New thoughts, right actions about marriage

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This weekend marks my 21st wedding anniversary. Marriage has consumed my life for two decades. Everyone’s marriage is unique to them, so no one can tell you how to be married. It’s uncharted territory for the both of you. You can learn general guidelines from books, therapists, or church classes in how to:

  • Fight fair
  • Have more and better sex
  • Be better parents (if you have kids) and
  • Plan for retirement.

But the details of those general suggestions will be worked out by you and your spouse. Sometimes it will be done in an adult, mature way and sometimes the neighbors will wonder if World War III broke out. Don’t worry, though, the neighbors have probably had World War III, themselves.

Ann Landers would pose the question “are you better off with them or without them” to someone who was trying to decide on a divorce. I’ve Googled once or twice about how to get a divorce, but thankfully, the moment passed and I was able to answer I’m better  with him. I hope my husband thinks he’s better with me, too.

mike and meDespite (maybe it’s because) of our rough patches, I admire and love my husband more than anyone else in the world. That is not an overstatement. Arriving at this global admiration has required me to be open to the experiences that developed the character my husband has. It’s easy to admire an inspirational person when you read about their story. It’s much different when you live that inspirational story with him. After all, the path to an inspirational story is traveled by overcoming challenges and obstacles placed on your journey.

Of course, we have overcome mutual obstacles and doing so is easier when you have a teammate. Yet, I am talking about the personal achievements of my husband. Perhaps, I’ve been his helpmate through it, but he is the one who tackled the work and earned the accomplishment. Most people use financial success as a standard for achievement. We have abundant resources, yet that’s at the bottom of my list for my admiration. What I admire him the most for is his diligent attention to personal self-improvement in how he cares for himself, interacts with others, and provides service to those around him.

I married M. because of the value he placed on being a father. Our sons have had health challenges that have required an investment in time, money, and nurture for them to overcome. My husband has been there each step of the way. I’ve talked to many single moms in similar circumstances and their common theme for why they are single tackling similar issues is because their men “didn’t want to deal with it.” M. deals with things.

When my husband graduated high school he went right to work. He learned a trade in the oil and gas industry. He literally has gone from wearing an FRC shirt with his name embroidered above the pocket to a high-rise office building with his initials monogrammed on his shirt cuffs. He has gone from turning wrenches in the dusty oilfield desert in New Mexico to turning in his swivel chair to look out over the swanky Galleria in Houston. Sometimes M., will say it feels like a dream to him he has been able to progress the way he has in his career, considering the modest background in which he was raised.  My husband is a good example that it’s not necessary to have a college education and the debt that goes with it to do well in your career.

My husband has a mind for business and he also has a heart for service. Daily, my husband is on the phone with people to check on them and offer his experience, strength and hope. If you’re one of my husband’s neighbors, thank your good fortune because if you have a broken faucet or fence latch, my husband will be there to fix it for you. If you’re the stranger on the road with a stalled car and my husband passes by, he will either jumpstart your battery, change your tire, or drive you to someone who can help you.

Twenty-one years is a long time to know someone and I’m grateful that both of us have been willing to stick it out.  One day at a time, I know we can make it another 21 years.

“Grow old with me, the best is yet to be.” Robert Browning, Jr.

 

 

 

 

Do you need a lifeline?

Affiliate disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning at no cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase of a product or service.

Every so often it’s good to take a step back and take a different view of your life. A big picture point of view can give you some perspective that living it up close and personal every day won’t allow. A wide-angle, panoramic view can be especially helpful when you are experiencing a challenging time.

37061793_10155408670426968_2408675066129678336_nOne way to see your life in a different way is to create a lifeline or life map. New author Jen Alward recommends a lifeline as an activity in her new release Hope and Healing at Home: Build Bridges with your kids and empower them for life with Art & Christian Therapy.Click here to visit Jen Alward.

Locating where you are and gaining insight into how you got there can give you direction in where to go next. Families have challenges today that were unimaginable 20-30 years ago. Drug epidemics, increased school violence and other societal trends are placing new levels of stress on parents and their children.

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A lifeline will help you see where you’ve been and where you could go.

You can be as detailed as you want in your lifeline, family map. I set mine up for 10-year decades, but you divide it into five-year increments if you prefer. It can be helpful to include other family members on one sheet of paper to see where the trajectory of their lives may be headed and to help you set family as well as individual goals.

A perspective you may gain by completing a lifeline or family map is noticing how many challenges you have already successfully overcome. This can be reassuring that you will be able to meet whatever challenge you currently find yourself coping with. Seeing the pivotal periods in your life on paper can be a reality check into how you are spending your precious commodity of time.

So, where are you going with your one “wild and precious life?”

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Keep knocking it out until you’re successful

Affiliate disclosure: I do not have any affiliate arrangements with any of the products created by those mentioned in this blog post. If you buy one of their products, they will receive all of the profit. I will not receive a commission.

Do you feel like a fake, an imposter? Are you wondering what you’re doing putting yourself out there like that?

In “Steal Like an Artist: 10 things Nobody Told you About Being Creative,” Austin Kleon lays out the unspoken dilemma of people who are entering a creative or start-up phase: “nothing new is under the sun.” With the exception of actual inventors, nearly every one with a product wants you to believe they have an original idea or that they offer a special sauce to the established formula. What they offer is consistency of effort. The more times someone gets their message out there, the greater the chances that someone looking for that service or product will find it.

Look at Dave Ramsey. He didn’t invent either the envelope strategy or the concept of snowball effect for Financial Peace University. Those terms and strategies have been around for a long time. What he did, though, was organize a curriculum around a need he and others had for financial peace and, since then, has been sharing it with everyone he comes in contact with. His need has helped many others.

Lots of people will show you a formula on how to develop a successful blog. They may even have a course. They tried a number of things and kept doing the things that worked. So, if you are set on building a profitable blog, do what the successful bloggers tell you they did and yours will grow, too. Polish native Cristian Mihai began blogging in 2012. I started reading his blog, then. He did not have many followers. Now, over 132,000 people follow him. If I had done what he did beginning in 2012, I could be where he is now. But I didn’t. I started a blog and then stopped it. I started another blog and then stopped it. Remember, 90 percent complete to you, is 0 percent complete to your potential reader or customer.

Don’t stop. Keep going.

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A journey of a 1,000 miles, begins with one step. Lao Tzu

Just about anyone who makes an excellent living boosts their income when they present what they know to others. To do this, they sit down and organize their thoughts and strategies into a cohesive, sequential manner. People who sell courses on-line or offer public speaking services are teachers in disguise.

But marketing is the secret sauce to success. And at its most basic definition, all marketing is, is telling everyone you come across what you’re doing. Don’t be shy: just blurt it out. When I started out as a journalist, I applied to work at newspapers and kept applying until a newspaper hired me. Then another one did, and then another one. Then, I decided to become a counselor. I had to complete additional educational requirements to be in this field, but not all fields require that. Now, my private practice is growing because I tell everyone I know I’m a counselor.

Some people never finish high school and can become billionaire business owners. Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Airlines, David Karp who invented the popular Tumblr social media platform, and singer extraordinaire Aretha Franklin are among people who were exceptions to the statistical outcomes of dropping out of high school. But the common denominator between them and people who became successful with Ph.Ds, is that they kept working at what they wanted to do and told everyone about it.

When you’re starting out, what you’re doing may feel like a version of the real thing. It takes a lot of practice and repetition for the stars to get to be stars and they all started as beginners. Even the prodigy piano player had to sit down at the piano for the first time to discover that s/he had the talent. Then s/he kept playing the piano over and over until enough people looked at him/her, young as s/he is, and noted s/he’s got talent.

It is the same for you. Whatever you pick to do for your living, keep telling other people about it and keep doing the work. Eventually, you will be known for your unique version of “nothing new under the sun.”

 

 

 

How to get what you envy in others

 

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Affiliate disclosure: I sometimes link to other websites that sell products. I currently do not have any affiliate relationships with websites to which I link. What that means is if you go to a website that I’ve linked to and you buy something from them, they will get all of your money and I won’t get a commission. I linked to them because I bought something from them and I liked it.  This disclosure will be updated as required.

A motivational speaker held up a $20 bill and asked the audience “who wants this money?” She asked the audience with increasing volume of prompting: “who really wants this money?” I really wanted the money.

So, what did I do?

I sat there. I just sat there.

Instead, someone else ran up and took the money.

I was envious of both the motivational speaker AND the person who had the chutzpah to run up to the front to grab the bill.  I’ve been green with envy many times. I’ve come to learn, though, that envy is just another word for nothing left to lose, to paraphrase Janis Joplin.

Staying stuck in envy is a wheel-spinning activity. A close cousin to worry, envy keeps you fixated on what’s right in front of you without any effort from you to take what you desire.

That activity was pivotal for me. Well, that’s why I went to see her, after all, was to get motivated.

Her point was that no one is going to hand you anything, but if you want something you are going to have to get out of your seat and get it yourself.

I’ve been getting out of my seat and working for want I want since then.

Who do you envy? Your answers will help you define your goals. You can go here, if you want to learn more about achieving goals.

But what if you’re on the other side of the envy and receiving a lot of hate?

Achieving your personal ambitions puts you at risk of leaving other people behind. Some people can’t seem to get over that hump and they never live the full life they dream about. Other people achieve greatness and forget about the shoulders they stood on which gave them a step up.

I can understand that latter category. People who do nothing but envy can put out a lot of negative energy. I did at one time. But there are some mindsets you can develop to buffer yourself from others envy.

In Maranda Pleasant’s Mantra Wellness (spring 2018 issue) is a short how-to guide to “learn to roll with the punches.” Here’s my version of the article’s suggestions:

  1. Learn to soft belly breathe to calm yourself from other’s negativity and envy.
  2. Others criticisms and feedback might be your best guide in learning what aspects of yourself need healing.
  3. Learn to roll with the punches or toughen your skin. When you put yourself out there, people are going to grumble under their breath, talk behind your back and troll your social media.
  4. Conflict is spiritual. You don’t think the disciples ever bickered? Read up on your spiritual saints and gurus and you will learn a lot about how conflict can develop consciousness.
  5. Speaking your mind can get you hated, especially if you put yourself in front of an audience who doesn’t agree with EVERYTHING you say. Unless you are building an audience of clones of yourself, SOMEONE SOMEWHERE is going to disagree with SOMETHING you say.
  6. Keep yourself grounded by surrounding yourself with those who, too, are getting out of their seat and going for what they want.
  7. If you can’t take all the negativity anymore, then hire a therapist or a confidential confidant with whom you can process how it’s affecting you. As a person with a platform, it’s a misuse of power to use it to get back at people who are filled with envy and don’t have all of what you’ve worked for. Take the high road EVERY SINGLE TIME, PLEASE.
  8. And if you fall off that high road, use it as an opportunity to build, rather than burn, a bridge by humbly making amends.

Now, who REALLY wants that twenty-dollar bill?

 

Hold on, help is available

tide will turnSuicide is a symptom not a set of instructions. But as it manifests in the illness of depression, it can masquerade as a command, which sounds reasonable to the individual who is coping with it.

I have learned a lot about the brain and how fragile AND resilient it is. One thing I have learned is to not say someone committed suicide. Someone dies by or from suicide or from complications of depression, just as you would say someone died from a heart attack or from cancer. Someone who is suffering from this illness doesn’t make a choice as the word commit implies.

There are many forms of depression just as there are forms of cancer. You might say in a general way a person is fighting cancer and then you might follow-up with what type of cancer. And depending on what you hear, you would have a reaction to it as you know certain types of cancer are more aggressive than others. Depression is similar: Some are low-grade, episodic and others are persistent and aggressive. While a person may have “killed herself,” ultimately it was the depression that killed her.

Along the same language lines, instead of saying “I am depressed,” we encourage people to express it as “I have depression.” People don’t declare “I am cancer” but that they have cancer. It’s a way for those suffering to separate themselves from the embarrassment that could be implied by saying “I am.”

Think about the illness of a cold. “I have a cold,” which has its own course and while symptoms can be managed, masked or minimized the cold can’t be cured, as opposed to a person’s experience of temperature cold. “I am cold so now I am going to get a jacket to solve my problem.” People are complicated and so many things are dependent on individual factors as to understanding the “why” of a person’s mental state.

suicide prevention logo.pngIt’s not easy; however, depression can be treated and managed. If you are struggling, force yourself to reach out to the Suicide Prevention Hotline, your local emergency room or the person sitting next to you. And if you are the person being reached out to, then access support to help your friend or family member by calling 911 and ask for a crisis intervention team.

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With treatment and hard work, we can make it through one more day. It is hard work to fight demons within and the demons without. But we can and will do it.

 

Rapid ways to make money and get out of debt

Affiliate disclosure: I have linked to other websites which sell products. I currently do not have any affiliate relationships with websites to which I link. What that means is if you go to a website that I’ve linked to and you buy something from them, they will get all of your money and I won’t get a commission. I linked to them because I bought something from them and I liked it and it improved my life.  Disclosures will be updated as required.

My husband and I completed Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace Course two separate times. What can I say, we’re slow learners.

But we’re not alone: the average credit card debt load in U.S. households is nearly $16,000. Thanks to Dave Ramsey and our own commitment to building a wealthy mindset, we are well below the household average to now $0.

We make it our focus to rapidly pay off our credit card debt. The solution we keep refining is preventing it in the first place. The leading trigger for household debt is unplanned medical expenses. More than a 1/4 of American households have difficulty paying for medical care, according to the Kaiser Family Health Foundation.

abba, moneyThe irony of the blogs you read giving you tips on how to make money and make it fast, work under the assumption you are in good health and you have the energy to take on an extra job.

So, if you don’t feel good enough to get a job delivering pizzas as Dave likes to recommend, what are some other ways to rapidly raise cash?

Here are a few ideas:

Sell what you have:

  • Pawn some unused electronics, guns, or jewelry. The risk is you might not get the item back if you can’t get it out of hawk, but it’s better than running up the credit card debt. Pawning your goods is less labor intensive than a garage sale.
  • Sell unused gift cards. The Gift Card Exchange kiosks will trade your card with a $20 minimum balance, for a voucher minus its fees for you to exchange for cash at the retailer where the kiosk is housed.

Borrow your own money:

  • Some retirement plans will allow you to take a loan out on yourself. While the money isn’t in the account making a return for you, you are repaying YOURSELF with interest. Doesn’t that sound better than repaying the bank or the credit card company with interest?
  • Borrow from your own life insurance policies. Some whole life, or permanent life, policies will allow you to borrow a certain amount, which you have your WHOLE life to repay. If you don’t get it repaid, the insurance will still pay out the amount of the policy, minus what you borrowed.
  • Do you have a stash of savings bonds you’ve been saving up for a rainy day? If they have reached their term, then you might consider cashing them in because after 30 years, they no longer earn interest.

Increase your income:

If you’re not feeling well, then you might not be up to getting a part-time job outside of the home. No worries. With technology, you can earn money from your bed if you need to. Some ways to do that could be:

  • Freelance writing or building a blog. If you have a unique health situation, then sharing your story to a niche audience may help them while it’s helping you. You may not earn a lot of cash the first day, but if you keep at it, you will overtime. And, you will learn a new skill which you could market to business owners who are too busy to keep up with their own blogs.
  • If you live in a house with a nice-sized yard, then you can dog sit for people who are traveling. Just be sure to check your city’s ordinances before providing this service.
  • Rent out a spare room. This might be mutually beneficial if you’re not feeling well. Knowing another person is within ear shot could give you peace of mind. Even better is if you have educational centers which offer nursing programs. Nursing students or traveling nurses would LOVE the low-cost living arrangement you could offer in exchange for their checking up on you.

Cut your monthly expenditures:

  • We had our car and home insurance company review our plans. During our requested audit, we learned that the company hadn’t given us all of the discounts for which we were eligible. It was an “oversight” on their part. They retroactively paid us over $300 and we lowered our premiums more than $100 each month.
  • If you need the extra cash, you will muster the discipline to change cell phone plans. It’s nice to have all the bells and whistle on your phone, but they’re not necessary. If you start a side business and can show proof of your business structure, you could qualify for cell phone business plans, which can run about $100 a month with unlimited voice, text, and internet.
  • Consolidate your debt and look for introductory rates for credit cards. But a word of caution, make sure you mark it on your calendar when the introductory rates end, or you could find yourself owing more than when you started.

While spending money seems to occur more rapidly than making money, take heart. You do have options to keep yourself from drowning in debt. New Thought, Right Action is here to help you develop the skills and mindsets you need to achieve your financial goals.

via Daily Prompt: Rapid

Addiction abruptly ends lives, but there’s always a New Thought, Right Action to choose

road not takenI attended the funeral of a 20-year-old man last week. He died from complications associated with addiction. It was several years of struggle for his family as they helped him navigate resources to manage this chronic, relapsing brain disorder.

The funeral home was packed with nearly 200 friends–many of them the same age and most of them struggling with the same chronic, relapsing brain disorder. The friends who were currently sober talked about their anger at this illness and how it abruptly changed their life. In the early days of abusing substances, an altered mental state is a positively enhanced experience over the highs and lows of common everyday life. But, then, the highs or the check out from reality changes abruptly and something which an individual has had control over is suddenly controlling them.

If complete abstinence isn’t achieved from mind-altering substances, then people with this illness can have many years of long, drawn-out mental and physical suffering from the illness. Once a person has passed the stage of recreational substance use to addiction, there is no alternative street substance to use.  And, unfortunately, as long as the years are for the relapsing stage it almost always ends abruptly.

I’m sure the grieving phase for the man’s family will last the rest of their natural lives. It may lessen in intensity but the abrupt loss has left its mark which cannot be undone.

If you or someone you know is ready for an abrupt change to save yours or someone else’s life, then please connect with us. We have resources available to help you live a life of New Thought, Right Action.

Love and light,
Brenda

 

via Daily Prompt: Abrupt

Astonish yourself with the right questions

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Affiliate disclosure: I have linked to other websites which sell products. I currently do not have any affiliate relationships with websites to which I link. What that means is if you go to a website that I’ve linked to and you buy something from them, they will receive all of your money and I do not receive a commission. I linked to them because I bought something from them and I liked it and it improved my life. Disclosures will be updated as required.

Asking the right questions can provide you with astonishing answers about living your life to its full capacity. Starting your morning with five questions can prompt you to begin your day in a powerful and positive state, according to an exercise in Anthony Robbins’ Personal Power II: The Driving Force program.

So you remember your questions, write them down and keep them on your bed stand, tape them to your mirror, or have them as a note in your phone. Each morning for 30 days, read these questions and come up with two answers for each question.

These are the questions I developed for myself:

  • What can I do to be of service to at least one person today and enjoy the process?
  • What can I find to be grateful for today?
  • What actions can I take today that demonstrate I love myself and enjoy the process of loving myself?
  • What can I find to laugh about today?
  • Who do I love and who loves me?

In Anthony’s Personal Power II Success Journal he lists these questions:

  • What am I happy about in my life now?
  • What am I excited about?
  • What am I proud about?
  • What am I enjoying most in my life right now?
  • What am I committed to in my life now?

What are the questions with which you can astonish yourself by answering them?

via Daily Prompt: Astonish

Set a smart goal and be vague about it

SMART GOALS

Be
S pecific
M easurable
A ttainable
R elevant
T ime bound

not vague when you are establishing goals for yourself. “I want to lose weight,” is a vague goal. “I plan to lose 10 pounds by my high school reunion in May” is a SMART-oriented goal.

An outline on paper will allow you to reflect on what a SMART goal looks like. Questions to help you think through the five areas of a SMART goal include:

Specific: Be a journalist and ask the five “w” questions. Who is this for and who needs to be involved? What do we want to accomplish? Why are we doing this? Where will the goal be achieved? Which resources will we need?

Measurable: How often will you  measure success. For example, if you want to lose 10 pounds, will you weigh myself daily or once a week? If you want to complete a training module, how may sessions should you complete in a day or a week?

Attainable: Most of us want to be millionaires and that may be a goal that can be attained eventually. But if you need a million dollars by 2 p.m. tomorrow, then you may be setting yourself up for disappointment.  Also, be careful about setting goals that other people have power to approve or deny. If you plan to borrow a million dollars from the bank, then be prepared for them to tell you no if you don’t meet their good credit criteria.

Relevant: You have a higher chance of achieving your goal if it’s a goal you want to achieve. So, ask yourself if this is the right time and if you’ve got the energy and motivation to achieve it.

Time-bound: The brain focuses more when a deadline is set for achieving a goal. So take out the calendar and manually circle the date you want to have your goal completed by. For example, if you want to earn a master’s degree, then find out what all the required courses are plus any required practicums and internships and write down your graduation date. This will give you a realistic view of what your time investment will be to achieve your goal.

One final thing about a goal, though. When you’ve decided on your goal, don’t talk about it. Be vague. In research about this phenomenon, a study documented that people who were praised for working on a goal lost motivation to achieve it because their identity was then tied to the goal. Others often mistakenly praise an individual on personal qualities, rather than process approaches. So, if a person is praised for how smart they are and then they don’t do well on a test, then that sets up a negative feedback loop and prompts a person to be less motivated to try harder on the next test.

So, identify your goals and be vague in sharing them with others but SMART in achieving them.