Excellent Advice!!!! Gotta Listen!

Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of ’99 (Really for EVERYONE)

WEAR SUNSCREEN.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it.

The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience…I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth; oh nevermind; you will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded. But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked….You’re not as fat as you imagine. (This is so true!)

Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing everyday that scares you. (I take this to mean do something different.)

Sing

Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours. (AMEN!)

Floss

Don’t waste your time on jealousy; sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind…the race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself. (LOVE THIS!)

Remember the compliments you receive, forget the insults; if you succeed in doing this, tell me how. (LOL!)

Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements.

Stretch

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life…the most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t.

Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone.

Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll have children,maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary…what ever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either – your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s.

Enjoy your body, use it every way you can…don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it, it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.. Dance…even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room. (Here, here!)

Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them. (Yes!)

Do NOT read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly. (For Sure!)

Get to know your parents, you never know when they’ll be gone for good.

Be nice to your siblings; they are the best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go,but for the precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young. (This is why I love facebook!)

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard; live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. (won’t be following this one)

Travel.

Accept certain inalienable truths, prices will rise, politicians will philander, you too will get old, and when you do you’ll fantasize that when you were young prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders. (Please!)

Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund, maybe you have a wealthy spouse; but you never know when either one might run out.

Don’t mess too much with your hair, or by the time you’re 40, it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth. But trust me on the sunscreen…

Repost from April 7, 2009

True Words,

Love The One Your With

Love The One Your With

Oh How The Years Go By

In our times of trouble
We only had ourselves
Nobody else
No one there to save us
We had to save ourselves

And when the storms came through
They found me and you
Back to back together
And when the sun would shine
It was yours and mine
Yours and mine forever

Oh how the years go by
Oh how the love brings tears to my eyes
All through the changes the soul never dies
We fight, we laugh, we cry
As the years go by

There were times we stumbled
They thought they had us down
But we came around
How we rolled and rambled
We got lost and we got found
Now we’re back on solid ground, yeah

We took everything
All our times would bring
In this world of dangers
‘Cause when your heart is strong
You know you’re not alone
In this world of strangers

Oh how the years go by
Oh how the love brings tears to my eyes
All through the changes the soul never dies
We fight, we laugh, we cry
As the years go by

And if we lose our way
Any night or day
Well we’ll always be
Where we should be
I’m there for you
And I know you’re there for me

Oh how the years go by
Oh how the love brings tears to my eyes
All through the changes the soul never dies
We fight, we laugh, we cry
As the years go by

- Amy Grant

Love The One Your With

On this day, 18 years ago my life changed.

Two became one.

As with most things with me, {grand ideas at the last minute} I decided  Saturday I would spend Sunday working on a few things to celebrate our anniversary.  We haven’t really celebrated in a grand way…our love for each other…in a while.  My daughter’s dance recital is always the Friday of Memorial Day weekend.  {One year it was on our anniversary.}  I wouldn’t miss her recital for anything.  It is one of the highlights of my year to be able to see her dance.  I’m also very grateful to have family who travel from afar to see her recital and visit.  Thus our reason for not celebrating.  Don’t get me wrong, we still try to have a date with a dinner & movie, but not anything out of the ordinary or special, just kind of the same old thing we always do when we manage to go on a date in our small town.

So here I am at 1:11am typing this post.

I came up with a few things to do lot of things I wanted to do:

  • 18 gifts given on each hour on the 18th minute {made 5 of the 18 today}
  • CD titled 18 Running Songs of various running music
  • CD titled 18 Year Anniversary Mix filled with love songs
  • 18 balloons with a love note attached to each

I didn’t want to spend money for these expressions of love.  You see, we have an all inclusive beach trip planned to celebrate our anniversary for a later date.  It will be the first vacation we’ve had in 7  years ALONE together WITHOUT KIDS.  It is long overdue!  This trip was our gift to each other.  We agreed NOT to exchange gifts because of the trip.  However, I still wanted to do something special for him and for us.

What I will DO

Here’s the deal, I realized we won’t be AWAKE for 18 hours of this special day. {Duh! Shan…sigh…it’s been a crazy month.} Plus, I only have 8 gifts to give him, not 18.  I made 7 {2 are the CD’s mentioned above} and found 1 in the closet {it was a Christmas gift I forgot to give him because it was buried underneath all the piles…sheesh}  So instead of 18 gifts, he will receive 8 at 9:18am, 10:18am, 11:18am, 12:18pm, 1:18pm, 2:18pm, 3:18pm, 4:18pm.  Again, these are things I made him.  Maybe next year I can plan on doing the balloon idea.  I just didn’t have my act together to do that this year.

I’ll share with you photos and more information about the gifts in a future post this.  If he happens to read this before 9:18am he already knows what 2 of the gifts are.  It’s okay, because he doesn’t like surprises near as much as I do.  As a matter of fact, it’ll probably kill him to not be able to open ALL the gifts right away.  The essence of surprise will be what I enjoy about this plan. Love The One Your With

Happy Anniversary to my Husband.

Above current photos taken by Blue Lily Photography

Love the one your with,

What Songs are You Teaching Your Children?

This is so funny!  But, props to the Dad for making a boring drive FUN!  Check out the toddler in the back seat singing right along with his head banger hand motions.  Had to share with you:

Have FUN with your kids,

Family Reunion/Trip Theme Song

Family Reunion/Trip Theme SongOk, friends, first of all I have to say each family song we have come up with has been spontaneous and unplanned.  I have written before about our family theme song here.  While we were on our ski trip/family reunion song emerged.  Since I’m not a regular Country Music fan I had not heard this song before.  My Sister’s Boyfriend’s Son, Michael, began to randomly sing it throughout our week together.  I think most of my extended family did already know it because they would chime in and sing with Michael.  By the end of the week we all knew the chorus to the song.  It always brought lots of giggles.

What I LOVE about having a family theme song is how it brings unity.  Not only that, whenever we hear the song, it will bring back LOTS of fun memories of our time together.

The following is a horrible video I shot with my iPhone because it was handy.  Mainly I wanted to share it for the sake of the audio recording.  Please forgive my awful videography skills and we are not professional singers…at least most of us aren’t {my Dad has recorded an album in the past.}  Hope it might make you laugh; it does me every time I hear it. Family Reunion/Trip Theme Song


Sing on,

Family Reunion Activity Ideas

Here are some other activities {besides skiing} we did during our family ski trip/family reunion:

Family Reunion Activity Ideas

The package of mustaches came with 6 different ones to choose from.  It cost me $1 and they were self adhesive.  We used the iPhone app Pop Booth to let the kids take a photo booth strip of themselves.  This brought a lot of laughs and fun!

Family Reunion Activity Ideas

I asked the kids to find some sticks to use for roasting our S mores.  This was sneaky on my part because it was an effort to get the kids out of the house and outdoors! ;)  It worked though!  One of the older boys (15) was nice enough to whittle the sticks for us.  I am grateful our rental house had an outdoor fireplace for us to be able to roast S mores.  Yummy and fun!

Family Reunion Activity Ideas

We brought the Wii for the kids to play on, but when they weren’t on it they were playing card games like Go Fish & Uno.  They would also play electronic games on the iPad & iPod touch like Air Hockey, Draw Something, Temple Run and many others.  Since we did so much skiing during the day, it didn’t bother me for them to have some down time playing on their devices.  It’s nice for the grown ups to have the kids quiet for some time. {If you know what I mean ;)}  My favorite out of the above was our game of freeze dance.  The kids would pick out a song on their iPod.  We would all dance until I paused the song.  At that time everyone was to FREEZE from dancing.  If anyone moved they were out of the game.  This gave me a chance to dance too! {Even though my kids hated me dancing…HA!}

Family Reunion Activity Ideas

We don’t see a lot of snow where we live.  This was a perfect opportunity for the kids to have some snow fun.  The snow was melting and difficult to make a snow man, but perfect for a snowball ‘fight.’  We gave them a few rules: don’t hit in the face & stay about 10 feet away before throwing the snowball.  Fun times!

Family Reunion Activity Ideas

Check with the chamber of commerce about local parades or events going on.  Kids always enjoy parades.  We liked attending this St. Patrick’s Day Parade the last full day we were in Pagosa Springs.

Family Reunion Activity IdeasOther activities we enjoyed:

  • Movie nights – The adults watched the movie Grown Ups one night after the kids went to bed…the movie is pretty hysterical!  We all laughed until our bellies ached.  On another evening we watched Disney’s Tangled and served popcorn.
  • Hot Tub – We were blessed to have rented a house with an indoor hot tub.  It was perfect for soothing aching muscles from skiing.  We had a 10pm curfew for the kids to use the hot tub.  Our other rule was to have an adult in the hot tub with the kids.
  • Star Gazing – We saw Venus, Mars & Jupiter among many constellations.  The night sky was very dark so we were able to see lots of stars.  My Dad used a special star gazing app to identify the planets and constellations.  {Sorry, I don’t know what the name of it is, but I can find out if you want to know.}  It was gorgeous and educational!
  • Birthday Party -  My Brother-in-Law had a Birthday while we were there.  We held a party in his honor.  I am writing a post more about this later.

Posts coming up will be about:

  1. How we rented the awesome home we stayed in
  2. Our menu, we ate the majority of our meals at the house
  3. Memory book idea
  4. Family song of the week
  5. Excellent app every family needs to help with communication during the trip/reunion

Family activities bring unity,

What is BlissDom?

Last year I made the trek to a blogging conference called BlissDom.  As I prepare to return to my community of fellow bloggers this week in Nashville, I thought it only fitting to write about this experience.

What is BlissDom?

If you are a blogger and visit other blogs regularly you might be seeing badges like this:
What is BlissDom?What is BlissDom?What is BlissDom?What is BlissDom?

Or maybe you are seeing bloggers talk about BlissDom on Facebook or Twitter and you find yourself wondering, “What is this?”

Well, about a year and a half ago I was experiencing this.  Many of the blogs I read on a regular basis had these badges and so I clicked on one.  There was a video about the previous BlissDom conference, so I watched that.  Watching the video was all it took for me.  Whoever put the video together will be happy to know their work paid off.  I knew I wanted to attend after watching the video.  I talked about it with the hubster and he was in support of me going.  {Isn’t he awesome?}  It’s always held in Nashville at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel.  This year BlissDom is celebrating their 5 year anniversary.

I remember trying to explain to my family and friends what BlissDom was all about last year.  Most people had a question mark look on their face.  It’s okay.  The whole blogging conference is relatively new to most, but especially for people who don’t blog.  Because of the video & information BlissDom offered on their website and reading posts by other bloggers who had attended; I had a small inkling of what the conference would be like.

My purpose in going was:

1. I wanted to meet other people who have a passion for blogging.  In other words, I wanted to meet people who “get me.”  I didn’t know one single person who blogged on a regular basis in real life.  This would be the perfect place to make new friends who understand what I do.

2. I wanted to LEARN how to grow my blog.  Let me explain, up until the time of BlissDom I had maybe a handful of friends and family {THANK YOU!} who read my blog.  As my interest in blogging grew, I enjoyed making new friends online.  I realized that not only could I provide ideas &  information on things I love, including family, but also form sort of a community of friends.  I wanted to know how to do this.

3. I wanted to LEARN more about advertising.  I was very curious how bloggers incorporated advertising into their blog.  Why did they do this?  Do they make money doing it and if so, how much?  Does your blog become a business when you start advertising?  What are the legal & tax ramifications?

4. I wanted to LEARN more about HOW to do things.  Why did some blogs look more ‘professional’ than others?  I enjoy graphic design but don’t have any professional training.  How are bloggers able to make their site look the way that it does?  BlissDom had classes about this!

5. I wanted to meet the bloggers from blogs I regularly visited in real life.  In the blogging world they are pretty much celebrities!  Good thing is, they can go out in public and not have paparazzi after them! What is BlissDom? lol

6. I won’t lie, seeing that Harry Connick Jr. came to entertain the bloggers the previous year perked my interest in BlissDom as well.  I didn’t know if he would come again, but I knew there would be some sort of musical entertainer.  As a stay at home Mom, there aren’t many opportunities to go to concerts like when I was young and single.  BONUS!

Here is the BlissDom video from last year…the one I attended:

BlissDom ’11 from Blissful Media Group on Vimeo.

Watching this video brought back many memories and has increased my excitement ten fold. {Amy, I saw you in the video}  By the way, the flash mob was held in a session I did not attend. What is BlissDom? Big Pouty Face because I would have been all over that!

Do you remember my post about Mat Kearney?  I couldn’t remember exactly what he said about being in a room filled with so many female social media enthusiasts.  Well, they showed that at the very beginning of the video…if you skipped watching you will have to watch it!  It’s pretty hilarious!

The clip with the man and woman on stage after Mat are the compassionate masterminds behind Love Drop.  Remember me writing about them?  You can read all posts I’ve written about BlissDom by clicking here.

So did I learn what I wanted to learn as stated in my purposes above?

ABSOLUTELY!

I learned all I wanted and MORE!  There are many sessions you can choose to attend led by experienced and successful bloggers.

My blog today is living proof of that.

I am so grateful for BlissDom.  The conference is a safe haven for bloggers…a community of social networking divas.

A few weeks back participants received a Prep For Bliss package:

What is BlissDom?

Includes: Name Badge, Luggage Tag, Business Card Holder, Post-It Notes, Jewel CD & Various Free Food Coupons

 

Also included in this package was a letter from the BlissDom founders.  I want to share a profound quote from them:

“You are the pioneers of a generation who are forging the way in this new digital world.  We are living through the equivalent of the Industrial Revolution and the trails we blaze and how we choose to behave as a community will set a tone for generations.”

I was a newbie at BlissDom last year.  Not only was it my first Blissdom to attend, it was my first blogging conference to attend period.  Turns out there are many different blogging conferences held through out the year.  However, at this point in my life, being the family gal that I am, one blogging conference a year has worked for us.  { Don’t worry Amy I am considering going to another with you What is BlissDom? }  Balance is important. What is BlissDom?

First thing I noticed was how everyone talked about each other by their blog name.  Instead of saying Shan from Family Brings Joy, they would say, “Did you meet Family Brings Joy?”  It was a little weird at first.  It’s understandable, though, because as a blogger, unless you have talked to the blogger personally, you know them by what the name of their blog, not by their given name.  Fortunately, we all have name tags on.  Sometimes I would see people reading my name tag as I walked by.  You see, we all have bloggers we want to meet while we are there.  I didn’t take offense when they would go out of their way to stop me just to see who I was and then say, “No, you’re not her.”  Scratch that, it bothered me just a tad.  However, I did the same thing, just never physically stopped them to read their name tag.  I would just look at them as I walked by.  I understand completely.

Other fun stuff about Blissdom:

  • SWAG {Stuff We All Get, meaning free products from the sponsors or participating brands}
  • Meeting celebrities {like Michelle Branch, Mat Kearney}
  • Food galore…didn’t need to purchase one meal while I was there.
  • Free shoulder/back massage and manicure
  • Networking Parties
  • The Gaylord Opryland Hotel is gorgeous!

I believe BlissDom chose their name because when you are there you are following your bliss…following your dreams.

If you haven’t been on Family Brings Joy’s Facebook page lately {join us!} then you will not know that this year’s entertainers/special events include for BlissDom include:

  • Handmade Marketplace
  • Nathan Pacheco {Singer}
  • Lorax {Dr. Suess Movie} Party
  • Joe Jonas {Singer}
  • Chris Mann {Singer}
  • Rascall Flatts
  • screening of OWN’s Oprah’s Next Chapter episode with Oprah and her friends Gayle King & Paula Deen

Wowza!!  What a line up!  Funny side note, when I shared with my 8 year old Daughter about Joe Jonas coming, she exclaimed, “Take lots of photos and video for me, Mom!”  Here is a text snapshot of what my 16 year old Daughter, who is a devoted Jonas Brothers fanatic said, when I shared the news with her:

What is BlissDom?

My Daughter said later, “Why would Joe would want to go sing for a bunch of old women?”  LOL

Hopefully this post helped you understand a little bit more about BlissDom.

I leave on Wednesday!  If you are attending BlissDom, I have a special gift for the first 10 Family Brings Joy readers/friends.  Come introduce yourself to me.  I want to meet you!  Time for laundry & packing!

P.S: Please pray that I don’t get sick like I did going to my half marathon.  I would like to be able to enjoy the conference.  I just recovered from that sickness.  I know when you fly on an airplane that it increases your chances of getting sick.  I was worried about my muscles before my race.  I didn’t really think about how a cold/sinus infection/ear infection could impact my trip…it did.  It was a miracle I was able to run that race as bad as I was feeling.  Anyway, I would very much appreciate any prayers you might offer on my behalf.

Follow Your Bliss,