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Dan and Elise

February 1st, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in CHRI
Family Radio Jukebox host Dan Adams and his wife Elise have been married for almost 12 years and have 4 little ones (7, 6, 4, 2) running around the home. We asked Dan & Elise to share with us how they balance their marriage with 4 children

  1. How did you meet? Tell us a bit about your wedding and what it was like as newlyweds.

dan_elise_2We met in Kingston – Dan was working at a radio station owned by a wonderful Christian couple.  Elise was going to bible study group hosted by this couple.  They told us about the other and said we just HAD to meet!  Dan came out to an afternoon of bowling and right away we hit it off and quickly became good friends.  A few months later, Elise moved to Ottawa for a job and we started dating the next week.  Eventually Dan moved to Ottawa and we plugged into life here and decided that we wanted to be together (which we had suspected before!).

Our wedding was at Elise’s home church with friends and family coming from across the province to celebrate with us.  We had a really fun ceremony then headed to Florida for our honeymoon.

Newlywed life was great!  We lived in an apartment, had a cat, helped out a lot at our church, and went on a couple vacations!  Looking back, our time was well-spent, but we wish we’d been a little stricter with our double incomes and put more money aside for our first home.

  1. What did you notice was the first affect having a child had on your marriage?

So tired!!  One of the best pieces of advice that was given to us was to let each other sleep!  Having two people up with the baby leads to two tired people the next day, so we quickly learned to give the other time to sleep, which helped us to be more patient with the baby and with each other.

  1. How do you find balance between your kids and your marriage?

Ha ha ha ha ha!!!  Oh wait, this is a serious question?  “Balance” doesn’t feel very applicable right now!  We keep bedtimes for the kids pretty early to give us a decent chunk of time in the evening.  We do very few extra-curricular activities to limit the amount of time we spend running around.  We’ve always enjoyed exploring new places, so although we haven’t traveled much with the kids, we bring them along to be a part of adventures and Ottawa has been great for that.


  1. What advice can you give to couples with kids who are struggling to make their spouse a priority in daily life?

We really aren’t experts and have lots to learn!  Our advice would be to be nice!  Chances are good you’re both tired from whatever your daily routine is, your home isn’t as clean as you’d like, finances can weigh you down, the kid(s) is/are loud/unappreciative/demanding and life at this stage can just be hard!  Your spouse is trying just as hard as you and although it might show in very different ways, trust that you’re in this together and BE NICE to each other!

  1. What role does your faith play in all of this?

Knowing that these little critters are a gift from God and they have to go through this strange thing called childhood gets us through the day!  God matched these kids up with us and we believe that He equips us with everything we need to raise them.  Also, being a part of an incredible church family is a source of encouragement, support and wisdom as well.

16 Winter Family Fun Events and Activities Around Ottawa

February 1st, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle
The longer, colder days are making way for the change of the season! Winter is here! Just because the temperatures are dropping doesn’t mean that you and your family have to be stuck inside during winter. The Ottawa-Gatineau region has plenty of events and activities to get you to enjoy the coldest of seasons! Here is of a list of things you can plan to do this winter!


Photo credit: Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism via / CC BY-ND

Photo credit: Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism via / CC BY-ND


1. Lansdowne Park Skating Court – now until March 16th, 2016 from 6 am-11 pm

Get the family outside for a fun day on the rink for the inaugural season of skating at Lansdowne Park! There are heated changing facilities open from 8 am – 11 pm. This is a free activity, weather permitting. Click on the link for more information.

2. Rideau Canal Skateway – Jan 9-Mar 9, 2015 weather permitting

Take in the world’s largest ice rink with your family and plan a day along the Rideau Canal Skateway! 7.8 kms of this famous waterway becomes a playground of ice for locals and visitors alike! There are four heated change rooms along the skateway, as well as skate and other rental facilities, food and beverages and washrooms to make skating a fun experience. Free

3. RBC Free Public Skating Weekends – Now until March 26, 2016

All public skating sessions that take place on Saturday and Sunday are free, sponsored by RBC Royal Bank. This excludes Family, Adult and 50 + skating. You can check when specific public skating times take place here.

4. Patinoire du ruisseau de la Brasserie (Skateway Brewery Creek) – January to March, 2016 from 7 am -10 pm

Located in downtown Gatineau, visitors can have fun skating outdoors. Skate rentals, washrooms and other amenities are available. Hot chocolate is even on hand during some weekends on the Water Tower located at 170 Montcalm Street.

5. Tobogganing/Sledding Hills – Throughout Ottawa

The City of Ottawa offers many sites to take your family to have a great day flying down their hills. Check out the hills available for revellers to use during the winter and have a great time!

Photo credit: Nate Merrill via / CC BY-SA

Photo credit: Nate Merrill via / CC BY-SA


Outdoor Festivals

The region becomes a playground with the festivals happening throughout the season! Make plans to revel in the festivities!

6. Rideau Hall Winter Family Activities

The residence of the Governor-General always has something for visitors to do and see during the winter to get people active, having fun and spending time together as a family. The traditional Rideau Hall Skating Rink will be open for public skating times on Saturdays and Sundays from January 5th -March 13th from noon – 5 pm (weather permitting). Families can also take part in the Winter Celebration on January 16th from 12:30 pm – 4 pm, where visitors experience Nordic sports and traditions. Finally, families can attend the Ontario Family Day Activities taking place on February 15th from noon – 5 pm, where the skating rink will be open from noon until 5 pm (weather permitting), and guided tours of the residence will be available at 1 pm, 2 pm, 3 pm and 4 pm. No reservation is required.

7. Winterlude – Various locations in the Ottawa-Gatineau region – Jan 29-Feb 15 2016 Various Locations

Once of Canada’s favourite celebrations will be back to entertain and enlighten revelers in its 38th season! From skating on the Rideau Canal, watching ice sculpting competitions or playing at North America’s largest playground, there are so many different activities those attending this festival can be a part of in the Ottawa-Gatineau region.

8. Lansdowne Park Snowscapes: Community Snow Sculpture Contest – January 30-February 5, 2016, from 8am – 11 pm

Groups from all over the Ottawa will showcase their skill and community spirit to compete for a cash prize by creating the best snow sculpture. The snow garden will be available every day to visitors until the end of Winterlude on February 15, 2016.

9. Chill Factor in Downtown Rideau – Various Locations in Downtown Ottawa January 29- February 20, 2016

This festival celebrates a “cool” collection of art, theatre, dance, film, cuisine and family events throughout Ottawa’s Arts, Fashion and Theatre District! There will be live music, theatre, comedy, visual art, film, and so much more!

10. Ottawa Irish Festival – Throughout the National Capital Region, March 4-17, 2016

The Ottawa Irish Festival aims to promote the Irish/Irish –Canadian culture and heritage, and to strengthen and support the Irish/Irish –Canadian community in the National Capital Region. There will be many events happening throughout this festival, including a proclamation of the Ottawa Irish Festival 2016 at Ottawa City Hall, live Celtic music and breakfast, a ghost walk of Thomas D’Arcy McGee’s final steps, a mass to celebrate St. Patrick, a St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Irish Party!

11. Maple Sugar Festival – Richelieu Park, March 26- April 3

This festival celebrates the tradition of maple sugar season that was started here in the region by the White Fathers who made syrup for their religious community. Since 2012, The Vanier Museopark has been in charge of the sugar shack. They hold a festival each year that includes dinners, food contests, storytelling, breakfasts, tours of the facilities and so much more! You family can have a great learning experience and have fun while attending this event!

12. Gatineau Park

Gatineau Park has so much to offer its visitors during the winter! There are activities for families who like to explore nature at different speeds to enjoy themselves. For families that have a need for speed, Gatineau Park offers activities such as cross-country skiing, and snow biking as a pilot project this winter. For those who enjoy nature at a slower pace, there are also winter hiking trails available to discover! There are also many amenities for visitors to use while visiting the park to make their visit more comfortable and one to remember!

13. Lac-Beauchamp Parc – Throughout the Season (except for select dates during the holidays, weather permitting) from 7 am-11 pm

Lac-Beauchamp Parc also offers families outdoor activities to enjoy during the winter.
The outdoors is within reach! Activities such as cross-country skiing, hiking, skating and snowshoeing are available for visitors to do and enjoy!

14. Museum Fun

Want to get out of the house, but want to stay warm this winter? The museums around the region have exhibitions and demonstrations for visitors to enjoy while staying out of the cold!

15. TD Ottawa Winter Jazz Fest National Arts Centre Fourth Stage – Feb 4-7 2016

In 2010 the Festival celebrated its 30th anniversary of consecutive programming, boasting the largest loyal audience of its kind in eastern Ontario. The Ottawa International Jazz Festival is the premier music event to take place in downtown Ottawa and we are proud to be part of the continuing tradition of bringing jazz to the National Capital Region. Set on a bold path, trailblazing the most dynamic programming and innovations the Festival continues to present the finest musicians from across Canada and around the world in all genres and inspirations of Jazz.

16. Rag & Bone TheatreVarious performances and dates

Want to stay warm and take in a bit of culture the whole family will enjoy? The Rag & Bone Puppet Theatre is featuring four productions this winter for families to watch and enjoy! These performances range from adventures that have its characters in far off locales to stories that are closer to home. There is a tale for everyone in the family to be fascinated by!

Whether you are taking in a festival, a fun winter sport or one of the great museums, the Ottawa region has so many events and activities for families to do and explore! All you have to do is make a plan to be a part of all of the action this winter, and to make some memories with your family!

Photo Credit: Tony Fischer Photography via / CC BY

Photo Credit: Tony Fischer Photography via / CC BY


What kind of activities and events does your family like to take part in during the winter?


8 Things Every Person Should Do Before 8 A.M and 8 Things To Do After 8 P.M.

February 1st, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in Advice and Tips

It feels like every social gathering I attend people are talking about lifestyle routines. How do we maximize the amount of time we have in a day? I’m a big fan of planning and goal setting and like the suggestions Benjamin gives for “book-ending” your day with a routine. As a Christian, prayer is an element I try and schedule into my day but in addition, I go to the gym in the morning and in the evening I make my lunch so it’s ready to go in the morning. On the weekend, I try to meal plan and food prep to make meals easier during the week. These are a few routines that work great for me right now. Do you have any routines for starting and ending your day?– Ashley

8 Things Every Person Should Do Before 8 A.M.shutterstock_42436189Life is busy. It can feel impossible to move toward your dreams. If you have a full-time job and kids, it’s even harder.

How do you move forward?

If you don’t purposefully carve time out every day to progress and improve — without question, your time will get lost in the vacuum of our increasingly crowded lives. Before you know it, you’ll be old and withered — wondering where all that time went.

As Professor Harold Hill has said“You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you are left with nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays.”

Rethinking Your Life and Getting Out of Survival Mode

This article is intended to challenge you to rethink your entire approach to life. The purpose is to help you simplify and get back to the fundamentals.

Sadly, most people’s lives are filled to the brim with the nonessential and trivial. They don’t have time to build toward anything meaningful.

They are in survival mode. Are you in survival mode?

Like Bilbo, most of us are like butter scraped over too much bread. Unfortunately, the bread is not even our own, but someone else’s. Very few have taken the time to take their lives into their own hands.

It was social and cultural to live our lives on other people’s terms just one generation ago. And many millennials are perpetuating this process simply because it’s the only worldview we’ve been taught.

However, there is a growing collective-consciousness that with a lot of work and intention — you can live every moment of your life on your own terms.

You are the designer of your destiny.

You are responsible.

You get to decide. You must decide — because if you don’t, someone else will.Indecision is a bad decision.

With this short morning routine, your life will quickly change.

It may seem like a long list. But in short, it’s really quite simple:

  • Wake up
  • Get in the zone
  • Get moving
  • Put the right food in your body
  • Get ready
  • Get inspired
  • Get perspective
  • Do something to move you forward

Let’s begin:

  1. Get A Healthy 7+ Hours of Sleep

Let’s face it — Sleep is just as important as eating and drinking water. Despite this, millions of people do not sleep enough and experience insane problems as a result.

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) conducted surveys revealing that at least 40 million Americans suffer from over 70 different sleep disorders. Not only that, 60 percent of adults, and 69 percent of children, experience one or more sleep problems a few nights or more during a week.

In addition, more than 40 percent of adults experience daytime sleepiness severe enough to interfere with their daily activities at least a few days each month — with 20 percent reporting problem sleepiness a few days a week or more.

On the flipside, getting a healthy amount of sleep is linked to:

  • Increased memory
  • Longer life
  • Decreased inflammation
  • Increased creativity
  • Increased attention and focus
  • Decreased fat and increased muscle mass with exercise
  • Lower stress
  • Decreased dependence on stimulants like caffeine
  • Decreased risk of getting into accidents
  • Decreased risk of depression
  • And tons more… google it.

The rest of this blog post is worthless if you don’t make sleep a priority. Who cares if you wake up at 5 o’clock A.M. if you went to bed three hours earlier?

You won’t last long.

You may use stimulants to compensate, but that isn’t sustainable. In the long-run, your health will fall apart. The goal needs to be long-term sustainability.

  1. Prayer and Meditation to Facilitate Clarity and Abundance

After waking from a healthy and restful sleep session, prayer and meditation are crucial for orienting yourself toward the positive. What you focus on expands.

Prayer and meditation facilitate intense gratitude for all that you have. Gratitude is having an abundance mindset. When you think abundantly, the world is your oyster. There is limitless opportunity and possibility for you.

People are magnets. When you’re grateful for what you have, you will attract more of the positive and good. Gratitude is contagious.

Gratitude may be the most important key to success. It has been called the mother of all virtues.

If you start every morning putting yourself in a space of gratitude and clarity, you will attract the best the world has to offer, and not get distracted.

  1. Hard Physical Activity

Despite endless evidence of the need for exercise, only one-third of American men and women between the ages of 25 to 64 years engage in regular physical activity according to the Center for Disease Control’s National Health Interview Survey.

If you want to be among the healthy, happy, and productive people in the world, get in the habit of regular exercise. Many people go immediately to the gym to get their body moving. I have lately found that doing yard work in the wee hours of the morning generates an intense inflow of inspiration and clarity.

Whatever your preference, get your body moving.

Exercise has been found to decrease your chance of depression, anxiety, and stress. It is also related to higher success in your career.

If you don’t care about your body, every other aspect of your life will suffer. Humans are holistic beings.

  1. Consume 30 Grams of Protein

Donald Layman, professor emeritus of nutrition at the University of Illinois, recommends consuming at least 30 grams of protein for breakfast. Similarly, Tim Ferriss, in his book, The 4-Hour Body, also recommends 30 grams of protein 30 minutes after waking up.

According to Tim, his father did this and lost 19 pounds in one month.

Protein-rich foods keep you full longer than other foods because they take longer to leave the stomach. Also, protein keeps blood-sugar levels steady, which prevents spikes in hunger.

Eating protein first decreases your white carbohydrate cravings. These are the types of carbs that get you fat. Think bagels, toast, and donuts.

Tim makes four recommendations for getting adequate protein in the morning:

  • Eat at least 40% of your breakfast calories as protein
  • Do it with two or three whole eggs (each egg has about 6g protein)
  • If you don’t like eggs, use something like turkey bacon, organic pork bacon or sausage, or cottage cheese
  • Or, you could always do a protein shake with water

For people who avoid dairy, meat, and eggs, there are several plant-based proteins. Legumes, greens, nuts, and seeds all are rich in protein.

  1. Take A Cold Shower

Tony Robbins starts every morning by jumping into a 57-degree Fahrenheit swimming pool.

Why would he do such a thing?

Cold water immersion radically facilitates physical and mental wellness. When practiced regularly, it provides long-lasting changes to your body’s immune, lymphatic, circulatory and digestive systems that improve the quality of your life. It can also increase weight-loss because it boosts your metabolism.

A 2007 research study found that taking cold showers routinely can help treat depression symptoms often more effectively than prescription medications. That’s because cold water triggers a wave of mood-boosting neurochemicals which make you feel happy.

There is of course, an initial fear of stepping into a cold shower. Without a doubt, if you’ve tried this before, you have found yourself standing outside the shower dreading the thought of going in.

You may have even talked yourself out of it and said, “Maybe tomorrow.” And turned the hot water handle before getting in.

Or, maybe you jumped in but quickly turned the hot water on?

What has helped me is thinking about it like a swimming pool. It’s a slow painful death to get into a cold pool slowly. You just need to jump in. After 20 seconds, you’re fine.

It’s the same way with taking a cold shower. You get in, you heart starts beating like crazy. Then, after like 20 seconds, you feel fine.

To me, it increases my willpower and boosts my creativity and inspiration. While standing with the cold water hitting my back, I practice slowing my breathing and calming down. After I’ve chilled out, I feel super happy and inspired. Lots of ideas start flowing and I become way motivated to achieve my goals.

Plus, it’s healthy to do something in the morning that kind of freaks you out! Get’s you feeling alive and sets the tone for living outside your comfort zone!

  1. Listen to/Read Uplifting Content

Ordinary people seek entertainment. Extraordinary people seek education and learning. It is common for the world’s most successful people to read at least one book per week. They are constantly learning.

I can easily get through one audiobook per week by just listening during my commute to school and while walking on campus.

Taking even 15–30 minutes every morning to read uplifting and instructive information changes you. It puts you in the zone to perform at your highest.

Over a long enough period of time, you will have read hundreds of books. You’ll be knowledgeable on several topics. You’ll think and see the world differently. You’ll be able to make more connections between different topics.

  1. Review Your Life Vision

Your goals should be written down — short term and long term. Taking just a few minutes to read your life vision puts your day into perspective.

If you read your long term goals every day you will think about them every day. If you think about them every day, and spend your days working toward them, they’ll manifest.

Achieving goals is a science. There’s no confusion or ambiguity to it. If you follow a simple pattern, you can accomplish all of your goals, no matter how big they are.

A fundamental aspect of that is writing them down and reviewing them every single day.

  1. Do At Least One Thing Towards Long-Term Goals

Willpower is like a muscle that depletes when it is exercised. Similarly, our ability to make high quality decisions becomes fatigued over time. The more decisions you make, the lower quality they become — the weaker your willpower.

Consequently, you need to do the hard stuff first thing in the morning. The important stuff.

If you don’t, it simply will not get done. By the end of your day, you’ll be exhausted. You’ll be fried. There will be a million reasons to just start tomorrow. And you will start tomorrow — which is never.

So your mantra becomes: The worst comes first. Do that thing you’ve been needing to do. Then do it again tomorrow.

If you take just one step toward you big goals every day, you’ll realize those goals weren’t really far away.


After you’ve done this, no matter what you have for the rest of your day, you’ll have done the important stuff first. You’ll have put yourself in a place to succeed. You’ll have inched toward your dreams.

Because you’ll have done all these things, you’ll show up better in life. You’ll be better at your job. You’ll be better in your relationships. You’ll be happier. You’ll be more confident. You’ll be more bold and daring. You’ll have more clarity and vision.

Your life will shortly change.

You can’t have mornings like this consistently without waking up to all that is incongruent in your life. Those things you despise will meet their demise. They’ll disappear and never return.

You’ll quickly find you’re doing the work you’re passionate about.

Your relationships will be passionate, meaningful, deep, and fun!

You will have freedom and abundance.

The world, and the universe, will respond to you in beautiful ways.

8 Things Every Person Should Do After 8 P.M.

Morning routines are all the buzz these days. Everyone has one, good or bad. Few people have considered a night routine. If you don’t have a night routine, you are missing out on the most rewarding and meaningful part of your day.

If you’re like most people, your nights are probably spent vegging out on social media, Netflix, drinking, and snacking.

Scientifically, these behaviors are not surprising. According to psychologist Roy Baumeister, we all have a limited amount of willpower we can expend each day — mental energy is depleted by every decision we have to make, whether small or large. Baumeister calls this decision fatigue.

So, by the end of our day, we’ve made countless decisions and exhausted our willpower. Is it any wonder we waste away our most precious time, struggle to be present with our loved ones, and ignore the resolves we made that morning?

This is a huge problem.

Fortunately, routines are the antidote to decision fatigue. When something is routine, it’s requires minimal mental energy. The decision has already been made. Willpower is no longer required. Life is on autopilot. You stop self-sabotaging. Unfortunately, evening routines are much harder to master than morning routines.

In his book, The Compound Effect, Darren Hardy argues that a person’s morning and evening routines are the “bookends” of a prosperous life. Without these bookends, your life will always be a disorganized mess. With them, you’ll create tremendous momentum towards the life of your dreams.

If Your Nights Are Bad, The Rest Of Your Life Will Suffer

As I recently wrote, morning routings are critically important. But your morning routine will always suffer if you can’t master your evenings. The hours before bed dramatically affect how well we sleep. And how we sleep makes or breaks our day.

Even more, how we spend the hours before we go to bed reflects the value we place on the most important things in life. Yes, our work matters. But work is a means to a much higher end — the people in our lives.

Our loved ones deserve more from us. Not only do they deserve better, but we deserve better. If we can take control of our nights, we will quickly change the entire course of our lives. We will also experience the rejuvenation and joy that evenings are meant to provide.

Are you ready to change the way you spend your evenings? Are you ready to change your entire life?

Let’s begin:

  1. Unplug 1–2 Hours Before Sleep

“In this media-drenched, multitasking, always-on age, many of us have forgotten how to unplug and immerse ourselves completely in the moment. We have forgotten how to slow down. Not surprisingly, this fast-forward culture is taking a toll on everything from our diet and health to our work and the environment.”Carl Honore

The line between work and home is becoming increasingly hazy. Between phone calls, email, texting, and social media, it can be extremely difficult to unplug. More often than not, we bring our work home with us. Consequently, we rarely give our full attention to those we love.

Not only do we fail to live in the present, but study after study have found thatelectronic devices harm our sleep cycles. Dr. Verma advises turning off electronics at least 1–2 hours before bedtime (even e-ink devices like Kindle or Nook). Two hours is best, even though impractical for many people.

Mariana Figueiro and her team of the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have shown that two hours of iPad use at maximum brightness can suppress people’s regular nighttime release of melatonin — a hormone in the circadian system which is the body’s clock.

Melatonin signals to your body that it is night, helping you become sleepy. When that signal is delayed you could delay sleep. Doing this frequently over a long period of time can disrupt the circadian system often inflicting serious health consequences.

  1. Eat The Right Foods, Sparingly

You’ve been told eating before bed will make you fat. That’s not exactly true. On the contrary, a light snack before bed can help you sleep more soundly without gaining weight — if you eat the right foods. Of course, if you regularly eat the wrong foods (like chips, cookies, or anything sugary) before bed, you will likely gain fat weight.

Stephanie Maxson, senior clinical dietician at the University of Texas’s MD Anderson Cancer Center, explains that if you eat dinner a few hours before bedtime and/or are physically active, snacking before bed will help stabilize your blood sugar levels during the long, meal-less night. Blood sugar and its related hormones can either boost or deflate your appetite and energy levels. Moreover, they can confuse your body’s efforts to store or burn fat. If you have low blood sugar when you wake up in the morning, you will likely feel lethargic. Furthermore, low blood sugar can disrupt your sleep in the middle of the night causing you to be in and out of sleep.

Cassie Bjork, a registered dietician and founder of says it’s a myth that the body doesn’t need fuel before sleep. The right bedtime snack provides fuel your body needs to burn calories while you sleep in addition to releasing hunger hormones that cause your body to store fat.

Recommended night time snacks include:

  • Complex carbohydrates like whole wheat bread
  • Non-starchy vegetables
  • Popcorn
  • Fruit

Maxson explains that these foods break down slowly, which stops blood sugar spikes or crashes that disturb sleep and appetite.

For athletes, lean protein, such as turkey and chicken, facilitate muscle repair during the night while also providing tryptophan, an essential amino acid which promotes healthy sleep.

Additionally, healthy fats before bed can also slow the absorption of carbohydrates into your system. If you commonly wake up tired or hungry, eat some avocado, a spoon full of peanut butter, or some melted butter on your popcorn.

  1. Account, Report, And Prepare For Tomorrow

At the end of each day, it is good to spend 5–10 minutes reviewing your day, briefly recording what happened, and making proper plans for tomorrow.

Reviewing your day keeps you accountable to yourself. Did you do all you planned to do? If you can’t be accountable to yourself, who can you be accountable to?

Greg McKeown, author of Essentialism, writes in his journal daily to record his experiences, insights, and memories. He recommends writing far less than you want to — only a few sentences or paragraphs at most. Like most people who regularly journal, you’ll be tempted to write down every detail. This could take several minutes or even over an hour. If you do this, you’ll burn out quickly and stop after a day or two. It’s much better to jot down the key things every day. Before you know it, you’ll have several journals filled recording each day of your life.

Lastly, you quickly assess your planner and to-do list for tomorrow. This includes visualizing how your day will go. Olympic swimmer, Michael Phelps claims that visualization is the key to his athletic success. He often speaks of his intense mental visualizations of a perfect swim the night before a race as being intimately tied to the wins that follow.

  1. Have Moments With The People You Love

“The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.”Harriet Beecher Stowe

Happiness comes from embracing the now. Not letting those moments pass you by. Nothing in life is permanent. Kids grow up. Friends move away. Our loved ones pass on from this life. Let’s live in the present and appreciate the most important things in our lives before it’s too late.

For most of us, it is our evenings that we get to spend with the people we love. If we don’t make that a priority, and guard it from other things (including our own exhaustion and distraction), we won’t do it.

It has been said that you can know a person’s priorities by looking at their planner. We plan our meetings, our lunches, and our workouts. Yet, most of us have never taken the time to put our loved ones into our planners.

  1. Enjoy Your Hobbies

Most of our day is spent working. It can be difficult to spend time doing things that provide joy and variety to our lives. It’s easy to brush these things off in our increasingly busy lives. Often, it is touted and praised to not have hobbies and to work ceaselessly. Yet, balance is key to happiness and success. Being serious all the time can increase stress and ultimately lead to depression.

Making time for playful relaxation can facilitate inspiration, gratitude, and even flow. Consequently, spending 30 or so minutes at night on a hobby can rejuvenate you and add some fun into your life.

  1. Tidy Up Your House

A common practice among successful business people is tidying up their workspace before they leave the office. That’s because nobody enjoys the feeling of walking into a mess.

Similarly, taking a few minutes to tidy up your house before going to bed allows you to sleep in a clean space and wake up to a clean environment. This will reduce stress and decision fatigue. It also facilities positive energy in the morning, which is essential for maintaining happiness and balance throughout the day.

  1. Send Love To Yourself And Others

It is a common meditative practice to meditate while lying in bed, just before going to sleep. You take some deep breathes and reflect on the love you have for yourself and other people. Not only do you reflect, but you purposefully send positive energy or vibes to other people. This deepens your connect with them. A similar practice is nightly prayer, where you give thanks for your blessings and pray for the wellbeing of other people.

These practice enhances your gratitude and perspective. They allow you to see life from a higher plane while connecting you with yourself and those you love.

  1. Go To Bed On Routine

A friend recently told me he wakes up early every day, regardless of when he goes to bed, “because waking up early helps him be more productive.” But he has way too many things going on to get to bed when he should.

Like what?” I asked.

“Well, we just moved, we have kids, I’ve got work, and we have a dog…” he said before trailing off. People have endless excuses for not going to bed at a decent hour. These excuses reflect a mismanagement of life. Yes, things can be difficult. But the conscious person shapes their life to facilitate their success and wellbeing.

Getting in sync with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle — your circadian rhythm — is crucial for achieving healthy sleep.

It is extremely important to go to bed at the same time every night. By keeping a regular sleep schedule, you will feel more refreshed and energized than if you sleep the same number of hours at different times. Altering sleep schedules by an hour or two on the weekends can throw off your circadian rhythm. Consistency is key with sleep. As Dr. Verma has stated, “Many of my patients have such a different weekday/weekend wake schedule that they are experiencing the same sleepiness that people who are jet-lagged. Even two hours difference hurts, especially if they are already sleep deprived.”

There is no set time for when you should go to bed. Everyone is different. However, in order to maximize your morning routine, it is best to sleep before 11 P.M. The earlier the better.


Your evening routine reflects your highest priorities in life. Actions speak louder than words. Either you care about yourself and your loved ones, or you don’t. By carving out time every night to rejuvenate yourself, and spend moments with your loved ones, you’ll find greater balance and happiness in life.

Your morning and evening routines should be firm and consistent. However, your routines will likely change as you go through different seasons of life. Going to college, working full-time, and having kids all require adjustments to your routine. Having a routine becomes increasingly important as your life becomes more hectic and busy.

By Benjamin Hardy
Foster parent of 3 epic kids. Pursuing PHD in Org Psychology. Thanks for reading! Get his free eBook, Slipstream Time Hacking, at

‘Reckless’ Jeremy Camp Brings Hope to War-torn Nation

February 1st, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle
THE ART OF FOLLOWING  //  After a watershed spiritual experience, Jeremy Camp, an industry mainstay at the top of his game, considered calling it quits. But one night in Kyrgyzstan provided the much needed jolt of energy and refreshment in Jeremy’s calling. (Excerpt from the February 1, 2015 edition of CCM Magazine by Andrew Greer)JeremyCamp

It was a couple of years ago when Jeremy, out of a record deal and running low on creative stamina, received a phone call from a missionary friend inviting he and his band to perform a concert in Kyrgyzstan. “KEER-GASTAN” is a predominantly Muslim nation in Central Asia known for volatile civil strife and strict religious censorship. Speaking Louder Ministries, Jeremy’s non-profit organization providing crusade-style events, is designed to “declare the hope of Jesus throughout the world with music, testimony and service.”

As a gospel-centric artist known for penning faith-empowering songs like “Walk by Faith” and “Reckless,” and considering Speaking Louder’s mission, Jeremy began making efforts to pull off the endeavor. “My friend in Kyrgyzstan expressed that people were fearful,” Jeremy remembers, citing the intensity of his friend’s request. “Churches were going underground. People were being persecuted and killed for their faith. Tension was building and he said they needed something desperately.”

“So here I am proclaiming this song ‘Reckless’ [the title track from his 2012 record], and now a friend is suggesting I be part of something potentially ‘dangerous,’” Jeremy explains the responsibility he felt to translate his written words into action.

As Kyrgyzstan’s Ministry of Religion and the KGB scoured Jeremy’s online platforms for possible offenses to hosting a local concert — the highly applauded artist’s list of accolades coupled with his “cool, American vibe” ultimately sold them on hosting the show. Of course, it would only be allowable under the strict guidelines that Jeremy would simply play music and not share his beliefs.

But as plans progressed and warnings increased, the husband and father of three (Jeremy is married to Adrienne, former front-woman for Christian rock band The Benjamin Gate) began assessing the realities of sharing the gospel in a country intolerant of — and even violent towards — the Christian message. And Camp, the family man, pushed pause.

“There were too many red flags. It had to be the Lord calling me to do this. I’m not going to flippantly go somewhere that could wind up being crazy,” he says, feeling the cost of this decision to his family with something that could possibly go awry. “We ended up telling them we didn’t think it was going to be the right timing.”

Upon hearing the news, his friend abroad replied with one last appeal. “He said, ‘This is probably going to be the last year you would be able to come to Kyrgyzstan. It’s getting more and more unsafe. The persecutions are starting to rise. The people are fearful. We need help.’”

Rather than a manipulative guilt trip, Jeremy admits his friend’s persistence was an honest plea for spiritual aid. A petition Jeremy and his cohorts were willing to reconsider. So they prayed hard.

“The next Sunday, we were praying at church and God gave us verses and songs that simply said, ‘Go.’ We fell on our faces, crying out to God to prepare the land and the venue in Kyrgyzstan, praying, ‘God I know you are preparing the way. We just want to be a part of it.’”

In the face of the nation’s tense reality, Jeremy and his musical entourage packed their instruments and carried the gospel to Kyrgyzstan.

Once on foreign soil, Camp hit the ground running and fulfilled a full day of press requests and media interviews. But as a mostly Muslim nation with profound religious restrictions, Jeremy was forewarned to choose his words wisely in order to ensure the concert’s confirmation as well as their safety while inside the country. “I would share the details of my testimony in generalities, but then say things like, ‘God brings hope— and I want to share that hope with this generation.’ But I had to be careful when talking about Jesus,” he explains.

As he continued to carefully share his heart’s hope, the spiritually sensitive musician began feeling a heaviness, “an unexplainable tension,” as he describes, in the room. “People began asking, ‘What is the real reason you are here?’ All of the sudden, I’m feeling oppression and fear, a warfare, like I’ve never felt before in my life.”

“I remember the night before the main event very well. As we were preparing to go on stage for a youth event I overheard our host, in a worry-some tone, say to the local pastor ‘We’ll have to deal with that when we get to it’”—not something that Camp or his team wanted to hear in those moments!

“When I asked what was going on, he said ‘Because of the interviews, the government has realized that this event may be more in-your-face than they were expecting. In turn, the media is expressing to the people of Kyrgyzstan that tomorrow’s concert is provocative in nature, and that it’s going to agitate our people. They’re telling everyone not to come.’”

The weight of the situation was coming into focus. With Jeremy’s likeness appearing on every billboard and open space across the nation’s largest city centers, any even unintentional over communication could bear consequences. “If I said the wrong thing from the stage, they would send the local church’s pastor to prison for a year,” Jeremy soberly relates. “Reality was hitting us.”

“After the youth event concluded I asked ‘Should I be watching my back?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ So at that point my bodyguard began to follow me everywhere. I then eventually fell on my knees and cried out, ‘God, I can’t do this. It’s too much pressure!’ It was in that moment God responded, ‘Perfect. Now you can do it. You are letting go of what you can accomplish, because you can’t accomplish anything without me.’ That blew my mind.”

Amid the bomb threats and warnings of sniper attacks, the main event remained on-schedule. Due to the negative press and local grumblings, Camp’s ministry team began preparing themselves for a meager attendance. However, by the time Jeremy took the stage that night over 8,000 people flooded the stadium. “At the time I finally walked onto the stage, the peace of God began to guard my heart. I had no fear. I shared about Jesus. Altar calls are against the law in Kyrgyzstan, but I took full advantage of the liberty to talk about my faith — people all around the stadium came forward for prayer.”

As a result of Jeremy’s surrender, his crew, and the team’s concerted exercise of faith in the face of fear, thousands were able to hear about Jesus — some even for the very first time.

Jeremy recalls one tangible sign of God’s protection from that evening that was literally marked across the sky. “As we were praying before the concert, clouds were darkening all around the city. Above the stadium, however, the sky was completely clear and blue and there was — no joke — one particular cloud in the shape of a dove! I honestly tried to not over-spiritualize it, but in that moment and after all that happened leading up to it, you just have to let go and say, ‘Alright, Holy Spirit. You do your work!’”

Not long after Jeremy and his Speaking Louder team left Kyrgyzstan for home, his missionary friends were kicked out of the country as a direct result of the concert’s impact. Thankfully, they were also able to report that the Kyrgyzstan Christian Church has been emboldened like never before.

Simply stated, Jeremy says, “This experience has changed my everything…”


15 Surprising Tips That Will Make You a Better Cook in 2016

February 1st, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in Advice and Tips

One of the signs of a good cook is that they’ve learned little tricks of the trade along the way. They know how to make the most of the food they have in their fridge and how to improvise or take shortcuts to make a recipe even better.

Here are 15 tips that will help you become a better cook in 2016.

  1. Use this tip to make sure your eggs are fresh: That way you’ll know which should be poached and which will be better hard-boiled.
  2. Don’t keep cucumbers in your fridge: Turns out the crisp veggies don’t want to be that cold.
  3. Don’t toss your overripe fruit: Thanks to your freezer, you can give it a second life.
  4. Banish carrot sticks from your kitchen: It’s carrot rounds or bust from now on.
  5. Cook chicken breasts faster: Get that weeknight dinner staple on the table in record time.
  6. Don’t toss all your kitchen scraps: Several of them, like celery and scallions, can be regrown in just water or potting soil.
  7. Never guess whether your avocado is ripe again: This one trick can give you a definitive answer before you cut into the fruit.
  8. Know that if meat has gone gray, it doesn’t mean it’s gone bad: A color change doesn’t mean that ground beef is bad. Follow this advice to avoid wasting food.
  9. Use these non-alcoholic substitutes for wine: When cooking for guests who don’t drink, opt for these ingredients in place of red or white wine.
  10. Swap onions and shallots: You just have to know the right exchange rate.
  11. Reheat your pizza the right way: Make sure you’re reheating your slice properly.
  12. Store ginger properly: Plus, did you know it can be frozen?
  13. Don’t buy a box of cake flour just for one recipe: There’s an easy trick to making your own, if you just need a small amount.
  14. Become a master at poaching eggs: It’s all thanks to Julia Child.
  15. Make your blueberry muffins better: This simple trick will change your breakfast staple forever.


20 Valentine’s Day Breakfast Ideas

February 1st, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in Advice and Tips
I made a really fun Valentine’s Day breakfast for my husband and my kids last year. It was yummy and lots of fun because I decorated it with these fun printables from The Dating Divas. I plan to make another festive breakfast this year and have found a bunch of awesome recipes to share with you.There are so many awesome red and pink food ideas and lots of fun things shaped in a heart!
20 Valentine's Day Breakfast IdeasStrawberry Smoothie – Love and MarriageHeart Shaped Rasberry Rolls – via Handle The Hear

Strawberries and Cream Donuts – via Thirty Handmade Days

Chocoalte & Strawberry Waffles – via Cooking Classy

Heart Biscuits – via Taste of Home

Nutella Filled French Toast – via Navy Wife Cook

Heart Apple Sandwiches – via Happy Together

20 Valentine's Day Breakfast Ideas

Pink Cinnamon Rolls – via Love from the Oven

White Chocolate Raspberry Pancakes – via Mariah’s Pleasing Plates

Red Velvet Pancakes – via Cooking Classy

Heart Shaped French Toast – via Happy Hooligans

Heart Eggs – via Our Mini Family

Strawberry Glazed Donuts – via Frugal Coupon Living

Heart Toast – via One Little Project

20 Valentine's Day Breakfast Ideas

Strawberry Muffins – via Taste Love and Nourish

Pink Cheerios – via The Proper Blog

Heart Shaped Roasted Potatoes – via Hanielas

Pink Lemonade Protein Bites – via Cotter Crunch

Cherry Bread – via Real Advice Gal

French Toast with Strawberry Butter – via Land O Lakes

Strawberry Cheesecake Waffles – via Live Like You Are Rich


“Risen” in Theatres February 19th

February 1st, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in Videos
Twelve years after the blockbuster film, The Passion of the Christ, Risen picks up just weeks after Jesus’ death on the cross, as seen through the eyes of the unbelieving Clavius (Joseph Fiennes), a high-ranking Roman military tribune.
For details and showtimes visit