Clear the Clutter, Hope Inspires, Unclutter Your Life

Tips for a Happier Life

Let me start by saying I am NO expert…. I have good days and bad days.  Doesn’t every one?

When I see this picture I always think of the song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”. It seems so basic but how many of us look for happiness – sometimes in the wrong places.  For me, since MS & recovery, being happy means practicing being in the moment.  Not having expectations about things and definitely not trying to fix, manage or control things.

As I was scrolling through my earlier blogs, I was reminded about a post from one of my favorite bloggers, “alwaysthinkingimfat“.  Let me share a few tips to happiness from her with you:

Find light where it was once dark: Are you a half full glass or a half empty glass kind of person?  If you are a half empty kind of person, look for something to focus on.  A small glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.  I know it may be hard to see BUT there is always a glimmer.  It could be the one chance to take yourself from a miserable place to some higher ground.

Reciprocate:  The bottom line is, on life’s journey it is so good to give rather than receive. Take time to notice others and give of yourself.  It will make you feel better and help make the World a better place!  Couldn’t we all use a little kindness these days.

Fuel your creative side:  You put gas in the car but do you ever fuel your creative side.  For years, I let my creative side get buried under the massive lists of  “to dos” and it made for a grumpy Hope.  Okay, so there may have been more to it but it definitely didn’t help.  LOL.  Take a minute right now to jot down some thoughts/ ideas.  Then make a plan to grab the glue gun or get the scrapbooking items out of the closet.  Better yet do it while you are thinking about it – NOW! The moments of elation and self worth will help to promote the positive and downplay the negative.

Active listening: Let’s be honest….are you ALWAYS an active listener or are you guilty of trying to figure out how to respond to what someone is saying.  I will admit it….I have been that person.  I am trying hard to practice active listening.  The truth is when you are not actively listening, you fail to give a person a chance to express themselves or share input as well as ideas. SMACK!  Who is joining me in practicing this??? 

Face your faults: Being a recovering addict and working a 12-step program has definitely helped in this area of my life.  There was a time in my life when I thought my faults made me less then.  When I hid them for fear someone may not like me.  In general, people tend to be defensive or remiss about their personal faults.  In my life, I am taking steps to say “I am not perfect and I have faults”.  But I can change or make it better, it is up to me.

Delight in success: Too many times, we fail to delight in life’s small successes.  If you lose weight you need to be happy about it and keep going.  Any loss is a loss, so celebrate!  If you set a small manageable goal and obtain it – CELEBRATE it.  Success does not have to be HUGE steps, it can be baby steps towards your goal.  Stop telling yourself you are not successful and become more self assured and confident!  I need to practice what I preach.  LOL!!!

Feed your mind and soul: Take the initiative to inspire, create and reflect.  You feed your body but what about your mind & soul!!  Take a walk to enjoy the beauty outside.  Read a book.  Listen to a podcast.  Do a craft project.  When you fill your cup, you are then able to fill others.  When your cup is empty, you have nothing to give anyone else.

Share your best tips for a happier life.  My best advice is to:  

Revel in Being You! Every day is a celebration! It is party time! Get your groove on!

Have an ThirtyOne-derful day!
Relax, Reflect, Recharge

Does Your Light Shine?

Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:16

Happiness is derived from helping others, making a difference, and serving the world in your own unique way.  For me, I try to do it by helping those who are struggling.

No matter what your purpose is, let your underlying mission be to “live your life in a way people say  “There’s something different about them and I want to feel the same peace, joy, and love in my own life.”

Matthew 5:14-16 says, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Here are five ways you can share this idea:

1. Look for ways to be a blessing.

Letting your light shine means letting all the good within you come out. In a world full of negativity, you will be amazed at the light which enters your world when you do something good.  It is like a burst of fresh air. Be sensitive to the needs of others. Find ways to be a blessing to others with simple random acts of kindness.  It can be as easy as a “thank you” or holding the door for someone, or paying for someone’s coffee.  It can be for someone you know or someone you don’t know – either way, your light with shine.

2. Refuse to be judgmental.

One of the fastest ways to turn people away from God is to judge them. And sometimes we do it without even realizing it.  Have you heard the saying “hate the act not the person”?  Basically, we can acknowledge a person has done wrong without condemning them for it.  We are all sinners and fall short every day.   We have all done things we need to be forgiven for, and by grace the grace of God,  we have received forgiveness.  Choose to pray for those you feel tempted to judge – not always an easy thing to do. Embrace and support others when they are trying to do better. .

3. Speak up for what is just.

Speak up for what is just—not right. Do you confuse being right with doing right? I know I have.  We should really be focusing more on doing right. No matter what, especially during conflict, it’s essential you treat people justly. Ensure those who cross your path are better off because they encountered you.  When in a situation where others are being cheated, disrespected, or done a disservice, let your light shine and speak up. Don’t ATTACK but do it in a direct, calm, straightforward, and nonjudgmental manner.  It may not always be easy but it is important to do.

4. Let go of the desire to fit in.

This is probably the toughest thing for this “people pleaser”.  Letting our light shine when we feel the need to fit in everywhere you go, is probably the hardest thing for me.  I am learning a simple smile, talking kindly to people can make all of the difference in the world.  When we are more concerned about being an instrument of truth and love rather than fitting in, our light will shine.

5. Don’t hide your spiritual life.

Do you have a relationship with God but pretend publicly he is not central in your life?  If God is an important part of who you are, why would you keep it to yourself?  Does it have something to do with fitting in?  I don’t mean you need to have a Bible on your desk or quote scripture all of the time. When an opportunity comes up  to share where your strength comes from or how blessed you are, be honest.  Your faith is a part of who you are. When you free yourself to be who you are, you also free others to be who they truly are.  You will also stop trying to please the world.

8330AB52.jpgHas your light dimmed in today’s crazy world?  I challenge you this week to find one way to share your light with the world.  Share how you did it with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Relax, Reflect, Recharge

Love Lives Here

Thank you Kathi Lipp for today’s message…

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid  ~ John 14:26-28, NIV

For years, home was not my happy place. There were tense words, loud conversations, lots of noise, and a whole bunch of chaos. I remember thinking, “When these kids grow up…When my husband is nicer…When we have more money…things will calm down.”

But peace isn’t determined by our circumstances; it’s determined by the way we respond with God’s help to those circumstances. God sent His Son so we could experience peace, not just in the quiet of life, but also when chaos hits.

If you are approaching your home with dread at the end of the day, perhaps your place needs a peace makeover, like mine did. Here are a few things you can be intentional about when it comes to creating a peace-filled home:

Speak Words that Build Peace

So much of what determines our level of peace is the choice of words we use in our home. Are we speaking words of respect and kindness? Are we lifting up the people we live with? How can you build into the lives of those you love with an “I love you!” and “I’m proud of you!” A “You make me happy!” and “I forgive you”?

And it is not just the words we speak, it is the words we allow into our home. Carefully consider TV programs, music, and especially sites you visit on the internet. All of those words that come into your home can promote or tear down peace within your four walls.

Create a Home that Promotes Peace

One of the main biblical definitions of peace when translated from the Greek includes “to be complete or whole” or “to live well.” A home that promotes peace is one where healthy food is served, clutter is controlled, systems are in place and people are cared for. These may feel like the everyday acts of a woman just keeping her home running, but really, they are the hundreds of small decisions we can make every day to promote peace and live whole lives in our homes:

  • Create meal plans for healthy eating.
  • Put things away when we are done using them.
  • Balance our bank account.
  • Pay our bills.
  • Invite others over to share a meal.
  • Serve our neighbors when there is a crisis.
  • Tend to a garden.

Be a Woman Who Promotes Peace

When someone insults me online, on the phone, or even in the line at the grocery store, I need to commit deliberate, defiant acts of peace toward that person. Those acts of peace can be, depending on the situation and the person, quick forgiveness, kind words to quench the hurt, or praying for them instead of responding. Peace is not powerlessness but refusing to give someone else the power over your response.

As you drive home tonight, think about what feeling you have as you approach your front door. Is it relief that you are finally home and have a soft place to land, or do you hesitate because inside your house carries the same amount of chaos as the rest of the world?

If peace doesn’t meet you at the door, make the decision to be someone who doggedly pursues peace in your home starting today.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Unclutter Your Life

Don’t Worry – Be Happy

Did you start humming the song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”?  I do every time I see or hear this line.  Have you ever wanted some of the “pink kool-aid” people who are alway happy take?  You must know someone who always seems to be happy, I have one or two people I know like that.

When I am not having a MS flare up (of the depression kind), I am pretty much a happy go lucky kind of gal.  Yes, I have times of sadness, anger, frustrate – don’t we all? I mean if we didn’t have a variety of emotions we would be “like a wet noodle” or a “block of stone”.

I will be the first to admit, on days when depression hits I enter a black hole where there sees to be no way out.  It can last for an hour, a day, a week and sadly there are times when it can last for longer.  You know those times when even the simplest word will make you cry.  Key the song “Cry Me a River”. LOL.  Thank you to “Modern Day Girl” for inspiring this post.

1. They don’t dwell on the past.

I know I do especially on a bad day.  The shoulda, coulda, woulda kick in and the path into the black hole gets deeper.  What happens when you start with the stinkin’ thinkin’? Things get worse instead of better, right?

So how do you stop yourself from dwelling on the past? Remember “It takes 21 days to make or break a habit”.  So you need to change your mindset.  Your mind is a powerful thing and you can control how you think, and it’s not hard either.  When you focus on the here and now, it becomes easier to get rid of the old bad habits.

FIRST, recognize you’re dwelling on past situations. I know, easier said then done.  When you spend time being more aware of your thoughts, it is easier to change your mindset. Like a new habit, once you start it becomes easier over time.  When you’re aware you are dwelling on thoughts of the past, you can work on ignoring them, or replacing them with focus on the here and now.

2. They focus on the here and now

When you get rid of the thoughts from your past, you can dwell more on the here and now.  I have been told meditation helps and will teach you how to focus on your breathing and what is around you.  I haven’t mastered this yet but I haven’t given up.    Here are some ways meditation and yoga (still need to try this) can help:

  • When you’re focusing on the past, you’re distracted.
  • We miss moments in our lives which may have been the happiest.
  • When we let our thoughts control us , we feel unbalanced
  • When we’re aware of our surroundings, we feel more empathetic towards others, have high self-esteem, and can reduce impulsivity (reducing mental health issues – Psychologytoday.com)

So, if meditation and yoga aren’t for you, find a way to focus on the here and now.  Journal your thoughts.  Take a few minutes to “zone” out.  I like to sit outside and watch the clouds float by, imagining it is all of my past floating away.  I guess my own form of meditation.

3. They recharge

Recharging is something we all need to do.  For happy people, it is part of the every day life.  Not sure what this means? Well, it means different things to different people. Think about what you like to do in your spare time? I know, what spare time, right?  I’ve been there.  The truth is having a chronic disease has helped to me identify when I need to recharge.  It is usually a SMACK but I am learning to stop and rest.  Maybe one of these will work for you:

  • A good book and a cup of coffee
  • A nap
  • Exercise of some kind
  • Drawing
  • Writing/scribbling
  • Painting
  • Spending time in a spa
  • Eating chocolate in front of the TV
  • Pretty much anything that makes you happy

The truth is, we live our lives in overdrive, always rushing to the next thing.  Our bodies need time to relax and recharge. How happy are you when your schedule is jammed full with no time for fun?  Probably not very, right?

If you feel like you don’t have time for yourself, make time. I know it’s hard, believe me I get it.  I was a single mom working full-time but you need to schedule time.  Maybe when the kids are napping, grab the book you’ve been meaning to read. Or on your lunch break at work – read your favourite magazine (whether online or paper).

Happy people value their time and know cultivating happiness is important.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Relax, Reflect, Recharge

How’s Your Joy Quotient?

Sunday a day to relax, reflect and recharge.  This morning I will be enjoying Praise and Worship at National Conference.  It is the last day and then we will be headed home.  I amazing few days full of blessings where I got to fill my cup.  How appropriate today’s message is on “joy”.  Unfortunately, I found this and am not sure who to give thanks to but it was not written by me.

One of the overriding evidences someone has a genuine relationship with our living Savior is their consistent attitude of joy and outlook on life. A follower of Jesus should not be a person who always looks at life as if the glass is half empty. Instead, we should be the most positive people on earth. We should see opportunity in the midst of challenges.
The light resides in you should be like the beam of a lighthouse to a ship seeking direction. Our lives should have the fragrance of Christ. People should be attracted to our lives just as the bee is attracted to the nectar in the colorful flower.

The apostle Paul understood this when he said, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life” (2 Cor 2:14-16).

I must admit I’ve been with some believers whose attitude toward life is more like a porcupine. It’s painful to get too close to them because of their negative and poisonous view of life that criticizes the world around them.

No matter what circumstance you may find yourself in, the joy of the Lord must be your strength. Paul learned this truth even in the midst of his adversities. “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength (Phil 4:12-13).

How would others describe your joy quotient? On a scale of 1 to 10, where would they rank you? Today, make a commitment to greet every circumstance knowing the joy of the Lord is your strength.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!