Friday, January 30, 2015

Inspire Your Heart with Art Day - January 31, 2015

by M. J. Joachim

Tomorrow is the annual Inspire Your Heart with Art Day 2015 celebration. I was invited to participate by Marietta Gregg, Marketing Director at Patience Brewster Company. The idea behind the event is to get people to celebrate art. How one decides to celebrate art doesn’t really matter, though one of the goals is to fill art museums and craft shops with lots of visitors. However, being creative and making arts and crafts projects, along with blogging about art is also perfectly acceptable, as is attending the theater and concerts.

Art is all around us. I see it everywhere I look and create it in many of my activities during the day. Writing and blogging are art based for me. I paint pictures with words, design blog posts on five blogs and delve into the art world every day. I also garden on the open canvas of my back and front yard. Plus, I cook, making every attempt to make my dishes as beautiful as they are tasty. Presentation truly makes a difference and often makes a home much more welcoming and comfortable.

Crochet is one of my obvious art forms. Lately photography and video too. My daughter called me and encouraged me with my nature videos last night. She thinks they are pretty cool. You know what I think is cool? The awe-inspiring nature that made them possible. I was just the one with the cell phone taking the pictures, photos that might never be seen, without the help of something much beyond my comprehension taking place somewhere, out there.

So it is with art. We become inspired and use tools at our disposal to make new and interesting things. Someone once told me, we either create or destroy things in this life. To a certain extent, I agree. The rest of the time, we just move things around and change things up a bit. It’s one of the reasons I’m happy to participate in Inspire Your Heart with Art Day this year, because for as much as we create and destroy, sometimes it’s truly inspirational to reflect on the process that makes it possible to see beauty all around us.

Please consider this your invitation to participate in Inspire Your Heart with Art Day 2015. Leave a note in the comments if you plan to participate, and I’ll be sure to stop by and visit your blog.

All the best to you and yours! Have a safe and wonderful weekend and enjoy the Super Bowl this Sunday.

M. J.

©2015 All Rights Reserved Photo credit: Patience Brewster, Valentine Heart Girl Card, ©2015 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, January 29, 2015

House Cleaning Exercises

by M. J. Joachim

If only there was a miracle cure to shed those unwanted pounds. You work all day, don't have energy to go to the gym, and then come home to a messy house that you don't have time to clean. There must be a solution, but what? How could you possibly find time to go to work all day, exercise, and clean your house, especially when you have far too many social engagements planned for the weekend?

It's time to reevaluate your situation and change your attitude about all the things you have to do. You can find time to exercise and clean your home if you combine the two activities. You will also benefit from gaining extra energy as you get in better shape. All it takes is a little creativity, and a whole lot of determination.

The following chore exercise program will help you combine getting in shape and losing weight while keeping your home clean and tidy with ease. Please sit back and enjoy this article for a few minutes, because by the time you are done reading it, you'll be ready for an awesome new workout plan that leaves your home spic and span.

*Spotless floor stretches: This activity incorporates limited yoga poses with cleaning your linoleum or tile floor. You will need 1 small bath towel, 1 large beach towel, soapy water, some energetic music, and a smile. Now, soak the small bath towel in water. Get down on your hands and knees and wash the floor, leaving it fairly wet. As you scrub the floor, crouch down and then stretch your arms out as far as you can reach to get the dirt from the corners. Once your floor is clean, stand up and throw your beach towel on it. Stand on the towel, and using your hips, swing back and forth across the wet floor to dry it. Dance with the music if you can, and have fun working out while you make your floor shine.

*Dustless weight lifting: This activity builds and tones your muscles. You will need a dust cloth, your favorite dusting polish, a few boxes, some Rocky music, and a large bottle of water. You will need to empty out your book or movie case, putting everything into your boxes. Now bend down and take those boxes into the next room. Go back and thoroughly dust the cabinet that held your items. Walk into the next room, bend down and pick up your boxes one by one, taking them back to their shelf and putting them away; dust each one as you do. Make sure to drink plenty of water as needed.

*Laundry aerobics: This activity speeds up your heart rate and makes doing the laundry a little more interesting. You will need a washer/dryer, laundry soap, dirty laundry, and music. Instead of using a basket to carry your dirty laundry to the laundry room, pile it in your arms and carry it yourself. Make as many trips as you can while racing to and from the washing machine. When the laundry has finished drying, fold and iron it quickly, using swift, easy motions. Then make several short trips to run and put everything away. You'd be surprised at how many calories you can burn just by running back and forth in your own home.

Cleaning the house and losing weight are two pretty tough activities. By combining them, and adding a little fun to the mix, you will shed pounds, enjoy a cleaner home, and definitely have more to smile about. That is until you look inside your refrigerator and see all those wonderful temptations. Ah, no bother, simply use squats to throw out all the forbidden food, and practice weightlifting to replace it with the good stuff!

I’m still working on losing those extra pounds from the holidays and thought this might energize me a bit. Of course, sharing with others who might offer encouragement is always a bonus.  Not into housework, no problem. I also make great use of exercising in the garden, especially this time of year.

Thanks for stopping by and visiting Effectively Human today.

M. J.

©2015 All Rights Reserved Photo credit:  Stride cross trainer, vatic, Public Domain

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Balancing Act, January 2015

by M. J. Joachim

Christmas came and went, literally THAT FAST!

2015 came in with fireworks, rain and snowflakes here in sunny Arizona. I missed it. We thought it was rain, didn’t bother to step outside to check it out or anything. In the shadow of the streetlamp, it really did look just like rain. We woke to the surrounding mountains covered in a light dusting of snow. No real bang to speak of in our neck of the woods, though I did win $100 at a local casino we’d never been to before and took my husband out to lunch.

I was diagnosed with Celiac just before Christmas. Having gone gluten free on my own a year and a half ago, it made me glad I made conscious choices that make me feel better, and they weren’t based on psychosomatic whims or preferences. We really do know what’s best for us sometimes, and more often than not, it is not all in our heads. Though I do think stress plays a powerful role in how we eat, sleep and physically feel per se.

Life has been taking me by storm since the new year started. I mean that. It’s been raining for a couple of days now. The neighbors leaves are falling off her deciduous tree like they do every January, to leave a maze of exposed branches willowing in the wind until spring. I’ve been so good about picking up the leaves (and dog messes) every day lately. Sure beats letting the backyard explode and taking care of it for hours at a time toward the end of the month, like I normally do.

My kids are preparing to go their own way soon. I knew it was coming this year, just thought it would be in the latter half of it. Turns out it will be much sooner than I thought, (Mom writes as she thinks of all the boxes she packed with kitchen items she doesn’t need duplicates of anymore.) Yea, mixed emotions on that one. Thankfully, it’s all on good terms and a perfectly natural transition into adulthood. Happy fireworks once again, maybe a loving tear here and there too.

Habits and cycles are easy. We all get into them, become familiar with the norm, how things are and how they should be. Then one day, they aren’t suppose to be that way anymore, so we make changes - big, small, whatever seems best at the time, hoping to find a new pattern that will lend itself easily to a habit or cycle we can live with, because if not, we will inevitably need to make more changes. I’m okay with that. Living isn’t supposed to be hard. That’s not to imply it won’t ever take us by storm and test our stamina. Of course it will, and when it does, we will be happier if we respectfully embrace the wind that whirls us, and dance in the rain that promises renewal and energy to keep us healthy and happy for years to come.

This is M. J. checking in to say, “I haven’t fallen off the planet yet. It’s just been a dizzy start to a wonderful new year, and I’m trying to catch my balance before I slip, fall down or accidentally hurt myself.”

Wishing you rainbows with your rain,

M. J.

©2015 All Rights Reserved Photo credit: M. J. Joachim, January 2015 - Snow in Mesa, AZ, ©2015 All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Presenting Yourself in a Resume

by M. J. Joachim
Resumes are documents that represent the people behind them. Creating a resume that depicts an accurate portrayal of yourself when making your own resume is vital. You can use your resume to showcase confidence, drive and skills. More importantly, you can set yourself apart with your resume, giving you more opportunity to be noticed.

Be Specific When Listing Your Past Job History
Instead of generalizing your background in education, provide clear detail about what you did, including your exact job description. For example, you could list yourself as a teacher, or you can list yourself as a child development specialist for special education students. Details should be listed right in the title, and not delegated to your job description after the fact.

Keep Your Resume Focused
Use your resume to prove your ability to be detail oriented. Prospective employers will not take the time to sift through a bunch of job descriptions and words that don’t apply to the position you are seeking. Their first impression needs to be one that shows you know what they want and can easily deliver it.

Sell Your Skills in Your Resume
This is your opportunity to shine. You have one or two pages to let someone see you on paper. Make it count by using your bragging rights. You’ve earned them. All those accomplishments and awards need to be on display right there in your resume, especially if they match the job description you are applying for.

Study the Marketplace and Employers
Be knowledgeable about the jobs you are applying for. Research company histories, retail competitors, who else is applying for the same jobs, financial status, and everything else you can discover. Use this information to personalize your resume. You may even find out a prospective employer isn’t really a prospect for you in this process. Always do your homework to learn which companies are the best to work for.

Think Outside the Box
Employers want people who can generate new ideas and help their businesses grow. They need employees who are willing to brainstorm and try to make a difference. Most companies realize that for every ten ideas, only one will go the distance. Show your prospective bosses that you bring new ideas and energy to their firm. Let them know that you’re willing to work hard and try new things that will set them apart in the corporate world.

Develop an Active, Accomplishment Driven Image of Yourself
Write your resume in the present tense, showing that you strive for results now, not in the past. Energize your resume with relevant keywords that provide a sense of urgency to prospective employers, creating a defined sense of loss if they push your resume aside.

When you write your resume, be honest and bold about who you are. Avoid being “in your face”, but don’t sell yourself short either. Keep your resume as brief and to the point as possible. This document is a tool that will help you get the interview. Save some surprises for your face to face meeting where you will close the deal with a smile and a handshake.

Resume writing isn’t always easy. Hopefully these tips will help you make your resume shine. Speaking of sharing accomplishments, a friend of mine started a new craft blog. I’m over there showing you how to make beaded ornaments today, so if you’d like to learn some fun crafts, Craftie Annie has some very neat ideas and tutorials. Please check it out and give her some support with her brand new blog.

Only a few more days until Christmas…ah the rush of the season! Here’s hoping we all find time to breathe and enjoy it this year.

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved Photo credit: PlaySpace Job Search Platform, GNU Free Documentation License - I know it’s not in English, but the facial expressions say it all!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

10 Ways to Have More Money at the End of the Month

by M. J. Joachim

With Christmas right around the corner, I thought this article might be helpful for a lot of us.

It's that time of the month again! You know the one, beginning, middle, or end, when money seems to be just a little bit less, and you still have to pay for so many things. We've all been there at one time or another. Too many times, we've wished for a few simple ideas that would make getting into the habit of saving just a bit more fun, or at least not so difficult.

Using the resources of experts and ordinary people, you now have access to some very easy money saving tips that can readily turn into good habits. Feel free to try as many of them as you like. Then watch those pennies multiply, giving you less stress, and more financial freedom.

1. Make lists of your necessities and wants. Your entire family could participate in this activity, allowing younger members to learn about saving before they end up paying bills. The trick is to be honest, and not complain about giving up things that no one really needs.

2. Create opportunities and incentives to save. Place change jars strategically around your home. Mark them with a line, and when the change reaches it, give your family a well deserved reward. Have a larger jar available to combine change from the little jars as they reach their mark. The money collected in this jar goes straight to your savings account.

3. Shop wisely. Check prices against amounts in containers. Too often you will save more by buying several smaller packages, as opposed to a larger one. Use coupons, and don't waste gas travelling across town to save a few pennies on a single loaf of bread. Instead, head to the bank and deposit the money you saved in your savings account.

4. Spend within your budget. If you don't have the money, don't spend it. Put away the credit cards. Read a book instead of renting a movie. Prepare a home cooked meal instead of eating out. It is far too easy to get into debt, and next to impossible to get out of it.

5. Divide your money into categories. Give each category a monthly allowance. Once it's spent, there is no more. Anything left over at the end of the month gets deposited into your savings account, or helps pay other bills.

6. Pay off your bills. Don't just make payments every month. Make a point to work at paying them off. Keep track of your success, and make adjustments when necessary. As each bill gets paid off, put the money you save into your savings account or toward another bill that needs to get paid off.

7. Set reasonable goals for yourself. If you know it's going to take 6 months to pay off your Visa card, don't try to do it in 3. This will only lead to frustration, and probably more spending. Of course, if you come into some extra cash that enables you to pay it off in 3 months, don't hesitate to do so.

8. Practice using less and saving the money. This might sound obvious, but it is a little harder than you might think. Saving money is exciting; a lot of people take their savings and immediately spend it on something else out of sheer joy. It is important to practice putting that money away. Avoid spending it at all costs, until saving it becomes second nature through practice.

9. Play money saving games. Turn saving money into a fun activity. Give each family member a piggy bank, and compete to see who fills theirs first. Get into the routine of playing "Put It Back" with your kids at the store. Practice math skills when making purchases, determining the best value for your money. These ideas will save you money, while teaching your children better spending habits.

10. Know your numbers. Request your credit report. Keep track of your taxes. Understand you bank and mortgage statements. Question things that don't make sense, and be responsible for where your money ends up. If you are paying too much interest on something, do the research to get a better deal. Take responsibility for the money you pay, and put aside your savings.

Spending money is easy. That's why so many of us think it is difficult to save. Yet, if we put as much effort into saving our hard earned dollars, as we do into spending them, it wouldn't be difficult at all. With a little practice and perseverance, we would all have a little more cash at the end of the month.

If you have some easy and fun money saving tips, please share them in the comments and join the discussion. It’s all in the name of being effectively human and helping each other live the best lives possible, after all.

Thanks so much for visiting, commenting and sharing my post today.

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved Photo credit: U. S. Currency, PD-US

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Creative Process and How You Can Improve Yours

by M. J. Joachim
Jack did it, and so did Ronald McDonald. Wendy even came along with square hamburgers. Before we knew it, we were plagued with fast food franchises on just about every corner, until Starbucks decided coffee was in order. All it took was a little creative thinking to change the appearance of our world.

Once we used to casually walk down Main Street. Then we began rushing in our cars from place to place, until the gas prices caught up with us, of course. A few brave people dared to face the elements again, pulling out those two wheeled contraptions known as bicycles. Others opted to try their hand at public transportation. And finally, there were those who chose to work from home.

It wasn't genius that inspired Gates to develop Microsoft into a multi-billion dollar company. Nor can credit be given solely to Obama for being elected the first black president of the United States. Opportunity and willingness to achieve greatness by thinking outside the box came into play, not just through the efforts of one mastermind, but with the participation of a team ready to challenge the norm.

Creative thinking is often an individual activity, but creative genius requires finesse. You must be willing to not only think outside the box, but act accordingly, as if your ideas are already the reality. There are risks involved, sure. What great obstacle should be avoided for fear of a few complications? You must decide your course of action, and then challenge the norm, in an effort to discover something better, by thinking outside the box. This requires gathering your troops of supporters who will help you achieve the ultimate goal.

Limiting yourself is defeat, and stifling your creative genius is never an option. You were born for this moment, whether it's to introduce square burgers or fancy coffee, influence the age in which we live, or be an actor on the world stage. Your time has come, and with the help of your supporters, you too can achieve greatness by thinking outside the box.

So how do you achieve the ultimate success in whatever you were born to do? Therein is the simplicity of the answer. You see, without your perseverance, and willingness to spend countless hours practicing the task you need to do, you will never be able to truly appreciate the creative process of your own personal genius.

Creative thinking is the beginning of something bigger. It is the seed that needs to be planted and grown. You will be able to achieve personal and financial success, just like those who started fast food restaurants, became leaders in the age of technology, and world leaders voted into office, if you take the time to practice your goals, join forces with your team, and think outside the limits of your own box.

Here’s to the creative genius in all of us!

Thanks so much for visiting, commenting and sharing this post today!

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved Photo credit: Creation of Abstract Mural, LaurMG, CCA Attribution - Share Alike 3.0 Unported License

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Colon Cancer Prevention and Screening

by M. J. Joachim

Colon cancer is a silent killer, rarely diagnosed in its early stages. Screening is important, but not as important as being aware of your own physical body. You know yourself better than any doctor, and it is up to you to persist in getting tested and treated when you have warning signs that something is wrong. Just like women who are constantly encouraged to do self breast exams to avoid getting breast cancer, you must take note of your own personal bathroom habits and seek testing and treatment when things just aren't right.

I personally avoided getting colon cancer several years ago, after a few months of testing for other things. If I hadn't been so persistent, I might have never gone through the colonoscopy that found two precancerous polyps in my large intestine. But there they were, mutating and changing, while we were looking for other causes to my pain and symptoms. At the time of their removal, the doctor noted that they looked completely benign. A few days later, I received the call that they were precancerous and I was very lucky to have found them in time.

So what is the difference between benign, precancerous, and cancerous? How does it affect your symptoms? What do you need to do to decrease your own colon cancer chances? Benign polyps are not threatening in any way. They are extra tissue that causes no real health risks or problems. Precancerous polyps are tissue that is changing and mutating into what could become cancer if not removed. Polyps containing cells that have mutated into cancer can cause a lot of problems, especially if the cells multiply and invade other parts of the body.

My symptoms were easy to ignore and deny, as is the case with most people at risk of getting colon cancer. It started out as a persistent belly ache, the kind that tells you you're hungry, but when you eat, you feel like you want to get sick. As my eating habits changed, so did my bathroom habits. This was the reason I used to explain away my irritated colon for a couple of months. Still, something wasn't quite right, and I knew I needed to get thoroughly checked out.

I went to my doctor to discuss all of my symptoms. Honestly, I thought it might be a kidney stone that couldn't pass. The tests came back negative for kidney stones, but my pain and eating discomfort persisted. More tests were given, all of which came back negative too. I continued working with my doctor, asking lots of questions, and tracking symptoms. In the process, I learned more about my physical body than I was prepared to accept, but hey, it was worth it in the long run, right?

One of the easiest ways to decrease your chances of getting colon cancer is to eat a high fiber diet. This includes lots of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. A word of caution is in order though. While bran muffins contain a lot of fiber, depending on the recipe, you may be minimizing their effect, especially if they are loaded with unnecessary fats and sugars. It is better to eat natural, raw foods as opposed to prepared, processed foods when increasing your fiber intake.

Another way to decrease colon cancer is to go for regular health screenings. Hemoccult tests are done for this purpose. It's a simple three day process in which you take a chemically treated card home and lightly paste a small bit of personal waste in tiny windows for each day. The lab then tests the card for any signs of blood or abnormalities that indicate a need for follow-up care and treatment.

The easiest way to decrease your own colon cancer chances is to know your body and seek medical attention when things just aren't right. More often than not, it will be an easy fix. On those rare occasions when it's not, you'll be better off dealing with the problem in the earliest possible stages.

I hope this article inspires you to listen to your body and take good care of yourself. Health is something we often take for granted, until something goes wrong. Here’s to staying healthy everyone. Thanks so much for visiting, commenting and sharing my posts.

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved Photo credit: National Cancer Institute, US Dept. of Health and Human Services, PD-US