Friday, November 20, 2015

Banished by Christy Monson

Free Ebook on Amazon, November 20 - 22

Dre has waited twelve summers to become a man, but during his ceremony the chief banishes his uncle, his mother, and even Dre himself. Thrust into the desert, he struggles to protect himself and his mother from his drug-addicted uncle—and certain death in the barren land.
With only a golden eagle to guide him, Dre struggles to find a source of food and water. Abuse from his uncle and trouble with a neighboring clan could destroy his chance for survival and keep him from finding his place in the world.  Dre must learn what real manhood is if he hopes to survive in the harsh environment.

Praise for Banished
"Monson well deserves the title of storyteller, for she has truly captured the music echoing
from Hopi tradition and culture." Marilyn Brown Award

Utah Valley University Marilyn Brown Award, 1st Place Winner

Utah Arts Council, 2nd Place Winner

"Beautifully written. This book is full of adventure, danger, and self-discovery, with details of Native American life that really bring this story alive. A perfect choice for a young boy reader, but girls will love it too."   Margot

"The story weaves facts, traditions and beliefs of Native American cultures into a story that is applicable and interesting for kids (and adults). I read the story out loud to my boys (8 and 11) so we could experience the book together. They wanted to keep reading, chapter after chapter and if it had been up to them, we would have finished the book much faster. They could relate to Dre, his experiences, and his desire to protect his mother and honor his late father." Jodi

"A must read for any young man facing the challenges of growing up, finding his path and being true to himself. Although the main characters are boys, girls will enjoy the beauty of the story that addresses Hopi traditions and culture. Determined to to survive on his own so he can care for his mother and unborn brother, Dre faces threats that are both real and life threatening." Robyn

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sliding in the Snow by Melissa Dymock

 Grab your gloves and snow boots, it’s time for an adventure in a frozen wonderland—right in your own backyard! Here are fun twists on classic winter pastimes, like sledding and making snowmen. Learn how to design your own backyard winter Olympics.

Things to make and do include: • Saving a Snowflake Forever • Wacky Snow Creations • Making Your Own Snowshoes • Making a Snowball Launcher • Sidewalk Curling • Skijoring • And more!

 This is a delightful book full of great ideas for winter fun. You can capture and keep a snowflake, make ice spikes, ice ribbons, and other great ideas. The book outlines fun games, like snow mazes, snow launchers, wacky snow creations, and many more. All sorts of winter Olympic games are explained with instructions for making your own equipment. The final chapter rounds out the snow experience with children's recipes, including snow candy and snow ice cream.
This is a must-have book for winter fun. Children in cold country everywhere will enjoy the ideas in this book. My grandchildren will have lots of fun trying these ideas.
Thanks to Sliding in the Snow we can all think outside the winter-fun box.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Love Gifts

Grandkids are such fun. They leave such happy memories at our house. After they have visited, I always find fin treasures around. These love-gifts make me smile and bring joy to my life.
It's holiday season again, and children and family will be visiting. Take a few minutes to notice the love-gifts your children and grandchildren leave you. These gifts will make you smile as you remember them through the coming year.

Here are a few fun memories from our house.

Our four-year-old grandson loves to explore the house. He ends up combining the most interesting items. I never cease to wonder about what's going on in his brain. One rainy day I came in and set my umbrella on the back porch to dry out. When I went to go out later in the day, this is what I found. Go figure! What he was thinking!

Our six-year-old granddaughter loves to play at our house. It's a problem for her, though, because all the toys are in the family room in the basement. AND she's afraid to go down stairs by herself. So usually I go down with her and she gathers up the toys she wants and brings them upstairs. One day she was playing dress up and decided to include the farm animals. When it was time for her to go home, I asked her if she had put the toys away. She told me she had. The horses and cows were sleeping, and could she leave them upstairs so she wouldn't have to go get them next time. This is what I found.

We have a white board in the kitchen that everyone  loves to draw on. This is what I found after I'd taken three little granddaughters to a museum and the zoo.

Children are the joy of our lives. Treasure the gifts as they come to you. All too soon little ones grow up and all we have is our memories.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Family Council Meetings Can Enhance a Child's Self Esteem

Family Councils are a good way to let children know they are important. Start when they are young.

1.                  Include them in decisions
2.                  Listen to their opinions
3.                  Ask for their suggestions

These meetings are a pivotal place to create and fulfill goals. However, sometimes it's necessary to have a meeting to plan the family council so that you are helping each of your children become the best they can be.

Mom and Dad sat in the porch swing.
Mom shifted in her seat. “Samantha (age 6) has had several temper tantrums this week.”
Dad looked down at her. “I hadn’t noticed. But now that you mention it, you’re right.”
“Sometimes I see her as caught right in the middle of the kids—an older sister who is the star of everything and a baby sister that everyone adores.”
Dad chuckled, “What’s not to love about that little curly blond bundle of energy.”
“I just think Samantha needs a self-esteem boost.” Mom sighed. “I’ve been thinking it’s her turn to conduct family council this week. Maybe we could surprise her with a spot light night. A ‘Who Am I’ poster like we made for school last year.”
“Great,” said Dad.
 “I’ll have Mia (age 10) make up a little song for her. Alexis (age 4) can help me make her favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe.”
“This is all well and good,” said Dad, “but one night isn’t going to fix everything.”
“We haven’t done parent date nights for a while,” said Mom. “I’ll take her to swing at the park. She loves that.”

“Great idea,” said Dad, “and I’m glad we’ve had this conversation. I'll take her on a bike ride a couple of nights a week myself.”
Mom glanced up at him. “I get what you’re saying. The spot light and date night are good, but it’s the little things we do daily that will make a difference.” She sighed. “Maybe I can spend a little more time with her each evening before bed.”
“I call this a great planning meeting,” said Dad. “Let’s do this more often.”

The parents:
1.                  Identified the problem behavior. (Temper tantrums)
2.                  Assessed the unmet need. (Lack of attention and love)
3.                  Set a plan in motion for family council. (Spot light night)
4.                  Planned special activities with the child. (Date night)
5.                  Set aside daily time to spend with their daughter. (Riding bikes and time in the evening)

Learn how to establish your own family councils, set goals, and open the communication with your children. Read more stories like this one in Family Talk by Christy Monson, available in paperback and e readers.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Beauty in Diversity

The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image. Thomas Merton

This is my new favorite quote right now. I’m drawn to it because it’s pushing me to be better than I am. I want people to like the same things I do and think like I think.

 I know it’s okay for us to be different, and I try to appreciate those around me for who they are, but it’s easy to enjoy people who are similar to ourselves.

Children accept others with no questions asked. They immediately join each other without even thinking about it. Their minds seem unencumbered with the societal ‘rules’ we all live by.

Two of our grandchildren joined me on a walk in the woods.

Our granddaughter pointed to the bushes. “Can you see the dinosaur hiding in that bush over there?”

I squinted into the sun. “Where?”

She pointed.

“Oh, I see it,” yelled our grandson, running toward the creature.

The two of them were off in their own world of play—no questions asked.

A sweet lady lives down the street from me. She is a meticulous housekeeper, and her yard is immaculate. Sometimes my house is dusty enough that you can write your name on the top of the piano. There are a few weeds in our yard. Yet my neighbor is never critical of me. She always has kind words for those close to her.

I will try to find this illusive beginning of love and appreciate the talents of those around me. How about you?

In diversity there is beauty and there is strength. Maya Angelou

Read more about this topic and others in Christy Monson’s new book, Becoming Free, A Woman’s Guide to Internal Strength, available on Kindle, Nook, and iPad.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Cherish Your Children Teach Them Your Values

Mike, age five, hurried behind his mother into the store. 

"I have to get some milk and bananas for breakfast in the morning," said Mother.

Mike helped his mother pick out the best bunch of bananas and scurried behind her to the aisle to choose the milk.

The checkout line was long. 

Mike looked at the candy bars as they got closer to the cashier. He sniffed them. The chocolate smelled so good. He ran her fingers over them.  He was tired from playing outside and wanted a treat. He glanced up at his mother who was talking to the lady behind her in the line. Mike slipped a chocolate bar into his pocket. He would eat it when he got to the car."

When they left the store, Mike said to his mother, "Look Mother, I got a candy bar."

"Oh, Mike," said Mother. "We didn't pay for it."

"It's okay," said Mike. "The store lady smiled at me. She will let me have it."

Mother explained to Mike that they needed to pay for the things they got at the store, and they went back into pay for the candy bar.

That night Mother and Dad sat with Mike to be sure he understood that they had to pay for the things at the store. Dad suggested that they give Mike some money for helping with some of the household chores. He made his bed and helped with the dishes everyday just because he lived in the house, but if he wanted to help clean the bathroom mirrors and take out the garbage he could earn some money to buy himself a candy bar if he wanted one.

Their informal family council meeting taught Mike:
1.         I have to pay for what I get.
2.         I can earn money for what I want.
3.         I can work hard.

The family council meeting sent Mike the message:
You cherish me enough to teach me your family values.
You respect me enough to help me learn from my mistakes.