When Your Whole Life Stinks


Thank you Kelly Balarie for today’s message.

Do you ever have a hard time seeing the bright side of things?

I do. After pulling all of our luggage, pillows and boxes from the car, I plopped on the couch in my brand new home, in a brand new city.

It’s not safe enough here, in this neighborhood. They are doing construction right next to us. There are no families around.

The anxious thoughts were eating my moment of joy.

The previous night didn’t help. Our train ride to the new home was horrendous. We slept in the passenger car. My three-year old daughter pleaded in 30-minute increments for a tissue for her nose. The door rattled. The train leaned in, then out, as it went down the track. I slept for half an hour.

It’s easy for me to see what’s wrong instead of what’s right. Things that stress me instead of what God has put there to bless me. Everything annoying, disturbing and wrong instead of the things that are right.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)

What about you? What does your mind go to? What do you reflect on?

You know, that morning after our horrendous night on the train, I saw a woman I’d met earlier. After smiling, I asked her, “How was your night’s sleep?”

Her answer? “Good, I got some naps in.”

She chose to speak what was good rather than sinking into what was bad. She still smiled, her eyes looked happy and her face seemed ready for the day.

Later, I passed by my cabin neighbor. She recounted the night by saying, “Last night, I was awake. So all I did was stare at the beauty of the wide-open skies. You should have seen the stars. They were magnificent.”

Again, this woman chose to find the find the good in the bad.

What is the good in your bad?

God has left it for us, if we choose to see it. We can see Provider God over our anxiety. We can see hope rise above uncertainty. We can see little lights shine out from our vast darkness. We can give thanks for spurts of goodness when everything else is blah.

We can always:

Praise God’s character.
Give thanks for eternity.
Remember the good times.
Dwell on God’s promise that He’ll always be with us.
Decide to truly believe God is our Provider.

When Jesus came into this dark world, He brought goodness. And even better, He left it. Our job is to search it out, to draw it near, and to return to thinking about it, even when we’re prone to forget. This keeps our head up and our hope strong.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

The Struggle of an Optimist

Stomping out inner gremlins and banishing ANTs (automatic negative thoughts) from my life is an ongoing battle. When a crisis occurs, I jump into Social Worker mode.  Handle things, take care of everyone, and make sure nothing slips through the cracks… you get the picture, right?  I mean every crisis needs a person like this, right?  On the outside, I look like a rock while on the inside I am falling apart.

When I started blogging over 4 years ago, it was about my life – the good, the bad and the ugly.  Somewhere along the way it changed to sharing tips and tricks for organizing, business coaching tips and more.  Don’t get me wrong, I love writing and helping others but I believe in my heart I can also help people by sharing my strengths, hopes and experiences.  Why am I saying all of this?  Because today is about getting through a life crisis.

My dad is currently in a rehab and has been placed on hospice for end stage COPD.  Dad played hard during his life and it has caught up with him at the ripe age of 86.  On his good days, he still has his smart answers for the nurses but he is tired of fighting.  The pain has gotten too great.  So, on Friday, “social worker” mode kicked in.  I truly believed I was handling things well.  A10-minute meltdown after getting the call from the rehab about his condition and I was done.  Then on Sunday at church. a friend said “are you okay? you look like you are going to cry”.  The water works started again.

Today, I am practicing some of the things I would have told family members of clients many years ago when a crisis occurred:

Limit Your Pity Party:

A wise friend gave me some sage advise:  “Every now and then you have to have a good cry, your own little pity party to get your feelings out. Then the next day you feel renewed in your fight and battle on.”  

So, I let the tears fall, went to bed and woke up ready to conquer the world.  I am learning to share the details of what is happening without putting any negativity into the Universe.  Leaning on God for his strength to get me through the tough days.

Do What You Don’t Want to Do:  

A crisis hits and what do we do?  Crawl in bed and pull the sheets over our head?  Avoid friends, and family?  Stop working? Not eating or sleeping?  Maybe even turn to a drink or two to help numb the pain?

Guess what? None of it will help in the long run.  It will send you down a path which is hard to come out of.  For me, I have a business to run so I can’t just hide.  For those who work for someone else, going to work is a great way to keep some normalcy in your life.  For those of us with our own business, we need to find ways to keep moving through the tough stuff.  Here are some things I have been doing:

  • Feed your body fresh, organic food (hubby says my nose is starting to twitch like a bunny)
  • Walking more every day.  Got to get my steps in.
  • Read a book which inspires you.  I keep it to something short because my attention span is short.
  • Watch a comedy show and laugh.  I am grateful for hubby’s ability to find old comedy shows on Amazon Prime
  • I treated myself to a new outfit.  A way to give myself a little pampering.

Take Care of Yourself Before You Take Care of Others

Yup, I am the proverbial care giver.  Taking care of the rest of the world while I tend to forget about me.  My “me time” consists of early morning hours in my office for devotions and to work on my business.  As the day moves on, I tend to struggle with balancing how to care for others while getting things done I need to do. Then I get annoyed when I don’t get my “to do” list done.  Crazy right?  I know I am not alone.

The truth is to help anyone, you must put yourself first. If you don’t take care of you, who will? When a crisis drops in your lap, you will be better able to tackle it if you have been taking care of yourself — giving back to you. Never forget how much you matter. You cannot fully give to others, including your work, if you haven’t taken care of yourself.  A lesson I am learning (sometimes the hard way).

Relive Stress and Release Anxiety

For some this is writing?  Or exercise? Or work? Or cooking?  The key is to do something to help you release anxiety before it has its way with you.  For me, I have to start my day with a cup of coffee and devotions or I am a mess the rest of the day.  I stop for about a half hour to send positive energy into the Universe.  Writing also helps.  Blogging daily has helped me personally, as well as for my business. Find what works for you –  take up writing, or an art of some kind, or learning a new skill, or take up an exercise like power walking, yoga or kayaking. Choose an activity that causes you to thoroughly focus and helps you let go of tension or pent-up anxiety.  It is also important you get enough sleep. Overtired, overstressed and increased anxiety are your own personal crisis waiting to happen.

A long post but in my heart I know someone needs to hear this – even if it is just me.  Have  a ThirtyOne-derful day!

What Do Your Emotions Teach You?

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Happy Monday!  I don’t know about you but the holiday season always brings on a ton of emotions… some happy, some sad and some even angry. I know this is a weird topic for a Monday morning, just hope it touches someone’s heart.

Over the years, the holidays have changed so much for me.  They seem to have gone the whole range from happy to sad to depressing and then back to happy.  Okay, so maybe I have bumped back and forth between happy many times in between but each time during the road back, I have learned something.

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Simply put my emotions are teachers.   The late Thomas Leonard, a pioneer in the field of life coaching, used to say.

Emotions are not there to simply annoy you or make you miserable or ecstatic. The annoyance, misery and excitement are there to get your attention and offer you clues about the state of your life, your thoughts, and what you should do next. When you learn to read the messages your emotions send you, you can literally coach yourself to higher levels of happiness and success.

After reading this, I figured it was time to be honest about my emotions.  It was time to ask myself, “What message is being offered to me right now?”.  Have you ever really sat down and thought about it?  If you are like me, emotions were just an expression of what I was feeling inside.  Something I usually had to get over.  I am finding as I struggle with my memory, many times I seem to be emotion-less than SMACK, I am like a broken damn overflowing.

As I journaled my feelings this morning, I came across a list from Valerie Burton from her book What’s Really Holding You Back?  Here is her cheat sheet of common emotions and the messages they send us:

Anger: A boundary has been crossed. Perhaps it is time to set stronger boundaries or protect yourself from trespassers.

Guilt: You believe you’ve done something wrong. Maybe it is time to apologize … or maybe you’ve done nothing wrong and you need to reset expectations.

Jealousy: There’s something you wish you had in your own life. Perhaps it is time to be grateful for what you have … or start creating a situation that reflects your heart’s desires.

Disappointment: Your expectations weren’t met. Maybe you need to adjust your expectations.

Burnout: You’ve exhausted your mental and emotional resources. It is time to restore your energy and fill your tank back up.

Sadness: You’ve experienced a loss, whether the loss of something/someone you had or the loss of the vision you thought you were going to have. Give yourself time to acknowledge and mourn your loss so you can move forward again.

Anxiety: You fear danger is looming in the future.

Excitement: You are experiencing something that energizes you. How could you savor it and perhaps even create more of that in your life?

Okay, so how are you feeling this morning?  I can tell you I am a mix bag of emotions including guilt, jealousy, disappointment and sadness. Kind of a hot mess, right?  The truth is despite the mess, I am working hard to not allow emotions to rule me.  I am trying to heed the lessons and move on.

Think about your day, does the outcome of your day depend on the emotion you are feeling?  Feeling excited about something (new business, new relationship, new outfit, whatever) and the day is full of positive energy and wonderful things.  Feeling guilt for eating too much, not working out, overspending, lashing out at a friend or family member – the day becomes full of negative energy with nothing going right.  This is when we let our emotions rule our day/ life.

Now, acknowledge the emotion you are feeling.  Listen for the message it is trying to send you and then use it as an opportunity to grow.  Bless and Release.  Remember the Universe is waiting to respond to the thoughts you have.  Negative thoughts bring negative things.  Positive thoughts bring positive things.

Today, I am challenging to you to acknowledge your emotions. Then listen to what they are trying to tell you.  Then decide what action will you take as a result of the message?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!