10 Life Hacks for When You are Overwhelmed

Hand Writing HELP on Whiteboardby Tamera Lynn Kraft

No matter how well organized we are or how well we plan, life sometimes throws us a curve ball. An illness, family emergency, or a million other things can steer us off course, and there is nothing we can do in those times but hold on tight and ride the wave through it. Here are ten life hacks to help you when those things happen.

lists-freeMake a list of things to do. Even when you don’t have time to do your to do list, it helps to write everything down. Then go through the list and cross off everything that doesn’t have to be done. Write an L for later beside everything on the list that has to be done but can wait until your past your emergency mode. For the rest, decide what you can delegate to others.

Hire help. Sometimes it is worth spending a little money to free up your time during emergencies. There are lots of companies that are willing to mow your lawn, run your errands, do your shopping, and clean your house. You can even take your laundry to the laundry mat and have them wash, dry, and fold your laundry. You may consider these services luxuries you can’t afford, but remember this is a temporary fix to get you through a tough time.

Say no. You are in emergency mode. You don’t have time to take on any new projects no matter how worthy they are.

24-1013tm-cart-professionalsGet your family on board. Explain to your husband and kids what’s going on. If you have close friends, get them involved too.Tell them you may not be there for them like you usually are and ask for their help. Also ask them to pray for you.

Give yourself permission to not be perfect. When you are in emergency mode, let your motto be “good enough is good enough.” Perfection is for people who have more time.

Use essential oils in a diffuser. This really works. I recommend Young Living Joy or Peace and Calming.

Have a cup of tea. While coffee might energize you temporarily, it will also make you nervous and on edge. Tea calms the nerves and makes everything better.

Exercise: Common sense says you don’t have time to go to the gym, but exercise helps stress levels come down and will keep your on task.

raising-handsWorship: Crank up the worship music and play it while you are doing what you need to do. Also take some time out to worship God. God will redeem the time you spend in His presence.

Ask God for peace and joy. God can give you peace and joy in the most difficult times. Peace and joy are not based on your circumstances but on God’s mercy and grace.

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Don’t Set Those Goals…

by Carole Brown

Whalists-freet, you say? And you have a right to ask. I wanted to grab your attention, so hence the partial statement. Here’s the sentence in its entirety:

Don’t set those goals TOO high!

Again, you might very well ask, why on earth not, especially coming from you who always advocates goals and lists?

Okay, I agree with that, but I want to throw out there some caution. Here are some reasons why I encourage you to be careful when setting your goals or making those lists:

  • When I make lists/goals I try not to make them unattainable FOR ME. I don’t include on my lists: “Paint room, wash windows, clean bathrooms, write 5000 words–today! Nope, I KNOW I can’t/won’t do all that. For one thing, I’m not much of a painter. Another thing, I hate washing windows, although I do get to it a few times a year–under pressure. I’m a slow writer, so 5000 words is pushing it for me. 

Now I mighcan-do-freet make a list like this: Clean bathrooms, write 1000 words, do one blog post, prepare supper, pay bills. 

 I know me. I know my limitations. I know I hate taking down the Christmas tree, so hubby begins right after Christmas encouraging me to work on it. I know I really don’t mind too much cleaning the bathrooms, so that’s a feasible goal. And if I attain more than a thousand words, than I’m flying high today!

So set reasonable goals.

 

  • Add some fun items along with the dreaded ones to make your list more appealing to your emotions and senses. Intermingle them. Try doing one hated chore right after or before a pleasant one. Reward yourself with a small piece of chocolate or some other read-on-vacationfavor when an unpleasant one is finished. Don’t overwhelm yourself with too many unpleasant tasks.

It’s far better to finish five dreaded items a week, than end the week feeling depressed because none of the twenty got done.

 

So, Intermingle on your tasks lists with both pleasant and unpleasant tasks.

 

  • God’s Word encourages us to do our REASONABLE SERVICE–not outlandish tasksbible-free that are out of our reach. But he also wants us to be good stewards, faithful in our work, disciplined. So I would encourage you to find and use as your motto a scripture verse/passage that you can refer to as your guide to making your lists a habit, an influence in seeing the need to be profitable in our daily chores and chosen paths, and a blessing to you as you diligently do your work every day. 

No, we might not accomplish everything, every day. We’re human. Faulty. And life happens. Don’t let failures discourage you, but count them as lessons. Push ahead.

So, find a scripture that keeps you motivated.

 

RECAPPbaseball2-freeING:

  1. Set reasonable goals.
  2. Intermingle good and bad tasks together
  3. Find a scripture for encouragement.


I believe if you follow these three simple steps, you’ll find a greater satisfaction each week. Remember, reward yourself. Stay true to yourself and God. Allow time for fun. You’ll be batting a high score.                     I believe it!

Happy goal-setting!

Tips to Show Your Love

by Carole Brown

february-valentines-free

February 14th is almost here, and, for most of us, the thoughts of candy, cards, flowers and other romantic items–and the ones we love–fill our hearts with warmth. Here are a few thoughts I had on some newer ways to share our love:homeless-free

 

To the Homeless:

  • Drop off a hat, scarf, coat, socks, etc., to a homeless person
  • Drop off a restaurant gift card or a home cooked meal.
  • Take five minutes to talk with one of them.

 

 

To a Child in Your Life:child-blowing-bubbles-free

  • Play with them. Pretend. Enter their imaginary world. 
  • Go on a date lunch with one. Or two. Allow them to pick the eating establishment.
  • Do something really crazy and fun that you’ve never done or it’s been a long, long time. It will be worth it all to see their faces light up!
  • Introduce them (if they don’t already know) to some intellectual amusement/learning. Art shop. Biblical place like Noah’s Ark in Cincinnati, Ohio, A decent dinner/show event, a decent concert, a wildlife hike, some cave exploring, etc. Or simple things like building with blocks, blowing bubbles, splashing through a rain puddle, building snowmen or angels, reading a book, etc. 

 

husband-n-wife2-free

To the Love of Your Life:

  • If you’re a man, prepare a meal with candles, low lights, scents and the music you love in the background. If you can’t cook, hire it done/ask a favor of a good cook. If you prefer, plan the kind of casual dinner event she would prefer. 
  • Go for a short vacation. Choose a cabin, hotel, camper, tent kind of place you both enjoy. Then make it special for your other half. Find a rock that means something special. Order a dessert he/she loves. Sit under the stars wrapped in blankets and study the stars. Talk. Relax. 
  • Give her the treat of a manicure, pedicure, or massage. If that’s out-of-your-budget, then give her/him a massage yourself. Make sure you have special oils to use and light music, low lights (or sunlight) of her/his preference.
  • Buy her a little gifts that she loves: Books, scarves, accessories, hair items, socks (fun and serious), favorite snacks, etc. 

 

To the God of Your Life:praise-n-sing-free

  • Prepare to attend your worship services with nothing in your mind but praising, serving and worshiping your God. How? Don’t plan lengthy activities for Saturday evenings. Get enough sleep the night before. Eat lightly before leaving for church. If there’s time, read a passage of scripture that can put you in the correct mood for church.
  • Give! Financially if you’re able (tithes and gifts are expected, thus saith the Bible). Volunteer for church functions. If you have a musical voice, sing solo or in a choir, or join a band. Share whatever talents you have with your church and church friends. Baking, decorating, calling on phones and in person, all these and more make a difference and take loads off others. 
  • Study the word. Make a sacrifice. Fast. Do something that is hard for you to do. Ask God to search your heart. Lean on him. Draw closer. Pray a little extra. Do a kindness when others are being ugly. Compliment. Smile. Stay true when others are disloyal or acting shamefully. Pray for the sinner, the disobedient, those straying. Do your part by being faithful. 

Love, Love, Love.  

The Bible says in Corinthians, “The greatest of these is charity.” 

 

Have a lovely month!

 

 

Five More Important Ways to Stay Healthy during Winter

by Carole Brown

I’m not a professional dietitian, doctor or whatever in diagnosing what ails you, but here are some thoughts and/or suggestions to check out. Be sure to talk with a professional/doctor before using any of these vitamin/herbals.

active

Keep active. It’s essential to support our health and well being. Moving your exercise indoors during winter will help to keep you warm as well as fit and healthy. Be sure to spend time warming up before you start your exercise as it can take a little longer for your joints to loosen up in the cold weather.

 

beauty-skin-free

Skin health. The cold weather can affect our skin and contribute to conditions such as dry, itchy skin, chill blains and eczema. Reduced humidity, drinking less water than you would during summer or possibly due to reduced circulation which may decrease the flow of blood and nutrients to the skin are some reasons.

  • Use moisturizers daily to help keep the skin moist and supple. 
  • Supplements containing vitamin E or garlic help assist blood circulation.
  • Psoriasis or eczema? Try taking fish oils which provides omega-3.
  • Sunscreen. Sunburn can happen even when the weather is cold!

 

cold-free

Keeping bugs at bay. Although we can do a lot to support our health and immunity during winter it is not always possible to avoid catching a cold or flu. The viruses that cause colds are spread by sneezing, coughing and hand contact.

  • Wash or sanitize your hands regularly.
  • Avoid close contact with someone who has a cold.
  • Keep household surfaces clean as well as kids’ toys when someone in the family has a cold.
  • If you are ill, be sure to drink plenty of fluids, including water, hot tea and soup.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine and get plenty of sleep.
  • Supplements such as vitamin C, zinc and echinacea may help relieve the symptoms and reduce the duration of a cold.

 

stress-free

Stress and healthy mood. 

  • Stress is a part of everyday life.
  • Some stress helps us to meet challenging situations, but excessive amounts of stress can have negative effects.
  • Stress can lower the resistance to nasty bugs (it depresses the immune system).
  • Stress increases your need for dietary magnesium which is important for muscle and nerve function.
  • Many of the B vitamins e.g. B1, B5, B6 and B12 are also needed for a healthy nervous system.
  • The herb St John’s Wort may help to relieve nervousness, irritability and help support emotional balance. It may also be beneficial to help promote healthy mood balance. But make sure to talk with your doctor or healthcare practitioner before starting a supplement like this.

 

circulation-free

Circulation. During winter hands and feet often are cold. Since they are extreme parts of our bodies (the most further from our heart which pumps the blood that keeps us warm) . Vitamin E and the herb Ginkgo help to support peripheral blood circulation, thereby alleviating cold hands and feet. MOVE with gentle exercise: helps improve circulation. Wear socks and gloves!

Stay healthy. Stay positive. Most of all, enjoy winter–whatever works for you!

Moving Forward!

by Carole Brown

Alrebook-freeady, almost a month has past in this new year 2017. Writers, have you advanced in your writing? Have you kept to resolves you made in your New Year’s plans for your writing journey? Have you…advanced?

Here were some of my writing plans for 2017 and how much I’ve progressed (accountability, you know. Smile):

  • Finish writing, editing and preparing for the delayed-from-last-year publication of the second book in my WWII series (A Flute in the Willows). With several obstacles that kept the publication from happening, I’m certainly looking forward to this. So far, I’ve increased the words, edited at least two times the already written words, and preparing to move ahead toward my goal. 
  • I’ve tentatively planned to finish three more books this year (not novellas). Although I’m not holding my breath on this one, if I can obtain at least the publication of a second one, I will be farther up the road than now. So…, as of today, I’ve plotted (lightly) the events in both of my newer series books (the third book in the Denton and Alex Davies series: Daffy’s Duck and the fourth book in my Appleton, WV series: Toby’s Troubles). 
  • Thirdly, I have a standalone book set in the mid-to-late 1800s, a light mystery filled with lots of romance, that I’d love to see published soon. The title is Caleb’s Destiny, and is already from a third-to half done. We’ll see about this as the months pass. 

RECAPPING:Working

  1.  Finish writing and editing A Flute in the Willows, WWII 
  2. Complete and edit either or both Daffy’s Duck and Toby’s Troubles
  3. If time permits, move on and complete Caleb’s Destiny

I’ve got my work cut out for me! 🙂

What’s your specific writing plans this year?

 

Dan Brown…and Chipper

by Carole Browndan-brown

I’m tickled pink to feature this man (and my love!) here today on this blog. He’s an inspiring, creative author, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy this short interview and a peek at all the Chipper books he has published. (More coming…) 

chipper-learns-a-lesson-copy-copyWhat messages in your Chipper books do you want children to learn about? Do you like a definite spiritual theme or do you keep it less obvious as you write? 

I want children to learn caring, helping, sharing, and to do the right thing. The spiritual theme is not an overt, in-your-face subject, but in learning right attributes, they are learning characteristics that will encourage them in the things of God. In the back of the books are short scriptures that they can learn or parents and children can discuss. And the discussion questions can help them to think about the themes in the books. Parents can gently guide their children by interacting with their children as they talk about these. 

book-two_centered-1

What’s next for you? Do you have another book being written now?

I have several short stories about Chipper ready to go, but holding off on these till at least two more of the Adventures of Chipper are ready for publishing. Life interferes (you’ve heard that before I’m sure) but I’m compiling and working on the creatures and plots for the next two books. Hopefully, God wills, these will be ready for my editor soon.

book-cover-three_centered

What or who makes a successful person/author, in your opinion?

As far as an author goes: my personal opinion is a someone who understands the power of the written word and being so intrigued and fascinated  by their own characters that they are there with them in heart and mind. 

book-four_centered

Why do you think this book resonates with readers?

Because the character Chipper helps young people and children to learn, and sometimes–most times, I think–they do not even realize that. It shows them that they are someone and that they can be a better person. They can get caught up in these fun and entertaining books and learn from them without even consciously knowing that.

book-five-centered-1


What is YOUR favorite part about these books or why do you love this series? Why should children read them?

  • Chipper’s outpouring love and concern, and being willing to give his all for the other characters in the books.
  • Why? For the children? Because Chipper and the other characters are interesting and exciting, enlightening and helpful. And funny!
  • For the parents? They are giving their children the opportunity to learn characteristics that will hopefully improve their children’s actions and attitudes. And it gives them opportunities to spend quiet, devotional times with them.

chipper-calls-for-help-book-six

Tell us a little bit of how you were called, or began writing. Happenstance? A clear call? A chosen career?

I felt a need to instruct children and young people (and yes, there are some young people who’ve read and enjoyed the books!) in things that matter.

book-seven-centered

Where do you get ideas? Character names? Do you find your characters similar to you in any way?

  • Mainly from God’s creation
  • A mystery! Seriously, through a great imagination. 🙂
  • Perhaps in some ways–I think most authors do. How could we not? 

chipper-and-the-ice-escapade-book-eight

Thanks, Dan, for joining us today and sharing a few things with us.

Readers, be sure to check out this link!

Amazon

Friday 13th: What It Means for Christians

by Carole Brownfriday-the-13th-free

What do we know about Friday 13th?

  • Friday the 13th occurs from one to three times per year when the 13th day of any month falls on a Friday.
  • The fear of Friday the 13th is called “paraskevidekatriaphobia,” a word derived from the Greek wordsParaskeví (Friday) and dekatreís (thirteen), attached to phobia (fear).
  • Some people are bound by paraskevidkatriaphobia that they avoid activities even their normal, everyday ones. They refuse to travel and seek to remain as “unnoticed” as possible. 

Theories about Friday 13th’s beginnings:

  • The Last Supper with the twelve disciples and Jesus making the “thirteenth” person: he was crucified and killed that day.
  • Frigga, a goddess, who was banished when Christianity entered the country.
  • French King Phillip IV ordered the death of all the monastery military order Knights Templar when they amassed too much wealth and power.

What should Christians choose to do?fear-free

Friday 13th is a superstition, built in and around FEAR. There are two types of fear. Fear of the Lord, which in the perfect sense means to stand in awe of. The second type of fear is a “spirit of fear” which is a detriment and should be overcome. 

As such, Christians need to look to the Bible for guidance:

 

bible-free

 

Encouraging Scriptures for the Christians:

  • Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”  Isaiah 41:10.
  • Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than the sparrows.” Matthew 41:10
  • In God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Psalm 56:11

There are many more scriptures in the Bible that encourage us to trust, to realize we’re not alone, that God understands our fear of destitution and weaknesses. There is power and strength in the scriptures. Keep our eyes fixed on them and on God.