Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sunday's Quote of the Day

Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn't. Erica Jong

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Seven Secrets To Stress Management

By: Rick Warren

In today's workplace, stress is not an option. It's an integral part of the job description. There is an endless list of reasons why we can experience stress over the course of a day at work, at home, or even our leisure activities. But stress does not need to defeat us - it can be kept under control. Consider what Rick Warren has to offer in his ‘Seven Secrets Of Stress Management':

Do you ever feel like your life and schedule are out of control? You can't eliminate stress, but you can manage it. It's not how much stress you bear, but how you carry it that makes the difference. Jesus Christ experienced enormous stress and pressure, yet it didn't seem to disturb his peace of mind. In spite of opposition, constant demands and little privacy, his life reflected a calm sense of balance. What was his secret? A closer look at his lifestyle reveals seven key "stress busters":

1. PRINCIPLE OF IDENTIFICATION: Know who you are! Eighteen times Jesus publicly defined himself. There was no doubt in his mind as to who he was. If you are unsure of your identity, you will allow others to pressure you into their molds. Trying to be someone you're not causes stress! "I am the light of the world..." (John 8:12).

2. DEDICATION: Know who you want to please. You can't please everyone. Even God can't! Just about the time you get one group of people happy, another group will get upset with you. Jesus never let the fear of rejection manipulate him. No one can pressure you without your permission. "...for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me" (John 5:30).

3. ORGANIZATION: Set clear goals. Preparation prevents pressure but procrastination produces it. You work either by priorities or pressures. Jesus said, "I know where I came from and where I am going" (John 8:14).

4. CONCENTRATION: Focus on one thing at a time. You can't chase two rabbits at the same time! Jesus knew how to handle interruptions without being distracted from his primary goal. "I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God...that is why I was sent" (Luke 4:42-44).

5. DELEGATION: Don't try to do everything yourself. We get tense when we feel it all depends on us. Jesus enlisted 12 disciples. Don't allow perfectionism, or the fear that others may do a better job than you can, keep you from involving others in the task. "He appointed twelve...that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach" (Mark 3:14).
6. MEDITATION: Make a habit of prayer. No matter how busy Jesus got, he found time every day to get alone to pray. A daily "quiet time" is a great stress reducer. Use this time to talk to God about your pressures and problems, evaluate your priorities, and discover the rules for successful living by reading the Bible. "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus...went off to a solitary place, where he prayed" (Mark 1:35).

7. RELAXATION: Take time to enjoy life! Balance is the key to stress management. Work must be balanced with fun and worship. "...he said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest" (Mark 6:30-31).

Rick Warren is the author of the highly acclaimed, best-selling book, The Purpose-Drive Life, which has been translated into many languages and sold throughout the world. It affirms the importance of having a carefully considered, clearly expressed purpose to guide everyday life.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Parenting Tips

I was all set to write a deeply spiritual post on praying for your children when I got an e-mail from a friend with this hilarious video attached. Praying for your kids will have to wait...check out this video and see if you can relate! ( don't give up praying for your kids this week, but I'll give you some tips on it next Thursday!)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Monday, September 24, 2007

Marriage Expiration Date?

BERLIN (Reuters) - Bavaria's most glamorous politician -- a flame-haired motorcyclist who helped bring down state premier Edmund Stoiber -- has shocked the Catholic state in Germany by suggesting marriage should last just 7 years.
Gabriele Pauli, who poses on her web site in motorcycle leathers, is standing for the leadership of Bavaria's Christian Social Union (CSU) -- sister party of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) -- in a vote next week.
She told reporters at the launch of her campaign manifesto Wednesday she wanted marriage to expire after seven years and accused the CSU, which promotes traditional family values, of nurturing ideals of marriage which are wide of the mark.
"The basic approach is wrong ... many marriages last just because people believe they are safe," she told reporters. "My suggestion is that marriages expire after seven years."
After that time, couples should either agree to extend their marriage or it should be automatically dissolved, she said. (Madeline Chambers).

When I do premarital counseling I often tell my clients that I have been married for 33 years. I also tell them that in that 33 years I have fallen in love with my husband 6 or 7 times, and, if I were to be honest, there have been at least 6 or 7 times that I have thought, "Oh my goodness....what was I thinking?" So, if I do the math, about every 5 or 6 years I might have opted out of marriage if I had been given the chance. No doubt one of those times would have fallen at the same time as the expiration date proposed by Gabriele Pauli.
I have never done premarital counseling with a couple that believes that their marriage will end in divorce. As a matter of fact, most of the time when I talk about common problems in marriage their eyes glaze over an they tell me "that won't happen to us, we're in love!" And yet, almost 50 percent of first marriages end in divorce...many of them within the first seven years.
So, is it impossible to stay happily married? I guess it depends on how you view it something that you only stay in as long as you are happy? Or did you mean the vows you repeated at your wedding:
"To have and to hold,
From this day forward,
For better, for worse,
For richer, for poorer,
In sickness and in health,
To love and to cherish,
Till death do us part."
Those are tough promises to live up to on the days when you not only don't feel love for your spouse, but you really don't even like him or her!
I wonder how many people would still be married if they were given a legal out every seven years. For me, marriage is more than a contract that can be broken if I'm not happy. My commitment to marriage is more about my faithfulness to the vow I took before God than my "love" (or feelings of love) for my husband. Feelings are fleeting and dependent on circumstances. While there may be many days that I do not have "in love" feelings for my husband, my love for him is a decision that I act upon even when I don't feel like it.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sunday's Quote of the Day

"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved." Helen Keller
Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Stressless Saturday: Stop Wasting Time

1. Procrastination
I used to say that my house was never cleaner than when I had a paper to write in grad school. Procrastination wastes time because we do all kinds of other things instead of what we should be doing!

2. Telephone, E-mail & Mail
The telephone is for your convenience…not for everyone else’s convenience! You don’t have to answer the phone every time it rings. It is okay to screen your calls and even turn your phone off when you are in the middle of doing something important. Filter your e-mails…and don’t even open the ones you know are junk. Stand over the garbage can when you open your mail...and opt out of mailing lists if possible.

3. Meetings
There are companies that use meeting cost clocks to determine how much a staff meeting costs in terms of combined salaries. Meetings without specific agendas are usually not productive…and almost 1/3 of the time spent in meeting is wasted because of a lack of good meeting management. Wasted time costs money…and causes extra stress.

4. Paperwork
I just read something about paperwork today on Check out Gretchen Rubin at The Happiness Project. “You know those little notes you write to yourself? The phone numbers, the URLs, the “call John Doe” reminder, the quick “don’t forget” notes…all those nagging loose ends that clutter the paper surfaces of a desk?

I used to scribble down quick notes to myself on whatever piece of paper that was lying around. This caused problems for several reasons: later, I couldn’t find what information I needed; I often couldn’t read my writing or figure out what a note meant; and often I accidentally tossed something I needed, or was reluctant to toss a note because I didn’t know if I needed it.

Now I have a “scratch paper for the day.” I keep a pad of paper by the phone, and anytime I have the urge to make a note to myself, I discipline myself only to use that pad of paper.

At the end of the day, I toss the piece of paper, after copying anything I need to keep.

I’m amazed at how much difference it has made in my sense of order. I’m not surrounded by illegible scribbles that may or may not be critically important.”

5. Space Setup
Having easy access to the things you use everyday seems like a no-brainer, but many times our space is set up in a way that makes us waste time. I realized this for myself one day when I was printing envelopes. With my printer I can only do one envelope at a time. The printer was on the right side of my desk and the envelopes were on a shelf at the top of the left side. So, every time I went to print an envelope I reached up to the left and down to the right…you get the picture. Since I don’t really think of office work as exercise, I thought it might save some time to put an under shelf basket directly over the printer for the envelopes. Although I still have to feed them one at a time, there is no more stretching, and I’m sure it saves some time!

6. Not Delegating
Delegation is a necessity in managing time. We often think that we can do the work better than anyone else, so we hold onto tasks that someone else really should be doing. We stretch ourselves so thin that we are only giving 60% or 70% to any one task. In reality, if we can delegate it to someone else, they will probably do a better job even if they don’t give it their all!

7. Interruptions
Have you ever had one of those days when everyone stops by your desk and says, “Do you have a minute?” The definition of interruption is “To stop or hinder by breaking in. To break in upon an action. To break in with questions or remarks while another is speaking." Webster, 1995 Interruptions waste time because they cause us to shift our focus from the task at hand. It is not just the interruption that steals time, but the time it takes to refocus and get restarted. Try to work in an area where you are not likely to be disturbed. Shut your door, turn off your phone, turn off the television, put a do-not-disturb sign on the doorknob.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Ten Commandments for Spoiling Your Grandkids

1. Thou shalt shower them with hugs and kisses.
2. Thou shalt give cookies in abundance.
3. Thou shalt not forget to kiss all boo-boos.
4. Thou shalt stay in touch without fail -- in person, by phone or by mail.
5. Thou shalt share memories and special stories.
6. Thou shalt always keep the candy dish out.
7. Thou shalt reward good grades and sports victories.
8. Thou shalt let them stay up past their bedtime.
9. Thou shalt be generous with praise and compliments.
10. Thou shalt tell them -- every chance you get -- that you love them.

Author Unknown

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Tuesdays In "other" Words

“They gave our Master a crown of thorns.

Why do we hope for a crown of roses?”

~ Martin Luther ~

I jokingly say that my philosophy of life is "no good deed goes unpunished." It seems that when I do something good it comes back and bites me. For example, at one time I was seeing client who couldn't afford to pay. I agreed to see her for free because I really felt that she needed the help and wouldn't take advantage of my kindness. She came to see me for many months, but then she cancelled several times and never came back. I ran into her in the grocery store one day and she said, "I felt uncomfortable not paying you, so I'm going to see another counselor and I'm paying her." What?! I really would have let her pay!!

I could recite many instances of my "good deeds" going unnoticed, unappreciated, unpaid. There are times that I swear that I won't do it again...get taken advantage of...

It is times like those that the quote by Martin Luther stings my conscience and make me realize that the sacrifices I have made in my good deeds are nothing compared to the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for me. So, I continue to dust off my pride and give to others even if it never gets appreciated this side of heaven. I can never out give or out love God...

Ephesians 4:32 "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. 5:1 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."

Check out more In "other" words posts here. Thanks Iris for hosting this week!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Marriage Monday

As a counselor I meet with a lot of couples. Some of their marriages are in serious trouble, but many of them have just hit a bump in the road of marriage. No matter what shape a marriage is in, any marriage can improve with focused time and attention. Here are some quizzes to get you started focusing on your marriage:

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sunday's Quote of the Day

"All things are created twice. There's a mental or first creation, and a physical or second creation of all things. You have to make sure that the blueprint, the first creation, is really what you want, that you've thought everything through. Then you put it into bricks and mortar. Each day you go to the construction shed and pull out the blueprint to get marching orders for the day. You begin with the end in mind." Stephen Covey - The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Stressless Saturday: Eliminating Clutter

Are you overwhelmed by clutter? Most of us have clothes we never wear, piles of stuff in our garages and closets, and boxes that we haven’t opened for years. Sometimes we wake up in the morning, see the stacks of paper on our desk, or the overflowing files, and we feel like we are starting the day already behind on our to-do-list. Clutter can sap your energy and leaves you less able to work efficiently. Clutter causes you to waste time because you have to sort through the mess to find what you need.

So, how do we eliminate clutter…and move from overwhelmed to stress less? According to, clutter means:

  • to fill or litter in a disorderly manner
  • A disorderly heap or assemblage; litter
  • A state or condition of confusion
Living a clutter free life is more than just cleaning up. It means changing the way we view our possessions. Many times we avoid clearing out clutter because it would mean dealing with difficult emotions…so we hold on tightly to our pasts not realizing that our “stuff” is causing stress.

  • Have you ever held onto clothes that don’t fit because you’re sure that you will “get back into them?’ Getting rid of them would mean accepting that you weigh more than you like.
  • Have you lost a loved one and feel guilty getting rid of their clothes or possessions? Letting go of their stuff forces you to deal with the fact that they are gone.
  • Do you hold onto sports equipment or hobby supplies even when you don’t use them anymore? By getting rid of them you may have to admit that you have aged and are not able to do the things you could when you were younger, and in shape.

Take a look around your house and see how many things you are holding onto for “sentimental” reasons that are really there because you don’t want to deal with your emotional baggage. Once you have determined why you hold onto these items, begin sorting through them by using these categories:

  • Keep- clothing, shoes, and accessories that fit and you love
  • Friends and/or family - bless someone else’s life with meaningful items
  • Fix- items that can be worn again with a little help
  • Sell- items you’d like to sell on e-bay or Craig's’s list or a yard sale instead of donate
  • Donate - someone else may need what you no longer want!
  • Seasonal- items that need to be stored for another season
  • Trash- torn, stained, unusable
  • Move it– things that belong in another room
And don’t forget these rules!

  • When something new comes in, something old goes out
  • Think before you buy - stop clutter before it starts

Friday, September 14, 2007

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Parenting Tips: Respect

When did kids stop respecting their parents? I was at the store last week and saw a pre-teen swearing at her mom. She was angry about something (probably because her mom said no) and the language that came out of her mouth was unbelievable. But what was more unbelievable was that the mom took it. Oh, she told the girl to stop...but her words weren't even convincing to me. The girl just rolled her eyes (a sign of contempt) and continued berating her mother. I don't know about you, but if I had tried that when I was a pre-teen I wouldn't be alive to tell about it today. When I was a kid all parents had to do was give the "look" and we knew we were in big trouble!

As I contemplated that scene in the store this week I became increasingly aware of some of the commercials on TV that show parents (particularly dads) as bumbling idiots. Some recent examples are the Staples commercial with mom and dad dressed up as cheerleaders while the kids look on in disgust. Or the cell phone commercial where dad says that if all 5 members of the family can call 5 other people for free then they can call 26 people for free.

We may laugh when we see these commercials (some of them ARE pretty funny), but they are an indication of how things have changed in our society. Parents don't command respect...and the world tells kids that their parents aren't to be respected.

So, what's a parent to do? Respect is one of the most important things you can teach your children. But remember that respect is not the same as obedience. Kids often obey because they are afraid, but if they respect you, they will obey because they know you love them and want what's best for them.

According to respect is "to hold in esteem or honor." Respect is an attitude. Teaching a child to act respectfully will help that child succeed in life. However, if children don't have respect for peers, authority, or themselves, it will be almost impossible for them to succeed.

Unfortunately many times parents don't get respect from their kids because a) they don't show respect TO their kids, or their spouse, and b) they are trying to be a friend to their child instead of a parent. It is difficult for a child to learn respect when they don't see it, or when they don't feel it. And it is difficult for a child to give respect to someone who is trying to please instead of putting up the boundaries that all kids need in order to feel loved and cared for.

Here are some tips for teaching your children respect:

1. Be honest
2. Be polite
3. Be reliable
4. Obey the laws
5. Say you're sorry
6. Provide opportunities to practice
7. Model good behavior
8. Prompt children to be polite
9. Watch television together and discuss disrespectful behavior
10. Teach the golden rule

Wordless Wednesday

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Maybe you remember going out on the high dive, determined to jump into the swimming pool below...everything looks great at first...Then you freeze. this board is much higher than you thought. You sense pain is your destiny rather than glory...Every new endeavor is like that. There is a kind of courage required to get up on the board, and then there is another kind of courage required to jump off it. Yet until you are willing to stretch a little bit and get your feet wet in deeper water, you will not mature. We are capable of so much more than we think we are...

Joshua 3:7-8 God said to Joshua, "This very day I will begin to make you great in the eyes of all Israel. They'll see for themselves that I'm with you in the same way that I was with Moses. You will command the priests who are carrying the Chest of the Covenant: 'When you come to the edge of the Jordan's waters, stand there on the river bank.'"
9-13 Then Joshua addressed the People of Israel: "Attention! Listen to what God, your God, has to say. This is how you'll know that God is alive among you—he will completely dispossess before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites, and Jebusites. Look at what's before you: the Chest of the Covenant. Think of it—the Master of the entire earth is crossing the Jordan as you watch. Now take twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one man from each tribe. When the soles of the feet of the priests carrying the Chest of God, Master of all the earth, touch the Jordan's water, the flow of water will be stopped—the water coming from upstream will pile up in a heap."
14-16 And that's what happened. The people left their tents to cross the Jordan, led by the priests carrying the Chest of the Covenant. When the priests got to the Jordan and their feet touched the water at the edge (the Jordan overflows its banks throughout the harvest), the flow of water stopped. It piled up in a heap—a long way off—at Adam, which is near Zarethan. The river went dry all the way down to the Arabah Sea (the Salt Sea). And the people crossed, facing Jericho.
17 And there they stood; those priests carrying the Chest of the Covenant stood firmly planted on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan while all Israel crossed on dry ground. Finally the whole nation was across the Jordan, and not one wet foot.

Notice that the victorious crossing did not appear until they had gotten their feet wet. Jesus, Life Coach - Laurie Beth Jones, pgs. 216-217

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Sunday's Quote of the Day

I have been thinking a lot about changes lately. My husband retired on August 1st, we are planning to build a house and move out of the community we have lived in for the last 32 years, and last Friday I moved into a new office. (Which should explain why I haven't posted much this week!!)

I have been going through the home that we built 21 years ago and thinking about what we can get rid of. I don't know about you, but I have held onto a lot of things that I really don't want to pack and move! It has been a trip down memory lane seeing the boxes of Barbie dolls, Lincoln Logs, Lego's and G.I. Joe's that our children left behind. I was saving them for my grandchildren...and some things I will probably still hang on to...but some will go the way of the yard sale or will be donated to Amvets.

I am trying to remember that memories are not in the things we own, but in the relationships we cherish. I will never let them go, but the "stuff" that fills my closets can go!

"It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power." Alan Cohen

Friday, September 7, 2007

Fun Friday

When my wife had to rush to the hospital unexpectedly, she asked me to bring her a few items from home. One item on her list was “comfortable underwear.”

Not sure what she considers comfortable, I asked, “How will I know which ones to pick?”

“Hold them up and imagine them on me,” she answered. “If you smile, put them back.”

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

Thanks Wes!!

Check out other Wordless Wednesday pictures here and here!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Stressless Saturday

I often have clients who are stressed out because they do too much and don't know how to say no. People who are in helping professions are often the worst at putting up personal boundaries because they are needed...and they hate to let anyone down. As a Christian I try to follow the model that Jesus set...but I often forget that although He was the ultimate healer and helper, He set boundaries!

Check out this quote from Laurie Beth Jones in Jesus, Life Coach:

"Whenever I am seated over the wing of an airplane I look with some amusement and no small amount of prayer at the letters placed outside over a small section of the wing. The letters read: "Do Not Step Here." Obviously that small movable part on the huge metal airship is fragile. One misstep could cause enough damage to bring the whole plane tumbling down. What many of us fail to realize is that we have within us areas of the soul that have the same lettering. Yet, somehow, mostly through our own neglect, we allow others to trample all over our "fragile pieces" and then we wonder why we don't seem to have the energy we need to get off the ground.

People who are in service to others, and especially those who are Christians, often believe that they must give all they have all the time to all who ask whenever they may ask it...

Jesus was very intentional about His work. He did not heal all of the people in Jerusalem. He did not raise all of the dead. He knew His mission and He stuck to it. He was also very conscious about his boundaries.

Part of guarding your fragile things is recognizing when and where and how to raise and lower your personal boundaries at appropriate times."