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I know that many of you have probably heard of the so-called "21-day Habit Theory" which basically states that habits can be formed by simply completing a task for 21 days in a row. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I recently learned that this is nothing more than a myth and could not be further from the truth. I know, I know, I'm just as shocked as you are because for so long, I too believed this theory to be true. What I actually found out through research, was that the 21-day habit forming theory is actually a misinterpretation of work done by Dr. Maxwell Maltz about developing a positive self-image. I guess someone misinterpreted his findings and then told someone and just like in the old childhood game of telephone, the story spread and took a life of its own! LOL! By now, you are probably wondering, "What does all of this have to do with marriage?" I'll tell you what. Just recently, my husband and I were asked by a close family friend, if we were willing to devote a week being focused on making our marriage better? This meant that we had to limit the amount of outside work time and also limit the amount of time spent tending to our children's every need! Ouch! The actual goal of this exercise was to focus on spending "every other moment"  on making our marriage better through communication and quality time with one another. At least that was my plan. At first, I must admit that I was a little hesitant, but don't get me wrong, not because my marriage wasn't worth the effort, but more because I wasn't sure I was able to meet the challenge. However, what was revealed to me in that moment, was that I could not expect to get from my husband what I wasn't willing to give myself! Light bulb moment!


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So next, I resorted to the old "21-day habit forming theory" which we have just learned is nothing more than a myth. I just figured that based on this theory, I could pay attention to my marriage and treat it as a task that I performed for 21-days in a row, then it would become a habit. WRONG! The only way to form these healthy habits within my marriage is by doing the work through the "Three Phases of Habit Formation" which are as follows (based on a 2013 Forbes article on this subject) Phase 1: The Honeymoon Phase which is characterized by the feeling of "this is easy." But as all married people know, at some point, all honeymoons must end and will end. It is usually the result of something inspiring. Phase 2: The Fight Thru Phase which is when the inspiration fades and reality sets in. This is when an individual finds himself/herself struggling with the positive habit completion and old habits seem to be right around the corner. The key to being able to move into the third phase of habit formation is to be able to win 2-3 "fight thru's." This is critical and can be accomplished by using these techniques:

1) Recognize; 2) Ask 2 Questions (How will I feel if I do this? & How will I feel if I don't do this?); 3) Life Projection (imagining your life in 5 years after making changes). Phase 3: Second Nature can be described as though you have "gotten in the groove." You get the picture.


So anyway, now that we know what it takes to actually form a habit, I am happy to say, that the past few days have been worth the effort! By my recognizing where I fall short and then taking the necessary steps to correct my behavior or attitude towards my husband, how we are communicating and interacting with one another has changed for the better! This is one habit that I don't want to break!


I Lovingly dedicate this post to my husband, Cedric. Thank you for your love and willingness to form the marriage habit with me!

 
 
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Here we go again! Can't get enough of author, Dan Jackson's collection of adorable and easy to read children's books! Not sure, but he must be channeling my son's animal interests because all of the books that we have had the honor of reviewing and reading together lately, are exactly what he is into these days. Go figure! At this age, when he is just really beginning to read more and more, it is important that I be able to engage him in subject matter that not only peaks his interest but is also educational at the same time. This author has managed to meet all of those challenges with his delightful collection of books that share facts or little known details about the animals that we love to love or those we fear the most (snakes)! Speaking of snakes, while we were engaged in reading the book about snakes, my son politely announced, "Mommy if I see a snake, I will just run the other way!" Me too son, me too!  LOL!
All of these e-books are now available on Amazon.com and are reasonably priced and just in time for Christmas upload to your child's favorite e-reader or kindle. Being able to enjoy the gift of reading with your child(ren) is only a click or two away!
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.
 
 
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As promised, I wanted to share with you the results of my daughter's latest arts and crafts endeavor with the help of a "Craftsy" online course to guide her. Ladies and gentlemen, we have ourselves a blue bird! Isn't it cute? I am actually proud to say that she gifted it to me! And as we approach the holiday season, these adorable little critters make wonderful gifts! Who wouldn't like to receive one of these warm and friendly amigurumi creations under the Christmas tree? I know that I certainly would. 

For all of you "room moms" out there, with Fall festival season upon us, this is a great way to learn easy to make decorations and costumes for your children. Craftsy offers easy and fun paper crafting kits and other holiday decorating ideas that are sure to please. So what are you waiting for? Sign up for your Craftsy online course today!


This post contains an affiliate link.
 
 
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I grew up during a time when we did not have all of the modern day conveniences and technology that the kids of today are privileged to have. I guess I am about to date myself when I tell you that about all we had was T.V. (without cable), record players (remember those?) and I can even remember when 8-track players came out! (Ouch!) So anyway, you get the picture, there wasn't much that we can entertain ourselves with other than our imaginations and the television. And guess what, my Nana wasn't having none of that sitting in front of what she called "the idiot box" for hours on end! Nana really knew how to coin a phrase! LOL!

PictureConcentration and focus is the key!
So armed with nothing more than my imagination and creativity, I kept myself occupied and out of trouble by taking on at least one new arts and crafts project each month. I probably drove my mother crazy with all of the different projects that I decided to create but she never complained and always made sure that I had what I needed to accomplish those goals. I believe that it was her encouragement that helped me to become a creative thinker and not afraid to try or take on new challenges. It probably also helped that I was naturally creative. Nevertheless, my mom always supported me and made me feel that I could accomplish anything if I put my mind to it.

PictureMy daughter Just getting started with her Amigurumi animal!
Imagine the joy that I felt when I first noticed that my daughter had a knack for making arts and crafts! I would even venture to say that because of the access that she has to technology, that she is 10x better than I was as a child. I say that because it has been mainly through the conveniences of technology that she has been able to teach herself most of what she has learned to make. She has learned and mastered arts and craft projects using duct tape (she thinks it is the answer to everything), rainbow looms, lanyard strings, parachords and of course her latest interest is crocheting.

Just recently, I had the fortunate opportunity to learn about a company named "Craftsy" whose main focus is "in providing education and tools to help you bring your creativity to life." Not only do they offer hundreds of online classes in areas such as quilting, sewing, knitting, cake decorating, art, photography, and cooking just to name a few, but you can also purchase supplies and buy or sell patterns too! How's that for a one-stop-shop?
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My daughter was ecstatic when I shared this wonderful resource with her and immediately selected an online Amigurumi Woodland Animals crocheting course. For those of you who don't know what that is, Amigurumi is the Japanese art of knitting or crocheting small stuffed animals and anthropomorphic creatures. That just lets you know about the extent of courses that are offered through Craftsy. The courses are so user friendly and easy to understand. But what I really love is the fact that they never expire and you can upload them to any mobile device. Here you see my daughter watching it on her iPod as she relaxes on the couch. You can watch them at your leisure and repeat and pause them as needed. So far she is halfway through her first woodland creature. Stay tuned for updates and for the finished product! I can't wait to see it myself!

 
 
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My Mommy!
On a day that this country has set aside to celebrate and honor mothers and motherhood, maternal bonds and the influence of mothers throughout society, I would be remiss if I did not take the time to honor and remember the woman
who bore me into the world. If I am perfectly honest with myself, the celebration of Mother’s Day has become a bitter sweet kind of day for me. Why do you ask? The best way that I can explain how I feel is to say that on the one
hand I appreciate and love the way that my own family showers me with love on this day but then on the other hand it reminds me of the fact that I no longer have my mother here  to shower with love. Unfortunately, my mother was taken from us almost 15 years ago as she struggled to fight against the terrible disease of lung cancer. She was only 57 years old. You might be saying to yourself, “That was so long ago.” Believe me, the length of time doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. I’ve come to know that the majority of people who think that I should be over it already, have not
experienced loosing a mother. So please don’t judge me for loving and not wanting to forget.

 
 
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Question: How far down are you on your own “TO DO” List? As a wife and mother of two young, very active children, I often discover that when it comes down to finding time for myself, I am usually at the bottom of the list. This was especially true while I was working full-time. It can be a daunting task to find balance between work and family let alone time to focus on doing something for myself. Working women or women in general are especially challenged to somehow find a balance between all three (work, family, self) without ending up on the verge of a nervous breakdown!

In my case, it was especially challenging because I kind of got a late start on this whole “starting a family” thing. It wasn’t until the age of 35 that I got married and then at age 36 had my first child. So as you can see, based on current medical standards, I was already considered  ”high risk” when I had my daughter. Oh, but I’m not finished!  Just when I thought that I was done having children, God intervened and we found out that I was pregnant with my son. Ok, so you do the math! I was 36 when I had my daughter and 6 years later we welcomed my son into the world just 5 days after my 43rd birthday! It still amazes me how I was able to make it through all of that at my age. I strongly believe that due to the fact that I have been an athlete pretty much the majority of my life, has made all the difference with my ability to nurture and bring forth a new life at such an advanced age. Which leads me back to the fact of how important taking care of yourself and living a healthy lifestyle can be. After all, you never know what challenges life is going to throw at you! Living a healthy lifestyle to me means that there needs to be a balance between the “spiritual you” and the “physical you.” It is my opinion that if you feed your spirit just as you feed your body this can lead to balanced living.

As I stated earlier, while I was still working, it was often difficult to find that balance no matter how good my intentions were. There just never seemed to be enough hours in the day  to get everything done that I felt needed to be done. Because of this, I honestly believe that getting laid off is my golden opportunity to not only fulfill my true purpose but also to re-connect with my family and most of all to re-focus and improve my personal relationship with God. Therefore, I have had to take a good long look at both relationships (God & family), to see what I needed to work on. In doing so, what I realized is that I was allowing the wrong things to take precedence in my life.