Excellent Phone Apps for Family History

I am super excited to share with you an excellent presentation on phone apps for doing your family history!

One of my friends, Crystal Beutler, taught a class at RootsTech a few weekends ago called Family History on the Go.  Fortunately for us, they recorded the class and have shared it online for FREE.  I love FREE!  Crystal co-taught the class with creative app developer Rhonna Farrer.  I use her app Rhonna Designs to create fun Instagrams with quotes and designs.  If you go into my Instagram feed(@familybringsjoy) you will see what I am referring to.

Family History is the perfect activity during snow days like today!  It’s Saturday, so the kids wouldn’t normally have school, but the roads have iced over.  It’s not too safe for us to be going anywhere.  I’m excited to show my kids what I learned.  I believe this class completely revolutionized my way of doing Family History.  Genealogy can bring family unity like nothing else.

Learning brings joy,

Happy Families

I’m really enjoying this new video series titled “Happy Families.”  It’s refreshing to see what other happy families do.  What makes them happy?

I thought you might like it as well! :)

Blessings to you,

Therapeutic Ramblings

I’m here.

I’ve come to the conclusion I may not have any more faithful readers.  I’ve been neglectful in my blog writing.  Mainly because life has been very full these days.  Full probably is an understatement.  It’s been busting at the seams and I can’t seem to catch up.  I’m not complaining, except that I miss writing/journaling.  I’ve pondered over how this blog began.  It was simply me writing about my life, my family and my interests.  I still do that…yet I feel like I can’t post something unless I have photos to accompany my post.  Pouring through photos, editing photos and then adding them to a post is the most time consuming [for me] with blogging.  I love photography.  I’m a visual person, so it seems nonsensical to NOT have photos.  Don’t get me wrong, the writing part does and can take up time.  Depending on the subject, sometimes it can take literally all day just to write one post.  I truly hate when that happens; because then I am too tired to go through the process of adding the photos.  Then I get upset with myself.  It begins a cycle of frustration.  I know why this happens.  My ADD brain causes this.  Even though I know why it happens, it doesn’t change how it makes me feel.

Over the last few months I’ve noticed a trend with some of my other blogger friends.  I’m not the only one who has neglected their blog writing.  As a matter of fact, I’ve noticed some have focused mainly on Instagram rather than blog.  I completely understand this.  It is way less time consuming to post photos on Instagram and add your thoughts than keep up a blog.

In my personal reflection of my blogging, I kind of feel like I need to chastise myself to some extent.  My blog was for me to share my thoughts and feelings.  It is mine.  I don’t need to do it a certain way.  I don’t blog primarily for monetary gain (although it would be nice) so I don’t need to follow certain rules to gain followers etc.  I have always and will always only want readers by way of organic means. {meaning I don’t pay to advertise my blog or any of my social media to gain readers}  However, for some reason, I entered the mindset that I needed to write about certain things in a certain way and order.  I don’t like that.  I don’t like my creativity, my flow of thoughts to be stifled.

I can’t remember the last time I looked at Google Analytics to see how many readers I have or what post was being read the most.  I think doing that also stifled my creativity.  I don’t want to feel as though I am in competition with anyone.  I just want to be me and if people want to read what I have to say, they are welcome.  It’s okay to have a post without photos.  It’s okay to just write.  I’m really trying to talk myself into this mindset…mainly the photo part. {I don’t think I’m a great writer too…please don’t check my grammar}

Last but not least, I think my other issue has been the name of my blog.  I worry people see the name of my blog and think I have a perfect family.  Or I worry they think I’m an expert at creating a joyful family.  Unfortunately, this is definitely NOT true.  About a year & a half ago our family almost dissolved.  My marriage was falling apart.  I had filed for divorce.  Without divulging details, it didn’t happen.  We are working on us.  It’s difficult, yet we are managing.  Life is rough.  Families and marriages are made up of individuals.  We don’t have control over those individuals.  We can influence and teach, but we don’t have control.  Anyway, during that tumultuous time in my life, several people asked me if I was going to change the name of my blog.  It really caught me off guard.  Why would I need to change the name of my blog?  I still believe family brings joy.  My own parents divorced, yet I still love my family…I have more family to love.

When I redesigned my blog several years back, I added and sometimes other emotions as a subtitle hoping to clarify, that just because you have a family, doesn’t mean you will live in a constant state of joy.  We all know that is not the case.  People/individuals in families can cause heartbreak, frustration and every other form of emotion possible.  Even so, I still believe the family is the basic unit of society.  I believe it is better for each individual of a family to stay in tact. {as long as there is not abuse being inflicted in any way}  I’m not going to site a study on family or give quotes.  This is my personal belief from my own experience in this life.  I also know that if a spouse dies it doesn’t mean the family is dissolved.  I guess what I’m trying to say is that I didn’t have any intention of changing the name of my blog when I thought I was going to be divorced.  Nevertheless, now I am reevaluating.  Should I change the name?  Is it misleading?

It would be a lot of work to change the name.  In the blogging world they call the name of your blog your “brand.”  So I have spent many years cultivating my brand.  What if a reader wanted to see what I was up to and they couldn’t find me anymore?  I really don’t want to change the name.  I also don’t want my integrity to be in question.  Yes, this is my blog.  If you have not met me in real life, then my blog is a reflection of who I am as a person.  It is my sincere desire for people to know I am authentic.  I am a highly sensitive person which makes me very conscientious of others feelings.  When I leave this life I want to leave a legacy my family will want to continue…one of integrity and love of all mankind, but most of all my love of family.  It is most precious.  And with constant nourishment it can survive into the eternities.

So whether anyone has read this post or not, the writing of it was beneficial to me.  And from here on out I pledge to write more regularly for me with or without pictures.  With that being said, I absolutely and positively love having readers…especially interacting with them.  You are welcome to come along on this journey.  All insights and comments are welcome…although I reserve the right to delete any contentious ones, as I would rather keep things on a positive and uplifting basis.  Life is rough enough as it is.  I don’t need anyone bringing me down…my own nature does that enough as it is.

Now I’m going to go take a walk/run.  I wish you a good day.

Writing brings joy,

Bad Days Can Have Good Endings

Alexander screening familybringsjoy.comSaturday our family had the wonderful opportunity to screen the upcoming movie Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.  That is a very long title for a movie.  Try to say that fast!  I will refer to the movie as Alexander for the rest of this post. 😉  Oh and in case you are wondering what the full movie poster looks like (since I couldn’t squeeze it all in my selfie pic to the left.)

Alexander movie poster

I’m always super grateful when there is a movie in which every member (our kids ages 16 & 11) of our family can enjoy watching it together.  Family values movies seem to be few and far between these days.  I watched the following trailer once before going to the movie.  In case you haven’t seen it yet, here it is:

I wonder how many other moms might have cringed a little while watching the preview…wondering to themselves, “do I really want to pay to see a bad day?”  To be honest, I thought that.  Yet, I knew Disney would make it right and they did.  Alexander has something for every member of the family to relate and laugh about.  It turns out the movie is based on a children’s book written in the early 70’s by Judith Viorst.  If you liked Steve Carrell in Date Night then you will like him in this movie as well.  Steve plays Alexander’s father.

“As a dad I can totally relate to this movie. Things tend to not go the way that you think they’ll go. But there’s always a contingency plan. There’s always a backup. Things go wrong in life and I think that’s part of the charm of this movie: Everyone experiences those days. It’s all about how you struggle through and keep your dignity and your sense of family and fun and the kind of love that is pervasive between the characters in this film.”  Steve Carrell

steve as ben

I am a huge fan of Alias, so I’m always excited to see Jennifer Garner.  I enjoyed seeing Jennifer play the mother roll in The Odd Life of Timothy Green.  She doesn’t disappoint in this movie too.  It’s interesting I brought up Date Night and The Odd Life of Timothy Green, because if you mix those 2 movies together, you can sort of sense how Alexander is (without the magic aspect.)

“I don’t think I’ve ever played anything closer to my real life. Not that I have days as bad as this, but just days with the chaos of having a bunch of kids in the house—when there’s a kid peeing on the floor, and the dog is throwing up and somebody’s about to step in it, and you’re trying to get dinner on the table. I can definitely relate to the idea of trying to do too much in a day.”  Jennifer Garner

jennifer as kelly

The family portrayed in Alexander does have a really bad day, but what I like is how the family deals with the bad things.  The Dad is an optimist and is always telling the children to hop on the ship of positivity.  Families can learn a lot from these characters.  My 16 year old son really laughed out loud during the driving test scene. He is about to take his driving test, possibly tomorrow.  I’m truly hoping it doesn’t go the way this one did.

Alexander driving test scene

There were so many good quotes I wish I had written down while watching Alexander.  Most of them were said by Alexander.  The following quote, however simple, is completely true. “You gotta have the bad days so you can love the good days.”

Alexander card

Alexander is a definite family values movie…a must see!  You won’t be disappointed.  Let me put it this way…I don’t like to buy movies or watch them more than once.  Yet when I left the movie I thought to myself, “We need to buy that movie when it comes out on DVD.”  Bravo!  Well done!  Take your family to see Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day this weekend.

Just for you, my awesome readers, I’m including the recipe to Ben Cooper’s Quiche he made in the movie.  Quiche is one of my favs.  Can’t wait to make it myself.

alexander quiche

Click on this link for a PDF copy of Ben Cooper’s Crustless Quiche Recipe

I will conclude with the Cooper family sitting down at the table for meal time…hope you’re family is sitting together for meals. (You know how I feel about that)

Hash Tagged blessed,

The Things We Do

You never know how much good you do…

Well doesn’t this bring perspective.  I can relate to this mom’s day all too well (except she fits in a family prayer in the morning.)  However, not all my days are filled with helping others outside my home, such as this one.  But, it does seem there are days where service is jam packed into one day or one week.  As the saying goes, “When it rains it pours.”

This reminds me of my last post…I went on and on about how I can blog again now that the kids are back in school.  I have one less child at home…yet she could drive and was helpful when I needed help with the kids.  Since the kids have been back to school life has been filled with unexpected happenings.  The most recent was saying goodbye to my Brother-In-Law who passed away after suffering another stroke.  If ever there was a family man, it was him.  Praying for my Sister, Nephew & Nieces.

Brother in law familybringsjoy.com

Before that happened, I helped prepare my oldest for her study abroad trip in Turkey and Greece.  Today she embarked on her first day of sight seeing in Greece.  I’m extremely grateful she made it there safely with all that is going on in the country right next door.  She will be touring for about 3 weeks.  If ever there is a time for this mom’s faith to be tested, it is now.  Feel free to pray with me for her safety every day until she returns home.

Daughter created this double exposure of herself.

Daughter created this double exposure of herself.

my ballet dancer familybringsjoy.comMy youngest daughter is a dancer.  Dance is what makes her happy.  She comes by it honest, as it is one of my favorite past times.  We thought we had found her a new dance studio before we moved back to Texas.  Upon moving here, we found out some information which led us to not use that particular studio.  We tried one studio in which they made her audition.  The dance instructor said she would need to be in a class with kids much younger than her based on her ballet skills only.  Her words were, “She can’t help it, she was taught in Oklahoma.”  To say this rubbed us the wrong way is an understatement.  We absolutely adored my daughter’s dance teacher in Oklahoma.  It just so happens she taught more lyrical ballet rather than classical ballet.  We said au revoir and found a much better dance studio for her.

Football has been the name of the game for my son the line backer.  We’ve attended all sorts of pre-games including one held at the Dallas Cowboy Stadium in my hometown of Arlington.  The high school here is something else and has the coolest pep rallies!

hs sophomore football player familybringsjoy.com

Can I just end by saying YOU ARE AWESOME!  I’m so grateful for my faithful readers…my new ones as well!  Hope everyone has a super day!

YOU matter…I promise,

You Never Know…

you never know what you have until you clean your room familybringsjoy.comI have this little plaque in our playroom.

“You never know what you have…until you clean your room.”

Well, this goes for your whole house too.  After living for 43 years, you tend to collect a lot of stuff.  Yet, when you have a family, it multiplies.  Even though our family has moved 7 times since my husband & I got married (20 years ago,) we STILL have too much stuff.  To be honest, in the past, I didn’t make a big enough effort to purge as much as I should have.  I’m doing things differently this time.  Instead of jumping right into packing and haphazardly giving a few things away here and there, I have been primarily focusing on PURGING the last few months.

Here’s the deal, I come from sweet parents who are sentimental and like to hold onto things.  I come by it honest. {That saying might be a southern thang…he he he}  Personally, I really think there is a genetic disposition when it comes to this.  It’s been interesting, because my husband likes to throw things away.  He would rather throw things of value away than give them away.  I can’t do that.  If it has value, if someone else can use it…I would rather give it away.  Otherwise, I feel it’s like taking dollar bills and throwing them away.  I definitely see it’s easier to throw things away since it cuts out the sorting step and taking it to the local charity.  However, we initially paid for the items or someone gave them to us (which they paid for) and I can’t throw that money away.

If you’ve been reading here for awhile you know I have ADD.  I like to share the ins and outs of what it’s like to have it.  Mine is the inattentive kind.  Medicine has been miraculous for me.  However, when it comes to having a high stress level, like now, sometimes the medicine doesn’t work as much as I’d like.  I only realized I had ADD about 11 years ago.  So pre-medicine days (32 years) I would get so overwhelmed, there wouldn’t be much purging or sorting.  I was doing  good to just have everything packed for moving day.  To take a box and sort through it is almost like torture.  The act of making so many decisions is so mentally taxing on me that it effects me physically.  After going through several boxes I am completely wiped out.  I know my ADD has something to do with this.  My brain works differently than someone without ADD.

Over the years, I’ve been trying to teach my children about letting go of things they don’t need or use anymore.  I seem to have done a good enough job with my two oldest…it’s the youngest who is resistant.  Yet, I have been so pleased with her progress while we’ve been sorting.  I found it’s easier on her to give away things to people she knows and cares for.  It’s funny…she will make a pile for charity and then she will have an even bigger pile for our friends.  Personally, I find it easier to give things of value or emotional significance to my friends as well.  My best friend is also moving {yet she is moving 2 hours North of here, while I will be moving almost 3 hours South. :( } Anyway, there are many toys we’ve kept that my kids no longer play with. {Partly because I’m in denial they aren’t little anymore.}  We’ve had them in the playroom and when little ones come over to our house they know where they are.  I enjoy seeing the kids play with the toys.  Since we are downsizing, we won’t have room to store these toys anymore.  I’m grateful my youngest was able to give those toys to my best friend’s kids (who are much younger than my kids.)  Bestie sends me texts of the kids playing with the toys and it feels so great knowing the items are in a good home.

So, I’m off to go through more boxes.  Most of the boxes now are in the attic.  I’ve pretty much gone through the stuff in the home.  We have a HUGE attic, though and it was completely FULL before we began this process.  I refuse to move it all.  If it’s been in the attic all this time, I haven’t missed it much, right?  Moving is stressful but if it motivates me to purge and simplify…that’s a good thing.  I need to keep telling myself that during this process.

I hope everyone is having a good summer!

Lighten your load,