🌸 Mother’s Day Thoughts 🌸

As Mother’s Day approaches, I’ve been thinking a lot about the things that remind me of my own mother (the sun, sunflowers, the Yankees) and the ways in which she has shaped me – first as a woman, then as a mother. I look back in chagrin during my formative years, when I wanted to be anything and everything BUT my mother. I worry about those days to come with my own two daughters, when they’ll struggle to find their own identities. I wonder when that subtle shift occurred, from “you don’t understand me!” to “hey… maybe you know some things” to “you’re the first person I call when I need to get out of my own head.”

Becoming a mother is an ongoing learning experience filled with lessons big and small. One thing that I’ve learned to be true, is that relationships between mothers and daughters are beautifully, extraordinarily, inexplicably complicated. As daughters, how many times in your life have you said “I sound like my mother!” accompanied with an eye roll. Yet, how many times have you called your mother or reached out to her because you were on a ledge and she was the ONLY person who could help you get out of your own head? Yeah. It’s complicated.

The sun reminds me of my mother. I think it’s because if she’s in your corner, she cheers you on 100%. When my husband and I started dating, she learned that he’s a diehard Jets fan. And so, she too, started cheering for the Jets. She has an innate understanding of what’s important to the people she cares about; and so she celebrates it, big and small. Where the sun shines, love grows.

She sends me random texts, out of the blue, to tell me how she has noticed a positive change in me or something new that I’m trying. When I think no one else can see me, she notices these small things that mean so much.

My mother also suffers from chronic illness that has impacted her physically, mentally, and emotionally. When my babies were newborns and I was a sleep-deprived, everything-deprived zombie, I know I fell short in patience with her. Sometimes, I still do. But then I remember, she has genuine intentions of wanting to help me and my family. Like any mother, I can be particular about care for my girls or certain things in my home. She truly respects this, and works hard to maintain the order and routine I’ve established in our household. As a working mother who travels for her job, I appreciate this so much because of the peace of mind this effort provides when I’m away from home.

Recently, my cousin’s wife suffered the loss of her own mother. In the weeks before she passed, my cousin’s wife was at her side, taking care of her. She started a group text with me and my mom, communicating with us if she was having a difficult moment or not quite sure what to do. What I witnessed in this chain of texts was nothing short of an extraordinary act of human kindness and compassion. Most of the time, I found myself fumbling for words because all I could think of were the cliches found in greeting cards. But my mother responded with thoughts and paragraphs that simply amazed me. This is where my mom shines, in providing comfort and thoughtfulness when it’s needed the most. I was truly astounded by her ability to help my cousin’s wife through what is probably the most difficult time of her life. She just knew what to say, providing a light in the darkest moments of grief.

I am proud, and filled with gratitude, that this is my mother’s greatest gift. It’s not necessarily in the things she does, but in the way she makes people feel. I am fortunate to be her daughter, and to be a person she loves. Because where the sun shines, love grows.

By Courtney Spiak

 

Happy Mother’s Day to All!

CLICK HERE for a list of locations offering Mother’s Day Brunch (Phoenix, AZ area)

 

Thinking of a move?  Here’s a great new listing in a popular area of the East Valley (Phoenix AZ, area).  CLICK HERE for details.

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7 Keys to a Relationship that Lasts a Lifetime

We all work hard to find the one.  The person who completes us, then what?  We live happily ever after in a blissful state of union of course.  This is what we’ve learned from fairy tales and Hollywood.  I hate to burst your bubble but life can be messy and even great relationships have challenges at different times.

Whether you’re married or in a long-term relationship how do you ensure your love endures a lifetime?  We have some tips that are essential to maintaining an amazing healthy relationship that stands the test of time.

  1. Get to know yourself. The Japanese say you have three faces. The first face, you show to the world. The second face, you show to your close friends, and your family. The third face, you never show anyone. It is the truest reflection of who you are.  How can someone else know you if don’t know yourself.  We love personality tests and some of our favorites are below with links to FREE tests.

Enneagram Test has nine different personality types to help you understand yourself better and encourage personal growth.

16 Personalities is based upon Myers-Briggs with 16 personality profiles that provide a description of who you are and why you do things the way you do.

  1. Get to know your partner. We mean really get to know your partner. Their authentic true self. We highly encourage you both to take the personality tests together and compare results.  This makes a great date night too.                                                                   
    Another resource for connection is Intuitive Development.  We’ve taken every class at Intuitive Development and there are two classes we highly recommend.  The first is Understanding Emotional Patterns to learn how to manage conflict resolution by identifying your emotions.  The other is Defining Bottom Lines with an emphasis on how communication is the cornerstone of all successful relationships. You will also identify your bottom lines and determine the most important elements for you in relationship.  Identifying these things for yourself will provide clarity and more stability in your partnership.
  1. What’s your love language? Have you taken the free assessment for The Five Love Languages?  This is based on the book by Gary Chapman. The 5 love languages are Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Gifts, Physical Touch and Quality Time.   Most people enjoy many of these in relationship but we all have a primary love language that fills up the emotional bank account. We are all usually very good at demonstrating our own love language.  For example my love language is Words of Affirmation so I’m usually good at writing love notes, text messages or verbally telling Marty how much he means to me.  Marty’s primary love language is Acts of Service.  So he is always doing things for me like getting me coffee in the morning or calling me on his way home to see if I need anything.  While I love the things he does for me and he appreciates my generous words of how amazing he is, we both long for love to be expressed to us in our Love Language.  With this awareness we are both able to reciprocate in our partner’s primary love language.  This enhances our relationship immensely.
  2. Communication is so important in relationship. In her book, Hold Me Tight, Dr. Sue Johnson’s work utilizing Emotionally Focused Therapy (“EFT”) talks about how our communication can either push us apart or bring us closer together.  For example, if your partner says you really pissed me off, more than likely this will cause a fight or flight scenario.  It will certainly not bring you closer together.  However, by determining the underlying reason for the anger and then communicating the issue to your partner in a softer more loving way will allow the message to be heard and more receptive.   By digging deeper and working together, we can communicate what really caused the anger that typically has an underlying feeling of hurt and being unlovable.  Sharing these feelings together will likely draw you closer together instead of further apart.
  3. Common Interests are really important. While it’s ok to each have your own activities and hobbies you may do alone or with friends, it’s also imperative to have things you do together.  One of our favorite rituals is reading the daily message in the Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo.   We also take regular walks or bike rides together in the morning.  Find some regular activities that you enjoy doing together; maybe take a dance class together or our new fave activity, AcroYoga.
  4. Date Nights are imperative and you just can’t have too many. Especially if you’re a parent, it’s vitally important to make time for yourself and as a couple.  Remember to be an example to your children of what a great relationship looks like.  We can’t stress this enough.

We also recommend the 90-Day FFR Challenge.  Plan just one surprise date for your partner once a month for three months.  EFT therapist, Dr. Lisa Gold shared that most of her clients have forgotten how to have fun together.  Having fun connects you as a couple.  You are reminded why you fell in love with your partner all over again.

  1. Gratitude for the little things. We can easily take things for granted that our partner says or does for us.  When Marty started bringing me coffee every morning and turning on my work computer I was smitten.  However, since he’s been doing this for over a year now it’s easy for me to transition this to an expectation that he’ll do this for me every morning rather than a kind gesture. Be sure to acknowledge the things your partner does for you, even if they’ve been doing it for years.  Try to see your love with fresh eyes every day.

While relationships are work they are so rewarding when you are in good one.  Our hope is that you have an amazing relationship that will last a lifetime and that you never settle for one that’s just good enough.

 

Dana Lam, with Fun Fantasy Ritual 
Inspiring Surprise, Adventure and Excitement in Your Relationship

FunFantasyRitual.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thinking about a move?  This awesome Tempe home has a pool, RV parking, is the largest lot in the neighborhood AND is super close to the zoo… like walking distance 😮

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