Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas






Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year, from our family to yours!

Monday, September 24, 2012


The way to a man's heart...





A slice of advice:


The way to a man’s heart is through your words.   

The best way to build a loving lasting relationship is by encouraging your husband. 

Remember that shame never brings change and nagging never encouraged anyone.  

My husband spent this weekend painting one of the rooms in our home.  He is a meticulous painter; one of the best I know.  I was so excited to get started on this project; in fact I made all the preparations to get going.  I picked up the paint and supplies, I cleared out the clutter from the room, all that was left to do was to paint.  

I did not paint.  In fact my job was to encourage my husband through the process.  I prepared lunches and dinner and snacks and poured coffee.  All the while telling him what a great job he was doing and how beautiful it looked.  On day two, I told him that the wonderful job entitled him to a special treat, ice-cream. He’s crazy for ice-cream!   I picked up a gallon of the best ice-cream and he was delighted.

Why do I say all this? To help you understand that men are motivated by our encouraging words.  My husband knows I love him, but when I show and tell him it speaks greater volumes.

Take time to encourage your man, tell him how much you love and appreciate him. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

10 Minute Tidy



There are days when I want to post a sign “at the beach— back in a week”.  Those are the days when the laundry is piled high, the dishes are in the sink and everybody is waiting for mom to ring the dinner bell!

I have finally decided to solicit help.  I no longer want to carry the load (literally).  I plan to be around a long time, so in order for me to endure I decided that I will rally the troops here at home for help.

This summer I decided to train my youngest child the way I would train an employee to do a job: methodical, with skill, and patience. I must: communicate, delegate, write it down, set goals, give incentives and reward often.

We start first with daily routines (chores) that will carry her through life, college, whether married or single.

Secondly, I want to teach her to be diligent by helping her understand the importance of doing a good job and being consistent.  

Thirdly, explaining the importance of doing chores with skill and the right attitude.  Why the right attitude? Because the right attitude will take you further than your skill.

Fourthly, being a person of your word.  (I no longer want to hear, “I’ll do it tomorrow ma”).  Doing what you say you will do and following through is the beginning of having integrity.  Integrity is a moral principle that must first be taught at home, which again will help them on the job and carry them through life. 

When my youngest was a toddler we used to watch a show about a girl and her doll.  The girl pretended that the doll was real and always at the end of the show she would tell her doll that it was time for a 10 minute tidy.  She was in fact teaching her viewers the importance of cleaning up after themselves.   I used the same method with her and made a game of it.  Of course now that she is much older it’s time to get serious about mastering the art of tidiness.

As a parent I constantly have to remind myself that even though we may have worked on a project once we may need to tweak it and sometimes go over it again and again.  This of course takes time and patience of which I am acquiring more of as I continue to teach and train. 

There are some things that are taught and some things that are caught!
How does one catch?  First by being present physically, you’ve got to make time to do the necessary things in order for your children to understand, see and know how things are done. 

For example, when I was a child I used watch how my mom took the time preparing the home whenever we had company coming.  I came to understand that there were some things that were done of importance in preparation for entertaining her guests.  

Although my mother taught me the art of cleaning and cooking, there were other things that I caught by watching.  The way things were placed around the house just so; the lace on the tables, the bread on the plate, the changing of curtains, the waxed floors so shiny you could see your face.  Little did I realize much later that I would pretty much work the same way my mother did all those years ago. 

Point your kids in the right direction-when they are old they won't be lost..Proverbs 22:6


I like this quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson,
"Watch your thoughts. They become words. Watch your words. They become deeds. Watch your deeds. They become habits. Watch your habits. They become character. Character is everything."

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Let’s pull together





As my youngest child was promoted from eighth grade to a freshman in high school, I was reminded once again that life is a perpetual motion. We live, we move, we strive every day, each person moving in one direction or another.  Take for example this week we had a wedding and a graduation with each event signifying another step into their future.  

I thought about my role as a parent and the responsibility that I have to train my child in the way that she should go.  It starts early when you nurture your newborn child.  Then come the school years, a period of learning and the training and supervision that come with that; then continuing the course of their independence as young adults. 

Each generation is striving to achieve a life that they can call their own.  I thought about how we start by pulling like a parent pulling the young child in a wagon because that child hasn’t yet learned to walk. And then we push them forward as they begin to take their first steps, encouraging them along the way, though they fall we encourage them to stand and move ahead.  Then we have a season when we play tug-of-war, when the child is striving to be independent but has not yet mastered the skill. We each pulling our way to see who wins though it is not a game that we are playing for fun, but rather the game of life; we struggle to let go and  hold on.  Surrendering bit by bit as they force their way into maturity, we let go some more, they grow-up and move on.  

Life is a perpetual motion.  Though we may strive to pull or push; lets pull together to encourage each generation to move ahead and achieve greatness that resides in each and every one to come.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Can a mother resign?


Today I wanted to resign as a mother.  I felt like that last week too.   There are times when everything comes crashing all at once.   As a mother we are required to carry a delicate balance between what we perceive to be no big deal and the reality of what a child is feeling in their own little world among their peers.  

When your child is feeling the pressures of life at their level you need to pay attention and address the issues at hand.  I on the other hand started comparing child number one with child number two and said to myself; well child number one never went through that.   I had to remind myself that what I am hearing is real in this child’s world.  Although, I know that this situation is temporary and it will pass.  As a parent I have to walk the line between their world of maturing, groaning and growing and pay attention to what is happening in the moment.  Parenting can seem overwhelming at times, so I encourage you to do what I do when that happens.  I regroup and call on my troops.   

These troopers are my comrades of close friends, my fellow soldiers and supporters, other moms who have gone through the growing pains of raising children and who have experienced their share of resigning moments.  I am ever grateful that I can pick up the phone and get help.  It is important as mothers that we build relationships with other moms whom can rally with us when trouble comes and when the sense of despair wants to overtake you and your child.  These are the times that a mother needs wise counsel. It is then that you rally your friends to pray with you and to encourage you to get through that crisis moment.  I know that no matter how great or small the crisis, my troopers are there and for that I am grateful.   

I believe it takes a troop and sometimes a village to help raise children who can conquer their world.  Every parent who has raised a teenager knows that these are the most critical years of their life.  The teenage years are years of transition and growth from childhood through young adulthood.  

So I urge you mom, before you resign, call your troops and rally together to get the wisdom needed to get through the day, the week, the moment.   Encourage yourself; remember this season will pass before you know it.  Try to enjoy the journey no matter how difficult some days may seem.  Pray and ask for help.  We need each other so that together we can build strong families.  

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Dressing for Success!

 

Remember ladies how you used to dress to impress.  Don’t let your surroundings dictate your duty to take care of yourself. I’ve been observing a few things about women lately, specifically the way we dress.

I was on the train the other day and noticed a young woman dressed very nicely.  She was with her boyfriend and was dressed to impress. When we are single we seem to put careful thought to our appearance, after a time we seem to get off track.  Several years ago, I had a woman remind me to dress up and put a little make-up on.  I make an effort every day to have my make-up and hair done nicely even if I am off to the gym or in a pair of jeans.  I want my husband to like what he sees.   Keeping up appearances are important for the married woman.   Think about what attracted you to your spouse and how you took care of yourself before you got married.

It takes work to keep up appearances, sure you have to invest some time in your hair and body, but the results are worth the effort.  Some of us want the finished product without putting in the extra effort it takes to look nice.  I have been up and down with my weight, but I continue to strive for a better me.  You too, should strive for a better you!  I still enjoy hearing my husband tell me how beautiful I look even after 30+ years.   Don’t you love it when someone compliments you?  It charges your outlook.

Ladies, with all that we have to deal with in a day’s work it’s enough some days just getting out of bed.  Our days seem to never end.  Women are the cooks, the baker, the breadwinner, the homemaker and everything in between.  When we say we are going to bed, we are usually picking up things on our way to bed or doing one more thing before we finally rest.  

Why dress for success?
  • Your husband will appreciate it
  • Dressing for success helps to stimulate your marriage relationship
  • It makes you feel good 
  • It brings value to yourself
  • It gives you confidence, whether you’re employed outside the home or a stay-at-home mom
  • It’s a good reminder that you are important and you deserve the best care
  • It’s a good way to teach your children to take care of their appearance
  • Let your outside appearance be a reflection of your inside (heart)

Our responsibilities may seem endless and yes it takes work to keep our home and family in order. However, you should do something for yourself every day.  It may be a few minutes to read a magazine or color your hair.  When we take care of ourselves we are taking care of those around us.  Stay healthy and well for your husband and family, do it for your children and grandchildren.  Taking care of ourselves means that we are making a choice to live long and strong.   When we are well it’s reflected in all that we do and in our attitude to those around us.

Photo courtesy: www.weheartit.com

Monday, April 16, 2012

A letter to my Niece as she prepares for Marriage



My dear sweet niece,

I can’t believe you will be married in a few weeks.  I am so happy for you and I pray God’s blessing upon your marriage.  It is a sacred covenant and one that should not be taken lightly. 

Here are a few things that I want to share with you as you prepare to be a wife. 

The day you say, ‘I do’ is the day of new beginnings and a new life with your husband.  I pray you will remember to seek God for His help, wisdom and guidance as you start this new journey as a wife. 

Marriage is a wonderful experience, yes there will be challenges but the best part is deciding that you and your husband will stand together, in sickness and health, when you have much and not enough.  Stay true to each other; make a commitment that you will fight to keep your marriage strong and that you will love each other every day.

Having a great marriage takes time, energy and patience.  It is possible to have a great marriage. Two become one but not overnight.  The most successful marriages consist of communication and respect for each other. You and your husband should talk about everything; he is your best friend.   Talk about your hopes, your dreams, your fears and your desires.  Understanding each other takes time; it increases with the years. 

Every marriage is unique, every family is unique.  Don’t ever make the comparison between your marriage and others.   Don’t let your past experiences (relationships, your home life) dictate your future.  Make a decision and commitment that you are going to have a loving home, a welcoming home, and that you are going to get tough, when trouble comes.   

A wife has many responsibilities and commitments.  You start by taking care of the home: cleaning, cooking, etc. learn to manage your home.  Here’s a slice of advice:  Pick a day for different chores; for example: Monday is laundry day, Wednesdays is grocery day.  In other words scheduling helps to give you an edge at staying on top of things and you’ll have time for fun and relaxation with your husband.

Take care of your husband. Men are very receptive to a woman who is taking care of his needs: love him, cook for him, take care of him, and make him feel like he is the king of his castle (because you are his queen).

Regarding children: nurture, love and care for them.  You and your husband should decide how they will be cared for while you are working outside the home, it is you and your husband’s responsibility. Work together as a team.

Note: Being a stay-at-home-mom can be very difficult for some women-I’m one of them.  It took me several years to come to terms with staying at home to take care of everything and everyone. Since, my husband works nights; I technically am a single mom, Monday through Friday.  I had to learn the art of homemaking without losing myself to it. Your husband needs to know when you are feeling overwhelmed and should help you to relieve the pressure.  Remember, you are a wife, mother, sister, aunt, daughter and friend! You don’t lose that once you become a wife.

Seek out other married women that you admire and ask for advice.  It’s good to get advice from those you admire and respect.   Remember, a single, never married woman cannot give you counsel on marriage – she does not have that perspective. 

I have a friend who has been married and understands the dynamic of marriage; so I have been able to have someone I could pray with when trouble came; believe me, it helps.  I do not share every intimate detail (a wise woman does not) that I take to the Lord in prayer.  Note:  Remember, you have an aunt that loves you and has been married a long time that you can come to for advice.  The successful married woman is also a praying woman. 

Be careful how you live. There are many distractions outside of the home screaming for your attention.  Making the choice to take care of your family should be your first priority, this doesn’t mean you have to give up the things you love; it just means they take a different place.  When you invest in your family, you are making an investment for a lifetime –there are great rewards that come with it!

By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established, by knowledge the rooms are filledProverbs 24:3-4 (ESV)


With Lots of Love,

Your Titi (aunt)
 Irma

 *Adapted from article I wrote:  ‘Advice to the young wife’  and 
    a ‘Personal letter to my niece as she prepares for her marriage


Photo courtesy of: www.weheartit.com

Friday, March 30, 2012

Dreams

 
           "Within your heart, keep one still, secret spot where dreams may go"
        
 
What is a dream?  It is something hoped for.  It is the thing you long for.  It also is something you have probably been doing for a long time and you’re probably already gifted in.

I have been dreaming of my future and some of the things I want to do before the nest is empty.  Some people, parents especially, wait until the nest is empty before they figure out what they want to do next.  I say start where you’re planted.  Start now.  Today is the day of new beginnings, for planning your future.  I am working toward my dream of being a published author.  You must act on the dreams you want to see fulfilled. 

For example, I long to be a writer-so I write.  Yet, at times, I want to be at a higher level than where I am today.  However, I know it's going to take time to get there. In the meantime- I need to polish my craft.  How, you may ask?  I have to keep writing and writing and writing.  I also need to continue attending seminars at places such as the writers’ workshop and the local community college in my area.  In order to gain the knowledge and experience from those who have gone before me. 

I have a little plaque that says, “Within your heart, keep one still, secret spot where dreams may go."  I’ve had that little plaque for years and I love that saying. Those words have inspired and challenged me in so many ways throughout my life and it still does. 

Don't stop dreaming.  Your dreams can be a place, an adventure, a project, a new life, a new home, etc.  Keep dreaming; keep believing, be ever-hopeful; even when it looks like you're circumstances will never change.  Everything is subject to change!

The key is to take the necessary steps to get to the next level.  Want a home?  Save for it.  Want to be an actor?  Then act!  Take classes and learn the craft.  Do something.  Every step you make toward your goal is one step closer to fulfilling the dreams that only you can achieve.

I am sure many of you have dreams you thought were too late to speak of;  it’s never too late.  I know a woman who at the age of 70, went back to college and pursued a law degree, she now works in the town she lives in fulfilling her dream. 

Don’t just dream a dream, live it!


Photo: http://mistabobby.deviantart.com/art/The-Secret-Garden

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

After you say, 'I do'




Becoming a wife is not just about saying ‘I do’.  It’s much more than that. 

There are elementary things that every wife should know in order to run her household well. She must train her children (both male and female) on how to do things for themselves, so whether they are off to college or getting married they can learn to take care of themselves. I am fortunate that my husband is not only handy outside the home, he also knows how to cook, clean, do the laundry and much more.

A wife must know how to cook, clean, take care of the home, raise her children (should you desire to have children, read on…)

Regarding children:  A wife must...

• teach them proper manners (before company comes over)
• teach them discipline
• teach them to honor mother and father
• teach them to respect each other, to respect their elders
• teach them proper hygiene (girls and boys)
• teach them how to cook (I learned to cook at 10 years of age)
• make sure your children dress properly especially when you have guests
• ensure they have annual check-ups: eyes, teeth and overall health
• teach them to say please and thank you; when a gift is given send a thank you note immediately
• be responsible for their spiritual training

Remember that each child is different; work according to knowledge with each of them.


Regarding your husband: A wife must...

• cook for him (feed him)
• meet his needs (intimacy-this goes both ways)
• spend time talking and listening to each other
• remind each other that you love each other
• honor and respect each others differences
• forgive often
• laugh often
• play often
• pray together (as a family)
• always remember that trust and security are keys to a happy marriage

Remember that the home is the first place for training, church, and schools are secondary.

A wife should know how to sew (mend socks, sew buttons, repairs, crafting items-it helps when the kids have a craft project for school).  A wife needs to know how to do laundry: sorting, washing, ironing or steaming them.  You should know how to prepare your family for the change of seasons. Have the proper clothing for each season: winter clothes for fall/winter weather, spring and summer for that change of season as well.

A wife needs to also be a nurse to her family. When one of the children or your spouse is ill, you must attend to them.   You should know how to check a person’s temperature and what to feed them during that period of time, (if you are not sure ask your physician).

My mom had nine children. I was the fourth oldest, so there were five younger siblings after me.  I learned how to care for my younger siblings. I was taught at an early age to cook for 12-20 people.  There were 11 of us in our home and mom always had a few extra people at the dinner table.   I was taught to dust and polish the furniture, clean and scrub the floors by getting on your hands and knees, wash clothes, iron, etc.  I learned how to serve guests - mom was always entertaining friends and family.  I learned a great many things from my mother.

Remember that as a wife and mother you must learn to care for your family, not just the children, but also you must take care in meeting your husband’s needs as well; not as the last thing to do, but the first thing you do.

Remember you are not only a wife, but you are also a mother, sister, aunt, friend and you are a woman who has needs of her own. So carve out some me-time for yourself.  Take a walk, go to the gym, plant some flowers, blog, teach, read, keep learning new things…you know what to do! 

Be sure that in the midst of your busy-ness that you take care of yourself. Your family is counting on you.

 
http://free-retro-graphics.com/2011/02/fifties-woman-cooking-clip-art/

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Oh, to forgive...



Today I want to talk about forgiveness especially on the home-front.  Your home is a place of rest, a  place of refuge, your sanctuary.  The home is where lives are built, encouraged, and loved and when we make mistakes, we get second chances (and third, fourth and fifth, chances) to get it right!  

It is the place whereby character is built. The home is where integrity is taught and forgiveness is displayed. 

Your role as a mother training her child is critical.  Think about how many times you have to repeat yourself to your children when they are young; you want to lose your patience!  

Forgiveness is so critical because it shows what our characters are made of.  When we say to our spouse or our children, I’m sorry, please forgive me; we are showing and teaching them that we too are human.  It helps to build trust as well.  More importantly we are teaching our children principles for living that will carry them for rest of their life.  

How many people can you think of that are still not speaking to each other because they failed to forgive?

When we choose to forgive, we release that person, we release that offense.  The scriptures clearly states that you need to forgive so that nothing will hinder your prayers. (1Peter 3:7 and Mark 11:25)   

You make the choice to forgive that person, whether that person is alive or not. Forgiveness is an act of your will; to pardon someone for a mistake or offense that was made. 

Forgive often.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Feels like spring…



The weather has been somewhat strange this winter.  Most winters here in Connecticut can be pretty brutal, stiff, cold, and weighted down.  

However, we’ve had the most wonderful winter yet.  I see the grass growing and our friendly neighborhood ants are starting to show up months ahead of time.  I am really enjoying this weather. 

I love watching the cherry blossom trees in our yard bursting with colors of pink and white blossoms. They are so beautiful. Though their blooms are short-lived, they are beautiful nonetheless. 

Life is like that sometimes. We enjoy the exciting moments in our lives and then we experience a sort of letdown.  We wage battle with those difficult moments and then celebrate the victories. 

It is the ebb and flow of life.  I rather take the flow than the ebb.  It’s the reason I enjoy the spring season.  It’s a reminder of new beginnings and fresh starts. Spring signals us to look ahead and see the promise of a new day, a new flower, of hope eternal.

Spring beckons us to loosen up a bit. Throw off your encumbrances and embrace better days ahead, spring has sprung!

Photo courtesy: http://www.kozzi.com

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year!





Yah!  I love the start of a new year.  It gives me pleasure knowing that I can start fresh again.  I can let go of the past and press toward the future. 
 

I am looking forward this to being the best year ever!  I already made a list of some of the personal and family goals I want to accomplish and have actually made stride toward them.  Attainable goals are what I am about.  No wish lists for me, no sir, those days are over.  


My dearest friend reminded me of the S.M.A.R.T goal principle while at breakfast this morning.  Whether you are single; or married, we should each strive to accomplish some goals every year of our lives. 


Do yourself a favor, Google smart goal principle for yourself and think of ways that will help enhance and prosper your life.  


Specific (make it personal, make it yours)
Measurable (you should be able to see your goals coming together)
Achievable (be realistic about your goal, make an effort toward it)
Realistic (don’t say I am going to travel the world, when you can only get to the nearest city)
Timed (there should be an end date) 


My dearest friend and I are planning a cruise in the next few years so we have started saving toward that: we have a plan, and a purpose; it is measurable because we can see how much it will cost, so we are saving toward it and it has an end date. 


This past year I started a blog and took a writing course at a local college, these were two specific goals that I had intended to accomplish and did.  Think about some things you have wanted to accomplish.  I plan on taking an art class this year.  I haven’t painted since high school.  Maybe you want to learn to speak another language—­go for it!  Visit your local library and rent materials that will help you, and it won’t cost you a dime. 


I wish you well and a Happy and S.M.A.R.T New Year!


Photo image courtesy of :  http://www.fotosearch.com/CSP785/k7850358/