Finding Hope pt. 3 “Balance”


Now for the fun part! Yes, I said “FUN”.

When we become “survival minded” and are only focusing on “existing” thru the day, we lose our Balance. We only focus on situations, problems, worry, work and the here-and-now. We mentally, and physically, exhaust ourselves – and as we all know, mental exhaustion is MUCH worse than physical exhaustion.

So, now that we are learning how to Hope and Dream again, it is time to take the next step. We need to give our life, and minds, some Balance.

Before our lives/situations took the turns that they did over the past few years, we used to take time out to “Play”. We used to take mental breaks from reality and do things that we really enjoyed. Then, due to the economy, situations in our lives, stress – we stopped. Either due to the lack of finances, ability or interest. Thus, helping plunge ourselves into the mental states that we’ve recently found ourselves in.


Now, we need to start doing something about that!

First step:  Give yourself permission!!

Taking a “time-out” from your life/circumstances/situations DOES NOT make you irresponsible (because you are not spending every waking second of your life worrying/trying to DO something about everything). It makes you healthier, and much more stable mentally and emotionally.

Think about a Pressure Cooker pot. Eventually, it’s going to “blow” if no one ever turns the heat down, or takes the pot off of the burner. It’s the same with you! The only difference is that only YOU are in charge of “removing the pot from the burner” for a period of time, when it comes to your life.

So, “It’s OK” to take a momentary time-out from life – if only for an afternoon, or for a day.  But, YOU have to do it!  Your own mental/emotional well-being depends on it. By taking a break from your “reality”, you’ll be able to think more clearly, and more calmly. You will feel a lot less frazzled, and less confused/stuck.


Second step:  Follow through!

Now that you’ve given yourself permission to take some time for yourself – DO IT!!

Schedule a morning/afternoon/day where you can do whatever it is that you need to do to re-charge your mental batteries. It may be just staying home by yourself (Turn that phone OFF!), and curling up on the sofa to read a good book; a long walk thru the woods to enjoy the scenery; a day sitting on the shore/boat fishing; a leisurely afternoon window shopping; a lengthy visit to your local coffee-house; a short driving trip to go “antiqueing”, or sight-seeing; or just WHATEVER!!! Just DO something that you enjoy in order to unwind.  Your brain will thank you later – and so will those people who have to live with you!   😉   

Another great option is to join a local club or group, who shares your interest in something – and that meets for an hour or two on a regular basis. Contact your local Chamber of Commerce, or newspaper, to find listings for groups/meetings in your area – or at least close to you.

Don’t have a group in your area? Start one!!

It’s really not as hard as you would imagine. Just mention your interest in starting such a group to your co-workers, friends, church congregation, etc.,  and ask them if they would be interested in attending. If 4 or more people say “Yes”, then ask them what time of day/day of the week would work the best for them. Now, average out the answers that you get to decide on a meeting schedule. Now you just need a place to meet.

There are several options here. Your group could meet at a local eatery that has private “rooms”, a local church’s fellowship hall or basement,  you could host the meeting at a different members home/garage on a rotating basis, or even in a covered shelter at your local pool/park. These are just some ideas. The local park/pool is also a GREAT option for those who would have to bring young children with them in order to attend.   🙂  

You could meet once a month, once every 2 weeks, once a week – or however often you decide. I know of groups of ladies who meet like this JUST to play cards, and get out of their house!


The whole point is to bring some BALANCE back to your life, and take some time for yourself (like a child – just to PLAY!!!).

Far too many of us have forgotten how to do just that – and we desperately need to re-learn how to do that again!

1) Kids Play

2)  Kids Imagine

3)  Kids Dream

4)  Kids Hope

5) Kids Laugh

When we become “Adults” we forget how to do all of those things – not by choice. But it IS by choice that we can learn how to do them again – if only for a few hours every week. We NEED to! We MUST!!

We’ve now covered the first 4 things on that list  – number 5 will take care of itself once we start doing the first 4!   😉 

So, get to it….and

Be Blessed!!





Finding Hope pt. 2


Okay, now that you’ve got your list made from part 1 (previous post), we’re going to start working on the next step. It’s easy – but it requires another list.   😉  

How many of you saw the movie “America’s Sweethearts”? Do you remember John Cusacks’ character siting in the backseat of the limo, stressed out, and chanting “I’m grateful for the cool, cool breeze….” to calm himself down?

If so, that gives you an idea of what we are about to do next.   🙂  

And by the way – if you haven’t yet seen the movie, I highly recommend it!!! It deals with someone (Cusack) whose life/heart had been destroyed by someone else (Catherine Zeta-Jones), causing him to have a nervous breakdown, and he has to learn how to think clearly/live again while “working” with that person (and with Billy Crystal and Julia Roberts too – FUNNY stuff!!).

But, I digress….. back to the subject at hand.   🙂   


I want you to once again grab a sheet of paper, and find a quiet place to focus. Now, title this list: “Things I Am gratefully For”. 

Next, I want you to list as many things as you can think of that you are the most grateful for. I’ll give you a short example list:

1) I’m grateful for my home, and a roof over my head.

2) I’m grateful for the fact I have a  job – and for the income from it.

3)  I’m grateful for the food I have to eat.

4) I’m grateful for the clothes I have to wear today…..etc., etc…


I want you to list as many things as you can think of right now – it can be 5 things, 10 things, 20 things or more. If you are GRATEFUL it is a part of your life right now – list it!!

Now, tape that list up on your bathroom mirror where you will have to look at it first thing every morning! Read it out loud BEFORE  you start your day – EVERYDAY.  Sure, you can read it throughout the day too, but starting out everyday by reading this list out loud is the MOST important thing!

It sets your mindset for the day, and it sets the tone for the start of your day. When you start out by looking at something GOOD, it’s then easier to deal with the rest of your day because you are focusing your mind on the things you appreciate – NOT on all of the junky bad things that are trying to get your minds attention the second that you open your eyes! It puts your mood, and focus, in a different place.

If your list is small today – don’t worry about it, use it! You can add things to the list as you think of them. The only “Rule” for the list is that you don’t turn it into a prideful “Brag” list.  It’s not a “Look what I did” list – it’s a list of things you are grateful for that are in your life. It must be worded so that everything on the list was a GIFT. No “I’m grateful I did/accomplished/made someone …” lists, ONLY an  “I’m grateful for (this opportunity, blessing, gift)…” list. This IS important!!

Now, go make your lists.    😉  













Finding Hope



Que the opening (and closing) line from the well-known movie “Pretty Woman” :

What’s your Dream? Everybody’s got a Dream… What’s your Dream?”


I have heard that line going thru my mind more times than I care to count over the last few months.


Because “Hopeless” equals “Dreamless”, and there sure hasn’t been a lot of Hope in people’s lives for far too long.

Too many people have been shattered mentally, emotionally, physically and financially over the past few years due to the economy, natural disasters, other people and assorted loses.

If you stop and look around, you’ll see it on far too many people’s faces. Or worse still – in the mirror on your own face. If you ask other people what their “Dream” is today – most will answer that it is “just to survive”. Their “Dreams” have died, and been replaced with “just surviving” day-to-day. They have no more “Dreams”, and very little (if any) Hope.

They feel as if they are trapped in a nightmare that they “can’t” wake-up from. Although they desperately want to – they just can’t see how to.

Because of this bleak state of affairs, it’s time to try to help do something about it. It’s time to “teach” ourselves how to “Hope” and “Dream” again.

There’s only one way to do that – we’ve got to “re-train” our thinking. Sounds complicated, I know, and it’s not easy – but, it’s vitally necessary.

We’ve got to do a little “Mental Exercise”. How? Like so: 


1) Grab a sheet of paper, find a quiet place where you can focus, and write down 3 things (Little Things) that you would like to see come to pass in your life in the near future. (i.e.: Re-paint a room, Find a new job, complete a project, pay a certain bill, change your hair color, fix your car, join a club/group, go on a “Day Trip”, visit a far away friend or relative – you get the idea) The trick is to keep the 3 things simple and manageable. Don’t start off with BIG things that you can’t really see happening in your lifetime – yet. The key is that it needs to be something that you actually WANT to do/accomplish.


2) Label that page “Immediate Hopes/Dreams” , date it, and keep it with you (or at least where you can see it everyday) and READ IT OUT LOUD to yourself at least once a day. (This IS important)


3) As those things come to pass, check them off and write down the Date when they occurred.


4) After item #2 on your list manifests, make another list  with 3 more items that are a little bigger than the last 3. Things that you would like to see happen in the next few months. Keep it with you as well, and read it OUT LOUD also.


By the time you reach this point, you will be starting to be able to wrap your mind around “Dreams” and “Possibilities” again.

They don’t have to be BIG yet – give yourself some time. You didn’t lose your “Hope” and forget how to “Dream” overnight – that took several incidents and some time. But, slowly, you will begin to be able to start seeing past tomorrow – and you’ll start to feel the “hopelessness”  that has been weighing you down disappear….. One completed Dream/Goal at a time, as you start looking forward to “something” again.

You’ve got to get your Focus OFF of today. You’ve got to start seeing/focusing on something better. Even if it is only a “small” thing. You’ve got to start somewhere – especially if you don’t want anymore of what you have/see now!

You have to “imagine” your Dream BEFORE you will ever see it. You don’t have to figure out all of the details of HOW it could possibly come to pass in your life, you just have to have a goal/dream to be aiming for. A DESIRED end result – NOT a dreaded one!!

By READING it daily, and SPEAKING it out loud (off of your list), you will start to believe/see it on the inside. What comes out of YOUR mouth often enough, you will hear yourself saying  –  and THEN you will start to believe it’s possible. THEN you will start to see it coming to pass in your life, because you are now focusing on that “Good” thing – instead of the “Bad” things around you that you don’t want anymore of.


Now, I know there are those of you who are so locked into a doubt/survival mode that they can’t imagine this working – BUT, why don’t you try it anyways???

Exactly WHAT do you have to lose by giving it a shot? What could it possibly hurt to try?

I’ve seen this work. I know it works – from experience. BUT, it only works IF you “work it”. No one else can do it for you.

Start rebuilding your “Hope” and your “Dreams” today. You have to start somewhere….. You CAN do it! Start small – remember, you have to take baby steps before you can run (dream big) again. But, you can do it. YOU just have to WANT to. No one else can do it for you.    😉  





My Life Summed Up.

I recently stumbled across a couple of quotes that caused an immediate “Oh my gosh!” moment.

The reason being, that they applied more to my life over the last few years than I would care to admit. I won’t elaborate on that, but I will share them with you. May they inspire you……. to carry on.   😉    




“Anyone can give up, it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that’s TRUE strength.”
– Star Hall




 And last but not least – this one is literally framed and now sits on my desk:


“It’s not the Critic who counts….It’s not the man who points out how the Strong Man stumbled…. Credit belongs to the man who REALLY WAS in the arena, his face marred by dust, sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs to come up short again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming.

It is the man who actually strives to do the deeds, who knows the great enthusiasm and great devotion, who spends himself on a worthy cause. Who, at best, knows in the end the triumph of great achievement. And who, at worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and cruel souls who know NEITHER victory nor defeat.” ………  THEODORE ROOSEVELT








The Daily Funnies

This one’s on my fridge!!



Last, but not least:


Love this!!


Have a Great Day!!







Creativity Run Amuck!!!


See something.

Be inspired by that something.

Design something inspired by that something that you saw.

Start to make the new something.

See something else.

Be inspired again.

Design new something.

Start on THAT something.

Still not finished with 1st something.

See something else.

Inspired again.

Think of new design that you simply “must” get down on paper.

Still not done with 1st something.

Not making much progress on 2nd something.

Now want to start 3rd something.

See something else.

Inspired some more.

Here we go again…..


As of now we are up to 8 somethings (all down on paper) – with 3 more in the wings…….

Someone press the “Pause” button – I think…. Just for a moment!    🙂    

Then again…..maybe not.

I just thought of something else!     😉    

I’m gonna need more coffee!    🙂

Couponing 101 – Crash Course

In a time when everyone is cutting back, or cutting out (no pun intended), on just about every expenditure that they can – it seems “couponing” has resurged as the latest obsession. We have all heard stories, or seen newscasts, about those select few who can go into a store and walk out with 100’s of dollars of merchandise for under $20.00 .

No matter how we individually feel about using coupons – we all admire those resourceful souls who can accomplish this feat!

I happen to go to church with a sweet young mom who has managed to make “couponing” into an art form – and gotten several of us “hooked” as well!  She manages to regularly have $5.00  shopping bills for 100’s of dollars of household/grocery items almost weekly! I have even heard of times that she has basically “made money”  shopping because she has not only gotten all of her purchases for “free” – but she has walked away with “Register Rewards” that took several dollars off of her next shopping trip as well!

Awesome huh!?!

Who wouldn’t want to do that?!?

Even more impressive is the fact that we live in a “smaller” town where coupon inserts in the newspapers are far and few between!

So, we’ve all been taking notes from her (and her Blog ) and have learned a few valuable things that really work to shave lots of dollars off of your check-out totals.  Now I am not quite to her “level” yet,  but I am now able to regularly cut my grocery/household costs in half (or more) at the check-out counter (think $45.00 – $75.00 off or more every time)!

That’s a huge deal nowadays (i.e. a tank of gas!!). Someday I hope to be as good at it as she is – but at least I’m making progress.    😉    

Now, you all know that I do not have a lot of free-time on my hands – so get the idea of spending hours/days of cutting out coupons out of your head right now! I am about to give you a Crash Course in “Couponing” for the time-challenged like me.    🙂   

Okay? Ready?     😉    

Rule #1)    Stop being “embarrassed” about using coupons at the check-out counter!!!  That fidgeting, miffed, “in a hurry” person behind you will be picking their jaw up off of the floor and asking you “How?” you did it when they see/hear your total go from $200.00 down to under $60.00 (happened to me last week at TARGET)!!!

Rule #2)    Get yourself a smallish-type accordion pocket file folder (4’x8′ or so) to keep your coupons in. Label each pocket of the folder with the types of coupons it will contain (i.e. grocery, pets, store, household items, paper products, hygiene, meds, car, etc…).  These save time, fit right into your purse/pocket, and make life MUCH easier!!

**NOTE:  Keep all of your “Store” specific coupons (meaning that they are only usable at a certain store) in the section marked “Store”, and all “Manufacturer” issued coupons (usable anywhere) in the other sections of your folder. This makes “stacking” coupons easier. (Definition of “stacking” : you use 1 “store” coupon AND  1 “manufacturer” issued coupon for the SAME item.  Saves LOTS!!!! Or gives you the item for “Free”!!!)

Rule #3)    Go Online!!!  Even if you are lucky enough to get a daily paper that puts coupon inserts in the Sunday or Wednesday paper, you will find 100’s more coupons online to print out, or even download to your phone!! Listed below are the ones I use (check them every week or 2 since they update often) and they are legitimate, cause NO computer issues, and are accepted with NO hassles at the stores!

Bookmark these as “Favorites” on your computer for easy access later:   (Proctor & Gamble)  (several grocery stores under their ownership)

Sign up for emails/subscribe/bookmark these Blogs that ONLY specialize in telling you about the latest coupon releases – and how to use them efficiently to save the most money:

**NOTE: Wal-Mart just implemented a coupon policy, and they will even accept competitor coupons as well!!! It is so new that I recommend you print out a copy of it to take with you to show the cashier in case they haven’t been “briefed” yet – This is the Direct Link to the Wal-Mart Corporate Coupon Policy:

Rule #4)   AS you shop, pull the coupons out of the folder that you will be using at the check-out! When you do get to the check-out aisle, hand your coupons to the clerk BEFORE they ring you up!!!  This save lots of time/confusion at the end.

Rule #5)   Find out who among your friends/family/co-workers also uses coupons, and switch off!! Paige and I do this for baby/toddler items (she has 2 young/new ones), and for dog/cat food items (I have lots of “furry” mouths to feed.  She brings me the dog/cat food coupons that she finds – and I bring her all of the baby/diaper/toddler item coupons that I find.  Win, Win!!!!!

There! That’s it!! Now, just keep your coupons IN your purse/car and grab them when it is time to go into the store! You will be AMAZED at how many of the coupons will be for items already on sale that week (or even already “on clearance” at Target)!!

Trust me – the 1st time you knock your check-out total in half (or more) you will b “hooked” too!    🙂   

Besides – who couldn’t use a lower grocery/household bill????

It’s just too bad they don’t make Gas coupons…….     😉     

Have a great day!!