It’s Time To Take Back Our Power!

It’s been on my heart to discuss the sharp uptick in angst, anger, and dismay over the upcoming transition of power. It’s been a very difficult time for many as we watch in horror the things that have transpired since the election. Twitter fights, bullying, unnecessary aggression and devaluing of citizens lives, as legislators rush to dismantle cornerstones of our democracy and leave the public hanging high and dry… people they were elected (and paid very well) to protect and serve. It’s scarcity mentality at the utmost level.

Personally, I’ve had difficulty dealing with it as well – I cycle between anger, frustration, and sheer disbelief – along with what I have coined “Election Induced Tourrete Syndrome” – the compulsion to yell and curse in response to news commentators and public figures. Anyone else?

But I’m here today with good news.

WE CAN TAKE BACK OUR POWER. WE MUST. This moment in American history is like none other, and we cannot afford to stand back and take it.

  • If you’ve been wringing your hands, worrying and shut down, it’s time to shake it off and get into action.
  • If you’ve been waging wars on Facebook and Twitter, it’s time to turn that energy towards those in power and hold them accountable.

WE THE PEOPLE are in charge of this democracy. We own it. And we MUST step up to the plate. There have been other regimes around the world where tyrants have taken over, and people have survived. Resistances have formed. People find a way to thrive and stand for each other. It is no longer appropriate to sit back and wait for THEM to fix things. We are the leaders the worlds been waiting for. Each of us. It’s time to get to work.

What you can do:

  1. Like a good friend says, “Get local”. Volunteer for a cause you believe in. Get involved in local politics. Heck – run for office yourself! You have no idea the power that you possess. Be a part of the solution.
  2. Use your voice. Lobby your elected officials (at all levels) for the changes you stand for. Defend policies that are under attack. Be vigilant. Be fearless. There are many great organizations that stand for “the people” where you can amplify your voice – such as Common Cause, ACLU, People for the American Way, Color of Change, NAACP, Planned Parenthood and many others. Get involved. You don’t have to have all the answers.
  3. Take care of yourself, your family and your community. Life goes on. Enjoy life and embrace the people around you. Pray, feed your spiritual life and connect with like-minded people. Count your blessings and do what you can in the spaces you occupy.
  4. Be the change. Start something new. If you see a problem, find new ways to fix it. Step up in leadership. Use your gifts and talents to inject positivity and creativity into the world.

AND REMEMBER….

If it’s to be, it’s UP TO ME. 
The people, united, can never be defeated!

NOW is the time to step up to the challenge before us. WE CAN DO THIS. WE MUST. Future generations are depending on us. We can’t let them down.

Source: https://justdoyouinstitute.wordpress.com/

How do you live out God's plan for you?

A Reading from the Letter to the Ephesians 2: 10

What does this mean for us? God, our ultimate designer had an extraordinary purpose for creating us. He planned a mission so unique, that no one else can take ownership of it. Who are we to judge our own selves? God intended us and only us to serve Him in the way He prepared the world to receive us. He already knows the path we are to follow so that we can grow, thrive, find peace and abundance. God has given us His son Jesus to save us for when we stray from our path. God has laid the foundation of our life before us and reassures us that He is ever present in a world where only few promises are kept. He knows where and how we will falter, but we need to remember that through His light, goodness, and mercy, His love will forward us back to the direction of where we need to be in order to live good lives not only for ourselves, but others as well. Can you imagine a world where we all live up to our potential, are happy and living in abundance, where the seeds of peace can grow and spread, and where joy and compassion meet when someone is in despair? What you feel when you think about this? How can you play a role in the quest that each of us has been given to live out? You can do this, for it His dream for you has been breathed in your life at creation!

By: Gina Sannasardo

That Time Of Year...

It's that time of year again...are we preparing for festivities, parties, gift-buying, wrapping, and giving, sending out cards, going to parties, or preparing for our Savior to reside in our hearts? How do you best spend this time? What feels the best for you? It is often said it is a time to "WAKE-UP!" and get ready, feel alive, and put into action the feeling of peace, joy, love, and giving! How can we do less, to feel more? Does this make sense? Do less to feel more? When we are so busy and consumed with all the holiday happenings, we tend to feel stressed, tired, crabby, and maybe even numb. Doing less and saying no to all the hustle and bustle can actually allow us to feel more, or at least feel what we want to feel-joyful, charitable, kinder, and calmer. How do you choose to feel this holiday season?

By: Gina Sannasardo

Stress Management 101

We all have stress…I mean it’s normal, right?!  Yes, absolutely.  So when does stress become harmful  and what can you do to reduce stress’ harmful effects on your mental and physical health?  Read on to answer those questions.

With the recent election, the campaigning prior to the election, and the reactions of Americans since the election, there has been a lot of stress felt across our country.  I don’t know about you, but just reading my FB feed has become stressful and occasionally traumatic.  In addition, we’re all beginning to plan for the upcoming holiday events, thinking about having family members together who don’t always get along, and how to discuss politics around the family table.  Needless to say, we are surrounded by stress and stressful events.

Did you know there are actually two kinds of stress?  There is good stress (eustress) and bad stress (distress).  Good stress helps us focus, proves a sense of urgency, and can help us complete tasks more efficiently.  Distress, on the other hand, causes a host of physical and mental symptoms that can actually keep us from doing our best work and living our best lives.

There is another differentiating factor to stress, too: acute versus chronic stress.  Acute stress is felt when someone is approaching a deadline.  It lasts for a finite amount of time and for a specific reason.  Chronic stress is a heightened amount of stress for a prolonged amount of time.  It’s as though your daily “bar” or threshold for stress is at a higher level than before and it begins to seem like your new normal.

What are some examples of events or interactions that cause stress?

  • discontent at work
  • fear of termination/loss of a job
  • relationship or family trouble
  • illness or death of a loved one
  • planning events (weddings, anniversaries, birthday parties)
  • getting married, divorce, separation
  • moving
  • financial obligations
  • traumatic events
  • family get-togethers
  • having a baby
  • TV, news media, social media

Many of us believe that a little stress is normal, and that it might even help us perform better.  The problem is that we say we can handle a little stress to finish a project, or to finish planning an event, but then one project leads to another and then another and soon our stress level is increased indefinitely.

So what does stress actually do to us, anyway? How would I know if I’m experiencing the effects of stress?  If you are experiencing any of the following, you’re likely experiencing stress at a moderate to high level.  (If these symptoms are prolonged or intense you may need to seek medical assessment and treatment.)

  • headaches
  • chest pain
  • high blood pressure
  • fatigue or trouble sleeping
  • upset stomach & digestive issues
  • anger or irritability
  • sadness or depression
  • overeating, over drinking
  • anxiety
  • weight gain or loss
  • skin conditions
  • nail biting, leg bouncing
  • loneliness/isolation
  • having a negative perspective on most life events

For women, some effects of stress are even more pronounced.

  • Women are 10 times more likely than men to develop eating disorders due to stress
  • stomach issues
  • skin reactions
  • sleep deprivation
  • difficulty concentrating
  • heart disease/heart attacks
  • cancer/breast cancer
  • lowered immune response

So what can you do to help prevent, treat, or combat your high stress levels?  There are many things you can do.  Below is a diverse list of activities, but it’s far from exhaustive.

  • watch a comedy movie or attend a comedy show
  • play with a pet
  • get a manicure or pedicure
  • get a massage
  • read a book for pleasure
  • savor coffee or hot tea
  • journal your stress, emotional responses
  • journal about your hopes and dreams
  • practice a deep relaxation exercise
  • add breathing techniques into your day
  • move your body
    • 10 minute movements throughout the day
    • standing from your office chair every hour
    • walking around the office or around the block
  • meditation
  • yoga
  • stretching
  • improve your diet
    • eat quality protein, veggies, Omega-3 fatty acids, ginger
  • get enough sleep
  • socialize–spend face-to-face time with friends
  • dance
  • avoid drama
  • take a bath
  • take a walk
  • reduce screen time (TV, computer, phone, tablet, video games)
  • Avoid stressors (such as the news, scary movies, social media negativity)
  • express your feelings to trusted friends, family members, or colleagues
  • laugh
  • put things into perspective
  • connect with nature
  • slow down, live in the present moment
  • use your five senses–notice smells, what colors do you see, notice how something feels in your fingers, what do you hear, how does something taste
    • actually take time to intentionally feel the lotion you’re putting on your hands
    • notice the warmth of the blanket you’re napping under
    • notice the color in the leaves of the trees
    • smell the dinner your partner is cooking
    • see the food you ordered at a restaurant before taking a picture of it for social media
  • spend time doing things you enjoy (hobbies, athletics, museums, etc.)
  • learn to say “no” without feeling guilty
  • light a candle
  • reduce your caffeine intake
  • take time to relax
  • use your vacation time
  • cook or bake
  • practice gratitude: what are you thankful for, experience the gratitude, share gratitude with others

Perhaps most important is that we reflect on our current situation and STOP EXCUSING our level of stress thinking “let me just get through this one __________ (project, dinner, event, etc.)” because what inevitably happens is that one project or deadline leads into the next and the next.  We MUST prioritize our health, wellness, and sanity by prioritizing our stress management.  We can do this by creating a daily or weekly routine for self-care.

What could you be doing on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual basis to care for yourself? 

Some ideas for each time frame are below. (Many of the things listed below could occur more often than I’m suggesting here–there is no limit to your self-care routine!)

Annually: take a vacation, use your sick time, attend a conference, take a class
Quarterly: review the goals you’ve achieved, go to the movies, attend a theater production
Monthly: date nights, coffee with a friend, massage, send a card to someone
Weekly: religious event, counseling appointment, yoga, manicure, dance, sing
Daily: breathing technique, take a walk, journal your gratitude, walk your dog, love

While it’s true we all have stress in our lives, what we don’t all have is an intentional practice for managing our stress.  If you would like to create a self-care routine, or if you have a vision for your life that you would like to clarify or achieve, please email me at Nikki@GroundedVisionCoaching.com.  I offer free discovery coaching sessions and I’d love to see how I can serve you and if we would be a good fit to work together.

Dr. Nikki Tobias
Certified Life & Career Coach
Grounded Vision Coaching & Consulting

Nikki@GroundedVisionCoaching.com
(717)515-0820

The Season of Fall

Many people view fall as a time to shed what is old before it dies. This can be true, but instead of looking at it as a time of death, how would it be it we looked at it as a time of renewal? When you think of the beauty of renewal, like to beauty in the colorful foliage, one can see the whole process of letting go and being renewed as a beautiful process as well. It takes time, just like being patient for all the leaves to fall. Often there are one or two leaves hanging on 'til the bitter end of the season. This can be compared to us having a difficult time letting go of unsupportive habits, or being challenged in making an uncomfortable decision and deciding to take action. Although, the tree looks bare once all the leaves have fallen, we too might feel vulnerable, abandoned, or alone once we have decided to do something that perhaps others don't agree with. What is amazing with this process is that after this period of regret, or desolation, is the birth of a new you ready to bud and grow in a way that seemed almost impossible. Just remember the beauty of the spring flowers that bring about hope for many. Be patient with yourself, believe that after this difficulty, the you that you want to be is in bloom sooner than you think! Are you ready to shed what is holding you back?

 

Gina Sannasardo

www.findinggodspeace.com

 

How do you perceive things?

"In need of some inspiration?  Is it ever hard to pull yourself out of a slump? Do you find it hard to move forward? Sometimes having someone walk with you during a hard time makes all the difference! You're valuable and worthy! Spend time for you!  Visit www.findinggodspeace.com so that Peace and Joy can be Yours".

"Corinthians 4:1 "Thus should one regard us as servants of Christ"  What does this look like? If we are to serve Christ and Christ lives in all of us, then doesn't this mean we serve one another?  We are to help those in need of comfort, need of a prayer, need of acceptance, etc.  We are to be there for one another in times of need and desperation.  This might mean we move out our comfort zone, be in a time of inconvenience because it doesn't fit into our schedule, or going above and beyond the usual efforts with a joyful and loving heart.  We will let the love we are filled with pervade to those around us.  What then, does service to Christ look like to you?"

"How often do I know to turn to my Friend, my Lord?   Our lives can be difficult, busy, and hectic.  In our human nature, we can easily become swayed by our challenges rather than remembering to look unto Him for encouragement, strength, wisdom, acceptance, and love.  It is in Him, through Him, and by Him that we are restored to who we were originally meant to be in order to live in abundance.  Only from Him can we be strengthened; by His Goodness, we are healed.  For more information on how to live in abundance, visit www.findinggodspeace.com  and look at life with a fresh set of eyes."

"Can you see who is hidden in this image, yet still very present?  Often it's hard for us to see Jesus in our midst, yet alone feel Him working in our lives.  Don't forget that when you're looking through the beauty and weeds of life, know that your Friend is always there loving you!"

"Saying goodnight means saying it is okay to let go of all the things from the day that held you back, didn't work in your favor, that turned out to be mistakes, things you should have done, from prayers unsaid, smiles not shared, and judgements of yourself.  It is time to rest your mind, body, and spirit.  It is time to capture the freedom and peace you desire. Say goodnight for now and be hopeful for another chance to try again tomorrow- you are more than worth it!"

"'Today is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!'  Today is a fresh start to try again.  Each struggle or hardship is an opportunity to respond to life how we choose-to decide how we want to "show up!"  Let us rejoice that we continually have a chance to start fresh!  What will you do with today?"

This is not the Mother’s Day essay I intended to write

This is not the Mother’s Day essay I intended to write.  

This essay is about me. It’s about how I learned forty-year-old woman can act like petulant toddlers – and their Moms will still love them.  This is the absolute uncensored truth on all levels.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom, (aka Grandma Macaroni). I love you.

I bicker with my Mom.

I roll my eyes at my Mom.

I am exasperated with my Mom when she buys my child expensive birthday / Christmas / Easter / no reason other than she wanted to presents.

She ‘just wants to’ frequently, so I’m frequently exasperated.

I am frustrated with my Mom when she morphs into a short order cook and meets my child’s utterly random requests for ‘melty cheese’ or ‘macaroni and peas’ or ‘the good crackers.’  I am most especially frustrated because I have no earthly clue which crackers are the ‘good’ crackers. This is their little game, and if I’m honest, I’m a little jealous.

I am irritated with my Mom when she brushes me off and gives my child another cookie. Extra cookies happen often, so yes, you guessed it – I am irritated often.

This past week I sat with my coffee and my laptop, morning after morning, trying to summon the great American Mother’s Day essay. Concentrating and meditating and deleting, as the words just never seemed right, never seemed enough.

I was searching for words of love and wonder. But, those words packed themselves up for a holiday without notice, leaving me dry. In a final, desperate bid to summon words, any useful words, I flipped back through old journals.  Surely reading my words, written in my hand would unstick the spigot – it had to, I had deadlines and time waits for no writer.

So I sat reading my journals. Leafing recklessly though pages that contained lists of what I was grateful to have in my life, plans for the future, recollections and hopes and joys. I was flipping back and forth a bit recklessly when I slammed into the wall of fear and pain. Stung by the scrawl I didn’t recognize as my own, I read the entries full of fear I wrote last winter.  I noted how my letters were bigger, loopier, rushed and raw. I wanted to turn the pages and run from my words, but I was stuck there by the stinging, searing, memories. For three months I was gripped by a variety of fears as my mom, who I can’t recall even having the flu was desperately sick.  Some unknown bizarre infection was wreaking havoc in every sense of the word - and I was powerless.  I was frantic, powerless and lost. I closed my eyes and willed the images away, but still I remembered the phone calls to and from my brother and father. I remembered keeping the phone ringer at full volume so I wouldn’t miss a call or text. I couldn’t miss a call or text.

I was submerged by the memories of the vows I made that began ‘If my mom is ok.”

If my Mom is ok I’ll let her buy my child whatever she wants to.

If my Mom is ok I’ll never be snide when she asks me to call to say I got home ok.

If my Mom is ok I’ll never complain that she lets the baby watch TV.

If my Mom is ok I’ll never roll my eyes when she questions my parenting.

If my Mom is ok I’ll never chastise her for undermining my parental authority.

If my Mom is ok… If my Mom is ok… If my Mom is ok…

Had I fulfilled any of those vows? Any? Even for a short time?

Didn’t I just question why she bought another American Girl outfit? Wasn’t it last month I pleaded with her to keep the Easter baskets reasonable this year? I allowed the first cookie so why, I recalled asking, did she have to push it to two cookies? And for the love of life could someone tell me which crackers are the ‘good crackers’ so I know which brand to buy?

Stunned the clock brought me back. Another day’s office hours resulted in nothing productive and know the toddler needed to be picked up.  I put the old journals back, splashed water on my face and hit the Starbucks between my front door and school pickup line. Yes, I had made coffee that morning, but it grew cold and sour while I tripped on my memories. Not much in life is worse than cold coffee or broken vows, besides I needed the familiarity of the drive thru to steady me. I needed the caffeine to snap me back.

It was raining so we couldn’t play on the schoolyard slide.  As my toddler waved good-bye to classmates, I noticed the quivering lip, the sad forlorn brown eyes and sensed my window to restore calm was closing – quickly.  I knelt to explain we’d play another day, steeling myself in case this mission went south with the reminder: this kid saves the tantrums for me because I’m the safe harbor. I’m the person it is safe to screech at, stamp feet at and glare at while yelling, “I’m so frustrated.”

I get to deal with the tantrums because I’m Mom.

My love is sure and absolute.

My love is constant and relentless.

That absolute, relentless love despite anything this kid throws at me is the love that Moms talk about when we say we’d do anything for our kids. Anything to see them happy, see them safe, see them spared of pain or robbed of joy.  Maybe those moments when being the Mom is tough are really gifts; I get to prove that fierce love over and over and over… and Please Lord over and over and over and over for a long time to come.

Standing in the cold spring rain I realized I didn’t really break those vows. I was just testing the limits of a more mature Mother / Daughter bond. Giving her the gift of loving her child over and over and over and over and Thank You Sweet Lord over and over and over again.

My Mom’s love is without question and therefore, can tolerate eye rolls, snide comments and exasperated sighs. I looked deep into those big brown eyes and said, “Hey, you want to call Grandma?”

“Good crackers?” the small voice asked?

I replied “Sure, Mommy promises to ask Grandma were to get the good crackers.”


Jennifer Bellber is a Certified Professional Life Coach & Energy Leadership Index Master Practitioner. She's a wife, mother of a toddler, sometimes blogger, photographer for fun and charitable causes, slow runner and weight lifting enthusiast who reduced her physical self by 120 pounds a few years ago. 

Jennifer's passion is helping overwhelmed parents figure out who they want to be when their kids grow up, ditch the Mommy Guilt (or Daddy Guilt as the case may be) and live a connected, empowered, wickedly amazing sexy life of their own design.

To learn more about Jennifer, visit: www.jenniferbellber.com

Source: www.jenniferbellber.com

The Day I Took A Technology Break

I remember the day well, Tuesday, January 26th. The day I logged off all social media sites. Why did I decide to log off? I was exhausted. 

I was smack in the middle (day 5 of 10) of my fourth round of antibiotics in four months. To say I was exhausted doesn’t actually convey the extent of my illness. I mean, this was beyond the typical levels of exhausted brought about by a life that involves too much coffee, not enough sleep and chasing small children. This was more than racing to meet deadlines, draft programs and get the holiday cheer wrapped and under the tree. This was a bona fide sick, and no matter what I did, I wasn’t getting any better. 

Yes, I know that might sound overly dramatic. Still, as I sat watching my child’s dance class I contemplated every angle of planning necessary for a childfree weekend on a secluded beach. 

The lynchpin of my fantasy: the elusive lack of any and all cell phone service. 

The notion of being ‘unreachable’ filled me with a blissful and giddy glee. Just meditation, barefoot walks on warm sand, uninterrupted, leisurely time with the love of my life and perhaps an exotic cocktail or two. Quickly (and sadly) I realized the beach weekend was a bust. However,  I also realized what I was truly longing for: the coveted ‘unreachable’ status. That was something I could do.  Yes, it was something I would do.

I was instantly at peace with the decision to unplug. I moved quickly and decisively – choosing a day with an already light schedule. Just a month before I had published my one word manifesto of 2016: Me! In the last days of 2015 I embraced the search for the word I would claim as a beacon for the New Year.  Me with a deliberately capitalized M – the Me of my higher, enlightened Self. I had pledged to practice radical self-care, to heal my body and spirit, exiting the antibiotic roller coaster once and for all. 

What could be more in line with beacon of Me? Unplugging Me was the first expression of radical self-care of 2016 and it went without a hitch. In a dark hour of illness I unplugged leaving this note on my social media pages: 

“They say everything will work better if you unplug it for a while. I’m unplugging Me for the next 24 hours. All sessions will commence as planned. Please call with any questions or to book an appointment.” 

On January 26th I embraced my first act of radical, unapologetic self-care. In the process I enjoyed a hot cup of coffee while it was still hot. Seems my coffee grew cold while I was scrolling through feeds and re-tweeting the profound wisdom of fellow coaches. No one complained, no clients balked, and I came back refreshed, invigorated and engaged.  

The lack of excess static was refreshing, so refreshing this unplugged day has become my monthly retreat and gift of self care to myself.


Jennifer Bellber is a Certified Professional Life Coach & Energy Leadership Index Master Practitioner. She's a wife, mother of a toddler, sometimes blogger, photographer for fun and charitable causes, slow runner and weight lifting enthusiast who reduced her physical self by 120 pounds a few years ago. 

Jennifer's passion is helping overwhelmed parents figure out who they want to be when their kids grow up, ditch the Mommy Guilt (or Daddy Guilt as the case may be) and live a connected, empowered, wickedly amazing sexy life of their own design.

To learn more about Jennifer, visit: www.jenniferbellber.com

Source: www.jenniferbellber.com