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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

12 Tips For Being The Best Grandparents

My dad, my stepmom and Xavier when he was first born.
      I know I am not a grandparent but Xavier had three sets of grandparents. Sadly, he is down to two right now. So we have had some experience with grandparents. Also, I have been taking polls and talking to other parents to find out the best relationship a grandparent can have with their grandchildren.
         It may sound easy, you are a grandparent you get to have fun with the child and send them back home to mom and dad, but if you want to be able to continually see them a lot and not have spats or fights along the way here are some helpful tips directly from parents to grandparents.
          I hope that by writing this it improves any strained relationships that may be going on right now. Also, please note that these rules are for parents and grandparents with an average to good relationship for the most part. Perhaps things only started getting rocky when the new baby was born, or perhaps the babysitting is not going as well as expected. Try out some of these and see what you think. Also, if anyone has any other tips feel free to leave them in the comments! We can always learn from each other.
          Remember family is important in a child's life and we all must make an effort to be able to give that child the best family experience possible. After all love in all it's forms is what helps children thrive.

12 Tips For Being The Best Grandparents (For the parents and the children)

Nick's stepdad with Xavier.

1) The less you see of the grandchild the more you get to spoil him/her.
    This may sound harsh. You moved to be close to your grandchildren. You want to help out and play with them as much as possible. However, you must realize if you are seeing that child regularly you have to set rules and you have to discipline. Or quite frankly your beautiful, loving grandchild will turn into a spoiled brat. If however, you live far away from your grandchildren than you are able to spoil them more. The parents should be more lenient on letting you spoil them as they know the child does not get to see you very often. 

2) Teach that different houses have different rules.
    Perhaps your grand child plays with the magnets on their refrigerator because they are toys and alphabet letters, but yours are nice pictures of relatives and lists and information you need so you do not want them to play with them. A simple "NO, not at this house" should work depending on the age of the child. However, stress to the grandchildren that different houses have different rules, what they do at home may not work in your house and what they do in your house may not be allowed at home. This also works for any relative or friends' house. Make sure the child knows when entering a different house there are different rules. No need to go over every single one all at once,  you can take them as they happen unless you think there is a crucial one, such as no pulling the dogs tail or he will bite you.

My grandmother, Xavier, myself and Nick.

3) Try to keep to the child's regular schedule as much as possible no matter what.
    This is one of the biggest mistakes I see grandparents making and the most complained about with parents. As a parent I admit I am not always crazy that I have to wait for my child to finish a nap before going out for the day or having to have an early dinner so he can go to bed by eight o'clock. However, there is a reason why we do this, especially with little ones. We do this so they are not cranky. Children love and thrive on routine and especially if they are visiting you, keeping them in their normal routine makes them feel better and more open and happy to experience the other new things with you. Of course, take in consideration rule #1. If you are only visiting for a couple of days suggest perhaps you take a drive during nap time so the baby can rest. Or at least realize that when the child is acting out he/she is because they are off of their routine. When the parents are upset it is because they are off of their routine as well and it is rough on all of us. So a good thing to do is if you have to take the child off their routine try to spend extra time with the child doing something they like. Do not insist they skip a nap so you can take them to a playground then around five o'clock when your little grand baby is throwing a hissy fit do not hide and let the parents deal with it. Help by distracting the child with a new or favorite activity. This will relieve the parents and the child.

4) Keep your discipline techniques similar to mom and dads
     You may not agree with mom and dads "no spanking" approach or "time outs only" approach, but respect the fact that you were in their shoes once and you would not have liked it if your toes got stepped on for discipline. Most good parents do a lot of research, talking and soul searching trying to find the right ways they think they should discipline their children. It may not be the way you raised them, but perhaps they want to try a different approach and if you truly love your son or daughter and grandchild respect their opinion and try to enforce rules with their type of discipline. Most parents expect grandparents to go light on their children anyway so do not worry if you just say "NO" instead of the full time out. However, be sure if they do something very dangerous or are about to, you make sure to discipline them accordingly. Remember this also relates back to rule #1 if you see your grandchild a lot you must discipline more often for little things. If you cannot see them as often you can let a lot of things slide and just focus on the big things.

Nick's stepdad, Xavier and Nick's mom.

5) Do not break a parenting rule
    I admit some of us parents may have some odd rules. However, remember we are new at this so whatever silly rule it is, do not break it. I once told my mother in law while watching Xavier that he is not supposed to have anymore milk to drink (he had drank a ton already that day). However, when she gave him cereal she did not even give him milk with the cereal. We would have certainly allowed that, but just the thought that she respected our wishes meant a lot to us. So what may seem silly to you may be a real thing for the parents and child and even if it is not, you will just start a rift between the parents and yourselves by breaking something that they specifically told you NOT to do.

6) Be sensitive to mom and dad and do not criticize
    This is especially important at first and if it is a first or only child. Remember we are new at this, we already are constantly wondering if we are doing the right thing. We do not need you saying "well, when I raised all eight kids I never breastfed them and they are fine". Give your new parents support for whatever they are doing. That is what we need most. If we have a genuine question you will be the first that we ask. Of course, if something is completely dangerous speak your mind, but make sure you are being helpful not critical. Too often I see grandparents using the same advice they used on their children. Be sure to update yourself with the new techniques for watching your grandchildren. Like it or not a lot has changed since you raised your child, whether you agree with it or not your children do and that is how they are raising your grandchild. Be sure to support and help them as much as you can.

My dad and Xavier

7) Give advice sparingly and only when necessary
     Do not be upset if your children do not ask or take your advice. Most likely it is because from the moment we announce the pregnancy everyone that we know and even do not know offers us unsolicited advice for the rest of our child's life. As much as we do value your advice most of the time we want our children to be with their grandparents for the connection and love not the advice. If it is needed we will ask you. You can offer advice when you see a situation starting to get worse, but be very gentle and offer more as a suggestion rather than "what you need to do..." it goes over much better with parents if you say "you know I used to try this....and it worked well, perhaps you might want to try that?". 

8) Praise parents as much as you can
   We are new at this. We realize you are not and know you raised us pretty well, however, we are always unsure, blundering around trying to find our way around this parenting thing. The last thing we want to hear is criticism that sticks with us for a long time. Try instead pointing out some good or even great things you notice the parents doing with their children. That will reinforce their self confidence and help to seal your relationship even more with them and your grandchild.

My mom (stepmom) and Xavier.

9) Make special memories with your grandchildren
    Nothing annoys a parent more than when we bring our kids to see their grandparents and you ignore them, go about your day, or sit them in front of the television. We are bringing them to you because we are hoping that you will give them the same magical memories that we have had from you when we were little. We want our children to have a family connection and loving relationship with their grandparents as much as you want it with them. So spend time with them and do things that they can remember and say "I did that with grandpa!". You get extra bonus points if you do something with the grandchildren that you know a parent did as a child as we want our children to have at least the same great memories of their childhood if not even better.

10) Offer help
   Many grandparents are reluctant to ask to help out for fear that they are intruding. For the most part any parent welcomes at least the offer of help. Just because we may say "no thanks" once does not mean it is never needed. It just may not be the right time.
          Not sure how to help? Parents frequently need the following things and would love it if any grandparent did any of these for them.
          Offer babysitting even if for a few hours while you are visiting. Perhaps mom and dad just want a dinner alone or a nap or to run to the grocery store without carting everyone. Babysitting from grandparents is always appreciated. If you think you may have a hard time watching the children by yourself try offering at night. Kids tend to go to bed by eight or nine o'clock. Mom and dad may want to be able to go out at night with some friends but usually have to sit home to listen out in case a child wakes up. Take the night shift. Another great shift is the morning shift. Get the child up and feed them and change them in the morning and let mom and dad sleep in. Most of us parents will not turn that down. However, be sure to ask before doing this as some children have a specific morning routine you may want to stick to.
         Other ways you can help out are by helping with laundry or by making meals and bringing them over, or making them freezable, or by giving restaurant gift cards. You can also offer to run errands, grocery stores are a big one. Many parents would love it if a grandparent brought some groceries for them.
       If you are able to financially help, the parents could always use the extra financials as all expenses go up with children. If you are uncomfortable giving money some ideas are to buy your grandchildren things, it saves us from having to get them. Avoid buying tons of toys unless it is a holiday or special occasion. Instead, some great items are any furniture, cribs, changing tables, rocking chairs, beds, toddler beds, highchairs, strollers, car seats, diapers, wipes, baby lotion, baby wash, baby food/formula, shoes, socks and pajamas are always much needed items. Be sure for furniture and big items you check with mom especially as she may have a certain crib or bed picked out already, but offering to get it is a nice gesture that she will really appreciate.
       As kids are older clothing such as shoes, socks, pajamas, coats, sunglasses and just regular clothes are always running low and we are always in need of so feel free to grab some socks with those groceries! Also, with school coming up offer to help with school supplies that your grandchildren may need.

Nick's mom reading to Xavier at Christmas

11) Make holidays special for your grandchildren
   Every holiday is a holiday because it is a time you spend with loved ones. If you cannot be there in person be sure to send a special card to the grand child, call them, Skype with them or have some special tradition you do with them for each particular holiday especially their birthday. Try to be there for as many holidays as you can. As hard as it may seem,  your children and grandchildren do want you there as much as you can be for holidays and parents will usually go out of their way to invite you and make sure you are happy with the arrangements. Remember we want our children to have the great family memories we had and having you there is part of that plus you can add in new traditions and make the holidays more fun for all of us!

Nick's late father, Nick and Xavier

12) Have a special secret with each grandchild
   Of course you do not keep big secrets from parents, but make sure that the grandchild sees you as someone in their life that they can always confide in. So by having a special secret you share, or a special thing only you both do always helps. I remember talking to my grandmother for hours about books and we would read them all page by page. I never did that with my parents and it was a special bond that we shared. Remember parents want their children to have a special bond with you so be sure to take time to create it.

I hope these rules help bring out more love in your family!

My parents and Xavier

Next Generation Stay At Home Mom has been nominated as a Top Stay-At-Home-Mom Blogger. Please vote for the blog to be in the top ten. It is in the top 50 worldwide right now. You can vote everyday!
Voting begins 7/21/14 5:35AM PST and ends 8/21/14 11:55PM PST
Just click on the button below and find the picture of Xavier and I (#28) and click on the heart in the right hand corner of the picture everyday and your vote is cast for this blog. Thank you so very much for your support and love!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Toddler Piano Lesson #1

  I am sure you are wondering, "how on earth can I teach my toddler to play the piano when he/she does not even sit still for five minutes?" However, notice I put Lesson #1 in this title. We intend to teach Xavier piano. Formal piano teaching does not start until the age of five. Typically if you look for a tutor or teacher they will recommend  your child be at least five years old. However, we do things differently in our household and if you would like to try out the Arbia method of Piano Lessons you are free to try them out for yourself and even shoot me an email or comment and let us know how it is working for you.
     First, a little background so you do not think you are getting this information from a well intentioned woman who may or may not know about music. I know music. I can play the alto and baritone saxophone, piano and guitar. My father plays the guitar (acoustic, electric and bass), he also plays the piano and the pipe organ. My mother used to sing for our church. I was not only in school band and choir but church band and choir. I also have a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree which means I have countless other years of studying music among other Fine Arts. I will admit to you that I have never formally taught music. However, there were many times we did work with children by teaching them musical abilities. As I said if you think my credentials work for your family feel free to try this method out.
     Around the age of two is when you really want to present the piano. If you do not have a piano, no worries, you may want to get one eventually but do not rush out and get one. You have a few years before you even need it. In fact if you notice in my pictures I set up my keyboard. It is not the most beautiful thing in our living room but neither is the bin of cars, puzzles or stuffed animals. I have a toddler I do not expect my house to be a museum. If you are purchasing a keyboard I do strongly suggest getting one adult size. Even though you have little fingers that will be learning, the more they become accustomed to the large keys the better. Pianos are the best because children also have to learn to put pressure on the keys to make the notes louder or softer, that is something hard to find on most keyboards.

    Lesson 1 Step 1
    Put out your keyboard/piano (for the sake of the post I will be using the word piano from now on) in a room you spend a lot of time in as a family. Keep it ready to be used whenever anyone likes. Be sure everyone in the household uses it. I realize this will take A LOT of patience especially if there are people in your household who cannot play the piano. Do not fret. In fact the best way to start your toddler playing the piano is by playing and learning it yourself. Periodically throughout the day play the piano. Do a lesson yourself. Let your toddler watch you. Let him/her touch the piano, hit the keys, play with the sounds. Xavier loves the keyboard. Our keyboard has the ability to play songs and rhythms on it's own so Xavier loves have it play it's own songs. What works about this is as it plays songs he will then plunk on the keys. As much as he plays the same song over and over and drives me a little crazy I cannot help but laugh and be glad he is appreciating the piano for what it is. You want your toddler to see the piano as a fun thing to do that makes music. You do not want to force them to sit down always to play with it. You do not want to force their fingers on it. You need to let them discover the piano on their own. You and everyone in your household playing in any way shape or form of it will help your toddler understand what it is for. When you use the piano, try to have proper form at least. Sit down to play the piano, open the books and play some keys. If you cannot play at least use two hands and make whatever you think sounds like music. You are learning as much as your toddler is. You will find after time your toddler will model the behavior that you are doing at the piano.

Step 2
   Remember, you are showing your toddler what a fun thing the piano can be. However, DO NOT let your toddler play the piano with anything but their fingers. No cars, sticks, dolls or anything else on the piano. No playing with your feet, head or elbows. Also, no pounding on the keys. Think of your little keyboard as a brand new grand piano. You would not want to have your toddler disrespecting it so do not let them do that to the keyboard.

Step 3
    Invest in piano books. You can find piano books fairly cheap. Remember you need to be learning the piano as well. If you are an accomplished pianist than just playing different music will work, but you will still need beginner books for your child. You want to get a Prep (fingering book), a Solo book and a theory book. Usually you get them as a set of three. I recommend Alfred's Basic Piano Library Level A to start with . For around $17.00 you get the prep, solo, and theory books plus a cd of accompaniments for the lessons. I did not get these as a promotion or anything. I did my research and found that these books fit our family very well. I liked that they are for starting very young children. They have lesson ideas for teaching and also show you how to expand on the teachings if needed. I went through the first level myself already and found it very superior to many piano teaching books. Yet, it was easy to follow and I believe it will be very easy to teach. Now that you have your books, you have no reason not to plunk at your piano and show your toddler just how much fun it is!

That is it! Lesson #1 of Toddler Piano is as easy as it sounds. Of course,  as with all toddlers this is a process not a race. Every toddler is different some may take right to the piano while others not as quickly. Xavier loved it at first, but it is an effort on our part to be sure to play it in front of him in order to draw his attention to it now.
         In order for the next lesson your child needs to learn their left and right hand. Start teaching your child which is their left hand and which is their right in everything you do. For piano both hands are important but you must be able to distinguish between the two.
     I hope this helps you out on the road to enriching your child's life. Arts are a huge thing to teach children, especially toddlers. They are wonderful outlets for them to vent their emotions without even realizing what they are doing.
    I hope you all have homes filled with beautiful music and love!

Next Generation Stay At Home Mom has been nominated as a Top Stay-At-Home-Mom Blogger. Please vote for the blog to be in the top ten. It is in the top 50 worldwide right now. You can vote everyday!
Voting begins 7/21/14 5:35AM PST and ends 8/21/14 11:55PM PST
Just click on the button below and find the picture of Xavier and I (#28) and click on  the heart in the right hand corner of the picture everyday and your vote is cast for this blog. Thank you so very much for your support and love!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Friday Faves Oldies But Goodies VII

Xavier about 5 months old. Always having something to say. 
      I notice that many of you have children at different ages, or are even grandparents caring for children of all different ages. Plus, you may not have read some of my previous posts. Please note most of my posts are in the above tabs of About This Blog (basically our story as a family), The Mom Area (inspirational and informative tips and tricks), Epilepsy Awareness (My personal battle with Epilepsy and stories of others, as well as information), Party ThemesRecipes (from appetizers to baby food, check out all my yummies), Reviews (we review everything from places, technology, beauty, fashion, and of course baby and toddler items), Sponsor Information (if you are considering being a sponsor of Next Generation Stay At Home Mom) and Contact (if you want to shoot me an email for whatever reason, all are welcome, so are comments on the blog and social media). You can find other posts by searching or looking through the months and years. However, I thought it would be much easier for you to highlight stories and items every Friday so here you go! I hope you enjoy and all have a great weekend!

      I just wanted to make sure I thank each and every one of you for voting for us this past week. As of right now our little blog is in 3rd place!!! Keep up the voting. Remember you can vote once a day everyday for a month. I apologize for bombarding you with "please vote", but in the blogging world this is a huge deal for our little blog to even be nominated and it can help make this more than just inspiration it can turn inspiration into a dream. A dream that our little family can live off of what we love doing the best. So I encourage you to keep on voting and sharing with your friends. Remember we are #28 on the list and you have to click the heart in the upper right corner of the picture for votes to count and you can vote once a day. Thank you so much for giving us so much love! Here are some great Friday Faves Oldies but Goodies for you including a good majority of my favorite posts that I wrote, products that we love and still use and eat! I hope you enjoy them as much as we do and I wish you all a wonderfully fun weekend filled with love and laughter!

Be Inspired By
In The Present Moment

Learn About
Time To Get Up (best ways to wake up your child)

Figure Out
Cats and Babies

Check Out
The New Moby Go

Pamper Yourself With
Dead Sea Mud Mask

Chocolate Date Bites

Next Generation Stay At Home Mom has been nominated as a Top Stay-At-Home-Mom Blogger. Please vote for the blog to be in the top ten. It is in the top 50 worldwide right now. You can vote everyday!
Voting begins 7/21/14 5:35AM PST and ends 8/21/14 11:55PM PST
Just click on the button below and find the picture of Xavier and I (#28) and click on  the heart in the right hand corner of the picture everyday and your vote is cast for this blog. Thank you so very much for your support and love!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Sponsor Review: UV Blacklight Flashlight

I wrote this post while participating in a campaign by Tomoson and received a gift and or payment to thank me for my time. All views and opinions with regard to the products or company itself are my own and were not influenced nor reviewed by the company prior to posting. I am disclosing this according to the FTC guidelines.

     Along with a toddler in our house we also have two cats and a dog. Our cats fight over a cat door out to the garage where their food and litter boxes are. One of our cats does not even like to go through the kitty door. He would rather we open the big door for him. I suspected perhaps they were spraying or peeing around the kitty door or litter boxes to keep each other out of them.
     I also wondered with all the pets and messes we have cleaned from our carpets if there was still any urine that I could not see that remained. So when I was asked to test the UV Blacklight Flashlight I jumped at the chance to try something different that would put my mind at ease.
    The UV Blacklight Flashlight helps with finding pet stains. It has 12 LED bulbs, a 395NM Ultra Violet Light, is small and compact (fits in your hand), made of aluminum casing, and works on carpet, curtains and furniture. It also comes with three AAA batteries already installed for you and a 90 Day 100% Money Back Guarantee.

     It works like a regular flashlight, but much better if you use it in the dark. It can pick up other stains, but they come up different colors and so you do not know what they are. Urine stains are very clearly yellow that you cannot miss. The UV Blacklight Flashlight reveals dry dog, cat and rodent stains and even comes with a free e-book with tips on how to train your dog to avoid stain issues.
     I am happy to report our house is completely clean as I could not find urine stains anywhere except in the litter boxes where they belong. I will spare you the picture, but shining the light in the dark litter boxes you can clearly see the yellow stains without a doubt. I had no problem using this item and for the price it is a great product! I highly recommend it if you have pets and need help finding stains.
 Next Generation Stay At Home Mom gives the UV Blacklight Flashlight 5 Stars!

You can purchase your own UV Blacklight Flashlight on their website or on Amazon for $14.97.

 Next Generation Stay At Home Mom has been nominated as a Top Stay-At-Home-Mom Blogger. Please vote for the blog to be in the top ten. It is in the top 50 worldwide right now. You can vote everyday!
Voting begins 7/21/14 5:35AM PST and ends 8/21/14 11:55PM PST
Just click on the button below and find the picture of Xavier and I (#28) and click on  the heart in the right hand corner of the picture everyday and your vote is cast for this blog. Thank you so very much for your support and love!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

12 Ways To Bring Out Your Inner Strength


  I am always humbled by the amount of people who tell me how strong I am all the time. It is hard to feel strong, in fact every night I pray for strength, yet apparently it is something people think I possess. After a long month of medical issues (Read: Epilepsy Testing) among other things, I have realized  that I am a very strong person, but it is not only myself. The strength has always been inside of me I just never learned to use it and to harness it properly.
     You see everyone is strong. You just may not know it. It's not hard to find your inner strength and once you find it you will be surprised at how much easier life gets, how much happier you are and how much you can really accomplish.
        If you are a parent you need strength everyday and you need to know how to help your children to find their inner strength. Imagine all that your children can accomplish if they realize just how strong they are and what they are capable of at a young age.
      I am no expert, but here is what I have personally learned by reading and working on finding my inner strength and I hope these tips help you to find your inner strength, because there is a wonderfully magical world out there that you are missing by not using the inner strength you possess within yourself.


1) Do not be embarrassed to be who you really are. 
  So many times we hide ourselves by what we think people want to see. We put on a facade of our lives. Then, when something bad happens people are floored because you seemed so fine on the outside. Why must we pretend to be strong? You are strong already. Do not be afraid to put your heart on your sleeve. If people see the real you they are more likely to respond positively to you. Remember you already have strength so stop covering yourself up and when someone talks to you tell them what is really going on in your life. Tell them the good and the bad, do not be ashamed of anything. You have nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed of no matter who you are.

2) Speak your mind.
    Of course, etiquette still applies here. Do not tell your friend that the new dress she just bought really does make her look fat. Instead find the positive and speak it. Too many times we keep our mouths quiet because we are afraid of offending someone. Yet, it's these things that we do not say that plague us the most. If you have a problem, say what it is, just use a nicer way of putting it. If someone if bugging you say something. If you believe in a cause and someone just slammed it to your face, speak up. Remember, though when you speak up that this does not mean you can be rude, have respect for who you are speaking your mind to. The next time you want to speak up, think about how you would feel if it was being said to you and if you are alright with it, speak your mind!

3) Follow your dreams no matter how crazy they seem. 
    This is your life. You write your own story. How do you want to live it? Too many times we do not follow our dreams because they are not practical or you try, and get shot down and give up. We let life get in the way. You figure your dream does not pay the bills. You are wrong. YOU ARE IN THE WAY! I do not care if you are a 60 year old who wants to be a dancer. GO DO IT! You probably can say "well I won't make any money at it". Is that why you want to be a dancer? Chances are no, you want to be a dancer because you love it. So find a dance class and dance, you never know what could happen. Stop making excuses and getting in your own way. I realize we have to pay bills and run our lives, but what kind of life are you living if you are not following your hearts true dream? Start small first and keep at it. If you love it you will be surprised how far dreams can take you if you let them.

4) Get rid of negative people in your life.
    This may seem harsh and hard to do, but really it is not. You know who negative people are. You groan when they call, you complain when you have to see or be around them and when you finally are around them you end up feeling worse than you did before. YOU DO NOT NEED THIS PERSON. Negative people are too lost in their own lives to ever see the light of helping others through positivity. No matter how much you try you may never change them, they need to figure out how to find their inner strength on their own. No reason to be rude to them, just be busy a lot for a while and let things drift. When you do see them just wish them well and be on your way do not let their negativity get to you. If it is a family member or person you cannot avoid, TRY. Try to avoid as much as possible and when you are stuck with them, "kill them with kindness and positivity". If they bring up something negative either turn it into a positive or change the subject to something positive. If that is too hard, find a reason to excuse yourself. Sometimes just going to the bathroom can change the negativity and gives you time to think of a really good positive story or conversation you can start when you get back.

5) Surround yourself with only positive people. 
   Now that you got rid of all of the negative people in your life, you have more room to invite positive people in your life. You will also find that they will find you also. They will pick up on your new positive appeal and realize you have no more negative people in your life. I know many positive people who avoid a particular person because of the people they surround themselves with. When you do bring positive people in your life, remember they are attracted to your positivity. Do not bring them down with negativity. It is alright if you are having a bad day but remember that they may be having a great day and do not ruin theirs, instead let them lift you up, as they can usually easily do this for you. Keep conversations and activities light at first. People who are very positive do not jump into friendships fast as they are leery of being pulled into negative drama. However, once you have a few positive good friends in your life you will see it is much easier to bring in more and they will be there for you when you really need to be lifted up.

6) Be grateful for what you do have.
     Stop talking endlessly about what you do NOT have. Instead be grateful for what you do have. Everyone in the world right now is having a tough time with something. There is always someone who is worse off than you are. Instead of always harping on what you do not have be grateful for the things and people you do have in your life that make you happy.

7) Be polite
   You would think this is easy, but you would be surprised how many people are not polite at all. Do not rudely comment on people. Always say please, thank you, and your welcome.  Open doors for people, give up your seat for the older person, the pregnant lady or the disabled person. Let someone in line ahead of you whether in the store or in your car. Say excuse me for passing gas, leaving a room or even if you must check something on your phone. Common courtesy goes a long way. Do not force people onto your views. A big rule is you do not talk politics or religion with those you care about. If they start talking about politics and religion just quiet it with that phrase and you can always walk away with a clear mind.

8) Improve yourself
    Everyone has something they would like to improve on. Whether it is the weight you always wanted to lose, a subject you always wanted to learn or something you have always wanted to do. The biggest way to find your inner strength is to get to the YOU that you want to be. Stop making excuses, I am sure you can find many, but you owe it to yourself to improve on what you do not like. A person is never born a perfect finished product. You change and grow and improve yourself along with that growth. Also, take care of yourself, eat better, exercise, expand your mind, expand your views, try new things the lists are endless. Whether you like it or not you are stuck with yourself. Why not try making yourself proud for once?

9) Find a hobby you love that is an outlet for you
    Everyone needs a way to blow off steam, get to their happy place, and just plain old enjoy themselves. No, sitting around drinking on your porch and watching television is not a hobby. Everyone loves something. Find it and do it. Take a class, learn from the internet or just start and keep it up. Try to do it at least a couple times a week if not more. This is a great way to vent and to get rid of any negative energy you carried with you during the day. It gets rid of the negative and gives you more positive because it makes you happy. If you get too frustrated with the hobby it is not your outlet, move on and find something else. Your hobby should bring you peace. I highly recommend anything Fine Art related painting, dancing, playing music, sculpting, drawing, coloring, gardening, crafting, wood working, etc. The Fine Arts were created as outlets and are known for helping people through many tough times in their lives.  

10) Help others
     This is a little similar to #7, but it amazes me how many people think that just because they are in a bad position they cannot help others. What you do not realize is when you are in a bad position it is the best time to help others. It can be anything from smiling every time you pass by someone to waving to people you see, commenting on pictures on the internet or offering an empowering word to someone going through a rough time. These things are so easy, yet so few people actually do them. If you really want to help check out 10 Ways To Give Back.

11) Stop complaining and start thanking
    How many times a day do you complain? How many times a day do you say thank you? Your answer should be zero and all the time. That's right, the more you complain the more you are attracting negativity. You sit in traffic and complain, you complain about the lines at stores, you complain about the weather, about your job, your lack of money, your lack of resources. STOP COMPLAINING! I cannot stress this enough. You will never bring out your inner strength and get rid of negativity if you are complaining. Complaining is negativity, and did you know that the more you complain the worse things will get for you? If you do not like a situation, think of a positive side of it or try thinking of just anything positive. SAY THANK YOU ALL THE TIME! Thank you for my car so I can get to where I need to go, that you for this store so I can get what supplies I need, thank you for reminding me to appreciate the nice weather when we have it, thank you for the job I do have, thank you for all the money I have received throughout my life, thank you for my family, thank you for my friends, thank you for my house, thank you for my pets, thank you for my health. I am sure you get the point. The next time you are about to complain, stop, and think of something you can say thank you about instead.

12) Change your way of thinking and you can change your life
     Some will find this easy and some of you will not. However, it is the simple cliche that if you think happy and grateful thoughts positivity will come to you effortlessly. Once you are positive you will see the boundless strength that you have within your inner self that truly can create a life that you have always dreamed of. You just cannot be so afraid of change. Changing how you think will change your way of life, but remember change is not bad. In fact you are changing your life for the better and you are changing your life according to your goals and ambitions and what you want around you.

    Everyone is capable of finding their inner strength and harnessing it for the life they love! Here are the first twelve steps, now go out there and spread that positivity and love!

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