How Do You Fill Your Mayonaise Jar?

February 16, 2010 at 10:21 am | Posted in 1 | Leave a comment
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To all the golf balls in our lives – have a great day.

The Mayonnaise  Jar

When  things in your life seem almost too much to handle,
When 24  hours in a day is not enough;
remember the mayonnaise jar and 2 cups of  coffee.

A professor stood before his philosophy class
and  had some items in front of him.

When the class began, wordlessly,
he  picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar
and start to fill it with  golf balls.

He then asked the students if the jar was full.
They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and  poured
it into the jar. He shook the jar lightly.
The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.
He then asked the students again
if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand
and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else
He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded
With an unanimous  ‘yes.’

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the  table
and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively
filling the empty space between the sand.
The students laughed.

‘Now,’ said the  professor, as the laughter subsided,
‘I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.

The golf balls are the important things – God,  family,
children, health, friends, and favorite passions
Things  that if everything else was lost
and  only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the things that matter like your job, house, and car.

The sand is everything else —
The small stuff.

‘If you put the sand into the jar  first,’ he continued,
‘there is no room for the pebbles or the golf  balls.
The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy  on the small stuff,
You will never have room for the things that  are
important to you.


Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.
Play with your children.
Take time to get medical checkups.
Take your partner out to dinner.

There will always be time
to clean the house and fix the dripping tap.

‘Take care of the golf balls first —
The things that really  matter.
Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.’

One of the students raised her hand
and inquired what the coffee represented.

The  professor smiled.

‘I’m glad you asked’.

It just goes to show you that  no matter how full your life may seem,
there’s always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.’

Please share this with other “Golf Balls”

I just did…..

What are your golf balls?  How do you keep them from getting lost in the pebbles and sand?

What are your cups of coffee?

What do you do when your kids destroy things to be creative?

February 6, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Posted in 1 | 2 Comments
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Two kids aged 6 and 7 decided to make a telephone using their dad’s headset. They snipped the wires and went out have a great time inventing and talking. (By the way they had been told not to play with dad’s things.)

Mom was on a business trip and dad needed to sleep in because he was up half the night shoveling/ plowing in VA. (You may know about the massive snow they are having and how jealous we are here in NH.) Anyway back to the issue-

So when dad woke up his headset was destroyed- And of course it was the one that cost plenty of $$$$$. Not some cheapo one!

What does dad do?

Yell at the kids right then and there?
Spank them on the spot?
Figure it was just a minor issue and let it go?
Try some thing else?

If you guessed try something else then you are on target.

But why not yell or spank?
Yelling will get your anger out for sure, but it won’t get your kids to respect either you or your objects and isn’t that what you want most of all?

Spanking? It’s a cop out and too easy to just spank and expect good behavior- Well you might get the good behavior, but you rarely get the respect that you deserve and your children yearn to have for you.

So why not just let it go? I mean, who really cares- as long as the kids were being creative? You know I always talk about process and the product will come- So why not think about the process and let it go that the headset was destroyed?

The problem is again respect- Of course I think that creativity is one of the MOST important things a kid can do. And the rewards of being creative are endless. Being creative is a process and the product does come from that.

With that comes the sticky part- the kids can be creative, but they have to use things that are not dad’s- or be sure that what they are doing and using are OK w/ dad.

SO what can you do in this situation? Have the kids pay for the replacement. Now you can quickly get it from their savings and be done with it right? OOOOH NOOOOO. Forget that. The money in the bank means nothing to these kids except that they can brag about having it and know it sounds impressive.

What the kids need to do is have multiple jobs. When my kids have to do jobs I have the jobs set up in 10 to 15 minute segments and they get paid from 25 cents (yes in this day and age I still pay in quarters) to a dollar for these segments. Thus they can earn up to $6.00/hour – This is with kids who are up to ten. (Teens get paid at a higher rate but generally still in short segments)


So you and your kids can set this up and do it, too.

And the last thing I would do to promote creativity and decrease destruction of valuable objects is to purchase/ collect some supplies that are set up for the kids to use on their own. Let the kids know how long this supply is for- up to a month- and that iti is theirs to do with as they please, but if they use it all up too quickly they will have to wait to get more- unless of course they want to do some jobs and earn money on their own.

Hope this helps!
Love to hear you thoughts on this- Just comment below.

how to parent positively

May 5, 2009 at 2:58 pm | Posted in 1 | 1 Comment
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The Power of Positive Energy –. Your attitude and perspective deeply affect how you present yourself to the world. A famous quote by Emerson reads: Enthusiasm is one of the most powerful engines of success. When you do a thing, do it with all your might. Put your whole soul into it. Stamp it with your own personality. Be active, be energetic, be enthusiastic and faithful, and you will accomplish your objective. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. Learn that what you get back in life has a direct correlation with what you give. This is so important for parents. We are the ones who have to do the worst part of raising a kid. We have to get them to grow up right. Now that takes about everything we can think of and then some. And we, the parents, are the ones who have to nag and complain, pay attention to the crap on the floor, notice the dirty clothes heaped up waist high even though we vowed to never pay attention to the mess and smell again. Yep we are filled with the negative side of the whole thing. But we have an escape we can use our own positive energy to change what we see and what we attend to. With Law of Attraction what attend to brings it more energy. But how can you really only pay positive attention while raising your kids? Don’t you really have to notice all those awful things? And what about safety? That has to be a prime factor of parenting. Yes of course, only here’s the deal. When you give some positive energy to what you have been taught is negative it will no longer be negative. I had a six year old who had massive tantrums. I unquestionably HATED those tantrums. But rather than hold onto the negative, I focused on the fact that my child would always be free from perpetrators. She had a great set of lungs. I found opera music for her to sing along with. When she was seven her loud tantrums would often include a bit of operatic sounds. Now she is eight and rarely tantrums. But she knows about opera music. You can do the same with any negative. It’s not always getting rid of the behavior. It may be changing your opinion of the behavior or your reaction to it. Just remember to hold true to your values and morals. Have a great day parenting and living with Passion, Purpose, and Integrity, Grace

The day ended with Burnt Soup

February 11, 2009 at 8:50 pm | Posted in 1 | Leave a comment
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I started today with the idea that I would find wonder in my life. I would find wonder in my parenting. I would find wonder in my children.
Instead I began with my 16 year old daughter needing to change her competition plans for the weekend-meaning I had to be in contact with coaches and rearrange travel plans. These changes were for my benefit as well. It meant I would not be driving twelve hours this weekend.
Then we jumped in the car to have a very flat tire.
When AAA came they could not get the spare to come down. So it had to be towed.
And at this very same time the condo maintenance guy who was fixing our floor from some fall flooding episodes came and began shoveling exactly where the girls had made a sledding shoot. He had finally come back to get something done so we could use the room for the rest of the winter. he did fix the sledding start. But he had to leave because we had stuff on the cement and he could not put the floor down.
I spent a few hours getting things arranged for my daughter, to find that the race that she was going to on Thursday was canceled. So she was staying home tonight.
OK, we got to have her home for dinner.
The garage where the car was towed informed me the tire was shot-I did know this already- so I had to pump out money for two new tires since the other was really bad too.
In the late afternoon I made a really good turkey soup, set it to boil, and
Yep you guessed it, left it to boil when I went to physical therapy, which was at the nearby pool. So my whole family went to the pool for a swim.
Its really great how the smoke detectors worked. The smoke was truly pea soup thick, and those obnoxious noise makers when we cook toast or open the bathroom door after a shower were silent!
Dinner was now a new idea, clean up a necessity, and wonder gone.
But I clung to my wonder. I thought good and hard and did find wonder that I actually did not cry or become hysterical or yell at my kids.
That was truly a day filled with wonder.

Tickle Me Tuesday: Do We Expect Too Much of Our Kids?

April 22, 2008 at 12:23 am | Posted in children, dads, Families, moms, Mothers, parents, Self Esteem, siblings, toddlers, Tweens | Leave a comment
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Do we expect too much of our kids? Too little?

Both, actually. Our expectations of children start as fantasies when we are children ourselves. “I’m going to have one boys and two girls.” The fantasies become moreserious during pregnancy as we dream of the child-to-be.

In the newborn period, sleep-deprived as we are, we think about our baby’s future. Like a parent in Garrison Keillor’s Lake Woebegone where all the children are above average, we have dreamy expectations of our little offspring. We expect our child to be the first on the block to achieve developmental milestones; to excel at school; to have a great personality and be liked by every peer; to be physically coordinated, athletic, and a good sport; and to be of good character, never tell a lie or bully another kid, or smoke pot.

Well, folks, these expectations ain’t going to come to pass for all of us. Reality always trumps dreamy expectations. In general, parental expectations fall into two categories: expecting too much of our children and expecting too little.

Parents tend to expect behaviors before the child is developmentally ready. For example they expect a toddler to share toys in play group, siblings to always get along, kids to remember what we said. Such parents are expecting too much of their kids. They are being unrealistic and are also worried. “Why doesn’t Max listen to me? What’s wrong with him?”

Parents also expect too little in some pretty crucial areas. We don’t expect young children to do chores and gradually assume their own responsibility for stuff like chores and homework so we keep reminding them. We don’t expect babies to selfcalm so we rock them to sleep or let them fall asleep at the breast long after they should be learning their own sleep associations.

The best way to develop realistic expectations is to pay attention to the child’s temperament and personality and learn a bit about child development. Parent in the moment. Don’t worry about what you or the child did wrong yesterday, don’t worry about how the child is going to turn out tomorrow. Think about parenting today in as realistic a way as possible.


Marilyn Heins, M.D., F.A.A.P.

Marilyn has written over 800 parenting columns published in the Arizona Daily Star. The column originally appeared in 1989 in the Food and More section, however the Star found reader response so strong that it moved the column to the Sunday Accent section, with its larger circulation. The column is often listed in the newspaper’s front section as one of the highlights of the Sunday paper.


Motivational Monday: Too Much Stuff and Not Enough Responsibility

April 21, 2008 at 12:03 am | Posted in 1, children, dads, Families, moms, Mothers, parents, Self Esteem, siblings, toddlers, Tweens | Leave a comment
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It is a pleasure to have you join GEM Parenting For Motivational Monday

Ever wonder why your children can’t be responsible?  You find that no matter what you do they just seem to ignore responsibility?  Dr. Marilyn Heins has an idea about this, and I totally agree with her.  She thinks we have too much stuff and too much stuff is bringing your children away from the ability to be responsible.  Try for a short period of time (like an hour or afternoon) to be with your child and reduce the stuff interference.  Can’t figure out how to do it?

Join GEM Parenting Secrets this week to talk with Dr. Heins and discover her simple yet specific ideas of how and why too much stuff stops your child from being responsible


Tickle Me Tuesday

Dr. Heins has sent an article that we will share with you.  You can even download it an read at your leisure.

Wisdom Wednesday

I have to say, I am passionate about our society having too much stuff, especially our children.  I see we are bombarded with the media to buy, buy , buy.  We are taught to never be satisfied and the only way to have any form of satisfaction is to buy something else.  This mentality only creates and reinforces other dependent-esteem, which automatically reduces self-esteem.  I will have my article to share with you on this topic.  Get ready because I have some very strong opinions about this!



GEM Parenting Secrets Teleseminar

With Guest Speaker
Dr. Marilyn Heins

She is the founder of
and author of ParenTips for Effective, Enjoyable Parenting

Set Your Calendar for this
Live Teleseminar

Date: Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Time: 4:00 p.m. Eastern/1:00 p.m. Pacific

Dr. Marilyn Heins and I will discuss why and how too much stuff reduces your child’s ability to be responsible. What you can do to bring responsibility to your children without having to throw away everything you just spent thousands of dollars to acquire.

For only $6.00 you can join this teleseminar and find out the best ways to increase responsibility in your children, help them feel satisfied, and desire to be responsible. By having your children become responsible, you give both you and your children the courage and peace that comes with doing a job well done. And best of all, it will give you and your family the opportunity to develop high self-esteem and bring out the beautiful Gem that is within each member of your family.

Join GEM Parenting Teleseminar



As a registered participant you will have the opportunity to ask your questions directly to Dr. Heins or send them in advance of the telesminar.  You will benefit you family’s self-esteem, increase responsibility, and decrease the stress involved with having kids who are irresponsible.

By the way, GEM Parenting Secrets will resume at – 8:30 pm Eastern next week.



Thoughtful Thursday

GEM Parenting Secrets with Dr. Marilyn Heins is going to be a fantastic discussion!  Even if you miss the live teleseminar, you can get the podcast on Thursday.  Then, even for those who have attended, you can down load the podcast to your favorite mp3 player and replay what you really need to understand.

Dr. Heins knows her stuff.

Sneak preview for next week…

Spring Sports-Too much pressure?  Not enough fun?  Surprise guest expert!

Send in your questions today so we can be sure to address your personal concerns.  Send them to me directly at

Creative Crayon Club

Saturday we have fun activities so you and your family can kick back and relax.  These activities will bring peace and harmony to your home and help increase your family’s self-esteem.


We will also share products and programs that coincide with TOO MUCH STUFF and NOT ENOUGH RESPONSIBILITY.

Hope you have a great week and we at GEM Parenting can assist you in your journey to parent with passion, purpose, and integrity.  Remember we believe at GEM Parenting, every child is a GEM.


Saturday – Creative Crayon Club

April 18, 2008 at 11:55 pm | Posted in 1, children, Creative Crayon Club, dads, Families, Family Time, Focused Fridays, Fun Activities, GEM Parenting Secrets, Health, moms, Mothers, parents, Self Esteem, siblings, toddlers, Tweens | 1 Comment
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Huge flowers


What you need:

  • Large cheap white paper plates
  • Crayons, markers, colored pencils
  • Tacky glue, stapler, tape
  • Dowel about two feet long or a straight stick from outside

 What you do:

  • Cut the ridges off a plate to make a flat disk
  • Cut petal shapes from other plates (You need to have one end pointed and the other wider, like a leaf)
  • Color petals and disk
  • Attach the petals to the disk (You can tape, staple, or tacky glue them).  It is best to have the disk in front.  If you have a rod you can color it green
  • Attach the flower to the rod
Again with any method you choose.  For a twist find a stick outside to use.  If you want, make leaves from the plates and attach them to the dowel.

Now you have a giant flower!

 Sugar Cookie Flowers

 What you need:

  • Sugar cookie dough.  Either store bought or homemade
  • Cookie sticks (sold at craft stores)
  • White frosting
  • Small bowls
  • Food coloring
  • Helpful to have: Plastic placemats

What you do:

  • Put plastic placemats down to help with clean up
  • Roll cookie dough out
  • Either use flower shaped cookie cutter or a large glass and cut scalloped edges
  • Bake according to directions
  • When cool, decorate with frosting.  Put frosting in bowls, mix in food coloring-using separate utensils for each color
  • Decorate the cookies

 Enjoy on any spring day!         


Focused Friday – Q&A on Siblings Without Rivalry

April 18, 2008 at 6:35 am | Posted in children, dads, Families, moms, Mothers, parents, Self Esteem, siblings, toddlers, Tweens | Leave a comment
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Question:  I have two young daughters.  They go back and forth between loving and hating each other.  When they love each other they play very nicely, but when they hate each other they can actually start hitting and punching each other.  Why do they do this and how do I stop it?

Answer:  There are times when young children are unable to express their feelings with words.  This is when they start to use physical actions to express their anger – they also use physical expression when they in good moods as well, for instance kissing and hugging.  When your children are kicking and hitting each other the first thing you do is separate them.  Put them in different rooms if possible. 

Try to say very little.  And be very careful to not label them.  At this point you have no idea how the argument started, who taunted who, has it been building or a whole slew of other questions.

And even if you do know the answer, still don’t label. 

What I want you to say is, “When you are ready to interact with others, you are welcome back.  I want you to stay here till you are calm.  Then you and your sibling will find another solution to this.”  Then you walk away.

As for the solution, while they are separated get a few supplies- paper and colored pencils, costumes, or puppets.  When they are settled and calm, have them use the supplies to come up with the solution, or to redo the incident.  It is important that each child have the opportunity to show what they thought was happenng. And it is just as important for the other child to hear and see it.  When the “BUT that’s not what really happened!” is whined/shouted out, respond with, “This is child’s (-actually say the name-) turn to share what happened.  You will have a turn in a minute.  And I will be just as interested in what you thought happened.”

Through all this procedure, it is extremely important for you to understand that as your children mature they need to express their displeasure.  Guide them to more acceptable ways of expressing themselves.  Never tell them they are bad for the feelings.

Question:  I understand that you home school your kids.  I do too.  I just started recently.  When they are home with you all day long how can you stop them from squabbling?

Answer:  When kids are new to home schooling they are often surprised by all the decision-making they now make.  At school there is limited free time and limited access to what to play with.  At home there is everything and more time to do these things.  Sometimes they need guidance about what to play and other times they need time separated from each other.  This separation does not have to be in the form of punishment.  It is positive intervention.  “It is now time for you (-actually say the name-) to play upstairs, while you (-actually say the name-) play downstairs.  And don’t worry we can switch if we need to.”

Have faith in yourself and in your kids.  Home schooling has wonderful rewards and as with everything has some tough obstacles. 

Question:  My husband thinks that when the kids are fighting it is good for them.  He thinks we should just sit back and let them at each other.  I want to have a house with peace, not fighting.  Is there anyway that I can stop them with out my husband’s support?

Answer:  Yes, you can stop the fighting without your husbands support.  When you kids are fighting tell them that you know they have a problem.  You respect their need to express themselves.  Now you would like them to learn a few different ways of expressing themselves, which does not actually involve fighting.  Be firm about this.  Tell them they have reached the point that plain fighting is just not working.  It is time to try other ways of solving problems. 

Now insist that they use another method to express themselves.  You can suggest drawing, acting, puppet shows.   If they are older and scoff at this, just say,  “I understand this is new and different, but you need to learn to behave in a way that your anger is heard, but does not lead to hurting others.”


In all these cases, and any case of sibling rivalry, it is often the child who seems to be acting out the most that is the most hurting or angry.  Look to each of your children knowing that inside is their special GEM.  Keep that thought foremost in your mind.  Through it all you will love them and build their self-esteem to be wonderful and strong.

Enjoy your weekend and don’t forget the Creative Crayon Club tomorrow!

Thoughtful Thursday: Siblings Without Rivalry

April 17, 2008 at 7:58 am | Posted in children, dads, Families, moms, Mothers, parents, Self Esteem, siblings, toddlers, Tweens | Leave a comment
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Just in case you missed it yesterday…

You can listen to Grace’s podcast from yesterday.

For only $5.99 you can upload Grace’s podcast and find out the best ways to reduce sibling rivalry and the stress that comes with sibling rivalry and gain the freedom for your children to grow and develop the beautiful Gem that is within each of them.

Join GEM Parenting Teleseminar



Free Advice
Get our FREE audio course filled with practical advice: 7 Deadly Mistakes Parents Make That Create Spoiled Brats!  Learn more

Enjoy your day!


Helping Children with New Years Resolutions

January 5, 2008 at 9:06 am | Posted in children, dads, Families, Holidays, moms, Mothers, parents, relationships, Self Esteem, siblings, Tweens | Leave a comment
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Are you already suffering from New Years Desolution?

It seems that no matter what we try to do about a New Year’s Resolution it seems to slide into a desolution.  Somehow we just can’t get a grip on how to go forward with our great ideas.  Before you totally give up in despair, lets try a few ideas out and see how you can really change your life.  

  • First thing you need to do is be sure you have actually written your resolutions down. If you have not written anything down then follow these instructions on how to write resolutions that will work.  And if you have written something down you will need to get more paper so you can add to what you have already done.
  • When we write resolutions we write what we want to stop doing, have more of, and/or change.  But we rarely write down how we are going to have these life altering changes take place.  And that is where the downfall happens.

So what I want you to do is take your paper and fold it in half.  On the left side you write your resolution as you normally would.  “I am going to loose ten pounds.  I am going to stop yelling at my children.”  Then on the right side you right down what you will do to make the changes happen.  “I will not have seconds and I will walk twenty minutes three times a week.  I will join GEMParenting Secrets to learn tactics to stop yelling at my kids.”

This sets in motion the ability to change.  Without the way to change you will stay forever in that limbo land of wishing rather than being.

  • A second way to help your resolution become a part of your life is to treat it as a new habit.  And the best way to add a new habit is to replace an old with the new.  If your resolution is to stop yelling at your kids, then you need to decide what you will do instead as above.  Then in addition to writing it down you actually set a time and place that you will make the change.  For instance if you know you yell at your kids every night to go to bed, then set up a reward chart for yourself.  If you do not yell then you get a sticker.  If you get five stickers then the kids can stay up an extra thirty minutes.  You now have a change of the pattern.  You are still in charge, but the kids actually get the reward if you don’t yell.

When you take these kinds of changes and set them into motion in your life you will begin to have real changes that last more than a few days.  You will change your thoughts, your behaviors, and how you and your children interact with each other.

FREE 8 PODCAST SERIES: “7 Deadly Mistakes Parents Make That Create Spoiled Brats!”  In this FREE Audio Parenting Series, you’ll learn the tested methods and strategies that produce the behavior your heart desires from your children.


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