Stories are great!

One of my favourite parts of teaching little kids, is reading them stories. They might be feeling unsettled, but once a good story begins, you can feel the calm and quietness fill the room.

It’s a bit the same with my kids at home.  I love to be able to sit down and read aloud, or have them read aloud.  As I write this, I am grateful for the reminder to do this more.

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I came across this writing that was like a missing jigsaw piece, it explained to me why I love reading stories so much and why it is so powerful.

“…But what can we really do to make this world feel safe? Less frantic and overwhelming? How can we make it more beautiful and loving for the people entrusted to us?
Of course, there is no single answer.
But often we overlook one simple thing that’s easily within our grasp, perhaps because we underestimate its power.

It’s the power of stories.
Good stories have the ability to transform realities, ignite imaginations, and help people find their place in the world
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It’s the stories we tell of heroes with obstacles to overcome, and of kindness and courage that win the day.

Stories that ask questions and inspire conversation.
Stories that entertain us and make us laugh.
Stories that open our minds to color, texture, nuance, and big ideas.

Whether picture books read aloud, family tales told around the table, or chapter books marked with dog-ears to pick up where we left off, stories bring us together through shared moments and experiences.

They feed our children’s roots and nourish their souls.”
(from the blog ‘A Holy Experience‘)

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As the Christmas season comes upon us, may you find time to read and tell stories that encourage your kids (and others) of love and good things.

Happy reading!
R x

 

kindness and happiness

 

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There have been some in my household – let’s be honest, it includes me – who have been dragging their feet a little as the school term comes to an end. I have been telling my children as they leave for school each day “be kind, don’t worry what is happening around you, just be kind!”

Came across this quote, which I think adds another dimension to being kind and one that I know is a great reminder for me! May you enjoy it too!
Rebekah x

One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy. One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself. –Gretchen Rubin

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The strength is in the struggle

I had the privilege of running a workshop with some wonderful parents on the theme of ‘Perseverance’.  The night before the workshop I came across a blog (it is a great read in full in you click on ‘blog’),that had a fantastic story in it that touched on this topic of perseverance and how difficult it is to sometimes sit and see the struggle, yet know that the struggle is important.  I hope you enjoy the read!

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“From the corner of my eye, I saw several resort employees making their way down toward the surf, carrying a large plastic tub. Curious, I sat up in my chair. Michael, also curious, got up and walked down to where they were, then motioned for me to join him.

Nestled in the plastic tub were about 150 baby sea turtles, newly hatched that afternoon…..

Miniature and geometric, their small shells were a gorgeous pattern of deep tannish greens, tiny tiles set in ornate, exact patterns. The resort employees had set the crate about twenty feet up the beach from the surf, and the baby turtles were already pushing toward the side of the crate that faced the seawater, their sense of the ocean as home already in full operation.

And then, as the sun dropped lower in the sky, one of the resort workers called to me. As I walked toward him, he gestured to the crate and motioned for me to pick up one of those amazingly teensy turtles.

The director of the release program drew a long line in the sand, marking the starting point for the upcoming journey. He explained that the turtles needed to make their own way down to the water, that we were not to carry them to the surf.

Most of us onlookers were standing back, watching the varying levels of success and struggle.

A few of the turtles seemed exhausted, overwhelmed by the challenges of the terrain. Others got turned around, heading away from the sea or scrambling in a parallel line to the water.

We watched, a little worried, until dusk began to settle. Finally, one of the resort guests couldn’t take it anymore. She scooped up one of the stragglers and began to carry him down to the water, unable to bear the uncertainty.

One of the employees in charge of the release called after her, motioning for her to put the turtle down, but her overwhelming concern overshadowed his instructions. As she gently placed the turtle in the shallows, her husband caught up with her and reminded her that she wasn’t supposed to help the turtles.

She, on the other hand, was incredulous that we were allowing these turtles to struggle so mightily. She saw her actions as a kindness.

Unwittingly, though, she was participating in potentially tangling the turtle population in protective bubble wrap.

That trip from the sand to the water? That’s critical turtle training ground. It’s what gives baby turtles a better chance of survival.

The best conditions possible had been created by monitoring the nest and timing the release at sunset when predatory birds and scavengers are not as active.

But once those conditions had been achieved, newly-hatched turtles need the trek to the water to strengthen their flippers, to practice the motion that will be required once they hit the water.

They need the experience of heading accurately toward the shore, even if it takes them a bit to figure it out.

These moments of struggle in the sands of their childhood would serve them well during their next hundred years of survival.

What an overprotective heart saw as too hard or too cruel or too tough is actually exactly what a baby turtle needed to up his chances of survival. To cut the journey short, to abbreviate the endeavor, would make the turtles more vulnerable and com- promise their skills for endurance.

The strength is in the struggle.”

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6 things a child needs to hear

6 THINGS EVERY CHILD NEEDS TO HEAR
1. I love you
2. I’m proud of you
3. I’m sorry
4. I forgive you
5. I’m listening
6. You’ve got what it takes
D.A. Wolfe
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Sometimes a few words can be powerful.
I think the above words are not just what children need to hear, but adults also.
May you encourage someone in you life today by using some of these words.
It just may change their day!
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Blessings R x

The importance of touch

One of my boys has had a stressful time lately. He has been struggling to feel good about himself and the situation he is in.  It is both a difficult and yet beautiful thing the way it effects the whole family when just one is feeling out of sorts.

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As a Mother there are moments when ‘compassion fatigue’ slips in.  You know, that feeling that you have tried everything and there is not much more to say -but the child is still struggling! The circles are going around and around.

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I read these reassuring words in the book ‘the life-changing magic of tidying up’ by Marie Kondo (pg 73)  that I wanted to share here.May you be encouraged and blessed by the simple reminder:

“…we know that gentle physical contact by a parent, such as holding hands, patting a child on the head, and hugging, has a calming effect on children.”

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May we give the gift of a hug, a pat and hand holding during this Festive Season – with not just children.

A reminder

I love my rose garden, I just don’t make much time to tend it. On the weekend we finally had some time to get out in the garden and alas a few bushes were looking very sad due to a disease. A trip to the garden store was in order. As I moaned to the attendant regarding the roses he responded “Isn’t it great to have a garden to play around in!?” I was so thankful for his reply, it stayed with me for the rest of the day as we tended the bushes.

IMG_3511Last night I sat doing a jigsaw (it is holidays in my part of the world) watching my daughter make a print. She loves writing in different fonts and is interested in presenting them in different ways. The other day she informed me that the writing I was looking at was the same as the Apple font! Anyway, her end product was beautiful and a reminder for me.

Photo credit: grace

Photo credit: grace

Photo Credit: grace

Photo Credit: grace

For different reasons, I have found it hard lately to find the time to write my blog and to read the other blogs and information I subscribe to. Also, my daily habit of reading the Bible had a break!

An interesting thing happened. I found myself thinking more negatively. I found myself not appreciating the beautiful things around me. I found myself being more easily overwhelmed. I found myself feeling disconnected.
I found myself not giving thanks.

I have heard many times that what we put into our minds, what we see with our eyes, and how we spend our time thinking effects us. Today I feel like I have just proven that! As I spent less time feeding my heart and soul, life became harder.

IMG_3416Today I want to remind you to give thanks.

Give thanks for the little things, give thanks for the big things.
Search for the little treasures, take more notice of the big treasures.
Feed your heart, soul and mind with encouraging things, positive things, happy things, true and pure things.
And, be thankful.

Photo Credit: quarterlifecupcakes.com

Photo Credit: connectwithkelly.com

Photo Credit: connectwithkelly.com

Smile

Before I start week 5 of my Positive Psychology course I wanted to continue with my blogging and summarise Week 4 –  which was last week and which unfortunately I ran out of that precious commodity of time to blog.

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Week 4 was about love. Love is part of our most important bonds, but as a society we have almost put it on a pedastool as a super important emotion. Love can be small, it does not have to be big. It can be momentary and over time built up. It can be a micro – moment that then helps to build a healthy sense of connection…

Photo credit: hdnextyear.com

Photo credit: hdnextyear.com

The term used when one feels love and connection is ‘Positivity Resonance’. For these moments to happen, a person needs to feel safe and connected. The connection needs to be face to face or actually talking on the phone, there needs to be a ‘real time’ sensory connection as so much is portrayed in the embodied emotions. ( There is a challenge for our world today with the texting, intagram and other means of communication – one is not building the ‘positive resonance’.)

Photo credit: intereactiveconsulting.com

Photo credit: intereactiveconsulting.com

The smile is a very important part of building positive resonance. In a brief moment it can do so much and yet it is not a costly investment. As a smile is shared, there is a moment of shared positivity which then can provide the opportunity for a person to ‘broaden and build’.

Photo credit: globe-views.com

Photo credit: globe-views.com

My ‘take away’ thought from the studies this week is how important and underestimated the power of a simple smile is. I want to be sharing a smile with everyone!

“The smile is a ‘hook’ that creates a moment that nourishes us all.”
Barbara Fredrickson

Photo credit: imgarcade.com

Photo credit: imgarcade.com

21 day love challenge

The other morning my 13 year old son informed me “You didn’t come and kiss me goodnight last night.” It was true, I had been tired and finally sat down on the couch and it just seemed too hard to get up. I did, on my way to bed pat his sleeping head, but obviously that does not count, he didn’t know it was happening.

Actions and love go together and I find children are great at making this known. Actions speak louder than words – not to underestimate words either. In positive psychology they talk about love as being the strongest emotion. It is something that everyone needs to survive.

Photo credit: hdnextyear.com

Photo credit: hdnextyear.com

 

I was reading Hands Free Mama and felt very challenged by the end of it! A story is told where her daughter is waiting for her to come say goodnight and even though her Mum is meeting deadlines she stops and goes – her daughter had told her Grandma that “Mama always comes”.

Hands Free Mama then poses a 21 day love challenge:

Why Choose Love

Tackle an extra hour of paperwork or love?
I choose love.
I will be more productive after taking a much needed break.

Scream at the driver who just cut me off or love?
I choose love.
It will be better for my blood pressure as well as the ears in the backseat.

Read a text message at the stoplight or love?
I choose love.
It could save my life, my loved ones’ lives, and spare me from taking a life.

Hold a grudge or love?
I choose love.
Let resentment be someone else’s life-long companion.

Say ‘I can’t play with you’ or love?
I choose love.
Seeing her smile as she sets up the game board fills me with a sense of peace I can’t find anywhere else.

Get in the last word or love?
I choose love.
Our words will be better heard when we both cool down.

Rant about the spilled milk carton or love?
I choose love.
Spills can be cleaned up; broken hearts are harder to mend.

Post a picture of this moment to social media or love?
I choose love.
I will remember it more vividly if I capture this moment solely with my eyes.

Complain about the way she’s dressed or love?
I choose love.
I will encourage her to shine her unique light and be herself by loving her “as is.”

Berate myself for messing up or love?
I choose love.
Accepting my humanness offers my precious ones the freedom to be human too.

Today I will choose love.
Tomorrow I will choose love.
And the day after that, I will choose love.
If I mistakenly choose distraction, perfection, or negativity over love, I will not wallow in regret. I will choose love next.
I will choose love until it becomes my first response … my gut instinct … my natural reaction.
I will choose love until it becomes who I am.

My friends, consider the possibilities for a moment: What might result if love becomes your default choice for 21 straight days? What opportunities might open up? What connections might be repaired? What moments might you grasp that otherwise might be missed? Who might you become?

Instead of

The One Who’s Always Too Busy
The One Who Overreacts
The One Who Never Listens
The One Who Rarely Slows Down
The One Who Always Looks Miserable
The One Glued to the Phone
The One Missing All the Fun
The One Who’s Given Up

You might just become The One You Always Wanted to Be …

A Listener
A Hugger
A Forgiver
A Take Your Timer
A Belly Laugher
A Risk Taker
A Silly Grinner
A Moment Grasper
A Liver of Life

Why? Because good things start with love.

Just show up to love today.
Don’t worry about what you look like or what yesterday looked like.
Just show up to love.
Something tells me you’ll walk away a little better than when you arrived.

Then do it again.

Photo Credit: dreamstime.com

Photo Credit: dreamstime.com

 

I want to give the challenge a go. I am thankful for the reminder to choose love. How about you?

 

A Christmas thought for the weekend…already?!

In my part of the world Christmas coincides with the end of the school year and Summer holidays. It can be an incredibly hectic time with Christmas parties, end of school break-ups and late evenings. It is exhausting and not uncommon for people to look forward to it being over.  We had an evening commitment last week and in my mind I was thinking
“Oh no, here we go, it has started already!”

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Photo Credit: churchwhisperer.com

A few days later I was talking to a friend who said, “I just love this time of the year, there are so many lovely events happening, so many opportunities to catch up with friends and spend time with family. I just love it.”

Then a few days after that I was talking to a staff member at school who was helping me plan and make some Christmas decorations with the class. In conversation she said, “I just love Christmas with all the fun art and craft things that can be done, making them here at school and then making with the kids at home. It is such a lovely time, I just love it.”

Photo Credit: sevencherubs.com

Photo Credit: sevencherubs.com

So, as we approach the Christmas season this year, we have a choice how to see the events and time.
I am thankful that these lovely ladies spoke their thoughts and attitudes in such a positive way – it has certainly challenged me!

Photo Credit: mindwatch.com

Photo Credit: mindwatch.com