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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Do NOT Give Up or Give In

We had a pretty crazy summer this year!

We had one daughter who had just left for an 18 month church mission to Germany.
Celebrating Austria, Germany & Switzerland
Our oldest son returned from serving a two year church mission in Missouri & Kansas.
Excited to be Home!!

Our daughter graduated from high school and was a little schizophrenic about choosing a college-
Graduation Day- Ready for a new stage in life
We had swim team, with everyday practices and weekend meets-

We bathe in chlorine...

... strive for the perfect dive,

... take time to enjoy a friend,

... and pray we don't start too early!

Blah, Blah, Blah...

Does your life ever sound like this???

Well, we thought we had things all planned out,
so the summer could be balanced with some relaxation
in the middle of all this chaos-

until one kiddo changed her mind on where she was going to college,
and the plan-
my perfectly thought out and prepared to execute plan,
the plan that took me to Hawaii for a week in September,
got put to rest and we scrambled for a new plan!

All of a sudden we had just a few days to figure out how to get the college kiddos & and all their belongings to Utah in the small car we were letting them take with them.

So in a mad dash trip,
my hubby and I packed part of their stuff, our own stuff & our three younger children
and set off for a wild (and very short) drive half way across the United States.
Unfortunately for the kiddos,
I have been on the warpath to reduce the amount of screen time in our lives-
so I was determined to limit what time they spent on their phones, i-pods, i-pads-
anything portable, with an on/off switch and a screen!

So the hubs decides to get some books on tape-
which my big three kids used to LOVE for road trips
when they were younger-

But these three kids
(who I admit have grown up just a little different than their older siblings)
balked and moaned 
and acted like we were pulling all of their teeth out through their ears!

I mean seriously-

The hubs ALMOST gave in,
and by almost I mean, he totally gave in!
He turned the radio off and uttered a threat to take ALL screen away for eternity because they were too dependent on visual entertainment!

Luckily this momma had a little sense to stop this carnage
before it turned into blood shed-

So I suggested that we give the book on tape a chance-
that we give it twenty minutes.
If they hated it, they could nap and earn 20 bonus points towards the screen time they wanted
(I made them EARN their screen time on this drive)-
AND if they loved it-
well, if they loved it,
Mom got ice cream in Little America, WY :)
(a mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do, and I took one for the team)
Yum... I did get my ice cream cone!

As I quietly sat in the passenger seat,
listening to the story of the Wizard of Oz,
I was mesmerized by the sweet peace in our car.
We were ALL in our own little world,
but yet we were sharing the same experience.

Occasionally, someone would ask daddy to pause the tape so we
could explain the differences between the movie and the book adaptation-
or they would share their thoughts as they saw connections from the book to the
Broadway play Wicked!
On our way to see Wicked
We would have a little chat, and quickly move on to the book!
A nice & peaceful 17 hours in the car
It was nice-
really, REALLY, REALLY nice!
Let's be realistic, at some point everyone falls asleep in the car

And there is always someone who sprawls out

But it was something we ALMOST gave up on!
The conflict and the opposition was more than hubby could bear,
so this moment-
this really long moment of peace and serenity
ALMOST didn't happen!

This experience,
plus the one I will share tomorrow
have made me keenly aware of my life and my reactions to situations.

I guess it is easy to hit what looks like a brick wall and decide to back away and
try another approach-
but I wonder,
how often are these brick walls made of made of sponges instead
and are easily knocked over?

Our families are the single most important thing in our lives,
but we get distracted and discouraged,
maybe a little too easily-

Don't give up,
Make the changes you know you need to make in your family,
with your spouse,
with your children,
with your community-

I promise,
it is SO worth it in the end!
Stopping in for some delicious Kansas City BBQ

Arches National Park; an unexpected detour

Friday, November 8, 2013

A Nugget in My Pocket

For the past several months,
I have been in Yoga Teacher Training-

I love what yoga does for my mind and my body,
I love that yoga provides for me something that
NOTHING else can even compare with.
I love the concept of yoga,
the poses of yoga and the
application of yoga to daily life-

I guess it's safe to say that
I <3 YOGA!

So while I am in my 
"What do I want to do when I grow up" stage,
I thought doing Yoga Teacher Training would be fun!

I have loved it,
BUT I have to confess, that it has really
taken me on an emotional road of
self discovery and self awareness
that I was TOTALLY unprepared for!

I'm not sure if this happens to everyone-
or just someone like me who is carrying more
garbage than they know about or
want to admit.

One thing that has just been KILLING me
over the past several YEARS
is some decisions that my hubs and I have made
that have me really conflustered!

Because going into them would take all
the cloud space google has to offer, I will
spare you the details-
but in a nutshell, I just can't seem to find any
peace or comfort in this one set of questions.

Well, as I was studying one day,
I had a distinct feeling that I needed to
Quit counting LOSSES-

Devastating MN bridge collapse
HUH, what do you mean 'counting losses'?
It didn't take long before I understood-

Beautiful lesson in the value of family, wellness and gratitude for each day
Over the past 5-6 years we have moved
from wonderful home,
to temporarily living in a friends basement,
to dream home,
to 21 hotel rooms,
back to dream home,
to temporary housing in CA,
to rental home,
to another 4 month temp stint in a hotel,
to dream neighborhood (not so dream home),
to temporary housing in TX,
to TX home...

Did you keep up??
Yeah! Me either!!
Sometimes a blessing is just around the corner of that little maze of life
we have tried really hard to have good attitudes-
we've teased about many of the dynamics of
each crazy living arrangement.
We've laughed, we've joked,
we've made the best of EVERY situation-
until now.
And for some reason, the emotions of the past
several years have crept up and gotten a tight
grasp on a lot of our hearts.

So as I was studying and pondering the impact
of all these moves on my courage and faith to move
forward in uncertain situations, I realized that I
am more cautious, more timid and less trusting
and outgoing than I normally have been.
And I've realized that I kinda don't like it!

I realized I have been counting losses that have
been accumulated over the course of all this change-
loss of stabilty,
loss of friends,
loss of connection,
loss of time due to acclimation,
loss of time due to emotions left unchecked,
loss of..... the list is long-

But by counting all these losses,
I was completely and totally neglecting
all the GAINS of the past several years-
gain of experience,
gain of knowledge,
gain of travel,
gain of friends,
gain of perspective,
gain of empathy,
gain of.... and the list can go on and on-

Annual 4th of July Bike Parade

Friends from birth-
It was such a simple switch,
such a simple & beautiful concept,
and such an empowering concept,
that for some reason I had completely missed it all
while out planning my own Pity Party.

I wish I could declare to friends and family that
this life is all about wonder and beauty and blessings
and abundance and ease and comfort and security
and health and wellness and goodness-

Blessings abound in every obstacle we might face
It just ain't
(that was life before the apple)

even amidst it's trial and testing and challenges
and obstacles and doubt and confusion and
frustration and disappointment and
unrealized dreams and hardship and loss
and suffering and pain-
has elements of Heaven wrapped up in every day-
we might have to look,
we might have to do a little digging and
for sure, definitely, and most likely
we might have to put on different colored glasses
to see it-
but I know like I know nothing else that
mercy, grace and absolute love
FILL our very existence
every day, every hour, every minute-

Do you see gross dog germs or the faithful companionship between a girl and her dog?
It all depends on if we are going to pick these
little nuggets up and carry them away in our back pockets!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Parenting 101: Find a Worthy Mentor

This is the FIFTH post in a series of SIX
about simple tips that have made a HUGE 
impact on the way I have chosen to raise my 
I've definitely offered the disclaimer that perfect,

However, I am 100% confident that these simple
nuggets of advice have made ALL the difference
in how I have raised my children. 

This little Parenting tidbit originates in the Bible-

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is training us on
how to be better people, better stewards and 
ultimately how to become like Him. 

Matthew 7:9-10 offers this counsel, 
"or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, 
will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?”  

I think on this often as I consider the relationship 
I have, or want to have with my children and 
as I ponder over the specific needs that they might have.  

Too scared to go on and too courageous to quit

Someone to give a little one on one encouragement
These verses are especially helpful to me 
when I am faced with a difficult situation with one of our children, 
I try to think more on how my Heavenly Father would 
handle the situation rather than how I WANT to handle the situation. 

In every situation we find ourselves in, 
our Father wants to provide a way for us to learn and 
to become better. 
I try to keep that same focus when I need to council 
or even reprimand our children.

Heavenly Father really wants only what is best for us, 
and we can be sure that He will never give us any less than that. 
I find it so much easier to serve and help my children when 
I keep things in perspective of how our Heavenly Father 
constantly loves, serves, teaches, and guides us. 

No matter what the situation, if I slow down long enough 
to ask myself how a perfect and loving Father would handle 
this exact moment, this exact trial or this exact behavior-
I receive the words I need and the understanding required
to teach a righteous truth to my children. 
It is these moments that always seem to end 
positive for both parent and child.

Balancing weight, size and the center stability
Another aspect of this scripture that I love is that as 
I try to align my parenting style with that of my Heavenly Father, 
my relationship with Heavenly Father increases tremendously. 
I become more aware that everything we are given, 
whether it is a blessing or a trial is a gift from our Father 
and intended for nothing more than our good and our experience.  
I have more faith when things are tough, because I am learning 
that He loves me and only wants what is best for me. 

For me, I have chosen my Heavenly Father as the
pattern for my parenting.
However, I will say,
there are A LOT of people that I know have sincerely
impacted who I am and what type of parent I want to be.
It would be horribly misguiding if I left the influence of
many friends, family members and leaders out of the mix.

The old adage that says 'It takes a village to raise a child'
is right on the money in more ways than one.
Extended Family at a Group Obstacle Course learning the value of team work

Me about to go through the final hole in a spider web of challenge! Honestly the things we can accomplish with teamwork
But ultimately, it is YOU who will influence YOUR children
the most!
At least, in my opinion, that is what I aim for.
There are too many scary and dangerous influences that
have the ability to touch our children's lives
(but that is an entirely different matter altogether)

Find your pattern, mold yourself to it
and do not stray from your values,
your ideals,
your instinct in raising wonderful children.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Parenting 101: Create Oppurtunity

Today, I have the fourth post in my Parenting 101 series :)

If you want a re-cap of what I've suggested already 
start here for the introduction and 
Tip #1 is here
and tips #2 is here
Before I go on, I just really want to let you know
that my home is NOT perfect,
my kids are NOT perfect
Family Photo Flop #12,459
and by all means...
I AM NOT PERFECT- not even close!

What brings me to sharing this advice 
with whoever will listen is an overwhelming sense of 
gratitude that I was not alone in raising my own kiddos.
Every good picture is found in a batch of 250 not so good pictures
Though, I don't want to take away from 
any effort that my hubby and I put into raising our children,
there is NO way I want to take the credit for most of 
the habits and attitudes that we created in our home.

EVERYTHING I have done or will continue to do has been
a direct result of help from above!
I have been prompted to start a habit and not until
several years later have I seen the results of that habit formed.
If I deserve any credit at all,
it has merely been that I've been a good listener. 
Nothing more-
But I promise you that these Parenting Tips are the very core
of how we've raised our own children-
and though they won't create perfect kids-
they will create a more peaceful home environment!
That much I can testify to with all my heart.

So now on to the meat of the matter!

Proverbs 22:6 councils parents to 
“Train up a child in the way he should go; 
and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

I live by this mantra with my kids-

Create in your homes the opportunity to feel the 
benefits of a job well done
(and by benefits I don't mean a candy bar or 
ice cream cone if they get their homework done)

Create in your home the very personal opportunity to 
feel the spirit and receive answers to prayers. 
This does not just happen naturally in a busy home, 
you have to actively seek and create these opportunities. 

It is important to be prepared at all times to bear testimony 
of the principles you value and want to help your children
appreciate and value as well. 
If we can teach them to find their own 
testimonies while they are in the protection of our homes, 
they will be better prepared to bear that testimony to their friends 
and to stand firm when faced with temptations or trials.

Long ago I had a dear friend give me some council that 
shaped my thoughts and attitudes. 
She is older than I am, she married a little later in life
and never had children. 

I was bemoaning that she had so much time to dedicate
to personal study and worship. 
She said, “Treisha, you were called to be a missionary
and trainer to SIX of God's most valiant soldiers 
that will certainly be needed in our Heavenly Fathers 
army standing for what is truth and righteousness. 
I was called for another work. It’s important that we EACH
fulfill our callings to our better than best ability.” 

I love that she viewed motherhood as missionary work. 
I think my outlook and approach to parenting changed 
a lot that day. I started to view my role as a mother as much 
more than an endless “To Do list” and more of an endless 
“To Teach” list! 

Don't discount the small stuff you do in your homes.

Dedicate one night a week as Family Night,
a night when NO other commitment can interfere, 
including email, texts and social media notifications!
Enjoying an FC Dallas game in Texas
Study the scriptures together-
your kiddos WILL learn from them and with instruction
WILL learn to apply them to their own lives.

Enjoy family meal time- nightly if possible.
It is around the kitchen table to that I learn the most 
about my children. They may not tell me they've had a bad 
day when I say "How was school", but when they are at the 
table and I can SEE their demeanor is lackluster-
I know to push a little harder and get to the core of their needs
BEFORE I send them off to bed to fret over their concerns. 
Raising a Family is truly a TEAM effort- maintain strong family bonds
Consider if you clean your house once a year-
It's a long, tedious & unpleasant job. 
But, if you do just a little cleaning each day & 
with the help of others it goes quick, and 
sometimes you end up having a little fun along the way! 

The same is true with teaching and raising our children, 
especially where spirituality is concerned. 
If we teach spiritual matters in our home infrequently, 
it is a tedious task for our children and we tend to lose their attention. 
But if we share spiritual thoughts and teachings, 
a little each day, we earn their attention and 
they have room enough to receive what we teach. 

Deuteronomy 6:6-7 says, “And these words, 
which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 
And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, 
and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, 
and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, 
and when thou risest up.” 

So basically ALWAYS is a good time for teaching your children
the truth that you want them to learn.
Huddled together on a very COLD day at the beach
ALWAYS is the time for guiding them and instructing them 
on becoming the Adults you want them to be!
One of the scarier moments in my parenting career- I no likey heights!
And ALWAYS is the time to build and fortify the values
that will keep your children safe, secure and prepared 
for a life of joy, peace and fulfillment. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Parenting 101: See What Your Kids Cannot

If you've been following this little Parenting Series,
than Welcome Back!

If you've just found this post,
you might want to catch up with
this post
and than this post.

When I was asked to share my thoughts and advice
on Successful Parenting, my initial reaction
was sheer and utter PANIC-
Every error in judgement, loss of temper
and irrational consequence I ever issued
came flooding back into my memory as if
I was in the middle of a Bad Parent Documentary!

After the initial shock and awe of the assignment,
I decided that I would go directly to the source
of those most affected by my parenting style and decisions-
I know, a little scary right-
I was braced for some pretty haunting tales...

My 20 year old son said, 
Fresh off his 2 year Mission- Happy and Eager to see everyone
“I'm really appreciative that you had a high standard for us- 
you always expected success; there was never any question or second thought about 
what we could accomplish, you knew we had potential 
and you wanted us to know that too - and we do! 
But you also taught us that whatever we accomplished was OK as long as we tried our best. 
So there was a good balance there.” 

My 17 year old daughter said, 

Graduated Top 10 in her class and off to college she goes...
“You put a lot of trust in us, treating us like you really 
believed in our goodness and obedience. This makes it really 
hard to break the rules or disappoint you.” 

My oldest daughter said, 

Parting shot as she heads off to serve an 18 month mission in the Alps!
“Failure and giving up just weren't an option.
It isn't that you drove us to the brink of perfection, but you saw so much
in us that it was hard not to see a little of that too. When things got hard, 
you were right there supporting us and guiding us until we could stand on
our own again. I know that I did more and stretched further because
you saw in me more than I saw in myself."

So in honor of them, my second parenting tip 
is to see the Potential in your children that they can’t see in themselves 
and emulate for them a work ethic that will lead them to this potential. 

With your pattern of living and your expectations, 
they will rise higher than they think they can. When the Savior 
came upon several men in fishing boats, He saw more than fishers.   
He knew of their goodness and their potential and He had a vision for 
them that far exceeded what they thought they could be. 
Though what He asked of them was hard, they followed Him 
and they became great men. 
In Jesus, they had a great example of how they should live their lives. 
Our children do not come equipped with a vision of who they are and 
what they can become. 
It is up to us, to see in them what they can’t see in themselves, 
and to gently guide them in the direction of their success. 
And like Jesus did to Peter who faltered when trying to walk on the water, 
it is up to us to catch them if they start to sink.

I do believe that for the most part, our children will live up 
to the expectations given to them. I know this is true when 
we are actively praying for guidance as we rear our children. 
We have a loving Heavenly Father who has promised us that 
He will never give us more than we can bear. If we choose to emulate 
this wonderful promise for our children, they can be sure that 
we will never ask them to reach further than we know they can go.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Parenting 101: Create a Vision

I shared here about an opportunity I had to
speak to a large group about Successful Parenting-
Creating a Vision was the first suggestion I offered to them
as one family habit we have that has made a BIG
difference in our lives...

I am a huge advocate of being a Visionary
when it comes to our own personal lives.

Just like a Mission Statement helps a family, school
or company identify what it is the group
wants to 'DO' and accomplish,

a Vision Statement for an individual
helps identify who we want to BE
and who we will BECOME on this journey
we call life!

We might be DOING what we want to be doing-
but unhappy or dissatisfied because we are NOT
BEING who we want to BE! However, without a
Vision Statement how would we know we
were off target?

Work together to create a vision for your family! 
Proverbs 29:18 councils us “where there is no vision, the people perish.” 

Where do you see yourself, your children 
and your family in 5, 10 or 30 years?
What do you need to do to get there? 
What do you feel is important for your children to learn and become? 

Involve your children, regardless of how old they are
When your children are involved in the family vision, 
they feel a sense of ownership and they have 
an increased desire to support the success of this vision. 
Having a family vision helps us to set priorities in our 
family’s resource management. 
It helps us determine where to spend our time, money and efforts.

Good questions to ask yourself when trying to decide 
how to make a family vision and where to focus your efforts are:
1) does it keep us on track to return as a family back to Heaven Father’s presence and 
2) does this bring our family closer to reaching our divine potential? 

Having a solid family and personal vision will help the family
and/or the individual know how to prioritize their time,
choose wisely the activities they engage in and 
make wise social decisions BEFORE the decision actually 
becomes an issue. 

We have seen the value of this Vision Statement in a few 
different types of situations that seem to recur on a fairly
frequent pattern in our home:

1. The first place our Vision Statement comes in handy is
when we are trying to decide if we can successfully add 
another regularly scheduled lesson or activity to the calendar. 
One of the VISIONS for our family is having a strong sense of 
unity and family bonds.
To ensure the best environment for this cohesiveness to be nourished,
we strive for five nights per week that we can ALL be home
for scripture study and family prayer (with teens, I KNOW this
is hard! It's what we strive for and by the way,
nobody ever said parenting was EASY).

If a new activity looks like it will compromise that VISION,
we don't add it the calendar-
it doesn't even get PENCILED in!! 
If the activity is very important to someone,
we look for ways to add the activity that WON'T have negative 
impact on our family, or we look at what we can CUT from
our lives to make room in our schedule.

2. The second way that having a VISION STATEMENT has proven
valuable is in the blessings that come from seeing ALL that has
already been accomplished from previous VISION STATEMENTS!
It is nice to see how far you've already come on a goal or a vision.
This is ESPECIALLY helpful at times when life gets a little discouraging-
when the bumps and bruises of life deflect from the good and beautiful.

Having a Vision Statement will help keep us focused when life gets a 
little out of balance.
And it helps us see the bigger picture when we feel we've 
gotten off track of the important stuff of life!

Life can get really busy. Life can get really hard!
It is important that whatever we add to our lives
adds JOY, allows us to find and share HAPPINESS
and brings us to a state of peaceful accomplishment-