Tag Archives: lifestyle

My Book is HERE~! It is HERE~!

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HEY…. a quick update: My book has arrived~! Oh my gosh, Oh my gosh… it is here~!

I now have 2000 pounds worth of books sitting in my garage waiting to get incorporated into the corners of my house. I will be getting an ebay listing together so they can be purchased individually or by the box. They will also be available on Amazon.com. But I checked and they aren’t up on Amazon just yet. I’ll write an update and send links soon. Meanwhile, I am excited and just a bit overwhelmed, too. Can’t wait to share this book and start getting feedback. (Scroll down for a few links to see the cover, the endorsements, and read the intro~!)

IMG_6712Follow this link to read a description and the endorsements: https://fortifymylife.wordpress.com/books/

Follow this link to read my introduction: https://fortifymylife.wordpress.com/2015/01/08/fortify-your-soul-read-the-introduction/

Follow this link to see a close-up of the cover: https://fortifymylife.wordpress.com/category/book-updates-for-my-book/

The World is Our Pulpit

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the world is our pulpit“The world is our pulpit, and our actions are our sermon. We should consider what we are actually saying in the way we conduct our lives day in and day out.”

– Laurie Hayden Bergey

Click here to see more of these beautiful inspirational quotes that I like to create.

Plan a Nice Little Surprise

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Plan a Nice Little Surprise, by Gretchen Rubin

“Studies show that we react more strongly to an unexpected pleasure than to an expected one. The brain gets a bigger thrill when some little treat comes as a surprise, whether it’s a dollar found in the street, a free cookie sample, a gift for no reason, or an unexpected compliment from a boss. And not only do we feel happier, but these little boosts of happiness also make us temporarily smarter, friendlier, and more productive.

Try to plan nice little surprises for the people who are important to you—something as small as bringing home a favorite dessert, doing a chore without being asked (how long has that light-bulb been burned out?), suggest a fun outing, or send a quick, loving email.

Resolve to “Plan a nice little surprise.” By acting in a thoughtful, loving way, you boost your feelings of tenderness towards the people in your life, and they feel more beloved by you. And that contributes more to happiness of home than practically anything else you can do.”

This is day 9 of the 21 day relationship challenge. You can follow all 21 days for free by following one of these Happiness Project links. They’ll be emailed to you directly, 1 a day. I have read The Happiness Project, and am now reading Happier at Home. I like Gretchen Rubin‘s voice. I think these books are decked out with lots of happiness gems. (Click this link to access a sample chapter.)

 Check out
Happier at Home
Chapter Eight

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Want to share your thoughts or experiences about this resolution? We can all learn from each other. Join the conversation on The Happiness Project blog.

Small gestures make a big difference.

 So, add comments~! What gestures are you making?

 

Passion – Prayer – Intelligence

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il_570xN.132905368I read the Bible before going to sleep every night. (By the way, I’ve never had a nightmare since I’ve been doing this~!) At bed time I read in a translation of the Bible called “The Message”. It is a very clear translation, easy to understand and digest. I mean let’s face it, I don’t want to get into heavy thinking right before bed. But, I do want something that is peaceful to accompany my subconscious into the sleep state.

Last night I was reading in Matthew. I really like the way this section is translated~! The context: Jesus is being challenged by 2 religious sects who don’t normally get along, but are coming against Him together trying to trip Him up. The “passion and prayer and intelligence” part really jumps out at me. I’ve been re-reading this section for a few days now. I’d like to love God with passion,  and with prayer,  and with intelligence. With my spirit, my head, and my heart~! Loving others as I love myself is a challenge. I’ll have to keep at it, as I’ve not arrived yet.

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The Most Important Command (From Matthew 22: 34-40)

When the Pharisees heard how he (Jesus) had bested the Sadducees, they gathered their forces for an assault. One of their religion scholars spoke for them, posing a question they hoped would show him up: “Teacher, which command in God’s Law is the most important?”

Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.”

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 “Water Dreams” Photo from Etsy Shop Magnesina, Link here. I have used this image because as we love God and love others well, there is a ripple effect~!

And the day you find out why…

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I am re-blogging today, a 1st for me. I like the basic concept of Everyday Power’s blog post. I also believe people are born for a purpose, probably many layers and stages of purpose along the way. But, it seems like folks can get stuck in the rut of wondering what that purpose might be, feel like they are being ineffective, and then become inactive and discouraged. While I don’t believe we always need to find out exactly why we are here in “specific detail”, that sure can be an encouraging bonus~!  (Hint: love God, and imitate God.)
We can actually have more influence than we’re aware of, sometimes by accident, and even by a random occurrence. Brook and I have had the “what are we doing in Bethlehem” talk a number of times. We’ve found out repeatedly, and often years later, that we have had a positive affect on many people along the way, and we didn’t have any idea that we had made any difference at the time. Brook and I ride bikes, and wave to people a lot. We’ve had people stop us and thank us for waving to them on a day when they felt lonely. We made them smile and got them through a hard day. We have sometimes bought peoples’ groceries at the supermarket. We found out months later that one of these people had gotten a cancer diagnosis and had prayed for a sign that God still cared. We were the answer God sent, and had no idea. So, I agree with Jeff in suggesting that we should “do something”. In our case, “doing something” has proven to be a valued service to others, and that has an importance more far reaching than we will ever know. If you are living well,  you are probably also being effective beyond your knowledge. Be godly, and you will make a difference.

Funny Tooth Fairy Notes

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tooth fairy noteI have seen some really cute tooth fairy notes on facebook. Here are some of my favorites. I hope you will laugh like I did~! The first has wonderful details. I love the hearts in the top corners. It is adorable how the girl’s name and other words are divided into 2 lines. It looks like Trinity was going to be sleeping in her brother’s room and was afraid the tooth fairy would not be able to find her. My favorite part is the bottom right corner. Trinity asks the tooth fairy to “write back”. I asked her parents if the tooth fairy was faithful to correspond. Yes~! I am glad to report that she did~!

In this second note, it seems as if the tooth fairy missed a stop. I don’t remember why. I happen to know that the tooth fairy in this zip-code is amazing. She has great attention to detail, and I am in awe of her. I love that the girl’s mother put this note onto her facebook page. I’m sure her heart was breaking a bit (the inner cringe) as she encouraged Angelica to write this note. I think it shows that even the most stellar tooth fairies can have bumps in their road.  Maybe you have to know how nearly perfect this one is to fully appreciate the note…. to me she became even cooler than before I saw the note. I love when people can go public with something like this. I admire her~!

tooth fairy note

This third one has me baffled but amused. Bacon? I might have considered asking for chocolate. But, I am guessing that the money has a higher value per tooth than the price of bacon. I don’t actually know the going price for a tooth these days.

tooth fairy bacon note

Now for the funny note FROM the tooth fairy.  This mom put her sassy note on her facebook page, and thought a few friends and family would get a chuckle. She now has a fan page with over 5000 “likes. Not everyone thought it was funny. But, the room has been kept cleaner~! I like it~! I laughed~! (non-stopmom.blogspot.com., facebook.com/nonstopmom)

Tooth Fairy Note

OH PLEASE ADD COMMENTS~! I love comments~!

They Want to Publish My Book~!

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grunge basement office

I have just found out that my favorite publishing house would like to publish my book~!

To a first time author, this is a very big deal~! I am exited, amazed, and terrified all at the same time. I was warned to expect rejection letter after rejection letter. I spent a very long time writing a top notch book proposal. Still, I was pretty anxious when I finally clicked the “submit” button to send my book proposal off to the publisher. I didn’t tell anyone (Brook was a bit bummed out about that).  I didn’t want to think about the agony of the wait on a daily basis, and then share that I had gotten rejections (though surely I’d have told Brook about that~!).

The wait time to hear back from a publisher is generally 6 to 8 weeks. So, I was stunned to hear back from this publisher in a week~! I love this company, Destiny Image Publishers. I told them how their books influence my life, and their cover design makes my soul sing. I had given them a 1 week head start to want my book because it was my dream to get published by these guys. I now have a signed contract with them.

At the moment the working title of the book is:

FORTIFY MY LIFE

40 Fortifications for the 

Heart & Mind & Body & Spirit 

Designed to Strengthen Lives and Activate Destinies

But, that could change. It is likely to be at least 6 months until the book is finally printed. Although Destiny Image will be publishing the book, it will be printed under their Ambient Press Imprint. I can’t wait to hold the finished product in my hands. It has a great purpose to bring Heaven to earth, to fortify hearts and souls, and to launch people into their destinies. I know that sounds immodest. The truth is, this book is really great. I can’t believe I get to be a part of it. God is Awesome~!

Matthew 6:33 “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

My publisher: Destiny Image, and  Ambient Press

Book proposal resources: Writing-a-winning-book-proposal, by Michael Hyatt

Follow this link to read more about my writing updates~!

Is My Back Pain My Own Fault?

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strong man and pig postcardI am one of the millions or zillions of people who have a back ache, or can get one easily by lifting or twisting awkwardly.

It would be easy enough to blame the heavy box, or the pillow, or the mattress, or the garden,, the car… or…. or…. you get the picture, blame anything possible. But, I suspect I am really the root of this back problem. Maybe you are young, and thinking back aches are for older people, and this blog post is not for you. But, you read on too. NOW is the time to take care of your back, because back aches aren’t for older people either. Many of us actually CAN do something about the condition of our backs, even if they seem irretrievable. I’ve gotten sick of the back problem, and I’m doing something about it. I’m already starting to feel better, and it has only been about 5 days or reclaiming my rights to my own back.

I don’t want to make anyone feel guilty here, for example my husband has a bad back as a result of a car accident. He broke his spine completely in half, and is paraplegic. But even with a seriously messed up spine, he does everything he can to make sure to keep his body strong and healthy. He is an amazing example to me. He rode a hand crank bicycle 20 miles today. Given what each individual has to work with, we have to do our part to get or keep ourselves as healthy as we can be. Often as we start down this road, we soon learn that we have access to better health than we had formerly believed possible~! Be encouraged~! Catch a strong wind of motivation, and take it to the next level.

Recently, I’ve been waking up with a back ache. I get up an hour early, unable to take staying in bed any longer. Of course that would lead me to believe that my bed is to blame, but that probably isn’t the whole story. Actually, the bed I have is a top recommended mattress for conditions like back pain and arthritis. I just bought it 6 months ago thinking my OLD mattress was causing my back pain. That didn’t solve the problem. Bummer~!

Fed up, I ended up on the Healthy Back Institute website (AKA: losethebackpain.com), and found lots of information that made more sense than killing myself with ibuprophen. I watched some of their videos, and found out that my hips are sinking too far into the mattress. This tends to be true of almost all mattresses (even my tempurpedic) , since humans are generally heavier in this area. A simple solution: I can put a folded towel under my middle, and my spine will tweak a bit less while I am sleeping. I also learned some specific stretches for lower back pain. They have videos about neck pain, sciatica, and more. I’ll be watching more of these videos over time.

I posted a blog last year about doing more core strengthening exercises “Being Spineless“. I would like to inform you that I have developed the habit of doing some of these. But, I need to go farther. Five minutes a day ins’t quite enough. The time that I am spending sitting so much of the day has to be counter-balanced.

While clicking some links on the Back Institute website, I came upon the best lower back pain stretching & strengthening routine I have encountered to date. Just exactly what I needed. It has me quite excited. I plan on having a stronger back in the upcoming weeks and months~! Here’s a link: Great Lower Back Relief Video. If you like this instructor, you can search for more exercises by her specifically. She sure looks fit. It turns out that youtube is a great resource, so do other searches, too~! NOW… remember, you aren’t likely to feel the full benefit of exercise right away. AND… avoid the temptation to do the routine 5 times the first three days. Don’t hurt yourself by stretching as far as you USED to be able to stretch a while ago. (I make this mistake every time; that’s why I’m saying this.) You’ll get back in shape soon enough if you stick with it~!

Hey… recommend more links and resources for back pain relief in our comments section, please~!

(The postcard art in the picture above is for sale at: La Cabane En Voyage. I love this image~! It makes me smile.)

Health Food~! Chocolate Nut Ganache

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Choco-Nut-Ganache-600YES… more proof that God is good~!

Healthy chocolate anything is seriously cool by me~!

AND… Guilt Free~! Oh, and it looks like a no baking recipe (aka: raw), too. Seriously, this is like a superfoods version of a snickers bar. YUM~! I can see taking the basic ideas of this recipe, and making the parts into all kinds of treats. But here is the full recipe, and a link to the site where I got it, in case you want to know more about the ingredients:

If you’re in the mood for a dessert recipe that isn’t full of unhealthy fats and sugars but still makes your mouth water, this Chocolate Nut Ganache is for you. Loaded with antioxidants and packed with deliciousness, this nutty, chocolaty ganache will satisfy your sweet tooth and make you the life of the party – if you want to share it! Link to recipe site, Sunfood Superfoods.

Crust:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

Ganache and Nut Filling:

Blend into a smooth chocolate ganache and add the following whole or chopped nuts:
1/3 cup each: walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts

Cashew & Cacao Swirl:

Directions:

Step 1: Press crust into 9 inch pie pan
Step 2: Add Ganache and nut filling
Step 3: Use spoon to swirl cashew/cacao mix over the top
Step 4: Chill and serve.

– See more at: http://www.sunfood.com/blog/recipes/chocolate-nut-ganache/#sthash.yA4DKlgz.dpuf

10 O’Clock Hog Spot

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Reflective Groundhog

My husband and I do this thing we call “playing games”.

It is kind of goofy, but it makes life a bit more fun.

So, the basic idea is, we turn almost any slice of normal life into a game. Over 20 years of hanging out together, we’ve accumulated quite a number of games. Some of them he came with, like s.p.e.l.l.i.n.g. words in mid-sentence. (I think his Mom started that when he was young.) Some of them are more recent. The fastest gardener; the biggest weed. Dish washing competition. Inventing vocabulary words is classic fun (ex: optomatopoeia – kinda like a word picture). We also make up new words to songs, and sing a lot while doing daily tasks.

Cycling is our preferred form of exercise. (Seriously, it is the kindest form of exercise I’ve found; one can even coast sometimes~!) All forms of exercise can become mundane, even riding a bike. We try to vary our routes. But, if we’re only going on a short ride on our lunch break, there is only so much variation we can access. To add intrigue, we play games on our bikes, too. We spot things. We look around and observe. Thankfully, in Pennsylvania the landscape changes frequently. We get to see the farmland go through the seasons. The flowers and trees have seasons, too. The most fun is glimpsing the wildlife. A chipmunk standing tall on a log. A storky-crane in a new puddle left by the most recent rain storm. The snapping turtle floating on a log in Green Pond. Today I saw 2 baby deer in a corn field. Cute!

BUT…. the favorite spot, the one we keep count of is…… groundhogs. We’ll each shout out so the other can share in the victorious hog spotting. If the ground hog is toward my front right, I’ll shout, “HOG, 2 O’CLOCK”.  Then Brook knows right where to look. Last Saturday we saw 3 groundhogs at our front left. We called that the 10 o’clock hog ride. He who spots the most hogs gets honored recognition for having “hog eyes”, or better yet “serious hog eyes”.  We also like to come up with expressions to describe the magnificence of the hogs. Fast and stealthy is the running ground hog. Strong and majestic is the one who holds his ground. The groundhog in this photo is obviously soulful and reflective… and SO handsome~!

Yes, I might have just shared a blog that reveals how quirky we can be. OR… or…… maybe this is a reminder to some, or an invitation to others to play more games and see the mundane tasks in life (like exercise & housework) get a bit more interesting. It really is about mindset, and “playing games” lightens life.

Happiness tip: be playful~!

“Anything one does every day is important and imposing and anywhere one lives is interesting and beautiful.”  Gertrude Stein

Perhaps I will share a few more of our games over time (like “well maybe…”, and “6-Kississippi). But, how about you? Do you dance when you dust? What games do you play to keep life happier? Add a comment so we can play your games, too~!