Monday, February 24, 2014

Let's Talk About The "S" Word

  "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." ~John 14:27

Hey there my bloggy friends! Welcome back! I hope you've been doing good, and that life has been treating you well. Grab a cup of coffee/tea, pull up a seat, and stay a while.

Here's an update on how things are progressing with the construction.....the painters were here last week to paint the ceilings, so I was able to finally get my living room back in order Saturday. (Side note: paint dust is not fun to clean up, especially when you have to take down over 200 books to clean your bookshelf.) The roof is done and the tin looks great! I will have to post some pictures when it's all said and done. They still have to put in the new counter-tops in the kitchen and the siding on the back of the house, plus a few other odds and ends around here, but I think we are in the homestretch now.

It's finally starting to look and feel like home again. We only have a few more boxes to unpack, but most of those will have to wait till the kitchen is finally done. I only have one more wall to finish up in the living room, which is the one I redid back in the fall. It will be nice to see those pictures up again. It feels so good, after almost four months of things being in such disarray, to see things back in order. It has been a very slow and stressful process, so I'm getting excited that it's almost over.

Okay, let me get on with the message. Today, I want to talk about the "S" word. You know the one I'm talking about, don't you? S-T-R-E-S-S! Yep, that's the one. Which "S" word did you think I was talking about?

What exactly is stress? How does it affect you? Do you have more stress in your life than you can handle? (I can say a big YES to that one!)  What are some healthy things we can do about stress?

"Stress is a normal physical response to events that make you feel threatened or upset your balance in some way. When you sense danger – whether it’s real or imagined – the body's defenses kick into high gear in a rapid, automatic process known as the “fight-or-flight” reaction, or the stress response. The stress response is the body’s way of protecting you. When working properly, it helps you stay focused, energetic, and alert.
In emergency situations, stress can save your life – giving you extra strength to defend yourself, for example, or spurring you to slam on the brakes to avoid an accident. The stress response also helps you rise to meet challenges. Stress is what keeps you on your toes during a presentation at work, sharpens your concentration when you’re attempting the game-winning free throw, or drives you to study for an exam when you'd rather be watching TV.  But beyond a certain point, stress stops being helpful and starts causing major damage to your health, your mood, your productivity, your relationships, and your quality of life." -(taken from

Here is some information about the negative effects stress can have on your health from
"Stress becomes negative when a person faces continuous challenges without relief or relaxation between challenges. As a result, the person becomes overworked and stress-related tension builds. Stress that continues without relief can lead to a condition called distress -- a negative stress reaction. Distress can lead to physical symptoms including headaches, upset stomach, elevated blood pressure, chest pain, and problems sleeping. Research suggests that stress also can bring on or worsen certain symptoms or diseases.
  • Forty-three percent of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress.
  • Seventy-five percent to 90% of all doctor's office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.
  • Stress can play a part in problems such as headaches, high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, skin conditions, asthma, arthritis, depression, and anxiety.
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) declared stress a hazard of the workplace. Stress costs American industry more than $300 billion annually.
  • The lifetime prevalence of an emotional disorder is more than 50%, often due to chronic, untreated stress reactions."

Wow! As you can see, stress can/has become a major problem for many people, including myself.

Many of the physical and emotional problems I've been dealing with for quite some time have come from ongoing, stressful situations, and my lack of knowing how to deal with them in a healthy way. They have taken a tremendous toll on my health. I am not exaggerating when I say they have been relentless and exhausting. There have been so many times when I felt like I just wanted to completely give up because I felt so crushed beneath the weight of the burdens of those stressful situations. I didn't have time to refocus and recover between situations before something else was hitting me. Unfortunately, it has been a very slow process trying to get myself back to a place of health and serenity. I have a long way to go, but at least I'm learning how to manage stress in a more healthy, productive way now.

"Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but it gets you nowhere." ~Glenn Turner

Let's face it, there will always be stressful situations in this life. We will never be able to completely get away from those things. I think the biggest key to being able to walk through those stressful situations without it taking a toll on our health is in how we handle those situations. I never learned how to handle stressful situations in a healthy way, so the first step for me was to realize that I had to relearn how to deal with stressful situations and people.

“I promise you nothing is as chaotic as it seems. Nothing is worth your health. Nothing is worth poisoning yourself into stress, anxiety, and fear.” ~Steve Maraboli

So, what can we do to better deal with the stressful things in our lives? How can we deal with those situations/people that seem to cause so much drama? There are basically two things we can do:

1. We can change the situation. (If you can't change the situation then number 2 is for's the hardest one for me)
2. We can change our reaction.

I have to constantly remind myself of these things each time a stressful situation presents itself because I tend to want to revert back to old ways of thinking and responding. (i.e.- getting upset and stressed out if I can't do something to make things better or to change the situation, or how the person is acting)

As difficult as this is, there may be times when you have to make the decision to shut certain things and people out of your life because you may not be able to handle anymore drama and stress from those situations. There are some people who will suck the life out of you, if you let them. It seems like the more you give, the more they take. I've had to make that difficult decision on quite a few occasions. We should not give of ourselves to the point of being physically and emotionally sick. It's okay to say no to those stressful situations, as well as to the people who seem to suck the peace right out of you. Boundaries are such an important part of managing stressful situations like this. Please remember, you have to do what's best for you and for your health. If you don't take care of you, then you will not be able to take care of anyone else either.

There may also be times when you have to say no to doing certain things. If you find that your schedule is overloaded with activities and you are stressed out to the point of feeling like you're gonna have a melt down, then you might want to step back and re-examine your life and schedule. It's okay to say no to some of those things, especially if it's going to push you beyond what you can deal with in a healthy way. It's just not worth the added pressure. Prioritize. You can say no without feeling guilty. You are not superwoman/superman. It's still hard for me to say no, and I still have to kick that old people-pleasing monster to the curb a lot, but it does get easier the more you do it.

One thing I've noticed when I feel stressed out is that I tend to hold my breath a lot. I also tense up my jaw and certain muscles in my body, which results in more pain issues for me, so I've tried to start taking deep breaths when I feel myself getting stressed about something. Just focusing on breathing for a few minutes can really help in a pinch.

I also believe it's important to take time each day to just sit and relax in a quiet room for a little while. I know that might seem impossible for you mamas that have little ones, but it is so worth it if you can manage just a few minutes. It might just be sitting there in the quiet, taking some deep breaths, or praying, or listening to some music, or writing in your journal.

We also need quality sleep. Many of us, me included, get in bed way too late and don't get the sleep our body needs. Our body and mind needs time to be restored and renewed. If we don't make the time to do these things, they won't happen on their own. It's a choice we have to make for ourselves. You are worth it.

I have also found that eating healthy really helps me feel better, as well as being able to deal with stress in a better way. As many of you know, I have quite a few dietary challenges with having to maintain a gluten-free lifestyle, as well as other food intolerance issues (dairy, corn, eggs rice), but I have found that adopting a healthy diet is so important in how you feel. It gives your body the ability to handle the added pressure we put on it sometimes. The crazier or lives are, the more help we need.

And last, but certainly not least, is laughter. Do not underestimate the power of laughter. I believe it has healing properties. Here is a quote from  A Better Brain at Any Age: The Holistic Way to Improve Your Memory, Reduce Stress, and Sharpen Your Wits (Conari Press, 2009), author Sondra Kornblatt explores how laughter can truly make you feel better.

What can laughter do?:
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Increase vascular blood flow and oxygenation of the blood
  • Give a workout to the diaphragm and abdominal, respiratory, facial, leg, and back muscles
  • Reduce certain stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline
  • Increase the response of tumor- and disease-killing cells such as Gamma-interferon and T-cells
  • Defend against respiratory infections–even reducing the frequency of colds–by immunoglobulon in saliva.
  • Increase memory and learning; in a study at Johns Hopkins University Medical School, humor during instruction led to increased test scores
  • Improve alertness, creativity, and memory

What are some of the things that have you stressed out? Are there certain situations/people you wish would change? Are there things that you fear may happen in the future? Are there things that have already happened that you wish you could change? Is the stress from your busy schedule stealing your health, happiness, and your peace of mind?

We have very little control over the things that happen in our lives. If you are stressing about something you can do nothing about then perhaps it's time to change how you allow yourself to respond and be affected by those things/people. We may not be able to change all the stressful situations in our lives, but there are changes we can make to help us handle those stressful situations better. What changes can you make to alleviate the "S" word in your life? Until next time my friends, be blessed.

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” ~Matthew 11:28-30

 “The most important reason for your “no” is that you need your downtime so you won’t behave like a jerk because you’re depleted. And you don’t want to battle an appetite spiked by the stress of overcommitment. But that’s your secret; others don’t need that information. So just smile, say no, thank you, and keep moving.” ~Holly Mosier

Here's a great article about things you can do to help relieve stress and stay cool, calm, and collected.

*First picture of lady stressed out is taken from
*Second picture of lady stressed out is taken another great article on stress and how to reduce it:
*Keep calm and breath picture is taken from:

Monday, February 10, 2014

Learning To Like The Stuck Places

 "Through humor, you can soften some of the worst blows that life delivers. And once you find laughter, no matter how painful your situation might be, you can survive it." ~ Bill Cosby

Hey there my bloggy friends! I'm back! Okay, I know, you're probably wondering what is going on with me posting again so soon. Well, I'm just full of stuff to write lately. Okay, no wise cracks about me definitely being full of something. Haha! On to the message!

Take a look at the above picture. Do you ever feel like that? Do you ever feel stuck? Do you ever feel like you're just not getting ahead in this thing called life? Have you ever felt like giving up because you feel like you're spinning your wheels, with no noticeable progress, and you don't know how to get out? Oh my friend, I have been there so many times. In fact, I am there right now. I've been in this place for a few years now. Feeling stuck. Knowing full well that I can't go back, but not sure how to go forward either. How do I get out of here? How long will I be in this place? Why do I have to be here in the first place? What have I done wrong? God, have You forgotten me?

Being in a stuck place is not easy. In fact, it can be very difficult and lonely. I am one of those people who like to have some sense of direction in my life. When things are unsure and unsettled, it stresses me out. I don't like feeling as if I'm going absolutely nowhere. I've realized just recently, after many tears and lots of fussing and fighting with God for the last few years, that there are valuable lessons to be learned in the stuck places we go through.

I used to feel like such a failure when I was in a stuck place. I'm supposed to be steadily moving forward, right? If I was a "good Christian" I wouldn't be stuck, right? Christians don't get stuck, do they? Something must be wrong with me if I'm stuck, right? Wrong!!! Everyone comes to a stuck place at some point in their life, no matter who they are. There is no shame in being stuck. The only shame would be from beating yourself up for it.

I've learned some pretty cool things while being in the stuck places. We are all on a journey through this life. Everything we go through is part of that journey, which includes the stuck places. The things we learn in those places help to shape us into the people we were meant to be. We may not always see right away how those things are shaping us, but they truly are. (Hindsight is 20/20.)

When I think of someone being in some really tough stuck places, I think of Joseph. Let's take a closer look at some of his stuck places.

1.) At seventeen, Joseph was thrown into a pit, by his own brothers.
2.) His brothers then decided to sell him, instead of killing him, to some traveling merchants who
     were on their way to Egypt. (And I thought my family had issues!)
3.) His brothers lied to their father and told him that Joseph had been killed by a wild animal.
4.) After the traveling merchants arrived in Egypt, they sold Joseph to a man named Potipher,
     who was a high-ranking official for Pharoah, where he became a slave in his house.
     (It is estimated that Joseph served as a slave there for eleven years.)
5.) Joseph was falsely accused of trying to take advantage of his bosses wife after she made a
     move on him, but he told her no. She got ticked off and accused him of trying to rape her.
     He was then thrown into prison. (It is estimated that he spent at least two years in prison.)

Wow! Talk about some major stuck places, Joseph had them in spades. The thing is, God already knew about every one of those stuck places that Joseph would go through. He was not surptrised by any of them. He still had a plan to get Joseph to where he needed him to be, to carry out the plan He had for his life, even though it may not have appeared that way. (You can read the whole story of Joseph in more detail, and how God used those stuck places to bring Joseph to a place of being the second most powerful man in Egypt in Genesis 37-50.)

It took me a while to understand that being in a stuck place is not necessarily a bad thing. We don't usually see it as a good thing, and it doesn't usually feel good, but the lessons learned and the growth that takes place there is life changing. I have realized that it's okay to allow myself to feel the whole range of emotions I've been feeling in this stuck place. There's no right or wrong way to feel. Rather than stuffing my feelings down trying to act like I am fine, which never made anything better anyway, I have given myself permission to feel the way I feel. Instead of stressing out about being stuck, I have tried to sort through all the painful things that brought me to this place. How can we expect to heal and move forward out of the stuck places, if we won't allow ourselves to truly look at the wounds we have and go through the whole healing process. Pretending we are okay will not get our feet on the solid ground we need to move forward.

My daughter, Brittany, who is almost twenty-two, recently shared some things with me about the growth she has seen in me over the last few years. I was really down and discouraged about still being in this stuck place, wondering what good had come from any of the painful things we had been through and beating myself up because I wasn't as far along as I had hoped for. In fact, I felt like I was so far away from where I wanted to be that I wondered if I would ever get to the place I wanted to be. I was so encouraged by what she said that I would like to share it with you...."I think you've learned a great deal about self-esteem, and gained quite a lot of it. You've become more transparent with others (outside of our family, that is) and I think that's a really good thing. You've put boundaries in place in your life that maybe wouldn't have happened before. You are "kicking your people-pleasing mentality to the curb," as you so recently put it. You've learned to be cautious in a healthy way about who you allow into your life, because even if someone appears a certain way in how they present themselves, that doesn't mean that's who they truly are. You've learned to stand up for yourself and not allow other people to treat you like sh#@. And I think you've grown a lot in the area of accepting yourself and where you're at in your life and being okay with that. Those are good things!" Thank you, my sweet daughter, for your encouraging words! You are such a great cheerleader! I love you!
God gave each of us a different road to travel. And yes, I do believe God even allows us to get in those stuck places to mold us and shape us for the next chapter in our journey. I believe the stuck places are all part of His plan for us. Being molded, shaped, and pruned isn't easy. In fact, it hurts like heck sometimes, but in the end, it will all be worth it. We will be even more beautiful and His love will shine even more brightly in our lives.

I am taking things one day at a time through this journey of stuckness. ( I don't think that's really a word.)  I don't have it all together by any means, and I've still got a long ways to go, but I'm not so discouraged by being here in this place anymore.

If you currently find yourself in one of those stuck places, please know you are not alone. There are many traveling this path alongside us. This stuck place is not your final destination. This is only a chapter. It's only temporary. It's not the end of the road. There are far better things ahead. It may not feel comfortable, and it may seem like it's taking forever, but please know there are many valuable lessons to be learned in the land of being stuck. You will be okay, my dear friend. I just know it.
Until next time my friend, be blessed, right in the middle of your stuck place!

“Your journey has molded you for your greater good, and it was exactly what it needed to be. Don't think you've lost time. There is no short-cutting to life. It took each and every situation you have encountered to bring you to the now. And now is right on time.”
― Asha Tyson

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Kick Your People-Pleasing To The Curb

 "How you judge yourself, which manifests as your self-esteem, will determine how far you’re willing to go to please others at the expense of your own happiness."

Welcome back my bloggy friends! It's been a while. Things have been super busy, which seems to be the norm for us anymore, except for the construction on the house, which is moving ever so slowly. Tomorrow will be three months since the fire, and things are still not finished. I know these things take time, especially when the weather is a factor, but I cannot begin to tell you how much I am looking forward to having some type of normalcy back in my life again, as far as my house goes. Boxes are still stacked up, waiting to be unpacked, pictures and what-nots are packed up, waiting to be put back on the walls and shelves, and the final cleaning is waiting to be done once all the repairs are finally finished. It's been nice having the rental camper to use when we need to get out of the house for construction to take place, but it's definitely not made for comfort, or for the cold weather.

I wanted to touch on something today that I've shared with you before, but I really felt like I needed to encourage those of you who may feel like you are alone in this struggle. If you have ever struggled with being a People-Pleaser, I am here to tell you that I completely understand. I know how hard it is. It has taken me a very long time to get to the place where I don't have a melt down if someone doesn't like me. It has taken me a very long time to get to the point where I don't always worry if someone is going to be mad at me for saying no. I know that may sound silly and maybe even stupid to some of you, but it was a very real struggle for me, and I still have times where it rears it's ugly head. I'm still trying to retrain my way of thinking in this area.

There are many people who struggle with this. We base our worth and our value on what others think of us. We think we have to do everything for everybody. When you live in fear of rejection, you do things so others will like you, so they won't be mad at you. Rarely do you do things because you actually want to. When you don't love, accept, and value yourself, you are going to look for it somewhere else, and that's where we get sidetracked by being a People-Pleaser.

We all want to feel accepted and loved, there's nothing wrong with that, but trying to please everyone by doing what they want is not the way to do it. You cannot keep everyone happy all the time. Love and acceptance shouldn't be based on what someone can do for you.

I wasted many years of my life being a People-Pleaser. I spent the majority of my life sucking up to people, bending over backwards to do what others wanted me to do, all because I was so afraid someone wouldn't like me if I stood up for myself. I was so afraid of rejection. I had been rejected so much throughout the course of my life, so looking for acceptance and love from others was a big priority to me. It gave me a fix. It made me feel better about myself. I didn't realize at the time that it was only a temporary fix. I had to learn the hard one else could make me feel accepted and loved. It had to start with me accepting and loving myself first.

I have had several friendships/relationships over the years where I would do things because I was afraid of being rejected if I didn't. I didn't want to look like the "bad guy." I felt like I had to always be there to help whenever they called for a favor. I think it's important to help others when you can, but not because of fear, and not at the cost of your own health. It's okay to have boundaries. I made the mistake of putting others needs above my own and above my family. I found out the hard way that love doesn't mean you allow others to take advantage of you. All relationships should be based on mutual respect and love for one another. If a friendship/relationship is solid, it will not be affected by you saying no. 

Being a People-Pleaser is like riding an emotional roller-coaster. It's exhausting. When everyone is happy with you because you're doing what they want, then you're up, but as soon as you aren't meeting someone needs or doing what they want, then your down. Whew! Stop this thing so I can get off!

Being a People-Pleaser can cause a great deal of stress, both emotionally and physically. You don't realize how much stress you're under trying to always do what others want and trying to keep everyone happy. Stress can/does cause you many serious physical and emotional problems. I am still trying to recover from many of those problems myself. (depression, significant weight loss, digestive problems, sleep problems, adrenal fatigue) Who wants to live their life that way? Not me. There is such a thing as being too nice, especially if it comes at the cost of your own well-being and your own needs.

People-Pleasers are afraid to ask for help and afraid to say no. Say this with me......"It's okay to say NO. It's okay to ask for HELP."  We shouldn't be afraid to tell someone no because we fear they will reject us. You have a choice. It's your time and your energy, and perhaps even your money, that you will be giving. We shouldn't be afraid to be open and honest with someone because we're afraid they won't like us anymore. You are the only one who knows if something you're being asked to do is going to put more stress on you. If it's not something you can do or you want to do, then just say no. Will it be easy to put this into practice? No, it will not be easy, but the more you do it and the more you remember why you're doing it, the easier it will get. 

Don't do things for others to try to get them to like you. If people don't like you for who you are, then no amount of bending over backwards, or kissing up, is going to make any difference. If someone only wants to be your friend for what you can do for them, then you might want to examine that relationship a little closer to see if it's a healthy relationship. More than likely, it's probably not.

Don't be afraid to be yourself. How many of us waste so much time trying to be just like everyone else? If someone doesn't like you for who you are, and there will be people who don't, that's's their loss. Love who you are. It's so much easier to love others when we love ourselves and accept ourselves for who we are. We don't have to put on pretenses or wear a stupid mask that we're struggling to keep in place. We don't have to worry if we don't act a certain way or say just the right thing. There's freedom in just being YOU!

Do something for someone today simply because you want to, not because you feel like you have to. Don't allow fear of rejection to dictate your thoughts anymore. YOU are unique and special, YOU are loved and accepted, YOU are worth so much more than you realize. It's okay to let others see the real you. It's not your job to make other people happy, just like it's not up to other people to make you happy. You are responsible for your own happiness. The only thoughts and feelings you can change are your own.

Please feel free to share any struggles you have had, or are still having, with being a People-Pleaser in the comments section.  Until next time my sweet friends, be blessed!

*Wondering if your a People-Pleaser? Here's a check-list of warning signs from a great article I found that pretty much says it all.

  • Do you yearn for external validation?
  • Do you worry about what people will think about you if you say no?
  • Do people always ask you for favors because they know they can count on you to say yes?
  • Do you worry that people won’t like you if you say no?
  • Do you think you might be rejected or alienated if you say no?
  • Do you consistently put the well-being of others in front of your own well-being, regardless of the damage done to yourself?
  • Do you often feel resentful towards others?
  • Are you passive aggressive about your resentfulness?
  • Do you wonder if others are actively taking advantage of you – weather they mean to or not?
  • Do you often offer yourself to others’ because you feel invisible?
  • Do you feel inadequate in and of yourself?
  • Do you believe conflict with others is always a bad thing?
  • Are you positive that you do more than what’s required from you for everyone?
  • Do you have a hard time recognizing the difference between being needed and being loved?
  • Do you lack confidence in what you do? Do you have a hard time taking credit for success?
  • Do you often overcommit and overpromise?
  • Would you rather be dishonest than be the source of disapproval?
  • Is ‘being selfish’ one of the worst possible traits anyone could attribute to you?
  • Do you wonder why everyone treats you like shit when you’re so nice?
  • Are you often plagued by guilt when you physically can’t do something for someone?
The more frequently you answered ‘yes’ to these questions, the more dominant the people pleaser inside of you is; the more depressed you feel.

*The above list and the quote below the picture at the top of the page is taken from-