Mood Boosters—6 Ways to Ditch the Funk

2
Oct
2020

Feeling down? Here are 5 mood boosters to help you ditch the funk.Sometimes we have days that just seem to be downers, right? We need something to help us lift our mood and escalate our spirit. As I was going through my list of mood boosters, I thought I would share them with you because we can all use some encouragement right now.

Pray

I admit, there are times I reach for other things before I do the most important thing, which is to pray.  When I feel my mood sinking, I know in my heart that lifting my needs to the Lord is where I really need to take action.  Scripture is life, it is God word and it has such value in helping to shift our energy.  I also will often take a few drops of essential oil, JOY is one of my favorites and rub between my hands and breath in through my nose as I pray.  The smell combined with the words I am speaking are life giving.

Music Break

One of the best ways I know to boost my mood and relax is to temporarily unplug from my daily surroundings through music. My ultimate break is to put on some worship music; it calms the soul and soothes my mind. One of my favorite albums right now is Peace by Bethel Music. Take a listen as you step away from your normal routine. Have some headphones handy so you can tune out the noise and tune in mindfully.

I also shared this incredible meditation video in my weekly email awhile back; it’s a staple and I’ve kept the link in the notes section on my phone so I can easily access it. It has a high vibrational frequency, which is beneficial for relaxation, and is one of my favorite grounding mood boosters.

If you can carve out ten minutes a day to intentionally relax with some mindful music, you’ll be amazed at how much it can reduce your stress and truly shift you into a good mood.

News-Free Day

Disconnect for 24 hours from the news (social media, TV news, Internet news, all news). Take a break from the outrage; you know exactly what I am talking about. The noise is all around us. We need to set boundaries that are intentional to help us keep focused on what’s important. When we are looking to the news, social media, or the Internet for all the information, it can be daunting and overwhelming. Take a break from it all for a day. I love to do this on Sunday when we observe our Sabbath, but oftentimes fitting in another day is powerful to helping boost our mood.

Move Your Body

Take a walk, stretch out on your yoga mat, or go for a run. The endorphins that are released when we do any form of exercise are some of the most powerful mood-boosting options we have at our disposal. And the best part, it’s free!!  And, you can even take your kids with you if you need to.

As far as mood boosters go, this is one that never fails to lift my spirits. When I find my mood slowly drifting into a place that is energy depleting, I find space to get outside for a walk. Even if the weather is not all that pleasant, I know the fresh air and movement will make me feel better. I also can pull out my Pilates mat and do a quick Pilates workout (my favorite right now from The Balanced Life!), and it will immediately help me feel successful and empowered. Instead of thinking about what you can’t do, shift your thinking to what you can do.

Reach Out to Someone

Random acts of kindness are a great way to improve not only the quality of your relationships, but also your own mood and emotional life. When we focus on others, it shifts our focus off ourselves and onto others. Make a list of five to ten people you care about. Keep that list handy in the notes section of your phone. Take 30 seconds and send a short and sincere text to one of those on the list encouraging them in their day. Perhaps you can send a scripture along with it or another encouraging quote.

I know when I have taken the time to share with others that I am thinking of them, it not only helps them, but comes back to truly bless me. It’s a win/win for everyone!

Prioritize Joy

What do you enjoy? What brings you joy? If you can’t easily answer this, then take a few minutes to sit and think. What lifts your spirits; what makes you smile? How can you add those activities into your weekly routine? Do you enjoy reading a book, baking for others, sending snail mail to friends? Know what can spark delight and joy for you and make intentional choices to have those activities (your own personal mood boosters) fill your schedule.

We all have a choice in how we use our time. Make it count for you instead of against you.

In a world full of big, overwhelming things right now, it might be time to honor and appreciate the little things.

Homeschooling for Beginners: 5 Tips for Success

20
Aug
2020

5 tips for homeschooling for beginners

Here we are. Homeschooling for beginners (me). Many of you might be like me and are finding yourself in a situation where you have chosen to homeschool. And, to make it even more humorous, you likely told yourself more than once, “I’ll never homeschool.”

I find when I use the word never, it often really gets God’s attention and He finds ways to help me kindly remember that he is in control! But in all seriousness, what are we to do? All of us nervous, and excited, homeschooling beginners?

I may not be a veteran homeschooler with years of solid advice, but listen, I am here with you in the real-life world and I do have some solid tips that will help you settle into your own little rhythm and routine that will provide just what you need in your home.

#1 You Know Best

Since last April, when we began “distance learning,” I slid into the role of homeschooling beginner. I asked the teacher to not send home the work packets, that we would come up with our own curriculum. In the few weeks we were going through packet material, I quickly realized the areas that my Super J was struggling in and what areas we could really devote some time. This is the beautiful thing about homeschooling; you truly do know your child best.

So, I encourage you to sit and think about what you desire your school year to look like. Examine if you work better on a schedule or something with more wiggly room. How does your child learn best? Are they a hands-on learner or do they enjoy worksheets and reading? Do not doubt what you know about your child. You, mama, truly do know your child best.

#2 Flexibility

As an Enneagram One, this is one area I struggle with. I thrive on routine and schedules; however, my ten-year-old is not always as receptive to my timeline. Since he has his entire school experience based on Montessori-style learning, I have decided to allow him to be more of a participant. Each week I will outline what tasks need to get accomplished, and he will get to choose the order he does them as well as what days he works.

Right now, we’ve set our school week up for Tuesday through Friday. I think this schedule will work best for us, but if it needs shifted, no worries, we can do that. He will choose the tasks he wants to work on and in what order. He can see there are a certain number of tasks for the week, divided by the number of days he wants to work, and can easily see how many he needs to accomplish daily to finish in the time he desires.

Since we have only one child at home, this should work good for us. If you have more than one child, you could still use this philosophy but shift it a bit to accommodate your unique situation. I love giving children opportunities to problem solve and develop some life skills. Learning to manage your time is a huge life skill so many kids do not learn.

#3 Take Breaks

The wonderful thing about homeschooling and what we have learned in the past five months is that our schedule gets to look however we want. If we want to start school at 11 a.m., great. If we want to start at 7 a.m., perfect. If we desire to have breaks throughout the day to take a walk or do another activity, why not?! I have found we all work better together when we have frequent breaks.

I encourage you to have some fun break activities lined up so they are easy to go into. One thing my ten-year-old really enjoyed was taking a trampoline break. This was perfect and great for rainy days too. We have this mini-trampoline set up in our basement and he can go take a break for 10 to 30 minutes. He burns energy and it really helps to reset his emotions. Think of a few standard “break” activities you can have lined up to choose from and then fit them into your day.

#4 Choose Simple

If you are new at this homeschooling gig, just remember, you get to decide how it goes. And, in my humble opinion, simple is best. Pick curriculum that is SIMPLE!! There are so many to choose from for sure, but resist the urge to become overwhelmed. Look at a few, ask a few friends who have experience, and then pick one!! We chose most of our curriculum from The Good and the Beautiful because it was simple! Easy instructions and I wasn’t having to create some big elaborate lesson plans. That certainly does not bring me joy! For math, we grabbed Masterbooks and I cannot tell you how happy I am with the book. Easy laid out lessons, organized, and not online. I did not want an online program for math since we were planning to hit the road traveling, but also we just desire less screen time for him.

#5 One Day at a Time

It’s an old saying, but relevant to homeschooling for beginners. We all need to just take one day at a time. For myself, I am holding close the idea that I can change up what we are doing in the middle of the year, or even two weeks after we start. Nothing is forever. It doesn’t mean I messed up or we did something wrong—not at all. That is the beauty of homeschooling. It’s fluid and flowing. I am anticipating that we will need to shift and that is okay. Having other expectations would just be setting myself up for failure, and who needs that?

Finally, if you have not read The Call of the Wild and Free: Reclaiming Wonder in Your Child’s Education by Ainsley Arment, do it. It’s calming my heart in so many ways. Read it or listen to it as soon as you can; you will find empowerment!!

I want to help equip you to be successful in your journey.

I’ve created a few FREE Homeschooling planner pages to use in your planning with your child(ten).  We are currently using the page with the subjects along the left side and my won gets to choose what he does each day from the list.  This system is working well, as I only have one child and am not concerned with him getting all subjects each day, but rather allowing him to have some ownership and choice in the process.  There are a couple other options as well, and all have an editable page, which means you can download the file and use Acrobat Reader to type in your own fields then SAVE your file to your desktop. Grab yours here.

Do you have any other tips for homeschooling for beginners? I sure would love to hear them. I know many of us are in this together for the first time ever, and it’s always more fun to do something together with friends.

21 Day Challenge of Reading God’s Word

1
Feb
2019

Reading God's Word 21 day challenge

Early this morning I opened up my Favorite Bible App, YouVersion to start my devotion time. I was welcomed with a message to participate in a 21 Day Reading God’s Word Challenge.

Now, I already do this, read the bible nearly every day, but it was laid on my heart to participate in a way that would include others.  My heart is to share in community, and so many feel pressed on all sides to fit in reading the bible.  We can all make time for the things that are important, am I right?

21 Days to Change

You likely have heard that it takes about 21 days to develop new habits and patterns of behavior.  So, it’s no mistake that this is a 21 day challenge.

I scrolled through the suggested 21 Day devotions and I chose, “Grace for the Pace.”

It felt fitting in this season, when we all struggle with finding space for our soul.

Will you Join Me?

I’d love to link arms with you and others who might need some encouragement, a friend to walk along with, or just an invitation to show up.  You can download the YouVersion APP and read ANYWHERE – literally… and you can even put it in audio to listen to.  Guys, there really is no excuse.

The YouVersion APP makes it easy to read anywhere – plus they have a huge selection of incredible devotions, you may find another devotion you want to read as well.

I’d love to challenge you to join me.

If you want to join, feel free to click this link. You’ll be in a small group where we can share our takeaways as we journey together.  Don’t worry, it’s really private and no one can see you in your messy hair or pajamas!

Join Me!

Would you read the Bible Plan, 21 Days Of Grace For The Pace, with me?

CLICK HERE to join

It’s not too late to join us.  We just started this morning.  Do not let that be an excuse.

Come on… click the link and hop on over.  We are waiting to say hello… and do not worry, if you choose to just read along with us, and not comment, we totally are cool with that.

Feel free to share this with a friend, they may need the encouragement too!

Renewal for 2019

16
Jan
2019

Hello Sweet Friends….

I hope this note finds you enjoying your week and finding space to breathe.  That is my goal in this new season, to provide space to let my soul breathe.

Over the course of the past two years, I have allowed my schedule to be filled with things that do not inspire me, do not fill my soul and certainly have allowed me to become bitter and frustrated.  None of that is good for the soul.

After having a lovely getaway with my husband for FIVE days to share our vision for 2019, I clearly found my word for this year….. RENEWAL.

renewal - word for the year

Time for Change

It’ time…. to make some changes…. because what I’ve been doing is just not working.  And isn’t that the mistake we often make, we keep doing the same thing thinking things will change?

Are you in a season of needing some change, some refreshment, some soothing of your soul?  Walk with me friend… we can do this…. together!

Today I want to share with you a few things I’ve put into practice already that have already altered my frame of mind and given my soul a breath of fresh air.  Not the stifled, claustrophobic air I was struggling to take in… but fresh and clean air that is life giving.

Quiet

My quiet time is first thing in the morning.  I’ve shared about quiet time and what it can look like and how you can fit it in.  But the most important thing is to DO IT.  Determine when it fits your schedule and block it out.

I get up, making my coffee (which is a sweet process with my French Press, names Amelia and my hand grinder), sit down and open up my YOUVersion bible APP so I can read through four to six different devotionals I am actively reading.  I write notes in a simple journal, sometimes just a short scripture or a quote from one of the devotional authors.  I then take a few moments to just be….quiet.  And listen.  I was in a habit of rushing through my time and not allowing the space for God to speak to me, which handicaps our walk when we don’t.  It has been so fulfilling to change things up.

Feed Your Soul

I have found the loveliest podcast EVER and perhaps I am just slow to the program, but I need to share it with you!  The Next Right Thing Podcast by Emily P. Freeman.  If you need a friend to give you advice, Emily is the one.  She gently encourages and provides just the right balance of her story, relevant scripture and it certainly doesn’t hurt that her voice is just sweet and soothing.  I truly love that the podcast episodes are only usually around ten minutes, which for any busy mom, well…. you can find time for that for sure!

I am guilty of binge listening to catch up – but I’d say its an investment in my soul!

Move

I hate the word exercise right now, so I am really just changing the semantics a bit to just say MOVE!

When I hear the word exercise, I think of fitting into my schedule six days of running or T-25 workouts.  To be honest, my life just can’t handle that right now.  So, when I set goals like that, I tend to fail and then guilt and shame creep in…. which we all know just helps nothing.

Instead of lofty New Years goals, I am dedicated to get outside at least three days a week and walk the beach. I had my first true long walk yesterday, and I shared on Facebook, it was lovely.  As I slowly master this goal, I can add in a new element. I am finding relief in this new way to creating my schedule and it’s a sweet surprise.  Being successful in the little things, can leave room to add a few more things later.

Meditate

Yep, I  said that.  As a “doer” and one who loves to push themselves and accomplish a lot.  I could never see myself taking the time to meditate.  I mean, man…. I could do so much during that ten minutes…. instead of just sit there.  However, with anything…. it is often a good idea to truly give something a try before you make big judgements…. am I right?

So, a good friend shared with my about how she’d been doing meditation and her personality is very similar to mine.  After hearing her express her LOVE for this new activity, I decided to give it a try.  I downloaded the CALM APP, which I will see is simply amazing!!  I have started my own practice of meditating, and it has changed my day.  You can try it for seven days for free, so you truly have nothing to lose.  Do it!  Side-note – I have been using the sleep stories for kids with my nine year old – not for bedtime, but for riding in the car or takin this bath.  He is also a huge fan.

Sabbath

It means different things to different people.  Our family observed a “day of rest” for a period of about 9 months a few years back.  I shared some simple steps on implementing a day of rest.

Then life …..

I can’t really remember the exact reason to why it stopped appearing in our calendar – but it did.

With a husband who travels and has different work days, it takes some extra planning to determine “the” day of the week we will observe and pull back and rest.  However, one of the visions I shared with my husband when we had our getaway was to implement Sabbath back into our schedule.

So, we went through and blocked out the next two months – one day every week to observe Sabbath.

I’m not a theologian – but I know God wants us to rest our bodies, to seek Him and be obedient in working 6 days and resting on the 7th.  We observed our first Sabbath on Sunday and it was lovely.

So tell me, what are you changing to help you find refreshment and renewal?  I would love to hear and add a few more ideas to my list, because as I integrate these in, I will be looking for the next step.

Another note, you will find me back to blogging more here too.  I went through a season where I lost a bit of my creativity to be honest, and I feel the Lord is refreshing my soul, so I can write again in a new way.  I am excited to start this new season with you all.

 

How I Got Healthier – Continuing the Journey

5
Jan
2019

It starts with baby steps, making changes that will help your body function better. If you missed the first post in this two-part series, you can catch it here.

If you are looking to live with more energy, vibrancy, and emotional stability, read on. These are the changes I have made to create space for these things.

Movement

You must move your body. Find an activity that you enjoy—and do not think it has to be intense to make a difference. I used to be a hard-core runner, training for half marathons because I truly enjoyed the challenge. Now I find myself taking walks, doing some stretching, pilates, or some simple weight exercises. Fit in 20-30 minutes of activity at least five times a week; your body will thank you.

Sugar

Remove sugar from your daily life. Sugar feeds illness—period. You can Google and find research all over that will testify to this fact. Sugar is in EVERYTHING; begin to read your labels. Sugar is addictive and the only way for you to reset your body is to cut it out, cold turkey. Two years ago I did my first 21-day sugar detox with a large Facebook group. It taught me a lot about my body, truly how addicted I was, and how sugar is in everything. You’ll find it in ketchup, salad dressing, salsa, and canned goods. Do not forget that pasta, potatoes, and fruit contain sugar, even though it’s not “added” sugar, even the natural sugar can affect your body. Do a bit more research on this and at least determine to remove the added sugar to items that are unnecessary as a first step.

Sleep

Your body heals itself during your sleep, so when you aren’t getting enough sleep or entering into a deep enough sleep, your body struggles.

I shoot to get at least eight hours of sleep a night. I am an early-to-bed person, usually in bed by 9:30 p.m. This allows me enough sleep to still rise around 6 a.m. and feel refreshed. By getting enough sleep you will reduce stress and improve your mood; this was a key area I wanted to improve. My emotions were all over the place. When you get enough sleep, you will also tend to get sick less. It’s important—for you, for you kids, for your spouse.

Eat Less Animal Products

Oh yes, I am going there. I just read Eat to Live by Joel Fuhrman and it truly opened my eyes. The book not only gave great information on eating a more plant-based diet, but gave countless study after study of research on the benefits. It is a must-read. You can easily begin eating less meat and dairy items. To be honest, for most people, typical cow dairy items cause inflammation in the body. So substituting items and removing most cheese is a beneficial change. If you are still drinking cow’s milk and giving pasteurized milk to your kiddos, I encourage you to read this article to perhaps shed some light on why this may not be the best decision.

No Microwave

I wrote previously on the blog about this change, so instead of going into details, you can easily click over to read it here. Using a microwave KILLS your food, period. I am in the corner with microwaves that it zaps the nutrients out of food—literally. In my opinion, the risk is just not worth the small convenience of reheating items using a microwave. In fact, in our new home, we are not even installing a microwave. We just do not use it.

Water

Drinking real, pure, GOOD water is the way your body removes toxins and flushes your systems. Two years ago we began filtering all our drinking and cooking water with a BERKEY water system that removed pathogens as well as fluoride. It was a game-changer for us. We also try our best to not drink from PLASTIC water bottles. So when we are headed out of the house, all family members fill up their own personal glass water bottle. Not only does this save us money, it is a much healthier alternative. When you drink water from plastic water bottles, store bought, or ones you personally fill, the plastic leaches into the water. I am not interested to drink leached plastic.

I hope you consider making one or two changes for the new year from my list of tips. These are things I have successfully implemented and have made a huge difference in my life.

If you missed me mentioning this healthy meal planning bundle, girl… you need it!  If you are looking for quick and healthy meal options your entire family will enjoy – you have found it!

Healthy Meal Planning Bundle 2019