Test the Quality of Your Relationships

a relationship

Since having meaningful connections in our lives requires an investment of our time and energy, we want to choose the people we spend our time with wisely.

To determine whether a relationship is draining or fueling us, we need to ask ourselves the following questions which are taken from Cheryl Richardson’s book,Take Time for Your Life, where she also offers ways to communicate with grace.

  • Write down the name of a person in your life.
  • Am I able to be myself with this person? Do I feel accepted by him/her?
  • Is this person critical or judgmental of me?
  • Does the relationship provide an even give-and-take exchange of energy?
  • Do I feel upbeat and energized when I’m around this person, or depleted and drained?
  • Does this person share my values? My level of integrity?
  • Is this person committed to our relationship?
  • Can this person celebrate my success?
  • Do I feel good about myself when I’m with this person?

Confronting Conflict with Grace

Wondering how to confront people who drain you mentally, physically and spiritually?

Once you have identified that you have a toxic relationship in your life, there are specific words that you can use to confront this family member or friend in a graceful, loving way.

Your goal is not necessary to sever all relationships; it’s to set boundaries with this person. If you feel the relationship can be healed, follow these steps.

  • Step One: Set the stage.

“In an effort to honor our relationship, I need to tell you the truth…”

  • Step Two: Follow up with how you feel.

“When you _______ it makes me feel ______…”

  • Step Three: Then ask your family member or friend.

“Are you willing to stop doing that?”


“In an effort to honor our relationship I need to tell you the truth. When you complain about your boss every week, it leaves me feeling drained of energy. If you’re willing to do something about the situation, I’ll support you 100%, but I can no longer listen to your complaints. Are you willing?”

“If you forget this conversation in the future, I promise to support you and our relationship by asking you to tell me how I can support you in taking action to fix the problem.”

“In an effort to honor our relationship I need to tell you the truth. When you put me down I feel angry and hurt. In order for us to continue seeing each other, I need to ask you to stop. Are you willing?”

“In an effort to honor our relationship I need to tell you the truth. When you criticize me I feel drained and upset. I’d like to ask you to stop doing that so we can move closer instead of further apart. Are you willing?”

Action Step:

Assess your own relationship skills by noticing if you are like the friend you desire in others.

Create Something Special

a magazine

Next year, I am planning to start an on-line magazine containing positive articles of hope and inspiration. This wellness publication will utilize the collective contributions of many selected published authors, who will deliver encouraging thoughts on the power of our mind, body, and spirit.

It is my intention:

To create a holistic magazine that nurtures and inspires readers to enhance and energize their lives. In order to accomplish this work of love, the articles will focus on self-care efforts to improve our thinking, honor our physical health, and express our spirituality. By creating balance and harmony within us, we can make better choices and produce more meaningful experiences around us.

As preparations get finalized, and a definitive launch date is established, I will be asking writers to submit their articles for review at that time.

Until then, I look forward to hearing about something special you have created or have a desire to create.

Adopt More Positive Beliefs

a belief

I was in a group the other day and we were discussing how everyone has the right to believe what they want. Ironically, when it came time to actually share some of our individual beliefs as we went around the circle, many were clearly uncomfortable and vocal about their disagreement about what people shared.

We certainly don’t have to agree with what others believe but unfortunately, there is a tendency to make others wrong for having an alternate view from our own. Many of us would agree that it doesn’t feel good to be on the receiving end of someone’s judgements about our philosophies.

Ultimately, the space was changed into a more compassionate discussion where everyone was allowed to share without fear of being judged.

Interesting enough, once the emotional atmosphere warmed up, then people felt safe enough to individually explore which of their beliefs were working for them and which ones were not.

For example, many walk around believing they aren’t very intelligent or good enough because they were compared to a sibling who got perfect grades or had other outstanding attributes.

As a result, they believe they can’t apply for certain careers because they feel inadequate for certain positions. When this belief is brought to awareness, and they expose this unhelpful thinking, then their view of themselves and their world opens up to more possibilities. If left unaware, they often don’t realize what is driving their resistance to exploring new things.

Conversely, others may feel they are always right because of their high ranking career achievements, and public accolades.

Unknowingly, this is what’s causing havoc in their relationships, as they dominate conversations, and are not open to hearing another’s point of view. They feel compelled to let you know that they are right and you are wrong. Left unaware, they may experience a succession of failed relations, and not experience the pleasure of a true partnership or the joy of learning new things.

Therefore, it is empowering to review our beliefs and see which ones are outdated. When we do this from a positive place and not from feeling defective or wrong, then we can expose and unlearn what is potentially standing in our way.

What new beliefs have you uncovered?

Action Step:

On a sheet of paper, list your current beliefs about aging, money, health, men, women, relationships, friends, yourself etc. and see what comes up.

Treat Your Body Well

a take care body

Practically overnight, my husband and I have changed our diet. We didn’t do it for weight loss, but for health gain.

We have seen and heard enough in recent months concerning the health of family and friends, to convince us it was time for some personal adjustments as well.

Certainly, even with the best of intentions, one can still become unwell at times, but it never hurts to increase our nourishing practices nonetheless.

By making delicious, health conscious smoothies and other beneficial recipes as well, we are improving our overall nutritional requirements, which is empowering.

We have found ways to make this new commitment fun, and not a total experience in deprivation. Mostly, is has been just modifying some old habits, and adding more consistent new ones.

It has felt wonderful to implement the wellness steps listed below on a more regular basis:

N – Not drinking diet coke, and limiting consumption of artificial sweeteners

U – Utilizing vegetables every day, and eating more fruit

T – Taking daily supplements

R – Routinely getting a minimum of 8 hours sleep through an earlier bedtime

I – Increase in drinking water, and reduction in coffee intake

T – Taking more time for play, relaxation, and just being

I – Increased exercise commitment

O – Omitting sugar as much as possible 

N – Not feeling deprived by adding and creating delicious recipes

What nourishment practices and positive food choices contribute to your wellness?

Enjoy the Scenery

a umbrella and chairs

We’ve all heard the expression, “Stop and smell the roses” which encourages us to take the time and enjoy what is happening around us.

Recently, we did just that.

We just returned from a long weekend at the shore, and it was delicious. What made this trip extra special was purchasing an umbrella and chairs and sitting at the water’s edge, and really taking in the beauty of the scene before us.

Usually, we just walk around the beach and take in the sights on foot but this time we decided to really embrace the beauty of the beach by becoming a part of it. We sat there for hours, just enjoying each other and the setting. It was very peaceful for the soul.

After a while, we played some paddle ball near our resting site too which was a lot of fun.

a paddle ball

The mixture of contemplative time and just plain fun is as necessary to our lives as good nutrition, exercise and rest.

What does stopping to ‘smell the roses’ look like for you?

Action Step:

Take some time today to enjoy the scenery of your life.


Raise Your Energy

a life loves me

I heard an affirmation today in a recent interview by author Louise Hay, and really liked it. She suggested saying “Life Loves Me” throughout the day as a powerful mantra to increase our energy, attract positive experiences, and just feel great.

This, and similar positive declarations can instantly shift our mood, and feelings to a higher place, as opposed to the depressive state that often follows a negative statement such as “Life is one problem after another.”

Additionally, when combining our affirmations with the familiar technique listed below, we can turbocharge our energy levels as well.

  • Find a quiet and peaceful place where you won’t be disturbed.
  • Close your eyes and take several deep breaths.
  • Breathe in good thoughts, soothing images, and peaceful outcomes.
  • Breathe out tension, stress, anxiety and fear.
  • Select a positive statement or series of statements such as, “I am healed,” “I am well,” “Life loves me” or “Only good lies before me.”
  • Introduce those affirmations while you visualize a ball of light entering the top of your head and traveling down to the tips of your toes, spreading a healing energy throughout your body.
  • Repeat this as many times as you need to clear away any unhelpful thoughts, or projections that cause an internal disturbance.

By deliberately focusing our mind and body in this positive direction, we will allow more room in our life for serenity and peace, especially during challenging times or preventing some stress related conditions in the first place.

What positive words or practices work best for you?




Relax and Trust

a trust 2

 I came across this lovely writing below, and wanted to pass it along as an encouraging reminder to relax, let go, and trust.


Detach and Depend

No matter where we are right now

Or what we are doing,

We can detach from it for a moment

And depend on God.

Presence fills us. 

No matter how hard the struggle

Or how hopeless life can seem,

We can detach from it for a moment

And depend on God.

Light shows us a new way. 

No matter how low we may feel

Or how wrong we think we have been,

We can detach from it for a moment

And depend on God.

Love heals us. 

No matter how lost, how scared,

Or how angry we are,

We can detach from it for a moment

And depend on God.

Peace lifts us.

Life may seem so confusing, so complicated, so


Or life can be joyous, so nurturing, so exciting.

Gratitude can be our reality,

and Faith our guiding star,

If we remember to Detach and Depend on God.

― By Rev. Claudell County

a detach