Friday, December 30, 2011

New Years and My Word

Happy Almost-New Year's Eve! 

So, I have to admit that New Years is about my second least favorite holiday. Right after Halloween. Not for any good reason. I just don't like to see the year end. And this particular coming year is the one that my "baby" will start school. Very sad, indeed.

And I'm not one of those people to make resolutions, primarily because it feels like setting myself up for failure. Do I want to lose weight? YES! Do I want to play with my kids more? YES! Do I want to spend more time with my husband? YES! Do I want to exercise every day? YES! And the list goes on and on. But resolutions always just seem like something that we should do, not something that will really happen. But then......

Just this week I was listening to my favorite radio station and it just so happened that my favorite DJ was on (she only substitutes right now, so I don't hear her much). She was talking about this very anti-resolution issue that I have! She said that she has started doing something a bit different. She picks one word to focus on for the next year. Then she spends the year thinking, praying, and living that word.

As soon as I heard this, I knew my word. It came to me during the Christmas Eve service I wrote about last week. My word for the coming year is SACRIFICE. This means many things, so I'll spend some time figuring out what this means to me, and how God wants me to live this word. I plan to do a self-directed word study in the Bible to find out what God says about sacrifice. I'll pray about how I can sacrifice in all areas of my life: my family, my friendships, my money, my time. And all the while I know I need to be careful not to be a doormat in my sacrifice. This is a balance I've struggled with before, but I know if I'm walking with God on this road, then He will help keep me on the right side of the doormat!

Part of the reason I'm sharing this is that you'll see my word reflected here. There will be times that my family and my communication will be influenced by this notion of sacrifice...and I look forward to sharing that with you.

So what's your word? Take a look at the website and read through the idea. See if you would like to choose a word this year, instead of a failure-inducing wish list.

Happy New Year, Blog Friends!

~ Andrea

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, Friends!
I pray that your day has been filled with the wonder of our Lord's birth. While I've known for some time what Christmas is all about, church last night reminded me of the sacrifice that Jesus made in coming to Earth to live and die for all of us. That was clearly a reminder that I needed. I've spent my day since thinking a lot about how I can sacrifice for Jesus in the coming year.

Though we spend a lot of time teaching our children that we only celebrate Christmas because of the gift of Jesus, we believe that Santa can co-exist in that framework. So we do the "Santa thing" and open presents and eat lots of unhealthy food. Despite all that, it was a quiet day in the Scott house and I'm grateful for that. On Christmas Eve we arrived home safely from our trip to see "the Grandmas and Grandpa." While I appreciate the nice weather in Florida right now, I am tired of mosquitoes!

I've also posted a couple of book reviews over at Jamie's Precious Peas. One is actually a DVD that a friend helped me review. There are three cute Sesame Street stories about toddler life events: saying goodbye to a pacifier, getting a first haircut, and learning to ride a trike. Very cute!

I also reviewed Fit Moms for Life, a great book about getting moms in shape. I highly recommend this book for end-of-the-year reading.

More communication tips to come this week. For now, let's all enjoy the next few days as the Christmas craziness subsides.

God's best to you!

Monday, December 12, 2011


 Today think of three specific things you love about each child - and then tell them! For instance, "Son, I love your creativity when you do art. Who you are really comes through that piece." Of course, make it age appropriate. A 2 or 3 year old might just like to hear that you love her hugs or how she makes you laugh. Have fun and post back what you did. We'd love to hear!

Happy Communicating~ 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Sibling Love

Lately my sweet little boys aren't always sweet with each other. This is totally normal, I know. In part this occurs in our life because DS2 is at home alone with me all day while DS1 is at school. When DS1 comes home, my attention is divided - not popular for either one! DS1 wants to visit and talk about his day, while DS2 still wants the attention he had all day.

There's another factor at work here. Research shows that friendships are relatively easy to maintain, in part because the friend goes home. A sibling can't do that. You know what it's like to have a best friend and think you'll live together GREAT, but it turns out to be a fiasco. This is because time away from our friends actually helps our relationships. Siblings don't have that luxury.

This isn't necessarily a bad thing. Eventually they may want to spend their life with some special someone and skills for living day in and day out with the same people are hard earned. And siblings can share a special bond throughout their entire lives.

What's a parent to do? A few things. First, be sure they have time apart. Don't always force them to play together. Respect the boundaries that they set up. Kids aren't always suave at boundary setting, though! My DS2 will often say "I don't want you to read a book to me!" (you can hear the shouting whine, right?) What he's really saying is that he doesn't want DS1 with him right then....or doing that activity with him.

So time apart is healthy. So is teaching them communication skills for living with others. Skills like you'll learn at Your Successful Family!

Finally, and I know you know this but it can't be overstated: be sure to tell each one what is special and lovable about that specific child. Spend time doing what that child enjoys and protect that time as much as possible. This is a delicate balance, especially as the number of children increases. But with effort, it's workable, and worth it!

Happy Communicating~

Monday, December 5, 2011

Shared Meanings

In all relationships, meanings are formed as people interpret what they perceive and construct a sense of reality. Family meanings are developed as members interpret their behaviors through communication. For instance, my husband and I are working on telling each other what meaning we attach to certain things. For instance, last Thursday he surprised me with a Starbucks drink. This was very special to me! I told him that when he brings me "fancy" coffees unexpectedly, I feel loved and special to him. Yes, this sounds a bit stilted when I say it, but it's creating a shared meaning for us.

When behaviors are interpreted in the same way or interpretations are discussed and clarified, similar meanings emerge, and communication becomes clearer. This is our goal with trying to tell each other how we interpret various actions. As communication becomes clearer, conflict decreases and relationship satisfaction increases. THAT'S a great outcome!

Christmas is a great time to think about shared meanings and how they form. Lots of times we have certain "rituals" in our Christmas celebrations and we have a great deal of meaning attached to them...but our spouse may not. For instance, perhaps Christmas cookie baking symbolizes to you a time of shared joy as members bond during baking. Yet, your spouse may think Publix cookies are just as good and baking them is a waste of time. When you try to rally the troops to bake, your spouse may not support you. I see lots of tears and anger when efforts to bond are thwarted.  

Now is the time to talk about what the Christmas preparations  mean to you and ask what they mean to your spouse. If there is disagreement, then work through to a meaning you both can agree on. This might just bring more peace to your holidays. 

Happy Communicating~

2 Book Reviews

Tonight I've posted two more book reviews:

1. In Happy's Christmas Gift, a very special dog makes an unexpected visit to the North Pole and returns home with a gift for all who encounter him. My son makes a guest writing appearance by offering HIS review.

2. All That I Am chronicles the efforts of four young people who attempt to change the course of pre-WWII history in Germany.

Read here to find out more!