Ten Things You DON’t Need For Your New Baby


Ten Things You DON’t Need For Your New Baby

“How can one tiny baby possibly need all of this stuff?” It’s a question new parents usually ask themselves as they stock up with countless purchases to accommodate the arrival of their bundle of joy. Baby gear galore is marketed to inexperienced moms- and dads-to-be who simply want what’s best for their newborn — and if told an item is a ‘must-have,’ many add it to the nursery, which may already be overflowing with items that will end up being of little to no use. Let us help take some of the clutter out of baby’s homecoming. Here are 10 things that you DON’T need to buy for your new baby to welcome him into the world. Excerpt from linked article.


Feeling Stuck? 100 Ways to Change Your Life



I ran into this article today and I thought that it was worth sharing. Enjoy!

Feeling Stuck? 100 Ways to Change Your Life

You’ve got 20 minutes to change your life in 100 ways. Go.

This is the premise of an exercise I tried once, when I was feeling stuck in life. I wasn’t sure what was amiss, but the routine I had fallen into was not satisfying the inner voice in me that insisted there was something else out there for me.

After trying (forcefully) to understand what was going on, reading self-help books, filling out aptitude tests, and working with business and life coaches, I was given a suggestion that became a catalyst for some pretty big personal changes.

Here is how you can change your life in 20 minutes, step by step:

  1. Clear all distractions. Turn off the phone, the TV, the computer. Lock your door, and go to a quiet place.
  2. Sit down comfortably at a desk or table, with a blank piece of paper and a pen in front of you.
  3. Set a timer for 20 minutes.
  4. Go. Write down 100 things you want to do. Or careers you want to have. Or people you would like to meet. The sky is the limit.
  5. Don’t be realistic. Dream big. Write down the craziest things you can think of, as well as the things that you don’t even think bear mentioning because they are so simple. Write it all down.
  6. Work quickly. 20 minutes isn’t very long, and you have 100 items to get through, if you can. Don’t think about whether or not to write down an idea — just write. Write everything that comes to mind, even if it doesn’t make sense. Just keep on writing, and don’t stop until that timer goes off.

Something happens after about 10 or 15 minutes if you employ the exercise to its full potential. You stop caring about what specifically the ideas are, and you start to release an inner creativity that may have been locked away for a while. In an effort to get through 100 things in 20 minutes, you start to write outlandish things down that you aren’t even really sure you want, but that are ideas that came to you nonetheless.

Ding! The timer goes off. No matter where you are in the process, or how many items you have written down, stop. (OK, if you are really on a roll and have a few more to write down because the juices are flowing, keep going. I won’t tell.)

Leave the list alone for a day. Try not to look at it, and certainly don’t revise it in any way. The following day, sit down and look at your list. How many of the items on it are feasible? Can you see your way to accomplishing any of it? Did anything come out of the list that you hadn’t actually really thought of until you wrote it down in a hurried attempt to get to 100 items in the time limit? Any surprises in there?

The point of this exercise is not to create a giant and outlandish “to-do” list that never gets ticked off. Instead, it is simply to open up your mind to the idea that anything is possible, and to give you ideas that will help you to become unstuck in life.

Personally, after feeling stuck and making out my list, I identified a few ways to make positive changes in my life at the time; I joined Toastmasters because an item I wrote down was to become a public speaker. I also eventually started a blog to satisfy an inner wordsmith in me that has blossomed into a career. And ultimately, the list helped lead me to the decision to sell off everything I owned to live out my dreams of travel and adventure now.

And it all started with 20 minutes and 100 ways to change my life.

C.S. Lewis quotes on friendship

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.” ~ C.S Lewis

“Is any pleasure on earth as great as a circle of Christian friends by a good fire?” ~ C.S Lewis

“The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are.” ~ C.S Lewis


How to fight the “If only”s and “What if”s of life

I’m a worrier. So when I ran across this helpful article online I decided to share it with you guys, in case you also spend a lot of time worrying about the future or the past. Enjoy!

“I am an old man and I have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened” – Mark Twain

What Is worry? Worry is a very strong feeling of anxiety. It’s fear of the unknown – the thought that the worst will happen.

We may become overly concerned with future events. We may engage in repetitive negative self-talk with all the worst case scenarios. A lot of our thoughts will begin with …

“If only ….
I would have stayed at home”
I would have said”
I made the opposite decision”


“What if …
I get into a car accident?”
I get fired or laid off?”
My teenager gets pregnant?”
I become ill?”

Worry is a behavior – a habitual way of thinking. If your parents were chronic worriers, chances are you will be too – then you’ll pass it on to your children. Since worry is a habitual behavior, you do have the ability to overcome it – to replace worry with a more positive habit.
What Do We Worry About?

When it comes to worry, studies have shown the following statistics:
40% never happens – so in essence we are wasting our time by worrying.
30% of what we worry about has already happened. Learn to “let go” and forgive yourself and others. You cannot change the past – no one can. Accept it for what it is and go on.
12% are needless worries, such as what someone else thinks about us.
10% are petty and unimportant such as we worry about what’s for dinner, we worry about being late, we worry about what to wear.
8% of what we worry about actually happens.

Of this percentage…
4% of our worries that happen are beyond our control. We cannot change the outcome. These worries may include our health, the death of a loved one or an impending natural disaster. Often times the reality of these events are more bearable than the worry.
4% of what we worry about we have some if not all control over the results. Basically I think this is the consequences of our actions or inaction on the problems and challenges we face.

Given these statistics, you may find it worthwhile asking the following questions:
How many times do we work ourselves into frenzy over a situation that is beyond our control?
Why do we allow worry to stress us out so much that we become ill?
Why do we waste our mental energy with worry?

I can’t answer these questions for you. What I can do is offer you techniques to overcome worry. It’s up to you to decide to stop the worry habit.

How Can You Stop or Reduce Your Worries?

“Worry a little bit every day and in a lifetime you will lose a couple of years. If something is wrong, fix it if you can. But train yourself not to worry. Worry never fixes anything.” – Mary Hemingway

1. Prepare for the worst – Hope for the best. This comes right from the advice of Dale Carnegie in “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living”. Accept the worst possible outcome and then take action to improve upon the worst.

2. Get Busy. When you find yourself beginning to worry – get busy on your to-do list. If you don’t have a list – then write one. List your goals and the action steps required to meet them. One of the benefits of your to-do list is you will stop worrying about forgetting something important.

3. Distract Yourself. Call a friend. Read a good book. Watch a funny movie. Take the kids to the park. Take a walk. There’s dozens of things you can do.

4. Get Support. Friends and family can be an excellent source of support. Especially if they will tell you how they see things. Sometimes just talking things out, helps the worry go away.

5. Make a Decision. If you’re worrying about an unresolved personal or business issue – then it’s time to make a decision. Once you decide what to do, you can begin taking steps for the best possible outcome.

6. Confront the Problem Head-On. It’s usually not the problem itself that is causing your worry. It’s usually the anticipation of the problem. How will others be affected or react? Deal with the problem as soon as possible.

7. Practice Relaxing. It is important that you take time to totally relax. Close your eyes take long deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. With each breath tell yourself to relax. It just takes a couple of minutes of this exercise for the tension to leave your body.

8. Listen to CDs. This can be your favorite music, brainwave CDs or behavior modification tapes that are designed to dissolve worry and anxiety. (These do not have to be self-hypnotizing or subliminal – but of course you can choose these types of tapes.)

9. Journal. After writing down everything they are worried about in a journal, most people feel a sense of relief. In writing you may have discovered what you are really afraid of, and then you can objectively work on improving the situation.

10. Take Care of Yourself. Get plenty of rest. Eat a healthy diet and exercise. When you nurture your body and mind, it’s easier to put things in perspective. It’s easier to cope with the unexpected.

11. Count Your Blessings. You have a lot to be thankful for. Look around you … We live in a beautiful world. You can be thankful for your health, your family, your mind, your country, your house, your job, your TV or even your microwave!

12. Monitor Your Thoughts. Be aware of your thoughts and be ready to replace worries with positive thoughts. Be prepared with a positive thought or quote, such as “Calmness is the cradle of power” (Josiah Gilbert Holland).

There are many techniques you can use to stop worrying. The important thing is to consistently use them until the new behavior becomes a habit.

Here’s the link to the original article. Stop Worrying

How to be a happy couple

I just watched a small video called What Happy Couples Do from Yahoo. I picked up a few things from the video that you probably already know:

good communication equals good relationships,

don’t go to bed angry,

listen to your significant other without interrupting or making faces,

and don’t hangout too much with the cranky people in your life.

I think that all of those are very good pieces of advice. Good communication really is the place to start. (And, don’t point fingers at your partner and say “if he (or she) had better communication skills than this would be a better relationship.” Because, that in it of itself is poor communication. The one who sees the problem should be the one to bring it to attention and help the other one understand.)

As a server at a restaurant I see a lot of poor communication. Guests come into the restaurant and become angry if you didn’t read their minds to know exactly when they need you at the table, but than they also become angry if you show up too soon. I would hate to be in a relationship with a person like that. Don’t expect your significant other to be able to read your mind and know what it is that you want. Chances are, if your partner really loves you, he or she will be more than happy to do what you want him to if he just knew what it was!

As a Christian I have a somewhat unique perspective on this subject. I am reminded of some verses in the Bible that I’ve been reading. Much of the New Testament is a collection of verses simply telling us to love one another! Sadly, I haven’t read my Bible as much as I should, so I have been surprised at how many times the New Testament authors advise and implore us to love each other. I believe that that is the key to any good relationship. Do you truly love you significant other? If the answer is yes than the rest of it should come together. If you love that person than you will take time out of your day to show that person that you love him or her. This probably won’t be a crazy big gesture of love every day, and it doesn’t have to be. My husband and I have been married for over 3 years and dated nearly two years before that. Mainly, we communicate love by one of us doing more of the house chores if the other one is super busy with work or homework. It’s little things like that that really communicate love.

The famous photo of my husband cleaning

Another thing that happy couples do is finding something to do together that both of you enjoy. Or two somethings. My husband and I play tennis and basketball (I like the former, he likes the latter). We also watch tv together in the evenings from Hulu or Netflix. This may be simple, but sometimes it’s the simple things that mean the most. I’ve included several photos of other couples doing things together to give you ideas.

Basically, LOVE, LISTEN, and LEARN from your mistakes! (And, don’t forget the PRAY a lot).

What Happy Couples Do: VIDEO

The happiest people…

“The happiest people… judge themselves by their own yardsticks, never against what others do or have.”

Article: Psychologists now know what makes people happy

“‘Materialism is toxic for happiness,’ says University of Illinois psychologist Ed Diener. Even rich materialists aren’t as happy as those who care less about getting and spending.”

Actions Are Louder Than Words

This is a good message that many people don’t seem to understand based on their actions.

Work The Dream

I have said for years that if your eyes and your mouth did not say the same thing to me, then I did not believe anything you said.  It is like that old saying that you do not just tell someone you love them….you show them you love them. I read this yesterday on a Facebook and loved it.

“Love is shown in your deeds, not your words.”

Unfortunately, with the world gone cyber, we do not always see the other person’s eyes to look into and know the truth and so we do have to go by what they do and do not do.

Being authentic and ethical is not in just about what you do but also in what you fail to do. If you are dishonest and fail to go back and correct that, then you are not being authentic. If you say you believe in equality…

View original post 765 more words

God and Art: My spiritual journey to art school

This blog is much more personal than the stuff that I usually write. I’ve been meaning to write it for awhile now. So here it goes.

Art, for me, has been as much of a spiritual journey as it has been an exploration in my talents. In the past I have found it difficult to tell my short life story to others because it felt like a failure. The story of my adult life consisted of art school for two years, being a missionary in Micronesia for a year, nursing school for two years, working as a nurse for a year and a half, moving to another state for my husband’s school, and finally ending up back in art school. I was searching for God’s purpose in my life. As a Christian, I desperately wanted to serve God in all that I did, including my career.

One day I started telling my story to a bunch of professors and realized that it didn’t bother me anymore. I was not hit by an overwhelming sense of failure by quitting my last career of nursing. I did not fail at nursing, but that act of walking away from a lucrative profession into the unknown felt like failure to me.

It was in that darkness that I found who I am. I was not able to accept the fact that I was an artist until I had gone out in the world and tried nearly everything else. A professor told me today that God would not have given me artistic talent and then ask me to leave it to serve God in a way that everyone else does. God gives talents to people and expects those people to use them. This professor told me that that is where my faith comes in. I need to have faith that God can use the talents that he gave me and give God time to work in my life with those talents. Twice I walked away from these talents because I didn’t understand them, I didn’t see how God could work in my life with art.

I’d just like to tell you, if you are struggling with God’s calling for your life. Take time to figure it out and pray about it. Don’t rush into a profession (nursing for me) just because you don’t know how God can use your talents or passions. Trust that God made you passionate about something for a reason or that God gave you talent for a reason.

30 Before 30 List

I ran across this blog page this morning and I really liked this idea: write a list of goals called “30 before 30; A list of professional and personal goals.” Unlike the woman who posted this list, I have 3 more years to complete my list. So, I will have to challenge myself with the forthcoming list.

Here it goes!

My 30 Before 30

01 Create an inspiring studio space at home (I stole this one from the lady who posted this list, but it is an amazing idea. I usually paint at the dining room table right now.)

02 Create an amazing portfolio website and blog. This one’s ok, but I really need to take it to the next level for my career.

03 Get a good graphic design internship.

04 Travel to 2 countries that I haven’t been to yet.

05 Make a masterpiece painting. Something that I look at and say “WoooooOOOOOOOooooooow!” like the Asian girl on Scott Pilgrim.

06 Write a book. (This is in the REAL CHALLENGE category).

07 Go on a road trip.

08 Graduate with honors in December. (So close… must get A’s…).

09 Get an amazing design job or go to graduate school… (I’m undecided on this right now).

10 Finally find that hair style that I love.

11 Go to a baseball game.

12 Take my husband to the beach.

13 Buy oil paints and use them. (I’ve only ever painted with acrylic and watercolor).

14 Read more classic books.

15 Go to a cool concert (The Civil Wars?)

16 Go camping.

17 Figure out if I’m related to the John Hart who signed the Declaration of Independence (My great-grandmother always said that I was…).

18 Buy an amazing camera and learn how to use it.

19 Go whale watching (This is in the BIG CHALLENGE category too, because I am terrified of whales).

20 Decorate my house in a way that reflects my personality.

21 Dress up for a movie premiere. (That’s just for fun. I think that I’d like to go to Catching Fire in full Capital make-up).

22 Get my sister’s book published. It is amazing and she is nearly finished writing it.

23 Have a baby (Put this is the maybe category).

24 Build a ridiculous design portfolio

25 Learn how to use my telescope properly.

26 Buy an espresso machine.

27 Have a pet.

28 Live in a house, instead of an apartment. (My husband and I have been in apartments for our 3 married years).

29 Learn more about cooking and baking!

30 Be content with whatever life brings! (Life is too short to worry about what could have happened. Enjoy your present, and dream a little about the future, but don’t live in the past).

30 Before 30