If It Matters to You, It Matters to God!

This podcast is available on multiple platforms. Go to anchor.fm/livelifeblooming for the complete list.

God cares about even your smallest desire! Whether it’s at work, in business, at home, or deep within your heart. He cares! Think of your child who wants a toy. For you, that toy by itself is not important, but it is important to your child, and so by proxy, that toy is important to you.

God is the perfect parent.

That’s how I know that even your smallest want or need is important to Him because He loves you. Why don’t you pray and ask God what you can do to receive your desire? If you are willing to act on the answer you receive and you believe that God will answer you, I know your prayer will be heard and answered.

Are you looking for your tail with your head underwater?

This podcast is available on multiple platforms. Go to anchor.fm/livelifeblooming for the complete list.

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I felt exactly the same way when starting my own online business. I wasn’t even sure I had a tail. I had SO MANY questions: How do I make a website and email subscription? What content should I post? What should my business be about? Who is my audience? What social media sites should I be on? Where do I send people? What am I doing? Haha.

I want to support your online business (current or future!). Where are you struggling? What’s holding you back from sharing your message and fulfilling your purpose? What are you unsure of? Do you want to have a breakthrough with your online business but don’t know what to do next to make it happen?

If you’re struggling with any of these questions or others, if you’d do what needs to be done if you only knew what it was, then Nurturing Business Blossoms is for you.

It’s an all-free email subscription and there’s no obligation. Just an amazing group of purpose-led leaders who want to breathe life into the world with their passionate service. Join and finally see the blossoms you’ve only been imagining. I’m sure they’ll be even more beautiful than you envisioned.

I so look forward to having you in our group and seeing your beautiful impact on the world!

Three Ways to Be More Relaxed in Social Situations

This podcast is available on multiple platforms. Go to anchor.fm/livelifeblooming for the complete list.

I just finished How to Be Yourself: Quiet Your Inner Critic and Rise Above Social Anxiety, a great book by psychologist Dr. Hendriksen. Besides sharing information that is built upon the foundation of science, she is sharing her personal experience with social anxiety, including all the mess and embarrassment that comes along with interacting with other human beings. I like her already.

Here are just three of my favorite takeaways about being more relaxed in social situations:

One: Anyone who is friendly to you has the potential to be your friend! When we lower our bar of expectations we invite the potential for more good friends in our life. Good friends (remember, this is founded on science!) have more to do with repetition and time spent together than any commonalities such as life stage, age, or favorite sports or books. So be open to new relationships with anyone who is friendly.

Two: Redefine your definition of popular! Popularity does not equal most liked. Again founded in science, the most well-liked people aren’t necessarily the ones considered the most popular. So don’t worry if you’re not popular or don’t consider yourself popular (or even if you are), instead just be likable, even if it’s to a small circle of friends. After all, being warm and friendly is what most people want in a true friend and those are the people you want in your life.

Three: Your inner critic is trying to help you. What I got from this is that I can thank my inner critic for trying to protect me and still put myself in scary to me social situations. Even if things go absolutely the worst way possible, I know I can handle it because I have structure and a plan for coping. Thank you, inner critic!

There are so many more things I could mention like that you’ll learn:

  • How to build confidence
  • How to make friends
  • How playing a role can help you behave more like yourself
  • What structure can help you accomplish
  • And how to quiet your inner critic so you can be yourself!
HowToBeYourself

So dive into your copy and become the comfortable you your loved ones know and love.

https://amzn.to/3fNqtNu

#ThanksForYourSupport #CommissionsEarned

My Happiness Is My Responsibility

This podcast is available on multiple platforms. Go to anchor.fm/livelifeblooming for the complete list.

I am absolutely in LOVE with my husband! His kindness, care, and giggles warm my heart. I really love making this man giggle. It brings a smile to my face just thinking about it. I am amazed how my happiness level has grown with him at my side. As a survivor of nearly life-long depression, I know what’s it’s like to have sorrows so bleak that even the biggest joys seem dark. My brain just doesn’t respond to good input the same way a healthy brain does. Yet, after being with this man, my brain, as well as my heart, is happier. This last bit is what surprises, and delights, me the most. My brain is happier. Meaning that my brain frequently responds more in a way that I believe a healthy brain would. When I receive input, I more often translate it in a positive way, and my brain creates those happy chemicals because I see the world in a brighter light.

I never thought it would happen. 

That’s not to say that all things are rosy in our marriage. I just want to be real. Being married, especially with stepchildren involved, is complicated. The extra responsibilities of marriage, and step-parenthood, can weigh heavy at times, especially at times when the partnership is struggling to work together. However, I would take the burdens of marriage any day over the burdens of being single. To be clear, even when things are tough I wholeheartedly believe that, as my friend, Carly, said to me when she heard the news I was engaged, BEING MARRIED IS THE BEST! And I totally agree! It is most definitely the best!

I am blessed with an amazing partner in my forever, this life and the next and whatever follows it! 

But our marriage only works because we constantly have the other’s happiness at the top of our priority list, and we, as individuals, take responsibility for our own happiness. This is real love: real love takes action, listens, at least tries to understand your point of view and failing that takes your word for it, leaves you sweet notes, makes the bed and other small things so you don’t have to, works with you, counsels with you and God about the big concerns, and holds you tight when things don’t go right.

And after all of that, our own happiness is still our own responsibility. Our job in marriage, and parenthood I believe, is to do all we can to support the other’s long-term happiness, but if the other person still ain’t happy, that’s when you get in under the covers, hold them tight, cry with them, and wipe away their tears. 

I was originally going to write an article about how Mother’s Day is tough for many of us for a multitude of different reasons. Last week I broke into tears as I bought five mother’s day cards  (among moms, mothers-in-law, and stepmommas we had a lot of cards to buy!) and was hit with the lost simplicity of mother’s day from when my own mom was still alive. The one woman I really wanted to buy a card for was the one that a card wouldn’t really work for. One poor lady walked down the aisle while my husband held me as I cried. She took quick notice and left. It made for a good giggle later as I spoke with my sister about it. We hope she got the card she needed! And my husband and I found a cute little balloon with a mama and child llama that said, “I llove you Mama!” which we all signed and put on Mother’s grave.

I know this day can be tough, but it can also be wonderful. If Mother’s Day is tough for you I hope you will take responsibility for your own happiness and find a way to celebrate it. It doesn’t have to be a joyous occasion, this life isn’t always about being over the top happy, but this day can be a special one.

Do you feel like you’re drowning?

Recently I have been feeling like I was drowning and knowing that if I feel that way many others might as well; I posted in my doctorate research slack to check-in with how my friends and advisor were doing. Everyone that responded that first day also felt overwhelmed, were feeling down and less productive, and many used the wording I had: they felt like they were drowning.

Do you feel like you are drowning?

It’s okay to feel that way. Many people are feeling the fall-out of the pandemic which is affecting lives not just physically, but also emotionally and financially.

When we feel like we are drowning often little things that we can normally handle with grace and tact, and a good attitude become overwhelming. The other day I was thinking how great it was that several years ago I had taught myself how to cook. However, I still don’t enjoy cooking. So after several weeks stuck at home with the kiddos, feeling overwhelmed and just not thinking outside the box for easy meal ideas, I asked my son, “What do you want for dinner?” When he shrugged in I told him, “licorice and cinnamon bears it is!” He thought that was hilarious. I was also at my end last night when it came time for dinner. (Can you tell cooking isn’t my favorite thing?). So thank goodness for my wonderful husband who came to the rescue with bean and vegetable-laden nachos! Yummy! The dinner of cinnamon bears really didn’t happen, and I, my kids would probably use the word forcing, presented my kids with delicious fruits and vegetables to eat and then made them clean up. (Yeah for great kiddos!)

Some days we all hit our end, AND THAT’S OKAY!

Are you at your end?

Take a deep breath. It’s going to be okay. One of my favorite quotes from years as a mathematics undergraduate, and during my chronic depression, was this:

“Everything works out in the end. If it hasn’t worked out, it’s not the end!”

You can find peace and joy even in times of crisis

I know many of you are struggling. Some of you with fear and anxiety, other with worry and depression, some with overwhelm, others with cabin sickness, and some with a bit of everything. Here’s a few things you can do to calm yourself and help your loved ones to do the same.

Remember to breathe

In the moment, one of the quickest ways to center yourself is to take a moment to breathe. Whatever you are doing, safely set it aside for a few seconds and focus on your breath. Make it long. Breath in and out slowly. When I am deeply upset I like to do box breathing: *Three counts in, hold three counts, three counts out, hold three counts, and repeat from *.

Find gratitude in the small things

Whatever that little thing you are grateful for is: online streaming, kids laughing and playing, a drawing from your daughter for you, an understanding professor, CR/NC option for courses, sunshine, snow, food, etc. whatever it is, make a list of those things you are grateful for. Make it a point to write it down and review it whenever you need.

Remind yourself of things that bring you joy

Similar to gratitude, but here you make a list of things that bring you joy. I like to make a Happiness is… list myself. It always brings a smile to my face.

Make a hope box

This one is especially for those who struggle with self-harming thoughts, and everyone can benefit from it. Get a box. If you’re crafty (it doesn’t matter whether you consider yourself “good” at crafts or not, it only matters whether it brings you joy), then craft away and make it something you love. Then gather items that bring you hope and remind you of the hope you have had. The anchor of my hope is Jesus Christ, but I also find hope in my husband, in my work, in a sweet letter from a friend and other loved ones. Put these kinds of items in your hope box. Put the box somewhere you see it often and open up the box and remind yourself of the hope you have.

Go for a walk or bike ride

As a child I found a quote in one of my mother’s old books, now lost, that said that angels speak to a man while he’s walking. That thought always brought me hope and I truly it’s true. Bike rides are also great ways to spend time with family and feel the wind on your face.

The way our mind works, when we change our environment, by walking into another room or outside, it forces our brains to process our new surroundings. Just the act of going outside allows our minds to take in that new input and refresh our thinking. So go outside and let nature renew you.

Reach out when you need help

It’s okay to get help. Loved ones, professional therapists, and even the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline are all people who want to help. You can’t be your best if you don’t take care of yourself. Reach out for the help you need. We all need support at times. It is a sign of courage, faith, and humility to get help.

Continue to improve your wellness

Improving your wellness in even small ways will lead to greater wellness in your life in all areas. Think of a small fork in the road. Though the choice may seem inconsequential at the time, you will find that that little choice to take a deep breath instead of reacting in anger and frustration will lead you to higher, happier grounds.

I have created two free resources for you to help in your continued wellness journey:

  1. Start Living Your Life Blooming guidebook filled with quick and easy ways to improve your wellness (and extra challenges for those ready to level up!)
  2. Get started with personalized support and guidance for your individual wellness journey. by booking your free wellness consultation now.

Stay safe and be well my friends,

Nancy N. Blackburn,
Wellness Mentor

Image by strikers from Pixabay 

It’s Okay to Have a Bad Day

This podcast is available on multiple platforms. Go to anchor.fm/livelifeblooming for the complete list.

My dear friends,

Yesterday I was full of sorrow. For the past few weeks I have been experimenting with replacing complaining thoughts with the thought, “The Lord will help me,” and trying to be upbeat, look for the positives, express my gratitude to my loved ones and my God, and mostly just try to pretend like everything was all right. Well, that didn’t happen yesterday. After hearing stories from friends and loved ones whose lives have been shaken (some literally from earthquakes) with so little that I could do for them, becoming a homeschool momma (aka superhero mommas!), being given extra workloads from my doctoral program because all classes have been converted to an online format and we don’t get to meet at the class time except, oh wait, we are also still meeting remotely during class time (What?!), oh and you still have to do all your research, interviewing for some interesting companies, and being asked to help serve from so many different directions that I simply have had to say, “No,” too many times despite wanting to help; I just don’t have excess free time right now. In fact, I have precious little time!

This feeling of overwhelm with just so many things to do was not helped when a concerned community leader sent an extremely long email to our community, apologized for its length, and then stated, “But hey, what else are we going to do right now, right?” Um, you mean besides homeschool my kids, serve my neighbors, support my friends and loved ones, try to make sure we always have enough food and essentials in our home, and attempt to somehow keep on top of an ever-increasing workload?

Who relates?

It’s so easy to succumb to anxiety and fear right now and to feel like life is on hold (like our community leader), however, we still gotta live our lives! So after allowing myself to break down last night I came to a realization that I feel I need to share.

As the sorrow overcame me, I wondered if I was a failure if I’d really overcome my sorrow and depression when I was feeling so low, low enough to wish I was dead despite God’s wonderful blessings and promises. I felt like an imposter. I wondered how could I claim to have overcome depression when I felt so tempted to succumb to self-harm. It took me the whole day (probably because most of my immediate attention and energy throughout the day was focused on the aforementioned list of things), but I had a realization. This sorrow is not a norm for me any longer. Today is just a bad day when a lot of little, medium, and big things all just came together, and today was the day I had to face them down. And I did. Perhaps not with grace, or joy, or peace, and definitely not with confidence, calmness, or patience, but I still faced them and I won.

Overcoming nearly a lifetime of deep depressive sorrow does not preclude the possibility of days full of sorrow. Many days I carry my sorrow with me in my heart. Sometimes I envision embracing it and loving it the way my mother would love me. In his talk “Consistent and Resilient Trust,” Elder L. Todd Budge said:

“In a paradoxical way, afflictions and sorrow prepare us to experience joy if we will trust in the Lord and His plan for us. This truth is beautifully expressed by a 13th-century poet: ‘Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.’”

It’s okay to have a bad day! It’s okay to feel how you feel! It’s okay to ask for help when you need it! It’s okay.

Christ taught to seek first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you. God will provide when we seek him first and take what action we can in our lives. I know He especially loves when we reach out to others with open hearts and uplifting hands, and when we extend that love to ourselves as well.

So give yourself a break. These are stressful times even for the most positive amongst us. Take a bubble bath (a highly recommended form of self-care, much better than self-harm), have some hot chocolate (for those of us in areas where it is still snowing!) or lemonade (for those in warmer climates #ThatSoundsNice), or whatever healthy beverage you prefer (water always being a good option), and take a moment to love yourself.

Each moment is a new life. We can learn, grow, find healing, and become whole through the atonement of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ promises us healing when we come to Him not only for sin but also for every sorrow. So turn your sorrows over to Him and trust in His almighty goodness.

This is me giving you a virtual hug. 🤗

I love you and stay safe,

Nancy N. Blackburn

P.S. If you’re struggling…

If you are struggling with suicidal and other self-harming thoughts there are resources for you! For instance, you can reach out to local community centers for counseling. If you are in immediate harm you can always call the free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You are important! No one can take your place. Please be safe, take care of yourself and loved ones, and know that you are loved. Don’t suffer in silence.

P.P.S. Let’s start making your life blossom and your heart flourish!

Don’t waste any more days delaying what could be! Get personalized guidance and support to make your dare big dreams happen! Just click the button to book your FREE wellness consultation.

I look forward to supporting you in creating your new life!

Featured Image by Nicola Giordano from Pixabay 

Happiness Is…

Understanding my personal divinity and the divinity that is alive in others.

Peace in uncertain times through faith in Jesus Christ whose joy swallows up all sorrows.

Having fun even when the earth is literally shaking!

The safety and health of loved ones (despite the commotion around them).

Flowers at the graves of those I love. (Love you, Mama!)

Joy amidst turmoil.

Happiness is…

A hug, or two, or three, or four, from your stepdaughter.

Good morning kisses.

Cuddles with your angel husband.

Hearing “Yay” from your kids when you tell them what’s for dinner.

Your lead telling you thanks and good job.

Roses.

Lillies.

Okay, any flowers. 🙂

Sleeping in.

Going to bed early.

Staying up late with your favorite person!

Turtle yoga!

Good dreams.

The people who know you and love you anyway.

The people who don’t know you and love you anyway.

Knowing Christ makes all things new!

 

Crafting to Relax and Renew

Crafting relaxes my soul and refreshes my mind. I highly recommend it! While packing things up for a big move, I found this beauty mostly finished! I had to set aside this project when my mother got very ill. Now nearly two years later, and a year since she passed, it’s done! I’m sure she’d love it! Love you Mom!

This project is not for the faint of heart. It took nearly as long to find all the materials (it’s not easy finding metalic at a thin and thick enough diameter for this delicate work) as it did to make it. Here’s a list of all the items I used to make this creation.

Tools and resources:

As you’ll see I deviated quite a bit from the original pattern (though you’ll certainly notice the similarities). Use your own creativity and pick colors and beads that reflect you! When you’re finished comment below with a picture of your creation. I’d LOVE to see it!

Introverts Can Be Just As Successful As Extroverts

The podcast is available on multiple platforms. Go to anchor.fm/livelifeblooming for the complete list.

As a self-aware introvert nothing gets me more excited than some downtime: preferably alone! Yet my daily work, especially as a game developer, often involves a collaborative effort with others, which I enjoy. It just means that it’s important for me to take time to recharge after a day full of people-ing.

Also, don’t confuse shyness with being an introvert (which is, unfortunately, a very common mistake), as extroverts can be shy as well. Conversely, introverts can be outgoing. The difference between shyness and being an introvert is that shy people are afraid or have anxiety in certain, if not all, social situations; whereas introverts can be comfortable in social situations but need to recharge when they are on their own. While extroverts get recharged by being around others and can be drained when isolated. Thus you can have outgoing introverts (like me!), or shy extroverts (like some of my friends who prefer to hang out on the edges of social gatherings but prefer to be there around others, unlike an introvert who would probably prefer to be home with a book, or a video game, or napping, and gets super excited when the party gets canceled!). However, unlike the introvert/extrovert scale which seems to remain pretty much the same for people throughout their lives, shyness doesn’t have to be a constant in your life! You can overcome it! You can be formerly shy!

So don’t let labels — given to you by others or yourself — hold you back from all God intended for you. Recognize where your energy comes from so you can recharge on your journey, and then go after your dream with all your gusto!