Sunday, January 31, 2010
Every post has caused me to reflect and evaluate if I am doing good in that particular area and to check my perceptions. The one area of my life that I am the least disciplined in is the financial area, this is the area I knew I needed to work on the most. So naturally, these are the areas that stood out the most as something I needed to change in.
So here is what I am doing differently since beginning this 30 days to a simpler life
1. I am really becoming very aware of my tendency to procrastinate. I am working hard at doing things ahead of time instead of waiting until the last minute. I am not perfect at this probably never will be but I am more aware and making an effort to do things ahead of time and plan a little better. I have a long long way to go but at least I am doing something
2. We started a "tax your family jar" from Day 18. There is only the two of us now but we both put $1 a day into a jar.....not to be touched until end of year. We will have around $700 by Christmas.
3. The dreaded "envelope system" :) Well, it's not dreaded anymore and it is actually working! I have a new sense of empowerment with my money.....a little scary. Here is what I do and the results. This is the biggest change I have made and it so far is amazing. I take my cash that I get for 2 weeks and distribute it into envelopes according to what I am responsible for. I have one envelop for my tithe and one for my savings. I do not use a credit card or even a debit card, just cash. I only put the amount of cash in my wallet that I feel I will need for that day.
Results: I find I think carefully about buying things. I think about the fact that after the cash is gone for the 2 weeks it is gone. There is something about handing out cash instead of a plastic card that gives you pause. Well, I have finished my first 2 weeks, and have not used anything that wasn't in my envelopes and even saved some. I am impressed with myself and my hubby is ecstatic. :) If you are a spender give it a try - I would never have thought it would work for me. I'm doing it again this week.
I'm taking a month off from 30 day blogging - I will do the usual once a week but I will be back in March with a new 30 day blog in March.....so stay tuned.. and thanks to all who have joined me in making life a little simpler!
Saturday, January 30, 2010
I'm going to cheat a little today and I'm calling this post - TRUE SIMPLICITY!
The reason is because today I saw the example of "true simplicity" Where would that be?? In the actions and joy of children.
Today we celebrated my oldest granddaughter 6th birthday. As usual, her Mommy did an amazing job at creating a beautiful atmosphere for Kaitlyn. the theme was "a lady bug party" and everything was ladybug and gardening. I am going to put a few brag pictures up for you to see but I first want to explain the simplicity part.
First thing was the beautiful simplicity which my daughter put together the decorations for the party. Of course, keep in mind she is very creative and good at putting all kinds of handmade things together. But it was simple but in it's simplicity it was all amazing and beautiful - better than anything you could ever buy at a store.
She made little lady bug purses for each of the girls - and you would have thought the little girls had been given a million dollars when they got the little ladybug purses. (again simplicity) They were so excited. She made a ladybug cake that looked as good as anything you would buy at Publix and tasted better. Then for the grand finale - she purchased online 1500 ladybugs for only $8 and at the end of the party we took them outside and put them on all the plants.
So my point is you can make a kids party or really any event wonderful with very simple things and little money, although you do need alot of creativity. :) My other point is that children are very happy with the simple things in life and need much less material stuff to make them happy and excited than sometimes we think.
It was a great day and I just want to send a shout out to my daughter Debbie, for all her hard work and creativity that gave her daughter a party she will never forget. Now, she needs to start figuring out what to do before October, which is Anna's (her littlest) birthday. :)
Friday, January 29, 2010
The tendency we have in this area is to show people we love them the way we want to be shown love, but that is not always what that other person needs or wants. I great book to understand this better is Gary Chapman's " The Five Love Languages" Here is a link to take the test, http://www.5lovelanguages.com/assessments/
Here are the five basic ways people want to receive love:
- Word of Affirmation: Encouraging, kind and humble words. Example: Compliment them on something that's personally important to them.
This could have something to do with work or a hobby. It helps if you're saying something in public that builds them up. It also feels good to have something nice said behind your back make it's way to you.
- Quality Time : Being together, quality conversation, quality activities Example: Take an interest in what they're doing even if it's not something you'd normally do. You may not be a sports fan or like the same type of movie, but go anyway just to spend time with them.
- Receiving Gifts: Moneyless gifts/thoughtful gifts,gifts of your physical presence Example: Not just on Valentine's Day but on a typical day where it really would be unexpected. Pay attention to what a person finds interesting and base the gift on that.
- Acts of Service: Household duties, outward duties (run to store, pick up kids) and special favors done (make dinner, change diapers) Example: Do something nice for them around the house so they can spend that time doing something they enjoy. The gift of time is a very good gift, especially for moms who have hectic schedules.
- Physical Touch: (Holding hands, back rub) Hugs for no particular reason--they're free and never get old.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails....And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (NIV)
Thursday, January 28, 2010
- Indulge in Caffeine and Chocolate. I know you think I'm making this up! But I'm not, this is true! Don't you love it! In fact, as I write I need to be indulging!!! Memory experts say consuming a little caffeine and chocolate each day may help you remember information better. But you need to choose the right kinds. Strive to get your caffeine from black or green tea. (but my personal opinion is that coffee is good to) You'll also be taking in important antioxidants that stave off brain cell damage. Just don't drink your tea with milk because milk interferes with the absorption of those antioxidants.When you buy chocolate, choose dark varieties made with at least 60 percent cocoa.
- Get Enough Sleep - To maintain memory, most people need to get about eight hours of sleep a night.
- Work Out - There is just no getting around it...in just about every area of life exercise is going to help you. Experts agree that aerobic exercise improves your memory by doing more than just enhancing your sleep quality. Anytime you do at least moderate exercise (like brisk walking), your brain receives a larger-than-usual supply of blood, Aerobic exercise also improves memory by relieving stress, Most experts recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise, like walking or biking, daily.
- Eat the Right Fats - You need to eat fat daily to maintain brain power. But as with chocolate and caffeine, you need to choose the right kind. Certain kinds of fish and fish oil supplements, flaxseeds and flaxseed supplements, and canola, soy, and walnut oils contain these fatty acids, but some research suggests that whole fish is the best form for brain function. Eating 4 ounces of fatty fish [like salmon or sardines] four times a week probably does your brain a lot of good." On the flip side, experts agree that trans fats (found in hydrogenated oils) are the worst fats for your memory.
- Challenge Your Brain - Research shows that the more intellectually stimulating your occupation is, the better your brain functions throughout your life. But don't despair if your job is dull. A few studies suggest that adopting intellectually challenging hobbies like crossword puzzles or reading can also boost your brain power.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
- My first cup of coffee in the morning.
- Digging into a new bible study series
- A good book
- Seeing a great movie and have a large bag of popcorn on my lap. :)
- Sitting in front of the fireplace. (doing this right now.)
- Spending time with children (especially grandchildren)
- Familiar smells - fresh bread, coffee brewing or a pie cooking. My mom and dads house had a smell - a good one - that just reminded me of them.
- Taking a hot bath - even better if you have a jacuzzi tub - I don't :(
- Fresh clean sheets to climb into
- An unexpected compliment
- A real letter or package in the mailbox
- Sleeping while it's raining
- Finding money you didn't know you had
- A morning run
- Walking barefoot in the grass - I loved doing this in Pennsylvania - not the same in FL
- Listening to a great song
- Eating a piece of chocolate
- Getting a Dunkin Donuts coffee or a Starbucks latte - are you seeing a pattern here??
- Having a "lazy" day
Better is an handful with quietness, than both the hands full with travail and vexation of spirit. - Ecclesiastes 4:6
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
As we are nearing the end of our 30 Days to a Simpler Life I thought this one would be an important one. Most of these are small adjustments we can make to our lifestyle that can reap big rewards. Even if you don't live longer by doing these you will live better.
- Laughing: 100 to 200 laughs are equivalent to ten minutes of jogging or rowing, says US cardiologist, Dr William Fry. Research also shows that it lowers levels of stress hormones, and heightens the activity of the body's natural defensive killer cells and antibodies.
- Eating the right food: A better diet appears to be a deciding factor in living longer. French people have the longest life and tend to eat more fresh food, shop every day at local markets and rely less on convenience food than we do.
- Make your marriage work: Being happily married for a long time leads to greater life expectancy for men and women. However, divorcing then remarrying actually increases the risk of dying prematurely, says a study in Health Psychology Journal.
- Walk, run, jump: People who exercise have a 40% less chance of developing heart disease and studies have also found that people in the lower 20 per cent of fitness were three times more likely to die prematurely than the fittest group.
- Have sex: I am talking about being married here! Couples with a healthy sex life can look up to seven years younger than those who don't, according to a study by Dr David Weeks at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital. This is because sex reduces stress, leads to greater contentment and better sleep.
- Live in the country: People living in rural areas have a higher life expectancy than those living in cities. I'm ready to move!
- Watch your weight: Overeating is one of the main causes of ageing and increases the risk of heart disease and cancers of the colon, womb, gall bladder, ovaries and breast.
- Have lots of children: A study in Psychology of Ageing found that the more children women have, the greater their life expectancy. Interesting!
- Learn something new: Brain cells work together, so learning new skills improves your brain function generally. '
- Be a Positive person: Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in the US found that optimistic people live about 12 years longer than pessimistic ones. Pessimists are more prone to viral illnesses, such as colds and flu
- Enjoy chocolate: I absolutely love this one! Research from the Harvard School of Public Health found that people who eat a moderate amount of chocolate live longer than those who never touch sweets.
- Find God: I love this one too! Going to church increases life expectancy, according to a study in the International Journal for Psychiatry and Medicine. It's particularly good at helping people's stress and emotional problems, and seems to protect against diseases such as heart, respiratory or digestive problems.
- Enjoy a cup of tea: Green and ordinary black tea pack the same amount of antioxidants and have equal benefits. Harvard researchers found that drinking one cup of black tea a day cuts heart disease risk dramatically.
- Get a pet: Families who own a dog or cat are less stressed and visit their doctors less often than those who don't, say scientists from Cambridge University. Pets make you feel optimistic and relaxed, which lowers your blood pressure. Even a goldfish in a bowl works.
Psalm 91:14-16 (New Living Translation)
The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name.
When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”
Monday, January 25, 2010
- Smile and be friendly. Sometimes we get so busy we don't even look at the person at the checkout counter, or the people we work with or where ever life takes you today. So for today, notice the people around you and if you can, "smile and be friendly" Just give them an encouraging word.
- Call a charity to volunteer. Volunteering is one of the most satisfying things you can do. Find an organization you believe in or volunteer in your church - even if it's just once a month or even just a one time thing.
- Donate something you don’t use. Or a whole box of somethings. Drop them off at a goodwill or churches that are taking collections for Haiti
- Make a donation. There are lots of ways to donate to charities online, or in your local community. You can give $10 through a text message to the Haiti relief fund to the Red Cross. Go without your DnD or Starbucks for a couple weeks.
- Comfort someone in grief. Most of us get really nervous in these situations and actually avoid the person, just remember the greatest thing you can do for a person who is grieving is to be there, just to give a hug or a listening ear, that is what they need most. This is a great site to help you do this: http://www.helpguide.org/mental/helping_grieving.htm
- Show appreciation, publicly. Praising someone on a blog, in front of coworkers, in front of family, or in some other public way, is a great way to make them feel better about themselves. Just make sure it is sincere.
- Be patient. Sometimes people can have difficulty understanding things, or learning to do something right. Learn to be patient with them.
- Create a care package. Soup, reading material, tea, chocolate … anything you think the person might need or enjoy. Good for someone who is sick or otherwise in need of a pick-me-up.
- Begin a "Do something nice day". Pick one day a week that every week on that day you will specifically do something nice for someone. Here is a site that will give you some great ideas. http://www.helpothers.org/ideas.php
So shines a good deed in a weary world.
- William Shakespeare
Sunday, January 24, 2010
As a mother-in-law who is working hard to earn the trust of my daughter-in-law I found these steps go a long way to building a good relationship and they all involve one word:
1. Respect your daughter-in-law's parenting style — even if you don't agree with it. The key is to remember, you're the grandparent now and you're not in charge. Earn your daughter-in-law's trust by playing by her rules when you're with the kids.
2. Respect her relationship with her mom — and don't try to compete. You'll lose.
3. Respect her relationship with your son — and don't talk to him negatively about her to him. You'll lose that battle, too.
4. Remember, we all learned to be good parents while we were on the job— and she's doing the best she can. Give her the benefit of the doubt, and never forget how sensitive you were as a young parent trying to do your best. Remember how important it was to hear encouragement instead of criticism as a young mom especially from your parents and in-laws
1. Respect your husband's relationship with his mother — whatever your opinion of her. You may get him on your side of your conflict with her, but your entire family, especially your children, will suffer as a result.
2. Remember that all grandparents — unless they are abusive or their behavior is in some way harmful to the kids — deserve to know their grandchildren, and vice-versa. If possible, let all the grandparents spend time alone with the kids. That is the only way they can establish lasting bonds.
3. Cut the grandparents some slack — within reason. Be a little flexible with some of the rules, remember the reason they do what they do is not to disrespect you but because they love their grandchildren so very much.
4. If you happen to be the mother of sons, beware. Someday, you may be a mother-in-law with grandchildren, too. Behave accordingly because things we do have a way of coming back on us later.
For Both Mothers-in-law and Daughters-in-law
1. Boundaries is a very good word to remember — healthy boundaries are what help us create and maintain friendly relations. Set boundaries for yourself, and respect your in-law's boundaries.
2. Let go of your expectations about how things should be or the way it was for you and work with the way things are. This means accepting the whole extended family and all they bring into the picture as well as other nonnegotiable circumstances.
3. Always think of the kids. Model the values you want the children to learn. Do you want to train them in criticism and disrespect, or trust and compassion? This is probably the most important point of all and it goes for both sides.
4. Remember, there is enough love to go around for everyone. Every person brings something good and different into your children's and grandchildren's lives, learn to embrace those differences not reject them as your children will be more balanced and well-rounded if you do.
I borrowed some of this information from an article in Grandparents.com, a great resource for grandparents.
Many of these steps could easily be used for any relationship in your life that you are struggling with. If you can apply these principles to your relationships it really will simplify your life.
Children's children are a crown to the aged,
and parents are the pride of their children. Proverbs 17:6
Saturday, January 23, 2010
- Helps Prevent Diseases Our bodies were meant to move -- they actually crave exercise. Regular exercise is necessary for physical fitness and good health. It reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes and other diseases. It can improve your appearance and delay the aging process.
- Improves Stamina: When you exercise, your body uses energy to keep going.
- Strengthens and Tones: Your posture can be improved, and your muscles become more firm and toned. You not only feel better, but you look better, too!
- Enhances Flexibility: Stretching exercises are also important for good posture. They keep your body limber so that you can bend, reach and twist. Improving your flexibility through exercise reduces the chance of injury and improves balance and coordination.
- Controls Weight: Exercise is also a key to weight control because it burns calories. If you burn off more calories than you take in, you lose weight.
- Improves Quality of Life: Once you begin to exercise regularly, you will discover many more reasons why exercise is so important to improving the quality of your life. Exercise reduces stress, lifts moods, and helps you sleep better. It can keep you looking and feeling younger throughout your entire life.
1. Take any opportunity during the day to walk instead of drive: Park further away from store entrance and walk, walk up stairs instead of taking elevator...I think you get the idea.
2. Start walking 20 minute at least 3 times a week and gradually increase as it gets easier, work your way up to at least 30 minutes.
3. Wear a pedometer and see how many steps you are going each day - it may be only 100 or so. The goal it to get up to 10,000. That is the recommended daily amount of steps an active adult should walk each day.
4. Find someone to walk with or do some form of exercise with. I have recently started to do this with a good friend of mine. We used to meet for lunch or coffee and now instead we meet to walk on the trail. We walk for one hour, talk the whole time and at the end we have connected, talked, gotten our exercise for the day and not eaten something we didn't need. She takes it a step further and has another friend she bikes with and one that she plays tennis with. So in a week she has exercised 3 different times in 3 different ways and connected with friends that normally it would take weeks to arrange time with.
5. Find things you love to do that keep you active: gardening, running, playing an active game, hiking, and list goes on and on.
There are much more ways than these but I was trying to keep it simple and doable for everyone. So if you are sitting there reading this blog, get up and walk around the house for a few minutes and get started today!
Friday, January 22, 2010
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Keeping Relationships Simple
During this journey of 30 days to a simpler life we have touched here and there on how to simplify the relationships in our lives but today I want to focus just on our relationships with other women
I was reminded last night, as I always am, when I gathered with this particular group of remarkable women, of how blessed I am to have so many amazing women in my life. I have a wonderful group of friends who I treasure and love but today I'm talking about the women in my family.
I am one of the blessed people in life, and I do not take this for granted, that has a big family and lots of women in that family that all live close, all share similar values and really, really like each other and like to be together. The best part of it is we are all of different generations, stages of life and different personalities but we all respect and value each other, our similarities and differences. In fact the differences are what make it all so fun. We are sisters, mothers, aunts, cousins, nieces, daughters and we are each others friends.
Our relationships are not complicated, they are simple and they bring to them simple principles that make our bond and our love stronger as the years go by. Some of those principles are:
- being known and accepted,
- understood to the core of who we are.
- trust and loyalty you can count on,
- having someone on your side.
- Having someone to share worries and secrets as well as the good stuff of life.
- Someone who needs you in return.
- Someone who has your best interest at heart.
- Someone who encourages us to be our best but loves us when we're not.
- Someone who knows all our stuff, and still loves us unconditionallyn our family our r
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Well, I have been accused of being a "Beaver" which if you followed my blog on personalities http://kathysthots.blogspot.com/2009/06/four-basic-personality-types.html you know that most Melancholies (beavers) tend to be very practical, frugal, precise and on and on. Well, that is not me but "someone" said I was acting like one as I spent two day giving information on "simple ways to save money"
So I must redeem myself and let the "otter" in me come out. So today's blog is going to be fun and fluffy and full of fun. :) Today we will look at ways we can have fun with making it too complicated. Now don't get me wrong I love to have complicated fun, like going a big vacation or an expensive nice restaurant or a spa treatment but as I think about my life I really have to say some of the best day's have been the simple ones. The days that were fun but not because of extravagance or big trips but because of the people I was with or just being by myself and enjoying the simple pleasures of life.
Here is my list of Simple Fun things to do, feel free to add some of your own!
1. Turn on a favorite song and turn it up loud - maybe even dance to it!
2. Eat outside - if you have a porch take one of your meals and sit on the porch. Or go a little further and do a real picnic at a park.
3. Write a little note to someone - maybe leave on in your hubby's or children's lunch or put it on the mirror on a stickie.
4. Splurge and eat something you love today. (Chocolate is always good!)
5. Learn a new joke and tell it to everyone all day.
6. Take a bubble bath.
7. Start a jig saw puzzle - leave it somewhere where every time people come over they can work on it.
8. Volunteer together as a family (we did this one Thanksgiving when both the kids where home) it was great
9. Look at old pictures together as a family or watch some old family videos.
10. Play board games. Even if you don't think you'll like it try it!
"The Joy of Taking Care of Mom, The Joy of Roaming Around the Castle, the Joy of Loving Unconditionally, The Wonderful 'Large Place" the Lord has provided, The Freedom to Eat, Sleep, Rest and Play, the Wisdom to Just Delight in Every Second and Minute we have ahead, the Privilege to Love and Encourage the Children and all the family and the Greatest and Most Comfortable Bed, to Fall asleep in...." George W. Walters, Sr.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Part 2 of Simple Ways to Save Money
- Eliminate 20%: Stuff and baggage accumulates over time. It's a good idea to take a sweep through your stuff every few months or so and eliminate 20% of your clothes, toys, electronics, etc. You can donate them to charity or even consider selling them through a garage sale or other various online auction sites.
- Price check before buying anything expensive: For other items that are expensive, do a price check before buying the item. You can go to site such as nexttag.com or pricegrabber.com to do this.
- Avoid impulse buying: Make it a habit to avoid impulse buying. Many of the things you want to buy do not seem all that necessary, if you walk away from the item and say, "I will come back and buy it in a couple days' it will give you time to decide if you really need or want it. You will be amazed how many times you will realize you don't go back
- Bottle your own water: Of course there are always times you may need to grab a bottled water but I am trying to be more conscious of using a glass or my own container to cut down on the number of bottles I am using in a week.
- Keep your car as long as possible: When possible, try to keep your car as long as possible. My little Camry is a 1999 and we do not have any plans to get rid of it any time soon. We are really enjoying not having car payments. I have about 140,000 miles on it right now. Oh course, when it gets to the point that you are having to put alot of repairs into it then it may be time to purchase a newer one.
- Do regular scheduled maintenance on your vehicles: Do not skimp on or forget to do regular oil changes. Remember to check the air in your tires often. These small acts can significantly lengthen the life of your car, giving you years of use.
- Avoid buying a new car: When you eventually buy a car, see if you can make do with a pre-owned vehicle. A new car depreciates significantly the moment you drive it out the dealership. Is the new car small really worth thousands of dollars? Pre-owned cars that are only a few years old with low mileage are the best bargains. Regardless of the purchase, learn to negotiate with car dealers
- If you watch a lot of DVDs, get an online DVD store membership: Membership to online movie stores like Netflix or Blockbuster Online can save you a lot of money compared to buying DVDs or renting it from a local store. You need to wait once you order the movie, but if you watch a lot of movies at home, then you can easily get into the habit of ordering ahead of time so you always have something at home. The library also has a lot of DVDs you can borrow. I was surprised at how many current titles they have.
- If you like watching movies at the theater, go before 12 noon: This is something me and hubby really like to do. We really like watching movies in the theater with the big screen and the great sound effects. But instead of paying ~$10 a piece for the ticket, we usually go before 12 pm on Saturday at AMC when the tickets are a $5 a piece.
- Regulate your electric use: My hubby tells me that just turning off all your lights when not in use can make a difference in your electric bill. Also, keeping you air at no lower than 77 during the day in the summer and about no higher than 68 in the winter can save alot.
- Plan vacations ahead of time: Vacations are a necessary part of saving our sanity in the busy lives that we lead. But vacations can be very expensive. You can find some great prices on hotels at hotel.com. Researching the places you want to go and going on off-seasons is also a great way to save. Right now because of the recession you can get some amazing prices if you just take the time to research.
Keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have.
Monday, January 18, 2010
Sunday, January 17, 2010
The call of God is not a call to serve Him in any particular way. My contact with the nature of God will shape my understanding of His call and will help me realize what I truly desire to do for Him. The call of God is an expression of His nature; the service which results in my life is suited to me and is an expression of my nature. The call of the natural life was stated by the apostle Paul— "When it pleased God . . . to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him [that is, purely and solemnly express Him] among the Gentiles . . . ."
Service is the overflow which pours from a life filled with love and devotion. But strictly speaking, there is no call to that. Service is what I bring to the relationship and is the reflection of my identification with the nature of God. Service becomes a natural part of my life. God brings me into the proper relationship with Himself so that I can understand His call, and then I serve Him on my own out of a motivation of absolute love. Service to God is the deliberate love-gift of a nature that has heard the call of God. Service is an expression of my nature, and God’s call is an expression of His nature. Therefore, when I receive His nature and hear His call, His divine voice resounds throughout His nature and mine and the two become one in service. The Son of God reveals Himself in me, and out of devotion to Him service becomes my everyday way of life.