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Story behind the song “Pray For Rain”

Story behind the song “Pray For Rain”

I wrote Pray For Rain right after I graduated with my master’s in clinical social work – a time when I was more acutely aware all of the pain and suffering going on in the world. I had spent the past year working intensely with abuse victims & perpetrators. At that same time there was a lot of upheaval and pain in my family of origin and in my extended family that left me feeling so helpless. I felt like there was nothing I could do except pray. Pray for Rain lyrics were my prayer, my cry out for help for myself, my family, and for the world. How we all need spiritual rain to “slake the thirst in this heartland”…

Download “Pray For Rain” on iTunes

Want to know more stories behind my songs? Post a comment below or join in the Facebook discussion here.

The Sibling Shuffle: Studio 5

The Sibling Shuffle: Solutions for parenting more than one child

 


As one of nine children in my family of origin, and as the mother of four in my current family, I know all about the pain and the joys of sibling relationships and of the parenting challenges that come along with raising children. Here are some common complaints and dilemmas, and tips for parenting more than one child.

 

Common Complaints From Children To Parents

• That’s not fair!
• You like him/her better!
• How come you let him/her do _____________?
• Why do you baby him/her?
• How come you’re harder on me than the other kids?

Common Parenting Dilemmas

Here are some common family situations that may leave parents wondering how to manage their children’s varying needs:

• One child is dedicated to and involved in a sport, artistic, or academic area that is very time consuming and expensive.
• A child has an illness or disability and requires extra parental attention.
• Many years separate the ages of siblings so they are in different developmental stages.
• Your personality just “clicks” with one child over the others.

Solutions for Parenting More Than One Child:

1 -Focus on meeting needs instead of on fairness

No matter how hard you try to be “fair” among siblings there is really no way to achieve equality. There will be times when parent’s attention will shift slightly toward one child or another depending on each child’s needs. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but an opportunity for the other children to learn life lessons, like empathy and patience. Rather than trying to be fair, focus on meeting each child’s needs at each stage of development.

A wise friend and mother of four, Cori Connors, shared this helpful idea when it comes to parenting many children, “I always told my children they were soup…some need an onion, some need more bullion, some need more salt or a little pepper. If I didn’t taste and adjust according to what was needed it would be yucky soup. You can’t just presume that fine cuisine follows one recipe.”

2-Celebrate each child’s unique qualities

Each child has different talents and strengths that can and should be celebrated. For example, if your family is big on sports and one child is more gifted in art than athletics, be sure to attend his or her art shows and encourage siblings to show their support. If you have a child that is more challenging for you to understand or celebrate, it’s even more important to actively find strengths to celebrate. Be careful not to compare children to their siblings.

3-Avoid labeling your children

While it’s natural for parents to categorize (i.e. the baby, the quiet one, the smart one, the dumb one, the helpful one, the pretty one, the loud one) but keep in mind that labels, even when positive, can hinder your child’s self-expression and development especially when they are rigid and enduring. It may be more helpful to acknowledge each child’s efforts instead of using a general label. For example, instead of saying, “You’re so smart” try, “You work hard and really seem to care about doing well in school.”

4-Listen to each child’s underlying emotions & desires

Underscoring children’s complaints to parents about unfair treatment are often requests for their needs to be met and for their underlying emotions to be heard. As the parent, you have the honor of helping your child learn to identify their deeper emotions and to help them say what they want and need from you. For example, if a child says, “You love him more than me!” he may be trying to say “Mom, I’m sad that I’m not spending more time with you.” Put your own defensiveness on hold and try to hear the meaning behind the complaint.

5-Encourage cooperation instead of competition

Since most siblings seem to be competitive by nature, it’s easy as a parent to use this competition to motivate our children to do what we want them to do. Instead, Use phrases that encourage win-win situations and helping each other. Instead of saying, “Let’s see who can get their teeth brushed first” try “Let’s all get teeth brushed and read a book together.”

Masterpiece CD officially releases today

Masterpiece: The best of Julie de Azevedo officially releases today!

listen to clips and purchase online HERE

 or look for it in retail stores near you.

   

Producing a CD is a team sport with many, many players. I’ve been blessed to work with so many amazing musicians, arrangers, producers, engineers, co-writers, executives, designers through the years. Listening to this CD is like reliving the last 20 years of my life’s journey.   

A highlight of producing this CD was reuniting with my producer John Hancock and getting back into the studio to record 2 NEW songs that are about themes in my current life – God’s Signature, & Hard Things  

Here are some behind the scenes shots of the band playing on the 2 new tunes.  

Mike Green engineer extraordinaire

   

Julie d & John H
Me & Producer John Hancock
The band
The band
 
 
 
 
Rich
Legendary Rich Dixon
Groove master Joel Stevenette in his “cage”

  

Ryan Tilby
Amazing player of all things string – Ryan Tilby

  

 

 

Marriage in distress? Try EFT

Ninety percent of couples improve with Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy! That’s an unparalleled success rate and last year I had the privilege of interviewing  Scott Wooley, PhD, one of the worldwide EFT trainers. Since then I have been training in EFT so I can more effectively help couples! To find an EFT therapist in your area visit ICEEFT.com

Watch the segments below…

EFT PART 1

EFT Part 2

What to say when: Tips for surviving sticky social situations

If you ever find yourself at a loss for words in awkward social situations watch this segment. Here are some helpful phrases to add to your relationship repertoire!

 

 Sticky Social Situation  Example  Try Saying This
 You’re asked to do something you don’t want to do and it’s hard to say “no”.  An extended family member informs you that they are staying with you over Spring Break and you already have a full house.  “That’s just not going to work for me.” 
 You’re feeling pressured to answer on the spot.  A friend asks you about your recent marital separation in the company of others.  “Let me get back with you on that .” 
 You’re asked about someone else’s personal life  Your neighbor asks you about details of your best friend’s financial problems.  “That’s a good question to ask her/him.” 
 You’re in a heated debate or disagreement.  You and your spouse get in a no-win debate about whose fault that you were late for an important event.  “We can think different things and still be friends.” 
 Someone is expressing intense emotion about you directly to you.  Your toddler screams in the grocery store, “I hate you, mommy!”  “Wow! You’re really (feeling word) at me.” 
 You want to make a difficult request of someone else.  Your mother-in-law frequently gives unsolicited parenting, cooking, weight loss advice and you want her to only give advice when you ask for it.  “It would mean a lot to me if (your request).” 

Find the Voice to Say “No”: Studio 5

I recently surveyed more than 600 Utah women and found that 60 percent say they take on more commitments than they can handle, and 68 percent reported they don’t say “no” when asked to do something they don’t want to do. There are so many demands on your time and energy that saying “no” is crucial to your emotional well-being.

Why is it hard to say “no”?

In my therapy office and in my workshops I often hear women they don’t say “no” because:

 “I don’t want to disappoint others.”
“I should be able to do it all.”
“I want to help.”
“If I say ‘no’ I feel guilty.”
“I want to please others.”
“I feel pressured by others.”

“No” is an important boundary -It shows that you are a separate person with your own thoughts, feelings and desires. Saying “no” acknowledges that you are different from others and that your voice does matter.

“No” prevents burnout – Saying “no” and setting limits allows you to prevent feeling overwhelmed and becoming overcommitted. We have to pick and choose where to invest our time, energy and other resources. A wise workshop participant commented, “When I say ‘no’ I’m saying ‘yes’ to something more important.”

“No” helps you get what you want – It is an expression of your sense of self. If you know what you don’t want to do, you can identify what you do want.

Tips For Saying “No”

1) Accept that you have limitations
Everyone has limits to what they want to and can accomplish. It’s simply part of being human. Many women feel bad about having limitations of time, energy and prior commitments, just to name a few.2) “No” is an honorable response
Saying “no” means telling your truth. If you allow yourself to say “no” when you mean it, others will trust that when you say “yes” you also mean it and will follow through.3) You owe no one an explanation
If you give your week’s schedule, or the reasons why you are saying “no”, you open up the door for others to rearrange your schedule to accommodate their request, or to discount or argue with your reasoning. While I find it difficult to simply say “no” followed by an awkward silence, I really like the phrase “No, that’s just not going to work for me” because it softens the “no” without actually giving an explanation.

Click  HERE to read more about why “no” is important and for tips to help you say “no”

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Why Do Men Who Have It All Cheat? 2 News

Because of my therapy work with couples I was interviewed for a news story that aired tonight on KUTV 2 News called “Power Affairs”.

Power Affairs: Why do men who have it all cheat? Watch News Clip

Why do you think people are willing to risk it all? Post comments below (email address will not be made public).

Eat Pray Love…At Home: Studio 5

(I’m reposting this one because I FINALLY go the video clip added)

Studio 5 Contributor and Self & Family Expert Julie Hanks, LCSW shares ways to continue your personal growth and rediscover your passion without leaving your life to travel the world.
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Eat, Pray, Love…at Home


Taking a year out of your life and traveling the world to rediscover yourself, like Elizabeth Gilbert in her best-selling memoir turned blockbuster movie Eat Pray Love, is hardly realistic for me and for most women I know. Yet, there is something about Liz’s quest to reconnect with herself and to rediscover her passion for life that resonates with millions of moviegoers. I believe its possible to continue the journey of personal development while remaining committed to family relationships, and without traveling to exotic destinations.

Tips to Eat Pray Love…at Home:

1-Venture out of your comfort zone

Liz: “I used to have this appetite for life and it’s just gone!” “I want to go someplace where I can marvel at something!” (Eat Love Pray, 2010).

If you feel numb, shut down, or on emotional “autopilot” try stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something new, uncomfortable and unfamiliar. Try a new restaurant or a new sport. Extend yourself to someone outside of your circle of friends. If you like to read fiction, read non-fiction. You don’t have to travel to an exotic destination to get a new perspective on life.

Kelly O. a single 30-something professional decided to face her fears and say YES to new experiences throughout the year. Read her blog post “Unplanning Life” which highlighting 55 new firsts she’s experienced this year. http://kellyolivia.blogspot.com/2010/03/unplanning-life.html

From a man’s perspective…Steven Kapp Perry, radio host & father of 4 got out of his comfort zone by “climbing King’s Peak with my boys (twice) and I’m afraid of heights. I could go on. I think everything good about my life has come from venturing out of whatever my comfort zone used to be. It’s a lot bigger place these days.”

2-Savor your senses

Liz: “I’m having a relationship with my pizza”. This is my no Carb left behind experiment.” (Eat Love Pray, 2010).

Are you trapped in a routine of checking off tasks and making schedules? If so, try tuning into your senses: taste, touch, smell, sight, and sound. The ability to savor your own experience, no matter how small, adds dimension and increases positive feelings of pleasure. Focus on how it feels to be in your body, the wonderful smell of your favorite pizza, the warm touch of a friend’s hand on your shoulder, the beautiful sunset…

In my psychotherapy practice with women, many clients express that they have lost the enjoyment in physical intimacy. I think this is in part because they have become so good at tuning into their loved ones needs and emotions that it becomes difficult to “switch gears” and focus on their own senses; a requirement for fulfilling sexual experiences.

3-Practice mindfulness

Liz: “Ok, Simply empty your mind. You’re going to sit here for an hour of your life and you’re not moving, why is this so hard…” (Eat Love Pray, 2010) .

Focus attention solely on the present moment and acknowledge your thoughts and emotions without judgment. Take a few minutes each day to quiet your mind and see what comes up. Relaxation, meditation, yoga, prayer, and many other spiritual practices provide health and mental health benefits, and have even been shown to improve your relationships.

Jennie M., wife and mother of three boys advises: “Take time to focus on things that matter most to us and try to have a good balance. For me it is running. My husband supports me and watches our 3 boys while I go run 30 – 60 minutes. It’s my time to get out think, pray, re-focus, and have time to myself.”

4-Listen to your inner voice

Liz: “I need to change. Since I was fifteen I’ve either been with a guy or breaking up with a guy”  (Eat Love Pray, 2010).

It’s easy to let the voices, needs, opinions, and expectations of others drown out your own voice, just as Liz experienced in Eat Pray Love. If your gut says you need a break, or need more time with friends, or need to rest, listen and ask for your needs to be met. Longings, dreams, thoughts and feelings are clues to what you need in order to continue your personal growth.

Jennie G., wife and stay-at-home mother of five says: “Learn to trust that inner voice. If it tells you that you really need a night out with a friend, do it! If you need to start a new book, buy one. If you need to stop feeling sorry for yourself, go serve someone else. If you want to learn something new, sign up for a class. I think each of us know what we need, we’re just too scared or not used to listening to that inner voice that will guide you to exactly what it is you need. The trick is to listen, and know that you are worth listening to!”

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Connect with me on the web!

What did you think about the movie Eat Pray Love?

How do you stay passionate about your life and continue your personal growth?