Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Being Grateful

Being Grateful by Tawdra Kandle

As you might know from reading some of my previous articles, I am big into kids expressing appreciating and gratitude. I’m also very mindful of the fact that WE as parents are our kids’ first and most influential models. So in light of that. . .

I’m grateful. . .for parents who raised me lovingly and strictly. They didn’t try to be my friends; they were always my parents, and I knew and respected that. They weren’t perfect, but they were always present for me, and I knew that I had their unconditional love. I’m grateful that I had each of them for 63 years, and that they were able to know and be known by all of my children before they left us.

I’m grateful. . .for my sister, who was my first ‘practice’ kid. She has turned out remarkably well, mostly due to her courage, strength of mind and fortitude. She has the most loving, giving heart and she displays amazing patience with her wonderful sons, for whom I am also profoundly grateful. That patience and love is also shown by her husband, my brother in law, whom I appreciate more than he knows.

I’m grateful. . .for grandparents who shared history and tradition with me. My maternal grandmother was from the south, and for the first four years of my life she taught me that the Confederacy had won the “War of Northern Aggression.” She was also Catholic, and she shared those beliefs and traditions with me, her Protestant granddaughter. My paternal grandmother was a farm girl, raised a strict Methodist. She modeled for me a love of reading and writing, and she was steadfast in her love and support of me. My grandfathers were wonderful men as well, and they taught me the value of hard work and family ties.

I’m grateful. . .for a husband who has always recognized the value of my contributions to the household, even when it’s ‘only’ cooking, cleaning and laundry. I’m grateful that when I told him I wanted to homeschool our children, he set out to be as supportive and helpful as possible. I’m grateful that he is steady in a crisis when I am losing my head. I’m grateful that God matched us so that our strengths perfectly complement each other.

I’m grateful. . .for four healthy, happy children. For our daughter who is college, whose intelligence is matched only by her wit. She can make me laugh harder than almost anyone else. For our daughter who is a senior in high school, whose talents astound me continually and whose heart is so open and so full of grace. For our daughter who is in 8th grade, whose way with words, both spoken and written, leaves me speechless, and whose insight is remarkable, and whose capacity for kindness is boundless. For our son, who displays remarkable fortitude in the face of four women running his life, and who is sweet, loving and giving. His generosity is amazing.

I’m grateful for the rest of my family, for my many loving friends, for the freedom of the nation in which I live, for the roof over my head and the food on my table. I’m grateful that God has given me opportunity to share with those in need.

I have so much more I could write. . .but there are some Thanksgiving goodies waiting to be made. . .so you can be grateful that I cut it short here. Happy Thanksgiving to all!
Tawdra Kandle is stay-at-home, homeschooling mom of four children who range in age from 9 years to almost 21 years. She and her husband of over 22 years live in central Florida, where he is in seminary. Tawdra spends most of her precious free time writing and reading, and she loves to travel.


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Organize Regular ‘Dates’ with your kids & Discover what Makes them Tick

Organize Regular ‘Dates’ with your kids & Discover what Makes them Tick

by Claire McFee Author of Organize Your Life

It’s a novel concept to schedule dates with our kids, but one that can not only have immeasurable rewards for all concerned, but in today's fast paced society is increasingly needed to ensure quality time together. Time set aside with your children one-on-one is worth its weight in gold. You will create truly valuable experiences you will have getting to know your child, with lots of special memories to recount over the years and lots of stories to jot down for future reference. It’s more than worth the effort. Read on, then find the time and you will see what I mean.

We all have individual Passions that as children we are closely connected to, but as the years go by we get absorbed in school, study, friends, family, etc, and often lose sight of these things over time. Parents can help guide their children a lot in this area, by making sure they stay connected to each other and what we love doing as they grow up.

This us where scheduling time together or ‘dates’ comes in. Your child should get to decide what they want to do. Within reason of course! You might be surprised by what they want to do. Kids often just want you to play Lego with them, go for a bike ride, go eeling, visit the play ground, climb the local lookout, teach them a new skill i.e. how to cook etc.

Your child may need some help with ideas initially about what to do together, so get your child to compile a List of things that they would most like to do, so when it is their turn they can look over the list and choose something suitable. Be sure you allocate enough time so you are not rushed. Remember kids love time to just ‘be’ with their parents. Just be in the ‘moment’ with them whatever it is they want to do. Really listen to them and get to know them better.

Some questions you could put to your child to generate discussion;-“I’ve noticed you are really taking an interest in …..“What do you like about……“What do you think when you see someone doing that……“Do you connect with the people here or is it the activity that you like best…………“How do you see your future if this became your No1 passion………“Does this in any way link in with your interest in …..

Separately take note of your child’s interests as they tell you about them and what you observe. This will give your child the opportunity to look back over their desires over the years, so they ‘re-connect’ with their passion quickly if they lose sight somewhere along the way. This can also assist your child in their teens when deciding on subjects to suit their career path. It can be as simple as observing them and staying interested in what they are currently into – be it books, activities, TV, Super Hero’s, Documentaries, etc.

If you already spend a lot of family time together that is great, but there is a difference between this and separate ‘Date’ time – especially if you normally choose what you do. When the tables are turned it really empowers your child with decision making practice and feeling in ‘control.’ They will be less likely to rebel if they feel like they have a say, which I’m sure you’ll agree makes for a much happier household!

A good time-frame for your Date is once a month. Mum and Dad can take turns having time with the kids, without anyone else around. Set a time, put it in your diary and your child can plan the details. You can build anticipation and they will love the thrill of planning this special time together.

If you need to cancel your Date, make sure it is only ever for a really good reason or trust will be broken. If someone asks you do to something that clashes with your ‘date’ tell your child about it, and that you said “No, sorry I can’t because I have a date with the most handsome 8 year old in the world.” It will do wonders for their self esteem.

Have your child keep a Record of what you do together and when. They can draw pictures, add photos, write about what you both did and have it as a record of the love and time you share together.

Some Activities you may like to try are: Bike riding, Time zone 2-player-games, a gem show, couta boat display, cooking, board games, fishing, roller blading, skateboarding, swimming, walk at beach, getting a hot chocolate to savour together, going to a dog shelter or gardening.

Unexpected Conversations also often arise when you have uninterrupted ‘quality’ time with a loved one. This is especially the case for quieter children who take a while to ‘warm up’. My husband and I enjoy the occasional ‘sleepover’ with our children (9&6 yrs old). Emma and I have a ‘girls’ night as do Matty and Neil. We can hear each other across the hall talking about their respective interests – for Matty it’s Footy, Footy, Footy and for Emma it’s what’s going on with her friends. Since we started doing this I have discovered a lot more about Emma, and know that the kids really treasure this special time with us.

Lastly, ask your kids “If you could do anything knew you could not fail, what would it be?” The answers will vary enormously from year to year, but will give you invaluable insight into what really makes them tick. We all ultimately want our children to have a career that doesn’t feel like ‘work’, due to really loving what they do. They need to know that it’s possible and that their passion does not have to be just a hobby. After all “We should work to live, not live to work.”

To be connected with what you love is a fabulous feeling. Helping your child to think creatively about their passions with quality one-on-one time, can help inspire them to do better at what they put their hand to.

About Claire McFee

Claire is author of the Original Organize Your Life Organizer and co-Creator of the new Interactive Organize Your Life e-Organizers. Claire started helping people get more out of life by being better organized and improving their Mindset in 1999. Claire is also a Speaker and has been extensively showcased on TV and other mediums.
Check out her Blog HERE

A War Was Waged - Chore Charts

A War was waged. For quite awhile we were at an impasse. But my knight in shining armor came to save the day.

I must admit, I was the one who invoked this battle to begin with, this battle in which I speak? Myself against 2 little princesses, 5 & 3. I woke up one morning and realized I no longer wanted to be under their rule, I no longer wanted to be their subject. So I formed an uprising. Okay I didn't form much because it was just me, but I knew I needed to get a handle on their behavior before they got older.

My knight in shining armor? Chore Charts!!! Freed me from my slavery!!!!

Who knew rewarding them with stickers for things they should be doing any way would work? I even reward them for their behavior. It may sound like bribery BUT I'm rewarding them and focusing on their positive behavior. I'm teaching them about responsibility and they have so much pride. Did I mention I am no longer their personal slave?

I printed up our chore chart for free Here but you can use google and find plenty of sites.
I hope chore charts have a wonderful impact on your life as it did mine :)

Lovely Bones - A Book Review

My local book club is reading Lovely Bones for this month's selection. I wasn't exactly thrilled when it was picked due to the nature of the subject but boy was I wrong (you won't hear that from me much), this was a great book!
The Lovely Bones is a 2002 novel by Alice Sebold. It's the story of a teenage girl who, after being brutally raped and murdered, watches from heaven as her family and friends go on with their lives, while she herself comes to terms with her own death.
This sounded very depressing to me and as a mother, the subject matter broke my heart BUT the book sucks you in as you see how the family deals with this tragedy and how life goes on. I say if you haven't read it yet, you need to pick it up.
This is also being made into a movie.
Visit the Official Movie Website Here
PaperBackSwap.com - Book Club to Swap, Trade & Exchange Books for Free.



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