Valentine Activity: Wall of Love

 

VALENTINE WALL OF LOVE 

Wall of Love 2016 logo

I LOVE family traditions, and my kids do, too.  Some of my greatest memories from my childhood are of family traditions.  When my girls are grown, I hope our traditions are something they will look back on and recall as some of the greatest moments of their childhood.  I know I will certainly treasure these memories forever.

Here is a fun new tradition that we started in our family last year.  I call it our Valentine’s Wall of Love.  We used tape to hang a huge poster board on our door.  On the poster board, we drew a heart for each member of the family and wrote their name inside.  Then, each family member writes things they like about each other in their hearts.  Here is last year’s poster:

2015 Wall of Love

Last year, we kept the poster up for a few weeks.  My girls love reading all the nice things that everyone writes about them, and I feel like it brings us closer together as a family.  This is a tradition I can see us keeping for years to come.

Every February, as a family we participate in the February Acts of Kindness Challenge.  Basically, the challenge is for each of us to do at least one act of kindness each day throughout the month of February.  We each have a log on the refrigerator to track our progress.  This Wall of Love project made it very easy for us to complete our Act of Kindness for the day.  Anyone is welcome to join us in the challenge at any time.  Simply join the February Acts of Kindness Challenge Facebook group, and begin spreading your love.  We love it when people share their own acts of kindness stories to the group or other kindness stories they encounter.

I got the idea for this “Wall of Love” from Harvard Homemaker last year on her Facebook page.  We have adapted it a bit for our family, but here is her original blog post describing the activity.

You can certainly use poster board or kraft paper and write on them with markers if you wish.  That is the easiest and quickest way to make this, but if you would like it to be a little more uniform, I have included the images that I used to make this year’s poster.  Feel free to print them out and use them as you wish (they are all JPG’s, so click on the image you would like.  Then, right click and select “Save image as” to save to your computer.  Then you can print them or edit them as you wish.)  If you want to make your own, PicMonkey is a great, free tool that can help you design something that suits your family (PicMonkey is what I used to design all of these images).

2016 valentine label  Happy Valentine's DayDad heart blue mom heart purple Things I love about you feb 2016Blank Heart

I hope you enjoy this project, and I hope it becomes a family tradition that your family will treasure for years to come as well!  Happy Valentine’s Day!

Update 2/8/17 – Here is the 2017 image:

2017-valentine-label

Movie Review: The Best of Me

The Best of Me Movie

My Rating:  **** (4 out of 5 stars)

Why Did I Watch?

I honestly can’t remember the last time I watched a movie before this one.  It has been several months at least, but sometimes I just need to slow down and give my brain and my body a rest and take in a good movie.  That’s what I needed last night.  It was a cool and rainy Wednesday evening, and I was feeling especially tired.  While my husband was working on his computer and my girls were watching one of their favorite shows, I snuck upstairs into my bed with my laptop around 7pm and searched for a good drama on Netflix.

The Best of Me was the first movie that came up when I searched for dramas.  I liked the cover, so I didn’t bother to look further for a different movie.  Of course I have heard you’re not supposed to judge a book or movie by it’s cover, but I usually do anyway.  And, my intuition is usually pretty good at finding the good ones.  I don’t watch a lot of movies, and my time is precious to me so I don’t want to waste it on those that don’t mean anything to me.  I certainly didn’t feel this one was a waste of my time!  It was just what I needed to help me unwind on a rainy autumn evening.

Summary

Amanda and Dawson were high school sweethearts.  After 21 years, they are reunited when they return to their hometown for the funeral of a mutual friend.

Watch the trailer here.

What Did I Think?

Nicholas Sparks has done it again!  He writes the most beautiful love stories, and this one is no exception.  Whenever I’m feeling that my brain is on overload from reading too many deep non-fiction books, I’ll take a break and read one of his novels.

When I decided to watch this, I had no idea it was a Nicholas Sparks movie.  When I saw his name come up on the screen, I knew right away it was just the type of movie I was looking for.

I thought The Best of Me was right up there with The Notebook, Message in a Bottle, and the other love stories Nicholas Sparks has written.  I’m not a fan of the violence, though, and that is why I only gave it 4 stars out of 5.  The violence certainly adds to the suspense, but I just don’t like feeling scared when I’m watching a movie.  Dawson comes from an abusive family. Throughout the movie, I kept waiting for his family members to come up out of nowhere and attack him, and I didn’t like that feeling.  The love story, however, is beautiful.  I believe there are no accidents in life, and this story supports that belief.  It is about love and fate and everything working together perfectly just as the universe intended.  I definitely recommend it if you are a fan of love stories and tear-jerkers.

Find out more about The Best of Me at IMDb here.

Book Review: There’s a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem

There’s a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem

by Wayne Dyer

Spiritual Solution to Every Problem Cover

My Rating **** (4 out of 5 stars)

Why Did I Read?

I love the teachings of Wayne Dyer.  I never get tired of listening to his stories or learning about his teachings.  I found this book at a book sale a few years ago.  It sat on my shelf for a few years, but it has been calling to me for a while.  I finally decided to pick it up and read it in February of this year. At times while I was reading, I lost interest in it (or maybe I just wasn’t ready for the lessons I was about to read).  I often found myself taking a break from this book to read other books that were easier to read.  It’s now September, and I am just finishing it.  It did take me quite a while to get through it, but I’m glad I did.

Summary (from Goodreads)

“In this inspiring new book, bestselling author Wayne W. Dyer shows us that there is an omnipresent spiritual force right at our fingertips that contains the solution to our problems — from ill health to financial worries to relationship difficulties.  Drawing from various spiritual traditions, especially from the prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi, Dyer helps us unplug from the material world and awaken to the divine within.

The first part of the book provides the essential foundation for spiritual problem solving. In these chapters, you’ll read the words of Patanjali, a Yogi mystic whose teachings and practices deeply affected Dyer and informed his realization that the spiritual force is everywhere.

The second half, organized around the prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi, contains specific suggestions to help readers put spiritual problem solving into practice.  Saint Francis’s legacy is one of love, harmony, and service — putting our collective energies toward what we are for instead of what we are against. Each of these last seven chapters begins with a line from this prayer; Dyer then goes on to offer specific and practical suggestions for applying the teaching to everyday problems. These suggestions include affirmations, writing exercises, guided meditations, and other strategies for putting Saint Francis’s words and the wisdom of this book into practice.Profound and thought provoking, yet filled with pragmatic advice, There’s a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem is a book about self-awareness and tapping the healing energy within all of us.  As Dyer writes, ‘Thinking is the source of problems. Your heart holds the answer to solving them.’ “

What did I think/Recommendation?

As I mentioned above, I love the teachings of Wayne Dyer!  This book is filled with so much wonderful advice, and it can be difficult to take it all in at once.  It is a very deep book, and if I were rating it on content alone, I would give it 5 stars without a doubt.  The only reason I gave it 4 stars is because it was not an easy read for me and it took me quite a while to get through it.

When Wayne Dyer passed away on August 30th of this year, I felt the need to pick it up again and finish it.  I love the stories he tells from his personal life to illustrate some of his points, and I love the way he uses scripture and quotes from all different religions and cultures.  The advice he gives applies to everyone.  If I had to describe this book in one word, I would say it is about LOVE.  He knew about love and being connected to everyone and everything, and I’m so grateful he is going to live on through his books and teachings so we can all learn to do the same.

Whenever I read his books or listen to his talks, I feel so much more at peace.  I also notice opportunities begin to arise in my life that allow me to practice his teachings.  For example, just this week I was able to practice turning my fears into love when my daughter had surgery on her broken arm.  As I was sitting in the waiting room, filled with anxiety over the thought of my daughter under anesthesia for the first time, I picked up this book and continued reading to try to keep my mind off my fears.  I didn’t get far into it before I was guided to put down the book, close my eyes, push aside my fears, and send love to the situation.  I decided to send love to everyone in the operating room with my daughter and to give gratitude for the doctors and nurses, the anesthesia, and the entire experience.  My fears subsided, I was granted peace, and everything went smoothly.

I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone who is open to embracing their spirituality and connecting more with everyone and everything in the universe.

There are so many quotes and concepts I love from this book.  Here are just a few of my favorites:

Have a mind that is open to everything and attached to nothing.

“You come into this life with nothing and you leave with nothing.  The only thing you can do with your life is give it away.” -p.248

“There is no object so foul that intense light will not make it beautiful.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

For more quotes and reviews from this book, or to learn more about Wayne Dyer, visit Goodreads here.

Inspiration Friday: 39 Secrets to Happiness and Peace

We’ve all heard that happiness is a choice, and that is true.  It is not what happens to us, but our attitude and the way we react to situations that will determine our happiness.  Here are a few “secrets” I have discovered so far in my 39 years that have led me to a life filled with happiness and inner peace.

attitude of gratitude

1.  The attitude of gratitude will ALWAYS bring you happiness.  Find something to be thankful for.  We are all constantly surrounded by so many gifts and blessings.

2.  View every encounter and experience as a gift.  Even the seemingly bad situations are a gift in the end.  Try to recognize and appreciate these gifts every day.

3.  Be kind to everyone, but spend the majority of your time with like-minded, positive people who are also committed to improving their personal and spiritual growth and are willing to support you on your journey.

4.  Fill your mind with only positive, inspirational and uplifting ideas and thoughts.  Turn off the news and leave the disturbing books at the library.  “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” ~ Philippians 4:8 (my favorite bible verse)

5.  Eat real food!! (It’s amazing how much energy you will have!)

6.  Do not multitask.  Do one thing at a time, give it your all, and be fully present in everything you do.  Heaven on Earth happens in the moments when you are fully present.

7.  Do not judge others.  You have no idea what anyone else is going through.  Everyone has reasons for their beliefs and actions.  We are all unique and just want to be allowed to be ourselves and be accepted for who we really are.  Only then can our true gifts shine through.  “If God is infinite, then nobody is wrong.” ~ Panache Desai

8.  Think before you speak.  Is it true, helpful, inspiring, necessary, or kind?  If not, keep it to yourself.

9.  Forgive.  Holding onto anger never hurts the other person.  It only hurts yourself.  Let it go and let God take it from there.

10.  Do not gossip or spend your time consumed with other people’s lives.  Put your time and energy into improving your own.

11.  Practice acceptance.  Everything happens for a reason, and always for the overall good.  Even the most tragic situations result in more good than bad over time.  Unfortunately, sometimes it may take years to see the good, but just trust that it is for a reason.  God doesn’t make mistakes.

12.  Go for a walk every day.  Outside!

13.  When you’re feeling stressed, go outside.  Take a deep breath, look up at the sky, admire it’s beauty, and say “Thank You!”  An instant moment of peace!!

14.  Spend some time alone every day.  God speaks to you in the silence.  “The morning breeze has secrets to tell you, do not go back to sleep”~ Rumi

15.  Do less.  Downtime is NEVER wasted time. (It took me a very long time to learn this!)

16.  Do something creative every day.  Write, draw, cook, paint, anything.  Just create!

17.  The answers are all within you.  Stop looking outside of yourself for them.

18.  Focus on cooperation rather than competition.  There is an infinite supply of love and abundance in the world.  Collaborate with those who have common goals rather than competing with them.  Working together will benefit everyone!

19.  Stop trying to mask your true self.  Learn to fully love and accept yourself as you are.  If you NEED makeup to feel good about yourself, or you NEED substances (like drugs, alcohol, coffee, or even sugar…yes, sugar is a drug) to keep you going or wake you up each day, those things need to be eliminated from your life.  Your passion for life should get you out of bed each morning, not coffee!

20.  Embrace who you are and stop worrying about what others think.  Once you do this, others who are like-minded will enter your life.  You are never alone. (Although you may feel like you are for a while…just hang in there.)

21.  Go on dates with those closest to you (your spouse, each of your children individually, your mom, etc.)  Let them know they are special and worthy of your time and undivided attention.

22.  Remember, you do not set the master plan for your life.  Embrace distractions and view them as gifts.  Everything is happening in its own perfect time, so stop trying to rush everything.  Stop trying so hard and just let go and allow God to work through you.

23.  Don’t do anything out of guilt or obligation.  Only do things out of love.

24.  Have no expectations.  You will never be disappointed, and you will begin to view everything in your life as a gift and blessing.  Every day is full of wonderful surprises!

25.  The best things in life are free!!

26.  Treat others the way you want to be treated.  We are all connected.  If you love yourself, that love will pour out onto others.  If you hurt yourself, you hurt others.  The opposite is true as well.

27.  Every action is a choice toward love or away from it.  Always choose the path toward love.

28.  Guard your time.  Only spend it on things that are truly important to you.  Don’t ever feel guilty for saying no.  Doing something out of guilt or obligation is not an act of love.

29.  Dedicate one day a week to rest and to be fully present with those you love.  Turn off the technology on this day and enjoy your time together creating, exploring God’s wonderful creations, and just enjoying life and making memories together. (For me, that day is Saturday and is ALWAYS my favorite day of the week and always filled with love, blessings, and gratitude!)

30.  Let go of your attachment to your possessions.  Nothing (and no one) really belongs to you.  Rather, view everything you have as a temporary gift from God that can be taken away at any moment.  Stop to appreciate those gifts often.

31.  Don’t sweat the small stuff.  In the end, nothing really matters except your relationships…with yourself, with God, and with others.  Spend time on what really matters.

32.  Listen to music!  Dance!  Sing!

33.  Keep a journal.  Write in it as often as  you can.  You will be amazed at the wisdom inside you.

34.  Never stop learning.  Read, read, read!  And take advice from those you admire.

35.  Clear out the clutter in all areas of your life.  Clutter drains energy.

36.  Get adequate sleep so you wake up feeling fully rested each morning.

37.  Let go of your desire for perfection.  Everyone and everything can always be improved, but at some point you must let “good enough” be good enough.

38.  Focus on giving rather than getting.  “Turn your focus from “What’s in it for me?” to “How can I serve?”~Dr. Wayne Dyer

39.  You are not an accident.  You are here for a purpose.  Turn within, learn to love and accept who you are and identify the gifts within you.  Use those gifts to make the world a better place.  🙂

Note:  This list was originally posted last year on my blog JourneyToCompleteWellness.

I hope you enjoyed my list.  Do you have any “secrets” I may have missed?  If so, leave a comment below! Have a HAPPY day! 🙂

Friday Inspiration: The Spirit of Love, Kindness, and Giving

Happy Friday!  ‘Tis the season for giving and sharing our love with everyone we come into contact with.  Check out what happens when these Christmas “pranksters” set up Christmas for the homeless.  If you’re viewing this via e-mail and are unable to see the video below, click here to view.

Inspiration Friday: 20 Things We Should Say More Often

Happy Friday!  Just when I was running out of inspiring videos to share for Inspiration Friday, my friend Tracy sent me this one this morning.  The saying is true, “Everything will come to you at the perfect time!”  🙂

In this video, Kid President shares 20 things we should say more often, and he shares it in such a fun and entertaining way.  My daughters loved it, too!

Listening to Kid President’s advice was the perfect way to start my day.  My favorite is #20, with #14 a close second.  Which one is your favorite?

If you’re viewing this through email and can’t see the video below, click here to view. 🙂

Inspiration Friday: The Rewards of Love and Kindness

Happy Friday!

I just came across this very inspirational video today.  What does this man receive from the acts of kindness he performs every day?  Rewards far greater than anything money can buy.  Check it out below or click here.

Have a wonderful weekend! 🙂