Tips that help reduce stress

Stress, also known as the silent killer, can be defined as a state of mental or emotional pressure resulting from difficult or very challenging situations. Basically, it is life happening all around us and the seemingly insurmountable weight of it all. Life happens to everyone and everyone will (at some point) encounter stress. We all respond to stress in different ways but learning to structure our lives around it can ultimately be a matter of life and death, sickness or good health. Below are a few stress-reducing tips you can try.

Tip #1
Breathe, baby breathe
deep breathing(Photo courtesy of Google Images)
Deep breathing works. It really does. When I had my first child, the doctors and nurses told me to breathe, inhale through your nose (your diaphragm contracts and your lungs expand), and exhale slowly through pursed lips. This was my first introduction to deep breathing and over the years I have found that this technique has many amazing and powerful benefits, mainly being instrumental in reducing stress, improving sleep, optimizing your immune system and so much more. So when faced with a stressful situation, before you become unglued, take a moment to sit quietly and breathe deeply!

Tip #2
Pray, Meditate and Refocus
prayer meditate refocus(Photo courtesy of Google Images)
There are situations that we will encounter that are beyond our human control. We are not super people with super human strength, contrary to popular belief. This life will get crazy and that’s when we need to take it to the Lord in prayer. Prayer, like deep breathing, works. It is the understanding that we cannot control or fix everything and everybody that brings us to our knees. Learning to pray sincerely, meditate honestly on God’s word and taking time to refocus on what’s really important in our lives, will reduces stress immensely.

Tip #3
Laugh
laughter(Photo courtesy of Google Images)
This one is fun. Laugh! Hard and loud and until your stomach cramps and the tears soak your cheeks. Laughter is your internal medication, its God’s natural remedy for a soul-ache. What Tylenol does for your headache, good old-fashioned laughter does for your soul’s-ache. It works!

Tip #4
Read a good book
reading a book(Photo courtesy of Google Images)

We can get so caught up in the hub-bub of life that we forget how relaxing it is to sit down with a steamy/hot romance novel or an inspirational self-help book that not only takes your mind off your problems but gives your brain the inspirational work-out that it needs. There have been studies that determine that reading is the work-out your brain needs in order to stay in its optimal health. Reading reduces stress and expands your knowledge; it’s a win-win situation!

Tip #5
Music calms the savage beast (called stress)
listening to music(Photo courtesy of Google Images)

This is another one of my favorite stress relievers. The power of music is remarkable in so many ways and has so many incredible benefits. We can actually calm that beast called stress by listening to our favorite songs, regardless of the genre. Listening to soft classical or jazz can help slow down your pulse and heart rate, lower your blood pressure, and decrease stress hormone levels, while up-beat tempo music can help boost your self-esteem, improve your mood, your concentration and so much more. So close your eyes and relax as your stress dissipates into the sounds and rhythms of melodic pleasure.

A few other stress reducers are, going on walks in the evening, riding a bike, working out, watching a sunset, singing, going to the beach, fishing, journaling, road trips, pampering yourself at a day spa, doing Yoga, sitting in a hot tub, going to the movies, volunteering, reading your bible, eating ice cream (or your favorite treat), simplifying your life and spending quality time with good friends and family. Can you think of other ways to minimize stress?
sunset(Photo courtesy of Google Images)

At whatever cost, reduce the stress and relax. YOLO (you only live once)!

Love,
Toni

Its the little things

I decided to take a break from all my duties today and just climb up in the bed, in my pajamas and listen to smooth jazz while sipping a mocha coffee. I decided to give myself the gift of relaxation.

I told my husband that I wasn’t running any errands and that my two teenage children would have to cook for themselves, mama’s resting today!

I was engrossed in a good book around 2 o’clock this afternoon when the doorbell rang. We don’t get a lot of company so I was curious as to who it could have been.

When I opened the door, I was pleasantly surprised to get a beautiful little package, that I was not expecting. It is truly the precious, little things that make this life beautiful.
!flowers from charles

Thank you husband. I love you too. Through it all. No matter what. For better or worse. Through sickness and health. When times are good and when times are bad. Thank you for the little things!
flowers from charles2

Various Stages of Writer’s Block

Originally posted on Shannon A Thompson:

Announcements: 

The latest review of Take Me Tomorrow is in!Trials of a wanna-be-publisher writer states, “Take Me Tomorrow asks a lot of questions around thorny issues in today’s society without becoming preachy in its message…As I have come to expect from Shannon, this book is well-crafted, engaging and very well-written (pretty much a given for this author). While the genre may be classed as ‘Young Adult’, don’t let that fool you; Take Me Tomorrow is an intelligent and thought-provoking piece of writing and one I highly recommend you check out.” And I highly recommend you read her entire review by clicking here

Various Stages of Writer’s Block

Oh, the dreaded writer’s block. The horror of the static pen. The silence of untapped keyboards. The banging of your forehead against the desk.

We’ve all been there – some of us more than others – and that’s why…

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For Writers: Exercise your body, exercise your brain

Originally posted on Shannon A Thompson:

For Writers: Exercise your body, exercise your brain

Exercise. The dreaded e-word. I get it. People are busy. Between working and managing a healthy diet, finding the time to go for a run is difficult, but – ::sigh:: – it is important for many reasons. Taking care of yourself is vital to maintaining a healthy brain…and (spoiler alert) that healthy brain can be the make-it-or-break-it point for a writer on the verge of insanity. (I figured this out after I broke my sanity and had a sob fest in a public gym. Cute, I know.) You can only sit in your plush rolling chair and stare at your computer screen for so long, and getting up and out might help you surpass that writer’s block you’ve been battling for three weeks straight. So here are three, helpful tips I wish I had that I think pertain to many people (but…

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The Benefits of Homeschooling

kids doing puzzle at library

kids working outside art

The last time I blogged about homeschooling, I was only teaching my twelve-year old son. Now, I’m instructing my fourteen year old daughter who is above average, a grade ahead and sharp as a whip. She alone, keeps me on my toes. She alone, keeps me burning the midnight oil, researching, learning, reading, and printing everything I can to not only maintain her grade level but challenge her as well.

kids studying in dining room

My son is easy. Seventh grade work isn’t as challenging as tenth grade work.

He’s our class clown also. The other day he was dragging his covers to the dining room table where they do their lessons, when I stopped him in his tracks.

“Hey, where are you going with those covers, young man? It’s class time, so take that blanket back to your bedroom,” I said.

“But mom, I’m cold and I don’t feel good. I think I have a fever. Can I just stay home from school today,” he asked?

“No sir, you cannot.” I felt his head, which was perfectly normal. “You stayed up too late last night and you’re wanting to sleep in, and in case you hadn’t noticed, YOU ARE AT HOME! Homeschool, remember?”

I smiled as he drug his Dallas Cowboys fleece blanket to his room in slow motion.

There are days when I am stretched beyond my comfort zone, when I’m teaching my children things I did not learn in school as a child. It’s challenging and rewarding at the same time. I’m very grateful for this era of technology where so much information is available in so many formats. I still like taking trips to the library and checking out books, the old-fashioned way as much as I enjoy e-learning through limitless resources on the internet. I’ve taken my children on field trips to science museums, art museums, the wildlife preserve and an awesome aquarium exhibit in Oklahoma. Teaching and learning has never been more fun.

kids at science museum bubbles

oklahoma aquarium2

oklahoma aquarium3

oklahoma aquarium

But the benefits of homeschooling are so much deeper. I’ve listed a few and if you’re a homeschooling parent I’m sure you have a list of your own. If you’re not a homeschooling parent, trust me, it’s more rewarding than you can imagine.

BENEFITS:

Quality one on one time with your children
You get to select the curriculum, so you know exactly what your children are learning
YOU learn new and exciting things too
It’s FREE and/or affordable
You get to set your own hours
You get to provide delicious and nutritious meals (kids are always complaining about school lunches)
The learning environment can be inside the house, on the patio outside, at the park, the library, etc.
Learning can take place any time of the day (I quiz them during dinner, after dinner, while they’re sleep LOL)
You are free to explore your child’s individual interests and tailor lessons accordingly
The educational field trips and learning adventures are limitless
You’re able to incorporate family and religious values into the learning process
The intimate and very active part you play in your child’s education is priceless

So at the end of the day, I am grateful for this once in a lifetime opportunity to share in my children’s education. I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

home schooling rocks

Love,
Toni

toni beside bed2

26 Declarations of Strength!

sunrise through clouds
We all have problems in this life, but at the end of the day, how are you going to handle the challenges you MUST face? Will you allow yourself to get better or become bitter? Will you trust God or trust yourself? And ultimately, will you allow your tests to make you stronger or will you crumble under the pressure? I choose to live, learn and increase in strength. For all my sisters (and brothers) who may be going through a difficult time right now, be encouraged. And be strong! I wrote this for US today:

There is a strength inside of me that he wish he had.
There is a strength inside of me that the devil would kill me for.
There is a strength inside of me that she envies to the point of seething rage.
There is a strength inside of me that the world didn’t give me.
There is a strength inside of me that the world can’t take away.
There is a strength inside of me that takes a lickin’ but keeps on tickin’
There is a strength inside of me that only weeps in the presence of my heavenly Father.
There is a strength inside of me that declares, Show no weakness!
There is a strength inside of me that must move on. I must!
There is a strength inside of me that understands that, Only God can fix this one!
There is a strength inside of me that sings through the midst of my tears.
There is a strength inside of me that walks tall, even with a shattered heart.
There is a strength inside of me that carries my children, with broken arms. I’ll NEVER drop them!
There is a strength inside of me that stands, even when I don’t know what else to do. I stand!
There is a strength inside of me that fights victoriously, on my knees!
There is a strength inside of me that understands that, NO WEAPON . . . And again I say, NO WEAPON BABY!
There is a strength inside of me that prays in an unknown tongue. The devil don’t know everything!
There is a strength inside of me that shares secrets with God. He makes known his heart unto me.
There is a strength inside of me that will fight for mine!
There is a strength inside of me that says, “I will trust the Lord, with my whole heart.”
There is a strength inside of me that through wisdom, accepts when to let go. And let God!
There is a strength inside of me that will fulfill my destiny, and will not die one second short of it!
There is a strength inside of me that embraces all that God has for me.
There is a strength inside of me, he wish he had.
There is a strength inside of me, the devil would kill me for. But he can’t.
There is a strength inside of me and his name is Jesus!

Father, I thank you for strength today. I thank you for strength for my journey. I thank you for strength to cast all my cares upon you because you care deeply for me. I thank you for strength to finish this life course. I thank you for strength to understand that this battle is not mine, but it is your battle, Lord and you will fight for me. I thank you that when I’m weak, you are strong. You are my strength, Father. THERE IS A STRENGTH INSIDE OF ME!

toni beside bed2 Love, Toni

My 2013 Resolve (Small Changes)

My husband and I rearranged our bedroom last weekend. Man, what a chore!

After talking about it for several months, we both agreed to get out of bed and just do it. We found things we thought we’d lost, cleaned areas that couldn’t be reached before (like behind our heavy mirrored dresser) and vacuumed and sneezed from the dust, polished the furniture and sneezed some more. I have asthma, so my husband threw open the windows to give me some relief.

The move was a 6-7 hour process but when we finished, we both stood back and admired our hard work. Pleased, is an understatement. Enlightened, is more the word for what I felt.

In addition to rearranging the furniture, I went out and purchased a few simple things to add some color and elegance to our master suite. From a store called Ross’ I bought two metallic red lamp shades and two burgundy throw pillows to add to the black, white and silver pillows we already had. I found a beautiful black and white photo at Kirkland’s of an ocean cascading over giant rock pieces which now hangs above our bed. I got a black leather bedroom bench that sits at the foot of our bed atop a contemporary area rug and my husband stumbled upon two matching pictures of an ocean beach with hues of a bronze sunset echoing off the water and sand. Breathtaking!

Now it doesn’t take much to inspire me to write.

Relaxing in my comfortable chair, I reflected not only upon my day, but upon the year ending. 2014 is right around the corner and I’ve decided to look at my new year with a new heart and a new mind. I’m not making any resolutions, (I’ve never kept them anyway) but I have been inspired with a few new revelations from this year.

What I resolved in 2013:

Things may look good on the surface, but may have decay on the inside. This applies to humans as well.
To have an exterior of beauty is simply not enough.
Resolve in your heart to make small changes.
Small changes make big differences. Like my bedroom.
Don’t try to give up all your bad habits at once, instead, give them up one at a time, successfully.
Some things only God can do. And some people, only God can change.
I/We do not have the power to change another individual. Only ourselves!
Walk in integrity, even if you have to walk alone.
As Polonius, in Shakespeare’s Hamlet once said, “To thine own self, be true.” Be brutally honest with yourself, even if the self you see, is ugly.
Do not be afraid of change.
Choose to love, at whatever cost.
Pursue peace as a priceless gem, and when you find it, don’t let anything, including death, part you from it!
“Thou shalt have no other gods before me,” saith the Lord. I promise to never worship any thing or any one, in this lifetime or the next. ONLY GOD, will I serve!

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! May 2014 be our best year ever!

BEFORE
bedroom1

AFTER (Small changes)
bedroom2