After sitting down and watching a movie that moved us both emotionally we decided to record a video to capture what it means to go from quantity time…to quality time…to heart time. The movie gave greater perspective to the idea of “true love”. In doing so it inspired within us a moment of intimacy where we experienced some intense heart time.
VIDEO: In life and in relationships there are moments when you find yourself at a crossroad… tired of living like you’ve been living, scared as hell and unsure of what your next move should be. This young lady shares the turmoil she’s been experiencing in her marriage and asks what she should do. Confusion is all around it seems…but I once read somewhere that Confusion is the mental and emotional outgrowth of knowing exactly what needs to be done, and having that knowledge clouded by the belief that you are not good enough, smart enough, or strong enough to do it. There is a fear that if you do what needs to be done, you might not get it right or that somebody will get mad at you, etc. The natural response to this self-defeating mental chatter is for the intellectual mind to shut down resulting in what we call confusion. The truth is that when we find ourselves at these crossroads in our lives we need to trust the small still voice within, do what is necessary, and trust and know that you will make it through.
Amidst all of the everyday buzz…make sure you take time to slow down and check in with your sweetie….it’s more important than you know. In this video my hubby and I take a minute to just slow it down and connect. Why is this important? Because it’s what drew you to your boo in the first place….a connection that made you want to explore more about this person and what they were all about.
So, if you’ve had an argument, if you all are getting on each other’s nerves right now, if extended family are wearing out their welcome and they just got to the house—try your best to LET IT GO, find a few moments to be the bigger person, take the first step, pull your boo aside and CONNECT!
VIDEO: Have you recently taken the time to ask yourself…”What’s my grade as a wife and as a mother?” If you take the time to do some self reflection and honest self examination you will discover your strengths and weaknesses in these roles. Far too often we are way out of balance and pay more attention to one area of our lives than the others and consequently something or someone suffers. We need to be balanced in life and in love. How do you measure up? Do you make the grade? Leave a comment with your thoughts or submit a video response. We want to hear from you.
By Chris Wondra
Twas the week before Christmas and all through the house everything was in shambles. Too much to do and not enough time. More shopping to be done, presents to wrap, cookies to bake and decorating await. Oh the hustle and bustle, the extra work and the stress. Is it any wonder you feel like the Kranks?
If your holiday season rings in more stress than joy, you’re not alone. Consider these facts:
- In a recent survey, 96% of 8-12 year olds included a flat screen TV in their wish list. This despite 73% of parents wanting to limit their children’s TV time.
- It takes an average of 4 months for a credit card user to pay off what they buy during the holidays
- Americans plan to spend $1,564 per household during the holidays. $1,042 for gifts.
- A national survey suggests that 70% of Americans would like less emphasis put on spending and giving gifts
Helpless to resist the pressures of a “Spend it” society, many people feel obligated to get on the frenzied commercialized Christmas train—and they don’t know how to get off.
If your holiday season tends to exhaust rather than uplift, maybe it’s time to wrestle the holidays from the clutches of commercialism. Pump joy and love back into your holiday filling it with the true spirit of Christmas.
What do kids really want?
The crowds, the cash, the Christmas Crunch. The wrapping, the toys, the noise. It’s burning you out—right? So why do we do it? For most, the typical answer is not surprising, “We do it for the kids.” For many people Christmas is about children and bringing them as much joy as possible But think for a moment about your own childhood. What made the holiday seasons special for you?
Not sure your answer best represents the feelings of most kids? Think again. We asked the kids. A recent survey of 7th graders reveals their fondest memories related to the holiday season and Christmas in particular. You may be surprised to see what they had to say.
“The thing I like the most is being able to see all of my relatives. We get together at my grandparents’ houses and have big meals, which leads to another good part. The food. We usually have big hams and mashed potatoes and other good stuff. Then I feel like I won’t be able to eat for another week.” Ryan, age 12
“I always have a good time at Christmas. On Christmas Eve we stay up late and play video games. Then in the morning I get my stocking. Then I wake up my family and we open up our presents and eat pixie sticks and then we eat a big breakfast. After that we go outside. We also play board games. I love Christmas.” Meg, age 12
“All of my Christmas’s have been jolly. I think my best memory has been spending time with my family.” Devin, age 12
“The first thing I think about when somebody mentions Christmas is picking out and putting up a tree and decorating it.” Jessica, age 12
Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Sure, he took four quotes from a stack that suited his purpose.” Not true. Of the 75 students surveyed only 12 even mentioned unwrapping presents as a significant memory for them. Family gatherings and family activities created the fondest memories for 84% of the group.
If you are racking up credit card debt to create the perfect memory for your kids, you are wasting time and your money.
Creating a Joyful Season
Bill McKibben, author of Hundred Dollar Holiday, gives this piece of advice:
“I guess the most important thing would be to think about whether or not the things you’re doing are actually making the season joyful for you or not. Keep real careful track and try to figure out if that’s what you really want from the Holidays. You can’t change your life or your celebrating patterns overnight . . .but there’s plenty of time to observe yourself and find what makes you feel happy and joyful.”
Still at a loss? Not sure less will actually translate into more? Start slowly. Changing life patterns and resisting social pressures takes time. It may be too late to significantly change this year’s celebration activities. But you still have time to lay the groundwork for next year—and years to come. Here are some activities guaranteed to bring you closer to the ones you love.
Start Your Family Christmas Traditions Now
Find new ways to kindle the spirit of fun and togetherness.
- Christmas morning, after opening stockings take birdseed and bread out to the woods or your nearest park, and spread it for the birds. St. Francis began the tradition, saying that animals too deserve to celebrate Christmas. What better celebration for the birds on a cold winter day than to have easy access to food? It’s a great way to remind yourself about the true spirit of Christmas.
- Before Christmas, ask your children what they most want to do as a family. Offer, suggestions: snowball fights, fort building, movie night, game night, crafts, hike in the woods or baking.
- Let your kids research and choose a charity and an amount of money to donate. Take your kids to your local charity drop off stations like Toys for Tots, which accepts new, packaged toys. Or donate to local churches accepting canned goods for those less fortunate at Christmas.
- Take a trip to your local food shelf or bring the family to your nearest toys for tots drop off sight.
- Participate in the Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count
- Have a cookie decorating party. Make batches of cut- out Christmas cookies ahead of time. Provide a variety of colored icings, shakers of colored sprinkles, little stars and silver balls and let the children decorate the cookies. Then serve the decorated confections accompanied by hot chocolate with peppermint sticks, cider with cinnamon sticks.
- Play Christmas charades or test your knowledge of Christmas trivia with family quiz contest at: FamilyGames.com You’ll find Novice, Regular and Expert level quizzes. Present small wrapped gifts for the winners.
For more ideas visit Santa’s Favorite Links
Give Non-commercial Gifts (from www.newdream.org)
- Frame a picture of the family home and send it to friends and relatives who can’t make it home.
- Share holiday wishes with a photo cards and family newsletters. Let children help make your own cards. Hewlett Packard makes it easy with Home Fun for the Holidays.
- Reconnect. Call an old friend or write to someone you haven’t seen in awhile.
- Give away the last great book you bought.
- Give your child a box of items that can be assembled into a homemade playhouse or tree house: Scrap wood cardboard, small hammer, non-toxic paint and a pulley.
- Consider gifts that bring out child’s creativity: kids cookbook, craft kit, durable tools for building, sheet music, magnifying glass for studying bugs, plants, rocks, seashells.
- Write a story with the kids as the main characters
- Decorate and personalize Christmas stockings.
With a little effort, you can get off the commercialized Christmas train. Get back into the spirit of Christmas. Start family traditions. Change your buying and gift-giving habits. Discover new ways to share the joy of the Christmas season with your kids, your family and your friends. Take small steps today and tomorrow your holiday memories will be filled with laughter, joy, and Christmas magic. Put a little holiday spirit back into your “week before Christmas”.
When Chris Wondra is not teaching Middle school Language Arts in St. Croix Fall, WI, he’s busy combining story-telling and magic to create a unique brand of children’s literature.
By Steve East
No marriage is perfect. That is a given.
Yours might be “on the rocks,” with an additional burden of discovering that your spouse “cheated” on you! It might seem hopeless at the moment, but there is one method that really “works” to save the whole situation.
I will propose a special plan that will include one crucial bit of advice.
First, are you experiencing the following symptoms?
Tense “discussions” over and over again
Playing the “silence” game
Avoidance of intimacy
Let me share this observation (about saving a marriage). It is NOT going to happen overnight. It will take some effort to make it work.
But, it can still be FUN!
There is almost no other way, let me explain.
You might be thinking to yourself ” how can this possibly be something enjoyable?” Like as if you are on the sinking “Titanic” and decide to dance to the music being played by the doomed band!
So, bear with me here. After weeks (or months) of negative emotions and miserable relations, here is what has to be done to rekindle the romance. Don’t forget, when you first met, something had to be very special between you two to convince each other to get married.
Have a drink, then after that, sit down together on the sofa (each with a piece of paper). Write down five ideas for a special “date” to do something really interesting and exciting that you would truly enjoy sharing.
Then, compare and take the best ideas from each of you.
With the “best agreed idea,” start to plan right away how to put it in action. Grab a calendar, circle the date and commit to following it through. Don’t let anything get in the way of this. Drop everything, and make this priority one.
This is extremely important right now. This seemingly simple action will help to move things forward instead of backwards!
It will show that you are both serious about rebuilding your relationship despite the ugly setbacks.
The rules for your secret date are as follows.
A) Only the two of you are allowed to participate.
B) Commit to make a real effort to relax.
C) For this one night, do not bring up any potentially explosive issues. Be aware of the sensitive topics and forget about them for one evening.
D) Have some fun, smile, laugh and try to remember what it was like on your “real” first date.
E) Touch each other and try looking into each others’ eyes.
To summarize, it is crucial to inject “fun” into the complicated equation of restoring your marriage into a permanent union. That is the one ingredient necessary for this to work out. When you experience the joys of your early days over again, it will seem less traumatic to “forgive” the mistakes that were made before. The past cannot be changed, but the future can be wonderful if you both move on.
By Patty Apostolides
In the beginning of a relationship, love seems to have a life of its own. Without much effort, you feel like you are on top of the world. You catch yourself smiling and laughing often, and feeling warm inside whenever you are with your loved one. Everything and everyone suddenly appears better through the rose-colored glasses of love. This euphoric feeling does not last forever, however. After the first year of marriage, the day to day activities of being married, working in a job, raising a family, buying and maintaining a home, etc., all take their toll, and romance takes a back seat.
Love has to be worked on, just like a gardener with his garden. Although he has planted the seeds, and expects the sun and rain to do most of the work, he still has to pull the weeds out of the garden, to fertilize it, and water it if there isn’t enough rain. That is the same with a healthy, loving relationship. When love becomes a high priority in a marriage, it is taken care of and nurtured daily. The resulting love rewards you by growing into a more mature, mellow, committed feeling, and when tested, rises up to meet the challenge. How does one keep love alive in a marriage?
You need to designate quality time with your loved one. Don’t take it for granted that he/she will always be there when you want them. Remember all those dates you took when you were courting? Now, it’s not so easy. There’s usually someone else making demands on him/her – whether it’s the children with their homework, or the boss expecting you to work late hours, or even an elderly parent that requires assistance. Also, it now might require finding a baby-sitter, or juggling the time with another activity that might take precedence. Whatever happens, make time for each other. Also, make time to hug and/or kiss each other often. You’ll be glad you did. The time you spend together will re-energize you and make you feel good for the rest of the day.
If you can’t get away, you can still set a date at home, after the children are asleep. The important thing is to have fun together. Here are a few things you can plan to do at home together:
Physical intimacy – might put some soft music in the background, maybe even dance together.
Pour a favorite drink, make an ice cream sundae, or grab some munchies, and have fun talking with your loved one.
Play a favorite board game or card game, anything that makes you enjoy yourselves.
Make popcorn and watch a favorite video.
This is not the time to solve life’s problems or issues. If there are any lurking issues in the background (and these may be keeping you from enjoying yourself), then sometimes you just might have to talk about it first, get it out in the open in a loving environment, then continue with your plans. Often, positive energy is tied up within us when a problem or issue has not been resolved.
Use these times to tell him/her how special they are to you (how intelligent, how thoughtful, how loving, how caring, etc.).
What is Romance?
Romance is the opportunity to show your loved one how special he/she is to you. It means taking the time for them, and making time, even if you don’t have it. It doesn’t mean thinking only about yourself, or having only your needs met. It means putting the other person first. Here are some ideas to spice up your romance:
Do small acts of kindness – give him/her flowers, or a little gift, or write a poem, etc.
Say “Thank you” and “I Love You” often.
Be considerate of his/her feelings, etc.
Take long walks together – anywhere.
Share jokes at mealtime. Laughter is a great way to share one’s love.
Visit a museum, visit community festivals, tour a new site, or attend a lecture together.
Hug and kiss often.
If your spouse doesn’t do things for you, then show him/her by gently pointing out what you like. If you like flowers for your birthday, and you haven’t gotten flowers, then let them know, particularly when he/she asks you what you would like. Don’t think they can read your mind, let them know.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Over time, we learn how to read our spouse. Their behavior, their actions, are important clues that alert us to how they are feeling. Often, we think we know what they are thinking, and we become sloppy, and don’t talk about it, or they don’t bring it up.
For example, if he had a bad day at the office, and comes home snapping at the children and being tense, the last thing to do is to take it personally. Invite him to relax, as dinner is prepared, then after he’s eaten, ask him how his day was. Sooner or later, the truth will come out, and you will learn what happened. You need to be a responsive listener, and not criticize your spouse, for he will surely clam up. The last thing he wants to hear is criticism.
Other signs that can bring on a spouse’s anger/tenseness:
Hunger: If your spouse hasn’t eaten for awhile, not only their stomach growls, but they growl also. Keep your husband well fed (but not overfed)
Criticism: Try and avoid criticizing your partner. If there is something bothering you, then voice it in a way that you don’t point fingers or blame him/her. Try not to keep distance between you. Communicate your feelings, how his/her action affected you, and how you were hurt by that action. Never, ever criticize your spouse in public. An apology is forthcoming, no matter how right you thought you were.
Tiredness: If your husband has been working all day, and you ask him to do a bunch of chores when he gets home, don’t expect him to thank you. See if you can spread the chores out, so they include the weekend. Planning ahead helps here.
Take Care of Your Body
Although you may not look like you did when you were dating years ago, you can take measures to look just as good if not better.
Physical wellbeing – make sure you stay in shape, eat the right foods, and dress nicely. All these actions not only get more compliments your way, they make you feel good about yourself, so that you can be more confident in yourself.
Spiritual wellbeing – don’t neglect this powerful aspect of life. Pray, go to church, believe. Studies have shown that families that pray together, stay together.
Mental wellbeing – if you are a stay-at-home mother, find some good books to read, or read the newspaper or magazines. This will allow you to keep abreast with interesting topics, and will provide your spouse an interesting partner to discuss life issues with.
Don’t substitute anyone or anything else for your loved one. Don’t go to a coworker or a friend, and share intimate secrets, because you may be betraying your loved one’s trust. Don’t watch television or be on the computer all the time, when you could be spending quality time with your loved one. Don’t spend all your time with the children, ignoring your spouse, because your husband or wife should be number one on the list. If people, organizations, or children clamor for your attention, put your spouse first, and then them. When you put your spouse first, you’ll notice you won’t need to be going to all these other people for emotional support. You’ll also notice you’ll be having more fun with the person you’ll spend the rest of your life with. Don’t underestimate the importance of love in a marriage. Cherish and nurture it, and you will have made the best investment in your life.
Patty Apostolides is author of Lipsi’s Daughter. She has also published poetry and written several articles.
By Skye Thomas
About a year ago, I was talking to a friend of mine on the telephone. He had just experienced a big success in his career and wanted to brag. We had a great time cheering and laughing over his big moment. Then as we were wrapping up our phone call, he apologized for gloating to me. I blew it off telling him, “Don’t apologize! Real friends are people that you can cry with during the bad times and gloat with during the good times. Everyone else expects you to be politically correct in your behaviors.” What’s the point of having friends if you can’t be yourself around them?
A friend is someone to cry with during the bad times. Everyone knows how great it is to have a friend during your time of need to cry on their shoulder. In reality, people don’t like it if you cry on their shoulder for very long. So the sign of a real friend is that you can cry on their shoulder until you’re done crying. And if you’re crying too long, your friend will make you snap out of it. They help you to pull yourself back together rather than just give a superficial “There there dearie” and then going on about their lives. You’ll be able to tell real quick who your real friends are during the crisis and uglier times of your life. They’re the only ones still hanging around.
A friend is some to gloat with during the good times. We’re all raised that it’s distasteful to brag and to come across as egotistical. The result is that most of us are afraid to say much of anything positive about ourselves. You’re allowed to celebrate a job promotion, a marriage, or the birth of a child, but it’s supposed to be done with class and style. A real friend is someone that you can call up and spend twenty minutes telling them what an awesome job you just did on a project at work and how you feel so incredibly proud of yourself and they are going to be happy for you. They are not going to chastise you for being arrogant. When you have some serious politics going on at work and you pull of a brilliant career move, your friend is going to cheer with you and laugh along with you as you succeed.
A friend is someone to rage with when life is really unfair. That’s not to say they’re going to help you plot your ex’s murder or anything like that, but when you’re really ticked off and need to vent, they’ll be there for you. You can safely tell your real friends just how angry you are and they’ll help you find ways to dissipate the anger and to eventually let it go. Humor is a wonderful way that friends have of helping us to let go of our anger. Rather then help you plot the murder, they can throw out a few wonderfully witty comments about your ex and get you laughing again. Know matter what it is that you’re upset about, your real friends will be there for you.
A friend is someone to dream with while plotting your goals. Real friends make awesome cheerleaders. They believe in you and in your ability to achieve your goals. Everyone else may be politely disinterested in what you’re planning to do with your life, but your real friends will be thrilled to hear about what you’re doing. They’ll help you to brainstorm ideas and will pitch in to help you make your dreams come true whenever possible.
A friend is someone to pray with for support. We’ve all seen the research and the studies show that the power of prayer is magical no matter who or what it is that you think you’re praying to. The studies also show that whenever two or more people get together to pray, that they power becomes increasingly strong. From my own experience I would like to point out that when you have a real friend pray with you instead of a well meaning acquaintance, that the increased power is so much greater. Yes the stranger helps, but nothing beats the power of a friend’s prayers.
A friend is someone that you can laugh with until you make that funny snorting sound. Only with my dearest friends have I laughed so hard that tears poured down my face. I have shared funny stories with my friends that I’d never share with coworkers and such. Part of it is because with real friends there is a trust level and you know that you have similar views about what’s humor and what’s not. So, you can share jokes that otherwise might not be appropriate to tell the church ladies after service. Real friends laugh together.
My daughter wanted me to add this last one. A friend is someone to burp and fart with because they don’t care if you are a real person. She has determined that the reason her best friend has trouble getting along with the other girls at school is because her friend doesn’t realize that you can’t do that sort of thing in front of people that are only polite superficial surface level friends. My daughter says that because they’re best friends it’s okay if one of them burps or farts in the presence of the other, but they can’t do it in front of anyone else. I suppose she makes a valid point.
I’m not saying you should be a completely trashy mess of bad manners and selfishness around your friends, but at least know that with real friends you can be yourself and they aren’t going to turn their back on you. If you have to walk on eggshells, be on your best manners, or monitor your every word and action, then you’re probably not with a real friend. A real friend is one of life’s greatest blessings, don’t forget to give thanks.
Skye Thomas is the CEO of Tomorrow’s Edge, an Internet leader in inspiring leaps of faith. She became a writer in 1999 after twenty years of studying spirituality, metaphysics, astrology, personal growth, motivation, soulmates, and parenting. Her books, articles, and astrological forecasts have inspired people of all ages and faiths to recommit themselves to the pursuit of happiness. To read more of her articles and to sign up to receive her free weekly newsletter, go to www.TomorrowsEdge.net. To download free previews of her books, go to www.SkyeThomas.com.
VIDEO: There is a reason for every relationship we have in our lives. We believe the reason for every relationship is to somehow and some way help you GROW!!!! Sometimes these relationships are painful and sometimes these relationships are pleasant…..either way there is value. Take the value, the lessons learned in your relationship, and show gratitude…..even if it’s time for you to leave this relationship behind. Here, we give our view on a situation where a young lady writes in basically saying her man is wonderful….yet she plans to leave. Check out the details of this situation and leave a comment with what you think.
One of the best benefits of marriage is that you have a permanent dating partner. Don’t let the fun end after the honeymoon. Here are some ideas for fun dates.
Spend an afternoon at the opera. These aren’t as expensive as you might think. Check out a local college for possible discounts on campus performances. If you go, be sure to check out the plot of the story beforehand.
Sample a variety of cafe’s. Instead of just staying at one restaurant, have dinner at one place and dessert at another. Try to find places within walking distance, this way you can enjoy the scenery.
Head to the zoo. The zoo can be quite a fascinating place. Check out everything from pengiuns to gorillas. If you’re more of an aquatic fan, check out your nearest aquarium.
Up for peanuts! A summer ball game is always fun, whether it’s major league or little league.
Hit the outdoors. Pack a lunch and head to the nearest trails or even learn to kayak.
Check out the museums. Whatever your interests, you’re sure to find a museum that matches your tastes. The next time you’re out on a dinner date. Stop in at a museum before-hand.
Picnics are always a pleasure. Pack a lunch and a blanket and head to your nearest park.
Are you more of an adventurous type? Check out some of these ideas.
Design a card board box car and order your favorite meals at a fast food restaurant.
Get together with friends and make your own movie. You could also film a scavenger hunt. These are a blast to film and to watch.
Are you a married couple looking for some cheap dating ideas? You could:
Sketch your dream-house floor plan and talk about the possibilities of each room.
Attend an art festival.
Walk in the rain.
Build a fire, turn out the lights and talk for hours.
Go swimming in the middle of the night.
Build a snowman together.
Take a bike ride.
Have a candlelight picnic in the backyard.
Share a milkshake with two straws.
Go to a coffee shop.
Raid the kids room and fly a kite.
Hope these ideas help to put a little quirky fun into your marriage!
GranMamma is the webmaster at Babynamebox.com where you can explore thousands of baby names and their meanings. You can reach her at Granmamma@babynamebox.com.