The Penny Vase

The Penny Vase

After we moved into our new place I noticed that our book shelf needed something on it to fill the gap between it and the ceiling so I started collecting vases and bottles to use for décor. This big beautiful blue floral vase was left in the house by the previous people – the colour didn’t fit with our current decor so I spiced it up by covering it with pennies. And since Canada has phased out the penny I thought this was the perfect ode to the penny. Continue reading


The Human Brain

The Human Brain

The human brain is the most amazing and baffling organ of our body, as well as the source of many mysteries. Although the human brain makes only 2 percent of our body weight it has over 100,000 miles of blood vessels! It’s the source of every pain we feel, and yet it doesn’t have any pain sensors inside! The brain develops at the rate of 250,000 neurons per minute in early pregnancy! Check out some unbelievable facts about the most fascinating structure of the world, the human brain:
Continue reading

24 Tips for Conflict Resolution

Write up by Darlene Lancer, JD, MFT 

It’s normal to have conflict in relationships. People are different, and their desires and needs will inevitably clash. Resolving disagreements in a healthy way creates understanding and brings couples closer together. The objective should be the betterment of the relationship. This is positive conflict. Below are 24 suggested rules – 12 Do’s and 12 Don’ts – for actualizing this goal.

couple standing back to back not talking

Arguments are Good!

Arguments aren’t necessarily a bad sign. It means differences are surfacing, but in some relationships, differences aren’t acknowledged, because either one partner dominates a subservient one, or because both individuals are merged and don’t really know themselves or are sacrificing who they are to please one another. These solutions to differences usually backfire, because they build resentment and passive-aggressive behavior, and closeness and intimacy suffer. With these couples, conflict is a sign of growth and maturity. At the other extreme are high-conflict couples, where differences escalate into power struggles and communication becomes aggressive.

The Role of Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is essential to assertiveness and healthy communication, which lay the foundation for avoiding fights and handling conflict. Unfortunately this isn’t the norm, especially among codependent couples. Not having had good role models for expressing anger and handling conflict, one or both partners is usually passive or aggressive. When it comes to disagreements, low self-esteem leads to:

  • Taking things personally
  • Defensiveness
  • Inability to express needs and wants
  • High reactivity
  • People-pleasing
  • Not taking responsibility for behavior, feelings, and needs
  • Inability to be honest
  • Undisclosed expectations of others

Rules of Engagement

In positive conflict, ideally, you’re able to verbalize your needs and wants and mutually work out compromises. Your intent and how you approach differences are critical. The objective should be to resolve a dispute to the satisfaction of both of you. It’s not about winning and losing. You can “win” an argument, but the relationship may suffer if your partner feels discounted, deflated, or resentful.

Planning when, where, and how you approach a disagreement is important for achieving satisfactory results. It’s helpful make up rules of engagement in advance. Here are suggested 12 Do’s and 12 Don’t’s. You won’t be able to achieve all of them or any all the time, but they’re guidelines to strive for:


1. Make it okay to “agree to disagree.” You don’t have to agree on everything. Try to accept irresolvable differences that don’t violate your values.

2. Have time-limited discussions and stick to the pre-set time. A half-hour is plenty. You can always reconvene.

3. Work through things as they come up. Don’t stockpile resentments; otherwise, each postponement becomes a block to the next communication.

4. Remember to maintain goodwill by separating the person you care about from the behavior. Assume he or she is doing their best and isn’t hurting you intentionally.

5. Take responsibility for your behavior, needs, and feelings. Use “I” statements to share your feelings and thoughts about yourself. This doesn’t include “I feel you’re inconsiderate.” Instead, say “I feel unimportant to you.”

6. Examine what unmet needs are making you angry. With I statements, be direct and honest about your feelings and needs in the relationship. Communicate the positive consequences of compliance.

7. Listen with curiosity and a desire to understand your partner, and to see the world through his or her eyes. When you don’t understand, ask for clarification. Remember that your partner is telling you his or her experience. It reveals the truth about them, not you. You’re free to disagree, but first see where the person is coming from.

8. Use a “we” approach. “We have a problem,” not “My problem with you is . . .”

9. Rather than demand your way, brainstorm solutions. Request your partner’s input, especially when it comes to changing his or her behavior.

10. Take a time-out if you start to get angry. This allows you to calm down and stop reacting. Reassure your partner that you’ll resume.

11. Use breaks to take responsibility for your part, think about solutions, and to self-soothe any hurt feelings.

12. Communicate your fears and guilt in the relationship.


1. Don’t have controversial discussions when you’re tired or the bedroom, which should kept a safe place.

2. Don’t make accusations or use the words, “always” or “never.”

3. Don’t bring in allies – other people’s opinions – or make comparisons to others.

4. Don’t switch topics, or retaliate with, “but you did . . .”

5. Don’t judge, blame, belittle, or be sarcastic or dismissive in words or facial expressions, such as rolling your eyes or smirking.

6. Don’t expect your partner to read your mind.

7. Don’t analyze your partner or impute motives or feelings to him or her.

8. Don’t interrupt or monopolize the conversation.

9. Don’t react or defend yourself. Instead communicate your point of view.

10. Don’t bring up the past – anything more than a few days old.

11. Don’t rolodex grievances. Stick to the current one. You don’t need more “evidence” that you’re right and your partner is wrong.

12. Don’t compromise your bottom lines in the relationship, if they’re non-negotiable. It will lead to more conflict later.

Effective problem-solving takes time and practice. It first requires learning assertiveness.

8 Reasons to Live Beneath Your Means

8 Reasons to Live Beneath Your Means

(Update: I fear it may have sounded like I am blaming the financial misfortunes of others on themselves. This was not my intention. While some financial hardship is some self-inflicted, but much is just unavoidable. With this post, my aim is  only to encourage and offer advice, not judgment.)

I know so many people who are struggling financially and my heart breaks for them. One of my goals with this blog is to show you how to use your money wisely and make your household budget stretch further. My family has been blessed with a sound financial picture, but we have also been diligent in practicing good financial habits. Since we have been married, my husband and I have always sought to live beneath our means, spending less than we earn.

When I started my home business, we lived on one income until the business was established. This was a tight time for us financially but we managed to stick to our budget and not go into debt. Now that we have sold the business, we are again living on one income, but this time around it’s much easier. We are used to being frugal, even though we have 3 more kids than the first time we were a one-income family!

Here are my favorite 8 reasons to live beneath your means financially:

  1. To build an emergency fund. If you don’t already have one, get one! $1,000 is a great start.
  2. To save for the future. Retirement and college costs will be here sooner than you think.
  3. In case you have to cut your budget later due to unexpected circumstances, if you are living frugally, you might not even feel the pinch.
  4. To set a good example for your kids. When they leave your home for college or the working world, they probably won’t be able to afford the same lifestyle they enjoy at home. When you demonstrate financial restraint, you are encouraging them to do the same.
  5. So you can pursue your dreams. Stephanie Langford and her husband are spending an entire year traveling the globe with their 4 young children! This would not have been possible for them without a lot of sacrifice and frugality.
  6. So you can give generously. Crystal Paine and her husband have financed an entire Child Survival Program  in the Dominican Republic because they were frugal starting early in their marriage and scrimped and saved their way to financial stability and incredible generosity.
  7. To practice contentment. When we continually want the best and greatest (phone, car, wardrobe, vacation) we can afford, we will inevitably be disappointed and unhappy when something better comes along. Have you ever noticed that you can never truly be satisfied with things? It’s true. Instead when we decide we have enough, we can experience contentment right where we are. And that’s a beautiful thing!
  8. To be good stewards of our money. I believe we are called to use our money wisely. And when we do, all of the other things in this list open themselves up to us.

Are you able to live beneath your means? What are your reasons?

Date a man who dreams

Date a man who dreams.


Date a man who doesn’t spend his money on drink, or clothes, or video games, but saves what he has to go on adventures and pursue his dreams. He might have problems dealing with everyday things but no-one sees the possibilities life holds like he does. This is a man who is ready for anything, who will drop everything on a moment’s notice to run away and get lost somewhere with you or show up unannounced to whisk you away on some crazy adventure. Date a man who sees the world in millions of colours, who has his head in the clouds and his feet on the ground. Continue reading

What To Do If Someone Is Following You In A Car


It’s a scary proposition to realize that someone might be following you. There are precautions you need to take to make sure that you stay safe. Here are a few ideas of what you might do if you think that someone is following you in a car.

It doesn’t take much effort to make sure that you’re not being followed. Since most criminals are amateurs, simply drive around the block if you think you’re ever being followed.  Drive a complicated route, or take a few corners to make sure you’re not just imagining that someone is following you.

Don’t panic and don’t drive reckless.

Calm yourself so that you can think clearly. Get your mind on looking around you to see if there is someplace safe you can go.

NEVER stop and get out of your car.

NEVER go straight home. You do not want the ‘nut job’ to know where you live.

Be sure that all of your doors are locked. Someone can gain access to a car that’s stopped at a red light or stop sign in a few seconds.

Be sure that your windows are rolled up.

Stay on well traveled roads, if at all possible. People looking to hurt people in their cars are looking for people who are the most vulnerable.

NEVER stop to let a car that’s following you pass. Pull over to another lane to let someone pass, but don’t come to a stop. If there’s only one lane of traffic, don’t pull over at all. If the person wants to pass and there’s no traffic, they can go around you if they want to pass that badly.

If you are convinced you’re being followed, dial for local police (999, 911, etc). They will direct you to the nearest police station. It helps to have a charged up cell phone with you…

Drive to a police station. The guy behind you is not likely to stop there. If he or she does, don’t get out of your car until there are policemen outside your door to escort you. Another choice is to go to a fire station, hospital, or an all night superstore. Don’t go anywhere where there are not a lot of people. Keep driving until you come to something well lit and populated. Never get out of your car unless you know that you are safe.

Don’t assume things are safe because they look that way. Don’t assume someone is safe because they’re well dressed, female, young or old or because there’s a child in the car. Criminals often go way out of their way to appear as ordinary and trustworthy as possible. Many, many crime victims thought someone was safe because of the way they looked or because someone was with them. Crooks even use young kids to do their dirty work. (Home invaders are famous for this one – using a child to knock on a door selling something so they can get you to open up and then rush you. Don’t assume anything. If someone is following you assume that it’s dangerous and err on the side of caution.

If you carry a handgun, you MUST stay completely calm. NEVER get steamed up. It is the responsibility of the Gun-Owner to DE-Escalate the situation. In most states, you cannot “flash” your handgun unless you are in peril of bodily harm… else spend time in the slammer. People that carry, are expected to be above ‘acting out’ on the road. They know that it is a privilege and that it can be revoked for the slightest infraction.

20 Things To Start Doing In Your Relationships

Family isn’t always blood. They’re the people in your life who appreciate having you in theirs – the ones who encourage you to improve in healthy and exciting ways, and who not only embrace who you are now, but also embrace and embody who you want to be. These people – your real family – are the ones who truly matter.

Here are twenty tips to help you find and foster these special relationships.

  1. Free yourself from negative people. – Spend time with nice people who are smart, driven and likeminded. Relationships should help you, not hurt you. Surround yourself with people who reflect the person you want to be. Choose friends who you are proud to know, people you admire, who love and respect you – people who make your day a little brighter simply by being in it. Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you. When you free yourself from negative people, you free yourself to be YOU – and being YOU is the only way to truly live.
  2. Let go of those who are already gone. – The sad truth is that there are some people who will only be there for you as long as you have something they need. When you no longer serve a purpose to them, they will leave. The good news is, if you tough it out, you’ll eventually weed these people out of your life and be left with some great people you can count on. We rarely lose friends and lovers, we just gradually figure out who our real ones are. So when people walk away from you, let them go. Your destiny is never tied to anyone who leaves you. It doesn’t mean they are bad people; it just means that their part in your story is over.
  3. Give people you don’t know a fair chance. – When you look at a person, any person, remember that everyone has a story. Everyone hasgone through something that has changed them, and forced them to grow. Every passing face on the street represents a story every bit as compelling and complicated as yours. We meet no ordinary people in our lives. If you give them a chance, everyone has something amazing to offer. So appreciate the possibility of new relationships as you naturally let go of old ones that no longer work. Trust your judgment. Embrace new relationships, knowing that you are entering into unfamiliar territory. Be ready to learn, be ready for a challenge, and be ready to meet someone that might just change your life forever.
  4. Show everyone kindness and respect. – Treat everyone with kindness and respect, even those who are rude to you – not because they are nice, but because you are. There are no boundaries or classes that define a group of people that deserve to be respected. Treat everyone with the same level of respect you would give to your grandfather and the same level of patience you would have with your baby brother. People will notice your kindness.
  5. Accept people just the way they are. – In most cases it’s impossible to change them anyway, and it’s rude to try. So save yourself from needless stress. Instead of trying to change others, give them your support and lead by example.
  6. Encourage others and cheer for them. – Having an appreciation for how amazing the people around you are leads to good places – productive, fulfilling, peaceful places. So be happy for those who are making progress. Cheer for their victories. Be thankful for their blessings, openly. What goes around comes around, and sooner or later the people you’re cheering for will start cheering for you.
  7. Be your imperfectly perfect self. – In this crazy world that’s trying to make you like everyone else, find the courage to keep being your awesome self. And when they laugh at you for being different, laugh back at them for being the same. Spend more time with those who make you smile and less time with those who you feel pressured to impress. Be your imperfectly perfect self around them. We are not perfect for everyone, we are only perfect for those select few people that really take the time to get to know us and love us for who we really are. And to those select few, being our imperfectly perfect self is what they love about us.
  8. Forgive people and move forward. – Don’t live your life with hate in your heart. You will end up hurting yourself more than the people you hate. Forgiveness is not saying, “What you did to me is okay.” It is saying, “I’m not going to let what you did to me ruin my happiness forever.” Forgiveness is the remedy. It doesn’t mean you’re erasing the past, or forgetting what happened. It means you’re letting go of the resentment and pain, and instead choosing to learn from the incident and move on with your life. Remember, the less time you spend hating the people who hurt you, the more time you’ll have to love the people who love you.
  9. Do little things every day for others. – Sometimes those little thingsoccupy the biggest part of their hearts. You can’t be everything to everyone, but you can be everything to a few people. Decide who these people are in your life and treat them like royalty.
  10. Pay attention to who your real friends are. – As we grow up, we realize it becomes less important to have more friends and more important to have real ones. Remember, life is kind of like a party. You invite a lot of people, some leave early, some stay all night, some laugh with you, some laugh at you, and some show up really late. But in the end, after the fun, there are a few who stay to help you clean up the mess. And most of the time, they aren’t even the ones who made the mess. These people are your real friends in life. They are the ones who matter most.
  11. Always be loyal. – True love and real friendship aren’t about being inseparable. These relationships are about two people being true to each other even when they are separated. When it comes to relationships, remaining faithful is never an option, but a priority. Loyalty is everything.
  12. Stay in better touch with people who matter to you. – In human relationships distance is not measured in miles, but in affection. Two people can be right next to each other, yet miles apart. So don’t ignore someone you care about, because lack of concern hurts more than angry words. Stay in touch with those who matter to you. Not because it’s convenient, but because they’re worth the extra effort. Remember, you don’t need a certain number of friends, just a number of friends you can be certain of. Paying attention to these people is a priority.
  13. Keep your promises and tell the truth. – If you say you’re going to do something, DO IT! If you say you’re going to be somewhere, BE THERE! If you say you feel something, MEAN IT! If you can’t, won’t, and don’t, then DON’T LIE. It’s always better to tell people the truth up front. Don’t play games with people’s heads and hearts. Don’t tell half-truths and expect people to trust you when the full truth comes out; half-truths are no better than lies. Remember, love and friendship don’t hurt. Lying, cheating and screwing with people’s feelings and emotions hurts. Never mess with someone’s feelings just because you’re unsure of yours. Always be open and honest.
  14. Give what you want to receive. – Don’t expect what you are not willing to give. Start practicing the golden rule. If you want love, give love. If you want friends, be friendly. If you want money, provide value. It works. It really is this simple.
  15. Say what you mean and mean what you say. – Give the people in your life the information they need, rather than expecting them to know the unknowable. Information is the grease that keeps the engine of communication functioning. Start communicating clearly. Don’t try to read other people’s minds, and don’t make other people try to read yours. Most problems, big and small, within a family, friendship, or business relationship, start with bad communication.
  16. Allow others to make their own decisions. – Do not judge others by your own past. They are living a different life than you are. What might be good for one person may not be good for another. What might be bad for one person might change another person’s life for the better. Allow people to make their own mistakes and their own decisions.
  17. Talk a little less, and listen more. – Less advice is often the best advice. People don’t need lots of advice, they need a listening ear and some positive reinforcement. What they want to know is often already somewhere inside of them. They just need time to think, be and breathe, and continue to explore the undirected journeys that will eventually help them find their direction.
  18. Leave petty arguments alone. – Someone else doesn’t have to be wrong for you to be right. There are many roads to what’s right. And most of the time it just doesn’t matter that much.
  19. Ignore unconstructive, hurtful commentary. – No one has the right to judge you. They might have heard your stories, but they didn’t feel what you were going through. No matter what you do, there will always be someone who thinks differently. So concentrate on doing what you know in your heart is right. What most people think and say about you isn’t all that important. What is important is how you feel about yourself.
  20. Pay attention to your relationship with yourself. – One of the most painful things in life is losing yourself in the process of loving others too much, and forgetting that you are special too. When was the last time someone told you that they loved you just the way you are, and that what you think and how you feel matters? When was the last time someone told you that you did a good job, or took you someplace, simply because they know you feel happy when you’re there? When was the last time that ‘someone’ was YOU?





10 Tips about how to live a better life, day to day

woman happiness

1. Only for today, I will seek to live the livelong day positively without wishing to solve the problems of my life all at once.

2. Only for today, I will take the greatest care of my appearance: I will dress modestly; I will not raise my voice; I will be courteous in my behavior; I will not criticize anyone; I will not claim to improve or to discipline anyone except myself.

3. Only for today, I will be happy in the certainty that I was created to be happy, not only in the other world but also in this one.

4. Only for today, I will adapt to circumstances, without requiring all circumstances to be adapted to my own wishes.

5. Only for today, I will devote 10 minutes of my time to some good reading, remembering that just as food is necessary to the life of the body, so good reading is necessary to the life of the soul.

6. Only for today, I will do one good deed and not tell anyone about it.

7. Only for today, I will do at least one thing I do not like doing; and if my feelings are hurt, I will make sure that no one notices.

8. Only for today, I will make a plan for myself: I may not follow it to the letter, but I will make it. And I will be on guard against two evils: hastiness and indecision.

9. Only for today, I will firmly believe, despite appearances, that the good Providence of God cares for me as no one else who exists in this world.

10. Only for today, I will have no fears. In particular, I will not be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful and to believe in goodness. Indeed, for 12 hours I can certainly do what might cause me consternation were I to believe I had to do it all my life.

Only for today, I will devote 10 minutes of my time to some good reading, remembering that just as food is necessary to the life of the body, so good reading is necessary to the life of the soul.


10 Main Reasons Why People Remain Single


Are you still single? This is a question that most people ask others and it comes to a point that we sometimes feel awkward already. This isn’t just happening in your place but it can happen anywhere in the world. We see a lot of people around us that are together with someone else. These could be partners, lovers or a husband and wife. There are also those that do not have partners and are often by themselves.

1. Personality only you can manage

We may admit it or not but reality could actually hurt. We could be experiencing difficulties in terms of getting along with the opposite sex. If you love to flirt around and people know this by chance, then most likely men or women will not take you seriously at all.


2. Born to be shy

There are a lot of people who think that they are born to be shy. They think that there is never a chance that they will be able to get out of their shells and sad to say that sometimes this kind of thinking keeps them at a distance from men or women and other people.


3. Still in love with the ex

You could be the guilty one here. A lot of people could not move on with their lives because they are still hoping that they will be able to get back to their previous love life. These people could no longer move on and they always cherish the happy memories they experienced in the past.


4. Freedom

Some people believe that they will no longer have the freedom when they are going to have a partner in life. This could be attributed to the fact that perhaps some of their friends are experiencing this or it could be happing in the family.


5. Staying away from commitments

Being committed means that you need to devote your time to your loved one and it could even lead to leaving everything behind for that person and because of this, people who are still alone have a tendency to think this way.

6. Money

Some people have an idea that being committed means that you need to have a lot of money or enough money to support the family and if your current financial status says otherwise then there is definitely a tendency to be aloof with relationships because of this.

7. Over confident

Some people are just oozing with confidence and not realizing that the confidence that he or she is has is already annoying other people. People thus keep their distance from the over confident person resulting to being alone furthermore.

8. Love is not in the vocabulary

There are people that do not believe that there is love and that it exists among us. For them it is just a state of mind and one can do without it and be just fine.

9. Cannot find time for love

Being indulged in work will definitely veer you away from a possible love life and being at work for more than eight hours a day could actually put you in a closet and stay inside for a very long time.

10. Waiting for the right one

Some of us believe that the right person will come at the right time. Oftentimes, even if there is someone already we still think that the perfect one is still to come and this results to waiting forever.


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