Happy Saturday all! Today, I am featuring a guest blog post from fellow blogger Gabriel Patel. He enjoys writing about health and wellness, and co-founded Health Well Wise with a group of friends who share the desire to help people live happy, healthy lives. ***************
When we practice self-care regularly, it works wonders for our mental and emotional health. It can boost our self-esteem because it’s a way to prove to ourselves that our bodies and minds are worth taking care of. It can enhance our self-awareness and reveal to us new interests and passions. Self-care fosters self-improvement and help us to be more productive and able to care for others.
In short, self-care is exactly what the term suggests: caring for the “self” so that you can be healthier, happier, and more effective in your everyday life. And the best part about it is that self-care is not some out-of-reach aspiration; there are practical ways to work self-care into your regular routine. Here are some ideas from Valley of Grace to get you started:
Eat with Health in Mind
Diet is one thing that keeps a lot of people from enjoying everyday health and well-being. But nutrition is the fuel your body and mind run on, and what you put into your body matters. Cutting back on processed foods and sugary drinks and opting for more whole foods in your diet can make a world of difference. There are even certain foods that can help you fight depression, such as avocados, beans, bananas, sweet potatoes, and fatty fish.
Focus Your Fitness
Aside from the obvious physical health benefits, regular exercise can go a long way in improving your mental and emotional health, and it has a way of motivating you to make other healthy decisions in your everyday routine. Consider HIIT, which enables you to get in intense, effective workouts in a shorter amount of time than many other forms of exercise. In fact, even a 7-minute workout can activate endorphins in your brain and provide you with energy for the rest of your day!
One of the best ways you can track your progress and keep yourself motivated is to utilize fitness apps. To get the most out of your apps, you’ll need a high-functioning smartphone. If your device is more than a few years old, many wireless providers offer discounted smartphones when their customers trade in their older models.
See a Counselor
Seeking help from a counselor can also make a big difference in your everyday life, as you can likely find a counselor who specializes in whatever you are struggling with. Since appointments can add up over time, be sure to review your insurance to see if counseling visits are covered. But note this can be tricky for seniors depending on coverage. For instance, Medicare Part B usually covers the costs of some mental health services. Regardless of your age, policies often change each year, so stay on top of your coverage so that you can modify it if necessary.
Make an Appointment with Yourself
Finally, it’s essential to schedule time with yourself; otherwise, it’s not likely to happen. This includes making time to care for your personal hygiene and enjoying relaxing activities—whether that means getting a massage or facial, going for a hike, or starting a hobby.
This also includes your sleep schedule. Prioritize your sleep like you do work, school, or any other activity in your life. Come up with a relaxing bedtime routine, and go to bed and wake up at the same times each day. When your mind and body are well-rested, it will make a significant difference in how you feel overall, and it will help you to be more productive with your days.
If you want to improve your mental health and well-being, start by finding ways to practice self-care in your everyday life. Pay attention to the foods you eat and find quick, effective workouts to add to your routine. Look for a counselor who can help guide you through your struggles, and schedule time for yourself to ensure that relaxation and sleep are a part of your life.
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if items are purchased, I will receive a commission that will help to offsite the expenses incurred from maintaining this website.
We are getting close to the end of our journey in the Begin to Declutter series. This series has been speaking to my heart, and I hope that it has been of some help to you as well. On the last podcast episode, we discussed Begin to Declutter Your Relationships. That is a heavy topic. I say heavy because tackling anything as far as relationships are concerned required grit, intentionality, boundaries, clarity, and purpose.
Even with all of that, we have to begin the task of going from wishful thinking and moving towards reality, or in other words, dealing with what is.
Today’s podcast is entitled Begin to Declutter your Home. Take a listen!
If you missed the very last episode on Relationships, Click here.
Some time this past spring, I decided that I wanted a DIY Pine coffee table for my guest room/library. It just so happened that my son was here visiting due to the changes that the pandemic brought to his career, and so it worked out nicely. I bought the items from the hardware store, and he built the coffee table.
Basically, I was blessed with a two for one deal: I was able to spend some quality time with him, as well as have him here to help me with some of the projects that had been sitting for a while. Either I was unable to do them because of not being handy with a drill and other tools, or I literally did not have the time because I was getting up early in the morning for work, and was too tired for completing projects when I got home.
I ended up going to the hardware store about three times. First of all, I was going to make a skinny coffee table, but the piece of wood that I bought was too short. I looked at the table and decided that the would wasn’t wide enough. In essence, the table would look too skinny. So, I set out to buy a piece of wood that was wider and longer. Come to find out, Menards stated that they do not sell lumber pieces wider than 12 inches. The store associate suggested that I place two pieces of wood next to each other and connect them together with some form of hardware from the hardware department.
The guy in the hardware department showed me several different pieces of hardware to connect the lumber together. However, he stated that he was more so biased towards one particular bracket. He enforced the importance of having hardware that could handle the weight of the lumber, and he’d had experience building a table for his mother, so I was definitely all ears to his suggestions. I decided upon a hardware piece called “mending braces”.
Unfortunately, I ended up going to the hardware store another time because some of the plumbing pipe flanges were bent. This was going to cause a problem with the stability of the table. I felt like a kid waiting to open his gifts on Christmas. Was this table ever going to happen? Well, it did.
I am very excited with the end result. The coffee table helped to make the library look like a library. The natural wood also helped to give the room more of an organic look. And lastly, the table is multifunctional: it serves as a holder for magazines, books, frames, mugs, and a footrest.
There are a couple of tips that I would like to give you in regard to building this table (according to my son):
The more mending braces used, the sturdier the table will be. (Especially if someone decides to sit on it.)
You want to make sure that the two pieces of construction lumber are as straight as possible before you start drilling the holes into the wood.
The flanges should be as flat and stable as possible before you start drilling into the wood.
Be careful that the wood that you select isn’t too split, or the table won’t last. (I like the worn split look, but not too split.)
(8) 1/2″ galvanized pipe flanges
2 packs of National Hardware Mending Braces (4 braces are in each pack)
(1) 1/2″ 48″ galvanized pipe nipple
(8) 1/2″ 6″ galvanized pipe nipples
(4) 1/2″ 5″ galvanized pipe nipples
(6) 1/2″ galvanized tees
(2) 2″ x 12 ” wide X 60″ long pieces of construction lumber (this is what I should have done; instead I bought one long piece of construction lumber had them to cut it down to size; either one works. The second option give you leftover lumber for other projects.)
(16) 1 1/2″ construction screws
Make a letter H with the plumbing pipe materials on both sides, connecting the 1/2″ 48″ galvanized pipe in the middle, per the instructions and picture below.
Take a flange, screw in one 6″ pipe nipple, attach one tee, and then another pipe flange at the bottom.
Attach a 5″ nipple to the tee in the middle, followed by a tee, then another 5″ pipe nipple.
Make the right side of the “H”.
Take a flange, screw in one 6″ pipe nipple, attach one tee, and then another pipe flange at the bottom.
2. Attach the 1/2″ 48″ pipe nipple to the middle tee of the “H” on the left side.
Create the Right H following the same instructions above, and then attach to the 1/2″ 48″ pipe nipple in the middle.
3. Lay the two pieces of wood next to each other, making sure to attach enough mending brackets for stability, staggering on the top and bottom of the wood.
Turn your structure upside down, laying it on top of the top piece of the table, using 1 1/2 inch screws to attach the pipe flanges.
Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.
The following post is one that I shared a little over a year ago on another website. I would still love to hear your stories of wanting things “your way” instead of God’s. 🙂
Have you ever wanted it your way? I know you are probably wondering, what does that mean? Wanting it our way is when we have a process of start to finish of how something should go. However, when it doesn’t fall in line with our expectations, we become disillusioned into thinking that it didn’t happen, or couldn’t happen because we didn’t check off all the steps that we had for the process.
Photo by Verne Ho
This past week, there wasn’t anything that went as planned. My after work naps either didn’t happen, or were later than planned. My during the week walks/and or visits to the beach didn’t go as planned. And then phone calls that I needed to make to take care of business didn’t go as planned because I wasn’t able to reach people.
However, God showed me that I wanted it my way. He had a different set of plans for the week: I got a chance to spend some time with my young adult son watching Little House on the Prairie. This was totally unplanned. Just so happened that he pulled in the driveway right after me. I turned the TV on to a recording, expecting to fall asleep, but I didn’t. We watched an episode entitled, “The Three Bullies”. Charles had to protect his wife from some obstinate town bullies. The children showed the adults a lesson in how coming together in numbers gives strength rather than fighting alone.
My second God moment was riding home from the library midweek after bible study and catching a glimpse of God’s glorious sunset. There were hues of medium pink streaking across the sky. The air felt perfect. And all was calm. And guess what? My way wasn’t the best way after all.
What simple, functional, grace-filled things replaced your “wanting it your way” this past week? Would love to hear your stories!
Have you ever wished that you could decorate your home like someone else? This someone else seems to have just the right kind of decor in their home that is illuminated with just the right kind of lighting and furniture that gives it an airy feel. It’s the kind of feel that makes you want to stay for a while. The kind that makes you want to sit with a cup of coffee or tea, and snuggle up with their perfect-looking throw.
Photos by Matthew Henry
It’s so easy to get caught up wishing that we could have a home, a car, a job, or any other kind of material object that other people have. The question is, have we stopped to think about how good and creative of a God that we have to give us the things that are unique to us and our families?
Some of us are the cute cottage-style type, then we have tudors, farmhouse style, industrial, town-homes, traditional, duplexes, and the list can go on and on. The truth is, if we could trade with these people, after a while, we’d see something else that we would feel is better.
When it comes to our spiritual gifts and talents, we play the same game. We say things like, “I wish that I could teach or preach like him or her.” Sometimes this person does a better job than we do. However, that is not the point. The point is, that because we have been uniquely designed by God, we will do what we have been created to do in the way that God created us to do them.
God tells us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. In these wonderful creations of God, there are no two people who are exactly alike. Even if we have 50 things that we have in common with someone else, we will still find 10 more that we don’t.
Embracing our uniqueness in Christ involves making peace with all that God created us to be. It has taken me a while to realize this. But as the old saying goes, better late than never. We have to make peace with our physical appearance as well as our gifts/talents, personalities, and possessions. Just recently, I was faced with an opportunity. It took one accidental obstacle placed in my way to help me realize that the opportunity would not fit me as a person.
I am a talker. A very detailed, dramatic talker at that. Sometimes it takes a while to get through my stories. My son says that it takes me longer to give the background information before I get to the point of what happened. It is so true.
Being placed in a role with a restriction on how the conversations would have to take place would have gone against my wiring. I praise God that this one accident helped me to realize that among other things. Take a moment and think about what things you have been doing that totally goes against your wiring.
Let’s pray and thank God for all the things that he gave us that are perfect for us. We can only be our true selves when we are who we were created to be.
Let’s have a party and join together in celebrating and embracing our uniqueness in Christ!
De-cluttering and organizing our homes leads to de-cluttering and organizing our minds. Clearing the clutter leads to clearing the mind. It gives us mental space to think. One thing that I noticed at my own house is that if I am looking at too many things in different spaces, then I am unable to focus on what the task is at hand.
All of a sudden, I am thinking, “Why is that sitting there?” Wow, I have a sink full of dishes. There is so much trash on the floor. I seem to notice every little thing. Since my workspace is in the kitchen, I like to clean this area first. My mind is ready for clarity, and free to allow the words to come.
In October of 2018, my cousin decided to enlist my help in beginning her de-cluttering process so that she could feel free to work in her home office.
We were able to get the hallway closet and one of her two bedroom closets done. The way that I decided to tackle the hallway closet was to take everything out and create three piles: a donation pile, a garbage pile, and a keep pile. After emptying the whole closet, and creating all three piles, then I put everything in the keep pile back into the closet.
She had already gone through her belongings in the bedroom closet, so we didn’t need to take everything out. I just needed to organize everything in this closet. We were working and listening to preaching and gospel music, which made the time go by pretty fast. If you feel led, send me a message below on how you tackled the art of decluttering. God bless!
Plants bring so many benefits to our lives: 1) They give us oxygen and clear the carbon dioxide from the air. 2) Like pictures, they bring life and promote creativity to one’s home. 3) They bring the outside in by causing a de-stressing effect, and 4) For the most part, they are simple and low-maintenance.
A few months ago, one of my friends blessed me with two plants. I decided to add them to my bedroom so that I could feel refreshed upon waking up in the morning. I am all about aesthetics, and especially having spaces that are light and airy. I decided to place one in the corner of my bedroom in front of a wall mirror. The second one was placed on top of my storage trunk, along with another faux plant.
My son was given two plants recently for his birthday. One of them is a bamboo plant. He placed them in chairs by the living room window so that they could get proper sunlight. At first, I was questioning the location. Now, I have decided that I like them there. The greenery against the natural colors of the chairs and the curtain makes you feel so relaxed.
What simple, functional, grace-filled plants do you own? What places are you keeping them? Send in some comments and pictures below.
Today I am featuring a guest post on how to decorate, coming from a blogger over in Sweden. Our last DIY decorating post can be found here. I hope that these tips will inspire you as you decorate your new home.
Interior design and home decor does not always feel like the easiest field to dig into. However, it will always be of importance for as long as human kind moves around and keeps it interest of beautiful surroundings. Research studies during the past decades have shown that general content and happiness can be correlated to how beautiful one person’s surrounding are perceived. We all know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder but that does not take away the fact that if you regard your surroundings and your home as beautiful, your mindset and overall content will increase and improve to the better! This is something that everyone would benefit from!
But the first problem remains, interior design and the project of decorating your home beautifully is not always the easiest task. Therefore, we have written a small guide for you to go through and hopefully fins some guiding and useful advice whenever you find yourself browsing through online furniture shops.
Step 1: Do research on brands and style in order to decorate
Research, research and then a little more research. Why does this topic feel sometimes obnoxiously persistent in everyday life? But the fact is that without doing your thorough research, things will happen ad hoc and you will hence not feel content with your final choices. In the big ocean of interior brands one group stands out of everyone. Can you guess which one? Well, it is the Scandinavian design houses of course! Scandinavian interior design, with its unbarked and simple look has been on everyone and their mothers lips for many years now. Sleek oak wood, beautiful washed linen fabrics and a bright and uplifting palette are a few words that describes the Scandinavian design best. There are plenty of websites to browse through while doing your thorough research of Scandinavian furniture and interior. We have picked out a few examples for you to get started:
Reforma Sthlm – One of Scandinavia’s biggest inspirational websites where you easily can get inspired by everything from kids furniture with cool design to vintage and industrial interior. If you feel like buying something, they are also an e-commerce site so feel free to shop til you drop! Their focus is divided into two main parts. Danish, and modern interior as well as more rustic, vintage and industrial vibes. With good prices (it surely sometimes feel like you are shopping at one of the bid low cost furniture chains) and magnificent quality you will surely not find anything like it anywhere else. Make sure to be ready with your google translate button though, if you are not from Scandinavia that is. Otherwise be inspired by the beautiful pictures of homes and nice interior. It is just like a mini pinterest focused on only furniture and design!
House Doctor – The queen of Danish interior design. If you haven’t heard of House Doctor yet, be happy you are doing it now! They sell everything from sleek striped down wooden pieces, like drink trolleys, coffee tables and dining chairs to more bohemian and soft interior like seat cushions, decorative pillows, blankets and even vases and candle holders with ethnic patterns. The designs are always luxurious and high quality.
Bloomingville – The Danish furniture saga continues to the next of beautiful brands. Amongst Bloomingvilles range of everything from table cloths to decorative mirrors, you will find exclusive and fun design perfect for every home out there. With a fun and fabulous color palette and design that really has been though out outside of the box, you will get a smile on your face while figuring out how to decorate and furnish you apartment or house on this website. If you feel like getting something for yourself, why not head back to Reforma Sthlm and buy it. Reforma is the main retailer of Bloomingvilles products and you will surely be happy and satisfied with your new dining table or bureau.
Ib Laursen– For the people who wish to be different. If you don’t want your home to feel like the “home next door”, make sure to be inspired by the range of furniture you find at Ib Laursen. They use plenty of recycled materials such as old wooden doors and parts from former industries. The fact that they can use these wared parts and create them into amazing décor and furniture is something from out of this world! Buying vintage furniture online has suddenly become a possibility which is something that many people have not yet been informed of. But hey, here you go! When your research is done and you have gotten a picture of what interior style you like, move on to our next step!
Step 2: Write a list of what you need for your home
To not find yourself in a situation where you seem to drown in excess pieces of furniture that are just standing around doing nothing to no one, you need to figure out what you really need. And we need really, when we say really! This step is easy (and fun!) make a room-by-room plan where each room gets a list of what will be needed there. For example, in a bed room you will need a bed, blanket, decorative cushions, a night stand, a wall shelf, maybe a secretary with matching chair, a couch or an armchair, Some beautiful vases and pots, a soft carpet and… stop there! By writing a structured list of what furniture you need and where, it will be easier to make a budget as well as visualize your future in your new home, which brings us on to the next step in this guide…
Step 3: Visualize
We will try not to sound too new-age and hippie in this section, but visualizing your future somewhere will make it easier for you to actually create it for yourself. Step into the room you are decorating, for instance the kitchen, and try to really picture the colors, the fabrics, the materials and what will be placed where. Imagine you kitchen table, the plates and color palette and use all your new knowledge from the research you did at Reforma Sthlm. You will find yourself actually seeing what you want and how you want it to look. When this is done, head over to the next step!
Step 4: Plan and Shop
Bring out the note pad again, it is time for some planning! What furniture shops and interior boutiques have what you need? Do you want to go buy it physically or do you wish to purchase it online and get it delivered to your door step? Make a budget and make sure it is aligned with your monetary capability. Be smart and creative during this step, for a lot if people the actual planning is the most fun part of the interior process. You can structure your shopping list in whatever way you feel is the most convenient. Either you do it after each room, with boxes to tick next to each item when it is purchased and receiver. But the easies way is to do it after what shop you will get what. To give you an example: Let us say that you want to buy that beautiful lamp from House Doctor, that eye catching book shelf from House Doctor and that beautiful vintage coffee table made of recycled wood from Ib Laursen, fins a store that offers all of these items and structure the list from there. Too continue on the same example, the online furniture store Reforma Sthlm offers all of these items and thus you can tick off the boxes next to each items when you have gone through with the safe and quick purchase. When buying furniture and home décor online make sure that the payment methods are safe, that the store you are buying from offers good customer service and for your safety, also make sure that the pieces you get are refundable. Hopefully you will be pleased with your new items but better safe than sorry, right!?
Step 5: Put everything together in your home
The beautiful thing about online interior stores are the obvious fact that you get everything delivered to your doorstep. How did people manage 50 years ago? Let us be happy that we don’t need to drive around ourselves anymore. When you get the delivery, the fun begins. Make sure to have a friend or family over because this can still het heavy and sweaty! Putting all your need furniture together, whether it is that beautiful velvet couch or all the kitchen accessories that needs to be put into place, it will take time and energy. And together with a friend, assembling furniture becomes a lot more fun!
Step 6: Decorate to Enjoy your home
When your new home is furnished and decorated it is time to enjoy your achievements every hour of every day. With your new home décor, such as astonishing mirrors, cool lighting and comfortable upholstery you can now live a life in beautiful peace. Just like research has shown, a comfortable and appreciated environment in your home will in fact improve your happiness and content and therefor this process is as fun as it is important and life changing.
As a kid growing up in the projects, we always played games to keep ourselves busy. Some of my favorites were Captain, May I?, Red Light, Green Light, and It. We also loved playing board games. My cousin and I were a little jealous because the kids next door seemed to have all the best board games. One of my favorites was Backgammon.
As adults, it is also important to create memories with our friends and and family. Now that holiday time is upon us, this means getting together and playing the board games that we probably have stored away and collecting dust. About a year ago, I saw an idea on Pinterest to create a tic-tac- toe board game. It was one of those days that I was in the creative mode, and I was surfing Pinterest, as a lot of us do. It took no time, and I had all the materials either here in the house, or right outside my front door! The wood that I used was left over from the breakfast bar that my son and his friend built. You can find that post here.
Activity: Making a Tic Tac Toe game
Time: 40 minutes
Piece of wood (Menards or Home Depot ) $2
Small Jar of Acrylic Paint $.99
Rocks : Outside or bag from Dollar Tree for $1
Paintbrush $1 from Dollar Tree
Use an extra piece of wood that you have at home or get a piece cut from the lumber department of the hardware store.
Using a paintbrush, make two lines going across, and two lines going down.
Paint O’s and X’s on the rocks.
If you are a homeowner, and are looking for a one-stop spot for all your homeowner resources, check out “Consumer Advocacy“, where there’s a little bit of information on home owner’s insurance and everything else that you need!!!
Sometimes you end up with the situation like myself, where you want the ability to seat more people in the kitchen (perhaps 10 to 12), but you don’t have the space, nor the money to do it. This is where building a breakfast bar comes in handy. Breakfast bars are great because they are multifunctional. They can serve as a breakfast bar/homework center/painting spot/reading area. You decide.
Last time, I explained how to build shelves using plumbing pipes here. The breakfast bar featured in this post only takes about 30 minutes to build, and very few materials. Plus, you can’t beat the price. Since the length is only 12 inches, you can probably setup two of these in a smaller kitchen, and still be fine.
Four years ago, I purchased the stools that are featured from Amazon. I decided upon these particular ones because I wanted a combination of an industrial/farmhouse/rustic look, along with something that would withstand wear and tear of teenagers and usage in general. Plus, they are both simple and functional, and that’s what Valley of Grace is all about. I don’t like to have to keep buying furniture. The stools come in two different sizes: table height and bar height.
Building a breakfast bar
2 ½” Tees
4 ½” flanges
2 ½” 36” nipples (or whatever height you choose)
2 ½” 12” nipples (or whatever width you choose)
A box of 2-inch screws
1 piece of 8 ft. 8” lumber from the lumber department (add additional 2 ft. for 6 people fitting comfortably, and another 2ft. for a coffee/tea station to be added at the end)
4 clips (optional for securing lumber to 12” nipples)
Assemble two 7 shapes to build the bar without tightly screwing:
Connect the 12” nipple to the flange.
Screw the Tee onto the 12” nipple.
Screw the 36” nipple onto the tee.
Connect the flange to the 36” nipple.
Use a stud finder to find the location of the studs in the wall.
Using the 2-inch screws, drill the two 7 shapes into the studs in the wall.
Place the piece of lumber on top.
Optional: Secure the (2) 12” nipples to the piece of lumber with two clips using a drill, and two screws per clip for both 7 shapes.
Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. Psalms 127:1