Sunday, February 19, 2017

Parenting Tip - The Paradigm Test

Text from my daughter to me:
        "So I've been trying not to feel like a failure by choosing to run the half marathon instead of the full [this coming weekend] in AZ.  I just haven't been able to get the training in.  I'm disciplined in lots of other areas, but this one hasn't been able to be a priority right now.  I was feeling kinda low until I had a new thought - Oh my gosh Mom!  I passed the test!!!!!!!
    I chose sacrificing time running this school year for doing homeschooling and being with  my kids instead of out running for myself!  It's not a failure at all!  It's a giant victory!!!!!  How would my kids be right now if I was completely ready for the full [marathon]??That's a scary thought.  My relationship with A [her 11 year daughter] definitely wouldn't have been strengthened through this year.  She would probably resent me for all the time spent babysitting M [the preschooler].  M would be a screen junkie.
     Dang.  Paradigm shift!  So grateful!!!"

Text from me to my daughter:

     "Sigh of relief!!  You chose the good part!!!  You DID pass the test!!!!  I'm so proud of you and love you so much!! (Wow, I just had a thought - this text could be from Heavenly Father just as much as it is from me.)"


So what have you been sacrificing, that with a paradigm shift, looks more like a blessing instead?
Are you a stay-at-home Mom with a college degree and inner desire to be out in the workforce? What are you trading for and what benefits can you see if you look close enough?  Are you developing other talents such as gardening, cooking, love of children's literature, home repair skills, or beautifying your home with recycling items?

Do you have a child with autism, ADD, speech problems or other issues?  But are you gaining knowledge, insight and gifts that you wouldn't otherwise have?

Do you have to pinch every penny and long to have your husband out of school?  But are you becoming adept at finding sales, learning to sew, and acquiring skills to refurbish used furniture?

I've had to give piano lessons in my home my whole married life to supplement our family income. For years I felt frustrated and pitied myself.  Then one day I had a paradigm shift and was shocked at what I saw.  What I saw were blessings everywhere.  Blessed that my husband worked from 5:30 am to 3:00 pm and could be home with our children when they came home from school.  Blessed that my husband enjoyed cooking and cooked dinner while I taught piano.  Blessed that I never had to advertise and always had lots of students to teach.  Blessed that I could teach my own children and share my love of music with them. The more I looked, the more blessings I saw.  I immediately fell to my knees and poured out my gratitude to my Heavenly Father.  I asked Him to forgive me for my thoughtlessness and past complaining.  Over the years I have realized what a blessing teaching piano has been in my life and how much I have grown as a teacher and a musician.

Paradigm Shift: an important change that happens when the usual way of thinking about or doing something is replaced by a new and different way.

Look at your life, look at your problems.  Have a paradigm shift and enjoy the blessings you see.

Thanks for reading,
Cathy
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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Parenting Tip - Be Nice to your Future Self

I'm basically a lazy person.  If a recipe calls for cutting an onion and garlic, I'll either skip that recipe or just use onion and garlic salt instead.  If the weeds are over running my flower bed, I'll try spraying them rather than take the time to pull them out. But sometimes I'll amaze myself by talking myself out of being lazy.  Like if I'm too tired to take a shower at night but have to leave early the next morning, I'll tell myself, "just take a shower, you'll love yourself tomorrow."  And I do.  I thank myself over and over the next morning for taking my shower last night.

A listener on Gretchen Rubin's podcast mentioned "doing something kind for your future self" when she read a blog entry from Wil Wheaton.  This idea of doing something nice for your future self really resonated with me, since that is a tactic I use to get myself to do something hard.  Gretchen's sister mentioned on the podcast that she uses that idea to make herself lift weights, telling herself that when she is 70 years old and not feeble, she will thank herself.

You can use this idea in so many ways---getting yourself to fold and put away the laundry so your future self will enjoy seeing your family function more happily.  Doing the dishes at night so the kitchen is clean in the morning.  Ah, thank you, self!

Gretchen says this is a great strategy for obligers to use to help them do something just for themselves.  Obligers are people  who can meet outer expectations--they can do what others ask them to do, but struggle to meet expectations they impose on themselves.  

Why is it so hard to do something just for yourself?  I think it is because we feel selfish.  We feel like we should be using our time to help our children, or our husband or doing our Church calling or whatever. We are told over and over again to serve others-- that is the key to happiness, but I think we forget that serving ourselves will give us more energy to serve others.


Another reason might be that life goes by so quickly.  We are so busy taking care of life in the present, that we don't have time to worry and take care of life in the future.   The "squeaky wheel gets the grease" and life squeaks really loud in the present.


So how can you and I take this idea and help our future selves?  I can tell my present self, "No, don't buy that cute blouse.  Remember you are saving your money for __________.  You'll thank me in 6 months."


I can tell my present self, "Don't eat that _______.  Go drink a glass of water instead.  You'll love me tomorrow."


I can tell my present self, "Yes, it's okay to stop and play with my kids (grandkids).  I'm bonding and will love myself when they come to me with problems when they're older."


Be nice to your future self--she'll thank you profusely!





Thanks for reading,

Cathy

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Sunday, January 29, 2017

Parenting Tip - Modeling

I was babysitting Bromley, my 2 year old grandson, when he found a book lying on the floor.  It was a thick book with lots of pages and no pictures in it.  He opened the book, turned some pages, then closed the book and folded his arms and bowed his head and say, “prayer”.  He waited for me to say a short prayer, repeating some of the words, then he opened the book again, turned some pages, then closed the book again and folded his arms and bowed his head and say, “prayer” .  We went through this whole scenario 5 times in a row!

When my daughter came home I told her about it and wondered what was going on.  She exclaimed, “He was reading the scriptures!”   She said for the past several weeks they had consistently been reading the scriptures, then saying their family prayer afterwards.

Wow, what a great model my daughter and her husband were giving for their son to follow.  It got me thinking about modeling and how that can affect our own actions.  A friend of mine from childhood moved back in with her parents, who lived down the street from me, when her parents became ill and unable to care for themselves.  She modeled great love for her parents and the importance of taking care of them in their older years.  When my mother in law became sick and unable to live by herself, my husband and I invited her to come live with us.  We had seen great examples of children caring for their aging parents modeled to us and we followed and wanted to do the same.

What kind of modeling are we doing in our homes with our children?  We usually don't even think about what our actions are saying, but we know that actions are like a picture-- worth a thousand words. 

How do we model unconditional love with a rebellious teenager while a younger sibling is watching?
How do we model patience when potty training a three year old with the five year old watching?
How do we model forgiveness when our two year colors with crayons on the newly painted wall?
How do we model longsuffering when everyone in the house is sick, including you?
How do we model respecting others when your daughter rants about her _________ math teacher?
How do we model honesty when we find we weren't charged for the french fries we bought with our hamburger?

Many years ago I made a photograph book for my son illustrating when he liked to wear his Daddy's shoes around the house.   Each page shows 
him wearing one of his Dad's shoes, like his work boots, Sunday shoes, fishing shoes, etc.  These are the last two pages: 
I know it's hard for me to walk and keep these shoes on right.
So I'll follow Daddy's footsteps as he guides me in the light.
Choose who you look to for a model carefully, and remember who is watching YOU.

Thanks for reading,

Cathy
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Saturday, January 14, 2017

Music Tip - Mom/tot classes starting up


To all of you who live in Mesa, AZ, I'm starting up my Mom/tot music classes for this semester.  They will be on Tuesday mornings and will alternate between two different retirement/nursing homes.  You can choose which weeks you want to come (1st/3rd or 2nd/4th or all).  Here's the scoop:

Music classes held on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of the following months at Symphony Rehabilitation (Broadway between Lindsay/Val Vista).  Classes are 10:45-11:30
Feb 7 and 21
March 7 and 21
April 4 and 18

Classes on the 2nd and 4th Tues of the following months will be held at The Courtyard Towers 22 N Robson, across from The Idea Museum .  Classes are 10:00-10:45

Jan 24, 2017
Feb 14 and 28
March 28
April 11 and 25

All music classes are Free!!  This is my service to the community.  However, this semester I am asking for a $20 donation per family that I will give to a children's charity.  If you want to come to all the classes every week, it is still just a $20 donation. Grandmas, use this as a play date with your grandchildren!!

There is something magical about combining 2 different generations with music.  Your heart will swell with love and pure joy as you watch your children wave scarves to music with the "grandmas and grandpas" or play the jingles or egg shakers with them.

Space is limited, so please email me early to register:  playsmusic@hotmail.com
I'm a past Kindermusik teacher for ASU's community ed classes.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Music Tip - Learn to play the ukulele!

Come learn to play the ukulele--adults and children---lots of fun!!
Plus, a service opportunity as we perform for the "older generation" at nursing homes/retirement centers.


UKULELE MUSIC CLASS & SERVICE OPPORTUNITY: 12 week class (10 weeks learning and 2 weeks performing at Retirement Centers).  Returning students will learn more advanced songs. 
DATES: 4th week in Jan for next 12 weeks *see info below
TIME: one hour classes. 
LOCATION: west Mesa, Main St/Alma School  (tell your friends so you can carpool!)
COST: $65 per student or $100 for a family with 2+ children
AGES: age 8 and up
CONTACT:  Text or email me:  Cathy Shepherd - playsmusic@hotmail.com     480-332-8379
FAQ:  Don't own a ukulele?  Borrow one of mine (register early to reserve one)Four different classes offered, register for the day and time that works for your children:  Monday 1pm , Monday 4pm, Wed 1 pm or Fri 1pm   (performances will be scheduled during your class time.  Ex. If you register for Wed at 1 pm, you come Wed, Jan 25 at 1 pm and every Wed until April 19.) 
*All classes begin week of Jan 23nd -  no classes March 13-17.



Sunday, November 6, 2016

Parenting Tip - You are Brave!

A young mom was talking to her single brother who had just sailed around the world on a sailboat by himself.  She told him how brave she thought he was but he said, "Yeah, that's what everyone tells me, but it's YOU that's brave.  It doesn't take bravery to sail around the world, just organization and a boat,  You are the brave one.  You work through problems in your marriage and don't give up and walk away. You teach your children continuously even when you don't think they're paying any attention to you.  What you are doing takes bravery!"
Here's what the dictionary says:
          noun: bravery
courageous behavior or character.
Synonyms:
courage, valor, intrepidity, nerve, daring, fearlessness, audacity, boldness, dauntlessness, stoutheartedness, heroism;  backbone, grit, true grit, pluck, spine, spirit,mettle; spunk
"the bravery witnessed here today will never be forgotten" 

couragevalor, intrepidity, nervedaring, fearlessness, audacity, boldness,dauntlessness, stoutheartedness, heroism
backbonegrit, true grit, pluckspinespirit,mettle;  spunk


"the bravery witnessed here today will never be forgotten"
Well, yeah, that describes marriage, parenthood and life in general!  I immediately think of potty training with the adjectives "courageous behavior, nerve and fearlessness."

You will need lots of brave moments during parenthood.  Here are some situations that come readily to mind:
*  Teaching your 15 year old how to drive takes intrepidity and nerve.
*  Sending your first child off to kindergarten requires courage and valor.
*  Changing your baby's poopy diaper that he has taken off and finger painted his crib with, needs daring and grit, not to mention stoutheartedness
*  Inviting 10 giggly girls to your house for your daughter's birthday party will take fearlessness and dauntlessness.
*  Buying two dozen cookies for your child's Halloween party at school, then going back to the store to buy a poster board for your jr high school daughter's science project due tomorrow plus taking in dinner to a neighbor with a new baby requires pluck, spine and dauntlessness.

The sentence that the dictionary supplied "the bravery witnessed here today will never be forgotten" could be paired with so many scenarios.

Mom, age 34, just finished mopping the floor, only to have muddy footprints tracked across it by her 3 and 5 year old sons who have been outside playing in the mud from the recent rain storm. Mom  bit her tongue and refrained from screaming, yelling and throwing things.
The bravery witnessed here today will never be forgotten.
or
Dad, age 40, walks in the door from a tiring day at work to find two sick children who have both just upchucked all over the new couch and carpet.  Upon looking for his wife, he finds her sick in bed doing the same thing. Dad cleans up the messes, opens a can of chicken noodle soup for dinner, washes the dishes and tells his wife he will take off work tomorrow.  
The bravery witnessed here today will never be forgotten.

It takes courageous behavior--bravery--to be a parent who is on call 24/7, rain or shine, day or night, feeling healthy or not.  It takes bravery to even bring children into this world with all its skewed sense of right and wrong and what is important in life.  It takes bravery plus faith and hope to go through each day with all its myriad challenges and expectations. It takes bravery to be a stay at home mom, fighting boredom, repetitiveness and un-appreciation from your family.  And it takes bravery to leave your children every day to go to work because it's what you have to do.
 
But you know what? The bravery witnessed every day by what you do will never be forgotten. Not by God who loves you, or eventually by your children and husband nor even by you, now that you know how BRAVE you are.

So stand a little taller.
                      Smile a little longer.
                                                And get out there again and do it.  Because:

Thanks for reading, 
Cathy
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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Parenting Tip - Can I say YES Now?

In my last post I talked about how I had learned to say NO, and how good it felt.  Now let's talk about saying YES, and how good that can feel.

The holidays are upon us.  First comes Halloween, closely followed by Thanksgiving, and then Christmas comes rushing in like a whirlwind with all its traditions, madness and overcrowded days.   Sometimes I feel like hiding until it's all over.  It's not that I don't love the holidays, it's just that I get caught up in the busyness of decorations, food, gifts, traditions and worldly expectations to have everything "perfect" and to do it all.  Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook give a trillion cute, cute ideas to do and I want to do them all.

I've learned an important truth, though, and it has been my children that have taught it to me.  When they reminisce about holiday traditions, sometimes they'll mention things we use to do as a family when they were young that they remember us doing every year, like going to the mountains to cut our own Christmas tree.  But guess what?  We didn't do that every year.  In fact, we only did it 3-4 times.

What does this mean to you and me?  We can have cherished traditions, but we can space them out without losing their traditional feel.  Do you have a tradition of going to see the zoo lights every year?  It's expensive, so only go every 3 years.  Do you always make and decorate Christmas cookies but this year you are dreading it?  Skip it.  Do it next year.  Does your family love to do the 12 Days of Christmas for a secret family, but you're wondering if you have enough energy to pull it off this year?  Wait for another year or two to do it, so it will become fun and exciting again.

I don't have a lot of storage space in  my home, so I have limited my Christmas decorations to 4 large plastic tubs.  But, of course, more decorations have slowly been spreading out and gaining more momentum and filling up other shelves and closets.  Last year I didn't put up several decorations and didn't miss them.  This year I'm thinking of decluttering some of my decorations.  I inherited a gorgeous collection of tall, Victorian Santa Clauses that take up a lot of space to display.  Then I also have a collection of Nativity scenes.  So when both collections are brought out to display with all the other decorations, I literally start to feel claustrophobic.

I've had a stern talking to with myself and decided I'm really going to limit my decorations this year. I'm only going to put up my 3 most favorite Santas and only 3-5 of the Nativities.  When you have a small house like mine, you really should simplify.  So I'm going to.

Wait, I started out by saying I was going to talk about saying YES.  But it sounds like I'm saying NO to a lot of things such as decorations and traditions.  In actuality, I am saying to myself, "YES, you may have a simple, meaningful, spiritual, family holiday this year, and this is how you will do it.  You may choose 3 traditions you like the most (or you may start 1 new one) and you may choose your most loved decorations to put up.  You will say YES to empty unscheduled blocks of time during the days and weeks so that you may say YES to unexpected things that come up or to people that need your help. You will say YES to enjoying being with family and friends because you are not rushed and frenzied trying to do it all and be it all to everyone.

Ah.....it feels so good to say YES!

Thanks for reading,

Cathy
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Sunday, October 16, 2016

Parenting Tip - It Feels so good to say NO!

During dinner several years ago, the phone rang and I answered it.  It was a teacher from my neighborhood school asking me if I could substitute for her tomorrow.  Arrgghhh, I had things planned for tomorrow, but how could I say no?  She wanted ME!  She wanted ME to solve her problem and teach her class because I was so creative and wonderful and ...and....and....But I had things to do tomorrow and really couldn't and didn't want to.  So, in agony of not being able to help her, I said no.  And in a flash I felt so much relief and happiness and realized a very important truth: she didn't want ME, she just wanted SOMEONE to help her solve  her dilemma--she didn't really care WHO it was.

I immediately burst into song and danced back to the dinner table singing at the top of my voice, "It feels so good to say NO and not feel guilty!"  My family starred at me and just continued eating.  But I kept singing my song again, and explained, "I finally get it.  People want someone to help them out of their problems, and if I say no, they'll just find someone else to help them.  They're not paying me a compliment because I'm the only one and the best one. I've been so prideful all these years, but realize the truth of the matter now."

And that's how I learned to say NO.

It's always been hard for me to stick up for myself.  I was a walk-all-over-her sort of person for many many years. I was taken advantage of because I was nice and didn't want to disappoint people or not help them. I considered myself a wimp.   But gradually I started noticing and admiring people who stood up for themselves, who set boundaries and limits and knew what they could do and were willing to do.  I wanted to be one of those kind of people.  Strong in their beliefs and actions.  Self-assured and self-confident.  And that meant saying NO when it was needed.

Recently I read an article that said when you say NO to something, then really you are saying YES to something else. And when you say YES to something, you are naturally saying NO to other things. So years ago when I was substituting and my children were still in school, if I said Yes to teaching, then some days that would mean I would be saying no to getting the laundry and shopping done and preparing a peaceful dinner.  Sometimes it was good to say yes, but other weeks I should have said no more often.

What are some other NO/YES outcomes?
NO to video/computer time - YES to creative, imaginative children
NO to snacking, candy - YES to healthy lifestyle (ouch, that one always gets me!)
NO to lax, inconsistent bedtime routine - YES to more peaceful evenings
NO to excessive fast food eating - YES to more money and healthier eating
NO to hours on blog/instagram/pinterest/facebook reading - YES to non-comparing yourself with others and feeling happier with your life
NO to judging others - YES to accepting others with different ideas
......and the list can go on and on.

One other idea on how to say NO that I wished I would have known years ago when I was a wishy washy wimp and that is, stall for a moment when someone asks you to do something that you don't want to or think it best not to do.  Say very nicely, "Let me check my calendar."  Then check that calendar and if you want to say NO, you sweetly say, "Oh I'm sorry, I have something scheduled for then."  They don't have to know that you don't have something officially written down.  Because remember the NO/YES consequences.  If you say no to them, you're saying yes to your children for being able to meet their needs that morning or yes to reading a book because you really need some downtime.  It sounds so more convincing to say, "Oh, I'm not available" than "Oh, I'm reading a good book and will lose it if I don't take some time for myself."

It sounds like I'm suggesting you say NO all the time.  I'm not.  I wrote this blog post for me, basically, because I need to say NO to myself more often than to other people.  I love to teach and love to babysit my grandchildren and love to do this and love to do that.  And I want to do it all.  But I have to remind myself that when I say, "YES, I think I'll teach more ukulele or music classes", I'm really saying, "NO, I won't have time to babysit my grandchildren when I'm needed."

Judge wisely when you say NO or YES and remember there will always be a YES or NO answering consequence.

Thanks for reading,

Cathy

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Parenting Tip - "But it's so hard!"

I was teaching a music class with a group of children who have autism.  We had a song about following directions and had done several activities during the class time having the students practicing following musical directions. As I summed up the class I reminded the students to try and follow directions the rest of the day.  The teacher then asked the students to pick up their chairs and take them back to their desks.  Marshall did not do this and the teacher said, "Marshall, didn't you just learn about following directions?" Marshall responded with a frustrated voice saying, "but it's so hard to follow directions!"

Don't we all feel that sometimes?  It's hard to follow directions whether it's how to install a program on our computer or a complicated new recipe, or even helping a child with his math.

Children feel the same way, of course.  So how can we help them learn this invaluable skill?  We can try to think and feel as a child.  We can use our imagination, use games, toys, music, and play to make it fun. We can use incentives or set family rules and be consistent in following them.

Time to get in the car and the fight to get the seat belt buckled starts?  Try some imagination: "Hurry, hurry, here come the tickle bees.  Get in the car and get buckled before they start tickling you!"
OR
"Hey, Mister Bus Driver, are you going to drive this bus?  Get in and get buckled and start your wheels goin' round"

Toys all over the floor?  Play a game.  My mother was a master at playing army and giving commands to the soldier grandchildren. She would salute each one, give them a specific thing to do (pick up all the blue toys), then have them report back to her for their next assignment.

As a mom, I wasn't in the mood to play games, I just wanted the bedrooms cleaned up.  But I was willing to make it fun, .  So I would hide M & Ms under books, clothes and toys on the floor and tell my kids they could eat the candy they found, but they had to put the item away first.  Worked like a charm!

Time to practice the piano?  Give incentives for following directions to "get in there and practice".  Do your child's chore while she practices (I don't know how many dishes I washed for my daughter when it was her turn to wash, but she still needed to practice the piano).

Other incentives could be, "let's read library books when the toys get cleaned up" or "after your homework is done you can go out and play".  An incentive to clear the table or wash the dishes quickly after dinner when I was a kid was this family rule:  if you get all the dishes washed before the person whose job it is to clear the table gets finished clearing, then they have to wash those dishes.  I caught my brother only a couple of times on this rule before he learned to do his job before starting to play.

Here's a tough direction to follow:  be reverent during Church.  Remember, this is an ongoing learning situation and different age groups will be better at it than others.  But try this family rule:  if you are not reverent in Church, you need to practice being reverent when you get home. Put Church music on and have your child sit quietly on the couch for one or two songs (or more, depending on their age).  You as the parent may need to sit with your young child or even hold him on your lap while listening to the music and practicing being reverent.  Keep in mind the child's age. Perhaps a 4 year old would sit for 4 minutes while a 10 year old would sit for 10 minutes. This would not be appropriate for a one or two year old. They would not connect the events from Church to couch sitting.

Following directions.

Yes sometimes it's SO HARD!

But what a valuable skill and habit to learn--for adults and children!

Thanks for reading,
Cathy
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Monday, August 22, 2016

Parenting Tip - "Not Shrinking" is More Important Than Surviving

Elder Neal A. Maxwell served as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon) for 23 years.  His last few years were spent painfully battling leukemia.  After undergoing chemotherapy, he was asked by Elder David Bednar, also an apostle in the LDS church, what lessons he had learned through his illness.  Elder Maxwell replied, "I have learned that not shrinking is more important than surviving."
Not shrinking?  What does that mean?
        The scriptures say:  
“Therefore I command you to repent—repent, lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger, and your sufferings be sore—how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not.
“For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;
“But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;
“Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—“Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men”.  D&C 19:15-19

Again, the phrase, not shrink.  We know Christ did not shrink from the agony he suffered for us in the Garden of Gethsemane or on the hill of Golgotha. He did not shrink and he did much more than "survive".  He overcame!  He was triumph!  His path led to a glorious reward.  And while He was on that earthly path, He walked in love and humility, taught with gentleness and compassion and set the perfect example for us to follow.

How can we apply this concept to our lives, to our daily struggles, to our trials.  How can we not shrink and do more than just survive?

When we are tested, when we have situations arise that are not fun, be it financial loss, health issues, problems with children, depression or a myriad of other concerns, how do we face these situations?  By not shrinking from them, I picture us as meeting our problems head on.  We deal with them.  We have faith that they will pass and that a wise Father in Heaven will give us strength to get through them and learn from them.  

If we don't shrink, we have patience and longsuffering.  "But how long is longsuffering suppose to last," I ask myself?  "I do have patience.  But come on, how long do I have to have patience," I ask impatiently?????

If we don't shrink from our problems we are cheerful as we go through them.  We think positive thoughts, and are kind when we feel miserable, are gentle when we want to hit something or someone and refuse to let the adversary lead us into depression and bitterness. 

When I have big trials and problems, not shrinking is my goal.  But what about those little pesky or middle sized trials and problems.  What about a house too small for your family or a 3 year old who doesn't want to be potty trained?  What a spouse who doesn't agree with your spending values or a teenager who wants to be more independent? What about your boredom in staying home with the kids or your jealousy of your friend's slim body? Here's one, what about what to fix for dinner every night when you hate to cook?

The answer to not shrinking is the same for big or small problems and trials.  Face them.  Problem solve them. Pray for strength, insight and faith to overcome, learn and grow. Listen to the answers that will come.

Not shrinking is more important than surviving.  Surviving means you got through it.  Not shrinking means you were faithful, you learned and you made it to the end with glory and honor.

Here's to not shrinking!!

Thanks for reading,

Cathy

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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Parenting Tip - What are you teaching?


Here is a great article that every parent needs to read.  The whole article is here.  The following is  an  excerpt:

"I am an occupational therapist with 10 years of experience working with children, parents, and teachers...I have seen and continue to see a decline in kids’ social, emotional, academic functioning, as well as a sharp increase in learning disabilities and other diagnoses.  
        Here is why…"
 The author, Victoria Prooday, then goes on to explain what we are doing to our children when we let them use too much technology, don't let them wait for things they want, don't say NO to our children, don't let them get bored and let them constantly be entertained.

Parents, what are you teaching your children, either by your intentional teaching or by the absence of teaching?

Let your children be bored, let them play, play, play.  Tell them no.  YOU be the parent, not them.

Thanks for reading,
Cathy

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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Music Tip - I Will by Hilary Weeks

Our girls who were going to girls camp this summer learned this song by Hilary Weeks.  I simplified it so they could learn to play it themselves.  Such a powerful song with a much needed message at this time in their young teenage lives!

Let me know if you like it. Click to get the pdf.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Music Tip - Someone Like You

I just finished arranging Adele's, "Someone Like You".  If you would like my simplified arrangement of it,  Click here to get the pdf.

Leave a comment if you like it.
Thanks,
Cathy

Music Tip - Piano Music 7 Years

I've been busy writing music for my piano students, that is, arranging and simplifying popular songs.  They love them.  But I've been traveling too, so I haven't got as many songs done as I would like to. Here is my version of 7 Years by Lukas Graham. Leave me a comment if you like it. If you would like a pdf copy, click the link.



Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Parenting Tip - Parenting Teenagers

 You may have already seen or heard about Josh Shipp.  I just listened to one of his videos that was posted on Facebook--the place I see all the upcoming news and info.  I liked what I heard. He is being called the "teen whisperer".   He speaks common sense and comes from a background of being a troubled youth himself.

As my husband and I parented our children through their teen years, I always remembered what my mother said when she had 4 teenagers growing up in our home at the same time-- myself, my sister and two brothers.  She said,  "I loved having you all as teenagers.  You were the best kids, and it was so fun to be around you." 

Now that's NOT what the majority of parents would say.  And I don't think my siblings and I were perfect or abnormal.  But my parents had taught us to be respectful, honest, have faith in God and know that we were children of God and that He had a plan for our lives.  We did experience ups and downs and normal teenage disagreements with our parents, but we respected each other, listened to advice from our parents and more importantly, they listened to us.  We cooperated together, we supported each other and we loved each other and had fun together.

When I had my teenagers, I experienced the same thing.  They were good kids.  They were funny, respectful, hardworking, compassionate, and good students.  They knew God loved them and had a purpose for their lives.  We were blessed with children that would listen to us and honor our decisions. 

We were firm and a lot more strict than other parents.  I know, because they told me--often.  But all seven children have also told me later as adults, that they were glad we were so strict.  They were glad they had boundaries and limitations.

Teenagers have a lot of peer pressure to deal with.  But so do YOU as parents.  Don't cave into your peer pressure, Moms and Dads.  Don't go with the flow and let your children go and do what others are doing, just because it is easier and your adult friends are letting their children do things you feel uncomfortable with.  Have rules in your home.  Let your family set those rules and help everyone to understand why the rule is as it is.

If your teen is having mental health problems, medical problems or acting different, get help--don't let it slide until the problem is worse.

But most importantly, ENJOY your teenagers! 

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