Monday, December 16, 2013

Showing Compassion 52 Weeks A Year

From Thanksgiving to New Years, for about 6 weeks a year we find compassion for others. Sure throughout the year we may do a random act here and there for someone. However, during the “Holiday Season” we take food to the needy, send cards, give thanks, offer words of kindness and give to charities. But, what about the other 46 weeks of the year, what do we do?

It does not cost anything to tell someone that we love them, to give thanks, to give your time to soup kitchen or visit strangers at the VA, a nursing home, patients in hospice or just to be kind to others. Most all of us have enough food in our cabinets to fill up a bag that we can give to someone in need. It cost very little to send a card to let someone know you are thinking of them or to even give as little as a $1.00 a month to a charity that is close to your heart.

For a lot of people we get so caught up in our everyday life during the year that we don’t even notice that we are too busy to pay attention to how we treat others. We don’t notice that we are sometimes rude to those around us. We forget to edit ourselves and what we say or the tone in which we speak. We disregard acts of kindness and instead of saying thank you we come to expect them. We listen to gossip and even participate in it. We make excuses for our bad behavior or even try to justify it.

The hard work is to acknowledge our short comings. While we may have good intentions, to others what they see is that moment when we act like idiots and seem as if we don’t have an ounce of compassion in our hearts.  We need to take a step back and define ourselves every day, not just 6 weeks out of the year. We have to decide to be more aware, be more kind; loving and true to whom we really are in our hearts.

I am the first to hold up my hand and say I fall short of the person I want to be. I remember a song I learned many years ago.

 Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.
Let there be peace on earth, the peace that was meant to be.

With God as our father, brothers all are we.
Let me walk with my brother, in perfect harmony.

Let peace begin with me; let this be the moment now.
With every step I take, let this be my solemn vow.
To take each moment and live each moment, with peace eternally.
Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.

This is the person I want to be 52 weeks of the year. There is enough craziness, loneliness and hate in the world. My goal is to make a big change in my life and live every day with a purpose of compassion.


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Holiday Traditions

My husband and I both wanted to continue traditions from each of our families and add some of our own when we got married. Both of his parents passed away when we were teens and we live far from most of our family.  We feel that traditions help keep us connected to our past and the people who are important to us, especially around the holidays.  Here are a few of the traditions we have incorporated into our holiday celebrations:

Sometime before Thanksgiving, each person in our family fills out a wish list.  This started out just to help me know who likes what kind of Chapstick and other random information for stockings.  The wish list we used this year asks for things like clothing sizes, favorite colors, items needed, items wanted, etc.  There is usually a week grace period after filling out the wish lists and then nothing can be added.  Also, once the forms are filled out, no one has permission to show me the new things they want at the store.  This has been fairly successful in cutting down the “I wants” as all of the Christmas sales begin.  I give copies to grandparents and other family asking what the kids want for Christmas and everyone is happy with their gifts because they are things they like. 

We keep fall decorations up and celebrate Thanksgiving with a big family meal.  This is one of the few completely kick-back days of our year.  Because we all like to cook and a crowded kitchen makes for a grumpy mama, each person chooses one dish to help prepare. The list is posted so I can call that person when I’m ready to make his/her dish.  Throughout the day, we shuffle the ads around to decide what we’re shopping for, but the only shopping done on Thanksgiving is online after dinner.  During dessert, we make a thankful tree.  Each person puts things on the leaves that he/she is thankful for.  We usually end the day with a movie or two since we’re not really into football. 

The weekend after Thanksgiving is divided between shopping in the stores, making cards (yes, we still send cards), and decorating our house for winter.  I didn't say that we decorate for Christmas for two reasons.  My time is precious and I don't want to spend a lot of time putting things up that will come down in a few short weeks.  Also, we decorate with snowmen and a wintery theme that will last through January rather than Santa Claus.  Our tree is the only thing that comes down on New Year's Day and the rest stays for a while longer. We also get gifts for a local charity to keep ourselves focused on giving rather than getting.

Throughout December, we use our advent calendar to count down to Christmas and keep us focused on the reason for the season.  Normally, the kids each get an ornament to hang on the tree that represents something from the year, but this year we’re making ornaments.  Dozens and dozens of cookies are baked to give as gifts to neighbors, coworkers and loved ones.  We also get our gifts wrapped and under the tree. 

On Christmas Eve, we read the Christmas story, unwrap our pajamas and one family gift that is usually a board game.  We spend the evening watching movies and playing games.  Towards the end of the night, each person fills someone else’s stocking.

Christmas Day begins early in the morning with stockings.  We have a simple breakfast and then unwrap some presents.  My mom and dad come over for a late lunch (our big meal) and then we open the rest of our gifts.  There is always a treasure hunt for something - either a big family gift or something special for someone in the family.  The evening is low-key with dessert and playing with new toys. 

We finish out the holiday celebration by inviting friends over for a big New Year’s Eve potluck dinner.  We celebrate my mom and dad’s anniversary (December 31), our son’s gotcha day (January 1), and the new year all in one.  It’s the best way to welcome a new year!

I’d love to hear how your family celebrates!

 

 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Celebrating Thankfulness

Several years ago, our daughter came home from preschool with a foam tree.  On each leaf she wrote something for which she was thankful.  Every year since then, we have made our own tree at home for Thanksgiving.  We have varied the method of assembly, but it always gets done and we always enjoy doing it.  Some years we each take several leaves and write on them.  Other years, one person is the writer as we go around the table sharing our items.  No matter the method, we enjoy taking the time to give thanks for all that the Lord has provided for us.

Friday, November 8, 2013

A Special Veteran's Day

It isn't uncommon for kids to look forward to celebrating special occasions like Christmas, Thanksgiving and their family members' birthdays.  My kids aren't all that common.  Every year around this time I am sweetly surprised when my kids dig into my card stash looking for just the right card to give their dad for Veteran's Day.  They usually wake up early to make him a special breakfast before he heads to work (just because it's a holiday doesn't mean truck drivers get the day off) and then they make him a lunch with the cards hidden inside.  Although our oldest daughter was less than a year old when my husband was medically discharged from the military, all of our girls remember vividly the day we said good-bye to him when he left for Iraq as a civilian contractor and the day he surprised the girls by walking into a restaurant where we were celebrating our middle daughter's birthday.  I am glad that all four of our kids understand the importance of honoring those who serve for our country.

Because of the impact of my husband's military career on our family, it wasn't all that surprising to me when my mom told me a few weeks back that she had nominated my husband to be on the Steve Harvey Show for a Veteran's Day special.  I was surprised to find out that not just my husband, but our whole family was one of a couple of families being considered for the show.  It was easy to get wrapped up in the excitement.  The timing of the taping couldn't have been better.  Our family has faced our share of difficulties lately with one of our children having a seizure in June that triggered a string of doctor appointments and diagnoses of health issues (none of which triggered the seizure) and my husband experiencing serious misfortune in our business including an accident that totaled our semi and took our income and savings down to nothing for three months beginning in July.  I didn't know a whole lot about what the show was about beyond honoring veterans who give back to their communities, but I looked at this opportunity to get away to Chicago as a breath of fresh air for our family.  Because my husband gives up so much for me and the kids, I was also thrilled that he would be the recipient of something special beyond what I could give him.  The part that made this arrangement completely ideal was that I had already scheduled the days surrounding the taping to be away from work to attend a conference. 

All that stood between us and Chicago was an interview via Skype with one of the show staff members.  I spoke with the kids about being prepared to answer questions about how we are involved in our community and general things about what they like to do so that they could be involved in the interview and each contribute something different that reflected their wonderful personalities.  We got up early that morning and I made sure every was ready with clean clothes and brushed hair and teeth.  We prepared the computer and my stomach did flips as I waited for the call.  The flips became stronger and more frequent as the appointed time came and went with no call.  Knowing that he arranged the call, I began to quiz my husband...Are you sure she said 9:30?  Were we supposed to Skype her?  How can she Skype us if you didn't give her our username?  Luckily for him, the phone finally rang but the interview was over before we really even said much at all.  I was completely thrown off guard when the sweet interviewer asked my kids what my husband and I do for them.  Apparently my kids were surprised too because only my oldest daughter was able to pull together an answer.  At the end of our chat, the lady said that they would have an answer for us late that evening but she was pulling for us.  It was at this point that our kids realized that this wasn't just some lady that wanted to meet them, but someone who might want them on TV.  In Chicago!!!  That meant a trip on an airplane or a train - a first for two of our kids!!!  This would be better than any Christmas gift we could give sine we are still getting back on our feet from the events of the summer.

As I went about my day, I couldn't help but get excited.  She said our chances were good and it was between us and one other family.  Was this how God was going to bless us for our faithfulness through the past few months - by sending us to Chicago for a TV show?  He's done more unexpected things in our lives, so it could happen!  My excitement turned by the next morning when we heard nothing.  Didn't she say that she liked us?  Were we not chatty enough?  Not attractive enough?  Doubt and disappointment led me through the next few days.  It was momentarily alleviated when my husband's phone rang as we walked into church that Sunday morning.  It was the lady who interviewed us...saying that we weren't chosen.  My heart sank.  To be completely honest, I cried.  Second place never feels so bad except when you think about how good first place could have felt.  My heart was sad for my husband who deserves this sort of honor and my kids whom I overheard excitedly talking about traveling as a whole family on the train or airplane.

I packed my bags and went to the conference with my mom as scheduled before this whirlwind caught me up in it.  Apparently being on the show and whatever came with that was not the blessing that God had for us and I knew that in time I would be satisfied with not going.  I knew that there were many other families with compelling stories that truly deserved this as much as my family and was happy that the show was honoring any veterans. The first night at the conference, the night we would have been in a hotel preparing for the show, my husband called to tell me it was OK that we weren't picked.  He and three of the kids were home with a terrible stomach bug.  Being in Chicago (or traveling there) would not have been fun at all like this.  I had to agree with him.

I though I dodged the sickness by being gone (my thoughtful husband disinfected the house before I came back), but I have been home sick most of this week.  With little energy to do much else, I was flipping through the channels this afternoon and saw The Steve Harvey Show listed.  Out of curiosity, I turned it on to get a glimpse of the man whom had almost blessed my family with a lovely surprise holiday.  On this particular show, he gave a family a day out with pizza and bowling.  The kids were ecstatic and he commented about how easy it was to please them.  It took me back to how overjoyed my kids were about simply traveling to Chicago and staying in a hotel.  My kids were thrilled to consider the many beverage and snack possibilities while traveling and hoped for time to swim in the hotel pool!  Yes, they are easy to please!

My thoughts were interrupted when a teaser came on for Monday's show.  It wasn't about the veteran as I expected...it was about the super mom in the military family!  I had to rewind the clip to make sure I heard it right.  For the past two weeks, I have mourned something I never really had - the opportunity for my husband and family to be blessed because of what my husband has done when really my mom did this for me.  Because I am that kind of person, I cried again. 

This time it wasn't because of what we didn't have.  It was because of what I have.  At this point, I really don't want to know why we weren't chosen.  It doesn't matter and it isn't going to change anything.  Some people who don't know us met in a room and chose to honor another family over mine and that's irrelevant now.  Chosen or not, this was a reminder that I needed.  What matters is that I have an amazing family that takes every possible opportunity to demonstrate their love and appreciation for one another.    What I do isn't about me, but this is a reminder to me that my kids value the time I spend teaching them, driving them to their activities, and just hanging out with them.  I know that my husband appreciates the crazy dinners I pull together when he gets home late from work, the errands for him, and all of the other wifely things I do. His appreciation was evidenced in the things he did to get us on the show, something he would have rolled his eyes at if I had mentioned it to him.  And then there's my mom, who has her hands full with so much going on in her own life, but took the time to submit her letter and try to surprise me and cheer me up after our recent turn of events.  The things my family has done over the past couple of weeks to try to honor me validated all of those moments when the kids complain about their school work or my husband points out something that's not right and I wonder why I'm doing all of the things that I do.  Our faces may not be on TV this Veteran's Day and the day's routine will probably be like most any other day, but it will be my most special Veteran's Day ever.



Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Making Gift Giving Easier

When celebrating holidays, I try to balance my desire to be practical with the light-hearted fun of the occassion.  In our house, stockings and Easter baskets are filled with wonderful treats like toothpaste, body wash and pencils as well as minimal candy and toys.  When my girls were little, I'd get three of everything (one for each girl) in their favorite scents, flavors or colors - Chapstick, bubble bath, mini notebooks, whatever.  Now that we've added a boy in the mix and all of the kids are older, I've gotten a little more creative in my gift giving.  I've also added a new tradition that helps me know that I've chosen things my family likes. Let's be honest, it's not always easy keeping track of four kids' changing favorites.  Sometime each autumn, each of my kids fill out a gift guide.  This is the one time of year when they can write out all of the wonderful things they want and like.  They know that I don't want to hear about everything they see and want as the stores roll out their holiday displays because I will use these guides for my shopping.  Sometimes I deviate from their lists, but that is by my choice, not theirs. 

I don't just keep these lists to myself.  I make copies and share them with their siblings and extended family who ask for gift ideas.  By sharing this information, I often have an idea of who is getting what and duplicate gifts are avoided.  The list offers ideas at a variety of price points so everyone can find a gift within their budget that is sure to please the recipient.  These lists help to cut down on disappointments as gifts are opened because the things they receive are things they wrote on their lists.  We always teach our kids to be grateful for what they receive, but for birthdays and holidays, I'd rather give them what they truly need or want.  They are honestly excited when they receive their favorite toothpaste rather than the basic stuff I buy the rest of the year.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Customer Service

I understand the costs a company saves by having an automated customer service system, but in my opinion “automated and customer service” is an oxymoron.  I can’t even begin to list the number of things I have put off just because I did not want to deal with an automated and out sourced customer help service. Tech support with our satellite receiver, internet service, my new cell phone and getting my interest rates reduces on a credit card, are just a few examples.

I just do not have the time to call the company, enter all the requested info only to be given an answer that has no relation to my question. Yes I always hit the pound key and the star key like a mad woman in an attempt to get transferred to a real person. Most of the time one of two things happens. Either I get an automated “thank you” and disconnect or I get transferred to another automated system that tells me there is a 20 minute wait.

So I rolled the dice and called my cell phone company today to ask why, after following all the directions, I was unable to log on to my internet service at home. I went through the automated system and finely got to the option to talk with a real person. I had already invested 30 minutes into the process by then, so I waited the 30 minutes that really turns out to be 40 minutes of listening to a flute playing hard rock music. At last the moment came where an automated voice told me I am next in line. My victory of knowing that someone was soon going to be on the line was quickly followed by shear frustration because I could hardly understand what this person was saying. My call was put through to a foreign county call center. Somewhere in her thick accent and broken English I believe she said her name was Peggy. Peggy did not seem to understand anything I said. A little back and forth and I understood that Peggy wanted me to repeat all my account information that I had already entered in the automated system.

Several more minutes of attempting to communicate my issue and I got the feared phrase, “let me put you on hold while I check with someone.” This translated to another 10 minutes on hold. Peggy returned and began to walk me through some steps only to realize she was helping me set up my voice mail. Okay, l explained my issue to Peggy again.  I spent another 10 minutes trying to re-phase my inquiry in an attempt to get an answer.

I know you have all been in this situation. After investing over an hour in this senseless exchange and trying to remain easy-going, Peggy told me she had no idea how to do what I was asking. I know my tone of voice was getting edgy and I tried to refrain for fear Peggy would hang up.  We went back and forth until Peggy told me that I was being transferred to a supervisor. The dreaded transfer at best equates to several more minutes of flute music, at worst it means the call would be disconnected and I would have to start all over. I was lucky and the transfer was successful. Another person, a man named Jack claiming to be a supervisor, began by asking me in broken English for all my account information again, really?

About that time I had missed several other calls from people trying to call me, I had to run to the bathroom, let the dogs out and grab something to drink. I had been on the phone well over an hour and a half and was beginning to wonder if I really needed internet service on my phone. My spirits were lifted when Jack at least seemed to understand what I was asking. The answer was simple to him, if I could not log on to my home internet service with my phone after following all the steps in the manual, it had to be because my internet was down. I told him that my internet was working just fine because I had my laptop open and was logged on to my e-mail. Jack insists that it was an internet issue and asked me to reset my router.  That did not work so he wanted me to unplug the router and wait 15 seconds and plug it back in.

Jack tried to convince me to call my internet provider because it was a problem with them and not the phone. I lied to him and told him I already called them and they checked out my router and the issue was with the phone. Jack is stumped. He asked that I check to make sure I entered my router password correctly, I did. Next he asked that I shut my phone off and turn it back on, I did. Nothing. Jack declared that there must be a problem with the phone and wanted to send me another one to replace it. I explained that I had had the phone for two months and they had already sent me a replacement phone last month because they could not resolve an issue with sim card.

There was no changing Jacks mind however. He insisted it was a defect with the phone and he was sending me a new one. I asked that he look at my account for the service record so he could see that I had had this phone for two month and had not been able to use it much because after I first got it I had an issue and they had to send me a new sim card. Then there was second issue after I installed the new sim card so I had to wait while they sent me a new phone.  I did not want to wait another week for yet another phone. I told him to forget it I will use this phone without the ability to log on to the internet. We agreed and I hung up. That was two hours of my life I will never get back.


A week later I was putting the phone in my purse and I dropped it. When it fell to the floor the back came off and the battery went flying. I pick it up and put it all back together, turn it back on and looked at the screen to make sure I didn’t break it. To my surprise I got an icon telling me that I was connected to my home internet service. I thought about calling Peggy and Jack to tell them the answer to my question was to remove and replace the battery. But then I decided I really didn’t have two hours to waste that day.  https://www.facebook.com/ForSuchASeason 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Life Is What You Make It

I remember when I was a kid, my Mom babysat, ironed other peoples clothes and did typing so that she could stay at home with us kids. My Dad worked as much overtime as he could to make sure our family's bills were paid and to put food on the table. When we got older and were all in school, both my Mom and Dad worked full time. My Dad would often work 6 days a week,10 hours a day. My Mom would come home from work, change clothes, make dinner, do dishes and check that we had our homework done. On Saturdays, she would do laundry, go grocery shopping and us kids would help her clean the house. This was our routine.

At 18 years old I was sure I knew it all and had everything figured out. I got married and a year later found myself expecting a baby. I guess I was lucky, because I found out when I was a teen, that I knew nothing. My marriage was full of problems. My husband could not keep a job, there was domestic abuse and he drank. Those, believe it or not, were the easy problems in our marriage. My parents sat me down and told me to figure life out fast before my baby was born. I knew that was not the life I wanted for my child, so I left my husband and filed for a divorce.

I got an apartment about a block north of my parents. They urged me to go back to school, get a college degree and a job. They offered to help care for my daughter if I would do those things. It seem impossible and I looked around and saw other single mom's on welfare, food stamps and section 8 housing that appeared to be making out okay. But my parents insisted that I look at the big picture. So I enrolled in college and was lucky to find a full time job there as well.

One thing led to another and at twenty, I found myself in the police academy. I worked full-time as a police officer for many years. While working, I continued to go to school full-time and earned my bachelor’s degree. It was not the easy road but I was trying to build a future for myself and daughter. My parents were my biggest cheerleaders. There were no “party years”, no easy ride. My time away from school and work, for the most part, was spent with my daughter and parents.

When the opportunity to attend Law School came my way my parents urged me to take it. Within months of starting Law School, I got a job at a Law Firm working full-time evenings and weekends. By the time I earned my Doctorate in Law I thought I caught a glimpse at the light at the end of the tunnel. After I graduated, I continued working at the Law Firm and also taught classes at a local college and at a University. I had bought a house, but spent very little time there. By now my daughter was in high school and a girls youth group. She was in the marching band and my social life consisted of attending her school events. My Tuesday nights and most weekend were spent with her youth group. It seemed that I was always on my way somewhere and slept whenever I could grab a few hours. I felt as if I should be doing more. Like I was letting life slip through my fingers.

In my late thirties I re-married and moved to a small rural town in Missouri. My daughter was in college by then. Jumping ahead to my fifties, I am still looking for that light at the end of the tunnel. Yes, I could have done things differently. But then maybe I would not be where I am today and I feel blessed to be where I am at this point in my life. As a daughter, wife, mother and grandma I do the best I can. I have slowed down a bit, but still have a full plate. I have a job, help my husband on the farm and deal with some health issues.

I watch with awe as my baby has grown into a beautiful woman, wife, mother and daughter. I see her doing whatever she can to make a life for her family. She is always on the move. She home schools her kids, is involved in their youth activities, holds down a job, has her own business and helps her husband with his business. I look around at others her age and see a lot of them out at parties every weekend, then complaining about what a tough life they have. Every month these same people scramble to hit all the food pantries, family members, charities and government agencies to help them pay their bills.

Is there an easier way to live? Maybe. We all have to make choices in our lives.It's no one's job to make our life easy, it is up to us to do what we can to help our self. There will always be people standing on the outside passing judgment on our choices. But only we know the path we have walked. In my years I have learned that life is not always fair and that the things that are handed to us usually comes with strings. 

No matter how your life turns out, remember you are the artist and you have control. Don't let the canvas of your life stand un-painted and do not turn it over to someone else to paint. Pick up that paint brush and do the best you can. Then step back and admire the courage it took to paint your picture even if you have no artistic skills, it's still your painting.   https://www.facebook.com/ForSuchASeason




Monday, September 2, 2013

Drive-In Movies

I remember my very first date. The boy was a kid I went to high school with, but I don't remember his name. He came to my house to pick me up in his truck and we went to to see a move at the drive-in. That was the place to go on a date when I was a teen. I remember when there were times that my girlfriends and I would go sit in a car outside the drive-in to watch a movie because we didn't have the money to pay to get in.

It was fun. Even though we had no idea what they were saying, we would create our own story to go with the movie we were watching. But going to the drive-in was about the best place to be on a Saturday night. They always played two movies. One not so new and then the feature film. You could buy a bucket of buttered popcorn and sit on the tail-gate of a truck or the hood of your car. Many times there would be an entire group of us that would take up a whole section of the drive-in parking lot.

Some of the best memories I have happened at the drive-in. They use to charge by the person, so we would get as many people as we could in the trunk of a car. I had an old Ford Galaxy and we could get 3 or 4 people in that truck. Once inside the drive-in we would find our friends and spend the night watching movies. On Halloween, they would always have an entire night of old horror movies playing.

I am sure they have drive-in movie theaters here in Missouri that are still in operation, but I have not seen one. I was watching World News Tonight on NBC and they did a report about drive-ins. They said there use to be over 4000 drive-ins in the United States, but now there are fewer than 400. The main reason is because they no longer make “film” everything is digital. The cost to convert a drive-in from film to digital is $160,000.00. Since Drive-ins are not as popular as they use to be, most just do not bring in enough money to justify the cost to change, so they close.


Funny, you hear about every one going tailgating at sports events. There people have to pay for parking, stand out in the heat or cold then pay for tickets to go in to watch the event. All of that can cost a family of four several hundred dollars. Wouldn't it be great if the drive-ins could make a come back by encouraging families to spend an evening tailgating, BBQ'ing even selling area's to groups to meet in, then end the evening with a great family movie. I would plan a community, church or family evening around that.  https://www.facebook.com/ForSuchASeason

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Winners from the Back to School Party

Thank you all for stopping by this week! Congratulations to all of the winners from our Back to School Party! They are:
Tastefully Simple It's That Simple Kit - Melissa
Simply Said Vinyl Decal - Mary
Thirty One Tote - Annie
Jamberry Wraps - Rose
Manna360 samples - Tara & Melissa
Book of Questions - Tara
My Crush Assortment - Annie

All winners were chosen by random.org. Please email your address to forsuchaseason {at} yahoo {dot} com by Saturday, September 7th or another winner will be chosen. Thank you again to all of our sponsors who are posted at www.facebook.com/forsuchaseason!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Back to School Party Giveaway #6 - Book of Questions

We started For Such a Season because we realized that it’s important to record our memories to share with our loved ones. The matriarch of our family passed away a couple of years ago and we are blessed with the many journals and stories she wrote. However, we’d love to have a video of her, telling those stories in the way that only she can do. Who would you like to have a video of? Tell us for your chance to win our Book of Questions that we use when interviewing clients. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Back to School Party Giveaway #5 - Manna360 Sample

My husband and I like to live an active lifestyle with our kids. As part of our healthy diet, we use Manna360, a nutritional supplement found at anourse.manna360.com. Comment below which flavor you would choose for your chance to win a sample of Manna360. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Back to School Party Giveaway #4 - Vinyl Decal

If you could put one saying on your walls that sums up your life, what would it be? Anne @ Simply Said is giving away a vinyl design and it could be yours. Tell me where you’d use vinyl in your home for your chance to win a vinyl design. Also, be sure to checkout all of her designs at www.mysimplysaiddesigns.com/annem

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Back to School Party Giveaway #3 - Tastefully Simple Dinner

Sometimes dinner time is the moment I want to forget, but often our family has the best conversations once we all get around the table. Trina @ tastefullysimply.com/web/tengle3 is offering "It's that Simple" includes Bountiful Beer Bread Mix, Perfectly Potato Cheddar Soup Mix for her prize that is sure to have your family creating some tasty memories around the dinner table. Share your favorite quick dinner for your chance to win this mix. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Back to School Party Giveaway #2 - Jamberry Nails Kit & Wraps

Ashley @ Jamberry Nails is one of our sponsors tonight. One of my favorite times growing up was climbing in my mom’s bed to do manicures. What’s your favorite growing up memory? Ashley is giving away an application kit and half sheet of nail wraps. Tell me when your last manicure was for your chance at this fun prize. Be sure to check out her siet at www.abramble.jamberrynails.net! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Back to School Party Giveaway #1 - Thirty One Organizing Tote

It’s not just our families that we celebrate memories with. Jodine @ Thirty One shared that she is blessed to be working for such an amazing company! She went to Thirty one's National Conference and said it was a life changing experience for her personally & for my business!! Who (outside of your family) do you enjoy making memories with? Comment here for your chance to win a organizing utility tote in the new fall print. Jodine is also offering discounts for every 35.00 you spend in August and you can choose any purse for 50% off including 7 new styles! Take a look at www.thirtyone.com/jshafer! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Photo Not Available

My husband loves to tell stories and our kids love to hear them.  It's a win-win situation.  My mother-in-law passed away while my husband and I were dating, but we were determined that her grandkids would know about her.  Every year on her birthday, we make a special dinner and a cake.  We linger at the table and my husband and I tell stories about her.  We would show photos, but we have very few of her.  Our kids have memorized the few that we have because they are on display throughout our home. 
Like most people, I don't enjoy having my picture taken.  When I think of my in-laws (both passed away when we were young), I willingly get in front of the camera so my children and grandchildren can have some visual reminders of our memories.  Whether my family chooses to celebrate my birthday is up to them, but I want to give them something to hold on to.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Embarrassing Moments

We all have had them, those embarrassing moments in our lives. You know what I am talking about. It’s those situations when you try to call on some non-existing super power to make yourself invisible. The other day I was talking with a friend and we were laughing about dumb things we had done in the past. Then the subject changed slightly and we began to talk about things that have happened in our past that embarrassed us.

I told my friend about a football game I attended when I was a freshman in high school. First, I have to say that like most high schools, Friday night football games were the place to be and be seen. This is especially true for the yearly Homecoming game. As a freshman, this was my very first Homecoming. Also, like most high school girls I had a crush on a boy that was on the football team. He and I had been friends for years, but he had a crush on this other girl.  However, I was determined to get his attention. And I did get his attention that night.

Friday after school, I met up with five of my girlfriends at one of their homes. Our plan was to get all dressed up, do our hair, makeup and attend the game together. As freshmen we had that pack mentality, power in numbers. The six of us did just about everything together. We met in Jr. High and had been friends for over two years at this point.  We were not the cheerleader popular crowd, but we all had each other’s back.

The fashion back then was blue jeans, bright colored tops, 2 inch dress heels, lots of eye makeup, pale pink lipstick and long hair that the girls would pin up and place a pre curled wig-lit over. We had all brought our stuff to this one friend’s house that morning and left it there during the day so we would have everything we needed for the big game that night. My friend’s mom made us all something to eat as we worked on ourselves and each other for this major event.

By the time we were ready to walk the few blocks to the game we were all dolled up and felt beautiful. Wish I had a picture of that night to look back on, but the picture that is ingrained in my mind, while not perfect, always brings a smile to my face. The time was finely right for us to make our entrance. As we walked through the bleachers we felt like social butterflies. We stopped and made sure to say hello to everyone as we found our seats, the forth row up on the 50 yard line.

My sister was a junior and on the pep squad. She hung out with the popular older crowd. She came over to where we were sitting and asked if I would hold her stuff. She carried one of the letters in our school’s name. Just before halftime all the pep squad gathered on the track to go out on the football field. During normal games, the football team would go to the locker room. But since this was Homecoming, the football team gathered on the track to watch the Homecoming Queen get escorted and crowned.

As all of this was going on I see my sister wave at me in a panic and I realized she had forgotten to take her letter with her onto the field. I grab the letter, which was about 2 feet wide by 3 feet tall, and I made a mad dash, in 2 inch heels, down the bleachers, along the rail, down the 5 or so steps onto the track and ran as fast as I could to the middle of the football field’s 50 yard line. There I stood under the bright stadium lights, in the middle of the football field, on Homecoming night, in front of the entire football team, coaches, parents, teachers, students, pep squad, band and all I hear is this roar of laughter. I handed my sister her letter and as she takes it from me she points back to the track about 25 yards away and I turned to look, thinking whatever was going on had to be very funny.

In an instant my life changed. There was some teacher holding a gob of hair in her hands and at that moment without a second thought I reached up to touch my head only to feel bobby pins, no wig-lit. The crowd roared. There was nowhere to hide. No way to undo what had just happened. I ran to the teacher to collect my hair. As I reclaimed it I noticed the two guys in the ambulance were doubled over, laughing so hard that they were wiping their eyes. There was no way I could go back and sit in the bleachers. I ran to the bathroom holding my hair and wishing I could become invisible.

At that moment in time I was sure my life was over. I would never be able to show my face at school again, how would I survive?. But my girlfriends showed up and we all walked back to my friend’s house where we spend the night together. At first my friends tried to make me feel better, and by the end of the night we were all laughing about it. I am pleased to say that I am still in touch with some of those friends. Looking back, if that would have been the worst thing that ever happened in my life, I would have been one lucky girl.    https://www.facebook.com/ForSuchASeason


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Five Events - Five Stories

When I was growing up, many adults would talk about where they were when the found out that President Kennedy had been assassinated.  I remember when the Challenger exploded, but I didn't appreciate how defining such a moment could be until September 11, 2001.  There are events that take place in our world that leave an impression as long as we live.  Whether they happen to us personally or we feel the impact from a distance, they define who we are and how we think.  How do we help the next generation feel these moments?  By telling our stories.


  • Take a few minutes to make a list of five such events.  Again, they can be big or small events.  The point is that they left a big impression on you.
  • Set aside a block of time to document one of those events.  The depth depends on what you want to invest. My husband buys the newspaper on those big days and saves the article.  With Google, you can download pictures and articles from just about anything.  Take a few minutes to get your thoughts down as well.  Share why this is significant to you.  My grandpa isn't a writer, so he would tell me the stories and I wrote them down.  This process has been just as meaningful as the stories themselves.
  • Repeat the previous step until you have documented the events on your list.
  • Put everything together in one place and let the people important to you know where it is.  Whether they are in a binder, journal, scrapbook, box or computer file, someone needs to know where to find them.  
So what are your five events?



Monday, August 19, 2013

Slow Down You're Moving To Fast

Seems like every year the media and retailers roll out Christmas earlier than the year before. This year right around 4th of July, the Hallmark channel had an entire weekend of Christmas movies. It feels like the older I get the faster time goes by and I think I have figured out why. When I was younger I looked forward to each holiday and season. But any more, the media and retailers are months ahead. By the time the actual holiday or season arrives I am ready to get it over with and move on to the next.

I was with my daughter and one of my granddaughters last month and we stopped at a store to pick up some craft supplies. It was July and they had their Fall, Halloween and Thanksgiving displays all set up in the front of the store.  The first thing I thought of was that in a few months those days would be upon us. Then I snapped out of it and reminded myself that it was just the first full month of summer. No wonder time seems to fly by.  Christmas movies and Thanksgivings decorations in July, I guess I should be looking for the Spring vacation commercials to begin in September.

The stores already have summer clothes on sale and the new Fall clothing out on the hangers. There is no more living in the moment. It’s always what’s next.  I remember that on New Year’s Eve we would look forwards to the Rose Parade on New Year’s Day. Then the next week we would return to school. Around the 1st of March I would realize my birthday would be coming up and would make plans. A few weeks later Easter Vacation rolled around. We never called it “spring break”, it was always Easter week. I would make plans with my friends to spend the week at the beach as much as possible. But Easter day was always a family holiday with a ham and all the side dishes. Sometime in the middle of May we would talk about plans for Memorial Weekend. The first two weeks of June seemed to be the longest. They were the last days of the school year. Those two weeks alone felt like a year. Lots of studying and tests then summer finally arrived.

Summers appeared endless. Sleep overs at friend’s houses, weekend trips to Colorado River water skiing, and days at the beach surfing and sunbathing. There was always a 4th of July BBQ somewhere and a parade, long lazy days lying out at the pool listening to music and then one last long Labor Day weekend at the beach.  A day or so before school started my mom would take us to the store and we would buy a few new outfits to begin the new school year off with. There were no big back to school sales or school supplies to buy. If we needed a new notebook we would get one, but most of the time it was a package of 3 ringed paper to put in the same notebook we used last year.

We always had a 3 day weekend in October for Columbus Day and the last week of October we would take notice of what day Halloween fell on and either plan to go to Knott’s Berry Farm or to a party at a friend’s house. In November we would have a 3 day weekend for Veteran’s Day. Thanksgiving never entered our minds until the weekend before when we would go shopping with our mom and she would buy a turkey. We would spend Thanksgiving with all our family, eat until we were full, watch some football, then eat some more.

 I don’t remember Christmas commercials on TV until the end of the first week in December. Christmas lights would begin to go up on house and decoration in yards about two weeks before Christmas. That is about the time Christmas trees would start to appear as well. Two week for Christmas shopping was more than enough time. 

We had two weeks off of school for Christmas. With any luck there would be some snow in the mountains and we could spend our time skiing. The stores were crowed but people were not rude or pushy. There were a lot of sales, nonetheless stores were well stocked and there were no Black Friday’s or “door busters” that caused riots. The day after Christmas, the tree came down and life returned to normal until New Year’s Eve when I would get together with a bunch of friends and go sit out on a cold curb all night in Pasadena drinking hot chocolate waiting for the Rose Parade to begin.  And the year had come full circle.


Looking back it is as if we lived a lifetime in each year. Instead of the way it feels now, that we are living a year in a month’s time. Now days it seems as if everything is done at warped speed. It is as if we go thought twelve months is a few weeks. We never seem to live in the present or enjoy the moment. We have become media and retail driven. So the next time you wonder why things seem to be moving so fast take a step back and cease the day.               https://www.facebook.com/ForSuchASeason




Monday, August 12, 2013

Take Control Of Your Life

My Bachelor’s degree is in Behavioral Science. It is a combination of Psychology and Socialogy. Even though I graduated eons ago, there are lessons I learned that I carried with me throughout life. We all have those people in our lives that seem to have a life full of drama and spend whatever time you have with them talking about their issues. Some of them are insecure; we all have a little insecurity. But, there are those people that truly believe that the world is out to get them. Other people have low self-esteem. We all question ourselves now and then but in the end we believe in ourselves. Then there are those that appear to be oblivious to the entire world and feel as if they are the center of the universe. Each of these groups of people are often referred to as toxic.

I read a book by Carlos Castaneda, The Fire from Within, not long ago. A quote from that book popped out: “Self-Importance is our greatest enemy. Think about it—what weakens us is feeling offended by the deeds and misdeeds of our fellow men. Our self-importance requires that we spend most of our lives offended by someone.”

Most people attempt to go out into the world wearing a strong mask. It is the first thing they put on every day. It is their defense. When they step out the door, they are ready for battle, looking for a battle. They are always on guard, on the defense. They often come across as if they have a high level of self-importance. But in reality they are actually very weak. Our only defense to these people is to remember that we are in control of how we chose to react to their them. It would be nice if we could just rid them out of our lives. But the reality is that we can't. They maybe family members, co-workers, customers or others that we have to inter-act with in our lives. But we can control how we react to them.

We use our own experiences as a base of how we think others should behave. It is as if we hold up a mirror whenever we interact with others and expect them to act as we would. Over the years we have built up a set of guidelines that we live by that are based on our past experiences and influences. When others go against the way we think, it often results in us getting disappointed or irritated. It is often difficult for us to take a step back from the situation. This is especially hard when the other person seems unreasonable. It is at that split second in time that we often fall into the other person’s drama and unwillingly give them control over our actions.

By doing that we are playing right into their hand and enforcing their self-imposed right to be defensive, hurt, miss-understood or indignant. They are using us to give them that “fix” they are looking for to justify their the way they view themselves. They need us to react in a certain way and they often will try to push us in a direction in an attempt to get the reaction they are looking for. They do not want us to see that they have any weaknesses, are vulnerable or have flaws. They are toxic.

I use to feel as if I always had to be heard and understood. When I felt as if someone was not giving me the attention that I deserve or at the very least taking the time to hear my side, I would find that I would lose my tempter, get more pushy, louder and demanding. Most of the time, at the end of the day, I would replay the situation over and over again in my head. I could not comprehend why others did not understand me. I wondered why every day seemed like a struggle. I wondered what was wrong with everyone else. I felt miss-understood and wondered why I never seemed to make any progress in achieving the life I wanted. When the truth was that I never took the time to sit down and set priorities and clear goal to focus on. I didn't realize that I was toxic.

I don’t know exactly when in my life all that changed, but thankfully it did. I learned to have clear attainable goals and that it was not important to win or be right all the time. It was more important for me to find my focus, take control of the direction I wanted my life to go in and to tune out all the noise that use to distract me. I learned the art of “kill them with kindness”. I try to give others the benefit of the doubt. But most importantly I learned that I have complete and total control over my actions and reactions. Now when one of those toxic people cross my path, I pick my battles. There is a lot to be said about that old saying “sticks and stones”.


I know who I am and it does not matter if everyone else knows or understands me. I have nothing to prove, no one to impress. I am at peace with myself. I refuse to allow anyone to drag me into their drama. I stand up for myself when the issue is important to my personal goals and walk away when it’s not. I do my best to keep toxic people at arms length. I live in the reality that not everyone is going to like me and that not everyone is going to be my best friend. Now when I come in contact with a person that is toxic, I take a deep breath and make sure my reaction is in line with my goals and avoid falling into their drama.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Setting Goals

At the beginning of each school year, our parents sit down with each of us kids to discuss the coming year.  There are two parts to this meeting - setting goals and signing an educational contract.  Neither meant a lot to me until this year.  Today I will share about goals and I hope that next week you will want to hear about the contract.

I know my mom and adult leaders plan, but the idea of goals was more than I wanted to wrap my head around until recently.  I have always been the kid who is still finishing up the year's work in July while my sister is enjoying a break because she finished her work early.  Honestly, a couple of times I've wondered if I'd get my work complete in time to attend summer camp.  Thankfully, my last-minute scrambling have always paid off and I've finished in the nick of time every time. 

This year was different.  Something clicked in the spring and I realized that if I do an extra math lesson, even every other day, then I'd at least finish on time.  Oh, was that a goal I just set?  I shocked my parents by doing lessons on the weekends and some evenings.  Before I knew it, May was here and I was at the end of the book!  To reward me for finishing so early, my mom let me take a few weeks off of math while I finished out the school year.

In the extra time that I had to think while I wasn't doing math, I realized that I could take this finishing early thing to the next level.  I calculated that I could easily finish each math level in 8 months.  What if I took a short break at the end of each level and then moved on without waiting for the next year to begin?  I could complete high school math during 10th grade and take college classes during 11th and 12th grades! 

Now that it clicked for me, I want to take a minute to share with you a couple of things about our goal-setting.  We write three goals each year: academic, behavioral/social and personal.  Each goal is written in our journal like this:
  • Goal
  • Why it's important
  • Steps I will take to achieve it
  • Help I will need
  • When I plan to accomplish it

My mom made this to help us in our goals:



So what are your goals this year?

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Back to Homeschool Basics

We rarely do anything {normal}, so why would school be any different?  We homeschool (strange!) and we work at it year-round which makes us even stranger.  Just ask the neighbor kids who are preparing to go back to school after an enjoyable summer break of swimming, camp and lazy days.  They are mortified when my kids can't play because they have homework.

There is something that we do like everyone else: back-to-school shopping.  Every August, we hit the sales with the rest of America and stock up on paper, pencils, and pens.  This is just one component of our kickoff celebration for the new year.

Cleaning & purging - In July, we spend a week cleaning and purging anything from the last school year that will not be used this year.  This is broken up into small daily tasks, such as cleaning out crates and cabinets (explained later), assembling last year's work into a spiral-bound book, assessing what we have that can be used in the coming year, and making a list of what is needed.  The kids can add reasonable things they want to the list, such as a certain type of pencil or thin markers instead of colored pencils. 

Shopping - I make two copies of the wish list, one for my mom and one for myself.  My mom generally gets the kids a few things and I get what's left on the list.  As the stores put things out, I get one or two things from the list each time I go shopping.  When the ads come out, I do some price matching and finish out my list.  Everything goes into the school closet for now.

Organizing - Mid-August, we set aside a week for organizing our new year (see note below).  Again, this is broken into tasks which are completed throughout the week.  Each kid has a crate for their everyday stuff - a tool box, binder, folder, books, etc.  They each also have a cabinet in the school room for things that are used less frequently or that don't fit into their crate.  This is when they get a bag filled with their personal supplies such as pencils, pens, glue, scissors, etc.  Everything from this bag is marked with their names before being put away.  Some of the supplies are left in the closet to be given out in January. 

The First Week of School - The next week is the first week of school.  I sit down with each kid to set goals.  We take those goals to Dad and the three of us sign a contract stating that we will all work together to accomplish those goals and how we will do it.  That contract is laminated and placed in a visible place as a reminder to us all throughout the year.  This is mostly a fun week, with assignments such as decorating notebooks and movies (I know, not normal.)  On Friday, we do some sort of field trip.  In the past, we have visited the zoo, gone to the local water park, and had a picnic at the park. 


We have found this routine to be just what we need to get our minds focused on the year ahead.  What helps your family get into the new year?

*Our school year starts in July, but it is a scaled-down version until our kickoff party in August.  Because of our need for a constant routine, we have "school" every week and simply scale back during the holiday seasons and vacations.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Negotiating Life

If you want life to go as smooth as possible the first skill you should master is the skill of negotiation. If you stop and think about it every thing you do, every interaction is a negotiation. You can set the tone and direction of each interaction as long as you keep in mind that you are always in negotiation. When you talk with your spouse about what color to paint the house, he may say “Whatever color you want dear.” And that may not seem like a negotiation but it is. Next month he may approach you and say “I picked out a new front door that I am going to install.” You may not like the door and ask him why he did not consult you first and he will say well I let you pick out the color so I picked out the door. Never assume that because it was simple and you got what you wanted that you are not in a negotiation.
Parents negotiate with their kids over chores, homework, friends and activities. Teachers negotiate with students. Employees negotiate with employers, husbands and wives negotiate, as do doctors and patients, buyers and sellers, friends and every other relationship you can think of. Have you noticed that some people seem to have an easier path in life? Most of the time, whether they know it or not they have learned the skill of negotiation.
Rule one, everybody wants to win. Never make an ultimatums, always leave some wiggle room. Rule two, even if it is personal issue, don’t make the negotiation personal. People close you off and stop listening to you when you make it personal. Rule three, be a good listener. Even acknowledge what the other person said to you by repeating part of it in your reply. Rule four, the most important part of negotiation is to get as much as you want without giving up your objective.  Find a way to pin point what is crucial to the person you are negotiating with and give them as much of it as you can in exchange for receiving  what you need. Rule five, control the tone on the negotiation. Do not let it get off topic, loud or emotional. If it does, take a step back and take a different approach.

Remember you have to be willing to discuss things; explain what you want and the reason why you want it. Be logical in your approach that includes your timing. Know your purpose, you mind and heart. Know your limits. Just as important you have to also know the boundaries of the person you are negotiating with. If you are asking your boss for time off, don’t ask on a day when you know they are swamped with work. If the answer is, I will think about it, don’t push because they can shut the door on your attempt.  Always understand who you are dealing with and have a clear attainable goal. Don’t go to your best friend and ask them to help you move the weekend of their wedding. Be thoughtful and considerate, it goes a long way. Instead tell your friend how excited you are that they are getting married that weekend. Clearly, no matter how good of a friend they are, they are not going to miss their wedding to help you move. Ask someone else to help you and avoid losing a friend over an unattainable goal.

When I was in Law School I took a class on negotiating. One of the books we had to read was “Win-Win, the art of Negotiating”.  The main points were to always know your bottom line, always find out what the other party wants, pick your timing and never make it personal. Those key points will help you no matter who you are dealing with. But it is imperative that you don’t take advantage of relationships. Don’t twist someone’s arm just because you can. That is not negotiating that is strong arming. Don’t use guilt to get you what you want. It may work in the short term but in the long run it will end up harming the relationship. 

If you use these tactics you will find that you avoid disagreements and get more of what you are after.  Try and negotiate with your credit card company. Point out to them that you always make your payments on time and have never missed a payment. Ask them to take that in consideration and to reduce your interest rate. In retune you can offer to continue to use their card. Go to your best friend that is planning a baby shower the same day and time as your anniversary party. Explain that instead of having your mutual friends pick which event to attend, that while neither of you want to change the date, maybe you can stager the times. That would be a win-win for both of you as each of you would also be able to attend the other’s party as well.

Ask your husband if he would be willing to help you paint the house and in return you will be willing to help him with one of his pet projects, like organizing the garage. Ask your boss for a raise and in exchange list some additional responsibilities you are willing to take on. Ask your kids to help you clean the house and let them know if everything gets done then you will take them on that picnic at the park they have been asking for.  Figure out what the person you are negotiation with really wants and if possible, offer it to them. Both of you will walk away happy.                                https://www.facebook.com/ForSuchASeason


Monday, July 22, 2013

How I Met My Husband

I was watching a television show the other day and two women in their twenties were talking about love. One of the women was married and the other had been dating a man for a few years. The single woman was talking about getting married and asked the married woman how she knew her husband was “the one”. In typical movie dialogue, the married woman answered, “You just know it.” I don’t know why that answer bothered me so much. Maybe because I thought it was a cop out answer. So I started to think about it a while.

I thought back to when I met my husband and how I knew he was “the one.” First, I would say that if I needed to ask someone else about the man I was dating, marriage would not be part of the discussion.  If you can’t answer that question on your own, then I would say either he is not the one or you do not know him well enough to be thinking about marriage. Putting that aside and taking marriage off the table I thought about when I met my husband. Ours was a very unusual relationship. I lived in California and came out to Missouri to visit a friend. I was not looking for love. In all fairness, he was not looking for a relationship either.

So we met and right away I noticed things about him that I was very attracted to. He was thoughtful, honest to a fault, considerate, hardworking and kind. Our first date was not really met to be a date. Every August there is a big meteor shower. Because of the clear skies and the rural area the night sky is bright and clear, perfect for star gazing. We were both in our 30’s and I was surprised that he had never watched a meteor shower. We lowered the tailgate of the truck, he placed a thermos of coffee between us and he sat on one end while I sat on the other end of the tailgate. When I saw the first shooting star I told him to make a wish and he asked me why. I could not believe he never heard of wishing on a falling star. We sat like that looking at the sky for hours and talked about everything and anything.

When I returned home to California, there were a dozen red roses delivered to my door from him. He called to see if I got the roses and asked if he could call me again. I said sure. He called every night thereafter. Each night we would talk on the phone for hours. He invited me to visit again in November for Thanksgiving weekend. Again a complete gentleman, I stayed about 4 days and enjoyed every minute I was with him. I knew I was falling in love with him, but had no idea what he was feeling. I returned to California and we continued our nightly phone conversations. We both enjoy sports and a lot of our conversations were about life and sports. In our conversations we would kind of talk about what life would look like if we were to get married.

By the first week of December he said, “If we are going to get married I better get out to California, meet your family and ask you dad”. I never questioned whether things were moving too fast, if we really knew each other well enough.  I knew I had never met anyone like him before and there was an ease about him. Besides enjoying each other’s company, we also shared common values. I knew I was in love with him and not just the idea of being in love. I found myself thinking of him constantly, rerunning our conversations over in my mind several times a day and waiting for the phone to ring every night so we could talk again. He was due to arrive in California the week before Christmas and I was nervous that my family would think this was moving too fast. As it turned out, they saw the same things in him that I saw. They loved him from the minute they met him. Next thing I knew we had plans to marry on New Year’s Eve. Almost 5 months from the day we had met.


Fast forward 20 years and every day I still see that same farm boy I met so long ago. He has never tried to be anything other than who he is. Neither of us were looking for love, love found us. I believe that because we were not looking for someone to complete our lives, we were able to be ourselves. Every relationship is different and while I would say that marring someone 5 months after you have met them is not the advice I would give to someone, the most important advice I would give someone is to make sure you are getting married for the right reasons. Don’t marry because you are lonely, because all your friends are married or because you are unhappy with your life. Marriage will not solve any of those issues. Have a good sense of the person you are going to marry. See how they handle disappointment, anger and hard times. Make sure you don’t see their potential and think you are going to somehow change them. If there are any red flags do not think that marriage will take care of them. If you do not love them as they are then love yourself enough to walk way.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Walking a Tightrope

While at a homeschool conference, we visited a booth filled with toys and activities aimed at boys.  One of the things that caught my husband's eye was a tightrope, not just because of the points he would score with the kids if he put it up, but also because he already had everything he needed to build it laying in our garage.  Fast forward a couple of months and I found myself walking across a tightrope in our front yard last night.  I have to say that it was pretty cool, especially because the tightrope is within the allowed list for our currently-restricted daredevil. 
It has been fun to watch the kids figure how to get across the tightrope and also the stunts they've already dreamed up.  The kids help each other by holding the hand of the person crossing or sitting on the tightrope to hold it still.  They have also used rakes as poles to steady themselves as they cross.  As for stunts, one kid will create an obstacle for the other to cross over or shake the tightrope for the other person.  I'm expecting many hours of enjoyment from this recycled equipment.
While watching my kids play on their tightrope, I realized that I too am walking a tightrope.  Just like we built a tightrope for the kids last night, I have built several tightropes for myself.  Some of my tightropes will be in my life a long time and some are temporary.  Regardless of which tightrope I'm crossing at any given moment, I have people and tools to help me get across and I have obstacles (sometimes people) that will make the journey difficult.  There are a few keys I have learned about getting across the tightrope successfully:
  • Learn which people are there to help and which are there to simply get in the way. Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1 
  • Know how to use each tool in the way that is most beneficial.  Don't be afraid to put aside tools that aren't helping. But test everything; hold fast what is good. 1 Thessalonians 5:21
  • Sometimes it's best to run and other times crawling will get you there faster. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9
  • When you fall, get back up. But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31
  • Enjoy the journey. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13