How to Party

5 piggy birthdayIt is party season.  Do you know how to party?  Some collegiates think partying  is a required course.  I am thinking more along the lines of family and children’s celebrations.   The time between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day is a busy party season.  There are always a few graduations to attend.  These might include high school, middle school, college and even kindergarten or preschool.   Milestones are fun to celebrate.

My own wedding fell in that time period.  So did the weddings of three of my children and the birthdays of three (not the same three) of my children, plus mine.  Oh, my!

Anytime there is a party to host or to attend there are some things we need to know and practice.  Like most skills we improve with practice, which means we might be fairly awful at the start. In other words, your children might be awful at party behavior. They probably need to be reminded of some or all of their party skills prior to every party and maybe privately and gently during the party, also.

Try to be patient with them.  Here are a few party skills to practice.

As a guest:

  1. This means please respond.  Say yes I will be attending or give your regrets. Don’t leave them guessing. Do this in a timely manner.  Not the day before.
  2. Take an appropriate gift.
  3. Be happy for the guest of honor and express it.
  4. During gift opening be engaging but not overwhelming. Don’t crowd them.
  5. Accept offered food and drink, but use some restraint and don’t pig out. This is not your opportunity to have a meal of only chips and cupcakes.
  6. Say thanks to the host(s).
  7. If you have a close relationship with the host then offer to assist with preparations, food, or clean up.

cupcake

As a host:

  1. Invitations (written or oral) should go out 3-6 weeks in advance.
  2. Make sure your home is clean enough that guest will feel welcome and comfortable. Perfection is not required.
  3. Greet your guests and focus on them.
  4. Make sure guest know how to find the food, bathrooms, and activities.
  5. While opening gifts be thankful. Do not express disappointment, dissatisfaction, or criticism. All gifts costs time and/or money and the gesture should be appreciated.
  6. Interact with all guests of all ages, not just your favorites.
  7. Thank each one for attending. Say goodbye as they depart.
  8. Written thank you notes are becoming as extinct as dinosaurs, typewriters, and landlines, but are lovely to receive. I encourage you to do this even if it takes you months.

Like anything we think is important enough to practice, these party skills will become easier and make every party better.  Parties occur frequently.  With practice your child could be the favorite party guest or host.   Keep Calm. . .  and Party On.

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Me, #2 son, and daughter all graduated from the same ollege on the same day

 

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I Procrastinate

Confession Time. Here is my hidden secret.  I am a closet procrastinator.  Because, in general, I am a well- organized person and productive I can hide my procrastination. But there are many things/tasks that I put off, delay, or postpone.  Of course, I would rather talk about someone else’s struggles than my own.  Yet, I think I must examine why I procrastinate and what I can do about it.laundry

Why do I procrastinate?  Sometimes I just don’t want to do it. If it was a request from someone else and I had an option, then I should have said NO up front.  Saying NO can be difficult because I don’t like to disappoint people.   Sometimes I am just uncomfortable with the task.  I actually hate making phone calls to ask others to do stuff, or even to make appointments.

Sometimes I am afraid.  I am afraid that I will fail or even do a poor job.  It is a fear of how others will react or maybe even reject me.   Sometimes I delay because I don’t know where to start or I need an idea but don’t have one.

IMG_5249I can even procrastinate at writing, which I love and do all the time.  I have written daily in a journal since 1984 but there are days I don’t want to do it. I also write Bible study lessons, communion meditations, sermons, and this blog.  I write a lot.  Yet I often postpone working on one of these by addressing a smaller or easier assignment.

Some of my children are proficient at procrastination.  I can commiserate with them. It is much easier to point out their struggles than to admit my own. I have failed at helping them get a handle on their struggle with procrastination.   I have learned that encouragement is more effective than nagging.  Nagging shuts down communication and builds up defiance.

 

The following are some things that help me with procrastination:

  1. It is okay to just say, “No thanks”.
  2. A feared outcome is seldom as bad as expected.
  3. Finishing a task/project feels SO GOOD.
  4. Provide a reward as incentive for completion.
  5. Or maybe rewards for steps towards completion (frequently used).
  6. Make lists for daily, weekly and monthly goals (I love checking them off).
  7. Prioritize tasks and set deadlines.
  8. Pressure and stress melt when tasks are completed.
  9. Just start somewhere. Make some progress.  Any progress.
  10. Tackle the hard tasks first or early in the day to get it over.
  11. Remember what I have accomplished in the past and that I am capable.

I believe that these can be useful tools for teens and children. If you see procrastination in your children, I hope these tools can sideline a lifestyle of procrastination.

 

“You never know how courageous you can be until you face your fears.”

Cousins are the Best

Cousins are like candy, the more you have, the better.  They are sweet and sour and wonderful, some are squishy and some are hard.   I hope you are blessed with many of them.  Cousins can be like extra siblings or better.  A cousin can be the sister or brother that you do not have.  A cousin can be your first playmate and best friend.

Barb, L & D

My cousin, my sister and I

How many cousins are enough?   My children have 8 first cousins.  I had 37 and my husband had almost that many too.  Some of ours have passed away.  Nearly all have married (a few multiple times) have children, grandchildren and even great grandchildren.   All of which, equates to more cousins.  No one has any control over how many cousins they have.  You get what you get (many life lessons there).

Make time for your children to know their cousins, even the ones who live far away.  Consider vacationing together or just visiting at their house.  Invite them to your house.   One precious memory I have was when my parents, siblings and their families went with my family to Starved Rock State Park to spend the day with my aunt, uncle and their children and grandchildren.  I only wish we had done it more than once.  Throughout our lives friends come and go and change, but cousins endure with us.   Our common family history and experiences bond us together.

Lilicia Park deer

Me, with our 4 children (daughter in back pack), plus 2 of their cousins at Lilacia Park, Lombard, IL

Connecting with cousins also gives us opportunities to relate to people beyond our own age and gender. I had far more boy cousins than girl cousins.   I learned to interact and relate to my boy cousins in a very natural way without the weirdness that often accompanies cross-gender friendships. (At age 14 there was one whom I wished could have been my boyfriend).   I recall having fun pestering some older cousins (trying to count freckles) and sometimes being thrilled and terrified by older cousins.  I admired and adored them and loved being with them.

Among my grandchildren it is fun to watch the cousins play together.  Generally the boys play with the boys and the girls with the girls.  Younger and older play together.  My heart is warmed at their friendships.  I heard that last summer at junior high church camp my grandson and my petite granddaughter who are only 2 months apart in age but many inches apart in height hung out with each other and often sat together.  He is caring and protective and she is sweetness.   I am certain that at camp someday soon they will clearly identify each other as cousins.

Attend your family gatherings at holidays, weddings, showers, funerals, and reunions.  If those really big gatherings are overwhelming, then plan some frequent little ones.  May your family be a blessing in your life.  If it is not, I give you my condolences, and may you have wisdom to set healthy boundaries.

Kids in Pain

Kids experience pain.  It can be emotional pain, physical pain from illness or injury, mental or relational, and it is often all mixed together.  Being a long-term chronic (30+ years) migraine sufferer, I have learned a few things about pain.  As a parent, I stumbled upon some insight for helping kids with their pain.Bad Day Bad Life

My very active children were frequently involved in physical feats which sometimes resulted in breaks, bruises, stitches and even an occasional regret. There was lots of physical pain.  I wrote more about this in “Breaks, Stitches and Concussions”   https://dianesergeant.wordpress.com/2015/06/04/breaks-stitches-and-concussions

Any time a child is in pain their parent has a wonderful opportunity to express compassion, mercy and care.  If it is a relational issue, then the parent should gently enquire about the nature of the issue and help the child determine if there are things for which he or she is personally responsible and should address.  Then help the child to be brave enough and courageous enough to do so.  Some relationships are worth the effort and some are not.

Our youngest son had a “friend” in the neighborhood with whom he tried to play and develop a friendship.   Effort after effort was made.  They wanted to get together.  So we mom’s made the arrangements, but their time together was not fun.   They could never agree on what to do.  Each wanted to be the boss of the other.  They would not take turns leading or following. They were equally at fault.  It was not a friendship worth keeping.talk to three year old

Our eldest son experienced relationship loss over and over.  Between age 7 and 12, he had three best friends each move hundreds of mile away.  Each was devastating.   Each of these losses was completely beyond his control.  Each of these losses was very painful.

One of our sons was absolutely appalled at the sight of himself when he had chicken pox.  It was more disturbing to him than the discomfort.  He was ten years old at the time.  He required much comforting.

The entrance to adolescence opens a Pandora’s Box of emotions.  As a mom, I was not ready for this, as it hit earlier than I expected.  Also my adolescent experience was limited to the female gender and I had no idea what to expect with those male aliens in my house.

respond with compassion

Here are some of the lessons I learned through various pain issues with my children:

  1. Acknowledge the pain is real and don’t minimize it – be merciful
  2. At the same time, help them understand that this is not a new permanent existence- give hope
  3. Help them get a grasp on the enormity of (or more realistically the lack there of ) the issue- be realistic
  4. Adolescents excel at exaggeration and blowing things out of proportion – be genuine
  5. Discern how much comfort or how much prodding is needed in each situation – be truthful
  6. Considering the child’s nature, be available to talk and listen as much or a little as is needed- be accessible
  7. Some children want to converse late at night, some in the early morning and some all day. (we had them all) – be kind
  8. Some children will want to vent/talk at the time of the incident and others will wait and wait and wait before they are ready. – be patient
  9. Share your own similar experience, how it affected you and what you did that was successful or failed – give empathy
  10. Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know the answers. Perhaps together an answer can be found. Be willing to pray with your child for the answer – be vulnerable

 

I once asked the Lord, why He would give me such a sensitive child, when He knew I was not a sensitive person.   The answer He gently dropped into my heart was, “That’s why you need him. “

 

Watching the Olympics?

Is your family watching the Olympics?  Why or why not?  Some families have no interest in any sports and other families can’t get enough. I am not a huge sport fan.  Generally, the only sports I watch on TV are the Chicago Bears.  I enjoy watching high school and junior high sports live when I know a student on the team.  Of course, I watched my own children play team sports and consider it a special treat to watch any of my grandchildren play their sport.

downloadBut the Olympics rate in a category all their own.  Watching the Olympics happens in the comfort of my own home, usually in a recliner and without insects, or sunburn, or someone hawking food or raffle tickets. I don’t have to cart around a child or children to weeks of practices and games or pack healthy snacks for 20 other kids. It’s also FREE. All of these are simply a matter of convenience. There are many positive reasons for being an Olympic spectator.

The Olympics provide tons of opportunities for conversations on topics not often addressed. Don’t just dish out information, but do some research with your children to discover where Korea or the current host country is located.  Do you know anyone who served in the Korean War?  Ask them about the country and their experiences. North Korea is a current event in politics.  Do you know what that is all about?

The Olympics are filled with symbolism and tradition. Its history goes back to ancient Greece where the earliest champions were awarded laurel wreaths. What do today’s winners receive besides the medals?  What do the torch, the flame, and the rings mean?  Explain the differences between amateur and professional sportsmen/women.  How are Olympians a bit like both?

When I watch the Olympics I am always amazed at the perseverance of the athletes.  Their dedication can be an inspiration to us not just in athletic endeavors but also in other areas of our lives. Perhaps your child will discover an interest and desire to explore a new sport. Do you want to build a curling rink in your back yard? (Frozen Disney tune in my headMaybe you simply become a fan of ice hockey and discover the fun and excitement of the game.field day events

The Olympics have 3 top winners in every competition but that means there are hundreds or thousands who return home with an incredible experience but a defeat.  Maybe they fell on the ice or lost a ski or some other fiasco.   We can all relate to failure. But how is it handled? That is another great conversation starter.

How about the winners? How does their life change? They have not all handled the success successfully.  How many past Olympic winners can you recall? Sports and training have value and we can learn much from them but the character and integrity of a person outlasts the strength and skill on a snowboard or skates.

One summer when our four oldest children were between the ages of 13 and 6, we decided to turn the TV off for the entire summer.  I thought it was a good move until August rolled around and the Summer Olympics were being televised.  There was sadness in the house. Reflecting back I think a 2 month hiatus would have been sufficient.

Schools often have Olympic studies planned. The Olympics can be addressed in theDan basket ball subjects of history, geography, literature, writing, math, spelling, and current events. Why not read a book about an Olympian?

One more Olympic idea is all about food.  Strength and health come from physical activity and nutrition. Discuss a healthy diet.  Look up what Gold medalist, Mark Spitz, ate for breakfast when training. With the Winter Olympics in Korea, it is the perfect time to try some Korean food at home or in a restaurant.

I would love to hear if your family does anything special related to the Winter Olympics.

Everything’s Brok en

“What broke today?”  Those were the first words Daddy said daily as he arrived home from work. Yes, something broke every day.  It was at least a something.  Sometimes it was multiple somethings.

Yes, there were the typical household issues such as a broken vacuum, dish washer, dryer, pedal on the stationary bike, leg of the mini trampoline, tub drain, bathroom door lock, sliding closet doors off the  track,  a bowl, a glass, a jar of jelly, the garbage disposal and the car battery.   Everyday usage wears things out.   BUT if you have children, and particularly active boys, then you have additional breakage.

They weren’t necessarily being malicious or abusive.  They were just very busy, childishly careless and naïve.   There were times that even I, with a clear memory of my own childhood filled with accidents and carelessness, was exasperated.

March 30th.  My sons were 9 months, 2.8 and 5.8 years old. They were all three playing boys in benchtogether.  Their play was happy and cooperative and creative.  The two older boys were giving rides to their littlest brother.  He was seated in an upside down step-bench.  They pushed the bench along the inside circle of the house – through the living room, down the hall, through the little bedroom, across the kitchen, around the corner of the dining room and back to the start. (It was so adorable I even took a photo.) All of the flooring was not the same and so some of the pushing was easier than in other areas.   What they didn’t notice was that a slightly too-tall screw in a threshold between the bedroom and kitchen was gouging the bottom of the seat (the top of the bench) with every pass around the circle.  Damage was done that was not intended.

 

This was the same day that the # 2 son, who was 2.8 years old, had also managed to break the leg off a dining room chair and bend the chandelier when he swung from it like a monkey.  He also pulled up little baby plants in a starter garden box in the window.  I needed three sets of eyes and I didn’t have them. The poor boy had to stand for a few meals while his father repaired his chair.

Toys were broken every day as the boys played with them. I could manage the simple gluing of parts, if that was a sufficient fix, but gluing plastic did not always work.  Daddy handled the bigger repairs, particularly with anything electrical or electronic.   But the boys were watching and learning.

I will never understand why my mom thought it was a good idea to give each of the children a  real-glass snow globe. They were cute and each one was unique.  But, Glass.   Of course, each one eventually became a wet mess of glass and glitter on the floor.  Some lasted longer than others.

The most frequent repairs were to G.I. Joe figures.  The boys eventually learned to take the screw out from the man’s back to expose the inner rubber band which held the legs and arms in place.   They knew exactly what size rubber band was needed to replace the broken one.

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As they got older, and their toys became more expensive, they were more responsible and careful with them, but also more adept at the repairs.   They had laser guns which they repeatedly rebuilt.

Many lessons could be learned from broken stuff.

  1. When it is broken I can’t play with it. I have to be patient while it is being repaired.
  2. How tools are used, where to find them, and to put them back in their place.
  3. Tools can be dangerous, even glue. Respect them.
  4. If it is too broken to repair and I have to replace it, then I can’t spend my money on something else.
  5. Try to fix it. It is already broken.  Nothing can be further lost.
  6. Through making repairs one learns how things work.
  7. Stuff can last longer than expected.
  8. I will respect others’ stuff more if I am responsible for replacing what I break.

My three sons now have their own homes and their own children to keep them busy repairing stuff.

Kids and Resolutions

Resolutions involving kids usually have to do with one’s desire to in some way be a “better” parent. They often are something like the following:  I will read aloud more to my kids, I will be a better listener, I will be more patient with my kids, or I will do a better job of monitoring screen time.   I propose a different kindof resolution for 2018.

Goals, Smarat How about a family resolution? Together, make a plan that is S.M.A.R.T.  (see goal setting chart).   School age children (5+) through teens probably will be willing to participate in such an experience.   Start the exercise with some brain storming where all ideas are recorded and none are evaluated.     After collecting all the ideas begin to evaluate and eliminate.    Try to shrink the list down to two or three that everyone agrees upon.  Then further examine those to discover if each is truly a S.M.A.R.T. goal.   If your family is a democracy, then vote.  Perhaps parents could each have two votes so that the children don’t overrule.

A secondary idea is a family focus or theme for the year.  This is not my original idea, but I really like it.  This could also be chosen through the family brain storming and elimination method.    The possibilities are endless.  Here are a few ideas: Year of Joy, Year of Gratitude,  or  Year of Grace. “Grateful, Thankful, Blessed” is a popular saying.  Perhaps it could be a springboard for ideas.   The theme does not have to be a character trait or a virtue but could be something fun such as, the Year of Color or  the Year of Running.

kids-running

Once the theme is chosen, a placque or banner could be created to be a daily reminder.   Perhaps a scripture could be chosen to be memorized.   Play an on-going game of who can most quickly identify references to the theme in music, movies, audio books, sermons . . . .    Commend each other for living and practicing your chosen theme.  Plan some activities, adventures or experiences to understand and apply the theme.

Use your creativity to discover ways to incorporate the theme in your family life.  Establish some fun reminders to keep everyone on track.  Don’t become rigid or legalistic.

January is a great time to establish a yearly family theme or resolution.   But they can happen at any time. Some other “start” times might be the beginning of summer, a new school year or school semester, any holiday, the first of any month, or whatever time works best for your family. January is not the only time we can begin something new.

We all appreciate a fresh start or a do-over sometimes. I think this is the appeal of a new year.   God, by his grace, gives us this when we confess our sin and He forgives us.   A tangible way to demonstrate this to our children is to forgive or do away with the punishment our children deserve. Yes, it is important for them to learn about consequences and be responsible for their behavior. But, I also believe that somewhere in their learning there is a prime opportunity to offer forgiveness so that their hearts can be softened rather than become more rebellious. This could happen in the Year of Grace.

May this be a great year for your family.

Best Eight Steps to Get Past Failures

Have you wondered, what is going on? How long has it been? Why has it been so long?  I will try to explain.  Even explaining is extremely difficult.  The last blog I posted was in July 2017.  I had intended to write again at the end of August, but I was completely occupied with four of my granddaughters. Then September came. I was blasted with criticism.  The criticism led to discouragement and discouragement led to fear of more criticism, which led to self-doubt, which eventually spiraled downward to paralysis fueled by excuses.

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Critics abound in life.  But when the critic is someone we love, then the criticism has extra punch. When the criticism is over something we are passionate about it is powerful.  I have been struggling.  My life is not in shambles. Many excellent things have happened.  My hurt and struggle is in the area of parenting.  Parenting is the topic about which I write.  Or wrote.  Is it all in the past?  Am I done?  Or, is this just a set back?  How do I recover and go on again? How do I recover from failures?

Here are the steps I am implementing:

  1. Admit failures (we cannot change the past)
  2. Seek forgiveness where and when possible
  3. Recognize that I cannot control the perspective or response of someone else.
  4. Recognize that people who hurt others are people who are hurt themselves.
  5. Evaluate and find the truth in the criticism
  6. Apply the truth
  7. Re-evaluate goals and passions
  8. Pick up the pieces and take a step forward

travel back

This blog post is my step forward.  I am tired of feeling the way I have been feeling—like a defeated failure.  I am ready to return to writing about parenting.  It is a topic I am passionate about and still learning much about even though my children are all adults.

 

Dare to say NO to your children

Is it harder for you to say No to your children than it is to say Yes?  It can be extremely difficult to know when to say which.  The best answer is sometimes what is best for the parent, but usually it is what is best for the child.  Sadly, many parents’ lives revolve around their children and “making them happy”.   Have you seen households where the child’s schedule controls the parent or where the child’s activities control the finances?

IMG_3988Happiness is not achieved by having all our wishes fulfilled.  Do you know any CEO’s, professional sports people or entertainers who have stopped receiving a salary because they have enough or too much?  Are they the happiest people on the planet?   Have you ever met a thoroughly spoiled person who was happy and content?

The following are a few times to say NO:

Say NO to unlimited snacks between meals (https://dianesergeant.wordpress.com/2015/05/08/snacking/)

Say NO to unrestricted media

Say NO to Disrespect

Say NO to Disobedience

Say NO to begging, chanting, whining and fits.   Parents when you say no, hold firm to your no.  Do not cave in to begging, whining, chanting, or fits.  When bad behavior is rewarded with giving the child what they demand, then that bad behavior is reinforced.  If the bad behavior is ineffective and even brings about negative consequences, it will cease. However, if a child presents a reasonable and calm argument, then the topic can be reconsidered.

Say NO to bending the dating rules.  Our eldest son tried to convince us to drop the rules at age 17.5 which would be dropped when he turned 18.  He asked why not.  I answered because he would be 6 months older and wiser then.  It was the right decision.

Say NO to immodest clothing

Say NO to buying everything requested

Say NO to spending money you don’t have is outside the budget, and you can’t afford

Say NO to computers in bedroomsmoney can't buy

Parents or grandparents who overly indulge may be creating ungrateful monsters.  We are all more thankful and appreciative of items for which we have had to wait or for which we have had to work.  Children who receive everything as soon as they ask for it will become demanding.   Sometimes over indulgence is compensation or guilt driven.   Address the true issues, don’t spoil.

Our children need to be told no.  They need to learn to accept that they will not always have their own way.  Remember the long-term goal is character development.   A diva may be cute to watch on the silver screen, but she s miserable to live with.  Narcissists are not happy people.

Balance your use of NO with frequent the use of YES.   See https://dianesergeant.wordpress.com/2015/01/03/say-yes/

Always keep in mind the well-being, needs, abilities, character, protection and nurture of each child when making YES and NO decisions.   Maintain room for the compromise when possible.  Do not put wants and desires as the first priority in decision making.

butterfly on blue flower

Adjusting to Seasons of Life

I received a letter in the mail. In our online, internet world actual letters are few and far between.   I thought it strange that my daughter’s new mother-in-law should write to me or send me any mail.  She is a delightful woman and I am confident she will be a grand mother-in-law to my daughter.  But why write to me?  I opened the envelope and out fell a short note not from my daughter’s mother-in-law but from my daughter.   Every time I see her first name with her new last name I have momentary confusion.  I guess I am still adjusting.

centerpiecesIt has been a month since the wedding.  The rehearsal, ceremony and reception were all wonderful.  It flowed smoothly minus difficulties.  I loved each part of it.  Tasks were well delegated and everyone’s assistance was greatly appreciated.  My daughter was not a bridezilla.  My tears flowed as I watched my husband practice walking our daughter up the aisle during the rehearsal.   During the ceremony the bride and groom each had their moment of tears, too.

The day after the wedding there were still some non-wedding family celebrations to enjoy.  But then it felt like December 26th.   All the planning and excitement had come to fruition, but it was over and done.  I was a little sad that it was all over.   The season of wedding preparation had ended.

D and D

my daughter and I 

Even clean-up was quick and easy.   Within a week everything borrowed had been returned and a few items returned for refunds.   All the bills were paid and a couple of deposits were returned to us.

Life is filled with seasons and new norms.  We adjust or we don’t.  Not adjusting is emotionally unhealthy.  So let us adjust.  Changes happen all the time.  Long ago I adjusted to being a married person.  It was an easy adjustment.  Then the children came and one by one we adjusted.  Of course there was a time when I wondered if I would ever stop changing diapers.  That season lasted for 9 years and then after an 8 year hiatus it returned briefly when our bonus child arrived.  I clearly recall times when it seemed sickness was in the house for months at a time.  One child would get a virus and it would be shared with all the family.  Sometimes it went around twice.  But even that was a season.

We endured and loved the season of having teenagers.  It was fun and exciting and always changing.  It was also excessively busy.  Then each following the other they prepared to go away to college, and away they went.   They went on to their own adult adventures and lives.   We adjusted.

 

When one has little children and may feel they are drowning or barely surviving the demands of parenting the season may seem interminably long.   Just as a crawler becomes a walker and then quickly a runner and climber so the seasons quickly pass.   Our children grow and change and mature and that is what we desire and needs to happen.  So we too must change and adjust.   My secret to adjusting is the following:

  1. Always be thankful for the present and don’t wish it way hoping for an easier or better future.
  2. Be thankful for the past. Allow yourself to reflect on it.  Record it in a baby book, journal or a scrapbook.   If the past includes sad emotions, allow yourself to be sad for a while, but don’t’ stay there. We can’t change the past but often time does change our perspective or understanding of it.
  3. Be thankful for the future and new adventures.
  4. Don’t begrudge changes but acknowledge that when changes happen they may include a loss of something or someone previously important.

scrap

I have hundreds of photos from two showers, the rehearsal, wedding and reception waiting for me to put them in a scrapbook.  I don’t have to release all the wedding joy just yet.