In the midst of crisis and the unknown, it's easy to distance yourself from others, from the social media, and the media. All you have to do is turn off your phone, devices, and television.
Here's the challenging part, to find a place where you can distance your mind from your own thoughts, your worries, and your own anxiety. This is not easy. Part of the reason it's so difficult, there isn't a cookie cutter detachment process. Each individual is different, so the response and way to distance oneself and refocus will also be different.
“Cast all your worries upon
One thing, actually, One Man, is always the same and right there with you. God is waiting. My next statement will sound simple yet it will be one of the hardest decisions and actions you take. Take a deep look within yourself and ask God to let you know how you will best relax. Close your eyes and seek God's wisdom. Your quiet might be found sitting on the dock listening to the wind blow through the leaves or may be sitting at a table in the middle of a busy coffee shop. There is one thing required, that you slow down and figure out what works best for you.
Once you settle in, let go of your worries and troubles. share them with God. He cares.
“The Lord bless you and keep you!
What are you doing to relax?
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How have you seen God working in your life today?
Not often, but sometimes, plans change. Last Friday, we had the opportunity to connect with my cousin. I haven't seen him since I was knee high, and my Dad, it was over twenty years. When opportunities like this are available, we seize the moment and catch up with family and friends. We had so much fun, laughed and visited, and look forward to doing this again in the future. With this being said, since we hadn't planned on being out of the house for a few hours, the television turned off and there was no radio. We learned that our pup likes, and possibly, needs the sound on when she's left home alone.
In three years, this only happened one other time and it was when we forgot to leave the radio on. Why do I share this lesson learned? Simple, when you are facing a pandemic and tissue supplies are limited, remember to turn the radio on. I'm not playing down the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, but I have a choice, as do you. We can live in fear and increased stress levels that will impact our future health OR we can find reasons to smile and to laugh.
In the midst of stress, I tent to laugh and crack jokes. This is my coping mechanism. What is yours? We all have a way we "get through" the tough times, mine, for today, lies on the floor in the remnants of a tissue box. If I'm short on tissues in the days or weeks ahead, I'll cry then. For now, I choose to laugh and spread joy.
What are your coping mechanisms in times of stress?
On some levels, it's the twist and turns that keep us on our toes. We learn from each one. Some we handle the right way, other times, we fail BUT we still learn. I've never weighed my good and bad choices on a scale but there is one thing I know for sure, experiential learning was part of them all.
This week, for T.O.P.'s Tuesday, I thought it would be a good time to share a few things I've learned, or was reminded of, this week:
1) You can 100% and some will still want more
2) You can't make everyone happy at the same time
3) When one thing is crossed off the list, another is added
4) Tomorrow is not a guarantee
5) It's hard to put yourself first
In response to my five reminders/lessons of the week, I have words of wisdom for myself, and you, if you choose to keep reading:
1) Only you can choose to say "no" when you've reached your limit
2) Accept that others won't like it, or understand, when you say no
3) You are the list writer, before you add a new item, ask yourself, "Is this important?"
4) Before you respond or react, how will you feel if it's left unresolved?
5) It's necessary to take time for yourself to avoid burnout (and being miserable to the people you love the most)
My husband usually does this because I struggle so much with it but I did it myself this year. Some of you reading this are thinking, "what's the big deal? It's just moving the clock ahead an hour. Get over it lady!" Well, this is why I did it myself this year. As I work on completing my new book and devotional, "Not Just an Easter Devo", I'm facing fears and accepting the challenges I give my readers.
Don't worry, I don't challenge anyone to change their clock, this is my hurdle to jump, not yours. This is the beauty of writing a devotional.st I have the opportunity to challenge my readers, and myself, at the same time. Although it's not available yet, there are a few lucky readers enjoying it during this year's Lenten season. My negative, I haven't had as much time to write since returning to work and my normal, way-to-busy, schedule. The positive, my readers are asking for the next week's devotionals. I printed them off over the weekend and got them into their hands. Phew...
Here's the deal, part of my busyness comes from not saying "no" enough, and saying "yes" when I know it will stretch me thin. I need to reread the books from earlier in the year, or find a blog that reinforces the, "It's okay to say no", philosophy. It's a challenge because I come from a long line of "puterers". This isn't a real word, unless you are in my family. We like to putter, so a person that putters, is a putterer.
Basically, this means our puttering often is more than the average person does in a day, at least according to my husband and some of my friends. As I face more opportunities to putter, pray I learn to prioritize better and use the word "no" more often. It might be a short, two letter word, but goodness is it hard to use. What's up with that? If you are able to say no to people, share in the comments ways you are able to do this. All the "yesers" and "putterers" anxiously await your wisdom.
Is it easy or challenging for you to say no?
Our Commander in Chief is calling our country to lean on the Christian and prayer-filled, foundation of our fore-fathers, current, and future generations.
I like President Trump's boldness and integrity to ignite a fire of faith through, over, and in our nation. May the prayers of many reach God's ears and end this pandemic as quickly as it started. To read more about today's day of prayer: click here.
Even the squirrels are praying, isn't it time we all join together?
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Pray for our President, Nation, and World everyday
but for today...know we are all praying
at the same time,
for the same thing,
to the same God.
God is listening and will answer!
I'm washing, disinfecting, and cleaning like I have n the past. I'm a touch of a germ-a-phob, so I've stepped my game up. Some friends and family kid me by saying, "I feel like you now with as many times as I've washed my hands." Oh well, I keep the hand lotion companies in business.
I've included a couple videos below for your enjoyment and to help de-stress.
Education is power and with COVID-19, knowing things to increase your ability to avoid it (besides quarantine), and that people ARE surviving and feeling better, there is a light at the end of this dark tunnel.
The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it."
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Here it is...the toilet paper posts and discussions have brought humor to social media in the midst of a scary and uncertain time. So whether you are a toilet paper hoarder, a meme sharer on social media, or one hiding out until this passes. Remember to share the light, laughter, and love. God has overcome the world already, this too shall pass.
Remember, tomorrow, Sunday, March 15th
is a day of prayer...
Prayer is powerful and God answers!
First is a reminder, we can read the same Scripture a hundred times and then have something totally different stand out to us on the 101st time. Have you ever had this happen? The first time I taught the Parable of the Sower in a Sunday School class, I messed up big time. I was a baby Christian and looking back, the pastor should have given me a mentor. Thankfully, his son, the same child who shared the importance of a relationship with Jesus with me, was in this class. I learned the song and as we sang the song, I changed the verses. Yup, I was so wrong but didn't see it at the time.
That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.” The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”
He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “ ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.
“Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy."
Matthew 13:1-20 NIV
Have you experienced a moment like this before?
According to an online article, by Samantah Worgull, titled, "The Brain", states: "Meet me at the brain. A common landmark for students at Kent State, the 13-foot statue made of red sandstone sits outside of Merrill Hall. The statue was designed by Professor Emeritus of Art Brinsley Tyrrell and has been talked about since its placement in 2001. Admirers can follow the stem of the brain to a small plaza containing a smaller brain, a fountain and benches with sculpted books as the backrest. The statue and its surrounding parts are a symbol of knowledge, so take a walk by the brain; maybe you’ll learn something."
Did you find any of this interesting? I hope, I know I did. It's the little, or not so little in this case, things that can inspire and motivate us. This statue is a reminder to me, and you, to use your brain for all it's designed and empowered to do. We each have a choice, we can use this power for good or for not-so-good. I choose the positive and good.
“If you realized how powerful your thoughts are,
you would never think a negative thought.”
What positive thoughts are you thinking?
Vacations are supposed to recharge us. They are supposed to help us relax and return us home with a calmer outlook, ready to conquer the daily tasks associated with work, raising a family, and being a member of the busy society we live in. Yet it seems that most people plan vacations so full of "things to do" that we've forgotten to relax.
When our daughter shared her invitation to interview at three graduate colleges out of state and we realized it lined up with my February break. Yoo Hoo! Not only would our daughter not have to travel alone during the winter, I had the opportunity to relax for a change. Not only did we have a great time of bonding but while she was at the colleges and I was at the hotel alone for days at a time...relaxation was the mission. It was a win-win for everyone involved. Our daughter experienced bigger universities and I learned it was okay to relax and take time alone. Most importantly, I now understand the importance of making time for yourself. Ladies, you need to take time for yourself. You'll be a better daughter, wife, mother, and friend.
When is the last time you relaxed?
Personally, I still prefer to sit and write with pen and paper, or should I say pencil? I have a favorite type of paper to use for the "type" of writing I'm doing. If I'm sitting to write then I also have a favorite pencil and pen type I like to use. If I don't have these then it's a mental block in my writing process. It's silly yet when I think about athletes and their must haves, I figure it's just a writer's crutch or is it a cushion? Hmm...
While I strive to write every day, some is on the computer and others are by hand with a pen or pencil on my yellow steno pad. Sometimes which I choose depends on my mood, or the weather, or the topic. Of course there are the days when the notes are written on a napkin, sticky note, or delivery bag because it's all I have to write on. I keep soap crayons in the bathroom so if inspiration hits while in the shower. Just like a a singer is meant to sing, a writer is meant to write. What are you called to do?
If you are a writer, which do you prefer?
"Give it Up and Draw In"...A Lenten Devotional
The first few days of the trip I dove into my concordance and Bible, looking up different verses. By the end of the second day I saw a theme, a pattern, and a devotional. I spent the next day diving into my Bible more and reading more verses than could be used in one devotional yet each one offered message from God.
When I research Bible verses for a book or a speaking engagement, my routine is the same. First, I write down the address of as many verses as possible about the subject I'm researching and learning about. Next, I look up all the verses, hand writing each verse that speaks to my heart. After this, I go back and read all the verses I've looked up and written. I ask God to direct me to the verses He has for me to share. It was through this last process that I heard, felt, the Holy Spirit, direct me to a Lenten devotional. I was shocked and nervous, but obedient.
The days that followed were spent organizing and laying out the devotional. I start the Tuesday prior to Ash Wednesday, known as "Fat Tuesday" or "Shrove Tuesday" and it concludes the Monday after Easter. Each day has a key Bible verse with an "Additional Bible Reading" after the devotional. If you've never read a devotional, they are short and sweet, similar to my blog. A quick message but with a Bible verse to get you thinking and more verses to help you dig deeper.
I extend a special thanks to those taking time to read my new devotional, starting tomorrow. May God use this as a tool to draw you closer to Him and find a new nugget of truth in the Bible as you read each day.
If you are interested in learning when this is available for sale, leave a comment below and continue to follow the blog. I'd love for it to be available to everyone this year, but I don't want to make a promise I can't keep. My hope and prayer for you and this devotional, may it release in God's timing and may it touch many hearts and lives, drawing more to Him and growing His kingdom.
Is a Lenten Devotional something
you are interested in?
Years later, we keep in contact via social media and email, I believe they are also my listeners in France. God works in mysterious and wonderful ways. Our goal was to expose Miss Coline to all we could during the few short weeks in hopes she learned something new and returned home with wonderful memories of the United States. One thing I hadn't expected was how quickly she would connect with us and our family and how much we'd miss her the day she returned home.
With this being said, there are certain things that still remind me of Miss Coline. One such thing is street lamps. In the city of Oswego, New York, there are beautiful street lamps, lamps I never noticed until Miss Coline's photographic eye moved into our home. Everywhere we traveled, she brought her camera and it was through her lens that I acquired a new appreciation of my hometown and neighboring cities.
As you move through the day, look up and look at the world around you through a camera lens. Where would you direct the camera? What might stand out that you may have missed if you were just going through the motions? Something to think about.
What lesson can you learn from looking up?
Did you hear that? Life is good! Do you want to know something even bigger and better? God is good and all the time, God is good. Not some of the time, but ALL THE TIME. Despite what is going on in our lives or how we feel about it...God has our back. Feelings are unreliable and temperamental. Yeah, that's about it. While writing this I am wondering how different things will proceed, end up, and happen in my life and the lives of those around me. I have a choice, to dwell on the unknown or trust God to provide.
Have you ever let the unknown steal your joy or take your focus of what is important? I know I'm guilty of it myself. Today is the day we all stop letting other people and situations steal our joy, God has given us so much...let us shine brightly and be joy bugs to all we meet. Eliminate the joy suckers and be a joy maker.
How can you be a joy-sucker repellent today?
Lately I feel like I don't even have time to use the bathroom, much less organize my goals and tracking but my daughter gifted me time.
Half my vacation this year has been spent traveling with our daughter as she interviews for new journeys and beginnings. While she enjoyed this adventure, I used my traveling and hotel time to get organized. I don't know about you but when I have an organized plan, I am more productive.
In the past, I've had similar goals and ways to track my successes and areas to improve but this year, I decided I needed to tidy up. I made a big change, instead of having the different goals in the front of my different spiral bound notebooks, I'm utilizing one journal. My mini-goal is to bring this with me when I'm out and about and have it in sight when home. Let me share the way my brain works, who knows, it might help you get organized.
When I read longer, I'm not going to color in more boxes, the purpose of this page is to renew an old habit that sadly (hanging head in shame) I have gotten away from.
Instead of sitting down with my Bible in hand I listen via audio book while doing the dishes, before going to bed, or while driving. I'm grateful I've been finding ways to get God's Word into my heart and mind YET I want to sit down and spend time with God.
I enjoy sharing with my listeners a few times each week. For the first year or so I aired my podcasts five times a week but I realized there isn't enough time in the week so I cut back to three times a week.
One thing I realized is I miss doing the podcasts more often. This will keep me on task, well this is the plan anyway. There have been a couple weeks I didn't realize I haven't aired a podcast until it's been more than a week, then I beat myself up for letting my listeners down. My hope is that by having my tracker in the same journal with my other goals, I'll be more diligent and consistent with my podcast. Now that it's in the journal with others, it's very visual.
If you want to check out my podcast, listen on your favorite podcast app or CLICK HERE. Podcasting is an interactive radio show or journal, one thing I can promise you is that One Sister's Journey, Keeps it Real with each episode.
Do I want to write my next book? Yes.
Do I enjoy writing? Yes.
Do I want to model making time for your passions for my daughter? Yes.
Am I good role model to this model? No.
Can I improve? Yes.
This page in my journal is to keep me on track with my writing. I'd like to say that my next book will release within a year but with my current writing discipline, this isn't a current reality BUT with the help of carrying my goal and tracking with me, the chances are increased greatly. I've always had this at home, hanging above my computer, or not the front of my writing binder but unless I take out the binder or sit at my desk..the goal isn't always there reminding me. My hope is that by "seeing" it more often, if not daily, goals will be achieved!
I talked with my hubby and said as long as I write everyday, even if it isn't a book, I'm a happy girl. The other question is to decide if my blog word count will also count towards my 80,000 word count? Hmm...A discussion still being had.
In addition to a career working as a paraprofessional for the local school district, authoring multiple books, traveling across the country to speak, raising an amazing daughter, and caring for family and friends...I am an independent representative for a couple companies on the forefront of changing lives.
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What goals do you have & what are you doing to reach them? Will you share in a comment below?
As we left one University and headed to the next, we drove around in the wee hours so I could see some of the city and college. I found the brick structures, walkways and roads breathtaking. I felt as if I stepped back in time and to a quieter time. Of course we took our drive at 7 a.m. on a Sunday morning so it was easy to get swept up in the serenity of the moment.
Once we arrived at the next university, I spent time checking out the area. We went from a serenity to a bigger city, more cars, highways, and busy. In spite of the increase of traffic and roadways, the people I've met are just as friendly and wonderful. The front desk attendant is a student at the university my daughter is interviewing at, and recently visited the other. When my daughter gets here, the clerk offered to answer any questions my daughter has. I love the way God works and makes connections.
Although I couldn't attend church this morning physically, thanks to our church's live stream, I was able to be there for the start of church and will finish it this afternoon. Modern technology has some cool benefits, doesn't it? With that, it's time for me to chill out next to the pool and get some more writing done.
How did you, or are you, spending your Sunday?
Yup, times are a changing. Last year I still jumped out of bed but today, the idea of an extra hour of sleep sounded way better. I did make homemade waffles when I finally got out of bed. I read for a bit but struggled to keep my eyes open. After a couple minutes I thought to myself, Why am I struggling to stay awake? I can take a nap, and that is exactly what I did. Back to bed I went for an hour nap. I woke up to my Dad calling to say he made his delicious Swedish meatballs for dinner. After I got out of bed, hubby and I went to Dad's for supper and back to chill-axin.
I was bummed to use the snow day yet thrilled to catch up on sleep and this unplanned day of rest and relaxation. I hope you enjoyed your Thursday too!
If you had a snow day,
how did you spend the day?
Have you ever found yourself saying this? I know I have. In the past (and in past, I mean a year ago) I didn't have healthy habits to handle stress or challenges. These unhealthy habits drove me to overeating, overworking, and insomnia. As you know, this combination develops into exhaustion, moodiness, and obesity. Well, at least for me it did. Maybe you've had more luck but I'm guessing if you're habits for dealing with the tough times are similar to mine then you understand all too well.
Here's the deal, we NEED HEALTHY HABITS to deal with our stress. Last January when I started working with Dr. Jack Kunkel to adjust my eating habits, one of the first lessons I learned is how important our mental thoughts were to our success. This isn't just our mental health but also our physical, spiritual, and emotional well-being. I started a daily affirmation statement and meditation, along with daily tapping. I shared links about each, these aren't the ones Dr. Jack Kunkel used yet I believe they will help you have a better understanding. My affirmation and meditation are Scripture. My connection and foundation lie in my faith so I spent time choosing verses to help me grow stronger on all levels. If Scripture isn't your thing, then there are many affirmations and meditations out there, ready to go, just use your search engine.
Another healthy habit I use now is to exercise instead of eat. This past December someone close to me had a health scare and spent days on the ventilator. This was a challenging time for all who care for her. I had to make a conscience decision each day to choose exercise, prayer, and healthier habits to combat my stress. It would have been easy to get soda from the vending machine and eat hospital cafeteria food each day but I chose to bring my water bottle, healthy snacks, and something to keep my fingers busy. My weight loss stalled BUT I didn't gain weight so I count this as a win. In life, we must celebrate the successes. On a bigger level, celebrate life in general because tomorrow may not come.
I share this with you today because we all, even our dogs, need to get rid of the excess or nervous energy. We may not use a "dog park" to deal with our stress BUT we need to have healthy options for when the need to burn off energy happens. What are you doing?
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen."
1 Peter 5:-11 NIV
What do you do to relieve stress and unwind?
Welcome back, is your body moving to the music? Mine is jamming. One of my favorite ways to sweat it out in college was dancing. There used to be a couple bars in my hometown that played the best dance music and I looked forward to heading out on the weekends to burn some calories. My friends and I met and danced until the bars closed, over the past couple decades though, the city of Oswego has eliminated all the good dance places. It's a bummer.
Now if I want to dance, I go to a Zumba class. I'm so TERRIBLE at Zumba BUT I have a ton of fun while laughing and attempting to dance. Last week I went to a Zumba class with my daughter and a friend from work. My daughter can dance, she should look into becoming an instructor so she can earn some extra money while getting her workout in. My friend and I on the other hand, we laughed A LOT! Between the laughter and dancing, I logged over 7,000 steps and burned some calories.
Another way I like to sweat is doing a good cardio and weights workout. The sweat lets me know I'm working and making my heart, mind, and body happy. Sweat is a good thing. According to an article in Men's Health, there are five reasons you'll want to get a good sweat on. Check them out below:
(Click here to read full article)
1. Boosts Immunity
2. Clears Your Skin
3. Body Detox
4. Releases Feel good Hormones
5.Boosts Sexual Attraction
What is your favorite SWEATING activity? Why?
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