Habits.  We all have them.  Good.  Bad.  And yes, ugly ones too.

Bad habits will cause us to lose a job, ruin relationships, drop out of school, end up broke, land in jail or even die young.  On the other hand, good habits will cause us to be the esteemed employee, the go-to person, the pillar of the community, the success story, financially secure, fit and in good health, and of course, a good example.  In general, we all have at least a few habits we could, and should, lose.  And we all definitely need to implement some new, good ones.

We are all great at thinking about starting a new habit or kicking a bad habit, and some folks are even good at planning it all out.  It’s the doing that we have problems with.  Yep, you know who you are, and I am just as guilty.  So, together, right now, let’s choose a habit to change and get started.  Only one though.  It’s much easier to focus on one issue at a time, but after a month, when your new habit is set or the old one is gone (we’re told it takes 28 days to form a new habit) it will be easier to add or remove another one.

There are two kinds of people when it comes to changing a habit.  The first group is excited about the possibility of change.  Something new and better in their lives is a good thing and they are pumped about it. They are telling other people, posting and tweeting about it and gathering everything they need for the big change.  Then there’s the other group – they are more fearful or concerned about the changes.  They are not telling anyone.  They are almost comfortable with life the way it is.  It’s what they know.  Change gives them palpitations and fear of the unknown creeps into their dreams with ‘what if’.

Both those feelings are not unusual.  Just don’t let either one rule you.  You rule your feelings.  Don’t allow yourself to get on such a high that you crash on day 6 and don’t let fear rule you and hold you back from doing what you want to do.

“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength”. –  Philippians 4:13.   Whenever you become discouraged, (and you will) remember this verse.  In fact, I suggest you write this out on paper and post it everywhere you frequent; bathroom, bedside, work, kitchen, tv area, exercise area, inside the fridge, anywhere your new or old habit would have you go.  Write it, think it, believe it, read it, speak it out, and whatever else you can do with it. lol   Jesus will give you the strength you need to do the right thing.

If you have not yet decided which habit goes or stays, you should hurry!  Don’t waste another day.  Life is too short not to live it better.  You can do this.

What is your new habit or which habit is getting the boot?

Stress Less

I told you in an earlier post about having a regular stroke and multiple mini strokes last summer.  I did not fit any of the American profiles for stroke, and especially being so young (be nice), but I did fit the profiles of the Brits, Scandinavians, Japanese, and a few others – I had been experiencing excessive stress over a long period of time.  According to some experts, I was a time bomb waiting to happen.  And…I happened!

Since August, I have been learning to live with less stress and give to the Lord the stress I can’t change.  It is such a humongous learning curve for me.  And frankly, I don’t like it.  At all!  I must say, though, I can really feel a difference.  I still have crazy stress, but there is calm.  I’ve always felt peace, but now there is calm too.  (If that makes sense.)

Anyway, for those of you who are looking for some relief from stress, however that looks to you, here are my top 10 tips.  Some I am going gung ho at, and others, well, let’s just say I’m working on them (haha).

Here we go:

  1. Fresh air.  Go outside and breathe deeply
  2. Eat healthy, good, nutritious food
  3. Exercise
  4. Drink plenty of pure water
  5. Give of yourself to someone in need
  6. Think and speak the ‘good stuff’
  7. Talk it over with a trusted friend
  8. Learn to say, “No”
  9. Take time for yourself (including a good night’s sleep)
  10. Make Jesus your best friend. Spend quality and quantity time with Him.

Of course, each section could be a post all by itself, but this is a starting point.

The biggest difference, I find, happens when I take myself away to be alone.  Maybe just to another room, the tub, the back yard, or a park.  It’s in the quiet that I can think, and where I can hear my loving Heavenly Father speak to my spirit.  When my kids were little, I would head for the bath tub after dinner and be there a long time.  They would send messages to me under the door, but I was able to destress a lot.  To this day, I do the same thing and my young adult kids still slide ‘stuff’ under the door!

Training Puppies And Children Brings Peace To Us All

I just arrived home after a grueling puppy dog class. I have a 6 month old, Old English Sheep Dog lovingly named Belle (as in Southern Belle) by her supposed owner, my 21-year-old son, Josh.  (That’s a whole nuther blog right there!)

She has a sweet, loving temperament that turns into puppy hood madness at the drop of a hat.  She jumps, she deems it necessary to run between your legs, she barks (I know… she’s a dog), her licks turn into sharp nibbles, she tries to eat inedible stuff, she annoys other dogs, and because of her size, scares the life out of the children she decides to play with.  So, we took her to a puppy trainer and the first words out of his mouth were, “this class is not really to train the puppy, it’s to train the owner”.  Well, immediately I wanted my money back, but I did stay long enough to figure out he was right.  I stepped up to the ‘top dog’ position and the training has been going smoothly ever since.

I’m going to transition here, with love, to our children.

When we become pregnant, women and men, we realize how little we know about giving birth and raising kids.  It’s a very exciting and scary time with endless questions:  “Will it hurt?” (haha!)  “Home birth or at a hospital?”  “Will it be a boy or a girl?” “What will we call him or her?” “How do you change a diaper?” (nappy)  “Which school will we choose?”  “How will we discipline?”  “Should they ever have sugar?”  “Will they be allowed to date before they are 21?”  “What about driving, college, and sooo much more?”

It’s very easy to become overwhelmed.  Then add lack of sleep into the mix.  Oh, and don’t forget a toddler’s favorite word, “No!” and the fact that they (and teenagers) prefer not to do as they are told.  Waa!!  But wait.  There is hope.

Our loving heavenly Father brings us hope just by the mention of His name.  He knows all about kids; the good, the bad and the ugly.  He knows how to deal with them, what each one needs and how to love them through life.  And the best part, He will share all that with you when you surrender to Him yourself and your children, whatever age they are.  He wants you to train up your children in His ways, and when they are old, they will continue to walk in them.  It’s never too late to start even if you have grown children.

Here are a few of my training practices

  1. Pray every day (and some days all day) for your children
  2. Fill up every day on Jesus, so you can give out the good stuff to your family
  3. Let your ‘no’ be ‘no’ (don’t be a pushover)
  4. Listen to your children, let them talk (give them time)
  5. Teach them to make things right with others by doing so yourself
  6. Read the Bible.  It’s your training manual
  7. Have rules and consequences (that you enforce)
  8. Know their friends and their families
  9. Teach them about God, because others will teach them about everything but
  10. Say you love them and show you love them

Obviously there are so many more, but this is a starting point.  Just start!