Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Upcoming "New" 30 Day Blog!!!!

Well, just 1 more day and we will be entering a New Year. I was considering whether I wanted to do another 30 day Blog challenge but as I thought about it - it occurred to me that one of the things I most want to accomplish this year is to simplify my life.

So I decided that my 30 day Blog would not be a challenge but "30 Days to a Simpler life" I will also "hopefully" have some "guest writers" during this month and in fact if you have a great suggestion that you don't see here and would like to share please e-mail me and I will post it or at least leave a comment to help the rest of us.

The "30 day" Blog will start on January 1. See you next year!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas thots

I really hope you did not start reading this post today with the thinking that it will be a serious reflection on Christmas because it won't. I will do that another day. Today I was thinking about all the funny stuff we do at Christmas and why we do it.

I would love to hear some comments on what you do that is funny, tacky or different during Christmas.

First, as I stated in my last post, we sang Christmas songs at one of our gatherings, in one of the songs "We wish you a Merry Christmas" it says,

Oh, bring us a figgy pudding; Oh, bring us a figgy pudding; Oh, bring us a figgy pudding and a cup of good cheer We won't go until we get some; We won't go until we get some; We won't go until we get some, so bring some out here

for some reason I needed to know what "figgy pudding" was......I asked the group and no one knew or seemed to care in fact they all looked at me like I was a little strange to even ask (maybe I am) ....so I went home and googled it and found the most fascinating facts about "figgy pudding" . Here is the site I found that had the best info on 'figgy pudding" http://news.holidash.com/2009/12/24/what-is-figgy-pudding-exactly/.

So now that this was taken care of the other Christmas issue was, is it ok to be a little tacky at Christmas. Well, years ago when I was younger I was always the person with the flashing earrings and necklace and the sweater with all kinds of Christmas stuff on it but as I became older and more "refined" I began to be more sophisticated in my Christmas dress.....but this year I realized the real me is the fun, tacky Christmas person I used to be and the more sophisticated person was who others wanted me to be so this year as you may have noticed in my previous posts....I pulled out the cheap target Christmas earrings, I wore a shimmery Christmas top and topped it all off with reindeer antlers. I decided I would rather be me, have fun and just enjoy myself than worry about what other thought - next year I may even pull out the light up necklace! Just some Christmas thots........ :)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Hope during the Holidays

I was reading my niece, Chayil's blog this morning, http://lifeandtimesofchayil.blogspot.com/ , which by the way is a great blog to follow - she is a young mom that has great insight on life, family and God. Anyway, she posted a song by Selah called, "Unredeemed" and it got me thinking of all those who have lost someone or something this year. This Christmas may be different, someone may be missing, so I have listed some tips to help those in those situations this year.

I do know what that is like as in 2005 we lost our dad and that Christmas was different, both he and my mom were not there as she as very ill. I remember the feelings of having to go through the motions of Christmas for everyone else but feeling sad and somewhat disconnected. It wasn't the same and in some sense has never been the same since. But we do adjust and move on although we never forget - the memories become more sweet than sad over time. I am posting the song at the end of this post as I think it is so appropriate for this subject today.

10 ways to move through grief during Christmas

1. Don’t put excessive expectations on yourself. Don’t expect the holidays to be the same.

2. Rest. Cut down the Christmas clutter and limit activities

3. Rearrange furniture to reduce “absence” reminders.

4. Avoid sugar highs and lows because they naturally induce emotional lows. Also, steer clear of overeating and under-sleeping. Eat well-balanced diets. Some mood enhancing natural foods include yogurt, green tea, omega-3 rich foods (i.e. salmon, cod liver oil, etc.), and lower sugar dark chocolate.

5. Talk about your loved one. Spend time talking about the memories, the times they were with you, the funny things they said and did. This is the best way to grieve is to talk and laugh and enjoy your memories. I few tears are ok too as you reminisce.

6. Admit grief. Trying to move forward while denying the reality of grief causes one to fall face forward. Does your face smile while inside you are crying? Give yourself permission to cry. Jesus wept. Weeping releases excessive tension.

7. Forgive and receive forgiveness through Jesus. Release everything to the Lord, including any so-called regrets about your departed loved one. If there are those who have hurt you this year or you are estranged from those who previously spent Christmas with you - choose to forgive and let go.

8. Reach out to others that are going through hard time and hang around kids this Christmas. It may not feel easy. It may even feel impossible. Ask Jesus to love through you and get your eyes off your problems and on to Him and others.

9. Understand the concept of new normalcy. New traditions and expectations may seem hard if not impossible, but God gave you your previous normal. Ask Him to give grace/hope in the face of the new normal.

10. Remember: Trials don’t indicate a reduction in God’s love for you. He loves you and promises to make things right in the end. Spend time focusing on His unchanging love for you. This is a hard one but I can tell you from experience that it is so so true.

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39, ESV)

Holidays include lots of grief for relationships/loved ones that left, forsook, or died. But let's focus on the essence of Christmas: the present of Jesus' presence in our lives!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

How to Avoid Holiday Stress

The holidays can bring out the best in us. A peaceful snowfall, a twinkling star, and magical memories make us look forward to the holidays with fondness.

But for many of us, the holidays mean stress—and lots of it. Over-eating, over-shopping, over-spending, over-committing, and generally over-indulging can put you over the edge. Even seeing “beloved" family members can spark conflicting emotions and threaten the peace.

Consider these top holiday stressors from a 2004 survey by the American Psychological Association (APA):
  • Lack of money (61%)
  • Pressures of gift-giving (42%)
  • Lack of time (34%)
  • Credit card debt (23%)1
So resolve this holiday season to reduce and better manage your stress, and enjoy the holidays in good health!

See stress for what it is. It’s no wonder that 93% of Americans say that perceptions, thoughts, and choices affect physical health. How we perceive stressful events can set us up for health or harm.

Stress happens. Viewing normal life events as uncontrollable, personal attacks can drive up your blood pressure, and jeopardize your health. But seeing normal life events as—well, normal—empowers you to better manage stress for your health.

Eat, drink, and be merry—within reason. The holidays are meant for celebration, not overindulgence.

Exercise for your heart’s sake. When the stress seems overwhelming, take an exercise break. Just 30 minutes a day—a brisk walk, a run on the treadmill, or strength training—gives you a powerful tool to fend off stress.

Exercise not only helps you manage weight and is good for your body, but it can help you de-stress and clear your mind. And with a clear mind, you can make better decisions about what’s good for you this holiday season.

Rein in the shopping. Instead of searching out the latest gadget or this year’s “must have" toy....just stop. Limit your gift-giving to an important few. Stay home and shop on the Internet. Or go to the mall at the least busy times.

Better yet, give the gift that everyone treasures: time. Plan a family vacation, treat friends to dinner, take a little one to a favorite museum. Memories are not found in things, but in the time you spend with those you care about most.

Give unto others. Smile at a stranger, donate food and clothing, help at the homeless shelter, wrap presents for children who would otherwise have none. Take the focus off yourself and put the spotlight on someone else.

Get the attitude for gratitude. Make a list of everything you’re grateful for and add to it every day. It doesn’t have to be big, just meaningful. Holding a kitty, watching a sunset, giving someone a hand, keeping your sanity—just be thankful for the opportunity to live!

Make it real. Even though Hollywood has convinced us otherwise, Christmas is not about creating the perfect family holiday. It’s about enjoying what’s here and now. Keep expectations real, and don’t try to solve long term issues at the family dinner. Allow your gathering to have its own life—as individual and genuine as your family is - whatever that may be.

Remember the Reason we celebrate: Although I listed this last it is really the most important of all. The phrase we hear every year is so true and one we must keep in our hearts this time of year. "Jesus is the Reason for the Season". In a world and country that more and more is trying to make us forget what Christmas is all about and why we celebrate. Let us this year be more aware then ever and more vocal about it then ever that the reason that we celebrate Christmas is because we are celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus!

Many of these principles we already have applied to our lives during our 30 days of happiness challenge so we are more ready than ever to do them now when they will help us the most.

9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christa]">[a] the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Luke 2:9-12

I borrowed a few points of this post from Jigsawhealth.com

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Visitor

It has been very quiet in our house this last week as our son was married and moved out of our home on Saturday. My hubby is loving it as he loves his space and quietness. I do not love it as I love people and activity and feeding people so it has been a little lonely for me. Not only did my son move out but all his friends that came by every night and his now wife and son where in and out on the weekends so it has been a big change. A good, healthy one but a change.

So a few days after my son moved out my daughter called me to let me know they suspect their smallest daughter may be allergic to the new kitty their family has just bought. So we have agreed to have "Boots' stay at our house for two weeks to see if that truly is the problem.

So for now, Johnny room now has kitty toys, a kitty bed and a little box in it and I have a little companion that makes some noise, I can feed and keeps me company when I'm at home. We will see what happens in a couple weeks - I'll keep you posted. But for now I thought I would share this: (Sorry all my dog loving friends and family but truth is truth!) :)

The Top Reasons to Own a Cat

  • One of the best things about cats is how clean they are. They never really require much grooming beyond brushing . The fact that they keep themselves very well groomed makes them easy for anyone to own a cat because one is not required to set aside time to bath and groom them like one would have to do with most dogs. They are quite easy to keep looking wonderful, and most of that is done by them.
  • They know instinctively when their humans need more attention or would like to be left alone. A cat will rub against your legs or jump in your lap for cuddling to take your mind off your problems. Rubbing a cat’s silky soft fur is an excellent stress reliever.
  • Dangling a yarn strand for your cat and watching as they chase the string can help keep human’s from sitting in front of the television frozen for hours at a time. When the household cat decides to catch a mouse and puts it out of its misery that is also a plus.
  • Not only do cats know how to out wit mice and dogs, but they are very intelligent about what to eat and not eat. They know they are a carnivore. They are not like dogs and will not be tricked into eating unhealthy food.
  • Dogs will pester people into petting them whether you are in the mood or not. Not a cat. They instinctively know when to pester, and when not. They knows whose lap to jump into and whose not. They know who is receptive to cuddling, and who is not. They interact with humans in a way that is consistent with the human’s behavior.
  • They have been known to fall out windows from seven floors and survive. They can leap and climb tall trees and usually find their way back down to safety.
  • A research scientist and a bio-acoustic specialist who has done studies on various animal sounds. Her findings are absolutely amazing, and demonstrate that the frequency of a cat’s purring is good for healing muscles, ligaments, tendons, and bones. It is also thought to be beneficial for other types of healing and stress relief. More information can be obtained from logging in at Fauna Communications Research Institute.
  • There have been many stories of cats that have tracked their human families down and joined them after being separated. There’s a one liner that goes something like “A dog has an owner, but a cat has a staff” but it is not really that simple. There is lot more to a cat than its aloof reputation.
  • So next time your cat jumps in your lap and wants a little attention stop and think about what a wondrous creation a cat really is.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Day 30 - of 30 Days of Happiness!

Day 30 - A Day of Reflection

We did it! I am so proud of me and so proud of you! Thank you for going on this 30 day journey with me. I wanted to take today to reflect on what we did and how it worked for us. Two things I realized:
  • That accountability really works - it is amazing when you know someone is checking up on you, how diligent you can be
  • That a habit is really created in 30 days. Although this last week was the most difficult to keep up with this blog - it had become such a habit that it was never a thought that i wouldn't do it. It has become part of my routine.
I also wanted to ask you to give me some thoughts on the next 30 day challenge. I'm going to take December off and just blog for fun and holiday stuff but starting January 1 I am going to start a new 30 day challenge - any suggestions - I thought about:
  • Thirty days to a healthier life
  • Thirty days to a better you (character building)
  • Thirty to a more organized you.....
Anyway, I wanted to list what we have done and I am going to just share a few of my favorites. I hope you have enjoyed this as much as I have and you know what? I really do think these 30 days have created a new level of happiness in my life. I have done some things in a very intentional manner that I never would have done or been as aware of and I have thought more about how I can help and encourage others.

Here are the ones that have had the greatest impact on me and the ones I want to do on a regular basis:
  • Any day that caused me to consciously encourage or make someone happy
  • the "dance" day - Go Wiggles!
  • I loved the plant something day because so many of you got involved
  • I loved doing something I had never done before
  • Any day that gave thanks or gratitude to God and every day of looking for scripture that encompassed our subject for the day.

Day 1
- find a scripture that speaks of where our joy comes from. Write it on an index card and look at it often through the day, especially if there are a few challenges. :) I may even get really bold and memorize it!
Day 2 - Be VERY aware of having a positive attitude. Watch for any negative thoughts or talk and correct it immediately. Look at the good in everything.
Day 3 - have a day of gratefulness. Spend time all day reflecting on all the things in life to be grateful for.
Day 4 - Make three people smile today
Day 5 - spend time with someone under 6 and think about watch how they view life.
Day 6 - Start a conversation with a stranger today
Day 7 - clean one area of clutter in my home.
Day 8 - create or start a prayer journal
Day 9 - Do something you love to do!
Day 10 - Send someone a card just because you appreciate them or thinking of them
Day 11 - Dance to a song today. :) Yes I said dance.... you may want to be alone.. ;-)
Day 12 - Do something different today - (something you haven't done in awhile or have never done)
Day 13 - Give people more than they expect today
Day 14 - Have a laughter day - (watch a funny movie or just look for or talk about funny things) just laugh!
Day 15 - Practice Contentment
Day 16 - Plant Something - this is a very easy one for a couple of you! :)
Day 17 - call someone you haven't talked to for awhile (not e-mail or facebook!)
Day 18 - Make a list of your gifts and talents ( and don't be modest)
Day 19 - Nature Day - spend some time with nature
Day 20 - Self Care Day!!! Do something just for you....
Day 21 - Donate food, clothing and any other items to your church or a non-profit that is helping people for the holidays
Day 22 - Do you have a special place you meet with God at? If not, today start one, or if so then spend some time there today.
Day 23 - Compliment or affirm someone today
Day 24 - Tell 3 friends how important they are to you (you can do this through e-mail,a card, or phone)
Day 25 - Notice a way that God has blessed you today
Day 26 - Happy Thanksgiving! Let's just spend this day with Thanks and Gratitude once again.
Day 27 - Give something today - perhaps a gift, your time, advice (if asked only!)
Day 28 - Celebrate someone or something today
Day 29 - A Day of Rest....yes this one is for me!
Day 30 - A Day of reflection.

Have a wonderful Christmas Season - yes I said Christmas! :) I would encourage you as I will myself to daily find ways to make life a little happier for those around us, whether we know them or not. Be blessed! Love, Kathy

How kind the Lord is! How good he is! So merciful, this God of ours! Psalm 116:5

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Day 29 - of 30 Days of Happiness


Day 29 - A Day of Rest.

This is it....I am completing my challenge for today.....I'm resting. :) Hope you are to.

Psalm 91

1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.


Tomorrow - A Day of Reflection - I will be reflecting on these 30 days of Happiness.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Day 27 - of 30 Days of Happiness

Day 27 - Give something to Someone Today - time, a gift, asked for advice.

I am determined to finish this 30 day challenge! It is almost 10pm and I just got home after leaving the house at 8:30 this morning. I definitely completed the challenge today - from 8:30 - 12:00 - my daughter Debbie and I worked on the decorations at the church for the wedding - well truthfully Debbie worked on the decorations and I helped. :) then we flew over to a restaurant for a rehearsal lunch that we hosted as the grooms parents and then Debbie and I went to the hotel where the reception will be held and along with the Brides aunt decoration the reception - well Debbie decorated and we helped. :) Then Debbie and I went back the church to finish the decorating there and then the rehearsal started at 7pm. So I think I did give in various ways today.

That's about all I have because I am beyond tired right now - tomorrow is the Wedding and yes I will blog at the end of the day! See you tomorrow.

24 One man gives freely, yet gains even more;

another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.Proverbs 11:24

Tomorrow: Celebrate someone or something today

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Day 25 - of 30 Days of Happiness

Day 25 - Notice a blessing today

I am exhausted, tired beyond weariness but in the mist of my tiredness I can not help but think about how blessed I am.

There was an old Hymn that I remember from my childhood. I can't remember which church they sang it in - do you remember Bettsy? But I can assure you when I was a child I did not come close to appreciating the words of the Hymn like I do now.

COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Refrain

Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will keep singing as the days go by.

Refrain

When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings. Wealth can never buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.

Refrain

So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be disheartened, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

Refrain

So here are my Blessings I'm counting today

  • I'm thankful for God and all the patience and love He shows me everyday
  • I'm thankful for my husband who helped me wash the floors tonight to get ready for tomorrow
  • I'm thankful for my daughter Debbie who came over to my house today, knowing how busy I am, and cleaned my house and put together all my flower arrangements for tomorrow.
  • I'm thankful for my son and his sweet wife to be
  • I'm thankful for all of you!

3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Ephesians 1:3 (New Living Translation)

Remember tomorrow is a Day to Give Thanks and Gratitude for all our Lord has done and for all He is.

Have a Blessed and Happy Thanksgiving!


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Day 24 - of 30 Days of Happiness

Thank you Juliette for the great 3 friends picture!!

Day 24 - Tell 3 friends how important they are to you (you can do this through e-mail,a card, or phone)

I enjoyed this challenge today because it made me think about 3 people in my life that have in the past and recently really been there for me. They are all very unique and each brings something special and different into my life. I can laugh, cry and share my heart with each of them about different things and situation in my life. Once thing I know about all of them is that they are my safe people. They guard the things I talk to them with their hearts and they know I do the same for them.

I have never really been a "best friend" person. I have found as the following little poem explain that friends are in your life for different reasons and different seasons. I do have the few that are very close and I would share just about anything with and I have others that we share other interests and common themes in life. But they all add value into my life. So I thought I would share this poem as I think it describes friendships very well:

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. When you figure out which one it is, you will know what to do for each person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally, or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend, and they are! They are there for the reason you need them to be. Then, without any wrongdoing on your part, or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered. And now it is time to move on.

Then people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has come to share, grow, or learn. They bring you an experience of peace, or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it! It is real! But, only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons: things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person, and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.

24 There are “friends” who destroy each other,
but a real friend sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24

Tomorrow: Notice a way that God has blessed you today

Monday, November 23, 2009

Day 23 - of 30 Days of Happiness

Day 23 - Compliment or Affirm someone today

Affirm - to state or assert positively; maintain as true:
Compliment - an expression of praise, commendation, or admiration

The person I affirmed and complimented today was my hubby, John. No, this was not just an easy way to fulfill my challenge but a much needed and deserved affirmation. I will try not to bore you with the details.....but we had remodeled our kitchen after 18years about 6 mths ago. I love the remodel but there was one little problem. There is a old sliding glass door that goes form my kitchen to the outside. Now that I had a new kitchen the door was sticking out like a sore thumb. So we have been negotiating our next step and finally decided to put a door where the sliding glass door is. As we have been nearing the Thanksgiving holiday which I host at my home I have been 'badgering" yes...badgering my poor hubby to get the door done. Well, about 3 weeks ago he got it - and I'm thinking you just put the door in in a few hours and your done. Wellll.....number one I never really realize the extent of work in these types of projects. Number 2 my hubby is a perfectionist so.....do I need to say more. Anyway, he has labored over this door for days and weekends. Has been working on it every spare moment between work and moving our son into his new home and wedding plans and Thanksgiving plans and me reminding him it needs to be complete by Thanksgiving...poor guy...you really need to pray for him.....well, tonight it is complete and as always he did an amazing job. His perfectionism drives me crazy until he finishes a project like this then I love that quality.

So all that to say I affirmed and complimented him and his workmanship over and over and over again and meant every bit of it!

I also had a few people e-mail me and call me today and affirm me! Not sure if it was because of the blog but it was especially needed today in the mist of all I have going on - so to those of you who blessed my day - THANK YOU!

Another thot about affirmations is that affirmations are not always just verbal, the Five Love Languages, is a great resource for learning some new strategies for affirming others. It talks about physical touch, time and attention, gifts, words of affirmation, and acts of service as other ways to affirm others.

If we observe people closely we can learn the favorite love languages of the special people in our life, and make a point to include loving acts and words in daily interactions with them. In the times we live we can all use a little extra affirmation.

Psalm 16:11
You will show me the path of life: in Your presence is fullness of Joy: at Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.

Tomorrow - Tell 3 friends how important they are to you (you can do this through e-mail,a card, or phone)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Day 22- of 30 Days of Happiness

Day 22 - Do you have a special place you meet with God at? If not, today start one, or if so then spend some time there today.

I do have a place that I spend time with God. In fact, I have 2 depending on the weather. If the weather is nice then I love to sit on my back porch and if the weather is not nice then I usually study and pray in my office. My preference is outside especially when it is cool outside. Oh and in the winter if we have a very cold day I will sit in front of the fireplace to read, study and pray.

So why is it important that we have a quiet place to meet with God. It’s is unusual for most people to have any quiet time or solitude now days. Busy lifestyles revolving around work, family, recreation – even church, can rob of us time we desperately need for quiet and connection with God.

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. - Mark 1:35 (NIV)

If you read the gospels, you will see that Jesus lived a very busy life. Crowds flocked to him, to hear him speak or to be healed. Even when he was not surrounded by throngs of people, the twelve disciples were with him 24/7. It tells us a lot that Jesus, needed time alone. But for Jesus, alone time was not simply a time for being alone – far from it. His time alone served a purpose – he prayed. In these quiet moments, he was able to connect with the Father – for strength, for comfort, for direction.

If Jesus needed times of quite, how much more do we need it? A great deal more, I would think.

The two primary challenges of finding quiet times are:
1. Establishing an appropriate time and place.
2. Learning what to do with our quiet time.

It can be frustrating to simply find an appropriate time and place for quiet. We’re surrounded by distractions and noise from every direction – TVs, computers, ipods, cell-phones, car radios, even other people – the list goes on and on. It takes discipline to set these things aside, even for a short time. Equally challenging is finding time for quiet time.

So, if you come to the conclusion that you need time during the day for quiet communion with God, you will need to find the time that best suits you. Some people are early risers while others are night people, find the time that is best for you.

A consistent place is helpful as well. If at all possible, try to avoid a place with too many distractions or temptations. If weather permits, going outside might help. Remember that Jesus had to leave where he was staying and walk a bit to find quiet.

Let’s assume you’ve established a time and an appropriate place of quiet. Now what? To be honest, the first time you really enter the quiet zone may seem strange. We’re so programmed to hearing back-ground noise that quiet may be disturbing. I would simply say, talk to God as you would talk to a friend, listen and meditate on His Word.

Be still, and know that I am God. – Psalm 46-10a

Quiet time allows us to focus and hear from God – through our prayers, through reading and pondering upon scripture, and by simply listening and waiting upon Him. You will find your quiet place to be a refuge – a place of peace where you can not only hear from God, but you will get to know Him better. The effort to find and maintain your quiet place is well worth the effort.

Tomorrow - Compliment or affirm someone today

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Day 21 - of 30 Days of Happiness

Day 21 - Donate food, clothing, money or time to those who are helping those in need.

This will be short today. I hope everyone did the challenge today or if you couldn't will sometime this week.

There are many local churches and ministries that are collecting items to help those that need some extra help during the holidays. Some of the ones I know of are:
  • Grace Family Church
  • Faith Outreach Center
  • Salvation Army
  • Metropolitan Ministries
We go to Grace Family church and they have a truck at every service that is taking all donations of food, toys and gift cards. So our goal is to take something to every service, even if it is a few canned items.

Well, we are down to our last week. My dear friend Juliette send me a list of some suggestions for challenges so with her help this is next weeks challenge!

Sunday - Do you have a special place you meet with God at? If not, today start one, or if so then spend some time there today.
Monday - Compliment or affirm someone today
Tuesday - Tell 3 friends how important they are to you (you can do this through e-mail,a card, or phone)
Wednesday - Notice a way that God has blessed you today
Thursday - Happy Thanksgiving! Let's just spend this day with Thanks and Gratitude once again.
Friday - Give something today - perhaps a gift, your time, advice (if asked only!)
Saturday - Celebrate someone or something today

He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses. Proverbs 28:27

Tomorrow: Do you have a special place you meet with God at? If not, today start one, or if so then spend some time there today.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Day 20 - of 30 Days of Happiness

Day 20 - Self -Care Day - Do something for you today!

The above picture is what I had envisioned for my self-care day. My idea of a great self-care plan is to go to Starbucks and get a latte then go to Godiva and get a couple pieces of chocolate then proceed to the pedicure place and have my feet in hot soapy water as I drink my latte and eat my Godiva chocolate. It just doesn't get much better for me than that!

Unfortunately, that didn't happen today. :( In fact for the first time in 20 days I was not able to fully complete my challenge. The day started out good - actually in some way a little bit of self-care happened. I met a friend to walk and talk this morning - it was a beautiful morning - we walked the trail so it was serene and pretty and we had a great time catching up and talking - in fact we walked for about an hour and a half. After that the day went downhill. I am in the throngs of wedding right now and after my walk I came home to prepare to get the rest of my list of things done. Well, I'm not going to go into great detail because it would bore you but everything that I tried accomplish took twice as long as planned and I didn't get home until 6:30. But I had a little self care time after that as hubby and I went to Chili's got the 2 or 20 and had the little dessert cups - you get 3 different ones and they are all good. So I guess I did do some self -care today.

Now here is an actual Self Care plan that I sometimes give my clients:
  • Get adequate sleep and rest
  • Smile and have laughter in your life.
  • Feed your body, mind and spirit
  • Approach each day with a purpose
  • Avoid being self-critical
  • Be sure to build in your schedule time for relationships and fun
  • Start a Journal - instead of keeping our thoughts and feelings inside, get them down on paper. A journal helps in venting thoughts and feelings.
  • Take responsibility for your own life. Life is about choices. Understand yourself, your behaviors, your thoughts/beliefs and your motivations.
I really hope your self care day was better than mine -but then again - mine wasn't that bad. :)

God arranged for a broad-leafed tree to spring up. It grew over Jonah to cool him off and get him out of his angry sulk. Jonah was pleased and enjoyed the shade. Life was looking up. Jonah 4:6 (The Message)

Tomorrow: Donate food, clothing, money or time to somewhere that is helping people in need.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Day 19 - of 30 Days of Happiness

I wish I was there today!

Day 19 - Nature Day....spend some time in nature.

There are actually health benefits to spending time outside in a natural setting. The University of Rochester monitored the effects of Natural vs Artificial environment on people and found that being around nature on a regular basis makes us nicer people.

They also found that when we spend time in a natural outdoor setting regularly you will
  • experience rapid healing
  • Stress reduction
  • Improved mental performance and vitality
  • Become more social
If you want to learn more about this go to this link:


So today I didn't have time to do a "real" in depth nature day but I did enjoy the beautiful day. Most people know that I would much rather be living up north and hiking and walking through fall leaves but...the weather we are experiencing in Florida right now is pleasant...finally...so I went out this morning for a run. But this morning I was more aware of how wonderful and refreshing it was to be outside. It was cool and crisp and all the colors were vibrant. The blue sky - the greenery around the homes. The air was fresh and even a bit fall like. The rest of the day only permitted me to be in and out of buildings but every time I walked outside I took note of how wonderful it felt to be outside. Being outside truly does put you in a better place mentally.

I would love to hear if anyone did anything more exciting than I did today.

6 You formed the mountains by your power
and armed yourself with mighty strength. Psalm 65:6

Tomorrow: Self-Care Day - Do something for you!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Day 18 - of 30 Days of Happiness


Day 18 - Make a list of your gifts and talents ( and don't be modest)

We live in a world that can give us a lot of negative and hurtful messages. The media tells us that our bodies are not perfect enough, all those childhood messages that we still occasionally allow into our thoughts, and even friends and family (although not meaning to hurt) will occasionally say or do things that cause us to feel bad about ourselves. Just by our nature of being human we can get 5 compliments in a day and one criticism and it will be the criticism we will dwell on all day long.

So how do we keep from allowing these negative messages from destroying our self-confidence and making us unhappy - After all this is a happiness challenge blog!

Here are some tips on how to give yourself the gift of positive messages:
  • Make a list of the good and positive things about yourself - What you like about yourself, what others have said they like about you. Write as many as you can think of, then go through your list and acknowledge it and accept it.
  • Encourage Yourself - In Samuel 30:6 David encouraged himself - Be aware of when you do something good like being kind to someone, feeling compassion, accomplishing something whether it is big or small....then give yourself some praise.
  • Allow "real" compliments and affirmations to sink in - This is something you have to consciously do - if you have a hard time remembering the good things people say about you then write them down and look at them often.
  • Put scriptures that tell you how God sees you all around you - write or type out scripture that speak who you are to God...His daughter, the apple of His eye, His workmanship, made in His image.
  • Quickly turn around negative thoughts about yourself - the moment you notice you are thinking something negative about yourself - turn it around to a positive.
Well, I hope you have completed this challenge today because I think we can all use a little extra affirmation and encouragement. And in the mist of your encouraging yourself make sure you are encouraging someone else too!

Here are a few of the things from my list:
  • I have the wisdom that comes with age and experience
  • I have a great smile and laugh
  • I have empathy and care for people
  • I am open to change
  • I love life
And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God. 1 Samuel 30:6 (King James Version)

Tomorrow: Nature Day - spend some time with nature - enjoy this one! Nothing like being outside in weather like this - whether it's in the garden, going for a walk, to the beach
(Bev ) or just sitting on your porch in the evening.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Day 17 - of 30 Days of Happiness

Day 17 - Call someone you haven't called for awhile.

For some people this was probably very easy for others maybe a harder one, but I think if you did it you probably were glad you did - I know I was.

I don't mind calling people - I just sometime get so busy and focused on my stuff that I just don't take the time so this was a good challenge for me. I have a couple people in my life that I need to call on a regular basis and don't. I don't have a problem with them and in fact I enjoy it when I do call them - I don't know why I put it off.

So this was good- I chose to call my Aunt Jean today. The last time I talked to her was a visit in July. My aunt is my dad's only remaining sibling. She was his baby sister. We visited her in July and I promised myself I would call her at least once a month and of course didn't so this was good. I called her this afternoon and as usual she was so happy to hear from me. She is so much like my dad. Fiercely independent. She is 84 years old and totally taking care of herself in her own home. She was so excited when I called and told me she just got her blood work back and is in perfect health. She also has an "admirer" :) It was as usual a lot of fun talking to her and I always get off the phone feeling good. I guess I know my dad would be pleased.

I hope you did this today especially if you have someone that a little older and maybe doesn't have access to a computer. If not there is always tomorrow!

7Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints. Philemon 1:7

Tomorrow: Make a list of your gifts and talents ( and don't be modest)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Day 16 - of 30 Days of Happiness



Day 16 - Plant something today!

As I stated earlier in the week, today was a freebie for some of you... so many of my friends and family are "real" gardeners. I am not one of them but I have learned to enjoy "small" amounts of growing things. I actually have a "little" herb garden that I very much enjoy.

My plan today was to buy some flowers to put in a little spot in the back yard that we had a very small garden in during the spring but when I went to Target to get some impatients - they didn't have any so I was looking around and saw some strawberry plants. As soon as I saw them I knew they were going home with me. Strawberry plants again invoke memories of Pennsylvania, where I am from - My mom ( a real gardener) always had a few strawberry plants in her garden (remember Bettsy?) and when we would drive out into the country to pick black berries there were always some wild strawberries growing. So I scooped a few up along with a cilantro plant and a couple lettuces that were pretty and the above picture tells the rest of the story.

Did planting something make me feel happy? Yes, it did. I felt good about my little endeavor and had a feeling of satisfaction and anticipation. But mostly I can't wait to eat a couple strawberries.

Some Facts about the Benefits of Gardening:
(this is for you Cindy, Juliette, Bettsy and anyone else that is following that loves to garden)

1. Gardening Exposes you to Sunlight - This gives you healthy amounts of Vitamin D which creates healthy bones and slows progression of osteoporosis.

2. Gardening Keeps you Mentally Alert - When you garden you are on a journey of discovery, your are constantly learning and trying new things. It also exercises your mind and hands.

3. Gardening Benefits you Physically - 30 minutes of digging or shoveling burns 200 - 300 calories.

4. Gardening Reduces Stress - USF has researched how a garden reduces stress and has found that walking in a beautiful garden lowers stress levels. The more colors and smells there are the more peace and tranquility you will feel.

She goes to inspect a field and buys it;
with her earnings she plants a vineyard. Proverbs 31:16

Tomorrow - call someone you haven't talked to for awhile (not e-mail or facebook!)


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Day 15 - of 30 Days of Happiness

Day 15 - Practice Contentment

Well this is our half way point of the 30 days. I'm not sure about you but I am really learning some valuable lessons this month. We will defiantly do a summary at the end.

But for now I want to focus on what today was.

Contentment Defined: The state of being satisfied, Gratification; pleasure.

I think the key word here is satisfied. This has always been an allusive place for me. I have found that some people are more wired or their temperament is more predisposed to be content. I am not one of those people and really have many times wish I was. But one thing I have found is that if you let them, life experiences will bring you to a place of contentment. For some of us this is a very hard and long process.

I was reflecting today on this and here were some things I noticed about my journey to contentment:
  • My car is going on it 11th year and for the first time in my life I don't care - I'm not striving about it - we will get a better one when we need to.
  • I always wanted a two story house and a pool - don't have one - probably never will - I was thinking how Ok I am with that now.
  • I always felt I had to have some important title to be happy - I don't and I'm happier than I've ever been
  • I want to travel more - I still want to travel more - but instead of stressing over it like I used to I take it as it comes and I'm thankful for the times I can and I'm thankful that I can just enjoy my home and family
I could go on and on about the things I used to strive for, stress over, get angry about because I couldn't have them or was trying to get them. Don't get me wrong I still occasionally get in that mode about some things but not at all like I used to. Maybe I'm getting older or maybe I've learned to be content. I hope it's the later. :)

Some thoughts about contentment:
  1. Contentment is learned, we are not born with it. Paul said, "I have learned to be content"
  2. Contentment is an attitude, it does not rely on our circumstances but comes from knowing what is important in life.
  3. Contentment is relational - comes from a true and real relationship with God.
In honor of my dad who also learned to become a very content person I found this poem (he was a poet and loved quoting poems)
I've never made a fortune
and it's probably too late now.
But I don't worry about that much,
I'm happy anyhow.

And as I go along life's way,
I'm reaping better than I sowed.
I'm drinking from my saucer,
'Cause my cup has overflowed.

I haven't got a lot of riches,
and sometimes the going's tough.
But I've got loved ones around me,
and that makes me rich enough.

I thank God for his blessings,
and the mercies He's bestowed.
I'm drinking from my saucer,
'cause my cup has overflowed.

I remember times when things went wrong,
My faith wore somewhat thin.
But all at once the dark clouds broke,
and the sun peeped through again.

So God, help me not to gripe about
the tough rows that I've hoed.
I'm drinking from my saucer,
'Cause my cup has overflowed.

If God gives me strength and courage,
when the way grows steep and rough.
I'll not ask for other blessings,
I'm already blessed enough.

And may I never be too busy,
to help others bear their loads.
Then I'll keep drinking from my saucer,
'Cause my cup has overflowed.

Author unknown

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
"Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." Hebrews 13:5 (NIV)

Tomorrow: Plant Something - this is a very easy one for a couple of you! :)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Day 14 - of 30 Days of Happiness

Day 14 - a laughter day - (watch a funny movie or just look for or talk about funny things) just laugh!

I hope if you are following this blog that you took full advantage of our challenge today. I did! I had a great day today and it's not over yet! First things this morning I talked with my sweet sweet niece whom I love so much, Beverly, I always find it funny that she is my niece because she is closer in age than my siblings so sometimes I think of her as my little sister. Anyway, I called her this morning and we are very both very much "Sanquines" she is about 3 times more than me though. ;) So we started talking and as usual started to joke and laugh and laugh some more and I told her, "Bev, you just helped me complete my challenge for today."

But it didn't stop there, later in the day my daughter Debbie, who again is such a blessing in my life, were out looking for some wedding stuff and started talking and laughing and laughing some more, we got back to my son Johnny's new house (he just closed on his first house yesterday) and he had pulled his basketball pants up to his chest and started running down the street. (he will kill me if he reads this) It was hilarious and Debbie and I were just laughing so hard.

Well, the day isn't over yet, and I my plan to watch a funny movie tonight, I'll let you know which one tomorrow! hee hee

Some facts about laughter:
  • Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.
  • Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.
  • Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
  • Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.

The Challenge continues!!!!

Sunday: Practice Contentment
Monday - Plant Something - this is a very easy one for a couple of you! :)
Tuesday - call someone you haven't talked to for awhile (not e-mail or facebook!)
Wednesday - Make a list of your gifts and talents ( and don't be modest)
Thursday - Nature Day - spend some time with nature
Friday - Self Care Day!!! Do something just for you....
Saturday - Donate food, clothing and any other items to your church or a non-profit that is helping people for the holidays

A cheerful heart is good medicine, Proverbs 17:22 (New International Version

Friday, November 13, 2009

Day 13 - of 30 Days of Happiness

Day 13 -Give people more than they expect.

I was looking forward to today and had many plans of how I could do more than expected for people. I thought about going to a store and looking for grocery carts and putting them in the right place or giving a tip at Starbucks to the person taking my order or something along those lines but instead as I prayed for God to show me how this day should look - I believe He put 8 people on my heart to do more than they expected from me today - which was pretty easy because I don't think any of these people expected anything from me.

The difficult part is once I did everything I felt in my heart to do - I was going to detail it out for you and even took a picture of one thing I did... but now as I am sitting here writing this post I know I am not to say anything about it. Those things that were done are between me and those people. But the one thing I hope you know if you are one of those that God put on my heart is that God loves you so much and sees all you do for others that He wanted to bless you in some way and He just used me to do it. So consider whatever was done wasn't from just from me although I defiantly, sincerely meant anything I said or did, but from you Heavenly Father that loves more than any of us can understand or comprehend.

You know what my take away from today is: When you are focused on giving other more than expected you don't have much time to think about yourself, and that is a good thing! ;)

It's been a good and HAPPY day!

Can't wait to start on tomorrows Challenge! a laughter day - (watch a funny movie or just look for or talk about funny things) just laugh!

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-40 (New Living Translation)


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Day 12 - of 30 Days of Happiness

Day 12 - Do something different today - (something you haven't done in awhile or have never done)

I know that everyone is on the edge of their computer seat waiting to see what I did that I have never done before. I was trying to think all day what could I do that I've never done and with the schedule I had, could not come up with anything. I had appointments in the morning and Miss Anna in the afternoon so I couldn't' go anywhere that I had never been or eat anywhere that I had never eaten. By the time my hubby got home I was beginning to panic - what if I couldn't fulfill my challenge today? Well, as I had hoped my hubby John came up with a great idea. The above picture will give you a clue. He said, "Well, I need to put air in my tires. Why don't you do that?" I thought for a second and then realized it was perfect. No I have never put air in tires....never.

I am very blessed to have a husband that does all the little handy man things around the house before I can even mention them. The good thing about that is I usually always have stuff done, the bad thing is I am totally incapable of doing much of anything but talk and write blogs. :)

So, back to the experience, I really began to be excited at the prospect of doing this new thing. John told me about 3 times that I was going to get dirty......no problem there.....then we walked out to the garage and he pulled out the air compressor....then we pulled out this long snake like hose to attach to it. I was really surprised because I thought the only thing you used the air compressor for was to blow up the kids swimming pool....so anyway I attached the snake hose to the compressor turned it on and then pulled it to the tire - I then was instructed to remove the valve stem cap (are you impressed yet?) then I attached the air chuck to the stem cap, holding it in position just so it did not seep air - I inquired whether I could blow up the tire and was told I could not....I was instructed after a few moments to remove the air chuck and check the pressure with the tire gauge to see if the pressure was at 42 - after a few tries it was perfect!

Wow, what an experience! I am totally serious when I say I really had fun and felt happy that I tried something different - something that under normal circumstances I would never have done. It has made me realize that I need to try to do more things that are outside of my normal range of activities. Who knows maybe I will change the oil next.......

Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. Ecclesiastes 3:11 (New Living Translation)

Tomorrow; Give people more than they expect


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Day 11 - of 30 Days of Happiness

Day 11 - Dance To a Song Today

Ok I'll be the first to admit this was probably a bad idea. :) Actually, dancing spontaneously is a great way to feel happy but to have to plan it out wasn't as fun.

I am not a dancer but I do dance at certain times....such as weddings, during private praise and worship to God and mostly with my 3 year old granddaughter to the Wiggles. So now people know a whole lot more about me that you want to know. :)

So what did I do today...well today is my day with Life Coaching Clients so my time was limited so I thought I would share the two times I have danced this week and just to satisfy this challenge I looked up a you tube video on the Wiggles and danced to it myself. :) Here is the video so if you want to finish this challenge there is still time!


Don't you feel happier now? :) I did...really.....especially thinking what people would think if they could see me doing the monkey dance without the 3 year old being here...

The other 2 times I danced this week was Monday with the 3 y.o. which is so fun - especially when she stops dancing and just looks at me and starts laughing! And last night my son Johnny and I were practicing our mother and son dance and because neither of us could be very serious the dance got very silly - so glad Johnny's fiance couldn't' see us - she would probably prohibit the mother/son dance. :)

Well, maybe this wasn't such a bad idea because I feel happy just writing this blog and thinking about all of you doing the monkey dance!

3 Praise his name with dancing,
accompanied by tambourine and harp. Psalm 149:3 (New Living Translation

Tomorrow: Do something different today - (something you haven't done in awhile or have never done)