Would You Spend $5 for a Healthier You?

Need some extra help to get out of the habit of putting yourself on the bottom of your to-do list? Believe me. I get it. Prioritizing your health in the day-to-day busyness of life can be really difficult.

But it doesn’t have to be!

If you’re looking for some help with prioritizing your health so you can live a happier, healthier, more joy-filled life, I highly recommend checking out Crystal Paine’s new course, 15 Days to a Healthier You.  If you know me, you know I am a big fan of Crystal and her blog, Money Saving Mom. I bought several of her books and products and I went through the original version of this course at the beginning of the year. The course was amazing and made a huge difference for me and that is why I am sharing this course with you even though the focus of Simple Catholic Living isn’t heath. (Athough, being Catholic does, and should, affect all aspects of our lives, so it is technically related. LOL!)

Crystal Paine Products

In this course, Crystal shares all of her proven strategies that have helped her rebuild her own health! After making some life-altering changes in her self-care regimen, Crystal found herself recharged and refueled in a way she never thought possible.

And because these changes made such an enormous impact on her personal life, she decided to compile all of her tips and strategies into a full-length 15-day course to help those of us who want to overhaul our health and grab ahold of that vibrant, healthy life we’re all dreaming of.

When you purchase this 15-day course, you’ll get immediate access to …

  • 15 daily videos lessons — one for each day of the course.
  • Daily projects to help you on your own journey to live a healthier life.
  • Some of her favorite recommended resources (links, books, podcasts) to go along with each day’s lesson.
  • A PDF workbook including the entire course lessons that you can download and print.
  • Access to the 15 Days to a Healthier You Facebook group!
  • BONUS access to the original 15 Days to a Healthier You video series!

Get the help you need to live a stronger, healthier, more joy-filled life today by signing up for 15 Days to a Healthier You today! And guess what?

To kick off the launch of the program, FOR TODAY ONLY (Wednesday, November 8)  Crystal is offering the program for only $5 (that’s $0.33 per day!). Tomorrow (Thursday, November 9) the price goes up to $10 (that’s $0.67 per day). Finally, on Friday, November 10, the price goes to it’s regular price, $15. That’s only $1.00 a day which is still a great deal but why pay full price when you can pay only $5 buck? Personally, I loved the original version of the course and I am purchasing this version as well!

Sign up here —> https://products.crystalpaine.com/15dhy/ref/120/?campaign=HealthierYou

Here’s to your health!

Use These 5 Strategies When Life Gets Overwhelming

Life isn’t easy. It just isn’t. It is stressful. It is messy. Relationships can be trying. We all have our cross to bear. However, there are days, weeks, and even months when it feels like so much “stuff” is being dumped on us we start to feel like we can’t take it anymore. There is an expression that came from somewhere that says that God doesn’t give us anymore than we can handle. Now, I don’t know about you, but to me, there have been times when it feels like He brings me pretty close!

When Life is Overwhelming

Image by talibabdulla (2014) via Pixabay, CCO Public domain

In the past, when  hardships  and struggles and “life” happened, I would get so overwhelmed – almost unfunctionable. Depression would set in and I would feel like I am stuck in the muck forever. Thankfully, this doesn’t happen any more. I still struggle but I am able to use these strategies to help me cope. Now, you may not get overwhelmed with life, but if you struggle or have to deal with long-term challenges, I encourage you to try out some of these pointers and see if they help.

1. Know You Are Not Alone

Everyone struggles and goes through rough patches. Again, everyone has her cross (or crosses) to bear. So, even if other people don’t “get” your situation completely, all of us can all relate to having to deal with difficult circumstances.

Now, knowing this doesn’t change your personal situation, of course. However, knowing you aren’t alone can be comforting. Growing up, and having mild cerebral palsy, I was bullied a lot. I still remember how alone and lost I felt. I didn’t think anyone would understand what I was going through and yet, I wasn’t alone. So many young people were bullied in my youth, and sadly, there are many people (young and old) who are still bullied today.

So, believe me: No matter what you are going through you are NOT alone.

2. Step Away From The Situation

It is extremely difficult to be objective when you are so close to a situation. If you can, even for five minutes, walk away. If you can’t walk way, take a minute or two to close your eyes, say a prayer and/or count to 10. BREATHE. BREATHE. BREATHE. BREATHE.

Even better, if at all possible, get away for a couple of days. Everyone needs time to recharge and re-center themselves. It is a great way to get a new perspective on the situation.

Realistically, though, that’s probably not going to happen, especially if you are a caregiver to someone. Still, there are other ways to “get away.” Can you get up earlier for some quiet time or steal some quiet time in the evenings? Can you use some downtime to journal or pray?

For me, as an introvert, I need a certain amount of quiet and alone time. When I am going through a difficult time or when life gets extra busy and noisy. It is critical for me to take some time to sit in silence and process everything that is going on. This is particularly true when I am going through stressful times.

3. Beware of the Comparison Trap

Comparing ourselves is not only a waste of time, it is a waste of our emotional and mental space. It is also very misleading. When we compare ourselves to other people, it is tempting to think that someone’s life is better than ours. We read what people post online and assume that they have such a great life. Or, we talk to acquaintances and hear all about the good things they are doing and we fantasize about having their life.

Well, guess what? What we don’t see is the “behind the scenes” of their lives. Or the reality of their lives. People are selective of what they post online and will not normally post the ugly. Even when they do, it is usually “packaged” in a way that makes them look good. No one wants to look bad in front of people, online or otherwise.

The same is true about our “in real life” friends and acquaintances. We can’t see what is behind closed doors of their lives. We don’t see the arguments or the craziness that may go on.  Unless they share their ugly with us, we don’t know about it.

Here is the deal with comparison: It only adds to your problems. It causes discontent in your mind and in your heart. It can cause bitterness and jealously. It robs us of our peace. Comparing ourselves to others sows the seeds of discord. Believe me, it is not worth the time and effort to compare ourselves with other people.

Going back to my younger days, it was so easy to fall into the comparison mode. My parents, and my family, did not treat me any different than anyone else because of my cerebral palsy. But, there were still some things I couldn’t do because of it and there were things that I had to do because of it (such as special exercises). I would so easily fall into comparison mode and feeling like life wasn’t fair! In my eyes, everyone else was smarter, prettier, or better than I was. How silly of me! It wasn’t true, of course, but because I was too busy comparing myself, I didn’t realize that. So, with some tough (but much) love, I say to you: STOP IT. 🙂

4. Talk to Someone

Whatever you are going through, talk to someone you can trust. It can be your spouse, a priest or nun, a friend, or even a life coach. If the situation is serious, or long-term, consider getting some professional counseling. If it is appropriate, get involved in a support group. There is no shame in taking steps to change your life or to find healing. Getting the help you need is brave and courageous.

I am not going to lie. This is a difficult step for me. Like my mother always told me, I have a tendency to hold things in. Sometimes it is because I don’t want to be a “bother” or sometimes it is because I’m afraid of being misunderstood or rejected. It is scary and hard to be vulnerable. BUT, there is also power and grace in opening up and talking to someone. When you talk to someone, that ‘thing” that guilt or fear or shame or whatever it is, loses its power over you. When you open up to the right person, it is freeing!

Anxiety is something that I have dealt with most of my life. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to get some anxiety counseling. I wish I had gone sooner! I got some greater understanding about myself and the disorder and I got some practical tools to help me face the anxiety when it comes.

Word of caution: Be specific and honest about what you need and are looking for. If you are just looking for someone to listen and let you unload, tell her. If you are looking for advice and/or a solution to your problem, tell her. Let your confidant know ahead of time what you want and need from her. it will save time and help avoid misunderstanding. You will get the most out of your time together if your mutual expectations are clear.

5. Get Some Practical Help

If you can afford it, consider hiring someone to handle the many little things that crop up so you can focus on the important stuff.  You can pay someone to clean your house, to run errands or to babysit your kids. Seemingly small things can build and build until they become overwhelming big things; therefore, if you have someone do some of those tasks for you, it can bring some margin and breathing room into your life.

What can you do if you can’t afford to hire someone? Do a swap with a friend or neighbor. Barter. My son has to do a certain amount of hours of community service for his Confirmation prep. Maybe there is a preteen  in your area who also needs do some community service and would be willing to rake your leaves or mow the lawn or do little jobs for you for free. Get creative.

Oh, and if you have kids, don’t forget to put them to work!. Remember: It may be your responsibility to get things done but that doesn’t mean it’s your responsibility to actually do the work. Kids of all ages can, and should, be doing some amount of chores. And most of them will do extra in exchange for a little cash or treat. Again, be creative in coming up with ideas.

Now, I realize this suggestion seems a little silly or out of place. HOWEVER, when you are going through a difficult time – be it physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, or any combination of those – anything else adding to your stress or compromised mental state can feel insurmountable or overwhelming. Therefore, if you are going through a stressful situation or you are burdened in any way, please give this suggestion a fair consideration. It may make a huge difference for you as it has for me.

In fact, all of these strategies have made a difference for me. They still make a difference for me. It doesn’t matter if I am going through a big difficulty, like the death of my cousin, or something small, like my son being uncooperative during his school time, I always fall back on these strategies to get me through. And my prayer is that you, too, will use these pointers and that they make a difference in your life.

Know that you are in my prayers! God bless.

Saint Vincent de Paul, Agent of Charity

September 27 is the feast of Saint Vincent de Paul. If you aren’t familiar with him, you should be! He was a devoted Christian and had great love for the poor.

Saint Vincent de Paul

Image by WikimediaImages (2013) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

Early Life

St. Vincent was born in France to a peasant family sometime between 1576-1580. His father was a farmer so he was required to help out with the cattle, sheep and other chores. However, he was found to be very intelligent and was given the opportunity to study with the Franciscans. He was ordained in 1600 but in 1605 he was captured by Turkish pirates and sold as a slave. Thankfully, he was able to escape in the year 1607.

His Ministry

St. Vincent spent his life preaching and dedicating his life to serving the poor. He visited the prisoned, opened hospitals, and performed all sorts of charitable works to ease their sufferings. He eventually created the Missionary Congregation and the Daughters of Charity. Many lay people joined him in his work and continue to follow his example of charity in organizations such as the Saint Vincent de Paul Society.

The Lesson

There are a couple of important lessons we can learn from Saint Vincent de Paul. First, he has a great love for God. He lived in a time when many priests were lukewarm and unknowledgable of their faith. His example of faith and love converted many people. We can ask ourselves: Am I lukewarm in my faith? Am I an example of faith and love to those around me? How can I do better?

Second, he was gentle and loving to those who were largely marginalized by the community of his time. He reached out to those in prison. He cared for those who were sick. He loved the unloveable. We are probably not called to give our lives in service at such a great scale but we can ask ourselves: How do I treat those around me? Am I gentle and kind? Do I make the effort to reach out to those who are lonely, poor, or not someone in need? How can I do better? Is there a St. Vincent de Paul Society nearby where I can volunteer?

As we celebrate the memorial of St. Vincent, let us ak his intercession that we may love our Lord and our neighbor in a deeper, more significant way.

Further Reading

Check out the following sites to learn more about Saint Vincent. He had quite a life and my post only touches on the highlights.

NewAdvent.org

Stvincentdepaul.org Eatontown

Piercedhearts.org

Catholic.org

*********

Psst: Just a reminder, there is only a couple of days (until September 30) left to make a difference for those who are facing tremendous challenges due to the recent natural disasters. You can grow your faith and help those in need at the same time. – a win/win!

The Lord is My Rock

The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Psalm 18:2

Whew. This has been a challenging summer so far. I was sick with bronchitis most of June, and recently my husband came home from the hospital recovering from pneumonia. Then there as been some financial challenges and other challenges.

The Lord is my Rock

Image by Simon (2017) via Pixabay, CCO Public domain

I feel like the Lord is sending me test after test after test. And, I don’t think I am alone. Someone shared with me that she sometimes doubts if God is watching over her when she feels like the world is falling apart around her.

Do you ever feel that way? Do you ever wonder if God is letting you flounder your way through life? It can be frustrating so frustrating.

What is helping me is constantly reminding myself that God does have a plan and a purpose for my life, even when I can’t see what that is. I also try to hold fast to the promise in the above scripture quote. God is my rock. God is my fortress. God is my deliverer. I just have to remember that God’s timing isn’t my timing and I need to remember to trust.

Have you ever heard of putting your name into bible verses? It sometimes gives a new perspective and a reminder that God is a personal God who is look out for each one of us as if we were the only person on earth.

For example:

The LORD is Carol’s rock and Carol’s fortress and Carol’s deliverer, Carol’s God, Carol’s rock, in whom Carol takes refuge; Carol’s shield and the horn of Carol’s salvation, my stronghold.” Psalm 18:2

Now it is your turn. Replace my name with yours. Know that no matter what you are suffering or dealing with God is with you. He loves you and He will bless you in His own unique way.

Next Steps

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We are Half Way Through the Year. How is it going?

Can you believe that we are half way through 2017? I can’t believe it is June 1st already! It is crazy how time is flying by so fast. I think it is a good time to take a look at how things are going and revamp some things.

It is funny how everyone makes goals and plans in January just to abandon them a couple (or few) months later. But, the thing is, every day is a chance for a new beginning – and so is every month or quarter. So let me encourage you: If you have made plans or goals in January that haven’t planned out, take a little time to create new ones or to tweak the old ones. Don’t be discouraged and think that it is all down the drain. It’s not. God gives us the gift of each new day and new chances to start over. He is so good!

Every Day is a New Beginning

For me, this year is definitely not panning out like I had planned at all. In some ways, I feel really behind, but in other ways, I feel like I am growing and evolving, which is a good thing!

My word for 2017 is courage. I thought that meant doing certain things for growing my business but it has turned out to be more personal. It was a tough school year for my son, especially academically, and we had to navigate and adjust to the challenge. It wasn’t easy but we got through it! On top of that, Andrew had a lot of activities and events – as well as other events in our family – which forced me out of my introverted self and into the world a lot of the time. I am learning that challenge (and change) can be a good thing.

Business wise, it has been interesting too. I haven’t spent much time on my writing website like I had expected, but at the same time, I have been growing and changing Simple Catholic Living in ways I didn’t expect. For starters, I joined a coaching mentoring program and I am now beginning to offer personal life coaching! This is definitely out of my comfort zone but also something that has been in my heart for a long time. It is my greatest desire to help women live purposeful and enriching lives (however that looks like for each person) and I think coaching will be a wonderful catalyst for that.

I’ve also created a Catholic Encouragement and Accountability Group on Facebook! It is free, of course, and I hope for the group that it becomes an active and safe group for like-minded Catholic women to support each other in our faith and lives. Now, I have to confess, that I have been absent from the group the last few weeks because I was away twice, finishing up Andrew’s homeschooling, and torn in many different directions. However, now that things are calming down, I plan to do Facebook live videos, challenges, themes, and more. Soooo, do consider joining the group and participating in the fun!

Therefore, even though I didn’t get the writing or publishing done that I thought would have been completed by now, I am giving myself grace. I am doing my best to let God lead and direct me, even when it means my plans go out the window. 😉

Now it is your turn. I would love to hear from you. Is 2017 shaping up the way you expect? Is it better than you expected or have you been thrown a curve ball or two? How will you tweak the rest of the year to make it what you want it to be?

Next Steps

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My Word for 2017

For the last couple of years, I have followed the example of Chris Brogan and set “3 words” to focus on for each year. This year, I am doing it a little differently. As I was praying for my words, only one word stood out:

COURAGE

No matter how I prayed or thought about it. It is the only word that stood out for me so I guess God is telling me something here!

My Word for 2017

Thus, 2017 will be a year of courage for me. It will be a year of action and a year of getting out of my comfort zone. I don’t know for sure what this will look like but I know it will mean some stretching and growing on my part. It makes me nervous but I know it will be a good thing!

I do know that I want to put myself out there more in an authentic and helpful way. This blog is all about encouraging and supporting women in their journey of faith and I want to do just that. And that leads me to my question:

What do you need? What struggles or questions of faith are you having? Would you be interested in coaching, retreats or courses about our Catholic faith? How do you think you can best be supported in living out a flourishing Catholic life? You don’t have to answer publicly in the comments. Feel free to use the contact page or email me a carol (@) simplecatholiciving (dot) com.

You are All Awesome – Thank You!

Over the last couple of weeks, I have gotten a lot of encouraging emails from readers letting me know that they were praying for me and my family.

Thank you!

I’m not sure what brought all the emails but I am so deeply grateful to each and every one of you! Thank You. It means more than you know.

One of the main reasons I started this blog is because I firmly believe that we are all in it together. We all struggle, have doubts, or feel like we want to give up at times. I believe that there are times when we lose our faith – or at least want to let our faith just go away.

And sometimes, we all need is a little encouragement, even from a stranger or online friend. 🙂 And, that is what the emails (and the comments I receive) did for me. They have encouraged me and blessed me so much. I just hope that through this blog, I can do the same for you and be an encouragement and source of hope to you.

God bless!

Happy Thanksgiving to You and Yours!

I wish all of you a blessed, wonderful and Happy Thanksgiving! We all face trials and tribulations but we also have so much to be thankful for. I know that I am thankful for many things and one of those things are you! Thank you for reading and connecting with me here at Simple Catholic Living. You are all such a blessing!

Thanksgiving

Image by johnhain (2015) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

The Little Paris Book Shop Book Review

I am slowly fazing out doing book reviews here at Simple Catholic Living and will be posting them on my new website, carolda.com, which is dedicated to book reviews, grammar tips, and all things writing. I love doing book reviews and I think my writing website is a more appropriate venue for them, as I really want to focus here on faith-related topics.

In that vein, I have written an in-depth review of the lovely book, The Little Paris Book Shop over at carolda.com.

LitteparisHere is a snippet of the review:

“The best way to describe The Little Paris Bookshop is satisfying. It is the consummate book for book lovers. At 370 pages, not including the recipes and list of books recommended by the protagonist, Perdu, it is a long book. However, once I started reading, I didn’t even notice the length. In fact, it could have gone on for another couple hundred more pages and I wouldn’t even have noticed! It did take me a long while to get through the book, though, because I had a strong desire and need to savor every word…Continue Reading

A New Year and a New Focus

A New Year and A New Focus!

Another year is over. Wow. Where did the time go? It went fast, I tell ya. 🙂 In looking back over my goals from 2013, there are many goals achieved, and of course, some that weren’t. In many ways it was a year of growth. I got through two semesters of college and I only have about two more to go! Andrew grew in many ways and accomplished a lot in homeschool. We moved and added a new addition to the family by way of a  dog (we are actually picking him up tomorrow, New Year’s Eve).

Blogging was another story. Classes took up a lot of my time and so the blog suffered post wise. It was what it was and I am okay with that. However, now in looking ahead, I feel called to go in a slightly new direction with the blog. I feel the Lord is calling me to use this blog as a form of ministry to busy Catholic women. I want this blog to be a place of refreshment and spiritually uplifting to women who are pulled into many directions on a daily basis. I also feel the Lord is calling me to challenge women to grow in their faith and in their relationship with Him.

How this new focus will look like in the coming months, I’m not sure. The Lord has been nudging me to share my faith and faith journey is a more personal way. That’s hard though, isn’t it? There is a risk in letting oneself be vulnerable, in showing one’s true self, but if it is what God wants, it is worth the try. 🙂 I also want to find ways to encourage women to read the bible more and will probably offer up my own reflections on scripture from time to time.

One thing for sure, there will be less “filler” posts. I won’t be posting much  about Andrew’s homeschool, recipes or home management tips unless it relates to what I am writing about. I will be sharing about those things on Facebook and Pinterest, though, so if you aren’t following me there, please do! By the way, if you haven’t already, I encourage you to sign up for email updates. I will be sharing exclusive content with subscribers on a regular basis that you won’t want to miss (as well as the free ebook “Six Unique Ways to Find Time for Prayer” you receive when you sign up). To subscribe, fill in your name and email address in the box on the side bar or under this post.

As far as the blogging schedule, I will probably focus on one or two posts a week. Classes start up January 20th so I will feel less pressure (a pressure I put on myself, I know!) to blog or feel (unnecessarily) guilty if I miss a post or two.

My desire for 2014 is to be more intentional, purposeful and to grow and be all the God wants me to me. I want this for you, too. My prayer for each of you during the New Year is that you be filled with all the blessings, joy and peace that only God can bring!

(P.S. If you are regular reader/subscriber to Simple Catholic Living, THANK  YOU! If you commented on the blog or emailed me during the year, THANK YOU. I truly appreciate the opportunity to share with and connect with each of you. 🙂 )