Monday, November 21, 2011

I Am Thankful For...

I received this "Thankful" list from Relief Society and have add a few other things that I am thankful for or things others have shared with me. Truly, I think having gratitude helps us get through some of the rough times. When we are feeling gratitude and thinking about what we are thankful for, we can't think about our worries can we?

Here's what I am thankful for:

...the mess to clean up after a party because it means I have been surrounded by friends.

...the taxes I pay because it means that I'm employed.

...the clothes that fit a little too snug because it means I have enough to eat.

...a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning, and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home. shadow who watches me work because it means I am out in the sunshine.

...all the complaining I hear about the government because it means we have freedom of speech.

...the spot I find at the far end of the parking lot because it means I am capable of walking. huge heating bill because it means I am warm.

...the lady sitting behind me in church who sings off key because it means that I can hear.

...the piles of laundry and ironing to be done because it means my loved ones are nearby.

...weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day because it means I have been productive.

...the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours because it means that I am alive.

...books to read because it means there are those who have information and talents to share.

...deadlines because it means I have to push to stay on task and accomplish a goal.

...changes because it means I can learn new things and develop empathy for others.

...waking up each day and finding out that all of my blessing haven't been taken away because of ingratitude because this means God is forgiving and loves me.

Now, for a minute, think about all of your many blessings. What if you were to wake up one morning and all blessings that you have failed to think about the days before are removed--taken away. You would certainly have cause to think about what you were missing wouldn't you? And just pretend that this became the new law of God--fail to have gratitude for a blessing and it is removed from your life forevermore--no expressions of gratitude could ever bring the blessing back into your life. Each day your blessings diminished because you failed to have gratitude for them. Day by day you would have less and less until you caught the vision of being thankful for what you do have instead of thinking about what you do not have.

Thankfully, life is not like this. But I do believe if we spent more time thinking about our blessings instead of our troubles or lack thereof, we would be a more thankful, grateful people.

And one more thing I am thankful for: I may not know everything. That's okay. Because I know that God knows. And that is ALL I need to know.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Resolving Conflicts Creatively

I take the following from Jacqueline Haessly, from her book "Learning to Live Together." I couldn't say it any better so here is what she shares.

"I am fond of the motto, 'Conflict is neither right nor wrong. It just is.' Conflict exists because we are each uniquely different people with diverse likes, dislikes, strengths, weaknesses, needs, and life experiences. Conflicts frequently occur because of opposing needs, limited supplies or resources, or because of real or perceived value differences between us. Yet for most families, few areas trigger a more emotional response.

"If we experience conflict as a test of who is right and who is wrong, who will win and who will lose, we then experience conflict as threatening t ourselves. Here are some stepping stones to creative conflict resolution, using some of the ideas we've already talked about:

"Make people feel loved and affirmed, and they'll want to work together to resolve problems.

"Acknowledge that conflict exists; this is the first step to resolving it.

"Find win-win solutions. Too often conflicts are resolved by determining who is right (and, of course, who is wrong) by blaming and labeling. There are winners and losers, and the winner is often the person who is biggest, oldest, meanest, or the one who can hit the hardest, run the fastest, or stay silent the longest.

"Invite everyone in the family into the decision-making process in ways that allow them to express their ideas and feelings about a conflict honestly. Problem-solving and decision-making--key to good conflict resolution--can be nurtured from a very young age, by encouraging children to choose what to wear, how to spend part of a day or what the family should do after dinner.

"Help children consider the widest possible range of solutions to a problem, not just the 'right' solution. Even consider impossible solutions, so they can learn that sometimes the improbable can become possible.

"Help children understand which solutions are morally unacceptable because they are harmful to another person. Encouragement of violence toward a minority group in a neighborhood or school conflict is one example of unacceptable behavior.

"Give children practice with decision-making and problem-solving in non threatening situations."

Here are a few activities that may help teach problem-solving:

"Animal Sculptures"
Purpose: To encourage decision-making and problem-solving skills, even in very young children. To foster group work on a common project.
How it works: 1) Two people sit out to be "guessers." If more than five players, form two groups. Guessers work together to solve the puzzle. 2) Begin with the youngest player. Think of an animal and tell its name to the group without letting the "guessers" hear. The youngest person then arranges the members of the group to form the animal named. (Five players form on e elephant or dolphin, not five different elephants or dolphins.) 3) "Guessers" try to guess the animal. 4) Rotate so little and big people can take turns being decision-makers and group planners.

Variations: Do same for farm machinery, forms of transportation, small appliances.

"Search for Alternatives"
Purpose: To allow children to practice creative problem-solving in a simple, non-threatening setting.
How it works: Each person thinks of three ways to solve the following problems. Adults can help children understand the problem and identify possible solutions.
1) Toys are always left on the floor at bedtime.
2) One child is always late for dinner.
3) Dad or Mom is always late paying allowances.
4) Dirty laundry is often left lying on the floor.
5) Two people are having a conversation, one is watching TV, one is listening to the radio.
6) Uncle John, who is in a wheelchair, is coming to visit for a week. You want to make his visit pleasant and comfortable for all.
7) The family has decided that Mom and Dad must both work full time to save for a special family need: braces, medical expenses, a trip. What are three necessary changes?
8) Mom is going on a ten-day business trip. Dad and the children will be home alone.

Think of other applicable problems your family may have and write them down. You may consider these problems as possible conversation starters around the dinner table. Be careful, however, you would never want to sour dinner by having heated discussions on solving problems.

"Puppet Theater"
Purpose: To help children act out potential and real conflicts. Young children love puppets and can use them to take on words and behavior that they would otherwise find difficult to communicate.
How it works: 1) Make puppets from old socks or paper bags. Even young children can help to decorate with scraps of fabric or yarn. 2) Use puppets at times when battles emerge about household chores, play activities that exclude the youngest or oldest, sibling rivalries, and other recurring family struggles. Have children alternate roles.

"Instant Replay"
When a seemingly senseless conflict is getting out of hand because parent and child are over-reacting, the phrase "time-out and replay" lets both parties take a time out, then replay the scene. Both parties are then more open to hearing the other person's point of view. This usually leads to a mutually satisfying resolution of the conflict. Everyone's needs can be met, the task can be accomplished, and freedom of choice can be respected and preserved.

Resolving Conflict Creatively

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Touch--It's a Wonderful and Needful Thing

I promised some activities for families that would contribute to peacefulness and affirmation. I think the following two ideas would be very helpful:

"Touch Me Gentle"
Purpose: Soothing and relaxing activity at the end of a family meeting or end of day.
How it Works: 1) Everyone sits in a circle facing the back of the person in front of them. 2) Gently massage shoulders and back of this person for two or three minutes. 3) Reverse position by turning around and massaging person who had been massaging you.

"Touch Green"
Purpose: To encourage laughter and gentle touch while affirming members of the group. To discover and affirm differences.
How it works: 1) Have all family members stand in a circle. 2) Have players take turns calling out a particular item ("Touch someone wearing...a blue tennis hair.") 3) Everyone touches the person wearing the named article or having the named quality. 4) Callers continue to call out items, trying to include at least one or two things about every person playing. Even very young children will have the opportunity to decide the group's action. Remember they will need more time to consider what to call. Allowing this time gives the whole family a chance to practice patience in small, caring ways.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Learning Peacemaking Skills with Activities

"The 'peacemaking' skills of affirmation, respecting differences, cooperation, and creative resolution of conflicts, learned early within the security of their own families, give children the foundation of lifelong values. Where love and acceptance are expressed in the home, children can risk testing out new ideas, tying new patterns of behavior. They can risk failure. They can dare to hold beliefs that may differ from the accepted norms of their neighborhoods, schools, and the marketplaces where they will spend their days as adults. And they can learn to respect others who are different." by Jacqueline Haessly in Learning to Live Together

For the next few days, I will be sharing Activities that may help families with the Gifts of "Affirmation," "Cooperation," "Respect for Differences," and "Resolving Conflicts Creatively.

Today I will start with a couple of Affirmation Activities.

"Naming Myself"
Purpose: To allow each member of the family to make positive statements about themselves.
How it works: 1) Family members gather together around a table or in a circle on the floor. 2) Give each person a sheet of paper and a crayon, pen, or pencil. 3) Each person writes the letters of his/her name downward on the paper, for example:


4) Write one positive word about yourself or one activity you like to do for each letter of you name. 5) The letters can begin the work, end the word, or be in the middle of the word, for example:

L oveable
h O nest
R eads
pol I te

Variation: Pass a paper with your name on it around the circle and have everyone add one positive word for each letter of your name.

"Family Sharing Time"
Purpose: To allow family members to share with one another some of their likes and dislikes, their hopes, dreams, and fears.
How It Works: 1) Family members gather together around a table or in a circle on the floor. 2) Each person in turn answers one of the following questions or statements. (Be sure to vary the questions after everyone has responded to the first question.) 3) Allow a different child or adult to choose the sharing question each round. 4) Use these questions at meal time, for car conversation, or for family meetings.

Suggested Questions and Statements:

1) Tell about one of your favorite things and why it is your favorite. Let everyone get a chance to speak. Choose one idea for each round--colors, animals, books, music, sports, time of day subject in school, season of the year, place in the house, etc.

2) What is one thing you really like to do in winter, or summer? Why?

3) What do you really like to do when it rains or snows? Why?

4) Tell how you made someone happy today.

5) Tell how someone made you happy today.

6) Tell about one time when you were afraid.

7) Tell about something that made you sad.

8) Tell about one time when you felt shame for something you did. Did you do anything to resolve it?

9) Tell each person in the circle on thing you really like about them.

10) Tell each person in the circle one thing you really like about yourself.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Responsible Parenting Needed More Than Ever Before

"Fathers and mothers are needed who will rise and stand upon their feet to make of their homes sanctuaries in which children will grow in a spirit of (1) obedience, (2)industry, and (3) fidelity to tested standards of conduct. If our society is coming apart at the seams, it is because the tailor and the seamstress in the home are not producing the kind of stitching that will hold under stress. In the name of giving advantages, we have too often bartered away the real opportunities of our children." Quote by Gordon B. Hinckley

Please parents, ask yourselves these questions:

1) Do you counsel together as husband and wife in regard to your marriage and family?
2) Do you have a plan to teach your children?
3) Do you make Family Home Evening a major priority? (In other words, if you do not set aside time to teach your children about the things you know to be important on a daily or weekly basis, time will come and go with no progress in your teaching of important things.)
4) Do you know the special needs of each individual child?
5) Do you organize every needful thing--scripture time, family prayer, family counsel, individual visits with each child, time for just plain fun?
6) Will you remember that your greatest work and success will be in your home if you want it most and pay the price to accomplish this?

Remember that our lives are all about choosing. Think about it. Everything we accomplish first begins as a thought. We do nothing unless we had the thought to do so first. So, be careful in what you think about and please make Responsible Parenting something you think about daily and choose to be a parent focused on your children.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mamma's Nest

We've all heard it said that their are more than two sides to a coin. I am continually amazed at how true this is and that as I gain perspective and experience in life, I find that there is almost always a better way of seeing things than what I thought was best.

I love "Ah hah" moments. You know the kind! When all of a sudden a truth strikes your mind and heart simultaneously and you get chills or warm fuzzies because you recognize the truth for what it is. These moments are "journal worthy" aren't they?

I had such a moment the other evening while helping dip cookies in chocolate for our Super Saturday. Several women were talking about how tired they get having children come to their beds in the middle of the night because they're lonely or scared. I remember those days even though I think I had a lot fewer than most women and that's because Jeff made me promise when we were expecting our first baby that I would never bring the baby to bed for nursing or for sleeping. (We had friends that put their baby in bed with them the first days of its life and it became so spoiled by this that the couple's marriage disintegrated and eventually ended because the wife insisted it was okay that the baby sleep with them and the husband got so tired because of the crying baby and having to go to work early, that he wanted the baby weaned from bed. When the wife refused, each fought to have things his or her way.)
Thus, my promise to Jeff that children would not be allowed to sleep with us.

When our oldest started coming into our room in the middle of the night and laying on the floor without waking me, I soon discovered a potential accident waiting to happen since I nearly stepped on her a couple of times. I tried to reason with her and explained that she had to stay in her bed and not come in and lay on the floor because I might step on her. I didn't think she understood until I put a lock on the outside of her bedroom door and told her that I didn't want to lock her in her room at night but if she continued coming in my bedroom, I would have to for her safety. The sweet child never left her room at night again. There's more about that but I will spare her the embarrassment at this time.

So, the other evening as everyone was sharing their wisdom of children sleeping in mom and dad's bed, my dear friend, MaryAnn shared her experience which I think is charming and so Christ-like. Here's what she did to solve the problem:

She made "Momma's nest." MaryAnn gathered blankets and pillows and piled them in the corner of her bedroom. She told the children that she gets so tired because she has to feed the baby at night and she needs her rest. "So if you start feeling scared or lonely, come to Momma's nest and just settle in. That way Momma will get her rest but I will be close by in case you need me really bad." MaryAnn said that many a morning she would find two or three of her little offspring nestled in the nest cuddled together.

I can just see love, kindness, and closeness developing because of this sweet nesting idea. Can you?

Monday, October 11, 2010

What we "Think" is What We Are

Today, I hope no one will think poorly of me for sharing something I have written in my journal. I am studying a book, "Mind Management" and I am keeping a journal about my thoughts and about what I am learning and/or desire to remember. I have always been intrigued by the power of our thought-processes and the power of our thoughts and I find this book very motivating. I know the scripture, "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he," is true. Now, here is my journal entry:

"I am so intrigued by the power of our minds. I could study about this for hours a day. This morning I read the chapter, 'Your Mind Thinks Boundlessly.' I know I was told once after my brain activity had been tested because I was blanking out, that my brain waves were overly active and that even in my resting state they were overly active. Doctors determined that my blank-outs were my brain's way of getting a quick rest. Right or wrong on this analysis, I have always known that my mind never stops. Even Jeff becomes weary (I think--no pun intended) because I share so much of what I am thinking. He frequently says, 'Lori, you are such a deep thinker. Your brain never stops.' Now this morning I read this thought by Mark Twain and I am intrigued:

'What a wee little part of a person's life are his acts and his words! His real life is led in his head, and is known to none but himself. All day long, the mill of his brain is grinding, and his thoughts, not those other things, are his history. These are his life, and they are not written, and cannot be written...Biographies are but the clothes and buttons of the man--the biography of the man himself cannot be written.'

Thus, I see how important it is to control our thoughts. 'As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he,' is a truth revealed. I am what I think about. I do not have the time or convenience (for lack of better words) to waste my thoughts on ridicule of myself or others. Nor should I waste thought on selfish wants and petty imaginings.

Our minds need 'jump-starts' and the searching of scriptures and the reading from the 'best books' do this for me and others. Small children are truly blessed if they have parents read to them. Older children are blessed if they develop a love of reading.

This is so simple as stated on paper and yet so powerful if remembered and put into action!"

Saturday, October 2, 2010

I thought this was such a neat idea. Recycle water bottles into handy spouts for plastic bags and you have less spilling and everything becomes air tight. I'm not sure how long the plastic bag would hold up but it's worth trying don't you think?
Hopefully the picture came through for you to view. (I'll see when I finish this blog.)

Have a wonderful Conference-viewing weekend and try to find three things that you can improve upon during the coming months that is suggested at conference.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

J. K. Rowling Speaking At Harvard Graduation-Must See Video

I just witnessed an amazing video of J.K. Rowling(author of Harry Potter) speaking at Harvard's 2008 Commencement. Her talk is entitled, "The Fringe Benefits of Failure." I was so touched by it that I found myself wondering why I haven't seen it around. May I encourage all to take the 21 minutes it takes to watch it and bookmark it for future reference. There is so much to digest and I feel that her words from experience can benefit individuals and families everywhere. She is so humble in her presentation. Please, please, and learn. Here's the website: Just copy and paste in the website address spot, and let me know if you are inspired by it as much as I was.