Update and future direction for ruthlsnyder.com

Tragedy and goalsIn January I shared my writing goals for 2015. I haven’t finished anything on that list! But I am still focusing on non-fiction, specifically the Author Social Media Mastery Series. After I finished Kindle in 30 with Kristen Eckstein, I decided to take the Author Audience Academy course with Shelley Hitz. I can’t say enough about this excellent course. The first month we focused on Publishing:

  • Week 1 – Strategy
  • Week 2 – Writing
  • Week 3 – Publishing
  • Week 4 – The Launch

I followed Shelley’s hints and helpful tips and my book, Learn Twitter: 10 Beginning Steps, is now available on Kindle!

This month we are focusing on Platform:

  • Week 1 – The Foundation
  • Week 2 – Author Website
  • Week 3 – E-mail Marketing
  • Week 4 – Social Media Marketing

Month Three will focus on products to accelerate our business.

While I’ve been taking this course I’ve also been:

In my non-writing life:

  • Parenting our five children ages 7-17
  • Teaching four Music for Young Children classes (and substitute teaching four classes for two weeks)
  • Teaching private piano lessons to four students
  • Hosting a piano recital for all my music students
  • Playing piano for the Glendon Community Church
  • Helping select a digital piano for the church (This was FUN! I had the opportunity to play pianos most of the day, including a $200,000 Steinway and a $240,000 Bosendorfer – concert grand pianos. Of course those instruments were WAY out of our budget.)
  • Writing a grant application and doing other paperwork related to a playground project for the Glendon Playground and Park Society

Hmmm. No wonder I’ve been busy…and haven’t written too many blog posts for my own website!

As I’ve been working through the Author Audience Academy, I’ve been thinking about what I should be focusing on here on my website. What do I need to keep doing? What do I need to stop doing? What do I need to start doing?

That’s where you come in. I need some feedback from you, my readers. Which topics are you most interested in (Devotionals, Family life, Parenting, Writing, Twitter, Marketing, Publishing, Other)? How often would you like me to post? (I want to post consistently!) Any and all feedback is welcome! Please leave a comment below. Thanks 🙂


Favourite Quotes from The Art of Work by Jeff Goins

Art of Work

In January I received an invitation to join the launch team for The Art of Work by Jeff Goins. Although the official launch date of the book is tomorrow, March 24, 2015, everyone on the launch team received a copy of the book a couple of months ago. In this book, Jeff shares from his personal experience as well as from the experiences of others about how to discover what you are meant to do with your life.

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I found myself nodding my head and sighing with relief while I read the book. Jeff tells it like it is: finding our calling is often a confusing and messy path. Many times we have to work for a living while we pursue our passion on the side. If we’re not careful, we can become so obsessed with our passion that we shut out our family and friends – the very people we need to keep us grounded:

Every story of success is, in fact, a story of community.”

“As you strive to achieve your life’s work, be careful of at what costs you chase it. It will be easy to resent those closest to you, to make your biggest supporters into your worst enemies. To hoard your work away from the rest of life. You may be tempted to see every relationship not as a lifeline, but as a competing force, something to be mistrusted. And in doing this, you may destroy the very things that could save you.”

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Jeff addresses many issues, like commitment, apprenticeship, and learning to embrace failure as a friend:

The risk of not committing is greater than the cost of making the wrong choice. Because when you fail, you learn.”

“Failure is a friend dressed up like an enemy.”

“Will you wallow in regret, wondering why such a thing has befallen you, or will you choose to act, making the most of your obstacle, and allow it to evolve into an opportunity?”

“Successful people and organizations don’t succeed in spite of failure; they succeed because of it.”

 

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I especially appreciate Jeff’s reminders to those of us who are passionate about the arts:

 This is an important distinction when considering your life’s work. Most people won’t continue doing something they aren’t passionate about, especially when it gets hard. Putting an activity through painful practice is a great way to determine your direction in life. If you can do something when it’s not fun, even when you’re exhausted and bored and want to give up, then it just might be your calling.”

“Humility is a prerequisite for epiphany. Without it, your dream will be short-lived and self-centered.”

“Answering a call will sometimes feel that way. It won’t make sense and may even open you up to rejection and criticism, but in your heart you will know it’s right.”

“We are caretakers of our vocations, stewards entrusted with a vision that is bigger than us. Our responsibility is not to hoard our gifts but to use them in challenging ways so that others can benefit.”

The Art of Work is a book everyone could benefit from, because we all want to know that our lives will count for something:

Success isn’t so much what you do with your life; it’s what you leave behind. Which may be what a calling is all about: leaving a legacy that matters.”

Get your Free Audio Book + Bonuses by purchasing the book from any retailer!

 

 


Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

Image shared on Facebook by www.countthekicks.org.uk
Image shared on Facebook by www.countthekicks.org.uk

This image brought tears to my eyes. 1998 is a long time ago in many ways, but the memories are still there. Many people who know me, don’t know. Miscarriage is a private grief many deal with, but few talk about.

My experience led to me write and enter the following story in a writing competition in 2005. The piece was subsequently published by Testimony Magazine. I share it here with hopes it will minister to others who grieve and help others understand how profound the grief may be for people who experience miscarriage.

 

Gifts from a Loving God

Leaves crackle under our feet as we walk. Lois, my mentor and friend, smiles at me. I relish this rare opportunity to spend time with her. “Infertility is a gift from God. I never thought I’d say that,” Lois confesses.

I swallow hard to bury my protest. “Are you crazy,” my heart screams. “How can anything this painful be a gift?”

The only career I want is motherhood. My desire haunts me, like a mirage in a dry, dusty desert. First, an infertility specialist informs my husband and me it is impossible for us to have children of our own. Then, against all odds, we conceive, only to face the crushing disappointment of miscarriage. Conception continues to elude us. Now what? Do we relinquish our dream of parenting children? Do we investigate other options, like adoption or foster care?

Since we have no children, I have the gift of time – time to volunteer in the local school and catering club, time to pray, time to grow. Over time, I learn to navigate the waves of grief as they splash over me – some gentle, others that leave me gasping and drowning in grief. Mother’s Day, the birth of a baby, interacting with nieces and nephews, watching parents play with their children are all bittersweet. Slowly I learn to receive and give the gift of compassion.

A year later, we begin our challenging journey on the road called adoption. In January, we hear about nineteen-year-old Mary and her baby. Mary is unsure she can provide for her baby and may be looking for an adoptive family. In May, after anxiously waiting for news that never comes, we sit down to fill out an adoption application with a private agency. That night the phone rings! “Hi, this is Sue. Mary asked me to phone and see if you are still interested in adopting her baby.” Four frantic days later, we bring home our daughter. For us, adoption is a gift of joy and celebration, but for a birth Mom, it is a gift of sorrow and sacrifice. Our daughter, Grace (unmerited favor) Victoria (victorious one), reminds us often of God’s loving gifts.

Four years later, we marvel again at God’s gifts – twin boys placed with us by Child & Family Services for adoption. (The boys were born at 27 weeks gestation, weighing less than two pounds each. The fact they are even alive is a miracle.) As we meet the foster parents and compare notes, we are in awe of God’s leading. The foster parents love Jesus Christ and rejoice that the boys will grow up in a Christian family!

Our 18-month-old twins introduce us to a completely new world – special needs. Only those who walk in these shoes know the special joys, challenges, and gifts these children provide. The first thing we notice about our boys is their silence – no babbling, no chatter. We learn they have “global developmental delays.” After six months of scooping with a spoon, our hand over his – every day, several times a day – we celebrate while Luke actually feeds himself. At twenty-seven months, we cheer while Levi takes his first wobbly step. A few months later, he is able to climb up on a chair by himself and stand. We clap, momentarily forgetting that Levi’s balance still needs help. He stands for mere seconds, grinning from ear to ear, before taking a terrible tumble to the floor. He lands on his head with glasses protruding at an odd angle, and blood gushing.  We cringe as the doctor interrogates us. “Who was looking after your son when this happened,” she inquires while stitching Levi’s face. We learn to sign, using Signing Exact English, so the twins have a means of communicating with us. Progress is excruciatingly slow. Imagine our joy when we hear our boys, at age four, actually voice the words, “Mom” and “Dad” for the first time! The pediatrician who first saw our twins said they would never walk, talk, or feed themselves. We are thankful God has other plans for them!

Two years later, Jayson joins our family. Although Jayson is a full sibling to Luke and Levi, he has fewer obvious challenges. However, more often than not, we grit our teeth in frustration, quelling the temptation to yell. Jayson stands looking up at us, his brown eyes large. We search for any sign of sorrow, repentance, or desire to please. It isn’t there. He defies us, again. Then he lies to us, repeatedly, despite the fact that his siblings are providing a running commentary of what has taken place. Parenting skills that have worked with our other children are not nearly as effective with Jayson. God uses Jayson to give us the gifts of humility and total reliance on God.

Several years later, we receive another phone call. “I have good news! You’ve been matched with twins (a three-year-old boy and girl) for adoption.” However, the adoption falls through before we even meet the children, due to circumstances beyond our control. We grieve silently, unable to share details with our families because of legal issues.

Life settles into a comfortable routine. It seems our family is complete. We are thankful for the gift of children God has given. Now that the children are all in school, I decide to take on a part-time position with the local school board. A month later, the phone rings. “Hi, I have some news for you. The boys you adopted have a new baby sister. Would you consider adopting her if she becomes available?”

It does not take long for us to answer, “Yes!” Our file is still open from the “match” that fell through. This makes it possible for us to become foster parents in a matter of days. We drive to the hospital to meet our new little daughter. Although we are excited, we are also nervous. We have never cared for a newborn infant before, let alone one who has heart problems. The staff at the hospital is very gracious. We are patiently shown what we need to know to care for her. “She’s lucky to have you,” one of the nurses comments. “You know, some of the kids in here end up staying for up to six months because we have nowhere to send them. There are so many, we cannot spend the time we would like with them. Sometimes we have to sedate them, just so they stop crying!”

My eyes fill with tears. “God, have mercy on our nation,” I whisper as I cuddle our newest daughter close. She snuggles into the crook of my arm and falls asleep. Her face is a picture of peace and contentment.

There are still many unknowns before us. Each day brings new challenges, some very unexpected. Our stability in the midst of this change is Jesus Christ, our rock, our Savior, our guide.

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” I can now honestly agree with Lois, “Infertility is a gift from God.” Without this gift, we may not have received many of the other gifts God has chosen to give us on our adoption journey. We are thankful for God’s blessings: past, present and future. Although we may not always understand, we can choose to accept every gift God sends our way and trust Him to work them all together for good.

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Writer’s Blog Hop – Sample from Hope: Reflections to brighten the Dark Days of Life

31 Days of Hope231 Days of Hope1

One of the major projects I’m working on this year is a series of Kindle books (31 Days of … Series). The first book I’m putting together is Hope: Reflections to brighten the Dark Days of Life. I’ve worked on the cover design and received feedback. Now I need to finalize which colour scheme I’m going with. Which cover do you prefer? Left or right? Or is there a different colour you think I should try for the main title? (Let me know in the comment section below.)

Below you’ll find Focus, one of the devotionals I’ll be including in the book. I’m also learning to make podcasts, so listen in if you prefer 🙂

NOTE: to see what other authors are working on, go to the blog hop.

Focus

By Ruth L. Snyder

It’s 8:03. The bus comes at 8:25. My daughter wants me to read a story to her and her brothers are looking at the latest Scholastic book order forms, trying to get my attention so they can tell me what they want to order. I want to tell them we’ll deal with the book order after school, except today’s the last day orders are being accepted. My daughter opens her book. I start reading. While she’s flipping to the next page I find one of the desired books and circle it on the order form. I read the next page. One son pushes his way closer so he can listen too. I read the next page then cut out the order form while the page is being flipped. This process continues until 8:11. The book is finished; the order forms are half filled out. It’s time to get jackets, backpacks, and mitts. I still need to add the order up, write a cheque, and write the book down on my daughter’s reading list.

“Get your jackets on. I’ll finish here.”

The children rush to the entryway. I add the order up, write a cheque, staple everything together, and write the book down on the reading list. I’ll clean up after the kids are on the bus.

I take the order and reading list to the entryway. Two boys are on their way out the door. My daughter is having trouble with her zipper. My other son is nowhere to be seen. I put the order and reading list in her backpack and help with the zipper. Then I go in search of my MIA son. He’s just coming out of his room.

“Hurry! It’s time to go.”

As I’m talking to him, a glimpse of the sky takes my breath away. The sunrise is beautiful. For over a week temperatures hovered in the minus thirty range. Today it’s warmer and the sky is showing evidence of the change in temperature. You know the saying: “Red in the morning, Shepherd’s warning.” I race to grab my camera and snap a picture. My daughter’s ready, and my son is close behind.

As we walk to the bus, my focus is on the beauty of the sunrise. The busyness of the morning rush is forgotten. I breathe deeply, smile at the antics of our Husky dog, Olaf, snap pictures, and pray with my children before they climb on the bus. After the bus leaves, I continue to snap pictures as the sun rises and colours change. I revel in the moment, knowing it will soon disappear and the hectic pace of life will be back, clawing and whining for attention.

Focus. We can choose our focus. We can allow all the ugly, dark, discouraging events we all face to drag us down. Or, we can instead focus on the glimpses of beauty that surround us.

In Matthew 14, we read about the disciples crossing a lake in the middle of the night. It was stormy. They had to work to keep the boat going in the right direction. Then, just before dawn, they saw something, someone, walking on water towards them. Some of them cried out in fear, thinking it was a ghost. Peter responded by calling out:

“Lord, if it’s you, tell me come to you on the water.” (verse 28)

Jesus tells him to come, so Peter gets out of the boat and walks on the water toward Jesus. Verse thirty tells us:

“But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’”

Jesus reached out his hand and caught Peter, rebuking him for doubting, and helping him climb back into the boat.

I don’t know what you’re facing today, but Jesus does. He’s there for you: the same Jesus who spoke the world into existence.

Are we going to focus on our circumstances today? Or are we going to choose to focus on Jesus and trust Him?


Choosing Joy

For the past week and a half I’ve been participating in Pam Farrel’s Red Hot Wives Challenge. This morning I woke up feeling BLASE:

bla·sé
bläˈzā/
adjective
adjective: blasé unimpressed or indifferent to something because one has experienced or seen it so often before.
God’s timing is always perfect. This morning, the challenge focused on choosing joy. Pam reminded us of Nehemiah 8:10, “The joy of the Lord is my strength,” and encouraged us as wives to enjoy a “Joy Splurge” – doing something simple that revives us and restores our joy. The day is young, but I’ve already experienced several joy splurges:
  • Although I’m on a journey to healthy living, I enjoy a rich, steamy cup of hot chocolate every once in a while. Joy splurge number one this morning – relaxing in my favourite comfortable chair with a cup of hot chocolate before the rest of the family woke up.
  • Instead of writing this morning between 6-6:30, I focused on reading and “refilling” my inspiration tank. Joy splurge number two – reading a few pages in Practice by Practice by Kathleen Gibson.
  • Every morning I choose to put music on while I’m preparing breakfast. Joy splurge number three  – Awesome God: A Cappella Worship (Keith Lancaster & The Acappella Company)
  • Getting our five children out the door to the school bus is often a challenge. This morning I glanced up between wiping the table and putting my daughter’s hair in a pony tail. God gave me  joy splurge number four in the beautiful sunrise. Here are the pictures I snapped, after I pointed out the window and encouraged my family to join me.

Alberta Sunrise

 

Alberta Sunrise Dec 2014

Alberta Sunrise 2

What energizes you? Have you experienced a joy splurge lately? Tell us about it 🙂

 


Pitfalls on the trail to healthy living & Five Minute Friday

Pitfalls

As some of you know, I’ve been working on changing some of my habits. I’m thankful for the success I’ve had – becoming more active and losing some weight. However, I still have a ways to go. I was doing very well until summer hit. I lost 25 pounds and was exercising regularly. Then I reverted back to some of my bad habits and gained 15 pounds back. Now I’m almost back to my pre-summer weight.

As I thought about why I struggled over the summer, I came up with eight pitfalls that tend to trip me up:

Stress

If I’m not careful, my healthy living plan disappears when I experience stress. We all live with stress, but there are times when life throws it’s worst at us. If we don’t choose otherwise, we can get tripped up.

Possible Solution: Watch for signs of stress and acknowledge it. Humor is a great stress reliever. Put together movies, jokes, etc. that make you laugh and have them ready when you need them.

Pre-packaged Food

We live in a frenetic world. It’s easy to rely on frozen pizza or mac and cheese instead of spending the time to cook healthy meals. I’m not saying we should never eat these foods, but they should be the exception. Recently I was reminded that sometimes we need to retrain our taste buds. We crave what we eat.

Possible Solution: Make sure you keep your kitchen stocked with the ingredients you need to cook homemade meals. If you need some inspiration, try out a new recipe. (I’ve started collecting new recipes using Pinterest.) Retrain your taste buds to enjoy food that is good for you.

Not enough Sleep

This is a contentious issue for some people. I don’t think there is a magic number for this, but if you are waking up tired on a regular basis you’re probably not getting enough sleep. I find that when I’m tired, I tend to eat more. Not a good plan!

Possible Solution: Look at your schedule and see if there are things you need to intentionally cut out. Be more conscious of when you are tired. Every once in a while allow yourself to go to bed early.

Emotional Eating

This is a big stumbling block for me, and I wasn’t even aware of it until lately. When I’m stressed, or lonely, or sad or … I can easily fall into the trap of eating to try to make myself feel better. The problem is that food can’t satisfy us emotionally.

Possible Solution: I’ve found it helps to wait for ten minutes or so when I want to snack. This gives me time to evaluate whether I’m actually hungry or if I’m struggling emotionally. I’ve also found time with friends, doing something I enjoy, and spending time reading my Bible help me deal with the real issues.

Lack of Vegetables

Have you ever stopped to think about how many servings of vegetables you eat? (Check out this visual of the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables we should be eating each day.) Vegetables have many benefits including providing vitamins and minerals, adding fiber, and satisfying us without adding a lot of calories.

Possible Solution: For me, the first step was becoming aware of how few vegetables I was eating. Then I had to make sure my grocery list included a variety of vegetables. Now I’m trying to teach myself to reach for vegetables when I want a snack.

Grabbing what’s Quick

This is something most of us do – grab something that’s quick. We live busy lives. Sometimes we don’t have time to make a meal, so we grab something on the run. Usually what we grab is not the best choice because it’s usually something sweet, or salty, or loaded with calories.

Possible Solution: Have healthy food on hand, like vegetables and fruit or things you need to make yourself a wrap. If you need to eat out, do your homework ahead of time and pick some healthy options. Most restaurants and fast food places have nutrition guides available.

Lack of Accountability

If I don’t make a conscious effort to pay attention to what I eat, it’s easy for me to get tripped up and fall back into my bad habits (like eating desserts regularly). Accountability helps us pay attention to what we’re doing, provides support, and gets us through the rough times we’ll all have.

Possible Solution: Find an accountability partner who will check in with you regularly. If you find that difficult, try tracking your eating and exercise in a journal or with an app. (My Fitness Pal is available on the web or as an App on iTunes)

Inactivity

I don’t know about you, but I find that I spend a lot of time at my desk. Unless I consciously make myself move, I sit. Our bodies are made to move. Exercise improves our memory, posture, and confidence. It also helps relieve stress, sleep better, and have more energy. (Check out Top Ten Reasons to Exercise Regularly.)

Possible Solution: I tend to find excuses not to exercise, so I had to find something I could do regularly at home. A treadmill and some DVDs help get me moving. Listening to inspiring music or podcasts while I exercise helps too.

What about you? What pitfalls have you encountered and how do you avoid them?

Dear

Dear Reader,

Thank you for taking the time to stop by my blog and read. I hope you found encouragement, humor, and some helpful information.

I don’t take you for granted. We live in a frenetic world. You could choose to use your time for many things other than visiting my website.

Thank you for taking time to leave a comment. This lets me know if content is helpful and engaging.

I hope that this Advent and Christmas season you will take time to reflect and spend time with those who are dear to you. Take time to thank God for the many blessings in your life.

I also invite you to read and share what I’ve written – both on my blog and in e-book or printed form (Note: Helping Hands Press is offering 30% off until December 18th. Enter code: THANKYOU):

  • Cecile’s Christmas Miracle
  • Shadows and Sunshine
  • Life Lessons
  • Uplifting Devotionals for Parents

If you have suggestions for blog topics, let me know.

Thanks for being you!

Five Minute Friday provides an opportunity to write about a one word prompt for five minutes and then link in to Kate’s blog. Come join the fun 🙂


Fighting for the BEST in your Marriage and 5 Minute Friday

Best Marriage

Jeff and Lori Harmon shared a session about, “Fighting for the BEST in your Marriage,” at the NAME Conference in November. Here is some of the information they shared:

Scriptures: Genesis 2:24; Genesis 3:1; John 8:44; John 10:10

  • God is the one who processes us to make the two into one.
  • God is with us. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. We need to deal with our baggage and our thoughts.
  • “I do” and “I will” need to be true on your marriage day and throughout your marriage.
  • Our marriages are under attack. Satan slithers into our marriage – Hollywood, movies, books, etc. and works to separate us.
  • We don’t struggle against flesh and blood. Too often we fight inside our marriage instead of fighting outside our marriage. Satan wants to bring the worst. We need to fight for the best in our marriage. Satan is a liar. Lies seep their ways in. Maybe my spouse isn’t the one God wanted me to marry. Satan goes about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.
  • We are not just fighting for ourselves; we are also fighting for the next generation.
  • We will all fail. Jesus does not condemn us; He points out the ideal and gives us the grace, courage, and strength to get there. You’ll never be good enough; Jesus is good enough
  • We can’t compare! This brings condemnation, not conviction.

The word, “Marriage” comes from the  Greek word for “gem”. Just like time and pressure turn a chunk of coal into a diamond, so God uses time and pressure to turn our marriages into something precious.

God never meant for marriage to be learned alone.

The BEST Marriage

B – Bless your spouse

  • God wants us to be “blessers”.
  • The first 4 minutes of your day will set the tone for your day.
  • Life and death are in the power of the tongue. Proverbs 10:18.
  • Our world is very negative. We need each other to speak blessing and encouragement.
  • Speak words to your spouse and about them Hebrews 11:3 – our words frame our world
  • Use “Please” and “Thank you” – When was the last time you thanked your spouse?
  • Say “I love you.” even if you don’t feel it. Keep putting out the words and your spirit will follow
  • Pray for your spouse; NOT preach, preach, preach

E – Edify

  • You can say what you have or you can have what you say. Encourage, delight, fulfill – building with actions. Romans 10:19
  • God has put you in your marriage to build up your spouse.God wants you to serve. Your spouse is not your workmanship; they may be a piece of work, but they are not your piece of work.
  • Edify = to enlarge your spouse’s self-worth. Help them feel better about themselves. Your spouse is not there to make you complete – that’s Christ’s job. A spouse is a coach that runs along side you, cheering you on. You need to know your spouse so that you can edify and strengthen them. There is power in believing in your spouse.

S – Share

  • We become selfish with our time, needs, feelings. Communication is often a problem. We become disconnected. Couples who share their feelings are closer and can go through their difficulties much easier.
  • Your spouse should be your soulmate. If you’re closer to someone else, it’s because you’re talking to them more.
  • Cover/protect one another. Be your spouse’s BFF. You need to learn to have an expanded ability to share.
  • Silence can be a wedge between you and your spouse. Sharing is about not keeping secrets. I love what he loves because I love him. Share your dreams and visions.
  • Ask: How are we doing on a scale of 1-10? Why? What area needs improvement?

T – Touch

  • Kissing is beneficial for your health. A kiss is like a seal of approval.
  • Science of 7 – a woman needs 7 touches throughout the day – non-sexual.
  • Physical affirmation says, “I love you.”  Women need security. Touching and affirming. Touching kindles a flame.

Are you fighting for the BEST in your marriage? Ladies, I invite you to join me in The Red Hot Wives Challenge put together by Bill & Pam Farrel.

 

Give

Give

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

“Give, and it will be given to you, shaken down … running over.”

“Come unto me, all who are burdened and heavy laden and I will GIVE you rest.”

Christmas is just around the corner. In our home we consciously work at helping our children learn to GIVE:

  • We encourage them to give gifts to each other
  • We encourage them to give gifts to other people
  • We encourage them to give their time to help others by baking cookies, caroling around the neighborhood, volunteering at a soup kitchen

Jesus Christ is our example of giving.

At Christmas we celebrate that He gave up everything He had in Heaven, coming to earth as a helpless baby.

At Easter we celebrate that He gave His life in exchange for ours.

What will we give today?

Five minute Friday provides an opportunity to write for 5 minutes using a prompt, and then link in with other people who’ve done the same. If you’d like to participate, check out the details on Kate’s blog.


Parenting: Motivating with Rewards

In August at my Music for Young Children professional development session, one of the presenters shared that she doesn’t offer practice incentives to her students. Instead she challenges parents to talk to their children and figure out what will motivate them. I remembered this piece of advice a few weeks later when I sat down to help my own six-year-old daughter practice piano. It seemed like she resisted practicing. There was always something more interesting to do; practicing was hard work.

A week or so later I bought a ceramic tea set for my daughter to take to a friend’s birthday party. My daughter told me she wanted one just like it. I knew that my daughter could save her allowance and purchase her own tea set. However, I decided to offer the tea set to her as a practice incentive. At first I thought we would track her practice for a month or so and then give her the tea set when she practiced five or more days for at least four weeks. However, I ended up with a different plan.

I purchased the tea set at Toys-R-Us. My daughter was with me when I purchased it, so I explained my plan. Every week she practiced five or more days, I would give her one piece of her tea set. She happily agreed, and it has made a huge difference in her practicing. Since we started this arrangement five weeks ago, she only had one week where she didn’t earn a piece from the tea set. (Sometimes children want to know if we will stick to our guns!) We still have at least seven more pieces of the tea set waiting to be earned.

Although I would rather have my daughter intrinsically motivated, she seems to need some extrinsic motivation right now. She does enjoy music, but piano lessons are my choice not hers. I’m hopeful that once I help her develop consistent practice habits, she’ll enjoy the thrill of music making and the pleasure it brings to herself and others enough to be self-motivated.

 

Tea Set