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As Texas plunged into single digits with multiple days of a windchill below freezing, millions found themselves stranded with no power or water. Living along the Gulf Coast we have weathered hurricanes and endured power outages for much longer periods, but somehow this seemed different. Maybe for those of us close to the shoreline it was the unusual sight of snow we experienced as opposed to the natural disasters we usually face that arrive with rain, wind, and sweltering heat.

Our son and daughter (in law) were finally able to take a long-overdue honeymoon to St. Lucia in December. Cecelia interned one summer for a travel agent so naturally called the company to book their trip. What an incredible experience they had, and I was reminded WHY using a travel agent is worth the expense. Fees range depending on the service, but most charge between $300-350 to plan a vacation somewhere in the Caribbean Islands. 

Q: I will be a new mom soon, and I have been preparing for life “after” a newborn. There is a lot of information on raising babies, and how dads can support mom, but I cannot find much on how moms can support dads. A lot of my mental preparation has been around my marriage. Specific questions: How do I preserve my marriage? How do we embrace the changes? How do I maintain my husband as a priority when we have a tiny human demanding everything? How can I help my husband bond with our new child?

Want to set your children up for success? Then look no further than the habits of successful people you know, whether that be in the corporate world, media, or within your own circle of friends. Experts agree that there are certain common traits all successful people possess. This is great news because it means we can emulate those leaders that have come before us. 

How can you tell if someone will be successful? When I was in high school, they still had a category for a graduating senior titled: Voted Most Likely to Succeed. How, at 18-years-old, could classmates look at someone and say, “Yeah, I think they will be the most successful person in our graduating class.”

Many of us grew up learning multitasking was a hallmark of a productive person. While sounding good in theory, this practice has proven to be incorrect. Studies now reveal that multitasking is nothing more than switching back and forth between tasks and it lowers our productivity. Below are 5 points that deal with the facts behind project hopping and the lack of performance that occurs when we allow seemingly innocuous interruptions to occur in daily life.

The way my husband structures his day is different from how I organize mine, but there is one thing we both do. We start with a morning routine. I make coffee, read the news while eating my breakfast, and then dive into an hour of bible study. Once I finish, I pull out my journal and plan my day. About 2 years ago I discovered an organizational method that resonated with me.

Remember as children, during holidays, we would spend what seemed like hours creating homemade craft projects for our parents? It might be a paper Christmas snowflake sprinkled with glitter or a cutout heart for Valentine’s Day. We would address it: To: Mom or To: Dad. We would sign our name, and this become the gift we gave our parents. The act of giving is how we should view all letters, especially a thank you note. We may not be cutting out cute hearts, but when we take time to put pen to paper and share a little of ourselves with someone else, we are giving a part of our heart to another.  

People give to make you feel loved and remembered. Sometimes gifts are given out of obligation, but mostly they are presented to honor a special relationship or occasion. No matter the reason, we need to know how to show our appreciation. Here are my 7 tips to become a gracious gift receiver.  

Table manners seem to be the area in which I receive most of my questions, but it is introductions that have people the most baffled. After I explain the correct way to conduct an introduction, I often get that starry-eyed stare that tells me, “I really don’t understand what you just said.” To help all of us, I have broken down the process into a simple format. Before I proceed, let me say this. Do not let a lack of confidence in handling an introduction keep you from DOING an introduction.

I recently bumped into a friend at the store, and as we began talking, she expressed how she struggles with the holidays. When January rolls around, she feels like she somehow “missed out.” I understand this feeling because I, too, have often felt this way. Life was so busy with the preparation of celebration, that I missed the joy that awaited each of us this time of year.

Have you ever seen someone walk into a party that looked scared to death, unsure of themselves, and then watched them slink off to an obscure corner? Their body language screaming, “I wish I was anywhere but here!” Entering a room full of people that you do not know can be intimidating. I get that. Yet, your entrance is important in displaying overall confidence and portraying a strong image.

Giving a party, of any type, requires a great deal of work. If you have been fortunate enough to be included in a festive soiree, it is nice to arrive with a gift for the hostess. The typical present will cost between $15-$30, but there are less expensive things you can find at the local discount store.

  • Alina Gersib

7 Steps to Reframe Stress

Updated: Oct 23, 2020


As I was washing the dishes the other day, I felt an almost palpable sense of anxiety all around me. My mind was racing through a list of to-do’s, and I was frustrated about being stuck cleaning a messy kitchen. As my thoughts were spiraling me into a negative head space, I realized I needed to reset my mental state. After I reframed the task, I actually began to enjoy washing the dishes! I wanted to share my process so anyone else struggling with excessive stress can use the steps to allow their minds to rest.

1. Body Scan – If you are feeling stressed or anxious, do a quick body scan starting at your head and going down to your toes. Notice any areas that feel tense or restricted. When I am stressed, I clench my jaw, grind my teeth, and tense my shoulders. Figure out where you hold your stress so you can easily identify these warning signs in the future.

2. Take Some Deep Breaths – Once you notice which areas of your body are holding tightness, take a few deep breaths and imagine sending your breath to the tense areas and work on actively relaxing them.

3. Let It All Out – If you have a laundry list of things to get done, do not simply muse over them in your head. Grab a pen and paper and write everything down. The process of seeing what needs to be accomplished on paper will usually assist in prioritizing tasks so you do not feel so overwhelmed.

4. Be Fully Present – Become focused on the task you are doing. Give it your full attention. Are you washing dishes? Feel the warmth of the water, the texture of the dishes, and listen to the sound of the brush. Try to actively immerse yourself in each moment.

5. Call It Out – I am a big believer in the power of words. If you find yourself struggling with negative thought patterns it is helpful to call them out by name and identify exactly what they are. Putting a name to what you are feeling makes it feel more manageable.

6. Speak Affirmations - Speak to the feeling you just identified. Specifically, that you are bigger than the emotion. Phrases like, “In this moment I feel incredibly angry, but that is okay. I am allowed to be angry and I am also allowed to let it go.” Sometimes giving an emotion recognition and then the permission to leave is what is needed for release. It may not work right away, or you may have to tweak the phrasing periodically for it to continue working but finding affirmation is a powerful tool to stop negative thought patterns in their tracks.

7. Zoom Out – As a perfectionist, I can get caught up in the little details and making sure everything is just right. However, thinking with the intent of “perfection” is not really a recipe for rest and peace. I have learned that when I feel stressed or anxious about something if I zoom out and think about the big picture a year from now, the issue does not feel as overwhelming. Or if the issue does feel big, then I know it is something that needs to be prioritized. When we are in the moment things can feel much larger than they are but viewing them a little way out gives us perspective and insight into the situation.

I hope that these 7 ideas help you relieve some of the anxiety that can come with long to-do lists and lots of responsibilities. When we learn to reframe our thoughts, even if there is a lot going on, it can put our mind in a state of ease while accomplishing tasks.

Alina Gersib

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