This And That

I Think I Can, I Think I Can

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Recently, I ran across a thought that really struck a nerve…”When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.” ~African Proverb.  It was in a post about how we are often our own worst critics. 

It is my belief that we should be our own best friends, because if we are not, there will certainly be times that we will have no one 100% in our corner.  And if you can’t be there 100% for yourself, how then can you expect anyone else to do it?

However, in reality, the monologue in our heads, our self-talk, is often sprinkled with the most uncomplimentary judgements about what we do and even who we are.  How does this happen, you ask?  I do not really know, but if you take a look at the messages you were given daily from a very early age it becomes a bit less of a mystery. 

Our parents as well as other relatives, authority figures, friends and acquaintances  sometimes in an effort to keep us safe, from hurt and disappointment, (sometimes not), have told us no, what we are doing is wrong, we are fat, we are lazy, we are clumsy, we are not smart enough we are blah, blah, blah and on and so forth.  These negative messages come in many forms, some straight forward, some wrapped in disguises of thoughtful warnings or friendly suggestions.   I am sure that you can fill in the blank here with more than one of your own examples that come to mind.  As a matter of fact these messages become so internalized that often we do not even recognize that these messages are negative in nature and very harmful for us to point that we prevent ourselves from living life to its full potential.

This realization made me decide that the first step in changing this might lie in becoming aware of my thoughts and whether they are supportive or negative.  And rather than judging myself harshly when I become aware that I am having a negative thought I will just tell myself to stop and replace that thought with something more positive.  Sounds easy… or more accurately it sounds simple, not easy.

If you have attempted an exercise like this before I would love to hear about it and about your results.  If you haven’t perhaps you would like to join me.  If you do, please let me know and share your experience by commenting.

I will continue this challenge to myself by making a commitment not to say anything negative for an entire day.  They say that thoughts lead to deeds, deeds lead to habits, and habits lead to character so perhaps a change in deeds can lead to a change in thoughts and a change in thoughts can lead to living a better life. 

 

 

Do you know your child’s love language?

28 Mar

Cover of The Five Love Languages of Children

This may not be an easy question to answer if you have not read The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman & Ross Campbell, M.D.

According to Chapman and Campbell the five love languages are physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, and acts of service.  Their thesis is that we all have a preferred love language through which we understand and receive love.  Simply put, if love is being expressed in a different “language” than the one that we speak, it is very likely that the love will not be felt, understood, and received.  For parents who have a child that they love but the child always acts as if they feel unloved, this information will be a blessing.

In a revealing passage of the book the authors ask several children how they know that their parents love them.  One says, “I know they love me because they always give me extra hugs and kisses.”  Another answers, “I love my mother because she loves me.  Every day she tells me that she loves me.  I think my father does too, but he never tells me so.”  Still another says, “I know my dad loves me because he spends time with me.  We do lots of things together.  He has season tickets to the Wake Forest football games and we never miss a game.”  You get the picture.

The book goes on to give you tools to allow you to identify which love language your child speaks, how to use their primary love language in the context of discipline, learning to deal with anger through their love language, and even speaking the love languages in your marriage.

The authors believe that unconditional love is the foundation to communication.  Personally, the best tool that I have found to express unconditional love is to separate the child himself from the child’s behaviour.  For example, if a child is whining or throwing a fit, you tell them that you love them and that you will always love them no matter what, however, you do not like it when they choose to have bad behavior (name the behavior here in order to make sure they understand what you are referring to and exactly what you expect).  This does two things.  First, it lets them know that they are loved and that they are good (because they do not feel empowered to change who they are).  Secondly, it shows them that their behavior is a choice, and a choice is a simple thing to change making it an easy thing to do to please you.

I think that if you apply this technique calmly, firmly, and in a consistent manner in a very short time you are likely to experience miraculous change.

Once you have created this safe space to operate within with your children you can then begin working on understanding and speaking to them in their primary love language.   Of course remember, being  multi-lingual is best!

So what is your primary love language.  What makes you know that you are loved?

Check out the article below to take a quick 5 Love Languages Quiz.

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Ground zero…Columbine…Pay it forward in memory of Rachel Scott

18 Mar

Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado.Image via Wikipedia

As a result of a earlier post titled, The Gift of Gratitude, a challenge has been made by Lisa, AKA the Queen of Everything Money, to take Rachel’s Challenge so the first thing I had to do was see what in the world that is and  this is what I found.

Rachel Scott was the first student killed in the Columbine High School Incident.  She was known for her belief in the concept that compassion is contagious and her spirit lives on through a foundation created in her honor, www.RachelsChallenge.org.

What exactly is Rachel’s challenge?  It is a challenge to create a chain reaction through acts of kindness.  Many student groups have taken up this challenge in ways including a food drive, making blankets to warm the homeless, even making a thousand beautiful origami cranes to wish for healing (a Japanese custom) for a young man injured in a car accident.

We all do small acts of kindness and we hope that others pay it forward, however we do not always have the opportunity to see what path our act travels as it inspires others to act.  One of the unique ideas found at www.RachelsChallenge.org are the Kindness Cards that are used to track random acts of kindness as they travel from person to person.  As each person receives the card, which is given with the act of kindness, it is registered online by the person who receives it. They document what the act of kindness is and the location.  That person then gives the card, with an accompanying act of kindness, to someone else who also registers the cards progress online at the website.

These cards are sold to raise funds to present anti-bullying programs in schools across the country.  So you might think of this as the ultimate 2-fer-1 of kindness, like a giant kindness coupon.

I find the ability to follow the path of an idea as it passes through many people’s lives strangely appealing. It reminds me in some ways of the idea behind Bookcrossing.com.  This is a mark and release project for books left in random public places for people to find, read and enjoy, register online and release once again in a random public place.  The real fun is watching your book’s path as it travels the globe passing through and touching people’s’ lives.  Well, sharing books is great but sharing random acts of kindness, creating hope and supporting faith is so much better!   Imagine how wonderful it will feel when you see that your simple act was the seed that motivated someone to become a real hero in  someone else’s life.

To find out more about kindness cards and anti-bullying programs or organizing school based kindness projects visit www.RachelsChallenge.org.

What great things do your acts of kindness lead to?

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Yes, it’s boring, but it will save you hundreds of dollars (and it’s green too).

14 Mar

Cover of "Appliance Handbook For Women: S...Cover via Amazon

Practicing conservation in the home is not an exciting subject until you realize that with little to no effort you can easily save hundreds of dollars.  You say that you have already cut the frills out of your budget?  Well there are actually ways to save money without cutting anything out of your lifestyle, all you have to do is change your habits in some small ways and PRESTO, you have more money to spend on the things you enjoy.

I don’t know about you but I remember my parents always reminding us to turn the lights out in rooms as we left them.  I guess they were ahead of their time because recent studies show that even when your cable box, DVD player, stereo, and TV are off their standby settings use the same energy as a 10-watt light bulb that is left on all the time (which costs about $10 a month). If you plug these items into a power strip and flip the off switch when they are not in use your annual savings would be about $120.

This of course was not a big surprise, but finding out that Vernon Schmidt, the author of Appliance Handbook for Women: Simple Enough Even Men Can Understand says that if we have a washing machine made after 1994, we should use about half the amount of laundry soap that is recommended on the detergent container.  He states that the newer machines are designed to use less water and detergent than older models but the changes have not been reflected in usage guidelines.  In fact, he says that the extra soap actually creates buildup that can cost about $100 in repairs!  Estimated annual savings, approximately $254.

And finally here is a real surprise, and this one will only take a minute or two to accomplish.  Setting your water heater too high (140°F) can result in heat loss into the surrounding area, estimated at $61 dollars annually, as well as more than $400 in hot water.  A scientist at the U.S Dept. of Energy suggests setting your water heater at 120° F or lower.  Annual estimated savings $461.

OK.  I will admit that this is not the most exciting thing to think about but if you make these little changes, you will have the opportunity to think about what you could do with the $835 in savings and that is pretty interesting.  Sounds like a week-end get away to me or maybe a monthly massage.

More surprisingly, all these ideas came from a magazine article in First for Women  Feb. 21, 2011.  That reminds me that we promised to look at good subscriptions that actually save you money.  I guess this magazine will make the list. 

What will you do with $835?

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