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She’s gone TURBO!

4 Jan

Turbo

If any of you have seen the movie “Wreck it Ralph” you will soon understand the title for this post.  Yesterday my typically cheerful 13-month old was anything but cheerful.  She whined and cried almost all day long, refused to play with any toys unless she was in my arms, napped shorter than usual, and threw little fits when I wouldn’t let her chew on my iPhone.  I’m pregnant with my 2nd, and seem to be unusually exhausted these days.  After attempting to put mascara on my left eye using my right hand (she literally would not let me set her down), going to the bathroom while she sat on my lap (familiar anyone?) and not getting a thing done all day long, I was feeling like I was going to lose it.

When my husband walked in the door from work I breathed a sigh of relief and went to hand her to him, but she threw a little fit and absolutely refused to enter anyone’s arms but mine.  That’s when the thought came, “Oh no…our sweet little girl has gone TURBO!”  I then fought with my bad mood as I prepared some quick dinner (bean burritos anyone?) and silently pondered how on Earth we would handle 2 little ones come June.  Then the good news came.  My husband had a soccer coaching meeting and kids were welcome!  And if there’s one thing that makes Kinley happy it’s being around other little kids.  I happily sent them on their way and started on my list of tasks that never got started and my mood instantly took a turn for the better.  Two and a half hours later they both came happily through the door and my husband reported of her joyous time playing with the other kids (well mostly just observing them since they were much older than her).  She would stand there holding onto the couch and excitedly jump up and down repeatedly.  Then it happened.  I realized how much I had missed her and grabbed her into a huge hug.  She gave me that goofy grin that I love so much and my heart melted instantly.  As I got her ready for bed and blew little raspberries on her chubby little tummy I thought how interesting it was that after a full day of chaos and frustration, all it took was one little moment to completely turn my heart around and remind me how much I love being a mom.

I thought about how I might feel in the future with more kids and designed my own little quote as a reminder:

Mother

 

 

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A Mother's Best Friend:

A Mother’s Best Friend: How to Do  a Prayer Journal

Christmas Eve Musings: Creating Kindness in our world

24 Dec

kindness

Many of us this Christmas season have had the shootings that occurred in Connecticut on our mind.  When I first read about the shooting at the Elementary school I went through a variety of emotions that day.  I started out angry at the shooter, and then real deep sorrow for the victim’s families, and then came fear for the Nation that we live in.  I found  myself fearful for my own husband (who is a teacher), and also hesitant about the public schooling system for my own children.  As all of these emotions were taking toll on me throughout the day I  silently reflected and began to wonder if there was anything positive I could take from any of it.  And that’s the first time throughout the day that I began to feel compassion for the shooter.  I began to wonder about his life and what miserable things might have taken place to get him to that point in his life.  I began to wonder if I had known him in high school, would I have reached out to him?

And then my mind took me to one of my favorite books that has changed my life forever.  It’s called The Message and it ends with the most powerful message on the importance of loving and serving everyone around us–even complete strangers; because, really we are all more connected than we think and each act of kindness has an effect with no known end.  For instance…let’s say you are checking out at the grocery store and you notice the checker appears a little unhappy.  You approach the check out with the most happy demeanor and compliment her as you have a pleasant conversation.  You then hand her a chocolate bar that you just purchase and let her know that you bought it with her in mind in hopes that she have a wonderful day.  Not only does this effect the checker and future people who come into contact with her, but you also leave a little bit more cheerful having made her day.  This “ripple” that was created from one small act of kindness could potentially keep “rippling” and effect hundreds of people that day as everyone tries a little harder to show kindness.  In the book that I mentioned, this family goes on a “service vacation” with the intent of spending their family vacation in search of ways they can serve their community.  It’s a powerful story and it led to me going on my own “service vacation.”  But one of the greatest things I learned from this is that you don’t have to travel to find people who need some love and compassion–they are all around us; and that is how I feel we can change our nation.  As we increase love, compassion, and kind acts that occur nationwide, we also decrease violence, hate and anger.  And yes, one person can make a profound difference!

When my husband and I got engaged, one of the biggest things we discussed that was of large importance to us was that we teach our children to fall in love with serving other people.  If we heard of someone who needed our help we wanted to make sure we take our children along with us and let them feel what it feels like to influence another human being in small but kind ways.  It takes a new pair of eyes to start to see these kinds of opportunities, but here are a few ideas we brainstormed to get started:

1.  Always have gifts wrapped and ready.  These can be small and inexpensive, but if you have them ready you will more readily find opportunities to give them out.  You never know when you will come upon someone who needs just a little boost to their day, and a small gift from a stranger could be the perfect fit!  My neighbor once told a story of a teenager rear-ending him and what a mess the teenager girl was in and she pondered what her parents would do when they found out.  He pulled one of his pre-wrapped gifts from his trunk, and comforted her with the words, “we all have bad days occasionally, here…I hope this helps.”  This man could have been angry but he understood that human beings are far more important than our material possessions and I will never forget that story.

2.  Make up holidays as a family as an excuse to serve others.  “Mailman Appreciation Day” or “First Responder’s Day” are fun ways to help the children appreciate those that render invaluable services to our community.  Write cards or make cookies and deliver them as a family.  Imagine the difference it could make for the mailman when he goes to give you mail and finds a gift just for him waiting in your mailbox.  Everyone enjoys being appreciated.

3.  Teach your children to love and respect the elderly.  Once in my teens I went to an assisted living center with a youth group and was surprised to see how many of my friends and peers felt uncomfortable around the elderly.  Quite a few of them were glued to the wall and refused to interact with them.  This was surprising to me because I grew up loving and visiting with the elderly as a family.  We went at least once a year growing up and it was always one of my favorite memories.  Sometimes we would put on a little “musical production,” and we would sing or play an instrument and sometimes we would just talk or share pictures we had colored for them.  It was because of these special experiences that my parents gave me that I ended up minoring in Geriatrics and later working at one of these homes.  The elderly have had a lot of valuable life experiences, and they really do have wonderful advice to share!

4.  Same goes with the mentally ill.  If we teach our children from a young age that the mentally ill or challenged are special and unique, then they will not feel “uncomfortable” around them later in life.  I also worked jobs with individuals that had cerebral palsy and traumatic brain injury and these remain some of my most special life experiences.  Once again, I owe these experiences to a mother that taught me from a young age that just because someone can’t talk, walk, or do things just like me, doesn’t mean they are less valuable.  When she saw me show fear towards someone with Down Syndrome, she specifically made an appointment to take me to a developmental center so that I could interact with these kind of individuals and learn to love, serve, and appreciate them.

5.  Teach your children to be grateful.  Sometimes life gets so busy that we forget to thank people in our life for their valuable contributions.  If it means setting a time aside like “Thankful Thursdays,” to remember these moments, do it.  Teach your children to be on the constant “lookout” for someone to thank.  They might have fun making cards of appreciation, or just learning to say the words.  Not only will this effect those that are receiving the thanks, it will also teach your children to live happier lives as they focus on their blessings.

6. Teach your children to go the extra mile.  Help your children be excited about returning someone else’s cart rather than just your own.  Teach your children that they can throw away a piece of trash even if it’s not their own.  Make a game out of them taking their sibling’s plate to the sink.  Teach them to do more than “their part.”  These are the type of people who are ready to change the world.

7.  Leave a trace with Kind Notes.  One of the things the family did in the book that I mentioned, was leave kind notes wherever they went.  It was something as simple as, “sometimes it’s just nice to know someone cares, have a great day!”  After reading this book I had fun doing this at the college I went to.  I usually tried to find someone who looked like they were having a rough day, but one day I was headed home and realized I had not given one out yet.  I walked in to one of the offices on campus and just set it on a girl’s desk and quickly walked away before she had a chance to say anything to me.  A few weeks later a random girl walked up to me and said, “can I give you a hug?”  I was a little confused because I did not recognize her but then she said, “You gave me that note on a day that everything seemed to be going wrong.  I was having a really hard day and that note made me feel so loved.”  I walked away trying not to let any tears form, but it touched me to know that one of these simple nice notes had actually made a difference for someone.

8.  Make a habit of asking your kids, “Who did you help today?”  Teach them to watch for opportunities at school to reach out to other children and be kind to them.  Teach them to watch for kids that are alone, sad, or being made fun of.  Teach them to make a difference and have the courage to reach out.  Chances are, other children will join in on the fun.

9.  Find Ways to Serve Others at Christmastime.  What a great way to teach your children to focus on what they can do rather than what they want.  Adopt an angel or drop off something to a needy family.  If finances are so tight that you have no way of even providing a Christmas for your own children, then volunteer at a soup kitchen as a family.  Help them to see that there are others in much harsher circumstances.

10.  Teach your children to sincerely compliment others.  Teach them that everyone on this Earth has something to offer, and it’s our job to help them see their talents and gifts.  A good way to teach this is to start by finding these qualities in your own children.  Focus on their strengths as a parent and point out good and unique qualities in other people.

In what ways does your family enjoy showing love to others?  Please share in the comments

Here are a couple Youtube videos that were meaningful to me on this subject:

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Where Did the Time Go? A Poem For My Daughter

26 Nov

We celebrated my daughter’s first birthday this last week and my thoughts have been trying to memorize the past year in fear that I might someday forget it.  Being a mother is …. well I’ve typed and retyped the ending to that phrase several times and just can’t get it right.  It’s wonderful and magical and crazy all at the same time.  There are moments that feel like they will never end and moments that end far too soon.  Right now I am feeling the “far too soon” part.  Being a mom is so incredible.

Here are a few pictures of our celebration and a little poem I wrote to my baby.

Fun ways to show Love to your Child

5 Oct

Eat Family Dinner Together.  This is one of the most important things you can do for your kids.  I took many, many classes in college on family and child development and family dinner always came up.  It is one of the best ways to build your child’s self-esteem, to have close family relationships, and by having meals together your children will be significantly less likely to get stuck with the wrong crowd or get into drugs.

Make family dinner fun and don’t over schedule your kids so much that dinner together is impossible.  Have “themed” dinner nights such as “Taco Tuesdays”, “whatever’s leftover Wednesday”, or “Favorite Foods Fridays”.  Make dinner a special time to ask your children deep or fun questions about their day, their interests, and their friends.  Have special moments for “brag time” during dinner and build sibling relationships.  If certain nights are just too busy during dinner time, schedule out a special time for snacks after school when you can all sit down together.  I remember as a kid occasionally coming home to dinner on the table at 4 pm because our family had too many things going on that day and family dinner was too important to my mom to give up that day.

Know Your Child’s Love Language and Find Ways to Express it Often.  Love languages don’t just pertain to marriages, children have special ways they like to be loved too.  If you can, it would be really good to read the book specifically about love languages for kids.  The book has awesome reviews, and parents have noticed a dramatic difference in their children once they learned what their love language was and different ways that they could meet their needs.  If your child’s love language is touch, make time for extra cuddling, hugs, and kisses.  If your child’s love language is time together, take time out of your day for some special one-on-one time.  Do more to spend time with this child than you would with others.  If your child’s love language is words, make sure you show you love them by stopping what you are doing to give eye contact, give praise, and talk about how they feel.  Does your child feel loved through notes or gifts?  Plan ahead and find ways to creative ways to show love in this way.

Take the time to be silly, to be messy, and to take in life’s simple pleasures.  Make up silly songs with your kids, play pretend, get on their level and play on the floor, build forts, get your fingers messy, talk in funny accents, and leave enough time in your schedule for star-gazing, looking for fun shapes in the clouds, and feeding the ducks.  Have you ever noticed how easily children are amused?  I once took a walk with my niece that would have taken the average adult two minutes.  We were occupied for over 30 minutes because she had to stop and smell every flower, touch every plant, and wave at everyone that passed by.  That’s what living is all about.  Take time to be a kid again.

Say Yes as Often as You Can.  There’s a difference between spoiling your children rotten and doing simple things that bring happiness into their life.  Yes kids should have chores, and yes kids should have consequences for their choices but kids also deserve plenty of love, attention, and simple pleasures.  As a kid I always wanted to ride on those little kiddie rides that they have at the grocery store that move when you put a quarter in them.  I believe I only got to ride them once or twice in my lifetime which is great, but for the amount of joy that it brought me to ride one, that could have been a very simple pleasure for my mom to provide.  I don’t blame her at all, in her mind I’m sure she considered it a waste of money.  But to me it wasn’t a waste of money, to me it was the world.  Once when I had my niece and nephew for a few days I took them to the dollar store and told them they could choose one item of their choice from the WHOLE store to buy.  My nephew picked a little package that had Police handcuffs, a gun, and I believe a walkie-talkie.  Sure it was a cheap toy and it was broken by the end of the day, but this kid was in heaven.  He played pretend police and handcuffed his little sister for different offences ALL DAY long!  I had no idea a dollar could be such a pay off!  I have a personal rule that if I’m not running late for something and I pass a lemonade stand I ALWAYS stop.  I always stop because I remember the pure delight I felt as a kid when someone finally pulled over and bought my lemonade.  And I stop because no matter how tight my budget is, 50 cents isn’t going to break me (maybe that’s a bad way to think, but it brings fulfillment and warm fuzzies into my life).  So next time your little one asks you to play ponies, cars or house–say yes.  Even if it’s just for five minutes.  Make it a game to see how many requests you can say yes to and always make sure it’s more than “no”.

Get to Know Their Friends and love them as your own.  It’s very rewarding to children when their parents have a good relationship with their friends and it’s also a good way for parents to know what’s going on in their kids lives.  My best friend’s parents never wondered what their kids were up to because they were always at the house.  All of their kid’s friends always wanted to hang out at their house because their parents were to friendly and fun.  I still call my friend’s parent’s “mom” and “dad” because I honestly felt like they cared about me like their own kid.  One of my neighbors said to me the other day, “it used to bug me that the neighbors were always eating at our house, but then I just learned to be grateful that they enjoyed being at our house and that I had enough money to feed them.”  Not all of us have the financial stability to feed our kid’s friends all of the time, but we can still come up with creative ways to bond with our children’s friends.

Set Limits and Have a Sense of Humor.  Studies have shown that children feel loved when their parents set limits and don’t give in to all their requests.  They may give you a hard time about their curfew, but they feel more loved that the child whose parents don’t care when they come home.  Just because you are setting limits doesn’t mean you have to do it in a harsh tone however.  Make learning something to be praised (“I’m so excited for you to learn how to show respect to your sister!  This is how I’m going to help you learn”).  Some parents feel they have to raise their voice to let their children know they are serious.  The opposite is true (more about this here).  When children are being yelled at they are more focused on protecting themselves and staying mad at you.  When you discipline with love and a sense of humor, children naturally are more likely to self-reflect and learn valuable lessons.  Teach them that making a mistake is exciting because it brings the opportunity to learn and grow into the people we want to be.

Praise, Praise, Praise!  More on this here, but find ways to express appreciation, adoration and respect to your child.  Leave love notes on their pillow, sneak a letter into their lunch, and tell your husband and family all the reasons why you love this particular child.  Leave no doubt in their mind that they are loved, appreciated, and cherished.

Discover their Talents and Put Them to Use.  This is probably one of the things my own mother was best at.  She had (and still has) a talent for making me and my siblings feel gifted.  She always said things to me like “Oh Kristina!  Will you please write  a poem to go with the neighborhood Christmas gifts?  No one has the same gift for rhyming like you do!”  And if I came up for an excuse for why I couldn’t or why I didn’t have time she always made it seem like it wouldn’t be the same unless I did it.  She would also say things like “Kristina, will you plan your sister’s birthday party?  You are so fun and creative that I just don’t think it will be the same unless you are the planner,” or “Kristina!  I need your handwriting!  Please come write on this for me!”  I always felt needed and felt like I had a unique place within my family.  Still to this day she will call me to plan something for her, or get a good deal, etc.  Every kid comes with their own unique personality and it is important to help them discover the different ways that they can positively contribute to the world around them.

Surprise!  Find fun ways to shock them with your love.  Shock them meaning do something they wouldn’t expect.  If you always say no to pop tarts for breakfast, break them out one morning in celebration of something.  Sure they aren’t the healthiest thing, but one morning isn’t going to send the body into complete shock (hopefully), and the reaction on their face will be well worth it.  Try to get that look on their face as often as you can.  Do you never order anything off the dollar menu?  One day just say, “okay!  Order whatever you want!”  Are you strict about school absences and tardinesss?  One day check your child out of school for an hour and go do something fun (probably shouldn’t make a habit out of this one, but I would have been shocked out of my mind if my mom ever showed up at school and checked me out for something other than a dentist appointment)!

What are some fun ways that you like to show love to your children?

 

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A Mother’s Best Friend

25 Sep

I firmly believe that prayer is a mother’s best friend.  As a first time mom, it’s been neat to feel how much God is a part of my child’s life.  There is a certain peace that I feel that tells me that as long as I am doing my best and asking for God’s help, he will make up for the areas that I lack.  I love having him as a partner in parenting.

When I was in college I started something called a “prayer journal” for a summer.  I wanted to make my prayers more sincere and focused, so I started journaling before I would pray every night to kind of bring my mind to the right place.  Something incredible happened from this experience:  I noticed my prayers were being answered far more than I realized.  Too often I think we pray for little things, God answers them, but we forget that we prayed for it in the first place and as a result we withhold our thanks.

Now that I am a mom I have had prayer on my mind again.  How many times has God answered my little prayers and I have forgotten? I thought it would be neat to start again with a prayer journal but continue it throughout motherhood.  Maybe one day I will compile the sections that pertain to each child and give it to them when they are older.  How cool would it be to know about every prayer your mother said pertaining to you?  What if you saw the following entry:

“Please bless _____ that she will find some friends.  We just moved into a new neighborhood and I can tell that she longs for a good friend.”   A few days later…..  “Thank you for helping my daughter find _____.  I can tell they have a lot in common and will make great friends for each other.”

Or, “Please bless ______ that he will feel better.  It breaks my heart to see him so sick.”

Miracles and answered prayers happen so often but we naturally forget them as time passes (or at least I do).  It would be cool to look back on all the blessings received from the Lord, as well as prayers that didn’t get answered the way we wanted them to and how the blessings were found after time had passed.

This is the format that my prayer journal takes:

In the first part I try to list as many things as possible that I am grateful for.  I once heard, “If tomorrow you only had what you thanked God for yesterday, would you have much?”  I love that thought.  Gratitude is a powerful life tool.  Second, I try to notice specific answers to prayer, or different things that show the hand of God in my life that day.  This could be as simple as helping me to be  positive to a particular situation, helping me remember an appointment, or as big as healing me of sickness.  Whatever it is I try to be on the lookout for what God has done for me.  Next is people to pray for.  This is fun because it also gets me in the habit of thinking throughout the day who could use a prayer.  Sometimes it ends up being someone I don’t even know from a news article I read that day, or someone I just met.  Next is short term requests.  This would be things that I am wanting help with this day, week, and sometimes month (example: help me have enough energy to accomplish what I need done tomorrow).  Long term requests are typically a month or longer (example: help me pay off my debts).  Another section that would be good to add would be “My Part in Receiving Answers to my Prayer,” to help me remember to do my part!

What are some things you do to make your prayers more meaningful?

How has prayer helped you as a mother?

Shout Out to Moms. Fun Parenting Tips and Meaningful Marriage principles

18 Sep

Click to view full size.

I was organizing downstairs and I came across one of my notebooks from college where I had written some of my favorite quotes and ideas for marriage and family. I had this quote written down about being a super mom and decided to make it into subway art and put it in my room since I love it so much. The original quote is from a talk by Ezra Taft Benson and it says:

“she will have the countenance of Christ for her beauty, the peace of Christ to support her emotionally, the Savior’s example as a means to solve her problems and to strengthen her, and the love of Christ as the source of love for herself, her family, and those about her.”

It was also fun to read the different parenting and marriage advice that I had listed in this notebook because I took this class before I was married. I thought it would be fun to list what I had written. Let me know if any of these ideas have worked for you or if you have some better ones!

*When you can, use parent-child activities as a reward for your children rather than food/toys

* Write about your child in a journal during your pregnancy with them and give it as a gift when they are older

*Find alternatives to yelling (like humor) if you want your children to learn. When you yell at your children they have no time to self reflect because they are exerting all of their energy protecting themselves or being mad at you. As you feel the anger bubbling, rather than yell use that energy to excitedly say something like, “I’m so excited for you! You must be wanting an opportunity to learn how to be nice to your sister!” Or an opportunity to learn hard work, or respect, or whatever brought on the behavior.

*SPECIFICALLY praise your children multiple times a day! (“You were so creative to come up with that idea!” Rather than “You are awesome!”). Also praise them in front of other people, especially if they think you don’t know they’re listening.

* Attack the problem, not the child. Always make sure they know they are loved.

* Have “brag time” with your kids. The rule: they have to brag about each other. This gives siblings a chance to brag about each other and uplift each other

* Ask your kids these two questions before they go to bed:

1. What was your happiest thing today?

2. What did you do for God today?

* Set an alarm for their curfew. This keeps you from staying up and losing sleep. If they make it home on time, they sneak in and turn off the alarm, if they don’t…the alarm goes off and you know to wait up for your child.

*If kid’s are having a hard time falling asleep, pull out the “magic pillow” (has a special pillowcase) that “magically” puts kids to sleep. If you have kids that are scared of monsters, have a spray bottle with water labeled “monster spray.” Spray the room before they go to sleep.

*Use humor to discipline your children! “If you’re going to argue you have to do it laying on your back,” or “If you’re going to argue you have to sing your argument (opera) style outside!”

*Don’t shield your kids from parental arguments. It’s good for children to see their parents disagree so that they know that disagreements are normal, just make sure to resolve arguments in a healthy way so that they learn how to resolve conflicts. One family had a “push up kisses” rule. If the kids saw their parents arguing, they could yell “push up kisses!” and the mom had to get on the floor and dad had to do push ups and kiss mom every time he goes down for a push up (allow humor in resolving conflicts).

*Kids that keep getting out of bed: As kids are going to bed give them certain privileges like a night-light or lamp, the door ajar, and music or a book on tape. Each time they get out of bed you say, “Sure! you can get up and get a drink…which are you going to give up first? The lamp, the story, or the open door?” Or another family that I know just has each kid keep a water bottle by their bed.

*Kids that refuse to wear their seatbelts: Teach, don’t control. Slow down to less than 15 MPH and BRAKE! Teach them that it’s a matter of safety so they don’t get hurt.

*Kids that are consistently unfair to each other: Next time they get in trouble, let them choose each other’s consequences. If they are unfair and choose something very difficult for each other, say: “congratulations! You did such a good job, you just picked your own consequence!” In the example given, the brother suggested that his sister should be grounded for a week and the sister decided to choose something equally painful for her brother. As a result, they both ended up with the consequence they intended for each other.

*Have a “blessings” jar. It could be for misbehaving, whining, hitting, etc. When the behavior shows up, have them pick a paper out of the blessing jar. On each paper is a task listed that they get to do to “bless” mom (could be dusting, or other tasks).

*Let your children decide natural consequences. Sometimes kids know better than you do what would help them learn a certain principle. One family I knew gave their children the chance to come up with a natural consequence if they misbehaved. You could say something like “I have a consequence in mind…but what do you think would be fair?” Make sure they know that they automatically get yours if they don’t come up with a good enough one the first time. This usually turns in the parent’s favor.

*Fighting in the Car. Rather than yelling or repeating 5 million times “if you don’t stop I am going to pull this car over!” try telling them ahead of time what the consequence is going to be. “If you don’t get along I will pull over and knit until you stop.” When they fight, don’t say anything, just pull over and start knitting. It won’t last long.

OR…I had a friend do this but it’s not something I would personally have the heart to do. Her kids always fought in the car and never believed her when she said she would turn the car around and go home. So one time she told the whole family they were going to Disneyland, but that there was to be no fighting or she would turn the car around and they would go home (She of course was not planning on actually going there because she knew a fight would start within five minutes). Sure enough, the fight started and she turned around and took them home. She said there were a lot of tears that day, but they believed her from that moment on.

*Don’t “overfeed” your children and “starve” your marriage. Make sure your children know that your first loyalty is to your spouse. Always back each other up in front of your children. If you don’t agree with a rule that is enforced with the children, talk about it privately rather than undermine each other. My husband and I started this fun idea that we recently heard: set a time that is just for you two. For us it is 8:30 after Kinley is in bed. This is a time to sit, snack, whatever…but without distractions. This is a time to just talk and hear about each other’s day.

*This goes along with the first, but continue dating after you are married. Take time away just the two of you each week. It doesn’t have to cost money, but plan for it and make sure it always happens! Here is a cute blog post on some fun date nights to have at home.

*We have this mistaken idea that the best way to “help” someone improve is to criticize them. The opposite is true. We are motivated by praise. When we were first married, I remember I was having a bad day and I proceeded to say, “I’m sorry for complaining…” and my husband responded with the words, “complain? Yeah right. I’ve never heard you complain about anything.” He was sincere in his compliment and it motivated me to want to stay that way; whereas, if the statement had been, “why can’t you stop complaining?” there would have been little motivation present. That’s how we are as humans. We want to continually do what makes others happy.

*distinguishing between preferences and principles takes humility. Just because you like something a certain way doesn’t mean it’s the only way to live.

*Pray for your spouse. Not only is it special for your spouse to hear you pray about them, it helps you remember all the reasons why you love him/her. In your personal prayers, ask, “what can I do to make my spouse’s life less frustrating?”

*Communication is more an attitude than a skill. Too many people say things like “My husband comes from a family that doesn’t know how to communicate” and continue to blame the problems on him. Good communication more often comes from two people ready and willing to find a solution than from two people with a communications degree.

*Rather than feeling shame for our weaknesses, we can rejoice as they lead us to true humility and greater dependence on God. Rather than try to defend yourself, delight in the opportunity to learn and become a better person. There should be no shame in recognizing an area in our life that we can improve on.

*Always say “I Love YOU.”

*Do something EVERY DAY to express genuine affection and appreciation. Appreciation is the gas that keeps marriages going. Let your spouse know how much you love and appreciate them often. Don’t let what’s missing discolor everything

*Love your Husband and you will love yourself! (Ephesians 5:28)

* Make it a goal to never attack or call names. Be hard on the problem and easy on the person.

*Remember that crisis is composed of two symbols: one representing danger, and the other opportunity. Trials and challenges can either harm or help marriages, depending on how you react to them. Treat each challenge as an opportunity to grow closer to one another.

*Remember that giving up is not the same as compromising

*Agree to disagree!

* Instead of nagging about things you want your spouse to be or do, try becoming it yourself.

*Focus on WHAT is right, now WHO is right.

Now it’s time to hear from you! What would you say is your “best” marriage advice? What skills/principles have most helped you?

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love

H&M…&M = Horror Mom Moment

11 Sep

Okay, here’s one of those posts that portrays that maybe I’m not the best mom and hopefully makes the rest of you feel like a better mom (and one that maybe my mother-in-law should just skip altogether).

My husband and I are watching our neighbors kids in a few weeks while they go to Mexico.  This neighbor (I work for her) asked me to run some errands for her the other day which consisted of picking up a daughter from school and taking her to volleyball practice, and picking up her two other kids and taking them to the Dollar Tree (and a few other errands).  Well, as I was playing “mom” with my 3 new awesome adopted children…My baby girl sat silently in the back just happy to be there for the ride (typical of her).

After running several errands in a row I ran the 2 younger kids in to the dollar store.  I came out, got in the car and realized I TOTALLY LEFT MY BABY IN THE CAR WITHOUT EVEN KNOWING IT!  I was horrified with myself.  All of a sudden all those tragic news stories started passing through my mind and I felt so sick with myself (luckily it was 5 minutes or less, it was not a hot day, and she acted like she didn’t even know we had left).  I never thought until that moment that I could be that spacey…but I just proved myself wrong.  Now I am just hoping and praying that I never do something like that again.  But how to I make sure that I won’t?

Now’s your chance to make me feel better.  Have you ever done anything like that?

Do you have any habitual reminders set in place that keep you from repeating it?

I only have one child right now, but those of you that have more than one:  How do you keep your brain intact and keep from making these kind of mistakes?