Sunday, January 31, 2010

Love, Affection and Appreciation

Can't believe it is February already. The month of the Super Bowl, the Daytona 500 and of course Valentine's Day. For the next couple of weeks we are going to be inundated with ads for spa treatments, romantic dinners, chocolate, flowers and more. This is a good thing, but I wish it weren't just in the month of February. Romance, affection and appreciation are a good thing all year round.

When's the last time you wrote a love letter to your spouse or a note of appreciation to your parents or a friend?

When's the last time you took your spouse out on a date or took the time to sit down with a good friend over a cup of hot tea or coffee?

Whether you are married.... or not, young or old, Valentine's Day could be a great time to kick-off a year of intentional love, affection and appreciation.

At a loss for what to do? Here are a few ideas:

  • Hand write a love letter - you can actually get a Love Letter kit from
  • Schedule time each day to actually talk with your spouse
  • Take time to meet a friend for lunch
  • Tell the people you love "I love you"
  • Plan a creative date for your spouse - even if you can't afford a babysitter, plan an in-home date
  • Recreate your favorite date from the past
  • Purchase a bouquet or a romantic gift basket from Flower Fest and support the work of First Things First
  • Take time to play with your children
  • Give your spouse the day off and don't hold it over their head later
  • Schedule a couple's massage
  • Take a walk holding hands - research actually shows that a woman's blood pressure goes down when she is holding the hand of her spouse
  • Do that thing that your spouse has been asking you to do for months
  • Watch the Super Bowl with your spouse even if you don't like Football, you don't have to say a word, he'll enjoy just sitting should to should with you.
Lets help each other be creative. What would you add to the list???? Lets keep the list PG13 please. :-)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

I Love Snow!!!!

Finally, a real snow. My daughter is almost 17 and this is the first REAL snow storm we have had since she was born. Woo Hoo!!!

I love snow because it forces all of us to slow down. Having worked for a hospital at one time in my life, I know snow makes life crazy for some folks. But, I still think it is nice every once in a while to get an unexpected break...and not because you are sick.

I have talked to people today who lost power or can't get out of their driveway and nobody is really complaining, they're just making the best of it. I think it is times like these that actually bring people together. The other thing I LOVE about snow is it brings out the kid in people. Snowball fights, building a snowman or sledding - nobody gets "too old" to do those things.

Got any good snow stories????

Friday, January 22, 2010

Raising Children

Yesterday someone shared with me about an elementary age little girl who showed up late to school and she was crying. She wasn't crying because she was late to class. She was crying because she was hungry and she had missed breakfast at school because her bus was late. When her teacher inquired about who helped her get ready in the morning she said no one because her mother never gets out of bed before she leaves for school.

Did you know that a child born and raised outside of marriage will spend an average of 51 percent of his/her childhood living in poverty?

In contrast, a child born and raised by both parents in an intact marriage on average will spend only 7 percent of his/her childhood living in poverty. A child raised by a never married mother is more than 7 times more likely to be poor than a child raised in an intact marriage. (National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 - 2000)

Children who grow up without a father are more likely to drop out of school, become addicted to drugs, have a child out-of-wedlock or end up in prison.

There are many children, black, white and Hispanic, who are essentially raising themselves. When I think about my teenage daughter trying to raise herself - even though she thinks she could totally do it - I know the truth is she isn't ready.

My heart is heavy for our children. Sometimes tackling this issue feels overwhelming, but the reality is First Things First exists to do exactly that.

If we aren't loving and raising our children - who is????

Saturday, January 16, 2010

It Takes Teamwork

Spent the day with my daughter and her team at the Interscholastic Equestrian Association horse show where they took first place. It was very cool to watch these girls give their best individual effort and support each other as a team. Great sportsmanship, lots of encouragement and great team spirit made for a terrific day in spite of rain and cold temps.

They don't ride their own horses at these shows. It can be really intimidating getting on a horse you have never been on before and going over jumps or even doing the flat work. I loved watching our team members give instructions and encouragement to help girls on competing teams who were getting ready to ride our horses.

LOVE the life lessons they are learning from this experience!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Working Mom

It usually never fails that when I am given a specific topic to speak on like balancing work and family that in the midst of preparing for the talk my life becomes total chaos. My friends would tell you I am pretty organized and usually have a plan, but there are last week when the weather was freezing cold, snow was predicted and predictability went out the window...that the best laid plans didn't mean diddly.

There have been times in my life when that would have made me absolutely crazy, but I think the years have mellowed me a bit. (There might be some people that would argue with that statement.) Or, maybe I was just too tired to fuss. Really, I do think one thing I have learned over time is that life is too short to get all rung out over things you can't do anything about or that really don't matter in the long run. My theme has become adapt and adjust. Don't tell me what we can't do, lets figure out what we can do with what we have.

That has freed me up to focus on the things I consider most important in my life.

For example, I love spending time with my family. I also enjoy a clean house. Instead of feeling like things have to be spotless before I can relax, I am willing to go for tidy and clean for the most part. I admit there are times when I look at a closet that needs to be cleaned out or a stack of photographs that I have been wanting to put in a scrapbook and I feel this sense of frustration, but I remind myself that when our daughter is off at college and my husband is off playing golf or something there will be time to clean out the closets and put together a scrapbook.

I have this sense that we women put WAY too much pressure on ourselves to do WAY too much and in the end when mama ain't happy ain't nobody happy, which makes home a pretty miserable place to be for everybody.

What are your secrets for balancing work and family?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Snow In??

Nothing like a little snow to put us Southerners in compete pandemonium!

Totally cracks me up, you just mention the word snow around here and people go into panic mode. Truth be told, it does look like travel tomorrow could be a little tricky.

Now that you've been to the store to get your bread and milk, what is your favorite thing to do as a family when you are snowed in? Board games, jigsaw puzzle, watch a good movie????

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Michael Oher and The Blind Side

I watched 20/20 the other night to hear the real story behind The Blind Side. I loved the movie and read the book over the Christmas break. I am intrigued by this story. I know there are people all over the country who take kids in and try to help them have a better life. What I think is amazing about this story is how hard everybody worked to help Michael be successful...including Michael. He didn't look for someone to just hand him everything, he worked like crazy.

Why do you think some people are able to respond to opportunities like this while others walk away from it and get right back into the situation they were taken out of?