Sunday, September 28, 2014

3 ways to help your children champion each other

We have moved twice in the last two years.  One move was four states away and the other was 2 1/2 hours away.  They were both trying and frustrating at times, but have leant themselves to wonderful growth within our family.  First, I want to say that yes, our kids have fights and arguments and sometimes straight out brawls!  But they are also each other's best friends and greatest supporters.  We have tried to influence them to understand their role in the family and their role to uplift each other.  The Proclamation to the Family states: Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.  I wanted to focus on the respect, love and work aspect of that statement.

1)  We encourage our children to pray for each other.  Whenever one is having a bad day or has a test or another event that they are nervous about, we share the news with the other children so that they can pray for each other.  We have family prayer in the morning and at night and there have been times when the kids have said "I am grateful for Spencer."  or "Please help Brooke that she can do well in preschool."  It is so rewarding and the best feeling is the happy hugs that follow the prayers when they have prayed for each other. 


2)  Teach your children to work together.  There have been times when the kids are fighting non-stop while they work together.  But on many occasions, they work together and help each other.  They divide up the work and even if it takes a little longer because they are playing or have invented some game, they are still working together.  They have even volunteered to help each other with their chores and say they are doing service.  They have worked as a team and feel pride in completing a task.  We just returned from a three day drive out West. It was just me and the kids and when things started to get rough, I would encourage them to help each other.  "Grab her suitcase" or "pick up his pillow pet." Or "pass this back."  Doing service for each other is a great method to help with sibling fighting.

3) Help them to teach by example.  My five year old daughter Brooke does NOT like having her hair done.  Period.  However, the other day, Hailey, my nine year old did her hair and then did Brooke's hair.  Brooke was so excited to feel extra special that Hailey took the time with her and she wanted to leave her hair in because she wanted Hailey to be proud of her.  I have praised my children for their work only to find that it encourages the others to get theirs done as well.  The example of a sibling is one of the most powerful influences. 


We do have our ups and downs in our family but I know my kids are each other's best friends.  Come what may, another move or changes in life, we have helped them to build a foundation of friendship that I hope will last into adulthood.  When we encourage our kids to love and share and take care of each other, we have a spirit of peace in our home.  Children are born with a God given ability to love and to serve.  They might need encouragement at times, but the desire is there and when we help them to reach their potential, they come closer to Jesus Christ.

My name is Heather Bell and I write about anything that inspires me on my blog  Our family made the move to Iowa from Las Vegas 2 1/2 years ago and have grown along the way.  I love reading, writing, baking, exercise, nature and sunlight.  I don't have any goals to write a book someday but hope to be a lifelong writer of whatever comes to me.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

I have posted over at this wonderful blog, We Talk of Christ, We Rejoice in Christ, about how to get your kids to champion each other and become friends.  Jocelyn's blog is about strengthening families and influencing the world for good.  I have followed for a few years now and have gotten many good ideas from good family activities to gospel ideas to remembering my role as a mother.  I feel like we are friends and I am sure you will enjoy her as well. 
Here is the first bit of the piece and feel free to click over for the rest:
We have moved twice in the last two years.  One move was four states away and the other was 2 1/2 hours away.  They were both trying and frustrating at times, but have leant themselves to wonderful growth within our family.  First, I want to say that yes, our kids have fights and arguments and sometimes straight out brawls!  But they are also each other's best friends and greatest supporters.  We have tried to influence them to understand their role in the family and their role to uplift each other.  

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Encouraging the positive in a Strong Willed child

Brooke is my wild child.  She is my wild card and bag of surprises.  I don't know what to do with her half the time and it scares me.  She isn't like me and she isn't like Blake.  She is a cherubic faced, ball of energy and sprinkle of freckles across the nose.  She is wild haired and will only wear a barrette in her hair if she gest rewarded.  But for all of her wild and crazy antics, I try to find her positive attributes, which are so many.  She loves hard and she hits hard.  She fights hard and she hugs hard.

For every time she tells a lie or a "story" as we are calling them "stories", I think

She is one of the best sharers I know.  She gives her last bite of cookie, her favorite toy, her pillow, her toy, her book without a problem.  And she never talks about it again.  She never says "I gave you that, so give me this."  She gives without restraint and without expectation.

For every time she hits someone so hard that they cry, I think

She is one of the best huggers I know.  She will hug you till your head pops off.  She hugs with all the gusto she has in her.

For every time she has a giant tantrum that reverberates the walls of the house, I think

She is a brave soul.  She will do scary things first.  She will ride her bike without holding the handles.  She will hang upside down from monkey bars.  She will even try new foods without dying about them.

For every time she is so stubborn I could just scream, I think

She has the biggest heart of anyone I know.  She is friendly to everyone.  She makes friends easily.  She is loyal to a fault, a wonderful fault.  She says the sweetest prayers of love for her family members and truly means them.  She says the kindest words that stick with you, like calling William "my sweet baby boy" and Spencer "my wonderful son".  Calling me "my sweet mother" and Hailey "my beautiful Hailey" and Blake "my funny dad". 

I always tell her she will make a wonderful nurse and an even more wonderful mother because she is truly a kind and good person.  She loves the body, she loves "bled" as she calls blood and taking care of people.  So, when she is in one of her moods, I try so hard to remember her good qualities and remind her of her good qualities.  I want her to focus on the good things about her while we work on the faults she needs to overcome.  She is a strong willed soul who will do great things in life.  We just need to channel the energy.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

I have never felt Useless

As a mother, I have never felt useless. I have never felt unneeded or unnecessary or undesired.  I have felt the complete opposite of that feeling. I have felt




But never useless.

I have felt




But I have never felt useless.

I have felt

A million questions

Four voices at once

Four needs at once

But never useless.

I have felt



A love greater than any other feeling

But I have never felt useless.

I have felt

Little hands, older hands and baby hands

Grubby fingers, soft and clean hair and sweet smelling skin

A great joy and a great sacrifice

But never useless.

And I wonder:

Will I feel useless someday? 

Will I long for my baby’s first days or will I be eager for grandbabies?

Will I need to have neighborhood children come over to feel the void?

Will I need to live close to my grandkids to

Snuggle them

To love them

To bake cookies with them?

Will I ever feel useless?

I know I don’t ever want to feel useless. 

I love being needed.

I love that this family seemingly can’t live without me.

I love the pile on mommy moments

The tickle fights

The chasing

The cheering

The sounds of laughter

I didn’t use to enjoy being needed

At times I am still frustrated with the strain on mommy life.

But I would never trade it.

I would never trade this full life for one where I am

My family down by the Cedar river.  One of my favorite pictures ever!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Change: take 2

I wrote my original five minute prompt on change, which I liked, then I saw a picture. One solitary picture that placed words in my mind.  Words that must be written down while America's Test Kitchen plays in the background and my sweet baby big boy sleeping and my almost 5 year old in 2 days is out with dad and my 6 almost 7 year old is in first grade and my 9 1/2 year old is in fourth grade.  Change.  My life has changed. My life has given me some breathing room.  My daughter started preschool today, which she was so thrilled for and I (not so guiltily) was happy for her and a little sad for me, but mostly happy for her. Then I wondered, am I changing a bit because I am happy for her instead of sad for me?  I am happy because she is doing something new and exciting and big girl.  Because she is moving on to the next big step in life.  Because she is prepared for it. 
I used to be a cry my eyes out on the first day of school mom.  Feel guilty because my kids were in school when they should be with me every second.  Because I love having them with me even when they drive me batty.  Then my sister, Michelle, whose oldest son is turning 14, told me that she isn't sad when her kids move up (not too sad), but she is excited because all the kids are doing something new.  An exciting adventure, just for them!  Yes, she is sad, feeling  twinge of loneliness maybe as her sweet Nolan goes off to full day school.  But also a feeling of pride as she has prepared them so well to take on this big bad world. 
And I am thrilled to have an older sister who reminds me to not be a depressed mom, but to be happy for their new moments.  To embrace new things for myself.  That I have prepared my kids, as well.  That I have tried as hard as I can because I know that the few years at home with the kids do fly by.  But that as they fly, I am developing small grown ups.  I am developing little people who can add to society, can change lives and improve the world!  And in this process, my little ones are developing me.  They are changing me and encouraging me to be my best.  That change is part of life and we can embrace it or can let change ruin us.  I do have my moments of crying, wo is me, missing my kids, did I do enough feelings.  But overall, I am going to embrace change.
My four changing kids in the changing Iowa corn.  Yes, my 2 year old has goggles on.  My oldest boy hates hair cuts because the hair gets into his eyes, so I had the bright idea to put goggles on him. Problem solved.  Someday I will write how I came to this idea.

Change (5 minute prompt)


Change, what a word.  A word that my college roommates warned Blake I was afraid of. I still remember the conversation, "Heather doesn't like change."  What?!?  I like change, I love change!  I have moved 10 times in 12 years. I have had four kids in 7 years, one of which was born two weeks after a cross country move.  I have changed houses, jobs, diapers, clothes, ideas, opinions.  Just because I might have a favorite powder blue down quilt that I have a hard time transitioning from in the Summer.  Just because I like to eat at the same places.  Just because I like the same almost-worn-out-in-the-crotch capris.  Just because I like the same kind of make up.  Just because I like the same kinds of lotions. Just because I like the same Ghiradelli boxed brownies once a week. Just because I like chocolate ice cream with all kinds of extras in it.  Just because I like the same exercise routine to work off (some) of those delicious brownies and ice cream.  Just because I like to clean in a certain way or do laundry a certain way.  Just because I could watch Food Network every night.  Just because my little idiosyncrasies get the better of me and make me have a hard time with change or change of schedule.  Well, I think I can fairly say that I can manage big change, as long as my regular favorite activities are in tact.  And do you blame me?  There is a definite comfort in regular.

One of my regulars.  This was in Las Vegas after a gorgeous thunderstorm.  Gorgeous thunderstorms call for this type of regulars.

The Hardest Part of Moving...

We have moved 10 times in 12 years and two of the moves were within the last 2 years.  So, I have had some experience with moving and want to tell you the saddest part of moving.  You would think it would be leaving your house, starting over, missing the old places, but for me it was:
Not knowing anybody at the store. 
You know, when you have lived in a place for six years, going to the store is like a friend reunion.  There wasn't a time when I didn't run into a friend at the store and before you know it, we have been chatting too long and the kids have put extra cookies in the cart and are racing through aisles.  I even ran into two families I knew while I was at the store in Las Vegas, after not living there for two and a half years.  Well, when you are new to town, the grocery store visit is much quicker.  It's just the weirdest feeling to know you won't be running into anybody that you know.
The other day, the kids and I were at the grocery store and I looked over and saw a lady, Nancy, from church and I was so excited! It was so fun to walk by and tap her on the shoulder and say "Hi!" while she ordered from the deli.  We aren't best buds by any means, but we have chatted and know each other's families.  It was just comforting to know a person!  Then we headed out to the car and I hear, "How was your trip?" and it was another woman from church, Emily.  We talked for a minute, while she sat in her car, about summer trips and whatnot. 
As I got into the car, I started to feel at home in Iowa.  I loved, loved our first little town in Iowa, Leclaire, the sweetest river town.  I had no problem feeling at home there.  The move to our second town was fine, but it wasn't as quaint, as slow as I had gotten used to.  A pace that I really acclimated to.  But getting to know and love people in whichever place you live, will make the place feel like home.  Whether you have family there or not, whether you are single, married, empty nesters or a new mom.  Reaching out to others, making an effort and getting to know people will make any town home.

Sunset in our town in Iowa
PS. I just remembered that I ran into another lady, Camille, at the store a few months ago and I scared the chicken salad (Mo Willems reference) out of her.  That was pretty rewarding as well.


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