The Power of Affirmations

Well, sit down a while. Here comes a Mandy ramble about something I am oh-so-passionate about. 😉 And, that is:: POSITIVE THINKING and POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS.

I am a believer in the power of our thoughts and just wanted to write this post because it has brought so much power and happiness into my life I wanted to share it with you in case it could bring that in your life…..because, it can! 🙂

Little back story here:: When I was in high school I was pretty much a straight A student in every class EXCEPT Texas History {sigh}. I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t get an A on my challenging, but awesome Texas History Coach’s tests. I have a mentor and dear friend of mine who is into positive affirmations+hypnosis who had heard of my frustrations. So, him and his wife invited me over for a “positive affirmation session” which is where I was first exposed to the power of positive affirmations in my life.

Long story short, I went from bombing those tests to getting my name written on the board as the highest grade in the class on his test. Did I suddenly get smarter than before? No! I worked my tail off as I always did, but this time I ALSO came to BELIEVE in myself and rid myself of some test taking anxiety and negative thinking that was hindering me and my performance. The positive thoughts allowed me to perform better and change my entire experience in that class.

Another way I used and still use positive thinking and affirmation now is with performance anxiety with singing. If you know me you know I LOVE to sing. It makes me happy and is oh so fulfilling.

However, back in the day, I sang a solo at church at age 8 {memorized all 4 verses of course–attempted to go above and beyond} and FORGOT the words on the 4th verse. I was trau-ma-tized. My mom kept playing the chords over and over again waiting for me to remember and come in and it was as though it was slow motion. I still can remember a friend of mine, Nora,  lipping the words to me. I am a HORRIBLE lip reader and just looked at her blankly and could not make any words out. This experience made me “think” and “believe” I didn’t enjoy performing in front of people. Come to find out, I DO. I love sharing what I love with others. I just had to retrain my brain to associate those passions and feelings to performing instead of the “so-called” dramatic event. {PS-I also took a Psychology of Performance class in college-it was awesome on all this stuff and all of my classmates were musicians-isn’t that rad?}

Anyway, back to the story here–So I had labeled this event in my mind as the WORST thing ever {because that’s how I felt}. In fact I often recall and ONLY remember forgetting the words, the chords repeatedly playing, the attempted helpful lipping the words, and me walking off crying. In reality, there was a reviving part which was me singing the chorus {after the part I forgot} before I walked off the stage crying. So, I’m sure it wasn’t quite as horrible as my mind’s eye envisions. Sadly, I allowed that “story” I clung to make me believe I didn’t enjoy singing solos in front of people because of that minor…okay-possibly major “ish” slip up and I didn’t sing a solo again for 10 years. Ten!! Yes I did TMEA All State process {but they have a sheet so they can’t see you}, but I would never sing in front of people I knew solo. Duet was the closest I would get.

Now, don’t get me wrong-I still get jitters before any performance [I’m a work in progress] and make mistakes, have on/off performances but the difference is I DO IT. I volunteer actually and I enjoy it once I am up there. And, when I say performance don’t get the wrong idea here-I am not talking performance like a huge concert setting…haven’t done that yet-don’t envision a pop star-I’m a choir girl for life who loves singing hymns and ballads. 😉 Performance for me is any time I sing in front of anyone. I sing occasionally in church primarily and for friend/family events–funerals and weddings sort of a thing.

But, like anything positive affirmations, test taking, performing, developing a talent, exercise, everything take c-o-n-t-i-n-u-a-l practice. I have been so blessed by the effects of positive affirmations I had to spill the beans and ramble about it to you all in hopes it will bless you too.

So, how do you do it? How can you make your weaknesses into strengths and get better at positive thinking??

I’m going to share some quick little steps of a mini positive affirmation session so YOU CAN DO IT yourself at home. It may sound sketchy reading it or perhaps overly simplistic, but I promise that if done with realness and genuine belief in your positive thoughts, it is LIFE CHANGING!!!! And local friends who are reading this, I would love to geek out and do one with you if you want for fun. So here is my little breakdown of what I did in high school and what I do now when doing a “positive affirmation session” ::

  1. Relax in a chair or lay down and clear your thoughts.
  2. Go through your whole body relaxing each part of your body.
  3. Envision what you have to work on and incorporate as many senses as possible. For example, if I were doing a positive affirmation session for test taking I would envision the room I was going to take the test in. Envision myself walking into the room, waiting for the test, what I looked like, what I was wearing, imagine myself feeling calm and prepared waiting for the test, feel what it feels like to answer the questions and feel excited realizing you are sharing your knowledge and utilizing it, etc., etc. So you do this all the way through the experience and envision everything going the way you want it to and how that FEELS, LOOKS LIKE, TASTES LIKE, SOUNDS LIKE as much reality as you can muster and imitate in your mind with as  many senses as you can incorporate. Your mind then is able to easily associate those feelings when you are doing this in real life because you have visualized this in your mind. It recalls and is familiar.
  4. Say 2-3 affirmations throughout that you repeat. In the test taking example it could be “I LOVE taking tests” “I love utilizing my knowledge.” “I find myself getting excited as the test is being passed out.” Whatever. Repeat them throughout in a CONVINCING self talk in your mind. If you say it not believing it, it will not be powerful or effective.
  5. Slowly come out of relaxation throughout your whole body.

I usually do this around 5-8 minutes is all, and I do it multiple times before any sort of performance.

Seriously friends, this has been LIFE CHANGING for me and I’m UNDER exaggerating. Of course, outside of this formal positive affirmation process you need to also start doing it casually day to do also in every thought about yourself and to yourself. If a negative one naturally slips in, immediately stop thinking it and replace it with a positive phrase.

I thought to share this post and my thoughts on positive thinking and positive affirmations because I just had an epiphany the other day that I NEED to start using my positive affirmation sessions to better my parenting skills and general health.

I previously only had used formal positive affirmations sessions for performance anxiety only, but it totally isn’t limited to that AT ALL. It obviously can be used for ANYTHING–business, training, exercise, relationships. I normally think positively the best I can with parenting stuff or goals, but haven’t tried using my little “PA sessions” for the regular stuff and I now can’t wait. I am going to start doing them for some parenting weaknesses of mine right now and start training my mind in ways like these :: I love being patient. I enjoy using my children’s mistakes for positive learning opportunities. I cannot wait to exercise every day. I love waking up early. I love cleaning my house. I love running {maybe if I want to go there ???  😉 I love eating healthy foods.} The list could go on forever.

So, let’s start training our mind to do the things we CAN do and we CAN improve on. Our minds and thoughts can literally help us produce the results we seek. Believing in ourselves and eliminating the negative self talk allows our brain to believe something different than the “I am a horrible mom” or “I hate playing piano” or “I am impatient ” or “I don’t like my body right now” or whatever it may be that we are telling it. If we tell our brain those thoughts, it will believe them also and produce that energy. “Where our mind goes, energy flows.” [Ernst Holmes] Words have power as so do our thoughts.

And wouldn’t it be amazing if our children started imitating the way we talk to ourselves positively and started talking to themselves and about themselves positively from the get go? Yes, yes it would….

Proverbs 23:7 “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he….”

Here’s to STRIVING to be truly positive not only in our actions and in our words expressed externally, but also in the words we tell OURSELVES internally in our MINDS.

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Let’s Talk Motherhood Series:: Staying Present With Little Ones

I am excited and oh-so flattered to be a part of this month’s Let’s Talk Motherhood Series with @mckellwilson and some other amazing mommas. I’ll link them at the bottom of my post so we can all connect.

So, we each were asked a few questions about the same topic to see different perspectives and ideas we could gain from each other and everyone reading who comments and joins the conversation. It’s all about connecting and learning from each other, that’s what I love about this social media gig. I get inspired over and over again from fellow striving mommas on how to be a better mom and wife. I love that!

The topic for September couldn’t be more timely or more on my mind, and that is STAYING PRESENT WITH LITTLE ONES. Oh my goodness, I can say that it is SO easy to be distracted in this technology generation and I can and do get distracted so easily by things like social media, group texts, individual texts, responsibilities, and even my own to-do lists constantly when I’m not careful. It is something I have to check myself and work on continuously. I think in this day and age that is one of the hardest things to do is SLOW down and BE where you are.

So, let’s chat about it and I’d LOVE to hear your comments to on what YOU do to stay present.

Here are McKell’s questions and MY answers. Y’all know I’m a rambler by now. I JUST CAN’T HELP IT. So Mandy…so here I am, come run-ons and rambles.

  1. As a blogger, how do you balance working from home and staying present with your children? This is something I was super conscientious about when I started this public blog 9 short months ago. I didn’t want to have my blog take over my time with my kiddos. I had and still have a private family blog for years that I loved, but my husband and I wanted to make sure that having a “public” blog didn’t add more pressure to spend ALL my time working on it. One way I have done my best to balance this is I blog early in the morning OR late in the evenings. I have done that from the start and it’s a MUST for me. Not only does it help me not feel guilty when I blog since my kids aren’t crying or pounding on my door for my attention like they would be if I did it during the day; but, it also helps me be fully present when I am blogging too. I find the less things I do at once, the more successfully and whole heartedly I can be where I am.  It helps me to find joy and happiness in that moment. Granted, having 4 children and 2 kids under 2 makes this kind of an oxymoron because I am ALWAYS doing more than one thing at once ;), but you know what I mean. 🙂 If I am blogging, I blog. If I am doing crafts with my kids, I do crafts. If I am going on a playdate to see a friend while my kids play, I’m going to chat with my friend.  If I am having “me time” I am having some me time. You get the drill. It’s just better that way I have come to learn over the years to “be where you are.”

  2. What is your favorite way of spending quality time with your little ones? This is such a hard question. Bah!! If I were to pick one sentence or phrase I would have to summarize it by saying “making memories with them.” Memories endure and bring happiness looking back, and that is what I love to do and make with my little ones. I can explain. For example, I love doing a twist on normal things to make it memorable for my kiddos and trying and doing NEW things with them. It can be normal things made fun like, “when we took a walk in the dark to the park {because we NEVER do that}, slept in the backyard in a tent, had dessert first, had a girls’ night with friends, did our yearly tradition of sleeping in the same room on Halloween night, etc. OR trying new things [because that is always memorable and fulfilling too] such as:: going tubing for their first time [picture above], trying a new craft, making a new food together, introducing them to Mommy and Daddy’s favorite college icecream place [pictured below–Creamery on 9th for life], discovering a new destination–river or lake together [we do this pretty much once a week as a family], going to Legoland /Schlitterbaun/amusement parks together, of course THOSE are no brainers too….. I know that a pretty all encompassing answer, but it’s the intentional and memorable times that are my absolute fav with my littles.
  3. In such a fast paced world, how do you slow down with and without your children?  One way I SLOW down is I read scriptures BEFORE social media. Game changer. This helps me get focused on the right things for the day, energized, and most of all just in the right overall mindset. If ever I am in a funk it is because I have slipped out of this habit. Then I switch back and I’m rejuvenated again. I know that throughout the course of the day I will check my social media feeds, I just will. But, I will not necessarily make time for my scriptures if I don’t make it a priority. If I commit myself to READ scriptures BEFORE social media, I read every day you better believe it. For me, this is usually before the kids wake up in the morning {unless my babe had a hard night}. I prefer the morning because it is a “still” time for me when it’s easy for me to really read and before I feel the hustle and bustle to get things done or be here and there.  A way WITH my children I try to slow down is saying “no” to some social invitations. I love social time, playdates, friend swaps, and saying no to things that sound fun is hard…but since baby #4 was born there is constantly lots going on and just being home sometimes is just what we need. We did this yesterday had ZERO plans and it was such a great night. We had a meaningful family home evening, my big kids cleaned up dinner and the front room without complaining as we rocked out to some Kid Bopz on Pandora, we read books together, and I attribute that to not feeling rushed from activity to activity. Having a day or two a week with NO plans-no dance, no nothing is often a remedy for all of us.
  4. What is something you do every day to be present and in the moment? Something I try to do every day to be in the moment is UTILIZE regular times to connect 1:1 with my kids. For example, showers/bath time means I get to read with one of my kiddos. I normally just let them each pick out a book for me to read to them while one takes a shower. Or when I am driving to pick my daughter up from dance with my boys means I get to talk to my oldest son who is 5 about what he’s into lately and get him to open up a little. {he’s my quieter one who doesn’t tell me too many details without prying–my almost 2 year old and 4 month old don’t mind if he hogs the convo 😉 } OR when some of my kids are outside and 1 is left inside I do something fun with them or see if they want to help me with something. You get the drift. This helps me squeeze in some individual time which I love and allows me to be present.  PS-Speaking of present, we went on a Sunday drive spur of the moment and I was the only one cool enough to already be in my jammies. Nothing better…. Still can’t get over that all 4 of those littles came from me. Getting back on topic…#5
  5. What advice would you give to new and future moms about staying present as a parent? I would say remember that you are in charge of your phone and your phone is not in charge of you. It’s so hard to live that and it’s a battle, but remember that you DON’T HAVE TO RUN TO YOUR PHONE when it buzzes or dings. This is definitely something I still remind myself. It’s OK. Since when does a text message ding mean it’s an emergency and has to be read right now? I have to say I get a LOT of texts a day. I am a communicator and I love to communicate, but I could easily be texting/calling back/emailing/commenting ALL DAY LONG if I’m not careful. So, disconnect. You can catch up on social media, texts, and emails and normally [unless it really is urgent and you know it’s important] there is ZERO benefit in commenting instantly [unless you are looking for furniture on garage sale websites-then notifications ALL the way-total exception ;)]. However you can totally miss your excited child’s story about his project at school or funny story from recess or a proud big brother or sister moment, whatever it may be. Again-this is what I have to remind myself over and over again with my phone as it dings constantly [and do NOT put notifications on social media-no way-no more dinging needed]. My cue is my phone battery. If I’m “in the red” I know I’ve been on it too long and I go leave it on the charger until it’s charged and take a break. You can click here for my Phone Nap technique I made up for myself after I got a little phone obsessed.
Lastly, I’ll say you don’t have to do crazy things and it doesn’t have to be super complicated to be present as a parent. Like I said earlier, there are times built in the regular day when you can connect with your kids {so I’ve discovered and learned}. I also am reminded being a present mom doesn’t mean you have to play WITH them for hours every day and if you don’t you’re not a good mom and should get mom guilt. No way! A few minutes a day is great.  In fact, my mom is the epitome of the perfect mom in my eyes and I don’t remember her playing with me much at all actually [maybe she did some, I just don’t recall]. But, I do remember that a-n-y-time I told her a story, or was excited about my day, or came to her sad, or mad, or happy she was TOTALLY 100% all there– ALL ears, all eyes–listening. Not half-way while texting or “liking” in one hand …. She’s my #momgoals. She made me feel like a million bucks just like that-we can all do that ladies!

K Momma’s, I am long winded as usual and as promised. 😉 I would LOVE to hear some of the ways you connect with your kids each day and how you strive to stay present as a mom. Comment below if you have any tidbits-it takes a village friends! And, go check out these momma bloggers and get some more great ideas::

McKell :: www.lifeasmrswilson.com

Aurora :: www.auroramccausland.com

Melissa:: www.melissalynchurch.com

Breanna:: www.soulfullysanchez.org/wp

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7 Free Date Night Ideas

We are celebrating our 9 YEAR ANNIVERSARY this week. NINE–wow, that’s close to 10.

We are getting old….And, let it be known, I am THE luckiest. Our lives aren’t perfect and I’m not perfect and the mister isn’t perfect-BUT there is no one else I’d rather trail with in our journey. Love him and he pushes me more than anyone else. Anyway, that being said…let’s talk cheap date ideas because we are going to need to be doing a LOT more of those in these upcoming weeks and months.

Money is tight right now {family vacation/school starting/4 children/new van/residency budget-enough said 😉 } and so I have been racking my brain trying to think of fun ways I can spend meaningful time with my man that won’t break the bank.

For us right now we pretty much have been doing babysitters for the first time ever [don’t get me wrong swapping is great but 8.5 years of swapping gets old and complicated]… So having a babysitter is A-MAZING and dreamy to me and my kids LOVE IT, but it still adds to the date price–because if you eat out and go to a movie and pay for a babysitter-we’re talking BIG BUCKS here} So, these date ideas are ideas where you can JUST pay for the time of a babysitter and nothing else {or at least not much else}.

FYI–We are NOT on a date by ourselves in this picture-this was yesterday playing as a family on our anniversary- but, look between our heads-HA HA!!! We saw this and started laughing out loud…little Sass squeezed in there and now this is a new favorite picture. Cracked me up!

Anyway, SOooo here is my doable, affordable, yet hopefully FUN and memory making date list::

1. OUTDOOR DATES.

  1. This is a huge category with endless possibilities.

    • Here are some of my ideas {not exhaustive, but just to get your ideas flowing}

    • pack a picnic for 2 by a lake and talk/bike around it/watch the stars and talk each other’s ears off without children

    • Go on a hike together WITH your cameras and take attemptively artsy pics and enjoy nature together

    • Go swim in a river {you know how we LOVE our rivers and exploring here in Texas}

    • Explore a new park or river or lake you’ve never been to before.

    • ANYTHING active–exercising, swimming, sports, roller blading [we still want to get some], whatever…

    • Rent those free bikes downtown and ride around together and hit up some new stores to window shop

      THE IDEAS ARE ENDLESS!!!

2. RETRACE MEMORIES DATES.

This idea is on my mind mostly because it’s our anniversary this week and we get to go down memory lane later this week with family. But, it is super fun to have a date that is similar to one of your first ones….where you met, the restaurant you use to love together, or re-live one of your first dates, visit the school you used to go to, the first place you kissed, all those things…..!

3. SCAVENGER HUNT. 

Something about the planning of a scavenger hunt makes it oh so fun and purposeful. Totally doable with a babysitter and gives you something to d-o opposed to get someplace and leave and be done. My man made me a birthday scavenger hunt once and it was THE Best birthday EVER because of the thoughtfulness that went into it. Fun memories… it almost doesn’t even matter the destination because it is the effort that makes this special…also fun with groups and group date races, etc.

4. COOKING TOGETHER date night in–no babysitter needed.

It is SO fun to cook together….as a woman, you aren’t fully responsible if it tastes good or bad when you do it as a date {which is a perk if it goes wrong}, and it just is more fun when you are cooking with your best friend! And, B is actually great at cooking he just doesn’t have the time. Date night in is a great way to get him to explore this rarely used hidden talent of his…..and when we do this when kids are in bed we can cook something they would hate and we would love 😉

5. YOUTUBE DANCE LESSONS.

You heard me. You know you have the best husband when….. you learn a choreographed dance together one night on Youtube. We haven’t done this in forever….probably 2 years ago we did this to a hip/hop routine and it was hilarious and awesome…and I married a good dancer so it was super fun. DO IT PEOPLE. No-one will even know you did. We would always tell each other how we should randomly bust out and do this little choreographed dance we learned suddenly in front of our family, but we never did. That would have been hilarious though-I think we need to learn another one….

6. LET YOUR SPOUSE TEACH YOU SOMETHING HE/SHE is GOOD AT DATE

Ok, again-possibility’s are endless here. I’m imagining going to a music store with the mister in a soundproof room and      we could sing/jam together my style. Teach him some harmonizing, etc….OR having him teach me how to play a sport together like basketball, fly fishing, surgeon knots 😉 or something he is good at. It’s fun to do something one of you is good at and play student and see and learn about each other’s passion.

7. Dressing up our DATE NIGHT [Netflix] IN.

For us our Netflix binge Fridays and Saturdays are fun, but if that’s the only dating we do it loses its fun over time….so every now and then we need to put more effort into it and “dress it up a little” so it seems more  special than pressing play.

Ideas to “dress it up a little”::

*Make special treats/snacks before to eat during the movie/show watching,

*get extra cozy with extra blankets and pillows for snuggling,

* grab some thoughtless board games you can play when y’all are starting to get tired but still want to stay awake and watch…

AKA:: You work at the hospital around the clock so you are tired {him} or because you are chasing around 4 children all day {me}…. our favorite board games to do while movie watching are Sequence and Scrabble. ;).

Hope these cheap date night ideas save some pennies and add some memories. If you have any other free or cheap date night ideas PLEASE comment with them….I need to add to this list for the next few months. 

PS-just for fun- Here’s a throw back pic to one of our old cheap dates when we were kidless and newlyweds where we were egg tossing back and forth scooting further and further back till one of us lost…..clearly I lost here-so funny! Evidence that you don’t need to spend money to have fun and make memories.

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