All ‘Family’ Posts

17 may

Ariane’s Four Talks on Change

ArianedeBonvoisinHello! I’ve just added to YouTube four (4) videos that I wanted to share on Navigating Change. Some of them are nice and short, only five minutes long. If you’ve got a cup of tea and your journal, you can watch the hour-long talk I recently gave on “The 9 Principles of Change,” to a group of 500 executives. I cover personal, professional, health, family, relationship and financial changes. Enjoy and please share with anyone you know who is going through a change, thinking about a change, struggling or helping someone else with a change!

Click here to view Ariane’s Overview of Change.

Click here to view Ariane’s Questions about Change.

Click here to view Ariane’s The First Principle of Change.

Click here to view Ariane’s The 9 Principles of Change.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Ariane de Bonvoisin on May 17th, 2013 in Ariane, Career, Diet and Fitness, Family, Finances, Global/Social Change, Health, New Directions, Personal Stories, Relationships, Spirituality | No comments

02 apr

Securing Your Nest Egg

JennaSmithYou worked hard to find and buy your new home. Now you need to figure out the best way to protect it.

If you haven’t had a lot of experience with security systems before, paying a visit to might be a bit shocking. There are so many options available now! It’s easy to get overwhelmed and simply install everything “just in case” but before you invest in a security system, factor in the following criteria:

1. Your Neighborhood

You probably did some research into your neighborhood before you bought your house. You probably checked out crime statistics (and the sex offender registry), right? Do you remember what percentage of crime in your neighborhood came from home invasions, robberies and burglaries? These are the statistics you should know because they will tell you how extensive a security system you should get. If the rates were low, you might not need an extensive system.

Note: Neighborhoods with neighborhood watch programs have lower crime rates than those without. If your neighborhood doesn’t have one, maybe you should start one!

2. Your Actual Neighbors

Are your neighbors the “keep to themselves” types? Or, are your neighbors the “find something to do in the yard whenever anybody new comes around” types? If they are the former, you might want a more extensive system than you would if you have exceptionally nosey neighbors. While having nosey neighbors can be annoying on a personal level, having that level of scrutiny being paid to your area pretty much ensures that nobody can go undetected, which can keep the rates of crime low.

3. The Location of Your Home

Is your home located in a remote area or is it closer to town? Are you right in the middle of the action? These will help you determine which features you need for a security system. For example, if you live in a highly rural area, a really loud alarm probably won’t do you much good (though it could be startling enough to scare off an intruder). If you live in a highly trafficked area or urban area a loud alarm might be all you need because burglars rarely want to attract attention and the loud, attention attracting noise, will pretty much guarantee that someone comes running.

4. How Much Time You Spend at Home/Away

If you are away from your home a lot, you might want a smart system. This is a system that uses sensors and video to monitor your home. When a sensor is tripped you get an alert on your phone. You can use the alert to “tap in” to your video surveillance to see what’s happening and call the authorities if there is an unwanted intruder in your home—even if you are miles away.

NOTE: This is also a helpful feature for if you are inside your home when someone breaks in. You can use this feature to help you hide from a burglar (or at least avoid his path) while you wait for authorities to arrive.

Remember: the features all look really cool and tempting, but if you are hoping to save money, you should figure out which options you need the most right now. You can always add more later if you think you need them.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jenna Smith on April 2nd, 2013 in Family, House and Home | No comments

20 mar

Preventing Your Family’s Health Problems Before They Start

JennaSmithIt is important to understand your family’s medical history. Knowing whether you have a genetic predisposition for certain types of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc can help you take proactive steps to keeping these problems at bay for as long as possible. You might not be able to prevent them entirely but you might be able to slow them down or reduce their severity.

Heart Disease

If you know that you come from a family of heart disease you should already be on a “heart healthy” diet. Ask your doctor for recommendations or literature to help you plan your meals accordingly. You should also be making sure to get in a full workout at least three times a week. This strengthens your muscles, including your heart. It also improves your circulation which helps reduce your risk of developing blood clots or other problems. If the heart problems in your family are particularly severe, make sure you know how to use and have some basic rescue equipment (AED Brands has good offers on those if your budget is tight) on hand.


It is true that Type 1 Diabetes cannot be prevented. It’s genetically passed down and usually starts to affect people at an early age. You can, though, make sure that you keep it in check by eating right, following your doctor’s instructions and taking your insulin properly.

Type 2 Diabetes is a disease that you can usually prevent. While the exact cause is unknown, this type of diabetes develops more often in people who are overweight, inactive and who have terrible eating habits. This makes it easy enough to prevent, though it does require some discipline. Work with your doctor to figure out which weight is the healthiest for your height and frame. Eat a healthy and balanced diet of whole and organic foods (just say no to HFCS). Learn and practice portion control. Get regular exercise—start with what you can do now and as you get stronger introduce new activities. Remember that weight loss and proper nutrition require constant maintenance.


The really terrible thing about cancer is that if it is going to develop it is going to develop. You can’t completely stop it—especially if it is a hereditary cancer. That does not mean, however, that you can’t slow it down. Smoking and excessive drinking have been known to exacerbate, speed up and even sometimes induce lung and liver cancer. Failing to protect your skin against the harmful rays of the sun increases your risk of developing skin cancer. If you have a genetic predisposition to certain types of cancer (there are a lot of them) work with your doctor to figure out which behaviors you need to develop or moderate to reduce your risk of the cancer getting too serious too quickly.

The one thing that all of these diseases and conditions have in common is that, the earlier they are detected the easier they are to treat or even cure. This means that whether you are genetically predisposed to cancer, diabetes or heart disease, make sure you see your doctor regularly for checkups and scans. This preventative measure alone could be what saves your life!

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jenna Smith on March 20th, 2013 in Diet and Fitness, Family, Health | No comments

20 jan

New Year, New Baby: The Couple’s Guide to a Happy Family life

JennaSmithIt’s a new year, and you’ve got a new baby! You’ve undoubtedly already felt the stress, strain, and exhaustion of raising your son or daughter. You may have already asked yourself, “Can we have fun anymore? What about the baby!”

You will need to get a little creative; but you can still find ways to enjoy the company of your spouse and have a wonderful year, while caring for your newborn baby. Here are some great ideas to help you have fun this year.

Five Activities for Couples with a Newborn

1. Stay in and Watch TV

Catching up on a show you’ve wanted to watch is something very easy you can do. The baby will be all curled up at home, while you and your spouse can curl up on the couch and watch The Office. Relaxing in front of the tube will not only keep you entertained, but will also allow you and your spouse to spend quality time together (not to mention it’s really relaxing). Add a cup of hot cocoa or a glass of wine to make the night even more easygoing.

2. Enjoy a Walk

A great idea you can try out is to bundle up your baby and enjoy a stroll around the neighborhood. This is a good time to enjoy some quiet time as a couple, let the cold breeze wake you up, and show your little baby the world outside of the crib. Hold hands and enjoy your time together without worrying about putting the baby to sleep.

3. Go to a Late Movie

After your baby is fed and ready to sleep, consider taking in a late night movie. Bringing a newborn to a movie might be uncommon, but as long as the movie isn’t full of explosions and loud noises, you might just be able to sneak through it. Most of the time, if you choose a movie that’s been out for a little while, the theater won’t be as crowded and you won’t need to worry so much if your baby does wake up and make a little noise.

4. Go out to Dinner

Just because you have a newborn baby doesn’t mean you can’t go out for dinner during the holidays. You just need to make sure you plan the restaurant choice and you take everything you need. In fact, every couple should make date nights a big priority. Having a baby is a wonderful thing, but you need to make time for yourselves too.

5. Spend Time Together as a Family

Sometimes, you don’t need to do anything – no movies, no television, no going out. Simply cuddling up together in bed is relaxing, comfortable, free, and it builds an intimate relationship between the parents. Spending downtime together also helps with a solid, secure environment for the baby. Just relax. Talk about your day, read to your baby, tell each other you’re so happy to be with each other, even if life has been really hectic recently.

Just because you now have a baby to look after doesn’t mean you cannot have fun as a couple. You can use the five ideas above or you can come up with your own creative ideas. Take time out to spend with your spouse this year and make sure it’s not always just about the baby.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jenna Smith on January 20th, 2013 in Family | No comments

10 dec

The Benefits of Music Lessons

JennaSmithThere are many ways a person can benefit from studying music. The benefits are both mental and spiritual, and many research projects show there is a correlation between the study of music and better performance in academics. If every parent were aware of the evidence, he or she would find the best music teacher available for their children.

The Benefits to the Brain: Cognitive Development

Students in high quality music classes score high on standardized tests. Playing an instrument enhances the brain stem’s sensitivity to speech sounds. Experiencing music at a young age can “fine tune” the auditory system according to Nature Neuroscience, April 2007.

Among other benefits, music lessons will improve memory, teach patience, self-discipline and develop organizational skills and management of time.

Finding the Right Teacher

There are many good musicians who are not necessarily good teachers. On the other hand, there are many good teachers who are not necessarily the best musicians. Making a true connection with an instructor can be a huge, deciding factor. When you find your teacher, you will know it.

Since teachers are not equally skilled on all instruments, your teacher will possess a concept of music that he or she will easily convey to you. The teacher should be firm but not intimidating. You should feel challenged with each lesson and know what you are expected to accomplish during your practice sessions.

Any good instrumental teacher should be able to critique your playing ability to a certain level. After that, you should seek a professional player of your instrument specialty. Good teachers will tell you when you have reached the level at which they cannot help you.

Instruments of Choice

Different people have different traits that are suited for their personality and embrasures. Good teachers can help you select an instrument that is best suited for you.

In learning how to play the violin or any other string instrument, the musician develops a sensitive ear, due to the tuning of each string. You will also master the position of the fingers on the strings determine the pitch of the note. The tone is determined by the movement of the bow across the string.

Clearly the violinist must concentrate on sound, pitch and the notes on the page. This combination encourages cognitive development and improves the musician’s intelligence.


The benefits of learning to play a musical instrument are valuable life skills. One of life’s greatest pleasures is being taught the right instrument by the best teacher.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jenna Smith on December 10th, 2012 in Family, Health, New Directions | No comments

10 dec

Downsizing Tips and Tricks: Make Your Whole House (Almost) Fit into Your New Apartment

JennaSmithLet’s pretend that you’re moving to Denver from Seattle (the reason why could be pretty much anything). You’ve found a small apartment to live in for the foreseeable future and you already know that there is no way that you will be able to fit everything from your house into the new space. Here are some tips for how to make that move work.

Plan for Extra Space “Off Site”

Make plans to rent a storage unit. These are a great way to store the things that you want to keep but don’t need to have on hand on a regular basis. You can store holiday decorations in them. You can store old paperwork and records in them. They are an affordable way to expand your “stuff space” by quite a lot (and for less than it would cost to simply rent a larger apartment). They’re also incredibly helpful spaces to have while you explore the city and figure out which Denver neighborhood would be best for you and your family.

Figuring Out What to Take

Before you move, sort through your things. Make four piles: “trash” “no” “maybe” and “definitely.” Sort your things (including your furniture) into each of those piles. Throw out everything that you’ve labeled as trash (these are things that you’ve stored but that are beyond repair or hope of salvation.

The things that you know you don’t want or need to keep but that are still in good condition, put in the “no” pile (we’ll explain that in a minute). The things you aren’t sure about go in the “maybe” pile and the “definitely” pile is self explanatory.

Plan to go through the “maybe” and “definitely” piles a few times as you figure out what you truly need to keep and what you’re just holding on to because you’re having a hard time dealing with packing and moving.

What About the Stuff Not Going With You?

Once you’ve got what you are absolutely taking with you squared away, it’s time to tackle everything else. This is where the downsizing process can become quite exciting because the first thing you want to do with your leftovers (that weren’t tossed out as “trash”) is try to sell them.

You can have an estate sale or yard sale. If you have the time before your move, you can put things up for auction on eBay and list them for sale on Craigslist. The amount of money that you bring in through these avenues could be quite substantial. Some people have earned enough to finance their entire move!

Whatever doesn’t sell, you need to donate. Make sure you get a receipt for your donations because those donations should be tax deductible.

Finally, pack up all of your definitely items and move them to Denver. Send the things you don’t need every day (or even every week) to the unit you’ve rented for storage. Unpack everything else and be amazed at just how easy moving from a house to an apartment can be!

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jenna Smith on December 10th, 2012 in Family, General, House and Home | No comments

10 dec

How to Help a Loved One Who Has Lost a Parent

JennaSmithIt is never easy to lose someone you love, but it can seem especially hard when it is a parent. Parents help shape and contribute to so much of who we are as people that their loss seems to hit extra hard. At the holidays, loved ones will be missed even more and good friends will be needed to get you through. As a friend it may be difficult to know what to do, but a few ideas of how to help a friend grieve their parent can help.

One of the first tips is to realize there are specific stages to grief. There is no set way in the order that someone will go through them, or for how long each stage will last, but they will cycle through all of the stages at one point or another. Theses include:

· Denial and Isolation

· Anger

· Bargaining

· Depression

· Acceptance

You need to know that no one will grieve the same and taking the time to listen to what your friend needs will be important. Let them take the lead on this and tell you how to help. They may need someone to sit and listen, share memories with, or just talk to. Or you may find giving them practical help like running to the grocery store, making some food, or helping with house or yard work can be most beneficial.

Depending on how your friend is grieving, you may be able to do something creative with them to help them re-channel their grief into something positive. Asking them about some of the holiday traditions they did with their parents can be good, and maybe even participate in a tradition with them. Finding old photographs and repurposing them into a photo wreath, wall collage, or even a special scrapbook can be great for a good walk down memory lane.

Doing something completely special for your friend is great too. For a female friend you could take them out for a pampering day and get pomegranate or holiday spiced facials and spa treatments for under $50. For a guy friend maybe you could have an outdoor ATV day followed by some pizza and maybe bowling or watching a game on TV. If they tend to be a little more quiet or private in their grieving then sending them a special gift from someplace like In Time of Sorrow can warm their hearts and help them feel remembered. And depending on your or their personal beliefs, you can never underestimate the power of prayer.

Grief is difficult for anyone to deal with at any time, but especially at the holidays. As a friend to someone who is grieving a parent just remember to connect with them in some way. They will let you know what they need and how you can help. And no matter if it is a day out, a meal in, or them just knowing you are their being patient and encouraging with someone in the grief process is perhaps one of the greatest things you can do.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jenna Smith on December 10th, 2012 in Family, Health, Personal Stories, Relationships | No comments

07 oct

Feel Cared About

RickHansonWhen Have People Been Caring?
The Practice
Feel cared about.

Everyone knows what it’s like to care about someone. Remember being with a friend, a mate, a pet: you feel warmly connected, and want him or her not to suffer and to be happy.

On the other hand, you’ve probably had the sense, one time or another, of not being cared about. That you didn’t matter to another person, or to a group of people. Maybe they weren’t actively against you, but they sure weren’t for you.

As soon as you recall a time like that, it’s immediately clear why it’s important to feel cared about – which is to the heart what water is to your body.

Sometimes we feel embarrassed about our yearnings to be cared about. But they are completely normal – and deeply rooted in evolution. Love, broadly defined, has been the primary driver of the development of the brain over the last 80 million years.

Our ancestors – mammals, primates, hominids, and humans – survived and flourished and passed on their genes by learning to find good mates, bond with their young, draw males in to provide for children, create “the village it takes to raise a child” whose brain is quadrupling in size after birth and thus needs a long and vulnerable childhood, and team up with each other to compete with other bands for scarce resources.

In this context, being cared about was crucial to survival. Mammals, etc. that did not care about being cared about did not pass on their genes. No wonder you care about being cared about!

Studies show that feeling cared about buffers against stress, increases positive emotions, promotes resilience, and increases caring for others. Plus it feels darn good. Read more »

Posted by Dr. Rick Hanson on October 7th, 2011 in Family, General, Relationships, Things We Love | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , , ,

01 aug

Grieving Is the First Step to Healing

Glad DoggettUnexpressed grief is like glue. It keeps us stuck and immobile.

Grief, like a beach ball held under the water, will fight to pop to the surface. The longer you try to hold it under, the harder it is to keep it down.

I used to expend a lot of my energy trying to drown my grief. On the outside, I had a nice life with all the trimmings, but inside I felt as thin and brittle as burnt paper.

I needed to lean into the pain that disappointment and loss brought me. I needed to sob over things from my childhood that made me feel unloved; I needed to wail and say goodbye to my old life; I needed to fall to my knees weep over dreams that didn’t come true, friendships that ended, goals I never accomplished. I needed to allow myself to feel bad.

Honoring loss is the only way to move through the pain. That’s when healing begins.

I didn’t know it at the time, but my refusal to grieve was the thing that kept me stuck. In limbo. In purgatory. Frozen under a sheet of ice.

It took a lot of soul searching and hard, heavy work, but I finally figured out that the only way to change is to face my unexpressed grief. You’ve got to let it swallow you whole, consume you. You have to relinquish control, put down your shield and sword. You have to walk into Grief’s lair and surrender. It’s not easy. In fact, it sucks. When you clean a wound with antiseptic, it hurts. But the burn of medicine is brief, temporary, and healing.

If you feel stuck, or unhappy or numb inside, it’s time to stop avoiding grief. Submit to it. Take a few minutes every day to honor the losses, disappointments and heart breaks in your life.

Let me be clear, I’m not saying you should walk around in misery day after day. What I am suggesting is that you take a little private time to cry or sulk or be pissed off. Shine a light in the dark places. Feel the pain, be with it. Then let it go.

Here’s the kicker: the feelings you are so afraid will chew you to pieces are what help you heal. The act of surrendering is the first step across the threshold.

Healing will take time and effort, but it will change your life.

My name is Glad Doggett. I help people lean into change by helping them reconnect with their inner brilliance. Check out my online e-course re: Turn to You. You can find me on my blog Best Laid Scheme and on Facebook.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Glad Doggett on August 1st, 2011 in Family, New Directions, Personal Stories | No comments

19 may

The Evolution of Love

The Evolution of Love How did we evolve the most loving brain on the planet?

Humans are the most sociable species on earth – for better and for worse.

On the one hand, we have the greatest capacities for empathy, communication, friendship, romance, complex social structures, and altruism. On the other, we have the greatest capacities for shaming, emotional cruelty, sadism, envy, jealousy, discrimination and other forms of dehumanization, and wholesale slaughter of our fellow humans.

In other words, to paraphrase a Native American teaching, a wolf of love and a wolf of hate live in the heart of every person.

Many factors shape each of these two wolves, including biological evolution, culture, economics, and personal history. Here, I’d like to comment on key elements of the neural substrate of bonding and love; Read more »

Posted by Dr. Rick Hanson on May 19th, 2011 in Family, General, Health, Relationships | 1 comment Read related posts in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,