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Life’s Joyful Opportunities

Life offers us those wonderful moments and opportunities that can not only enrich our lives, but fill it with adventure and growth.

When we recognize and engage them, we develop new skills and perfect old ones.

From the time I was a little girl, I had wanted to be a singer. However, growing up on a farm gave little opportunity to take piano lessons and participate in musical events.

So, when I went back to college to get my degree, I planned my courses around music. But it soon became clear, that without that early background in music, it would be difficult to make it a career choice. So, I switched to my next love – psychology.

Real Friends

Last month I spent a wonderful week at the Mt. Herman Writer’s Conference.

Although overwhelming at times with all the information, convening with agents, editors and mentors, and attending classes and meeting so many wonderful new people, it was an exhilarating and exciting time.

One of the places available to us within this large conference center, was a little store filled with books, trinkets and items to take back with us in remembrance of this experience. And we were given time between scheduled events to explore the variety of places at the center

Entwining Roots

As I work with my editor on the final edit of my book, From Winter to Spring, I am reminded of how important the relationship I shared with my husband had been. A chapter from this book entitled, Entwining Roots, reflect that special relationship.

“There are two trees in my backyard. Their trunks touching, roots entwining, they reach high into the sky – together – yet separate. They symbolize the life I shared with my husband – a love as deep and connected as the entwining and supporting roots of these two trees.

We nurtured each other while allowing the other the independence to grow in their own way. That tree has now been cut down and I stand alone.”

When we go through the death of a loved one, we are reminded of how important they were to the fabric of our lives.

Chocolate – Friends – And Red Convertibles

“Like my Page”

“Friend me”

We live in a world of cyberspace, where “friends” have become known by the “like” or “share” buttons on social media sites. “Do you want to “friend” this person?” “Like my page” or “here are some people you might like to add to your “friend” list.”

With the click of a button you can have friends all over the world. How great is that?

“A real friend is one who walks in when

the rest of the world walks out.”

Walter Winchell

But are they really “friends”?

I guess I’m old fashioned. I want to sit across from my friends at a restaurant, or in my living room or at my kitchen table and talk to them up close and personal.

Friends

People who know me, know how important friendships are to me.

Relationships are the backbone of our sense of being. It is where we discover who we are.

Friends. Anyone who has had a loyal, long term friend knows exactly what I am talking about.

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are lavish and deceitful” Proverbs 27:6

There is give and take; they are not just there for the good times, but also for the tough times. They will travel great distances to be there in your time of need. Thank you Dede.

Tributes

In July, 1959 we became the proud parents of our first child, a son we named Robert (Bob). A happy kid, full of energy, he grew up with an inquisitive mind for computers, writing and creating games. He had a heart for kids and loved cats (he still does).

Eighteen months later, our daughter, Elizabeth was born. Bright, cheerful and full of life, she filled our hearts with happy escapades as she followed her brother around and at times made life miserable because doing things right came easy for her while he struggled.

Five years later, our last son, Don, was born. He was special is so many ways. With a twinkle in his eye, he could make you smile and laugh. Born without the muscle capacity to hold up his head, he learned to walk, swing on ropes, play the trombone, be in cub scouts and act in drama classes with a brace designed especially for him. After back surgery and fusions, Don went on to become a conceptual artist in Santa Monica, CA. drawing, writing, and producing. Pancreatic cancer took his life in 2009.

The Quiet Cove

We rounded a corner in the headland and glided into a little cove snuggled in the contours of the island. After sailing all day with rising winds and a chop on the water, we were ready to drop anchor for the night.

Protected from the bluster and nip of the wind, the air was balmy and pleasantly warm. We quickly discarded our jackets, stowed the sails and set the anchor.

As our sailboat gently floated from its tether, we brought pillows from below and settled into the cockpit to enjoy the final magnificent display of a sunset in the San Juan Islands.

Birds circled and cawed to each other. A sea gull glided down and settled into the water with hardly a ripple. A blue heron watched us from the shore before returning to snatch bits of food from the water’s edge.

As the day continued its journey into evening, wispy clouds reflected the changing colors of the setting sun: red – coral – grey and gold. As it dipped behind the edge of the earth, sky and sea melted together and became one. And the heart and soul and mind experienced a deep peace.

Time Out

In the game of sports, coaches call time outs to discuss new strategies.

In the game of life, we need time outs to step out of intense work cycles, give our mind a chance to calm down, and allow our bodies to release tension.

I work out of a home office and I periodically leave my computer and spend five to ten minutes doing some mindless chore to give my brain a break. Or to simply sit quietly and close my eyes and use the relaxation techniques I describe in my book on stress and my Relaxation CD. Mindless chores allow my body movement while my brain disconnects from planning, worrying or thinking.

Everybody needs time outs – your children as well as yourselves

This is not a boring 3-5 minutes sitting in a chair because of noncompliance. Time outs are a way to restore balance. It is unplugging – unhooking from all the electronic devices we use to divert ourselves and purposefully setting aside quiet time to allow our brains and bodies to relax.

Compliance – Critical – Non-Negotiable

Living without rules and laws would soon result in a breakdown of order within our homes and in society. Without respect for the property and rights of others, life would eventually become chaotic.

Children who grow up with noncompliance, being disobedient and unwilling to cooperate tend to have severe adjustment problems as they grow up. Learning to listen and obey is important.

If you want compliance from your children, you need to inform them of what is expected. Obedience doesn’t mean that you don’t listen to your kids reasons or try to understand things from their point of view. It doesn’t mean we demand rigid uncompromising obedience that makes our kids fearful.

Do as I say and Do it Right Now!

Pitfalls to Avoid

In the busy world we live in, we expect kids to obey and do it right now! When they don’t, we often threaten, take away privileges or ground them.

When we are tired, it is easier to get angry and harsh in our responses. When expectations are unclear, there are more arguments.

Obedience versus responsibility

We want our kids to obey. We also want them to become responsible. Obedience without understanding both choices and consequences, however, does not help kids become responsible. While there will be times when obedience without question is necessary, especially when danger is a factor, those should be the exception.