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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

home...

When  & I moved into our cozy little home just over six years ago, it seemed like a natural next step.  Married and dog owners.  And living separately (and mostly long distance) for 4.5 of our then 5.5 year relationship was challenging and lonely.  I think I underestimated lots of aspects of this adventure... buying a 30+ year old home comes with inherent pros and cons.

Shortly after moving in, our water went from flat rate to metered.  Realizing we'd bought a mini jungle, some adjustments had to be made.  We've spent a small fortune removing the over growth in the front yard created by the previous owners.  I would have much rather spent that money on a kitchen remodel.  But alas, you can actually see out house from the street now.  So, the kitchen remodel waits.

Then, plumbing problems... the dreaded words any homeowner has nightmares about.  That 6 month fiasco seems so far away now... but holy tragedy was that a mess!  Thank GOODNESS for my parents who live nearby who arranged their whole lives to be at our house when countless contractors managed the plumbing issues, and then when were forced to remodel both bathrooms, simultaneously, unexpectedly and with every penny of savings we had.  I would have much rather spent that money on a kitchen remodel.  But alas, you can actually pee at our house when you visit now.  So, the kitchen remodel waits.

Then, once again, we we were faced with addressing a mini jungle, but this time in the back year... and some adjustments had to be made.  We've spent our third small fortune removing the over growth in the backyard created by the previous owners.  I would have much rather spent that money on a kitchen remodel.  But alas, that beautiful, bare, dirt backyard is cleaned up. So, the kitchen remodel waits.

And then Thanksgiving on 2014, while my hubby was showering, I decided my heightened emotional state may be more than just a heightened emotional state... so I decided to take a pregnancy test. And it was positive.  We were overjoyed with that faint, second pink line, but decided to wait until 12 weeks to tell anyone, considering our previous pregnancies.  This once stuck, and plans to prepare for baby earmarked any small savings from that of "kitchen remodel fund" to "baby fund."  So, once again, the kitchen remodel waits.

Even without my dream kitchen, a home isn't about perfect plumbing (though working plumbing is vital!), and it's not a "done" backyard.  A home isn't items from a catalog or the latest-and-greatest-anything.  A home is place where your faces fill picture frames. A home is an unmade bed, a pile of dirty laundry, a basket of dog toys, and an sense of peace when you walk in the door to be greeted by the world's most loving and beautiful dog!  A home is your roots, your stuff, your smell and your safe haven! And our home is where my baby will grow up knowing he is loved, where we will carve pumpkins, write to Santa and hunt for Easter eggs. Home is where baby will play with Penny and help dad in the yard. Home is where we will eat pancakes, watch movies, hash out problems, and come together as a family. Our home is one of my greatest blessings & I am grateful for a cozy, little space where my family will grow and continue to make the most amazing memories!

Friday, July 18, 2014

why i still scrapbook...

I've been keeping journals and scrapbooks since I was a child. The year I got married was just about the time digital photo books were really becoming a thing.  It was then that I decided to make annual yearbooks to track and highlight the happenings of our daily life... and I now have tons of 12x12 photo books of our first years of marriage (and even one of our doggy's first year with us--her baby book, if you will!), and even more 8x8s chronicling our trips and special events.  I do love digital scrapbooking. Like, so much! There are drawbacks though:

Digital Scrapbook Cons:
-there have been glitches or technical problems that have required me to start over
-they can be quite expensive (our yearbooks are usually over $200)
-it's ordered when it's done, so there is no witnessing progress b/c it's all online
-once printed, you can't fix mistakes
-cannot easily incorporate keepsakes and artifacts, other than pictures or digital scans of items

Digital Scrapbook Pros:
-no messiness!
-making changes or edits is fairly simple while making the book
-sometimes coupons can make digital scrapbooks more afforable
-they are slim, and fit nicely with all the others on a shelf
-they are fairly durable

That said, I do still make the old fashioned scrapbooks.  It's just a habit/hobby I can't walk away from... and believe me, my pocket book and OCD tendencies wish I would!  I have always enjoyed markers, stickers, and papers. Always!  It's like my crack. Take me to Micheal's or Jo-Ann's or Hobby Lobby, and you can guarantee that I'll likely be in the scrapbook section...!  And there are drawbacks to manual scrapbooks too:

Manual Scrapbook Cons:
-expensive... it's a rabbit hole of goodies... and there is really no end... new papers, new products, new techniques...
-the scrapbooks usually wind up being very, very thick
-more often than not, looking at old books results in having to re-glue things
-it's very time consuming and very messy
-everyone thinks you'd LOVE to scrapbook their life, b/c hey, you scrapbook, and often offer to pay you to scrapbook for them (which literally makes me cringe and laugh simultaneously b/c yea right! do you know how much time, effort, thought and money goes into even one page, let alone a whole book!?!?)

Manual Scrapbook Pros:
-keepsakes and artifacts can be included
-some (if not most) mistakes can be corrected, or glued over
- it's a very tactically pleasing activity
-it decrease stress (except for the mess...)
-one's own creativity is the only real limit
Compiled with love and a little help from a kit!
Anyway, I guess I just wanted to encourage us old-fashioned types to go along with the new wave of scrapbooking, while never forgetting our true roots in the craft!

Happy crafting,
Lindsay

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

five strategies for finding significance...

Are you like me? Do you want to have more significance? Sometimes I feel like I'm missing the boat when it comes to being a person of value. If my autobiography was written would anyone want to read it? At the end of the day I live a normal life. So how can my normal be inspirational? 

Here's some ideas about how to live more significantly:

#1 Build Someone Up
I love sarcasm as much as the next person. Sarcasm is a close cousins of comedy and humor. The problem is when sarcasm becomes normal in an environment, it's pretty hard to have a compliment be taken seriously. Take the time to be the one person that rises above the sarcasm and secretly tells a person how great they are are. The reassurance will sink in and make that person reflect on the positive aspect you saw in them. It takes more effort and energy to build someone up then to tear them down.


#2 Remember Your Manners
Please and thank-you will get you practically anything you want with a smile. A few years back I had someone tell me that I forgot my manners. I would bark orders to my coworkers and my family. It was a reality check to hear the truth of my shortcomings. I had to own
the truth. Now, at work I have set up to "please police" to keep me in check if I forget my manners. With family and friends, why not add a please and thank you to routine requests.  My kids and husband appreciate my kinder approach as well.


#3 Pray for a Person
Everyone is in our lives for a reason whether it's for a blessing or a lesson. If someone has been a blessing in your life take the time to be thankful. A grateful heart actually makes you a happier person. If someone challenges you pray for them. Sometimes that is the only thing that you can do. Praying for the person that is difficult will inevitably help you feel more at peace. If someone has hurt you in a terrible way it is hard to pray for them. Forgive someone not because they deserve it; forgive someone because you deserve peace.


#4 Smile for a While
Mother Teresa once said that "peace begins with a smile." Sometimes a simple smile is the one thing that can change someone's heart. Your smile the one thing that crosses all barriers. It can be a new beginning even the toughest person. Remember the famous phrase that smile and the world will smile back at you. We don't see our own faces but other people do. What does your face reflect? Sometimes a smile can be the very thing that people remember you by. It will make a lasting difference in who you are.


#5 Change Perspective
I get frustrated at people and situations. At the end of the day, I want things my way and I can become angry. How to change this perspective is to rewrite the story. If you are in a traffic jam and somebody cuts you off then rewrite the story. Maybe they are on their way to see someone in the hospital or they are late for a crucial sales presentation. Use creativity and make up a scenario why they are so rude. Even if someone else's intention is wrong. It does not have to be taken that way in your brain. This is not excusing people for their bad behavior. It is helping you cope with the fact that some people are just difficult and there might be a reason why. Even if that reason is your "make believe" story.


After putting these five simple tips into practice. Your normal life just might be an inspiration that someone would want to read about. 


You are on this earth for a reason so make a difference while you are here - even if it's simple!

Significantly yours, 
Cara Lane
Communication Coach 


Cara Lane can be summed up in two words = infectious enthusiasm. Cara’s high energy, expressive style will be a joy to your learning on life. She has won the hearts of people and has become known nationally as “America’s Speaker Sweetheart.” She has also toured the world and has become an internationally known motivational speaker and trainer. Cara Lane is the award winning top trainer for the world’s leading seminar company. She's a leader an ambassador for Weight Watchers. Cara has given over 10,000 hours of instruction on communication training. Check her out at here!

Friday, July 11, 2014

a baby shower for ellie...


My best friend had her baby a few days ago! She is the most precious little baby, and looks just like her big brother, Mason, when he was born! Remember when I threw his shower almost four years ago? Time is moving at warp speed!

We had her shower four weeks ago, and it was a lovely affair! We kept it small and simple. I am thrilled with the results!

Here's some pix from the day:
Invite: Front
Invite: Back

Making sugar cookies for the shower
Simple seating for casual dining
Loved the different textures & shades of pink and orange
The momma-to-be's backyard was the perfect venue
Presents for Ellie
Ellie's paternal grandma, Judy, helping setup

Cookie onsies party favors at each guests' place setting
Tasted as good as they looked!
More party favors
Shimmer gum balls in glassine bags
Place settings
The theme, "Ready To Pop" was perfect since
she was due only two weeks after the shower!
Brunch menu had the party game on the back, a
quiz about babies


So much yummy food on bright orange platters
Marshmallow pops!
Sweet simple cake
Cookies for Ellie Girl
Momma opening presents
All smiles while watching momma open presents
Party guests happened to wear bright, pretty colors
Aunt Becky, Ammy (maternal Grandma to Ellie) & Kirsten
Amanda & Lynsey. Amanda won
one of the "Ready to Pop" gift baskets which included
 soda pop, popcorn, Pop Rocks, lollipops, Sugar Daddys,
 Jr. Mints and a baby themed movie in a reusable,
clear acrylic popcorn box.
Lindsay & Lindsay: BFFs Since 1999
Momma holding her cake
Those darn cookies were so cute!
Lynsey with the hostesses: Me & my Mommma
Just one more pic of those adorable cookies! ;)
Thanks for stopping by!  Ellie is so perfect! Momma and baby are adjusting well... and big brother Mason is very sweet and attentive to his lil' sis!

Sweetly,
Lindsay Bean

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

on a mission to collect ordinary moments...

And To Be Thoughtfully Happy For 100 Days In A Row!
http://100happydays.com/
If you read my last post, you already know that the last twelves months have held the highest highs and lowest lows of my life... I'd be lying if I said I came through it well (or that I'm "through" it at all).  The what-ifs and questions played on repeat like a skipping record in an abandoned house... And then one day an acquaintance posted on Facebook about taking the #100happydays challenge. Intrigued, I read up and I instantly jumped on board (and a few other friends joined the challenge with me!).

Not to be epic, but sadness and disparity aren't good for my soul. I don't enjoy those emotions. I try my best to be upbeat and humorous. It's just as easy to miserable, but far less healthy. #100happydays was, initially, strictly an opportunity to simply notice blessings... but along the way, believe it or not, I slowly started to feel better too. And it's not that I'm giving this challenge 100% of the credit for my emotional recovery. But, I did need to start noticing my blessings and what things, grand and small, that truly make me happy. So, every single day for 100 days I posted a picture or two of what makes me happy... And it turns out that between that and my daily gratitude journal, I am able to recognize and appreciate happiness again.  Since, I have decided to shoot for 365 days of happiness... A full year of thoughtful attention to my greatest personal resource!  Here are a few highlights of happiness (in an no particular order b/c of editing challenges!):

Day 11.2 | Dinner! So fresh & so clean, clean!
Day 5.2 | Seeing her nose and ears flying in the wind,
driving in the country... Pure happiness!
Day 5.3 | Sunsets make me happy, and nostalgic!
Day 15 | Nature!
Day 77 | My very handsome, creative, kind nephew 
Mason  & I got some one on one time this morning! It 
included a tour of his backyard, a dance party for two
to Happy, racing fast cars, playing golf in the kitchen,
swim lessons, chasing a squirrel and playing
 frisbee with Penny! Best morning ever!!
Day 14 | Gratitude & happiness are interchangeable
for these two! Literally, the two halves of my heart!
Day 26 | Spring break means sleeping in, furry
snuggles, Red Box movies in bed while
scrapbooking (subject: Penny) and coffee
throughout the morning! Alllll kinds of happy
happening!
Day 23 | Playing Easter bunny & delivering 500 
eggs to the Children's Home that my students stuffed
 with love & joy!! My heart is full!
Day 20 | Momma brought me a vase full flowers from 
her garden! And I get to keep the vase! 
My lucky, happy day!!
Day 18.1 | Longtime friends and mini college reunion
yesterday!
Day 18.2 | Babypalooza! Yesterday was a fun (tiring) 
day with all our college friends!
In short, I highly recommend you take this challenge.  Life is beautiful! Notice it! You can post photos to Facebook, Instagram or any other photo sharing social media outlet... and it's rewarding!

Happily,
Lindsay

Monday, June 02, 2014

thank you & farewell...


This post is bitter sweet. As the Marriage Mechanic for this blog, it has been a real joy to share my thoughts, advice, and experience on relationship and marriage. It is always a passion of mine to help any relationship that needs a jolt or wake-up call. No relationship is above any issue or challenge. It really is all about knowing how to work through each challenge which in turn makes the relationship that much stronger. So, thank you for allowing me to share here.

The reason why this post is bitter sweet is because it is my last blog post. My professional career within the last few months has taken off and personal time has been limited. I've needed to say "No!" more... and one that includes writing for this blog... It's been challenging trying to keep up and stay consistent. So, that’s the bitter part. Yuck, I hate bitter things (although I kind of like Sour Patch candy!).

The sweet part is my career as a Northern California International Student Coordinator for Twinn Palms Homestay Services has taken off, which was a job that was literally placed in my lap a few months ago. There is great opportunity for me. For all of this, I grateful. My career path the last 15 years has been quite challenging and something I would not wish upon anyone. Not even my worst enemy. Of course, I have no enemies, but I’m just sayin’.    

So, with this said, thanks for “listening” (rather, reading) all my posts. I am glad that I got to influence a few and hopefully provided a different relationship perspective than what you were used to or have heard/read before. Please know that I am not giving up helping individuals or couples in the area of relationship coaching. That’s like saying, “Give up breathing.” It's impossible! You can never give up that which you were created to do. It just means that I will not be writing for this blog.

I leave you all with one of my best quotes. “A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.” This is a quote by the late Ruth Graham Bell, wife of Billy Graham. 

And one last, parting thing to encourage you with as a send-off, it is: please, please, please learn how to forgive and know what it means to like in a true relationship!

Peace & Grace,
Rob Lane
Marriage Mechanic
 
Rob is proud that his wife Cara plays an instrumental part of what he does. They have a combined 20+ years helping individuals and couples with their relationships and marriages. Rob has a BA in Christian Education from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and holds a Master’s Degree in Psychology and is an Online Psychology Professor for Grand Canyon University. Rob is also certified marriage counselors in the PREPARE/ENRICH program. He is a non-denominational ordained minister and officiates wedding ceremonies. Rob combines his experience and education along with his unique approach that is sincerely relational, empowering, hopeful, honest and compassionate. To learn more about Rob, The Marriage Lane and his approach read here.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

two words to stop saying...

My husband and I help couples communicate more effectively through our relationship coaching company. I also lead corporate training seminars to help organization's become better at communication. One of the biggest discoveries that needs to be recognized is that little words matter! Especially when we are trying to ask for a behavior change.

There is a need for all of us to eliminate the two words ALWAYS and NEVER. These are called "qualifier" words. The problem is using these two words will create permanence in the very behavior you are wanting to stop. Now, if you want to create permanence that’s a different issue. Please understand the difference.

Let me explain how this works. In a personal setting, if a couple accused the other spouse of an action they do not want to see any more like “She ALWAYS nags" or "He NEVER helps out with the kids…” Why should that person change? You just created permanence. Even if they tried a few times to change, they would be accused of never or always. In a corporate setting, when your supervisor says "You are ALWAYS late" or "You NEVER meet our clients needs." Permanence was created again. Everyone involved will just be frustrated.

How can we change this? Marie Montessori was a famous educator in the 1800's. She advised: "Tell the behavior you want to see NOT the behavior you don't want to see." What is the thing that you really do want to see from the other person? Find the time or few times that the person actually did the behavior you wanted to see. Then ask if they can create more of that behavior.

Here is the correction to our previous examples:
"You've helped with the kids on Friday night - how can I see more of that behavior?" Or "I noticed you made it on time to work 3 times this month. That is what I need to have happen everyday."

People respond much better when you see the things in them that they are doing right. Seeing the strength in someone else will make them desire to "fix what's wrong by focusing on what's right."

Remember, our little words can make a BIG difference.

Kindly, 
Cara Lane
Communication Coach 


Cara Lane can be summed up in two words = infectious enthusiasm. Cara’s high energy, expressive style will be a joy to your learning on life. She has won the hearts of people and has become known nationally as “America’s Speaker Sweetheart.” She has also toured the world and has become an internationally known motivational speaker and trainer. Cara Lane is the award winning top trainer for the world’s leading seminar company. She's a leader an ambassador for Weight Watchers. Cara has given over 10,000 hours of instruction on communication training. Check her out at here!

Monday, April 28, 2014

honesty...


I have a confession: I’d rather be honest than not, but honesty is scary… and I dislike hurting people more than I like honesty, especially when being honest means facing peoples unpredictable and unexpected responses... So what do you do when you’ve been avoiding honesty for so long that sorting out how you really feel is like brushing a rat’s nest from you hair? I get quiet and contemplative. I get still. I get real… and since I’m being honest, I can honestly say the last six months of my life have been my darkest. You see, we had two miscarriages three months apart.

If I’m honest, there is nothing in the world I wanted more than to become a mother, to watch my husband become a father and to see my parents become grandparents. I couldn’t contain the joy I was feeling at the thought of this new adventure. It bubbled from my glowy skin and the bounce in my step. These two pregnancies and babies were wanted with more zeal and passion and love than anything I’ve ever wanted in my life. Contrast that to their end… no heart beats… shattered dreams… hopelessness… and deep, dark, isolating sadness.

If I’m being honest, I can tell you that today is one of the hardest days I’ve had on this journey. For the fifth time this month I learned of another pregnancy announcement for an October baby, the same month our second baby was due. All the while, the fifteen people (yes, fifteen!) who were pregnant and due within weeks of our first baby are now having their babies… My feeds on social media are full of joyful news every day… and my heart wrestles with the happiness I feel for their new babies or new pregnancies, and the sadness I feel for our loss. And since I’m being so honest, it’s the worst juxtaposition my heart has ever felt. It’s hard. And I wish I was in a different place…

If I’m being honest, I should mention what a trooper my husband is. And how supportive my parents and friends are. If I’m being honest, I’d share that these two losses were significantly harder than the two years of what we called infertility thinking we weren't able to get pregnant. And if I’m being honest, I wish I could fast forward through the next few months… though, I know the pain and the work will be worth it (though how has yet to be revealed).

If I’m being honest, I’d share that I am a changed person from these experiences. It’s too soon to tell how quickly or how well I will rebound, or how permanent the emotional damage will be. But honestly, I have a strong desire to be okay… to feel whole and normal again… and to mend my broken heart.

If I’m being honest, I’d say that I am scared to death to be pregnant again, and the thought of another miscarriage takes my breath away. Honestly, though, the thought of never being a parent is as equally void of air…

So, while I’m being so honest I’ll share that my fragile heart is desperately clinging to any shred of hope, to anything that resembles distraction or happy news…

Lindsay

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

how to show your love & why it matters...


After taking a 2 month “sabbatical”, I am glad to be back on Sweet Vanilla Bean! So, let’s get right to it. My last four posts came from something I wrote entitled "5 Ground Rules For a Better Marriage." Those 5 marital ground rules that can reinforce your marriage today include:

1)   Never go to bed angry.
2)   Say “I’m sorry.” always!
3)   Go on a date at least twice a month. 
4)   Say “I love you” often!
5)   Hold hands in public.

In my last post entitled how to make your words mean something, I shared the importance of positive words towards your spouse. Life giving words such as saying “I love you” often will cause you and your spouse to appreciate each other rather than tear each other down. Your marriage benefits from positive words and will change the course of your relationship every time.  

One of the most important points from this post was, I believe you won’t even get to the showing love if you never do the saying of love. Ironically, the glaring difference between husband and wife is the husband says, “Tell me you love me.” The wife says, “Show me you love me.” This difference poses a conflict at times. On the other hand, if handled carefully and intentionally you can use this difference for you and not against you. This leads us to today’s post entitled, “How to Show Your Love Matters.”  
      
One of the practical ways you can show your love matters is to hold hands in public. Now, I understand that there might be some out there that say, “Our marriage relationship is private so I don’t like to flaunt it publicly to others.” I respect anyone who holds to this conviction. Conversely, to be clear, holding hands in public for example is much different than making out in public. 

They say a simple touch goes a long ways. In a marriage relationship, a simple touch goes far beyond any projected distance. In fact, something like holding hands in public solidifies your relationship and has the potential of breaking out of the marriage mundane.    

Here are 3 quick tips on the importance of showing your love matters:

Love is a workout. This is not an endorsement for Olivia Newton John’s classic, Let’s get physical. Rather, similar to working out in a gym or jogging a few laps around the park 3 times a week, whenever you work hard and consistently at something, eventually you will see results. Demonstrating love is not a one-time thing. It is an on-going workout. When you show your love towards your spouse beyond February 14th for example, you will see the results you have always longed for.

Don’t give up in well doing. If your marriage relationship is on the rocks right now, something like holding hands in public may be a monumental task. Maybe for you, something like smiling at each other may be a first step towards forgiveness and reconciliation. Either way, showing love to each other is something that never ends. With this said, don’t give up even if it’s a “small thing.”

The small things matter. Showing your love can take on all kinds of forms. I suggest that whenever you do the small things, your marriage relationship takes on a strong shelter. They say, “Dogs are not man’s best friend; flowers are.” Try showing you love your wife by giving her flowers without being in the doghouse and see the surprise on her face that will go a long way!     

Try out these 3 tips this week and see your marriage relationship grow stronger than ever before. Showing your love is an on-going priority. Work it into your everyday and see your marriage blossom into an enjoyable relationship.   

Cheers,  
Rob Lane 
Marriage Mechanic
 

Rob is proud that his wife Cara plays an instrumental part of what he does. They have a combined 20+ years helping individuals and couples with their relationships and marriages. Rob has a BA in Christian Education from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and holds a Master’s Degree in Psychology and is an Online Psychology Professor for Grand Canyon University. Rob is also certified marriage counselors in the PREPARE/ENRICH program. He is a non-denominational ordained minister and officiates wedding ceremonies. Rob combines his experience and education along with his unique approach that is sincerely relational, empowering, hopeful, honest and compassionate. To learn more about Rob, The Marriage Lane and his approach read here.
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