Frances 0. Thomas

National Certified Counselor

Archive for the category “change”

Grow where you’re planted

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I confess it was never my intention to live in Florida. Yet nearly two decades later, I am still here. Moreover, I live on a relatively rural island a good drive away from the nearest city. I grew up and lived my whole life in the suburbs of Pittsburgh. If there was ever a fish out of water, I’m it.

When I spotted Melody Warnick’s book This Is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live, i grabbed it off the shelf. Maybe I could find some helpful advice within.

Warnick’s issue was a little different from my own. She had moved multiple times, never feeling at home in any of her locations. When her professor husband got a job in Blacksburg at Virginia Tech, she resolved to find out what leads people to feel attached to their town or city.

Her extensive research led to some practical suggestions. The first is to walk whenever possible to get a sense of place. That one is only marginally doable for me. I can’t really walk to any destinations, just within my immediate neighborhood. Doing that, however, would accomplish another tactic, getting to know my neighbors. In the time we’ve lived here, people have moved away or died, and we’ve never made the acquaintance of their replacements.

Warnick’s other advice includes volunteering and doing something creative. I do those things  but in the nearby city, not on the island. Doing activities most other residents find pleasurable won’t work for me. I’ve never fished and never will.

My one gold star is that I do try to patronize local businesses.

Is there hope for me? Like Warnick, should I push myself a bit more? Do you feel at home where you live? Why?

 

 

 

 

 

Another kind of segregation

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I have recently made my first foray into the world of fiction. My contemporary romantic novella The Lady Is a Mayor is set in a highly fictionalized version of the place where I actually live. The story involves a disagreement between townspeople who are in favor of economic growth and those who are determined to protect the environment. My book is a comedy, so it ends with the standard happily ever after. In real life, this isn’t often the case.

William Chopik, a psychology prof at Michigan State University, has published a study that indicates living among those whose viewpoint you don’t share can affect your personality. If you are on the Trump train and all your neighbors are Hillary supporters, you may distrust them so much that you withdraw from relationships.

Chopik says his findings could explain why many Americans seem to be consolidating into heavily red or blue geographic areas. This may also explain political gridlock. If you never communicate with anyone different, you don’t learn how to compromise.

Racial segregation is technically a thing of the past, but its implications are far from gone. Maybe we also need to take a look at political segregation.

 

 

Delayed gratification=weight loss

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I just read yet another study with fairly self-evident results. This one is from McMaster University and St. Joseph’s Healthcare of Hamilton. They found that folks with ADHD and folks who are obese share an inability to delay gratification. This apparently is true of those with any addictive behavior.

Really? Do you mean to tell me I am fat because I can’t turn down a cookie? Duh.

The researchers say that clinical approaches to weight loss should focus more on the long term benefits. I think we all know perfectly well the long term benefits already. But that doesn’t stop us.

I’m thinking this is also a function of will power’s being a finite capacity. For example, I managed to get through grad school with little difficulty but gained 20 pounds in the process if I recall correctly. Should I have focused on denying myself the extra calories and blown off my studies?

Does it have to be an either-or situation?

 

 

 

Exercise with a buddy

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Many years ago. I bought a Pilates machine from QVC. I used it religiously when it was new. Then, as these things go, I got out of the habit. The machine languished on a screened in porch here in Florida and the rollers deteriorated.

Well, I got re-motivated so I ordered new rollers. My husband and I managed to remove the crumbling old ones and attach the new ones, all without causing each other any bodily harm, a feat of which we are both proud.

After copious applications of WD40, the machine is working pretty well. Now, I am again exercising under the observation of a gecko. Poor creature can’t quite figure what is going on. He wouldn’t be my first choice as an exercise buddy. He is not nearly as much fun as the one in the commercials. No witty repartee.

Do you have an exercise buddy?

 

 

 

 

 

Delusional

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Self-awareness is such a rare commodity.

I like to think that I am just a little out of shape. This morning, I decided to take a spin on my bike and soon learned how badly I have been fooling myself.

Mind you, I have the old-fashioned kind of bike. No gears or hand brakes for me. Still, I live in Florida, so my route is flat. Piece of cake, right?

First I had to pump up the tires since it has been so long since I rode it. Then I set out wobbling down the block, pedaling slowly.

I lasted about ten minutes before I had to head for home. My legs were all but shaking. Yikes!

Now, according to Web MD, short bouts of exercise, like. for example, ten minutes here and there, are effective. Let’s hope so.

 

 

The Productivity Book virtual tour

 

The Productivity Book

by Michael Brecht

GENRE: Non-fiction/time management

About the book:

Ever wondered what the secret is to productivity? Here’s a hint: there isn’t just one. Introducing the Doodle Productivity Book! Containing in-depth interviews with 30 of the world’s top productivity & time management experts, this book lifts the lid on the industry’s best kept tips and tricks. The result? An engaging and practical guide that will help you find your natural pace, so you can work smarter—not harder.

 

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE

 Michael Brecht will be awarding 5 Doodle Premium Accounts for Free to randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour.

 

Excerpt:

CONCLUSION

Since the questions we asked opened a window into a day in the life of a productivity expert, we wanted our final conclusion to reflect this. So, here’s our summary of what a productive day should look like.

The perfect day starts the night before. Outline your goals. Whether this is a simple to-do list or time blocking, make sure tomorrow’s objectives are clear. Then sleep on it.

Everyone needs a different amount of sleep. Know what works for you and structure your schedule around that. Nearly all of our experts cited adequate rest as essential to maintaining productivity.

Wake up bright and early. Leave enough time to spend at least an hour and a half preparing for the day. Whether it’s reading, yoga, Pilates, running or simply thinking. Follow this with a healthy breakfast and you’re good to go.

Get to work. Now that you’ve prepared mentally, it’s time to take on the day. This period is when you’re at your most productive, so use it wisely. Let the calls go to voicemail, put your cellphone on silent and don’t answer emails. Emails are rarely worth your most energized and motivated moments. Unless it’s a creative meeting, don’t take it.

If you need time constraints, use a timer! Or the Pomodoro Technique.

Once you’re into the afternoon, time block to focus on admin and less important tasks like responding to emails and taking meetings. This will stop you from getting distracted and help you to focus on one thing at a time.

Because your brain is slower, this is the best part of the day to incorporate technology. So, start up your favorite tried and tested apps and use them to help you take notes, see your reminders, book appointments and whatever else is important. And remember, saying “no” can be more productive than “yes”.

By this point, you should have had a highly productive day. So, use the evening to relax with friends or family. But remember: A little planning the night before can go a long way toward having a successful, fulfilling tomorrow.

 

 

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

I am a serial entrepreneur, have more than twenty years of experience in IT and Digital Media and have held several international leadership positions in Europe and AustralAsia.

Since the beginning of 2014 I am CEO of Doodle – the world’s favourite online scheduling tool. Together with my fantastic team we have integrated Doodle into the Digital Portfolio of Tamedia AG, Switzerland’s largest media company. Our focus is to grow the business into a global application while strengthening its product offerings and continuing its successful monetisation. Doodle AG is a highly profitable business with offices in Zurich and Berlin.

My experience ranges from founding a start-up to various exits to multi-national corporates and subsequent integration. I enjoy topics of digital transformation and the leadership of highly innovative teams with a particular focus on growing a business internationally.

Now that digitalisation is increasingly becoming a topic for all businesses from start-up to large corporate, I have decided to start my own blog. Here you’ll find information on productivity topics, quotes about personal and professional efficiency, my reviews of awesome apps I use myself and I am trying to present a few stories that aren’t meant to be too serious too.

In my private life I am married and our home comprises of four children and our dog (an Australian Labradoodle). We are currently living in five different countries and I myself carry a German and an Australian passport. I enjoy sports, in particular football, swimming, tennis and all kinds of outdoor activities and I am passionate about the discovery of great wines.

 

Links:

http://productivity-book.com/

https://twitter.com/michaelbrecht?lang=de

http://michaelbrecht.com/

 

Buy links:

https://itunes.apple.com/book/the-productivity-book/id1050616645?mt=11&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-productivity-book-michael-brecht/1122830470

https://store.kobobooks.com/ebook/the-productivity-book

http://www.amazon.com/Productivity-Book-Professionals-About-Management-ebook/dp/B016UQV92K/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1452530967&sr=8-2&keywords=productivity+book

 

Book links:

http://www.businesszone.co.uk/decide/productivity/the-four-productivity-hacks-every-entrepreneur-needs#.VnRXHbQzHNM.twitter

http://realbusiness.co.uk/article/32236-seven-time-saving-apps-your-fellow-entrepreneurs-use-to-boost-productivity

https://sliwinski.com/productivity-book/

 

 

 

 

Having a Martha Home the Mary Way book review

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The Bible story about sisters Mary and Martha always troubled me a bit. I knew if I were in that situation, I’d be the sister fussing with refreshments, not the sister listening to Jesus.

Don’t get me wrong. While I am not a bad cook, housekeeping is so not my thing. Still, I have that conscientious older sister thing going on. I hoped that reading Having a Martha Home the Mary Way: 31 Days to a Clean House and a Satisfied Soul by Sarah Mae would help me see my way to both increased domesticity and spirituality. It did.

The author points out that homemaking is a way to express love for one’s family and guests. When our home is a mess, we have what she calls chaos in our souls. If we rid ourselves of that chaos, we have more energy and capacity to love. What a concept.

Each of the 31 days has both a Mary and a Martha challenge. The Mary challenges start with an appropriate Bible verse and are designed to get our heart in the right place. Then the Martha challenges give practical, bite-size instructions on how to clean and organize room by room.

The book has a lot of humor and encouragement for those who, like me, are not natural born cleaners. The takeaway for me: Good enough is good enough.

 

About the book:
Sarah Mae wants to let you in on a little secret about being a good homemaker: It’s not about having a clean house. She’d never claim to be a natural, organized cleaner herself―yet, like you, she wants a beautiful space to call home, a place where people feel loved and at peace. Where people can really settle in with good food, comfy pillows, and wide-open hearts.
 
Is it possible to find a balance? To care for your heart―and your home―at the same time?
 
Journey with Sarah Mae on this easy, practical 31-day plan to get you moving and have your house looking and feeling fresh. But even more than that, you’ll gain a new vision for the home of your dreams, and how to make it a place of peace, comfort, and community. Originally published as the e-book 31 Days to Clean and now revised and expanded in print for the first time, Having a Martha Home the Mary Way will inspire you to find a happier, healthier . . . cleaner way to live.

View More: http://kimdeloachphoto.pass.us/sarahmae15

I’m Sarah Mae, a woman saved and loved by Jesus Christ. Because oh my yes, how I was lost and in need of some saving. And I still need saving, every day, because I am so fully human, so breakable, and so mess-up prone. I am also perfect according to heaven because of Jesus, so I walk free.

I love to read, drink coffee (I’ll take it black), write, watch movies with my man, and homeschool my babes.

I’m the coauthor of Desperate – Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe (written with the lovely Sally Clarkson), author of Longing for Paris: One Woman’s Search for Joy, Beauty, and Adventure…Right Where She Is, and Having a Martha Home the Mary Way: 31 Days to Clean House and a Satisfied Soul. I also have the privilege of being a cohost with Amy Smoker of an event for moms called, A Night to Breathe.

– See more at: http://sarahmae.com/about/#sthash.xuvB4VxO.dpuf

 

 

Overcome Your Sedentary Lifestyle book review

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P J Sharon’s book Overcome Your Sedentary Lifestyle offers to help couch potatoes. Yes, that’s me all right. She’s a massage therapist, personal trainer, and yoga teacher, so she has plenty of real life experience to draw from.

Fortunately for me, I don’t suffer from chronic pain or have existing medical issues that often go hand in hand with a sedentary lifestyle. If you do, Sharon gives helpful advice on how to choose both traditional and alternative healthcare providers.

What I do suffer from is chronic dieting. Sharon wants me to think weight management instead of weight loss. Makes sense. This has to be forever, not a one-time thing.

The statistics are sobering. More and more people fall into the “obese” category. And these people, on average, sit two and a half hours more per day than thinner people. Other contributing factors are heavily marketed processed food, stress, sleep deprivation, social pressures, and emotions. Some of these are easier to overcome than others. The emotional component is probably the hardest. Sharon provides tips to get started in the right direction, but you have to love yourself as you are first.

Separate chapters address the other challenges. Much of it you’ve seen before if you have read other self-help books; however, Sharon includes just enough science to prove her points without boring you to death. If you do nothing else, check out the pages of illustrated stretches and try them.

Above all, Sharon says you must figure out your own personal “why.” Hint: it should be bigger in scope than looking good at your high school reunion. Once you’re clear on your intrinsic motivation, all things are possible.

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In addition to authoring award winning young adult novels, PJ Sharon owns ABSolute Fitness and Therapeutic Bodywork, a private practice massage therapy and personal training business in East Granby, CT. With over twenty-five years in the health and fitness industry, Ms. Sharon offers a multidisciplinary approach to wellness. As a Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA), Massage Therapist (LMT), Certified Personal Fitness Trainer (CPFT), and Yoga Instructor, Ms. Sharon brings a wealth of knowledge to her clients and workshops. A graduate of Springfield Technical Community College and the Connecticut Center for Massage Therapy, Ms. Sharon also holds certifications as a trainer through the NFPT and teaches therapeutic yoga. A Black Belt in the art of Shaolin Kempo Karate and former figure skating and power skating instructor, Ms. Sharon’s passion for holistic health and healing comes through in her writing—whether she is penning romantic and hopeful stories for teens or sharing her wisdom and experience with clients and workshop attendees. When she’s not writing or spreading the love through her practice, she can be found kayaking in the Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts and renovating an old farmhouse with the love of her life. Author contact info and social media sites: Website: http://www.pjsharon.com Follow PJ on Twitter: @pjsharon http://www.twitter.com/pjsharon “Like” PJ on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pjsharonbooks Signup for PJ’s Newsletter at her website: http://eepurl.com/bm7rj5

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up book review

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Now that I have read Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I see why it became a best seller. She spells out very specifically just what to do to rid yourself of clutter. Forever. I really believe I desperately want that, but I also confess that there is no way I would be willing to follow her directions, excellent though they are. My guess is most of the 2 million people who bought the book won’t take her advice either. Her clients who have used her methods, however, have thrown or given away an average of 20 to 30 45-liter bags of “stuff.”

I used to pay attention to feng shui once upon a time, and some of what Kondo recommends hearkens back to those theories. It is not enough to look at items of clothing hanging in your closet or books on shelves. You have to spread them out and touch them to absorb whether or not they give you sufficient joy to make them worth keeping. And that means all of them. Yes, every single piece of clothing you own spread over the floor. Every book.

On the other hand, much of what she says is intensely practical. You really don’t need to keep all those operating manuals. Nobody ever reads them, and even if you did, you’d be better off talking to a person at the store where you bought the appliance when a problem arises.

One big takeaway is to keep storage as simple as possible. No putting off season items in a covered bin. That’s how we accumulate so much stuff. Complicated storage lets us forget what or how much we have. Store all similar items together, not spread all over the house, for the same reason. Her categories are clothes, books, documents, miscellaneous, and mementos. Or you can divide by similarities in materials: cloth-like, paper-like, or electrical. Store all items for one person together if possible. Everything should have an assigned spot.

One piece of advice I have already implemented is to store purses inside each other with the straps hanging out so you remember what is where. It does help them hold their shape. It remains to be seen if I will have trouble finding what I want when the time comes.

Kondo’s approach may seem woo-woo to some although I found it charming. For example, every day when she gets home from work she thanks her home for sheltering her. She treats the items she keeps with respect and thanks them for their service to her.

Kondo says human beings can only cherish a limited amount of things at a time. Through the process of paring down to only the items you love, you may remember things about yourself you had forgotten and have a better idea of who you truly are. You are content and your mind is free to pursue your purpose.

Magic.

 

Designate a place for each thing
This is the routine I follow every day when I return from work. First, I unlock the door and announce to my house, “I’m home!” Picking up the pair of shoes I wore yesterday and left out in the entranceway, I say, “Thank you very much for your hard work,” and put them away in the shoe cupboard. Then I take off the shoes I wore today and place them neatly in the entranceway.Heading to the kitchen, I put the kettle on and go to my bedroom. There I lay my handbag gently on the softsheepskin rug and take off my outdoor clothes. I putmy jacket and dress on a hanger, say “Good job!” and hang them temporarily from the closet doorknob. I put my tights in a laundry basket that fits into the bottom right corner of my closet, open a drawer, select the clothes I feel like wearing inside, and get dressed. I greet the waist-high potted plant by the window and stroke its leaves.My next task is to empty the contents of my handbag on the rug and put each item away in its place. First I remove all the receipts. Then I put my purse in its designated box in a drawer under my bed with a word of gratitude. I place my train pass and my business card holder beside it. I put my wristwatch in a pink antique case in the same drawer and place my necklace and earrings on the accessory tray beside it. Before closing the drawer, I say, “Thanks for all you did for me today.”

 

Become You book review

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If you read much self-help literature, Become You: A Transformational Blueprint for Your Mind, Body and Soul  by Toneka Etienne, Ph.D. doesn’t cover a lot of new ground. What the author does an excellent job of, however, is providing an honest look into her own life to illustrate her points in a clear, concise way.

Etienne moved to a new city, had two small children, worked full time, and was finishing her doctorate. As you can imagine, she faced a multitude of challenges. Over the course of the next six years, she managed to find ways to look at life differently. Then just when she thought she had the stressors licked, she was diagnosed with diabetes. That motivated her to share her ideas with readers.

Etienne’s first chapter is Believe, and it is obvious she has a deep faith in God. From belief comes a sense of worthiness. Envying what others have just means that you don’t feel worthy of having your dreams come true. Etienne discusses the work of psychologist Carol Dweck on fixed and growth mindsets. If your mindset is fixed, you perceive a challenge as a risk. You refuse to face obstacles and just give up. If you have a growth mindset, you look at challenges as opportunities to improve or develop.

Chapter Two is Evaluate. Etienne talks about how to do a life audit to determine what your strengths are. She also asks readers to rank satisfaction with their spirituality, career, relationships, wellness, personal development, and finances. Then pick the one area most out of balance between real and ideal. Etienne gives some good questions to ask to figure out how to get closer to the desired outcome.

The next chapter is Create. She says it is discipline and structure that give us the freedom to create. Develop systems and routines.

Obstacles come next. Fear can be the catalyst to move us forward. This might be fear of failure or fear of success, fear of rejection or fear of change.

The author then comes to Manifest. She talks about the Law of Attraction contrasted with the Law of Action, the Law of Expectation versus the Law of Resistance, and visualization.

The final chapter is Execute. Etienne warns that trying to improve your own life may not sit well with all of your family and friends. If that is the case, seek out supportive people and don’t be afraid to ask them for help.

Most importantly, remember to play. I can certainly relate to that. I’m a self-improvement junkie from way back, but I sometimes forget to just be.

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION 

Toneka R. Etienne will be awarding a signed copy of Become You to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.


AUTHOR Bio 

Toneka R. Etienne, Ph.D., is a Psychologist, wife, mother, Huffington Post contributor, and creator at www.tonekaetienne.com. Toneka is a self-love advocate encouraging women to balance their daily lives with the ambition to continually pursue their dreams. Her calling is to fully support women as they call soulful purpose and intention into their life and business connected to their deepest and most authentic selves. When she’s not holding sacred space for women’s transformation, Toneka can be found doing her favorite things: spending time with her husband and two daughters, traveling, reading, connecting with like-minded visionaries, and looking for divine inspiration.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/tonekaretienne
Instagram: instagram.com/tonekaetienne
Twitter: twitter.com/tonekaetienne

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