Ideas for peaceful family holidays


We imagine the perfect Christmas with softly falling snow, happy children laughing, relatives involved in meaningful conversation. And then it devolves into chaos… Ideas for peaceful family holidays to help that “perfect” Christmas be a little more attainable. I had the blessing and honor to visit on Cynthia L. Simmons radio show, Heart of the Matter, in preparation for the coming Christmas and New Year’s celebrations. Listen and enjoy first my interview and then my fellow CAN (Christian Authors Network) member, Linda Rondeau, as we chat with Cynthia about ideas for peaceful family holidays.


EP — 15 Boundaries: The Secret of Being Proactive versus Reactive


Boundaries: The Secret of Being Proactive versus Reactive

Chief, a smart horse

Meet Chief, one smart horse! Lovable, unless he doesn’t want to be ridden!

Appreciation Moments:

Thank you to @KandiMontana for retweeting #GraceUnderPressure

Carrie Fancett Pagels who reviewed 2 of my books, A Healing Heart (Audible version) and The Debutante Queen (Kindle version). Her reviews are on Overcoming with God along with a book give-away this week (Nov. 10, 2015). Visit the interview article on Overcoming with God for the opportunity to win a free book.

Also thank you to Noela Nancarrow, Jennifer Hudson Taylor, Diana Flowers, Teresa Mathews, Caryl Kane, Tina St. Clair Rice, Bonnie Roof, Mary Preston, Just Commonly, Tammy Cordery, and Kay M. for participating and promoting both my books and the Grace Under Pressure Radio show in blogging, twitter, and social media with me this week!!

Let’s get into the show notes…

“The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.” Proverbs 21: 5, NIV

  • The gemstone, zircon, can be used to compare emotions to nuclear activity. It’s used inside nuclear reactors because it can handle the extreme heat and melt platinum.
  • Our emotions are meant to be managed and controlled by us, not become a nuclear explosion.
  • In the animal kingdom, learning to ride a horse (rather than be thrown from it) takes intentional focus. We pay attention to his behavior, tension, and patterns of behavior. By learning these things, we’re proactive in managing how the ride will go.
  • In difficult and highly emotional moments, there are often patterns. Ask:
  1. What do I know?
  2. How do I find out what I don’t know?
  3. How will I act in the future on that knowledge?
  • When we’re out of touch with emotions, we can either feel dead inside or the opposite, catastrophic. Uncontrolled emotion is destructive.
  • Emotions are volatile entities that must be carefully managed. Pure emotion doesn’t have to mean a nuclear meltdown.
  • Pay attention to your body’s signals when your frustration, anger, and emotion begins to rise. What’s happening inside you? What do you recognize? Is your heart racing or your face turning red or your jaw clenching? Write down what is happening to you so you can be aware when emotion is taking control.
  • Now write down your life goals. How does uncontrolled emotion sabotage your ability to get those goals?
  • Choose one thing to work on and write it down.
  • One decision at a time turns your life around while too many can cause a meltdown.
  • Give yourself mercy and grace to mess up as you practice the new habit.
  • Role play and discuss better ways to manage your responses with safe people like friends, counselors, safe groups.
  • God gave you a dream. Don’t let out of control emotions or someone manipulating your emotions and behaviors take those dreams away from you.
  • Change your responses to those who intentionally hit your hot buttons so you control your behavior instead of someone else.

One version of the Power and Control Wheel. There are now many for the various types of abuse you might face to help you find the cycles to break.

**The YWCA Power and Control Wheel is helpful to see cycles you might not be aware of. Once you see the cycle, now you can begin learning how to stop it by learning different responses and choices.


EP 14 — Boundaries: Shining Inside

Common opal

Common opal

Boundaries: Shining Inside

Episode 14 — Opalescence

  • Great appreciation for John Vonhof for leaving a 5-star rating and review on iTunes that says, “Our fast paced world pulls in many directions, whether in our jobs, home life, or relationships. Pressure is constant. Work hard, produce, and deliver. Then do it all over again tomorrow. Grace Under Pressure offers a ray of sunshine to help us stay focused on the truly important things in life. Angela shares from her heart and the result is positive. I encourage you to listen and be encouraged.” Thank you, John!
  • And thank you Melissa M. for retweeting from your account @Melissa_Author #GraceUnderPressure doesn’t mean perfection when you’re insulted. It means to keep trying to be gracious in difficult situations. Thank you, Melissa M!
  • Very appreciative of both @candacehancoc10 and @MargaretBrownly for retweeting #GraceUnderPressure Sometimes the climb goes on & on but the effort strengthens us for the success to come. Thank you Candace and Margaret!

    Zion natural stairs

    Sometimes it’s a tough, uphill climb but the experience is worth it.

Opalescence, based on chapter 3 from Gems of Wisdom: For a Treasure-filled Life. This book is being reissued (later this year) and updated to become Gems of Wisdom: The Treasure of Experience.

Proverbs 17: 17 (NIV) “A friend loves at all times, but a brother was born for adversity.”

  • There’s a difference between owning someone else’s problems and owning my own problems/issues.
  • Boundaries get crossed when others step on our toes or cross into their issues and take them. We steal their potential growth.
  • We can ask for help, but others shouldn’t step in all the time.
  • The opal story: An opal is ancient gel with a lot of water content. My prize possession, an opal ring shattered in extreme cold. Opals have 2-6% water content. The lower the content, the more stable it is. On the surface, it doesn’t show the full content inside. Realize we can’t see inside another person, nor can they fully see what’s inside of us.
  • The mural bench story: An artist broke a lot of beautiful pieces to create a mural on a bench. She used opal mortar to glue the pieces in place. When she was done, she’d created a beautiful bench that drew others to a beautiful resting place.
    • The pieces shattered inside of me and you can become shining experiences can make a difference for others from what we’ve survived.
    • Is it possible that the shattered pieces might be a safe resting place for someone else?
  • The rattlesnake story: How close to someone else’s troubles should you get?
  • When people cross your boundaries, are you willing to live that way? For how long?
  • If not, it’s time to start changing your role.
  • Usually, an about-face is too drastic. Change one degree at a time.
  • Stop owning shame that belongs to another. We may help those we love, be we aren’t defined by the problem.
  • Allow the hurts and difficulties to shimmer from within you as gems of wisdom. Experience that can benefit you and others with the knowledge you’ve gained.
  • The opal is a beautiful gemstone has a lot of rich colors that capture attention. The less water content in an opal makes it more stable. How would it feel to empathize emotionally, but not own someone else’s problems?
  • Ownership is a sneaky pirate.
  • Definition: Empathy — The ability to understand another person’s feelings or abilities.
  • Definition: Ownership — Possessing something.
  • The people you love have their own struggles to fight. They don’t belong to you.
  • Think about it this way: Even if those personal issues were served on a silver platter, they belong to the other person unless you steal it.
  • Practice: Picture an antique silver platter. Put each item back down. Someone else’s worries, fears, financial stress, unkind words, defensiveness, someone else’s opinion of you, unfounded accusations, …what else lingers?
  • Ask yourself: Is it really mine?
  • Let it all go and give it back to the person it belongs to. Visualize the tray back in the hands of the rightful owner.
  • Just as you don’t steal property from someone else, you don’t steal personal issues either. That’s called boundaries. You can offer to help, but you can’t do the living for them.
  • Ownership is not the same thing as empathy.
  • Because you understand what needs to be done doesn’t mean you should be the one to do it.
  • Be compassionate without internalizing (stuffing your pockets with someone else’s stolen treasures.
  • How else does that other person have the opportunity to learn?
  • Begin practicing the gem of wisdom, empathy with boundaries.
  • Empathy without stealing the blessings other people need to learn from the experience they get in difficult circumstances. God may need that person to learn and grow so He can use them to touch a life you’ll never be able to reach.
  • If you steal the opportunity for that other person to gain confidence and courage by going through the difficulty, how will they learn and know what God has called them to do? Don’t steal their blessings.
  • A friend can empathize and encourage, but don’t jump over the line too quickly because you may be the reason they stumble.

Would you like to read more about Gems of Wisdom? 

Gems of Wisdom: For a treasure-filled life. (paperback book)

Gems of Wisdom: For a treasure-filled life. (paperback book)

Did you miss an episode or series you’d like to hear?

Confidence (What’s the difference between confidence and courage?)

Courage (Facing Our Fears…)

Candor (How to speak the truth in love)