{Rest} Take A Break



Cleaning is hard work. If I want to give my best to the job I need to pace myself to keep from pooping out before I’m finished. For all day jobs I need to schedule a break. Just a few minutes to to rest makes the difference between feeling accomplished or feeling wrung out at the end of the day.

In our crazy, fast-paced, instant-everything, plugged-in world it’s more important than ever to know when and how to take a break. Give yourself permission to kick back with friends. Watch some football. Take a Sunday nap. Read a book. We live better when we’re not running on empty.

Today is Day 19. You can read all the posts in order here.

Let It Soak



You just spilled chocolate on your favorite shirt. After you lick off the extra (What? You don’t?) it’s time to treat the stain and let it soak a little while to give the miracle product time to absorb into the fibers.  When cleaning the tub and tile it helps to spray it then let it sit to give the cleaner time to work its magic on the dirt. Same for the kitchen sink – sprinkle and let it sit.

There’s a time for action and a time for absorbing. Sometimes you need to give truth time to settle into the crevices of your soul. Really good stuff can pass us by when we don’t stop to ruminate. (Sounds like marinate… same thing, only for people instead of meat.) Give yourself the gift of time to let seeds of truth take root in your heart.

Today is Day 18. You can read all the posts in order here.

Open the Windows




When a room feels or smells stale, we all know the quickest fix is to open a window and let in some fresh air. Fresh air works on people, too.

It’s open-window season here in coastal Virginia. Fall’s crisp breezes have a magical effect on me… I’m super motivated, super productive and super happy.
When life feels stale it’s time to let in some fresh air of a different variety – perspective.  Whether it’s a problem you face or growth your’e trying to achieve, getting a different perspective into the situation from a trusted friend can make a world of difference. It’s that whole forest for the trees dynamic. If you feel stuck, welcome some new ideas from a different source.  Open a window and breathe deeply. Ahhhhh……

Today is Day 17. You can read all the posts in order here.

Take Out the Trash


The Hunk and I have an understanding. When I’m in all-out production mode he doesn’t empty the studio trash can without checking with me. Why? Trash is a sign of progress, and I like looking over there every now and then to see how full it’s getting. A can overflowing with bits of colored bliss, thread and paper makes me giddy. Silly, I know, but whatever works to keep the motivation going, right? It’s the little things…
When I clean house, the first thing I do is go room to room and collect all the trash and dirty laundry. What a difference – it’s sure-fire way to see progress immediately.

If the goal is mental and spiritual growth, trash is going to be stirred up.  When trash reveals itself, we’re making progress. It means our minds, beliefs, and emotions are being pushed to the extent that unnecessary, damaging stuff rises to the surface.
Too often our knee-jerk reaction is to try and shove it back down where it’s out of sight and out of mind. That’s the worst thing we can do. The junk under the surface needs to be exposed so we can take care of it once and for all.

Today is Day 16. You can read all the posts in order here.

Make the Bed



A super clean room will still look a mess if the bed is in shambles. There’s something about making the bed that makes the entire bedroom look better.   I once heard a decorator say,  “Make the bed you want to fall into. ” Some people like to be surrounded by pillows, others like to share with lots of stuffed friends, others prefer just a sheet. Look at your bed. Is it hard to resist?

We’ve all heard the idiom, “You made your bed, now lie in it,” which means to take responsibility for our choices.  How about making the life “bed” we want to fall into? Who do you want to be to the world? Do what it takes to be that person. 

Don’t settle for, “Well… this is who I am and there’s no changing it. ”  That’s baloney. Want to be more compassionate? Serve on a mission trip and make friends with people who have far less than you do. Volunteer with the homeless in your community and really get to know someone’s story.  Want to be giving? Look for opportunities to give, and do it. Want to be more upbeat? Rally a good friend or two to lovingly point out when you’re being overly negative.

The up side is you have all the power to be who you would like to be. The down side is you have all the power. No one can do it for you. It takes time and effort to develop new habits and break old ones. Don’t be the only person stopping you.

Today is Day 15. You can read all the posts in order here.

Be Aware of Ants



Around here we have what we call ant season. And it isn’t always in the summer. Fall is especially wet, and that drives the little boogers indoors seeking dry ground and a free meal. They’re a nuisance, but relatively harmless.

There is another kind of ant that can be much more devastating than accidental extra protein in your morning cereal. They’re Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs), and we all suffer from their invasion daily. ANTs jumble our focus, making it difficult to approach situations and relationships objectively and with grace. They bind us up and hijack our lives if we aren’t aware. We must kill the ANTs.

They are:
~ Always/Never thinking: When you think something that happened will “always” repeat itself or you’ll “never” get what you want
~ Focusing on the negative: When you think about only the bad in a situation and ignore any of the good.
~ Fortune-telling: When you predict the worst possible outcome in a given situation.
~ Mind reading: When you believe you know what someone is thinking before they’ve had a chance to tell you.
~ Thinking with your feelings: When you believe your negative feelings without questioning them.
~ Guilt beating: Beating yourself up with should, must, ought, and have to.
~ Labeling: When you negatively label someone else or yourself, it prevents you from looking objectively at a situation.
~ Personalizing: When you attach personal meaning to innocuous events.
~ Blaming: Blaming something or someone else for problems in your life.

The first line of defense against these life-suckers is to recognize them when they pop up. The next step is to stop them in their tracks, by consciously choosing different thoughts. That’s the tricky part. The good news is the more you recognize and derail them the easier it gets.

For more on this subject, Dr. Daniel Amen, a leading psychiatrist and brain disorder specialist,  has a Webinar explaining ANTs and how to combat them.


ANTs Webinar, Part 2

ANTs Webinar, Part 3

ANTS Webinar, Part 4

ANTs Webinar, Part 5

 Today is Day 14. You can read all the posts in order here.

Store Only What You Really Need




Ahhhh, the closet. The wonderful place that holds power suits and favorite sweaters, organizes accessories…   and collects junk. It can be your best friend or worst enemy.
So can your mind. What you think matters. That’s why it’s important to only store what’s useful.
We believe a myriad of things without questioning them and entertain lies we’re often unaware of. Thoughts have a way of running the show when we aren’t actively examining them continually. Every response and reaction is directly influenced by what we believe and what we tell ourselves whether we are aware or not.  What are you thinking? Is there a belief or thought that’s outlived its welcome?


 Today is Day 13. You can read all the posts in order here.

{Rest} Frame Your Life Happy



Do the pictures on your wall make you happy or sad? Silly question, right? We hang art that inspires and photos that remind us of happy moments along the way and people we love. Now, imagine if your frames were filled with the worst moments of your life and people who broke you down. I doubt you’d want to go home if that was waiting for you.

So why do we insist on framing life differently in our thoughts?  How you choose to look at life will determine how you approach it.  Do you dread parts of your life to the point that you’re missing the blessings within the routine?  Are you so focused on what’s wrong with a situation you can’t begin to see what could be right?

The Hunk and I try to make Sunday a day of rest, but with commitments of worship (me) and driving the bus (him) our ability to rest rides squarely on our attitudes and how we frame the day in our minds. If we approach the day with a headless chicken attitude that’s what it will feel like – running to and fro from thing to thing. Instead we look forward excitedly to our time of worship and service and the opportunity to enjoy the people around us.  For the most part we’ve formed a pretty good routine… one that leaves room for spontaneity to have the kids over for game night or go watch football with friends. When we experience what we call a chicken day that’s our clue to pay attention to how we’re framing life in our minds. At the end of the day we can agree that it was busy, but satisfying because of how we framed it.

However we do it, taking time to rest is vital, and that includes giving it a rest mentally and choosing attitudes that serve us well.

Today is Day 12. You can read all the posts in order here.

Everything In Its Place



A home feels its best when things are put away. Stepping over clutter and rifling through piles to find something causes undue stress and eats valuable time that could be spent enjoying life.  It’s easier to take time daily to throw away the junk mail and file important papers than sort through six month’s (or more) worth of stuff.

Our brains are like complicated in-boxes, and we continuously have to decide what to keep and what to throw away. We miss out on life if we allow the past and future to clutter today. The present should be today’s dominant focus. Past hurts still hurting? Forgive and move forward. Worrying about tomorrow? Do what’s in your ability today and trust that tomorrow will see to itself. Make a list of past, present, and future and put things in their place accordingly. Then go live today!


 Today is Day 11. You can read all the posts in order here.

Elbow Grease Required



House cleaning is fraught with dirt and spills, and a lot of bending. I need comfortable clothes I don’t care about, so I wear medical scrubs. They also have great pockets. :)

Any good scrubbing requires elbow grease to get the job done. Life takes work, too. You have to get dirty if you want results. Things won’t change while we float through rose-colored days sipping colored umbrella drinks. Solid results come from muscling our way through the hard stuff. We’ve all heard the adage: Anything worth having is worth working for. Emotional health and spiritual growth should be at the top of this list.

Today is Day 10. You can read all the posts in order here.