Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Your Name is Safe in Our Home

I had a friend in college who had a sign posted by the front door that said, "Your name is safe in our home." 

That's something I want to put in my house.  What a great reminder to me and my family members to speak kindly and gently of others.  What a great message to communicate to our guests--that when they leave, we aren't going to gossip about them or laugh at them.

I simply love that idea.

Now I need to figure out the easiest, least expensive, most compact way to put this up.   Suggestions?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Creating a Less-"Entitled" World

I just pre-ordered a book for the first time in my life.

I'm usually really patient with books.  I wait until there are used ones on sale through Amazon, I wait until they are available at the library, or I wait until I've read all the other books on my bookshelves before I consider buying any more.

But not this time.

This time, I'm part of a cause.

Richard and Linda Eyre have written a book called The Entitlement Trap, and I can't wait for it to come out this fall because I'm convinced it has the power to change our nation (and beyond). 


Something not-so-great is happening to this generation (and the next).  People feel entitled to get everything they want and everything for free--right this minute.  I don't live that way, and I don't want my children to live that way.  But how is this trend going to change if we don't stand up and do something about it?

By getting enough people to  pre-order The Entitlement Trap, we can help it to debut on the best-seller's list, which will get people talking about it, encourage more parents to read it, and ultimately, shape the teaching that's going on (or not yet going on) in the homes and families around the world.

Click HERE to learn more about pre-ordering.  You can even get a darling Alexander's Amazing Adventures CD for free once you order (my children listen to these every night before bed).

I'm very, very excited about this and hope you'll join me.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Park City Retreat (and a thank you)

First of all, thank you for all the encouraging comments and emails that were sent in response to my last post.  I can see why blogging is such a popular thing--you feel like you can pour out your heart and then be supported by great people (many of whom you've never even met).  It means a lot.

I still don't know how this blog is going to work in with everything else, but this week I'm sitting down to do some "hard thinking."  I'm ready to focus and streamline my life, and as I sang along to "It's the End of the World as We Know It" today, I felt quite optimistic.  THIS is the end of the "try-to-do-too-much" life I've been leading lately.  My husband keeps reminding me that the best is yet to come.

So before I go bury my head into my desk upstairs, I wanted to post a few photos from our Park City Power of Moms Retreat.  Saren's sister Shawni Pothier sent these to me, and they are just beautiful.  (We're doing another Retreat May 20th and 21st, and I'd love to see you there!)

This was the Mind Organization for Moms Seminar we held on Friday.  Seriously, I'm speechless when I attempt to describe this experience, so I'll just leave it at this:


And I love this picture because Saren and I each had a "taller" sister there (Shawni on the left is Saren's younger sister, and Page on the right is my older sister).  The age difference is about 18 months for both sets.  


We also got to meet with part of our Power of Moms Board on Friday night.  I love these women.


Top row: Megan Stewart, Rachelle Price, Chrysula Winegar, Lindsay Ruiz, Brianna Monson, Kristine Jones, Chantol Sego,

Bottom row: Mary Croxford, Amber Gillette, Lisa Hawkins, Saren, April, Tiffany Sowby, Mindy Thurston, Alisha Gale, Allyson Reynolds

Here's a "power" pose:


We had a nice dinner together, and it was SO fun to see everyone's faces after months of emailing back and forth.


Although I know it's going to take a lot to grow The Power of Moms, talented women like the ones pictured above are jumping in to help us.

Here's a part of one email we got today with a Trainer application:

I loved the retreat. Thank you so much for all you are doing. I can see that what you are trying to do and the vision you have is VERY BIG. I would be very excited to be a part of it.

And here's another email:

April and Saren,
First of all, thank you so much for a beautifully planned and executed weekend. I can only imagine how many months of planning, logistics, correlation and phone calls it took. And I know there were many sacrifices made behind the scenes to make it possible. So - from one who was touched deeply - thank you. From the bottom of my heart.
Secondly, I am just catching up on my blog reading (haven't been doing as much lately) and just read two similar blog posts from both of you referring to the weight and heaviness of your responsibilites. My heart broke because - in my own way - I can relate. So my question to you - How can I ease your load? What can I help with in the organization that would take some weight/anxiety off your shoulders? Though this is indeed "your baby", there is no need for you to shoulder so much when there are so many willing to help. What can I do to make that possible?

That one left me in tears.  A lot of the work has to be done by me or Saren, but there's so much that can be delegated.  I just need to make the time to do so.  It is incredibly comforting to know that we're not alone in this work.

Thanks to all of you for your support.

Love,
April

Monday, April 11, 2011

One of My Biggest Weaknesses

Last night I woke up four times with a tight chest--feeling some pretty heavy anxiety. After burying my head into my husband's chest this morning and crying about how I don't want to die, and after he massaged my shoulders and promised to help me through this, I started to do some serious thinking.

One of my biggest weaknesses (I'll just take one at a time here) is that I am over-ambitious. I just get so excited about life, and since I'm good at organizing/managing what's on my plate, I sometimes forget that I only have one plate.

Well, I'm learning now that I can't trick myself into thinking I'm Superwoman. Why I didn't learn this before, I don't know, but at least I'm learning this now.

So until I can get my bearings and figure things out, I'm going to take a little blogging break.

My scripture group met with me this morning, and I can't even explain how much I love these women. They're the closest thing I have to a Learning Circle, and they help bring me back to reality.

They remind me that I can't be all things to all people and that I need to be satisfied with doing my best (which, to me, is like telling a postman to be satisfied just delivering mail to a fifth of his route), but fortunately, no one's bills or packages depend on me, and most of my deadlines are self-imposed.

This morning I also read Lecture 6 of a book called "Lectures on Faith," which taught me that unless I KNOW that I'm living the life God wants me to live, I won't have the faith necessary to handle life's challenges. THAT is my solution.

I'm going to stp back a bit, give my life a hard look, and ask God to show me which projects and activities are most essential. Then I won't deviate. I won't say, "Well, I can squeeze this in," or "but wouldn't it be fun to just . . . ?". I will stick to the plan, listening to the Lord for additional instructions, but otherwise saying no to all those extras that are throwing me over the edge.

I'm not quite sure how this blog fits into the equation yet, so if you see this post up at the top of my blog for several weeks or months, I'm sure you'll understand. There are so many great, inspiring blogs out there that I will continue to benefit from, and maybe I'll be back someday soon to join in the fun.

Much love,
April

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Being a Mom in the Midst of Catastrophe

One of our Power of Moms board members, Melanie Vilburn, is currently living in Japan with her family.  I asked her to share her experience from the recent earthquake with me so I could post it here on my blog.


Catastrophes can happen anywhere on the earth, and whether it's earthquakes (like here in Southern California), hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms, fires, or some other disaster, our families can do some key things to prepare.


Here's what Melanie has to say:



It seemed like a normal afternoon.  We live in Japan, so frequent, mild earthquakes are not uncommon.  I was up in my room when this one began.  As usual, I prayed to know if it was one to worry about or not.  Since we moved here in 2006, the answers back have always been, “It’s okay.  Don’t worry.”  So, as they subside, I’ll calmly go on with my day.  However, this time, the answer was different.  I was to listen to my husband’s voice.  Then, suddenly my husband’s voice called, “Everyone, leave the house NOW!”

I grabbed the baby.  The quake grew stronger.  I pin-balled down the stairs.  By the time I reached the entryway, the earth was rocking and swaying so hard it was all I could do to keep going.  The front door was open wide, so I focused outside on my family.  Muddy water shot up as tall as me from all around the base of our house.  I scrambled through it the best I could.  The neighborhood lurched every which direction.  Mud started filling the yard everywhere and running down our pathway.

At the street, my husband directed us towards the park.  It was just one house away, yet it took such effort to stride there because the ground and our steps were completely out of sync.  I looked up and saw the swinging power lines over head and the street lights were jarring to and fro.

At the park, we found a place free of over hanging electrical wires.  However, there was a very tall pole with City Hall “announcement speakers” at its top.  It towered above the park’s trees.  As it wobbled, I nervously kept my eyes on it.  Although my 13 year old daughter, Sarah (who we wouldn’t see again until three days later), was down in Tokyo, the rest of us quickly knelt in family prayer.

When I looked over, the ground just a few feet to my right, was splitting apart.  The split suddenly ran through one third of the long park.  As it widened, it became a two-foot wide gap.  Then mud starting pouring out of it.  I started scooting away.  However, I found there was no where else to go except tighter together.  I noticed the ground itself, except for the small circle where we knelt, began rolling in waves. The cement pathway and the street to our left starting cracking and banging and shifting.  Two pieces of playground equipment started to slowly sink into the gap.  The earthquake kept rolling and kept growing bigger.  I think this is about when I started to prayerfully cry and moan, hoping especially the people in the epicenter were alright.

When the massive earthquake stopped, aftershocks started following.  Since we live in a sheltered bay, my husband mentioned tidal waves tend to follow as well.  So, he quickly ran to get our van.  I waited with the kids while he drove over.  Thankfully, our vehicle had been pre-packed with 72 hour kits and emergency water.

After he parked, my husband checked his iPhone.  Years before, he had worked doing investments with catastrophe reinsurance companies and had bookmarked their website.  The website reports earthquakes and other disasters world-wide.  Within minutes one can know where they happened and what their magnitudes were.  We were shocked.  The earthquake’s epicenter had been no where near us.  It had been in northern Japan.  If it had been this bad here, how much MORE horrible must it have been there?  And who would have known it was only the beginning of three major catastrophes that were going to befall Japan.

So, April Perry asked me to write an article up about what people can do to prepare for such big, unexpected emergencies.  First, I recommend not living near the coastline.  Secondly, don’t live near a nuclear plant.  And third, prioritize preparing for emergencies that are possibilities for your area.

The first two suggestions are fairly easy to do something about if you’re renting.  If you’re not, you will have to be more creative in your decision making.  Property values can go down rapidly after large-scale emergencies.  I do suggest living by a grocery store and getting carbon filters for your water supply-double check it, of course, but carbon filters are said to work to clear up radioactive iodine.

Considering the third suggestion, it’s vital to keep in mind some catastrophes are so huge, even if you are prepared, there may be nothing you can do once they happen.  However, if you are prepared (to the best of your ability) there will be peace of mind that will accompany you.
            
Some examples:  I see people here that either work for or give donations to organizations that help communities recover after things such as earthquakes.  If, for example, you’ve volunteered for or given to reputable organizations, you can know your conscience will not be hurting if a violent earthquake should happen to you.  Whereas, someone who knew they could have, but didn’t, will face some regret for those missed opportunities.  It’s important to teach your children to volunteer and give to valid organizations too.  Help them build “muscle memory” for helping and giving.
             
There are people who prioritize and store up food, water, and other “essential items.”  These tend to vanish from stores after catastrophes.  There are websites you can visit that recommend and/or sell, as well as help calculate, what a person’s family-needs are.   (See www.beprepared.com)  Taste test what you buy before bulk buying it.  You’ll also have to research and practice how to cook, store, and cope with what you purchase.  That becomes essential “muscle memory” though!

Know, depending on how much is stored, if a family's hope is to glorify God, they’ll be able to serve their communities following huge disasters in wonderful, hope-giving ways.  Also, if you had storage before the emergency, you’ll have better peace of mind regarding what others give you if the emergency wipes away what you had.
            
Basic 72-hour kits fit well under seats in vehicles, along with a couple other “must have items.”  It’s also wise to prepare additional 72 hour backpacks to keep in one’s house.  They can contain such things as spare clothes, kid games, extra toilet paper, as well as extra portable water filters, just to name a few.
            
Most importantly, learn how to calm yourself.  God can talk to you then.
           
Lastly, do drills.  I CANNOT emphasize “muscle memory” building drills enough.  Time them.  Find your weak areas through them and then work to make them strong.


And here's Part 2:


After checking the earthquake tracking site, my husband announced our sheltered bay would only have a 2 meter tidal wave at most.  He also explained there were three levels of tidal wave alerts.  Level one, yellow, is for around 1 meter.  It means there’s really not much to worry about, but be careful  Level two, orange, is the alert our bay had been given.  It means do not go to the beach.  Level three, red, is for three meters or more and means evacuate immediately.  The bay area where we live is surrounded by a giant 30 ft. wall, so we knew it would be sufficient in handling two meters.
    
Some countries don’t have sufficient systems in place to sound an alert, yet, for the most part, Japan uses alarm speakers to forewarn its citizens to get to higher ground ASAP!  All along the eastern coastline, the website showed red, a level 3 alert.  We had no idea what time the tidal wave would hit, yet Chris and I mutually exhaled, “OK, good!  At least they’ve got a system to get the alert out, PHEW!”  Relieved, our panic subsided so we brought our family back to the house. 

When we got there, my husband turned the gas line off.  Then it became obvious the foundation was now tilting.  Soon after that, we discovered the phone lines weren’t working.  Then it became evident the toilets weren’t flushing and the tap water was no longer running.  Overhead, helicopters were flying around all over and taking notes of the damage.  We also learned a nearby oil refinery had caught on fire. 

After that, my memories start to blur.  I know during that time my husband and our second and third oldest kids went out to help our neighbors dig mud out from around and under their vehicles.  Amidst watching our little ones and doing an inspection of what food storage and water resources we currently had, I kept trying to call our 13 year old who was stranded down in Tokyo.  The phone lines were useless though.  We found out the train lines were also not working.  Many roads and bridges, we’d find out later, were out too.  When we finally contacted our daughter later that evening through email, it was such a relief.  From there, we somehow arranged for her to stay in Tokyo with some of our friends.  Three days later we were so glad she was finally back! 

One thing I’d overlooked during the inspection of our emergency storage was that I’d moved our refilled water bottles out to the garden shed the last summer.  Just before remembering, and just as I set to the task of making dinner, I, out of habit, thoughtlessly over-squirted a dish with TONS of dish soap and then reached over to turn on the kitchen faucet.  As dry air came out of the faucet, I looked down at the beef blood.  Suddenly I was so overwhelmed I just needed to bawl.  I knew we needed to carefully ration our drinking water for things like dishes and hand washing.  

Luckily, my husband was there beside me.  He’s been my greatest asset through this.  He had been a missionary back during the Kobe Japan Earthquake in 1995.  For him this was old hat.  I don’t know what I would have done without him!  So we prayed together for strength and it was then that I remembered the bottles out in the shed. 

Back during an emergency preparedness class, I’d learned to refill large, purified water bottles with tap water just in case of emergencies.  Old tap water can be used for washing dishes and hands.  It’s also good for rinsing out things like opened cans of tuna.  It’s amazing how many things we use water for.

Plain water, itself, isn’t something people here in Japan drink very much of.  Mostly they drink green tea or mugicha, a wheat tea.  However, Japanese people do tend to leave heated water in their bathtubs for soaking in.  It serves a dual purpose, the other being some sort of water resource in emergencies.  In fact, that was one of the things all the neighbors were going around making lists of, “Who here has water in their tub?”  As Americans we don’t tend to keep our tubs perpetually filled with soap-free water to soak in.  I suddenly felt an awful large twang of remorse for not having adopted that tradition here.  So...we weren’t able to list that as a resource, yet we were able to hand out purified drinking water, but it’s better to have other options for washing dishes and hands with.  So, if you feel awkward perpetually keeping your bathtub full, if you have a shed or a spare cabinet or even a barn, storing up tap water is very wise.  It’s also very sanity promoting to store wet wipes, hand sanitizer, and paper ware.  

Luckily we also had those bags you can insert into your toilet and the odor-reducing sprinkle kits that go with them.  They are not fun to tie and dispose of though and then where can such things be stored?  It left visions of our entire community starting to smell like a medieval village.   When we found out we would still have trash service three times a week, we were ecstatic!  As I’m writing this, though, it’s been 4 weeks since the earthquake and, still, part of our neighborhood, including the school, has its sewer and water out, and gas has only recently returned.  Several neighborhoods throughout our town are still in this situation.  So, in other words, if you’re going to buy bags and sprinkle kits, get plenty.
     
We discovered when your family is out digging the neighborhoods free of mud, day after day, dirty clothes start accumulating, as well as thickly caked boots, gloves, and coats.  When those days turn into weeks, you can imagine...  Our entryway didn’t just turn into a momentary piling place, but a long term mooring place, for all kinds of filthy clothing.  It didn’t help that our dryer broke down the morning before the earthquake, we had drying racks set aside though.  I had no idea when water would be back on for washing clothes or when we’d be able to replace the dryer.  Oh, those poor moored clothes!  About a week and a half later cold water finally started to trickle.  It took almost another week for the pressure to get strong enough to wash anything though.  

Thankfully our electricity was still on through all this, except during rolling blackouts.  We were able to use our freezer, fridge, bread cooker, microwave, toaster, blender, and our electric skillet.  As a nursing mother, this was a blessing, however I felt heart broken other people were having to go without.  If the electricity had been continuously off, it would have been colder, out-of-the-can meals, no fresh vegetables, no fresh fruit, no milk or other dairy products.  It was bad enough knowing babies were without mothers up north.  School children were having to search through wreckage for food.
It was during this time, crisis number three began to emerge.  Due to the tidal wave that hit all along the coast, the Fukushima nuclear plant began a partial melt down.  I was surprised.  Howcould a three meter sized tidal wave cause such a problem.  It was then that we researched and realized how catastrophic and massive the tidal wave had actually been. It ranged from 10 up to possibly even 30 meters tall!

There were more evacuations.  News updates using long scientific words (that require a physics and chemistry background to understand) began coming out.  All this began to trigger hysteria.  Conspiracy theories began to circulate.  Headlines, for example, announcing “Another Nuke Blast,” sent people all over the world into a state of panic.  A nuclear bomb’s explosion and a nuclear plant’s partial melt down are very different things and I think it was very manipulative journalism.  We were not in an official evacuation or “stay in doors” area.  However, in deciding what we were going to do, my husband had the physics and chemistry-nerd background to guide us through this calmly.  We knew the Japan government as well as the US navy were tracking radiation closely.  So, if you’re not  having to evacuate, instead of panicking, you can help keep available (or help provide) food and medical resources for those who truly need them during emergencies.  And if you’re going to live outside your own country, I recommend learning how to speak the language.  That has helped us amazingly in knowing which prefectures radiation-free foods are coming from.  Above all, if you or others make mistakes, learn how to be willing and eager to forgive.  That’s really what this life is all about anyway.


Thank you so much for your thoughts, Melanie!  In our family, we've made water and food storage a priority, and we have 72-hour kits in the front closet in case we need to grab them on the way out (but keeping some supplies in our van is a great idea . . . I need to do that).  

It's hard sometimes to make emergency preparedness a priority--especially when there are so many other things that need to be done.  However, when I think about how my children would feel if a major catastrophe struck our area and we didn't have the necessary preparations, it breaks my heart.  I'm going to work on our car kit, update the clothes in our emergency kits, and do what I can to help my family be prepared.  

If anyone has any practical ideas to suggest, I'd love to hear them.  Thank you!
           

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Creating Gentlemen

When I was dating in high school and college, I came to the realization that not every young man knows how to be a gentleman (some do, of course, and I really appreciated that, but many do not).

Fortunately, my dad showed me how a gentleman behaves.  He would walk on the "street-side" of the sidewalk, open doors for my mom and his girls, speak kindly and calmly, and show respect for others. 

My husband is the same way, and I tell you, it makes all the difference in the world.

Now I have two sons who need to learn these kinds of skills, and I'm realizing that gentlemen don't spontaneously appear.  They have to be carefully educated.

So here's a video showing how we're working with three-year-old Spencer:

video 


This little guy melts my heart.  He sat there staring through the doors for a couple of minutes, hoping someone would come out and appreciate his door-opening services.  I'm thrilled with his love for helping people, but now I need more ideas.  What kinds of things can I do to help my sons become gentlemen?  Please, please share!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Marriage and Birthday Cakes

My husband and I had a lot in common when we met and married back in 1998, but we have spent the last 13 years really getting on the same page.  There are just so many things you need to figure out when you join your life with another person's--how to juggle responsibilities, how to spend leisure time, how to handle mood swings, how to raise children, how to decorate (or not decorate) the bathroom counter, how to spend money . . . .  The list goes on and on.

I have the unique privilege of being married to my best friend, and I know that is a huge blessing.  Eric is my number one fan, and I'm his.  We know that marriage isn't about two perfect people marrying each other.  It's about two very imperfect people trying to help one another become the best they can be. 

However, this "becoming" isn't always so easy.  Every marriage has ups and downs.  Every couple has differences of opinion sometimes.  Every couple has to exhibit large amounts of unselfishness in order to create a strong union.  It's just part of the package.

I thought today I could share one idea that's helped me keep a bright perspective--even when life has been stressful for our family.  It consists of simply focusing on our best moments.

Here's one I think about all the time:

A few months after we married, it was my 21st birthday (yes, I was young bride, but I wouldn't go back and change a thing).  I came home from work, and Eric had baked me a birthday cake, on which he tried to write "Happy Birthday April."

We didn't have any frosting, so he mixed powdered sugar and water together and tried to pipe the words onto the cake--except the mixture was a little too runny, so it turned into a gloppy mess.  He was apologetic as he showed it to me, but I was ELATED.  His effort to make my birthday special was what really mattered.  He'd planned a date night out and packed a little picnic, and I was on top of the world.

I keep this picture in a place where I can see it often, and it never ceases to bring a smile to my face. 


Whenever we're in the midst of figuring out our "oneness," I think of events like this one, and I remind myself that I am married to a great man.  Neither of us is perfect, but together, we are creating the best lives (and the best family) we possibly can.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Seeing Need Points at Work (There IS great hope for the future!)

We just got back from our Spring Break trip to Utah, and our house is bustling with unpacking, laundry, catch-up, and clean-up.  I'll write more about the trip later, when we're not so grumpy from not getting enough sleep over the past couple of days (or maybe I'm the only grumpy one--can't quite tell).

During our drive back (while I was in the back seat relaxing with my older children and holding a grocery sack in my hands in case Spencer got car sick again) I received a darling email from a new friend I've met through The Power of Moms. 

Her son Allen gave a speech for a leadership assembly at his school, where they're participating in Steven Covey's "Leader in Me" program.  The kids have been reading Sean Covey's book, The 7 Habits of Happy Kids, which is a kid-friendly storybook about Stephen Covey's seven habits, and Allen chose to talk about our Seeing Need Points and how they fit in with Stephen Covey's "Win-Win" principle.

Here's a cute photo of Allen and his mom Kristine:


And, with Allen's permission, here's his fabulous speech:

Hello, I am Allen Jones, and I would like to take the time to talk about habit #4,Think win- win. A win-win situation is when two people or two groups of people benefit from what you do.  I would like to share an idea that puts me in this situation.
My mom and dad want my siblings and I to notice when someone needs help. One of my mom’s friend’s thought of an idea called “Seeing need” and we thought it was a good idea so we use it too.  When we see a need anywhere that should be done we do it without being asked. Then we go to one of my parents and ask how many points it is worth. For example, I could do the dishes when it’s not my night and get 5 points.  We keep track of points on a piece of paper on our refrigerator. I could also stack chairs and organize books at school or church. Putting away groceries or doing a chore without being asked are other ideas.  If the job I do is one of my assigned chores, it doesn’t count for points.  The most important part of seeing a need is that we are not asked to do it and that we are looking for ways to help others by ourselves.
One of the things we can earn is an extra date night with Mom or Dad, a cooking lesson, a banana split or cupcake decorating party with some friends, and prizes from a prize box that we have at home.  I’m really excited about a cooking lesson because I want to learn how to make bread, rice, muffins, and apple pie. Another reward is to be king or queen for a day, which means you can pick all the meals that day and you don’t have to do chores or practice piano. (Put on crown) In fact, I earned enough points yesterday that I chose to be the king of my family today.(Take off crown)
These rewards help to make seeing need fun and exciting but the real reward is the happiness that I feel when I help other people.  That is why this is a “win-win” situation.  Other people get help and I feel great inside.
This activity has helped me to always be on the look-out for people who need help.  There are a lot of needs in the world and as I get older, I hope I will be able to see them and do something about it.  I invite you to take this challenge as well.  Thank you for your time and have a good day.           


Does that not give you hope for the future?  I think Allen did a great job, and I was excited to share it.  I also love his crown, which Kristine said she purchased HERE.

Seeing Need Points continue to work beautifully in our home.  In spite of the squabbling, messes, whining, and all those other aspects of family life that aren't so fun, these points inspire my children to work hard without being asked.  This morning Grace trimmed the flowers and swept the porch, Alia bathed and dressed Spencer and then gathered and sorted the laundry, and Ethan cleaned up the kitchen, got Spencer a snack, and picked up all the toys Spencer had dropped on the floor.  I still can't get over how well this little system works. 

All right, now it's time for ME to go "see need" because my children are getting a little antsy.  As The Power of Moms is preparing to publish our new book and put on our Retreats this month and next, I have more work to juggle than ever before (but it's fun work).  My quiet times have to be dedicated to these bigger projects, so I try to write blog posts during the quiet minutes when my children are playing in the backyard and I'm working in the kitchen--except sometimes it doesn't work out.

Since I started this post, we've had a ball go over the fence, rust water from a metal step stool drip all over Alia's white shirt, a kaleidoscope break all over the backyard--spreading little beads everywhere, two boys fighting over who gets to pick UP the little beads, Spencer yelling because he can't reach the markers that the other children are coloring with, and lots more little issues that I can't even begin to list. 

Life is good, but I think it's nap time. 

Love,
April

Friday, April 1, 2011

Everyone Needs Validation

Last night my sister-in-law showed me this video about validation.  When she told me it would last for 16 minutes, I was a little skeptical, but wow--it was well worth the time.  My children watched it with me, and it has had such a positive effect on our family.

We went to the movies with Eric's family today, and there was a nice lady from Australia taking the tickets.  She seemed a little down (and maybe not in love with her job), and after the movie, Alia went up to her and said, "Thank you for all you do to make the movie theater a nice place to visit."  So cute.

Enjoy the video!

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