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

Highlights from MegaFest 2013

Megafest 2013 logo
I’ve been traveling the past couple of weekends but now I’m back, ready to share some of my most memorable moments. I went to the one and only MegaFest in Dallas, TX the last weekend in August, and I would like to share a little about that experience. If you have never been to MegaFest, it is truly something you and your family should plan into your vacation time. Please enjoy my highlights!

HIGHLIGHTS FROM MEGAFEST 2013

This year’s MegaFest was BIG! Over 50,000 people from all over the world gathered in Dallas, Texas the weekend of August 29-31 at the magnificent Omni Hotel, the Dallas Convention Center and the American Airlines Center downtown, to celebrate the world’s largest family fun festival!

I had never seen anything like it before as this was my first MegaFest experience. I was in total awe of the collaboration of events, activities, seminars, movie screenings, concerts, expos, celebrity red carpet interviews, comedy shows, and kids and teenagers activities. There was literally something for everyone!

MegaFest 2013 hosted Oprah’s Lifeclass, the inaugural International Faith & Family Film Festival, the Just Churchin’ Comedy Show (with Cedric the Entertainer and Niecy Nash), the Ball Up Streetball Classic Tour Championship and empowerment sessions for men, women, young adults and children.

On Wednesday, August 28th, there was a press conference with Bishop TD Jakes, who was joined by the Mayor of Dallas, Mike Rawlings, to kick-off the three-day inspirational festival celebrating Relationships and the Restoration of Families through Faith.

I participated as Media representing Six Brown Chicks and I worked harder, and walked longer and sweated more profusely than I have with any physical workout at my neighborhood gym. I’m sure I lost several inches and pounds during this ‘five’ day event (for me). I checked in Wednesday and stayed through Sunday.

I met some of the most wonderful people and made contacts that I hope will last a lifetime. There were several ‘moments to remember’ that I want to highlight as well as a checklist for anyone wanting to attend MegaFest next year.

MOMENTS TO REMEMBER

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Oprah’s Life Class – This was definitely something I will never forget as long as I live. I watched with goose pimples how Oprah and thousands of other women (and men) responded to the words of wisdom that came from Bishop TD Jakes. Please be sure to watch the life class this month of September 2013, it’s about fatherless children.

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The Woman of Purpose Concert benefiting Autism Speaks – This concert featuring the Grammy and Oscar Winner, Jennifer Hudson, emceed by comedian and talk show host Steve Harvey was truly something to see. Performers ranged from Brandy, Mary Mary, Joe, and Kim Burrell, just to name a few. A portion of the proceeds from the concert went to benefit Autism Speaks.

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Woman Thou Art Loosed – The only thing I have to say about this is, NO MORE CHAINS, I am loosed!

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International Faith & Family Film Festival – This was an extravagant affair. There were training sessions, movie premiers/screenings, and Q & A sessions with directors, authors, screenwriters, and actors. This was truly amazing.

If you’re wanting to attend MegaFest in 2014:
• Start planning and saving money now.
• Book flights and hotels in advance.
• Pack clothes and shoes according to Dallas, Texas weather. But also plan for surprises (like rain).
• Women may pack heels but also plan to wear flats and tennis shoes for the vigorous walking around the convention center and the hotel and outside to catch trolleys and buses for travel within the city.
• Make sure to have ‘some’ cash on you. If you’re anything like me, I don’t carry much cash in my purse but I had to go to the ATM several times because I needed CASH for parking (they didn’t take credit/debit cards!) and cash for some of the vendors at the Family Expo.
• Register online! It will save you from having to wait in those long, long lines with frustrated folks. Also take your receipts and proof of purchase/registration to MegaFest. Don’t leave home without it!
• Pack snacks and bottled water. The restaurants and food vendors were a little pricey for some. The average burger, fries and coke was right at $10.00+ (per person). A 20 0z bottle of water was $4.00. (I can get a 24 pack for $3.00 at Wal-Mart)
• Overall, plan to have a good time and to be blessed. There is so much to do, you’ll have to pick and choose because you won’t be able to do ‘everything’.

Love,
Toni

Reflections of Nature (Clouds)

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”
― Rabindranath Tagore, Stray Birds

clouds one
“The sun always shines above the clouds.” ― Paul F. Davis

clouds two
“So fine was the morning except for a streak of wind here and there that the sea and sky looked all one fabric, as if sails were stuck high up in the sky, or the clouds had dropped down into the sea.”
― Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse


“I run like I have cirrus clouds for legs and rainbow knees. What is life, if not a marathon of love?
”
― Jarod Kintz

clouds four
“God is a cloud from which rain fell.” ― Dejan Stojanovic, The Sun Watches the Sun

Love,
Toni

What time is it?

20130526-134751.jpgEverything revolves around time. Birth, death, beginnings, endings, creation, history, seasons and divisions.

Oh yea, lets not forget about seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades, and centuries. Everything in our universe is centered around time. Yet the most fascinating thing about time is the one who created it, lives “outside” of time.

He is timeless. Infinite, eternal, without a beginning or an end. WOW! What a mighty God we serve!

Several years ago I realized I had an intrigue for time pieces, be it watches, clocks, hour glasses or just watching nature change according to its specific season or time! That is when I began my wonderful collection of clocks and watches, some of which I will be sharing with you over the next few days.

My question to you today is what time is it in your life? Not based on the piece you wear on your wrist or the mechanism hanging on your wall, but what time is it regarding your life?

Is it time to change a job, a location, a relationship, or time to fulfill your dreams, your visions or perhaps nurture or cultivate a present state you’re in? Is it time to answer God’s call on your life or maybe obey something that he’s told you to do?

What time is it in your life and what are you going to do about it?