Till the rocks meet the sea

Real life has been a bit drab lately….we found a decent place to lease at a reasonable price – never mind that it was not properly prepared for move in – and it has the potential of becoming a nice little home for us.

All of that is promising and exciting, however, packing boxes, hauling boxes, bags, loading and unloading is not fun at all!!!! It took us three days to completely vacate and clean the 5 bedroom house we shared with my brother and his family. We are sleep deprived and exhausted however there is still the matter of unpacking, organizing and de-cluttering the new place….blech!!!!!

Overwhelmed
Overwhelmed

Somehow in the midst of that chaos I met a guy. Charming, handsome, romantic….. He sent me a private message on Facebook which I had not noticed saying:

Season’s Greetings M, so bright and beautiful like the early morning sunshine in Florence. A big pleasure to send you a warm season’s greeting worthy to make you smile all through your existence in life.

Now I’ve never met this guy but I responded with a “thank you” thinking that would be the end of it. We’ve been talking for about a week now and I’m surprised that I haven’t sent him packing yet. We’ve clicked in a surprising way…. Generally I am super harsh to random guys that message me on Facebook. After all one can never be too careful.

He has been respectful, considerate of my time, charming, gentlemanly, intelligent , articulate and even poetic.

Yet still I’m skeptical… Part of me wants to explore this connection further and I’m really trying but I keep thinking that it’s just too good to be true.

Am I a cynical romantic keeping love at bay to protect myself?…now THAT thought had never crossed my mind….

Me a cynical Romantic?
Me a cynical Romantic?
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To say that I’m not athletic is an understatement

Really, I am not the least bit athletic. Me and sports just don’t mix unless it’s watching them with Dad on the tele. Playing them just isn’t for me.  I’ve just never been very good at sports.  When I have played them I usually get hurt because I have weak ankles due to an injury I sustained as an infant and well I’m rather clumsy.  The only sport I’ve ever enjoyed is swimming.

My senior year in High School I joined the swim team on a whim and did so well that within three months the coach wanted to put me on the varsity team!  I had never done any competitive sports so despite my coaches encouraging me I just couldn’t do it.  Get me on the dance floor, however, and I’ll shake my bom-boms until every muscle in my body aches and my feet are blistered!

Swimming Maruca (circa 1992)
Swimming Maruca (circa 1992)

That’s why when I saw this little nugget on my facebook news feed I decided that it just might be doable:

The 30 Day Plank Challenge will send your core strength through the roof! Yes, all you have to do is HOLD this position, nothing else!  This is not the kind of planking that was all the rage a few years ago where people would be photographed in a face down position with stiffened arms and legs in the most unusual or incongruous locations.

It sounds pretty easy, huh?  Even I can stay still in one position for 20, 30, 40 seconds….maybe.

Day 1 – 20 seconds
Day 2 – 20 seconds
Day 3 – 30 seconds
Day 4 – 30 seconds
Day 5 – 40 seconds
Day 6 – REST
Day 7 – 45 seconds
Day 8 – 45 seconds
Day 9 – 60 seconds
Day 10 – 60 seconds
Day 11 – 60 seconds
Day 12 – 90 seconds
Day 13 – REST
Day 14 – 90 seconds
Day 15 – 90 seconds
Day 16 – 120 seconds
Day 17 – 120 seconds
Day 18 – 150 seconds
Day 19 – REST
Day 20 – 150 seconds
Day 21 – 150 seconds
Day 22 – 180 seconds
Day 23 – 180 seconds
Day 24 – 210 seconds
Day 25 – 210 seconds
Day 26 – REST
Day 27 – 240 seconds
Day 28 – 240 seconds
Day 29 – 270 seconds
Day 30 – PLANK FOR AS LONG AS POSSIBLE!!

WhyPlank

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Original facebook Post by Alicia Beamer.

Benefits of Plank Exercise:

*It strengthens your lower back
*It develops your core muscles – which include the abs, back, hips and the butt.
*Helps you to avoid injuries and encourage good posture
*Can be done anywhere
*Develops your abdominal muscles by targeting the rectus abdominis

This is a beginner routine but it’s a great place to start!

Care to join me?

Daily Prompt: Happy Happy Joy Joy

If you’ve read some of my more personal posts you are aware that I’ve been struggling financially.  I try not to focus on it but I cannot deny that I the “anxiety” monkey has been slowly creeping up the top of my shoulders as the calendar inches closer to January 22nd; which is the day we have to be completely moved out of my Brother and SIL’s house (they’ve made arrangements with the bank).

It just seems like Dad and I just can’t catch a break.  Although Dad is slowly branching out on his own, getting small cabinetry jobs here and there; remodeling work has been scarce for him since he ended his partnership with Brother’s construction business.  My job is steady but it is still part-time.   Our combined incomes have been barely enough to pay all the utilities and put food on the table but not enough to save any money towards a deposit on an apartment.

Leasing requirements being what they are – most apartment complexes require that one’s combined income should be at least 3X’s the amount of the rent – means that neither of us qualify to lease an apartment unless of course we moved to an unsafe neighborhood.  We’ve also scoured the internet for other families looking to rent out rooms in their homes but haven’t had any success yet.  Last week in desperation I wrote a message to some of the leading Brothers in our local church.  Everyone has been praying for us.  We’ve been praying, crying, praying, searching, praying, posting ad looking for roommates, praying some more……

We have yet to find alternate living arrangements; however, today I was overcome with emotion when one of these leading Brothers showed up at our doorstep with a monetary offering of $600 dollars to help us get an apartment.  With tears in my eyes I thanked him profusely then wept as soon as he walked out the door…

I still don’t know where we will live but I have faith the Lord will provide.  In the meantime, I’ll continue searching for the right place for us.  It’s getting down to the wire but I know He always gives us what we need, exactly when we need it.

perfecttiming

 

Brilliant Way To Save

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Every year I see ideas like this and think about saving up for something really nice myself but I never quite get around to it. This year I’m really gonna commit to doing this money saving challenge.  For some time now I’ve been wanting a good SLR camera and this would be the perfect way to save for it!  Care to join me?

It’s called the 52 WEEK MONEY SAVINGS CHALLENGE

It’s actually quite simple and extremely basic.

For each week of the year, you save that same amount in dollars!  For example:

Week ONE: You save $1

Week TWO: You save $2

Week THREE: You save $3

Week THIRTY-TWO: You save $32

You get the picture?

You keep doing that all the way through the end of the year and Voila, you’ll have enough cash to buy yourself or someone else a very nice gift.

This is a perfect way to teach kids the value of money and the importance of saving.  Have them save in quarters, either in 25 cent or 50 cent increments!

Just print out these templates and paste them onto a jar!

You can save in One Dollar increments!

You can save in 50 Cent increments!

You can save in 25 Cent increments!

You can save in One dollar increments Backwards!

You can save in dollar increments biweekly!

 

Let me know how you do!

 

29 Days to a Better You

Whether you’re making resolutions or just looking to change your current habits Joshua Becker of becoming a minimalist has compiled a great list of 11 Resolutions for a Better You, just give each 29 days….

source (x)
source (x)

“Good habits make all the difference.” —Aristotle

It is wise for each of us, from time to time, to stop and evaluate our lives as we seek to make the most of them.

The start of a calendar year provides an opportunity to look back at the decisions that shaped our lives during the past year and gives us an extra push to make adjustments for the next one. Every new January represents a natural opportunity to evaluate the direction of our lives, adjust course if necessary, adopt new habits, or make healthy changes.

With the start of a new year upon us, consider these 11 resolutions for a better you—proven by science. It is, after all, our habits that determine the course of our lives.

1. Exercise. Most of us recognize the benefits of physical exercise: healthy bodies, healthy minds, and healthy confidence. Some studies indicate exercise contributes to a positive body image even prior to any body weight or shape change—with as little as two weeks of regular exercise. And with increasing study centered around the effectiveness of minimalist workouts, each of us should be able to find the time to get started.

2. Less television. Those seeking intentionality realize the negative influence television has on their mind: it impacts our worldview, encourages consumerism, oversimplifies life, and results in less life satisfaction. Even more drastic, scientists are beginning to discover the habit of watching too-much television may be negatively impacting our life expectancy as well. Nobody is telling you to throw your television in the nearest dumpster, but deciding to cut back in the next year may be one of the best decisions you could ever make.

3. Go outside. According to recent studies published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, simply spending time outside with nature contributes to increased energy, wards off feelings of exhaustion, and results in a heightened sense of well-being. Of course, simply walking from your front door to the car door doesn’t count. So make a point this coming year to find an excuse to be outside—you can always start with a simple walk around the block each evening.

4. Read fiction. Recently, researchers have begun studying the physical impact reading stories has on our brain. As you might expect, they are discovering reading results in heightened connectivity and brain activity—sometimes, even up to 5 days after the book has been completed. If you read fiction, you already know this to be true. If you don’t, this could be your year to start. You may enjoy beginning with The Hunger Games or Divergent.

5. Give. Numerous studies show charitable giving boosts happiness and reduces stress—especially when the generosity promotes positive social connection. If you don’t already, find a cause or person you believe in and offer them consistent monthly support. They will benefit. You will benefit. And the world will be a better place.

6. Serve. Volunteering provides great value for our lives and the lives of those we choose to enrich. One study from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard Business School, and the Yale School of Management found that when a person volunteers his or her time, they begin to feel like they have more time and are more efficient. Additionally, volunteers feel better about themselves, experience lower stress levels, and develop a deeper connection with others. The golden number appears to be 100 hours per year (2 hours/week).

7. Buy less stuff and more experiences. In studies presented at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, researchers suggest that buying life experiences rather than material possessions leads to greater happiness for both the consumer and those around them. Decide today to spend less money this year on possessions and more money on meaningful, memorable experiences. You’ll be glad you did in more ways than one.

8. Display gratitude. Psychologists have scientifically proven that one of the greatest contributing factors to overall happiness in your life is how much gratitude you show. And it can be experienced with as little as three expressions each day (“Thank you for…”). Getting started is so easy and  beneficial. It could be the easiest decision you make all year.

9. Practice smiling. In a fascinating study conducted at the Michigan State Business School, customer service professionals who fake a smile throughout the day worsen their mood. But people who smile as a result of cultivating positive thoughts improve their mood and withdraw less. Simply put, one easy way to improve your mood throughout the next year is to intentionally recall pleasant memories or think more positively about your current situation—and then smile because of it.

10. Stop and just play. Our world is becoming increasingly busy and the temptation to measure our worth by external factors continues to grow. As a result, taking time to slow down and just play is becoming increasingly rare. But play is fun and enjoyable. Play enriches the lives of children by exercising their mind and body. And it has the same positive effect on adults. So make an extra point to just slow down and play constructively with your friends or kids.

11. Determine to be happy. Two experimental studies published in The Journal of Positive Psychology this past year offer ground-breaking research on the cultivation of happiness. Based on the experiments, participants who listened to “happy” music and actively tried to feel happier reported the highest level of positive mood afterwards—more so than those who simply listened to the music. In other words, determining to be happy is a productive decision towards achieving it.

Adopting 11 new habits at one time is almost certainly too much to ask. But choose one or two specifically. And then, give it 29 days. You’ll be surprised how quickly they become habit.