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Better Me Challenge – Day 9

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stop-complaining

Do others call you Negative Nancy or have you nicknamed yourself that?  It is so easy to get caught up in what’s wrong in life or what someone else did wrong rather than seeing the blessings instead.  Today’s challenge is to stop all negative talk and complaining for 24 hours.  I always saw myself as an optimist rather than a pessimist so I thought this challenge would be a breeze for me.

I was definitely off the mark on this one.  I was a Negative Nancy and didn’t even know it. First thing out of bed and I was complaining about being so tired when I should have been thankful for having the ability to get out of bed.  Throughout the day I would either catch myself complaining or was reminded by my family that I wasn’t supposed to be complaining.  The thing is, my complaints were over small things…I am tired of the cold weather, why didn’t you tell me that we ran out of butter? or this house is just too small for what I want to do with my new business.  Did these things really matter in the grand scheme of things?  NO…not at all!  It was a very eye-opening experience for me.  I was ashamed of myself honestly.  I’ve got a pretty good life and here I was complaining about things of little importance.  I was taking my blessings for granted and couldn’t even see it.

Life isn’t perfect and that’s okay.  Being thankful for what I have instead of finding fault in things and others is what I will focus on more consciously.  This challenge has opened my eyes to my own behavior and I intend to make a change starting today.

Don’t let negativity clutter your thoughts.  Focus on the things you have and the people in your life rather than moan or complain about the things that aren’t quite perfect.  Put more positivity in your thoughts and in your life.

To see the full 21 day challenge read Be a better you

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Better Me Challenge – Day 11

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me time relax

The challenge for day 11 is simple – just breathe.  Life can get very hectic at times with busy schedules, work, children, hobbies, etc…  I do an awful lot of worrying about everyone else and forget to take care of myself.  As a mom and wife, life can get pretty busy.  I spend more time making sure my family has everything they need and rarely take time for me.  When things get stressful my job is to make sure everyone else relaxes, but leave little time to concentrate on relaxing myself.  I spend many nights going to bed so tense that I lie there awake for hours.

Today’s challenge is a welcome one.  I could sure use some me time so today is the day.  I decided to relax by taking a nice hot bubble bath paired with some spa music, a glass of moscato, candles, and a good mystery novel.  I spent about 45 minutes secluded from my family enjoying the rare peace and quiet.  It was quite calming.  My family was very respectful of my alone time and left me without interruption.  Since they were so quiet the entire 45 minutes, I expected to be bombarded once I was done with “mom, can you do this?” or “mom check this out”, but surprisingly that didn’t happen.  For the rest of the evening, my family continued to keep things calm so that I could stay relaxed.  I have the most awesome and thoughtful family and I am so thankful for them.

When life gets too busy, stop and take some time for yourself.  Don’t let yourself get rundown.  Just breathe, you deserve it!

To see the complete 21 day challenge, you can read Be a better you.

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Better Me Challenge – Day 8

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Matthew 6:3-4

The challenge for Day 8 was to do something nice for someone and keep it a secret.  I’m sure by now everyone has heard of pay it forward.  There was a movie made quite a few years ago with the same title.  In that movie a young boy wanted to make the world a better place.  He had an idea that if he did something nice for someone and they did something nice for someone and they did something nice for someone…well you get the point.  It’s a great idea actually, but it doesn’t always take off like it should.

 “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”                                                                                                                                       Hebrews 13:16

When I lived in Texas, I listened to a Christian radio station every day on my hour plus drive to and from work and the radio DJ’s were always broadcasting stories where one patron of Chick-fil-a or Starbucks had gone through the drive-thru and paid for the person’s order behind them.  Too many times, the person who received the free coffee or meal just accepted the kindness and drove away without continuing to pay it forward.  I would love to have heard that it went on and on for several hours. How cool would that be? That is really the idea behind paying it forward.

Today’s challenge was all about that too…a random act of kindness.  I completed today’s challenge, but I am not allowed to share what I’ve done.  The reason for that is that we are supposed to do good deeds for others without needing praise for it afterwards.  We shouldn’t do things expecting a verbal thank you or a pat on the back for being a good person.  We should all be good to others just because it is the right thing to do.  As it says in Matthew 6:3-4, doing good for others in secret favors God who will then reward you.  The only one we need to impress is Him.

Can you do something without needing to post on social media or tell all your family and friends?  You might be surprised to see that it will actually make you feel even better about doing something for someone else.  It did for me.  I walked around the house smiling to myself all day.  It was a very good day.

To see the full 21 day challenge you can read Be a better you.

 

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Better Me Challenge – Day 7

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waynes-world-bohemian-rhapsody

Sorry for not posting over the past week, but I had to take a trip out of town with my family and wasn’t given much time to keep up with my blog.  I also wasn’t able to keep up with every day of my challenge, but I was able to complete some of them.  Now that I am home I intend to complete the days I couldn’t and catch up my blog on the ones I could.

Day 7’s challenge was to sing out loud in my car.  This is one challenge that I was able to complete while out of town.  Last Wednesday, my husband had some things to take care of with his previous employer and my daughter was taken out to lunch by her cousin that used to live here in Michigan with us so I was left alone.  We had driven all through the night on Tuesday and arrived in New York around 3:00 am Wednesday so I was exhausted and hungry when I woke up.  Corning, New York has the most amazing grocery store that I have ever been in.  I had been there once before two Thanksgiving’s ago when we visited Corning and I was blown away.  Back home, we had a grocery store named HEB, that was much like Wegman’s, but not quite as awesome.  If you are as obsessed with food as I am, walking into Wegman’s is like walking into heaven.  They make fresh sushi while you wait, have fresh-baked cookies, donuts, muffins, a specialty coffee shop, a buffet of Asian food, pizza, subs, etc…  Never go into Wegman’s if you are hungry.  I walked in to get something for lunch and ended up with a ton of sushi, chicken wings, blueberry and chocolate chip muffins, a couple of donuts and a coke.  I think I gained 5 pounds just walking in.

When I left Wegman’s I was so excited.  As I was pulling out of the parking lot one of my favorite songs came on the radio as I was searching for a radio station.  I was a huge Def Leppard fan when I was in high school and my favorite song of theirs was ‘Love Bites’.  It was a perfect time for me to belt it out in the car without caring who watched.  As I pulled out onto the street, I was shaking my head, doing a drum solo on the steering wheel and singing like I was standing on stage with Joe Elliott.  It felt GREAT!!  I got back to my husband’s uncle’s house, ate some spicy shrimp rolls and chicken wings and reveled in the happiness.  It was awesome.

I think I will make singing out loud in the car a regular occurrence.  I suggest you all try it at least once.  It is liberating.

To see my complete 21 day challenge, read Be a better you.

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Better Me Challenge – Day 6

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use your manners

Use them manners you’re momma taught you…that is the challenge for Day 6.

When I was a child, I was always taught to use my manners.  It was always please and thank you.  Being raised in the south, I was also taught to say yes ma’am and yes sir.  It was ingrained in me at such a young age so I still do it to this day.  Oddly enough, that is offensive to some folks.  While I was in college I lived in Indiana.  I always said ma’am or sir and for whatever reason not everyone looked at that as a sign of respect.  Now, at 42, when I say ma’am to someone not quite as old as I am, the odds of them getting offended and scolding me is pretty high.  That makes me very sad.  I’m not saying it to imply they  are older than I am or to be rude.  Quite the opposite actually.  I’m saying it to be respectful because I was raised that way.  It’s a shame how that has been lost over the generations.

Yesterday, my husband and I along with my 11-year-old daughter and our two dogs took a road trip to New York to see some of my husband’s family who live in the beautiful Catskill Mountains. During our 12 hour road trip, you can imagine we stopped a few times.  Each time we did, I made sure to use my manners and made sure my husband and daughter did the same.  There’s no real hope for the dogs as they just barge their way around sniffing and squatting.  My husband always opens the doors for us as well as anyone going in or coming out at the same time.  My daughter made sure to say thank you when the lady behind the counter handed her the chocolate frosty she ordered.  It felt good to see my family think of others and practice respect.  It makes me thankful that my mother raised me to do the same.

In addition to the please and thank you’s, there are a few manners that I see are just not taught much anymore.  Why are so many people chewing with their mouths open so the whole world can see what they are eating or talking with their mouths full of food while bits are spattered across the table and onto the food of others at the table.  GROSS!!!  Why is that now okay?  No one wants to see what you are eating or get spit on.  Please people…let’s practice some table manners.

squirrel

Okay, I’m off my soap box about the missing table manners, but man is it a pet peeve of mine.  The purpose of today’s challenge was to make sure that we are courteous and respectful.  It really makes a difference to someone when you treat them with just plain old simple respect.  If you have children and they remember to say please or thank you, it will almost always get a smile and a compliment from the person on the receiving end and it’s not really that hard.

Thanks Mom, for teaching me my manners and to respect others.  I will do my best to make sure my children do the same.

Next on the challenge is to sing out loud in my car.  Let’s see how many people I can get to laugh at me.

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Better Me Challenge – Day 5

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social media, facebook, instagram, twitter

The challenge for day 5 is to stay off social media.  My husband thought today would be impossible for me, but I welcome it actually.  I am not what you would call a Facebook junkie, but I do spend a bit of time there each day along with Instagram so he thinks I can’t go without it.

Well, I am glad to say I proved him wrong.  I have been off social media for over 24 hours.  I have not once clicked on that blue square and scrolled through all 400+ friends.  I have no idea what anyone across the country is doing or has done and I’m ok with it.  I haven’t checked Instagram or Twitter or anything else.  I am not saying I’m done with social media forever, but I definitely can live without checking it each day.  I do like to keep up with Instagram because my older kids do post some of their photos there, but they have outgrown Facebook so I won’t miss anything there.  I will check Facebook periodically as my friends from Texas and my family use it and I do like seeing their photos and what they are up to.

It’s amazing how liberating it was to not give into the urge to go there yesterday.  I really didn’t have too much trouble throughout the afternoon as I was busy helping my husband with some final tasks with his now previous employer, but later in the evening when we were all settling down from the day, I finally felt the need to check but instead I chose to read.  I love reading, but rarely take the time to sit down and read.  I like to read mystery novels…whodunits.  So instead of being tied to social media throughout the day, I vow to do more reading.

I do have a Facebook page that I use to provide support and resources for other survivors of abuse and I will keep up with that page throughout the day sharing posts and trying to provide some inspiration.  My personal page, however, is not going to see me as often.

Some say social media has ruined our communication skills.  I don’t disagree.  It has taken away our ability to communicate effectively.  Too many times we are quick to use abbreviations or acronyms instead of taking the time to use our words appropriately and completely.  It has also taken away that personal aspect that goes with picking up the phone and talking to someone.  We don’t write letters anymore either, we just check out social media and feel like we are still communicating with our friends and family.

That couldn’t be further from the truth.  We are only seeing a part of what is really going on.  We only see what they are willing to share with their group of friends or with the public depending on their personal settings.  Now of course some share too much, but even then there is so much under the surface that we are not seeing.  Why not pick up the phone and ask how they are or try writing a letter like we did in the ‘old days’?  Sure it costs nearly 50 cents, but who can’t afford that?  Plus, it makes someone feel special to know you took the time to sit down and write to them.  I know I love receiving cards or letters in the mail.

Well today’s challenge got me to thinking.  It made me realize that I’m not really taking the time to communicate with my friends and family like they deserve.  So when I get the urge to scroll through my newsfeed, I will pick up a pen and a notepad and write a letter to one of my friends instead.  Maybe it will catch on and others will start the same.  Maybe it won’t, but it will make a difference in how I communicate moving forward.

5 days down in my challenge to be a better me and I already feel better.  I feel more aware of how I treat myself and others and strive to do a better job.

To see all 21 days of the challenge click here.

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Better Me Challenge – Day 4

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no feet

Today’s challenge is to focus on life’s blessings rather than the negative things in life.  Sometimes that can be difficult.  Just 3 days ago my husband was laid off from his job unexpectedly.  He was working for an oilfield company and as I’m sure you know, the oilfield has been tanking for quite some time.  My husband was last among his position to be laid off and it was a big blow to us as he is our financial provider and we thought his job was safe according to a call he received just 2 days before.

When he called me and told me he was laid off, he was still traveling back from a job in Ohio and wouldn’t be home for several hours.  He had to drive all alone with the stress and worry about how he was going to take care of his family.  I can only imagine how horrible that was for him.  I told him that we would find a way and that I had faith.

God is good and does work miracles, because within 2 hours of being laid off, he was called by an old supervisor and offered another job.  Now this opportunity has a lot of unanswered questions at this time and could possibly mean moving temporarily, but it’s a job nonetheless.  My husband had just said 2 weeks ago that he finally wanted out of the oilfield as he’s been in it almost 30 years.  So his being laid off is what I call a blessing in disguise.  God answers our prayers in his own way sometimes making us sweat it out a bit so that we can appreciate it that much more.

So on this day that I am challenged to find only the blessings in my life, I count this new adventure and job opportunity for my husband and our family as a blessing.  I am also blessed with an amazing family who I am so very proud of.  We are all healthy and happy.  We have a roof over our head, a refrigerator full of food and great friends.  For all these reasons and more I am blessed beyond belief.

To see all 21 challenges you can read here.  You can also follow along with me as I recount each day.

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Better Me Challenge – Day 3

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God, bold, pray

So now it’s on to day 3 of the challenge.  Today’s challenge is much easier for me than yesterday’s challenge.  I am to spend time with God both in the morning and at night.  I try to talk with God daily already.  So on this day before I got out of bed I spent a few minutes talking with my friend.

I started my prayer with gratitude.  I feel it is important to first thank God for all that I am blessed with.   I owe Him thanks and praise for the things in my life.  I thank Him for my family and my happiness, my health, the stunning beauty that I get to see every day in this gorgeous place I get to live. Usually the bulk of my prayer time is spent with thanks. Once I have honored Him with thanks and praise, I then pray for guidance and wisdom to live out His wishes for the day.

I must admit, I am still learning to use my prayer time in a way that honors God.  I’ve done a lot of reading about prayer.  I used to be afraid to ask for big things for fear that God would think I was being selfish or greedy, but I have since learned that God wants us to pray BIG!  He likes to be challenged also.  God can do all things and through Him we can also so don’t be afraid to pray for what you need no matter how big.

As my day came to a close, I spent some time with God again.  For this session, my prayers were very much the same.  I make sure to give him credit for the time I spent with family and for making it home safely from a trip across the state.

I will continue to pray each morning and each night as everything I am and all that I have is because of Him.

To read more about my 21 day challenge click here.

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Better Me Challenge – Day 2

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happiness

Day 2 of the be a better me challenge was to compliment a stranger.  Day 1 was about learning to love myself so that I can learn to love others so it is only appropriate that I should be kind to a stranger.

To be honest, this challenge was a bit hard to complete.  I had a hard time remembering to pay attention to others rather than what I was doing myself.  My daughter and I were out running errands and stopped at 4 stores before  I remembered my challenge.  As we were walking out of the first store, my daughter says “Mom, you didn’t complement anyone”.  I will at our next stop, I would tell her, but by the time we would get to the next place, I was so focused on what we had to get that once again, until we were walking out, I forgot to complete the challenge.

At the 4th place I remembered again as we were walking out.  Thankfully there was a couple that walked out right behind us.  As we held the door for them, I remembered so I immediately told the woman that I loved her hair and I was genuine about it.  She had a really cute feisty haircut that was short with a braid on the side.  It reminded me when I was younger and much thinner, I could have sported that same do.  Now adays with the chubby cheeks that I have, those short haircuts just don’t look as flattering as they once did.

When I complimented her, she couldn’t help by smile.  Success!!!  We actually talked about her haircut as we walked to our cars.  So although it nearly took me all day, I completed the challenge and it felt great to make her feel good.

If you would like to read about the entire 21 day challenge, you can find it here.

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Better Me Challenge – Day 1

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love yourself

Yesterday I wrote a blog about challenging myself to be a better me.  In an attempt to force myself to follow through with this challenge, I plan to write about what I’ve done each day.  You can read the 21 day challenge here.

Today is Day 1 and I am supposed to compliment myself.  As I said yesterday, I have always had a difficult time accepting compliments so this one is definitely a challenge.  I started this challenge by drafting a list of positive things about me.

  1. I have a strong faith in God.
  2. I am compassionate and empathetic.
  3. I am pretty organized.
  4. I have a huge heart.
  5. I am a great cook.
  6. I am a good listener.
  7. I love deeply.
  8. I am extremely passionate about things that are important to me, but honor others’ opinions.
  9. I am open minded.
  10. I am not a hypocrite.
  11. I am intelligent.
  12. I love to help others.
  13. I am pragmatic.

So there’s my list.  It was a bit difficult at first as most of what came to mind were my faults or negative things instead.  As I got going, it began to get much easier, surprisingly.

I was asked many years ago by a therapist to make the same list.  I was not able to come up with one single thing for several minutes.  I remember being extremely uncomfortable with the request.  My ability to do this now without discomfort lets me know that I am well on my way to healing.  Woohoo!!

There are two ways of loving yourself.  One is being conceited or arrogant, thinking you are better than everyone else which is a sin and then there is naturally loving yourself which is what God intended for each of us.

– Love your neighbor as yourself.  There is no commandment greater than these.

Mark 12:31

We must first love ourselves so that we may properly love others.  Without loving and understanding ourselves, how are we capable of establishing boundaries for others to love us. If we don’t love ourselves we often allow others to mistreat us, hurt us and use us.

Search within yourself to make your own list of positive things and start loving yourself more.  I feel better already.

Tomorrow’s challenge…Complement a Stranger.  I can’t wait!