Monday, December 29, 2008

Sreamfree Parenting - Your Children and You Deserve It

This is a big picture but that's okay because I think this is important. When I started LifePrints almost two years ago I sent out an email to all of my friends asking for ideas for posts. If they knew anyone who deserved recognition for making the world a better place I wanted to blog about it. My friend Brandon promptly replied to tell me about Hal Edward Runkel (a friend of his) and his idea of Screamfree parenting. I'm sorry to say that I filed the email away in my "LifePrints Ideas" folder. Until a few weeks ago when I saw the Screamfree Parenting book at the bookstore. I bought it. I wish I'd read it two years ago when Brandon brought it to my attention.

If you have children, if you have children in your life, if you ever want to be a parent...please read this book. It is not a how to book. It does not explain techniques to modify your child's behavior and turn him into a respectful, smiling child. What Runkel has to say is much more important that choosing between time out and grounding.

You might want to sit down before you read this.....It's not about changing your child. It's about changing you, enabling you to become the calm, steady voice your children need, and realizing that the way to be the best parent possible is to love yourself first and grow up.

It's about learning to be proactive instead of reactive...learning to love without demanding love in return...and learning that you are not responsible FOR your children but instead you are responsible TO them. There is a huge difference. I didn't get it at first but by the end of the book I did.

Here is what is so important, in a nutshell, Runkel wants us to be the grown-ups. Many parents need to mature and stop acting like children themselves. If this makes you bristle just think of a trip to the grocery store. Have you ever seen a parent have a tantrum because their child would not sit still in the cart? Have you ever seen a parent completely lose it verbally and physically because the child would not comply?

That's what I'm talking about....if you want to do better and give your children the best you can be this is the way. Hal Runkel also runs live seminars, trains others to teach this material and maintains a website full of helpful resources.

I devoured the book over the weekend. Now I'm going to spend time reading more slowly and answering the questions and doing the exercises in the book. He's on to something revolutionary and we all need to hear it.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Surprises

Since moving to Las Vegas, NV I've struggled with the warm weather. I love snow, white blankets that remind me that Christmas is near. I've had trouble getting used to twinkling light in palm trees and caroling in short sleeves.

God must have known that this Christmas has been especially difficult for me. I just wanted to ignore the whole thing. He sent snow...4 inches of snow to remind me that all is well in the world.

My children built snowmen, sprawled on the ground making snow angels, and had snowball fights. Todd and I went for a long walk around the neighborhood and caught snowflakes on our tongues. We threw a few snowballs too.

I am so grateful for this Christmas surprise. I needed it. My family needed it. Thank you, God for the lovely gift.

Speaking of giving gifts, I think I've found the perfect thing for the women in my life....a pajama gram. Isn't this awesome? I can send my mom or my sister-in-law pajamas in an organza hat box. I would love to get something like this...hint, hint, the red, velvet ones would be great.

If I order by the 23rd the comfy pajamas will be delivered in time for Christmas morning. They also have kid pajamas that come with a stuff doggie and a dog house. I can't get over how cute I think this is!

The best surprise of all is for something wondrous to happen to someone I love.

I can't say who yet but I have a close friend who's been contacted by the Oprah Winfrey Show!

She responded to a question on a few months ago...just for the fun it. It's the law of attraction at work. Be careful what you ask for. Now a producer wants to speak with her and possibly book her as a guest on an upcoming show!

I am still in shock, praying and visualizing her sitting on Oprah's stage. The world will love her and her sense of humor as much as I do. Her time is coming. I can feel it!

Have a Merry Christmas everyone. Remember to give and be gracious and grateful, not just now but all through out the year.

God Bless all of you!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Forgiveness - The Most Important Gift You Can Give Yourself This Holiday Season

Forgiveness, what is it really? "Forgiveness is a decision to let go of resentments and thoughts of revenge. Forgiveness is the act of untying yourself from thoughts and feelings that bind you to the offense committed against you," quoted from Katherine Piderman, PhD.

Why is forgiveness the best gift you can give yourself? Dr. Piderman says that bitterness and holding grudges results in long-term health problems for you. Your bitterness and feelings of revenge do not hurt or effect the person you are angry with. They hurt you.

By holding a grudge you have given your power and control away to the person who hurt you. Think about it...if you are constantly replaying a hurtful event in your mind, if you let these feeling rule how you feel during the day, if your feelings of resentment toward someone are crowding out your positive feelings about your life, if you feel out of control and helpless in the presence of this person...well, you have let the person who hurt you take over your life. Your life is now about reacting to them, how they will react to you and the negative feelings of revenge.

It's time to let go of the pain and consider forgiveness when you find yourself:

-Dwelling on the events surrounding the offense
-Hearing from others that you have a chip on your shoulder or that you're wallowing in self-pity
-Being avoided by family and friends because they don't enjoy being around you
-Having angry outbursts at the smallest perceived slights
-Often feeling misunderstood
-Drinking excessively, smoking or using drugs to try to cope with your pain
-Having symptoms of depression or anxiety
-Being consumed by a desire for revenge or punishment
-Automatically thinking the worst about people or situations
-Regretting the loss of a valued relationship
-Feeling like your life lacks meaning or purpose
-Feeling at odds with your religious or spiritual beliefs

When you forgive you are not condoning the actions of others. You are releasing yourself from past events so you can move forward in your everyday life. Saying 'I forgive you' is a weight off of your shoulders. It doesn't matter if the person who offended you ever changes.

Dr. Piderman says, "Forgiveness also means that we change old patterns of beliefs and actions that are driven by our bitterness. As we let go of grudges, we'll no longer define our lives by how we've been hurt, and we may even find compassion and understanding. "

Take the example of the Amish community in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania - In October 2006 a gunman lined up five little girls (the daughters of Amish parents) and shot them before shooting himself. The Amish live in a culture of forgiveness that is as natural to them as breathing. After the tragedy some of the families went to comfort the widow and three children of the gunman and attended the gunman's funeral.

This type of forgiveness is foreign to most of us in Western culture but it is taught very clearly in the Bible and most certainly in the doctrine of the Catholic church. Jesus tells us to behave in just the way the grieving Amish community did. If a parent whose child has been gunned down can be forgiving of the family of the man who committed the murder can't we forgive the every day slights and the bad judgment of others?

Again in her excellent article, Dr. Piderman advises this about how to know if you have truly forgiven someone, "Forgiveness may result in sincerely spoken words such as "I forgive you" or tender actions that fit the relationship. But more than this, forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life. The offense is no longer front and center in your thoughts or feelings. Your hostility, resentment and misery have made way for compassion, kindness and peace."

Forgiveness is a choice and an ongoing process. Give this important gift to yourself so you can be at peace not just during this holiday season but for the future. You are the most important person in this equation. To realize that your sense of self and security does not depend on the actions of others but on how you treat and feel about yourself is very powerful.

So, give forgiveness to those who have wronged you and offer apologies to those you've hurt. Be happy during this time of love and giving. It amazing how easy it can be.