Stepping into 2016

I don’t know about you, but for me 2015 was one of the most difficult years I’ve had. There are issues I’m still working through which I can’t comment on, but in December my future was looking too dark for my comfort. I’m thankful that a few things happened in December to turn things around.

*I was able to get some extra sleep

*Some understanding friends helped me have fun and relax

*I spent a few days reading my Bible, reading some books, praying, and thinking about what I want to accomplish in 2016 

*I worked through some exercises in the workbook which accompanies The Art of Work by Jeff Goins

*Shelley Hitz of Author Audience Academy offered members Plan it Day: The World is Waiting, a helpful series of videos and worksheets

As a result, I was able to step into 2016 with a renewed perspective. 

My key word for 2016 is HOPE!

2016 Hope

Some of my goals this year:

*Memorize & meditate on verses from Ephesians (I have a group of friends who have agreed to cheer me on and hold me accountable in this area.)

*Be more mindful of what I’m eating and why (I’ve been reading Women, Food, and Desire by Alexandra Jamieson. Although I don’t agree with her worldview, I’m finding a lot of helpful information to help me conquer my bad eating habits.)

*Exercise at least 2x/week (I have a treadmill to use.)

*De clutter our house (I’m trying out DeClutter 365: Daily 15 Minute Missions )

*Write, record, publish, and market a book with imbedded MP3s on Hope (This project has been on my mind for months. Stay tuned for more details.)

As you step into 2016, what are your goals or aspirations? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.


Redefining Disability Week 2: How do you view the concept of disability?

 

 

Redefining Disability2

To be honest, the word disability irks me. I find it irritating that we use this word with its negative connotations to talk about fellow human beings who just happen to think, act, or look different than some of the rest of us.

As a parent of five beautiful children who all have some qualities which differ from the general population, I pursued diagnosis of “disability” to obtain access to the services my children need to be successful. I know other parents who have firmly rejected any sort of diagnosis. I don’t blame them. Sometimes the stigma attached to the label isn’t worth the dollars you are able to access with the label.

Why is it that we focus on the negative qualities of these individuals? Why can’t we focus on the benefits, the special abilities they have? Both of my daughters are extremely creative and artistic. Perhaps they wouldn’t have these qualities if they didn’t also have the other qualities that cause so much struggle and consternation some days. One of my sons is a gifted storyteller. Another son knows more about vehicles than 90 percent of adults. Memorizing facts is another gift.

Why is it that the general population is allowed to hide their weaknesses by focusing on their strengths, but the people who already struggle are forced to focus on their weaknesses, sometimes to the detriment of their passions and strengths?

I look forward to your comments and suggestions 🙂


One of the benefits I enjoy most about writing and blogging is meeting other people who share my passions. One of my blog hop participants is Rose B. Fischer. Last year she started a Redefining Disability Challenge. This year she is continuing to invite people to join the challenge by blogging about a set of questions she developed. I’ve decided to join this challenge and most Mondays will be answering one of her questions.

redefining-disability1


Adoption Blog Tour: My fears, hopes and dreams for our children

Adoptive Parents

Adoption is a challenging journey. (You can read our family legacy story here.) An adoptive family experiences many joys and sorrows. Here are some things I celebrate as an adoptive parent:

  • The day we brought each of our children home
  • Hearing, “I love you!”
  • Holding adoption orders in my hand and knowing these are legally our children
  • Hearing, “Your daughter has your eyes.”
  • Watching our twins, who were never supposed to walk, talk, or feed themselves, run with carefree abandon and gulp down ever increasing amounts of food.
  • Hearing, “You’re the best cook in the whole world!”
  • Coming home and being met at the door with hugs, smiles, and “You’re home!”
  • Walking into a room and seeing all of my children reading by themselves.
  • Hearing, “Your son knows his Bible well.”

Like any parent, I also have fears, hopes, and dreams for my children.

I Fear:

  • Our children floundering with their identity.
  • Not having the answers or ability to meet our children’s unique needs.
  • People being distracted or distressed by our children’s special needs and refusing to take the time to get to know who they really are as people.
  • The future, wondering if our children have the skills and ability to be independent.
  • People taking advantage of our children.
  • What will happen to our children when we are no longer able to care for them?

I Hope:

  • Our children will find security and significance in a personal relationship with God.
  • Our children will lead lives that are privately happy and publicly useful.
  • Our children will know that we love them no matter what.
  • Our children will persevere through the difficulties they face.
  • Our children will have the support and encouragement they need.
  • Others will treat our children with respect.

I Dream:

  • That our children will be able to set goals that are meaningful to them and achieve them.
  • That others will be able to look beyond our children’s special needs and see the special gifts they bring to the world.
  • That our children will be able to have healthy relationships with their birth families.
  • That our community and the larger world will make a place for our children where they are accepted, nurtured, and productive.
  • That there will always be a safe place for our children.

Adoptive and foster parents need support and encouragement. I’m thankful for:

  • Extended family members who love and accept our children
  • Teachers who go the extra mile to include our children
  • Specialists who listen and give helpful advice
  • A church family who celebrates our children’s unique gifts and abilities
  • Friends who pray for me and listen when I just need to vent

What are your fears, hopes, and dreams for your children? Are they similar to or different than mine?

NOTE: For the month of December, I’m giving away a FREE copy of a Christmas short story – Hope for Jimmy, to everyone who follows my blog. (Fill in the form below)

Ruth L. Snyder and her husband, Kendall, have five adopted children ages six to seventeen. Besides looking after her family, Ruth enjoys teaching Music for Young Children and writing. She currently serves as the editor for In the Loop, a quarterly newsletter for foster, adoptive, and kinship families in northeastern Alberta, Canada. (Read more of their adoption journey: Our Family Legacy Story.)

Adoption Blog Tour

 

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Free Christmas Short Story!

Beggar boy sleeping on cardboard sheet

 

This month I would like to give you a Christmas short story called Hope for Jimmy. All you need to do to receive this story is fill in the form below with your name, e-mail address, and tell me what you’d like me to blog about in the coming year.

I hope this story will remind you that there are people who need our help at Christmas time. Ask God how He wants you to reach out and give hope to someone this Christmas.

Matthew 25:31-40 (NIV)

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

(From The Bible Gateway)

Merry Christmas!

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Thanksgiving Thank You from Helping Hands Press

Thank You

This is a guest post from Helping Hands Press

Thank You!

We can’t say it any more plainly.

As each day grows closer to those times of the year that makes one pause and reflect on what they are thankful for and what their year was like, we cannot help but come back to the one place any Author or Publisher needs to think of and consider with each and every word-YOUour readers and supporters.

We count on you each and every “Thirsty Thursday” Facebook Party for your feedback, every review you give, every email and direct message you send the Authors in our Community. Without your guidance and support we know that we would cease to exist. “THANK YOU!”

As a small token of our appreciation we are going to try to do a few fun things for you over the next 4 weeks.

We are going to offer all of the paperbacks, audio books and ebooks in the Helping Hands Press Store at 30% off from Nov. 20 to Dec.18th. All you need to do is use the code word “THANKYOU” when you check out to receive the discount.

We are also starting a contest that will run the same length of time. There will be a Rafflecopter located on the Helping Hands Press blog that will have all the details. There are a lot of prizes:

Grand Prize -Kindle Fire HD6

Second Prize– 12 paperbacks-Full list is below

Third Prize-6 paperbacks-Full List below

Fourth prize-6 audio books-Full List below

Fifth Prize-audio book of choice

We hope that you have fun, enjoy the contest, and most of all know that all of us here at Helping Hands Press are very thankful for your support each and every day!

THANK YOU!

01 A a AKindle Fire Promo

Second Prize-12 paperbacks: Declaration of Independence Series I, Colony Zero Complete Series I, The San Francisco Wedding Planner Series I, ’Tis The Season in Sweetland Complete, No Revolution Is Too Big Complete Series, Marsha Hubler’s Heart-Warming Christmas Stories Complete Series, No Matter What, Uplifting Devotionals Book I, 12Days of Christmas Complete Series, The Ambassadors, Preacher Man Volume I, Legacy of Grandpa’s Grapevine

Third Prize-6 paperbacks:Dark Enough To See The Stars, The Blizzard, The Christmas Wish, Mother Can You Hear Me?, Homeschool Co-ops 101, God,Me and a Cup of Tea

 


Name Conference: Marriages that Last

Lasting Marriage

Yesterday at church we celebrated two marriages which have stood the test of time. One couple has been married for 53 years. The other couple celebrated 63 years of marriage.

Have you ever wondered why some marriages fail while others thrive?

Here’s some more information that Bill and Pam Farrel shared about lasting marriages at the NAME Marriage Conference in November.

Seven stages most couples go through

  1. Newlywed
  2. Couple begins family
  3. Children enter school
  4. Children enter teen years
  5. Children enter adulthood
  6. Retirement Years
  7. Aging/Loss of spouse

“A hormone called PEA is released when you decide to marry someone – you’re actually addicted to this person. This lasts 18-24 months. When it’s gone, it’s gone. However, Oxytocin can be produced over and over by laughing together, by sharing mutually satisfying experiences, and sex.”

  • Women don’t divide their love, it multiplies!
  • Treat your spouse like company.
  • Sometimes it’s not just a spiritual problem, maybe we need a nap!

Midlife transitions: Wife’s search for significance; Husband’s search for companionship

We experience:

  • Overstated emotions
  • Question: Who am I and why am I on the face of this globe?
  • Most vulnerable to an affair

Work through Crisis

Wise women will take the question to God

“I love you too much to let life pull us apart, so let’s set some date nights.”

Men: Superman syndrome

  • Men become aware of the expenses of life
  • Men can become so focused on providing for the family that they forget to build relationship with the family
  • Testosterone drops in mid-life
  • Health crisis that gets your attention
  • Mid-life is a transition like puberty; transition from productivity to wisdom. People need your wisdom!

 Questions couples should ask themselves:

  1. Who would be a great mentor couple for us?
  2. When’s a great time for a date night? (Hint for couples with young children: Thursday night toy box. Put together a special box of toys children can only have on Thursday night (or whatever night you have your date night). Children have to stay on their beds to play with their special toy box.)

Seasoned Sisters – a supportive group of women Pam gets together with regularly.

  • In construction “sistering” = putting 2×4’s together so they can bear more weight; we should be doing this for each other as women.
  • “Choosing Joy!” – a phrase Pam uses to remind herself that she can’t change the circumstances, but she can change her attitude.

Pray Scriptures over your family

Isaiah 30:8 The Lord longs to be good to you

REMEMBER!

  • “If couples can hang through this transition (midlife), life will right itself.”
  • God is good all the time! Hang on to that. Goodness is ahead. Stick together.
  • Write out a dream list of what you want to do in the second half of your life.
  • Number one trait of couple who last a lifetime – want a love that lasts a lifetime (Pure grit and determination)

“Remind each other: It’s not you, it’s not me, it’s just life!”

 


NAME Conference: Men and Women Relieve Stress Differently

What kind of lover are you

“The right amount of stress allows you to be everything God created you to be. We need to keep stress at a level to be productive.” Bill & Pam Farrel

The following information was shared by Bill & Pam Farrel at the 2014 NAME Marriage Conference.

Women de-stress by talking things out (Stress = like having a meatball land on her pile of spaghetti; she needs to get all the noodles back in place and figure out how to fit the meatball in as well.)

Men create a new box (an easy box), figure it out, put a lid on it and don’t go back there.

Women need to find some REALLY good girlfriends 🙂

  1. Give some type of warning that our stress level is rising to dangerous levels (Pasta Princess)
  2. When one thing is wrong in a woman’s life, everything is wrong. Take your thoughts captive. (Stop. What’s the truth? Something I love about my husband is something that’s irritating me.)
  3. When we look at our husbands and it seems like they’re doing nothing, we have to remember they are recharging by going to their “easy” box.

Galatians 5:13 Serve one another in love. When you bring down the stress in your partner, your needs aren’t necessarily met. Take turns helping each other de-stress.

Bill plays basketball while Pam prays and journals through her feelings.

One way to lower stress is to raise the energy level – motivate one another. Everyone is motivated differently. We need to figure out how each person is motivated:

Extrovert: Act and then wonder if they should have done it based on what happens. Tip: Carry an iPad or smartphone around and write it down so you can read it before you say it. Ask – are we doing what we agreed to do?

Introvert: Constantly holding onto thoughts, get their feelings hurt. Introverts need to remember: Sometimes conversation is just conversation. When we spend time together, do we connect?

Task oriented people: would rather spend time with people AFTER the work is done

People oriented people: Get things done, but are constantly sidetracked by people.

Finding your uniqueness:

  1. Lover #1 Knight in shining armor; queen of hearts
  2. Lover #2 The hopeless romantic
  3. Lover #3 Wind beneath my wings
  4. Lover #4 True Blue Lover

Lover #1 – Knight in Shining Armor/Queen of Hearts

  • -Power
  • -Dominant
  • -Task oriented
  • -Love control
  • -Love cooperative environment they create
  • -Get on with a decision

Romance: love adventure, no guided tours, hiking, anything they decide, make a list and check it off.

Motivated by control of decisions

Give kids like this options and give them responsibility

 

Lover #2 – The Hopeless Romantic

  • -People
  • -Party
  • -Popuplar
  • -extroverted
  • -new adventures
  • -center of attention
  • -like lots of people
  • -fun, not boring
  • -Like new experiences

e.g. Peter

Preferences in Romance: anything new, entertainment that is personal and touches the heart, human drama, adventurous outings, exotic getaways

Motivated by public attention

 

Lover #3 – Wind Beneath My Wings

  • -introverted
  • -Like to help others succeed
  • -Take it as it comes
  • -Stress free
  • -Time to talk
  • -No problem solving
  • -Not over-scheduled
  • -No high expectations
  • -People time

Preferences in Romance: Light schedule, simple activities, time to relax, best event is good company, atmosphere of acceptance, entertainment where there is plenty of time to enjoy it

Motivated by acceptance/respect

 

Lover #4 – True Blue Lover

  • -Routines
  • -Task-oriented
  • -Predictable
  • -Significant
  • -Learning
  • -Talented artists and musicians, but also have a dark side

Preferences in Romance: Do what you said you’d do, events that are discussed ahead of time, guided tours, meaningful entertainment, education outings, museums, historical tours, constant encouragement with flowers, notes, and sincere feedback, honest and complete discussions, long conversations, exploration of the emotional complexity of life, remember significant dates and details.

Motivated by structure/order

Hint: Turn the energy from negative to positive with an exercise routine or friend you call

Suggested resource: Wired That Way

“I’m proud of you.” – need to say this to men.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 – For everything there is a season. God planned them in so that we can grow.

Every 7 years we have a change in our lives. These changes can be opportunities to grow. Marriages are made and broken in the transitions of life.

HAD I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
W.B. Yeats (1865–1939)
“He Wishes For the Cloths of Heaven”
from the Collected Works of W.B. Yeats

 

This is my third post of sharing information from the NAME Marriage Conference. You may want to check out the first and second posts as well.


Enjoying God’s Art Show

This morning as we were eating breakfast, the sunrise was breathtaking. I snapped a few pictures to share with you. Enjoy your day!

Sunrise 1
The streaks in the sky caught my attention

 

Sunrise 2
Time to take some pictures!

 

 

Sunrise 3
Amazing beauty and depth of colour
The colour is moving up higher in the sky
The colour is moving up higher in the sky

 

 

Clouds to the south reflecting the sunrise
Clouds to the south reflecting the sunrise

 

Clouds to the south west reflecting the sunrise
Clouds to the south west reflecting the sunrise