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!!

Lessons from the movie Moulin Rouge

Image

ImageThe movie Moulin Rouge is a mix of vibrance, colorful characters, amazing scenes full of dazzle, great music, creativity, wonder, jealousy, rage, lies, all tied together with a beautiful love story that truly is a bitter sweet. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I have always found the beautiful, emotional ride touching.

Here are a few of my lessons from the incredible Moulin Rouge…

The overall take away  THE GREATEST THING YOU’LL EVER LEARN IS JUST TO LOVE AND BE LOVED IN RETURN.  Beautifully said. Warning: If you can’t take and appreciate this lovely statement, then you may not enjoy the movie.

You are worth more than you have any idea:  Begin now to see the true treasures and gifts within yourself. (Whether you are a penniless writer or a courtesan) How you see yourself does matter in the end.

Image

LOVE is better than diamonds. There is a beautiful transformation of Satine from when she sings “Diamonds are a girls best friend” & believes money to be the saving grace for her life—-to the later Satine that is truly in love with the penniless writer. You see the outcome of love.  His gift was always his song & the love he had for her in his heart—not diamonds.

ImageMy gift is my song. And this one’s for you. And you can tell everybody that this is your song. It may be quite simple but now that its done. I hope you don’t mind, I hope you don’t mind that I put down in words. How wonderful life is now you’re in the world.

There will always be people to fuel a fire of rumors. Don’t be one of them. Rumors have a life of their own & once you take one and pass it along…it becomes a part of you. The outcome, whatever it may be, sadly is part of you. You will not be able to hide, the deceit, the energy it carries– springs from you. You are part of the tragedy or ill will it bestows upon someone else.

Jealousy truly is a bitter substance. Whether you are jealous of your neighbors yard, your husbands secretary, the car your sister has, become increasingly afraid you will lose…something, anything…you are playing with fire. Jealousy is a rage that burns within, so do whatever you can to snuff it out before it consumes you.

Follow your heart. You only have moments within your life that you can truly follow your heart & listen to what it yearns for. Luckily Satine followed her feelings & was finally free.

Image

True friends care and believe in what is best for you. Harold Zitler cared for Satine, but in the end he just wanted her to finish the show (at any cost). But Christian’s friend Toulouse always believed in the love between Christian and Satine & he told him to go back to her because he knew their love was true.

Even the most bitter sweet endings inspire the heart to know true love. “Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months, and then on not-so very special day, I sat down at my type-writer and I wrote down our story. A story about a time, a story about a place, a story about the people. But most importantly, a story about love. A love that will live forever. The end.”

Image

There are always beautiful things to take away from any movie, so I hope you when you watch Moulin Rouge you will find some of your own lessons from this love story. enjoy.

Some additional quotes from the movie…

il_fullxfull.303269165 tumblr_l9njq3Ik8a1qzh6cro1_500Moulin-Rouge-Top-Romantic-Movie-Quote

LOVE Padlocks

ImageLast night I went to see the wild ride of the movie “Now You See Me”–to me it was a great visual of entertainment, always wondering what was going to happen next, enjoying the magical illusions, never being able to guess the next move, wondering how each character fit. I truly enjoyed it. At the end of the movie there is a scene on a bridge & the bridge was covered in padlocks. To me it was a visual wonder & i wanted to know more, so I googled and found “Love padlocks”–people place padlocks in certain places to symbolize their love they want to hold onto–called Love padlocks.

All over the world there are specific locations, some the beginning of the padlocks is a mystery, other stories are of lovers lost, hope of lovers returning, wishes of romance, etc. It is a beautiful symbol of a cherished, heartfelt gesture.

Love is funny like that. So much of our life is seeking and finding someone to share your life with, the days, the moments, the laughter, the hurt, the pain…if you were able to meet someone & literally padlock their love, would it truly be a good idea? Would you miss the challenges that turn into making up? Would you miss the moments where you grow together? Would you begin to take your love for granted? Would you try as hard to hold on to the special feelings you have for one another? Would the affection be as passionate if you knew it could not be taken away? Would you miss the moments of insecurity that bring you back to finding a place of gratitude in your heart for one another? Would you cherish your time together?

The padlocks did remind me of a time where my husband and I were going through a hard spot emotionally and I was feeling very vulnerable to situations that could possibly ruin our relationship. I remember giving him a set of three keys and explaining they were a visual of the keys he holds to the heart of our family. One key was to symbolize each one of us in our little family & every time he looked at the keys he was to realize the importance of what he held within—our hearts.

Relationships are like that, you are given opportunities to learn from another, to invest in their life story, to see glimpses of who they really are, to be trusted with emotional keys, so remember in any relationship you are in, hold a knowing that you are unlocking a piece of someone’s padlocked heart where they hold hurts, sensitivity, hopes, dreams, and they are inviting you in to experience a part of it. Be gentle, be wise, be loving, be kind.

“Let me find the key to your heart so I can unlock your secret chambers of love; when I do find that key, I will lock myself in your heart forever.”  -unknown

ImageNow, I love the symbolic idea of these beautiful padlock places, so here are some ideas to

SPREAD THE LOVE: I think the idea of LOVE PADLOCKS is a heartfelt, loving gesture. I LOVE it!! I think it is another fun way to spread some love. So, here are a few ideas…there are world locations, so I am going to leave you with this link of some of the prime Love Lock locations http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_locations_with_love_padlocks

Find a location, list those you love & make a loving wish that they will fill your life with continued LOVE.

You could also do a fun family lock where everyone lists their names & makes a wish. You could hang it somewhere special in your home, yard, car mirror or find a special location that is special to your family.

Image-best wishes  Heather

A great gift for Mother’s Day…

Image

I read this beautiful parable and was so touched by the beautiful images and emotion that it holds. This would be a wonderful gift to share with your Mom this Mother’s Day. Blessings to you and your family.

Parable of Motherhood

By
Temple Bailey

this was originally published in Good Housekeeping Magazine in 1933

The young mother set her foot on the path of life.  “Is the way long?” she asked.  And her guide said, “Yes, and the way is hard.  And you will be old before you reach the end of it.  But the end will be better than the beginning.”  But the young mother was happy and she would not believe that anything could be better than those years.  So she played with her children and gathered flowers for them along the way and bathed them in the clear streams; and the sun shone on them and life was good, and the young mother cried, “Nothing will never be lovelier than this.”

Then night came, and storm, and the path was dark and the children shook with fear and cold, and the mother drew them close and covered them with her mantle and the children said, “Oh Mother, we are not afraid, for you are near, and no harm can come,” and the mother said, “This is better than the brightness of day, for I have taught my children courage.”

And the morning came, and there was a hill ahead and the children climbed and grew weary, and the mother was weary, but at all times she said to the children,  “A little patience and we are there.”  So the children climbed and when they reached the top, they said, “We could not have done it without you, Mother.”  And the mother, when she lay down that night, looked up at the stars and said, “This is a better day than the last, for my children have learned fortitude in the face of hardness.  Yesterday I gave them courage, today I have given then strength.”

And with the next day came strange clouds which darkened the earth, clouds of war and hate and evil–and the children groped and stumbled, and the mother said, “Look up.  Lift your eyes to the light.”  And the children looked and saw above the clouds an Everlasting Glory, and it guided them and brought them beyond the darkness.  And that night the mother said,  “This is the best day of all for I have shown my children God.”

And the days went on, and the weeks and the months and the years, and the mother grew old, and she was little and bent.  And her children were tall and strong and walked with courage.  And when the way was rough they lifted her, for she was as light as a feather; and at last they came to a hill, and beyond the hill they could see a shining road and golden gates flung wide.  And the mother said, “I have reached the end of my journey.  And now I know that the end is better than the beginning, for my children can walk alone and their children after them.”  And the children said, “You will always walk with us, Mother, even when you have gone through the gates.”

And they stood and watched her as she went on alone, and the gates closed after her.  And they said, “We cannot see her, but she is with us still.  A mother like ours is more than a memory.  She is a Living Presence.”

Lessons from Eat Pray Love

ImageIt is a wonderful thing to know that their are no coincidences, that life gives us signals we need, stops us to listen, helps us to begin to notice the things we truly need. Again I was gifted a needed coincidence. I had been feeling like I needed to watch the movie Eat. Pray. Love. I had not seen it since it came out in theaters, so I was curious to understand why I was being drawn to it.  I was having a bit of a down, migraine day, so I put the movie in and watched it for about 20 minutes before the idleness began to wear on me, the thoughts played that I had too many things to do, so I got up. I decided maybe a walk might shake things up and get my blood flowing. I walked, I listened to a podcast of someone I had never heard before, she took a call from a caller who began to parallel her life with the life of Elizabeth in the movie Eat. Pray. Love.    Now, we all know this movie has been out for years, so this struck me as a gift, I knew I needed to go home and finish what I started and see what spoke to me through this movie. Here are some of the things I took away…

Pray: with your heart. Her desperation led her to her knees. “Prayer is a relationship; half the job is mine. If I want transformation, but can’t even be bothered to articulate what, exactly, I’m aiming for, how will it ever occur? Half the benefit of prayer is in the asking itself, in the offering of a clearly posed and well-considered intention. If you don’t have this, all your pleas and desires are boneless, floppy, inert; they swirl at your feet in a cold fog and never lift.” -Elizabeth Gilbert

Dolce far niente—In Italian means “the sweetness of doing nothing.”  In America we do not take advantage of this, we work, we work until the day is done, we rarely have moments of “doing nothing.” I am not sure how we have become so accustomed to this way of life, but each and every one of us need to learn something from the Italian culture and enjoy more moments of sweet nothing.  “Americans have an inability to relax into sheer pleasure.Ours is an entertainment seeking-nation, but not necessarily a pleasure-seeking one….This is the cause of that great sad American stereotype- the overstressed executive who goes on vacation, but who cannot relax.”  -Elizabeth

Express yourself with gestures: I loved this!! Everyone kissing, giving thanks for delicious food with the “Muah!” May we all “Muah” everything we have.

The Augusteum: This was a meaningful moment in the movie because it was a place of great ruin. Elizabeth began to see the parallels of ruin as a gift in life, the road to true transformation.

Master your thoughts: let it be. “At some point, you gotta let go, and sit still, and allow contentment to come to you.”

Give selflessly to others: Elizabeth’s gift to the young Indian girl who was getting married into an arranged marriage was a gift of selfless beauty, a genuine gift.  There was another sweet gesture when Elizabeth had friends and family send money in lieu of her birthday & she was able to build a home for a single mother in need.

Tutti: I just loved the meaning of the little girl’s name “Tutti” which means “Everyone.”

Forgive yourself: let go of the ocean of regret. “There’s a crack (or cracks) in everyone…that’s how the light of God gets in.”  -Elizabeth Gilbert

God dwells within you as you: When you shine, you are doing His will. You are the true essence of who He created. “We don’t realize that, somewhere within us all, there does exist a supreme self who is eternally at peace.”  -Elizabeth Gilbert          “Your treasure – your perfection – is within you already. But to claim it, you must leave the busy commotion of the mind and abandon the desires of the ego and enter into the silence of the heart.” -Elizabeth

Have faith: “There’s a reason we refer to “leaps of faith”–because the decision to consent to any notion of divinity is a mighty jump from the rational over to the unknowable, and I don’t care how diligently scholars of every religion will try to sit you down with their stacks of books and prove to you through scripture that their faith is indeed rational; it isn’t.  If faith were rational, it wouldn’t be–by definition–faith. Faith is belief in what you cannot see or prove or touch. Faith is walking face-first and full-speed into the dark. If we truly knew all the answers in advance as to the meaning of life and the nature of God and the destiny of our souls, our belief would not be a leap of faith and it would not be a courageous act of humanity; it would just be…a prudent insurance policy.”  -Elizabeth Gilbert

Finding balance: Balance is not allowing someone to love you any less than you love yourself.  There was another great moment…Elizabeth says, “I couldn’t keep my balance.” Ketut responds, “Sometimes losing balance for love is part of living balance in life.”

“Zen masters say you cannot see your reflection in running water, only in still water.” 

Avoid fear: Fear leads you to run away from all the great possibilities of your life.

Choose happiness: “I’m choosing happiness over suffering, I know I am. I’m making space for the unknown future to fill up my life with yet-to-come surprises.” -Elizabeth Gilbert

“I keep remembering one of my Guru’s teachings about happiness. She says that people universally tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon you like fine weather if you’re fortunate enough. But that’s not how happiness works. Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it. If you don’t you will eat away your innate contentment. It’s easy enough to pray when you’re in distress but continuing to pray even when your crisis has passed is like a sealing process, helping your soul hold tight to its good attainments.” -Elizabeth Gilbert

The Quest–the journey:  “I’ve come to believe that there exists in the universe something I call “The Physics of The Quest”- a force of nature governed by laws as real as the laws gravity or momentum. And the rule of Quest Physics maybe goes like this: “If you are brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting(which can be anything from your house to your bitter old resentments)and set out on a truth-seeking journey(either externally or
internally),and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue, and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher, and if you are prepared – most of all -to face (and forgive) some very difficult realities about yourself….then truth will not be withheld from you.” Or so I’ve come to believe.”

There were so many gifts that seem to be hidden within this movie. I hope you seek to find gifts and gems in everything you do.  Peace and love to you.  -Heather

What do your kids REALLY NEED?

Image

Lately my husband and I have been back and forth on our concern about moving our ten-year-old daughter from a home she loves and the close proximity to her cousins and family for an out-of-state job position.  We are in the middle of making the decision to keep a steady income with the possibility of moving or taking a less paying job and staying. It has been a roller coaster of pros and cons. So I thought I would do some research on what children really need…their REAL needs vs COMFORT needs. So, here are some of my findings, mixed in with my own thoughts and feelings. Hopefully these ideas will help encourage you to invest a little more in the children within your life.

CONVERSATION: I strongly believe kids need to be heard and when you truly listen there is a stronger investment in the relationships. Talk to your kids regularly, don’t be too quick to fix their problems or tell them what you would do. Listen and allow them to get out their feelings, to see that you are truly engaging in their needs and concerns. This will help them to always open up and talk.      Try and see yourself in their childlike shoes. What may seem like a small problem, to them may be a big experience—listen and empathize. Help love them through.

Tips & Tricks: Have a highlight moment of the day & ask your kids what were the highlights of their day.  Play a get to know you even better game in the car & have fun questions for one another. Have fun family questions on the dinner table to pick and choose from when you have a quiet moment together.

CONNECTION: I have heard time and time again that kids who feel closely connected to their parents that they want to cooperate. There are many things to consider when talking about connection like play, hugs and affection, getting rid of outside distractions, etc.      It is easier to ask your child to get out of bed in the morning if you spend a few minutes snuggling in bed with them or read them something inspirational before sleep. My daughter loves it when I tickle and rub her arms, we also have personal back scratches that create waterfalls, rainbows, rose petals, raindrops…that help soothe and relax her. Its a good way to connect and help her feel safe.          Be present with your child. Focus on being with them then and there. You only have so much time with your child until they are all grown up and move on, so be with them, listen to them, connect with them on any and every level.

Tips & Tricks: According to many sources—people needs 8 hugs a day. So think about, plan it out and give those hugs to those you love…morning, noon and night, just because & always to say “I Love you.” I came across a good quote to remember Focus on CONNECTING, not just CORRECTING. 

“We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance.                We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”  -Virginia Satir

PRAISE & APPRECIATE: Notice the little details in moments of greatness. When you as a parent are awarded a piece of art done by your little one, take a moment and look at the details, comment on the great use of colors, the pattern, the background. Don’t just respond with “great drawing.”      Always try to point out the good moments in any situation. My daughter is constantly at odds with cousins touching her stuff and playing with things without asking. I have to talk her through those moments & point out how well she handled the little kids with kindness and patience.      Make sure you take special moments to praise your little ones in front of your spouse. Since my husband travels a lot it is fun to sit down together and talk about all the highlights he missed while he was gone.       Be silly & make some noise–kids really do LOVE the attention when you yell their name as they jump out of the car and run to the school or when they are performing and you whistle loud and scream their name.      Create moments of celebration–whether you have a special dinner in honor of entering reflections, or give a gold coin for good behavior, honor your child for being the special person they are.

Tips & Tricks: Have a special spot (fridge, personal bulletin board, special shelf) to allow children to shine and share their artwork or a outstanding test.  Make a special book each year that you include their artwork and special tests, write a special letter & make it a cherished keepsake.

PLAY:  have nicknames, special handshakes & songs you make up together. Play creates moments of rituals and tradition. We have special songs we sing for Halloween that we made up together, we have recently created a special “Fairy Day” for the first of May, because fairies have been a special addition to our whimsical world of imagination. My daughter comes home with fun handshakes and teaches them to me & our nicknames go on and on depending on the mood of the day.

Tips & Tricks: Take time to create moments of play together—make fairy houses out of sticks and acorns, tickle each other for the television remote, put puzzles together and make candy bets during card games. Have fun and PLAY!

QUIET TIME: Have some special quiet time as a family. Take 15-30 minutes or more and sit down together–read, write in your journals, meditate, go on a walk, do something that takes you away from the noise of the day. Children need your undivided attention, but they also need quiet spaces.     Your time and attention is so vital to the relationship between you and your child. Taking this time together will be able to mend wounds, heal hurts, create moments that will open up conversations and will ultimately take care of any need that arises.

Tips & Tricks: Give your child a special place in their room that is a good reading corner. Have a great chair or pillow where they can read, write, be still. My daughter has just began to write in her journal each night before bed. Yeah!!      Create opportunities of quality time with your child. Have a special day each week where you go out together. Have daily quiet time where you just talk or read together.

Additional Tips & Tricks from an Expert: According to Dr. Harley Rotbart, author of No Regrets Parenting–Turning Long Days and Short years into Cherished Moments for your Kids, he said this…

What do kids really need from their parents?

1. Security–Kids must feel safe and sound. This means providing them with basic survival needs (shelter, food, clothing, medical care and protection from harm)

2. Stability–Stability comes from family and community.

3. Consistency–Parents must synchronize their parenting. No “good cop, bad cop.” Consistency also means that important values should not be changed casually or for convenience.

4. Emotional Support–Parents words and actions should facilitate kids trust, respect, self-esteem, and independence.

5. Love–Saying and showing you love your kids can overcome almost any parenting “mistake” you might make. Even when kids have disobeyed, angered, frustrated, and rebelled against you, they must know that you love them and that you’ll always love them.

6. Education–Make sure your kids get the best possible education for their future. This, of course, includes school. But it also includes the valuable lessons about life that you provide during the time you spend together.

7. Positive role models–Parents are their kids first and most important role models. Be the kind of person you want them to become.

8. Structure–Rules, boundaries, and limited: Without them, kids are forced to be adults before they are ready, and they lose respect for you and other adults.

Well, I hope these ideas will spark some motivations to do more with your little ones. Happy Parenting.  Happy Day.   -Heather

Looking for the Gift of Grace

ImageI do not at all understand the mystery of grace, only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.
-Anne Lamott 

The word “Grace” derives from the Greek, chars. In Secular Greek, chars was related to chair, “to rejoice.”

Over the years I have learned to look for the tiny signs, the details that may lead me to a moment of grace, a moment of quiet rejoicing, in finding that I am truly not alone in this world.

I want you to think of a time where life was painful or you felt alone or you needed comfort and someone showed up, or you received a phone call you needed to hear or a special song played on the radio just for you.  I want you to think about the smallest threads that have held you together when you felt like things were unraveling around you. It is through these moments that we can find that quiet place of grace.

I have been very blessed with little moments when I need them most. It’s as if at my lowest points there is a glimpse or shimmer of something bigger than me. When I need an answer more than ever, I am handed a gracious gift. They may seem small and insignificant to you, but to me they are cherished jewels that I can string together and hold on to.

I wanted to share a few of these moments with you, so hopefully you will look all around you and see a moment, a sign, a gift of grace…

Just the other day I had been thinking and praying to know what is going to happen with my husbands professional career…would he find a job, will he be able to handle the pressure, will we have to move? I had been feeling very anxious, needing to know what lies ahead, wondering if we will have to move again, concerned about how my daughter Kate will handle such change…on and on the worries played.

Then, that night while we tucked our daughter into bed we were debating if we should listen to music, read a story, etc. I lifted up our little children’s devotion book and my daughter grabbed it out of my hands and started flipping through the pages. She said, “lets do the day of my birthday.” We had practically missed almost every day in February, so I was fine going back to her special day. We began to read and I instantly knew the message was for me, for all of us. It read…THE FUTURE IS MY SECRET…Sometimes you think it might be nice to know the future, what to expect, how things will turn out. There are even some people who claim they can tell you the future. But the future is a secret. It is my secret. When you try to figure out the future you are reaching for something that is Mine. My keeping your future a secret, I am teaching you to depend on Me. Trust My promises to care for you, to look out for you. I will show you the next step you need to take, and the one after that, and the one after that–one step at a time. Don’t try to rush ahead of Me. Just relax and enjoy the journey to your future–one day at a time.

Another moment was a time when my husband was leaving town on a business trip. He had been really stressed with work, had not had time to physically work out and things were really getting to him.  I was worried, really worried about where he was in his mind. He had been very emotional. I stood in our driveway with our little girl and we watched him drive away. I had this terrible feeling come over me and I was filled with more worry and concern. I felt like we may never see him again, that something was going to happen. I grabbed my daughter’s hand and told her we needed to say a prayer for Daddy. She asked me why and I told her I was a little worried for Dad and that we needed to pray for him to be safe. We said a prayer and I still felt a little unsettled. I saw Louise Hay’s affirmation cards and I grabbed one from the stack, it read, “I move through life knowing that I am safe—Divinely protected and guided.” A wave of calm ran through my body and peace filled me and I knew he would be okay.

One last moment I will share was this last summer when my little family was deciding if we should make a special trip to the Oregon coast.  I have wanted to go visit the Redwood Forest for years and my husbands job was constantly taking him to Washington and Oregon, so we were thinking this would be a good time to go. I began planning, looking at costs, trying to figure out if it would be good timing when my daughter ended up in the hospital a few months before with Pneumonia. Thankfully she was there only a couple days and got better, but then the medical bills came, our car had some issues and the Redwood trip looked like it should be pushed back to another year. The day we had decided the timing was not right I had a couple of moments of grace…that same day I was looking through my book collection for a book to include in a teacher appreciation basket. I came across a book called  “The Woman’s book of Confidence.” I began to flip through the pages to make sure there were not any notes or markings when I came across a page titled, “Deep Roots.” I was curious and began to read, it was all about this women’s trip along the coast and the Redwood forest. I knew this was a sign. I immediately called my husband and told him we needed to go. Later that same day I took a walk through the forest near my home. I was smiling to myself thinking about the amazing coincidence that had just occurred when a voice in my head said, “it’s about time you got it!! I have been trying to tell you, I even had you move to Redwood Drive.”  I laughed out loud at this funny moment. There was definitely inspiration about!! It is a good thing we took the adventure to the coast because now my husband will not be traveling to Oregon or Washington again. Thank heavens for that amazing trip. I am glad we listened.

Well, inspiration, grace, whispers, feelings, thoughts, all echo the same song…that you are not alone, so look for the little signs, pick up the books that seem to call you, fill your heart with wonder, look for the magic in all things and know you are not alone.

Lots of love and grace filled moments to you. -Heather

DANCE. RISE. SHINE. SHARE for LOVE

HAPPY VALENTINES! A good way to spread LOVE today.

This video made me cry just thinking about women throughout the world who have lived in fear, who have not felt loved, who fight to survive, who try to be heard, who are standing up today to make a small difference in the world.
I did what I could and danced with my little girl in our kitchen and through our hands up in the air showing our support with one another.
I challenge any and all of you to get your families, your sisters, your daughters, those you love and dance in some way to show your love and support for those dancing to make a difference in the world!!
What a great message of LOVE!!
Peace and love to you.
You can check out the organization and see other groups all over the world dancing to make a difference. http://www.onebillionrising.org

Create your own Couples Retreat

CoupleHoldHandsBeachIn the spirit of LOVE week I want to offer you some additional ideas on making this week of love special. If you missed my other ideas check back in the archive on creating a couples bucket list, putting a little love in all you do (little ideas to share love & some great connection questions for all the people you love), Valentine ideas for those you love and so much more…I have tried to fill the last couple weeks with lots of LOVE.

Here are some ideas to make tomorrow night memorable…

How to create your own couples retreat

“To LOVE is to place our happiness in the happiness of another.”  -Gottfried Von Leibnitz

To retreat is to step away from the daily noise, to relax into another element of who you are, to look at your life with a new perspective, and to see your world through different lenses. You may approach a retreat with resistence for the time it takes, the questions, the necessary relaxation, but shift your thoughts to wonderment and necessity.

These retreat ideas are meant to bring you together as a couple, to help you reach beyond the daily and replenish your soul. It is time to be quiet, time to think, to communicate, to nurture one another.

Plan your night to include quiet time, a relaxing/fun activity, some yummy food and time for reflection.

Here are some activity ideas:

Create vision boards together (directions for this are in my archive) or write down a fun couples bucket list of activities to try together in the upcoming year.

You could have a night of Q & A to learn more about one another.

You could create a PLAY retreat, where you plan activities that would have you playing from morning to night.

You could create an evening of nothing but relaxation by giving one another a gentle massage or lying together in quiet meditation.

You could create an evening of romance

The activities are endless, but here are some ideas to help you plan a great activity…go on a walk together, practice mindful eating as you enjoy a delicious dinner you create together, write down ten things you appreciate in one another and then go out to dinner and share them over your favorite dessert, have a romantic movie night, take a moment and sway to the music, go to a flea market or thrift store and give each other $5 to buy the best present for the other, go to a wishing well and make wishes for your future together, plan to watch the sunrise/sunset, create a dessert night and make all your favorites, visit a museum or gallery and learn something new, have an evening of milk and cookies by candlelight, have breakfast in bed (morning or night), take the evening and reminisce about special moments like your first kiss, first date, when you met, etc. Take the evening and lay beneath the stars, Say I love you in a foreign language, go golfing with a fun lunch planned on the 9th hole, go to a amusement park and ride the ferris wheel, learn a new game together, cuddle…the ideas are limitless. You just need to plan it together, so both of you have an enjoyable time.

The food: After you plan a fun activity make sure you plan something yummy to eat. Food is a must in any type of retreat, it soothes the soul, it helps you to slow down and savor the moment. You could get take out for two, head to your favorite restaurant, create something from scratch or take a trip together to the store to find the right ingredients of a quiet meal at home. You decide. Are you in the mood for fondu, a picnic in the park, an outdoor bistro or a steak dinner by candlelight. It is your evening together, so take the time to plan something special.

Don’t forget the music. Your retreat should be a time of togetherness, so make sure your music selections (whether your driving in the car or lying by a fire) are in harmony with everyone. Music can break or make the special moments together. Music has a beautiful calming quality, so play it softly and definitely take a moment to pause in each others arms and sway to the quiet melody.

Time for reflection: No matter what you do together take some time at the end of the evening to reflect on the day, the moments that connected you, the close feelings you shared. Express your love to one another and be grateful for the relationship you have. Talk about what you are grateful for and share the things you appreciate most about your life together.

“Love really is the answer. We’re here only to teach love. When we’re doing that, our souls are singing and dancing.”  -Gerald Jampolsky, MD

Best wishes for a beautiful Valentines day. Enjoy those you love. -Heather

Your Harmonic Connection

ImageIn the spirit of LOVE week, moments of couples dancing, love songs to be sung…here is to the power of how music moves you. How it inspires us, touches our soul and connects us. Bless you with love this week.

“You know what music is?? A harmonic connection between all living things.”  -Wizard, August Rush

I truly believe this…music holds a key that we rarely tap in to and hardly learn anything about. Recently I heard about Mozart and his ability to almost translate music from the heavens. I was in ah of the thought that someone could have such a divine gift. I instantly downloaded a podcast of Mozart music and began searching for stories and articles on music and the harmonic connection it holds.

I googled information on Mozart and found an article by CBS news about a young prodigy named Jay Greenberg. The article talked of this young boy who has composed five full-length symphonies by the age of 12 (Apparently talented composers might write 5 or 6 symphonies in a life time). The article asked him How is it possible? Jay told the writer (Scott Pelley) he doesn’t know where the music comes from, but it comes fully written—playing like an orchestra in his head. “It ‘s as if the unconscious mind is giving orders at the speed of light,” says Jay “You know, I mean, so I just hear it as if it were a smooth performance of a work that is already written, when it isn’t.”

It was an amazing thought to me, that someone right now (not 200 years ago) is able to hear the harmonious connections between heaven and earth—wow. That is a true gift. An inspired notion of how small we truly are.

I also came across an article about Einstein’s access of Mozart’s gifts. It mentioned how he turned to the simple beauty of Mozart’s music when he struggled with the extremely complicated mathematics that led to the general theory of relativity.

“Whenever he felt that he had come to the end of the road or into a difficult situation in his work, he would take refuge in music,” recalled his older son, Hans Albert. “That would usually resolve all his difficulties.”

Einstein once said, “that while Beethoven created his music, Mozart’s was so pure that it seemed to have been ever present in the Universe, waiting to be discovered by the master.”

This is pretty powerful information when looking at the deep connection music can literally play within us. I believe when we become in tune with who we are meant to become, this is when our higher power can freely grant us the power that resides within us. When we feel good and feel grateful for the beauties of this life, this is when the music within will play freely and we will soar to the extent God sees in us. When we are in tune to our divinity, this is when we will truly be free.

“When I am, as it were, completely myself, entirely alone, and of good cheer—say traveling in a carriage, or walking after a good meal, or during the night when I cannot sleep—it is on such occasions that my ideas flow best and most abundantly. Whence and how they come, I know not, nor can I force them.”  -Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Be willing to sit quietly in a morning hour and ask to be touched within, to hear the trees sway in the wind, to listen to the birds, to feel a higher presence in all things.