Friday, July 31, 2015

{Why} the Journey is as Important as the Destination

Stop and take pictures of the roadside roses!
I never relax. In fact, I don't even watch TV. (Who has time for that?!) Even on vacation, I try to reach my destination by taking the quickest, cheapest route possible. But this time on our road trip after a fender bender, a flat tire, and a near-sprained ankle, I realized I stress myself out too much with that kind of thinking, so made a serious effort to slow down and welcome the journey because a more flexible attitude on the way there enables me to enjoy the destination a lot more, too. My new conclusion? What happens on the journey is just as important as reaching the destination!!!

(If only I can remember to embrace this philosophy once the vacationing is over).

Stopped at my friend's favorite consignment store in Sacramento . . .

And, of course, bought a vintage dress (for $12!). 

Found these whimsical dinosaur succulents while window shopping. LOVE THESE!


My daughter, my beautiful reminder to go with life's flow! 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Seven Scriptures to Help You Stay Encouraged


Need to stay encouraged? Choose a Scripture for every day of the week:

  1. For Comfort: “He comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” ~2 Corinthians 1:4 
  2. For Uplifting: “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” ~1 Thess. 5:11 
  3. For Building Others Up: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” ~Ephesians 4:29
  4. For Making Time for Fellowship: “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” ~Hebrews 10:24-25 
  5. For Dwelling on the Positive: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” ~Philippians 4:8 
  6. For Team-Building: “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow.” ~Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
  7. For Positive Talk: “Therefore encourage one another with these words.” ~1 Thessalonians 4:18

Monday, July 27, 2015

Encouraging Yourself and Others


In our busy, chaotic, and stressful world, we can make the mistake of going so fast that we merely think about our own agenda: getting to the next place, checking the next item off the list, or meeting only the immediate needs of ourselves and our children. Living in our fast-paced society with tunnel vision like this, we tend to lose focus on others and go blind to the needs around us. That’s why it’s important to slow down long enough to listen to the prompting of the Spirit and follow that tugging on our hearts that may be leading us to minister others who might be going through a tough time.

But how can we effectively help others if our own wells are dry? The honest answer is we can’t keep giving on empty without doing detriment to ourselves or our children. As busy moms, we need to be vigilant about how we spend our time, making room in our schedules not only for the basics of self-care like getting at least 7 hours of sleep, eating right, and exercising, but also carving out a moment or two each day for doing something we enjoy like journaling, knitting, yoga, or reading. Once our own cup is full, we need to stay encouraged by taking time out for God, praying, and meditating on our favorite Scriptures. Of course, God can give us the strength and power to do His will at any time, but if we make a consistent effort at caring for ourselves first, I believe He can more effectively use us to care for others as well.

What can you do to keep yourself encouraged so you can give back to others?

  • Make a list of your favorite scriptures to keep in a place where you will see on a daily basis.  
  • Write down a habitual negative thought and then write down the opposite and start affirming that instead.
  • Examine those places where you are not taking good care of yourself and make a 21 day effort towards more positive self-care habits,
  • Carve out 15 minutes (or more if you can!) each day for a Mom’s time-out.

What simple act can you do today to encourage someone else?
  • An uplifting text, phone call, note, or card with a positive Scripture or prayer is an easy, yet
    meaningful way to show you care.
  • An act of service such as bringing a casserole for dinner, sweeping the yard, or running errands for someone who is ill really means a lot.
  • A small basket of bath salts or bubble bath is a gift that encourages your recipient to take time for self-care.
  • A goodie bag of baked treats or snacks can sweeten someone’s difficult day.
You don’t have to spend a lot to show you care—just a bit of your time and effort!


Sunday, July 26, 2015

Staying Sane, Serene, and Motivated at Work


“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working 
for the Lord rather than for people.” ~Colossians 3:23

Preserving an upbeat attitude and maintaining a smile at work while everyone else frolics in the sun (or so it seems!) is definitely challenging during the summer months. The mountains, movies, and mall beckon while busy working moms sometimes feel they are missing out on the good times, especially while their kids are out of school and having fun with relatives or Dad. Yet God calls us to clothe ourselves with good attitudes at work and let our light shine during the 9 - 5 hours. If He calls us to it, He can certainly equip us to do it. No matter the season, even busy moms can find ways to stay sane and motivated at work.

Think like a Horse with Blinders: Learn to focus on the path in front of you and not get distracted by what your coworkers are doing or not doing. There’s nearly always someone in the workplace who doesn’t pull his or her share of the load, but that’s no excuse for your own bad behavior. Work is the place where you need to think like a horse with blinders on and purposely refuse to look at others’ behavior so you can focus only on your own path. In other words, you need to perform your job to the best of your ability and let go of how your coworkers perform theirs. Training yourself to focus will preserve your energy so you can complete your own job tasks. Who knows? Your positive example may even rub off on others.

Suit up and Show up: No matter how you are feeling or what is going on with you personally, work is not an option for most employed mothers. Do what you need to get organized the night before or morning of. Dress neatly in your appropriate work attire, and set aside your personal business in order to be “ready to go” once you walk into the office door. While others may bring their emotional drama and baggage to work, suit up and show up with a professional attitude. Your employers will especially appreciate an upbeat outlook during busy times of the year or during workplace transitions. When you act like a mature adult, even on those tough days when you feel like a whiny kid inside, people will take you seriously, and this may lead to improved evaluations and workplace promotions.

Act “As If”: While your current job may not be your dream career, you can change your perspective—perhaps even make the day go faster—by acting “as if” you enjoy what you are doing. If possible, start the work day by tackling your most dreaded tasks first so you can move more quickly to those you like. Focus on the positive aspects of your job and try to spend more time on those if you can. Practice “acting as if” every day and you may eventually learn to appreciate the daily grind. If you work with a difficult person, you can try this approach with him or her as well. Your own changed attitude, including more positive patterns of interactions, can improve a strained work relationship and help the day to move along more smoothly.

Play Games with Yourself (but refrain from solitaire on your desktop!): Use self-imposed games, goals, or deadlines in order to inspire yourself to complete projects more efficiently. For big projects with long term due dates, break up the labor into smaller 15 minute chunks until you reach your deadline. For monotonous daily responsibilities, commit to completing them by your morning coffee break or your lunch date with a friend so you have a goal to work towards. When working through a pile of inbox papers, entering data, or sorting through files, set a specific number to finish and then reward yourself at the end of the week with your favorite coffee drink, an inexpensive pair of earrings, or a rejuvenating bubble bath. 

Listen to a Variety of Music, Online Sermons, or Podcasts: Studies prove that music is a powerful influence on factors like mood, energy, and attitude. Moreover, people who try new things tend to be happier and more adventurous . . . so if you work in an office and have a computer desktop, try listening to a variety of online music stations to perk up your spirits and invigorate you, especially during the post lunchtime slump. Trying out different kinds of music stations will add some spice your routine. If your work situation permits, you might also try listening to online sermons, motivational messages, and educational podcasts while performing repetitive tasks or data entry. Not only will the day fly by, you will also learn something new.


Beautify and Organize your Workspace: Surround yourself with pictures of family and friends, reminders of special memories, or images of beautiful scenery. Hang frames of your favorite scriptures, quotations, or positive thoughts for visual reminders of your goal to stay upbeat throughout the work day. Clear off your desk clutter, organize your tasks and projects into manageable piles, and buy organizational bins, small plastic drawers, and colorful files at the dollar store to perk up your paperwork. Post an encouraging Scripture in a place where you often glace for visual encouragement, and above all, remind yourself throughout the day that you “can do all things through Christ who gives [you] strength” (Philippians 4:13).

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” ~Matthew 5:16.  




Saturday, July 4, 2015

Celebrate Your Freedom {from Fear, Anxiety, and Hurry} Today!!!

Happy 4th of July from my house to yours! 
Every 4th of July, I take some time to thank God for not only living here in the United States where we have so much to be grateful for, but also the freedom I have through Christ. Like so many other other busy moms, when I get caught up in the fast pace of the world with all of its striving to constantly do, be, and have MORE, I forget that I am already free on so many levels through Christ. Staying in the Word grounds me in that truth so I can celebrate my personal freedom. Today, I meditated on three specific Scriptures that remind me of my freedom from fear, anxiety, and hurry. These truths make Independence Day all the more meaningful for me. In between the parade and popsicles, the fireworks, family, and the 4th of July frenzy, know that freedom is yours to embrace today.


Freedom from Fear:

"The Lord is my light and salvation--whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life--of whom shall I be afraid? . . . My heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident." ~Psalm 27:1 & 3

Freedom from Anxiety: 

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." ~Philippians 4:6-7

Freedom from Hurry:

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." ~Matthew 12:28-29 

Sharing on: Pink Saturday

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Red, White, and Blue {Berry} Waffles


  1. How about sparking up your 4th of July weekend with some crowd- pleasing red, white, and blue berry waffles for breakfast? 

INGREDIENTS

1 cup blueberries and blackberries
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups sifted flour
1/2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup melted butter
1/3 - 1/2 cup diced strawberries 
whipped cream for topping

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the waffle iron.
  2. Beat egg whites til stiff and set aside.
  3. Sift together dry ingredients.
  4. Slowly stir in milk, beaten egg yolks, melted butter, and extract. 
  5. Fold in blueberries and blackberries. 
  6. Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites.
  7. Bake in hot waffle iron.
  8. Top with diced strawberries, blueberries, and whipped topping. 
  9. Makes 6 waffles. 
  10. Sharing on: Pink Saturday

Monday, June 29, 2015

{tips for smooth} GARAGE SALEing

A cute tin sign I purchased for a mere buck . . . 

Last Saturday morning with my coffee in hand, I did something adventurous with a new single mom friend. We went garage sale-ing. My resourceful friend typically searches for furniture to fix up with spray paint and saves a bundle on decorating. Of course, we went primarily looking for furniture, and she scored with a vintage chair. I, on the other hand, did not find fixer-upper furniture but instead discovered some unexpected loot--and the mother-load of all surprises--AN UGLY CHRISTMAS SWEATER FOR $1. (Even Goodwill sells 'em for $15). Well now, I will just have to host that Christmas exchange party come December. The fabulous part is I only paid $4.75 for all of the purchases you see here.

My cherished ugly Christmas sweater

Here’s what we learned from last Saturday's adventure and how you, too, can have a smooth morning of garage sale-ing:
  1. Go early. Sorry, you'll have to set your alarm on Saturday if you really want the deals. 
  2. Bring cash, both small bills and coins. 
  3. Muster up the courage to haggle. Who knows? You might get a better deal. 
  4. Plan your trip by looking at location of nearby sales on Craigslist. 
  5. Be willing to drive around looking for "estate sale," "moving sale," and "yard sale" signs. 
  6. Have a means of transporting large items if you are interested in buying furniture. 
  7. Purchase items that have realistic potential for re-purposing. 
A brand new fashion find for a dollar!
A brand new purse for a dollar!
My 75 cent sign reminds me to give thanks for all of the deals! 

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