Thursday, January 27, 2011

Choosing Our Thoughts

Life can be stressful. It is easy to get caught up in worrying about everything from major projects and day to day activities all the way down to small things.

This semester is by far the busiest one in college (however, it should be my last!) I am taking 18 class credit hours, which is broken down into seven classes. I am the industry information intern for Certified Angus Beef. I am a teaching assistant for an agricultural communications technical writing class, editor for the agricultural communications magazine and I continue to do a little freelance writing on the side.

During Christmas break, I made myself sick one afternoon thinking about having such a busy semester ahead of me. As I sat there, I thought to myself, ‘there is no way I’m going to survive with this mindset. Something has to change’.

In the book Power Thoughts, Joyce Meyer describes worrying like rocking back and forth in a rocking chair – “it’s always in motion and it keeps us busy, but it never gets us anywhere.”

Stress and worry are a waste of time and energy. The following are a few ways that I have learned through devotionals that help me to stay stress free this semester:

- I refuse thoughts that are not from God (and stress is definitely not from above!). We have control over what we spend our time thinking about and we do not have to let thoughts make their home in our mind.

- Reasoning is another word for worrying. I tend to try to help God out by going through different scenarios in my mind of how things could work. I’ve learned that this is a form of sin because I am not putting my confidence in God. Having faith and truly knowing that God is in control is an amazing feeling.

- In Power Thoughts (which I highly recommend!), the Power Thought #6 is, “I trust God completely; there is no need to worry!” When I feel a hint of stress creeping in, I say this in my mind over and over until it is gone.

- Joyce Meyer makes the statement, “The instant you begin to worry or feel anxious, give your concern to God in prayer. Release the weight of it and totally trust Him to either show you what to do or to take care of it Himself.”

- And one last thought – “There will always be situations that cause you concern, but with God’s help, you can live above all of them and enjoy life.”

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

“I” Statements

I’ve come to the realization that any time you are working with human beings, there is going to eventually be conflict. And I believe that until the day comes when we sit all alone and work with robots and computers we will have conflict with others. (In pondering the thought of working solely with robots and computers rather than people makes me think that a little conflict isn’t all that bad!)

I have a piece of advice for getting through a potentially tough subject with anyone – chose your words wisely.

As a journalist and agricultural communications student, I focus a lot on words. Why was this word chosen over that one? Could I rearrange this sentence and have the same meaning? What can I change to simplify this sentence?

I’ve learned to apply this same concept to how I talk to people in all situations whether it be a casual conversation or settling a disagreement. The old saying “Think before you speak” applies in all cases.

Use “I” statements.

Rather than saying, “You told me to.” Simply rephrase the sentence and say, “I understood that you wanted me to.”
Which would you respond better to?

In visiting with a friend whose boyfriend wouldn’t call every evening, I advised her to say, “I love to hear your voice before I fall asleep at night.” rather than, “You need to call me every night.”

The “I” statement applies because there is no finger pointing. It changes from a demand to a request.

While at home, it drives me up the wall when it is said, “Thank you, Kristen, for doing the dishes.” before we even get up from the dinner table. I would respond much better (and be much more willing to do more to help) if I was asked, “Kristen, I would really appreciate it if you would take a turn at the dishes tonight”.

I personally would rather choose to volunteer rather than be, as one of my good friends calls it, ‘voluntold’.

“I” statements apply to every relationship – friends, acquaintances, strangers, significant others and I would assume even within a marriage.

And one last thought – I’ve heard it said that when you are praying for a change in another person, it may just be you that needs a change of heart.

I challenge you to think before you speak and test the “I” statement. Let me know how it works for you!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Investing in Your Youth

The spring was always my favorite semester in high school. Stock shows, FFA judging contests and 4-H projects filled my afternoons and weekends. It also probably didn’t hurt that I knew that each passing day meant that summer break was one day closer.

In thinking back over my experiences through FFA & 4-H, I want to thank everyone that has ever helped support these organizations. Whether it was a donation of your time or assisting financially, it would not have been possible to do as much without your help.

There are some states, such as Ohio, that are beginning to phase out 4-H due to lack of funds. The non-profit program was established in 1902 and has the mission to empower youth to reach their full potential by working and learning in partnership with caring adults. The pledge that is said at ever meeting is, “I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service and my health to better living for my club, my community, my country and my world. They have the motto of “To make the best better”.

The FFA program “is dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education”.

FFA’s motto is “Learning to do, doing to learn, earning to live, living to serve”.

These organizations are near and dear to my heart and it is sad to see a 4-H club closed down due to lack of funds or an agriculture program closed at a school (students must be enrolled in an AG class to be an FFA member). I have seen multiple students gain knowledge and skills that they have used throughout their lives as a result of these programs.

As a result of being a member of both 4-H and FFA, I have a coffee table I built, a prom dress, two quilts, 10 state contest certificates, the ability to cook, nearly all my college tuition paid for with agriculture scholarships and I have the confidence to stand up and lecture to a class of 100 plus students at Texas Tech.

January 22 is the county stock show where both FFA and 4-H students will be exhibiting their animals that they have been working with since August. I highly encourage everyone to go watch the show, buy a ticket to the BBQ dinner and stick around for the premium sale. For those who are there year after year, THANK YOU for all you do! Other ways to help the FFA and 4-H clubs include donating your skills, materials, time and donations are always appreciated as well.

Have a blessed week!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Year’s Resolution: Staying Fit

It is always interesting to hear people’s New Year’s Resolutions. ‘Lose weight’ and ‘get fit’ are very common goals for the new year.

I enjoy staying in shape but I don’t like spending hours at a gym. Here is what I recommend:

Get Fit Daily Dozen – 12 moves in 12 minutes by Denise Austin for those who want to start a daily workout plan. While at school, I set my alarm just a little earlier and I use my laptop to play the DVD and use a small space in my room to workout.
The great thing about this workout DVD is the fact that it is short and sweet. Each day of the week is different including cardio – athletic fat blast, lower body sculpt and abs, cardio kickbox burn, upper body sculpt and abs, and yoga on the weekend. Small hand weights are recommended for a few of the workouts.

For those who have been working out and have some endurance built up or for someone who is looking for a challenge, I recommend 30 Day Shred by Jillian Michaels.
I just started this workout video and it is intense! There are three levels with each featuring the 3-2-1 interval system which mixes strength, cardio and abs. The 20 minute workout starts with a good warm-up, three minutes of strength, two minutes of cardio and one minute of abs then this is repeated two more times with different moves for each category. To end the workout session, Jillian shows stretches to keep the body in good condition.

If neither of these sound fun, go for a walk. We are having a very warm winter so throw on a light jacket and go exploring.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

This verse is focused on sexual purity, but I believe it is applicable to how we use our bodies overall. It is important to be healthy through eating right and exercising and that is exactly what my New Year’s Resolution is – to keep my body in a condition that is proper and pleasing to God.

To contact Kristen, email her at or send a letter to The Wellington Leader, Attn: Kristen’s Corner, Box 992, Wellington, TX 79095.

Happy Trails & God Bless!