Tag Archives: Life lessons

Stress? 9 Simple Ways To Reduce It

How Do You Handle Stress?

Stress had grabbed my entire body.

Stress

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Recently I realized I had been making my days to be full with no time to just sit and breathe. I would either be on the computer, painting, doing woodworking, making meals, seeing shows, dancing, going for walks or at the gym. S

I read the newspaper during breakfast.

I checked my phone at lunch.

It was only at dinner that hubby and I turned off our devices and concentrated on talking. That usually led to fact-checking on the computer. lol ūüôā

My husband and I seldom get mad at each other ‚ÄĒ certainly not yelling. But this week it happened. I lost my temper ‚ÄĒ big time.

I felt tired, anxious, upset and mad.

This had happened before!

I wrote about how I felt and how not to get into that situation again. I was stressed.

I’ve written before about that lesson. I have to keep reviewing the lessons myself.

Why Do Fights Start and How to Stop Them?

But I realized seeing the stress is not enough.

I needed to look at this deeper. To look at days gone by and learn again so I don’t go down into this mire again. God teaches us to remember in His Word.

Remember your history,
    your long and rich history. (Isaiah 46:9, MSG)

Former memories

This past week reminded me of years ago.

As soon as we started our business, I went back to work as a part-time teacher because there had to be some income and extra health benefits and life insurance. In our second year of business, I went back to full-time teaching while still helping with the business. I also took courses for credit in my teaching profession. And I signed up to be the one in charge of all the athletics in our school.

Family Life

We had three kids ages 14, 12 and 8. They were in three different schools at one time; high school, junior high and public school. Juggling all those balls took a toll on me, and wrecked my body because I didn’t know how to stop taking on too many things.

I didn’t know I needed to stop.

I didn’t know how to stop.

Over the next five years, my health took a slide downwards.

I couldn’t walk upstairs (knee problems). Lifting my hand above my shoulder (writing on the blackboard became increasingly difficult). I developed TMJ (Temporomandibular joint dysfunction) so my jaw was very sore. Because I clenched my teeth at night,  my whole body ached.

I got angry easily. I yelled. I complained. I ranted.

I was fearful, and not healthy.

I felt stressed every minute of the day.

I was a mess.

Stress

Image by John Hain from Pixabay

I decided to take a half-time position in teaching to see if that helped. I visited a physiotherapist and massage therapist.

But I still kept doing things.

I didn’t stop.

I decided to take a leave of absence from teaching for 2 years. But I went back to our business and upgraded our technology, expanded our office space, and hired two employees. I didn’t stop.

It took some time but finally, I understood.

Two things happened

  1. I saw the problem.
  2. I worked at the problem.

A decorative plate reminded me to ‚Äústop and smell the roses‚ÄĚ.¬†This is what finally helped me ‚ÄĒ to¬†slow down, take breaks, be still.

We still have this plate in our collection.

stress

From my personal collection.

In this world that seems to be running faster and faster, we need to STOP.

The quality of time you have for downtime is important to your mental and physical health. It helps deal with stress.

Here are 9 ways to reclaim your peace and health and reduce stress

  • Take breaks during the day. Even 10 minutes can refresh your spirit, mind and soul. Take a stroll (notice I didn‚Äôt say walk) through somewhere green ‚ÄĒ with life surrounding you. Dance around for a few minutes to release tension.
  • Take deep breaths once an hour to bring in the needed oxygen to your brain.
  • Plan vacations. Even small times away can refresh our bodies and spirits.
  • Date nights. If you are married, plan date nights with your spouse.¬†Honestly, we forget to do that in our hurried lifestyles. Soon we drift apart. Be there to just be there, to enjoy each others‚Äô company.
  • Turn off social media. This has been something that takes away from life ‚ÄĒ it doesn‚Äôt give life.¬†We crave the dopamine that it elicits and we want more. We check our phones way too often. [I am guilty of this.]
  • Make a list.¬†Sit down and look at all that you do. List everything out. Then circle the things that give you pleasure. Put a line under the things that have to be done anyway. See what remains. See if you can drop those things.
  • My Quiet spot. Whatever you want to call this ‚ÄĒ find time to be in a quiet spot. If you are a Believer, then sit with Jesus. Discuss things. If you are not, then sit with yourself and talk to yourself. And in both cases LISTEN to what you hear.
  • Read. Get a good book and plan time to sit and read. Not scan like we tend to do on computers. But read the book for enjoyment ‚ÄĒ not for what you can write about it later. lol ūüôā [I am at fault for this.]
  • Listen or play music.¬†That has a very calming effect on our souls.¬†Classical music is wonderful to enjoy.

I am not there yet. As I read over my thoughts I need to do at least 4 things. Hopefully, as I do these my mind, body and spirit will recover. I especially need to focus on number 6.

 

To keep stress at bay I need to stop and smell the roses.

How about you?

My favourite verse from the Bible:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7, NIV)

May I pray for you and me?

Lord, there are so many opportunities to “do” things. All may be good but all might not be in Your will or purpose for us. Help us to focus on Your voice so we can choose only those things that will do Your will. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Watch for Sunday’s post – it has a linky for sharing your Christian poetry.

Blessings,

Janis

 

Insider Radical Faith Secrets For Any Jesus Followers

What does ‚Äúradical‚ÄĚ mean and why as Christians are we called to be radical followers of Jesus?

This is how it feels to be radical. Photo by Clique Images on Unsplash

Radical: ‚Äúvery different from the usual or traditional‚ÄĚ
‚Äúfavoring extreme changes in existing views, habits, conditions, or institutions‚ÄĚ ~ Merriam Dictionary

Stepping out

You can read a little bit about this here:

Stepping back

Suffice to say that we decided on that sabbatical to look into selling.

Nine months later and many setbacks, we successfully sold the business.

Now what?

We decided to move away from our home town, up to the trees and the lakes. We decided to take on a project of building our own home. Hubby always loves building and plans so this kept him very occupied and happy. We even renovated a cottage at the same time.

However, when all was said and done and we moved in we said:

What now?

The next step

We ran our B & B for four years. We found it fascinating to meet new people, discussing various subjects at breakfast. Finding out about different lands, and different ideas enlightened our thinking.

Step back again

So we closed down that enterprise.

Those are just a few of our radical moves in this life. I didn’t even count the one about our early marriage.

You can read about that here:

Jesus calls us

That book started me thinking of what my life would be like if I completely listened to God. And not only listened but did what He said.

Yes, you can travel to Poland ‚ÄĒ God said

My heart started to pound. I really felt this might be something I should do.

BUT:

I had so many buts.

  • I had never travelled alone.
  • I had never eaten out alone.
  • I didn‚Äôt know any of these people and I am shy (was shy).
  • I had recently decided to follow Jesus (around the time of selling our company) and didn‚Äôt think I knew enough about Christ to help.
  • I had food allergies and environmental allergies.

I kept hearing ‚ÄĒ GO. Different times I would see the same post. I had to find out more. But that meant emailing someone. NO, I didn‚Äôt think I could do that. And it was someone I didn‚Äôt know.

The push

When God really wants you to do something, He makes it very clear.

This notion of going to Poland would not leave me.

I went to bed thinking about it. I woke up thinking about it.

I couldn’t take it anymore. I wrote the email.

After many back and forth conversations, talking with my hubby and lots of praying, I decided to take that step and go. I had to go on training as well. That’s another story.

Results

My first mission trip to Poland.

Living radically means listening to God.

Are you hesitant?
Is there something you feel called to do but are afraid?
Is God placing a call on your life ‚ÄĒ and you are holding back?

May I suggest you talk with your Pastor or a mentor?

Spend time in God’s Word and in prayer.

Remember to listen to His answer and how He speaks to you.

Disclaimer: There is an affiliate link in this post.

What Does God Desire of Me and You?

God sees all. God created us and knows us intimately

Psalm 15:10

From YouVersion – Psalm 51:10

Today as I read the three passages from the Bible, (I am reading through the Bible in three years) I saw this theme.

God knows us well.

Isaiah 58:1-12

What a powerfully packed lesson. I want to read it again and again.

Today, once again, I see pride as something that God detests. He mentions those who are upset with God when an answer doesn‚Äôt come to their liking. He doesn‚Äôt like them asking pridefully, ‚ÄúWe fasted, and we humbled ourselves, and You didn‚Äôt listen or answer.‚ÄĚ

But they also complain, ‘Why do we fast and you don’t look our way? Why do we humble ourselves and you don’t even notice?’ “Well, here’s why: “The bottom line on your ‘fast days’ is profit. You drive your employees much too hard. (Isaiah 58:3, MSG)

But God explains that their fasting was a show when in reality they were not acting in God‚Äôs way ‚Äď they exploited others, they quarrelled.

Their fast was for ‚Äúshow‚ÄĚ.

And when they humbled themselves they did that in a showy way by lying on sackcloth and ashes.

What does God suggest instead?

Once again it comes back to love God and love your neighbour.

so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ 31 And here is the second: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment that ranks with these.” (Mark 12:30-32, MSG)

God wants us to loose the chains of injustice, untie chords of yoke, and set oppressed free.

Break the chains of abuse

Isaiah 58:6 Loose the chains of injustice

How can we do this?

God gives us the means.

Share food.

Give shelter.

Give clothing.

Those are the basic needs of life. If people don’t have those we need to help.

In Matthew 6:1-6 and 16-21

We are told not to brag about doing things that we feel God wants us to do. For instance, giving is important. But not telling what we give. God knows it anyway. And we are to please Him and not try to be noticed.

The same can be said for fasting. If we fast, we do it in secret too. Secret to the world ‚Äď but not to God.

And having things we don‚Äôt need ‚Äď storing up stuff here on earth. Instead, we are to look for those things that please God and store up them.

I love the way the Message tells us how to do these things.

“When you practice some appetite-denying discipline to better concentrate on God, don’t make a production out of it. It might turn you into a small-time celebrity but it won’t make you a saint. If you ‘go into training’ inwardly, act normal outwardly. Shampoo and comb your hair, brush your teeth, wash your face.

God doesn’t require attention-getting devices. He won’t overlook what you are doing; he’ll reward you well.

A Life of God-Worship

“Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or – worse! – stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being. (Matthew 6:16-21, MSG) Bolding mine.

Psalm 51:1-17

Confession. This is one spot we forget. I do too. I like the ACTS way of praying because it reminds me that confession is a part of prayer.

Adoration

Confession

Thanksgiving

Supplication (praying for ourselves and others)

This Psalm has the scripture that I memorized. Make a clean heart in me, O Lord.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10, ESV)

What does God desire of me?

A broken spirit (confession)

A broken and contrite heart ‚Äď seeing what God wants and not what I want.

And it talks about God knowing us ‚Äď our inner beings, our secrets.¬†

Because He made us, He knows us. Psalm 139:13-14

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13, NIV)

He wants a humble people. Not a proud people.

What did I learn?

We must see ourselves as God sees us. That means I need to remember to confess, because what I see God sees and what I do, God sees. And I know some of the things He sees in me is not to His liking.

Our hearts have to be softened. I need to think more about others.

Humility is important. So, don’t brag about anything.

And lastly, I want to help others with the basic needs of life.

What can I do?

A few practical things to start.

Go through my closet again and getting rid of clothes I do not wear.

Pray for inspiration of how to help people get their basic needs.

Confess daily those little things that God sees and I ignore.

What will you do?

I would love to hear your decisions. If we work on this together and encourage each other, without bragging, God will see us and be pleased.

May I pray for you and me?

Lord Jesus, thank You for showing us today the way we are to live. Thank You that You see and listen to us. Help us to be humbler and in tune with Your ways. Help us love our neighbours. Help us be aware of opportunities to serve others. In Your name. Amen.

How to Grab the Next Rung on Your Career Ladder with Bullets and Bosses

Grab the Next Rung On Your Career Ladder

Welcome Toni Crowe to our 12 Days of Christmas. Her book Bullets and Bosses Don’t Have Friends, How To Navigate Tough Challenges at Work  is a book about learning to be the best you can be at work.  

Discover how to handle tough peers and tougher bosses from one of America’s top Executives. 

With a honest, compelling look at relationships with peers and bosses alike, discover a pragmatic approach to mastering your trek through management. You will navigate common challenges in the workplace and conquer them with your personal style.  

What Will YOU Learn 

In Bullets and Bosses Don’t Have Friends, you’ll discover: 

  • – A behind-the-scenes peek at corporate America that shows you what it‚Äôs really like at the top¬†¬†
  • – Which skills and attitudes you need to scale to the top of the business world¬†
  • – How to cultivate a relationship with your boss that benefits both of you¬†
  • – What you can do when confronted with difficult peers so you maintain control¬†
  • – How you can and should deal with workplace treachery, and much, much more!¬†¬†

Bullets and Bosses Don’t Have Friends is a series of true stories from Toni Crowe’s life in the corporate world, each with a practical lesson and a set of exercises you can apply to your own career. If you like the personal approach of a mentor, tales of hard-won success, and real-world advice from a CEO with an amazing record of achievement, then you’ll love Toni Crowe’s latest book.  third installment in the five-part My Journey from a Lady of the Night to the Lady of the Boardroom memoir!  

Excerpt from Bullets and Bosses *** 

Many people believe that being the boss is easy. It is not. There are numerous activities that are hidden from the everyday employee that would shock them. 

I was working for a toxic boss on a large, important project. The project involved castings, which are made by pouring liquid metal into a mold. Manufacturing parts with precision dimensions using this process is something of a magic trick. To add to the challenge, we didn’t have molds for this project.  

Normally, from start to finish, a casting takes about thirty weeks.

We had to make the part samples ourselves, check them, send them to a supplier for machining, check them again, and then send them to a supplier for painting.  

We developed a plan for the parts to travel from one supplier to the next, cutting us out as the middleman and bringing the lead time down from thirty weeks to twenty-five. On this project, those five weeks could make a huge difference to the production team, which wanted to get the sample parts back in-house as fast as they could to build up, first, the production prototype and then the units themselves.  

Both the production team and the parts procurement team reported directly to me. Despite enormous effort on my part and theirs, the parts did not come in at twenty-five weeks. They came in at twenty-six weeks.  

They were one week late. 

The day the parts were due but did not show up, my boss stormed into my office. His face was red, he was breathing hard, and his hands were clenched into tight fists. He walked straight toward me, and for a moment, I thought he might punch me.  

He climbed up on my desk and started kicking. He kicked my phone off the desk, then my paper clips, then my calendar.  

I¬†didn‚Äôt get¬†out of my seat. I just rolled my chair back against the wall while he was up on my desk kicking¬†things¬†around, hoping¬†I didn’t get hit¬†by¬†anything. I was stunned into silence. He was not a skinny man. How upset was he to climb on my desk?¬†¬†

When he had finally kicked everything off, he stared at me.¬†‚ÄúWhat was the timeline for this project?‚Ä̬†¬†

I told him, ‚ÄúThe schedule was¬†thirty¬†weeks.‚Ä̬†¬†

He didn’t like that answer. ‚ÄúWhat did you tell me you and your team could do?‚Ä̬†¬†

‚ÄúI told you we could get it down to¬†twenty-five¬†weeks.”¬†

‚ÄúDid you get it down to¬†twenty-five¬†weeks?‚Ä̬†¬†

“No,‚ÄĚ I told him, ‚ÄúI did not.¬†I got it down to¬†twenty-six¬†weeks. I apologize for missing the plan by a week and only being¬†four¬†weeks¬†ahead of¬†the original schedule.”¬†

This appeared to calm him down a bit. He climbed off my desk.  

‚ÄúEngineering is¬†now¬†behind¬†twelve¬†weeks,¬†and you have only made up nine. I want you to see what you can do to make up the last three weeks we need to be on schedule for this project.”¬†

I stood up and pretended that my desk items were not scattered about on the floor.  

‚ÄúSure. I’ll make that¬†happen.‚Ä̬†¬†

My ability to ‚Äúmake that happen‚ÄĚ was one of the reasons I did so well in my career. My second ability to stay calm and take the heat was the second. If you¬†work¬†in manufacturing,¬†operations,¬†or¬†supply¬†chains, there are multiple problems you¬†must¬†solve every day. When you are responsible for all of the parts that are needed to produce revenue products, 99.9% is not good enough. If the plant needs¬†one¬†million parts and you and your team provide 999,999,¬†you have failed.¬†¬†

Manufacturing and Operations are tough gigs. Sometimes, no matter what you achieve, it is never enough.  

End Excerpt *** 

 Disclaimer,

I have not read this book but after reading the excerpt I am fascinated with the story. Staying calm at all times takes practice. Obviously Toni learned to do this and succeed. Well done.

Janis 

 

 

 

3 Ways to Turn from my Old Ways

Five Minute Friday: Turn

Okay – I think I will continue to do my Five-Minute Fridays on my blog rather than Medium. This week’s prompt is TURN.

turn

Photo by Filip Mroz on Unsplash

So I have 5 minutes to write on the word “turn”: Set the Timer: Go

I keep hearing the words from the Bible: “Turn from your ways”.

And that’s exactly what God told me when I accepted Jesus as Saviour in 2001.

” ‚ÄėAs surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live’ (Ezekiel 33:11, NIV).”

There were many ways I had to turn from.

Here are 3:

Judgment:

I’m still judgmental. But not as bad as I was. Everything that would happen¬†I would have an opinion and I¬†believed my thoughts and ways were the best.

I am working on turning even further from that.

¬†“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you (Romans 12:3, NIV).”

turn

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Control:

Oh yes, I think that is how I am wired. I am a task-master, a doer, a person who likes to get things done. I want to fix things and make them right. I’m reminded of Peter – yes, he too wanted to make things right. Remember when he wanted to set up tents for Moses, Elijah and Jesus? He thought that was the right thing to do. It was not.

I have to learn over and over that others have thoughts and ideas too. I am working on that as well. But, as someone told me, “Don’t let go the fire that you have inside you. Just don’t burn anyone.”

Self-control – that’s what I am working on. Keep looking to Jesus.

turn

 

Fear:

turn

I worried constantly. The control part of me helped me do that. I feared climbing ladders, thunderstorms, speaking in front of people, what people would think, how I looked. And it goes on and on.

‚ÄúTherefore I tell you, do not worry¬†about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes (Matthew 6:25, NIV)”.

turn

Bible Art by Janis Cox

Now I learned to pray and I have heard that the best worriers become the best intercessors.

Jesus let me drop all that when I said to Him, “I’m yours.” Now I will go boldly where Jesus wants me to go. I will tread the waters and not look down.

These are my 3 big turns since deciding to follow Jesus.

Time’s up. Join me at Five-Minute Fridays to speak your mind about a prompt.

Other posts you might enjoy.

Control: Five-Minute Friday

How to Overcome Fear

Call to Action:

Do you struggle with studying the Bible?
Do you want a creative way to do this?

Join my Free Bible Art Course

turn

 

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