To the Parents of a Newly Blended Family: 3 Reasons Why Your Family Rocks

Blended families sometimes get a bad rep out there. There’s advice all over the internet about how to overcome the challenges that are common in blended family life, or how to deal with the mess, complications, and exhaustion that comes with raising a blended family. But no one ever writes about how sweet it all is. Yes, raising a blended family is difficult. There are challenges to overcome every single day. But if it was easy, how would you know it was worth it?

Raising a blended family truly comes with a ton of hardships, but read on to find out the even greater joys.

There is never a dull moment

While most larger families live days full of noise, excitement, and chaos, blended families truly take this to the next level––in the most entertaining way possible. When you take two families, both with different aged kids, and put them under one roof, you’re bound for some controversy and definitely some added entertainment to everyday life. Sure, you will inevitably have to mediate arguments and tension, but when it’s all over there’s nothing to do except look back on all of the chaos with laughter and joy. Eventually all of these moments will become worth it, and your family will be closer because of it.

Your kids have more than two examples to learn from

If a blended family means one thing, it’s that everyone’s constantly learning from each other. It’s simple math, really. More family members equals more examples to watch and learn from. Your kids have the opportunity to gain other role models and influences in their life, and they will likely become much more dynamic, well-rounded, and independent men and women as a result. Not to mention, you and your spouse have the chance to experience and learn from a different family’s traditions and way of life. Essentially, establishing a blended family sets you up for a lifetime of learning from each other.

You get to establish a new blended family life together

More than anything, navigating the ups and downs of a blended family life paves the way for new family traditions and allows you to make memories together. At first, the collision of families may come as a shock with multiple breakdowns along the way. But once you’ve established rules and settle into your own version of normalcy, you have the chance to create traditions and your unique definition of family that is unlike any other. At the end of the day, you really wouldn’t have it any other way.

Among all the hardships and ruckus that is commonplace in blended families, you’ll truly find some of life’s sweetest moments––like when you overhear all of your kids laughing in another room or watching your spouse effortlessly bond with your children. That’s what makes it all worth it because, after all, nothing ventured is nothing gained.

Leslie WolgamottTo the Parents of a Newly Blended Family: 3 Reasons Why Your Family Rocks
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3 Ways To Celebrate The Fourth

With the Fourth of July just around the corner, there are lots of ways you can show your patriotism and celebrate everything USA. With all the options, it can be hard to decide exactly what you should do. If you’re at a loss for what to do on the Fourth, but want to plan something easy and fun with your family and friends, read these fun 3 ways to celebrate the Fourth of July.

These 3 ways to celebrate the Fourth of July are guaranteed to get you in patriotic spirits.

Coordinate a Block Party

There’s nothing quite like gathering all of your family and friends to enjoy good food and amazing company. Coordinate with your friends and neighbors to amp up your typical backyard BBQ and throw a full on cook-out block party in your backyard or neighborhood.

If you’re worried about hosting the day’s holiday festivities, a block party is a great way to divvy up the responsibilities. To make coordinating easier, start up a google doc where people can list what they are contributing so you don’t end up with a hundred buns and six hot dogs. Add some American classics to your music playlist to really kick festivities up a notch and keep people entertained. Lastly, what would a block party be without red, white, and blue decorations and balloons?

Watch Fireworks

As a long-held Fourth of July tradition, watching fireworks is a great way to join in on holiday festivities, and is entertaining for both children and adults. As the Fourth of July begins to come to a close, fireworks are an inspiring way to wrap up all the festivities of the day. Sometimes, the local fireworks site even has all-day activities planned like concerts, inflatables, and food vendors to keep you busy while waiting for the firework show. You can usually check your local city’s website to find out where fireworks will be held for the evening, or even stock up on some of your own to set off and be the life of the neighborhood. Just be sure to check your local city ordinances first for rules about personal fireworks.

Camp In A National Park

Going off the grid and taking in the natural beauty of a national park is a great way to appreciate all that our country has to offer. National parks have so much intrinsic value and are sure to inspire you with their untouched beauty. When camping in a national park, you catch a small glimpse into America’s history and how people used to live, which puts your life into perspective in turn. National parks also help educate you on conservation and the natural wonders of our land, so you can live more sustainably. After all, being outside is the epitome of freedom! Stay close to home to visit a local National Park, or visit one of the famous ones like the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone.

Leslie Wolgamott3 Ways To Celebrate The Fourth
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4 Ways Boating is Good for Your Soul

Spending hours out on the water is arguably one of the most effective ways to feed the soul. Sitting on a boat, letting the waves rock you back and forth, and gazing out at the open water is no doubt one of the most breathtaking experiences we can have as explorers, and as humans. But, just how exactly does boating affect your soul? Why is the experience so relaxing and addicting?

Read on to discover four ways boating is good for your soul.

Boating removes you from reality and renews your mind

In a world full of busy work schedules, back-to-back meetings and appointments, buzzing cell phones, long commutes, and full calendars, it can be hard, or nearly impossible, to find a chance to relax and spend time doing something simply because you enjoy doing it. Boating invites you to embrace your adventures on the water with a clear mind and encourages you to enjoy your time alone or with others. It removes you from the reality and demands of your everyday life and forces you to solely focus on the here and now leaving you with a renewed spirit once you return to land.

Boating fosters bonds and relationships

Since the distractions of your everyday life are removed when you’re out on the water, building relationships and making lasting memories with family and friends is pretty much effortless. Whether you’re talking about everything that comes to mind or just watching the sunset in silence, boating trips create bonding experiences that you will remember for years to come.

Each time is a new learning experience

Each time you set sail and embark on a new adventure is a new opportunity to learn and master your boating skills. It’s important to maintain a teachable spirit on the water because each trip is unlike the last. You never know what will come your way. The more you work on your skills, the more confident you’ll be the next time you set out.

Boating expands your experience of the world

Boating provides you with a source of endless adventure because it takes you out to actually see the world and experience new places. But, it also does so much more for your soul than that. It is one of the most unique ways to expand your awareness of the world around you by removing yourself from the worries of reality.

Next time you get the opportunity to hit the water on a boat, make sure you relax, clear your mind and enjoy the beautiful scenery in front of you!

Leslie Wolgamott4 Ways Boating is Good for Your Soul
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How Do You Become a Better Listener Overnight?

As a wise man once said, “Nature has given men one tongue but two ears, that we may hear from others twice as much as we speak.” Even still, listening is a difficult skill. More often than not, we find ourselves listening to respond, rather than listening to learn. Don’t worry if that sounds like something you’re guilty of.

It’s never too late to learn how to be a better listener overnight.

Remember to Maintain Eye Contact

Above all else, maintaining eye contact lets the person you’re speaking with know that you’re listening. But that isn’t all that it does. When you maintain eye contact, you are more actively involved with the conversation by default. It’s hard to be disengaged when you’re making a concerted effort to keep your eyes focused on the person you’re talking to.

It may feel uncomfortable or awkward at first, but it’s ultimately one of the most important communication skills that you can develop throughout your life and career.

Limit Distractions as Much as Possible

It’s far easier to maintain eye contact and be a better, more active listener when you limit distractions as much as possible. Put down the smartphone. Forget about the clock. In those moments when you’re trying to be a present listener, just focus on being present.

To become a better listener overnight, start by limiting as many distractions as you possibly can.

Ask Questions to Dive Deeper

By far, the best thing you can do to become a better listener overnight is to simply ask questions. Dive deeper into the conversation and make it all about the person you’re speaking with.

One of the worst things you can do when you’re trying to be a better listener is to assume you know the answers to the questions you’re asking. Don’t try to be a mind-reader; just allow the person you’re in conversation with to lead and answer freely.

In the end, being a better listener just takes patience, concentration, and a willingness to tap into your natural sense of empathy. Be the person you wish would listen to you, and center all of your conversations around the idea that you’re there to learn from others. Ultimately, this practice will make you not only a better listener, but also a better person all around.

Leslie WolgamottHow Do You Become a Better Listener Overnight?
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Top 3 Reasons to Fall in Love with Boating

Boating is about so much more than hitting the water in a buoyant vessel—it’s more than just water and waves meeting aluminum and fiberglass. Whether you’re powering through the surf in a roaring speedboat or soaking in all that nature has to offer you in a down-to-earth kayak, you’re bound to learn a thing or two about yourself.

And that’s just one of the many reasons to fall in love with boating.

Boating Allows You to Escape the Ordinary

There’s nothing ordinary about being able to defy gravity. When you’re floating out in the middle of the lake, you can escape reality—even if only for just a moment. There’s no other feeling quite like it; it’s like being able to fly.

Boating doesn’t have to try too hard to make you fall in love with it. Moments like that, where you could swear you were transcending time and space, they’re enough to convince you to keep coming back.

Boating is Good for Your Mind, Body, and Soul

It’s a well-known fact that vitamin D is a vital nutrient—and one that you get by going outside and soaking up the sun. Of course, you should always make sure you’ve slathered on at least SPF 30 before spending time in the sun. Still, the benefits of spending time outside are undeniable. Exercise in the form of canoeing, wakeboarding, or waterskiing combines a great workout with great fun, thereby feeding your body and your soul at once.

Boating also forces your mind to stretch to new proportions. To be a great sailor, you have to be able to calculate the speed and direction of the wind; to be a captain, you have to have your wits about you at all times.

If you’re a fan of self-improvement, then falling in love with boating should be a no-brainer.

Boating Strengthens Relationships and Fosters Fun

When you’re out on the water, there’s no need for social media; your social network is sitting all around you, strapped into life jackets. If you’ve been craving that connection with your kids or your spouse that you just can’t seem to find on land, try boating.

Fall in love with boating, and you’ll inevitably grow closer with your family. Boating is the ultimate family activity, and because you’re surrounded by water, feel free to banish technology to the shore.

It’s way more fun to live in the moment anyway!

Leslie WolgamottTop 3 Reasons to Fall in Love with Boating
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Fundamental Truths About Financial Freedom

Financial freedom may seem like a nebulous concept for most people. It feels way too far away from reality to be feasibly attainable. It’s a dream that gets packed away in the closet when the bills come due each month. Whenever you feel hopeful, you pull it out and dust it off, examining the possibilities for your future that it holds. Sensing that it takes time and effort to open the box and unleash those possibilities, you gently cover it back up and store it in the linen closet once again.

The next time you feel the urge to uncover the dream of financial freedom, don’t hesitate to open that box, knowing that you’ll be armed with the most fundamental truths about money and financial freedom.

Money Cannot Buy You Happiness

It’s a well-renowned idea that abstract concepts, like love and happiness, can’t be bought with money. While it’s true that the things you can buy with money can engender feelings of joy and affection, the truest happiness and love come from immaterial pursuits.

Money cannot buy you happiness. Money cannot buy you love. But, money can buy you something better, something that can foster the growth of those two ideals. Financial freedom can buy you time: the most precious resource on the planet. Once it’s used up, it’s gone forever, and it keeps ticking by, no matter how hard you wish it wouldn’t. Having enough money not to have to trade your hours for dollars allows you to spend time with your loved ones. Financial freedom allows you to determine your own happiness and to devote your resources to loving everyone around you more intentionally.

Money is Not the Root of All Evil

To be clear, this is an often misquoted Bible verse. It’s 1 Timothy 6:10, and it doesn’t say, “Money is the root of all evil.” Instead, it specifies that the “…love of money is root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”

In the end, money is not the root of any evils. It is only when people are overcome by greed or feel an intense need for money that evil arises. That love of money causes people to lie, cheat, steal, and more just in the pursuit of that peace of mind that comes with having money.

When you’re comfortable in your financial freedom, you don’t love money. You enjoy what it can do for you, but you’re not clamoring for it. There’s no need to resort to evil to attain it. Now, that’s true peace of mind.

Money Won’t Set You Free

Simply having money won’t set you free. Financial freedom is about more than just having loads of cash stashed away. It’s a mindset that allows you not to worry about having to grind day in and day out to maintain your lifestyle.

Money can’t and won’t set you free. Only you can set yourself free.

Leslie WolgamottFundamental Truths About Financial Freedom
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3 Small Joys Every Parent Knows Well

There’s no doubt about it: being a parent is one of the hardest jobs on the planet. Conversely, it’s also one of the most rewarding jobs in the world. When you’re a parent, you’re basically a superhero (even if your cape is actually just your kid draping himself around your neck). So, what are the rewards for all of the extraordinary feats that parents accomplish?

They’re simple and beautiful: they’re the small joys every parent knows well.

When You See Glimpses of Your Parents in Your Kids

It’s easy to see all the ways that your kids look just like you and your spouse. From the moment they’re born, you begin to marvel at the way they have your husband’s nose or your own eyes.

But one of the most wonderful small joys in life comes when you see glimpses of your parents in your kids. It’s not just in the way they look, the way their smile reminds you of your father, or the way their curls fall just like your mother’s. It’s in the way they exhibit the same kindness of spirit that your parents showed you when you were little. It’s in the way that they’re thoughtful and patient just like their grandmother.

There are thousands of glimpses like this over a lifetime. Don’t miss out on them. Pay attention to all of the little things about your kids, and you’ll be rewarded by the incredible continuing nature and beauty of humanity.

When Your Kids Seem to Know You Better Than You Know Yourself

Kids are some of the most observant people you’ll ever encounter. They’re always listening, always looking, always taking the world in. Bit by bit, they begin to paint a vivid picture for themselves of who you are as a parent to them. The picture is fuzzy at first, but in time, it becomes as clear as day.

You’ll know that they have you figured out in the most jaw-dropping ways. One day, you’ll slip up and forget what you were saying or doing—and your kids will step in and fill in the blanks for you. Take that small joy for what it is: a tiny miracle.

Your kids are always looking up to you, and in those moments, they’re truly looking out for you.

When You Realize that Your Kids Don’t Need Help Doing [Insert Here]

This realization is a mixed blessing. If we all could, we’d keep our kids young, free, and safe forever. But, sadly, that’s not how time—or life—works. Time marches on, and life opens all kids up to less-than-pleasant possibilities.

If you’ve done your job as a parent well, though, this won’t matter quite so much. Your kids will be prepared to face any of the challenges life throws at them. That’s why it’s so important to recognize all of the moments when your kids don’t need help doing [insert task here, whatever that task may be: cutting their meat, riding a bike, writing a letter, getting a job; the list goes on].

That list doesn’t go on forever, unfortunately. There will come a day when you witness the last small joy of parenthood: when your kids become parents themselves. Luckily, all that means is that you get to start reliving those joys as a grandparent.

That’s the beauty of life: the small joys are endless.

Leslie Wolgamott3 Small Joys Every Parent Knows Well
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Surprising Keys to Being a Successful Mentor

No one is a successful mentor right out of the gate. Like anything else worth doing, being a successful mentor takes time, dedication, and sticktoitiveness. It also takes a little know-how, which is why it’s important to read up on all of the keys to being a successful mentor.

Some of the keys might surprise you. If you’ve never mentored anyone before (and even if you have), they might even go against your natural instincts as a leader. Regardless, these keys to success are tried and true methods for fostering and growing a deeply impactful mentor-mentee relationship.

Share Your Failures as Much as Your Successes

It’s always uncomfortable to talk about failure, and it’s especially counterintuitive when you’re a mentor. But, if you want to be the best mentor you can possibly be, you have to push past that awkwardness.

Think about all of the most influential people in your life. Were they perfect? Probably not by any stretch of the imagination. Even still, they were great mentors—not because they were flawless, but because they did amazing things in spite of their fallibility.

Letting your mentor in on your failures will help them to better see themselves in your successes.

Understand Where Your Mentee is Coming From

…And where they want to go.

One of the most important tasks that mentors take on is meeting their mentees where they are. If you can’t understand their perspective, then you won’t be able to help them shift it to see new possibilities.

To be the best mentor, you have to understand where your mentee is coming from—as well as where they see themselves heading over the next two to five years. You wouldn’t plan a road trip without knowing what Point A and Point B are, so then why would you enter into a mentorship situation without having a similar plan and understanding?

Listen to Learn

In order to get to that point of understanding, though, you need to listen. Unfortunately, most people listen to respond, instead of listening to learn.

As a mentor, you have to be willing and able to listen to your mentee and really hear them. Try as hard as you can not to filter their words through your own experience—and who knows? Maybe you’ll learn a thing or two from them about life.

Again, the most successful mentors are those that aren’t afraid to expose their failures, understand where their mentees are coming from, and listen to gain that understanding.

Leslie WolgamottSurprising Keys to Being a Successful Mentor
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