Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Just one focus word for the New Year, not resolutions: Article found online and my few words at the end


Just one focus word for the New Year, not resolutions.


As the New Year approaches it’s time to reflect on the past year, celebrate achievements and give thought to the year ahead. It is the time of the year, where many people think about setting New Year resolutions which they quickly dismiss a few days or weeks later. Dismissed as little forethought went into it. Naturally, I believe in setting goals. In fact, I like to set goals in 8 areas of my life. However, I have also learnt about the power of having one focus word. And how choosing one focus word for the New Year can really help you clarify your core value.


Why choose one focus word for the year.

It was during a goal setting workshop at Kikki K that I first heard about having a focus word for the year. As a group, we were individually choosing personal core values. About 5 core values each. I remember choosing family, freedom, community, balance and achievement. There were many values to choose from and making a quick choice is not wise. It is best to choose your words and really think about them and what they mean to you.

After you have a few core values, you choose one of the words as your main focus word. This is your power word for the year.


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The power of choosing one focus word is to use the word as a lens. A word that guides you in your actions. A word that keeps you true to your overarching core value.

The benefits of just one word.

When you have one focus word you obtain clarity on decision making. You grow personally through the actions you take by having one focus.
One word helps with a vision, a direction. Whereas, New Year resolutions is more of a promise to yourself to change something. A resolution looks a the negative aspect. One word provides a lens in which to visualize the future through.
Your one focus word is the word you pass your intended actions through to decide if the action is moving your away or towards your goals.

How to choose your one word for the year.

The first step in choosing your main focus word is to identify the person you would like to become. The best way to do that is to reflect on the past year.

Step 1
How would you describe your past year? What are you proud of? If one word would describe the highlights of your year, what would it be?
What sort of changes are you looking at to make in your life throughout 2020?
Write down a few words that would sum up your year and the changes you wish to make in 2020.

Step 2
What are the characteristics of the person you wish to become? To level up what qualities does the person you need to become have?
Write down some of those qualities.

Step 3
Highlight the core values in your lists and choose one word for your year.
Get a list of core values here.

Tip: If a balanced life is what you’re after, choose a word that could apply to all areas of your life.

Keep your one word in focus.

Throughout 2020 keep you one word in mind. Write it down where you see it every day and as you take action towards your goals relate the action to the word.
Think does this one action bring me closer to my goals and am I in integrity with my core values. How do I feel when this action is seen through the lens of my power word?

In 2019 some words on reflection for me are consistent, reliable, supportive. Changes I’m looking at in 2020 are healthy changes.
For 2020 my one word is health. Health is a word I can apply to many areas of my life. In my article on work life balance, I talk about the wheel of life and balancing different spheres of life.
Healthy lifestyle, healthy finance, healthy relationships, healthy mind.
The focus words is a lens which helps guides your actions for the year.

(I have chosen one word that I will focus on in 2021 and that word is patience. I am not a patient woman but after reading Rick Warren's book, especially his chapter on patience, I feel the need to do my best to be patient. I have decided to take one event, one person and so on--separately--and do my best to be patient. I will turn to God for all three and ask for His guidance and help to be patient. I recommend that you not only read the above article but focus only on one word for the New Year, See how it goes and whatever that word is, turn to God and ask for His help. He will give that help to you because He loves you. God Bless, Toni Star )


Tuesday, December 1, 2020

The following is a wonderful article about anxiety and how to stop feeling anxious. I can only add one important thing to this article: If you have faith in a higher power--God--go to Him first and find the peace and help you need. He will give you guidance and relief from your anxiety. 

Toni Star

How to Stop Feeling Anxious Right Now

By Locke Hughes



While it’s normal to get nervous about an important event or life change, about 40 million Americans live with an anxiety disorder, which is more than the occasional worry or fear. Anxiety disorders can range from a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), which is intense worrying that you can’t control, to panic disorder -- sudden episodes of fear, along with heart palpitations, trembling, shaking, or sweating.

For those with an anxiety disorder, it’s important to look into strategies that can help manage or reduce anxiety in the long term, like talk therapy or medication. But everyone can benefit from other ways to reduce stress and anxiety with lifestyle changes such as eating a well-balanced diet, limiting alcohol and caffeine, and taking time for yourself.

Plus, there are steps you can take the moment when anxiety starts to take hold. Try these 10 expert-backed suggestions to relax your mind and help you regain control of your thoughts.

1. Stay in your time zone.

Anxiety is a future-oriented state of mind. So instead of worrying about what’s going to happen, “reel yourself back to the present,” says Tamar Chansky, Ph.D., a psychologist and author of Freeing Yourself from Anxiety. Ask yourself: What’s happening right now? Am I safe? Is there something I need to do right now? If not, make an “appointment” to check in with yourself later in the day to revisit your worries so those distant scenarios don’t throw you off track, she says.

2. Relabel what’s happening.


Heart-Pounding, Stomach-Knotting: Stress and You

fraying rope close up


The Stress Response

Your muscles tense, your heart races, and your breath comes faster -- we all know what stress feels like. The “fight or flight” response is behind it: Your hormones get your body ready to either take on a threat or run from it. If this happens too often -- say, every day during your commute -- it’s called “chronic stress,” and it can take a toll on different parts of your body and your overall health.


Positive Attitude

Stress can be a good thing in some situations -- for example, it can help you meet a tight deadline or focus better on a test or presentation. If you look at it in that light -- as friend, not foe -- your body may deal with it in a healthier way. You also may lower your stress level if you think of others more often. In one study, people who did nice things for friends and family during stressful times had fewer health issues than those who didn’t. 

Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari on 10/18/2018

Panic attacks can often make you feel like you’re dying or having a heart attack. Remind yourself: “I’m having a panic attack, but it’s harmless, it’s temporary, and there’s nothing I need to do,” Chansky says. Plus, keep in mind it really is the opposite of a sign of impending death -- your body is activating its fight-or-flight response, the system that’s going to keep you alive, she says. 

3. Fact-check your thoughts.

People with anxiety often fixate on worst-case scenarios, Chansky says. To combat these worries, think about how realistic they are. Say you’re nervous about a big presentation at work. Rather than think, “I’m going to bomb,” for example, say, “I’m nervous, but I’m prepared. Some things will go well, and some may not,” she suggests. Getting into a pattern of rethinking your fears helps train your brain to come up with a rational way to deal with your anxious thoughts.

4. Breathe in and out.

Deep breathing helps you calm down. While you may have heard about specific breathing exercises, you don’t need to worry about counting out a certain number of breaths, Chansky says. Instead just focus on evenly inhaling and exhaling. This will help slow down and re-center your mind, she says.

5. Follow the 3-3-3 rule.

Look around you and name three things you see. Then, name three sounds you hear. Finally, move three parts of your body -- your ankle, fingers, or arm. Whenever you feel your brain going 100 miles per hour, this mental trick can help center your mind, bringing you back to the present moment, Chansky says.

6. Just do something.

Stand up, take a walk, throw away a piece of trash from your desk -- any action that interrupts your train of thought helps you regain a sense of control, Chansky suggests. 

7. Stand up straight.

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3 Ways to Cut Stress

3 easy things you can do to help cut out stress.


“When we are anxious, we protect our upper body -- where our heart and lungs are located -- by hunching over,” Chansky says. For an immediate physical antidote to this natural reaction, pull your shoulders back, stand or sit with your feet apart, and open your chest. This helps your body start to sense that it’s back in control, she says. 

8. Stay away from sugar.

It may be tempting to reach for something sweet when you’re stressed, but that chocolate bar can do more harm than good, as research shows that eating too much sugar can worsen anxious feelings. Instead of reaching into the candy bowl, drink a glass of water or eat protein, Chansky says, which will provide a slow energy your body can use to recover. 

9. Ask for a second opinion.

Call or text a friend or family member and run through your worries with them, Chansky says. “Saying them aloud to someone else can help you see them clearly for what they are.” It can also help to write your fears on paper. 

10. Watch a funny video.

This final tactic may be the easiest one yet: Cue up clips of your favorite comedian or funny TV show. Laughing is a good prescription for an anxious mind, Chansky says. Research shows that laughter has lots of benefits for our mental health and well-being; one study found that humor could help lower anxiety as much as (or even more than) exercise can. 


Saturday, October 31, 2020

Thanksgiving at Grandma's by Toni Star


Thanksgiving at Grandma’s by Toni Star

November, then and now, signals just one thing to me, Thanksgiving at Grandma’s.  Thanksgiving at her house was paradise!  The atmosphere of food, laughter and love was wonderful and unforgettable. 

Thanksgiving morning at our house was busy.  Mom would prepare a salad or pie; we kids would dress up in our good clothes and then go outside to play. We had to be careful not to get dirty.  Good clothes in our family didn’t come easy.  We weren’t poor but we were very frugal with money and food.  Meanwhile, Dad stayed busy in the garage checking out the old Chevy.  He’d check the oil, water and the battery and then give the tires a kick, for readiness. 

Often, I would go into the garage from time to time to see how he was doing.  Often, he found things for me to do-such as checking the oil and water and inspecting the car battery to see if was clean and water filled to the proper level. I always felt important helping Dad, especially on holidays, when there was much to do. 

Later, around 12 we all piled into the Chevy, eager for Thanksgiving dinner. We would arrive at Grandma’s, all dressed up, gifts in hand, with offerings of a waldorf salad and pie. As we walked through her door the aroma of turkey and onions would fill our senses with the joy of delicious food to come.  That first whiff of turkey and steamed vegetables was delicious!  We walked through the house into her kitchen and put our donations of food and small gifts, (often a bottle of Rum) onto the kitchen table, kiss Grandma and then go into the living room where we would sit and talk.  Later, Mom and I would return to the kitchen and help Grandma with the meal. 

It was my job to help Grandma prepare the dressing, with ingredients of butter, celery, bread, milk, and onion, then help with the progress of the turkey.  Mom would put her donations of food into the already crammed refrigerator and then prepare green beans or another salad for dinner. Inside the oven the turkey was roasting, and occasionally Grandma would let me use her large ladling spoon to baste the turkey.    Later, Grandma and I would finish preparing a pie—often apple or cherry.  I would round out the crust while she prepared the filling.  After that was done, we’d check on the vegetables and then I would set the table.   

I loved that job because she had beautiful crystal and China, with delicate pink and blue patterns on the dishes and matching pink crystal for glasses. She also had beautiful silverware that was kept in a special drawer in the living room.  I would carefully remove the dinnerware from the old ornate cabinet in the dining room and tenderly place each piece in the proper setting.  I loved how it all sparkled on the table.

The meal of Turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes; real green beans, cranberries and pie filled us up till we could eat no more.  We would all sit at the large table, enjoy her traditional Thanksgiving meal and talk about the latest “Uncle Millie” or “Jackie Gleason” shows.  We all loved those shows and each of us tried to “out do” each other, with our imitations of “Uncle Miltie” or “Jackie Gleason.” The adults would later have wine or brandy and we kids would go out and play in the small backyard.  Sometimes I would deliver food Grandma prepared for an old lady across the street.  The old lady lived alone and was often too ill to prepare food for herself.  I loved doing this for Grandma, and the old lady was always happy to receive it. I took pride running this errand because I helped Grandma prepare much of the meal.

Today, I continue Grandma’s Thanksgiving tradition; however, because my husband and I have different nutrition needs, we prepare ham with mashed potatoes and corn and pumpkin pie for desert. You see, even though Grandma’s gone, her traditions live on in a woman from the 50’s.

Happy Thanksgiving and a very Merry Christmas!


Toni Star

Copyright Toni Star 2010

Thursday, October 1, 2020

What I have learned from the Covid virus by Toni Star

I  feel certain that what I am about to say about the Covid virus, many would agree with. First, it has been a trail, tribulation and a challenge! I don't think anyone could deny this. It has shaken people and countries like nothing current generations have seen or gone through before. Each day seems to bring more challenges but many are facing and overcoming these challenges. Certainly, it has caused harm, death and destruction; however, if one can face the awful truth, there can be some nuggets good to be found.

I may be very wrong but in my opinion, some good has been, and continues, to come out of all this. Think for a moment. Look at families; many are getting closer than ever before. There is more emphasis on families pulling together than I and others have seen in a long time. More people are staying home and preparing meals--of course, this is necessary because the restaurants and some fast food places are just not ready for prime time yet.

Movie theaters are only working minimally now and that has also forced many families to watch what is on TV and their DVDs. Look at the money most of us are saving on eating out, shopping and going to the movies! Sure I miss these outgoings and you probably do, too, but we are saving money and keeping safe from this dreaded virus.

Also, many are exercising more at home or taking walks with the family or their pets. This is good, physically, as well as emotionally.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of all is getting closer to God and Jesus and getting closer to God and Jesus helps us to see what is really important in life. What is so wonderful about God and Jesus is that God and Jesus are always with us, as well as the Holy Spirit! All we have to do to get in contact with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, is to pray and give thanks!

So, when we feel down and tired of this virus--and we all do--think of the wonderful benefits that this virus brought in and you will feel uplifted, positive and happy. For as Christians, we can say--"We belong to Jesus, for He cares for us!"

Copyright Toni Star 2020

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Don't wait too long! Prepare for fall now! by Toni Star

In just a few weeks fall will begin. Yes, I know. It is still quite warm. Nothing to worry about. Or, is it?

Even though it is sunny and warm, cooler weather is already beginning in some states. In Ohio, the 70s are appearing and that means that soon, summer will be gone. So, what should you and I do to prepare for the upcoming cooler weather? The following is a brief list of what we all should do in the coming weeks:

1. Get rid of anything that is not needed--clothes, blankets, shoes and such. Give them to the Goodwill or S. Army or to someone who could really use these items.

2. Have your furnace, hot water heater and dryer vent checked. Also, if you have a fireplace, clean it out or have someone do it for you. If the fireplace is heated by gas, then call the furnace company and have them come out and do some maintenance on it. This will give you peace of mind and it will be operating at a good and safe pace.

3. Downsize furniture, if needed and purchase furniture that will make your life and living quarters, easier and more comfortable.

4. Clean your carpet and area rugs.

5. Cover your windows with plastic.

6. Check your windows and doors to see if they are in good shape; check to see if any weathering is needed.

7. Wash blankets and prepare them for fall use.

8. Clean up your backyard and/or patio. Put away outdoor furniture; clean the furniture before putting it away.

9. Check the maintenance on your car; prepare it for fall.

10. Make sure that you have the necessary cleaning supplies for the upcoming months; check to see if you have all the groceries you require for the weeks ahead. (This is especially needed, knowing that the Covid virus is still in progress and you will need extra food and cleaning supplies.)

So, don't be left behind. Get ready for fall and have a great fall!

Copyright Toni Star September 2020

Friday, July 31, 2020

When times are tough, run to God! by Toni Star

Like millions of people, my husband and I are going through this worldwide virus deal and we are so tired of it! The cleaning, disinfecting, the not being able to go anywhere for fear of picking of the virus--well, it is just plain tiring and has turned our lifestyle and millions of others--upside down. In fact, my husband, two days ago, picked up the virus. We were in several stores days ago, came home, cleaned everything down, showered and then washed clothes; but still he came down with it.

He is doing better now but we are being very vigilant about his care. For months, we have been extremely careful and for months, nothing happened. But, the virus got him several days ago. He is feeling much better but from now on, we will be even more vigilant when we go out and come home. For several days, we have struggled and I have been depressed and worried but then I thought, "What am I doing to myself and my husband?"

Worry doesn't get you anywhere but running to God is the answer! He will provide for your every need, no matter how down and out you feel. Remember His words-- And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:20).

Jesus is always with us. Read these words, Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.” – Psalm 139:7-8"


Jesus is always with you and me. He is as close as your next breath.

Toni Star August 2020

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Hello Everyone,

Below is a wonderful piece--divided into sections--that will help you find peace with Jesus. I hope they help you as they have helped me. The only real peace we will have on this earth is with Jesus, so
turn to Him because He will truly give you the peace you want and need. Again, don't let this virus get you down. Yes, it is an intrusion to our lives but one day it will be gone and our lives will resume, hopefully, in normal ways.

Don't give up, take one day at a time and know this--that God is always with you--no matter where yo go or what you go through. Remember, trust, love and obey God. He will show you through because He is our loving Father. We need not fear a virus, or any other problem on earth. So for now, here is the piece. Read it, digest it and let the words flow through your heart and brain.

God Bless,


No matter what challenges you face, you can find peace of mind and heart with the Bible’s life-giving words.
1. When you face a problem, refuse to think thoughts of failure.
God can’t help you unless you trust him to help. Turn your thoughts from the problem to the God with whom all things are possible. Trust him to guide you to his wise, loving solution. “For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you” (Isaiah 41:13).
2. Put your problems in perspective.
Things are seldom as big or scary as they seem. Patience and perseverance can make your problems manageable. Prayer is vital, too. After you pray and wait, often it becomes clear what you can do to solve a problem. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7).
3. Live one day at a time.
Jesus said, “Do not worry about tomorrow” (Matthew 6:34). Our Lord told us to pray about our needs one day at a time: “Give us today our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). When we leave the past behind and entrust the future to God, life can be filled joy.
4. Never forget the Lord’s desire to give you his blessing and peace.
“Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).
5. Celebrate what you can be thankful for.
One of the vital principles of a peaceful, happy life is thankfulness. God asks us to give thanks always for everything (Ephesians 5:20). “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts…And be thankful” (Colossians 3:15).
6. Instead of asking, “Why?” or, “Why me?” ask what God wants you to do about the situation.
Every disaster is an opportunity to let Christ work through you to demonstrate his love and power. “Be an example…in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).
7. Trust God for what you can’t understand.
Man’s inhumanity to man can be overwhelming, difficult to accept much less understand. How can such cruelty exist in a world created by a loving God? But wars and natural disasters are nothing new. They have been around for as long as man has. We are imperfect creatures living in a world where sin and evil have been set free. But God is still in control! Despite the tempest that may rage around you, Jesus promises, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).

Just one focus word for the New Year, not resolutions: Article found online and my few words at the end

  Just one focus word for the New Year, not resolutions. HABITS & GOALS ·  LIFE GOALS As the New Year approaches it’s time to reflec...