Blossom Tue, 03 May 2016 16:49:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Blossom 32 32 How to Love and Live With an Alcoholic Boyfriend Tue, 03 May 2016 16:42:54 +0000 Living with an alcoholic is painful and scary. These tips on how to love a boyfriend who drinks too much will help you live with the reality of alcoholism. The more you know, the better...

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Living with an alcoholic is painful and scary. These tips on how to love a boyfriend who drinks too much will help you live with the reality of alcoholism. The more you know, the better able you’ll be to get the support you need.

living with an alcoholic boyfriend

How to Love and Live With an Alcoholic Boyfriend

“My boyfriend has had problems with drinking too much for over five years,” writes Mary on on How to Help an Alcoholic Brother or Sister. “Things reached the worst they ever have around two years ago, when he was regularly brought home by the police, found sleeping under bridges and gone missing for days. Things have since then not been as extreme. My boyfriend goes to work but drinks all the time. Living with an alcoholic isn’t as hard as I thought it would be because he doesn’t abuse me. He just drinks. What can I do to help my boyfriend? I love him but he won’t admit he’s alcoholic.”

The most depressing thing about living with an alcoholic is also the truest thing: you can’t do anything to change or help him. Your boyfriend drinks too much because he has an addiction – a disease – that he can’t control. It is overpowering his reason and ability to think clearly. All you can do is learn how to love and live with an alcoholic, how to take care of yourself, and how to recognize when you need to make a decision about how you want to live your life.

Loving and living with an alcoholic boyfriend doesn’t mean you have to lose yourself in his disease, but it does require you to learn about the pain and struggle of addiction. The more you read and learn about alcoholism, the better able you’ll be to help the man you love and maybe even save your relationship.

Throughout this article, I’ll share different types of resources for understanding what addiction is, living with an alcoholic, and learning where healthy boundaries are. There aren’t any easy tips for how to love a boyfriend who drinks too much, but I’ve found a few ideas that may help.

How to Love and Live With an Alcoholic Boyfriend

In the comment at the beginning of this article, Mary said her boyfriend doesn’t hurt her. Not all girlfriends are this fortunate! If you’re living with an alcoholic who abuses you, learn about the stages of leaving an abusive relationship. You may not be ready to leave – or even think about leaving – but it might be good to know about the cycle of abuse.

The first three tips for living with an alcoholic boyfriend are the most important.

Learn about the disease of alcoholism

Find ways to understand how alcoholics think and why they make the choices they do. The more you know about your boyfriend’s addiction and why he drinks too much, the better equipped you’ll be to love and live with him.

Don’t underestimate the power of this disease. Alcoholism is a very serious addiction, and it destroys lives. Last year I wrote an article called the 10 Benefits of Quitting Drinking…and it made me realize that there is a huge difference between social drinking and alcoholism. You’ll never be able to tell your boyfriend about the benefits of not drinking too much because he is in the grip of a powerful obsession that he can’t control.

Join a support group for people living with alcoholic partners

Don’t navigate the jungle of addiction by yourself. There are too many traps, dangers, and threats! You need to surround yourself with people who understand what it’s like to love and live with a boyfriend who drinks too much. Reading blog posts and online articles about living with an alcoholic is a good way to get information, but it’s not enough.

Meet people who live with partners who struggle with alcoholism. Tell them what you’re going through, and listen to their stories. Learn how to cope with life as a woman who loves a man who drinks too much. Get advice, strategies, tips, and support.

loving an alcoholic boyfriendLoving an Addict, Loving Yourself is one of my favorite books about living with an alcoholic. In it, Candace Plattor encourages readers to concentrate on taking care of themselves instead of focusing on the alcoholic or addict. She believes the key to changing the reality of addiction is to shift your focus from your loved one’s addiction to your own self-care.

Loving an Addict, Loving Yourself presents a fresh approach to help you get off the roller-coaster chaos of addiction, maintain your own sanity and serenity, and live your best life.

Take care of yourself

Living with an alcoholic boyfriend takes a great deal of energy, strength, and wisdom. One of the most important things to do is take good care of your body, mind, and spirit. Learn how to draw healthy boundaries in your relationship. Find out what enabling or codependency is, and how to stop protecting your boyfriend.

Be determined that your boyfriend’s alcoholism won’t spoil your relationship with your children, your family, or your friends. You can still have a full, interesting, and good life even if you’ll never learn how to help an alcoholic boyfriend stop drinking. Don’t set your heart on reforming him, or helping him stop drinking. You will be unable to do so, not matter how hard you try.

Remember that your boyfriend is not “choosing” to drink

The founding belief of Alcoholics Anonymous is that alcoholism is not a choice. Your boyfriend drinks too much not because he’s voluntarily choosing it, but rather because he has no power. He can’t control his drinking, no matter how much you beg, cry, threaten, or pray.

As an alcoholic, your boyfriend no longer has the power to choose not to drink, so he needs spiritual power to quit drinking. He can’t overcome the disease of alcoholism by himself or through willpower. The only thing he can do is turn to God, admit how powerless he is, and turn his life over to a Higher Power who can save him.

Find out if you’re enabling your boyfriend – and stop crossing the line

boyfriend drinks too muchIn The New Codependency, author Melody Beattie says a lot of codependency is normal behavior. The opposite of codependency is a healthy sense of letting go.

“Letting go helps us to to live in a more peaceful state of mind and helps restore our balance,” says Beattie. “It allows others to be responsible for themselves and for us to take our hands off situations that do not belong to us. This frees us from unnecessary stress.”

Codependency is about crossing unhealthy lines and boundaries when you love an alcoholic boyfriend. You may do too much, care too much, feel too little, or overly engage with him. You may give too much, and then resent it. In The New Codependency, Beattie describes how to love without becoming codependent or enmeshed with a boyfriend who drinks too much. She shares her own story and empowers readers to step out of the victim role forever.

Avoid telling your boyfriend to stop drinking

In the “For Wives” chapter of the Alcoholics Anonymous book, the authors advise women never to tell their boyfriends or husbands to stop drinking. The irony of living with an alcoholic boyfriend is that you can’t tell him what to do about his drinking. If he sees you as a nag or killjoy, your chance of helping him may be zero. He will feel misunderstood and criticized, which won’t help him stop drinking.

And, be prepared for other addictive behaviors to surface…

“My husband and I fight a lot,” says Kim on What to Do When Your Husband is an Alcoholic. “He drinks for hours, several days a week. When he is sober he is a wonderful, sweet, funny, loving guy. Our fights happen when he has been drinking and I am sober…I hurt my back and was prescribed painkillers, and he’s taken at least half of my prescription each time. Tonight I wanted the half tablet I had left on my nightstand. I asked him about taking my medication, he said yes he took it.”

Let your boyfriend explain his life to people

living with an alcoholic boyfriendWhenever possible, let him make his own excuses to his employer, coworkers, family members, neighbors, church community, etc. Don’t protect him, don’t lie to people to cover up his drinking problem.

When you’re living with an alcoholic boyfriend – and you love him – you may feel tempted to cover up for him. But this makes the problem worse. Don’t lie to people who have a right to know where your boyfriend is and what he is doing.

Find healthy ways to deal with your anger and frustration

This goes back to my first tips for living with an alcoholic: get help dealing with your feelings and reactions to your boyfriend’s tendency to drink too much. Find the closest Alcoholics Anonymous group, or the nearest Al-Anon group.

Trying to deal with your boyfriend’s alcoholism on your own is futile, and will set you up for disappointment and despair. Join forces with other women who need help with their alcoholic husbands. Get support, give support. The healthier you get emotionally, spiritually, and socially, the better able you’ll be to help your boyfriend if he decides to start battling his alcoholism.

Reconnect with God

The foundation of Alcoholics Anonymous is spirituality. They believe that an alcoholic is powerless to stop drinking because alcoholism is a disease. Your boyfriend can’t summon the willpower to stop drinking; alcoholics have no choice. This may be hard to understand, but it’s how the disease works.

Your boyfriend needs to decide to turn his life and body over to God (whatever he understands God to be). If you want to truly love and live with your boyfriend, you need to do the same thing.

God really does love you – and He loves your boyfriend, too. What do you think God is doing in your life? Is He active and alive, or quiet and still? Take time to connect with Him. Ask for guidance, wisdom, peace. Fill your mind and soul with His Holy Spirit. Learn who Jesus is, and live in the power of His grace and love.

In living with an alcoholic partnerReclaim Your Life: You and the Alcoholic/Addict, Carole Bennett helps people who struggle with the heartache, frustration, confusion, and resentment of living with an alcoholic boyfriend or husband. It’s a wonderful, helpful resource for anyone who needs help navigating the murky waters of addiction.

“When you let go of fear and the need to control, you’ll experience how mysterious, sacred, and interesting Life can be.” – Melody Beattie.

What do you think of these tips on how to love a boyfriend who drinks too much? I welcome your thoughts below. I can’t give advice, but you may find it helpful to share your thoughts on living with an alcoholic.

Please connect with other women whose boyfriends are struggling with alcoholism, so you can gain strength, comfort, and solidarity.


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How to Comfort Your Boyfriend When He is Grieving Mon, 02 May 2016 15:58:05 +0000 These suggestions for comforting a grieving boyfriend will help you understand what he’s going through and how you can help. The more you learn about the grieving process for men, the better able you’ll be...

The post How to Comfort Your Boyfriend When He is Grieving appeared first on Blossom.

These suggestions for comforting a grieving boyfriend will help you understand what he’s going through and how you can help. The more you learn about the grieving process for men, the better able you’ll be to comfort your boyfriend through his grief.

How to Comfort a Boyfriend Who is GrievingIn The Way Men Heal, Tom Golden describes how men grieve. He uses real-life examples, such as how Eric Clapton healed after the death of his young son Conor and how Michael Jordan healed after his father’s murder. This book describes how these and other men use action as a way to process grief; this information will help you learn how to comfort a grieving boyfriend.

Golden says men are pulled to the future and use honoring as a means to heal, rather than the expected interactive “talking about the past” modes. This way of processing grief isn’t easily detected – it’s basically invisible. This means that your boyfriend may be dealing with grief in a healthy way that is natural for him…even if you feel like he’s not grieving the way you might expect him to.

These tips on how to comfort a grieving boyfriend are inspired by readers who want to help the men they love.

On Helping Your Boyfriend Cope With Death, the most common comment from readers is “I don’t know how to comfort my boyfriend who is grieving.” There aren’t any solid answers, because everyone deals with grief in different ways. For example, I slept a lot after my grandma died. I didn’t want to be around people, I didn’t want to talk about my loss, and I wasn’t interested in grief counseling.

The best way to comfort your grieving boyfriend is to learn his natural method of mourning. Maybe he’s action-oriented, like the men in Tom Golden’s book. Your boyfriend may not want to talk through his grief – but this doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you or won’t heal. It just means his grieving process is different than yours might be.

When your boyfriend is grieving, it’s important to let him process his loss in his own way. He may withdraw, ask for time alone, text you less, email you less, hug you less. The best way to comfort a man who is going through the grief process is to be sensitive to what he needs from you.

Here are a few ways to learn how your boyfriend deals with grief and what you can do to support him…

How to Comfort a Grieving Boyfriend

If you think your boyfriend is struggling with extreme or complicated grief, you might start learning how to deal with boyfriends who are depressed.

Give your boyfriend time to process his grief

Whether your boyfriend lost a loved one due to a sudden death or prolonged illness, he’ll be in shock for some time. How long he needs to overcome the shock and grief depends on his personality, spirituality, and perspective on life.

Some of us deal with grief quickly, while others take months or years to mourn a loss. Often we never fully “get over it”, and we always carry a shadow of grief in our hearts. It can be difficult to give your boyfriend time and space to deal with his grief, but the best tip on how to comfort a grieving boyfriend is to let him work through his grief in his own way.

Take care of your own emotional issues

Are you having trouble giving your boyfriend time and space to deal with his grief? Do you think he is grieving in unhealthy or even wrong ways? Take time to examine your own thoughts, beliefs, and experiences about grief.

Don’t allow your expectations or insecurities affect your ability to comfort your boyfriend. For example, on 5 Tips for Helping a Grieving Friend a reader said she panicked when she didn’t hear from her boyfriend for three days. Another reader said she can’t convince her boyfriend to talk about how he’s dealing with grief after his mom died. She feels like she doesn’t know how to comfort a grieving boyfriend because he won’t talk to her…but she doesn’t understand that he may not be ready to talk about his mom’s death yet.

If you find yourself resisting your boyfriend’s need to deal with his grief in his own way, then it might help you to figure out why. Are you scared he’ll leave you? Insecure about his love for you? Afraid your relationship won’t be the same as it was before? Those are legitimate fears when your boyfriend is dealing with grief. But, if you let them affect your relationship, you may push your boyfriend away.

Trust that you are enough

Don’t fall into the trap of trying too hard to be something you’re not. You are enough, just the way you are.

How to Comfort a Grieving Boyfriend

How to Comfort a Grieving Boyfriend

You, with all your fears and flaws and weaknesses and fears, can comfort your grieving boyfriend by simply staying beside him. You don’t need to talk, or ask him to talk. You don’t need to hold him while he cries. All you need to do is be present and available, without expecting your boyfriend to grieve a specific way.

Your presence is the most important thing you can offer a man who is coping with death and dealing with grief. No matter how inept or uncomfortable you feel, you are enough.

Have no expectations

You may not feel 100% comfortable with these tips on how to help a grieving boyfriend because of your own expectations. Maybe he grieves differently than you. Perhaps you expect him to act a certain way or you expect your relationship to be a certain way.

Remember that not only do all people grieve differently, but men experience and express grief in different ways than women do. Take your hands off the wheel, and let your boyfriend grieve his own way.

Take a deep breath, and trust that God and healing will work through you. You need only show up and reach out to your boyfriend once every couple of days. Send him a text or email regularly, but don’t expect a response right away; don’t push him to give more than he can. That’s how you help when your boyfriend is dealing with grief. Just be there. Be there. Have faith that even though you have no answers, your presence is enough.

For more tips on dealing with grief, read 5 Ways to Help a Grieving Friend.

Sometimes you lean on your friends, and sometimes it’s good just knowing they are there.

I welcome your thoughts on how to comfort a grieving boyfriend. I can’t offer advice, but you may find it helpful to share your experience.


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How to Be Happy When You’re Single Thu, 28 Apr 2016 16:46:29 +0000 Being single doesn’t mean nobody wants you; it simply means you’re waiting for the right person. These tips on how to be happy when you’re a single woman will help you find peace, joy,...

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Being single doesn’t mean nobody wants you; it simply means you’re waiting for the right person. These tips on how to be happy when you’re a single woman will help you find peace, joy, and freedom.

how to be happy single“I enjoy and love my company but being a single woman does make me sad at times,” says Barb on What to Do When You’re Tired of Being Single. “I love cooking and it would be nice to have dinner with someone several times a week. But I’ve lived with people all my life and I need my space to be alone, I can’t have some man around me every single day expecting me to make his life whole.”

Here’s my favorite part of her comment: “A relationship should be a complement to what you already have going on in your life. You should love yourself and be happy as a single woman because you can do things you love. Living with people is not easy!” Enjoy the season you’re in, for it too shall pass. In this article I share a few ideas for a happy life as a single woman, to help you reconnect with yourself.

Before we get to my tips on how to be happy single, you have to read the rest of Barb’s comment:

“I’m a neat freak and my last boyfriend cleaned whenever he felt like it,” she said. “He tried to treat my place like his which was not good. He wasn’t good with money at all and his plans in life only included him and his other family he had. I never wrote when I was with him, I would play music and he would turn it down. He hogged the computer and tv and was using everything I had. The only thing he didn’t use was my tampons and underwear and toothbrush. He ate and drunk stuff and never replaced anything, he broke my new bed by jumping on it and never replaced it. I never got a chance to decorate my own home the way I wanted to.”

There, my friend, is one of the best tips on how to be happy as a single woman: remember the irritations of being in a relationship with a man you don’t connect with!

How to Be Happy When You’re Single

“Being single used to mean that nobody wanted you. Now it means you’re pretty and sexy and you’re taking your time deciding how you want your life to be and who you want to spend it with.” – from Sex and the City.

Being single is simply a stage of your life. It’s not a punishment or a curse – it can actually be something to be grateful for and enjoy. You have two choices:

  1. You can chose to see being single as a lonely time spent anxiously waiting for “Mr. Right.”
  2. You can chose to view being single as an opportunity to have a love affair with the most important person in your life…you. Or God, if you’re a believer.

Have you ever noticed that some single people think they’d be happier married, while many married people secretly (or not so secretly) think they’d be happy single?

If you recently broke up with someone you love, you may feel confused, angry, anxious, and fearful about what lies ahead.  You may have forgotten how to be happy as a single woman. Maybe you’re approaching 40 and worried that you’ll soon have to learn how to be happy without children.

Enjoy your freedom to be yourself

How to Be Happy When You're Single Woman

How to Be Happy When You’re Single

One of the best tips on how to be happy single is freedom. Your time is your own. So is your money and your home, your car and your dog! With no one to answer to or be accountable to, you can come and go as you please. You can schedule activities in advance or you can act on impulse.  You can come home after a bad day and made a huge bowl of hot buttered popcorn for dinner! You can paint, write, or redecorate your home any way you want.

If you’re just coming out of a long-term relationship, it may take a while to appreciate your newfound freedom.  If you are not happy single, make a list of things you wanted to do but couldn’t when you were in a relationship. Do the first thing on your list before the month ends!

Use your time to re-evaluate your relationships

Sometimes we allow our love life to overtake everything else. We may let our friendships go, or associate with people we don’t really like (eg, an ex-boyfriend’s or ex-husband’s relatives or friends). If you had good relationships with your ex’s friends and family, you were fortunate.  But if you didn’t enjoy spending time with his friends or family, now you can re-evaluate who you spend your time with.

Here’s how to be happy single: imagine spending your holidays and vacations doing what you want where you want without negotiation.  No more arguing or compromising about which family to visit for Christmas or Thanksgiving this year.  You don’t have to host drunken football parties or weekly poker nights (unless of course they were your idea in the first place!). This tip on how to be happy single will help you re-evaluate how you spend your days – and your life.

Surround yourself with beauty and peace

how to be happy singleWhen you walk around your home, what do you see? How do you feel? If you don’t feel at peace, at home, in love, and happy, then find items that make you feel good.

A Woman’s Prayer – Oil Warmer Burner and Diffuser of Fragrance is a beautiful way to keep your home smelling of whatever scent makes you feel happy. I love vanilla and musk essential oils – my bathroom smells beautiful.

Learning how to be happy single is about paying attention to and being grateful for those small things in life.

Say good-bye to those annoying habits! (one of the best tips on how to be happy single)

Did your ex snore like a freight train?  Did s/he leave dirty clothes and wet towels on the bathroom floor waiting for you to pick them up? Are you a neat freak who somehow ended up with a slob who couldn’t ever seem to throw anything away? Do you love scented candles while your ex found fragrances annoying?  Did you give up on watching TV because the channel-switching was driving you crazy? Now that you’re single, the only annoying habits you’ll have to deal with are your own. And, chances are you don’t find them as annoying as your ex’s were.

If you can’t let go, read How to Emotionally Detach From Someone You Care About.

Take this opportunity to reinvent your life

One of the best tips on how to be happy single – particularly after a bad breakup – is the chance to reinvent yourself. Who do you want to be? Where do you want to go? How do you want to get there?

You’ve had a chance to learn more about what you don’t want in a boyfriend or husband, and chances are you’ve learned a lot more about yourself, your needs, and your desires. Some of these revelations may have come from lessons learned during the course of your relationship, but many others will become clearer as you spend more time being single.  To be happy, view dating as an adventure. Spend time with men whose values and temperament are more aligned with the woman you are.

how to be happy when you're singleRead The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass by Mandy Hale if you’re finding yourself unable to be happy. She tackles the stigma of being a single woman and shares her tips for happiness, fulfillment, and meaning in life.

Talk to God. Ask Him what dreams He has for you…and start allowing yourself to dream His dreams. God’s plans for you are bigger, bolder, and more powerful than anything you could imagine for yourself.

Welcome the serenity that comes with being single

Even the easiest breakups can be stressful. Relationships often take weeks, months, and even years to end – and you may have been unhappy for a long time. Once you’ve given yourself a chance to cope with the breakup, you’ll welcome the  serenity that settles in. Perhaps you were feeling confused, used, taken advantage of, or abused by your ex.

If you’re don’t think you’ll ever learn how to be happy as a single woman, give yourself time to grieve the end of your relationship. Remember that being single can be a wonderful season of your life. You may not remain single forever, so be sure to learn how to love yourself now.

Are you having trouble moving on? Read How to Let Go of Someone You Love.

I welcome your thoughts on how to be single even if you’d rather be in a relationship. Feel free to vent, cry, stomp your feet, and be bitter. It’s all welcome here. I can’t offer advice, but I read every comment.


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How to Deal With Performance Anxiety and Play Your Best Tue, 26 Apr 2016 20:37:45 +0000 These five tips on how to deal with anxiety will calm your spirit. Performance anxiety is a common problem for musicians; not only does it prevent us from playing our best on stage, it...

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These five tips on how to deal with anxiety will calm your spirit. Performance anxiety is a common problem for musicians; not only does it prevent us from playing our best on stage, it robs us from the joy of performing music.

how to deal with anxiety performance musiciansAnd yes, we should be enjoying the time we spend playing music for people! Our audience wants us to succeed, they love listening to music, and they can tell when musicians are enjoying their performance. Our audience wants the best for us. Performance anxiety detracts from the quality of our music and steals our joy as musicians.

Below are my five favorite tips for dealing with performance anxiety. I play the flute; I have an upcoming concert and a recital that I’m practicing every morning for. I don’t suffer from performance anxiety when I’m playing in a band or orchestra, but the recital is different. It’s a duet – me and an organist – and I’m the principle in one of the pieces. AND, the composer of that piece will be at the recital! Hence, I am researching tips on how to deal with performance anxiety for musicians – and I need to go beyond the usual strategies.

Sometimes dealing with performance anxiety is easier when you know you’re not alone. Did you know that some of the most successful musicians struggle with stage fright? Famous examples are Barbra Streisand, Rod Steward, and Carol Burnett.

Here’s a really surprising tip on how to deal with performance anxiety, which musicians don’t talk about: use beta blockers to quell nerves. I don’t know if famous musicians do this, but some professional orchestral musicians use prescription medication (beta blockers) to help them deal with anxiety while on stage.

I’m NOT recommending you do this to deal with anxiety as a musician – that’s why it’s not in my list of tips for dealing with performance anxiety! It’s just a fascinating bit of information I found while researching anxiety in musicians. Beta blockers are cardiac medications that block the action of adrenalin and mute the sympathetic nervous system. Some professional musicians take beta blockers to calm their nerves – and according to Better Playing Through Chemistry, this prescription medication might actually improve technical performance.

How to Deal With Performance Anxiety and Play Your Best

In this post I don’t offer the usual tips on for dealing with anxiety as musicians, such as:

  • Practice your music every day; know your piece inside and out
  • Rehearse your concert or piece at the actual place you’ll be performing
  • Perform in front of people as often as you can
  • Use special breathing techniques, such as the Alexander Method
  • Picture your audience naked

I tried those tips for dealing with performance anxiety, and they failed me. Instead, I’m doing this…

Learn how the stress of performing music affects your body

I’ve listened to several TED talks on the effects of stress. The bottom line is that stress causes musicians to tighten up, brains to forget how to think and play music, breathing to become shallow, and hands to sweat and bodies to tremble. Musicians who know their music forget how to play the most basic notes and can’t remember the words to songs they know well. They might forget their notes and words and feel threatened by the audience. At its worst, performance anxiety causes some musicians to freeze on stage…or not even make it to the stage in the first place.

“Our bodies constrict, tighten up, look down or inward, huddle in, and try to suppress the fear,” says life coach Pat Barone in my ancient post about feeling the fear. “We aren’t looking forward, we’re looking inward, and we can’t see the bigger picture.  Then, we start blaming/shaming in an attempt to feel less responsible for what is occurring.  We blame other people.  Chemical reactions occur in the body, with adrenaline and stress hormones flowing and circulating.”

It’s important for us to know how stress hormones (cortisol) affect our performance as musicians. Anxiety is a natural state when we are afraid – and this anxiety does not allow us perform or play well.

See your performance anxiety as a sign you’re ready to play your best

Those butterflies in your stomach? Your quickened breathing? Your slightly trembling knees? Those are GOOD signs! They’re signals that your body is up for this challenge, that you are awake and aware and ready to play.

This is one of those tips on how to deal with performance anxiety that works for some musicians, but not all. The key to calming down and playing your best is to figure out what works for YOU. Some musicians use prescription medications for anxiety, while others allow their heightened state of arousal to encourage them to play better.

Find ways to enjoy being on stage

how to deal with performance anxietyMusicians shine when they are passionate about their music, their songs, their instruments! The audience can tell when musicians love when they’re doing. Audiences love musicians who are happy and having fun. And, musicians who are happy and having fun have no room for performance anxiety or stage fright.

If you can find ways to enjoy playing your music on stage, then you’ve found the best tip on how to deal with anxiety as a musician. This might be the most personal and effective way to relax and play your best music because it comes from YOU.

Lose yourself in your music

When I lived in Kenya, I went dancing with an African guy. I felt weird because I was one of very few white people in this night club in Nairobi. I asked my friend for dance tips, and he gave me one.

“Don’t feel the music,” he said. “BE the music.”

He added that if I’m not enjoying myself as a dancer, I’m not being the music. If I’m thinking about what I’m doing, I’m not being the music. My “performance” is stiff and stilted, and I’m not loose and flowy. That was a great tip on how to overcome shyness on the dance floor, and it’s also one of the best ways to deal with performance anxiety for musicians.

Lose yourself in your music. Wear your audience’s attention lightly, like a loose garment. Allow it to drop as you pick up your flute, put your hands on the strings of your guitar, or sit at your piano.

Our audience wants us to succeed, they love listening to music, and they can tell when we as musicians are enjoying our performance. Our audience wants the best for us. Our performance anxiety detracts from the quality of the music and steals the joy from the song or composition.

Let go of your worry about what the audience thinks of you

When I started writing this post on how to deal with performance anxiety for musicians, my best tip for myself was to rest in God. I want to die to my self, to forget about how I’m perceived by the audience. I want to care naught about what people think of how I play the flute or what I look like when I’m on stage.

I want to let God flow through me. I want Him to direct my music, my high notes on the flute, our timing as a duet. I want to rest in God and let Him do the work. Of course, I’ll prepare and practice and play the best I can…but I want to let go of my worries. I don’t want to care what the audience thinks of me as a musician. I just want to let go and let God carry me through.

That’s still what I want for my concert and recital…but I also want to enjoy myself! I want to be one of those musicians who loves playing music for people, who is genuinely happy to share the beauty of the chords and notes and tunes and rhythm. Performance anxiety is about me…I want my concert to be about the audience and the music.

My music is not about me. Your music is not about you. Perhaps the best tip on how to deal with anxiety as musicians is to let our performance be about the audience and the music…not us.

“We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.” ― Arthur O’Shaughnessy.

How to Deal With Anxiety as a Musician

how to deal with performance anxiety musicians

In The Musician’s Way: A Guide to Practice, Performance, and Wellness, Gerald Glickstein describes strategies to interpret and memorize compositions, fuel motivation, collaborate, and more. Part II specifically offers tips on how to deal with anxiety – it’s called Fearless Performance, and it describes the hidden causes of nervousness and shows how musicians can become confident performers. And Part III of The Musician’s Way shares tactics to prevent music-related injuries and equips musicians to tap their own innate creativity.

What about you – what have you done to deal performance anxiety in the past? If this is your first time performing as a musician, you are taking a step in the right direction: you’re searching for tips on how to deal with anxiety so you can play your best. Good for you!

P.S. Musicians dealing with performance anxiety could probably learn a lot from athletes who spend tons of time preparing themselves psychologically to compete. Sports psychology is a huge part of training for athletes…and in the same way, learning how to deal with anxiety as musicians should be a big part of our rehearsals before we go on stage.

P.P.S. “To fear is one thing.  To let fear grab you by the tail and swing you around is another.”  ~ Katherine Paterson.


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6 Tips for Trusting God Despite Your Unanswered Prayers Tue, 19 Apr 2016 22:46:28 +0000 The only thing worse than unanswered prayers is a clear “No” from God. These tips on how to trust Him will help you cope with the silence and loneliness that can accompany unanswered prayers. “Unanswered...

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The only thing worse than unanswered prayers is a clear “No” from God. These tips on how to trust Him will help you cope with the silence and loneliness that can accompany unanswered prayers.

trust God unanswered prayers“Unanswered prayers are often not unanswered at all,” says Michelle on How to Pray for a Baby, which is one of my most popular articles. “It is usually that you just don’t know how it was answered, or answered in a different way than you expected. Therefore, you didn’t notice. You pray for a reason, and you must trust that the God you pray to knows what is best for you.”

Whether or not you believe in God – or you’re a practicing Christian – you’ve struggled with prayers that God hasn’t answered. These tips for coping with unanswered prayers are inspired by my yearning to work overseas – and God’s silence in the face of my prayers. If you’re wrestling with unanswered prayers for healing, please feel free to share your prayer request with me in the comments section below. I will join you as you pray, and I will say special prayers for peace, joy, and faith in God.

My tips for coping with unanswered prayers are my beliefs and experiences. They’re how I’ve learned to trust God even when I haven’t heard from Him on a specific issue. I hope you find these tips practical and helpful – and I welcome your thoughts in the comments section below.

6 Tips for Trusting God Despite Your Unanswered Prayers

“Go to God with your burdens,” said Jesus. “Be bold when you pray. Trust that God hears your prayers! And, in ways you don’t fully understand, God will see you through this situation you face.”

Unanswered prayers don’t mean God has abandoned you or doesn’t love you – and they certainly don’t mean we can’t trust Him. One of my current unanswered prayers is my yearning to move abroad. Working overseas isn’t new to me – I taught at an American school in Nairobi, Kenya for three years. In Moving to Africa? 10 Things You Need to Know, I offer practical tips for living and working overseas. That was the deepest, richest, most exciting time of my life! That’s why I want to return.

However, I now have a husband, two dogs, and a mortgage – and I’m grateful for all of them! But with joy comes responsibility, and I can’t just drop everything to pursue my dream of working overseas. I know my husband, dogs, and home are blessings from God. I love what He has given me, and I treasure these gifts. But I’m also learning how to deal with my unanswered prayers of working overseas again. If you’re in the same boat, you might find my experience helpful.

1. Think about your expectations of God

What are you praying for? When you pray to God for that person, thing, or experience, are you focused on getting something out of God…or are you allowing the Holy Spirit to connect with God on your behalf? Figuring out your expectations of God and your motivation for praying will help you learn how to trust Him despite your unanswered prayers. If you expect God to answer all your prayers with a “yes dear” and grant all your wishes like a fairy godmother, then you need to rethink your relationship with Him.

“I must often be glad that certain past prayers of my own were not granted,” wrote CS Lewis in Christian Reflections: Petitionary Prayer in 1953. Sometimes we don’t know how lucky we are when our prayers aren’t granted or answered yet.

2. Be honest about your motivation for your prayer

My motivation for wanting to live and work overseas is almost purely selfish. I love travel, I love change, and I love adapting to new environments and situations. I love learning, and exploring different cultures. I have a lot to offer an overseas employer, and I could even write and blog about wherever I go.

Notice how many “I’s” are in my list of reasons for working overseas? It’s all about me. My unanswered prayers are based on what I want and think I need in life. But the truth is that I don’t even really know what I want and need….God does. I trust Him to answer my prayers when He is ready. And, I trust that He knows what He is doing if He says no to my prayers.

When you think of the unanswered prayers in your heart and soul, are your reasons all about you?

3. Be patient with unanswered prayers

One of my best tips on how to deal with unanswered prayers is to allow God to work in His own time.

unanswered prayers how to trust God

How to Trust God Despite Your Unanswered Prayers

I’d love to start my adventure working overseas yesterday, but that wasn’t the time for me. And that’s okay because if I do get to live abroad, I want it to be the best possible time. God knows if and when I should move to a different country. If working overseas is in His plans for me, then it will happen in His time.

I knew a married couple in my Bible Study who wanted to do missions work in Sudan. Their plans were thwarted several times, but are now living in Egypt. They’re learning Sudanese, and are peacefully waiting for God’s direction to Sudan. How did they deal with unanswered prayers when their plans to move overseas were pushed back by more than a year? They were patient (sort of! Sometimes they got impatient).

4. Practice a child-like faith in God

Maybe I should say we need to have a “dog-like faith” in God! My dogs are faithfully devoted to me, and would follow me to the ends of the earth. If I found an open door to working overseas, they’d be right behind me. They follow me through forest trails that are grown in and up mountain paths that seem never-ending. My dogs trust me, and follow me blindly.

I’m learning to trust God wholeheartedly, the way my dogs follow and trust me. But that doesn’t mean I don’t take little actions steps of faith towards working overseas – such as researching ideas for mission trips for introverted people. Practicing a child-like faith in God isn’t passive. Patience and faith can be active tips on how to trust God despite unanswered prayers.

5. Align yourself with God’s will

What if you aren’t in God’s will? Sometimes I wonder if the reason my prayers to work overseas haven’t been answered is because I’m not in alignment with God’s will for my life. Maybe He wants me to be here, not there. Maybe blogging is where I need to be right now, not working in a different country.

“Prayer is request,” writes CS Lewis in The Efficacy of Prayer. “The essence of request, as distinct from compulsion, is that it may or may not be granted.  And if an infinitely wise Being listens to the requests of finite and foolish creatures, of course He will sometimes grant and sometimes refuse them.”

6. Learn the best way to learn about unanswered prayers

oswald chambers unanswered prayers My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers is the best book on trusting God and unanswered prayers. I love this book, and read it every morning.

Here’s what Chambers says about not having to ask God what His will is for your life:

“This friendship means being so intimately in touch with God that you never even need to ask Him to show you His will. It is evidence of a level of intimacy which confirms that you are nearing the final stage of your discipline in the life of faith. When you have a right-standing relationship with God, you have a life of freedom, liberty, and delight; you are God’s will. And all of your commonsense decisions are actually His will for you, unless you sense a feeling of restraint brought on by a check in your spirit. You are free to make decisions in the light of a perfect and delightful friendship with God, knowing that if your decisions are wrong He will lovingly produce that sense of restraint. Once he does, you must stop immediately.” Bold emphasis mine.

I love this idea, that we ARE God’s will. How does this related to unanswered prayers? I am free to pursue a job working overseas even if God doesn’t drop a job offer in my lap. But, I feel a sense of restraint because of our life here. So…perhaps I’m not coping with prayers that aren’t answered. Perhaps His answer right now is no.

And I’m okay with that.

I welcome your thoughts on trusting God despite unanswered prayers. What have you been praying for, and what do you think God is doing in your life?

May your prayers ring straight and true, may you trust God with all your heart, and may the Holy Spirit lead you in peace and joy.


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How to Love Yourself When You Don’t Feel Good Enough Mon, 04 Apr 2016 17:47:06 +0000 You’ll feel happier, healthier, and more hopeful after reading these tips on how to love yourself.  You have the power to stop feeling not good enough to do your work or fall in love...

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You’ll feel happier, healthier, and more hopeful after reading these tips on how to love yourself.  You have the power to stop feeling not good enough to do your work or fall in love or even just get out of bed in the morning! Your relationships will improve and you’ll have the strength you need to face whatever comes your way.

how to love yourself good enough

How to Love Yourself

On How to Increase Self-Love and Improve Your Relationships, I described how I grew up not feeling good enough. I hated myself. I always blamed my feelings of low self-worth on my schizophrenic mother and absent father (I didn’t know him until I was 29 years old, when I travelled to Israel to meet him). I couldn’t commit to a long-term relationship because I didn’t feel good enough to be loved. I didn’t know how to love myself, so I couldn’t love others.

Do you feel bad about yourself? Unworthy? Unlovable? Maybe you even hate yourself, like I did. Maybe you feel stupid, fat, and ugly – and maybe you do bad things to your body and spirit because you think you deserve to be treated poorly. Here, you’ll find 7 ways to start learning how to love yourself when you don’t feel good enough.

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • Why self-love is so important
  • 10 tips on how to love yourself when you don’t feel good enough
  • Brian’s story – how he learned to love himself

I also share how Brian and I are different. He says looking inward is the source of self-love and self-acceptance…and I disagree.

Stay open to different ideas for loving yourself. You might be surprised to find what works and what doesn’t! Open your mind and spirit, and allow the still small voice to shine light into the dark places of your soul.

Why self-love is so important

Without a healthy sense of self-love you can’t bring your full, whole, unique, authentic and free self into this world. You can’t develop positive relationships or a meaningful purpose in your life unless you know how to love and care for yourself.

“I am 58 years old and for the first time in my entire life, I am genuinely happy,” says Brian in Learning to Love Yourself on the Canadian Mental Health website. “I am happy with the person I have become. Because I made the decision to work on my relationship with myself, I am able to do what I truly love the most. I am able to develop positive relationships with others and help others who have been through similar issues.”

Learning how to love yourself gives you the freedom to do what you truly love the most in life. You’ll be able to find healthy people to have good relationships with, and you’ll help others cope with their own struggles. You’ll move from not feeling good enough to feeling like you have the strength and power to handle anything that comes your way.

7 Ways to Love Yourself When You Don’t Feel Good Enough

Here’s the quick list:

  1. Recognize the signs of self-hatred or shame in your life
  2. Find your why
  3. Open up to someone you trust – let the light in
  4. Learn how others started loving themselves
  5. Give yourself time
  6. Listen to the still small voice
  7. Crack open your soul and let the light in

Don’t try to incorporate all these tips into your life at once! It’s too much. Rather, pick just one of these tips and focus on it for the next 24 hours. See how it works for you. If you found it helpful, then try it for another 24 hours. If the tip doesn’t resonate with you, try something else on this list.

1. Recognize the signs of self-hatred, shame, and pain in your life

How do you know you need to learn how to love yourself? There are signs in your life that you aren’t happy, that you don’t feel good enough, and that you need to learn self-love. Sometimes these signs are obvious. For example, I wrote “I hate myself” in my diary when I was in grade 8. And when I was in university. And when I was in my mid-30s.

  • Other signs of self-hatred or pain could be:
  • Cutting or physical self-harm
  • Drug or alcohol addictions
  • Financial debt
  • Overeating, anorexia, or other eating disorders
  • Promiscuity
  • Perfectionism
  • Unhealthy relationships
  • Stealing
  • Cruelty or violence to yourself or others

When you don’t feel good enough, you do things that hurt yourself and others. Maybe you sabotage your career by making bad choices, or you destroy your relationships by cheating or lying. You’re here for a reason. What are the signs of self-hatred, shame, and pain in your life?

I’ve found that learning how to stop living in the past is one of the best ways to learn how to love yourself…even when you don’t feel good enough.

2. Find your why

What is your reason for wanting to learn self-love? Maybe you want to forgive yourself for something in your past, or you want to build healthier relationships in your life. Maybe you’re sick and tired of feeling fat and ugly. Why do you want to learn how to love yourself? What can self-love bring to your life?

How to Love Yourself Not Good Enough

How to Love Yourself When You Don’t Feel Good Enough

Your reason for doing anything in your life has to be founded on a strong sense of “why.” Unless you have a solid purpose, you won’t stay motivated to keep going through the bleak dark dry valleys.

The key is finding YOUR why. If you don’t have a purpose, you’ll find it difficult to learn how to love yourself. If you don’t know your reasons for learning how to love yourself, you won’t succeed.

3. Open up to someone you trust – let the light in

Talking about what you’re going through can help you heal the pain and shame of not feeling good enough. If you shine light on the dark places, you’ll find freedom and peace. Sharing your struggle is one of the best things you’ll ever do. Talk about the fact that you don’t feel good enough, that you need to learn how to love yourself. Come out into the light. Tell your story. Open up and be authentic, so you can recover.

I remember feeling so ashamed and bad about my mom’s schizophrenia. Her appearance, actions, words…it was so hard to admit that she was my mother.  She’d show up at school and I’d run and hide. She’d call me on the phone, and I’d press the phone hard against my ear so the people around me couldn’t hear her yelling weird stuff.

When I finally started telling my friends that my mom is schizophrenic, I was shocked at their reactions! They were supportive, kind, understanding, and accepting. I thought I had this deep dark secret that I needed to hide…but people were actually so nice about it. I couldn’t believe it – the dirty ugly beast of a secret that I had been hiding for so long was actually a tiny kitten.

Rising Strong How to Love YourselfIn Rising Strong, Brene Brown says walking into our stories of hurt can feel dangerous. But the process of regaining our footing in the midst of struggle is where our courage is tested and our values are forged.

Our stories of struggle can be big ones, like the loss of a job or the end of a relationship, or smaller ones, like a conflict with a friend or colleague. Regardless of magnitude or circumstance, the rising strong process is the same: We reckon with our emotions and get curious about what we’re feeling; we rumble with our stories until we get to a place of truth; and we live this process, every day, until it becomes a practice and creates nothing short of a revolution in our lives.

Rising strong after a fall is how you learn how to cultivate wholeheartedness. It’s not easy to tell people that you don’t feel good enough – or that you need to learn how to love yourself – but I can almost guarantee you’ll feel so much better when you do. Just make sure to tell someone you know you can trust.

4. Learn how others started loving themselves

Telling your story is the first step to learning how to love yourself; the second step is asking people about their relationship to their own selves. This isn’t a big secret to self-love! Alcoholics Anonymous and a gazillion other recovery-based support groups have been uniting to share stories for decades. People have gathered in groups for centuries, to know and be know.

Sharing who you really are – and what you’re struggling with – will lift the weight of the world off your shoulders. Asking others how they learned to love themselves will give you practical ideas for coping with not feeling good enough.

Here’s what you could say to someone you trust: “Have you ever felt not good enough? How did you get past your feelings of unworthiness, and learn how to love yourself?”

I shared more of my own story in How to Stop Hating Yourself.

5. Give yourself time

No overnight success stories here! Here’s what Brian says about not feeling good enough:

how to love yourself“This self-hatred that had consumed me for so many years has now disappeared. I now realize that I know I am a good human being and that I do matter, regardless of what I was told by my parents my entire life. In fact, I am so incredibly content with myself that I have forgiven my parents.  I now realize that my parents also had a poor upbringing, and I can understand where their actions and words were coming from.”

Forgiveness is a huge step towards learning how to love yourself. You need to forgive the source of your self-hatred (for me, it was my parents). You need to forgive yourself for the choices and regrets you have.

Learning how to love yourself takes time and effort…but it is SO worth it! The freedom, joy, and peace that comes from self-love is priceless.

6. Listen to the still small voice

This is Brian’s tip for learning how to love yourself:

“I spent so much of my life longing for external acceptance from others that I never looked within myself,” he says. “I never listened to my internal feelings, I never put myself first.  Working on developing a stronger sense of self is not an easy task…Working on small aspects of yourself every day is how we can all begin to learn to love ourselves and let go of that guilt and pain that we are all so familiar with.”

Developing a stronger sense of yourself is one way to overcome feelings of not being good enough. It didn’t work for me, though. I don’t have enough love or spirit to fill myself with an endless source of peace, joy, and compassion. I need God.

7. Crack open your soul and let the light in

The only way to learn how to love yourself is to accept love from a perfect source. You can’t engineer or create your own source of love. A human can’t give you the love you need. A possession or situation can’t stop you from not feeling good enough.

Opening your soul to God – who is the only source of pure, unconditional, perfect love – is the key to learning how to love yourself. Accepting His love, basking in His warm light of acceptance and grace, and filling up on His Spirit is the only way you’ll ever get enough love.

how to love yourself good enoughIn The Missing Commandment: Love Yourself: How Loving Yourself the Way God Does Can Bring Healing and Freedom to Your Life, Jerry and Denise Basel reveal how to stop punishing yourself for not being good enough. They’ll teach you how to love yourself the way God loves you.

Imagine how different things could be: The lies you’ve believed about yourself all these years – dispelled. The wounds of abuse – healed. Your future lit with hope, peace, and purpose. Your closeness with God and others deepened immeasurably. The true, heaven-born you free at last to live a life unclouded by shame, guilt, and fear and empowered to love others fully.

What say you?

Which tip resonates with you the most…and the least? Maybe you like the idea of talking to others about self-love, or maybe you’re stuck on cracking open your soul and letting God in. Maybe you hate the idea of learning how to forgive yourself, or you know you need to learn how to let go of perfectionism.

Where you are is where you need to be right now. Trust that He will guide you to the best place. Trust, and take a risk. And take it one step at a time. Learning how to love yourself is a process that takes time to implement into your life.

Here’s a brief recap of my 7 tips on self-love:

  1. Recognize the signs of self-hatred or shame in your life
  2. Find your why
  3. Open up to someone you trust – let the light in
  4. Learn how others started loving themselves
  5. Give yourself time
  6. Listen to the still small voice
  7. Crack open your soul and let the light in

And here’s a reminder for you: Don’t try to incorporate all these tips on how to love yourself today! Rather, pick just one of these tips and focus on it for the next 24 hours. If it sits well with you, then continue for another 24 hours.

What’s your experience with learning how to love yourself, or not feeling good enough? Take time to listen to the still small voice inside of you. God’s abundant, deep, and healthy river of love is waiting for you.

While I can’t offer advice, I do read every comment. I encourage you to respond to other readers’ comments if you feel led, and to share your experience of learning how to love yourself. Writing often brings clarity and insight, and can help you process your feelings.

P.S. My goal is to be like my dog. She doesn’t have to learn how to love herself; she never thinks of herself at all! She just exists in the moment. She loves sleep when she’s sleeping, she loves chasing and playing with other dogs when she’s at the dog park, and she loves eating her frozen peanut butter treats when she’s snacking in front of the fireplace. She doesn’t care what people think. She just is her pure authentic self in all situations.

Wouldn’t that be sweet?


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10 Natural Ways to Ease the Pain of Ulcerative Colitis Mon, 28 Mar 2016 21:59:25 +0000 During my last flare up, I spent hours researching natural remedies for ulcerative colitis symptoms. Here’s what I found: the 10 best ways to naturally ease the pain of colitis, plus links to helpful...

The post 10 Natural Ways to Ease the Pain of Ulcerative Colitis appeared first on Blossom.

During my last flare up, I spent hours researching natural remedies for ulcerative colitis symptoms. Here’s what I found: the 10 best ways to naturally ease the pain of colitis, plus links to helpful resources, books, and products.

natural remedies symptoms ulcerative colitis

Me (Laurie)

I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis a month before my long-planned trip to Jerusalem, Israel to meet my dad for the first time. I was 29 years old. My gastroenterologist at the time advised me not to proceed with the trip, even though she admitted that the medical facilities in Israel were superior to ours. Since I thought my ulcerative colitis symptoms were killing me, I decided I might as well die in Israel. I spent six weeks in Israel (with a 2 week stopover in Italy), and made peace with my death.

Guess what? That was 16 years ago. I’m still alive! Not only did the symptoms of ulcerative colitis NOT kill me, I actually learned natural remedies for easing the pain of this dreadful terrible ugly gastrointestinal disease. And I made peace with my own death, which I wrote about in Are You Scared to Die? 5 Tips for Accepting Your Death. Hopefully, my tips below will give you a few ideas for easing the pain of your colitis…

Here’s a quick list of the natural remedies for symptoms of ulcerative colitis in this blog post:

  1. Listen to your body’s warning signs of a colitis flare up
  2. Connect with other people who have ulcerative colitis
  3. Learn how to get your colitis into remission
  4. Spend more time in delta sleep
  5. Experiment with prescription medication for painful flare ups
  6. Explore an “ulcerative colitis diet”
  7. Eat these foods to avoid a flare up of ulcerative colitis
  8. Don’t eat these foods
  9. Rebalance your intestinal flora with probiotics
  10. Stay calm and focused

And the resources I used:

  • WebMD’s Ulcerative Colitis: Symptoms and Treatment
  • Bel Marra Health
  • Everyday

The link to each website is included in the natural remedies below.

10 Natural Ways to Ease the Pain of Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation of the colon’s inner lining and rectal wall, and makes it “flare up” into a red, swollen, ulcerated mess. The flare up causes stomach pain, cramping, rectal bleeding, whitish mucus, bloody poop and diarrhea. Other ulcerative colitis symptoms include fatigue, appetite loss (not for me, though), and anemia. Some people also have joint pain, redness, swelling, and liver problems.

Ulcerative colitis is not:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or spastic colon
  • Crohn’s disease

Colitis is often confused with IBS and Crohn’s disease, but they are different types of digestive disorders. IBS is also known as “spastic colon” and is easily confused with ulcerative colitis, but IBS does not cause bleeding. Crohn’s disease is a whole different ballgame. With some similarities.

My main symptoms of colitis are bloating, gassiness, intestinal pain, fatigue, anemia, bloody poop, mucus-y poop, rectal bleeding, diarrhea, and constipation. Just writing that list is enough to make me want to cry! That’s why I think about my ulcerative colitis symptoms as little as possible. Instead, I focus on natural remedies for healing.

First – a “Fun Fact” About Dogs and Ulcerative Colitis

Did you know that dogs can get ulcerative colitis?

dog ulcerative colitis symptomsI was shocked to learn that my dog Georgie has inflammatory bowel disease, too! Shortly after we adopted her from the SPCA, she began pooping blood. Her tummy made really loud gurgling noises, and she wouldn’t eat. It didn’t take me long to realize that she had some type of inflammatory bowel disease because her stomach and intestinal issues were so similar to my symptoms of ulcerative colitis.

After trying a variety of natural remedies, I wrote about Georgie’s ulcerative colitis symptoms and treatment plan in Causes of Gurgling Noises and Stomach Problems in Dogs.

1. Listen to your body’s warning signs of a colitis flare up

This is one of the most important ways to ease the pain and find natural remedies for your symptoms ulcerative colitis. Try to connect to your body and learn when a flare up is coming. Experiment with different ways to prevent your colitis symptoms from forming, and try a variety of natural remedies to ease the pain. What are your guts’ signs that your colitis is going to flare? Learn what makes your guts tick, hum, and stall.

One of the most frustrating things about having ulcerative colitis is that the symptoms are not the same for everyone, and there is no one right “natural way” to ease the pain. I needed to experiment with different remedies and prescription medications until I found what brought my ulcerative colitis into remission. My research on natural remedies was a lot of work and it took time, but I eventually I found ways to ease my symptoms.

2. Connect with other people who have ulcerative colitis

Today I found a blog called, created by a guy called Adam. He recently wrote Go To Foods During Bloody Bowel Movements for a reader who asked for natural remedies for ulcerative colitis symptoms. He’s not a doctor, but he seems to have collected a vibrant, active community of people who are coping with colitis. He’s also written a couple ebooks that may offer different types of ulcerative diets and meal plans.

What I found most helpful about Adam’s ulcerative colitis blog, however, was the stories from other people. I’ve been dealing with my flare ups and symptoms alone for 16 years – I never joined an online community or forum. My colitis is mostly in remission these days, and I’m not keen on regularly visiting websites about inflammatory bowel disease! But if you’re dealing with painful symptoms of ulcerative colitis, please reach out and connect with other people. You will learn different ways to ease the pain and heal.

3. Learn how to get your colitis into remission

For me, it’s easier to avoid a flare up than to learn natural remedies to ease the pain of ulcerative colitis symptoms. I’ve learned to listen to my body. It is always talking to me. My guts tell me when they’re gearing up for a flare up, and I heed them very carefully.

natural remedies symptoms ulcerative colitisNo matter how bad or painful your symptoms of colitis are right now, don’t give up hope of going into remission! Your mind is so powerful. Make peace with your body, be friends with your guts.

Your body is telling you things all the time. Learn how to tune in to your symptoms and prevent a flare before it happens, so you can stop searching for natural remedies for the symptoms of a painful ulcerative colitis attack.

4. Spend more time in delta sleep

Sleep keeps my colitis in remission. When I travel, get jet lag, or even stay out past midnight, I know I’m setting myself up for a painful flare up. So I always say that one of the best ways to keep ulcerative colitis – or any inflammatory bowel disease – in remission is to sleep, sleep, SLEEP. I get eight hours a night, and often take a 30 minute nap during the day. I also try to get at least three hours of sleep before midnight. I’ve found that getting eight hours of sleep after midnight doesn’t make me feel as rested as sleeping before midnight does.

Sleep can keep the symptoms of ulcerative colitis in remission for so many reasons, both physical and emotional. Sleep helps restore brain and cell energy, recharges our minds and bodies, increases protein buildup, helps maintain social and emotional functioning, helps encode memories, improves learning ability, and helps process memories.

If you have trouble sleeping, read Natural Sleep Remedies for Sleepless Nights.

5. Use prescription medication for painful flare ups

I rely on natural remedies to prevent my symptoms of ulcerative colitis from flaring, and I use prescription medication to ease the painful symptoms when my colitis actually flares. I’ve learned how to recognize when my guts are gearing up to explode, and I try to head it off at the pass. How do I know when the colitis is about to flare? The very bottom of my rectum starts to feel swollen and slightly uncomfortable. I can literally feel it starting to swell! So I use an enema before bed; I’d rather prevent a flare than spend time trying to ease the pain of my ulcerative colitis symptoms.

Pentasa enemas work best for me. I’ve tried all sorts of suppositories, oral medications, and enemas to ease the painful symptoms of ulcerative colitis. A liquid enema is my best friend before and during a flare up. Enemas are more effective than suppositories because the liquid soaks into the bowel quickly and easily. I used suppositories for eight years after I was diagnosed with colitis, until a new gastroenterologist recommended enemas instead.

While I wish my first way to keep my ulcerative colitis in remission wasn’t with prescription medication, I haven’t found anything else that works as good as the drugs. It doesn’t matter what I eat – I can eat popcorn, nuts, caffeine, dairy – but when my colitis wants to flare, the only thing that tamps it down is an enema.

6. Explore an “ulcerative colitis diet”

I’m thankful to be able to eat whatever I want. If I overdo the spicy sauce on my Indian curry or pad Thai, my guts burn. That’s not a symptom of my ulcerative colitis, though – it’s a normal consequence of asking for 4 alarm spiciness at my favorite Thai restaurant.

But, most people with ulcerative colitis can’t – and shouldn’t – eat whatever they want. “While research into eating habits and inflammatory bowel disease continues, patient reports from around the globe indicate that changes in diet and lifestyle seem to help control symptoms and flare-ups for many who have the condition,” writes Dr Victor Marchione in Ulcerative colitis (inflammatory bowel disease) causes, symptoms, treatment, and home remedies on Bel Marra Health.

7. Eat these foods to avoid a flare up of ulcerative colitis

heal your gut ulcerative colitis symptomsThe Heal Your Gut Cookbook: Nutrient-Dense Recipes for Intestinal Health Using the GAPS Diet by Hilary Boynton contains more than 200 easy, straightforward recipes that restore the balance between beneficial and pathogenic intestinal bacteria. These recipes contains foods that are natural remedies for painful ulcerative colitis symptoms by “sealing the gut” through the elimination of grains, processed foods, and refined sugars.

Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) refers to disorders, including ADD/ADHD, autism, addictions, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder, stemming from or exacerbated by leaky gut and dysbiosis. GAPS also refers to chronic gut-related physical conditions, including celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes type one, and Crohn’s disease, as well as asthma, eczema, allergies, and thyroid disorders.

8. Don’t eat these foods

Some research shows that foods and beverages aggravate the symptoms of ulcerative colitis for some people. Take this natural remedy with a grain of salt, though. None of these foods make my colitis worse (except for dairy, which I recently started taking lactose intolerant medicine for. More on that below).

Foods that seem to make colitis symptoms worse:

  • Fried foods
  • Sauces
  • Dairy products (including butter and margarine)
  • Spicy dishes
  • Raw vegetables
  • High-fiber foods
  • Alcohol
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Caffeine

I just started taking Lactaid a few days ago – along with the probiotics mentioned below. Dr Marchione added that an ulcerative colitis diet involves using an enzyme product, such as Lactaid, if you want to consume dairy products such as yogurt, milk, ice cream, or cheese.

And finally, an “ulcerative colitis diet” also means steaming, baking or stewing vegetables instead of eating them raw.

9. Rebalance your intestinal flora with probiotics

I recently had a very bad and extremely painful bout of intestinal bloat – and I learned that I have IBS (inflammatory bowel syndrome) in addition to ulcerative colitis. My guts are in rough shape, which is why I’m still researching natural remedies to ease painful ulcerative colitis symptoms (as opposed to being in remission).

When writing Bloated Stomach – What Causes It and How to Stop It, I re-learned how important probiotics are for intestinal flora.

probiotics colitis symptoms Hyperbiotics PRO-15 Probiotics is similar to the probiotics I take every day. People with ulcerative colitis and other inflammatory bowel diseases or digestive problems do not have a normal amount of the “good” bacteria in their guts. This is a quick, easy way to promote your intestinal health. It may also help ease the pain of various symptoms of ulcerative colitis, but it depends on your disease and other health issues.

Dr Marchione said some research shows that adding probiotics or good bacteria into our bodies helps fight disease. This might be something for people with inflammatory bowel disease – and who want to reduce the painful symptoms of ulcerative colitis with natural remedies – might consider.

Additionally, studies on herbs and spices are starting to suggest that there could be some therapeutic benefits when fighting ulcerative colitis. Although more research is needed, one of the spices being examined as a possible colitis therapy is curcumin.

10. Stay calm and focused

One of my most important natural remedies for easing the pain of ulcerative colitis symptoms is to stay calm. When I feel rushed or anxious – which I tend to do quite a bit – I tell myself that I have enough time. I have more than enough time to get everything done, and it will be fine.

When I get stressed, my colitis flares. When I get too excited, my colitis flares. When I have fun, my colitis flares! So, to stop ulcerative colitis or other digestive disorders from flaring, don’t have fun – don’t go anywhere, do anything, or challenge yourself in any way. Right?

Wrong!! That’s not the best way to keep ulcerative colitis in remission. Instead, figure out how to incorporate fun and excitement into your life without letting it stress you out. For instance, I feel like time is precious and life is so short. So, I try to do things as quickly as possible and I waste as little time as I can. But, this sorta stresses me out. So, I’ve experimented with different ways to stay calm – and one of my tricks is to tell myself that I have enough time. I take a deep breath, and say, “You have enough time to get this done, Laurie.” It works.

By the way, reducing stress is one of the natural remedies for easing the pain of ulcerative colitis symptoms. In the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, researchers reported that stressful hormones can lead to a flare up of ulcerative colitis by affecting the motility of the intestines and worsen inflammation.

Wrapping it up

We’ve covered a lot of ground in this post, haven’t we? Here’s a recap of the natural remedies to reduce the pain of ulcerative colitis symptoms:

  1. Listen to your body’s warning signs of a colitis flare up
  2. Connect with other people who have ulcerative colitis
  3. Learn how to get your colitis into remission
  4. Spend more time in delta sleep
  5. Experiment with prescription medication for painful flare ups
  6. Explore an “ulcerative colitis diet”
  7. Eat these foods to avoid a flare up of ulcerative colitis
  8. Don’t eat these foods
  9. Rebalance your intestinal flora with probiotics
  10. Stay calm and focused

And here’s one last takeaway to leave you with: if you aren’t taking multivitamins, consider investing in some good-quality minerals and vitamins. People with ulcerative colitis don’t absorb the nutrients and minerals that healthy food offers, which means we may be low on various vitamins. I take a multivitamin every day. I don’t take fish oil yet because I haven’t found a brand I feel like I can rely on, but I suspect I’ll be taking those too, one day.

You and your colitis symptoms

Be aware of how your other prescription medications – or natural supplements – affect the symptoms of your ulcerative colitis. The best way to figure this out is to make note of when your colitis flares and what was happening in your life at the time. What were you eating? Drinking? Smoking? Doing?

ulcerative colitis symptoms natural remedies“It’s important to understand what may cause you to have more symptoms,” says Sara Horst, MD, in 7 Ways to Manage Ulcerative Colitis Flares on EveryDay Health. Dr Horst is a gastroenterologist at the Vanderbilt Digestive Disease Center and an assistant professor in the division of gastroenterology, hepatology, and nutrition at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. “Some people with ulcerative colitis find it beneficial to track their symptoms to help them find things that may trigger their disease.”

Dr Horst encourages people to keep a log of ulcerative colitis symptoms and all the potential factors that could trigger them, such as your sleep, diet, stress, and medications. The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America has an app called the “GI Buddy” that can help you track your flare ups, symptoms, and even natural remedies for ulcerative colitis.

While I can’t offer advice, I do read every comment. I encourage you to respond to other readers’ comments if you feel led, and to share your experience of natural remedies that help ease the painful symptoms of colitis.

If the symptoms of ulcerative colitis are getting you down, read How to Stay Positive When You’re Sick.


The post 10 Natural Ways to Ease the Pain of Ulcerative Colitis appeared first on Blossom.

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How to Know if You Should Adopt a Dog Today Wed, 23 Mar 2016 22:20:09 +0000 Adopting a dog? This guide will help you decide. Included are reasons for dog adoption, how to know if you should adopt a dog today, a list of the six most common dog diseases,...

The post How to Know if You Should Adopt a Dog Today  appeared first on Blossom.

Adopting a dog? This guide will help you decide. Included are reasons for dog adoption, how to know if you should adopt a dog today, a list of the six most common dog diseases, and information on pet insurance.

adopting a dog adoptionThese tips for adopting a dog are inspired by a reader’s question about getting a new pet. It’s one of the biggest decisions you’ll make, especially if you’ve never adopted a dog before. Angie is a Blossom reader who works as a dog walker, groomer, and caretaker; in response to Should You Get a Dog After Your Dog Died? she said:

“One of my clients recently lost her dog and asked how to know if she should adopt a dog today after work. Not alot of time to decide because the dog is a popular cutey at the local dog shelter. But I don’t know if dog adoption is such a good idea so soon. I have heard some people say they need to get another dog immediately – probably to ease the pain and the emptiness losing a pet leaves. I know of one person who got a puppy before her old dog even became sick for the same reason. Me? I couldn’t think about it for well over a year after my dog died. I now have another beautiful and loveable little dog – he’s nothing like my last dog. Do I miss my dear girl that I loved for so many years? Yes, and I always will. I still cry about her after all this time. Sometimes just seeing her photo can start me off. But I feel very blessed that I adopted my new dog, and I treasure him.” Below, I share all the information on dog adoption that I gathered from a variety of resources – including veterinarians, pet hospitals, dog humane societies, and even research studies.

Here’s why it’s crucial to think about whether adopting a dog is a good idea for you today: giving back or rehoming a dog is one of the most painful things you’ll ever experience. It’s not exactly a romp in the dog park for your dog, either!

Read How to Cope After Rehoming a Dog for an inside look at what it’s like to return a dog to the humane society or shelter. It’s like “adopting a dog” in reverse, and it is devastating. That’s why I researched this information on dog adoption for you – and I’m really glad you’re here.

In this article, you’ll find:

  • 4 Health-Related Reasons for Dog Adoption
  • 5 Tips on How to Know if You Should Adopt a Dog
  • 6 Most Common Diseases in Dogs
  • 7 Tips on Getting Pet Insurance for Your Dog

I adopted two dogs. My terrier Georgie was adopted from the BC SPCA (British Columbia Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals); my toy poodle dog Tiffany was adopted from an elderly woman who couldn’t take care of her anymore because of chemotherapy treatments. The woman’s chemo, not the dog’s.

adopting a dog today

Tiffany and Georgie – my dogs

How did I know I should adopt my dogs? I was never 100% sure, but I listened to the still small voice. I was mostly sure that dog adoption was a good idea.

Adopting a dog is definitely a huge commitment. That’s why I want to encourage you to really, really, really think about these tips on how to know if you should adopt a dog today! The idea of owning a dog – or a cute little puppy – can be more fun and exciting than the actual day-in and day-out act of taking care of a dog’s exercise, food, health, and training needs.

Dogs are fun. And, dogs are very good for your health. If you’re struggling with any emotional or physical health issue, you might benefit from the physical and social activities a dog will bring into your life. Unless, of course, you’re dealing with serious health issues.

If you’re not sure how dog adoption will affect your health – especially if you’re feeling “old” – read Adopting a Dog – Tips for Women Over 60.

4 Health-Related Reasons for Dog Adoption

According to the American Heart Association, owning a dog will make you healthier. According to me, adopting a dog makes you happier 🙂 Why? Not just because of the “feel good” hormones (oxytocin) that get released when you pet your dog, and not just because the joy of seeing your dog boosts your mood and lowers your stress level.

Here are a few health-related tips that may help you figure out if you should adopt a dog today:

  1. Pet ownership is probably associated with a reduction in heart disease risk factors and increased survival among cardiovascular and other types of patients. However, these studies aren’t definitive and do not necessarily prove that adopting or owning a dog or other pet directly causes a reduction in heart disease risk. It’s possible that healthy people adopt dogs because they’re happy – or at least okay with – doing all the walking that dogs require.
  2. Dog ownership in particular may help reduce cardiovascular risk. People with dogs may engage in more physical activity because they walk them – or in my case, run up the mountains with their dogs! In a study of more than 5,200 adults, dog owners engaged in more walking and physical activity than non-dog owners, and were 54 percent more likely to get the recommended level of physical activity.
  3. Owning pets may be associated with lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and a lower incidence of obesity. Again, dogs in particular help with all those health issues because they require dog owners to get out and move around.
  4. Finally, pets can have a positive effect on your body’s reactions to stress.

Those tips are from a research study called Owning a pet — particularly a dog — could help lower your risk of heart disease on the AMA’s website.

how to know if you should adopt a dog todayDoes that settle it for you – are you ready to adopt a dog today? Read The Dog Breed Bible: Descriptions and Photos of Every Breed Recognized by the AKC by Caroline Coile.

Before you start searching for “where to adopt a dog”, make sure you have an idea of what type of dog most suits your personality and lifestyle. This might make the difference between having to sadly rehome a dog or happily living ever after with your beloved animal best friend.

The Dog Breed Bible offers clear descriptions of each dog, including its origins, physical and temperamental traits, average life span, and all major health concerns. You’ll also learn about each dog’s special needs such as training, grooming, exercise, and adaptability to specific environments. A color photo shows an example of each breed in its show pose and an adjoining photo provides a detailed head shot. This book was written by an expert on dog breeds, and will help you decide about dog adoption today.

After you decide which breed you want to adopt, read What Your Favorite Dog Breed Reveals About Your Personality.

If you’re still wondering how to know if you should adopt a dog, read on…

5 Tips on How to Know if You Should Adopt a Dog

Here are a few tips that will help you decide if adopting a dog is a good idea.

1. Know your reasons for thinking about dog adoption

My friend – let’s call her Vanessa – called me the other day. She said her kids decided they want a dog, and she was having a hard time saying no.

“How do I know if I should adopt a dog for them?” Vanessa asked me. “I’m sure I’ll be the one who ends up taking care of the dog.”

I asked her if she was willing to be the dog’s sole caretaker. The adoption is the easy part – would she be able to take care of the dog, walk the dog, feed the dog, clean up dog hair, and take the dog to the veterinarian when he cuts his paw?

“No, doggonnit,” she said sadly. “I have enough to do as it is!”

And that’s it. The decision about dog adoption can be as simple as that. If it’s not that simple for you, make a list of reasons – preferable pros and cons – for adopting a dog. And, read through my list of 6 Common Dog Diseases and Pet Insurance Considerations below. Get clear on the problems that adopting a dog can bring. That information will help you know if you should adopt a dog today.

2. Let every family member share their honest opinion

Make sure everyone is on board with the dog option, and that they understand how much work a dog can be. My husband wasn’t keen on adopting a dog, but I really wanted one. I think our dogs make us more of a “family”, and I love walking through the forest with dogs. My husband was a bit more concerned about the financial commitment than I was (and that is a definite way to know if you should adopt a dog today. Can you afford the veterinarian bills, flea treatments, dog food, dog toys, pet insurance? If not, you need to seriously reconsider dog adoption).

Luckily, Bruce was willing to give our second dog Tiffy a try. We fostered her for three nights before committing to adopting her. Even more luckily, she didn’t give us a single reason to send her back where she came from. Our only challenge with her was barking at strangers when we’re out walking – but she responded well to the negative reinforcement of a spray bottle.

3. Consider fostering a dog before making the commitment to adopt

If you want to adopt a dog, ask if you can foster her for a few days to see how she fits with the family. This is one of the best ways to decide about adopting a dog because it gives everyone at home a chance to interact with her.

how to adopt a dog todayFostering a dog will also give you and your family an idea of how much exercise she needs. If you’ve never had a dog before, you may be surprised and even dismayed at how much exercise some dogs require. This is why researching different breeds is so important before you actually proceed with the dog adoption.

If you are able to foster a dog, remember that the first couple weeks are the easiest. I was reluctant to suggest fostering before adopting a dog because the first little while is the most fun. It’s the honeymoon period, and may not always be the most reliable indication that dog adoption is a good idea.

4. Decide if adopting a dog is more suitable than adopting a puppy

Many people wonder if they should adopt an older dog (at least two years old) or a puppy (a few weeks to a year old). Here’s a good summary from VetMD:

“What if you are considering adopting a puppy?” asks Rob Swatski on Should I Adopt a Dog? “Yes, puppies are adorable, but they can end up being more work than adopting an adult dog. Adult dogs are calmer and will have already developed a personality, giving you the ability to handpick a dog that fits your needs, according to the staff’s suggestions. An adult dog is also toilet-trained and has (hopefully) already been through its chew-on-everything-I-can-find stage.”

Some dogs – not just puppies – can be very curious when you bring them into a new environment, so make sure all your valuables, chemical products, and dangerous items are locked away. Dog adoption is when a puppy is involved  is similar to having a new baby – especially since neither of them sleep through the night! And they pee alot.

5. Make your new dog’s transition smooth

how to know if you should adopt a dog bedMake sure your adopted dog has her own water dish, leash, collar, dog bed, toys, and kong. Pet supplies such as the paw print doggy bed are often much cheaper on Amazon than at PetSmart – but you should shop around.

My dog Tiffy brought her own doggy bed, fleece, dog treats, and even a huge folding double door dog crate, which we never use when we have to leave them at home alone.

Don’t forget about researching the different types of food when you’re learning about dog adoption. Again, it can be much more convenient and cheaper if the dog food delivered to your door by Amazon than buying it at your local pet store.

I make homemade chicken soup for my dog Georgie because she has tummy problems. When we adopted her from the SPCA, she brought a whole slew of health problems with her. That’s why researching “dog adoption” is so important, and why I included the most common dog diseases and information about pet insurance in this article.

Causes of Gurgling Noises and Stomach Problems in Dogs is actually one of my most popular dog articles, which tells me that many dogs have stomach issues. I wrote it because my dog Georgie has IBS (intestinal bowel syndrome), so I feed her a special diet. Luckily my dog Tiffy has a cast iron stomach.

Which brings us to…

6 Most Common Diseases in Dogs

Remember that when you adopt a dog, you also adopt his health issues. If you can’t decide about dog adoption today, take time to think about the possible health conditions that some dogs have.

Here are the six most common diseases in dogs. Don’t let this informations scare you, or stop you from deciding you should adopt a dog. Just be aware that dogs get sick! And, sometimes dogs have pre-existing health conditions.

1. Diabetes in dogs

Signs of a diabetic dog may include increased thirst, frequent urination, rapid weight loss, abdominal pain, depression and fatigue. These indicators can also be symptomatic of kidney disease, so your veterinarian’s diagnosis is important for proper treatment.

Diabetes can be caused by obesity or it can be age, gender or breed related. Onset for dog diabetes is at about age 8. Diabetes is a dog disease that occurs twice as frequently in females as males. This disease is more common in dogs such as Samoyeds, miniature schnauzers and poodles and bichon frises. Keep this in mind, because it might help you know if you should adopt a dog – and what kind of dog to adopt.

According to a report called the State of Pet Health: Dog Facts by Banfield Pet Hospital (the world’s largest veterinary practice), diabetes is increasing. Management of the disease includes proper nutrition and exercise, and possibly insulin medication.

2. Arthritis in dogs

Another common disease among older dogs, arthritis may be treated with anti-inflammatory medications, joint supplements, possibly acupuncture, physical and/or hydrotherapy and balanced nutrition. Signs of this common dog disease would be stiffness, hesitation in taking stairs, slowness and tiring quickly on walks and possibly some acknowledgement of pain in affected areas.

tips for adopting a dog todayArthritis may be caused by a variety of factors including age, excess weight and breed. Certain breeds – such as Labradors and Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds and Rottweilers – have a greater tendency to become arthritic. Other possible causes of this common dog disease are hereditary conditions and cartilage damage resulting from an accident and infection.

If you’re considering adopting a dog that is older, make sure you ask about the possibility of arthritis – and other diseases.

3. External parasites in dogs

Not only do these parasites cause irritation to your dog’s skin but they can be transmitted to you as well. This is a common dog disease – so don’t let the thought of parasites or fleas stop you from adopting a dog today! It is a normal for dogs to get fleas or parasites.

External parasites can be seen by the human eye. Careful examination of your dog’s skin is essential to detecting these bugs which include fleas, ticks, lice, mosquitoes, mites and mange. Ticks, which are most prevalent in the spring, can spread infections such as Lyme disease and babesiosis. Fleas, in addition to being skin irritants, can transmit some types of tapeworms. Lice, mange and ear mites all cause skin and/or ear inflammation and possible infection.

To learn more about dog fleas and treatment, read Is Trifexis a Safe Flea Treatment for Dogs? This may not be crucial information when you’re considering dog adoption, but it may come in handy in the future.

4. Internal parasites in dogs

Internal parasites include tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and heartworms. While heartworms are caused by the bite of a mosquito, the other variety of worms lay eggs that are passed in the dog’s stool when they eat soil that has been contaminated by the worm eggs. Coughing, lethargy and difficulty breathing can be symptoms of heartworm in dogs. If left untreated, heartworm can cause heart disease and death.

Signs of internal parasites in a dog include diarrhea, lethargy, vomiting, weight loss, anemia and in the case of a pup, stunted growth. Treatments for this common disease are not always successful, but preventive medications for parasites are available. Your veterinarian can give you more information about parasites, and so can the dog adoption places you visit.

5. Dental disease in dogs

Dental disease in the form of plaque build-up, gingivitis and cavities is a very common occurrence in dogs. It is estimated that 80% of dogs are affected by it by the age of two. Regular tooth brushing with dog toothpaste is one of the best ways to prevent this common dog disease. Treatment itself involves the removal of plaque to the extraction of teeth if necessary.

adopt a dog dental careA dog toothbrush and toothpaste such as the Petrodex Dog Dental Care Kit – Toothpaste with 2 Toothbrushes can help prevent dental disease in dogs. If you adopt a puppy, start brushing her teeth as soon as possible – even before she needs it! This will help your puppy get used to the feel and taste of the toothbrush.

If your dog’s teeth or dental problems are not looked after, she may develop periodontal disease which destroys the gums and tissue supporting the teeth. Your dog may also be prone to infections that can affect other organs in the body such as the heart and kidneys.

If you’re still wondering if you should adopt a dog today, that’s good! It means you’re taking the dog adoption decision seriously, which is awesome.

6. Obesity in dogs

Unfortunately obesity has become an all too common problem in dogs, and is increasing. Just like in humans. At highest health risk are mature adult dogs – large breeds in particular. Obesity in dogs is linked to a variety of health issues such as heart and respiratory problems, arthritis and diabetes. When you’re adopting a dog, you should ensure that you can feel his ribs. If not, he may be overweight.

Most often it is dog owners who are at fault because we tend to overfeed and underexercise our dogs. The best treatment plan for dog obesity is simply to reduce the treats and increase the exercise! When you’re adopting a dog is the perfect time to adjust his diet. Restrict caloric intake by examining what and how much the dog was eating before you adopting him. Give him an extra walk before bed or allow him extra play time at the dog park.

7 Tips for Getting Pet Insurance for Your Dog

Adopting a dog is the most common time people decide about pet insurance. Below, I share why I decided not to get pet insurance when I adopted my dogs Georgie and Tiffy. I’m not saying you shouldn’t get pet insurance when you adopt a dog, but it might be helpful for you to know my reasons for not getting insurance.

first aid for dogsWhether or not you decide not to get pet insurance for your dog, I encourage you to get a book such as The First Aid Companion for Dogs & Cats by Amy D. Shojai.

I’ve dealt with cut pads on my dog’s paw, eye infections, stomach issues, and diarrhea without taking my dogs to the veterinarian. If you have a first aid kit for dogs and a book to help with emergencies, you’ll be prepared to deal with almost anything.

When you’re wondering if you should adopt a dog today, you really have to think about pet insurance. Whether you adopt a puppy or a 10 year old dog – you will experience health issues and problems.

Here’s what I considered when I decided not to get pet insurance after both my dog adoptions. It took me a few weeks to make this decision – and the best thing I did was talk to other dog owners.

When talking to other dog owners, these issues came up most often:

1. The cost of pet insurance for a dog

To get an estimate of how much pet insurance will cost for your dog breed, search for different pet insurance estimates and companies in your area. Do the research, especially when you’re still wondering about adopting a dog today. Knowing how much pet insurance costs might help you decide if you should adopt a dog.

2. Your financial situation and budget

I think this is the most important consideration when you’re trying to decide if you should get pet insurance. Pet insurance is essentially a savings account. You pay $10 or $20 or $50 a month, and when your dog gets sick, the veterinarian bills are covered. Or, you could not get pet insurance for your dog, and pay the veterinarian directly when your dog gets sick or injured (which is what I do).

The key deciding factor is whether or not you have a couple thousand dollars at any given moment to spend on veterinarian bills. I usually keep a $2,000 financial safety net for emergencies, and I feel like I don’t need pet insurance for my dogs because I have enough money to pay what a veterinarian charges.

If you can’t afford pet insurance and you can’t afford to pay for the cost of a veterinarian, you might reconsider dog adoption.

3. Your dog’s breed

Some breeds are more prone to health problems, while others seem to be healthier more often. Just like people! But, just because your dog’s breed is generally healthy or unhealthy, remember that your dog may be the outlier. Some of the healthiest breeds might come down with serious diseases or health issues.

This is another reason The Dog Breed Bible – the book I listed about – is so important when you’re wondering if you should adopt a dog today.

4. Your dog’s health

Georgie has had stomach problems since we adopted her five years ago, and I still decided not to get pet insurance for her (or my other dog). I don’t regret it because I found natural ways to stabilize her tummy troubles. But, she’s only six years old and may develop other problems in the future. I didn’t think about this when I talked about dog adoption with my husband.

Even if you adopt a puppy, he may have health problems from birth. You may not even know about those problems for awhile. Don’t let this stop you from adopting a dog, though…just be prepared for anything.

5. How old and healthy your dog is

dog dental tartar removerWe adopted our dog Tiffy when she was three years old. Her teeth were in terrible shape – almost as brown as chocolate. The woman who gave her to me also gave me two toothbrushes and toothpaste – like ones I included above.

Nylabone Advanced Oral Care Liquid Tartar Remover is an excellent way to keep your dog’s teeth clean. You just add it to water, and it will help remove the tartar from her teeth.

When I called the veterinarian about Tiffy’s brown teeth, they said dog teeth cleaning would cost upwards of $200, depending on the size of the dog and how bad the teeth are. I didn’t want to spend the money – but I also don’t have pet insurance for my dogs, so I definitely don’t want to pay a veterinarian for dental work.

I decided to change what Tiffy eats in order to promote natural dental care and avoid getting pet insurance.

6. What your dog eats

My other dog’s teeth (Georgie) are white as snow, and she’s the same age as Tiffy (they’re both almost six years old now). I thought I’d try feeding Tiffy what I’ve been giving Georgie: Greenies Dental Chews, Bully Sticks, and beef marrow bones from the butcher.

Guess what? Tiffy’s teeth are now almost as white as Georgie’s! It took a year, but she slowly cleaned her own teeth.

I’m not saying that if you feed your dog Greenies, pizzles and marrow bones from the butcher then you don’t have to get pet insurance when you adopt a dog…I’m just encouraging you to think about how your dog’s food and treats affect her health. This is an important tip when you’re wondering about dog adoption today.

7. The fine print of your pet insurance agreement

Just because you get pet insurance for your dog, doesn’t mean every health issue will be paid for by the insurance company. This is one of the biggest reasons I didn’t get dog insurance when I adopted my dogs. Not only do I not believe in insurance in general, I’m also a little suspicious of insurance companies. I’d worry that my dogs’ health issue wouldn’t be paid for by the pet insurance because of something in the fine print, and I’d be so mad that I paid for pet insurance but didn’t get any benefits!

So, if you decide you should get pet insurance for your dog, make sure you understand what health issues are covered and what aren’t.

All said, though — don’t let pet insurance stop you from adopting a dog. You don’t have to decide about pet insurance right away. Sometimes if you adopt a dog from a shelter, you get the option of a free trial of pet insurance, which gives you time to think.

When it comes to getting pet insurance for your dog, the bottom line is that there is not right or wrong answer. You need to do what you’re most comfortable with given your dog, lifestyle, financial situation, and emotional well-being. I don’t want to pay for pet insurance, but I am not looking forward to the day my veterinarian tells me that one of my dogs has a health issue that will cost thousands of dollars to treat!

When you adopt a dog, get him vaccinated. Many dog diseases can be prevented through vaccinations that begin in puppyhood. Yearly booster shots should follow – and this will help reduce the chances of needing pet insurance.

If you already have a dog…

Are you thinking about adopting a second dog? Here’s what one reader – Helen – says on Signs You’re Ready to Adopt a Dog:

“Two dogs are definitely better than one. We ‘found’ both our dogs, abandoned in the valleys near where we live. Rocky, 2 months old at the time, was found in a quarry and just over a year later, we came across two week old Arni (named after the Greek for lamb “arni” which was what he looked like!). They hit it off straight away and from day 1, have spent hours playing together. Which means we only need to walk them once a day. Yes it’s more costly to feed two dogs, but the love and affection they give more than makes up for it!”

There you have it, fellow dog lover! That’s alot of information on dog adoption; hopefully it’ll help you make a good decision.

In this article, I shared:

  • 4 Health-Related Reasons for Dog Adoption
  • 5 Tips on How to Know if You Should Adopt a Dog
  • 6 Most Common Diseases in Dogs
  • 7 Tips on Getting Pet Insurance for Your Dog

Are you still wondering about adopting a dog? I welcome your thoughts below. I can’t give advice, but you may find it helpful to write your “pros and cons” list here. What’s your biggest fear about dog adoption, and what would it take to get you to adopt a dog without any concerns at all?


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Blossoming FAQ and Answers – Laurie’s Blossom Blog Series Mon, 14 Mar 2016 20:59:48 +0000 You found Blossoms! Here are the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about my Blossom blog series, plus links to all things blossoming in my life. First, I have to share a quote I just...

The post Blossoming FAQ and Answers – Laurie’s Blossom Blog Series appeared first on Blossom.

You found Blossoms! Here are the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about my Blossom blog series, plus links to all things blossoming in my life.

Blossoming FAQ and Answers Laurie’s Blossom Blog Series

Blossoming FAQ and Answers – Laurie’s Blossom Blog Series

First, I have to share a quote I just found about blossoming. I don’t love it, but I’ll share it anyway…“They blossomed, they did not talk about blossoming.” That’s from David Stojanovic.

Why don’t I love the quote, you ask? Because the job I created for myself is to talk about blossoming! My purpose is to write blog posts about how to set down your burdens – how to listen to the still small voice – and Blossom. I love the idea of fresh growth, blossoms, stretching upwards to God’s big blue sky. Believe it or not, I also love the pain of blossoming. Growth can hurt…but it’s worth it.

Below are the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about my Blossom blog series. If you want to know more about me myself and I, visit my About Laurie page.

The best way to learn about my Blossom blog series – and to BLOSSOM in your own life! – is to sign up for my newsletter. I send a short weekly update with all my newest blog posts. Even better, I share insights and encouragement to keep you blossoming and fresh.

The best – and most interesting – way to stay in touch with Blossom is to sign up for my free weekly email.

Laurie’s 4 Blossom Blogs

Blossom in Your Writing is where it all began. I’d just started freelance writing, and wanted to share what I was learning. Hence, Quips and Tips for Successful Writers! Which took a bit of a long winter hibernation before blossoming. How to Start Freelance Writing at 40 – and Make Money is one of my most recent articles.

Blossom in Your Health isn’t the blog I love most. It started as Quips and Tips for Couples Coping With Infertility, created when my husband and I discovered we can’t have kids. I’m mostly writing about women and their periods right now, because that’s where the need seems to be. My most popular articles are about getting regular periods, so I’m going in that direction. For now.

Common FAQs About the Blossom Blog Series

Moi in Croatia

Blossom in Your Relationships is by far my most popular blog. Love, love, love! I write articles that help readers deal with the most problematic relationship issues, such as 5 Signs You Can Trust Your Boyfriend After He Cheated or How to Break Up With a Married Man.

Blossom in Your Life has always been my favorite blog! Quips and Tips for Achieving Your Goals was its birth name; my purpose was to write posts to help people who weren’t blossoming in their lives. It’s my second most popular blog, and I love it because I can write about anything from dogs to birthday gifts to rebranding from Quips and Tips to Blossoms!

Awesome, Blossom.

If you have any questions about me or my Blossom blogs, please ask below. I don’t give personal advice (which is actually the Number One Most Frequently Asked Question), but I’m happy to share stuff about me.

Common FAQs About the Blossom Blog Series

Here are the most common FAQs about Blossom:

  1. Why don’t you give relationship advice?
  2. How long have you been blogging?
  3. What makes your blog different?
  4. Why did you create a Blossom blog series?
  5. Why did you call your blogs “Blossom”?
  6. Why is your url
  7. How do you make money blogging?
  8. How many blogs are in your Blossom blog series?
  9. Do you have a newsletter, and how do I subscribe?
  10. Are the Blossom newsletters the same as the Blossom blogs?

And here are my answers about blossoming, blogging, and being…

1. Why don’t you give relationship advice?

I don’t give relationship advice on my Blossom blogs (or anywhere) for these reasons:

  • I’m a writer, not a counsellor or advice giver
  • Blossoming is about listening to the still small voice inside of YOU, and doing what you know in your heart is right for you
  • I don’t know your full story, so how can I comment on it?
  • I think it’s irresponsible for anyone to give people advice when they don’t have the full story
  • I barely know what to do in my own relationships, much less give advice to other people!
  • It takes a lot of time to give advice, and I’m a writer (see how we came full circle?)

Do you need advice – or help blossoming in your love life? Read 5 Best Ways to Get Good Relationship Advice.

2. How long have you been blogging?

I started my “Quips and Tips” blog series in 2008, and have been making money as a blogger since the first month. A few months ago (perhaps it’s been half a year already), I decided that Quips and Tips was too dry. I’m not sure how the theme of “blossoming” came to me (God), but somehow it immediately stuck.

So my Blossom blog series is only a few months old. It started as “Quips and Tips” and has blossomed into a brand new thing. “See, I am doing a new thing! Do you not perceive it?”- Isaiah 43:19.

3. What makes Blossom a different type of blog?

Blossoms blogs laurie pawlik kienlenFirst, a confession: this isn’t actually a frequently asked question about my Blossom blog series. I snuck it in this list of FAQs because I wanted you to know that my blogs don’t fit the traditional definition of blogging. Most blogs are personal online journals, opinions, editorials, or even diaries. Not Blossom.

Blossom isn’t a traditional blog because I rarely write about my life. Sometimes I’ll share a little story or insight, but mostly I focus on sharing practical knowledge that people can actually apply to their lives. My purpose is to help readers solve practical problems in their lives, which is why almost all my blog posts are tips, solutions, ideas for healing, etc.

4. Why did you create the Blossom blog series?

I started my general “Quips and Tips for Achieving Your Goals” blog, and found that certain posts were super duper popular (such as Best Jobs for Introverts and Quiet People — but especially ones like How to Let Go of Someone You Love).

So I realized that “achieving your goals” was too general. I needed more specific blogs, dedicated to specific things. Hence “Blossom in Your Relationships” and “Blossom in Your Writing.” And my Blossom blog series was born.

5. Why did you call your blogs “Blossom”?

Because of what comes to mind when I think of blossoming! Freshness, growth, sunlight, colors, variety, creativity, and health. I LOVE the idea of fresh blossoms in our lives, in our relationships, in our writing.

6. Why is your url and not

That’s a good question, dude.

Because when I first started freelance writing, I realized I needed a main website to showcase my clips and education. I wanted a url that was more than “Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen” or “Vancouver freelance writer.” I’m adventurous, so….The Adventurous Writer came to and stuck with me!

Should I try to switch all my Blossom blogs over to a Blossom url or domain name? Probably. Maybe. I don’t know. Do you have one for sale?

7. Do you make money blogging about Blossoming?

Another good question. Read How Bloggers Make Money – From Ads to eBooks – because that’s where I tell all.

8. How many blogs are in your Blossom blog series?

Four. See above.

9. Do you have a newsletter, and how do I subscribe?

Yup. See below for the sign up form for my weekly Blossom newsletter.

10. Are the Blossom newsletters the same as the Blossom blogs?


True confessions time: I had such a hard time sending my newsletters at the beginning. I find it super duper easy to write tips-based articles and blog posts about problems, but sharing my own personal insights and encouragements? Gross. The newsletters are emailed directly to subscribers who sign up for Blossom. Those weekly emails are much more personal in nature.

In my weekly newsletter, I share stuff that’s going on in my life, such as:

  • “Aha!” moments
  • Problems I have
  • Solutions I found
  • How I’m blossoming in my life, relationships, and spirituality

Here’s one of my most recent newsletters: Blossoming When You Have No Hope Left.

My Blossom newsletter is only six months old, and it’s definitely a bloom in progress. Some might say it’s still a seed. Definitely not a blossom. Not yet, anyway.

That’s it for the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about my Blossom blog series! If you have any questions about blossoming, please do ask below. I can’t tell you what to do about your relationship or sperm count, but I can tell you more about how Blossoms and God.

Since I started out with a quote I didn’t much like about blossoming, I’ll end with one of my favorite quotes of all time:

“…the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom” – Anaïs Nin.

Go forth and Blossom, my friend.



The post Blossoming FAQ and Answers – Laurie’s Blossom Blog Series appeared first on Blossom.

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How to Write a Strong Cover Letter and Get That Job Tue, 08 Mar 2016 17:28:51 +0000 These three sample cover letters will help you get the nonprofit job offers you want. Plus, seven valuable tips on how to be more “hireable” to employers. When you’re searching the internet for “sample...

The post How to Write a Strong Cover Letter and Get That Job appeared first on Blossom.

These three sample cover letters will help you get the nonprofit job offers you want. Plus, seven valuable tips on how to be more “hireable” to employers.

nonprofit jobs sample cover letter When you’re searching the internet for “sample cover letter”, you’ll get lots of templates. Don’t use them! The worst thing you can do is use a boilerplate cover letter template when you’re applying for nonprofit jobs. Instead, make your cover letter personable and reflective of who you are. My sample cover letter below is one example. I also included a sample of a shorter, more casual cover letter, as well as a sample cover letter that you should NOT use when you’re applying for nonprofit jobs.

If you want to write a cover letter that is representative of who you are, then you need to know what types of nonprofit jobs you should apply for. This means matching your personality type with the most suitable job for you. If you’re not sure of your personality traits – or your career goals – read Best Jobs for Introverts and Quiet People.

After I share a sample cover letter (or three), I reveal seven tips for applying for nonprofit jobs. Bookmark this post, for you’ll want to return to get the right wording for your own nonprofit job applications and resumes.

3 Sample Cover Letters for Nonprofit Jobs

Remember that cover letters and job applications are on-going processes that take time. Don’t expect to write your cover letter once and be done with it. Nope. Your cover letter is a dynamic and organic document that changes over time.

Powerful, effective cover letters also reflect the type of nonprofit jobs you’re applying for.

1. My Sample Cover Letter

Below is my cover letter – I recently applied for a job as the Regional Manager of Operation Christmas Child, for Samaritan’s Purse. It’s a stretch for me, but that’s my job as a Christian, to take leaps of faith and trust God to help me walk on water! (that said, however, I also thank God I didn’t get this job. Blogging – not working in nonprofit organizations – is definitely my calling).

If you’re applying for nonprofit jobs that are slightly out of reach, stay connected to God. Trust Him to guide you. Know that you will find the right job at the right time.

My sample cover letter gives you an idea of the types of cover letters applicants send to get jobs at nonprofit organizations.

To Whom it May Concern,

Please accept my application for the position of Operation Christmas Child Regional Manager in BC. I would be honoured and humbled to work with Samaritan’s Purse and the Operation Christmas Child ministry.

My past overseas and local work experience in Christian ministry has deepened my connection to God and strengthened my relationship with Jesus. I believe all work – secular or Christian – can bring me closer to Him, but Christian ministry encourages me to put my faith into action in fresh new ways! I’d love to engage with local schools, churches, and communities to spread the Gospel both here and overseas – and I believe my experience and education is well suited for this position.

As the Team Leader for the Grade 8 teachers at an International Christian School in Africa (Rosslyn Academy in Nairobi, Kenya), I was responsible for curricular and administrative matters. Simultaneously, I taught junior high and high school for three years – my students were missionaries’ and ex-pats’ children. Locally, my Christian ministry experience includes working as an addictions counselor on the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, at Union Gospel Mission.

I am self-directed and goal-oriented – I’ve worked as a freelance writer and blogger since 2008. The OCC Regional Manager job description didn’t mention social media skills, and I believe a positive, healthy presence on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, etc can only benefit the work Samaritan’s Purse is doing! I am skilled in social media and would be happy to integrate it into my work with OCC.

My home office is fully functional, and I have strong administrative skills and a proven ability to work independently. My experience working with Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Vancouver and the North Shore Crisis Services Society has given me experience with program growth and facilitation, and enhanced my communication and presentation skills.

See my attached resume for my work and education history. I have a Bachelor of Education and a Bachelor of Psychology from the U of A, and a Master of Social Work (MSW) from UBC. My husband and I attend Lynn Valley Full Gospel Church in North Vancouver, where I live.

And, yes! I have a car and a valid driver’s license, and am free to travel throughout BC – as well as work on weekends and evenings. I am available to start immediately (my current work with is a contract that ends this month). Also, I would love to work overseas in any capacity OCC needs!

As far as salary goes – after discussion and prayerful consideration, I thought a starting salary of $55,000 a year would be reasonable, given my experience, education, and level of energy and enthusiasm 🙂 . Plus, of course, mileage and travel expenses.

I am available at your convenience for a Skype or telephone call, or an in-person meeting.


Laurie Kienlen

I didn’t get an interview for this job, so don’t copy my sample cover letter! I just wanted you to see what types of nonprofit jobs are available and what types of cover letters the employers are getting.

If you know your cover letter needs to “bake” – or if you’re ready to abandon the idea of finding nonprofit jobs – read 10 Highest Paying Jobs for College Students.

2. A Better Sample Cover Letter (not just for nonprofit jobs)

This is an uber casual, informal cover letter. Again, it’s not a template you should copy or a style that is guaranteed to work. It’s an actual cover letter I found by searching for “sample cover letters” on Google Alerts.

The link to that article – which is called The Secret to Writing a Successful Cover Letter – is right under the third sample.

Hello [name],

Wanted: [name of position]. Found: The perfect candidate — me. Just take a look at my attached resume and you’ll see why.

Okay, so I know what you’re probably thinking: What does a guy who’s spent seven years in publishing know about [name of position]? But I’ll tell you what: I’m exploring new career options, and I’m a hard worker, a quick learner, and I’m great with [relevant skill (i.e. hands, computers, etc.)]. I also have a strong set of people skills — I get along with everybody — that would make me a valuable addition to your team.

Give me a shot and you won’t be sorry. Many thanks for your consideration, and please let me know if you have a moment to talk.

All the best,

Richard Dorment

According to Richard, this cover letter netted him several requests for job interviews. Does this work when you’re applying for nonprofit jobs in most organizations? It’s hard to say. If the casual style of the cover letter suits your personality and work ethic, then perhaps it’s worth a try.

Quick tips for when you’re applying for work:

  • If you can’t trust your gut feeling when you’re writing cover letters and applying for the nonprofit jobs you want, get help. Talk to an employment counselor or career coach.
  • Use any sample cover letter as a guideline, not gospel truth.
  • Make the best of the job you have now. If you hate your workplace, learn how to create a better working environment.

And, remember that sometimes not getting the job you applied for is actually a blessing in disguise. You may never know why you weren’t hired, but you need to trust that it was meant to unfold this way.

3. A Sample of a Cover Letter You Should NOT Use

To Whom It May Concern,

I am responding to the job posting on [name of site] on [date posted] for the [name of position]. I have attached my resume for your consideration, and I would like to set up an appointment to interview for the position.

Thank you very much.



The last two sample cover letters can be re-read at The Secret to a Successful Cover Letter on the Esquire website. 

7 Powerful Tips for Nonprofit Job Applications

You need to find your own voice and style when writing your cover letter.

Sample Cover Letters Nonprofit Job Applications

Sample Cover Letters for Your Nonprofit Job Applications

Also, you need to decide if you want to be casual and conversational (like I am in the my first sample cover letter), or more formal and businesslike. I am an informal, friendly, casual person – and my writing communicates this.

Also, think about the type of nonprofit jobs you’re apply for. Just because the employer isn’t a for-profit boss doesn’t mean you can be overly casual and friendly in your application, cover letter, and resume.

1. Be proactive in your cover letter

“In each of the cover letters for the last three employment applications I’ve sent out, I offered my prospective boss a bullet-point list of things I would do were he to give me the job,” writes Scott Snair in The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Power Words. “Did he hire me? Yes. Did he like any of the ideas I offered in that cover letter? Not one! And perhaps rightly so: he had his own list of things for me to accomplish. But that’s not the point, is it? The point is that I offered myself to this organization as someone who is innovative and proactive.”

2. Use specific words that apply to the nonprofit organization

“If you give me this job, here is specifically what I’ll make happen for you…”

Don’t just discuss why you’re applying for nonprofit jobs. Go a step further and commit to making specific changes in the organization. Use your cover letter to illustrate what you’re passionate about changing. None of the sample cover letters I shared do this.

3. Ask for the job during the interview

‘The last time my wife, Mary-Jane – a mental health clinician – interviewed for a job, she finished the meeting by plainly stating to her prospective bosses (who were interviewing her as a team), ‘I’m very interested in this position. Could you tell me where I stand?’ They asked her to leave the room. A few minutes later, they brought her back in and said, ‘You’ve got the job!”

These tips are from Scott Snair’s The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Power Words.

Before You Apply for Nonprofit Jobs

nonprofit jobs sample cover letter If you’ve been dealing with unemployment for awhile, read Knock ‘Em Dead: The Ultimate Job Search Guide by Martin Yate. With details on everything from connecting on LinkedIn to finding the right nonprofit jobs to accepting an offer, Yate shows you where today’s employment opportunities are and how you can develop the skills and values that employers are looking for.

You’ll also learn how to:

  • Create resumes that get results
  • Maximize social networks to quadruple interviews
  • Turn those job interviews into job offers
  • Negotiate the best salary and benefits package

Learn how to write effective cover letters and resumes from a variety of sources. Don’t rely on the internet alone, whether you’re searching for nonprofit jobs or a sample cover letter that should reflect your style and personality.

  1. Ensure your cover letter specifies the position you’re applying for, directs the hiring manager’s attention to relevant information on your resume, and explains why you’re a good candidate for the job.
  2. Brainstorm from your potential employer’s point of view. What first impression are you giving with your cover letter? Ask a career coach or employment counselor for help and insight.
  3. Highlight the fit between your experience and education, and the organization’s job description. Explain why you’re searching for a job in the nonprofit jobs sector, and use your cover letter to sell yourself.
  4. Share your cover letter with colleagues and friends you trust, and ask for critical feedback. Don’t argue with the feedback you get; simply take it or leave it.

The bottom line: don’t just read a sample cover letter and expect to use that “formula” when you’re applying for nonprofit jobs. If you’ve been looking for work for any amount of time, you know that job hunting is a full-time occupation that requires alot of energy, time, and focus. It also requires you to be YOU.

How to find your calling in your job

nonprofit jobs and cover letter samplesIn What You’re Really Meant to Do: A Road Map for Reaching Your Unique Potential, Robert Steven Kaplan shares a specific and actionable approach to defining your own success and reaching your potential.

Kaplan proposes an integrated plan for identifying and achieving your goals in both your career (nonprofit jobs or not) and life. He outlines specific steps and exercises to help you understand yourself more deeply, take control of your career, and build your capabilities in a way that fits your passions and aspirations.

“Adults always ask kids what they want to be when they grow up because they’re looking for ideas,” said Paula Poundstone. What do you want to be when you grow up? What is your calling? Your mission, your purpose, your ministry?

I welcome your comments about finding nonprofit jobs – or my sample cover letter – below. I especially welcome your thoughts about finding work you love and doing the job you were created to do.


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