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IMG_20150330_221155Any good mom would say that praise is important for a child’s growth and development right? Well…. not in excess according to this insightful article by Heidi Stevens “In Criticism of Praise” in the Jan 2015 Southwest Airlines magazines. Heidi points out the damage of “over-praising” our kids. The biggest problems being that kids are afraid to try difficult or even new things, because the don’t want to break the pattern of being great all the time, like mom says that they are.

I totally get the points that this article is making about the damage that is caused by the behavior of these parents, I also get the reasoning behind the actions of the parents she is talking about in this article. However, I think that someone is missing the point and what the real problem is.

Right from the get go in this article they talk about the little boy who truly does stink on the soccer field, but his mom and grandma try to cheer him up by telling him how awesome he is.  The truth is, he is not awesome. They are lying to him. Their praise is “FALSE praise.”  While I certainly wouldn’t advocate telling a child that he is just no good at this task, I certainly don’t think it serves anyone to lie to the child.

Kids are much smarter than we as adults give them credit for. Sure they have a lot still to learn about the world and as the parent we are the ones responsible to teach them, not just fill them with “false” self-confidence. If we lie to our kids and tell them that something is good, when it just plain isn’t and even the child can tell that it isn’t, it just teaches the child not to trust in his parents for an honest answer, or worse, it teaches him to lie to himself, and not work towards getting better at the things he wants to do in life.

I remember once reading in a parenting book in 1993, that children need 5 positive comments, to each negative comment. But this book also specified that the “comments need to be sincere. Kids can tell when you really mean what you say about them.”  When mom tells Johnny that he is a superstar at soccer, when the coach and everyone else observing can tell otherwise, mom is failing on her job. She is giving “Lazy praise.”

It is easy to tell someone “You’re the best”, “You are awesome”, “You did great.”

But the praise that really makes a difference takes work on the parents part.  It involves paying attention to the child’s behaviors, attitudes and efforts. I mean really paying attention. Real praise that makes a difference involves getting real specific with what you liked best about the things that they did, and asking questions to further understand how they felt about their performance and what they got out of it.  Getting them to think a little bit also gets you more involved in their world as the parent. Remembering that resilience is an important life skill that you want your child to have also, can help you as you let your child talk about their disappointments and as you care enough to guide them (by giving them acceptable options, not by trying to convince them to do what you may want them to do) and help them decide how they are going to handle their own challenges.

If a child is doing really well at something, let him know the details that you notice about what he does, ask him questions, let him teach you something. Nothing makes my kids feel better than knowing they can teach me something. And truthfully, there is almost always something they learn in school that I didn’t know and they get to tell me all about. Let them know that what they are working on has value and you care enough to learn along with them.

When it comes to sporting events and performances, the best praise you can give is to be there…. not just in your seat, but really being there, in the moment with them. Put away your phone (unless your taking a picture), get involved in the event, and show interest in what interests them.  Cheer for them when it’s appropriate, celebrate with them when they do a truly fantastic job.  Feel with them when they fall. Listen to them when they talk about what they did wrong and encourage them as they figure out what to do next. If they are really upset, step in and guide them in a realistic caring manner. Praise them for what they did well, specifically, and praise them for good character displayed, even if they didn’t perform well. But really pay attention and make sure it is sincere.

Some kids may battle with perfectionism, and they may need you to help them see that no one is perfect. The real problem with perfectionism is that it can cause the perfectionist to avoid trying new things, because they will inevitably make mistakes and they just can’t handle doing something wrong. As a parent we can help when we see this happening to our child. The one thing that helped me get over my own perfectionism, was working with a woman doing scrapbooks that were beautiful and were published in multiple magazines.  When I got up close to her work and noticed that there were a lot of imperfections, I realized what the difference was between her success and my incomplete work.  She got a lot more done, because she let the imperfections be. She allowed her creativity to come out, without worrying about it being perfect.

If you watch professional sports, or go to live music or dramatic events, with your kids, you may be able to point out to your kids that even professionals make mistakes sometimes, but what makes them professionals is that they get up and keep going.

So to sum it up, while there is danger in over-praising our kids, there are ways that we can praise that teach and encourage.

  1. Pay attention to the details in your kids’ lives
  2. Be sincere in your compliments
  3. Be there, present and in the moment when they need you
  4. Allow them to make their own observations and decisions, being understanding if it is not what you would want.
  5. Guide them to see the good that is in them, and recognize making mistakes isn’t the end, it’s just an opportunity to show how much they want it.

Praising our kids in an appropriate manner, takes on so much more than some generic compliments showered on the child at all times.  It takes loving them and caring about them enough to feel with them and be a part of their lives.                                                                     — Laura

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Edit 

A few months back I was having an especially rough time. I felt overwhelmed and under-prepared to handle some of the challenges life had thrown my way. But one specific day was harder than I could handle. I sat down on my stairs and cried. I felt myself falling into a dark place.  I had been praying for help and yet in that moment I felt helpless.

That is the moment my sweet friend called me on the phone. I looked at the caller ID and debated. Do I let her see this weak failing side of me?  Do I fake it and tell her everything is fine?  Should I just ignore her call?  I can’t imagine she would want to talk to me when I was in such a terrible state.

I’m usually a private mourner and yet I bravely hit the button and answered with a little hiccup in my voice. “He..llo”

She let me talk. She let me feel and process,  even in my very broken state. And what was of most value, she loved me anyway. She didn’t look at me differently and in that moment I started to accept that I am really ok, even, no, especially when, difficulties get the best of me.

That one phone call didn’t snap me instantly out of my hard moment but it was the beginning steps that helped me to move forward.

Looking back I can see how courageous I was for letting in a friend when I needed her most.  But much more than that I see how beautiful this friend is for being there for me. She was just being her. I’m sure that conversation was just a small moment to her. She called me with no idea of how much I needed her and then, when we hung up I’m sure she continued on with the things going on in her life.

Have you ever had a friend, leader, co-worker, or family member say just what you needed to hear and they had no idea they had done that for you?  This is just one experience where someone else has deeply touched my life for good.

As I think back on these tremendous women I am left to wonder, what if they had decided they were not good enough to share who they are with me?  What if they compared themselves to other woman and had decided they were lacking and so they had nothing to offer?  My world would have been dimmer. I needed their light. I am who I am because they were brave and courageous enough to let who they were be good enough.

You too have a light to share that is unique and glorious. Your light will touch others when they are feeling dim. Shine that light. Let your imperfections be part of the equation. Let them see that even though you struggle you still embrace the individuality that is you.

I read an article the other day on house shaming. You can read it here. (Side note Allison Reynolds is a great writer, she is so good at mixing funny with real.) She talks about how embarrassing it can be when someone sees your lived-in house. How we apologize profusely and that needs to stop. Sometimes we just need to say, “I’m ok, you’re ok,  let’s be ok together.”  Even your flaws can give other people the ability to accept who they are. Being you, imperfect as you are, gives others permission to be them. Isn’t that what we want, a little more realness and acceptance?

When we see the effect one person can have on the lives of so many, it perhaps is no wonder that the Lord reminded us, “Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God” (D&C 18:10).

That quote is from Harold G. Hillam titled The Worth of Souls. 

If you knew today something you did in the near future would bless a friend or family member tremendously, wouldn’t you be willing to jump out of bed and do whatever it took for your dearest loved ones?  What if all that meant was that you had to be ok with being you? Would you still be just as eager?

The worth of souls truly is great!  Shine bright so that others may see themselves more clearly by the light you project. 

Someone needs your light. They need your love. They need your specialty and they need your talents. Just as others have joyously blessed your life you have that same ability. Be you. Be awesome.                                                                      — Susan

 

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HouseThis last week we watched the movie “Courageous” again.  We have seen it a few times already, but I always enjoy good uplifting movies that I can share with my family.

I really like the message that is shared in this movie.  Even though it is meant specifically for men, what I get from it is the message that we all need to step up and be more responsible. There is always more that we can do to be a bigger influence for good, and thus improve our overall life and family.

This is the “RESOLUTION” that they signed in the movie.

I do solemnly resolve before God to take full responsibility for myself, my wife, and my children.
I WILL love them, protect them, serve them, and teach them the Word of God as the spiritual leader of my home.
I WILL be faithful to my wife, to love and honor her, and be willing to lay down my life for her as Jesus Christ did for me.
I WILL bless my children and teach them to love God with all of their hearts, all of their minds, and all of their strength.
I WILL train them to honor authority and live responsibly.
I WILL confront evil, pursue justice, and love mercy.
I WILL pray for others and treat them with kindness, respect, and compassion.
I WILL work diligently to provide for the needs of my family.
I WILL forgive those who have wronged me and reconcile with those I have wronged.
I WILL learn from my mistakes, repent of my sins, and walk with integrity as a man answerable to God.
I WILL seek to honor God, be faithful to His church, obey His Word, and do His will.
I WILL courageously work with the strength God provides to fulfill this resolution for the rest of my life and for His glory.

I noticed something in the movie this time that I may have just overlooked last time.  During the ceremony where the men were dressed up and swearing to live by this resolution, the preacher spoke to them and he said something that was so true, so accurate, but that I don’t think most of us ever really think about to realize. He mentioned that they all were feeling determined and good about this resolution, but right now, they are in a good place and it is easy to agree to all these good things. But life isn’t always easy, and hard times are going to come that will challenge their resolve to these promises.

I think we all promise to be or do good at something when we are in a good place, and feeling determined to change, but when the tough times come, how are we going to remember how we felt about our commitments to be good?

In the movie they all signed a beautiful copy of this resolution and hung it in a prominent place in their homes in order to remind them at all times about what they each promised to do.

If we can find ways to put a physical, visual reminder of the good things that we want for ourselves, the promises that we make to ourselves and the things we are determined to change, I think that will also help us to stick to our resolves even in trying times and difficulties.

I highly recommend owning this movie, so that your family can be reminded of the importance of putting our priorities in the right place, and to be encouraged with the strength that we can all do good things.  Click this link to buy it now.

The people who made this movie are a part of a movie company that was formed to try to make a difference in the world, and spread the teaching of Christ at the same time.

Here is their story.

Think of how much good these people have done, and think on the blessings and gifts that God has given to you, remembering that you too can make a difference in this world also.  We all have a sphere of influence, there are things we can do where we are. Let’s go out and do what we can. Let’s share God’s truths by the way we live and interact with each other.

Go make it a great weekend.

Laura

Every home should have good movies like this one, to share our influence with all who enter, and especially with those who live there.  “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”  Click this link now, make this DVD a part of your family collection.

 

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dream

In February of 2008, Susan and I went to Bordeaux, France to visit our parents, who were there on an LDS mission.  It was truly a trip of a lifetime.  However it isn’t something that we ever really thought we would do, until we started talking about how great it would be if…. We dared to dream of how great it would be if we could go to France together while our parents were still there.  We could be tourists with Mom and Dad. It seemed like a pretty big dream, but we kept each other motivated, until we finally started the planning process and made it happen.  And it was so worth it!!  The things we saw were amazing, but more importantly, we felt like we got in touch with our roots, and with who we really are, as we took the time to relax and just enjoy in a way that we just couldn’t do at home being the mom and the one in charge.  It was awesome.

Being able to dream is so important in life. Growing, developing, becoming a little better and a little more with each passing year can be what really keeps us feeling alive.  Having something to look forward to is also what can get us out of bed each morning.

In The Devil and Miss Prym, Paulo Coelho said

Whenever you want to achieve something, keep your eyes open, concentrate and make sure you know exactly what it is you want. No one can hit their target with their eyes closed.”

We can all dream big, and then, with our eyes open, plan and expect to make that dream become reality.

However, it is estimated that 90% of Americans do not set AND act upon their goals. Without some type of plan (or goals) our dreams will become nothing more than pretty pictures in our mind.

Why do people resist setting and keeping goals?  Fear of failure? Stress about one more thing to have to do? We all have our reasons and excuses, but today I’d like to talk about 9 benefits we get from setting and reaching real attainable goals.

Goal-setting-last-Copy

  1. Focus – when you have taken the time to clear your mind, and start the process of goal setting by writing down everything that you want, then re-evaluate your list, and prioritize it, you begin to notice the things that are most important in your life. By focusing on your goals you start to notice the insignificant distractions and let them go, as you choose to work on the things that are really important
  2. Time – Once you have focus and know what you want to do, you can spend your time more wisely. By concentrating on what you want to do, you can get to what you want faster
  3. Peace of Mind – Knowing that you have a list of goals and have written down the things that are important to you, you can relax, knowing that you have a plan to deal with each area of your life and you don’t have to be worried about how to get it all done.  You will get it done one piece at a time, because you have a plan that you are in charge of.
  4. Motivation – You can have a greater sense of purpose and increased motivation in your daily tasks, because you know they are going to work towards your greater good, reaching your dreams.
  5. Confidence – With each step of your goal plan reached, you can have your own private victory, and feel good knowing that you did it. Each small success is SUCCESS.
  6. Clarity – Day-to-day decisions are easier when you see the end in mind.
  7. Satisfaction –  Your life and work can be more satisfying as each task you accomplish brings you one step closer to completion.
  8. Future – You have hope in your future because you are taking control through the dreaming and planning process
  9. Happiness – As you set and achieve goals you will develop a greater sense of happiness over your lifetime, and a more positive attitude.

There are many benefits in the process of learning to effectively set goals and act upon them, even beyond the benefit of the goal itself.

If we feel like we “Have to” or “should” be doing something in our goal setting it can become very stressful, and we may want to give up.  Don’t fall into this trap. Keep your dreams foremost in your mind during the process. This process is for you to feel good, not stressed.

When we go about setting real, attainable goals, the goals will be things the we “WANT” to do.  We get to pick the things that we want to have in our lives.

Before you think about starting the process of goal setting, take some time to figure out what you really want for your life.  Ask yourself:

What could I do in my life that will help me feel more successful and happy?

If you think you might like to take the next step, and start setting some goals, but could use a little help, come check out our previous post with realistic goal setting techniques.

Keep your dreams real and focused.

We should be able to dare to dream, without being afraid of disappointment if our dreams don’t come true immediately. By setting goals we are taking one step at a time to reach for our own shining stars.                                                                            –Laura

 

 

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Imagine with me for a moment. Go ahead, put your daydreaming eyes on. Take a big long deep breath. Let it out slowly. Do that a couple more times. In, out. In, out. 

Now picture you wake up and find your life has taken an unexpected turn for the worst and you have moments to live. Just moments to tell your loved ones what they mean to you. You don’t have the luxury of planning your words out perfectly. You hug them, you sob. Although you believe afterlife will be wonderful you know you will miss so many people, you’re sure that will hurt something fierce and you wonder if your family will be ok?

And in those last seconds you start to doubt, did you do enough with your time on earth?  Did you give of your talents?  Were you courageous when fear would have been easier?  Did you love when loving was so hard to do?  

Your eyes close even though you will them to stay open. You’re not ready. Just a few more minutes. Just a couple more days. 

Now come back to the here and now and take a moment to asses how you feel. Were you able to put yourself into that imagery? Could you imagine how you might feel if you had but moments to live?

I think it’s natural if your first reaction was to see all the things you didn’t do or should have done. We are often to hard on ourselves. 

I’m going to challenge your thinking.  Already in your life you have touched hearts that only you could touch and have been exactly what someone else needed.  That does not mean you are perfect or that you never failed. We all do that. It does mean YOU ARE ENOUGH. Just how you are. Imperfect, yet trying you. 

Can you believe that?  

 I am His masterpiece and that is enough. 

Close your eyes again and now imagine you have passed on and left this world. 

The world that surrounds you becomes brighter. People are calling your name. Your grandmothers there. Her mom is there. Family you have never met but recognize upon first glance rush to greet you. 

Your sad cries have become tears of insurmountable joy. So much love is being thrown your way, more than you can ever recall. Your heart feels like it is going to burst.

Your dearest family members sit you down and show you glimpses into your life. You see the time you brought dinner to a friend who was having a rough time. She didn’t care that you picked up pizza instead making something fancy. She talked about it for along time. It meant the world to her that someone cared. 

You are reminded of the many phone calls where you listened to different friends and helped them know you understood. 

The picture shows of a time when life was more than you could bare and yet you still held your little ones tight and snuggled their squishy faces. 

That night when you were especially tired then your friend called in tears and you dropped everything to go on a walk with her. 

Those scenes were all familiar to you even if you have not thought of them for quite some time.  The screen changes and in a flash you see those same experiences but now from their perspective. 

You see the tears they shed once you left their side. You hear the words of gratitude when your name is mentioned.  The unexpected life changing moment you were a part of simply because you were willing to share part of who you were with them. 

In life you were simply living, you were only being you. It was not until this moment you began to see the sprinkling of good you left along the way. The many hearts you touched with no desire to be seen or recognized.

Now take a deep breath again. In, out. In, out. 

Can you recall some of the good you have done?  Times when someone has needed just what you had to offer. Feel that. Allow yourself to see that you truly are more than enough. In fact you are you, and nobody can do you as good as you can do you.  

SUSAN

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fierce

 

What does it mean to be fierce?  I love this saying by Shakespeare, because I can relate to it.  There are times in my life, when I feel like I really need to be fierce.  But in a good productive way, not the destructive way.

I looked up a few meanings of this word. These are some synonyms that I believe are appropriate and accurate to what I am feeling.

Bold, intense, passionate, powerful, strong, vigorous, ardent, vehement, resolute

But my favorite meaning was the first one I found.

Showing a heartfelt and powerful intensity

I love that these attributes can be attributed to women, as seen by William Shakespeare.

I feel these strong emotions most often when it comes to protecting and providing for my family. Often it comes about when I realize that I need to step up and take control and “be the mom.” Every once in a while I need to remind myself to “Woman up” and do what needs to be done.

There are a lot of really difficult things that come along with parenting.  If I didn’t care as the mom, I could just ignore the normal stuff that comes with raising kids, but that really need to be addressed if what I want to raise responsible human beings.

I remember very distinctly when this feeling or phenomenon first comes into play with each child. I had my first beautiful little baby that I loved dearly and would do anything for him. Even though I was frequently tired, and often did’t get enough sleep. Sometimes, I just want to get away for some adult time once in a while. But it was never that baby’s fault. It just is what it is. I couldn’t ask the baby to be anything different that what he was.  I felt the same way with each of my little boys when they were babies.

Then at some point when they approach the age of 2, there is this decision that has to be made. A switch in thinking. Suddenly I realize that I have to say “no” or “don’t” and suddenly discipline is introduced into my sweet child’s life… along with tantrums and power struggles. All I really want to do as a mother is to play with the child and love them and enjoy what a blessing it is to have them, but without some structure and teaching (and fighting because let’s face it, they often don’t want to learn the lessons we need to teach them at the time) they will not be very nice people as they grow up. They have to taught how to get along, clean up after themselves, and to listen to their teachers and parents. Then when they get older, there are whole new sets of problems and hurdles to deal with.

I seem to ride this roller coaster of fun and discipline with my kids over and over again, all throughout their lives. Things seem to be going good, everyone is behaving, doing well enough in school and getting along, then “BAM” something comes up that requires parental intervention.

A few months ago I spoke about fear versus love as motivation. As I reflect on the purpose of my thought processes at the time, the determination that I made, was that I have to step up and be responsible for my children, sometimes before the problem hits the fan. Being afraid of the discipline part of parenting was causing me tension, so that whenever I needed to deal with any issues with my kids, it turned into a fight. This is really not the kind of fierce that I wanted in my life. The decision that I made at that time, is that I need to face reality, in all issues with my kids where correcting needs to take place.

I need to do the work.

I need to be vigilant.

I need to be observant.

Teachers and church leaders are not going to make the needed corrections in my kids that only a parent can do.

I made the decision that “because I love my kids, I will teach them, through words and example, but also through discipline and structure.”  The hard stuff is just as much a part of parenting as the fun stuff… each child needs a little of both. Discipline is hard for me because I hate conflict. Seriously. I try to avoid it at almost any cost. But the cost of my children’s development is too high. The conflict just needs to be handled differently.

Occasionally I need to be “Fierce”, but what I have learned is that I can also do it with love. I can show a heartfelt and powerful intensity in my parenting, without shaming, harming or embarrassing the people that I care about most in the world. It definitely takes some work, and that is why I need to be fierce.

Fierce enough to be resolute, strong and bold in my determination to do the work that is needed to show that I care about what my kids are learning about the world.

I want to be bold in my teaching.

Passionate about protecting my family.

Vigorous in my involvement with my family.

Resolute in working with them to be better people.

My job as mom is the most important job in the world to these 5 boys who look to me for the hard answers. I want to be there for them and be determined enough to do it the best that I can.

Laura

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Fear is kind of a funny thing. It is not tangible. You can not hold it in your hands. Neither can you look at it like as if it were a picture. And yet when I think about my fears I feel its presence as if it were standing before my very eyes. My palms can sweat. My stomach will turn and sometimes I even become frozen with an inability to move forward.

Does any of that sound familiar to you?  Have you ever let fear get the better of you?  I have to admit that there are times I have.

When I was in high school I really wanted to run for student body office. I wanted to be involved and have a say with how things were done. And yet I was so scared to give a speech in front of the whole freshman class, I backed out. And I still regret it. I let fear take over.

In a way I am actually grateful for that experience. In the wisdom that time can grant us I can see what I would have gained had I decided to take take the plunge and just do it. And now when I feel those same feelings of being afraid I remind myself to be courageous and move forward instead of running and hiding.

Our past experiences can often teach us what to do and even what not to do if we will let them. I never want to feel those feeling of regret that derive from not doing something I want to do simply because I am to scared.

In fact today I was told that I get to go on a 10 mile hike with the 14-15 year old girls from my church for a girls summer camp. Included in that will be repelling. Me and heights are not really friends. But I want to teach these girls to be courageous so that means I will try it. Even if I am scared. I will not back down.

I have a mantra I tell myself when that fear comes creeping in.

I can do hard things. I know because I have done them before and I can do them again.

In those scary moments I pull upon past experiences where I succefully did hard things. I have gone on a zip line a few times now. I can do that so I can repel.

Sometimes the Lord will ask us to do things that might seem out of our abilities and far far from our comfort zones. He might whisper to us to help someone we barely know. He could ask you to teach a class you feel ill prepared to teach. He might even plant an idea that seems much bigger then someone like you could ever accomplish.

But the trick is to do it anyway. I love this scripture

Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the Lord God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
1 Chronicles 28:20

How powerful are those words. He will not forsake you AND He will not fail you. When I remember those words I know I can do anything He asks of me, even if I feel incapable or not good enough.Because    honestly, I of myself probably can’t do it. I need the help of my Lord daily.

And if He can make me, who can feel so scared at times, into something much greater I know He can do the same for you.

Go out today and do something that frightens you. Something you have been wanting to do but for whatever reason you have yet to move forward. Trust that the Lord will guide you and lead you along. Just Do It.

SUSAN

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When I was young I would walk to school early in the morning. I recall many times the path being filled with fog. It would be difficult to see very far in front me and for some reason I always loved this phenomenon. I would reach out and with all the strength my little hands could muster I was sure I could get a handful of that illusive fog. And yet every time I pulled away empty handed. 

I think finding joy can sometimes feel this way. Always within our reach yet we can’t seem to grab hold of it.  Why is that? Could it be that our definition of joy is part of the problem?  

Joy by definition is a state of happiness or contentment. 

Joy is not the absence of heartache or trials. True joy can be found in the most difficult of circumstances.  For me it is easiest found when I let go of how I think life should be and I embrace moments.  But finding it does require a good amount of work at times. It will not be handed to you by a fairy godmother, although that would be nice wouldn’t it?  

While visiting with some old friends this last week I was explaining what my blog was about and what Laura and I are working on. I told him “we are in the process of creating a product to help women find greater joy and purpose in everyday living.” 

His response, “Like a pill?”

We both laughed. Wouldn’t it be great if finding joy really was as simple as taking a vitamin? I believe the process and effort it takes in finding joy is needful for us to fully appreciate it once we do hold that joy in our hands. 

For example. Last week my husband left on a business trip. Me and the kids were going to meet him and that required a lot of preparation on my parent. The time had come for us to be on the road and everything seemed to be going wrong. I found myself getting angry and I started yelling at my children. It was not their fault and I was not acting how I knew I should. I had let the anger take over. 

I had to run to the store to get something we had bought, then lost, for the trip. I took the time to breath and calm down. I kept telling myself “you got this, you can do this” but I could still feel it lingering. I prayed and asked for help. And I waited, knowing the answer would come 

It wasn’t until I stepped in the door to my home that my heart was humbled.  Two of my boys came to tell me their story. Shortly after I left my sweet EmmaLee gathered the kids around and said “the day can’t get any worse. Why don’t we put on some good music and try to be happy”

They picked two songs by Hilary Weeks that I love dearly and play often. In retelling their story they both got tears in their eyes. They explained they could feel Gods love for them. And that peace had entered into our home. 

My heart was instantly turned to love and joy for these little people I have been entrusted with who often teach me much more than I teach them. 

Joy did not come the instant we sought it or simply because I felt we needed it.  We had to actively go look for it AND we had to open our eyes to see the joy that was already before us.

As we began our drive my spiritual eyes were opened to the goodness of God. He waited to answer my prayer for peace and joy and He allowed me to struggle on for a bit so that my children could feel an abundance of His love. And once it came it was so desirable and something I am still holding onto. 

I hope for you that joy can be found today as you actively go out and seek it. 

These people are some of my greatest joy!


SUSAN