Monday, April 28, 2014

Rainbows of Promise

We had a string of strong April showers role through our neighborhood yesterday. The boys and I drove through one of these showers on our way to church. However in true April fashion, the sun was also shining so bright that I had a hard time seeing. And so began our rainbow hunt.

Each of us craned our necks looking for the rainbow we felt certain the rain and sun would create and our search was rewarded with a beautiful rainbow against the stormy sky.

Rainbows are the reflection of the colors in light. Most of the time I can't see the color in the light. However, when the light shines through the rain, a beautiful sight unfolds before my eyes.

Rainbows are also a reminder to me of promises. God put a beautiful rainbow in the sky for Noah as a promise of his love, goodness and faithfulness. They remind me to not focus on what I see, especially in the midst of a storm, but rather to focus on what I know to be true.

For most of us, some aspect of life does not look as we imagined or dreamed. Maybe its our history, something that happened in the past that fills us with grief or shame. Maybe its our present reality.

For me, life as it exists right now, is so far outside of what I imagined my life looking. I had the opportunity to share my story with someone this past weekend and in someways it felt like I was telling someone else's story. Being divorced and a single-mom was never a thought that crossed my mind. 

Honestly, this past month has been hard. The divorce was finalized and our family home was sold. While we have been separated for over 18 months, the reality and finality of everything has surfaced my grief over the death of a dream and my fear for the future. I have felt drained and empty. Both of these feelings are warning signs to me to take a step-back because something is not right. As I look back I realize my focus has been on the storm. All I am seeing is the loss, grief and fear instead of looking for the rainbows. The rainbows appear as I ask God to shine His light in the storm.

My rainbows...God's promises are eternal. They are true whether I see them or not. His love for me is never ending, never-giving up, unchangeable. He is my provider, my comforter, my defender. These are my light in the storm. They are what give me hope and joy, even in the midst of my storm.

As you read, consider...What are the storms that keep you from seeing the rainbows? My challenge to myself and to you this week is to stop and ask for the Light to shine through the storm and show you the rainbows. I would love to hear your story or thoughts. Feel free to e-mail me at
Hannah is a PCI Certified Parent Coach® and owner of Foundations Parent and Life Coaching. She is passionate about working with parents and individuals who want to build the foundation for a thriving life. If you are interested in working with her on any parenting or life challenges, you can contact her at

Monday, April 21, 2014

Powerful Words: "Let's Make a Plan for Sharing"

Words are powerful.

As a parent my words hold the power to form and shape the thoughts, self-esteem, and habits of my children. With my words I can build them up and equip them with the tools for establishing healthy rhythms in their own lives or I can tear them down.

Before I had children I taught both preschool and kindergarten. What I learned in the classroom was how I phrased something could be the difference between success or failure. Say it one way and I'd be barely hanging onto control. Say it another way and all 20 six year olds would quietly and orderly complete a project. Words are powerful. With my words I can communicate with my children in a way that is simple for them to understand and empowers them to eventually be able to communicate effectively without my help.

This is the beginning of an occasional series called "Powerful Words." The posts in this series will focus on phrases I have found to be successful ways of communicating with my children. I thought I'd start the series off with one of my favorites.

Let me set the scene for you and see if you can relate.

There are two children, let's call them Sam and Timmy. Sam and Timmy are playing cars. There is a bucket full of cars however the yellow car is the best because, well, its yellow! As you guessed, both boys want the yellow car and will not settle for one of the other 50 cars that are in the bucket. They have both grabed hold of the car with a death grip and are yelling at each other to let go. You can tell if you don't step in, fists will start flying. 

Hahaha...can you tell I'm a mom of boys?! Moms of girls, just insert the appropriate toy and you'll get the idea.

So in this moment as a mom I have a couple of options in how I can communicate with my children. Let's take a look at these options and think through what's going on when I react that way.

Option #1: Jump in and take the toy away. Tell the boys that if they can't share, nobody is going to get the toy. 

So this can sound like a good and quick option to solving the sharing problem. The fighting stops and the toy that created the tension has been removed. However, if I am always removing the toy, I'm only stopping the problem. As a mom, I believe one of my primary roles is to teach and model healthy ways of interacting with the world and let's face it, sharing and problem-solving are important skills to have as we grow. Removing the toy does not teach either of these skills.

Option #2: Direct the sharing. Tell who will have the toy first and for how long.

With this option, we begin to teach a pattern of sharing but the sharing is dependent upon an adult telling them how to share. The child is not learning how to think through the problem and come up with a solution on there own. Instead they are learning to be dependent upon others for solutions. As a parent, it is important to me that my children learn how to be independent thinkers and know how to articulate the problem and the solution.

Option #3: "Make a plan for sharing."

In our house, when two people want the same thing, we say, "Let's make a plan for sharing." To make a plan for sharing, each person involved comes up with an idea on a fair way to share the object of desire. When we first started doing this, I almost always acted as mediator. I would give each person the opportunity to share their idea. I would then ask questions to help them think through whether this was a reasonable option. We quickly learned that each person having a toy for 5-7 minutes was a better option than 1-2 minutes or 600,000 minutes! As the mediator I put the power of coming up with the solution in the hands of my boys. Questions such as, "what do you think a good plan is?" or "how would you feel if your brother did not share?" help guide the problem-solving. As the mediator I encourage good suggestions and sometimes I let the bad suggestions play out because kids learn best from experience. I can then reference that experience and say, "remember what happened last time you guys decided each person got it for 300 minutes?" And since setting a timer is a common solution, each boy learned to work a timer that lives in their playroom or to come and ask me to set a timer on my phone.

Now, I wish I could tell you that we never have arguments over toys any more. We still do. But as I am consistent in teaching my kids the skills to "make a plan for sharing," they are coming to me less and less for help and more and more I hear, "let's make a plan." Sometimes they will come to me frustrated and I will ask, "Have you asked to make a plan to share?" Rather than me solving the problem, I am handing them a tool that will help them solve the problem themselves. I am building in them the foundation for being capable and effective problem-solvers later in life.
Hannah is a PCI Certified Parent Coach® and owner of Foundations Parent and Life Coaching. She is passionate about working with parents and individuals who want to build the foundation for a thriving life. If you are interested in working with her on any parenting or life challenges, you can contact her at

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Banana Bread

I love to bake and I love a challenge. Since having kids, I've given myself the challenge of baking treats that make us say "yum" and are filled with wholesome ingredients. This afternoon I made these loaves of banana bread and I thought I would share the recipe with you. It's the Banana Bread recipe my mom made growing up with a few tweaks of my own
Because baking and cooking are healthy and happy parts of my daily rhythms, I will be sharing more recipes. One thing you will notice in most of my baked goods is I rarely cook with eggs. I often replace eggs in my quick breads and cookie recipes with a flax egg. To make a flax egg, mix 1 Tablespoon of ground flax with 3 Tablespoons of water. Let it sit in a bowl for about 10 minutes to allow the flax to absorb the water and then add the mixture to your recipe just like you would an egg.

Now the questions I often am asked, why do I use flax eggs instead of chicken eggs. There are a few reasons why. Research shows that flax seed is filled with cancer fighting, immune boasting compounds and that these compounds are released by grinding the seeds up. Ground flax is filled with Omega-3, fiber, and antioxidants. Not only that, but the flax egg gives the baked goods a yummy nutty taste that I just love. Buying pre-ground flax can really increase the price so I head to the bulk section of my favorite grocery store and buy it in seed form. I then clean out my coffee grinder and grind it up. I store it in a glass jar in the refrigerator as ground flax seed can go rancid when stored on the shelf. So if you've never tried using flax eggs before, this recipe is a great place to start.

Banana Bread

1 1/4 Cup Sugar
3/4 Cup of Butter
4 Flax Eggs (I make all four flax eggs in one bowl. That's 4 T ground flax seed mixed with 12 T water. You can also use 4 eggs)
5 Ripe Bananas
1/4 Cup Applesauce
4 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9x5 two loaf pans.
2. Cream butter, sugar, and flax egg together. Once fluffy, add ripe bananas and applesauce. Mix until bananas are all mashed up.
3. Mix in flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix just until ingredients are combined. Sometimes we add chocolate chips or blueberries at this point.
4. Divide equally between the two loaf pans. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until the center can be poked with a knife and come out clean.
5. Enjoy! Our favorite is fresh from the oven with butter on top!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Gift of a Rocky Beach

Relationships are important to me. I firmly believe that being known and being connected with the people around us is what gives us meaning and strength. I believe we are created for relationship. As a way to build relationship with others in the virtual world, I am participating this week in "The Ultimate Blog Party." Its a great way to introduce "The Daily Rhythms of Life" blog and "Foundations Parent and Life Coaching" to a new group of people. So if this is your first visit to my little corner of the internet, welcome!

As many of you know, I am in the process of building my own parent and life coaching practice. If you want to find out more about how I became a parent coach, you can read about it hear. If you are like me, I had no idea what parent coaching was 2 years ago before I started my certification program. To help you get an understanding of one of the key elements of parent coaching, I want to tell you a story.

Last year for Spring Break, my two boys and I went to visit some dear friends who live east of Seattle on Whidbey island in the Puget Sound. For those of you not from the Pacific Northwest spring break here usually means rain. However, during our visit the sun was shining, the sky was blue and we are soaking it up. Now being on an island and having the sun shinning meant we had to go to the beach!

As we drove to the beach visions of sand and waves danced in my head. But when we arrived, there was no sand to be found. The beach was covered in rocks. When I looked out across the rocks I felt sad. I was disappointed because what I had imagined, what I wanted, was not what I had in front of me. 

But when I looked down I discovered something. The rocks were beautiful. There were green, pink, and orange rocks. Some rocks were stripped while others were speckled. My friend and I sat there with our children for over an hour delighting in the uniqueness and beauty of each rock.

I learned something that day. I learned to stop and look for the treasures. I could have chosen to only see the disappointment of the rocky beach or a day that did not go as I had imagined. But in stopping and examining the details, we found great beauty and treasure. I have a jar of rocks from this day sitting next to my bed as a reminder to stop and see the gift in every circumstance.

When I work with clients as coach, one of the first stage of our work together is to discover the gifts of life as it exists right now. I love this stage because so often we miss the gifts in our own lives. Busyness keeps us from taking the time to appreciate them. Or maybe life doesn't look how we dreamed it would and we focus on the loss of this dream rather than the gifts that are in our lives right now. Whatever it is that keeps us from seeing our gifts, it is keeping us from delighting and living in what is already there. And do you know what, these gifts are what make you the best parent for your child! I was not meant to be your child's parent nor was the author of the three steps to whatever it is you think your child should magically be doing. As I work with parents, we use the strengths we discover as a foundation for the action steps we will design together later. Did you hear the word "foundation" there? Its the reason my practice is called "Foundations Parent and Life Coaching." It is my desire and passion to work with parents to build the foundation for thriving.

So my friends, old and new, take a moment to stop and look for a treasure in your life as it exists right now. I would love to hear your what it is that you are discovering! You can leave a comment below or e-mail me at

What treasure do I see today? Tonight I was tackled by a seven year old who came flying at me as he jumped from his bed to his brother's...where I was happily sitting already to calmly and quietly read our Bible together. And as he smothered me and laughed in pure hysterics and we wrestled my heart overflowed in the delight of loving my boys just how they needed...through tackles and tickles!