Struggling with Your Kids at Home in the Summertime? Help Has Arrived!

Struggling with Your Kids at Home in the Summertime? Help Has Arrived!

Summer, Sweet Summer with My Kids... Yes, like you, summertime has brought my kids back home to me.  The week school ended, I don't know who was more excited for summer break - my two children, their teachers, or me!  Visions of us sleeping in, making homemade pancakes to start our lazy days, and trips to museums, parks, etc. all dancing in our heads. But, two weeks later, fruit snack wrappers littered every end table and coffee table surface, wet towels laying near the towel racks, half-filled cups in bedrooms with none available in the kitchen cabinet for me to use, and both my daughter and son's bedroom carpeting was decorated with the myriad of clothing that somehow just couldn't make it into the dirty laundry basket. Yet my kids' requests kept coming - drop me off at my friend's house, pick me up some new shorts for practice, can we go to the waterpark? I am embarrassed to admit this, but even with...
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Happiness is Easy to Find and Yours to Give

Happiness is Easy to Find and Yours to Give

The Gift of Giving Unexpected gifts are the best. Last week, I received a beautiful memento from a friend. I had been looking for a special statue to rest at my brother's gravesite, but I was struggling to find just the right one. My friend knew of my desire and made it her quest to locate just what I was looking for.  Presenting me the beautiful fairy statue was a symbol of our friendship, but also a touching reminder that giving is the key to happiness. Suffolk Fairy Emily Statue by HomeStyles True Happiness is Giving it Away The fact is, the graciousness you reveal by the act of giving is even more valuable than the gift itself.  You can give a smile, give your time, give your compassion, all with no cost but great benefit to you.  As Maya Angelou so thoughtfully said, "When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed."  Remember, every time you give your happiness away, you are gaining happiness in...
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The gift I didn’t know I needed

The gift I didn’t know I needed

I've spent thirty-two years with the mistaken belief that because my brother died in my childhood, he didn't really exist.  Strangely, I always had him in my thoughts and on my mind, but it was more like a fantasy life I was experiencing, wishing him to be there, but believing he was only a figment of my own imagination.  I wasn't consciously aware that I was practicing this disassociation routinely until I wrote a blog post this year about my experience living and loving a terminally ill sibling and shared it on Facebook.  The responses I received were overwhelming.  Childhood friends and my brother's teachers all reaching out to me, sharing their own memories of my brother, Mike.  I got choked up reading these online conversations reliving our experiences with Mike from so long ago.  I read stories I wasn't even aware of, because I had stopped talking about my brother in seventh grade when he died.  Only the handful of closest...
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Why So Blue?

Why So Blue?

Today has the most beautiful blue winter sky. The sun is shining brightly through hues of indigo melting into a cornflower blue, dotted by puffy, cotton like clouds. Yet, through the beauty, I was feeling the blues. Yes, even the cheerful can get down. The more I wrote and reflected on my rich life I shared with my beloved brother, the ache in my heart grew stronger. I miss him. A lot. But we all have grief from a loved one lost, either through death, a breakup, or distance. The memories shared, as lovely as they are, can still bring the sadness. I don't want his memory fade, and sometimes the grief I feel makes his memory more present, more real. It was this thought that made me realize that I shouldn't shy away or suppress these feelings. I can embrace them knowing that the most beautiful rainbows are comprised of blue. ...
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Winning Through a Loss

Winning Through a Loss

He lost.  The long struggle to win was lost.  But he never quit fighting.  He might have been the weakest, but he was a strong fighter.  And I was his eternal cheerleader.  He was only thirteen when he died from the disease he was born fighting.  I was only twelve when I lost my brother, Michael, my best friend.  He taught me so much in those twelve years...how to fight the good fight, to never let struggle get you down, to appreciate what you've been given, and to have the faith that we've all been given a special path to travel in this life that will lead us to our purpose, and possibly, that purpose is to touch the hearts and inspire others to keep up the good fight. His struggle to catch his breath, have a productive cough, or even simply convince someone to please pick up that Lego piece he had dropped for the hundredth time, stole every bit...
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