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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Overcoming Depression – The Amazing Power of Friendship

Cherish your human connections -  your relationships with friends and family    Barbara Bush

When I was going through depression, there was nothing more important to me than to feel like I had a friend. Thank goodness my husband and my children were such good friends to me. Often, my other friends had no idea that I was going through depression – even though it felt like I had a neon sign hanging around my neck which flashed: “Danger! Danger! I’m hanging from the neck of an Emotional Wreck!

It was during my most difficult days that those friendships gave me strength and the desire to keep fighting. I hope that if you are going through depression, that you have good friends to turn to. In turn, be the best friend you can be. We never know what others might be going through.

If you are going through depression, find those that you can trust. I know that it is not always easy but …. it is possible. A true friend can help you through your hard days and laugh with you on the better days! We are connected more than we know on this planet. When we connect to others in a positive way, we help ourselves, we help others and we help the world!

I hope you will enjoy today’s story about friendship! It’s hard to place a value on friendship – it is such a priceless commodity! :

An Inspiring Story About Friendship

In ancient Greece, Socrates was reputed to hold knowledge in high esteem. One day one fellow met the great philosopher and said, “Do you know what I just heard about your friend?”.

“Hold on a minute,” Socrates replied. “Before telling me anything I’d like you to pass a little test. It’s called the Triple Filter Test.”. “Triple filter?”. “That’s right,” Socrates continued. “Before you talk to me about my friend, it might be a good idea to take a moment and filter what you’re going to say. That’s why I call it the triple filter test.

The first filter is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?” “No,” the man said, “actually I just heard about it and…”. “All right,” said Socrates. “So you don’t know if it’s true or not.

Now let’s try the second filter, the filter of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my friend something good?” . “No, on the contrary…”. “So,” Socrates continued, “you want to tell me something bad about him, but you’re not certain it’s true.

You may still pass the test though, because there’s one filter left: the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my friend going to be useful to me?” “No, not really.”

“Well,” concluded Socrates, “if what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?”

Story shared from the following website: http://www.videoinspiration.net/blog/short-stories-about-friendship/

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The Work of Being Happy

No misfortune is so bad that whining about it won’t make it worse Jeffrey R. Holland

Working at being happy takes some understanding and sometimes some simplification of our lives. It is best accomplished through being unselfish and caring more about the needs of those you love than about your own selfish desires. Have you ever noticed how miserable some celebrities are? There is a reason. There is no happiness in being a diva, and constantly being served. There is, however, happiness in serving and loving others.

Couch potatoes are rarely happy either. Again, there is a good reason, we are meant to be productive, hard-working individuals and our bodies were made to move! There may be a few highs involved with being a couch potato who has developed some gaming skills but there will not be long-term happiness and joy.

What about those difficult times that we all have? Some almost constantly? We can’t make all difficult circumstances go away but we can change our attitude and the way we address those difficult times. I remember not too long ago, a friend relating to me all of the difficult trials that had recently been a part of her life and then she added that she had met an individual at the hospital that made what she was going through look like a cake walk. Her point to me was that no matter how hard and how bad her life seemed at times, the Lord had reminded her of how much worse it could be and how many blessings were present in her life despite the difficulties.

Long term happiness is not to be found in short term thrills. Tried and true happiness is found in aligning ourselves with the Lord. It is He who knows us best and who knows exactly how to bring joy and happiness into our lives. For me, it is being a part of my family and something bigger than myself. For you, it might be holding a crack baby, watching after grandchildren, or playing with your child. Happiness does not come packaged in difficult to open gift boxes, it comes through loving and being loved.

Today, I am sharing another excerpt from the article by Jeffrey R. Holland called the The Gospel Plan of Happiness. I will share the last excerpt from his article on Monday. I hope you will read it and enjoy the inspired words that Jeffrey R. Holland shares! Have a wonderful weekend and choose to be happy!

Work At It

Here is one last suggestion when there are so many others we should consider. Nephi said that in an effort to find happiness in their new land after their 30 years of trouble, “I, Nephi, did cause my people to be industrious, and to labor with their hands” (2 Nephi 5:17). By contrast, those from whom they fled became “an idle people, full of mischief and subtlety” (2 Nephi 5:24).

If you want to be happy in school or on a mission or at a job or in a marriage—work at it. Learn to work. Serve diligently. Don’t be idle and mischievous. A homespun definition of Christlike character might be the integrity to do the right thing at the right time in the right way. Don’t be idle. Don’t be wasteful. “Seek learning, even by study and also by faith” (D&C 88:118). Be industrious and labor, including laboring for and serving others—one of the truly great keys to true happiness.

Now, let me close by citing Alma’s straightforward counsel to Corianton. With all the encouragement a father would want to give a son or daughter, he said that in the Resurrection the faithful are raised to a state of “endless happiness” wherein they “inherit the kingdom of God” (Alma 41:4). At that time, he added, we will be “raised to happiness according to [our] desires of happiness” (Alma 41:5). But he also sternly cautioned: “Do not suppose … that [without repentance] ye shall be restored from sin to happiness. Behold, I say unto you, wickedness never was happiness” (Alma 41:10; emphasis added).

Sin is the antithesis of “living after the manner of happiness.” Indeed, those who believe otherwise, Alma says, “are without God in the world, and … have gone contrary to the nature of God; therefore, they are in a state contrary to the nature of happiness” (Alma 41:11).

Excerpt of article by Jeffrey R. Holland entitled The Gospel Plan of Happiness was shared from the following website: https://www.lds.org/ensign/2017/09/the-gospel-path-to-happiness?lang=eng

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Life is Not About Waiting for the Storm to Pass…

Life is not about  waiting for the storm to pass ...it’s about learning to dance in the rain

I love learning about individuals who have overcome difficult obstacles.  What makes them inspirational to me is that they have been willing to endure tough moments, overcome doubts, and work at their skill set until everything has come together in a positive way.

Today’s story involves a young woman who has endured tough times and come out on top. I recognize that not everyone will succeed in just the same way.

For some of us, success may mending a relationship. For others, success may be an accomplishment in spite of a handicap.  For yet others, it may be nothing more than not giving up.

We all have difficulties and obstacles. My prayer is that, collectively, we will all endure the hard moments and wade through our difficulties and find that place in our hearts where love and peace and hope can eternally dwell. I hope you enjoy today’s story. For further enlightenment, go to YouTube.com and enjoy listening to Charice as well!

The Story of Charice Pempengco

Charice Pempengco’s dream of becoming a singer began halfway around the world in the Philippines. She found a following on the Internet after a stranger posted her jaw-dropping performances on YouTube.

Oprah’s producers were among the 13 million people who logged on to watch this 16-year-old sensation sing songs made famous by artists like Celine Dion and Beyoncé. Then, in May 2008, Charice flew 15 hours to showcase her talent on The Oprah Show. She stole the show with a soul-stirring rendition of Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing.”

Millions of viewers were moved by Charice’s powerful voice—including Gayle King. “That evening Gayle called me,” Oprah says. “She said she fell off her treadmill when she heard that girl.” Oprah says the performance blew her Manolos off!

Charice’s voice wasn’t the only thing that impressed Oprah. “One of the things I love most about Charice is that no matter what obstacles she’s faced in her life, she’s never given up on her dream of something better,” Oprah says.

In the small Filipino village where Charice lived as a child, there wasn’t much to sing about. When Charice was 3 years old, she says she remembers seeing her father fly into a fit of rage and take out his anger on her mother. She says she watched as he choked and attacked her.

Charice says the argument escalated, and her dad grabbed a shotgun and pointed it at her mom. “My dad was about to shoot my mom, and I couldn’t do anything,” she says.

Neighbors heard screams and broke down the door just in time. Fraternidad, a former neighbor, remembers it clearly. “The gun [was] pointed to the mother and then the children are crying,” she says.

Charice and her mother escaped with their lives. “We left my dad, and after that, I never saw him and I don’t want to see him,” she says. “I’m just singing now for my mom. I didn’t help her before. That’s why I want to help her now.”

When Charice was just 4 years old, her mom discovered her talent for the first time. “She thought the radio [was] playing,” Charice says. “She went to the living room, and she saw me singing and she was, like, ‘Oh, my gosh. She’s singing.'”

A few years later, Charice entered a singing contest. “Some people [were] saying that I’m not good enough and I’m not pretty,” she says. “I just wanted to prove that they’re wrong.”

When Charice first decided to enter competitions, her mother was working 16 hours a day, six days a week at a garment factory. Charice signed up for more than 80 contests to help support her family. “I really want[ed] to help Mom,” she says. “When I’m joining singing contests, and I won some $50, she was, like, ‘Okay, we’re going to have some food for one month, and we’re very happy.'”

After years of struggling financially—even being homeless—Charice has been able to use her contest winnings to help her mother pay for an apartment in a nice neighborhood. Charice now has her own room where she can draw, sing, play the guitar and continue to dream. “I think this is a big improvement because we’re more peaceful, and we’re happy,” she says.

In her bedroom, Charice has a notebook where she keeps drawings of the singers she idolizes, like Celine Dion. “I can say this is my dream notebook,” she says.

Charice can now say her dreams are beginning to come true, starting with an introduction to one of the most famous names in the music business. After hearing Charice sing, Oprah just couldn’t get the little girl with the big voice out of her head.

Instead of flying back to the Philippines after her appearance on The Oprah Show, producers pulled Charice off the plane and brought her back to Harpo Studios. Then, Oprah called legendary producer David Foster to see what the starmaker could do for Charice.

David invited Charice to join him in Las Vegas for a PBS special called “Hit Man: David Foster & Friends.” Backstage, Charice ran into some of show’s headliners, like Josh Groban and Michael Bublé. “I’m so glad I don’t have to follow you because that would suck for me very badly,” Michael said to Charice. “Because no matter how good I am, I know that you’d kick my butt.”

Charice then took the stage and sang three songs, including Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” to a crowd of 10,000. Her soul-stirring performance brought the audience to its feet. “A star is born tonight,” David said.

Charice’s summer of dreams didn’t end there—after her performance, she received a surprise call from world-famous singer Andrea Bocelli. Within weeks, Charice was on her way to Italy to meet Andrea and sing a special duet with the renowned tenor. “That’s really a dream come true for me,” she says. “I really love Andrea Bocelli because he’s my idol. When I was younger, I’m always drawing some things like me singing with Celine and me singing with Mr. Andrea Bocelli.”

More than 8,000 people gathered in the Tuscan countryside near Andrea’s hometown for the exclusive concert. Together, they sang “The Prayer,” a song that holds special meaning for Charice. “I think that God is always listening to all my prayers, and I have so many dreams in my life,” she says. “That’s why I’m always praying that someday I’m going to achieve all my dreams.”

“The first song that I learned was ‘My Heart Will Go On,'” Charice says. “Of course I want to sing with [Celine Dion] soon, I wish, someday.”

After her performance, Charice learns she has a fan who’s been waiting to speak with her via satellite. She’s a working mom with a 7-year-old who also loves to sing. She also happens to be one of Charice’s idols—Celine Dion!

Celine says watching Charice sing left her speechless. “I can tell you that we have lots of things in common. I was very shy too. And I also had a mother—still have a mother—who is my strength,” Celine says. “You have more talent than most people. You can sing. You can speak and sing with your heart. You can play guitar. You can draw. And you can have dreams.”

Because Charice shares so much of her talent with others, Celine wants to give Charice something in return. “I’m going to be singing at Madison Square Garden, and I would love to ask you to come and sing a duet with me,” she says. “Maybe we can sing ‘Because You Loved Me,’ and maybe we can dedicate this song to your mother.”

Now it’s Charice who’s left speechless! “Thank you, idol,” she says.

Today’s inspiring story shared from the following website: http://www.oprah.com/oprahshow/teen-singing-sensation_1

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Families…A Blessing to the World

Perhaps the greatest social service that can be rendered to anybody to the country and to mankind is to bring up a family George Bernard Shaw

I normally share an inspirational story but today, I just had to share a laugh!

Families are such a wonderful thing! I believe in that families are where we change the world for the better and leave our greatest legacy.

As you read today’s humorous article, I hope you will think about your family and the positive difference that you are making with all of your hard work!

25 Things My Mother Taught Me

1. My mother taught me TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE. “If you’re going to kill each other, do it outside.  I just finished cleaning.”

2. My mother taught me RELIGION. “You better pray that will come out of the carpet.”

3. My mother taught me about TIME TRAVEL. “If you don’t straighten up, I’m going to knock you into the middle of next week!”

4. My mother taught me LOGIC. ” Because I said so, that’s why.”

5. My mother taught me MORE LOGIC. “If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you’re not going to the store with me.”

6. My mother taught me FORESIGHT. “Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you’re in an accident.”

7. My mother taught me IRONY. “Keep crying, and I’ll give you something to cry about.”

8. My mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS. “Shut your mouth and eat your supper.”

9. My mother taught me about CONTORTIONISM. “Will you look at that dirt on the back of your neck!”

10. My mother taught me about STAMINA. “You’ll sit there until all that spinach is gone.”

11. My mother taught me about WEATHER. “This room of yours look s as if a tornado went through it.”

12. My mother taught me about HYPOCRISY. “If I told you once, I’ve told you a million times.  Don’t exaggerate!”

13. My mother taught me the CIRCLE OF LIFE. “I brought you into this world, and I can take you out.”

14. My mother taught me about BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION. “Stop acting like your father!”

15. My mother taught me about ENVY. “There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don’t have wonderful parents like you do.”

16. My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION. “Just wait until we get home.”

17. My mother taught me about RECEIVING. “You are going to get it when you get home!”

18. My mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE. “If you don’t stop crossing your eyes, they are going to get stuck that way.”

19. My mother taught me ESP. “Put your sweater on; don’t you think I know when you are cold?”

20. My mother taught me HUMOR . “When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don’t come running to me.”

21. My mother taught me HOW TO BECOME AN ADULT. “If you don’t eat your vegetables, you’ll never grow up.”

22. My mother taught me GENETICS. “You’re just like your father.”

23. My mother taught me about my ROOTS. “Shut that door behind you. Do you think you were born in a barn?”

24. My mother taught me WISDOM. “When you get to be my age, you’ll understand.”

25. And my favorite: My mother taught me about JUSTICE . “One day you’ll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you.

Today’s humorous article shared from the following website: https://www.atimetolaugh.org/mothertaughtme.html

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