Happy Holidays from Amandah Tayler Blackwell at MisticCafe!

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays from Amandah Tayler Blackwell, MisticCafe.

Happy Holidays from Amandah Tayler Blackwell, MisticCafe.

I’d like to thank everyone who visits MisticCafe.com and comments on the blog posts and shares them.

Writing is my passion. I’m excited about upcoming self help book projects and look forward to developing even more projects in the future.

I wish you and yours a blessed and prosperous holiday season. May your days glitter with gold, love, and light. Let’s make 2013 a happy and healthy year!

See you in 2013!

All my best,
Amandah

How to Avoid the Stress of Facebook

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

If you’re on Facebook, you may or may not have encountered critics and instigators. These are people who lurk within the shadows, watching your every move on Facebook. They wait until you speak your mind or post a link they don’t like and Bam! They pounce on you as if you were their prey. The best way to get rid of social media stress is to ignore critics and instigators on Facebook. Don’t engage in the conversation and they’ll eventually go away.

Tip: Be careful who ‘friend’ on Facebook. Some people mask or hide their true nature. Be discerning with all of your relationships.

Healthy debates and engagements with people are acceptable. However, when the conversation gets heated and the ‘claws’ come out isn’t productive. Most people who criticize others can’t see another person’s POV and have no desire to. They expect everyone to ‘roll’ over and concede. Let’s face it; someone like this isn’t someone you want to be around. The tension isn’t worth it.

How to Avoid the Stress of Facebook

1. Be careful who you friend.

2. Don’t engage in heated discussions because it will cause you more stress.

3. Hone your intuition and really ‘tune-in’ to people. See the masks they wear (everyone wears one at one point or another) and ask yourself, “Is this ‘friend’ for my highest good or better?” Trust your instincts.

4. Stop spending a lot of time on Facebook. Facebook can be used for constructive purposes like meeting with like-minded people within groups or conversing with other ‘fans’ on fan pages, it can be a time waster. Don’t allow a sunny day to escape you. Get outside and go to the park or hike a mountain. Life’s too short to spend in it indoors.

5. Use Facebook a tool to meet like-minded people but don’t limit your meeting people to Facebook. Attend networking and other social events where you meet people live and in-person. Also, schedule your time on Facebook. Perhaps the groups you’re in can ‘schedule’ a meeting time to have a discussion on a particular topic. This will cut down on the amount of time you spend on Facebook. You may go through ‘withdrawal’ but it will be worth it in the end.

Facebook can be a blessing or a curse — it’s up to you. Keep your Facebook personal page neat and clean and be careful who you’re friends with; ignore critics and instigators. It’s up to you to pick the battles in life you want to participate in. The way to avoid battles on Facebook is to be careful with who you ‘friend’ and cull the Facebook ‘friend’ herd now and again.

Rebecca

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How Pets Can Heal You

tabby cat

Image via Wikipedia

My Fellow Students of Life,

I love animals! I grew up with dogs, rabbits, fish, and birds. I never had cats until my adult life. I adopted my black and white cat Benny from Mixed Up Mutts who partners with PetSmart. I adopted my tabby cat CeCe from The Arizona Humane Society. They are a joy to have in my life. More importantly, they’re a good way for me to get and stay grounded. If I’m having an ‘off’ day, I’ll pet one of my cats and immediately shift my energy. The focus is off of me and my issues and onto my cats. Before you know it, my troubles melt away and they aren’t important anymore.

Animals are such agreeable friends – they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms. ~George Eliot

An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language. ~Martin Buber

Animals have these advantages over man: they never hear the clock strike, they die without any idea of death, they have no theologians to instruct them, their last moments are not disturbed by unwelcome and unpleasant ceremonies, their funerals cost them nothing, and no one starts lawsuits over their wills. ~Voltaire, letter to Count Schomberg, 31 August 1769

It often happens that a man is more humanely related to a cat or dog than to any human being. ~Henry David Thoreau

If you’d like to get a pet, consider adopting an animal from your local animal shelter. They usually hold special events to promote the adoption of animals from shelters — some accept donations in lieu of an adoption fee. It’s a win-win situation! All shelter animals deserve loving, forever homes. Adopt one today and watch how your new friend will add joy to your life. Adopting a pet can be a life saver in more ways than one.

Rebecca

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The Art of Saying and Meaning No

Yes... and No

Image by Timothy Valentine - ferris bueller for a day via Flickr

Question: How can I say “No” and mean it? I often say “Yes” when I want to say “No.” I’m sure my childhood has something to do with this. I could never speak up and say what I really felt. I always had to do stuff out of duty and obligation. It sucked!

Answer: The good news is you’re an adult and can say “No” and mean it. If the people in your life get mad or upset with you it’s their issue, not yours. To quote my law professor, “Too bad, so sad” which means it’s not your problem.

Many people say “Yes” when they want to say “No.” They say ‘Yes’ out of duty, obligation, or a sense of responsibility. Meanwhile they mumble under their breath as they bake cookies, cook a meal, drive a family member somewhere because they never learned how to drive, or whatever it is they agreed to do. Don’t be one of these people! You have every right to say “No” and mean it. The key is to be nice about it. There’s no reason to get snippy.

How to Say “No” and Mean It

1. Be polite. Remain calm and simply say “No, I can’t help this time.”

2. Don’t give an elaborate explanation. There’s no reason give a lengthy explanation as to ‘why’ you can’t help. If you’re busy or will be out-of-town, mention it. You could also say, “I’m overextended right now.” Otherwise, just say “No.”

3. Accept that people be mad or upset with you. You may have to push through your people-pleasing tendencies and get over it. You can’t and won’t please everyone all of the time. You must be willing to accept this and be alright with it. It’s not your job to keep people happy; it’s their job. If you can accept that saying “No” may tick-off family, friends, PTA members, co-workers, bosses, etc. you’ll have grasped the art of saying and meaning “no.”

Whenever you’re asked to do something, don’t do it because you feel you ‘have’ to. Simply say, “I’d love to help, but I can’t.” You don’t have to go into a lengthy explanation. Of course, if you’re going on vacation or will be out-of-town, you could mention it. Please don’t lie and say you’ll be out-of-town, when in fact, you won’t be. Lying is draining and unnecessary. Chances are you will get caught.

Rebecca

7 Ways Hoarding Buries You Alive

Peter Pack Rat

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Are you a pack-rat? What about a hoarder? Does your heart race when you see people throw out newspapers, magazines, or old furniture?  Do you have material items from the 1980s or 1960s? Have you sold your house but still haven’t completely moved out? If any of this sounds like you, hoarding could bury you alive.

Hoarding is serious and shouldn’t be taken lightly. People have issues with hoarding for many reasons. For example, those who grew up during the depression tend to be hoarders and or pack rats. They hold onto to material items and stuff refrigerators, freezers, and pantries with food because they fear not having enough. There is truly enough.

On a personal note, my father (deceased) and a few of my ‘older’ relatives are/were pack rats. They can’t and won’t throw anything out such as string, nails, dishes, old newspapers, containers, etc. because they believe something could be used at a later date. My father would leave his birthday and Christmas gifts in the box with the wrapping paper still on it; the tissue paper still in the box. He believed the wrapping and tissue paper could be reused, even though my mom would buy new wrapping paper every year (sales). My mom eventually stopped by new wrapping paper.

7 Ways Hoarding Buries You Alive

1. Strains family and other relationships.

2. No one wants to come over to see you; you become isolated.

3. Your home begins to smell from rotten food and or animal feces — it becomes unsanitary and unsafe.

4. If you hoard animals, you do them more harm than good. Animal control will remove the animals. Some of them will be euthanized; others will be placed in foster homes to be nursed back to health. Healthy animals go up for adoption straightaway. It’s not fair to the helpless animals.

5. You feel you need to acquire more and keep accumulating stuff.

6. You become angry and bitter because the people who love you want to help — they want you to change. But you can’t admit you have a problem; therefore, don’t want to change.

7. You’re setting your children and or grandchildren up for a life of hoarding. Remember, children learn from the actions and words of the adults in their lives. They could grow up to ‘mimic’ your hoarding habits. Do you really want that life for them? How would it benefit them? How would they live a happy, healthy life as a hoarder?

If you or someone you know suffers from hoarding, please get help. There’s no shame in hoarding — all of us have had to face something in our lives. Admitting you need help is the first step. If the people who love you want and offer help, take it. You’re very lucky to have people who love and care about you. They want you to live a happy, fulfilled life — you deserve to live a happy, fulfilled life.

Rebecca

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What’s the Real Meaning of Family?

The Family

Image via Wikipedia

On June 28, 2011, I received this Message from God, “On this day of your life, Rebecca, we believe God wants you to know … that family is not a name for a group of people, but the quality of relationships between them. Relationships grounded in mutual love, trust, caring and forgiveness. In all the ups and all the downs of life. Look closely, – who is really your family, and who in truth are just strangers in for the ride? ” Amen! You can find the ‘Message from God’ app on Facebook. A few minutes before I read this message, I commented on a blog post about Choice. I wrote, “I now ‘choose’ to do what I want when I want. I’m no longer bound by ‘family’ duty and obligation. I say “no” and mean it; I say “yes” and mean it.” Coincidence, I think not.

As a society, we get caught up in the definition of family. According the Merriam Webster, family has the following definitions:

1. a group of individuals living under one roof and usually under one head : household

2 a. a group of persons of common ancestry : clan
2 b. a people or group of peoples regarded as deriving from a common stock : race

3 a. a group of people united by certain convictions or a common affiliation : fellowship
3 b. the staff of a high official (as the President)

4. a group of things related by common characteristics: as
4 a. a closely related series of elements or chemical compounds
4 b. a group of soils with similar chemical and physical properties (as texture, pH, and mineral content) that comprise a category ranking above the series and below the subgroup in soil classification.
4 c. a group of related languages descended from a single ancestral language

5 a. the basic unit in society traditionally consisting of two parents rearing their children; also : any of various social units differing from but regarded as equivalent to the traditional family
5 b. spouse and children <want to spend more time with my family>

Who has the right to tell any of us what the meaning of family is? I often think about children in foster care, where is there family? What about gays, lesbians, and transgender who are disowned by their ‘family’ because they just want to be who they are? For me, I no longer buy into the ‘traditional’ meaning of family. Most people would agree their family members are a piece of work. This is why people move out-of-state or visit family during the holidays. They don’t like to be around them or their drama-rama.

Relationships grounded in mutual love, trust, caring and forgiveness. In all the ups and all the downs of life. Look closely, – who is really your family, and who in truth are just strangers in for the ride?

You get to choose who you want in your family, and this doesn’t necessarily mean blood ties. Some of your ‘blood relations’ may be toxic to you. Do you really want to be around people who always complain and whine about their life? What about people who are energy vampires? Being around toxic people is not healthy for your mind, body, and soul.

The next time you feel guilty about forgoing family functions, stop and think if your ‘family’ is really your family. If you had a choice, would you hand pick these people to be in your life? Are your family relationships built on love, honesty, integrity, trust, forgiveness, and understanding? Or, are they built on duty, guilt, people pleasing, and obligation? Think about it. You’re no longer a child and don’t have to listen to your parents. You can choose who you want to be in your family, and who’s a long for the ride.

Rebecca

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How do You Get Self-Worth – Part 1

Love yourself.

Image by ElenahNeshcuet via Flickr

This is Part 1 of How do You Get Self-Worth?

During Finding Sarah on OWN, Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, spoke with financial guru Suze Orman. Sarah’s finances are in disarray but Suze concluded that money isn’t the issue — self-worth is the issue. The Duchess of York asked, “How do you get self-worth?” Suze replied, “It isn’t just one thing. You need to figure it out for yourself.” This can be easier said than done.

What is self-worth? According to Dictionary.com, the definition of self-worth is “the sense of one’s own value or worth as a person; self-esteem; self-respect; respect for or a favourable opinion of oneself.” What does this mean? It means you see yourself as successful and  competent. You’re a responsible adult who can handle life no matter what happens.

Unfortunately, self-worth is usually formed by the people closest to us like parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles, friends, teachers, bosses, etc. Sometimes these people aren’t the best at shaping self-worth because they’re unhappy. Life events like divorce or death of a parent can temporarily shape your self-worth. The good news is you have the power to define your self-worth.

How to get self-worth?

1. Identify characteristics of self-worth that resonate with you. Your characteristics could be learning to accept yourself no matter what. You could begin not to care what people think of you. Dr. Wayne Dyer often says, “What other people think of me is none of my business.” Your characteristics of self-worth won’t be the same as someone else. Don’t compare what you think about self-worth to another person.

2. Identify your talents. What are you good at? Make a list of your talents and review them. You’re probably more talented than you think.

3. Celebrate your accomplishments. How often do you congratulate yourself? If you’re like most people, you probably don’t celebrate your accomplishments. It’s time to ‘pat yourself on the back’ and acknowledge that you did a good job.

4. Write down every negative word spoken over or to you. This may be painful, but it’s a necessary step to regaining self-worth. You probably stuffed down your emotions when someone called you “stupid” or said, “You won’t amount to anything; you must work hard for money.” Bring all of your emotions to the surface and get them out. Evaluate your list and ask yourself, “How true are/were these words?” Remember, parents usually raise children based on how they were raised. If they were raised in an abusive, dysfunctional family, chances are their children will be raised in the same environment. It’s a vicious cycle that you can break.

5. Forgive. This isn’t easy for most people; they’d prefer to throttle the people who hurt them. If the people who hurt you are no longer here (physically speaking), write them a letter and burn it. Remember, forgiveness isn’t about condoning what someone did to you. It’s about releasing the stuck emotions and energy so you can move forward in life.

6. Reevaluate your relationships. Is it helpful to be around people who belittle you? Is it helpful to be around people who don’t support you? Like it or not, your family may not be the best for you. Cutting ties with them is up to you; however, it’s in your best interest to limit the amount of time you spend with them. There’s no reason to allow negativity into your life which can wreak havoc on your mind, body, and soul. Don’t commune with people who don’t support or love you.

7. Take responsibility for your life. Acknowledge that you alone are responsible for your life. Live your life the way you want to and allow no one to tell you what to do.

Rebecca

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Want a Free Therapy Session? Watch Finding Sarah on OWN

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 06:  A general view of ...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

I’ve always had a fascination with the British Monarchy. Who knows? Maybe I had many past lives in Britain. I watched the premiere episode of Finding Sarah on June 12 on OWN and couldn’t help but feel compassion for the Duchess of York. Sometimes you think you have problems but then someone else has it much worse than you. Sometimes you think it must be ‘you’ then you find out someone else experienced the same thing as you. It can be comforting to know you’re not alone.

I empathized and sympathized with the Duchess of York on many levels. When she told Dr. Phil how her mother died (I was shocked) he said to her, “You sounded like you were ordering lunch.” How do you want her to feel? I thought. It sounded to me her mother wouldn’t have won Mother of the Year. She left 12-year-old Sarah for a polo player and hit her when she didn’t use the potty. She also told her, “I’ll beat the devil out of you.” This is according to Sarah’s recollection of her childhood. Her sister may have a different story.

When Sarah mentioned how her mom died it brought me back to my father’s death in 2004. I was shocked he died at 65; I thought he’d live forever. I couldn’t help but feel freedom and numb at the same time. Sorry, but that’s how I felt about my controlling, abusive, and alcoholic father. Why would I miss him? It’s not like he’d win Father of the Year. At the time of his death, I didn’t realize how my childhood shaped my adult life. After four years of getting to the ‘root of who I am (still doing this), I realize he did the best he could based on how he was raised. Do I forgive him and my paternal grandparents? I do and release them to wherever they are in the cosmos.

Sarah also spoke with financial guru Suze Orman about her financial affairs. Suze concluded that Sarah doesn’t have a problem with money. Her issue is with self-worth; it correlates to Sarah’s finances. I related to this too. I was raised to believe that you must work hard for your money. I was raised to believe you couldn’t do what you love and earn a living from it. I was raised to believe that “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.” Thank God I woke up in 2007! I now know this belief system and thinking is backwards and doesn’t agree with me. I’m forging ahead in my life to the beat of my own drum. What was spoken over me as a child has been tossed out like yesterday’s garbage.

I enjoyed watching Finding Sarah; it wasn’t a wasted hour for me. There’s something about the Duchess of York. She seems child-like — a free spirit. Hopefully, she realizes how great she is and can move past her childhood and early adulthood. It is obvious Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie love their mother very much and will defend her to the end. Let’s face it, if Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, was a bad mother as the press makes her out to be, do you think her daughters would stand by her side? I don’t think so.

If you’re still holding onto your childhood, find some way to let it go. It’s not worth it to keep reliving your childhood in your head. It’s not worth it to keep playing an ‘old’ recording of negative thoughts and words that were spoken over or about you. If you continue to do this, you’ll stay stuck in life. Before you know it, life will have passed you by. Learn to forgive others, especially your parents. They did the best they could and didn’t know any better because no one showed them a better way to be parents. Perhaps they didn’t realize the impact of their words. Let it go and get on with your life.

Rebecca

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My Review of WEN Hair Care Created by Chaz Dean

Hair Before Using WEN by Chaz Dean

This review is based on my experience with WEN Hair Care by Chaz Dean. I was not paid to write this review.

I started using WEN on April 7, 2011 and can’t believe the change in my hair. As you can see my hair before using WEN Sweet Almond Mint Cleansing Conditioner (original scent) looked like crap! Now my hair is thicker, fuller, and shinier; it’s more manageable, and my ends have healed. The bonus is my natural wave came back. I haven’t seen my natural wave since I was a little girl! Perhaps you tried WEN and didn’t like the product for a number of reasons. Please note: I wasn’t with you when (no pun intended) you used the product.

Even when I spend a lot of money at the hair salon, my hair never looks super healthy. Sure it looks all right, but it could be shinier, thicker, and fuller. I’ve used high and low end moisturizing shampoos and conditioners; mostly high end than low end. I’ve also used a leave-in heat protector and a soy based detangler along with styling products. Ironically, the detangler didn’t detangle my hair, and the heat protector didn’t do anything for my hair. My hair would break off, and I would look at my brush and sigh. I was getting sick and tired of spending a ton of money on hair products that weren’t helping my hair. After three years, I took the plunge and ordered WEN from QVC. Why did it take me so long? Like you, I read reviews and was skeptical. The only way I’d know if WEN really worked was if I bought and tried it. Thank God I did! I’m totally grateful that my hair looks and feels good.

Hair After Using WEN by Chaz Dean

How to use WEN

1. Please read all instructions before using WEN. The process is as follows, 1) Wet hair; 2) Use the specified number of pumps for your hair length or what you believe is necessary; 3) Massage WEN into your hair and leave on 3-5 minutes (no different from conditioning your hair); 4) Thoroughly rinse your hair; and 5) Squeeze the excess water from your hair and apply WEN to your wet hair. Wrap your hair in a towel, hair turban, or use paper towels to dry your hair.

2. Comb your hair. Your comb will glide through your hair. My hair always tangled, but now I comb my hair with ease.

3. Use your styling products or WEN Styling Cream. Style your hair or allow your hair to air dry. I style my hair. The only time I allow it to air dry is if I’m not going out.

Your own personal experience with WEN may differ from mine, but I love using WEN and won’t go back to using shampoo, conditioner, detangler, and heat protector. I won’t, however, give up my Moroccanoil and Moroccanoil Hairspray. I love these products and refuse to part with them!

I’m saving a lot of money thanks to WEN. And, the product smells good. If you order from QVC, you can purchase new scents such as Cucumber Aloe, Fig, Lavender, Pomegranate, and Tea Tree. Of course, Sweet Almond Mint is still available. As far as I’m concerned, Chaz is a “hair” miracle worker. My mom and sister use the Sweet Almond Mint and have noticed a difference in their hair. My mom had surgery a few years ago, and the anesthetic left her hair damaged and dry. Thanks to WEN, it’s now manageable and shiny. She feels good about her hair and so can you!

Rebecca

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Help! Gaining Weight Sucks

I moved to Arizona aka The Grand Canyon State in September 2007. While I was there, I reached my goal weight of 115 lbs. and clothing size 2; I’m 5 ft. 8 in. Living in Arizona meant I was able to purchase organic fruits and vegetables (not costly), and of course, hike the beautiful mountains. When you hike 7-days a week in 80+ degrees, you’re bound to lose weight. Fast forward to July 2010, and I had to move back to Ohio from Arizona. This was devastating for me because I took everything I had (financially) to move to Arizona. I absolutely loved being in the state because of the weather, the parks, people, proximity to California, Mexico, and Nevada, the Arizona Humane Society, bookstores, and much more. I thoroughly enjoyed living in Arizona.

I slowly gained weight since late 2009 because I had fearful thoughts (relatives contributed to this) of having to move back to cold, rainy, and snowy Ohio. And, certain family members kept ‘bugging’ me about “how and why I could live over 2,000 miles” away from my family. Guilt slowly crept into my mind and moving back to Ohio became a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Since Ohio weather is not ideal for me, I’ve slacked off with my workouts. It’s May, and I still have the electric heater on (it’s on right now) along with my electric blanket. I also redeveloped some bad eating habits since living with my mom like eating dark chocolate, cookies, candy, potato chips, and ice cream now and again (I since stopped this). When I lived in Arizona, I used to treat myself to Gelato, but I never bought a container of it to keep in my freezer. I would get a small bag of Baked Lays to go with my Veggie Sub from Subway. The only time I bought a regular sized bag is when I had a coupon and a craving for the chips.

I’m highly disappointed and ashamed of myself. How could I let this happen? Why did it happen? Why am I gaining belly fat? What can I do to stop it? Why didn’t moving to Arizona work out? How do I get back to the state I love so much? I felt and still feel a deep connection to the Southwest. I’ve also developed a connection to the South. I’m a Leo, maybe it’s the fire sign in me that’s drawn to warm and sunny areas of the U.S.

I worked very hard to reach my desired weight. Some people (my mom) thought I was too thin but that’s not my problem. I loved the way I looked! Right now, not so much.

Today, I was supposed to participate in lobbying for Ohio’s animals (I may as well do something good while I’m here), but none of my ‘professional’ clothes fit me! My clothing sizes range from 2, 4, and 6; there’s no way I could get into my size 2. I couldn’t get into my size 4 skirt or 6 dress pants; I can get into my size 6 khakis! I’m very, very upset about this. I refuse to purchase new clothes in a bigger size when I have a wardrobe box filled with perfectly good clothing. I will get back into my old clothes.

It seems like my body has changed; I know it changes every seven years. It seems like I have more belly fat than usual. I know stress (I’m super stressed) causes belly fat. But, I don’t understand how I could gain 40 lbs. in a short amount of time. I even became a vegetarian! I could understand if I ate chips, fast foods, chocolate, candy, cookies, cakes, etc. every day, but I don’t. What has happened? Am I so stressed out that the weight won’t budge?

I’m doing my best to ‘psyche’ myself up to work out but it’s so frickin’ cold outside that I have no desire to. When lived in Arizona, I used to ‘bounce’ outside the door and walk to the post office or the park that was close to me; this was in 80+ degree weather. I loved being a dog walker for AHS and hiking South Mountain Park. I was highly active and loved being outside; I love nature! It’s no wonder the weight fell off of me. I wasn’t stressed at the time, and I was in a place that really felt like home.

Sigh…

Rebecca

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