Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Create a Door

I once heard an MBA commencement address where the speaker advised the graduates: “If you come up against an impenetrable wall, create a door.”

Image by Morder
Sometimes we find ourselves in situations that seem unsolvable. We can feel overwhelmed and trapped. But there are always solutions to problems if we have enough knowledge and can brainstorm answers.

Several years ago, a friend came to me in a panic one day. Her brother had recently passed away. My friend had been spending one day a week with his children, her nieces and nephew. Before his death, her brother had been through a nasty divorce. And now his ex-wife was making plans to leave the state and move across the country to be near her family. My friend was despondent because she wouldn’t see the children again.

We ate at a little side-walk café while she poured out her heart. We sat, soaking up the sunshine and just being with the sadness of the situation.

“Since you won’t be able to pick the children up on Thursdays, how could you keep in touch?” I asked.

“I can call and write letters, I guess,” she answered.

“The older ones have phones, and we can text.”

I smiled. She answered her own question.

Over the years, my friend has stayed in contact with her nieces and nephew. Electronics are better than ever now. They chat on Facebook and Instagram. The children are older now and can travel. They see their aunt often and enjoy visiting her.

*State your problem.
*Visualize the wall and create a door in it.
*Brainstorm solutions.
*Let the problem sit for a day (if possible).
*Decide the best resolution.
*Move forward with action.

We cannot regulate the wind, but we can trim our sails.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Help Children Believe in Themselves

A young girl, Jane, came in for therapy. She felt victimized in the neighborhood at school. Her dominant father showed her how to fight back physically, and berated her because she didn’t engage in conflict. Her mother fretted and worried but had no solutions. Jane knew what she wanted but was afraid to share her ideas for fear they were no good. Her self-confidence was severely lacking.

The four of us worked together to empower this child, using the following ideas. Both parents were willing to listen and learn and change their behavior.

Listen to your child
This was an especially difficult task for both parents. The father discounted everything Jane said. Mother interrupted Jan, talking over her and sharing her worry. When the parents began to listen, Jane didn’t know what to say at first.

Ask for the child’s opinion
It took some time for this family to open their communication and discuss their issues. But therapy gave them a time of accounting, and they were successful.

Come up with solutions together
The three of them learned to come up with answers together. Although the father found it hard not to impose his ‘law’ in the discussions, he did learn to keep his mouth shut and listen.

Work together to unravel a problem
Mother had the most difficult time being solution-focused. She was not used to following through to resolve a problem. Over the years she had kept herself in a constant state of drama with her worry, and it was hard to let that go.

Discuss your success
When this family had a victory in solving a problem, they were able to talk about the things that worked and the things they would do differently next time.

Ask the child how he or she feels about the victory
Both parents were delighted with their victories, and praised Jane. I suggested that they asked Jane how she felt about her triumph.

Over the months, Jane’s relationship with her family and friends changed. She no longer felt victimized by those around her. Jane shared her ideas when she had play dates. She could lead and follow in the activities. She developed several close friendships in the neighborhood and at school.

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. Winston Churchill

Monday, December 26, 2016

Less Is More

When I was young, I had a baby doll named Coralee that I loved.  She was my best friend. We discussed our problems, went on adventures together, and just hung out. Coralee helped me pick the peas in the garden and crack apricot nuts.

My friend Kate had lots of dolls. She invited Coralee and I to tea parties and picnics in the park. Coralee and I happily joined her crowd. Kate's bundle of dolls went everywhere she went. She tried to keep track of them all. But she would invariably forget one of them in the park to be rained on, or she would leave another in a store to be picked up by another child. There were too many to keep track of.

Coralee and I were best companions. Kate and her dolls were acquaintances. I didn’t want acquaintances. I wanted a best friend. I couldn’t love so many dolls.

Do you have too many things in your life?

Our society has a mentality of abundance. When we have too many  things, we develop a throw-away mentality like my friend. If she lost a doll, it was okay. She could always get another one.

That’s not for me. I like my few things, and I cherish them.

Connections: It's all about connection.

For me: Less is more.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Fairy Fun

When our children were little, a fairy family would come to our house right after Thanksgiving to stay until Christmas day. They came for fun adventures and to be Santa's helpers in spreading Christmas happiness.

Our kids built elaborate houses for them each year - sometimes out of graham crackers, other times we made homemade gingerbread, and when they wanted a really fancy design, cardboard covered with vanilla wafers. They decorated the yards with candy cane toboggan runs, gumdrop trees and silver sprinkle skating rinks.

The fairies wrote notes to the children to tell of their escapades. One year Tom broke his leg because he got going too fast on the toboggan run and crashed into the gumdrop forest. Another year Melinda and her winged horse needed a high dive to practice jumping into a swimming pool. Aunt Matilda got a cold. Uncle Henry needed honey candy  to cure a tooth ache.

The children watched for the tiny foot prints and little wings. Each night before bed our little ones wrote a letter to the fairies.

The best part was having the fairies help with holiday service projects. Everyone made cards and cookies for older people in the ward. Tiny foot prints magically appeared on the envelopes. Everyone sang for neighbors. We were all sure we could hear the fairy voices. The winged creatures were very good to scout out a house to see if it was safe to door-bell ditch.

We had lots of good times with this over the years, and now the grandkids are in on the fun. They have to watch out, though, because the parents still like to make the houses and get in on the excitement.

Try this in your family. Magic is part of Christmas.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Remembrance by Carolyn Frank

When the Hallelujah Chorus is banned from his school's Holiday Gala, Josh doesn't want to get involved and fight the injustice like he usually does. But after book traveling through the life of George Frideric Handel in the Literary Loom, Josh has second thoughts. Those second thoughts grow into a passion as Josh discovers the mystery behind the quirky new kid at Claremont High, and learns the value of remembering Christ as he travels through the New Testament. Everywhere he looks, Christmas seems to be about everything but Christ. He can't change the world but he can at least bring back the Hallelujah Chorus and help people remember what Christmas is all about. In the process, Josh discovers some crucial answers in his search for God.

Author Interview with Carolyn Frank
Carolyn was born in Payson, the middle child in a family of seven. Her mother was very frugal and Carolyn says, “I still remember the time I was supposed to wear a pair of knee-high stockings for a Scottish dance our class was doing for our school’s Spring Festival. Instead of buying me a pair, my mother cut off a pair of tights that had a hole in the knee and sewed elastic around the top to make a home-made version of knee highs. I hated them, but didn’t say anything.

Carolyn loved to write. She was on the newspaper staff in high school and had her own editorial column. She minored in journalism in college, but she says, “. I had an instructor who ripped my writing to shreds and convinced me that I was no good at writing, so I decided to drop my minor and stick with my major of biology/botany. When I ended up getting an A in the class I confronted him and asked him, “What was that all about.” He responded with, “I was just trying to prepare you for the real world.

What he did was cause me to bury my love of writing. Ten years ago, after reading a distasteful novel in my neighborhood book club, I told my group, “I can write a better book than this.” The next day I started my author journey and realized, yeah, I used to like to write.
Enter Carolyn’s contest to win a set of this entire series, The Quantum Faith Effect series with Remembrance as the final book. All you have to do is leave a comment on her blog.

Here is a list of her blog tour.
<span style="color: red; font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">Remembrance Book Blog Tour</span><br />
December 1 Carolyn Twede Frank -<a href=""></a><br />
December 3 Susan Tietjen -&nbsp;<a href=""></a><br />
December 4 Sandra Stile - <a href=""></a><br />
December 5 Christy Frazie -&nbsp;<a href=""></a><br />
December 6 Christy Monson -&nbsp;<a href=""></a><br />
December 7 Kathryn Olsen - <a href=""></a><br />
December 8 Donna K. Weaver -&nbsp;<a href=""></a>