I Will Sit With You When You Are Sad.

We are winding our way through Yellowstone, and my oldest daughter, is hard at work with a pencil and paper.  She is flustered, and cries angrily.

“I canNOT do it!  I am TRYING to draw a BEAR!  It does not LOOK like a BEAR!!  I drew an elk that I am very proud of, but I cannot DRAW A BEAR!”

She is frustrated. Annoyed. She works the lines but they are unwieldy, her fine motor skills failing to interpret between her mind and the paper.

I want to say, (more…)

Helping Children Say Goodbye Without Distracting

Recently, I was doing some work with my dear friend, Kelly Matthews, thinking about the challenge that families and educators feel at this time of year with children who feel the pain of good-byes.

We were talking about typical approaches to separation anxiety, and talked of using toys when children are sad…like this:

The family leaves, the child cries, the care provider brings a toy or shakes a rattle:

“You’re okay. Mommy will be back soon. Don’t cry. Come over here and let’s play with this BIG TOWER! WOW! Look at all this COOL ART!” Think sing-songy voice, raised eyebrows, exaggerated smile…

Kelly made a really insightful comment. She said: (more…)

Hands Free LIFE! An interview and giveaway with Rachel Macy Stafford

Unsaved Preview DocumentSeveral months ago, I received an email from Rachel Macy Stafford asking if I would be willing to read an advance copy of her new book, Hands Free Life: 9 Habits for Overcoming Distraction, Living Better, & Loving More. I was honored! I have been a long-time reader of Hands Free Mama, and admirer of the work that Rachel does to help parents and families live intentionally, free of technological distractions. Her first book, Hands Free Mama, became an instant best-seller, striking a chord with mothers who desire to live more simply.

I found Hands Free Life to be a superbly readable and practical book, full of simple take-aways that empower families to engage with each other in intentional ways. Always hopeful, the book challenges readers to make new choices without binding them in guilt to the choices they made in the past.

Today, I am excited today to bring you this interview with Rachel, along with a chance to win her new book before you can buy it!  As you read, you will find my questions in bold. At the end of the Q&A are instructions for how to enter to win!  (more…)

The Wisdom to Do What’s Right (Part 2)

Yesterday, I embarked on a series about the connection between wisdom and parenting.  You might be thinking that you could jump into this post without reading from the start of the series.  I have to warn you…that would be like beginning the Lord of the Rings series during the last 30 minutes of the third movie, or entering the show LOST at season three.  Tragic, right?  Right!  Think of all you might be missing!  Whatever you do, if you missed yesterday’s post, check it out before you move on!  Read it?  Good.  You may now proceed. (Okay, so really, this whole introduction is not-so-subtly directed to my wonderful and amazing – thought not so keen on catching ALL of a series – brother, Bryan.  Can you believe him?  The last 30 minutes of LOTR?  Missing season 1 and 2 of LOST?  The nerve.  Feel free to give him a stern talking-to in the comments below.)

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“Love to Pop” a la Dr. Seuss

Can you pop them with your head?

Dr. Seuss’ birthday was last week, and sadly, it passed unacknowledged here at Abundant Life.  You see, it was not until I opened my computer after a full day of intense social-emotional skill building that I remembered the widely celebrated day.  So, in honor of Dr. Seuss (and in the style of Green Eggs and Ham), I have written this poem titled, “Love to Pop.”  To fill out the back story, I saw bubble wrap at the dollar store the other day, and taped it to the floor in our space. Curious?  You should be!

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