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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.”

Life lessons from a 3 year old

Life lessons from a 3 year old

As I sat this evening on the sidelines watching my daughter’s lacrosse game, I was exhausted and looking forward to sitting down, unwinding, and watching the game. Quickly, my expectations for an hour of relaxation were dashed when my hungry and thirsty and energetic 3 year old daughter Macy began climbing on me, asking for food, refusing to wear her jacket, and sprinting across the long stretch of grass in the opposite direction. I didn’t have the energy to chase her. I didn’t even want to move. 

I made a few idle threats like “You need to stay by me or you’ll have to go to the car” as I wondered, “How long do I have to stay and watch the game so my older daughter feels supported before I can leave to go home, eat, put my feet up and put this little one to bed?” I was emotionally and physically drained (for a variety of reasons and I will spare you the details).

3 Year Old

As I was planning my exit strategy I noticed Macy, with her fair skin, yellow pigtails, and no jacket grinning with delight as she ran. Her boundless energy stirred a twinge of jealousy in me, as if somehow her glee was a threat.

Feeling a bit winded Macy sat down on my lap me and noticed that the family sitting next to us had fruit snacks. She asked if she could have one and they gladly shared.  Macy danced and made silly faces while eating it. I thought to myself, “I wish I could be so joyful about small things.” 

As she savored her fruit snack I noticed her slowly moving toward the little girl sitting next to us, trying to get her attention. Within a few minutes Macy had made a new friend and was nestled up in the same chair while the older girl read a book to her.

Over the next 45 minutes these two little girls chased each other, rolled around in the grass, and made a tent with the blanket and chairs, and pretended they were puppies. I marveled at how open Macy was to reaching out and connecting to this girl without fear, and how easily delighted she was by the attention and the playful interaction. It dawned on me that the game was almost over.

During the final few minutes of the game I realized that while Macy was frolicking with her new friend, I had been sitting by this little girl’s mom and we hadn’t exchanged more than a few words. Taking the lead from my 3 year old, I turned to this lovely woman and introduced myself, and began to ask about her and her family. As the final whistle blew, we continued chatting and gathered our chairs and blankets, and mentioned that we’ll likely be seeing a lot more of each other throughout the season. As we walked to the parking lot I felt energized, thanks to my 3 year old.

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

  

 

 

Struggling with negative body image? Watch this!

Here’s yesterday’s KSL TV Segment “Love your body with out losing a pound”.


How are you doing with accepting your body just as it is? I welcome your thoughts and comments below (your email will not be published)

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.”

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

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Handouts: BYU Preventing Burnout Workshop

Thank You

What a treat to speak and sing for you this morning!

Handouts

CLICK HERE  for tonight’s workshop handout packet! You will be asked to input your email address & name to access the handouts.  For more tips on saying “no” tune in next Tuesday to KSL TV’s Studio 5 from 11-noon for my segment called “Find the voice to say NO”. 

Songs

Here are the names of songs that I performed & link to iTunes. 
God’s Signature (to be released on “Best Of” album April 20)
Make Enough of Me (iTunes)   

Follow Me

 

Your Feedback

To contact me directly with questions or comments click here.  I’d love to hear what you found were the most helpful ideas we discussed this morning. Feel free to leave comments about the the workshop in the comment form below (the comment form  requires name and your email address to comment but your email address will not be included in the post. )