Have You Filled Your Bucket Today?


The concept of bucket filling is one that kids can really understand and relate to. This book is a wonderful tool for families and teachers to give kids a visual way to think about kindness toward others. Words hurt, that’s the simple truth! If we can teach young children the power of words and teach them to use those words carefully, we can change the future of the world.

This book visually conveys a message that is often difficult to explain to children, about finding happiness through spreading happiness. Kids understand it and love it, and it helps parents explain at a kid’s level why someone was mean to them. It is definitely one to read and re-read! Enjoy!!

Memorial Day

American Flag
If you happen to have the day off from work or school today please do not dismiss the reason why. Read up on some interesting facts (see link below) on our national holiday and don’t forget to pause at 3:00 today for a moment of silence for those soldiers who gave all.
For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit
~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice

Oklahoma Swept Away

OklahomaA class 5 tornado ripped through Oklahoma leaving behind hundreds dead and injured. Although, the area is known for twisters this time of year, the deadly force and size of yesterday’s storm has left communities in complete distress with neighborhoods leveled to piles of rubble.
Regular folks like you and me, going to work and school will not be returning to their families. It is yet another reminder of how precious life and loved ones are, and at any given moment it may be our last. May we be respectful of those who have lost family and friends, by treating ours with grace and appreciation. Today, choose to acknowledge the beauty of a fellow human being and engage with the intention to connect with one another. With respect, we extend our thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families.
For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit
~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice

The Giving Tree – Suggested Reading & Review

“Once there was a tree…” Simple prose, with an insightful indictment on the way society does life with such egocentric tendencies, and on the flip side, revealing the tenderness of altruistic giving. There are many reviews on this classic poem focusing on the incredible love of the tree, comparing the tree to a friend, or a parent. Others perceive the tree continues to give in order to relive the joy experienced with the boy when they simply spent time together. Of course, the tree gives sacrificially only to provide fleeting happiness to her boy. When will enough truly make the boy happy? He continues to take all she has to offer and on every returning visit her boy never reaches contentment, searching for happiness in money, a house, a boat, family. Where does real joy come from? Where does contentment and peace reside? Perhaps in the end the old boy and old stump will both decide.
Beautifully written and illustrated, convicting both adults and children to consider their roles in life. Are you a giver or taker? As always, the choice is yours! Enjoy, engage and contemplate, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.

For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit
~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice

What Mother Really Wants

Mother’s Day is just a few days away, and before you scramble to the local chocolatiers and florist, listen to what 50 random moms had to share when asked, "What do you want for Mother's Day." The responses were humourous to tear-filled. That's a mom for you! Out of those unique answers rose a more thoughtful inquiry, 'What do you need as a mom?" I believe every single woman repeated that question with a tone of surprise and serious contemplation. I enjoyed hearing their stories because a woman rarely gives one word answers. I was humbled and honored at the transparency some chose to reveal, detailing long-held traditions, deep hurts, expectations and their general feelings surrounding that day. Here are just a few of their thoughts.

What I want is a steak and what I need is respect.
What I want is a gift and what I need is some support.
What I want is nothing and what I need is to not be a side-bar to my husband's mother.
I don't know what I want but I need some help.
I want for nothing, I need to forgive my own mother.
I want and need to enjoy the day with my kids.
I want a day to not do what I do every single day. I guess, I need a break.
I need to keep my expectations tapered.
I don't know. I need to know that I am accomplishing something in my childrens' lives at the end of the day.
I want some sleep. Seriously, I need sleep!
I don't know what I want but I need to ditch the mommy guilt.
I want nothing and need nothing. I have 2 healthy kids and a wonderful husband. I am blessed!
I want some peace. I need cooperation.
I just want to see my grand-baby.
What I don't want is breakfast in bed. I need time.
I want some quiet space. I need energy.
I want my mother to come down from heaven and spend one day with my daughter to catch up and I just want to ask her if I'm doing this right.

The most common responses were, “I don’t know” and “I need help, assistance, a second set of hands.” I wish I could wrap this Mother's Day blog up neatly with some profound advice or some convincing statistics that draw a common theme, but that is not happening! Aside from having children we are as different and unique as snowflakes. Our wants and needs are specific to the seasons we weather as mothers. But, I guarantee you this, if you take a moment to reflect upon the distinction between needs and wants, and focus on giving mom what she needs — you will indeed give her what she wants!

Pass this along to the wonderful women in your life to let them know you are thinking about them on this special occasion and have a Happy Mother’s Day!

For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit
~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice


Sibling Insult – In the Class and Home

Scan5_0005Admit it, parents and teachers. There are times your children/students get on your nerves. Typically, it’s not them as the wonderful unique individuals that they are. It’s the family dynamic, when they too, are getting on each other’s nerves. If you think for one moment a class isn’t filled with 15+ brothers and sisters then you are mistaken! Many teachers refer to their classrooms as, Mrs. Smith’s Family Class, or Room 2B Family, and they do so with the specific intent to create community. Yet, family dynamics can be a bit challenging. Think about your own lovely family.
My boys have been dishing out the insults and petty physical annoyances left and right, lately. It is driving me crazy! As a general rule, I like to maintain a level of kind words and civility in my home. I’ve been told; it’s not possible with three boys. It may be my ignorance to sibling-rivalry. I never grew up with siblings. But, I’m not comfortable with letting my children treat each other less than kind, because they share the same roof, that’s just not logical. Nor, does a teacher, let unkindness go unchecked, when attempting to keep respect and integrity in the family-classroom.
It can be exhausting policing this behavior and constant monitoring is not the goal. When everything is said and done, I don’t want to censor everything that is spoken. I want to build the skills that develop understanding in the power of choosing words thoughtfully, and that your brother at home or your brother in the classroom is more than someone you can insult and physically pester. Recently, I changed my approach, “Do not speak to my son that way.” I quickly informed my other son, Joseph* as he proceeded to call his younger brother,” stupid.” That word, being the one word, I can truly say makes me hot! The offender was speechless. He was just informed that his brother also belongs to someone else; sometimes we forget we are all connected. In that moment, I realized, I would not let a stranger or even a family friend speak unkindly to my boys, why should it be acceptable for them as family members?
Maybe this is a vain battle on my part and I know living with and going to school with the same people day in and day out will present its general irritations and conflicts, but, my hope is twenty years from now, my boys can share a holiday meal together and enjoy pleasant, ridiculously-funny, memories of how they lived with each other, not memories filled with residual pain from hurtful words that were allowed to freely roam the halls of their home or school.


For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit
~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice