Archive for April, 2008

FM: Releasing Worry, Anxiety, Fear and Sadness

Mini #027
15 pages
includes 2 printable verse cards by Brook Noel

Letting Go of Harmful Emotions: An exploration on releasing worry, anxiety, fear and sadness

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life …” (Matthew 6:25 NKJV)

This study offers a guided exploration through releasing worry, anxiety, fear and sadness by turning them over to God and finding strength in our faith. Verses and stories drawn from the Bible share knowledge and comfort on how to “Let go and Let God.” This study includes 15 daily doses of study.

About Faith Matters: Each study includes….

  • Look-Ups (a.ka. Write it Down): Each study contains scripture references around the monthly theme. Look these up in the Bible you are most comfortable with and write them in the provided space.
    Reflection Questions: Work through these thoughtfully. Space is provided in the study guide or you can use the private online journal.
  • Activities: Follow the instructions for the outlined Activities. You may wish to keep a special journal for these Activities.Faith Matters Card Reduced
  • Key Verses: Build a deck of cards to celebrate key verses that speak to you. Each week add one verse to your deck. You can write it on a colored index card, design it on a computer, or decorate a card by hand.
  • Discussion Topics: Discussion topics are highlighted throughout the study . Login to the study area and you will see a thread started for each of these.
  • One or two key verse cards created by Brook Noel
  • Access to the general Faith Matters area where you can share favorite scripture, your own key verse cards, prayers and more.

Any relationship can be challenging to maintain in today’s busy life. Ask a woman how many close friends she has and most women can easily count them on one hand. Why? A close relationship requires a resource in tight supply for many-time. The purpose of the Faith Matters Mini is to provide a way to study what the Bible says on a specific topic and provide a simple way to stay present with our faith.

A few important notes about Faith Matters Minis:
1. Everyone is welcome, regardless of religious affiliation or current beliefs. If you have never picked up a Bible, aren’t sure what you believe, or even if you are angry at God, you are welcome here.

2. These are explorations not “rules” At no point will I say (or can anyone else say) “You should …”

3. Respect for everyone is mandatory, this is not an area to debate God’s Word, but to live it.

4. Scripture references are taken from both the Old and New Testaments

5. All topics explored are POSITIVE. I have talked with many women who have left their spiritual practice because it was driven by guilt, negativity, and punishment. The Bible is so filled with positive inspiration and examples and these are my focus.

Mastering Meal Planning (multiple versions available)

Mini Number #023 - When cooking for one (or two)
While you receive the workbook all at once, it is recommended you spread out the exercises following the four-week outline in the workbook

Mini Number #024 - When cooking for three or more
While you receive the workbook all at once, it is recommended you spread out the exercises following the four-week outline in the workbook. (Includes my all new technique for getting the family on board with meal planning! Tested and proven in my home last month!)

As family members inquire “What’s for dinner?” meals can quickly become a source of stress. If we are working on personal health goals not having a prepared meal plan can be detrimental as we make last-minute decisions based on what we have on-hand. Whether we are cooking for 1 or 10 lack of preparation can also be costly as we opt for convenient solutions or do not plan menus to optimize what we have on hand.

A study done by PACE consulting titled revealed the average stay-at-home mother spends a little over 17 hours per week focused solely on meal preparation. The average full-time working mother spends around 10 hours (the difference is often that full-time working mothers are more likely to pick up carryout on the way home). Whether it is 10 hours or 20 hours—that is a lot of time to spend on meals-in fact that is a part time job as a chef!

This Mini-Makeover guides you step-by-step through easily preparing master menus and shopping lists so by the Mini’s end you will be prepared with a quick and easy meal system and never wonder “What’s for dinner?” again.


Staying Centered

Mini #26

When we can’t access our inner resources, we come to the flawed conclusion that happiness and fulfillment come only from external events. ~Sarah Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance

Have you ever built a snowman? You start with that little ball of packed snow and roll it around … and then all of a sudden it starts growing … and growing … and growing … faster and faster? This is what happens in our minds when we aren’t aware and/or present in the moment. What starts out as a little doubt or anxiety can roll into sadness and then depression. What starts out as a little frustration can roll into resentment and then anger.

Most of us have multiple thoughts in our minds. When we focus on the external they quickly gain momentum. When we aren’t living in the moment we rarely have positive thoughts that spiral with the same momentum. Instead, our positive experiences become a little sun that melts a bit of snow, but then the automatic negative thought process begins again, building and building and building. Often, the “source” of the snowball is one little external event—it doesn’t take much to start the process. In this Mini we explore how the mind works, how our thoughts work against us without awareness, and how stay centered in healthy thinking. Includes printable wallet card with “Staying Centered” tips.


Building A Budget

Mini Number #022


  • 18 page workbook
  • Excel spreadsheet template for building a budget
  • Tips for Online Banking
  • 8 activities and a discussion area

There it is in all its glory…. the “B” word. If you exploring this Mini I am going to make three guesses about your relationship with budgeting:

1. You have heard the word budget before
2. You have created a budget before
3. You have experienced less than stellar results from budgetingbudget.gif

That’s okay. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Budgeting is a necessary tool for taking control of finances and can actually be rewarding. In this Mini I will take you step-by-step through that statement.

The goal of a budget is two-fold … the first goal is to get your spending to align with your earnings; and the second is to be aware of and alter spending habits to meet your financial goals. At the outset budgeting sounds like a fairly easy thing; determine how much you make and how much you spend. Make sure the income exceeds the expenses. While the concept is simple, setting up a budget system that is easy to maintain and is realistic is where many people stumble. In this Mini we will set up a simple to use budget. Includes an 18 page workbook and a spreadsheet template for creating your budget.

Adapted from the online class: Financial Freedom

The Clutter Clearing Challenge

Mini Number #021

“Unnecessary possessions are unnecessary burdens. If you have them, you have to take care of them! There is great freedom in simplicity of living. It is those who have enough but not too much who are the happiest.”-Peace Pilgrim

Physical cutter can rob your time, your wallet and your energy. Clutter takes up free space in which energy could otherwise roam. In this Mini we explore the true cost of clutter and embark on a de-cluttering challenge. Includes access for the month to an open sprint room where you can arrange to meet with others working on this Mini to “de-clutter.”


Portion Distortion

Mini Number #016

I have several friends who are currently struggling with weight loss and came to me for advice. They are stumped since they are eating regular and meals that are, for the most part, healthy. Yet, if a person isn’t aware of how much a “serving” truly is and they eat “one bagel” check out the graphic and you can see they are easily eating for two!

Portion DistortionThis Mini explores how what a person consumes as a portion is vastly different than a serving and how many of our serving sizes have more than doubled in the past 20 years. What many of us consider a single serving is actually a serving for two! So you are eating for two bodies - consuming twice as many calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium - you name it.

In this Mini you will learn all about Portion Distortion, receive a printable portion-size quick reference card, and receive a checklist of steps to begin introducing practical portions within your home.


Menus and Mealtimes Reminder

I wanted to post a quick reminder in this section that all Make Today Matter Members receive three weekly recipes plans per month. You can choose from 2, 4 or 6 servings. These dinner plans come complete with shopping lists. Check the calendar for availability dates. You can access these Menus by following the Menus and Mealtimes link in your member area.


Creating a Recipe Library

Mini Number #19
Note: In May the first of a two-part Mini on building your own meal plans will be available. This is a great primer to prepare for that Mini!

Quick question: How many recipes do you have in your house? This includes recipes in magazines, cookbooks, recipe cards, printouts-any and every recipe. Take a wild guess. Another question: How many different recipes on average do you cook per month? Take your total number of recipes and divide it by the number of recipes you cook per month. (For example if I have about 2,000 recipes and make an average of fifteen different recipes each month, then my answer is 133… meaning I have enough recipes for the next 133 months… that is eleven years worth… if I don’t add anymore during the next eleven years!) Between you and me I don’t think I will cook them all, in fact in the average cookbook my family only likes about twenty-percent of the recipes (unless of course, I am the author J). This Mini takes you step-by-step through creating a recipe library by pruning your collection to create a customized cookbook.


Fighting Back Fatigue

Mini Number #20

I have noticed over the past decade a growing tendency “to be tired.” In the past week how many people (yourself included) have you heard say: “I am tired,” or “I didn’t make much progress today,” or “I just couldn’t sleep last night,” or “I’ll have to get to this next week. I was sick/tired (or sick and tired).” On the flipside, how many people have exclaimed: “I woke up feeling great!” or “Wow! I had a productive day.”

When we hear people speak these tired phrases, the most common response is: “Really? I didn’t sleep well either…” or some other empathetic statement that confirms our own fatigue. We may even find ourselves one-upping another person: “You think you’re tired…” In this Mini you will learn the three most important strategies for recovering lost energy (and no…they don’t require exercise or any other time-consuming act!)


Creating a Personal Vision Statement

Mini Number #18
11 pages
Includes 6 activities
Includes card template for displaying final statement
Recommendations: It is recommended that you work through Mini #005- Discovering Your Core Values - before working through this Mini.

“One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree.

‘Which road do I take?’ she asked.

‘Where do you want to go?’ was his response.

‘I don’t know,’ Alice answered.

‘Then,’ said the cat, ‘it doesn’t matter.’”-Lewis Carroll

Everything worthwhile begins with a vision. Think of a vision as the “big picture” of why you make specific choices and take certain actions. A vision statement is a guiding light allowing us to live each day with purpose and clarity. A clear vision statement will help us choose goals that are right for us. There may be a million things we want to do-but only a few that we actually need to do.

A Vision Statement encompasses the values we hold dear, the overall “theme” we want to live in our life. Without a vision, you are likely to wander aimlessly because there is no uniting purpose between daily actions and a larger vision. A clear vision statement will help us choose daily actions and make decisions that are right for us. There may be a million things we want to do-but only a few that will truly create the life we desire because they align with our vision.


Giving Back

“I always had a dream that when I am asked to give an accounting of my life to a higher court, it will be like this: So, empty your pockets. What have you got left of your life? Any dreams that were unfilled? Any unused talent we gave you when you were born that you have left? Any unsaid compliments or bits of love that you haven’t spread around? And I will answer, ‘I have nothing to return. I spent everything you gave me. I’m as naked as the day I was born.’”-Erma Bombeck

Mini Number #17

As I built this program I spent a great deal of time analyzing at which points in my life I felt the most balanced, content and joyous .complete. As I recalled my most harmonic times, I looked for common denominators and discover during these period of contentment I was involved in a volunteer effort of some kind. Sometimes it was just an hour a month, other times it was hours per week. In this Mini we explore the meaning behind the quote “The quickest way to help your self is to help someone else,” and the joy derived from giving. I’ll share a varied list of ways that fit any schedule to discover the joy of giving back and issue you a personal challenge in the area of giving back.


Recapturing Daily Magic I - Back to Basics

Mini Number #15
10 pages

  • 5 activities
  • Journaling space within printable or private online journal

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. Anonymous

While meeting the demands of day-to-day life, many people find the “little things” slip away. I recently read an essay about an elderly man reflecting on his life. If he could do it all over again, he wrote, I would focus more on the little things and less on the big things. In his old age, he realized the “big things” were comprised of all the “little things” he was too busy to be attentive to each day. In this Mini we explore five actions and activities we can take to guide reclaim daily joy.


This Mini Makeover is divided into five separate activities. On the main page for this Mini you will find journal space for each activity. I encourage you to record the steps you take. Going forward you will know which steps most dramatically create an attitude shift for you. You will also find a forum for discussing each of the activities.

  1. Releasing Expectations
  2. Schedule Living for Today
  3. Signature Strengths
  4. Going with the Flow
  5. Staying in the Moment

Note:  Mini #15 focuses on activities enabling us to look within ourselves to recapture daily magic.  Mini #32 focuses on activities that allow us to connect with others as we recapture daily magic.  Both minis are independent of each other. It is not necessary to one before you take the other. However, if you enjoy this Mini-Makeover, you may want to consider adding the other to your mini collection. Combined you will have 10 activities to explore.

Raising Stong Kids by Example

“Your children will see what you’re all about by what you live rather than what you say.”-Wayne Dyer

Mini Number #14

The examples we set in our homes and our lives send a strong message to our children. What messages do your actions send to your children? Are you positive, encouraging, and supporting in good times and bad? Are you quick-tempered or demanding? This Mini explores what we teach our children through our schedule, priorities, attitude under stress, interactions, and self-care as well as five proactive strategies for building self-esteem and stronger relationships with our children.


Operating the Errand Express

Mini Number #13

How many times have you arrived home only to realize something you intended to pick up or do was forgotten during the day? With packed schedules and filled minds, multitasking throughout the day is difficult at best.

Implementing the strategies in the Errand Express Mini can eliminate spinning your wheels, wasted time, endless family requests for “one little favor,” in addition to saving money, reducing stress, and allowing the focus needed to get the job done versus always feeling like something has been forgotten. This Mini includes step-by-step instructions for setting up the Errand Express in your home and tips and guidelines for getting the family on board.


The Internal Critic: Overcoming Self-Negativity

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.”-Eleanor Roosevelt

Mini Number #12

Remember those cartoons where a character has a small angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other? The character is trying to make a decision and both are whispering input into an ear. Have you ever noticed a little voice in your own head? Kind of like a built-in coach, except this voice rarely says anything positive. Instead she whispers phrases like: What were you thinking? You should have known better. Don’t even bother trying. I knew this wouldn’t work. You never see things through. This voice belongs to your default coach-the Internal Critic.

Everyone has a Critic-Coach. When you see someone with a great attitude, you can bet they have learned this Critic exists, and have also learned how to “duct tape” her quiet! In this Mini-Makeover you’ll learn where that voice comes from and how to go head-to-head with her and win.


Value Cards: A Compass for Contentment

Mini Number #11

(I recommend completing the Discovering Your Personal Values Mini first).

Knowing our core values is the first step in building a life of contentment and joy. But how do we use these values to shape our lives? In this Mini I’ll show you how to add these core values to your Personal Power Deck, journal or your Catch-All Notebook and how to consult them regularly to ensure you are living your life “on purpose” in alignment with these key values. This Mini includes templates for cards and journal pages.


Wading into Water

Mini Number #10

Water makes up more than two thirds of the weight of the human body. The human brain is made up of ninety-five percent water, blood eight-two percent, and lungs ninety percent. A mere two percent drop in our body’s water supply can trigger signs of dehydration: fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on smaller print, such as a computer screen. Mild dehydration is also one of the most common causes of daytime fatigue. An estimated seventy-five percent of Americans have mild, chronic dehydration. (Source: APEC)

The Importance of WaterIn addition to energy water plays a key role in regulating metabolism, joint health, radiant skin, regulating body temperature and prevention of disease. And let’s not forget the financial benefits! You can consume over a thousand safe and filtered glass of tap water for the same cost as a couple sodas.

But how much water do you really need? While experts recommend eight, eight-ounce glasses per day when I asked my doctor where this sixty-four-ounce water guideline originated she was stumped! Shortly after my doctor visit I discovered CNN had the same question. The news channel scouted for the source of the guideline. “This eight, eight-ounce glasses a day, it turns out, after talking to the USDA, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Institutes of Health, people at various universities, they say, you know what, this appears to be kind of a myth. We can’t find a single study that says that that’s what people ought to do.”

Given all the health benefits, how can we determine how much water we need? What water routine would help us increase energy? How long until we see results? This Mini-Makeover wades into the topic of water and helps you uncover your personal water needs. Also included is a twenty-one day tracking worksheet to help you measure the results of your new water routine.


Creating A Spending Station

Mini Number: #009

A Spending Station is a control center for managing finances efficiently. The Spending Station created in this Mini-Makeover has three categories: bills, wants, and actual spending. First we will set up the actual station and then cover each category. Finally, I will guide you through how to use the Spending Station to effectively manage day-to-day finances.

This Mini-Makeover is divided into nine separate Action Steps. Work through each action Step by carefully following the instructions. Includes printables for tracking bills, your personal “lay-away plan,” and actual spending, along with a worksheet in Microsoft Word format (2003 or later) for customizing your bill system.


Defining Decisions

Mini Number #008

In the midst of managing the home, preparing meals, working, appointments, obligations, and meeting commitments, decisions are often made quickly, with little time to think through repercussions. When life is overflowing, we often take the path of least resistance (or the first path that comes to mind) instead of making a decision based on the best long-term solution. Seemingly inconsequential decisions can create serious balance deficits that lead to feelings of anxiousness and stress.

Learning to be aware during the moment of decision is an important skill for regaining sanity and a more centered life. Every decision we make (or don’t make) leads us in a direction. It either leads us toward the life we desire or away from it. Our life is a reflection of the decisions we make.


Operation Handbag

Mini Number # 007

Most women carry at least one bag, tote, briefcase, or purse. A well-packed handbag is more than an accessory; it is a command post that can help us stay organized, efficient, and sane. Giving your bag a functionality check and makeover can help you be well-prepared in any situation. With proper setup you can avoid uttering “I know it’s in here somewhere…” while engaging in the eternal search for parking meter change, a pen, Advil, or lip balm.