Saturday, June 11, 2011

"Plans" Clarification

For those of you who are wondering what happened to our "plans" and what we're now "planning" I will give a few details with the understanding from myself as well as from my readers that plans are just that, Plans. A map is made only AFTER the road has been paved.

The nursing program that Leif was going to start this Fall canceled their program, So this has set us back a whole year. In the mean time, Leif will try to build his resume for his future Masters program by getting his EMT training, being a volunteer fire fighter, and a massage therapist. Next fall Leif will start a nursing program somewhere and we have to figure out how to pay for it. No, a Federal loan is not an option for Leif at this point. I really don't want to go into that much detail as to why that is the case. Let's just say we're trying to find scholarships, build Leif's massage practice, and if all else fails I will have to go to school steadily while he goes through nursing school and my fed loans will pay for my schooling and his schooling. But I REALLY don't want to do that because that will cause a lot of added stress on the family. So, pray for us!

And that's the plan.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Making Plans

Leif's dad said it well tonight when he told Leif (speaking of our little family) if it wasn't for bad luck, we wouldn't have any luck at all. Now, let me just say this, I don't feel like this is true on a day by day, moment by moment, basis. But Wowsers, there are definitely times when I agree with this statement 100%.

Today Leif and I spent much of the day trying to put the pieces back together for our plans for the future. Before going into details I want to bring up three questions that we've asked lately.

1. Is/has Heavenly Father been trying to tell us something, warn us ahead of time, give us hints, about the game plan we've had drawn up and we're not listening?

2. Is our future just one of those things where Heavenly Father is just letting us do whatever we want without a lot of say on His part? If so, this leads to a lot of hits and misses.

3. Is Heavenly Father trying to tell us that it is time to do a complete direction change from where we're at right now?

We've concluded for the moment that the answer is #'s 1 and 2.

Leif and I have drawn up so many "plans" and then watched them fall apart piece by piece. I'm utterly SICK of making any plans at all. But when you don't plan, you miss the boat by days or even hours, and sometimes the boat doesn't come around again for another year. We know how this feels way too well.

And you know what's worse then just planning ahead? It's dreading the plan that you've come up with and not knowing a single option otherwise. Uggg!

All is not lost, we're still "planning". ;)

Targeting Success: 8 Needs and 9 Skills for Every Relationship

Lena Baron
June 10, 2011
GRADE: 30/30
“great applications”
Targeting Success:
8 Needs & 9 Important Skills for Every Relationship

Recording my Needs and Skills ended up being very worthwhile and valuable in my every day life. My daily life consists of balancing my responsibilities to my children, my husband, my schoolwork, and myself.  During the two weeks that I consciously paid attention to my thoughts, feelings, and actions regarding these particular skills and needs my eyes were opened to both my strengths as well as my weaknesses. The value came from the changes that occurred, and continue to occur because of my new outlook on who I am, what I need, and how I can positively meet my needs as well as the needs of the people within my sphere of responsibility and influence.  
First, I focused on the eight needs that must be met if people are to feel happy, satisfied, and fulfilled. In order to help me internalize and completely relate to these individual needs I actually created a list of the things that needed to happen in my daily life in order for me to feel at peace and content. I came up with things like spending uninterrupted time with my husband, taking time for my hobbies, feeling warm fuzzies from my kids, etc. After compiling my personal list, I compared my interpretation of “my needs” to the list of “everyone’s needs” and found that my personal list fit very well with the other list. For example, I was able to visualize and record the results for a close real-love relationship by monitoring whether I spent uninterrupted time with my husband or not.
I found it helpful to have a checklist to refer to throughout the day and into the week of what I could do to help myself feel at peace. If I felt off balance, I could refer to my list and decide what need was being neglected or what was being over-done. I found that during my recording week, I felt very safe and secure, yet my self esteem took a few blows. I found that I thrive on the validation of others. I felt a sense of balance when my love tank was full because of the heartfelt praise or loving words and actions of others, especially my husband, children, and/or my family of origin. I felt completely off balance when I felt little validation or worse, if I felt a lack of respect.
At the close of my first recording week, I experienced one day that gave me a great example of what it felt like to experience the lack of all of my needs being met. My husband and I were given a speaking assignment in our church meeting. I had taken the time to prepare and I felt that the actual presentation of my thoughts and preparation actually went better than I had expected. I spoke clear and slow and my heart was into what I was presenting. However, throughout my talk I took notice of a woman who was asleep, later I saw a couple whom I admire whispering together with unpleasant looks on their faces. Within the same moments, I observed more then one woman with tears in their eyes as if their hearts had been touched by my words. I also received verbal compliments after the close of the meeting. I should have felt just fine about my talk, but I didn’t. I found myself feeling as if I didn’t belong, I felt incompetent, and disrespected. My self-picture and esteem were distorted, and I felt insecure in all aspects of my life. It took a few rounds of positive self-talk as well as outside validation from my husband, and close family and friends to calm my troubled soul and reestablish my sense of balance. The key being, the fact that I was able to reach out and find the help that I needed in order to find my balance. This was a fascinating process.  Overall, I concluded at the end of the week that I have a healthy balance within the eight needs that everyone needs to have fulfilled in order to feel happy, satisfied, and fulfilled.
The second week of recording I focused on the skills that everyone needs in order to feel happy, satisfied, and fulfilled. I quickly found that these are the skills that are required to help a person maintain the balance most often outside of themselves. These are the skills that once mastered create a balance within a person’s family, work, and marriage relationships. I found that during the moments or days when my needs weren’t being met I was far less able to practice these healthy behavioral skills.
This is the area that I require more effort and practice. Unfortunately, I feel far from over-learning these skills. However, I have found it helpful to refer to this list of skills throughout my day as a mother, wife, and a student. I find myself referring to it in my mind throughout different interactions with my husband, and mostly with my children. When under stress or when facing a deadline it is often easier to rush a child through their question or conversation, by saying something like, “just get to the point! What do you want?” rather then taking the time to listen, validate, and meet their needs. This lesson learned, alone, has strengthened my family relationships because of this assignment.
At the conclusion of this recording week, I discovered that I am consciously making the effort to calm down and am succeeding most of the time. I am also finding my “soft voice” more often. On the other hand, I have a real problem with insulting (rolling my eyes), and going on the defensive. 
We learn in the book, as well as in this assignment that it is not always healthy to solve an issue right away, or to “never go to bed angry.” Because I was making an effort to observe my actions and behavioral skills I was able to recognize a perfect example of the benefits of taking time to calm down before resolving an issue.
My husband and I took our three young sons fishing. Upon our arrival to a privately owned pond in the middle of a beautiful valley, we found ourselves fishing within the same space as a herd of Texas Long-Horn cows. As a protective mother, I found myself very overwhelmed by my circumstances. I not only had to make sure that my three year old stayed out of the pond, but I felt the need to watch the three-foot horns protruding from these 500-pound animals grazing near by. Needless to say, my needs and skills were under a great test. Unfortunately, I failed miserably on most accounts. Our fishing trip ended with a frazzled, defensive, and critical wife and mother. My husband and I rarely bicker, let alone argue. Well, we found ourselves bickering and on the edge of seeking blame for the issues when all of the sudden we both fell silent. Instinctively, and hopefully out of a little practiced skill, we both knew that we needed to take a break and calm down. This worked wonders! A couple of hours later we found ourselves in a quiet conversation where we were able to calmly and without malice talk through the issue and ultimately come to an apology on both sides and fuller love buckets as well.
At the close of this recording period where I have taken note of both my needs as well as my behavioral skills. I have found that though I have much to work on, I have made changes in my behavior and I continue to work towards mastering these invaluable skills by also ensuring that my needs are met, which leads to a healthy balance between my family, my schoolwork, my marriage, and myself. 

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

On a More Personal Note

I've been wanting/not wanting to write lately. Just a note on my personal realities. Something's held me back. Not sure what. But anyway, here it is, like it is.

My last wellness post was chipper and filled with great success. Uh, yeah, don't challenge things by celebrating too loudly. Bummer, but true!

So what's the story?

Well, almost everything I eat sets off an allergic reaction (hive like symptoms). Seriously, almost everything. And this has moved me closer to a depressive frustrated state of being. It's no good! Friday I'll go to the doctors and get a bunch of tests run (I'm assuming.) Then I'll start taking antidepressants again. Eventually, (hopefully sooner then later) I will have a GI scope done. And then I will meet with the ENT and talk about the possibility of taking out my tonsils and adenoids.

In the meantime, we all have sinus infections and I have a lot of homework to do this week. My load lightens up a lot starting next week. I'm really enjoying my classes. That helps a lot when I have big papers due. Leif is AMAZING! I know he's wondering who stole his wife and left the bear in her place. But he's handling things well and I am eternally grateful for his patience and love! We have a lot on our plates. I haven't even mentioned the stresses Leif is facing right now. Let me do that for the record.

We found out on Leif's birthday that the Nursing school that Leif was going to go to has put a hold on their program. That puts a huge kink in our plans. In the meantime he will:

  • Apply for the Masters of Health Administration program at NAU and pray that they will accept him. 
  • Update his massage therapy licence.
  • Sign up for the next CNA classes. 
-This is us rolling in, and out, with the tide.- 

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

How to Establish Roots and Wings Within our Children

- Discussion Question: What parents do to help their children grow "roots and wings." -

ROOTS: "The part of a plant that has no leaves or buds and usually spreads underground, anchoring the plant and absorbing water and nutrients from the soil." Encarta 2003

Bare with me here. 

As parents it is our responsibility to ensure that our children have a deep enough root system to eventually touch those around them in a positive way, nourish themselves, and weather any storm. We do this by giving them stability and security. We teach them discipline and love. We teach them right from wrong by our words and most importantly our actions. We follow through with our words and the consequences we set which builds a foundation of trust in the parent, the child, and the world in general. By the time our children leave home they should feel the confidence to "take on the world." And when they don't, they should know where to turn for an extra shot of Miracle Grow. 

As we work to build our children's root system we simultaneously give them wings to fly. By opening up opportunities for exploration and growth to them we give our children chances to "learn" to fly. Opportunities to resolve conflict, chances to give service, and establishing an understanding of earning what we receive are all wing builders. It is also important for us to help our children discover their strengths and weaknesses. We do this by helping them become involved in new activities and skill building opportunities.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Foto Friday June Week 1

This week was filled with a whole lot of Sunshine and Love! This week started out with a few school and summer camp filled days. Papa's Summer Camp is a smashing success! We also took the time to finish the garden memorial for our girls as well as our veggie garden. Somewhere in the middle Leif and I ran away for his birthday and left the kids to play with grandma and grandpa. We ended the week in Alton, Utah where we spent some time fishing and avoiding Texas Long Horn cows grazing near by. From there we met up with Leif's brother and his wife. We BBQ'd and visited throughout the night and topped it all off with Smores roasted in their fire pit. It was a Beautiful and Memorable week!
The dog chased Turkey on top of the coop.

The Girls Memorial Garden
From Foto Friday June Week 1
Planting Pumpkins
From Foto Friday June Week 1
From Foto Friday June Week 1
From Foto Friday June Week 1
From Foto Friday June Week 1
Gettin' in Shape!
From Foto Friday June Week 1
Papa's Summer Camp!
From Foto Friday June Week 1
From Foto Friday June Week 1
From Foto Friday June Week 1
A Treasure Hunt for Mama, With a Real Map!
From Foto Friday June Week 1
From Foto Friday June Week 1
From Foto Friday June Week 1
From Foto Friday June Week 1
From Foto Friday June Week 1
Caleb's wearing Papa's shoes while putting his clothes away.
From Foto Friday June Week 1
From Foto Friday June Week 1
From Foto Friday June Week 1
From Foto Friday June Week 1

From Foto Friday June Week 1
From Foto Friday June Week 1
From Foto Friday June Week 1
From Foto Friday June Week 1
From Foto Friday June Week 1
Yes! Mama was very nervous about these being near by!
From Foto Friday June Week 1
From Foto Friday June Week 1
From Foto Friday June Week 1

A Little Summer Romance: Happy Birthday My Love!

I have had a secret for the last month or so. :)  I planned ahead with Leif's mom and asked her to watch the kids for the weekend of Leif's birthday, I reserved a night at the Victorian Inn in Kanab,  I made a CafePress shop and designed a special Chicken themed T-Shirt for Leif, and I waited impatiently!:)

Finally the date arrived and I ended up spilling the beans a little early so we could make some plans together which added more to the fun. The day before Leif's birthday we actually took Caleb and Jakob to Leif's brothers house (which they really enjoyed) and we drove over Cedar Mountain to Cedar City and watched Pirates of the Caribbean (which LEIF enjoyed;) and then we went to dinner (which I really enjoyed.) As we drove I read a book out loud that we're reading together (Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood.) It was a great way to start Leif's Birthday celebration.

On Leif's actual birthday I spent the morning finishing up last minute things and then we got on our way. However, as we were loading in the car to go I noticed that one of our front tires was practically shredded on one side. Somehow it was still holding air, but we were truly blessed that we didn't get in an accident while driving over the mountain the day before. So before any fun, we dropped our car off at the shop. We went and ate a yummy dinner at Houston's and finally, an unexpected $300 later, we hesitantly (because of the money) headed to our hotel.

We were able to quickly forget our concerns, don't worry!;) We had a wonderful time together the rest of the day and into the evening. The only damper was that I got really sick in the middle of the night. But that was just a result of my stupidity and the food choices that I made over the couple of days. Consequences, Ugg!

That morning after sleeping in we dropped by to hug the boys and then we headed out to Kolob Reservoir. Leif got a new fishing pole for his graduation/birthday present and he wanted to try it out. The drive out the the reservoir was gorgeous! We found a little nook along the lake and settled ourselves in for one of the most relaxing days I have had in years. We were together, surrounded by beauty, the sounds of nature, Leif was entertained with his fishing, and I read a good book. Who could ask for much more?

Happy Birthday My Love! 

Image of Victorian Inn Kanab, Kanab
Victorian Inn, Kanab. Think four-poster king sized bed and double sized jacuzzi tub!
This is the image on Leif's T-Shirt. It's clearer on the shirt.

From Foto Friday June Week 1
From Foto Friday June Week 1

A Memorial Garden for our Girls

We have had a memorial garden for our girls since their death. For the past few years it has been filled with wildflowers that just never took off like we had hoped. This year we finally remodeled the garden plot and it turned out better than I had hoped! - Here's to our Girls!-
From Foto Friday June Week 1
From Foto Friday June Week 1
From Foto Friday June Week 1

10 Ways to Daily Improve any Relationship

10 Ways to Daily Improve any Relationship

  • Say "I Love You"
  • Kiss or Hug
  • Give a Compliment
  • Meditate for 3 Minutes (Why it is wonderful to be dating or married to my partner...)
  • Touch "Goodbye"
  • Touch "Hello"
  • Share a Personal Feeling
  • Perform an Act of Service
  • Keep a Promise (Trust)
  • Provide Surprises
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