Thursday, December 28, 2017

A New Year of Joy

Most of us make New Year’s resolutions this time of year.
It’s a time of beginning.
A time to evaluate our lives.
Are we going in the direction we would like?

When most of us set our goals, we ‘should’ on ourselves:
I should exercise more.
I should eat more healthy food.
I should get more sleep.
I should read more.

We have scolded ourselves through the ages
Scolding yourself to do better never works.
We forget to keep those goals soon after we make them.

This year, my resolution is to find joy in every day.
My joy may come in a different form than yours. 

Joy comes from who we are.

How will you find your joy?

Take some time to decide. Record it in your journal.

Make it a joyful year.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Fairy Fun for the holidays

Just after Thanksgiving the children and grand children in our family begin making cookie and candy houses in anticipation of visitors from the North Pole. The guests, a fairy family, come to stay until Christmas. The fairies have lots of fun adventures, let Santa know how good everyone's been, and tag along (in secret) on holiday service projects.

The sky's the limit on the spread the kids create for their family - sledding hills, skating ponds, and swimming pools with diving boards. One house had a slide that started at the top of the roof and shot down onto a toboggan run that extended to the end of the gum drop garden. Candy trees covered with licorice vines give the fairy family a great place to swing from.

Every night the children write letters to the fairies and during the middle of the night the fairies write back. They make sure to tell the children how much they enjoyed their piano practicing, and how quick they were to clean up the table after dinner.

Sometimes the fairies suggest service ideas to help everyone get in the Christmas spirit - like singing carols for the lady down the street or giving cookies to the postman.
If the day has been very busy and the kids haven't had time to write their letter to the fairies, they call their message from the fire place up the chimney. Sometimes the fairies only have time to draw a quick picture about the nights adventures because they accidentally got shut in the dog house by the cat or stuck up the chimney surrounded by an army of live miniature marshmallows.

We have found that this is a great way to enhance the holiday spirit and give the children a creative adventure. Invite a fairy families to your house and have as much fun as the imaginations living with you can think up. 

Happy Holidays.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Daily Gratitude

Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude. A.A. Milne Winnie the Pooh

Gratitude is an important part of living a quality life. It’s a go-to resource for me whenever I’m filled with the negativity that comes from anxiety and worry.
I can complain about the thorns on my rose bushes, or I can bask in the glory of the sweet-smelling, intricately delicate blooms made up of glorious shades of every color. Which will I choose?

Research has found those who focused on daily blessings are more optimistic, vigorous, pleasant, and better able to handle life’s troubles. Their sleep is better, and they are sick less often. They are more charitable and make greater progress toward their goals.*
Gratitude mantras are part of my daily meditation routine.
Begin your daily journal with a thankful statement.
Here are some of mine:
“I am grateful for the compassion I see around me.”
“I love the empathy I have developed for others.”
“I am thankful for understanding in my life.
Write a Gratitude Journal
Every journal entry, I start with something I’m thankful for. It creates the tone for the path I want to follow throughout my life.
Middle-of-the-night gratitude mantras:
Sometimes I wake in the night when I’m worried about something. The best way for me to go back to sleep is to repeat several mantras over and over.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Martin Luther King Jr., A Testament of Hope

Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify. Henry David Thoreau, Walden and Other Writings
Let go and let God. Origin unknown
Create your own mantras—ones that speak to the personal issues you are working though  
Gratitude Visualizations
Every morning when I meditate, I like to do a couple of gratitude visualizations. I always use somethings that I think will cross my path that day.

When the wind blows, the pines in our backyard whisper in the breeze. Pines smell deliciously like a forest. They are my giant protectors. I have watched them grow from small seedlings to large guardians of the backyard. If they can grow so straight and tall from small seedlings, then I know I can grow straight and tall as well.
Make up your own visualizations from things in your surroundings. We do have a beautiful world.
            Keep gratitude in the forefront of your life. Those who include gratitude in their lives are healthier, sleep better, and have less illness than those who don’t.

            *Emmons and McCullough, in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Netiquette Dilemma

Shania and Markus had been good friends since they were very young.

They posted pictures on snapchat each night before they went to bed. They were always together during middle school. 

But by the time they reached high school, Shania wanted to date other guys and broke up with Markus.

Markus was angry with her and plastered her bedtime pictures all over social media.

Both teens felt victimized.

Sometimes young people don’t’ have the best judgment. Their brains are still maturing, and their social skills are, at times, lacking.

What do we do in situations like this? How should parents act? What about the teens involved? How do they handle this?

Rule #1.           Live by the golden rule. “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”
Rule #2.           Never post anything with friends that you wouldn’t want plastered everywhere.
Rule #3.           Open a discussion with your teens so they are aware of what could happen.

Share your stories here so that others might be aware of the pitfalls of social media.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Tie Died by Kathryn Elizabeth Jones

I have enjoyed getting to know Kathryn through this blog post. Her book looks amazing. She's a practiced writer and enjoys her craft.

Kathryn was born in Redwood City, California, but moved to Utah when she was little. She’s lived in Utah most of her life. She has a very supportive husband and three daughters that are grown. She loves spending time with her grandchildren.

She wrote her first story when she was pregnant with her first daughter. At the time, she thought it was a great story. As she’s grown in her writing profession, she now knows that story was just a beginning. She says she still has it to remind her of how much her writing skill has grown.

Tie Died is a YA Mystery.

                When 18-year-old Brianne James discovers a murdered young girl at Montgomery Park – a 15-year-old who has been left for dead in the icy snow – there is only one thing she can do: search for the killer.
                Brianne has a nose for sleuthing. She can connect with people; even scary people like Jordan Elspie. She has the smarts to solve even the most underhanded crime, and she can solve it with or without the help of the police or her parents.
 When it comes to Conner Ryan, however, his unrelenting assistance is quite another story. When you’re in love with one of the hottest guys in school – who in the heck cares?

It took Kathryn about six months to write this book. She’s able to finish a project faster than she used to.

The main character, Brianne isn't a professional sleuth, but she might surprise you. Her parents are both detectives, so she has been a part of detective work for a while now. Still, Brianne has her own way of solving a crime, and doesn't take any lip from those who think she's not qualified.

Of the two main characters are Brianne James and her boyfriend, Conner Ryan, Kathryn says her favorite is Brianne because she’s sort of quirky, and has a pretty good head on her shoulders.

Here are the links to her blogs and the purchase of her book.



Kathryn loves going to schools to give presentations on book writing. She currently does two different classes. The first class takes everyone through the main elements of writing; i.e., characters, setting, plot, and, after an hour, they have an outline for their book. The second takes multiple weeks, where the kids get to create their own picture book.

Enjoy Kathryn’s mystery. It’s just right for a cold winter day, a soft couch, and a cup of steaming hot chocolate.