February Scripture Reading: Love & Kindness

Love and kindness, go hand-in-hand. Love should be the primary quality of a Christian. Connect with God and other people through my February Scripture Reading: Love & Kindness

Love is a remarkable thing. The world is moved by love. Love is the motivator that causes a man to fight in combat for his country or a woman to give up her life for her child. Love caused God to become a man and lay his life down for our salvation. Today, we are going to talk about love & kindness.

February Scripture Reading

What Love Is

Scripture, in the Greek text, has three words to describe love. Eros, phileo, and agape (pronounced ah-ga-pay). Eros is used to describe romantic love. Phileo is friendly or brotherly love. While agape is the great love – the unconditional love. Agape is the kind of love God has for his children and the kind of love we are called to show to one another. Why does Christ command us to love? Because he knows people can be “unlovable,” at least according to the world’s standards. Scripture touches on it so much, because God knew it would be a daily struggle.

Kindness is just an extension of love. I like to think of kindness as “love in action.” Kindness is patience, mercy, and tenderness. When we choose to be kind, we are willing to endure things and people in patience. We choose to extend mercy, even when it is undeserved. Furthermore, kindness means choosing to be tender instead of callous.

February Scripture Reading

God’s Call to Love

Don’t be mistaken. Love isn’t a feeling; it’s a choice. It’s easy to love someone who loves you back. We all love those who are good to us. That is not what God means in his commandment. The real measure of love is when there is little or no motivation to do so. Some people are hard to love. Then there will be times in life when someone you love hurts you and you will be tempted to stop loving them. Above all, we are called as Christians to emulate God’s unstoppable love (Rom 8:38-39).

Praying woman

You see, God loves us even at our worst- even when we are bearing our teeth, gnashing at everything around us. When we are at rock bottom, He loves us. When we have failed over and over again, He loves us. He is kind to us (patient, merciful and tender).

So how do we love like Christ? First, we must understand we are incapable of perfect, unconditional love. To be clear, we are incapable in our own flesh. We do it, by calling upon the Holy Spirit and thereby abiding in the love of Christ. Therefore, the more time we spend in the presence of Christ, the greater the works of Christ through us.

Romans 5:8

Join me this February, to discover what to Lord has to say to us about Love and Kindness.

February Scripture Reading: Love & Kindness

  1. John 3:16
  2. Revelation 3:19
  3. Hebrews 13:1-2
  4. Matthew 5:44
  5. Proverbs 10:12
  6. 1 Corinthians 10:24
  7. Proverbs 3:3-4
  8. 1 Corinthians 13:4-5
  9. 1 Corinthians 16:14
  10. Ephesians 4:2
  11. 1 John 4:19
  12. 1 Corinthians 2:9
  13. Isaiah 43:4
  14. John 15:13
  15. 1 John 4:20
  16. 1 Corinthians 13:7
  17. 1 John 4:18
  18. 1 John 4:8
  19. 1 Peter 3:10-11
  20. 1 John 2:15
  21. 1 Corinthians 13:8
  22. John 14:23
  23. John 13:35
  24. Galatians 5:13
  25. Romans 8:38-39
  26. 2 Corinthians 13:11
  27. 1 Corinthians 13:6
  28. 2 Timothy 1:7

The post, February Scripture Reading: Love & Kindness, first appeared on My Beautiful Mess

Join me in March for Anxiety & Fear scripture reading. Looking for more prayer devotionals? Learn more in the post She Does Him Good

What No One Tells You About Postpartum Depression

Before motherhood, I just assumed that Postpartum Depression was simply feeling down after giving birth. I had no idea just what it caused you to think, feel, and believe about yourself and your child. Today, I want to share with you what no one tells you about postpartum depression.

What no one tells you about postpartum depression

I’ve suffered depression my entire life. As a bi-polar patient, I was at special risk for postpartum depression. When I was pregnant, doctors talked to me about weepiness and sadness after giving birth. But I never realized just what postpartum depression caused me to think and feel. Early in my motherhood journey, I was surprised to learn what no one tells you about postpartum depression… that it rears it’s head in feelings of irritation, frustration, inadequacy, futility, and loneliness.

You May Not Feel Love or Bond With Your Child

When I was pregnant with my first son, I spent hours daydreaming of his little face. I couldn’t wait to hold him, kiss him and love on him. I’m sure there are women who instantly bond with their child. But I didn’t and post partum depression had a lot to do with that. About 3 weeks after giving birth, I felt like I was holding a stranger. I didn’t know what his cries meant.

I just assumed everything was instinctual – that you just magically know and understand your newborn as soon as they come out. Maybe I was naive. However, I never expected to feel completely overwhelmed, flustered, and frustrated. Who knew depression would increase those feelings exponentially?

Depression maybe a mental condition, but it distresses the heart. It directly interfered with my ability to fall in love with my little boy. It took a while for me to truly feel that loving warmth. Don’t get me wrong, I cared for him. Logically, I loved him, but I didn’t feel the crazy, obsessive kind of love I feel now. If you’re struggling to dote and love your newborn, you may have postpartum depression. The cure? The more you hug and hold your baby the closer you’ll feel…sooner.

You’ll Cry Over Nothing and Everything

With my first son, I was determined to breastfeed. My son was born prematurely and it took 6-7 days for my colostrum to come in. I was so sad that my little guy was having to take a bottle until my boobies got their act together. My weak little boy was burning too many calories trying to nurse and was quickly losing weight. Therefore, doctors suggested I pump for the first month and supplement with formula. I was heartbroken.

There is a saying, “there is no use crying over spilt milk.” I don’t know what the etymology is, but I’m willing to wager it had to do with breastmilk. This stuff is liquid gold! At about two weeks postpartum, I had spent the entire day pumping frequently. I squeezed out 2 oz making a total of 5 oz for the day. While I was taking the flanges off the pump, I accidentally hit and spilt all the milk. Every. Last. Drop.

I shrieked so loudly, my husband came racing down the stairs. My mother came running in. “No! No!” I wailed in a blood curdling cry, like when someone gets word someone has died. That’s what my husband thought had happened. That someone had died. My whole body shook as I sobbed and clutched that pathetic empty bottle to my chest. When I finally calmed down, I explained to them what had happened. They didn’t understand. They stared in confusion, surprised by my dramatics.

No one told me postpartum depression would cause every set back or failure to seem futile. Small problems yielded big reactions. You might think depression makes you quiet and despondent, but depression actually unbalances all your emotions. My reactions were excessive, dramatic, and desperate. In those long eight months of depression, I cried over anything, everything, and nothing.

You May Wish You’d Never Become A Mom

This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to admit. It makes me cringe just knowing I had these kind of thoughts. It’s surprising to learn other moms have this thought too. As a new mom, you can feel so inadequate. The first night I brought my son home from the hospital, I had this thought. He cried for three strait hours and when I couldn’t comfort him, I felt as if I’d made a huge mistake. Maybe, I’m not cut out for this. He deserved someone better. Someone who knew what she was doing.

Learning your newborn can be incredibly frustrating. Don’t listen to the hype. Food, sleep, burping, or a clean diaper are just a few things your child wants. They can cry for thousands of reasons and when you can’t soothe them, you can feel like you have no business being a mom. I was very grateful to have my mom after delivery. But when she’d swoop in and take over, it left me feeling even more useless and incompetent.

Depression can make you have all kinds of hopeless thoughts. I had a few miscarriages before I gave birth to my oldest son. So when this thought crept in, it made me feel even more guilty. After all, I wanted this. Now I know, depression causes these thoughts.

You May Feel Isolated and Lonely

Having a child changes your life. A child ties you down. If you’re a new mom, you may even feel anxious about leaving the house with your baby. Routine can be helpful, but monotony can add to depression. Be aware of how much you shut yourself inside.

I remember posting pictures of my first son on social media. You would’ve never guessed how sad and isolated I felt. I was so lonely. The days seemed long waiting for my husband to return home. If you are not returning to work, you may even feel more alone. Work friends move on and suddenly your spouse becomes the sole provider for your social life. That’s not healthy!

Challenge yourself to get out of the house. The more cooped up you are at home, the more isolated you’ll feel. I share the things that helped me in the post How To Stay Sane As A Stay At Home Mom.

You May Feel Anxious or Angry

Postpartum depression includes anxiety. Who knew? Well, technically it would be postpartum anxiety, but doctors don’t really discuss it and most moms I know, experienced it alongside depression. Anxiety often includes unrealistic fears. One mom I know said she was terrified to be left alone with her baby – like her baby was safe with anyone except her. There is a “what if something happens I can’t handle” sort of sensation. 

But here is the real shocker: irritability, anger, frustration are components of anxiety. I couldn’t believe I had feelings of anger when my baby cried. I was short with my husband and my other child. Furthermore, I snapped at friends and made snarky comments over the stupidest things. I was irritated all the time and it actually took me losing a friend to grasp how badly out of control I was.

You May Need Therapy or Medication

Postpartum depression is both chemical and situational. It’s a fact, chemical and hormonal changes occur in the body after childbirth. Your body undergoes amazing, but drastic changes to give life to another person. If you choose to nurse, your body suddenly belongs to another person to sustain their life. You may need medication to help supplement or balance those changes. THERE IS NO SHAME IN TAKING ANTI-DEPRESSANT MEDICATION. You’ll be shocked to learn just how many women take them and it’s a shame they feel they must do it in secret.

Your situation changes after childbirth. You don’t have time for yourself. You don’t sleep. The weight of the responsibility may burden you. Your sex life becomes non-existent. You may be staying home by yourself with baby. Lastly, expectation versus reality may be shocking to you once baby arrives. There are lot of life changes and you have little time to process what that means. Therapy can help you work through those changes. If you are struggling, seek medical attention. Seriously – babies get shaken when you don’t seek help.

You May Struggle To Do Basic Tasks

I was unprepared for this. To clarify, I didn’t realize this was happening for while. I remember when my son was three months and he had a blow out in the middle of Target. It suddenly became a monumental task to change his diaper in a public place. I struggled to work a coffee pot and to get chores done. I felt confusion and perpetually overwhelmed, even clumsy.

Some women refer to it as “mom brain” but honestly, I think it has to do with postpartum depression. Difficulty functioning or being overwhelmed by small tasks might be a sign you are struggling with postpartum depression. No one told me that. Don’t feel ashamed asking for help – ever.

The post, What No One Tells You About Postpartum Depression, first appeared on The Unsanity Blog

Learn more about 10 Sanity Saving Products for Your Reflux Baby

Classic Rock Mornings – Your Sunday Playlist

I’m really proud to welcome guest blogger Koral Dawn. Koral is the captivating writer at The Unsanity Blog, where she shares real-life stories of people surviving and thriving with anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses. Please take a moment to read her blog and follow her on social media after reading Classic Rock Mornings – Your Sunday Playlist. I promise you’ll love her! Give her a warm welcome, y’all!


Sunday playlist

Hello everyone! I’m Koral Dawn, a social media manager and marketing professional from Washington, USA. No, not Washington, DC; the other Washington on the west coast by California! You can find my blog here. But if you prefer to find me elsewhere, my Instagram is where I spend most of my time: @koral_dawn. 


I’ve been recently going through some rough times with depression and anxiety after being laid off from my job that I moved 2800 miles away from home for. I had less than 24 hours’ notice that I didn’t have a job, and my manager didn’t even know until I did, about 10 minutes before. I think you’d be a little off if you were in my situation as well. Things could be worse… we all say that. 

keep pushing forward

To make this story even more unfortunate, the following day, we were supposed to have our inspection of our new home that we had put an offer in on and actually won. We had to back out of everything. No more house, no more mortgage approval, almost lost our earnest money we had put down because we really wanted that home… nothing. Everything was gone, and we had to make a decision to stop the home buying because we didn’t know where we were going to be in a week, let alone 3 months. 

Most days we spent it in bed after this happened. Laying there. Tired, unable to move. No motivation to really get up and do anything for a good solid 2 weeks. We didn’t know what to do. We had a planned vacation back home to PA coming up in 3 weeks, and no one was going to want to hire us if we were leaving for almost 2 weeks to spend with family. We were going to have to wait until we came back from that to really start the hunt for jobs. At that point, I was the most miserable person of myself that I have ever been.

Fast forward to now, I have not landed a job yet with an employer, however, my fiancé has. He finally got a call for a job interview and is now selling cars at the Ford dealer a few towns over and is so far winning at it. So the good news is we can stay in WA for now… and hopefully buy a home next year instead. It’s a little more complicated since we’ll be married by then but that’s okay – we’ll work it out! 

So, what I’ve done is compiled a playlist that helps me wake up on Sunday mornings when I’ve had a rough week or even just a rough day: Classic Rock all the way! Now, I wasn’t born in the 70’s or 80’s but my mom lived through it, and this is the music I grew up listening to day in and day out and it reminds me of the good old days with no worries, no responsibilities and no problems to care about except what to wear to school the next day. (Don’t we all wish that could be the main problem in our lives now? Adulting sucks.) I hope you enjoy it and can find some relaxation/good memories in the songs as well. 

For those of you that have Apple Music – I’ve made my playlist shareable so you can download to your iPhone and listen along with me Sunday Mornings. Find it here: Sunday Morning Classic Rock

  1. Travelin’ Man – Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band
  2. Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen
  3. Slow Ride – Foghat
  4. Riders on The Storm – The Doors
  5. Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd
  6. Crazy Love – Van Morrison
  7. Peaceful Easy Feeling – The Eagles
  8. My Home Town – Bruce Springsteen
  9. Jack and Diane – John Mellancamp
  10. Rocky Mountain Way – Joe Walsh
  11. Lay Down Sally – Eric Clapton
  12. I’m Alright – Kenny Loggins
  13. You Can Call Me Al – Paul Simon
  14. This Is the Day – The The
  15. Paradise by The Dashboard Light – Meatloaf
  16. Here Comes My Girl – Tom Petty
  17. Long May You Run – The Stills-Young Band
  18. For What It’s Worth – Buffalo Springfield

The post, Classic Rock Mornings – Your Sunday Playlist first appeared on My Beautiful Mess.


Learn how to process complex feelings by journaling in the post 50 Journal Prompts

Parmesan Arugula Salad

Rocket salad is the showstopper in this simple parmesan arugula salad with homemade lemon vinaigrette.

Parmesan arugula salad

Today, I’m sharing one of my favorite salads. I know you’re probably like me and always looking for something delicious that is quick to whip up! Well, I’ve got a great one! This salad is very easy to make. You can make Parmesan Arugula Salad in under 10 minutes. Therefore, it is a perfect first course for weeknight dinners.

Arugula, also called rocket salad, is a leaf vegetable with a fresh peppery flavor. The Mediterranean uses it often in their dishes. I can see why. The leaf itself is almost herb-like. Small,, but packed with flavor.

If you’re dieting, it’s suitable for most all diets. The homemade lemon vinaigrette is made with natural ingredients. Simply combine raw lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. It is Whole30, Keto, Atkins and Weight Watcher friendly. Unfortunately, it’s not Paleo friendly because of the parmesan. Obviously, you can control how muc dressing you put on the salad. But I love it because it doesn’t have sugar, preservatives or MSG.

I love this salad because its a nice change from the standard lettuce salads. If you wanted to eat it as a lunch, I recommend adding a lean protein like chicken, shrimp or lean steak, like sirloin. Arugula alone is not very filling because it’s so light. Personally, I love it as a side or starter.

Parmesan Arugula Salad

Arugula, also known as rocket salad, is a peppery green, used often in Mediterranean dishes. This simple salad combines arugula with Parmesan topped with a homemade zesty lemon dressing.
Prep Time10 mins
Course: Salad
Keyword: arugula, easy meal, lemon dressing, salad, simple salad, weeknight dinner
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 184kcal

Ingredients

  • 4 Cups Arugula
  • 1/4 Cup Parmesan Shaved
  • 1/8 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/8 Cup Lemon Juice
  • Salt & Pepper Pinch

Instructions

  • In a small bowl or salad dressing shaker, add lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Stir or shake well until combined.
  • Transfer arugula to salad bowl and add parmesan.
  • Pour preferred amount of lemon dressing and toss salad well until mixed through

That’s it! I hope you enjoy this as much as my family does! Cheers!

The post, Parmesan Arugula Salad first appeared on My Beautiful Mess

Looking for other easy weeknight recipes? Try Roasted Root Medley

8 Places to Cash in Clutter

Before you dump your items off at a donation bin, try these 8 places to cash in clutter!

8 places to cash in clutter

It’s a never ending battle to declutter. I struggle with decluttering. I paid good money for something, thus I have a hard time just giving something away. Over this past year, I’ve been trying to sell things before I just dump it at Goodwill. I’ve been surprised at what people are willing to buy. Today I’m sharing 8 places to cash in clutter.

Just this month, I made over $100 selling things I would have otherwise donated. For example, I sold an old roaster ($10) and rice cooker ($20) that was taking up space in my kitchen cabinets. I sold a corn hole game ($40) I had made for my son’s first birthday. Then I let go of a car seat ($25) left at our house by a guest. Lastly, I sold some box fans ($10) that had been sitting in my guest room for 5 years!

I’m not bragging! My point is that just because you don’t find it valuable anymore, doesn’t mean no one does. If you’re like me, you’re tired of garage sales. You have to gather tons of items to make it worth while. As a rule, you need a city permit. Usually, you sit for days in the cold or heat only to argue with someone who wants to give you a quarter for your brand new Ralph Lauren blouse you wore once. It’s not worth it, right? That’s why today, I’m going to show you 8 places to cash in clutter – that’s actually worth it!

8 Places to Cash in Clutter

Etsy

If you haven’t discovered Etsy, I’m sad for you. Just kidding…sort of. Seriously, Etsy is an absolute great find for people who love to buy and sell handmade things. If you have something unique, one-of-a-kind, or something that is antique or collectible, Etsy is a great market for you! By the way, check out my shop where I sell my handmade greeting cards and digital printables. You do need to set up a shop, but once you have it set up, it’s very easy to add items.

It’s free to create an Etsy store. However, Etsy charges a $0.20 listing fee for every item you list, making it one of the most affordable places that charges. Furthermore, Etsy allows multiple ways for customers to pay, including PayPal.

Ebay

Ebay has long been a trusted source of selling used items. Even though the big Ebay boom is over, it continues to have a strong marketplace. Last year, I made $200 back selling baby clothes. (Tip: the best way to sell baby clothes is in large lots.) Ebay has a wide array of categories and the selling fee structure is a little complicated.

First, Ebay offers various ways to sell. You can sell it as an auction. You can sell it at a flat price (Buy It Now) which can also include “best offer” flexibility. The charges depend on the category, but as a rule Ebay charges about 10% of the amount you were paid (that includes shipping). Also, if they buyer is paying through PayPal (which is typical), you’ll incur an additional 2.9% fee for the transaction. So you’ll need to carefully choose what you sell. Ebay is known for shipping items and has a super easy, built in way to print labels once your item sells. However, they also have a local pickup option which is especially helpful for large items.

Facebook Marketplace

This is where I have had some of my best success. I am shocked to see how easy it is to sell things. Best of all – it’s completely 100% FREE to sell. You get every penny. No store setup. Just find Marketplace within Facebook and list your items by following the prompts. Customers can pay through Marketplace or they can give you cash. You can also accept PayPal or Venmo if you want to guide them that way.

It’s up to you, but people will ask you to hold things until a certain day. I caution you from doing that. I’ve been burned more than once. There are lots of flakey people out there! I’ve held something for someone who flaked out, meanwhile I turned down 5 other interested buyers. Now I specify in the description that it is “no holds.” This means that if they can’t come until Thursday and someone is willing to buy it and pick it up before then, I won’t hold it. You can choose whether you have the buyer pick up the item or whether you deliver it. You must specify in the description. People will always try to get you to deliver otherwise.

Facebook Groups

Facebook groups is another one of the places I’ve had good success. Like Marketplace, you can post pictures and description of what you’re selling. There are lots of pages that are designed for your city, area of town, or neighborhood. Find some, follow the selling rules and make money.

Like Marketplace, you will need to specify whether the buyer need to pickup or if you’ll deliver. If they pay in advance like through PayPal or Venmo. Incidentally, I recommend posting directly in Marketplace. Facebook now has a feature where if you post in Marketplace, you’ll have the options of sharing in the Facebook selling groups of which you’re a member. There are no selling fees involved with Facebook groups.

Pro Tip #1: If you are posting on multiple sites, be sure to include the acronym “POMS” in your description.

LetGo

The LetGo mobile app has slowly been gaining popularity (30 million users have downloaded it) after Google listed it as the Best of 2016 apps. It still has a fairly good reputation. It’s most attractive feature is that there are absolutely no selling fees – you set your price and get every penny! You choose how the customer pays and the app has a review system (don’t worry – you can dispute negative reviews).

LetGo doesn’t have a way to make payment. You will need to work that out between the buyer. Also, you are restricted to selling within your geographical location. Similarly to Craigslist, you’ll need to meet up with buyers to exchange goods and money – and anyone can sign up for it without any kind of check into who they are. So always be careful when meeting up with strangers.

Just Between Friends

So as I started to get rid of baby things, I tried local consignment shops. I was surprised at how little they offered. Pennies on the dollar. It was honestly, a little insulting. What they offered, wasn’t even worth my time to drive down there! That’s when a friend introduced this awesome bi-annual sale to me. If you’re willing to live with the items for a few months, this can bring in some money for all your maternity, baby, child, and teen items.

Just Between Friends is a nationwide consignment organization. Search their website to see if they have a sale in your area. They are in most major cities and have two sales per year – Spring and Fall. They will only accept seasonal appropriate items. Items are inspected to make sure they are not broken or stained. They will reject items that have a safety recall on them.

You will tag them using their online tagging system. As a rule, clothing must be on hangers. You have the option to put your items half off as a ditch effort to sell them. Additionally, they have an option to donate items that are unsold, so you never have to deal with them again. The day before the sale, you will need to check-in and put out all your merchandise on the sales floor. During the sale, you can see live results of your items selling. You set your own prices. You get 60% of the selling price. If you volunteer at the sale, you 70% of your sale, plus your $12 consignor fee is waived. Last year was my first year selling, I didn’t take a ton of stuff, but what I did netted be a couple hundred dollars – and I didn’t volunteer.

Amazon

Wait….you can sell old things on Amazon? Yes, you can. Amazon offers an individual seller account where you can sell gently used items. In my experience, books do well, but other things can be listed. However, it only permits forty items per month. After that, you’ll be directed to upgrade your account to a Professional selling plan. It is a monthly subscription of $39.99 and you have the awesome Amazon name and traffic behind your goods. So depending how much you plan to sell depends on how much it costs. The individual plan costs $0.99 per listing (some categories include additional fees).

Pro-tip #2: The acronym PPU stands for Porch Pick Up – a way of the buyer picking up without having to physically interact with them.

Offer up

Offer up is available on both online and a mobile app. It is fairly easy to use and even offers selling solutions for the private selling of vehicles.

It is free to use for buyers and sellers. However, just recently they included a shipping service so sellers could reach a wider audience. You decide wether you want to offer shipping or not. If you do offer shipping, they charge a 7.9% fee when the item sells. If you want to avoid seller fees, consider doing pickup only.

That’s it. In conclusion, yard sales are almost a thing of the past. Yes, it takes some time to list items individually. But, the return you get from these 8 places to cash in clutter, has proven to be worth it!

The post, 8 Places to Cash in Clutter, first appeared on My Beautiful Mess.

Learn about other decluttering tips in the post 50 Things To Throw Away Right Now

50 Journal Prompts

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50 Journal Prompts

How Journaling Can Help

Journaling can be a wonderful way to discover yourself. Journaling is a record of your feelings and perceptions at a certain point and time. You can learn a lot about yourself when you pose questions that challenge you to be truthful about life events. Some people don’t know where to begin, so I’m providing 50 journal prompts.

Years ago, my psychologist encouraged me to write in a journal. I was surprised at my emotional arch while writing. It was awkward at first. It makes your feelings real and tangible. Putting it down on paper challenges you to face how you really feel about something. Subsequently, it brings hidden and undiscovered feelings to the surface. In short, writing helps you to process those emotions.

To clarify, you can start journaling by simply writing about your day. However, there may be times when you may have an uneventful day or simply don’t need to write about it. That is where journal prompts can be valuable. Here are 50 journal prompts to get started!

How to Get Started

You don’t need anything fancy. Ordinarily, some people like myself, love using a beautiful notebook in which to write. However, you certainly don’t need that. A simple spiral notebook is all you need! That said, maybe you don’t care for actual writing. No problem! These days, there are lot of digital options. For example, the iTunes app store has great digital journals like Momento, Daylio, and Day One Journal.

50 Journal Prompts

  1. Describe your earliest childhood memory
  2. What do you want your children to remember most about you?
  3. Who do you want to be in five years
  4. What are three things you would do if you weren’t afraid?
  5. What is the one thing you can’t forgive yourself for?
  6. A moment you wish you could change
  7. What do you love most about your hometown?
  8. How do you picture retirement?
  9. Something that still hurts you.
  10. What were you doing ten years ago?
  11. When were you most proud of yourself?
  12. Write a list of 25 things that make you feel good.
  13. Describe a time you learned from a mistake.
  14. What was your first impression of your significant?
  15. Who do you look up to right now?
  16. What scares you most about dying?
  17. Write about your first kiss.
  18. Describe your best memory of your maternal grandmother.
  19. Give your younger self advice.
  20. Recount a time you were falsely accused of something.
  21. Describe a time you had to make a difficult decision.
  22. How do you picture retirement?
  23. Something you wish people knew about you.
  24. Write about your greatest childhood fear.
  25. What would be used against you if you ran for political office?
  26. Write a letter to your future self.
  27. What were you doing ten years ago?
  28. Explain how you’ve changed in the last year.
  29. Recount at time you most proud of yourself.
  30. Describe a time you learned from a mistake.
  31. Detail a nightmare that still disturbs you.
  32. If you were president of the United States, what would you change?
  33. Write about someone who is difficult to get a long with in your family.
  34. What was your first impression of your significant other?
  35. Who do you look up to right now?
  36. If you could speak to someone you’ve lost in death, what would you tell them?
  37. Describe a time you had to end a toxic friendship.
  38. Write about your worst habit.
  39. How do you feel about your marriage / relationship?
  40. What advice would you give your younger self?
  41. Write a “letter” to someone with whom you are angry. What would you say?
  42. When was the last time you were angry?
  43. What needs forgiving in your heart?
  44. Recount the first time you defied your parents.
  45. Describe what it was like to be a child of your decade (60’s, 70’s, 80s, 90s)
  46. If you won the lottery, what would you do?
  47. How do you feel about the world today?
  48. Write about a book that changed your life.
  49. If the world was ending today, what would you do?
  50. How would you describe each of your children?

Looking for other ways to stay mentally and emotionally well? Learn more about 30 Day Facebook Detox

The post, 50 Journal Prompts, first appeared on My Beautiful Mess.

Tomato and Cucumber Salad

Learn how to make this refreshing tomato and cucumber salad with a homemade red wine vinaigrette.

tomato and cucumber salad

Making Tomato & Cucumber Salad

Can I be real for a second? I hate eating healthy. There…my secret is out. You can keep your cauliflower fried rice – it ain’t for me! Sorry, not sorry. That’s why when I find a delicious way to incorporate veggies in my meal plan, I snag it! So today, I’m sharing how to make my tomato and cucumber salad.

It’s easy to make your own red wine-balsamic vinaigrette for it which you can create in a salad dressing shaker or mix directly in the salad. Personally, I think it tastes best when you let it chill in the fridge for an hour after making. It gives a chance for the flavors to marinade together.

I love this tomato and cucumber salad because it fits all diets. Whether you’re doing Keto, Atkins, Whole30, Weight Watchers, or Paleo, it’s full of clean ingredients.

No Boring Lettuce – Yes, Please

I love Greek salads! And this recipe is bursting with Mediterranean flavors. with the tomato, cucumber, fresh basil, red onion, fresh parsley…be still my heart. I love serving a cold bowl of this yummy goodness.

This salad is a great alternative to the same old, boring lettuce style salad. I often have it as a lunch. If you need something heavier as a meal, try adding avocado, olives, shrimp and/or feta cheese (if you aren’t doing paleo). I’ve even added it to Quinoa!

tomato and cucumber salad

I recommend eating this fairly quickly. The cucumbers break down a little faster than the rest of the salad. You can store in a air tight container for a few days.

Tomato & Cucumber Salad

Crisp cucumber and juicy tomato make this delicious summer salad. Similar to a Greek Salad, this recipes calls for all natural ingredients 
If you aren’t following a paleo diet and would like it to be more filling, you may add a half cup of feta cheese
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Keyword: atkins, basil, cucumber, gluten free, greek, keto, paleo, red onion, red wine vineger, tomato, whole30
Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • 1/4 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
  • 2 Tsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil Extra Virgin
  • 2 Lrg Cucumber Chopped
  • 1 Cup Tomatoes Chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Red Onion Finely Chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Italian Parsley Chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Basil Chopped
  • Salt To taste

Instructions

  • Chop all veggies and herbs and transfer to a mixing bowl
  • In a small bowl or salad dressing shaker, combine all your wet ingredients to make your dressing
  • Mix well and pour on your salad
  • Toss gently to blend
Tomato and cucumber salad

I hope you enjoy this salad as much as I do. You can thank me later!

The post, Tomato & Cucumber Salad, first appeared on My Beautiful Mess.

Looking for more recipes? Try Roasted Root Medley

How To Make a Clubfoot Bar Cover

This post, How To Make a Clubfoot Bar Cover, contains affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through one of the links I provide, I may receive a small percentage at no cost to you. This allows to offset the costs incurred with this blog. Thanks for your support.

clubfoot bar cover

If you’re reading this, you may be a clubfoot mommy. Believe me when I say, I know what an emotional roller coaster it can be. I share our story in the post From One Clubfoot Mommy to Another. Today, I’m sharing how to make a clubfoot bar cover for a Ponseti bar, but it can easily be adapted for other bars.

As you’ll discover, the bar is heavy and a little sharp. It doesn’t seem that way until you see your child brings his or her feet – and the bar – to eye level. That’s when you realize the bar needs some cushion. Also, your child will kick and scrape your legs while on your lap. It took some bruising and a cut before my husband and I decided we needed a solution.

Making a Clubfoot Bar Cover

To make a clubfoot bar cover, I found pipe insulation to be the best thing for padding. I tried several things like pool noodles, but pipe insulation was the best – hands down. You can purchase it at any hardware store like Lowes or Home Depot. In a pinch you can get it from Amazon. Link provided below.

When it comes to the velcro I tried different options. I tried self-adhesive velcro, but honestly, it would come off when I took the cover off. It also didn’t withstand washing well. Therefore, I recommend using sew-on velcro. If you aren’t comfortable using it, I recommend the following velcro:

Supplies

  • Pins
  • Fabric of your choice
  • Pipe Insulation
  • Measuring tape and strait edge
  • Rotary cutter or fabric shears
  • Cutting mat
  • Thread
  • Velcro
  • Needles if hand sewing or a sewing machine

Instructions

  1. Measure the length of your bar inside the shoes
  2. Cut the pipe insulation to fit. Adjust as necessary.
  3. Next, slice the side of the pipe insulation lengthwise. Place it around your bar and make sure it’s a good fit.
  4. Taking your bar length, measure your fabric, allowing a half inch – whole inch on all sides (sides, top and bottom) to create your seam. Wrap it around the pipe insulation to make sure it fits all the way around the circumference.
  5. Fold in the edges to create a clean seam. Secure with pins.
  6. Iron your fabric.
  7. You can choose to hand stitch or use a sewing machine
  8. Sew all four edges.
  9. Finally, sew your velcro across the top and bottom. If using the one-wrap straps, skip this step. Your velcro will wrap around the outside.

That’s it – how to make a clubfoot bar cover. It took me about 30 mins for this project, but them, I’m a beginner at sewing.

clubfoot bar cover
clubfoot bar cover
clubfoot bar cover

The post, How to Make a Clubfoot Bar Cover, first appeared on My Beautiful Mess.

10 Books That Will Strengthen Your Marriage

Whether you are doing well or struggling in your marriage, everyone could do with a little fine tuning! Here are 10 Books that will strengthen your marriage.

10 books that will strengthen your marriage

How Books Helped Strengthen Our Marriage

Let’s be honest, marriage is really hard work! One of the things I’ve learned in marriage is that you have to be deliberate about growing together. Additionally, if you have kids or a busy work schedule, you really need to prioritize intimacy. To clarify, intimacy doesn’t just mean sex either. Intimacy starts as an emotional connection. In fact, if you don’t have an emotional connection, it’s harder to be intimate physically – at least for many women.

One of the things my husband and I have always done is to read together. It doesn’t take a lot of time, just a couple of pages at night before we go to sleep. Believe it or not, it actually does work! One of us reads aloud and the other listens. For whatever reason, it is very different from the same ole’ staring at the tv screen.

Today, I’m sharing several books that help us work through hard times and understand each other better. Here are 10 books that will strengthen your marriage. These books, with the exception of one, is Christian themed. In a future post, I’ll provide secular titles we read.

The Love Dare, Alex & Stephen Kendrick

This is by far one of the best books I’ve ever read. If you are struggling to love your spouse, if you are running out of reasons to keep giving them chances, you need this book. This 40 day devotional teaches you how to lead your heart back to loving your spouse. Based on 1 Corinthians, the book guides you through a daily instruction on love, providing principles and scripture to contemplate and pray. Then it provides you with a daily challenge and encourages some journaling for self-discovery. I can’t tell you how many times this book has helped me. I’ve even used it with another family member, other than my spouse. My copy is worn and I’ve probably bought 5 or six copies for other people whose marriages were crumbling.

The 5 Love Languages, Gary Chapman

This classic book was really pivotal in learning how to love my spouse. If you feel like there are a lot of unmet needs in your marriage, this book is for you. Most of the time, it is simply a disconnect between you and your spouse. This book describes the five ways people show love. It also explains that people generally show love in the way they like to be loved. For example, maybe your spouse need gifts to feel appreciated. Gifts mean nothing to you, so you never think of giving them. Meanwhile, your spouse begins to feel you don’t care because you “never think of them.” This book teaches you and your spouse how to figure out what it is you need to feel loved and how to meet your spouses needs.

Toxic In-laws, Susan Forword, Phd.

If you’re struggling with invasive, overbearing or controlling in-laws, this is a great book to read. And let me be clear – this book isn’t just great for in-laws. To clarify, this book is written from a psychological perspective instead of Christian one, but I never found it’s advice at odds with my Christian beliefs.

Using real life examples, the author illustrates the main types of toxic parents and carefully outlines their qualities tactics, including guilt and emotional blackmail. It then provides sound, practical advice on how to keep peace, set boundaries and protect your marriage.

The Peacemaker, Ken Sande

This is a must-have book on your bookshelf. If there is anything I’ve learned in life it’s that conflict is unavoidable. Most people tend to fight back or run away, but there are healthy ways to deal with conflict. There is a presumption that any sort of conflict is bad. This book provides biblical principles for navigating conflict and controlling emotions. It provides real solutions for how to be a peacemaker and more importantly – how to act as your own mediator even when emotions are high.

Red Hot Monogamy, Bill & Pam Farrel

This was a fun read. My husband and I actually read it together overnight. This book it based in scripture and uses the Song of Solomon to demonstrate that God wants you to have passionate sex with your spouse. That’s right! Christian sex is supposed to be steamy, fun, and intense. This great book by Bill and Pam Ferrel show you how to get in the right mindset to keep those embers burning!

The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, by Shelia Wray Gregoire

Piggybacking on Red Hot Monogamy, this book teaches you hot to ditch shallow, mechanical sex and trade it in for steamy sheets! I might describe this as Cosmopolitan without the raunchiness! This entertaining book describes the differences in how men and women approach sex and how to find your rhythm and connection as a couple – in particular once the newness wears away. Married for 20 years, the author gives real life examples on how to keep your love life flirtatious, fun, and sexy.

From Anger to Intimacy: How Forgiveness Can Transform Your Marriage, Dr. Gary Smalley

If you are married, you will get hurt. It’s a fact. You can’t spend a lifetime with someone and never get hurt. We are human and we will fail each other. If you are stuck in a place of unforgiveness with your spouse, I recommend this book. This book provides biblical techniques for both recognizing and processing anger and resentment. This book cuts strait to the heart and will stretch you to challenge yourself to move forward and start loving your spouse again.

Love & Respect, Dr. Emerson Eggerich

As you may already know, men and women view love differently. Men actually need respect. For them, that equates to love. This book was actually recommended by our pastor and we really enjoyed reading it. When we get into the “crazy cycle” as this book calls it, I stop and recalibrate how I’m responding and reacting to my husband. I’m not sure I would have really been aware of my behavior if I hadn’t read this book. The same goes for my husband. Similar to The 5 Love Languages, it defines the different needs of men and women and what we can do to give our spouse what they need. Why would we want to do that? Because we respond to love with more love! It’s human nature. Instead of spinning out of control in our own selfishness, learn how to stay in a healthy love/respect cycle with your spouse.

Sacred Marriage, Gary Thomas

This book, different from the others is more on the philosophical side, even existential. It considers a deeper reason for marriage and how it is a tool of the Lord to teach us and challenge us to become holy. Sacred marriage calls us seek out holier lives together as a couple and this book provides practical tools and advice to do that.

Wired For Intimacy: How Pornography Hijacks the Male Brain, Dr. William M. Struthers

This was a very interesting read. If you are struggling with pornography invading your marriage and you have a partner willing to start healing, I highly recommend reading this together. This was the best combination of both religious / spiritual perspective but also psychological and neurobiological effects of pornography addiction and how to combat it. Written by a professor of Psychology, the read itself is a bit academic, but he combines spiritual principles that will help you and your partner.

The post 10 Books That Will Strengthen Your Marriage, first appeared on My Beautiful Mess

Looking for other marriage help? Learn more about Setting Healthy Boundaries in Your Marriage

Roasted Root Medley

Try this easy, sweet and savory roasted root medley, perfect for weeknight dinners

Roasted root medley

This is by far one of my favorite vegetable recipes. First, this roasted root medley is very easy to make. In fact it is so simple, you may wonder why I’m sharing it. That’s because it is one of my favorite side dishes ever!

It’s so easy you almost don’t need a recipe. It’s just chopped vegetables with olive oil. However, the pairing of sweet potato, carrots, and sweet onion make a sweet & salty combination.

In the past, I’ve also made this with sheet pan dinners. I know I’m not the only person who loves one pan dinners!

I discovered this recipe about five years ago during a cleanse diet. That’s the other great thing about this dish. It’s Keto, Paleo, Auto-Immune Paleo, Whole30, Atkins and Weight Watcher friendly. As a variation, you can add other root veggies like beets or parsnips.

Personally, I line the baking pan with parchment paper. It makes clean up a breeze. I also recommend turning the vegetables about half way through baking for perfect tenderness.

Carrots
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Roasted root medley

Roasted Root Medley

You’ll love this sweet and savory side dish. Easy to make for weeknight dinners. It’s Keto, Whole30, Paleo and Weight Watcher friendly. 
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: carrot, olive oil, onion, sweet potato
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1/8 Cup Olive Oil Extra Virgin
  • 5 Large Carrots Peeled, Chopped
  • 2 Small Sweet Potatoes Peeled, Chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Sweet Onion Chopped
  • Salt & Pepper To taste

Instructions

  • Wash and peel potatoes and carrots. 
  • Chop vegetables and place in a mixing bowl
  • Add olive oil to the mixture and toss until vegetables are fully coated
  • Spoon vegetables onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper
  • Add salt and pepper to taste
  • Bake at 425° for 30 minutes or until tender. Turn vegetables over with a spatula about half way through cooking. 
Roasted root medley

Looking for other weeknight recipes? Try Perfect Spanish Rice

The post Roasted Root Medley first appeared on My Beautiful Mess.