Make-up- a balance: Self-Care, Week 24

Make up photo

Hi, Ya’all! How was your Tuesday?

Yep, … plain, old Tuesday.  l like Tuesday. It’s often quiet and open for catching up on the little things that get pushed aside during the rest of the week. Or maybe it’s open for experimenting with something new. Of course, that’s not ALWAYS true, Tuesday can be busy too, some weeks. Usually though, Tuesday is just a good, old, plain day.

It’s a good day to go without makeup, for putting up your hair in a ponytail and wearing yoga pants. For being “chill-axed”!

But wait.

While it’s true that wearing no make-up gives you a break and is therefore a simple way to take care of yourself, it can also work against you.

If you work from home, are retired, or are a stay-at-home Mom, sometimes we can get into a rut. Not wearing make-up is an easy way to gain a few minutes during the day. Wearing make-up can seem almost wasteful. I mean, no body sees me, why use it?

On the other hand, glancing at oneself in the mirror sans make-up, hair in a messy bun, day after day, can be depressing. It can trigger that obnoxious, critical voice in your head that’s always yelling at you, pointing out your shortcomings. (“OH my goodness! LOOK at you! You look like death warmed over and, ew!, your hair! Your Mama would be so disappointed! What is the MATTER with you anyway? And by the way, you are really getting FAT, ya know??”) None of us can take THAT kind of beating for long and be happy in our skin.

So, once in awhile, take a few extra minutes and “dress up”, even if you are not going outside the house. Put on that make-up. Wear earrings. Put on a nice(er) shirt with clean yoga pants! Stand up straighter and smile at your beautiful reflection in the china cabinet. After all, your hubby shaves everyday, doesn’t he?

I’m taking my own advice today, and have to admit I feel better about myself. I have some battles to fight and some “demons” to challenge and putting on some eye make-up and earrings helps me feel like I can take them on! I don’t know if “dressing up” helped me figure out dinner before 6 PM, but I did, and THAT makes me feel very good! *wink*

There’s nothing wrong with not using make-up and dressing down. In fact, that’s one way to give yourself a break. But. When you dress down EVERY day, it can get depressing. So mix it up! Give yourself a break by looking nice – just for yourself! It’s more than okay to look nice for yourself. It’s a good thing!

Often it’s the small things that help us help ourselves feel better. If make-up isn’t your thing, do whatever helps you feel good. We now have a toolbox that’s filling up with great ways to take care of yourself. Try one of those tools. Change up the routine! Lots of times, just a change of pace will help lift our spirits.

What small thing are you going to do to change up your routine and change the pace? Please share what you do and how it makes you feel! You might give someone another good idea! And we all need good ideas!

Thanks for reading and I hope your week is really good.

Enjoy your change of routine!!



Write it Down: Self-Care, Week 23

color color paper colored paper colorful
Photo by Pixabay on

Ya know, I was going to call this tool, “Write Down an Inspirational Scripture or Quote”. That is still a good idea and I want to talk about that a little more. However, I realized that a simple, “Write it Down”, is more inclusive and certainly a good way to help yourself help yourself!

Rather than struggle to remember important things and risk losing them in the whirlwind that is too often our brain, writing things on paper is giving yourself a break. It is an old fashioned way to keep important information in front of you.

Nowadays, so many people are into their devices that the idea of using pen and paper is mind boggling to them. Well, if you must use an electronic device, so be it. Do it. BUT… using pen and paper- better yet, using paper and colored markers!- puts us more in touch with what we are trying to remember. Whether it’s an event to attend or a quote to inspire, when we use our hand to feel the pen and the texture of the paper, see the words pouring onto the paper and maybe even mutter them as we write. Well! That is the stuff of magic! Why? Because all those things help our mind remember! With paper, you also have something lightweight and small to carry your information right there at your fingertips. And you don’t even have to sign in or scroll!

I confess, I might put it in my phone. However, I will put a Post-It note right smack in the center of the screen!! (Not very technological, right?)

If you want to remember a scripture or quote, writing it longhand on nice paper with colored ink. Add some flowers or stars or hearts. Carry it around with you. Read it several times during the day. Before too long, it will get into your mind and heart and become yours forever. Have you ever done anything like that? I really see the value of writing a phrase repeatedly, like we used to have to do in grammar school.

So, this week’s Self-Care Tool is “Write it Down”. Give your mind a rest. If it’s there

on paper or screen, you don’t have to exert the effort of remembering it!

What do you think? Do you write important things down? Do you use paper or a screen? If you use a screen, how do you remember to look at it? (I’m serious. I’d like to know!)

Thanks so much for reading and sharing.

God bless you!



Be Grateful Out Loud, Self-Care, Week 22

Piglet's gratitude

There is so much to be thankful for. Even in the darkest, hardest places; even when you didn’t choose to be in that hard place. And, by the way, being grateful in the midst of loss and hardship does not diminish those losses nor denigrate the hardship. What gratitude in hard times does do is take your focus off the bad and place it on the good. Being grateful in happy, rich places intensifies the goodness. You can’t go wrong when you’re thankful.

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”                 -Oprah Winfrey (and others)

Why say it out loud? We all know that the thoughts in our head are powerful. As we think, so we are. We also know those thoughts can get jumbled up, begin to loop incessantly and we can quickly get confused, sidetracked, not able to determine what is true and what isn’t. When we write our thoughts on paper, they become clearer, we begin to organize them and can judge their veracity. We can see just how crazy they are or how wonderfully true they are. When we share thoughts with someone we trust, it helps us see them for what they are. When expressing thankfulness to another person, it increases the joy in us and also, of course, adds joy to that person’s life. We add benefits to both them and us as well. Double happiness! Also, when we speak out loud, even when we’re alone, the sound of your own voice in your ears takes precedence over the internal thoughts and makes them sit down and shut up. So, in a hard place, saying you’re thankful out loud, pushes the hardness away and gives us relief from the suffering or mental battle that was raging in your head. Relief, even for a few minutes, is well worth the effort to change the course of your thinking.

“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “Thank You,” that would suffice.”  -Meister Eckhard.

Think about this. When something bad happens, do you sometimes find all the past bad experiences piling on? It’s like they want to be remembered and add to your grief. When we speak something thankful about the situation, we stop those past things in their tracks. Say your cat dies. She was old and declining, but you love your sweet old kitty-cat and you miss her. And you’ll never find another cat as wonderful as she was. And remember your other cat who ran away? And remember when your bird died and how sad you were? And oh yeah, the darling hamster you only had for a year. He was so cute and funny. You really miss him. Maybe I wasn’t meant to enjoy pets. I must not be good enough to have pets. All my cats died and all the birds (all one of them) died suddenly. And… and… and… . STOP!  Change your focus. Your cat was sweet, she loved to snuggle with you. She was beautiful. She had a healthy, long life because of you and added so much joy and comfort to your life. “Yes. I miss my cat but I’m so happy I had my Kitty-kins for so many wonderful years.”

Turning from the sadness and hardship of a situation and turning to the joy/peace/ love that can be found there, makes all the difference. You still miss your Kitty-kins and grieve her passing but you appreciate the goodness and focus on that instead. And, isn’t it true? If you aren’t vigilant, all sorts of negative thoughts are more than happy to jump into a hard situation to make it worse, globalizing it into something that’s not true.

Grateful people have more and better relationships. Being grateful improves physical health . It improves mental health and enhances empathy while reducing aggression Grateful people sleep better and have higher, healthy self-esteem. And gratitude increases mental strength, enabling us to overcome stresses and traumas better. (From Psychology Today article, “7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude”, by Amy Morin, LCSW, psychotherapist and author.>blog )

Gratitude improves clarity by stopping the chatter and focusing your mind on positive things. It helps keep you calm. It’s a simple thing but it’s an incredibly powerful tool for taking good care of ourselves. “The more you practice gratitude, the more attuned you are to it and the more you can enjoy its psychological benefits”, says Christian Jarrett in his Science of Us blog.  (From a fascinating article, “Gratitude Physically Changes Your Brain, New Study Says”, by Jessica Stillman, I might have to do an entire blog based solely on this article!!

If we walk with God, we have assurance that some way, some how, He will at some point, turn the worst of situations into something good. When we express thankfulness, we are agreeing with God Almighty.

Need a little help? Write a little sign for yourself: “I have so much to be thankful for.”

Try it. Write down 3-5 things you are grateful for. Say those things out loud, either to a friend or just into the atmosphere around you. They don’t have to be “fancy” or “special”. They can be as simple as being grateful for your comfortable bed or a roof over your head. Or you might be thankful for that stranger who pushed your dead car off the road and waited with you for the tow truck. The dead car and tow truck? Not so great. The kindness of a stranger? The best!!

And one more thing: Remember that gratitude is always our choice. It’s up to me to take responsibility for my attitude. I am much better off, happier, when I choose gratitude and express it.

I’m sure you’ve had experience with expressing your gratitude and how it made you feel better and the other person feel better and just changed the world around you. Please share your observations of expressed gratitude in the comments. Do you feel like it’s a good tool to add to your toolbox?

Thanks so much for reading.

Until next week, God bless you good!


Savor Your Food, Self-care Week 21

asparagus barbecue cuisine delicious
Photo by Pixabay on

In this modern world of SO much information and SO many opportunities for SO many different endeavors, we are constantly on the go. Running for coffee, kids, groceries, laundry, the vet, the game, the show…. SO many things to do. SO little time to do them all.

And what about meals? How often do you sit down and enjoy a meal with your family or friends? I make an effort to have dinner together at least 5 evenings a week. Even if it’s just a tuna sandwich, I want us to touch base and have a few minutes together. No devices allowed…unless the conversation requires Google’s input, and in that case, the phone can come out. We have lively conversations based on what’s going on in school or  the current news feed.

Even if you find yourself eating alone at your house, it’s still nice to sit down and savor what you’re eating, taking time to chew the food well and enjoy the flavors. I admit, I sometimes find myself eating at the sink while doing a task. Not the best scenario. Nor is it a good thing to constantly scroll through my news feed, Facebook or other social media while I’m eating. Pay attention to the food! Peanut butter and jelly can become an event!

Eating while distracted robs you of good digestion. It robs you of enjoyment. In fact, it can even cause you to over eat and gain unwanted pounds. How? If you eat while distracted, you’re most likely stressed. We all know that is never a good thing. When we’re stressed, our bodies release Cortisol, a hormone that encourages weight gain. We feel hunger in greater measure and therefore are subject to overeating, especially the foods high in fats and carbohydrates. In some people, however, stress leads to under eating, ignoring the normal clues our bodies send out when it’s time to replenish our fuel supply. When these folks are so focused on their problems and worries, they simply forget to eat, or just don’t feel like eating enough. Either way is harmful to our well-being. You may be eating mindlessly- just munching, hoping to fill an emotional need.

When those lively conversations become heated, stress and indigestion set in along with the release of Cortisol. When we are worried about the latest news item, the same thing happen. Depending on the situation, I’ve done both. If we are not mindful of what’s happening, we can fall prey to either over- or under-eating. Being aware of what triggers your stress goes a long way toward controlling your eating habits.

When you go to a nice restaurant for a special meal, you want to savor your  food… to enjoy the flavor and texture and presentation of your food. You’re spending some big bucks. You want it to be enjoyable in every possible way. Leave the latest news alerts in the car. Leave the big family upheaval at home. Make an effort to focus on your pleasant surroundings, the nice people you’re with and the wonderfully prepared food. You know what? All those dire and distracting things you leave at the door, will be right where you left them when you’ve finished your meal. And often, a change of scenery and conversation, opens your over-taxed mind to a new way of looking at that problem.

I try to make it a goal to keep dinner as pleasant as possible. I hate to sit down to food I’ve spent time and effort preparing, something I’m looking forward to enjoying, and then have someone bring up a stress-producing subject. Ugh. There goes my appetite and all enjoyment. Or when there’s lots of stress in the atmosphere, all I want to do is graze to try to distract myself from the problem. Ugh again.

We went on a European river cruise many years ago and it was the most wonderful experience in so many ways. Particularly, the food was exquisite and we could totally enjoy it because we were away from stressful situations and the conversation was all about what we’d seen that day and how wonderful the food was. That’s the kind of enjoyment I’d like to have everyday! Of course that’s not possible but it’s a good goal.

You realize you can savor a hot dog, right?

When you pay attention to the flavors and even the appearance of the food, it turns any meal into a good experience. Remove the stress as much as possible, focus on nourishing your senses as well as your body. Don’t eat distracted!

So. Now it’s your turn. Do you eat most of your meals distracted and stressed? Or do you try to turn mealtime into a pleasant experience?

Can you think of a time when your meal lost all it’s appeal because someone was complaining, or angry? (Oh, yes. I can! And it was very unpleasant.) Can you think of a time when your really noticed your food and savored it, delighted in it?

I’d really like to hear about your experiences regarding eating versus savoring your food.

Thanks for reading and go ahead and add “savor your food” to your Self-Care Toolbox!

Beautiful Bubbles, Week 20 Self-Care


This week’s Tool for our Self-Care Toolbox is very simple… short and sweet too!

Blow bubbles!

Blow them happy.

Blow them sad.

Let them take your troubles and sadness away.

Let them capture the beauty of heartfelt joy and happiness.

I’ve used bubbles for years to relieve stress and anger. Standing on the front porch, using one of those great big bubble wands to make giant bubbles. Or using a regular, small bubble wand, making small, regular sized bubbles. Whatever the size, the bubble always seems to do just exactly what I need at the moment.

There were many times I was angry and frustrated. However, watching the bubbles, over and over again, brought peace and acceptance. It’s the change of focus, I guess, that makes the difference.

There is something magical about the process. And I don’t have to say anything to anyone, lessening the chance of taking someone’s head off with my words. I don’t even have to think anything special. All that’s required of me is putting the wand in the soap  mixture and waving it in the air- or blowing. Magically, transparent, iridescent bubbles appear and just as magically, they captured all the negativity. Then *POOF* it’s gone with the disappearing bubble.

I will admit it might take 10, 15, even 20 minutes for the “magic poof” to take effect but it comes. And I’m feeling better, more in control, calmer, happier, more relaxed. At the point of happy, I like to stay with the bubbles a little longer, to simply enjoy their delicate beauty.

Have you ever used blowing bubbles for self-care? Please let me know if you have!

And if not, try it! I bet you’ll like it.

Bubbles are inexpensive and you can blow them anywhere. You can buy “Bubble Stuff” in the grocery store, how easy is that?! You can even make your own if you’re industrious. I’m not industrious when it comes to blowing bubbles. You can get a pretty big bottle that will last many frustrating weeks for about $1.00. It’s well worth it!

Please share how your Self-Care Toolbox is shaping up. Are you using different tools? Do you think you’ll try blowing bubbles? Please let us know what you think of the experience! Is it calming? Restful? Can you allow those bubbles carry away your stress?

Thanks so much for reading. I hope you’ll share this with your friends.

God bless you good!

Now, go blow some beautiful iridescent bubbles and watch your troubles fade away!

Be Yourself, Self-Care Week 19

Donut with sprinkles

I hope you are doing well. Is your toolbox getting heavy?

This week’s Self-Care Tool is simple: Be Yourself.

Ah, but it’s NOT always so simple, is it?

Be a shining star. Laugh out loud. Sing off-key and sing LOUD. Choose the sprinkles (you know you want them!).

Be angry and sin not.

Speak against injustice. Speak up for justice.

Don’t do it only to please someone else. Do it because it pleases you to please that person.

It’s OK to say “NO”.

It’s OK to be stretched. It’s OK to do things you don’t really want to do- for the right reasons. You know. Sorta like eating carrots because they’re good for you and you want to be a good example for the kids. You can even say “carrots are not my favorite, but they’re good for me”. You can ask God to enable you to see the good things about that person who irritates you.

Just don’t get stuck in the rut of ONLY doing for others.

Sparkle! Don’t be afraid.

Calm your heart. Then speak up with kindness and peace. It is possible to give truly honest feedback- even constructive criticism- in love. THIS is one of those times to change the “true you” to benefit the greater good.

Be quiet. Don’t worry about it. People who love you, know you’ll speak up when the time is right. Those who don’t know you and are passing judgement? Well, that’s their problem. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever given is : when someone gives you “advice” you aren’t looking for (AKA: criticizes you), thank them. Tell them you consider it, consider it (for at least 10 seconds) and then don’t worry about it anymore. Once you thank them and tell them you’ll consider it, they can no longer keep pushing it. There’s no sense in arguing!


Be funny. Be happy. Be sad. Be real!

When you always stuff the real you out of sight, it damages your dear heart and your soul. There are appropriate times when it’s good to stash your true brilliance away. But just for a short time, in certain situations. Don’t let your beauty collect dust in the corner.

The real me loves color and movement and pizazz. So why do I mostly wear black? I’ve been allowing myself to sing louder- even if it’s not quite in tune (I’m still working on accepting the off key thing because I know how to sing in tune, after all!). But really. Who cares if it’s not quite “right”? No one hears me anyway!

God’s beauty, grace, mercy and love are right there in your sweet heart. Let them out without fear. Let your love shine even on those who aren’t interested in being happy. Plant that happy seed in them. When you let yourself shine and share the sparkle, you feel good too. How wonderful is that?

You see? When you are yourself, you not only take care of yourself, allow others the freedom to be themselves, as well. You feel good about yourself and that opens you up to encouraging others who may not be feeling so good.

Be inspired. Share the inspiration!

Like the meme says: Be yourself, everyone else is already taken!

I hope you’re enjoying these various tools and giving each of them a try, at least once. Please, be yourself, and join the conversation. Share what self-care tools work best for you. Or, please share one that hasn’t worked at all! We need both sides of the story, right?!

Have a blessed week, ya’all, and thanks so much for reading!



Beauty- Self-Care Week 18

Roses peach

This week is short and sweet… Open your eyes to the Beauty around you.

It’s as simple as that.

The beauty in nature The beauty in your heart. The beauty in every living person and being. Even your own beauty. (Yes. Go there. You are beautiful.)

Look for it. Listen for it. Pay attention when it crosses your path.

Like the quote below from Ralph Waldo Emerson says, “… beauty is God’s handwriting…”. When we seek and see the beautiful that is everywhere around us, we are seeing God. A special message, as it were, from Him to us.

Beauty feeds us in so many ways. It is always available to us.

Beauty is a Self-Care Tool that in right there in your eye… the eye of the beholder. We only need take notice of it.

And if you don’t see it? Ask the Lord to open your eyes and your heart to it. He’ll do it! Look for it! Seek it out! It’s there and it will lift us out of whatever problem we are stuck in.

Following are several quotes (out of millions) regarding beauty. Do any of them especially speak to your heart? What is your favorite quote about beauty? What beautiful thing makes you stop in your tracks and stare in awe?

Please share your thoughts. I am truly interested and I love to gather up more quotes, especially about beauty.


“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.” Confucius

“Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful; for beauty is God’s handwriting- a wayside sacrament.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched- they must be felt with the heart.” Helen Keller

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” John  Muir


Have a beautiful week, my friends. Thanks for reading and sharing.

Oh. And one more thing… don’t ever forget… YOU are beautiful.



Pet Your Pet, Self-Care Week 17

The Toolbox is filling up! What is today’s Self-care Tool?

It’s something many of us do quite naturally, without even thinking about it. Get ready to stuff your favorite pet into your Toolbox! LOL! Think about THAT for a few moments! Hilarious!! Unless you have a pet mouse, it would probably be pretty tricky to get your pet into a toolbox. I know my cats HATE it when I have to force them into an enclosed box (cat carrier) to go to the vet or get their claws trimmed or ANYTHING! Dogs are generally more agreeable to being confined in their kennel. But would it fit into a toolbox? Not unless it’s a Teacup Yorkie or something similar.

Hey. What’s all this talk about pets? We were going to talk about Self-Care tools.

So, what IS this week’s tool?

It’s short and sweet. It’s petting your pet, of course.

We all do it every day because we like it and we know our cat or dog likes it too. But did you know that simple, natural act has greater benefits?

I’ve had cats almost my entire life. The times I haven’t had at least one, were stressful and I knew there was something missing in my life. Even our rescued, shelter cats who are still rather stand-offish and “skitterish”, will condescend to allow us to pet them. It’s on their terms but it is still helps to me be calm when I stroke their fur. Petting them just makes my world a better place.

There is all sorts of information and research about how animals help the people around
them. We feel less stressed, sleep better, eat better, get more exercise, relate better with other people, have more confidence (as in helping a shy child read out loud, for instance) when we have a pet or therapy animal. I even read an article where an animal expert, Arden Moore, said playing with your pet spider can relax you. Huh? I don’t know about spiders being relaxing. I do know spiders are anything BUT relaxing to me and many people I know! But hey. Whatever floats your boat, right?
I’ve digressed. Ms. Moore also says even bird watching is relaxing and beneficial.
Studies show that touch, such as stroking an animal’s fur, releases the hormones oxytocin and endorphins. Those are the “feel-good” hormones and can relax both you and your pet, helping reduce heart rate and blood pressure.
Having a pet helps relieve anger, depression and even the perception of pain, giving the person a reason to get out of bed in the morning, purpose and a companion.
I’ll keep it short but if you’re interested in reading more from experts and research I’ve included a few references at the bottom.
The main thing to remember is that if you have a cat or dog (or spider!?), you have a wonderful tool for reducing stress and taking good care of yourself. Don’t- or can’t- live with an animal? “Borrow” one from a friend. Or perhaps, volunteer at the local shelter and help them socialize the strays. There is even some research to suggest that simply thinking about an animal is helpful to our brains and can produce some of the good effects of being around animals.
My photos are, on the left, Ebert the Orange and Joey curled together; and my grand-dog, Nash, who thinks he’s a lap dog in spite of being a Standard Poodle! Just a few of the loves in my life.
Do you have a dog or cat? Or spider?? What is your experience? I’d truly love to hear about your pet- even if it’s a spider. Please share how you find your pet relaxing in the comments.
Thanks so much for joining us in this journey to fill up a Toolbox of Self-Care tools so we are all prepared to *take good care of yourself*!
Some resources, as promised:

Flowers, Self-Care Tools, Week 16

vase of flowers

How was your Easter? I hope you had a good day.

Easter makes me think of new life and new beginnings. It makes me think of Springtime and flowers!  Flowers naturally bring us joy and lift our spirits. Whether you buy them for yourself or someone sends them, it’s been scientifically shown that flowers help combat depression and boost memory, among other things. That makes having flowers a wonderful Self-Care Tool to add to our Toolboxes!

We all enjoy flowers. It’s a no-brainer that they make us feel special and appreciated. However, there is research that shows many benefits of having flowers in your environment. Both Rutgers University and Harvard University (among the big names) have done research on those benefits and have found that flowers bring more satisfaction to our lives. “The presence of flowers triggers happy emotions, heightens feelings of life satisfaction and affects social behavior in a positive manner far beyond what is normally believed.” (Jeannette Haviland-Jones, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at Rutgers and lead researcher on the study.) According to this study in 2007, flowers bring immediate pleasure to the recipient. They can also have long term mood enhancing qualities and enhance a person’s social connections.

“Flowers bring about positive emotional feelings in those who enter a room,” said Dr. Haviland-Jones. “They make the space more welcoming and create a sharing atmosphere.” See? Flowers not only make you happy, they affect those around you as well.

Another study, also conducted at Rutgers, regarded effects of flowers on seniors.

“The results are significant because as our nation grows older and life becomes more stressful, we look for easy and natural ways to enhance our lives – and the lives of our aging parents,” said Dr. Jeannette Haviland-Jones. “Now, one simple answer is right under our noses.” Dr. Haviland-Jones and her associates found that flowers decreased depression, enhanced social connections and refreshed memory in the study group. All these situations can especially be problems for older people. Flowers are so much better than a pill, prettier and cheaper too!

Here’s a fun chart. I’m copying it directly for you. I really love the way flowers and colors speak to us. (This is also from Rutgers in association with the Society of American Florists.) By the way, I have no connection to Rutgers. I just found their research intriguing and interesting!

“Flower Therapy 
The researchers from Rutgers determined that the flower recipients in the study experienced an elevation in mood that lasted for days. And Chinese healers – who’ve long believed in “flower power” – say that it doesn’t stop there. They say you can utilize flowers to summon whatever power or emotion you’d like – and that the secret is in the flower’s color. Each color creates a different frequency of light waves, they believe, which travel through the retina and down the optic nerve, setting off a chain reaction of responses in the body. Neurotransmitters are then released, inducing the production of calming hormones like melatonin, stimulating hormones like adrenaline, and mood-boosting hormones like serotonin.

Here’s how you can enjoy the physical and emotional benefits of flowers

Increase energy with red roses

Since red has the slowest vibratory rate and and longest wavelength, it stimulates adrenal glands, boosting energy.

Boost confidence with irises 
The color indigo stimulates the brain’s pineal gland, which is the regulator of sleep patterns. Indigo also helps to free the mind of worries, fear and inhibition.

Enhance alertness with sunflowers
Yellow light waves stimulate the brain, making you alert, clearheaded and decisive. And since we associate yellow with the sun’s rays and daylight, it’s said to help us feel more optimistic.

Get a good night’s sleep with bluebells
Blue triggers the production of melatonin, a brain chemical that helps us relax and sleep soundly. Blue also stimulates the thyroid gland to release thyroxine, a hormone that regulates metabolic rate.

Relax with green zinnias
Green affects the nervous system, making us breathe slowly and deeply, slowing the production of stress hormones and helping the heart relax.

Prevent allergies with orange daisies 
Orange strengthens the immune system and the lungs, which can ward off spring allergies. Orange also has a strong beneficial effect on the digestive system and can stimulate the sexual organs.

Relieve stress with lilacs
Violet cools us, alleviating “hot” conditions like heat rash and sunburn, and suppressing hunger and balancing metabolism. It also stimulates the pituitary gland, the part of the brain that releases tension-fighting beta-endorphins.” (2002, Society of American Florists)

Not to leave Harvard out, Nancy Etcoff, Ph.D., of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in conjunction with the Society of American Florists, explored the effects of flowers in the home environment. In 2006, Dr. Etcoff conducted a study showing that people feel more compassionate toward others, have less worry and anxiety, and feel less depressed when flowers are present in the home. The study also revealed that people who have flowers in their home find the positive effects of their presence carries over into their work environment and can continue for up to a week.

So, go buy some flowers for yourself! They will share their happy beauty with you. Even the cheapest bunch at the grocery store will last for a week or more when the “Flower Food”, usually included, is used in the water. If there’s no “Flower Power”, crush an aspirin in warm water and be sure to cut a bit off the stems right before putting the flowers into the water.

Have a family member who’s allergic to flowers? Bummer! But you can try putting the bouquet in a room not frequented by that individual. You can go to that spot and enjoy them, along with some silence and rest and get the benefit of using several Self-Care Tools at the same time.

Flowers are so lovely; pick some from your yard, get some from the grocery store or go all out and get some from a florist. However you attain them, flowers will pay you back in so many happy ways! It might feel like a big splurge, but look at the benefits!

Flowers bring happiness and happy people are kinder and live longer!

Do you enjoy flowers regularly? Where do you get yours?

I’d love to hear your thoughts regarding this Tool- Buy Yourself Flowers. Please feel free to share with all of us!

Thanks so much for reading and sharing! Have a flowery week!





Check Your Foundation: Self-care Toolbox, week 15

Cinder block

What tool are we adding to our Toolbox today? A Check-meter.

What is a check-meter? Read on!

At the beginning of the year, many of us spend time setting goals and intentions. We want to set a foundation and a focus- a pathway- for the “clean slate” that stretches 12 months into the future.

It’s time to check that pathway, now, a third of the way through the year.

We sometimes get blindsided by major life events that force us to detour off our preferred course, the projected path. Those are the times we put everything else aside and wholly focus on the situation that crashed into us. And of course, that’s exactly what we need to do. Major life crises require our full attention. And I will give myself fully to it.

Smaller situations can also arise. Things that can push us off our path. Maybe a vicious head cold sidelines us for a week or two… Or the water heater breaks and floods and requires another week that isn’t in the plan… Or a friend has a need… Or a pet gets sick. Any number of “little” things can gobble up our perfect plan.

When things calm down, when the problem is fixed and the pet is well. When the friend is safe and the water heater (and carpet) is replaced… It’s a good time to re-assess my path. Am I still on the original path? Is it still viable? Do I still want to go that direction? Is it necessary to shift my perspective? We can’t foresee what life will throw us. We don’t know when the Lord will desire to show us something new. We have to be willing to reconsider the journey throughout the year and change course if necessary.

There are tools, important ones, that aren’t used everyday but are necessary to have available. For example, my hubs has a volt meter. He doesn’t need it to build a box or fix a chair. But when he’s working with electricity- installing a dimmer switch or fixing a lamp- he wants to know if there’s power on the line. We do not want to create one of those major detours we were just talking about! Usually, the volt meter just sits in the corner of the tool box but when we need it, it’s very important to have.

What tool are we adding today? Let’s call it a Check-meter. (As far as I know, up until just now, there was no such thing. I made it up.) We’re going to use it to check our foundation, (like a level) is it still solid? We’re going to use it to check our direction, (like a compass) are we still heading in the right direction? Ask: do I need a re-set on my original plan? Do I need a re-direct? Do I need a whole new plan? Am I firmly fixed on my core values and the things God has placed before me right now?

I get frustrated with myself and life when I’ve allowed myself to get off kilter. Of course, things come along that whack us in the head or even tackle us and throw us in a ditch. That’s pretty normal. What’s important is how we handle life after we get up and dust off.

Unless I check the map along the way, by the end of the year I can find myself on another planet- far from my intended destination. I don’t know about you, but I find it frustrating when I realize that life took a wrong turn and I blindly followed it. I feel I wasted precious time going the opposite direction of my true intentions. So every few months- quarterly, three-times-a year, twice a year- take a few minutes to sit with the Lord and check your foundation. Get out the Check-meter. Ask if adjustments need to be made. Am I still heading in the right direction? Was that life-event a wake-up call or a “distraction”?

Last month I had an issue with my back that turned into another issue and I felt I’d been side-tracked for at least three weeks. I was frustrated with the situation and with myself that I didn’t bounce back quickly as I tried to charge onward.

This morning I got at text from a friend, an opportunity to possibly sell a painting. Guess what? My website is useless. I couldn’t even send her to Fine Art America because everything there is out of date too. I really can’t take advantage of that opportunity. But re-introducing my website, etc., was one of those things God has been nudging me to do. In my desire to make up for lost time, I missed an opportunity by not re-focusing on the plan for this year. Ouch. Another question to ask: have I gotten distracted by the urgent, rather than staying focused on the important.

By checking with our original intentions, we can save ourselves a lot of frustration and maybe even missed opportunities. Instead of suddenly realizing we’re flying untethered, we can remain firmly anchored and confident that we’re in step with God’s purposes for us. And that, my friend, is a good place to be.

How about you? Do you check in with your intentions throughout the  year? I would truly like to know.

Thanks so much for reading and adding another Self-care tool to your Toolbox. Please join the conversation and share your thoughts on this little used, but important tool.

God bless you good!