Sunday, April 24, 2011

Simple Rules for a Happy Marriage

Twenty-four years ago, I married the most wonderful man in the world.  He's smart, funny, strong in his religious convictions, a great dad to our kids, and we share the same goals.  We are experts only on our own marriage, but here are some thoughts that have worked for us:

1.  Always assume that the other person means well.  When I built the dog house in the basement, requiring John to remove the sliding door in order to get the doghouse to the backyard, he just smiled and thanked me for helping him. 

2. "Working" on your marriage means making play a priority.  We faithfully have a weekly date night.  When I spent over a month in the hospital, date night consisted of John bringing me real, non-hospital food and we'd watch a movie on the TV. 

3. Communication is key.  John has learned to understand "womenese".  I have learned to speak more directly.  We both know that if either one of us says, "We really should..." it means, "Would you please...?" 

4.  Do your share, which means don't keep score.  If you notice a job needs doing, do it.  John and I decided shortly after the birth of our first, that whoever smells the dirty diaper first, changes the baby.  It worked well for us.

5.  Don't complain about your spouse.  One of my pet peeves is hearing a woman complain about her husband, or vice versa.  John is my best friend.  He never complains about me.  I know he is human, and therefore must be imperfect, but he is perfect for me.

We have made so many memories over the past 24 years.  Sometimes, our path has taken unexpected twists and turns, but we have traveled the path together.  I'm looking forward to the next 24 years.

I love you, John!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I Now Know Who You Are, Grandma Whitehead!


Family history research can become a tangled web sometimes.  Trying to keep names, dates, and relationships straight is often a challenge for my mind.  I'm sure as a child I gave my mom more than one glazed-over look when she would try to explain the relationship to me of an ancestor she had just found.  I understand the impulse to just nod along politely, but please, try to keep up with this post because it is just THE COOLEST THING EVER.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Good Day in Primary

Yesterday, I substituted again in Primary, the children's organization at church.  I was teaching a small class of 9- and 10-year-olds.  I really like each child individually, though sometimes group dynamics have proven a bit of a challenge. (During the lesson on the Sermon on the Mount, for example, one child asked if everyone could move the chairs far apart from each other in an attempt to stop arguing!) However, yesterday was just perfect.  We had a new child in the class, and each of the other children did something to make that child feel welcome. 

The lesson was on Sabbath-day observance.  I was a bit worried that the discussion would turn heated when one child said it was OK to play video games on Sunday, "if you really needed to."  The definition of "needed" was debated a bit, but I managed to stress to the children that the purpose of the lesson was not to judge the decisions of others, but rather to inwardly reflect on our own decisions.  Are the activities that I choose to participate in on the Sabbath an outward expression of love for my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ?  Somewhat to my amazement, that worked, and we were able to go on to list ideas of Sunday activities upon which the kids could all agree.

I enjoy teaching on days like yesterday.  Thanks, class!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Book Review---Parenting A House United: Changing Children's Hearts and Behaviors by Teaching Self Government


Book - Parenting A House United: Changing Children's Hearts and Behaviors by Teaching Self Governement  (Click on this title to link to the author's website.)

I know I said I wouldn't use this blog for book reviews, but I've changed my mind, at least for this book. I've read my fair share of parenting books over the years.  After my first child was born, I thought one highly-acclaimed author was clueless.  It wasn't until my second child came along that I realized the "clueless" author only had experience with a baby like my second.  I have collections of parenting books--some to help with one child, some to help with another, etc.   I am so impressed with Nicholeen Peck's book!  Her loving parenting techniques work with ALL children.  Nicholeen has had extensive experience not only with her own biological children, but also with many foster children over the years.  She has helped children with extreme behaviors learn to control themselves and gain confidence in their abilities.  Her book is not a "Let's fix the problem child" book, though--it is truly a unifying, family-building book that I wish had been written decades ago, so I could have used her techniques when my children were small. I am still going to teach my children the principles in this book, though, so that any future grandchildren can benefit!