Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Mother's Prayer - (Hannah's Song) by Rachel Aldous

A beautiful prayer set to piano music for children

Psalms 127:3, Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Cooking Up Memories: Mother's Apron Poem

I have fond memories of cooking in the kitchen as a child... I'd wear my mother's apron. My favorite apron was white and had a picture of Little Sprout, the child of the Jolly Green Giant, on it. I befriended the little girl who lived next door, and we took turns baking--in our imaginations, the kitchen turned into the pink Barbie house, where the sun always shone through the windows, and our pink corvette was parked in the driveway. We started baking cookies then became more adventurous with cinnamon sticky buns and German cookies with a name we could not pronounce. My neighbor was such a bubbly, energetic little girl. She mad everything fun, even doing the pile of dishes we dirtied! 

My Mom is an artist, and her Christmas sugar cookies are not only delicious but so beautiful they deserve to be in the Louvre Museum with other art masterpieces. The taste of those cookies was so buttery, and soft, golden on the edge with a rounded middle. She would make homemade frosting in a rainbow of colors then decorate each cookie special-- Bells trimmed with sugary pink lace. Tiny people with candy buttons and colorful hats and scarves. Reindeer with hot cinnamon noses. Golden stars covered in gooey frosting. Mom would not stop with sugar cookies--she made almond bark bars, spritz cookies and wreaths too.

When Mom stopped baking Christmas cookies, she went on to make the most amazing Christmas house with real moving parts, and decorated with miniatures she collected all year long. 

My daughter also seems to have picked up the skill of cooking.. here she is, at age six, making dinner. It's a delicious mix of cocoa crunch cereal, canned corn, parmesan cheese, beef broth and spices! Yum!

-- Daylen Swift, August 2014

To Bear and Nora, I love 1,222,222,222,000 +0= U! Tu eres mi corazon. I thank God for you every day! ~ Mommy. P.S. JC says hi and he misses you. LOL* And the Winnie-the-Pooh story...pfffph!

The Benefits of a Mother's Love and Nurturing

A recent study reveals the benefits of a mother's love and nurturing on her children...

"Children who are given love and affection from their mothers early in life are smarter with a better ability to learn.

The study by child psychiatrists and neuroscientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, found school-aged children whose mothers nurtured them early in life have brains with a larger hippocampus, a key structure important to learning, memory and response to stress.

The new research is the first to show that changes in this critical region of children’s brain anatomy are linked to a mother’s nurturing, reports." ("A mother's love can boost brain power, study shows" by Daily Mail Reporter, 1-31-2012). 

The way a mother nurtures and loves her child actually begins before birth. Not only does a mother's body biologically support the baby growing inside her, but most mothers facilitate a bond with their baby before birth-- praying for the baby or participating in religious ceremonies, hugging or caressing her growing belly, talking or singing to baby, sharing the pregnancy with family and friends and joining mother's groups or classes are all common ways the mother-child bond begins before birth. At as early as 20 weeks, an unborn baby can recognize his mother's voice and after birth, will prefer her voice (and her smell) to any other

After birth the bonding continues between mother and child, it is recognized that skin-to-skin contact between mother and child is immensely beneficial to newborns. Breastfeeding also increases that bond, mothers who bottle feed also benefit from holding or cuddling their babies. What babies learn about the world, begins first at home. 

Babies prefer the music their mother listened to when pregnant over any other music, they also recognize the smell of the mother's body and the sound of her voice. As young as 6 months old, babies learn to communicate by lip reading--and learn emotion from watching the faces of mother, and other adults important in their lives.

Although a mother has a special role in the lives of her children, researchers say that the effects of nurturing on the children are also beneficial from others providing care including fathers, siblings, grandparents or adoptive parents. Perhaps if we as individuals and members of a larger society, realized what power there is in demonstrating love and care for other people, the world would be a better place? We only need to look to our loving mothers to know this is possible. 

A mother's love can boost a child's brainpower, study shows

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Pictures of Jesus and Children

The first Bible verse my daughter learned at age 4, she would say this all the time in her adorable toddler lisp, "Let the little children come to Me!"

Project Inspired has a beautiful page with images of Jesus and children: Jesus and His Children

The pictures remind us of the great love and tenderness of Jesus... Enjoy!

"Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him." (Psalm 127:3)

”The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: ‘Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” ( Jeremiah 31:3)

"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." (Matthew 19:14)

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 18:10)

Teen Driving Inspires Mom's Memories

My teenage son Bear is dreaming about the day he can get a license and drive a car... I remember the days he drove his walker, his fat 'lil feet slapping against the floor as he took off in search of adventure, or trouble!

Bear was not like other babies, he is very mechanical minded; he could take apart or dismantle anything. He would figure out how to get past obstacles even if it meant climbing, tearing down baby gates or busting barriers meant to protect him. The baby locks used to keep babies out of drawers and cabinets--easily defeated. Bungee cords to hold closets shut, also over come. Bear would run across the house in his walker then ram the baby gate to knock it down, and happily wander through the house or raid the fridge. He would climb dressers, chairs and boxes to get into things. He would climb out of his crib (while the cat slept happily inside). 

Once Bear broke down a baby gate, somehow climbed down the basement stairs, crawled across the floor and scaled up a ladder... when I found Bear, he was climbing through the cat door with his head, chest and arms fully outside and his feet dangling in the air!

My other favorite memory of Bear is when he was about 9 months old. He must have been studying the wood trim nailed to the wall for quite some time, determining its weak spots. I left the room briefly to get a drink from the fridge, Bear was laying on an oriental rug as if, I thought asleep. When I came back into the room, Bear had pried the wooden trim off the wall and was dragging a board at least 5 feet long across the floor!

Now that Bear is a teenager... I know with that kind of determination, it will not be long before he gets his license. All I have to say to those on the road is... watch out! Kidding! LOL. If anything, Bear will be adventurous, exploring hidden dirt roads, and venturing to weird tourist sites. He dreams about strapping a car seat in the back, and taking his little brother JC for a ride. He will tinker with the mechanics, my friend has promised to show Bear how to do repairs. 

And finally, his freedom will have been won--no baby gates, no obstacles, just a set of keys and an open road.

Bear said he would like to drive so he can come see me... son, you are welcome home anytime. I keep you and your sister in my prayers, and in my heart. Tu eres mi corazon. 

~ Daylen Swift, August '14

Friday, July 4, 2014

I Wish You Enough (Prayer and Poem) - Bob Perks

"I WISH YOU ENOUGH" by Bob Perks
Recently, I overheard a mother and daughter in their last moments together at the airport as the daughter's departure had been announced. Standing near the security gate, they hugged and the mother said:
"I love you and I wish you enough."
The daughter replied, "Mom, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Mom." They kissed and the daughter left.
The mother walked over to the window where I sat. Standing there, I could see she wanted and needed to cry.
I tried not to intrude on her privacy but she welcomed me in by asking, "Did you ever say good-bye to someone knowing it would be forever?" "Yes, I have," I replied. "Forgive me for asking but why is this a forever good-bye?"
"I am old and she lives so far away. I have challenges ahead and the reality is the next trip back will be for my funeral," she said.
When you were saying good-bye, I heard you say, "I wish you enough." May I ask what that means?"
She began to smile. "That's a wish that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone." She paused a moment and looked up as if trying to remember it in detail and she smiled even more.
"When we said 'I wish you enough' we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them". Then turning toward me, she shared the following, reciting it from memory,
"I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye."
She then began to cry and walked away.
They say it takes a minute to find a special person. 
An hour to appreciate them.
 A day to love them. 
And an entire life to forget them.

NOTE: I received this on a chain e-mail, during a time I was really missing my kids. The words may have been altered from the original version as passed along. I thought the words and the meaning behind them were not only beautiful but contain alot of truth. That you to Bob Perks for sharing your wisdom with us! 
-- Daylen Swift

And to my kids, I love 1,222,222,000,000 + 0= U! I thank God for you every day. And am so happy to be your Mommy. I wish you enough. LOTS of Love ~ Mommy

Monday, June 30, 2014

Into Your Imagination: Quote by Taylor Swift and Relaxation Exercise

I made this for my kids...and all other kids needing comfort. 

"We were able to escape to that place anytime we had a hard time. Any time you're going through something rough, you can go back into your imagination and you're at Disney World." -- Taylor Swift, as a child she and her brother Austin would imagine they were at Disney World. Source: I'm waiting for my prince! Taylor Swift stuns as Rapunzel in new Disney ad

Using your imagination can be a powerful tool to help cope with stress (cramming for a test, meeting new friends, working through family problems, etc). 

                                           Even Rapunzel needs to take a deeep breath!

Here's one easy exercise to use your imagination to reduce stress and anxiety, and help you feel better:

1) Take 3 deep breaths, breathe slowly through your nose and out through your mouth. 
NOTE: If taking a breath is hard for you, make a sound that is comforting or funny like a snake's hisssss (in deep breath, out hissss) or a train noise (my toddler loves this, in deep breath, out chooo chooo). Be creative with your sounds, and willing to try new things!

2) Listening to music, nature sounds or sitting in silence may also help you relax. A lava lamp, water fountain, or Dream Lite may also be helpful. Maybe lay on a pile of pillows. Or cuddle up under a fleece blanket. 

3) Close your eyes and imagine the scene in full detail... if you are at Disney World, imagine your feet touching the cobbled paths, the sun shining on your shoulders. Smell the buttery popcorn being sold at a street vendor. Imagine yourself walking toward the castle, the excitement to discover what is inside...Cinderella greets you at the door in her glittery blue dress, greeting you like an old friend...the creaky castle door opens...  Imagine!

4) Enjoy the scene for a few minutes then slowly open your eyes. Take a few deep breaths in and out. This time say something positive to yourself like: I am going to be okay. Today is going to be a great day. I am awesome. I will do fine on my test. I am lovable. etc. Take a few minutes to come back--stretch, wiggle your toes, turn on music etc. Then stand and get ready to face the world and it's adventures!

5) If you have done a relaxation exercise or other coping skills and your day is still tough or things are not going the way you wanted, that's okay! You don't have to make things perfect, the point is to get to a place where you feel calm and confident. Being able to cope with challenges in a positive way is a way cool :) And sometimes, you may need to ask a grown up for extra help. 

Other ways to deal with stress:

*Laugh - Watch a funny video/TV show. Hang out with friends. Tell a joke. Etc
*Play with your pets or go for a walk with your dog.
*Listen to upbeat, positive music. Dance. Sing. Listen to Music with friends. Sing in the car. 
*Pray. Read a Bible or devotional. Go to Youth Group or Church Groups. 
*Exercise or play sports. Rollerblade. Go for a walk. Hang out at the park with friends. 
*Journal or draw. Scrapbook. Collect Stickers. 
*Get plenty of sleep at night.
*Ask for help from an adult.

Any more ideas?? Please leave a comment below!

Best Wishes ~ Daylen Swift

                Ariel wasn't always a stunning mermaid... she went to high school too! xoxo

                                  For Bear.. Disney Princess as Marvel Characters...