10 Principles of Healthy Living

Dear Friends,


Yes, the Holiday Season is one that brings joy and happiness as family and friends gather together.  We laugh, we share stories of times gone by and we reflect.  As the holidays settle down and we begin to think about the New Year to come, most of us consider ways to improve the quality of our lives.  Everyone’s agenda is different but I found there are some things we all have in common that we strive to have for a healthy lifestyle.

Here are some simple principles to help you along your way:

1.  breathe deeply

2.  drink water

3.  sleep peacefully

4.  eat nutritiously

5.  enjoy activity

6.  give and receive love

7.  be forgiving

8.  practice gratitude

9.  develop acceptance

10.. develop a relationship with God

Happy Holidays Dear Friends!

Holiday Tips to De-Stress

Looking for tips to help you de-stress during the holidays?

Holiday De-Stress Tips

Here are some ideas to help you along your way:

  • Nurture Yourself: Set aside relaxation time – (yes, I am serious – make the time to relax – take a bubble bath, light scented candles, curl up to a good book.)
  • Spend time with positive people who enhance your life – (during the holidays we may have to be around people who cause us stress – so connecting with people you really like at this time is important.)
  • Do something you enjoy every day – (this will help balance you out and lift your spirits – go for a walk, play with your pet, meditate.)
  • Keep your sense of humor – (now come on, you know laughter is the best medicine of all – watch a good comedy, call a friend who always makes you laugh –  remember to just keep smiling)

And remember, try not to get too caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays – they are meant to be enjoyed!

Happy Holidays!

Friendship Blessing

What a gift to have such a Friendship Blessing!

Holding Hands

“But oh, the blessing it is to have a friend to whom one can speak fearless on any subject; with whom one’s deepest as well as one’s most foolish thoughts come out simply and safely.

Oh, the comfort – the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person – having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.


(PS – I Love You!)



Holiday Tips for Tipping

Holiday Tips for Tipping

Regardless of our economic state of affairs, some things simply do not change.  There is this expectation of us to be generous during the holidays to the people who provide us service – and rightfully so.

The question then becomes, who are the folks we should be tipping and what is the appropriate amount? In addition, if we are facing financial challenges, what can we offer in lieu of this?

If you think about it, end-of-the-year gratuities are a way to say thank you to the people we appreciate because they make our lives better, happier or simpler in some fashion.

Etiquette authorities state that there are simple ground rules you follow to help determine how much you should give, such as:

  • Quality of service
  • Frequency of service
  • How long you have used the service
  • Regional custom
  • Your budget

Now let’s take a look at some of the service providers that may be applicable for you to tip:

  • Barber
  • Cleaning Person
  • Hairdresser
  • Mail Carrier
  • Manicurist
  • Pet Care Provider
  • Sanitation Worker

With respect to how much is appropriate to tip, according to a poll by Consumer Reports, the average starting tip was $15.00 going up to $50.00 based on your history with that person. Here again, if money is tight and you have to be selective, it may help to consider who really needs it the most.

There are other ways to let someone know how much you appreciate them and to say thank you.  Sometimes a handwritten note with heartfelt words speaks volumes.  Home baked goods are always a sweet treat that people love to receive.  Remember, it’s the quality of your acknowledgement that makes a lasting impression.

Tip:  When frequenting your favorite restaurant, tipping the wait staff, maitre d’ and bartender are all acceptable.  You never know, you just may find your service and table location improves.

Thinking Outside The Box

A funny thing happened while I was holiday shopping this season.

I was cruising around from store to store, checking off items on my gift list, feeling very productive and happy, yet, oddly enough, in just about every store I made a purchase from, I came up empty handed for gift boxes. It was either the store ran out of them (of course, this always happened when I was the next in line) or they simply did not give out boxes. When I inquired why, they stated it was no longer part of their policy.

In some of the larger department stores it was not so much a problem, but what I did find interesting is that some of the better known stores were no longer gift wrapping.  In any event, I just couldn’t wrap my arms around the concept that stores didn’t give out boxes anymore.  Some stores, however, did provide boxes if you were willing to pay for them. Pay? I didn’t realize we were paying for boxes now.

You see, ordinarily I make it a point to ask for a gift box all year round when shopping.  I like to stockpile (within reason of course) because you never know when you are going to need a gift box.  However, in the midst of recently de-cluttering my house, I discarded most of my boxes, thinking that I could always replenish my stock later.

Now I was feeling a little frustrated and a tad concerned about how I was going to wrap my gifts if I didn’t have enough boxes.  At times, I thought of gift bags, but unless it is the ideal gift for a bag, a box is what you really need. By the way, where do you buy gift boxes? I thought the point was to have the box from where you just purchased the gift. Unless of course, you are re-gifting and then that brings up a whole other story.

It was at that moment, I found a new appreciation for gift boxes.

Ironically enough, I found this a little comical, since I teach people how to “let go” of their things that they have been clinging onto for years. Yet, here I am, faced with the very problem that feeds into the reason why people want to hold onto their stuff. I do admit, it is interesting that it appears to be whenever you throw something out, you end up needing it.  (I think I’m being tested here…)

So in order to make some sense out of this and be fair to both points of view, the following system is what I came up with to find some middle ground on what boxes need to be saved, and which ones can be disposed of.  Just try to make sure you take the time to think about the true need and necessity when saving and you set limitations on your quantity.

A parcel of space

Parcel boxes that are not all stamped up and written on are worth saving for shipping items or packaging bigger gift items. For example, this holiday, I purchased a mattress cover, pillows, and sheet set for someone and rather than individually wrapping each item, I put them all in a brown box that I had saved and wrapped it all together.

Is it really from Tiffany’s?

For me, there is something off-color about putting an item I purchased from a brand name store and wrapping it another store’s box. So, unless you are comfortable with that, I would say toss the boxes you know you will never really gift in and keep the others.

Beautiful boxes

Nicer boxes can be difficult to dispose of because they are so beautifully packaged. When it comes to this type of box, you may consider storing some items in there that are dear to your heart, such as jewelry or love notes.

Big-ticket boxes

Big-ticket items, such as computers, televisions, and stereos come in large boxes but become a necessity if you need to send anything out for warranty repairs. I would say a year is a smart time limit here, and, in the meantime, rather than leaving them empty, store something in them temporarily.



Why I Chose My Winners To Get Simplified!

To say the least, Melissa and Tammy wooed me!

They made me feel something for them…

And for me, that translated into wanting to help them.

Check out what they had to say and you will see why it wasn’t difficult for me to select these Two Amazing Women as My Winners!




               Melissa’s Story



Hi Patricia,

The clutter and disorder in my life has become my biggest obstacle. I ran across your contest on the internet and it inspired me to do something about the heaviness that is preventing me from becoming all I can be.
So….. 3 Good Reasons Why I Want To Get Organized. 

(How will getting organized benefit my life?)

Reason #1: Getting organized will allow me the freedom to live my life, to focus and achieve my goals.

I am an over achiever with a dirty little secret. To the outside world I seem the confident, pulled together career woman, able to handle anything that is thrown at her.  At home I am exhausted and unable to relax, completely overwhelmed with stuff. Lots of stuff. Old stuff, new stuff….stuff that should have been thrown out years ago…stuff that makes no sense….stuff that is smothering me….stuff that is stopping me…holding me back….occupying my shelves, my life and my mind.  I am stuck…unable to move.

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about it….how to manage it…where to pile it, put it, stack it, fold it, categorize it, store it….in case…I need it.

All this thinking about stuff just makes me feel heavy…and nothing ever gets done about it. Something is always more important… I am at a complete stall.

Every plan I have for myself begins with these thoughts….”As soon as I get organized..”, “When I finally have the time to organize….”, “If I could only GET ORGANIZED!”

I keep telling myself I need time to accomplish this…and it never happens.

I have tried to analyze why I do this…why I buy things I don’t need, that don’t fit….that I don’t even LIKE…and why I hold on to everything I buy and have bought…unwilling to part with it….in case I need it….in case it fits some day. In case it comes back in style….like clogs…..I mean..that proves my point…doesn’t it?

Is it because my parents lived through the great depression? “Save everything…it cost you hard earned money..don’t you dare throw money away like that….”

My father collected tools, nuts and bolts…tiny little things in piles…all over the garage…my mother collected paper, books, memorabilia….I still have all of her things…in a storage unit…because she will not part with them.

As I sit here on Thanksgiving night…drinking a chocolate martini…writing this contest entry…amidst piles of paper…bags, books, boxes,dishes in the sink…while my two cats run amok…I can’t for the life of me figure out where to start….

When I have a day off…I think…wow! Today is the day…I can begin! ….It never happens. Perhaps…I am afraid.

I want to break the pattern, I want to lighten the load…shake my wings free and soar! I want to start my own business and free my space, as well as my mind from clutter…so…I can focus. I want to make a difference.

Reason #2. Getting organized will allow me more time to dedicate to loved ones.

Aside from holding down a demanding career, I am a full time caregiver to an ailing parent. Along with managing my mother’s daily needs (diet restrictions, cooking, bathing, laundry etc) I am constantly shuffling around clutter.  Because I am constantly moving things around and rearranging things…I am unable to spend time with my mom that is worthwhile. At the end of a long day, when I finally sit down, it is either past midnight and she is asleep or I find myself exhausted and too short tempered to talk….not very good company to someone who has just spent the day alone with no one to talk to.

I have help with the house cleaning…although…the cleaning lady can’t really do much…because it is impossible to move around the stuff. My house is never dirty…it is just a cluttered disaster! I am embarrassed to have friends and family over. If I do host an event I spend days going on a painful hide and clean binge. It is like being bulimic….buy,pile, HIDE as opposed to eat and purge!  The first floor will be spotless and sparkling:) the upstairs bedrooms and basement will look like Beirut! I have even gone so far as hiding the cats…along with their kitty litter in my mother’s bedroom!

If I was able to simplify my life, I would have more time for my mother and a cleaner, safer environment for her. I could host a party and spend quality time with my guests without feeling like I fought a war!

Reason #3 Getting organized will allow me to sell our home and finally live with my husband!

My husband, is in the military and is currently serving in Afghanistan. He is away from home for many months…sometimes a year at a time. This leaves the business of running the household and managing our affairs to me. When he is home…he works and lives in Washington DC, we spend weekends together. We are unable to live together because our house in NJ needs to be renovated before we can sell it. I would like to complete the project before my husband returns home from his tour in the spring. I don’t want to disappoint him.

We live in a very old farm house (circa 1920)…I have undertaken several renovation projects and now have to tackle the upstairs rooms in our home. The accumulation of clutter (especially upstairs)makes this job ten times harder than it should be. I am embarrassed to take the contractors up to look at the job because of the mess. My husband wants me to get the house ready for sale so that we can finally live together in one place! I just can’t seem to step back and come up with a plan that works.

I would like to have a comfortable place for my husband to come home to. I don’t want to allow the clutter to stop us from living together as a family.

3 Good Reasons:  Why I Want To Work With Patricia

(How will the quality of my life improve by working with Patricia?)

Reason #1:
I need someone to help me find a path!
I can not do this alone! I am not a person who asks for help easily. As a matter of fact my typical mantra is…”I can do this! I don’t need help…I can make this happen on my own.”  Well…this time I can’t. By admitting this I am already improving my life. As much as I don’t want to say it…I need help. I am at my wits end! I need assistance, I need a strategy, I need some sort of a push to get out of this stall pattern and hit this thing hard. I am sick of living like this. I am tried of crying in the shower and feeling overwhelmed!

Reason #2:
I need to be able to get up in the morning and out of the door without feeling like I have put in a full days work.
I can never seem to find anything to wear…my bedroom looks like Filene’s Basement after an explosion. I don’t even know what I have. Although it can be fun to hang out in my room and dig through all of the cool, funky clothes (never, ever bought at full price!)…like the purple faux Persian lamb cape coat….evening gowns..every color ..some never worn with the tags still on them…red and white,candy striped, peep toe, spike heels with bows…(thought they would be cool while lounging by the cabana…WHAT cabana????), I cannot seem to find one single outfit that fits my body shape and size TODAY that is suitable for work. So….after preparing mom’s breakfast and taking it to her…. after packing her lunch….after feeding the cats….after doing the dishes…throwing in a load of laundry….making a cup of coffee….I enter my bedroom and begin the mad Dig and Dash.

I frantically begin the search through one of 6 areas that I store (or semi-store) my clothes in. The guest bedroom has become a place to pile clothes and throw shoes…there are also two closets in this room full of clothes and shoes….I have three closets in my bedroom…along with a rolling clothes rack and another closet in the bathroom…another rolling rack in my entry foyer, stuffed with clothes… and another closet on the first floor…supposedly for coats….although I am no longer really sure WHAT is in there. Most of my clothes are dry clean only…so there is a ton of plastic over the clothes making it difficult to see where anything is.

I begin by tearing off plastic…trying on things that don’t fit and piling them on to an ironing board. After about a half an hour of digging and trying on, and discarding and repeating…I look at the clock…panic, yell goodbye to my mother, trip over one of the cats and run out the door….late for work…again. Sometimes…unable to make a decision, I throw a second pair of shoes into a bag and bring them with me….in case I want to change them
before entering the office. I leave behind a pile of clean clothes…that will just grow bigger as the week progresses.

As much as the paragraph above might have made you laugh…the next will be sobering.

I am tired of living like this. There is no reason for this stupid excess. I should know better. My husband spends a lot of time in third world countries, where people have nothing but the clothes on their backs. I am ashamed of what I am doing and I want and need to stop. I need someone to set me straight and remind me of this.

Reason #3
Clutter and disorganization has stalled my (and our) life, and I want it back.
My husband and I wanted to adopt…we have dreamed of having a family. We talk about it , but there never seems to be a right time.  I have all of the paper work…we even began the home study before he left…but I have never been able to complete all of the documentation required. I am getting older and I fear that the opportunity may have passed. It is sad to think that the clutter in my life has prevented me and my husband from sharing our love with a child. I don’t want the clutter to stop us from doing what is important to us. I hate that I spend so much time with this disorder that I can’t enjoy my life with my husband.  Our marriage is strong…but I am not sure any marriage could withstand this burden over time. I fear that, without help, I will lose everything that is important to me and be left with only regret. I have not been able to make this happen on my own. I need someone that I trust in my corner to help me keep the gloves on. I need a coach.
I want to win this fight.


Melissa Williams




    Tammy’s Story



Dear Patricia,

I’m so excited to join your contest!

I didn’t hesitate to list my three good reasons why I want to live an organized life.  I absolutely know why!!!

1)    I am ready, r e a d y, READY!!!!!  I’m beyond ready!  I’m mental, physically and spiritually ready to get it right.  (It’s the off season in my business right now so I am not only ready, but willing and able.)
Mentally I need this to help me cope, physically I’m going to be 50 soon and can’t just keep plowing through & spiritually I want the peace in my life to focus on the most important things. Let’s go!!!!

2)    I have no choice.  I HAVE to get a system because my life is sooooo full.  I can’t see my way clear to cultivating the right system on my own.  I’ve seen a lot, read some, listened to those who ARE organized.  I desire it….but I need HELP!  I want to put my efforts into something worthwhile.  I’m afraid to pick the wrong thing, because then, I may not pick something successful and will end up further behind with more wasted time and less of a chance to try again.  Like a failed diet!  No choice.  I HAVE to do this.

3)  My girls.  I have a 10 and 14 year old girls.  I don’t want to have them live in and perpetuate my chaos.  I want to teach them how to balance their lives properly.  I see some of my bad influence in them now and I see them struggle.  I wish I knew how to help them.  Please!  Help me so I can in turn help my own girls improve the quality of their lives too.  My husband, I and my girls all benefit.  It would improve the quality of the life in my family beyond words!

Three reasons why I need YOU!

1)  No fanny patting… I want the BEST!  If I’m going to give it 100% I want someone who is THEE authority on the subject; Someone whom I admire and can truly learn from;  Someone who calms me and helps me complete a thought!  That’s YOU, Patricia!  I’ve spoken with you and have longed to partner up together.  I know I could be a great student!

2)  I’ve wanted to have a session with you forever.  I think I’ve been trying for two years now and with a new business and paying for the girls to go to Christian school…I just have not been able to budget myself in, even though I know the value of it.

3)  My health.  I don’t know how to do this on my own.  If I could of, I would of by now.  NO ONE would be able to understand my life like you.  I’m working only 76 hours a week now (off season!), am an assistant leader in 4H and active in the Christian school as well as a mom and wife.  I keep myself pared down to only important things and keep downtime at home a priority.

I don’t want to run, run, run….so I don’t; but…and it’s a big BUT….I don’t know how to turn down the pressure in my own life.  My business is a convenience store, with gas pumps, liquor store, laudrymat and full pizzeria/deli.  I’m BUSY!!!!  I’ve done good.  People always tell me they don’t know how I do it….but I probably could do it with much less effect on my health and family if I had your help!

Thanks for your consideration!

Tammy Schack and Family

Thankful Traditions For The Holidays

Tips to Balance Your Life and be Thankful for this Holiday

The word tradition comes from the Latin word – traditio – which means “to teach.”  Holiday Traditions are about handing down something we believe in from generation to generation.   Traditions are so important because it is a way we can express to our loved ones how much they mean to us. Think of it as having a built in ritual or routine we can rely on that allows us to bond with our families. At the end of the day, we can always say we are thankful – but having traditions around the holidays is a way to make us feel special and create memories that are priceless.

Here are 3 traditions that can help you create memories:

  1.  Round Robin

Everyone holds hands around the dinner table and each person takes a turn to express their feelings and give thanks.

  1.  The White Envelope

You can decorate your tree or simply give out a white envelope that encloses something you know that person would like, i.e., gift certificate, tickets to a show, etc.  A budget is predetermined and everyone is equal in spending amount.

  1.  Grab Bag

Establish a budget for your gift, then set a time prior to holidays to select who you will be purchasing for or everyone sets the amount of spending ahead of time and you do a pot luck grab bag.  Either way it’s fun!

With all the festivities and planning ahead, it’s not unusual around the holiday season to feel overwhelmed or stressed about all the things that need to get done.    Here are a few tips to help keep you balanced and mindful.

Establish Routines

The key to keeping your life simple is to create simple routines.  How you start your day sets the tone for the rest of your day.  Try to prepare the night before.

Make A Most Important Task List (MIT)

Set just 3 very important things you want to accomplish each day. Don’t start with a long list of things you probably won’t get done by the end of the day. A simple list of 3 things, ones that would make you feel like you accomplished something.

 Leave Space Around Things In Your Day

Whether they are appointments, or things you need to do, don’t stack them back-to-back. Leave a little space between things you need to do, so you will have room for contingencies, and you’ll go through your day much more relaxed.

Go For Quality, Not Quantity

Try not to have a ton of stuff in your life … instead, have just a few possessions, but ones that you really love, and that will last for a long time.

Simplify Your Wardrobe

Is your closet bursting full? Are your drawers so stuffed they don’t close? Simplify your wardrobe by getting rid of anything you no longer wear. Try creating a minimal wardrobe by focusing on simple styles and a few solid colors that all match each other.

Find Inner Simplicity

This could be time praying or communing with God, or time spent meditating or journaling or time spent in nature. However you do it, working on your inner self is worth the time.

Always Ask Yourself 

Will this balance and simplify my life?  If the answer is no, reconsider.