Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Magic Organization Chart

I am known in my family for being organized about everything, including holiday planning. However, my think-ahead thought process is not the style of some of my adult children. They sort-of pull things off right in the nick of time. There is unnecessary (sometimes comical) stress with their harried preparations! If that works for these beloved children that is fine.

I need to plan ahead. My efforts to create Christmas Magic for  my family depends upon it! By doing so, I feel relaxed when the special day arrives. Plus, when last-minute unexpected problems arise, (which always happens) I feel reasonably calm because I am not in frenzy mode.

With that said, I would like to share the FREE downloadable chart below*. It can help you get organized so you can create Christmas Magic for your family.

* To print full-size 8.5" x 11" chart: left click then right click-then choose-print picture.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

When Phone Books Equaled Presents


It was looking to be a lean Christmas. Our four children ranged in age from 5, 13, 14 and 15.  Beau and I came up with the brilliant plan of delivering residential phone books door to door to earn money for presents. The children enthusiastically agreed to help. There was Christmas  hope in their eyes as we brought home the first load of books.

We did not realize what we had gotten into. We kept hauling stacks and stacks of books into our living room and, per our training, individually placing each one in a plastic bag, restacking and then reloading them back into our old worn-out car. We were trained to go up to each doorway and neatly place the book on the right hand side of each door. I  still remember our family running up and down sidewalks and stairs, house after house, neighborhood after neighborhood, day after day. I secretly felt like crying. It seemed like we were overloading our old, worn-out car with the phone books and might knock off a tail pipe riding so close to the ground. Sometimes the children were agreeable about our job, sometimes not so much. Our venture was a mixture of fun and a nightmare leaning more toward a bad dream!

Hundreds and hundreds of books later we finished our routes. Our meager earnings were a thrill to us as we divided the proceeds to shop for each other. I do not remember any of the gifts received but I do recall the teamwork that occurred in our family. My children learned a valuable lesson... Christmas gifts do not always come easy. I hope the year that phone books equaled presents was a year that made them a bit more compassionate and grateful. In that respect I will always look at a phone book and see more than yellow page ads and phone numbers.

Photo of present courtesy of

Monday, November 17, 2014

Gratitude Chart - Count Your Blessings

Thanksgiving is a time of year that beckons for us to reflect on our many blessings.
As we look forward to a day of bountiful foods, the gathering of loved ones and perhaps an afternoon of football, board games and the like, let's prepare by pausing to give thanks for the many good things we enjoy.

A great way to do this is to print off the free Mama Pike's Gratitude Chart shown below. Every day write out five things you are grateful for. There is one rule to this activity: you cannot repeat the same blessing twice!  

You will be amazed as you start to notice positive things in your life you may have overlooked or perhaps taken for granted. There is also power in the process of writing them down. You may want to get your family and friends involved by having them fill out a chart, too. Sharing your findings on Thanksgiving Day with your loved ones is a great way to get some uplifting conversation going.

Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.  -  G. B. Stern


Monday, August 25, 2014

Calming Back To School Jitters

My granddaughter, Ava, just started kindergarten. As you know, this is an epic moment! Whether a child is starting kindergarten or fifth grade, it is normal to have some jitters in the first few weeks. Here are four easy tips to help calm nerves and get off to a good school year.

1. Validate Fears

Validate fears rather than dismiss them. Openly express that all her classmates will be feeling some level of anxiety. Explain that new situations take time to adjust to and that in no time she will feel comfortable in her new surroundings.

2. Provide Object

Together choose a special object that your child can take to school that will help her feel more secure: a reassuring note from a parent, a favorite family photo, a special trinket or piece of jewelry. Make sure that it is something that won’t be a distraction to other students.

3. Be Organized

It is vital for a child to have clean clothing and school supplies organized the night before and to get adequate rest. To have a successful experience she needs parental support to be able to get to school on time, have necessary papers signed and homework completed.

4. Convey Optimism

A positive parent can help a child adjust to a new school year. Convey optimism about all the exciting opportunities that lie ahead. New friends will be made, knowledge gained and interesting school activities are just a few of the possibilities.

I started kindergarten in 1961 and I still remember specific details about that first day. Each grade that followed began with some anxiety and transitioned into an exciting, adventurous school year! 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Fun Dad's

Jared, Katie and I shared fun things our Dads did to make us happy this morning on 1075kzl. 

My Dad liked to plan family activities and got very creative in the process. He had us go on a winter breakfast picnic in snowy Michigan which was not a huge hit, but at least he was making an effort to try something new!

I am looking forward to honoring the Dad's in our family this weekend for Father's Day. They are very deserving of it!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Preventing Child Sexual Abuse

I recently attended a training course called, "Protecting God's Children", presented by the Catholic Church. It is extremely informative, free of charge, in an interfaith effort to help inform families about the signs, symptoms and reporting process specific to sexual child abuse. While designed for Catholic parishioners, this course has broader application for families or those who come in contact with children. I highly recommend it.

Some of the things I learned are that 60% of child sexual abuse occurs with people the child and family knows, 29% occurs with family members and 11% with strangers. It is estimated that there are 40 million adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse in the United States.

Some of the early warning signs of a perpetrator's behavior that is engaging in an inappropriate relationship with a child or youth are:
1. prefers to be alone with children
2. gives children gift's without asking permission
3. go overboard with touching
4. don't think rules apply to them
5. let's children get away with things
6. shows pornography to children, tells dirty jokes etc.

The prime time for online predators to chat with youth are between the hours of 3-5 pm while most parents are working. Social and gaming sites are their most popular hunting grounds. Youth are snared into believing their online "friend" is to be trusted which can lead to meeting them in person and getting assaulted. It is vital that parents have passwords to their children's phones and electronic devises and to monitor them frequently.

It is important to share concerns if you suspect something is amiss in an adult/child relationship you observe. We sometimes hesitate to do so because we fear that we may be wrong, feel concern that the involved adult will get angry etc. But we can potentially save a little one from sexual abuse by taking action. And remember that a concern is not an accusation. Additionally, you need to call the abuse hotline in your area and call the police if you suspect that a child is being or has been abused.

We may feel helpless trying to prevent child sexual abuse. However, we are in a much better position to put a stop to this crime as we educate ourselves about this sensitive topic, take action to educate others and do all we can to protect the children who have been entrusted to our care.

Child Protective Services
Greensboro: 641-3795 - High Point: 641-3795

Monday, May 19, 2014

Dressing Modestly This Summer

Today’s society oversexualizes females. Media messages falsely claim that our sexuality defines who we are and the more provocative we dress the better!  Not only does this attitude send the wrong signal about our standards but the pressure to dress scantily increases during the hot, summer months.

If we let fashion designers dictate how we dress we can end up showing way too much skin. No matter what our age or size, a more modest approach shows respect to ourselves and others.

If you are interested in continuing or adopting a modest fashion style here are a few steps that will help you dress in a feminine way that will help everyone feel comfortable in your presence:

  • If you do not presently own layering t-shirts, camis or dress extenders, buy some of these modesty must-haves.
  • Keep clothing you own that will look appropriate with the addition of modest layering techniques.
  • If a piece of clothing is too immodest, get rid of it or don't buy it.  Respect yourself enough to say, “I don’t want to look cheap by wearing this”.
  • Set personal goals for a fashionable, yet modest, look. You are in control of your appearance and the message you send with your choice of clothing.

Here is a fun way to check how your clothes look to others when you move around. While looking in a full length mirror, check out your outfit as you sing the children's song, Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes. As you raise your hands above your head and onto your shoulders, does this movement make your shirt or skirt too short? As you touch your knees and toes is your cleavage embarrassing for others to see or the back of your skirt or shorts revealing too much leg, or worse, your bottom?

The links below will help you as you think about what you are wearing this summer and choose to be modest. You can be cool, comfortable and more feminine as you continue or adopt this approach to dressing. Good luck!

Modesty Checklist

Modest Clothing Shopping Site

Modest Swim Suits