LOVE Stories you don’t want to miss

My heart melted when I came across this story. What a beautiful, lasting gesture. I thought about his sweet wife looking down from heaven with such LOVE. Please read the full story.

Heart made with LOVEarticle-2173055-140C3C9F000005DC-35_634x416

When Janet Howes died suddenly 17 years ago, her devoted husband Winston decided he wanted to create a lasting tribute to her.

The farmer planted thousands of oak saplings in a six-acre  field – but left a heart-shaped  area in the middle, with the  point facing towards his wife’s childhood home.

And as the remarkable picture here shows, his romantic labour of love has now grown into a mature meadow, a peaceful oasis where Mr Howes can sit and remember his wife of 33 years.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2173055/A-real-labour-love-Devoted-farmer-creates-heart-shaped-meadow-planting-thousands-oak-trees-tribute-late-wife.html

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i-love-u-so-much-images-and-wallpaper-4THE LAST VALENTINE

Several days ago I rummaged through my jewelry box. The action evoked a ton of memories. The bejeweled necklaces, lovely rings, bracelets, earrings – all Valentine’s Day gifts from my husband Ernest throughout our 48 years together. All accompanied with cards that were the best Hallmark produced – and thank God for that. Ernest was born and raised in Argentina, and just like Desi Arnaz, he fractured the English language.

I enjoyed the beauty of the jewelry and the many perfume vials – but they are only material possessions. I then raised my eyes to view the most cherished of all Ernest’s valentine gifts. Hanging on our bedroom wall. His last valentine gift to me.

It was Valentine’s Day 2003. I drove into our garage after attending my exercise class. I viewed hanging on the garage wall, in front of my car, what appeared to be the Styrofoam cover of a cooler. As I gazed closer, I noted that a heart was drawn on the Styrofoam in a red pen with the words “Happy Valentine – I love you forever – Me.”

I removed the cover from the wall and quickly entered the dining room where Ernest was seated next to his walker. I smilingly questioned him, “This is what I get for Valentine’s Day?” With his usual impish grin, he lifted both his hands toward me, palms up, and said, “It’s the best I can do, for I am your prisoner.”

Indeed he was! For the last five years Ernest had battled cancer and the “monster” had left him seriously debilitated – totally dependent on me. Seven months later, Ernest passed away.

A few months after Ernest left this life, my youngest son, then age 36, was organizing the content of the garage and barreled into my kitchen waving the Styrofoam cover demanding, “Hey Mom, what do you want to do with this? It was in the garage!” I turned and gasped for I had forgotten about “my last Valentine.”

I held it close and it suddenly became the most valuable Valentine I have ever had.

The cover now hangs on my bedroom wall, reminding me each morning, upon my awakening, of Kahlil Gibran’s words from “The Prophet” – “You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”

Mary A. Ale, Santa Ana (found on the ocregister.com)

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PhotoCredTiffanyFarley-16-crop-646x470.jpgPhoto credit: Tiffany Farley

LOVE letters to NY

I looked down at my shoes as people filled the train, and then I saw her. I saw her beat-up unlaced construction boots first. I followed the shoes, laceless hole by laceless hole, all the way up to the face of an old woman. She was tiny. She had a slight slump in her shoulders. She wore a bright red cap. Wisps of gray poked out from beneath it.

As I watched the woman, I thought about the letters my mother wrote and how she must have known an ordinary piece of loose-leaf paper morphs into a love letter when a person puts her self into it. Then I remembered the notebook in the belly of my bag. I would write the woman a note and give it to her as I exited the train, I decided. I could drop it at her feet.

I pulled the notebook out of my bag, turned to a new page, and began writing a letter. The words spilled out of me.

When I looked up, the woman was gone. I left the letter in my notebook, unsure of what to do with it now that she would never know that it was meant for her.

After I wrote that letter, more letters to other people I observed came marching out of me, one by one, until soon I had filled up the notebook.

Back on the train, just a few days later, the plan became clear. I was going to leave the letter I wrote to the woman on the subway for someone else to find. Then I would scatter other love letters all over New York City. And once I had set each one in its place, I would write even more. And you want to know why? Because it made me feel something.

I tried to imagine what would make me pick up a letter if I found it on a random subway train or in a coffee shop thinking it might have been for me all along. I settled on something simple: If you find this letter … then it’s for you. I wrote those words on my first letter. I folded the letter and placed it behind me. When I got to my stop, I planned to let the letter slip down onto the seat as I walked away.

I left the letters everywhere I could. I was playing Juliet to the city.

At Grand Central Terminal, I waited for the subway doors to open and then busted out of my seat quickly. Darting through the doors, I kept walking faster and faster once my feet hit the platform. My nerves surged. There was a whiff of adrenaline as I got farther away from the train, disappearing into the city.

During the fall of 2010, I kept tucking and leaving, tucking and leaving. I left the letters everywhere I could. I propped them on bathroom sinks. I slid them into coat pockets in department stores. I left them in fitting rooms. I would stick them into the seats at work when I would attend large meetings. I was playing Juliet to the city.

When 24-year-old Hannah Brencher moved to New York after college, she was hit by depression and overwhelming loneliness. One day she felt so alone, she wanted to reach out to someone. And so she put pen to paper and started writing letters. Letters to complete strangers.

But these weren’t sad letters about how she was feeling. They were happy letters, all about the other person, not her. She would write messages for people to have a “bright day” and tell strangers how brilliant they were, even if they thought no one else had noticed. Brencher began dropping the notes all over New York, in cafes, in library books, in parks and on the subway. It made her feel better, knowing that she might be making somebody’s day through just a few short, sweet words. It gave her something to focus on. And so, The World Needs More Love Letters was born.

The World Needs More Love Letters is all about writing letters – not emails, but proper, handwritten letters. Not conventional love letters, written to a real beloved, but surprise letters for strangers. They don’t necessarily say “I love you”, but they are full of kindness (that’s the love Brencher’s talking about) – telling people they are remarkable and special and all-round amazing. It’s the sort of stuff that most people don’t really say out loud even to the people they care about, let alone a total stranger.

Brencher’s initiative has now exploded. She has personally written hundreds, if not thousands of letters. Last year, she did a Ted talk. In it, she talks about a woman whose husband, a soldier, comes back from Afghanistan and they struggle to reconnect – “So she tucks love letters throughout the house as a way to say: ‘Come back to me. Find me when you can'” – and a university student who slips letters around her campus, only to suddenly find everyone is writing them and there are love letters hanging from the trees.

Now there are more than 10,000 people who join in all over the world. Sometimes, they write letters to order, to people who are lonely and down and just want someone to tell them that everything will be OK. Mostly, though, they scribble notes and leave them somewhere unlikely, for somebody to find.

In the months that followed, Brencher started her own site,MoreLoveLetters.com, about her project, inspiring others to write and leave letters in their own communities. Now the website connects her both to strangers in need of love letters and to those who want to write them.

About a year later, a woman wrote to me about her friend Briana, a single mother struggling to pay the rent. I typed out Briana’s story and published it on the website, encouraging anyone who read it to mail me letters of encouragement for Briana. I decided that at the end of the month, I’d send Briana a bundle of love letters.

A week later, my heart sank as I walked into the town post office and unlocked PO Box 2061. It was nearly empty. There was just a single yellow slip.

“This was left in my box,” I told the man at the front of the post office.

“Oh, box 2061,” he said. “You got too much mail, dear. We moved you to a bigger box.”

I walked away from the post office with a lot of mail—and a big idea about human beings: mainly that if you give them something to do, a mission, they will show up. At the end of that month, I marched the love letter bundle for Briana to the post office and mailed it off to her.

“They show you’re not alone and that you’re not struggling for nothing.”

A week later, I got a thank-you e-mail from Briana’s friend. “It’s not that the letters heal you,” she wrote. “They show you’re not alone and that you’re not struggling for nothing.”

After such an amazing response to Briana’s story, I was encouraged to continue. I’d post a new story on the site and then check for letters at the post office every couple of days. The postal worker would emerge from the back room with a heaping stack of letters or a mail crate, sometimes two.

I read every letter, then bundled it up with a note explaining how hundreds of people around the world had come together to write the letters now sitting in the hands of someone who didn’t expect to get mail beyond bills and coupons that day.

Most of us are good. I know that’s always up for debate, but it feels as if, at the core, we are good. And sometimes we lose. We fight for things. We lose the fight for things. We fail. We get lost. Sometimes we don’t show up at all.

We make mistakes. We hurt the people who mean more than the world to us. And we get hurt. We get rejected. We fail tests. We oversleep. We break promises. We break hearts. We doubt ourselves. We drink too much. We laugh too little. And we are hopeful.

We found out about Luke (not his real name) from his daughter. She got a rush of surprise one day when she came home and saw a package waiting for her. She knew it was the love letters she had requested for her father. Luke was in his last round of chemotherapy and having a rough morning when the bundle arrived.

Luke and his daughter sat together for hours and read every last one. She wrote, He was filled with so much energy after reading those letters—he’s even begun to make a collage out of them. He plans to frame the collage and hang it proudly on the wall of his office.

Then there was the soldier and his sister. He had the dirt of both Afghanistan and Iraq deep in the grooves of his boots. PTSD hung on his shoulders like a cloak when he finally came home. We mailed him a bundle. One day he called his sister, crying—sitting on the floor and unable to speak—over the letters strangers had sent cheering for him. She told me that one small act had renewed her faith in humanity.

Above all stories, I will always go back to Matt’s from Ohio. He e-mailed me one night about two years ago. Matt told me he was getting older. His family and he were disconnected. He didn’t have many friends. He was starting to believe he’d leave nothing behind and he’d be forgotten.

The message was sent with no return address attached. There was no way to write back to him, but I hope he reads these words:

Matt, I want you to know: You were wrong to think you’d be forgotten. And I was wrong to think people couldn’t walk into our lives and shift our histories in an instant. Because you did that for me.

From the book If You Find This Letter by Hannah Brencher. Copyright © 2015 by Hannah Brencher. reprinted by permission of Howard Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., simonandschuster.com.

 

I think this is a great idea—I told my daughter about this story & she lit up. She grabbed her lap top & talked about how kids in middle school could use some good letters. She typed up her own letter & we made some copies. Her and her friend secretly have been slipping them in lockers to brighten kids days. Middle school is tough.

Where can you send some love? Drop a LOVE note somewhere. anywhere.

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Spread the LOVE

2012-valentine_s-day-gisft-and-wallpapers-with-special-quotesWith Love week around the corner I thought it would be good to spread some LOVE. Our hearts yearn to share LOVE, to ignite a spark of connection, to spread goodness and radiate a light so bright that the world would see a glimmer of HOPE, a sea of positive change, a peace that would domino, a grand song that would play in the hearts of every single person who needed a little LOVE.

This morning I sat around our breakfast table & asked a question—“If you could change three things, what would you change?” We went around the table sharing different ideas, and I instantly thought of how different the world would be if we had a change of heart throughout the world. I immediately thought of times throughout my life that if I needed any advice, any direction on an idea, any encouragement and I asked complete strangers for their help,  how amazed I continually am to see people open their hearts wide open and give. They give for the sake of helping someone’s dream grow just a little, an idea to blossom into a possibility, they give their knowledge, their time. It never ceases to amaze me.

love-couples-beautiful-with-quotes-the-greatest-hd-free-585203When we look at the world through media lenses, we are often jaded by the stories, the misery, the broken parts of the world, but when we step just outside ourselves, we begin to see people all around with open hands and giving hearts. I have recently been working on an idea to possibly put into museums & had no idea where to begin, so I reached out & you know what happened? People from all over the country stopped, took time, gave me direction and did not hesitate to give. i have seen this over and over again because I know people give from their hearts and that is the perfect place. I genuinely think people are good and want to help if they have something to give.

fb_share_challengeyou-1I challenge any of you to try it for yourself. Don’t be afraid, be brave. Is there an idea you would like to see come into view, is there a dream you have been holding onto, is there direction you need, is there something you want to do, but just need a little nurturing. I encourage you to reach out and give someone else an opportunity to spread some love to YOU. Give someone the opportunity to share their knowledge, to share their contacts, to enlighten you with their experience…Let them help you, let them give to you and then when you are feeling connected and loved, find some way that you can also spread some love to someone who may need you, your smile, your time.

Quote81I do believe this is a big reason why we are on this snow globe of life—to give, to help one another, to learn this greatest gift.

Quotation-Roxana-Jones-giving-heart-Meetville-Quotes-19450Valentines-Day-Love-Quotes-and-Sayings

Peace and LOVE to you. -Heather

Ways to share the LOVE a little more

I LOVE YOU MORE is a big phrase in our house, so seeing that February is THIS week, I thought I would post some ideas on ways to LOVE a little more in your life. Whether it is your spouse or kids, here are some great ideas. Enjoy!!

YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR PARTNER:

beauty-couple-dance-dress-friends-girl-Favim.com-49574tumblr_m5lc17b0jM1qdblieo1_500I was recently reading an Oprah post and I loved this visual–“Drop your story about who your partner is and see him/her with a “fresh-start mind.” Decide that today you are going to learn three new things about them, or you’re going to really listen when you have dinner together. As Someone once told me, if you’re dancing with someone and aren’t paying close attention to the way they are moving, you step all over each other. And then you don’t want to dance anymore.”

I LOVE that visual of dancing, being present, moving in the moment, together. Can you see it? Can you visualize dancing and not being present—stepping all wrong, getting frustrated, not enjoying the dance. Who enjoys getting stepped on, both emotionally and physically–no one!! So, work on the dance within your relationship. Begin to get present, truly listen, find things you both enjoy together, hold each other and begin again.

heart-shapeMORE TIPS:
Here are a number of tips, I will probably do another post on this same topic because there is a lot to cover about Sharing the Love.  Look for my additional LOVE posts. 

According to PsychologyToday you should have a ‘pet name’ for each other because calling your partner by an affectionate name brings a positive response.

Share the housework is another thing they suggest, because it makes you feel like you are working together & that not one person carries the brunt of the work.    My husband has always been a great example of this. He is always working so hard and then is always looking for opportunities to help where he can. Amazing!!

Play, get out and do things together that are new.  I can definitely say that getting out and trying new things together helps you feel alive, it makes you look around and enjoy where you are—together. It is a fun way to connect.

Share a Surprise: Everyone loves a good surprise, so throughout this month do fun little things that will surprise the ones you love.  My Dad gives my mom a ‘Love Mantel’ where each day he puts something new on the mantel each morning. He puts cheesy plush animals that move, giant love cards, poems he writes, etc. It has been a fun tradition that my Mom looks forward to.  You could also plan a special date that is full of surprise locations, a special dinner, a walk on the beach, a fun activity, a stroll through a museum, a night under the stars, etc. You create it and Surprise!! A great gift for everyone.

Personalize something: A great gift is something from the heart, so pull out your guitar and write a song, make a delicious dinner, write a note that shares your feelings, plan a trip somewhere they have always wanted to go or is a favorite destination, send their favorite flowers, change their phone background to a picture of the two of you, Copy and paste the lyrics from one of their favorite songs with a sweet note, get a card deck & write things you love about each other on each card & then share them with each other

Pray together (as a family/as a couple): This is one thing that brings you together, solidifies, helps you listen to matters of the heart—what you are all grateful for, the highlights from the day, things to think about, matters to ponder. It brings everyone to a place of quiet listening.

Share something positive: Send a sweet text, share a quote you come across, a fun pic from the weekend, something that will inspire. Just send!! Just be careful who you send it to. smile. I know this sounds funny, but my husband was up in our kitchen working and I wanted to send him some love. I typed up a little note and texted it to him. I smiled as I heard the ding, only 20 feet away. I listened to him type up something & then I smiled again as I heard the jet plane noise go off. I waited for my text from him. He was waiting for my response. After a few minutes, he finally said, didn’t you get my text? Puzzled, I replied, No! He instantly looked at his computer and started to laugh out loud, with a little bit of shear panic. He realized he had sent the note to our brother-in-law. Luckily, it was just a sweet note full of…You truly mean the world to me and I would walk to the ends of the earth for you. I would swim the deepest ocean for you & I would climb the tallest mountain for just one kiss. Our brother-in-law responded….That was perfect!! You are pretty okay too!  It was very funny. Lesson learned—be careful who you send stuff to. smile. smile.

Say something positive: Researchers have found that happy couples have a ratio of five positive comments to each negative comment (urtango).  This only makes sense, relationships have a better foundation when the people involved are building!! Build a positive foundation with good things…compliments, things you enjoy about each other, things you admire in one another. Build! Build! Build! Don’t tear each other down, don’t tear down the beautiful things you have built together.

Do something small: Write a little note & stick it on the car dash before work. I like this one, use a toothpick to write “I Love You” on the outside of an unpeeled banana (I am going to try this right now!)–urtango. Write a note and leave it on the bathroom mirror, grab their robe when they get out of the shower, put their favorite treat with a note on the car seat, record a memo message on their phone, write a love note on their calendar, get them a new audiobook to listen to on their way to work, get their favorite bath gel & leave it in the shower with a little note, buy a magazine subscription they like…

state-of-the-nation-children-390x285YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR CHILDREN

Share the Love: By saying I Love You, Giving hugs (at least 15 a day), Sharing highlights from the day with each other, Wrapping up in a big blanket and sharing a good movie or reading a chapter in a book together, Having special back scratches or ways you paint their face with your fingers, Having a special song you put them to bed by, A special story book you read out of, By letting them help cook something in the kitchen & then licking the spoon, By walking home from school together, By having Mommy Missy or Mommy son dates that are one-on-ones especially for them, Sharing a sweet smile, Lovingly hold their hands when you walk together, Sharing your time and being present.

Share Stories: Share with them memories of their childhood, the day they were born, the way their name came about, stories about your childhood, things about you, share your likes, your dislikes, share stories that connect you.

Write a letter: I write a special letter to my daughter every six months. I write about what she is like, what she is doing in school, her friendships, her likes and dislikes, funny moments, her favorite things, and then I am collecting them to give to her when she is 18. I occasionally read bits and pieces of them with her to make her smile. It’s a great tradition.

Ask Questions: Ask your child what they are thinking about, What they wonder about, What is magical to them, What they love about their life, What they love about you as their parent, What was their favorite part of the day, What they wish for, What they want to be when they grow up, What it means to be a good friend, What they like you to do as their parent, What they struggle with, What they enjoy about the different holidays throughout the year, What they love about the seasons…

Give special gifts: Find something special, that is especially made for your child. Put some thought into it & create a memory when giving gifts. Write a note that accompanies the gift. i.e.: my daughter loves Orangutans & wants to be a zoologist one day. She also dances, so when I found a small orangutan doll, dressed in a tutu, I knew I had to have it. My daughter fell in love with it–the message with the doll…be You, Shine, Be an original. It was perfect. When you take the time and put thought into gift giving=great memories and gifts that will be cherished.

Give them a gift of a memory with you: Teach your child something special—teach them to make homemade pumpkin cookies, how to peel potatoes, how to fold laundry, how to shuffle cards, how to play HORSE or Around the World, how to play ping pong or mini golf, how to knit, how to take a photo, how to write a thank you card, how to draw or doodle, how to set a table properly…

Hope these ideas get you thinking about ways to share the love a little more.  Enjoy the month of LOVE!!

Ways to Fall in LOVE with your Life

SimpleWomanonRugIn the true spirit of the month of LOVE, I thought it would be a good idea to not only fall in LOVE with relationships, but with the life we are living at this moment. Here are some thoughts on falling in love with the life you have.

See the BEAUTY all around you–“A person should hear a little music, read a little poetry and see a fine picture everyday in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.”  -Johann Von Goethe

Be still. Get QUIET–“We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature-trees, flowers, grass-grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence…we need silence to be able to touch souls.”  -Mother Teresa

Do a little SOUL searching“Anytime we catch a glimpse of soul, beauty is there; anytime we catch our breath and feel “how beautiful!” The soul is present.” -Jean Shinoda Boten, MD

Find a little JOY–“Always leave enough room in your life to do something that makes you happy, satisfied or even JOYOUS.” -Paul Hawken

Find COMFORT in knowing you are not alone–“Ever now and again take a good look at something not made with hands–a mountain, a star, the turn of a stream. There will come to you wisdom and patience and solace and above all, the assurance that you are not alone in the world.” -Sidney Lovett

BELIEVE in the GIFT of every day–“Life is a great and wondrous mystery and the only thing we know that we have for sure is what is right here, right now. Don’t miss it.” -Leo Buscaglia

Believe that your LIFE is SACRED–“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” -Thornton Wilder

Blessed be the month of LOVE and the life you live be a beautiful reminder of the gifts you receive daily.  -Heather

Put a little LOVE in all you do.

Image“It was a million tiny little things that, when you added them all up, they meant we were supposed to be together… and I knew it.” – Tom Hanks, Sleepless In Seattle

Sticking with the theme of LOVE for the upcoming, grand occasion of Valentines, I have put together some tiny things that we do around our house to show our LOVE. Hope these ideas spark other little ideas to spread love in all you do.

Keep them cuddly: warm up robes and towels when they get out of the bath or shower. Throw a cozy blanket in the dryer when someone just needs to be bundled.

Do something sweet: write a little note (on the napkin or a tiny card) for someone’s lunch–add a fun joke, a sweet treat they will enjoy or a tiny surprise that is unexpected.

Hand writing: When my little girl is nervous about something at school, I draw a heart on her hand to remind her that my love will always be with her.

Hearts & flowers: We are big Dasani bottle drinkers (don’t worry we recycle!) so I write messages on my families water bottles…hearts, flowers, their names, love notes, feel betters, etc.

Dedications: Dedicate a song while you are driving or buy a special song that reminds you of someone you love and share it with them.  (Some good ideas off the top of my head: Bruno Mars “Just the way you are”  Rihanna “We found Love”  Christina Perri “A Thousand Years”   Usher “Without You”   Harry Connick Jr ” We are in Love”   Train “Marry Me”   Colbie Caillat “I do”   Joy Williams “Charmed Life”)

Sign Language: Have a fun personal language that you share with each other. Our family does XO with our fingers or signs I Love You or infiniti hearts, you get the idea. Make your own and make it yours. The love will follow.

Nicknames: Have fun, loving nick names that you call one another.

Make food with love: blow kisses into the meals you make, make heart pancakes, heart shaped brownies, swirl your soup in heart shapes.

Basic Care: make them take their vitamins, drink lots of water and wear their seat belt. It is the funniest thing to watch my parents fight over taking their vitamins, but my Dad simply looks at my mom and says, it’s because I love you. Who can argue with that!

Love Notes: leave little notes of love and appreciation anytime and everywhere. Leave them on the bathroom mirror, the car window, computer screen, under a pillow, etc. A cute text says you care. A fun note taped to their toothbrush that says, you make me smile=LOVE.

Pray and give thanks: pray always with a grateful heart for the little things you receive every day…for running water, for good health, that your child made it home from school, that your husband has a job, that you can run, walk, see the blue sky.

Thank you: Write a nice note on the envelopes of your bills, or on an email to your service providers thanking them for the services you receive. Thank them that you have power, heat, the Disney channel!! smile. smile.

Affection: ALWAYS give hugs and kisses, special rendezvous and intimate getaways

Surround your family with good things: Having beautiful things around helps your heart sing. Your heart=LOVE. Have pretty music playing, buy a beautiful bouquet of flowers, have inspiring quotes posted throughout the house, allow lots of light in through the windows

Quality time: I can’t stress this enough!! Go on walks, have reading time together, play games and talk.

Connect: Everyone needs to feel connection in their life, so our relationships are key. Take the time to connect. I am going to include some good Q& A topics to discuss with those you love:

Connect Questions for the one you LOVE:

1. What is something that makes you feel good about yourself?

2. What are 5 things you want to do in your life?

3. Has there ever been anything you were afraid to do? How did you handle it?

4. Some of your favorite things?

5. What trait do you feel people like most about you?

6. Do you feel it is easy to make friends? Do you feel you have good friends?

7. Do you feel you like to be social or would rather be home? 

8. What is a truly great memory for you?

9. What does perfect mean to you?

10. What is a favorite gift you have received?

11. What would you like to do more of every day?

12. Answer this…I am happy when…

13. What do you love about your family?

14. What do you love most about your relationship?

15. Think of a tough time in your life…what did you learn from it?

16. Is there anything you worry about?

17. What do you desire most out of our relationship? (good things, things to work on)

18. If you could do anything, what would it be?

19. What is one thing you would change about your life? 

20. What would be your ideal Valentines day?

Connect Questions for you to ask your Kids:

1. What is your happiest memory? 

2. Why do you like being a kid? 

3. One word to describe you would be _______. 

4. What advice would you give your parents? 

5. If you could be any animal, which one would you be and why? 

6. What do you like to do for fun? 

7. Tell about a funny time in your life. 

8. What is your favorite thing to do? Why? 

9. What is your favorite thing to do with your friends? 

10. What do you love most about your sibling (or being an only child)? 

11. What was the nicest thing you did for someone? 

12. What do you think you will be doing 10 years from now? 

13. What is your favorite thing to do in the summer? the winter?

14. What would be the ideal allowance? Tell me how you would use it. 

15. What do you think makes a person good-looking? 

16. Name two things we should do as a family on the weekend. 

17. What is the grossest thing you can think of?

18. What is something you love about your mom and dad?

19. What is your favorite vacation we have been on?

20. What are 5 things you would like to do by the time you are married? (or in your life)

Well, I hope these tiny ideas have inspired you to think of little things you can do to spread the love in your world.

Lots of LOVE to you and yours.    -Heather

Valentine ideas for those you LOVE

Purple heart in the handsSince Valentines Day is very close I wanted to make sure to create a fun list of thoughtful gift ideas to give to the ones you LOVE.  The following are some ideas I have done for my little family over the years, so I hope there will be something that will inspire you to LOVe those special people in your life.

Have a thought or theme that inspires your gift giving: One year I cut out about fifty paper stars and wrote, “For every Star in the Heavens, there is a reason I love you.”  I then wrote things I loved about my husband and hung the stars with fishing line all around our living room. I made a huge bed on our living room floor, we ate take-out, picnic style, had a warm fire, watched movies and had a wonderful evening.

Make something that is handmade or Personalized: One year I got a glass bottle and etched a message on the outside. Inside I had a special love note…Message in a bottle.  Another year I created a sheet that had things from the year my husband was born (#1 song on the charts, News Headlines, Best selling toy, candy, funny facts from the era). Make a cd of his favorite music, buy a basketball or football and have the kids sign and decorate it, etch a frame or a pair of goblets, beer or coffee mug, you get the idea. Make it personal and from the heart.

Share all the reasons you love them: Scream it! Sing it! write little notes and gift them in a jar, write them on a poster and hang it on the bedroom door. Whatever you do…Tell them you LOVE them.

Give them something special: Is there a hobby or collection they have? Mu husband had a father who collected toy cast iron cap guns, so he inherited the collection from his father. One year I found a small pistol to add to his collection. My husband also has a love of western movies (prob watching them with his father as a kid), so this year I found some fun replica coins from a brothel house (good for one night) & I am going to add sweet notes with each one & gift them in a neat jar with a good, western movie classic.

Do something sentimental: Make a Q & A journal to do together, then each evening or specific night of the week take some time, enjoy a special dinner and take the time to fill in the journal. Another idea that I have done that my husband loved—his mother’s cooking!! I took a day and went to his mother’s house and she shared all her secret family recipes, which I then put into a personalized cookbook with pictures, quotes and the special ingredients to all her yummy goodness.

Give a themed gift: What does your love enjoy doing? My husband enjoys triathlon racing, so one gift I gave him was a runners magazine, a waterproof iPod, a water bottle filled with hershey kisses, packaged in a nice workout bag with a towel. He also likes to BBQ so another gift I gave him was a nice set of BBQ utensils, a personalized apron and a grilling cookbook.  Make sure, no matter what you give, that you add some cheesy note to make them smile…something like…”Your Hot”  “You really know how to spice things up!” Have fun with it.

Make something yummy: Make a night of his/her favorite recipes, gift their favorite chocolate covered strawberries or make them a special batch of carmel pretzels. Whatever they love to eat, take the time to make it memorable.

The following are some fun gift ideas to make Valentines special for the Kiddos

Quality time: Make a Q & A journal to do with your kids. Take the time each week or each evening to talk, listen, and ask questions. This will be guaranteed quality time, with the questions leading to answers and stories that will be memorable.

Fun gift ideas:

Nail polish or lipgloss (in shades of pink and red) wrapped in a cute bag with a note that says “You shine.”

Personalized PJ’s or T-shirts: Use fabric paints, Tye dye or use iron on sparkles to make something personalized and all your own. A gift that will be appreciated.

Charm me: pick a cute charm with your child in mind, add a little necklace chain or bracelet and start a special charm collection for them. Add a little note why the charm reminded you of them. Every once in a while surprise them with a new charm that has a special meaning.

Give them something handmade: hair accessories, quilt, scarf, hat, a beaded animal, etc. Something handmade always says it is made with the heart.

Start something new: Give your child a fun apron with a special cooking lesson and coupons that include: make a cake together, make pancakes for Sat breakfast, make a spaghetti dinner for the fam… or you could give them a little garden kit with a package of seeds and a pot they can decorate.

Boo: the cutest plush dog. I am a sucker for stuffed animals, but I think this one would make any child smile. To personalize it, make a bead collar, add your child’s name or bandana. I got one of these darling dogs when my daughter was in the hospital, we took it home and beaded a collar and leash. It is adorable.  Here is the link for it on Amazon   http://www.amazon.com/Gund-Boo–Worlds-Cutest-Dog/dp/B006U4SHMS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1359059855&sr=8-1&keywords=Boo

One last FUN idea:  Make a fun fort out of a sheet and personalize it for your kids with iron on patches. Then the week of Valentines, put it up and surprise them. Have a fun pizza party in the fort. To make it extra special you could buy a small lantern & attach a note that says “you shine.” or “you light up my life.” Another fun detail, make a cute fleece pillow and attach a note that says “sweet dreams.”  It would be a Valentines to remember.

It’s the memories that count the most, so put some thought into the little, loving gestures you do for the ones you LOVE.  Hope these ideas help.

Good luck in spreading HAPPINESS and LOVE   -Heather

A Beautiful Movie to share

My darling niece just sent me to a beautiful youtube movie that she watched at school.

It is called “The Butterfly Circus.”  I urge you to gather your families around and watch this sweet little movie. It is very well done with beautiful music and an inspired message. I did not want to forget about this little gem & I figured this is a wonderful gift to give to anyone…enjoy!!