It is National Stress Awareness Day – how will you celebrate?

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What do we mean “celebrate” National Stress Awareness Day?! If we are honest, all of us deal with stress on some level. Stress Awareness Day was set aside as time to be aware of the stress in our lives and how it affects us.

History of Stress Awareness Day (from www.daysoftheyear.com)
Stress Awareness Day was established by the International Stress Management Association (ISMA) to help provide information on stress, and strategies on how to address it for both companies and individuals. The organization is focused on helping employers and employees help each other by providing comprehensive guides to establishing a program within their organization, and individuals by looking after their health and well-being on a day to day basis.

Stress Awareness Day is your opportunity to start looking after yourself and your life, and break down the individual stressors in your life. Failure to deal with stress in your life effectively can lead to serious health problems, including increased blood pressure, susceptibility to heart disease, and a decline in your immune system. Once you start experiencing these symptoms they can landslide into each other, resulting in growing sickness, and by extension, more stress. It’s truly a self-feeding problem, and a cycle that is necessary to control to enjoy our lives.

How to Celebrate Stress Awareness Day (from www.daysoftheyear.com)
The best way to celebrate Stress Awareness Day is to take the opportunity to remove the stress from your life for the day. Take the time to examine your life and find out where all the stressors lie, and start looking into taking steps to remove them or find ways to mitigate them. Removing stress from your life can start off as a stressful experience, so it can help to get the assistance from organizations like ISMA to look into strategies and support in how to manage those things in your life that cause stress.

Whatever you choose to do, take the time to take a day off and let yourself have a day of freedom. If it’s sickness, do something to help you focus on something other than that sickness. Stress can be a killer, don’t let it take one more day from your life, act now and start living a stress free life!

Today, The Morning Thing shared some ways to relieve stress from Focus on the Family.
Click HERE for the full article.
Here are some tips excerpted from Tools for Time Management by Edward R. Dayton.

  • Staying ahead of your work is a good way to relieve the pressure of schedules. By scheduling a completion time 10 percent to 20 percent ahead, you have the peace of knowing there’s time to recover if things go wrong.
  • Doing the hard things first, particularly if they have a great deal of emotional content, will relieve the subterranean emotions that tend to plague us in different situations.
  • Getting enough sleep is a must. Know how long you can get along with a reduced amount.
  • Do the difficult tasks in phases. Often a “first draft” will get you 80 percent of the way along. Time for “topping off” the finished product can be better foreseen, and meeting the deadline seems less of a task.
  • Have planned recreation and hobbies. I am a wood carver and a carpenter of sorts. Setting aside time for this activity helps me relax. Other people enjoy different methods of unwinding. One of my close friends has a way of announcing to his secretary when he will be finding some relief. If he says, “I’m going to inspect some real estate at 3 o’clock,” you can be sure that you’ll find him on the first tee at the golf course.
  • Admitting and verbalizing the causes for your own irritations (be they lack of sleep, overworking, too much stress or what have you) helps [keep] others from getting emotional with you and triggering unexpected explosions.
  • Facing up to the fact you really can’t do all the things you scheduled and that some of them need to be postponed is probably the best relief valve of all. This can be a humbling experience, but the rewards in personal well-being are great.
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Date your spouse – It’s good for you and your relationship!

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Are you married? Good! Take a few minutes to read this blog. Today, The Morning Thing talked about the benefits of dating your spouse.

Dr. Greg Smalley is Vice President of Marriage and Family Formation at Focus on the Family and the author or co-author of several books, including Take the Date Night Challenge.

Dr. Smalley shares that when a couple spends time alone each week, their levels of happiness, positive communication and sexual satisfaction are more than three times higher than those who don’t spend that time together. That means you might be able to dramatically increase these important areas of your marriage by simply dating your wife!
The Morning Thing shared some insight from his article, “The Hidden Benefits of Dating your Wife” from www.focusonthefamily.com

Click HERE to read the entire article.

Dr. Smalley says that Date night is a fantastic way to make sure you and your wife are connecting positively and enjoying each other’s company on a regular basis. It doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate. But it’s going to take time, effort and planning.

The key to a great date is to make sure you don’t administrate your marriage when you go out — don’t have conversations about finances, household responsibilities, problems with the kids or sensitive issues. You need to talk about these things, but not during a date. Date night is about enjoying each other.

Are you willing to take the Date Night Challenge? Go out on three dates in three weeks and watch how this will strengthen your marriage!

Dating takes some planning. Click HERE to read more about the heart and soul of Date Night!he best dates need to have the following characteristics:

  • Regularity—You need to make time on a regular and consistent basis to enjoy one another’s company.
  • Variety—Doing the same thing over and over can become monotonous. Spice up your couple time with a wide range of interesting pursuits.
  • Adventure—You don’t have to plan something elaborate or expensive. Maintaining a sense of adventure simply means including an element of the new, the unusual, or the unexpected.
  • Fun—This might seem obvious, but it’s more important than you think. Research shows that couples who engage in fun activities together enjoy deeper intimacy. So whatever you do during your Date Nights—and during other moments when you’re enjoying leisure time as a couple—make sure it’s FUN!

Sometimes in marriage, we forget that we need to pursue and “woo” our spouse.
Here are some more tips from Dr. Greg Smalley from Focus on the Family.
– Dress up
– Be polite and open doors
– Compliment one another
– Be affectionate – hold hands, cuddle and steal kisses

Other steps for a great date night:

Step 1: Go someplace different for dinner.

Instead of visiting the same familiar locations and eating the same old food, pick somewhere new or try a different type of cuisine.

Step 2: Enjoy your time together!

Your assignment for this Date Night is simple: do something that you both enjoy! If possible, select an activity that that has the elements of adventurevariety, and fun in it, as described above. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Play a round of miniature golf or Frisbee golf
  • Take a cooking class together
  • Attend a sporting event (but remember, this needs to be something you both enjoy!)
  • Go ballroom dancing
  • Go shopping at thrift stores and find some new treasures
  • Visit an amusement park and enjoy the Ferris wheel—or tempt fate on the roller coaster!

Step 3: Relax and unwind.

After your activity, relax and emotionally connect by talking.  Answer the following questions. Be sure to keep your responses positive, uplifting and encouraging.
– What was your favorite part of the evening?
– What is the one thing you learned tonight that you didn’t know about me before?
– What are some of the things we enjoy doing together?
– What memories do these activities evoke?
– What are some new activities that we’d like to consider for a future date?
– How can we make sure that  we make spending enjoyable time together a regular part of our marriage?

Step 4: Home and Sweet Home

As you drive home, spend time planning your next date. Also, think about additional ways you can foster fun times together.  Once you get home, however, it’s up to you what happens next. Have a great final adventure!

The Focus on the Family Marriage Assessment is designed to evaluate the strength of 12 essential traits of your marriage. Do you know your marriage’s strengths and weaknesses? Click HERE to find out more and to take the FREE test!

We also shared 6 things that keep an emotional connection in marriage. Susan Merrill writes an insightful article for www.imom.com. Click HERE to read the full article.

These 6 things will help you stay connected to your husband.

1. Be courteous and kind to each other.

2. Talk about issues before they get out of hand.

3. Support each other.

4. Date regularly.

5. Live in a “we” world.

6. Be physically intimate.

(Picture from www.imom.com)

Forgiving, It’s hard but necessary

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Forgiving is something that we all struggle with, whether it is asking for forgiveness or forgiving someone, we all struggle.  Focus on the Family talks about how we can have two perspectives on humans in relation to forgiveness.  The Utopian perspective perceives people as perfect beings corrupted by society, whereas the redemption perspective sees us a beings with sin nature that only be can saved by God.  Those who side with redemption will find that forgiving others easier because the understand sin nature means that people make mistakes.

The full article goes on to cover being real when having a conversation about forgiveness, forgiving family members, and living style that shows gratefulness for your forgiveness.  If you would like to give it a read, click HERE.

We also shared some Bible verses that talk about Forgiveness because the Bible is a great source for Wisdom.  The full list can be found HERE.

Building stronger relationships between parents and kids – The Morning Thing 4/18/17

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Today, The Morning Thing focused on the relationship between parents and kids.

We shared some wonderful insight from Focus on the Family on how to build healthy relationships with your kids. Click HERE to read the full article.

Pray, pray, pray – don’t make this a last resort, make it part of your routine.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances;for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Get into their space.
From infancy through about age 8, kids spend a lot of time on the floor. We should be down there, too — playing games, pretending with dolls, building block forts. Fight the feeling that you’re acting stupid; crawl through those embarrassed feelings and meet your kids.

Keep it real.
As hard as it may be, recounting our missteps can help kids who are 12 and older learn from our errors. They also get to see we’re not perfect.

Enjoy family time.
A simple way to connect with your kids is eating together as a family. This is easy to do when they’re little, but as kids get older, sports and other activities compete with the family mealtime.

Do projects together.
You’ll need to think and pray about the right level of involvement for your children based on their ages and experience. Count on this: The project may take longer, and your children will not do things like you would. If you can accept these facts, you’ll discover an endearing, enjoyable time.

Be silly.
This isn’t just for small ones. Older kids like it when you act silly, too — even though you might hear, “Oh, Dad, stop it” or “This person is not my mother.”

Embarrassing children in public is not a good idea, but having fun in private keeps things light and makes you approachable. So go ahead, do the goofy dance, make funny faces, sing silly songs, talk for the dog.
We also shared 20 ingenious tricks on how to get your kids to open up about their school day. Click HERE to read the full article from www.sheknows.com

Here are 10 of the tricks:

  1. Tell me about today’s “thorn” (a not-great thing that happened) at school.
  2. Now tell me about the “rose” (the best thing that happened).
  3. Did anyone say something funny or tell a good joke?
  4. Was it a “play with your friends at recess” kind of day? Or a “chill by yourself on the swings” kind of day?
  5. You had art/music/computer today, right? What kind of project are you working on?
  6. Tell me something that you learned today that I don’t know. If you can stump me, I’ll do a goofy dance/read to you for an extra 10 minutes/watch an entire YouTube video with you (insert whatever works here).
  7. Tell me something kind that you did for someone today.
  8. Tell me something kind that someone else did for you.
  9. How many stars would you give the cafeteria food today?
  10. Did your friends get along really well today?

(Picture from Focus on the Family and Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock)

It is Book Lovers Day! The Morning Thing 8/9/16

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Today, The Morning Thing celebrated Book Lovers Day!

We found a list of 40 books that every Christian should read. Click HERE to see this amazing list of titles.

We also found Jim Daly’s top 10 list. Click HERE to see the titles that have impacted the President of Focus on the Family.

If you are looking for a list of the classics, click HERE. We found a great list of 30 books that everyone should read at least once in their lifetime.

Tell us YOUR favorite book titles. Email wnzr@mvnu.edu

Happy reading everyone!

(picture from Focus on the Family)

Summer Fun and fighting allergies – The Morning Thing 6/1/16

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It’s summer and the kids are home….and bored! Today, The Morning Thing shared some great ideas on how to get crafty with your kids without using technology.
Click HERE for 10 ideas on how to have a screen-free, crafty afternoon with your kids.

Focus on the Family also has some great ideas for summer fun!

Are you ready for summer? It’s here, and with it comes wonderful opportunities to build family connections while engaging your youngsters in healthy and entertaining activities.

There are many things to do at low or no cost—in fact, your options are limited only by your imagination. But in case you’re having trouble coming up with ideas, consider these:

  • Go for a hike (take along a guidebook on birds or plants to make it educational).
  • Take the kids on a picnic, and bring a Frisbee® or ball to toss around.
  • Fly a kite.
  • Go camping for a weekend and let your children experience the great outdoors in new ways.
  • No pool? No problem! Have a lawn sprinkler party on a hot day (don’t forget the water blasters and water balloons).
  • Hang a tire swing in your yard, and teach your kids some handy knots in the process.
  • Ride bikes together.
  • Organize a neighborhood scavenger hunt.
  • Take your kids bowling. Many bowling centers allow children under a certain age to bowl up to two free games each day during the summer. Check out kidsbowlfree.com to find a participating bowling alley, or call your local bowling center.
  • Encourage your children to consider joining a community sports league.

There are many fun pursuits to keep your children active this summer. Enjoy them together as a family and you’ll all gain the rewards.

Summer also brings on allergy season. Today, The  Morning Thing shared some ways that you can allergy-proof your home. Click HERE for some tips that you can try today.

Summer is a time to enjoy spending time together. Stay connected to great family-friendly events around our community. Follow the Big Blue crew all summer long. Click HERE to see our summer calendar. If an event is listed, it is safe for your family.

Movies and spring cleaning – The Morning Thing 4/26/16

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Have you finished your spring cleaning? Have you cleaned outside the house? Now is a great time to tackle those home projects to get ready for the warm, summer outside activities. A little work now can help you prepare for summer fun!

Click HERE for 12 DIY Home Projects to tackle before spring ends.

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As we prepare for summer at our homes, theaters are preparing for a long list of summer blockbuster movie releases. Click HERE for a list of movie releases over the next few months.
The Morning Thing encourages parents to use this website http://www.pluggedin.com/ for reviews on movies, TV shows, video games and books. You will receive a general overview plus details on both positive and negative content found in the entertainment.
You can also hear the Plugged In feature each weekday on WNZR – 7:45am on The Morning Thing and 4:20pm on The Afternoon Drive.

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Anchored by veteran culture analyst Bob Waliszewski, each weekday will focus on one of the five big areas in the entertainment world.

Good media discernment is about guarding our eyes and hearts before we watch or listen as well as grappling with the entertainment we see or hear. Plugged In is the comprehensive guide dedicated to helping families make the most appropriate and well-informed decisions about movies, TV, music and much more.
Monday: Music
Tuesday: DVDs
Wednesday: Video Games & Apps
Thursday: TV
Friday: Movies

(Patio picture from http://www.hgtv.com.)