A Quote for Parents Who Worry

This past weekend at my church, our Pastor offered a sermon on worry. I could really relate because I grew up in a worrisome home.

Full of anxiety, my Nanny would always remind me of the scary stuff I had to watch out for in life: strangers, pedophiles waiting in parked cars on my walk to school, staying up too late, getting hurt outside, drowning in the pool, driving in the car…. the list went on and on.

While in my other ear, my dad would not allow me to do things which could result in a bad experience, or worse: harm. For instance, I could not drive a small car. When I was sixteen I wanted a Corvette (okay, champagne taste on a beer budget I was told)…so I settled on a white Toyota MR2. Nope, he vetoed that and wound up giving me his Ford F150 to drive to school instead because the car I wanted was too small and I could get killed in it.

I could not do this, or that, go here, or there, all because ‘God-forbid, something could happen to me’. I realize they cared, but honestly…

As I grew older, I inherited that habit of worry. So much that while I was dating my children’s dad back in 1994, he gave me a worry stone as a gift.

Interestingly enough, I can say I have never been afraid to try new things (probably felt stifled), but it has actually been just over the last two years that I have been able to drop the stress of daily life and what-if’s, and relax more.

Much of it has been prayer, some of it is this year’s My One Word: “Relax”, and some is just refusing to live in fear- and choosing instead to focus on ways to enjoy life (and the moment).

I am happy to extend this faith to my children. Life can bring us much to fret about, it’s our job to let go of it and enjoy the moment-and teach them to do the same.

A football (and New Orleans Saints) fan, I’ve been reading ‘Coming Back Stronger’. It’s an auto-biography about Drew Brees. I picked it up because I admire his leadership and wanted to learn more about my team. (Okay, haters, I have/do support the Browns and always pray for the team to do well, and make good choices, I just enjoy the Saints and Drew Brees more- can you blame me?)

Anyhow-in his book I found this quote comforting and inspiring:

Worry about the Day ~DB

With all there is in life to worry about, only concern yourself with the stuff you can control. Let go of the rest and let it fall into (or out of) place. Your kids need you to be in the present, and they need to lead less stressful lives themselves so that they can cope with all the stuff already being thrown at them.

If you want to listen to the sermon on worry, click here, it should be online soon.

ONE WORD for ONE MONTH: How Our New Year’s Resolutions Are Going

 On 1/1/14 We Chose Our One Word:
My One Word Goals Resolutions

Let go, let ‘it’ go & relax 
(most women can relate to this)

9 year old son-“AS” or “SA” 
(Attitude Stop/Stop Action)
Because he is young, we bent the 1 word rule to allow him an acronym, especially since it was  such a good one he picked, that could help him with his biggest weaknesses (rushing & occasional attitudes)

12 year old daughter-Management
She was smart and paired a weakness with a word which could encourage her to use her desire to control things- this plan allows her to use control in a good way
16 year old daughter-Motivation 
Hallelujah! -I can guarantee you already know what this means and understand what it will help her (and me) with…

How’s it going? 
It’s going GREAT! 
We check in every so often with each other to see if we’re using our 1 word~
 Sometimes we are and sometimes we admit we’re not. 
It’s not about perfection, it’s about doing our best… and bonding!




“New Year 2014” by jscreationzs via freedigitalphotos.net

If you’re looking for a way out of goal-setting this year, you’re probably going to be a bit disappointed with what I’m about to say, but, on the other hand, if you’re looking for a way to avoid boring goals, which usually are too big to fathom, and the guilty feelings that follow, this could help.

The following list is what our family is in the habit of doing when it comes to goals (from the small to the tall).

To start, over the last few years, we’ve ditched the long list of nagging resolutions and adopted the MyOneWord approach…

1. Picking One Word:
What do you want more or less of in life this year?
What would you like to be better at or stop doing?

What one word would help you focus on one or all of these things? (it’s possible with one word)

…Next, while we all know we can’t completely avoid making some sort of goals in life (as my
sweet-sixteen-ager is figuring out), we can at least find a better approach and be more successful with the outcome...


2. Goal Setting:
What are you or your teen striving to accomplish? (Is it finding a job, getting better grades, saving for a car, college or a vacation, spending more time together as a family?)

Write it down….
You have just set a long term goal- (Now add a date of when you would like to achieve it)

List what would need to happen, or what you’d have to do, for this to become reality by that date…
You have just set your mid & short-term goals- now add dates of when you think you could accomplish these things – use a 1, 3, 6, & 12 month range (make sure you have a linked task in each)

Now, the last part and often the hard part (which can be easy)…


  • Don’t add goals to your list you know you cannot accomplish. 

(This is not limiting yourself, it’s understanding yourself, and learning to set more realistic goals.) Understand that if you know you aren’t good at something or have absolutely 0 interest in it
– I DON’T CARE HOW MUCH OF THE NATION IS DOING IT-DO NOT put it on your goal list! For instance, if you despise sitting still and never, in your life, have you been able to, DO NOT set a goal of taking up meditation or knitting! This is one way to fail instantly and bring about the best guilt you’ll ever feel, never mind all of the negative self-thoughts you can imagine. If you tend to like a challenge-ok I get it-

Just do this…

  • List steps that could lead you there first (Do Not Pin what you want to do-PINNING=WISHING. Instead, talk to folks about it-use the internet to find forums on the subject, ask people their  experience in local meditation studios or crafting shops, find out where they started) and if you want to, you could follow experts on Twitter regarding the topic (there are great articles and people to follow who are much more motivating and engaging than just Pinning); even better, buy a book on it (e-books count), and then write a list of why you want to to obtain that goal (we all need a why). 

Bottom Line: Start SMALL (attainable) 

NOTEIf after a few days you’re bored-and after a few weeks you’re wondering why you made the goal…the answer is: you’re goal isn’t cool enough (or your why isn’t GREAT enough).
Consider this:
  • What is similar but somewhat more fun/attainable for you?
  • What other completely different goal could you put in place of this? 
  • Maybe you just need to ‘let it go’- (Which happens to be part of my motivation for choosing My One Word for 2014).


Easing Teens into Goal Setting:
For my teenager, the shock of learning to set goals was eased with simply getting her into the habit of making aTo-Do List. Almost instantly (a day) she began feeling better about herself; knowing that the things she might have been thinking about doing, but procrastinated on (or ignored) were no longer weighing on her mind. And, each time she checked off something on her list each day, she felt accomplished.

Helping the Visually Motivated):
Some kids are visual learners (or are too young to do the To-Do List method). They might be more motivated by something they can see daily (or in some Teenager’s cases, the To-Do List just isn’t enough) so I use this method- post a picture of the goal on the fridge or in their room. Have them make their goal list with photos (go to the store, have them snap a pic of their desired item and use it as a screen saver on their computers or phones).

Goal Setting Ideas for Little Ones:
For littler kids, try making a graph or chart of what they are trying to achieve. One year my little girl was saving up for a bicycle, so we drew her a picture of a bike on a piece of paper and made lines to at each $5.00 mark, then she’d color in the sections until she reached the $60.00 goal; when she did, the whole bike was all colored in! She still vividly remembers that whole process, the bike and her age when she did it… Today, she is 12 years old, an EXCELLENT saver, and thinks about every purchase she makes.

As Always, with any goal, don’t forget to reward afterwards. If your kids love electronics, restrict some of their time spent on those things until after they have accomplished something on their list. If you are Pinterest-or-FacebookAddicted- shut it off or hold back on using it until you’ve done something on your goal list. You can, for the younger ones, buy them little treats to give when they reach certain stages in reaching goals. For little kids, sometimes just a printer generated certificate of achievement or a congratulations card is enough of a reward. Holding back the reward is important in teaching kids to delay gratification, and is often a lesson which isn’t taught anymore.

For mor New Year’s Resolutions, One Word Ideas, or Tips on Goal Setting with your family, use those key words to search this blog or email me at FamilyMatterswithAmber@gmail.com.

Good Luck and Happy New Year!



“Two Thousand And Fourteen On Laptop Shows New Years Resolution 2” by Stuart Miles via Freedigitalphotos.net


For three years I’ve not made a single resolution. That’s right…not a one.

Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m far from perfect, I know I could use a little help (what type of help could actually be debated), but in all seriousness, I have not not made one list of resolutions since 2011.

I no longer focus on bad habits to fix, good deeds to do, or goals to work on relating to the traditional New Year Resolution.

Neither do my kids.

That’s because I like life simple…

And ever since I read an article in Psychology Today about the benefits of picking just one word for the year, I jumped on board.

And, it’s worked!

You see, the truth is, I’ve been a self-help junky for too long and so I could never go into the New Year without at least something to get better at….

I found that the one word approach just made life easier, and believe it or not,  it’s more effective!

I did My One Word for 20112012 & 2013 and let me tell you how my life has changed because of it.

This One Word thing has been way more effective than any approach you could ever take to a New Year’s Resolution…and it’s easy to teach kids how to do! When you take away the daunting list of ‘have-to’s’ and replace it with a philosophy, life becomes simpler.

Oh, but don’t let this simple one word idea fool you- It’s work. And it will pay off.

Come back and visit later in the month to find out what 
one word I’ll be choosing for 2014!

My One Word ~ Blog Posts:




I follow Rowdy Kittens and appreciate what the author shares with her readers. Things like being green, living simple, and with less. She writes about a variety of things and one of her recent posts was about Positive Emotions. Short, sweet and quite personal, she offered a few ideas and experiences on how to stay focused on positive emotions while still dealing with things like grief and sadness.

I think you should check it out. She even made a free screen saver to go along with the post which I downloaded today!

Not a mom (at least to children) you might wonder, “How does this woman’s post relate to me as a parent?”. Well, like the flight attendant who instructs the parent/guardian to take care of themselves first by putting on the oxygen mask first…so they can properly take care of their child….

The same applies here.
Keep yourself positive and you will help your
kids cope better as well.

When we are in a down state emotionally, it’s harmful to our kids because it can result in them feeling shut off, shut down or alone. During our worst days we somehow have to figure out how to stay positive. (Don’t take that as you should ignore true feelings because like Rowdy Kittens mentioned still  -you’re human- but find the strength and resources to keep going.)

Because My One Word this year is Positively, I will be infusing more posts which will be somehow link to being positive.

If you’re not a parent and visited my blog today and enjoyed it, I’m glad you found something inspiring or motivating to read here. Please pass it on!