her own. She will not follow that ideal path that we all imagined when we were young.  

The question is often asked, "If you could go back and change the course of your life, would you do it?"  I can answer that question with an emphatic "NO!"  Although moving along the path of life with Jessie in tow has been a challenge to say the least, I would not go back and change our choice to bring her into this world.  There has been too much joy in getting to know this special little girl.  I also know that I am a different person because of my opportunity to work with Jessie.  I am more patient.  I am more kind.  I am more empathetic toward the challenges of others.  Because of the trials, the pain, and the mental anguish of having a child with special needs, I have become a better person.  I would never give that up!

Yes, we all have developed a picture of our ideal path in life.  No, most of us will not remain on that ideal path throughout our lives.  We can choose to be bitter, angry or upset because we did not get exactly what we wanted.  Or we can have a good attitude, seek help from our friends, family and Heavenly Father, and learn from our trials.  I choose the latter.  I choose to sit back, enjoy the ride, and let life happen.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Time Tested Beauty Tips for Parents

"Mom, I like you better with make-up," Daniel tells me, followed by a, "Mom, why don't you ever wear your make-up?" Then I hear from Ella, "Well I like mom better without make-up." 

Some days just getting dressed, breakfast made, and kids out of the house is as good as it gets. No time for make-up, or fancy hair do's or extra exercise. In fact my appearance is often a topic of my two oldests conversations.  If I get dressed up beyond jeans, say a pair of dress pants, Daniel always says, "Mom, you look different. Why are you dressed like that?" Or, I get a "Mom you never dress up," from my Ella. Julia just gives me kisses no matter what I look like, so if I'm feeling a little down I can always count on her for a pick me up. Once, one of my kids just walked up to me while I was vacuuming and stuck me in the belly with their finger, like I was the Pillsbury dough boy, and said, "Hmm, squishy." With all of these honest opinions flying around how is a person supposed to feel good about herself? Well, I found a great poem written by American Humorist Sam Levenson that gives some great perspective for a beautiful mother (or handsome father). Its full of great beauty tips for parents everywhere.

Time-Tested Beauty Tips
For attractive lips,
speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes,
seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure,
share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair,
let a child run his fingers through it once a day.
For poise,
walk with the knowledge you’ll never walk alone…
People, even more than things,
have to be restored, renewed, revived,
reclaimed and redeemed and redeemed …
Never throw out anybody. Remember, if you ever need a
helping hand, you’ll find one at the end of your arm.
As you grow older you will discover that you have two hands.
One for helping yourself, the other for helping others

Parents are beautiful for what they do not for how they look. They are beautiful for the hands they hold, the hugs they give, the tears they cry and the tears they dry. They are beautiful for the patience they muster, the child they listen to, and the love they share even at times when that love is not returned. When our children need someone to rely on it doesn't matter if we're wearing make-up, skinny as a noodle, or as muscular as the hulk. They need someone who loves them. That person is you. Remember today that you are beautiful!