The 8 Gifts of Successful Parenting

When I brought my brand new daughter Candice home from the hospital (after the nurse slammed the door and we drove off), I was completely overwrought with my lack of parenting skills. Even the thought of spending the first afternoon alone with her while my husband went to get the pictures developed was terrifying.

Fast forward 26 years. Candice is an accomplished Stylist married to a US Air Force Soldier named Quintin. She’s a Mother to my grandson Max, has 2 dogs and 2 cats and real responsibilities. She’s making her own way in this world.

In thinking back on my parentings skills (or lack of), I was amazed that it wasn’t what to do about a fever or how to do the laundry that are the most valuable gifts we give our children. The gifts that really matter the most are intangible…faith, love, hard work, fun.

Gift #1: The Gift of Dreams
Even human being is born with a dream. Not just small dreams. big ones. Ask any child what their dream is and they’re tell you. They don’t hesitate. As we grow, people deflate our dreams and tell us to “get realistic”. That’s perhaps the most debilitating things we do to humans. Steal and kill their draems. I met a cashier at a clothing store who was majoring in political science. I asked her what she was going to do with that and she said “I don’t know.” Her minor is theatre. When she talked about theatre, she lit up. When I asked why she was majoring in political science when she really loved the theatre, she said it was because her parents’ thought she needed something secure, and theatre wasn’t.

Gift #2: The Gift of Work
Work is therapeutic. Doing work you love is joyful. My generation of parents spends an inordinate amount of time “making it easy” on our children. Simple things like chores and family responsibilities are sometimes non-existent. Children learn through work. Mowing the law. Scooping the cat poop. Helping with dinner. We spend too much time running our children to events and too little time teaching them how to work.

Gift #3: The Gift of Enthusiasm
Charles Kingsley said “we act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all we need to make us yhappy is something to be enthusiastic about.” Toast with orange juice glasses on the first day of school, a theme for the family vacation (ours was “No Worries”), being each other’s cheerleaders. Children pick up on our zest for life…they know whether we’re really living or just existing.

Gift #4: The Gift of Faith
Building life on a strong spiritual foundation is the greatest gift you can give your child. It’s more than singing “Jesus Loves Me” and going to church on Sunday morning. It’s a total trust and reliance on someone we can’t see or touch. Turning the details over to God and letting him lead the way.

Gift #5: The Gift of Fun
Fun is a gift that cildren are naturally born with. As adults, we minimize the need for fun or we settle for passive fun like watching videos or surfing the internet. We compartmentalize our fun into Friday and Saturday nights. What happened to building a sand castle or making a race car out of a box, or playing football with the neighborhood kids? Fun in the first person (doing it!) is always better than watching someone else’s fun.

Gift #6: The Gift of Discipline
Last Friday I spent the evening with a family who I believe is parenting with great insight and grace. My friend asked her 8 year old son to leave us alone so we could work on a project–after the 2nd request she looked him square in the eye and said “I’m not asking you, I’m telling you.” He promptly wheeled around and left the room. She never raised her voice or even looked mad. She simply looked determined. Had he not left, she was prepared to follow through. She has 3 kids are are delightful, well-mannered and loving. Consistent disciple is one of the keys.

Gift #7: The Gift of Love
Total unconditional love. Love and acceptance even when we don’t like their behavior or their decisions. Hugs and kisses. Saying “I love you” and meaning it. Letting them know they can always trust us. Bedtime prayers. Showing up when we say we will. Taking care of their needs and teaching them through our own actions how to become independent, happy adults.

Gift #8: The Gift of Marriage
Children need two parents. You can’t minimize the need for two, even in an era of single parenting and divorced families. Parenting is a tag team event, when one of you is worn out and fed up…the other parent can step in. One of you can be the marshmallow while the other one of you can be the disciplinarian. At a wedding reception I attended, the father of the groom challentged the bride and groom to never make a decision without asking themselves how it impacts the other. Good advice for anyone, whether you’ve been married 24 years or 2 years. Children need unity and their parents are who they need it from the most.

Every child desperately needs the 8 gifts of successful parenting. When they receive these priceless gifts, they can build their life on a solid foundation and aspire to happy, successful living. Which of these 8 priceless gifts have you given your children?


The 4th Detour of Every Overwhelmed Woman

The 4th detour in the life of every overwhelmed woman is…Escape to Busyburg.

We fill every imaginable moment of our lives with things to do.

I think we do this to escape or forget about what we really should be doing or spending time on. It’s Saturday night and I’m writing this post (a good thing). I was going to do Pilates but I couldn’t figure out the DVD. I was going to clean my bedroom…was going to pull the weeds, and I do have 2 loads of laundry going.

You could call me a busy woman.

But am I busy doing the right things? Am I doing anything that matters or am I just filling time? Do I create things to do so that I don’t have to the things I should do.

3 Keys to Transforming Your Life

Gabrielle “Gabby” Giffords didn’t get the choice as to whether she wanted to transform her life. A deranged shooter who put a bullet in her brain made that choice for her. She went from being a vibrant Congresswoman in the United States House of Representatives to being a childlike replica of her old self. She had to fight for the word spoon and how to say I Love You again. Oh, she’s coming back. She’s ready for the fight. But it’s not the one she would have chose. (Pictured left: the old Gabby and the new Gabby following the shooting)

The rest of us have a choice. We get to decide how our lives look. We wake up and decide whether we’ll do the same old thing we’ve been doing the day before, or if today is going to be different. Two weeks ago Monday I decided that I’d had it with my out of control eating. I didn’t like huffing and puffing up the stairs and I certainly didn’t like the eyes of my 20-year old US Army Combat Diver son as he watched me eating potatoe chips and dip.

In that moment, I decided to go from fat to fit. I’ve been overweight at least 21 years now. (Funny, my son is going to be 21 next month but I’m not blaming anyone.) Oh, at first it was a mere 20 pounds, then 35, then 50. Before I knew it my 5’6″ frame was carrying 207.4 pounds, at least 57.4 pounds overweight. This wasn’t the woman I wanted to be.

So I decided to change. In that one instant.

In the first week I lost 4.2 pounds. Mainly, I used Weight Watchers. I got up and moved 6 out of 7 days, even though I would’ve preferred lounging in bed in the early morning. I drank more water than I had in the past 10 years combined.

What do you need to do?
-Create more income
-Find your soul mate
-Change careers
-Get rid of your clutter
-Improve your finances
-Become a better you

It can be done. I will do it. And you can do it too.

The 3 Keys to Transforming Your Life:
Key #1: Decide. Everything starts with a decision. Write that decision down. My fat to fit decision looked like this. I will go from Fat to Fit at 50. Simple.

Key #2: Get help. You’ll need a support team. I joined Weight Watchers. I created my own blog, mainly to keep myself accountable.

Key #3: Create a plan, even if it’s just a sketch on the back of a napkin. What would this success look like? What are the baby steps you need to take to get started?

Making a lasting change, starting anything new…remodeling your life isn’t easy, but it’s worth it.

The Power of Choices

“There isn’t a person anywhere who isn’t capable of doing more than he thinks he can.” -Henry Ford

Am I making good choices? Was the 4.2 pounds I lost last week a fluke? How long will this journey really take?

Just asking that last question shows me I haven’t made the shift into lifestyle. I will need to eat healthy for the rest of my life if I want it to last…not simply until I get to the goal weight. Isn’t this how most of us approach our lives…when I get through this next thing, when I overcome this trial, when life eases up.

Perhaps that’s one of the keys to a good life…knowing that all of life matters and it’s the daily choices that make the biggest difference in our results.

Daily Recollections:Doing so well the first week is both an inspiration and a curse. I know I can do this…that I’m capable of curbing my cravings and making better choices and I also know that I’ve been blessed with a body that responds to doing the right things. I know others aren’t as lucky. However, being successful in the 1st week seems to put extra pressure on my psyche.

Pumpkin Custard Pie Recipe

This is a crustless pumpkin pie which severely lowers the calorie count. 1/8th of the pie is just 3 WW points. A sliver of regular pie (not 1/8th but less) is 11 WW points. Perfect for Thanksgiving if you’re prone to cheat.


1 can Pumpkin
1 can Fat-free Evaporated Milk
3/4 cup Egg Beaters
2/3 Cup Splenda
2 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 tsp. Vanilla

Spray your pie pan with Pam. Mix all ingredients together.
Bake 15 minutes at 400 degrees, then reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake for another 45 minutes.

Top with Lite Cool-Whip!

6 Words To Getting Fit

“I believe everyone has the ability to achieve something important and with that in mind I regard everyone as special.” -Mary Kay Ash, Founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics

I did it. I lost 4.2 pounds over the past week in spite of stopping at Dairy Queen and Outback Steakhouse (and a few others). I can already tell a difference and I think alot of it may come from drinking more water. I’m excited to see where this journey will take me, and I’m going to do my best not to become obsessed while I do it. I want the weight loss to be for LIFE, not for a season.

My plan is a hybrid of Weight Watchers and just good healthy eating. I know there are 6 words I need to know to be successful…eat less, move more, drink water. It’s amazing how easy the intellect is and how hard the mind can be to manage.

Harvest Dill Dip Recipe

Simplest dip I’ve ever made!

1 package of Harvest Dill Hidden Valley Ranch Dip mix
1 8 oz. package of Neufchatel Cheese (can substitute low-fat cream cheese)

Mix together and refrigerate. Wallah!
Told you it was simple.

If you want this recipe to go further (it probably only makes 1 cup the way I put it together) then add plain low-fat yogurt to stretch it.