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

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

 

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

The Dangers of Living on Auto-Pilot

Life comes at you fast. It can be full of ups and downs. There’s some good and some bad. And sometimes you end up just plain tired – stressed and overwhelmed. And you might want something to just go on predictably for a change, right? Maybe? Or maybe not so much.

How’s your life going? Do you feel like you’re on top of your game and things are going well? Or are you starting to feel that nagging sensation that there’s got to be more? Or do you  feel like it’s time for a change – but you might be a little bit afraid or a lot afraid of doing what it needs to be done in order to create that change? I feel you. I’ve been there. Many times.

Today I just want to encourage you about not getting lulled into the complacency of autopilot. Because here’s the tragedy. The tragedy is that many, many people live their lives on autopilot. They wake up, get dressed, go to work or go about their days – business as usual. One day blends into the next and blends into the next and you look up in five years have passed. You think about all those dreams and all those ambitions that you had once upon a time. You might start to think maybe it’s too late.

But let me say something to you loud and clear! It is NEVER TOO LATE!

It’s never too late to try something new.

It’s never too late to pursue your passion.

It’s never too late to say yes to your soul.

If you are ready to say yes to your soul and to pursue something that has been tugging at your heart for a very long time – IT IS TIME TO START.

It’s time to take a risk.

It’s time to step out of your comfort zone.

It’s time to take yourself seriously and honor your truest desires.

ARE YOU READY?

Come with me and let’s take this adventure together! Because after all – it’s YOUR life, and you have a say! And it is time to JUST DO YOU!

Many blessings to you and yours from in from my heart to yours.  I pray that you will create the life of your dreams. If anything in this message inspired you to think about something different, to do something different, to make a bold decision – I encourage you to reach out to me.

Email me at trina@mycoachtrina.com, and let’s set up a time to talk about how you can take things to the next level in your life. I look forward to speaking with you!

Yours in UNLIMITED possibility,

Trina Ramsey


Career & Life Strategist

MyCoachTrina.com

Connect with me!

On Twitter and Periscope: @PerspectivePlus

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PerspectivesPlus

The Strengths Within

Hello Friends!

I am expecting great things for you and me in 2016 because with faith and some creative positioning, there is nothing we can’t do!!! Absolutely NOTHING!


So I wanted to drop by quickly to see if you will join me in exploring your strengths and talents. You know those finely developed skills that set you apart or those God given abilities that make you special. I believe our strengths and talents are the guideposts to our purpose in life. And once you’ve figured out your purpose, a dynamic vision for your life can be born. But it all starts with knowing and understanding the strengths within.


When I began my coaching practice, I decided to focus my coaching on Positive Psychology. Positive Psychology focuses on how to help human beings prosper and lead healthy, happy lives mainly by helping them access their strengths, gifts and talents. Simply put…the thought is… the more you operate in your strengths, the happier your life will be. I am a walking testimony to this fact which is why I encourage my clients through strength building. Sounds great, right? I think so. The problem however, is that most people have no idea what their strengths are. They don’t understand the power of their gifts and have no idea how to direct their talents to lead happy, successful lives.


I want to help you all in this area. So back to my request at the beginning of this post…please join me in exploring your strengths. I am going to give you two easy ways to begin to tap into your strengths within. Below are a few assessments that will give you a good indication of what you are working with. They are all FREE. YAY! But very capable.


Please do yourself a favor and learn more about what makes you uniquely who you are. This is the first step in the Vision Making process. Tis the season for Vision Boards and Goal Setting. I’m asking you to Pause this year, Explore your strengths and Learn how to leverage them for success, AND THEN Create your Vision Boards or Goals. StrengthsFinder 2.0 is another tool that I make EVERY client take at the beginning of working together. The cost on that assessment is about $15.00, however you will need someone certified in StrengthsFinder to interpret your results accurately.


In any case, do yourself a favor and identify your strengths within. Trust me, you will thank me later.


Via Survey of Character Strengths AND Brief Strengths Test

https://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/user/login?destination=node/434 

You will need to do a quick registration. They can be found under questionnaires.

Spiritual Gifts Test  

http://giftstest.com/ 

You will need to do a quick registration.


Blessings!


Natasha Gayden is the founder of Elevate! Master Coaching. Natasha brings over 20 years of corporate experience identifying and developing high potential talent within individuals and teams. She as has many years of life experiences and a track record of helping people unstuck in their lives. Natasha specializes in the development of human potential across the personal/professional spectrum of life. She brings to the table significant Coaching, Training, and Consulting experience in the areas of Strategic Planning, insight, leadership skills, executive presence and overall life resiliency.

Source: www.elevatemastercoaching.com

Beauty For Ashes - Living with Pain

About two years ago, my husband and I decided to do a 7 day fast. I had not done a fast in several years due to being diagnosed as Pre-Diabetic, having Fibromyalgia Syndrome and High Blood Pressure. I typically wouldn’t alter anything from the routine of food I consumed because any little imbalance could result in weeks of unrelenting pain. I chose not to take all of the pain meds prescribed by my doctors because I believe they just mask the pain, cause dependency and decrease the quality of life. Some people believe differently, however this is my choice. I choose to endure the pain, press through, lean into it, so I can lead a somewhat normal life. So as you can imagine a 7 day fast could have grave implications on my well-being, not to mention I had to go to the corporate headquarters to sit in meetings for 4 days. Well I was on day 3 and I had a headache that was unbearable!!! I felt like I was going to pass out. Then a co- worker noticed I was not myself and asked me what was wrong. I broke down and told her I was fasting and just like someone delirious in pain, I went on and on about how hungry I was and how the pain was racking my body. I was almost in tears. But then this women looked at me with so much love and compassion and said to me, “Compare the suffering”. It was like a bolt of lightning had struck and landed directly on my soul. What she was saying was to compare the suffering of Jesus with my own current situation. Well how was I supposed to do that? There is no comparison and her point was well received. I went to the bathroom and prayed for strength and thanked Jesus for His suffering for me. I then put mind over matter and went on with my meeting. An hour later, lunch was served and miraculously all the things I could eat, were served. My pain was still there, but I needed to put it into perspective. Pain is sometimes necessary. In Jesus case it was necessary and in our lives it can be a necessary benefit as well. This is how pain benefits me:

Pain lets me know I’m alive. We’ve all heard the saying “I pinched myself to see if this is real”. People say that because the pain from the pinch lets them know whatever it is, is real. So many of us go through life sleepwalking and acting like the walking dead. We are not living life, just going through it, numb to everything around us. But when you experience pain, it becomes a wake up call. Pain lets you know you are still here and have work to do.

Pain lets me know something is wrong. In general, pain is an indicator that something is amiss in the body and needs to be healed or corrected. Similarly, pain in my life lets me know I’m not sleeping enough, not eating properly or dealing with too much stress. It also tells me when my body has had its fill of activities and when it is time to rest. My body in the past would lie to me. I would be tired and stressed and it would keep going, acting as if everything was okay when it wasn’t. My pain is like the truth ringing in my ears, loudly, screaming….TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF!

Pain helps me to be more compassionate. I have to admit, before my fibromyalgia diagnosis, I was hard on people who claimed limitations. If you were sick, get over it and come to work anyway. If you were going through a break up, cry for 2 days and get back on the wagon. When people claimed to be fatigued, I thought that just meant they were tired or sleepy. And hey, we can sleep when we are dead, right? Wrong! The first time I felt fatigue, which is commonplace these days, I thought I was dying a slow death. Tired is to someone pinching you as fatigue is to someone hitting you with a baseball bat. They are NOT the same. And everything people go through in life, whether pain in their body, hearts or minds should be handled with the utmost care. People in pain should be held with compassion, not pity, not disbelief and not business as usual, but compassion. God blessed me with a compassionate husband who along with my pain has taught me to extend grace, passion and love. I am thankful for my pain because It has made me a better person.

Finally, pain gives me purpose.God promises us Beauty for Ashes. This simply means that out of our pain, disappointments and brokenness, beauty will manifest itself. There is a purpose to everything….nothing God does is in vain. I… like Paul have asked God to take this thorn from me and He up to this point has said no. And because I trust God and refuse to lean on my own understanding, I know there is a purpose for my pain. Around the same time I was diagnosed with my incurable, life long pain, my grandson died. It was because of these instances that my purpose was born. I got serious about my life, I got engaged in life, I stopped playing church and lived for Christ. I sought my purpose and began living in it. Now pain moved in with my purpose and they will not be separated. And I’m okay with that as long as I am living a purposeful life. No one ever told us that finding our purpose would be a painless life. Just look at Mother Theresa, Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Pain followed them, it was part of their purpose. And part of my purpose is to help other Chronic pain sufferers know that they can still have purposeful and wonderful life.

Beauty for Ashes is what God promised me. So I can hold on. I can see the big picture. I can endure the pain. I understand its benefits. I thank the Lord for my pain. But its hard. It’s especially hard on days like today when I can barely type this blog, I’m fatigued, I’m experiencing brain fog and my body feels like its been hit by a Mack truck. However, I will overcome, because I have work to do. I have a purpose…..

Audaciously,

Natasha

Source: https://elevatesite.wordpress.com/2015/10/...