Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Parenting Tip - The Contrary Child

I have written several posts about Gretchen Rubin's 4 Tendencies and how knowing what your tendency is can help you understand yourself.  It can also help you understand others, of course, when you know theirs. 

Gretchen gave a link recently to an article about how to motivate your unmotivated student.  She says this is a "rebel" tendency.  Interestingly, the author doesn't call children like this "rebels" but "contrarians".  To each, their own!  I like the label contrarian better than labeling a child a rebel.

Here is a link to the post. 

I really like Gretchen's approach to dealing with rebels, as well.  You can't make a rebel or a contrarian do something and in fact, telling them to do something makes them NOT want to do it.  Instead you give them information, consequences and choices.  Then the situation is in their hands.  I also think you need to give rebels/contrarians space.  Walk away, don't nag, and let the decision come when they are ready to make it.  Indecision on their part, may start the consequences, but that is their choice.

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Parenting Tip - How to have Resilient Children

What is resiliency?  To me it is the ability to bounce back after having set backs, negative experiences or trauma.  It is the ability to assume our role and feel comfortable with ourselves and our lives and get back to "normal" after having experienced changes in our lives. 

Your whole family has been down with the flu for weeks.  But now you are finally back to your schedule.  You aren't derailed forever.  You are resilient!

Sometimes BIG changes hit you: you just had a baby, your mother died, you are moving, your husband lost his job, your child was diagnosed with leukemia.  But seemingly small changes can also impact us and throw us for a loop as well:  soccer season starts, you get a new Church calling, your husband is working overtime and not around to help, your sweet 11 year old becomes a tween.  How do we deal with these changes in our lives so that we don't get thrown off track.  How do we maintain our family's schedule so our days run smoothly and our children feel safe and secure?  How can we be resilient?

I think we need to remind ourselves of the BIG picture.  Step back and look at what is happening now, but also what happened before and what will happen after.  Get a larger perspective of life.  Yes, your car is broken, with no money to fix it immediately in sight and you feel smothered in your house with your kids.  No, this won't last forever--though it seems like it.  Your income tax return will pay for the repair in the near future and in the meantime you can take little adventures around the neighborhood with your children.  You have managed before and you can manage again.  You are resilient!

It is important as adults to be resilient, but how do we teach resilience to our children?

Your graduating senior didn't get the scholarship she applied for, your son didn't make the team, your daughter's best friend moved and she has no friends now.  Help your children see the BIG picture.  Help them see their strengths, and new possibilities opening up. Don't discount their emotions, but let them express their feelings and empathize with them.  Help your children see other choices available to them.  Let them decide their course of action.  Listen to them without criticizing and condemning.  Let them feel what they're feeling, but gradually encourage them to "think out of the box".

Teaching children to be resilient starts when they are young.  It starts with you, as the parent, letting them make choices.  It means letting them fail, make wrong choices and own their own problems.   It is not solving your children's problem but it is offering your love, safety and confidence in them.  It is helping them see alternative solutions and possibilities.

Teaching resilience means not fixing your child's problem but teaching him to fix his own problem.

Resilience.  Not a word we talk about or hear about much.  But what a powerful word!

 Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Parenting Tip -The silent tragedy affecting today’s children

I wholeheartedly agree with this post.  It is written by an occupational therapist, Victoria Prooday on yourot.com

There is a silent tragedy developing right now, in our homes, and it concerns our most precious jewels - our children. Through my work with hundreds of children and families as an occupational therapist, I have witnessed this tragedy unfolding right in front of my eyes. Our children are in a devastating emotional state! Talk to teachers and professionals who have been working in the field for the last 15 years. You will hear concerns similar to mine. Moreover, in the past 15 years, researchers have been releasing alarming statistics on a sharp and steady increase in kids’ mental illness, which is now reaching epidemic proportions:

How much more evidence do we need before we wake up?

No, “increased diagnostics alone” is not the answer!
No, “they all are just born like this” is not the answer!
No, “it is all the school system’s fault” is not the answer!
Yes, as painful as it can be to admit, in many cases, WE, parents, are the answer to many of our kids’ struggles!
 It is scientifically proven that the brain has the capacity to rewire itself through the environment. Unfortunately, with the environment and parenting styles that we are providing to our children, we are rewiring their brains in a wrong direction and contributing to their challenges in everyday life.
Yes, there are and always have been children who are born with disabilities and despite their parents’ best efforts to provide them with a well-balanced environment and parenting, their children continue to struggle. These are NOT the children I am talking about here. 
I am talking about many others whose challenges are greatly shaped by the environmental factors that parents, with their greatest intentions, provide to their children. As I have seen in my practice, the moment parents change their perspective on parenting, these children change.   

What is wrong?

Today’s children are being deprived of the fundamentals of a healthy childhood, such as:
  • Emotionally available parents
  • Clearly defined limits and guidance
  • Responsibilities
  • Balanced nutrition and adequate sleep
  • Movement and outdoors
  • Creative play, social interaction, opportunities for unstructured times and boredom
Instead, children are being served with:
  • Digitally distracted parents
  • Indulgent parents who let kids “Rule the world”
  • Sense of entitlement rather than responsibility
  • Inadequate sleep and unbalanced nutrition
  • Sedentary indoor lifestyle
  • Endless stimulation, technological babysitters, instant gratification, and absence of dull moments
Could anyone imagine that it is possible to raise a healthy generation in such an unhealthy environment? Of course not! There are no shortcuts to parenting, and we can’t trick human nature. As we see, the outcomes are devastating. Our children pay for the loss of well-balanced childhood with their emotional well-being.

How to fix it?

If we want our children to grow into happy and healthy individuals, we have to wake up and go back to the basics. It is still possible! I know this because hundreds of my clients see positive changes in their kids’ emotional state within weeks (and in some cases, even days) of implementing these recommendations:
 Please read the rest of the post here:https://yourot.com/parenting-club/2017/5/24/what-are-we-doing-to-our-children

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Parenting Tip- What Matters Most?

It's a new year--2018. Time for goals, for schedules beginning again, for activities to start running into each other and for saying goodbye to the lazy days between New Year's Eve and school starting. I had lunch with a friend today as we set our new goals for the year and the month and I'm actually excited to get the new semester going again. But I'm afraid I'm falling into the same pitfall that I fall into so many times before--that of over scheduling myself. 

I like to be busy.  I like to think I'm still young and vital and involved in life.  When I really admit it to myself, though, I think I'm afraid of quiet and slow time.  It makes me feel like something is wrong with me, that everyone else is busy doing fun and important things and I'm not.  Pres Uchtdorf said,
"Let’s be honest; it’s rather easy to be busy. We all can think up a list of tasks that will overwhelm our schedules. Some might even think that their self-worth depends on the length of their to-do list. They flood the open spaces in their time with lists of meetings and minutia—even during times of stress and fatigue. Because they unnecessarily complicate their lives, they often feel increased frustration, diminished joy, and too little sense of meaning in their lives.
 The wise understand and apply the lessons of tree rings and air turbulence. They resist the temptation to get caught up in the frantic rush of everyday life. They follow the advice “There is more to life than increasing its speed.”1In short, they focus on the things that matter most."
I love that phrase and concept, "the things that matter most."  What things am I doing in my life that really matter the most?  Is it reading Facebook and looking at what others are posting about so I feel bad about myself?  Is it following someone on Instagram who is so focused on photographing every aspect of their life, that they forget to really live their life?  A friend told me about a girl she follows on Instagram.  One day my friend and her husband went to an ice cream shop, and there was the girl she followed on Instagram, posing with her ice cream cone while her husband took pictures of her.  I thought, "How sad, that you can't even enjoy having a date with your husband without thinking about your next post and making sure you get a good shot of yourself."

What Matters Most?
Am I  making space during my day so I can babysit or help someone when they call and need it?
Am I allowing time to play with grandchildren or read a book or call and talk to a lonely friend?
Am I putting my creative energy into fulfilling my role as a mother, grandmother, or Church member?

Thinking of this question has already helped me make two hard choices.  I want to play my banjo somewhere that is out of my comfort zone.  I met a person who has an "in" and can help me achieve this dream of mine, but I'm starting to chicken out of doing it.  I'm thinking of all the reasons why I shouldn't do it after all.  When I asked myself the question, what matters most, though, it helped me put things into perspective and gave me the courage to take the plunge and do it.  Well, I haven't done it yet, but I'm going to do it!

The other choice involves taking time to see out of state family, which is costly, time consuming and again, out of my comfort zone and normal schedule.  But when I ask  myself, "what matters most", then of course, it is seeing grandchildren and establishing relationships with them.

So you guessed it.  One of my goals for 2018 is to ask myself, "what matters most?"

Thanks for reading,



Monday, November 6, 2017

Parenting Tip - What Do You Say No and Yes To?

I've been listening to The Simple Show podcast for several months now and love it. It's a great walking-in-the-morning companion.  For the past little while, they have had a segment where Tsh Oxenreider, the host, and her friends discuss what they say NO and YES to on different topics.  It has made me stop and think about what I say no and yes to.  There is always a trade off--when you say no to something, it opens up your life to say yes to something else.  And vice versa.  So here are a few of the things I say NO and YES to.  Not by topic, but by what comes to my mind.

I say YES to nature.  I am somehow intrinsically bound to the weather and outside.  I open the door to check the weather each morning and I'm immediately happy when I see cloudy, stormy weather (I live in Arizona--enough said).  Because of saying yes to nature, I hike a lot with a hiking friend.  I have to.  I have to get outside and enjoy the cacti, clouds and beauty.  It's also a healthy mental outlet that I need.

I say YES to sunsets.  I check the sunsets in the evenings and randomly send out "sunset alerts" to my friends and family when I see a beautiful one.  And they send them back to me, by the way.  I say YES to stopping life and standing outside and looking at a sunset.

I say YES to grandchildren.  I am a child at heart still and love to watch children play.  I say yes to buying toys that let them use their imaginations. Lately I've been stalking the thrift stores for firefighter coats and hats.  I even converted one of our sheds into "The Kid's Club House" where last night my 7 year old grandson creatively hot glued small rocks onto a paper cup to make a fairy house.

I say YES to learning.  For the past 4 years I have been learning to play the banjo.  I learned to play the ukulele and teach it now.  I want to learn to play the mandolin and my children are buying me one for Christmas (I hope).  I've always wanted to learn to draw, so this year I have been taking an online art class.  I'm still not good at drawing, but I'm getting a lot better at lettering and doodling--which is what the class was about.  I'm thinking of taking an online watercolor class next year.
Now what do I say No to?

I say NO to feeling guilty about things.  This is an ongoing process but at my age, you would think I would have my act together.  Not so.  I have to continually analyze my actions and thoughts and specifically tell myself to not feel guilty about a situation or event.

I say NO to wasting time.  That doesn't mean I don't sit down and read a book, or look at Facebook.  But I try to organize myself to accomplish good things during the day--and evenings.  I cut down the time I spend on the internet randomly surfing and following mindless links and videos.

I say NO to shopping sales and ads.  When I need to buy clothing, I'll buy it.  If I shop all the ads, I tend to spend when I don't really need something. When I look at the ads and specials I find that I start wanting things I never knew I wanted or needed before.

I say NO to a life of misery, unhappiness or just going with the flow.  If I'm down I analyze why and try to change my attitude.  One of my favorite quotations is this one by Pres. Hinkley that is on my living room wall. 

I want to live my life so that at the end of it, I can look back on all the fun experiences I have had with family, grandchildren, friends and others.  I want to look back on the meaningful service I have given and the heart to heart talks I have had with loved ones.  I want to live an intentional life, not one that has just happened randomly as life went by.

This has been fun for me to think about what I say NO and YES to.  It really helps to put things in perspective and helps me realize what my values are.  It makes me stronger and more diligent in wanting to keep my "nos" and "yeses" intact (how do I spell that, anyway?).  I am living an intentional life.  I love that feeling.

It's something I say YES to.

Thanks for reading,


PS What a great experience it would be to talk as a family or as a husband/wife about what you say no and yes to.  It helps you get on the same page.  It helps you solidify what you want to happen in your family, how you want to spend your money and what experiences you want for yourself and your children.   It clarifies your values and beliefs and aligns your actions to those values. Say YES and see what happens!


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Parenting Tip - Is Your Child an Upholder, Obliger, Questioner or Rebel (read as Strong-willed)?

I really like many of the books Gretchen Rubin has written, but I’m obsessed with her newest book, The Four Tendencies.
This is what she says about it on her website:
During my multibook investigation into human nature, I realized that by asking the suspiciously simple question “How do I respond to expectations?” we gain explosive self-knowledge.
I discovered that people fit into Four Tendencies: Upholders, Questioners, Obligers, and Rebels. Our Tendency shapes every aspect of our behavior, so understanding this framework lets us make better decisions, meet deadlines, suffer less stress and burnout, and engage more effectively. The Four Tendencies explain why we act and why we don’t act.
I am an Obliger (you can take a quick quiz here to find out what tendency you are ).  Knowing this has made my life easier.  I understand why I do some of the things I do and know how to deal with other aspects of my life, like accomplishing goals or saying no to people.  I think it is important to understand our family members and realize their tendencies—especially our spouses and children.  It can make family life so much more enjoyable when we understand why people act and respond the way they do.  Then we can change the way we approach our spouse or child so we can have win-win experiences and less conflicts.

Here are the Tendencies in a nutshell:
The Upholder Tendency
Upholders are those people who readily respond to outer and inner expectations alike.   They meet work or school deadlines as well as keep goals they set for themselves.
Strengths:  Upholders can set goals and ideals for themselves and stick to it.  They follow rules. They also fulfill expectations that others have for them.  They love schedules and routines.  They like to know what is expected of them and don’t like to make mistakes.
Weaknesses:  Upholders don’t like to have their schedules changed.  They are uncomfortable if they can’t follow the rules or expectations teachers or others have put on them.  They want to follow them whether they are sensible or not. They don’t like change and can be inflexible and rigid.
Dealing with an Upholder Child
Parents may enjoy having children who are Upholders because they don’t have to nag them about doing homework or practicing the piano. They plan ahead and have their softball equipment ready and like to arrive at school on time or even early.

The Upholder child doesn’t like to change his schedule.  If he needs to read 30 minutes a day for school he has a hard time letting that go if a busy day prohibits it. He has a hard time letting a task go not quite completed such as a book report project he feels he needs more time on.

Be careful about unintentionally adding an expectation or suggesting unnecessary rules.  An upholder child will exert a lot of energy toward trying to meet it.  The author states that an offhand remark like, “you should enter the spelling bee” might set off an unintended stressful chain reaction.

In dealing with an Upholder child, address his tendency value: “You like to do things that are expected of you”, “you like to be on time”, or “you like to finish your projects”.  But then address the issue in a logical way such as, “your teacher will understand that you can only read 15 minutes on some days”, or “it’s more important to go the speed limit and be safe than to be extra early to school”.

The Questioner Tendency
We all have inner expectations—things we want to do, and outer expectations—what others want us to do.  Questioners only do things that are inner expectations and only those outer expectations that they have turned into inner expectations.  Questioners want information, logic and efficiency.  They want to gather the facts and decide for themselves if something is legitimate to do, the best thing to buy, or the right thing to follow. They like logical conclusions and will research options until they are convinced.
Strengths:  Once Questioners are resolved to do something, they follow through and are reliable. They don’t just accept the traditional way to do things, so may come up with new solutions to problems or situations.
Weaknesses:  When Questioners don’t accept the justification for an expectation, they refuse to meet it.  Rules may seem arbitrary or make no sense.  When wanting to purchase an item, they may research and question so much, they can’t come to a conclusion and make a decision.

Dealing with a Questioner Child
A child who is a questioner does not accept phrases like, “because I said so”, or that’s the rule”. Questioners want to understand the “why” of doing something, and once they do, they are more willing to comply.  Why is piano practicing important?  Why should I learn the multiplication tables? Why does my school require uniforms?

Parents or teachers who are dealing with a child’s refusal to do something should find out why the child is refusing, then help the child understand the reasons behind the issue.  Help him find the justification for doing what he doesn’t want to do.  Why do I have to sit in my car seat?   Because it’s the law and you don’t want Mommy to have to pay a fine.  Why do I have to eat my vegetables?  Because they will make you healthy and strong so you can hit a home run some day.

The Obliger Tendency
Throughout a day, week and month, people are always asking us to do things.  The Obliger can accomplish things someone else asks her to do, but has a hard time meeting expectations that only she puts on herself.  For example, when you were in school, you could meet your English deadlines, but now you have a hard time consistently writing in your journal.

Obligers needs accountability.  Someone who is expecting them to bring them the results they’ve asked for.  If you are on a team and training for a game, you don’t want to let your teammates down, so you run every morning.  But after the season is over, you can’t get yourself to run anymore.  The accountability has disappeared.
Strengths:  Obligers get things done!  They volunteer, help out, and meet deadlines.  They make great leaders, team members, friends and family members.
Weaknesses:  Obligers have a hard time meeting their own needs and desires.  They need to feel accountable to someone in order to meet the goals they’ve set for themselves.  This is my tendency.  I used to always announce to my children that I would give them $10 if they saw me eat any more cookies the rest of the day.  Then it was easy for me to not eat any more.

If Obligers get overwhelmed by constant demands they are trying to meet of others, they can have a meltdown—which is usually not pretty.  They go into Obliger-Rebellion and resist doing anything.   Family members need to be aware of Obligers in their home, and help them not get overwhelmed, by helping them say “no” when necessary.  They can also provide accountability to help them reach their goals.

Dealing with an Obliger Child
I was delighted to read the author’s example when dealing with an Obliger child (which she says is sometimes hard to pick out).  She gave the example of piano practicing and said there needs to be accountability like having a practice chart, a parent’s gentle reminder or a teacher who says, “I can tell if you’ve been practicing or not.”

Help your Obliger child create accountability by enrolling him in classes, making job charts, having family rules, etc.  But be aware so your child does not begin feeling overwhelmed by meeting everyone’s needs but his own.

The Rebel Tendency
Rebels don’t want anyone telling them what to do, including themselves! They resist all efforts when someone asks them to do something and have a hard time getting themselves to do something they want to do.  For Rebels, being able to choose and have freedom of self-expression is vitally important. They respond better to people asking their opinion rather than being told to do something.
Strengths:  They don’t cave into peer pressure.  They enjoy meeting challenges especially when someone says it will be too hard to do. Rebels do things their way and want their lives to exhibit their values.
Weaknesses:  Rebels don’t like to be told to do something and resist commands and control over themselves.  They want to do things in their own way and in their own time.  They have a hard time sticking to a schedule.

Dealing with a Rebel Child (my daughter prefers to call them Strong-willed children and I agree)
Strong-willed children are hard to deal with. They want to make their own choices.  The best way to handle them is to give them information, tell them what the consequences are, and let them make their choice. And don’t watch them—then they think there is an expectation and will rebel and not choose.
Strong-willed children need to feel the consequence of their choices, be it good or bad. Strong-willed  children are motivated by identity.  Explain the situation:  “When you’re always late and delay our leaving, I feel like I can’t trust you.  Do you want to be trustworthy or not--your choice."  Make things fun for the strong-willed child.  Make up games when you’re brushing your child’s teeth or sing silly songs.  Strong-willed children like challenges: “Bet you can’t get dressed before Daddy does”.  Let them choose: “You can eat a snack, do your homework now, and then play before dinner or you can eat a snack and play first.  But if you don’t finish your homework before dinner, you will have to finish it after dinner and not have time for me to play a game with you before bedtime.  It’s your choice.” Then allow them time and space to make their choice.

In reviewing how to deal with children in these four tendencies, it seems to me that parents should use lots of common sense.  It shouldn’t be a nerve wrecking decision trying to decide what is the correct thing to say to your obliger child compared to what to say to your strong -willed child.  Good parenting  techniques cover all types and personalities of children.  In summary, here are some basic, sound ideas that work well in dealing with any and all types of children:

1.       Explain the situation to your child when a conflict arises.  Appeal to his sense of value.
2.       Listen to your child to understand what his needs are that are not being met.
3.       Explain the “why” behind rules and “why” you are asking for a certain behavior from your child.
4.       Make charts and give positive reinforcement to help establish new habits and outcomes.
5.       Give information, consequences and choice to your child.
6.       Let your child suffer the consequences of his choice and actions.
7.       Have fun with your child, make up games and challenges to spice up daily routines.

I hope this information has been helpful.  Now apply it to your spouse!

Thanks for reading,


Monday, October 23, 2017

Parenting Tip - Strengthening our Kids for the Last Days

This is a great video that gives practical advice to parents who are raising children now.  And preparing them for the future.

Where are you spending your time?  Where are your children spending their time?  Too many activities?  Not the BEST activities for this crucial time in their lives?

How can you get protection for your children?  How can you open the other POWERS that are available?  How can you access the "other side" of the veil to strengthen and help you.

How can you utilize the Sabbath Day?

Great insights and support and help for parents in this, the last days, as we prepare our children to usher in the coming of the Lord.

Thanks for reading--and viewing,



Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Music Tip - Ukulele Chords for It's Gonna be Okay

Hi Ukulele Fans,

Here are the chords that go with the Piano Guys latest hit, It's Gonna be Okay.  My current ukulele group is loving it!  Hope you enjoy it.  Here is a link to the group performing it on You tube.  This version is in the same key, so you can play along with the group.  So fun!!

At the bottom of this version is instructions for playing a little harmonic pattern on the ukulele with the chorus.  If you don't understand how to do it, let me know.

Thanks for reading,


Friday, September 1, 2017

Parenting Tip- How Can I Help in a Disaster Situation?

We all want to help.  When there is a disaster, our human nature wants to reach out and make things better.  Right now we all want to help Texas after the ravage and destruction wrought by Hurricane Harvey.  But how can we help and what is the best way to help? The following information is what the LDS Charities has posted in the Church News.
Hurricane Harvey has ravaged the greater Houston, Texas, area, affecting thousands of people. Many organizations and individuals have provided rescue efforts and continue to help those with the greatest needs. (See related story.)
LDS Charities, the humanitarian arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is donating supplies to the relief efforts and is preparing to support ongoing relief and cleanup. This relief is provided through the Emergency Response efforts of LDS Charities, which responds to hundreds of disasters worldwide. LDS Charities’ first efforts are focused on helping people in need.
How you can helpAs you feel a desire to provide aid, please consider the following seven ways you can help:
  1. Don’t go to the disaster area until you are invited. LDS Charities works with government organizations that are already in place. If you want to immediately volunteer, connect with the local government emergency operations handling the situation or an organization in the area that is soliciting volunteers. Spontaneous volunteerism creates what is often called a “second disaster”—having to support the needs (shelter, food, safety, and so on) of additional volunteers with the same limited resources available to support those in need.
  2. Donate funds. Donating to the Church’s humanitarian aid fund (LDS Charities) via the humanitarian aid section of your tithing slip or through LDS Philanthropies is a great way to support emergency response efforts worldwide. One hundred percent of your donation to LDS Charities will go to support those with the greatest needs, including other worldwide disasters that similarly affect many lives. Many other organizations and religions have charitable efforts dedicated to helping in disaster relief. These organizations have connections, plans, and the resources to quickly provide relief. Their first need is generally funding to handle relief efforts, as they can maximize monetary donations. Many organizations prefer to use funds to buy locally to save on shipping costs and boost the local economy. Before considering a donation of supplies, ensure the organization has a need for the suggested supplies.
  3. If you are in a surrounding area, let your local leaders know you are willing to help. LDS Charities connects with local priesthood leaders to receive reports and coordinate response efforts such as cleaning up homes and yards damaged by the disaster. Once the cleanup requests have been processed by Church emergency operations centers, priesthood leaders in areas surrounding the disaster receive requests for help in cleanup efforts. If you are willing to help, let your priesthood leader know so that you can help if your stake is asked to provide volunteers in cleanup efforts. Volunteers can also search and sign up for relief effort opportunities on JustServe.org.
  4. If you do not live close to the disaster area, look to support local community efforts. Consider the needs in your own community and what you can do to help. You can find local efforts through sites such as JustServe.org. For example, consider donating to a local food bank or offering to donate blood. These efforts are always needed and can relieve some strain on areas no longer able to provide that assistance due to the disaster. Be careful to check what the needs are of your local organizations before donating supplies. Read more about how to find reliable community organizations to support.
  5. Pray and fast. We believe in the power of prayer to help and sustain those who face disasters. Join in prayer personally, as a family, or as a ward. Consider dedicating a fast for those who are suffering and donating a fast offering.
  6. Be an advocate for correct information about the disaster. Share correct and validated information about the disaster and about how others can help via your social media channels. Consider following Mormon Newsroom or LDS Charities on their social channels to follow how the Church is responding.
  7. Work on your own preparedness efforts. Disasters are often unexpected. Those who are prepared to handle emergencies are better off in emergency situations and can then help others. Consider what you can do to be more prepared with your financial situation, career goals, food storage, family emergency plans, mental and emotional health, spiritual strength, and so on. Being prepared yourself will free up your resources to help others in need not only if you are in the affected area but also in situations where funding is needed to respond quickly or volunteers are called upon from surrounding areas.
Thank you for your desire to help those in need. LDS Charities responds to disasters such as Hurricane Harvey all over the world. It sponsors relief and development efforts in 189 countries and gives assistance without regard to race, religious affiliation, or nationality. We pray for those who are suffering in Texas as well as those suffering in myriad other disasters throughout the world, and we depend on your generous help to support relief efforts.
I'm trying to follow #1,2,5 and 6--hence this post.  Share the word about the best ways to help and involve your family and children to make it a learning situation for all.

I better start working on #7 too!

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Parenting Tip - Good Things to Listen To

Here's part of an email I recently sent to my children/spouses.  I thought you might be interested in it too.
Hi Family,
I've been trying to find good things to watch and good things to listen to--as well as good things to read.  It's hard sometimes to find those things, but I've bumped into a few good podcasts and talks that I have really loved and thought I would share them with you. I think it is really important for us to fill our minds with positive, inspiring thoughts and ideas.  Thoughts lead to actions, as we've been taught.  It's also important to ponder on them throughout the day---I mean those tiny moments when there is a lack of children clamoring for your attention.

           I love to listen to these podcasts when I go to the gym:
           Gretchen Rubins and her sister's podcast.  Here's a sample of recent podcasts:
Episode 126: Look for an under-used area of your house, find ways to mark sad anniversaries in a happy way, and strategies to deal with the challenge of perfectionism.

Podcast 121: How to get more reading done, an interview with Sam Walker about the qualities of the world’s best captains, and a car-related travel hack.
The Simple Show.  This next month or so they are talking about how to say "no" to things, which means you are saying "yes" to better  things.
         Ep. 87: When to Quit
        Ep. 88: No & Yes
A friend passed out a link to a talk she liked in RS on Sunday.  I listened to it and realized BYUtv has a link to lots of BYU Women's Conference talks, which I have loved listening to.  Well, I've only listened to two so far, but loved both of them.  The link that was passed out on Sunday was to Sister Eubanks, which was really good.  This link is to the talk by Sister Causse, who is wife to the Presiding Bishop of the Church.  She has a delightful French accent and talks about their experiences and I LOVED her talk.
 When do I have time to listen to a talk or podcast, you're probably thinking.  Here are some ideas:

  • while getting dressed and fixing your hair
  • driving in the car
  • on Sundays
  • before you go to bed
  • while crocheting, knitting, drawing, etc
  • while feeding toddlers their breakfast or lunch
  • first thing in the morning
  • while cooking dinner
  • at the gym or while exercising

Ear phones are great inventions as are cell phones and laptops that are portable.

I'm up for more ideas on what to listen to or watch.  So please share good things you've read and how you fit it into your schedule.

Thanks for reading,


Monday, August 14, 2017

Parenting Tip - The Four Tendencies

I'm a follower of Gretchen Ruben.  I loved her book, The Happiness Project, I listen to the podcast she does with her sister and I'm really looking forward to her new book, The Four Tendencies. What are the four tendencies?  They are personality or character traits that put you into one of four different areas--though you can also overlap areas.

This is how Gretchen explains it:
In a nutshell:
  • Upholders respond readily to outer and inner expectations (I’m an Upholder, 100%)
  • Questioners question all expectations; they’ll meet an expectation if they think it makes sense (my husband is a Questioner)
  • Rebels resist all expectations, outer and inner alike
  • Obligers meet outer expectations, but struggle to meet expectations they impose on themselves

I recently gave a talk at LinkedIn about the Rubin Character Index, so if you’d like to see me discuss each category in  a video, you can watch: for Upholders, watch here;Questionershere;  Rebels, here, and Obligers, here.
   From my observation, I can say with confidence that Rebel is the smallest category, then Upholder–this was a shock to me. I didn’t realize how few people are Upholders. Many things became clear to me once I realized this. Most people are Questioners or Obligers.
Obligers are the folks who are the most likely to say they wish they were in a different category. They say things like, “I wish I weren’t a people-pleaser” or “I wish I could take time for myself.”
Do you find yourself within this framework? If so, does it help you understand how to manage yourself better? Figuring out the Tendencies helped me understand myself, and it has also made it much easier for me to understand other people’s perspectives. Fact is, most people don’t see things the way we Upholders do.

As I have read about the four tendencies, I've been able to understand myself better.  It is so rewarding and satisfying to understand why you do what you do.  I'm an upholder.  I follow rules, I cross the crosswalk only when the green hand is up, I do what people ask me to do, but I can  also set and achieve goals I've made for myself.

Now I realize why some  people act the way they do.  The light bulb comes on and I inwardly say, "Ah ha! So that's why you feel that way and do those things."

It's really important to know what tendency your husband and children are.  It makes life so much more peaceful.  When you know that a child is a rebel, you will want to interact differently with him than your child who is an obliger.

A listener wrote to Gretchen and said that now she understood her preschooler was a "rebel", she was learning how to communicate differently with her, and her daughter's behavior had improved tremendously. Here's what she wrote:
Hi Gretchen, 
Thank you SO much for addressing my question about my Rebel preschool daughter in episode 120 on the podcast!

I wanted to send a quick update to let you know how much your advice has helped. I really have tried to embrace the idea that I CAN’T make her do anything. I can’t! She knows it, I know it, and it’s changed a lot of how I talk to her about things.  I make such an effort to make everything her choice. She can do it if she wants to, and if she doesn’t well then here’s what will happen. Very matter of fact, very calm, not punitive, just the facts.

Here’s an example of how I’ve changed my language.  She was looking at books on the couch and my parents were about to arrive for dinner. She had to wash up for dinner and I thought she should get it over with now, before the get here, to not miss the fun hellos. If I were speaking to my older daughter (tendency TBD but definitely not rebel) I would have said:

“You need wash up before dinner. Please go do it now so you won’t have to do it when Nanny and Poppy are here.”

I now know I would NEVER say that to the rebel. NEED to do something! HA! She would say. I don’t NEED to do anything.  I really thought for a minute and picked my words carefully.

“I’m going to ask you to wash up before dinner. Nanny and Poppy will be here soon. You can choose. You can go now and then you won’t have to do it when they’re here, or you can do it right before dinner, but then you’ll have to leave them to do it. Whatever you choose is fine with me. It’s your choice.” (I did in fact say choice that many times)

A minute after I left her I heard her little footsteps walking over to the sink. She was done right before they walked in the door and was THRILLED that she could say hello and chat and walk right over to the table.

I’ve also appealed to her sense of identity. She was hyper when we were visiting my frail old grandparents and I was truly afraid she was going knock one of them over. Telling her she HAS to stop running and calm down would have failed. I told her Grammie just got out of the hospital b/c she fell and she’s not sturdy on her feet yet and she needs her protectors. She needs the kids to be careful around her and protect her and make sure she doesn’t fall again. Success!  Or when she was sharing a room with her little cousin on vacation. Instead of you HAVE to be quite while he’s falling asleep I said, he’s younger than you and he’s so tired and needs to sleep. Will you be his helper? Will you help him go to sleep by ignoring him and letting him rest? She jumped at the chance.

Overall I would say part of the success has come from me changing my language and how I talk to her, but part of the success has also come from me changing my perspective and fully embracing that I can’t make her do things.

As an Upholder it’s also been freeing to let her help me break the rules a little. Like so what if we’re late? It was a self-imposed timetable, no one is counting on us. I’ve embraced her rebel-ness and this has allowed me see things differently. You’re so right. We’re free-er than we think!!!

Thank you so, so much.

Brilliant strategy.  I tried it with one of my "rebel" grandchildren and it works!  Of course, I think letting our children make choices, and giving them the right to do it, is good parenting with any type of child.

Knowing about the four tendencies helps me in many aspects of my life when dealing with people. I'm anxious to apply it to my piano students.  If I can help classify them into one of the tendencies, I think I can help them with their practicing.  An obliger is going to need outer controls such as charts or rewards to get him to practice.  A questioner needs to understand the importance of practicing, and the rebel will need to be in control of when during the day he/she chooses to practice.

Food for thought, right?

Thanks for reading


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Music Tip - Ukulele group class and service opportunity

UKULELE MUSIC CLASSES & SERVICE OPPORTUNITY: 8 week class -7 weeks learning new songs and 1 week performing at a Retirement Center, plus possible ukulele flashmob experience!! (I’m working on the details.)
DATES: Classes begin week of August 14 thru week of Oct 2, 2017
TIME: one hour classes.
LOCATION: west Mesa, Main St/Alma School (tell your friends so you can carpool!)
COST: $65 per student or $110 for a family with 2+ children (pay cash/check on 1st day of class)
AGES: age 8 and up
CONTACT: 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)
Five different classes offered—choose one. Register for the day and time that works for your children: Monday 1 pm , Monday 4 pm, Wed 1 pm, Fri 1 pm, Fri 4 pm (performances will be scheduled during your class time. *All classes begin week of Aug 14 (no Monday classes on Labor Day.)


Homeschoolers, check out this link for other resources: https://www.thehomeschoolmom.com/

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Parenting Tip - Grandma's Camp

I just got back from Grandma's Camp last week.  This was a week of having fun, learning about ancestors, and bonding with cousins.  I invited my 11 oldest grandchildren, ages 9-14.  I have grandchildren that are scattered across the United States--6 in Virginia, 4 in Illinois, 3 in Utah and 7 in Arizona.  I don't get to see them that much, plus the cousins don't get to see each other either. Some of the cousins don't really know each other that well because they haven't been able to spend a lot of time together, so I decided to fix that problem.  Hence, Grandma's Camp!

The goal of Grandma's Camp was to have the cousins bond and create memories with each other, as well as for my grandchildren to get to know their ancestors better, namely their grandparents and great grandparents.  My husband passed away almost 6 years ago, so some of the grandchildren barely remember him.  Both of his parents have also passed away.

We held Grandma's Camp at my daughter's beautiful home in a beautiful rural area of southern Illinois.  Talk about green countryside!  Green, gorgeous trees everywhere, green rolling fields, wide open blue skies, and relatively wonderful weather.  What a setting for our week long camp.

Each day we focused on the life of one of the grandparents/great grandparents.  We told stories about their lives and I assigned grandchildren to find and tell a story too, so they would internalize their relationship with this deceased ancestor.  Then we would do a fun activity related to their grandparent's life.  For instance, my dad grew up on a dairy farm in the early 30's and milked cows when he was age 5 and rode a horse to round up the cows.  So on his day, we went horse back riding. My mother's parents came from Sweden and our Swedish heritage is big in our family.  My sister and I learned to say the blessing on the food in Swedish and always said it that way when we were growing up.  So I taught one of my granddaughters to say the prayer in Swedish, and she taught all the cousins, and at each mealtime a different grandchild would eagerly ask to say the blessing.

My mom painted rocks to look like cute animals, so on my mother's day, the cousins painted rocks. On my husband's day we went fishing, on my father-in-law's day we went rock jumping and swimming in a lake and even wore mustaches to honor his handlebar moustache.  My mother-in-law was an avid bird watcher and made pictures from pressed wild flowers, so on her day we had a bird scavenger hunt outside and made bookmarks with the flowers we had collected on our other days.  On my day, we played music, of course!

Each day also had free time for the cousins to play together.  They enjoyed sliding on the slip and slide, created fun mazes with mats and swings and air mattresses in the basement,  rode scooters, colored with sidewalk chalk and talked and laughed and bonded!

The goal of Grandma's Camp was accomplished.  Cousins became best friends and grandparents and great grandparents became real people with hobbies and talents passed on to their grandchildren.  Relationships is what life is about.  Loving people, enjoying family and building trust and friendships that will last throughout eternity--that is what we will take with us.  And our memories!

Thanks for reading,



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