Five Ways to Write About Your Anger

Most people have mixed feelings about feeling and expressing anger. Various influences suggest everything from practicing extreme self-control, holding it all in (end result: stoicism) to showing no boundaries about sharing anger at all(end result: anarchy). Finding the middle ground is the place where you can communicate feelings and the facts of a given situation, without hurting or blaming the other party, and vice versa. When this first scenario occurs, you are creating more space for positive communication changes to occur. When communication is less than ideal, continuing to express anger in old ways will reinforce old habits., aggravating an already difficult situation.
I'm recommending the following journal exercises to assist you in finding more positive ways to express your anger, and become a better communicator. When I have shared my feelings, and the other party has been receptive, I've been surprised at how calm I became, compared to how uncomfortable, I felt prior to sharing my feelings. I also have had some situations where I either didn't receive a response or the other party remained silent. What is most important in any situation, is that I reached out and began the process.
Here is your exercise list:
ANGER SCRIBBLE:
When you have a strong reaction to a situation, start to pray and write about it. Remember to include a detailed description of your strong feelings including the facts of the situation. Remember to use as much space on a page as you can when you scribble. After filling a page, choose one scribble, and start drawing a specific shape over your scribble. Continue to scribble over the shape until you are finished. (e.g. You may feel tired or relieved. Your words may slow down or you may run out of time to write.) When you notice any of these reactions, it's time to stop writing. Wait a few minutes for everything to settle, then move to the next exercise. (Note: You may substitute any ritual here if praying isn't a good fit for you.)
UNSENT LETTERS:
This exercise is an effective way to communicate feelings and information to yourself or to someone else. You can write unsent letters, when it might otherwise be hurtful to speak directly to the other party(ies) You can also write unsent letters on any topic (positive or negative). Unsent letters also provide a great place to practice your lines. Whether you write a series of unsent letters or one letter, your feelings will become less intense. Then you can prepare to have a calm conversation with the other party. You can write as many unsent letters as you want. When you write your unsent letters, you give yourself permission to feel the intense emotions that surface around a specific event. At some point either during, immediately or after you've written your letter, you will gain clarity about your part in the situation. You will also learn to evaluate your responsibility as well as the other party's responsibility in the same situation. When you are calm again, you will be more prepared to make changes, including asking for a more specific communication change from the other party. You can continue to follow-up your unsent letters with prayers of blessing for the other party. As you continue to bless the other party, room is made for positive changes to happen in yourself and the other party. When you write an unsent letter, it demonstrates your courage and willingness, to make serious changes in a difficult situation.
WRITING A DIALOGUE:
Writing an imagined or real conversation you had with the other party, can help let out some of your anger. It's useful to put words or images to your feelings. Start your dialogue with two voices, the letter "A" (for your voice) and "B" (for the other person's voice). Be sure to allow both voices time to speak.
Don't worry about writing a perfect dialogue. Use as much detail as you can. Your descriptive skills will improve with each unsent letter that you write. For example, if I feel my anger burning like fire, then I would want to say "I'm burning up over this situation." If I am feeling a sense of resentment (something deep, quiet and very intense, that never quite goes away, then I might say, "I'm really frustrated about _______ now, can we talk about it for a few minutes?" Remember that no intense feeling is worth ignoring. It's much better to express your feelings a few at a time, than to pay the price of those same feelings causing problems for you in the future.
"I AM FEELING" STATEMENTS:
Writing sentences that begin with "I am feeling ." is a good way to verbalize all of your feelings about a difficult situation. I want to remind you that may express other feelings along with your anger. When you start your journaling, focus on your anger first, then write about your other feelings. I suggest that you write a minimum of ten feeling statements. Put the list away. Move on to the next exercise.
DRAW A PICTURE:
Draw several pictures of your anger. All types of drawing are allowed. Remember what I said about "My anger is burning." Write a visual image of your anger. I want you to use as many senses in your picture as you can. (Note: you may also use this exercise to visualize other strong feelings)
COMBINE WORDS AND PICTURES:
Now look at your list of "I am" sentences. Match as many of your picture(s) with your "I am feeling." sentences as you can. (For example: I am feeling angry about.put a picture of a fire next to the written statement. When you are finished, circle one or two combinations that best describe your current feelings. Be sure to write a summary sentence about your two choices.
STARTING CLOSURE:
Let's stop and review the work you've already done. You have written an initial unsent letter about your ang er. You've explored some of your feelings in detail. You've summarized your feelings using a combination of drawing and writing. Now write one action you could have taken to keep the earlier situation from accelerating. Write another sentence describing one action that the other party could have taken. Write down one positive action you are willing to take to change your anger expression now, remember to include a specific completion time and date. If you pray, start praying for good to come to the other party. I would recommend that you pray for at least a few times a week working up to praying daily for a month or until your strong negative feelings disappear.
Take your time working through these exercises. If you find yourself, unable to move on to the next exercise. Then write a short paragraph why you don't want to move on. Take a break and start the new exercise the next day. Look forward to celebrating your freedom from past buried feelings.

Dealing With Aggression

Sometimes life can be very confusing. We strive to walk a spiritual path, being accepting and forgiving. We smile and send blessings unselfishly to all that cross our path. We meditate and pray, but how do we deal with negative people when their wrath is directed at us?
We are all still human, and we have feelings, and yes, egos. When aggressive, angry people confront us, it is sometimes hard to keep that ego in check. Dealing with someone who is acting out of fear and insecurity can also be very tough. How do we gently thwart an abusive aggressor and still hold true to our beliefs and spirituality? It is a hard road, but I can offer some basic suggestion, which have helped my tremendously over the years.
Let spirit guide you.
Always trust your higher self to guide you to the correct course of action. Listen to your inner voice and discern what your emotions are telling you. Separate ego thoughts of retaliation and defense from those loving, caring emotions of your soul. Remember the ego will always defend by attacking or withdrawing, so we must know and curb our ego and settle into our spiritual higher selves. When we think and act out of love, we will always pick the correct actions.
Try to See and agree with their point.
We sometimes can understand the motives behind peoples actions if we give thought to their situation. Remember there is no right or wrong, there is only different points of view and opinion. So seek to see the other side of the disagreement. If you know the abuse towards you is unwarranted, and you cannot see the truth or motivation behind the situation, just calmly listen to what they have to say. You don't have to agree with them, but do strive to know why they are acting the way they are. Listen intently to what they are saying. You can rebut with something like; "I understand that you are felling a certain way, and that I perhaps did something to provoke these feeling, but I did not intend to cause this situation. That was not my intention and I apologize. I hope that you feel better soon, and if there is something I can do to help, please let me know" Simple as that.
Let them speak, and be truly interested in what they say.
The ego is a simple thing to understand. Give it your undivided attention, and it is happy. If you are sincere when listening to others, it satisfies the basic need of attention and they will be less aggressive (most of the time, anyway). Like I said before, sometimes people just want to be heard and noticed. So listen and let them know you see them and are truly interested in their plight, even if the problem is with you. When responding, always use their name in the sentence. This makes them feel important, and may lessen their anger even more. Responses like. "Lisa, I understand what you are saying." Or maybe; "I can see where you are coming from, Lisa." And remember eye contact! Nothing says you are interested in what someone says more than direct eye contact.
Accept responsibility for your actions.
If you actually did do something to create the problem, and the complaint is legitimate, take responsibility for your actions. Apologize. Offer reciprocity or ask them if you can do anything to make them feel better. Most of the time, people just want to be heard and apologized to.
Do not accept their gift of anger-keep your cool.
One of my favorite Buddha stories goes like this: One day a disciple came to the Enlightened One. This student was angry and confronted the Buddha. The Buddha sat quietly in meditation while his student raved on. Finally, the student asked the Buddha if he could hear him and way was he not reacting with anger? The Buddha opened his eyes and politely said; "If I do not accept your gift of anger, does it not still make it your own?" By keeping your cool and acting calmly during an angry confrontation, you will not give fuel to the fire. It takes two to tango, so if you do not armor up, the potential confrontation is merely one person venting. When in this situation, remember the other points in this article.
Defuse their anger...
By apologizing and letting them know that you understand that your actions led them to this stress. If someone is about to push you, you can either back away or confront their advances. Confronting their advances only deepens the well of discord and creates a fight, but by intelligently backing off, their aggression is immediately defused. By removing the motivation for their advance, you can defuse the situation before it gets out of hand. When you feel your anger rising in defense of your ego, immediately take a deep breath and find your center. Know that the anger and negativity within your attacker is only a reflection of what is inside of them, and not inside you. You are not the negative things this person says about you. This only makes your abuser a person that needs to be negative out of insecurity and inner fears. Forgive them, for they know not what they do or how to act in accordance with universal law.
Knowledge is power.
Know they really feel they have a reason for their negativity and aggression, but they do not know how to maturely convey the message to you. Thank them for letting you know how they feel. Let them know you appreciate them having the courage to let this matter out. Respond accordingly, but always reply out of love and respect and not retaliation, protection and fear.
The things people say may hurt our feeling, but as spiritual beings we can choose our actions to these negative situations and let it go. Your ego may want to let the person know they hurt you, but this is not the time. After the situation has been defused, you will have the chance at a later date to speak your truth. If the person is someone you whish not to speak with, a letter written from a place of love a nd compassion is a great tool to honor what you believe.
As we walk a spiritual path, we are not immuned from the negativity of the world, but we can choose to act in accordance with spiritual law. We will always be uplifted when we choose the right action and not retaliate in defense of our egos. The Bible says the meek will inherit the earth. A Course in Miracles expands that thought by saying that the meek will take over the earth with their passive inner strength. So remember these words and the above suggestions the next time you are confronted with aggression and anger. Be passive-take the high road, and let your spirit and inner strength rule the situation.

The Fallout From Mental Health Stigma

What is Stigma?
Stigma is the use of stereotypes and labels when describing someone, and it is often attached to people who suffer from mental health issues. We don't fully understand how the brain works yet, but one thing we DO know is that it is an organ. Yet our society doesn't readily accept brain disorders the way we accept other organ disorders. Why is this so?
Stigma is a harsh reality for people who have mental health problems, because it prevents them from enjoying a normal and productive life. So many people today feel uncomfortable about mental health issues, despite the fact that there is growing evidence that more and more people are developing these problems. In fact, many people are so uncomfortable with the stigma that they would rather suffer in silence than get help they need.
Here are a few of the most common misconceptions about mental health problems:
  • Mentally ill people have a weak character
  • Mentally ill people are potentially dangerous.
  • People with mental illness should just "snap out of it"
  • Mentally ill people are violent

The media has only further fuelled our distorted beliefs about mental health issues. Frequently, characters on television and in the movies that have a mental illness are depicted as dangerous, unpredictable and violent.
What Are the Effects of Stigma?
If you became ill you would go to a doctor. Once you got better, you would expect to get on with life as usual. 
But it's not that easy for people who suffer from mental illness. Often, they can suffer from persistent rejections and exclusions by ill-informed members of the community. Some people have been denied loans, health insurance and jobs because of their history of mental health issues. Consequently, these people lose their self confidence and may develop further anxiety or depression, on top of the issues they are already facing.
I witnessed this first hand many years ago, when my brother was diagnosed with schizophrenia. The majority of his friends deserted him; they weren't able to comprehend or cope with his altered personality and erratic behaviour. Within months he went from being a popular, vivacious and outgoing young man to a shattered, isolated loner. Over the following months, I watched my brother sink deeper into debilitating depression, which ultimately became so unbearable that he took his own life.
What Can We Do?
All of us have times when we feel depressed, anxious or angry. We might even have a series of bad days, where we think that nothing will ever go right for us and the world is against us. For a mentally ill person, these feelings do not go away.
So the answer lies in education and understanding. If you know someone who seems very emotional, down or upset, then lead by example; show compassion and understanding, and encourage them to seek help. And if you're suffering silently yourself, take comfort in the fact that you're not alone and that there is hope.

Do Your Dreams Have a Hidden Meaning?

Dreams, what are they?
Dreams come from your subconscious mind as a means of processing and sorting information. But the truth is no one really knows what causes dreams and why some folk seem to have vivid colorful dreams and others have short uneventful ones.
Dreams mainly occur during Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. REM occurs every one and a half hours during the sleep cycle. During REM the eyes move from side to side and the body is relaxed and almost incapable of movement.
Have you ever told people, "I never dream"? Well you're wrong. The fact is everybody dreams every night. You just may not be able to remember your dreams.
Don't worry too much if this is the case. Not remembering dreams doesn't mean you're abnormal or unnatural in any way. While most people do remember their dreams, the memory is fleeting and occurs mainly when the sleeper first awakens.
If you really want to be able to remember your dreams, the best way is to 'remind yourself' before falling asleep. This programs the subconscious mind - the source of your dreams - to hold on to the memory.
When you wake up, try and hold the dream in your mind until you have a chance to record it. The easiest way to do this is to have a notebook and pen or a personal voice recorder beside your bed, so you can write down the dream before it disappears and gets 'buried' by the normal thoughts and concerns of everyday life.
With a bit of practice you'll find little snippets of your dreams beginning to reveal themselves. This procedure will also work well for those who remember occasional dreams or those who want to remember every dream they have.
Books on dream interpretation abound and many people believe that dreams create a window into the subconscious mind where they can find answers to their most pressing problems and even see into the future.
This can be a dangerous practice. At best you can waste a lot of money buying books which lean towards the esoteric and lack knowledge in this area. Even sleep specialists know a large part of interpreting dreams is pure speculation.
At worst dream interpretation can be taken too seriously and people can depend too heavily on finding the (sometimes false) meaning of their dreams. This can lead to depression and even paranoia. It's best to treat dream interpretation as a bit of fun and realize that there may be many different ways to analyze dreams and their meaning.
If you are having recurring dreams or nightmares, it's best to contact a therapist experienced in this area. Don't go down the mystical route of trying to analyze yourself by means of a book.
Nightmares can be caused by stress, so work on ways to relieve this and the nightmares should ease or may even disappear by themselves.

Park your garage sales on the Internet

You have been planning your garage sale for weeks now. Your garage, as well as you whole home, is stuffed with old records, books, clothing, vacuum sweepers, and other odds and ends that you have no use for anymore. Instead of just tossing your clutter into the neighborhood landfill, you've decided to hold one of the most time-honored traditions in civilization-the garage (or yard) sale. It can be a thankless task, becoming a pawnbroker for a day, but there's definitely good money in it-if you know how and, more importantly, where to organize your garage sale.

First, of course, you need to get your sales items together. Garage sales are a great way to recycle stuff that you no longer have room for. You'd be surprised what doodads and miscellany your neighbors will want-musty books, old silver wear, framed photos of long-lost third cousins, and other unmentionables that you've had no use for since who knows when. Even more surprising, your neighbors are willing to shell out cold hard cash for these items. That makes your garage sale a win-win proposition for you.

Come to think of it, though, a garage sale at your home can be a real chore. It takes a Herculean effort to collect and organize every last little thing you want to sell. Then you have to tag each item and keep track of it in a hardcopy log. To ensure that your neighbors show up with cash in hand, you must create, print up, and pay for flyers, which need to be distributed on telephone poles and supermarket message boards across the region. The work can seem endless and your chances of making a profit slim.

Don't get me wrong. Your garage sale was a great idea, but as you can see, there are many limitations to holding one at your house the old-fashioned way. Get with the times. The garage sale has evolved thanks to the multitude of Web sites that allow you to sell your goods online. People are selling more stuff than ever on the Internet because of the convenience of Web classified sites.

The Internet holds several crucial advantages over selling your stuff the outdated way. When you compare these benefits to the problems with home-based garage sales, you'll see the difference:

ONLINE: Your items are available for purchase for an unlimited time, until they sell.
AT HOME: Your items are available until you call it quits for the night.

ONLINE: Rain, sleet, or snow, your sales aren't affected in the least.
AT HOME: Better have a rain date or a very big umbrella.

ONLINE: No need to constantly watch over your goods or interact with uninterested customers. Just wait until a customer contacts you by e-mail when they are ready to purchase.
AT HOME: Be prepared for countless hours of staring down the street for customers to appear. When they do arrive, be prepared for too many questions but too few purchases.

ONLINE: Advertise for free to your friends and neighbors over e-mail.
AT HOME: Shell out money for flyers, after which you can get to know all of the telephone poles in your neighborhood.

ONLINE: Spend your weekends the way they were meant to be: relaxing and enjoying your time with friends and family.
AT HOME: Spend your weekend waking up early, buying and distributing flyers, lugging boxes, and waiting for customers.

As you can see, it's not an even match. An online garage sale wins hands down.

Now that you're actually excited to get started with your garage sale, you should know that there is one caveat. As easy as it may seem, your online garage sale will be even easier if you choose the right classified site.

Your best bet is to do your research and find classified sites with the most features and benefits, such as
(1) No sign-up, registration, or transaction fees. 
(2) Free ad listing with text description and pictures. 
(3) Long-term ad posting and free renewals. 
(4) Easy, accurate, electronic, and automatic record keeping.

The best classified sites have these incredible features and then some. Not only will you be able to clean out your home's clutter with the help of these classified sites. Your garage sale will also park a profit in your pocket.

12 Essential Tips to Add to Your Moving Check List

Moving means umpteen things to be done -it is not about just putting things into boxes, taking them to another place, and unpacking there. The more complicated our lives get the more the things to be done before and after moving. 

To make life easier and less complicated, use a "moving checklist." This will help you move efficiently and methodically.

The first thing is to write down simple facts about your destination-what kind of weather, climatic changes, urban or rural, water potability, infrastructure in new home, size of home, colors of walls, rules made by landlord in case it is a rented home-some landlords specify no nails on walls.

A typical check list will have:
  • Inventory of goods-perishable, breakable, unbreakable. A room-wise inventory is recommended. Also a box containing "first day needs" marked load last, unpack first.
  • A file containing essentials like house documents, insurance papers, packing lists, bills to be settled, travel tickets, keys to new home, and bills to be settled.
  • A must do list to remind you to:
    • Arrange transfer of school records.
    • Pay utility and other pending bills.
    • Transfer bank accounts.
    • Turn off phone, heat, electricity, and gas connections.
    • Disconnect television and Internet cables.
  • A list of "to be done" --- post office notification; insurance for valuables, health checks and medications; buying travelers cheques ; closing club, gym, and library memberships; canceling newspapers and magazine subscriptions; returning any borrowed things; finding new homes for pets and plants; confirming travel plans.
  • Pack a travel kit containing cheque books, credit cards, personal phone book, I-pod, identity card, flashlight, keys to new home, toiletries, change of clothes, emergency medications, food, towels, alarm clock, games for kids, hat, and windcheater.
  • List of items to be sold/placed in storage. List of things to be repaired, replaced, painted, or refurbished.
  • List of legal papers and keys to be handed over to the landlord or new owner of your home.
  • A folder containing details of movers, truck number, drivers ID and cell number, as well as addresses and phone numbers of their office at the destination and call center or tracking center. An envelope containing cash or cheque to settle the mover's bills.
  • Arrangements to be made in your new home before you arrive: a working phone, installing utilities like gas, electricity, and heat, putting in cable for the television as well as internet, turning on the water supply, getting the painting as well as any other alterations or repairs done before the trucks arrive.
  • Ready to use folder containing, birth certificates, school records, medical records, dental records, transfer papers, and anything else required to enroll them in the new school.
  • A bare necessities box marked No 1, containing: toilet paper, towels, soap, shampoo, bath towels, paper towels, insecticide, cereal, dehydrated milk, coffee, and other must haves.
  • A "new home" must do list: validate your car papers and drivers license, renew or get new insurance, put all legal papers in order (check applicable laws), make a list of emergency numbers: hospital, police station, social services, fire station, doctor's clinic, and vet.
Be well prepared to move, make a list that pertains to you personally. If you are well organized the move will go smoothly.

Make the Right Move

America is always on the move-literally. Experts estimate that one out of five households move to a new residence each year. If you do the math, that amounts to a whopping 1.5 million moves every month. Those are some amazing stats, especially if you consider how trying and stressful such moves can be. It's a wonder that one household-let alone millions!-can pull it off.

If you're part of this statistic and on the verge of a big move, though, don't be daunted by the whole process of packing up your stuff, loading it, and dragging it to your new home. There is a way to move without losing any valuables, too much money, or your mind, whether you're moving across town, or across the continent. With some common sense, some help from professionals, friends, and loved ones, and the essential "Do's and Don'ts" list in this article, you can be successful and avoid all of the mishaps and stress that usually come with moving. 

We'll start with the positive-the Do's on our list. Make sure to check off all of these before you even start stuffing boxes with your stuff. Do:
  • Line up help for packing and moving your stuff. It depends on your budget whether you hire professional movers or call in the volunteer brigade (your friends and family). Either way, round up somebody.
  • Have a chat with your post office, making sure they know to forward your mail to your new address. In many cases, you will need to fill out a mail-forwarding form.
  • Purchase brand-new moving boxes from your moving company or truck-renting company. They're worth the money. Bugs and vermin can stow away in old boxes. No need to give them a free ride to your new digs.
  • Sort through your stuff for old valuables you don't need anymore to sell. Be honest with yourself, and you may be able to pay for your move with the money you make-especially if you sell them at convenient and easy marketplaces like online classified sites.
  • Drop off old valuables that aren't worth selling at a Goodwill or other charity thrift shop.
  • Think comfort and safety on move day. Pack a first-aid kit with medicines and hygiene products, as well as a change of clothes and light snacks.
Now onto the Don'ts. Avoid these missteps, and your move will feel like an exciting adventure, not painful torture. So don't:
  • Take on the entire move without any help and worse, without any planning.
  • Forget to find out your local post office's rules for transferring mail. And while you're at it, don't let it slip your mind to change your address, as well.
  • Move without your kids and pets or leave them home alone during trips to and from your old and new residences. For pets and small children, your best bet is a sitter.
  • Grab a few used vegetable boxes from the supermarket or grocery store. They may be cheap, but bugs and dirt may be hiding inside them. You want to start in your new home with a clean slate, not an infested one.
  • Haul old kitchen junk, like worn-out plastic containers and chipped glasses, with you to your home. You can save yourself a lot of heartache, and muscle aches, if you use the move as a chance to get rid of this kind of stuff.
  • Pack expired canned foods, leftovers, and perishables. Anything that can spill, go rotten, and cause a mess in any way is not worth the effort. Again, think clean slate.
  • Throw a garage sale, sell what you can, and save the leftovers for the garage sale you tell yourself you'll have next spring. Truth is, this stuff will probably be clogging your storage space for years to come. If you want to sell it, try an easier and more profitable way, such as online classified ads.
  • Forget to unpack box after box after you move in and then when you can't find something (because it's buried in a box somewhere), go shopping for it. Unpack as quickly as possible. You won't feel at home in your new place until you do.
These Do's and Don'ts will help you have a "moving" experience when you settle into your new home. But instead of tears of frustration and anguish pouring out your eyes, they will be tears of joy.

Leaving Secrets: How to Create a Personal Instruction Manual for Life

Imagine if your great, great grandfather or grandmother had left you a book with their secrets for living. Maybe it contained nuggets of wisdom, yummy recipes, favorite jokes, or just insights for how to lead a good life. Ever since people learned of my next book, Life's Missing Instruction Manual, people are curious how to create their own "manual" for life.

You can leave such a book for your own family. What are the key lessons you've learned in your life? Are you ready to share them with your children and grandchildren - or with your friend, siblings, parents, and grandparents?

What you've gleaned from your life experiences can make things easier for your children or your relatives. In fact, the lessons you've earned from trial and error can be the perfect gift for everyone in your life - or for one person who matters to you. Here's how to commit your insights to writing and share them with your fellow life travelers.
  • Carry a pad of paper around with you everywhere for a week.
  • Jot down your thoughts and observations as they occur to you. Don't judge them. Just make note of them.
  • Add personal stories and memories, as they come to mind. Again, don't edit your thoughts. Just commit them to paper.
  • Take a few days to go through your notes, and underline the most important passages, and make additional comments in the margins.
  • From this, distill the lessons you most want to share with others: your perspective, your values, what matters most to you, and your reactions to the world around you.
  • Find a beautiful journal or blank book - one that you feel a strong connection with. You might find it at a bookstore, an antique store, an online auction site, a craft store, or even a flea market. Where you find it doesn't matter. How you feel about it does.
  • Fill the journal with your own instruction manual for life. Make sure to include a title and your name.
  • Find a special person to share it with, and turn the presentation of the journal into a celebration.
If you don't feel comfortable writing your notes and stories, you can dictate them into a portable tape recorder, and later, you can transcribe them into a journal. You don't have to be a bestselling author, academic, or philosopher to create a instruction manual that can helped your loved ones every day of their lives... and be passed on to future generations as well.

Is Your Family Really Benefiting When You Work at Home?

You've beaten the obstacles and found a way to work at home, whether by finding a job or starting a home business. But is your work getting in the way of time with your family? It may be time to make sure you are finding balance between working at home and your family.

Let's take a look at some easy things you can do to ensure that you are spending time with your family.

1. Make time for play. Family activities are a great way to relax away from work. It can be as simple as taking a walk or going to the park, or it could be a full day excursion to a museum, amusement part or beach. You don't have to leave the house, of course. You could play games, make cookies or do other fun activities around the house. The point is to simply have fun as a family and have time to talk to each other.
One way to start is to plan a family night. Tell everyone they have to be home on a particular evening each week and do things as a family. Even if you just rent a movie to watch together, it's something you're doing together.
If you're married, make sure you plan a regular date night with your spouse. Frequency may depend on how old your children are and how often you can get babysitting, but it is important for your marriage to have time as a couple.
You don't have to spend a lot of money to have fun with your family. Just make time for fun.
2. Be there for your children's activities. If your children are involved in sports, acting, singing or other activities, make sure you are there for all the games, performances or other important events. It will help your children to know that they are very important to you.
3. Set rules and enforce them. If your children understand when they can interrupt your work you will be able to get more done in less time, giving you more time for your family.
Of course, you need to be consistent. If kids get away with breaking the rules some of the time, they will test the rules often. Consistency will save you time in the long run, even if you aren't sure you want to spare the time at a particular moment.
4. Pay attention to what kind of attention each child needs. Every child is different. Some demand attention while others are so quiet it's easy to forget that they need you too. Make sure you spend time with each child as an individual.
5. When the kids come home from school, take some time to talk about their day. They will appreciate your interest. You should also make sure they understand their homework and start it at whatever time they do best at finishing it. Some do best starting homework immediately on getting home, while others do better if they can play for a while first. Be aware of your child's needs.
6. If your work is something the children can help with, let them be involved. If not, you can still at least talk to them about what you do. This sets a good example for your children by helping them to know what working is really about. 

It's easy to get buried in the needs of your work when you work at home. A little bit of planning can go a long way toward making working at home a wonderful experience for all. Your family is why you decided to work at home, so don't let your time with them get put aside.

How to Find Age Appropriate Toys for Children

Fond memories of childhood usually bring to mind a favorite toy. A cuddly doll, colorful crayons, or a special wagon are all childhood favorites. Toys bring a great deal of joy to children, but they also can be valuable learning tools. Exploring, pretending, and sharing are just a few of the important skills children develop while they play. Toys don't have to be expensive. Cardboard boxes in the backyard and measuring cups in the bathtub are favorite standards. But parents who do wish to purchase toys may find it helpful to know what toys to choose and which to avoid for children of different ages.

Every child is unique, has its specific pattern of development and has different ways of cruising through the milestones of physical, mental and social development. Infants and toddlers learn about the world through their senses. They are interested in the sight, sound, smell, texture, and taste of things. Objects or toys that can be squeezed, dropped, poked, twisted, or thrown are sure to cause delight. Toddlers also enjoy any item that can be stacked, poured, opened, closed, pushed, or pulled. Toys are vital for the physical and mental development of your infant baby. The toys have a significant bearing on your infants personality, therefore must be carefully selected.

During these years, children use their imagination to imitate adult activity and participate actively in physical games. Their physical coordination develops, and the foundation of printing and writing is also laid at this time. Preschool children learn by doing. They are busy developing new skills. They like drawing, painting, and building. They also spend a great deal of time pretending. Dress-up clothes, pretend play and puppets are big favorites. Preschoolers are energetic and active. They need large balls to roll and throw, wagons to pull, and tricycles to ride. 

At this stage children learn about getting along with others, and about the adult world of sports, games and careers. They develop intellectual and social interests and make strong friendships, likes and dislikes. School-age children feel more grown-up and love activities that lead to (real products¦ such as jewelry, (designer¦ T-shirts, or stamp collections. They also develop a keen interest in sports and enjoy having adult-like physical equipment such as softball gloves, tennis rackets, or skates. They have a better understanding of rules and enjoy playing with others. Board games, cards, or dominoes teach math concepts and problem-solving skills.


The age of your child and not the activity level, is a primary factor in selecting an appropriate toy. Toys should not promote a single thought or concept; instead, they should enhance creativity and thinking skills. Toys and games are also important for the child to learn and practice logical and problem-solving. Toys that can be played in a number of ways serve as great educational tools and endorse comprehensive development of your child.

A letter to my daughter

We are all looking to find that special person to share our lives with through the ups and downs and everything that comes with it and hopefully that person has a positive outlook and will truly love us for who we are.

Always remember that you can't have the sweet without the sour as it were.

When you say I love you; make sure you mean it because to say it and not mean it is truly the most painful of all lies.

Listen to your heart and not nay-sayers, our futures are defined by our choices and not by chances we may take along the way. Everyone in your world may have an opinion but the fact of the matter is that only we can decide where we want to be. What will make us happy. 

If you make a mistake have the courage to admit it, it doesn't matter if you are forgiven or not, what matters most is that you took responsibility.

Always remember that no matter how bad of a mistake you may make, no matter how much pain and regret it may cause, the people who truly love you will see past it because you matter to them more than you may fully realize.

Live each day as if it were your last. One day it will be.

Don't wake up one day wondering what might have been. You made your bed so you must lie in it, if the choice was wrong then do something about it. There is nothing you cannot change or correct if you have the will to fight for what you want.

Believe in yourself and in your dreams, always have hope and love will most certainly find you.

Most importantly, never settle for less than what you know you are worth.

If someone tells you they love you and you are unsure in your heart then test their love. Let that person prove to you that they love you.

Love is there for each of us, it is simply a matter of finding it, if it's meant to be it will be, but don't force it to happen, let nature take its course.

Never forget that I love you, I always have and I always will.

Love dad.

c/o Garret 

She responded with this:


I love you two daddy, 

This is for you. 

Think about the items on the following list one at a time BEFORE you go on to the next one ... IT DOES MAKE YOU FEEL GOOD, especially the thought at the end ... so allow your imagination to enjoy each of these situations ...

1. Falling in love

2. Laughing so hard your face hurts

3. A hot shower

4. No lines at the supermarket

5. A special glance

6. Getting mail

7. Taking a drive on a pretty road

8. Hearing your favorite song on the radio

9. Lying in bed listening to the rain outside

10. Hot towels fresh out of the dryer

11. Chocolate milkshake (or vanilla or strawberry!)

12. A bubble bath

13. Giggling

14. A good conversation

15. The beach

16. Finding a 20 dollar bill in your coat from last winter

17. Laughing at yourself

19. Midnight phone calls that last for hours

20. Running through sprinklers

21. Laughing for absolutely no reason at all

22. Having someone tell you that you're beautiful (or handsome)

23. Laughing at an inside joke

24. Friends

25. Accidentally overhearing someone say something nice about you

26. Waking up and realizing you still have a few hours left to sleep

27 Your first kiss (either the very first or with a new partner)

28. Making new friends or spending time with old ones

29. Playing with a new puppy

30. Having someone play with your hair

31. Sweet dreams

32. Hot chocolate

33. Road trips with friends

34. Swinging on swings

35. Making eye contact with a cute stranger

36. Making chocolate chip cookies

37. Having your friends send you homemade cookies

38. Holding hands with someone you care about

39. Running into an old friend and realizing that some things (good or bad) never change

40. Watching the expression on someone's face as they open a much desired present from you

41. Watching the sunrise

42. Getting out of bed every morning and being grateful for another beautiful day

43. Knowing that somebody misses you

44. Getting a hug from someone you care about deeply

45. Knowing you've done the right thing no matter what other people think

Pass on these natural highs to people you care about in the next half hour and something wonderful will happen to you today. Real friends are angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.

Author Unknown