TCOY Lessons From My Favorite Bloggers (May11)

Lysa shared her thoughts on the "big difference between writing and connecting... Let’s be honest, no one wants their words to be scanned. We want them to be read, ingested, and best of all digested. Digested to the point where they become part of what the reader is pondering for that day. Maybe even part of what the reader brings up in conversation with their friends...That’s when you know your words have movement. Words that leap from the flat page and start traveling from this conversation to the next… those are words that connect." I am a conduit between a writer and readers other than myself, allowing their messages to Take Care Of Yourself to connect with those that will be moved by their words.

From Corey/Simple Marriage:
Married Lifestyle Design
Every person has within them a desire to be with others. Hanging out with friends, talking about life with coworkers, sharing serious thoughts with close friends, and sharing intimate moments with a lover. Whatever it may be in life, it’s often better when shared with another person...The key to lifestyle design for married people rests in the ability of each person learning to handle more time together as well as time apart.
That is key to a successful marriage, I feel. Do you have the alone time you require, whether it be a little or a lot? Do you feel you have a connected marriage to your partner? As my husband has learned, my motto for our marriage is: It's you and me against the world. Needing to be together often is not a requirement though we still are, because that's how we like it.
The Paradox of Relationships
When you approach relationships with too much emphasis on the other person and their reaction, response or validation – you create the chameleon. And being in a relationship as a chameleon, or with one, almost ensures that neither partner will experience the intimacy and love both are seeking in the relationship.
Neither my husband nor I are chameleons. I have known a few, though, so I'm sharing this post for those who would benefit by reading this article.
K.I.S.S. - The 10 Second Kiss
What I’m talking about is the kissing like you used to do...The kissing that is just kissing. No groping her back side or trying to get a hand in her pants or shirt. And no trying this as a segue into sex...It will send shock waves deep down inside her, and you. It will allow her to get comfortable in your arms and your presence. And it will likely provide a deeper connection with each other.
Whether this is your thing or not, it's worth remembering the take-away idea: make a physical connection outside the bedroom.

From Dustin/Simple Marriage:
Why Is Sex So Important To You?
Generally speaking, men need to have sex to feel close to their mate, while women need to feel close to their mate to have sex...Very funny, God.
This little blurb says a lot. For one thing, that the differences in intimacy needs should be considered. And, for another, it shouldn't be all serious business either. Keeping the communication lines open, having needs met and having fun while doing so is what it is about.

From Get Rich Slowly:
How To Build A Better Budget
And remember: If one budget doesn’t work, try another. Don’t just blindly use a budget from somebody else — even Dave Ramsey or Mary Hunt. Use their ideas as a starting point, but tailor them so that your budget fits your life.
The key word in the title is "better". For some of us, reading this post might lead to the creation of your very first budget or to refining what you've got so that it serves you better. Mine has the basic structure all put together but I do refine it as life changes. And it always does.

From Dan Kadlec/Bank of Dad
Time Travel: The Key To Financial Security
Perhaps most interesting, the research shows, is that the savings effect is nil when people are shown age-processed images of other people. Only when they see their own future selves do they change their savings behavior...The good news is that you actually haven’t gone anywhere yet; there is still plenty time to change the future.
I found this quite cool. I think I've done pretty well trying to make sure that future me, and maybe even my heirs, will be taken care of approriately. However, I've never really imagined "old me" living on the retirement I've set up. I just might have to use my imagination and daydream a bit about this.
5 Ways Gas Prices and Mental Accounting Are Setting You Back
“It’s important that you learn to view all money equally,” write Gary Belsky and Thomas Gilovich in their book Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes. “The more time you have to think of money as savings — hard earned or otherwise — the less likely you’ll be to spend it recklessly.”...In most cases, mental accounting errors aren’t huge...But they chip away at your ability to save month in and month out, which is the only way most folks have a chance at achieving financial security.
As J.D. Roth says "smart money management is more about mind than it is about math." Learning about the psychology of money (the hows & whys of what we spend) has been an enlightening experience for me. This article just fits another piece of the puzzle.
Retirement Plan: Delay The Date But Not The Dream
People in their 60s typically confront the retirement years with a choice: quit now with less money than they had hoped, or work and save longer until they have the resources they feel they need. T. Rowe Price found that while working longer must be part of the solution, saving more need not. By working longer and ramping up spending, not saving, you can begin to enjoy your later years right away — to practice retirement — with little impact on how much longer you’ll need to stay on the job.
This is what I have tentatively planned to do. I will continue working, though maybe in a different type of job altogether. However, I will be devoting more time and money to what I enjoy while continuing to save.

From Trent/The Simple Dollar:
Overlooking the Free Things
Take today and spend some time enjoying the free things your life gives you. Take a walk outside instead of firing up the television. Turn off your cell phone and have a face-to-face conversation with your neighbor. Watch the sun set. Make yourself a meal that fills your house with wonderful aromas. Take a hot shower and feel the warmth on your skin. Turn on a radio to an oldies station, pull your wife into your arms, and dance with her for a while as you whisper in her ear how lovely she is today...It is through the experience of the infinite beauty of the free things available in our lives that we can deeply appreciate what a dollar is and what you can use it for.

From Pick The Brain:
Be A Peaceful CFO of Your Home
Our oldest daughter has outgrown her bicycle. We were talking about getting a new bike and she asked how much one costs. When I told her, she thought for a moment and knew how many hours dad would work for her bike. I thought that was pretty cool. It doesn’t matter who pays for it. Our money is her money. She recognizes the value of life used in exchange to have something. She values time; she will never waste money....I am training my children to be peaceful CFOs of their own money, lives, and businesses.
My kids are getting old enough to start becoming really aware of money; how we get it, how we use it and how we balance now with later. I've responded too emotionally about it and am trying to teach without overwhelming them. I'm not a Paranoid CFO as described, however, I haven't done a good job of teaching them without seeming to say my way is the only way. If that makes any sense.

Self Improvement
From Trent/The Simple Dollar:
20 Ways to Start A Conversation and Build Into A Connection
Crossing that barrier from being nervously awkward around someone I barely know to having a new friend (or at least a new person to associate with) seems like a gigantic leap for me at times. I know that many introverted people feel exactly the same way...Yet, over time, I’ve built up a lot of little tricks to help me past this...I don’t view these things as some kind of “act.” I view them as tools that help me to click with others in a way that I never could without them. It opens the door to relationships that my own introverted nature would have killed at the start.
This is an area of my life that I happen to be focusing on as well. It can be so difficult to talk when you'd rather just stay inside yourself. However, once the awkwardness is passed, it does feel amazing to have that connection with someone. If you goof up, please be sure to show yourself some grace and realize you're doing the best you can...and that, with practice, you'll do better next time!
The Technique
Over and over again in life, we find one way of doing something that works and don’t bother seeking a better solution. We assume the way we’re doing it must be “good enough” and we keep repeating it until we’re either slapped in the face with a better solution or we discover that the way we were doing things is causing other problems...Things like this are little time investments, yes. However, they pay dividends every single day...What sort of techniques are we going to learn today?
Whether it be tips & tricks to make getting through the mundane that much quicker or finding a way to do something you thought you couldn't, never stop learning as they say.
From The Simple Dollar's Weekly Roundup:
The Seven Stages of Failing at Self-Improvement
"Self-improvement isn’t just a matter of waking up one morning and deciding that some major change in your life is going to happen. You’ll almost always fail at least a little. The trick is to always keep going."
I am also a "Pick The Brain" reader. I liked his description of self-improvement so I shared it this way!

From Unclutterer:
Four Reasons You May Be Missing Deadlines and How to Fix These Problems
If you need to work on missing your deadlines, your solution may be one of these easy-to-identify (and hopefully correct) issues.

From Pick The Brain:
45 Quick & Easy Mood Lifters
Slipped into the doldrums?...Feeling sad and low and lonely?...We all feel this way from time to time. Often, all we need is a good distraction to shake us out of the funk.
No need to be down to choose something to do from this list...all are worthwhile for any mood!
Instant Confidence: Just Add Water
Review the self-dissing comments you are having in your head. You know they’re there! Do you judge yourself? Are you second guessing? Are you being downright mean? I am ready to bet that if you spoke to your friends the way you speak to yourself, you would be pretty short on friends.
It is amazing how critical our self-talk can be. Showing yourself grace and understanding that you are doing the best you can at that time is key for Taking Care Of You!
Why Goal Setting Is A Complete Waste of Time (unless you do this)
By changing the way you think about the process, you’ve just increased your likelihood of success by a huge margin. You’ll still have some work to do, but now you’re positioned for success. And most importantly we now you have an easy way get your subconscious work for you, not against you.
Some may say that the small change he proposes is just a word substitution to trick the mind. However, for many of us, that little trick WILL produce drastically better results. It's all in the way you play the game.

From Get Rich Slowly's Spare Change round-up:
Breaking Free From Consumerist Chains
Either way, we find our path as consumers. And everything is solved by consumption — when we’re stressed, we shop. When we want to be entertained, we buy the entertainment. We buy our food in packages, we fix our failing health by buying exercise clothes and equipment. We fix our debt by buying personal finance books and taking out a second mortgage...What if we could break out of it?...What would life be like without advertising, shopping malls, online shopping, working for large corporations, wearing large logos all over our clothing, having Apple logos over every device we own, watching movies and television shows developed by large corporations and made for the masses?...It would be quieter, maybe, with more free time. Without having to buy so much, we would work less. What a revolutionary concept!...It would be more focused on people instead of stuff. It would be healthier, as we would (likely) move more, get outdoors more, eat less fast food and more real food...That’s all idealizing, of course, but it’s an alternative I could see happening. We’d have to break free of the consumerist mindset first.
Gaining awareness leads you to learning about yourself in ways you didn't foresee. I have learned to have gratitude for the ability/means to be a consumerist while at the same time, breaking away from it by enjoying my life with more of the things that truly matter. And they are not advertised anywhere nor cost a thing.

From Pick The Brain:
10 Life Altering Mind Shifts To Rock Your World
There are some people (like Steve Chandler) who are always trolling for ways to grow and improve their lives. They want to be aware and strive to keep their minds open. Sometimes, however, awareness hits us on the head like a brick, and our minds have to be cracked open. Big life events like a death, job loss, or a relationship break-up, can shock us into awareness and cause a mind shift...If you are in a state of willing awareness right now, then think about these ten mind shifts and whether the timing is right to embrace them in your life.
I've experienced both and I *much* prefer perspective changes that occur because of my own initiative.

From Aileen/Kaizen Vision
Finding Focus In This Age of Distraction
Some­times dis­trac­tions are there to pull us away so we can return with a fresh per­spec­tive and feel reju­ve­nated, and other times they are time wasters and energy zap­pers. Self-awareness will allow you to man­age your ambi­tions, pro­duc­tiv­ity and qual­ity of life. A life of dis­trac­tion pre­vents you from hav­ing the laser focus needed to achieve your goals and live a full-bodied life.
I like her description of the pros and cons to distraction. It's not all bad; sometimes they do serve us well.

From David/Raptitude:
Procrastination Is Not Laziness
It turns out procrastination is not typically a function of laziness, apathy or work ethic as it is often regarded to be. It’s a neurotic self-defense behavior that develops to protect a person’s sense of self-worth...You see, procrastinators tend to be people who have, for whatever reason, developed to perceive an unusually strong association between their performance and their value as a person. This makes failure or criticism disproportionately painful, which leads naturally to hesitancy when it comes to the prospect of doing anything that reflects their ability — which is pretty much everything.
I'm a recovering perfectionist (a condition that had also led me to being a procrastinator). Since realizing these things about myself and beginning to desire peace more than whatever it was I gained by avoiding the issue, I feel I've grown and developed better coping skills than they ever were to me.
Progress is the Only Protection
Last week’s post on the roots of procrastination has evidently motivated a whole slew of procrastinators to focus at least long enough to comment or email me to say that they feel like the post was describing their own lives...As promised, today I’m going to outline my plan for taking on the procrastination monster, with my 11th Raptitude experiment.
David makes some very valid points in regards to anticipated roadblocks that he may encounter and his plan for action when they do. They might be useful to others as well, so I'm sharing.

From Trent/The Simple Dollar:
Personal Finance and Self-Worth
Your stuff doesn’t define you. It won’t fill the holes you feel in your life. It won’t solve the problems you face. It just makes you feel good for a little while, but then you’re back to where you started (and often in a slightly worse spot)...Instead, your actions define you. If you choose to stand up for yourself and for your dreams, you become the type of person that defines their own future. It’s up to you to make that choice. No one else reaps the rewards from making that choice, and there’s no one else to blame when you don’t.
To me, this part says it all "...become the type of person that defines their own future". Meaning, if you're not born that way, it is an option to become that way. Do you want to be in charge of you?
Making Today Your Masterpiece
Simply put, the idea of making each day your masterpiece means that you try to live each day in a way that I would be content having myself judged upon. In other words, would I be happy if, at the end of my life, my entire personhood was judged on the kind of person I was today? It’s a call to do your best each and every day.
Trent, my dear fellow, this is why I love reading your words. I also live each day in this way, so kudos to us both for sharing more of the good to those around us!
Revisiting the Three Questions That Will Transform Your Life
As I look back on the financial lessons I’ve learned over the past half of a decade, I think these three questions strike very close to the core of all of it. I’ve used them time and time again, not only to evaluate the money decisions I’m making, but to evaluate the life decisions I’m making.
When I attempted reading the book he is referring to, I couldn't finish it. It just didn't appeal to me. However, I do know that it is a transformative book for many other people. These questions do strike at the essence of the choice we have in our life and that much has positively impacted my thought process.

House & Family
From Trent/The Simple Dollar:
Personal Finance and Being A Parent
When he asks me about his future with a bit of worry in his heart, I can look at him and, with complete honesty, I can tell him that I’m doing everything I can to make sure that his future is everything he hopes it will be...Good personal finance tactics simply underline my ability to be a good parent. I can give my child the honesty and the emotional reinforcement he deserves, simply because I’ve learned to keep my spending in check and I’m prudent with the money I have...That’s a big win in a dimension that I never really expected when I first sat down five years ago to address that pile of debts in front of me.
This is a "full circle" kind of moment for Trent. In "my story", he explained, "I made one key promise to myself during my adult life, that I would always strive to be the best parent I possibly could...So, when our first child came along, I began to focus a lot of my attention on what he would need for his future...In short, I was obviously heading down a path to a future I didn't want: an absent father and a tenuous financial situation."
I have been struggling with actions matching intentions lately in regards to parenting. I am reminding myself almost daily that giving up is the only way I'll fail and I'd be failing more than just myself. I don't think my kids think I'm failing but, if you're a parent, then you know the kind of self-judgment I have going on right now.

From Kara/Simple Kids
6 Peaceful Solutions For Hitting and Anger
Children learn so much of what responding to anger means by watching the grown-ups in their lives. This has challenged me to further develop and mature my own responses to upsetting situations – knowing that oftentimes I’ll see my own response in my girls the next time they get upset.
Time-in and modeling are two ideas that I think might help us over here at our household. Mom's overloaded and not able to help diffuse everyone else anymore, let alone herself.

Life Clutter
From MaryJo at reSPACEd:
Ask the Organizer: Did I Make A Mistake By Throwing This Away
In the end, we have to realize that there is usually not one “right” place where each of our unwanted items belongs. Instead, there are many acceptable places. We get to choose one place. And our reward for choosing that place is more room in our homes.
I love the way she put this! There isn't one right place and, as you should always believe about yourself, you did the very best you could do at that time. No guilt allowed.

TCOY on the outside
From Sally/Already Pretty
Trying Too Hard
The concept of “trying too hard” irks me. People are constantly being criticized for putting forth minimal effort, and yet we censure them for being overly enthusiastic, too. Talk about a lose-lose proposition...And yet, I’ve gotten several reader questions about “trying too hard” stylistically, and I understand why...I believe that confidence is the key to overcoming concerns of trying too hard.
Thankfully (!), I haven't had to deal with anything but supportive response from those around me in regards to changes I've been making in my style over the past few years. I'd say that it stems from a combination of listening to myself above others and surrounding myself with wonderfully, positive people.
Self Care Cheat Sheet
Cut yourself some slack. You are, undoubtedly, your own worst critic and undeserving of such harsh judgment and unreasonable standards. Find ways to go easy on yourself. You can’t be 100% awesome all the time, and that is just fine...We only have one planet, and we steward it together. We only have one body, and we steward it alone. Floss, sunscreen, vegetables, exercise, rest. If you don’t, who will?
As usual, Sal succinctly reminds us to "put ourselves in the line of priority, and right in front."
You Deserve Good Things
Material objects are part of life. The objects that we choose to use affect our comfort, self-image, and overall happiness. The process we use to select and obtain objects reflects our views about ourselves. When we choose objects that make us feel indifferent, we are slighting ourselves. When we choose objects that make us feel joy, we are honoring ourselves. And that holds true regardless of brand, cachet, and price...We deserve good things. And we should let them into our lives as often as we can.
Thanks to bloggers like Sal and many others, I learned this lesson some years ago. Previous to that, the idea of "deserving" something was a way that I justified over-spending when I was emotionally upended (frustrated, angry, sad, hurt, etc.) Since I grew up with not much money, my spending indulgences were not extremely expensive items but they still hurt my finances none-the-less. Now I fully understand the idea of deserving something and have kept all areas of my life that deserve my care & attention in balance.
From Already Pretty's Lovely Links
Am I a Size 4? 8? 10?
It’s a familiar problem for many women, as standard sizing has never been very standard, ever since custom clothing gave way to ready-to-wear...So, baffled women carry armfuls of the same garment in different sizes into the dressing room. They order several sizes of the same shirt online, just to get the right fit...Now, a handful of companies are tackling the problem of sizes that are unreliable. Some are pushing more informative labels. Some are designing multiple versions of a garment to fit different body shapes. And one is offering full-body scans at shopping malls, telling a shopper what sizes she should try among the various brands.
Yes and yes!!! I only have to carry a size 8 and 10 of each piece into the dressing room and, typically, one or the other will be the right fit. On rare occasion, I might need to go get a 6 or 12 (for juniors items, though, it's almost always a 13). The range of sizes that must be tried on is ridiculous, in my opinion, and I'm not even one of the women described in the article. Until there are truer "standard sizes", I'll just keep trying everything on!

From Jo-Lynne/Musings of a Housewife
Natural Home Remedies
The more I delve into this “natural” world — where we try to find natural solutions to life’s various challenges, I am amazed to find the same few products cropping up over and over. It just goes to show how far our industrialized society has gone to unnecessarily complicated matters...I am hugely grateful for the medical profession, but sometimes I just don’t understand why doctors turn to medicine FIRST. Shouldn’t medicine be the LAST resort? Heck, half the time it doesn’t even WORK as well as the natural remedies.
I am just beginning to delve into nature over man-made for my solutions as well. It's a process. Each effort build upon another, so it's worth doing.

Until next time...Take Care Of You!

Photo Credit: Iron Design

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