Not The House (and what comes with it) But The Home

I am now an empty nester – one of those women who carry photos of her children and grandchildren to bore others with because she is no longer overwhelmed with noisy, energetic (and sometimes cranky) children underfoot.

I cannot claim to be new to the experience of being an empty nester – mainly because I believe that every time a child leaves home an empty nester experience occurs. Yet, all of those empty nester experiences and observations of my children as adults have taught me some invaluable lessons:

•    Cherish all of the teaching moments with your children – especially the ones that come at inconvenient times. And…make an effort to create as many of them as you can.
•    In order for our teaching moments to be effective they must be backed up with our example.
•    Take time to have fun as a family…and do it often. Laughter and giggles are important!
•    Teach children responsibility and how to work (even when it’s easier to do it yourself).
•    Teach children right from wrong, morality, the Golden Rule and the Ten Commandments. They do not automatically absorb it.
•    Dance lessons, music lessons and sports are all wonderful and have their place but they need to have their place and not rule schedules or a family. All too often families lose the connections they should have with each other because they are spending every spare moment effort funding the lessons, traveling to practices/games, and living life on the go.
•    A parent needs to be a parent and not relegate authority over the home to the children. The angriest and most emotionally unhealthy children I have ever seen are from families where those children were allowed control of their families.
•    Daily expressions of love are invaluable to building relationships and a loving family.
•    Skip the expensive toys and electronics and encourage children to play and use their imaginations. (The best toy in the world is an appliance box!)
•    A large fancy house does not have an increased ability to make a happy family.  Many shacks have been better homes to children than mansions have.
•    Children do not learn to be successful by being coddled and indulged. They learn to be successful by learning self discipline and how to work.
•    The most important things parents can do to provide security for their children is to make their marriage a priority. Date nights are important and the courtship that initiated the family should never…ever end.
•    Don’t wait to do things with your children until your children are older. It may seem like lots of activities would be easier if you just wait until they are older but the most critical time to build relationships with them is when they are young (and those activities take the most effort).
•    A house does not make a home.
•    Building a home is not done with walls, mortar or nails. A home is built by two parents who love each other – who are committed to each other and the work and effort it takes to build a family.  A home is built with hugs, teaching, tears, a few scraped knees, kissing boo boos better, discipline, work, trips for ice cream, chores, water fights, attending church together, family dinners and more. And somehow…even when we are so exhausted that lifting a finger seems a monumental task – we must do it all with love.

Building a home out of a house is tough demanding job. The hours are grueling and there is no monetary compensation. However, “the toughest job in the world” has amazing rewards. I feel and experience those rewards every time I walk through the door of my house and sense all of the laughter, love, and memories that have been created and shared there, spend time with my sweetheart (who is still my sweetheart because we have made each other a priority), share in the successes of my children, and gather together with my loving, energetic, and sometimes mischievous family!

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What I Learned from My Near Death Experience About God and Life

heaven-where-the-truth-is-foundadobestock_65462109I have had a few experiences in which I have seen people who are passionate about their beliefs using a megaphone to shout their message from busy street corners.  I always find

their attempts a little puzzling. They are standing on a busy street corner so that more will hear their message and yet – because they are standing on a “busy” street corner and people passing them by are “busy” no one seems to really hear or care about the messages being broadcast.

There have been a few times when I have wanted to “broadcast” a message to my fellowman – no desire for street corner megaphone but definitely a desire to share information I consider important.

I think I could compare my passion to that of a reformed smoker. You know the type: the kind that having learned their lesson – doesn’t want to see anyone else make the same mistake. That’s how I feel now that I have seen what heaven is like and I have gained insights about God that few mortals seem to have.

Here’s what I would say if I could have my chance to tell everyone who is struggling with their life or struggling to know if God is real:

Believe in what your heart tells you. It speaks truth when it tells you that God is real, He loves you, you have potential and you deserve to be loved.

  • Understand that evidence of God’s existence is so abundant that you should feel overwhelmed with the sheer volume of evidence He has provided us with. If you are able to love, see, feel, touch, hear, taste…if you are able to marvel at the beauty of a sunset…if you are able to feel warm rays of sunshine…if you can hold a newborn baby in your arms…if you have the ability to change in even the smallest of ways…if you can look at any single creation from nature and recognize the miracle of its existence…you can know in your heart that despite the difficulties that life can and will bring…God does exist, you are His child and He loves you.
  • Know that the conscience that every living soul is born with is not an accident – it is a gift from God and will lead you along the right paths if you will allow it to.
  • Life is not an accident and every living soul born to this earth has a purpose.
  • Death is not an end…it is a necessary transition to another world.
  • How we live matters. It doesn’t matter whether we are wealthy or famous or remarkably talented or beautiful. It does matter that we love, learn, and serve.
  • We have each been blessed with the gift of choice. Because of that gift…our lives and the world are sometimes impacted in negative ways. However, because of that gift…we can grow and overcome difficulties, we can choose our attitude and learn new things…we can love and we can forgive.
  • Our lives were planned prior to our births but the objective of those plans were not to create a billion billionaires of extraordinary fame – the objective was to provide life experiences that would enable us maximum potential for positive growth.
  • God and His angels are there to help us.
  • We can change and our lives can be changed and if we are willing to utilize His perfect understanding – God knows how to get us from where we are to where we are meant to be.
  • Life was never meant to be a spectator sport. To create the life that we each have the potential to create – we must get in the trenches and work hard. We will experience trials and tribulations but if we utilize the divine assistance that is available to us – we will also experience joy, love, growth and personal success!

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If We Only Do Things We are Comfortable With…

little child girl crying and sad about an empty brick wall

Have you been inclined to avoid challenges? It is not uncommon for most of us to want to have great success with our accomplishments in life without great trials or sacrifices to get there. However, life is meant to be a growth experience. Without challenges and learning experiences, we become stagnant. I learned an invaluable lesson from one of my adopted children who has been diagnosed with RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder). His emotional disorder makes it very difficult for him to make himself emotionally vulnerable. Until I witnessed the impact of his emotional dis-attachment to life, I never realized how important it is for us to be both emotionally vulnerable and willing to grow. He has been so afraid of being emotionally vulnerable that he does not allow himself to love anything. Can you imagine a life in which you do not become emotionally involved in anything…at all? It is a sad thing to see anyone miss the pleasure and delight and learning – of achieving. It can be difficult to move beyond our comfort zone – but the truth is that no one climbs Mount Everest from their recliner and no one becomes the person they truly want to be without some struggles and moving beyond the skill set we had yesterday. Today, I hope that you will think about your life and what you want it to be. Then take one step today towards accomplishing your dreams!

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If You Have the Belief…

destek olmakBelief is a powerful agent. It can help us change, it can give us faith – it can lift us above our current circumstances to a better place. I hope that you will believe in yourself and in your potential! You can do amazing things if you believe in yourself and in God’s ability to help you!

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Find Your Purpose!

Follow your dreams, silhouette of man at sunset

You may think that your life is nothing special. I can tell you that there is not

a person on earth who is not meant to manifest a wonderful and profound life.

There are no exceptions. You might think that you forgot to get into the talented

gifted line but the truth is that no mistakes were made in heaven as we prepared

and planned for our lives here on earth. That is the nature of heaven – order and

perfection. We all have a unique but profound life that we have been born to live.

What are your passions? What gift(s) are your meant to leave the world? In what

way are you meant to bless the world in which we live? As you find, identify and

develop your gifts, you will find the greatest joy that is possible to experience

iIn this life. You were not born to be a nobody – you were born to be a mortal

version of the special you that existed in heaven prior to your birth. I hope that

you will share your gifts with the world and realize a life of promise that is meant

to be yours!

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