Assessing your relationships and oil changes

Did you read the book I recommended in my last article, “Seven Desires?” Besides simply reading about why we and others are the way we are, I find great value when others give me exercises or tools to easily incorporate into my life that will benefit my relationships.

Years ago when I was a MOPS leader, we made these little paper boxes filled with questions that would help us initiate fun conversations with our little ones. It was such a great way to get to know our kids while enjoying each of their sweet personalities.

When my children got older, I ordered “Keys for Kids.” We would read the story and scripture and talk about it as a family. This took our conversations to a deeper level and helped us teach valuable lessons we may not have thought of on our own.

Now that we have three teens in our house, it becomes a little more challenging to engage in meaningful conversations—especially when we are looking to understand how they are feeling as their lives are getting more complicated. In considering what I learned in “Seven Desires,” I very much want to make sure I am doing my part in fulfilling the desires of their hearts.

What about you? Do you really hear and understand your loved ones, affirm them, bless them, create a safe mental environment for them, touch them lovingly, choose them, and include them? Do you sometimes find it exhausting just getting through a day, much less being mindful of all of this? I know I do. But something new I have started has really helped us talk about our feelings and benefit our relationships.

The exercise can be done in two ways. First, you can simply ask what the high and low of your loved one’s day was. This helps them get in touch with their feelings. If you want to take it deeper, the second way is to ask: Give me two feelings and two affirmations—giving them the ability to put words to their feelings and also being mindful of others. You’ll be amazed how this exercise will deepen your relationships while perhaps even recognizing you for the efforts you put into your family’s lives.

Examples of doing this exercise with your kids. This italic red portion not published in the Post Bulletin:


2 Feelings: “I felt joyful today because everyone was in a great mood at work!” + “I felt sad when the vet said our dog would need to wear the cone again for an infection”.

2 Affirmations: “I appreciated how you didn’t get upset when your brother was picking on you, good job in learning how to be positive when he is pushing your buttons” + “Thank you for emptying the dishwasher. I love it when you take initiative to help me out!”.


2 Feelings: “I felt left out when all of the kids at school were playing on their phones rather than talking to me.” + “I felt proud of myself when my brother was picking on me and I didn’t get angry”.
2 Affirmations: “Thank you for dinner; you are a good cook” + “Thank you for bringing my tennis shoes to school that I forgot, I can always count on you”.

If you are doing this exercise as a family during dinner or during family time, everyone can say two feelings and then the affirmations can be for anyone in the family. This gives your children the opportunity to affirm siblings or parents.

This exercise is also an excellent way to improve communication between you and your spouse.

Just as there are different ways at different stages to have meaningful conversations with our children, there different ways and different places carbon can build up in our vehicles. Besides the change to GDI engines, many manufactures have changed the design of the piston rings in new engines, making them thinner with less tension. This creates less friction as the piston travels up and down, thereby needing less power to perform its job well. This is a great design and new vehicle owners get more MPGs and save money at the gas pumps.

However, this design change has made preventative maintenance even more important to good performance and engine health. When these engines were introduced, it was highly publicized that oil change intervals could be extended greatly. But over time, as they have been assessed, studies are showing that the carbon deposits have been found to be detrimental on these thinner piston rings. Even the smallest amount of carbon makes the rings stick. And as the engine starts to perform less efficiently, it leads to deposits and tarnish within the engine.

The owner’s manual of a 2016 F150 with eco boost reveals the importance of timely oil changes, despite what the general public has been told. Ford specifically lays out requirements of oil change intervals but is vague about specifications of what each classification is. It says there are three levels of oil change intervals:

Extreme driver = 3,000 miles

Severe driver = 5,000 miles

Normal driver = 10,000 miles

Which of these are you? The type of driver you are is based on climate and driving habits. Right off the bat, Minnesotans are excluded from being normal drivers because of the type of weather we endure. So does that make you a severe driver? As a mother of four and business owner, I can tell you that I drive in a lot of stop and go scenarios. My stop and go driving, coupled with my climate, makes me likely an extreme driver. Even if I were to somehow still be in the middle category, 5,000 miles is the absolute maximum I should wait between changes.

Often times, with our busy lives, we look at the mileage as a guestimate. I can’t tell you how many clients come into our facility and giggle about how many thousand miles they went over but say they are relieved because they are using the better oil and “everyone says” they can go up to 10,000 miles with that oil. Though you and others may not notice performance issues, remember that you have been getting used to your car over time. If it’s a used vehicle you are driving, you may never have experienced the exceptional power and performance of when your car was brand new. And because you cannot see the inside of the engine, you have no idea what extended oil change intervals can do to the piston rings and micro-passageways inside your engine.

If you change your oil like the half-million mile car man, Marc, that I wrote about in the spring, then you are all set! Way to go, pat yourself on the back, your engine thanks you! But if you are not always good about changing your oil every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, there is a solution—a magic potion of sorts. It’s so exciting that I need another article to tell you about it.

Until then, work on the special relationships in your life and change your oil on time, every time!

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