Inspiration on parenting



In the long, long run, what is going to make you happiest?

I read recently about a longitudinal study of a group of Harvard University students. The study began in the 1939 and followed the students for the rest of their lives. {In fact, in 2012, 68 of the 268 who started in the program were still alive and in their 90’s.}

Amazing data is still being pulled from years of interviews, medical records, neuroimaging scans, DNA analysis and other records that have been added to the 50 filing cabinets that are now full of data from this research.

Some of the many and on-going findings that really stick out to me at this point are:

1 57% of the divorces in the lives of the participants involved alcoholism.
2 “Being in a good marriage buffers you from the effects of pain and disability.”
3 Going to college is more important in determining success than money or social status.
Here’s a fun one:
4 The quality of vacations in early life (“a measure of the ability to play”) has more to do with happiness in adulthood than income does.
5 Love and attention from parents and childhood happiness is strongly correlated to adult happiness.

You may think these findings are what you would have expected. Maybe they seem like no-brainers. At least what seems to be most significant and validating to parents of small children is that what you are doing now matters to the life-long happiness of your children. Money and status don’t show up as being the “happiness determining factors” we are often led to believe that they are.

If you struggle to feel that the work you are doing with your family is “important enough” or worthy of praise and recognition, remember that the stability and growing experiences you are providing for your children now will be influencing their happiness into their adult lives. It’s a priceless gift!

I hope you are enjoying your days and the simple, yet miraculous treasure of being with those you love. And isn’t it wonderful that we get better over time!?

Be happy!




Blessed Balance


They say that one of the reasons free-range chicken’s eggs are so much better for us than the eggs of chickens that are laying in cages, is that the “free” chickens aren’t stressed out, therefore their eggs are higher in “good” cholesterol and lower in the “bad”.

It seems that every minute detail in this world is effected by hormones, and most especially stress hormones! Would you agree?

So here’s a big challenge for us: we women have a very sensitive endocrine system. That is, our brains are very attuned to stress and our chemistry shows it!

But, there is a big difference between an adrenaline rush when you’re having fun versus when you are about to do something you think is scary. Similar chemical soup, but different mindset right? Like when you ride a roller coaster {if you like roller coasters} you may feel jittery and excited inside as you are climbing up and up and up and your palms may be sweaty and your stomach flips just a little as you reach the apex and gravity shifts and you start going down….fast! After the ride, your legs may feel a littler rubbery because of the excitement, but you’re probably laughing and getting ready for the next ride!

Amazing how similar that experience is to the times you are doing something that truly scares you, like speaking in front of large audience or taking an exam or whatever you feel is out of your comfort. You may break into a sweat and your heart may race or your stomach may flop. But it’s not exhilarating!

Some of the difference is simply the conversation going on in our heads. One activity we label “fun” and the other we may label “terrifying.” In the times when we need to step out of our comfort, it will help our hormone balance if we get better at coaching ourselves away from fear and closer to faith.

Then there is the stress that comes from the lunacy of thinking we are superhuman! We simply must shift our expectations from conquering the world to just living in our world and doing our best every day. Consider the toll that hormone imbalance has on you and on your family! Think of how you can take each day as it comes, being loose enough to take in the serendipitous moments of joy that appear with your family while continuing to move forward in your growth and responsibilities.

In general, I’d like to encourage you to take yourself out of hyper-drive!

Try to do more of the things that are renewing to you and less of the mental comparing and worrying that can fill you full of signal-jamming stress hormones and give you ulcers! What is reasonable for you to do? What supports do you need? Pray for the wisdom to answer those questions.

Need more feel good chemicals? Need better sleep? Need greater resiliency and stamina? Need a more consistent pleasant mood? Take out the unnecessary activities that complicate life and drain your energy {often times with nothing to show for the time and energy you’ve given} and focus on keeping the essential, building activities that will be an investment  in the well-being of you and your family.

We must make those priority calls, and be accountable for our choices. That’s how we continue to grow up! And that growing process in general will be far easier when we can maintain better hormone balance. {Yes, yes, that is the understatement of the world.} It’s a chicken and egg equation, {I’m not sure which is which} but balance aids growth and growing in wisdom helps balance!

Sending you much love!






Outside The Box


Today I got to try out a German cafe in our area. I had a delicious kale and sausage soup

and a salad with freshly made bleu cheese and dill dressing. Quite delightful. {My dad got some potato salad that I would love to make! Fresh dill and cucumbers and ham, eggs and potatoes as far as I could tell. Just wonderful!} Then as we were leaving the cafe, we saw a waitress delivering a large piece of layered lemon cake topped with whipped cream and strawberries. Oh, if I could do the gluten, I would have been sorely tempted to order a piece to go!

So, I’m wondering how you’re feeling about trying new foods?

Do you feel like you are eating the same things over and over and over again? And do you think that your kids wouldn’t like new flavors or textures? I am amazed at what kids will eat when they are exposed to it. My little granddaughter for instance loves to sit on my lap and eat Grandma Sunny’s green salad with rice vinegar and olive oil for dressing. She eats all of the ingredients, from celery to craisins showing no pickiness at all. She also eats curry and spicy food and pretty much anything that is prepared. {Would you say that’s right my daughter?} Remember that children need to be exposed to healthy foods at a very early age and more than once! More like ten times! So be sure not to label likes or dislikes after the first taste!!! We grow into many tastes and textures as we have more experience with them, so it is a parent’s job to train the tastes of their kids. And you can!

It seems that sometimes we get into thinking that kids will only eat bland junk food and that we can’t expect them to eat anything really flavorful.

But, what I guess is that many parents have very limited food experience and therefore a short list of things they will eat.

And I can relate. I was 30 before I tasted Thai food for the first time…and then it was love at first bite!

So, I offer you just a nudge: challenge yourself to try something new each day or each week and get used to a broader variety of not only vegetables and fruits but also different taste combinations. It is such a blast! Swap recipes with people you  know that are good cooks. Look up recipes with taste combinations you’ve never tried {coconut milk and cilantro and peanut sauce was a kicker for me!} and have some food adventures!

Life is too short to each mac n’ cheese every day! Besides, it won’t help your health or your palette!

I wish you well.



He Carries Me


When was the last time you were pushed to your limit?

When you didn’t know if you could keep going and how you would continue to put one foot in front of the other?

When was the last time you were frightened and tempted to despair?

As a friend reminded me today, our natural tendency is to become fearful when traumatic events happen or when we are challenged beyond what we know we can handle. But our choice, in those times, is between faith and hope and despair and fear.

The problem is that sometimes we are so stunned or so pained that all we can do is cry out to God in our hearts.

And what I have come to know is that He hears me, even when I can’t find the words to speak.

I just have to choose Him, again and again and again and to invite Him to help me. To navigate through difficulties, even heartbreak, with His aid.

I am learning to let go of thinking that I need to push through challenges on my own, to be tougher or less needy. Sometimes, I don’t have the strength on my own to choose hope and faith, I have to ask for that too!

With Him, I am able. I can go through the fires of life, with acceptance and stretches of peace, and trust that all of my experiences will be turned to my soul’s good. And I have faith that the things that I truly desire most will be what He helps me to achieve.

And for this knowledge I am forever grateful.

God bless you in your everyday needs, whether they are large or small, public or private.  I pray that you will find solace in ‘dropping your burdens at His feet, and bearing a song away.’



“Why should this anxious load, press down your weary mind? Haste to your Heavenly Father’s throne, and sweet refreshment find.”
Philip Doddridge 1702-1751


If You Build It


If you build it, much will come!

This family building endeavor is incredibly difficult! Would you say? It really takes everything you’ve got!

That said, it is worth everything you’ve got!

It is worth the sleepless nights caring for little ones; worth the self-discipline a maturing marriage relationship demands; worth cultivating a life-long learning attitude; worth every trip to the doctor; every bill paid; every game you watch and every dance class you support.

Family is worth making tough choices about which passions to pursue, which priorities to put at the top of your list. It’s worth becoming healthier, mind body and spirit and worth giving and receiving apologies and trying again and again and again and again.

If you struggle, you’re not alone. Every relationship has it’s ups and downs. There are no exceptions.

Success comes in humbly doing your best to support, love and encourage one another.

And that success comes one day at a time.

Building means work! It also means measurable progress and a lot of joy along the way!

You can do this. One step, one meal, one story, one outing, one assignment, one nap, one discussion at a time.

Much love to you!