Bride Shaves Her Head During Bridal Shower to Honor Mother Who Died of Cancer

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She called it her “Bridal Shave”.

Instead of a traditional bridal shower, this Chicago woman hosted a party where she shaved her head to honor her mom, who died of liver cancer just two years ago.

Corinne Sullivan of Chicago buzzed off all of her blonde hair during a pub event hosted by the St. Baldrick’s Foundation earlier this month.

She says, “Shaving your head, it’s more than just raising money.”  For me, it’s like showing solidarity, it’s very dramatic. It’s a very bold and eye-catching way to bring in the conversation all the time. Everywhere I go, people can’t deny it.”

Pretty great conversation starter, right?

Sullivan said she has been looking for a way to honor her mom ever since, but nothing seemed quite right until a friend walked into the bar she worked at with a shaved head last year.

After learning that he did it to benefit St. Baldrick’s, Sullivan agreed to do it as well.

She says, “My mom had been a pediatric oncology nurse so that had been something that was really important to her. People that do go through cancer, whether they’re children or adults, one of the things you struggle with is losing your hair. You don’t realize, as women, how much we identify our hair with our looks and how important our looks are to our identity.”

Sullivan decided to organize her shave to coincide with her bridal shower as a way to get her mom involved with some of the festivities.

In lieu of gifts, Sullivan had all her friends donate to St. Baldrick’s and after raising more than $1,350 online, she collected even more at the event itself.

Sullivan and Lyndon will marry on May 12, and declared it would be a giftless wedding. However, they are continuing to encourage their friends and family to support St. Baldrick’s.

To donate to their campaign, visit their St. Baldrick’s website.

Get the full story HERE. 

5 Things We Can Learn from the French about Laundry

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One of the great benefits of traveling and living in other places in the world is the perspective we gain. Just ask Danielle Postel-Vinay. She currently lives in New York City, but as a teen, she met her first mentor in the French way of life, Jacqueline Manon, an antique shop owner, who took her under her wing and invited her into her home. After spending time in France, Postel-Vinay married a Parisian man, and her new French family and mother-in-law continued her education in the French way of keeping a home. Now, the writer’s sharing all of the secrets she’s gleaned from her French family and friends in her new book, Home Sweet Maison: The French Art of Making a Home.

Among the many tips and tricks of the French way of life, she shares five things the French know about doing laundry, that Americans don’t seem to know, or practice anyway. I’ll give you three, but you can get ALL FIVE RIGHT HERE.

1. Use Different Stain Fighters for Different Stains. Stain fighting is NOT a “one size fits all proposition”. Different stains require different chemicals. When Postel-Vinay lived in the South of France, she discovered that the French grocery store stocked small bottles of specialized formulas for treating every type of stain imaginable, and from a chemistry standpoint, it made so much sense. She says “Grass stains are not the same problem as ballpoint pen ink, and olive oil is utterly different on a silk blouse than coffee. How could one expect to remove all these different stains with the same chemical? Postel-Vinay bought a complete set of Stain Devils from Carbona ($32; carbona.com).

2. Air Dry (Don’t Machine-Dry) Delicate Clothing. In general, Americans machine-dry their clothing much more often than Europeans. From watching her mother-in-law’s method of washing clothes, Postel-Vinay learned that dryers are to be avoided, unless absolutely necessary. Instead, in an apartment, her mother-in-law would hoist clothes on a drying rack up to the ceiling, or in nice weather, on a clothesline outside. Not only is the dryer a waste of electricity and money, but it wreaks havoc on clothing. She says, “An electric dryer will fade, shrink, and deteriorate whatever you put inside it.” Want to try the French method? Set up a clothesline outside this summer or invest in a drying rack ($30; containerstore.com)—your clothes will thank you.

3. Iron Everything. You may roll your eyes on this one, but Postel-Vinay says her mother-in-law ironed everything (cloth napkins and bed sheets, included).  This may seem too time-consuming for most American households, especially if you have children and daunting piles of clothing. As a compromise, opt for a small handheld steamer that you can pull out to prep your work outfit in the morning. You’ll still look polished, but won’t devote your weekends to ironing every single piece.

Good luck implementing some of these tips, and please DO let me know how it goes for you. Vive La France!

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Rescue Dog Sniffs Out Owner’s Skin Cancer!

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I’ve heard about this kind of thing before, but I’ve never gotten documented proof. Now I have.  

A one-eyed dog saved her owner’s life by sniffing out a cancerous lump, just months after she was rescued.

Victoria, a Treeing Walker Coonhound, sniffed around a reddish lump near the nostril of her owner Lauren Gauthier, of Buffalo, N.Y., until she went to the doctor to examine further.

A skin biopsy came back to show the blemish was basal cell carcinoma, and if caught any later, could have developed into deadly melanoma.

“She’d been literally putting her nose onto my nose where the cancer was,” Gauthier told InsideEdition.com.

Recently, she noticed a small lump on her face, but dismissed it as a scratch. Victoria, seemed to notice instinctively that something was wrong.

“She started smelling a specific are of my nose to the extent that she would actually touch her nose to mine where the cancer is and lean back and look at me and smell it again and look at me,” Gauthier explained.

Gauthier explained that she and her husband, Benjamin, adopted Victoria just eight months before. Victoria came to them already having an eye injury they suspected was the result of careless hunting.

Gauthier had the spot diagnosed and underwent surgery to remove the cancer shortly after.

While her nostril is now slightly scarred, and she didn’t have feeling in her nose for several months, she said she is glad Victoria the dog caught the cancer early on.

So who rescued whom?

Why does Love Bend Toward Your Mate?

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After spending a weekend helping to “coach” couples at a marriage retreat, the big takeaway for me is “Love always bends toward your spouse”. How do you resolve your differences? You bend toward your mate. How do you “take the high road” and “be the bigger person”? You bend toward your spouse.. How do you show understanding to your spouse? You bend to them. How do you forgive? You bend toward your mate.

Try to remember your wedding vows. Chances are they went something like this:

“I take you to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until death do us part.”

How to you promise to be there for your spouse, for better or for worse? By bending toward them.

How are you there for them, for richer or for poorer? You BEND toward them.

How are you there for your mate in sickness and in health? By BENDING TOWARD them.

How can you love and cherish them until death do you part? BY BENDING TOWARD THEM.

Ephesians 5:21 tells the husband and wife to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ”. How do you do that? Yep, by bending toward one another

See, love ALWAYS bends toward the other person. Take any great story of sacrifice. Try the ULTIMATE story of sacrifice. The picture of Christ on the cross, beaten and wounded, scarred and bleeding to death. Through all of his suffering, from silently enduring shame and ridicule to the merciless torture inflicted on him by Roman soldiers, to the walk to the cross, all the way to his final breath….his body was literally bent. The greatest display of love ever shown left with us a picture we should always remember in marriage and in any loving relationship.

Love always bends toward the other person.

Here’s a great example of that from Hollywood. This is from “The Family Man” starring Nicholas Cage and Tea Leoni. Here, Tea’s character confronts her husband about his decision to move.

Four Animals. Which One Are You?

Have you ever wondered what your personality TYPE is? I mean, many of us are Type “A”, right? Driven, motivated, ambitious. How about the rest of us? Well years of research  have whittled it down to FOUR animal types. Each have well-defined strengths and some areas where they can improve. Stay tuned and I’ll tell you mine in just a bit.

You can actually take a pretty short assessment to find out which of these four animals you most closely resemble RIGHT HERE

My wife and I recently attended a marriage retreat where we not only learned our dominant personality types, but those of our kids as well. See, MOST people fall predominately into one of these four categories, though most of us are a combination of more than one.

The four animals are:

LION: Lions are born leaders who love to take charge. They love challenging opportunities and they want immediate results. They get things done. Lions can be intimidating, and people tend to keep them at arms length. The challenge for Lions is to take the other person into consideration, and they would do well to be a little softer with people.

GOLDEN RETRIEVERS: They are solid, dependable, and supportive. Golden retrievers are warm, loving, and caring. They place a high value on loyalty and are natural experts at relationships. Their strong tendency toward “soft-sided” love can lead to issues of co-dependence and enabling. They need to learn to be more assertive and would do well to say “NO” more often.

OTTERS: Otters are the life of the party. they are expressive, mischievous, spontaneous, fun, and they are great at motivating others. Otters tend to be soft on others and even soft on problems, to the point of ignoring them. They, like the golden retrievers, need to say no more often and they need to deal with reality so that they can be more in tune with problems and people.

BEAVERS: Beavers make the best employees and team members. They are systematic, sensible, and love perfection. There’s only way for the beavers, and that’s the right way. They expect people to perform and conform. Sometimes they tend to put the issue ahead of the person, and they tend to keep a lid on their emotions. Beavers would do well to be more expressive with their feelings.

Which one of these four are you? I’m actually a tie between the Lion and the Otter, but most everyone around me thinks I’m an otter.

Hope this helps you relate better to people around you! Personality_Types_and_Communication_Styles

Three Easy Habits to Improve Your Nutrition WITHOUT Obsessing Over Food

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Let’s face it, diets are confusing. One diet say you should avoid this type of food at all costs while another diet claims that you need to cut way back on another type of food.

I came across a cool article that takes so much of the guesswork and anxiety out of eating right. I’ve got the whole article RIGHT HERE.

Devrie Pettit is a registered dietitian who says we can’t let food consume our thoughts. We need to find a balance between eating for energy and eating to satisfy our palate.

She basically breaks it down in 3 easy habits we can all live by:

1. Eat food that you like.
There is no reason to eat something that doesn’t taste good just because it’s “healthy.” If you are choking down celery because you heard it is fibrous and extremely low in calories, stop. Plus, she says, varying your vegetables will provide your diet with ample vitamins, minerals, and chemicals.

2. Find food that satisfies you.
A satisfying meal or snack tastes good and is well-balanced, meaning it combines protein, carbohydrate and fat. When you finish eating and you feel satisfied you won’t continue searching for food to meet your needs. Furthermore, you will eat less in the long run.

3. Eat enough.
This is my favorite one. Pettit says we need to stop aiming to eat a certain number of calories or grams. Instead, she says, pay attention to your hunger and fullness. When you ditch numbers and listen to your body you will find that your body truly knows how much it needs to feel its best.

As part of National Nutrition Month, eatright.org includes articles, recipes, videos and educational resources to spread the message of good nutrition and the importance of an overall healthy lifestyle for people of all ages, genders and backgrounds.

You can also visit furtherwithfood.org/resources/ for great tools and resources.

Nine Children Adopted by Father and Son to Keep Group of Siblings Together

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Early one morning, Jacob Smith, a college student, sees a Facebook post about a group of 8 children ages toddler to fourteen who need a home.

Jacob says he thought to himself,  ‘Man, if I had the financial means to do this, we would definitely do it,” He says”Literally the next day, my mom calls me and she’s like, ‘So, are you serious about the kids?'”

Turns out, his dad Thad Smith also saw the Facebook post, and discussed adopting the children with his wife, Loryn.

I love this quote from Thad: “I think we’re called to a deeper purpose than coming home, and closing our doors.”

After careful deliberation, Jacob and his wife Peggy, who have no children of their own, decided they would adopt the three younger siblings, and Thad and Loryn would adopt the five older ones.

They say that the decision made sense to them because they lived only a few houses down from each other and wanted to keep the big sibling group together while sharing the burden.

Jacob says, “We just knew we had a calling to them.”

Just when they thought they would have a big enough adjustment to their new lives, Jacob and Peggy got a call that the siblings’ mom just had a baby, meaning that the team of siblings was now nine strong.

The family is now raising money through the Promise Love Foundation to buy two new cars to drive their new children around.

Read the full story complete with video HERE

 

This Daily Practice Can Improve Your Marriage!

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Experts say that one of the keys to a happy marriage is daily time sharing with each other. If you can spend just 10-20 minutes each day connecting with each other, you can develop empathy, and research shows that empathy is such a crucial ingredient in a thriving marriage. In fact, I explored the importance of empathy in THIS post.

I’ve recently learned and started a practice developed years ago by famed therapist Virginia Satir called “The Daily Temperature Reading”. This simple practice, which takes just minutes a day, helps couples create and sustain strong, healthy, loving relationships. When you do these, make sure you are holding hands and look each other in the eye. Each person has the chance to share in each section and the other person listens without interrupting, before moving on to the next section.

Now you can get the full breakdown HERE, but I’m going to walk you through each step:

1/Appreciations: This is where you share just a couple of things that you appreciate about each other. This can be as simple as “I like your smile” to “I appreciate you doing the dishes after dinner tonight”. It can be a really nice surprise to realize just how much our spouse notices and appreciates.

2/New Information. This is just meant for keeping each other” in the loop” on day to day stuff. You can start this by saying things like “I want to tell you about…” or “I heard today that…” or “I need to remind you that…”. It’s just about keeping each other informed, which is crucial to staying in synch and feeling connected.

3/Puzzles. This is just an opportunity to clear up any big or little mysteries in and around your collective worlds. With puzzles, you can clear up any big or little mysteries before they become suspicions, jealousy, false assumptions or resentments.

4/Concerns with Request for Change. This is where you get in the habit of saying what you want instead of what you don’t want. Basically, you can just describe a specific behavior that bothers you and explain how you’d like it done. This is a chance for you to make a REASONABLE request. Instead of saying something like “I hate it when you spew toothpaste all over the sink”, say something like “Could you do me a favor and clean up after yourself in the sink after you brush your teeth, so that there’s not any leftover toothpaste still in the sink?”

5/Hopes, Wishes, and Dreams. This is an opportunity to let your spouse know some things you are hoping for in the long run and in the short term. A partner who understands your dreams is able to help make them happen. Just like any of the rest of the items on this list, these things change, so it’s important to keep each other current.

Arrange a time that suits both of you to do these every day, Now it may feel a bit uncomfortable and awkward at first, but once you get in the groove of doing this on a regular basis, you’ll find it very helpful, and a real key to keeping your relationship strong and healthy. You can even do it with your kids. It’s a big help to just about any relationship!

Here it is in practice (with some audio difficulty):

Four Unhealthy Messages We Send To Our Kids–And The One They Need To Hear

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Sometimes as a parent, it’s important to look at how you parent and give yourself an honest assessment of how you are doing. I came across an excellent article on four types of parenting techniques and the messages they send. I HIGHLY encourage you to read the full article (it’s not long) to get all four, but I wanted to highlight two of the more common parenting approaches that I’ve seen.

The Boss Parent. I think this has been a common parenting technique for many, and truthfully, it’s one I’ve fallen back on as my default parenting mode. The Boss parent allows his or her child to ride bikes, perhaps even bigger than he can handle for his age. But when he meets the grill of the car he hears, “What were you thinking? You know the rules. Follow them. If you don’t listen, one of these days you’re going to get hit, and it’ll be your fault. You need to do better next time.”

The BFF Parent allows the child to bike wherever he wants through town because the backyard might limit his creativity or who he is to become. When he meets the grill of the car in the alley, this parent is writing down every detail the child can remember about the car to hunt down the person who dared drive on that alley while her son was riding his bike. The message the child receives is, “You can do it on your own. You’re amazing. When trouble comes, it’s the world’s fault, not yours. We’ll rescue you.”

According to the article, the one message your child NEEDS to hear is:

“You can explore safely within the boundaries, but when you stray and meet the grill of life, I’m here to help you learn from it. I love you unconditionally for who you are, but I love you enough to not leave you that way.”

I hope you find this as helpful as I did, and please don’t beat yourself up too hard as a parent. We all make mistakes. Just be willing to love your child the best you can, and learn from the times when you might fall short.