Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Love the Kids You Have, Not the Ones You Wish You Had

Many parents wake up one day and realize their children are different than they expected.

Some wish their child liked the same things they like. Others wish their child didn't have a certain annoying habit or that they were more organized. Others wish their child got better grades.

The truth is that these longings keep us from loving the child God has given us. Once we can release these expectations about who we think our children should be, we can more joyfully embrace the amazing children they are! Contact me if you would like to work on cultivating more joy and peace in your parenting!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Shocking Statistic About How Men Feel

Read this shocking statistic today. A real eye-opener. And something with a simple solution -- a sincere thank you!

For practical ways to appreciate your man, join me for the For Women Only Book Study this September. Click here for more information:

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Crumbs Under the Toaster

Uh-oh. I may be guilty of this. Join me for the For Women Only Book Study to learn more about how we may be unknowingly hurting our men.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Three out of Four Men Would Rather ...

Does this shock you? This information is significant for happy marriages. Learn how showing respect looks in daily life by joining the For Women Only book study.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Find Out Who You Are and Become It

Love this quote. Came across it in The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. 

So many of us mistakingly try to shape who we are based on who we think we ought to be. But that is not the plan God has for us. He sent us to earth with a plan and a purpose. It is our job while we are here to figure out what he had in mind and become it.

I love helping my clients discover who they truly are. Contact me if you would like to work on this for yourself!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Every Pile of Paper is a Stack of Unmade Decisions

Every pile of paper you have laying around your house is a stack of unmade decisions ... and a source of stress. Let this inspire you to clear the clutter. Try to touch each piece of incoming paperwork only one time. File it or trash it immediately.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

For Women Only Book Study Group

The man in your life carries important feelings so deep inside he barely knows they’re there, much less how to talk about them. Yet your man genuinely wants you to “get” him—to understand his inner life, to know his fears and needs, to hear what he wishes he could tell you. 

In her landmark bestseller, For Women Only, Shaunti Feldhahn reveals what every woman—single or married—needs to know.

Based on rigorous research with thousands of men, Shaunti delivers one eye-opening revelation after another, including:
  • Why your respect means more to him than your love.
  • How he feels deep inside about his role as provider.
  • What it means for a man to be so visually “wired.”
  • Why sex for him is primarily emotional, not physical.
  • What he most wishes he could say to you.
Participating is EASY! Seriously! You don't even have to leave your home!

1. Purchase the book.

2. Mark your calendar for our live chats (Central Time Zone): 
  • Wednesday, September 17, 8-9 p.m., Chapters 1 and 2
  • Wednesday, September 24, 8-9 p.m., Chapters 3 and 4
  • Wednesday, October 1, 8-9 p.m., Chapters 5 and 6
  • Wednesday, October 8, 8-9 p.m., Chapters 7 and 8
  • Wednesday, October 15, 8-9 p.m., Chapters 9 and 10
3. Visit our private Facebook group on the above dates for our group conversations. I'll post questions and you'll reply with your thoughts. 

Don't worry! If you miss the live chat, you can visit anytime to catch up!

Please feel free to share this with your friends.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Stop Waiting for the Perfect Time

One of the items I have had written on my to-do list all summer long is to have some girlfriends over.

I am a planner, so I was waiting for the perfect time to schedule it -- you know that time. When the schedule isn't too busy. When the house is clean. The grass is mowed. When you don't have too much work to do. When you have the proper amount of time to send out an invitation. When you have a theme chosen and maybe some decorations. When you have time to go shopping for food and beverages. When your husband is in town to help with the kids.
Stell and Dot official photo

To my shock and amazement, that time has never come this summer. Can you believe it? 

But what did happen is a friend from out-of-town called and said she was coming for a visit in one week. As if that wasn't awesome enough ... she also offered to host a Stella and Dot party for me and some friends while she was here. Yay!

What a perfect opportunity! I threw all of that wasteful caution to the wind, quickly drummed up an invite list of nearby friends and sent it out less than a week before the party. 

The party was a great success and I am SO glad I did it! It just felt so good to have some girlfriends over and hang out for a while. Plus, everyone bought some really cool jewelry and bags!

I have learned that it is possible and that it will be worth the fun and time spent with friends. I've got to stop waiting for the perfect time!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Joy of Treasured Friendships

Earlier this week my friend Liz visited from Virginia with her three kiddos. I have felt such joy in my heart since that visit. It has helped remind me of the value of special friendships and that even when we move away from friends, the love in our hearts remains the same.

Liz has three children -- ages 11, 10 and 8. I have two -- ages 11 and 8. We were pregnant together with both the 11-year-olds and the 8-year-olds. We also had one other friend with children the exact same ages! What are the chances?

At the time we all lived in sunny Florida. The three of us were stay-at-home moms and used to have regular weekly playdates. We shared all of the joys and challenges of being pregnant, navigating the sleepless days and nights of infants, and the exhaustion of chasing toddlers around. It was so nice that we had each other.

We also had monthly poker nights with our husbands and one other couple who had children at similar ages. Treasured times! I feel so blessed to have experienced it.

In 2009, Liz's husband took a career opportunity in Washington D.C., so they had to move. I was devastated. I seriously thought my life would never be the same. Of course, it wasn't, but it still went on, and I was OK.

It was just one year later when Paul took a career opportunity in Chicago, and it was our turn to move. I am uncertain if I would have been able to do it if Liz hadn't already moved. I wouldn't have wanted to leave that solid group of friends. They were my Florida family. But since the dynamic was already changed, it made it easier to make a change myself.

We honestly don't do that great at keeping in touch. Of course, I wish we did better, but it is difficult with life and children moving at warp speed.

What I love about our friendship, though, is that it's OK that we don't talk often. Nobody's feelings are hurt. And when we get back together, we just pick up where we left off.

Now our kids are having that experience as well. They look forward to our visits and play so well together. It's fun to watch!

So, even though, having to say goodbye when a friend moves or leaves after a visit is difficult, I would choose to experience that pain over and over again in order to experience the richness of a special friendship.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Making the Back-to-School Transition Easier

Every mom I have spoken with in the last week or two has expressed that they are "not ready" for summer to end. Neither am I!

Gone will be the "lazy" days of summer -- staying up late, sleeping in, easier schedules, warm weather and pool time with friends.

When school starts, it feels like the crazy starts. Driving kids to school, driving to activities, helping in the classroom, helping with homework, and just entirely too much to do. 

Since we all seem to be having trouble accepting reality, I thought I'd share a few tips for how to ease the back-to-school transition. 

1. Always. Be. Positive. If your children complain about going back to school, try to express understanding, but then point out something positive about being back at school, like seeing their friends again.

2. Try to get the bed time routine moving closer to a school bed time about one or two weeks before school starts to ease the adjustment.

3. Find some way to make early mornings more enjoyable for your family. For example, I like to put on some jazz music in the kitchen during breakfast to help keep the energy calm and soothing. Maybe your family needs some dance music or reggae music? Music is a natural anti-depressant.

4. Try to get outside and enjoy the weather after school each day. Simply being outside for a while will elevate everyone's endorphins and make them feel happier.

5. Try to spend some time snuggling with each child as you put them to bed -- some experts say this is the most valuable time of the day to spend with your kids. They tend to open up more and share about their day when things are calm at night.

Most importantly, keep in mind everyone in the family is going through this transition -- so allow for some extra grace when someone is crabby or out of sorts.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Power of One in Marriage

Do you wish your husband was more loving or romantic or attentive? What if I told you that you have the power to help get that ball rolling without his help?

In her book The Whole Hearted Wife, author Erin Smalley gives you 10 tips to a more loving relationship. Who wouldn't enjoy a more loving relationship?

I believe we should all be working to improve our marriages continually -- even if everything is currently great.

Why? Because that's how God intended it to be. He designed our marriages to "grow" us into the people he wants us to be. Sometimes "growing" can feel challenging. It is the unique challenges of the marriage relationship that help us accomplish this. Why else would we all be marring our opposites? Seriously!

I would like to share a quote from the book that I think is so encouraging and empowering to anyone who is married.
“Changing your own behavior may trigger your spouse to want to make changes. The secret lies in how we target our energy and efforts. Because our capacity to change others is entirely based on our willingness to change ourselves. This is not double talk or trickery. It’s simply the reality of relationship dynamics. If I create a change in my own attitude and behavior, my spouse and the marriage itself will automatically be forced to change.”
LOVE it! I think there is a similar quote, "Be the change you wish to see in the world." Let's rephrase it, "Be the change you wish to see in your marriage."

Contact me if you'd like help ... and here is another resource. A Focus on the Family interview with the author. You can listen to it for free here.

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Goal of Parenting: To Work Yourself Out of the Picture

The whole goal of parenting is to raise children who can go out into the world and be independent. Easier said than done!

Sometimes as a mom I feel tempted to help my children too much. My heart wants to make things easy for them so they can enjoy their childhood, but if I don't allow them enough freedom to experience life for themselves, I am only hurting them in the long run.

At every stage of development our children can take on more and more responsibility. It is our job to gently guide and teach them and let them do what they can do for themselves.

My husband and I felt the fruit of our labor last week as we encouraged our 11-year-old to attend Boy Scout camp by himself. That was the first time in his life that we have allowed him out of our sight for that long. It was difficult. We felt a bit nervous. But we also knew he could do it. And he did! Not only did he survive a week away from mom and dad, but he THRIVED! He earned three merit badges and accomplished some rank advancement requirements.

He told us he loved the independence and freedom of being away and making decisions for himself. I'd like to believe we prepared him adequately for that by allowing him to do things for himself at home.

It was such a great week of personal growth for all of us!