Grandma's Little Black Book 
Information Plus

Self Help


Depression, Boredom, Forgiveness, Inspiration, Broken, Love

Are You Bored or Fighting Depression? 

When you are feeling at loose ends in life, ask this question:  are you bored or fighting depression?  If you are feeling bored out of your gourd, it may not be just boredom.  The problem could be more serious.  You could be either reacting to old feelings brought about by memory reminders, or you could be just feeling slightly depressed.  The problem with feeling bored to the point of desperation is that you stop doing anything.  Nothing gets done because you are stopped by this solid wall that you are calling boredom.  It could lead to much more serious consequences if you do not fight feelings of boredom.

What Happens When You Are Bored?

Feeling bored means your mind is idle, and there are lots of great sayings about that, such as “an idle mind is the devil’s workshop” and so on.  It all comes down to your mind becoming blocked from constructive thought and activity.  An idle mind is easily distracted, and has no goals.  This can lead to many things, from sleepiness to suicide.

When Is Boredom a Serious Problem?

Getting the mind unclogged and back to work is a personal goal that should be activated whenever the feeling of overwhelming boredom shadows the entire being.  Certainly everyone could think of many things that need to be done or worked on when there is ample time and opportunity.  Part of the remedy for feeling bored out of your gourd is to find something constructive to work on.

What Can I Do About Boredom?

If you cannot think of anything, then sit down and write out why you are feeling so completely bored, and see if there is any connection to other happenings in your life.  Think about how long ago this feeling emerged, and what you were doing or not doing at that time.  Dip into your feelings, but do not get carried away with hopelessness.  If that happens, call a friend and ask for some company, or call someone professionally qualified in mental health care immediately, and find some help getting out of the pit of despair.

How to Fight Boredom

Most of the time, you will find that this momentary boredom will pass without any unfortunate events.  Getting past the immediate moment is the first task, and one way to do this can be to set down on paper some goals you want to achieve, no matter how far-fetched these goals may be.  Figure out the easiest or fastest one you can actually achieve, and start thinking about how to reach that goal.  Focus on the positives and possibilities in life.  Pretty soon, your mind will be occupied, and you will lose that useless feeling of being bored out of your gourd.

What If Boredom Continues?

Make liberal use of lists; they are fun to do and can help keep you on track to forward progress.  If boredom and depression continue to plague your life and keep you from enjoying life, consult with a professional.  Boredom leading to depression can become serious or even life-threatening, but help is available.  Life should be enjoyable and fun.  Are you bored or fighting depression?  If boredom continues, fight it!  If you are depressed, get help!  You should not continue to be bored out of your gourd!

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Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be used for diagnosis or to guide treatment without the opinion of a health professional. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact a doctor for advice.

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Living with Others – 7 Basic Rules

Whether it is Mom or Dad or both living with the adult kids or the other way around, there are a few basic ground rules to remember when you are living with others.    If you are a roommate sharing space and expenses, the rules are a little different and cover more topics.  Family living can be touchy and bring in more emotions because of the close familial ties.

Rule #1 – Courtesy is kindness and kindness is courtesy.  When you are a caretaker or dependent, emotions can run away with your reasonableness.  Try to remember that you should treat your family as well as you would treat non-related persons.  It is easy to just lose it in an argument or disagreement and let the expletives fly and blast each other.  But that is totally non-productive.  Try to keep a handle on your emotions when living with others.

Rule #2 – Information is a key to successful co-living situations.  Do remember to inform the others of your whereabouts if necessary, and remember that necessary is not always under your personal definition.  Just plain thoughtfulness is better than just plain going out the door without a word of where you are going or when you will return.  It is also a safety practice to let others know your destination and timetable in case you have trouble.

Rule #3 – Thoughtfulness is beneficial and basic to good relationships.  Do not take the last piece of anything in the refrigerator or cupboard without asking is others mind.  Spend some cash and bring in some food and supplies if you are staying for a long time. 

Rule #4 – Offer to help around the house.  You are not a guest, you are family and you are sharing responsibilities.  So some cleaning chores, and why not surprise your hosts by doing the dishes, running the sweeper, dusting, or some other menial chore no one likes to do?

Rule # 5 – Pay your own way and offer to pay some of the ordinary household expenses.  Again, you are not a guest, you are family and your presence does add to costs for food, hot water, heat, and so on.  Chip in and everyone will feel better.  Where else could you live so cheaply?

Rule #6 – Be thankful your family is accepting you and wants to have you around.  Put on a cheery face and make the best of your situation.  If you are able to move on and get out on your own, do so as quickly as possible.  Thank them for their assistance while you are in need.  If you cannot live on your own, be thankful that you have a decent place to stay with people who care about your needs.  Add your hosts to your prayers and be in a thankful mode rather than resentful.

Rule #7 – Respect the house rules.  They are not your rules, and although you are family, you are also a guest in their home.  Remember how many times you may have said in the past “when you get your own house you can do whatever you want” and toe the line because now it is their house.

These are not the only rules for living with others, but they are a great starter set for keeping your relationship in top quality shape.  Love one another, respect one another, and appreciate the time you get to spend together.  These days may never come again.

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Try God’s Recipe - Faith Salad for Inspiration  

Lately, I have thought that I should go ahead and try God’s recipe - faith salad for inspiration.  It is amazing in my imagination, so now I want to create a realistic version with actual salad ingredients.  If you have ever done any gourmet cooking, you may have noticed that many recipes call for a myriad of ingredients, like a bit of this, a dash of that, and so forth.  It is those tiny bits of special ingredients that make the big difference in the outcome.  So it is with faith.  Remember, the Bible tells us in Matthew 17:20 “I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."

Tiny Mustard Seed Faith

The other day I was driving along, thinking about my normal perilous situation in life, and about that faith as big as a mustard seed.  It occurred to me that, yes, I normally do have faith at least as big as a mustard seed.  I trust always that God will take care of me in the basic things of life, and he does.  Like a long line of little miracles, things in my life seem to work out.  I may not have extra, or more than I need, but when the rubber hits the road I always have what I need.  I think of it as sort of a JIT (Jesus In Time) delivery system.

Big Watermelon Faith

Now, that doesn’t mean I give up and stop wishing for those “extras” we love.   I have a long list of “wishes” and “wants” for sure!  My “needs” get met, one way or another.  I have that mustard seed of faith for that.  But I was thinking, in my, oh so human way, maybe I need to get more faith.  My faith salad needs something bigger than a mustard seed, like an orange or a watermelon.  I’m confident that the mustard seed will meet my needs, but in human rationale, I dream that maybe, just maybe, if I had more faith, more might happen, for those extras.  My mustard seed faith seems a little puny, like the seed itself.  What if I had a watermelon of faith?  What then?  What if I could step out in total confidence that my big dreams would come to fruition?  Surely it would be worth trying.

The Real Faith Salad

Take, for example, the prophets and their faith salad.  They were the ones who took off with only their sandals and the clothes on their back.  They had great faith, and they were taken care of along their journeys.  If I were to try that today, to just walk out the door with my shoes and clothes on my back, I know I would need more than a mustard seed of faith.  I would have to have the greatest confidence to make that journey, to rely on the world to provide me with food, shelter, and comfort along the way.  I would probably feel I need more than a mustard seed.  Maybe not a watermelon, but surely something bigger than that tiny little mustard seed to make a great faith salad!

Faith Salad Inspiration

So, with that idea in mind, I am going to start today to build my faith salad.  To work from that tiny mustard seed to bigger things.  Maybe I’ll start with a grape, or a banana, but the goal will be that ripe, juicy, sweet watermelon of faith.  Truly, it’s just a mental image.  I know in my heart that my mustard seed sized faith is plenty adequate.  And there are lots of Bible passages to reinforce that what I have is enough, and that I don’t need that watermelon.  I know that I am taken care of, loved, and remembered.  (Matthew 6:8Your Father knoweth what things you have need of before you ask Him.”) 

Fruit and Vegetables

One thing is for sure, I’ll never look at the fruit and vegetable sections of the grocery in the same light again.  As I select beautiful strawberries, melons, and squash, I know I will be visualizing in my mind building my big faith salad.  And I am grateful for the selection available, the beauty, the glorious colors, and tastes of that salad.  I probably won’t be buying mustard seeds.  Maybe some sunflower seeds…but I will be remembering that faith as tiny as a mustard seed is all that is required.  What a blessing!

When I think of it, I absolutely swell up with pride and joy in my heart.  Faith as big as a mustard seed!  Lord, I do have that much faith!  I will try God’s recipe – faith salad for inspiration.  And, my faith salad is plenty delicious with just that little mustard seed!

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Why Mom Loves Spongebob Squarepants 

Spongebob Squarepants is a happy little guy, and friend to everyone.  As a personality, he doesn’t have a mean streak or bone in his body.  Actually, as an invertebrate sponge, he would not have bones in any event!  He goes through life with a positive attitude that anyone could admire.  Known to all as just Spongebob, his costume is descriptively Squarepants.  He is a very nice animated character that every youngster would want for a friend.

Spongebob the Ultimate Good Friend

Spongebob is a friend to everyone, and helper to many.  He is a gem of a friend for buddy Patrick Star, admires female friend Sandy Cheeks, and even is a staunch friend to his sometimes condescending next door neighbor Squidward Tentacles, not to mention his affection for employer Mr. Eugene Crabs.  He cares about his ordinary job at the Krusty Krab as a fry cook, which he views as an amazing and magnificent job.  Always on the alert, Spongebob Squarepants is also a defender of the secret Crabby Patty recipe that the evil villain, Sheldon J. Plankton, constantly attempts to steal.  Spongebob takes pride in his work, and being a good friend to others.

Spongebob Never Gives Up

Another great quality exhibited by Spongebob Squarepants is his unfailing ability to persist and to keep trying even in the direst of circumstances.  His recent achievement in obtaining his driver’s license is one example, as is his continued attempt to deliver a message to his favorite teacher, Mrs. Puff, even though she did her best to hide from the little character.  He overlooks the meanness of others, and is always smiling and upbeat, except for the occasional compassionate tears. 

Children Love Spongebob Squarepants

Spongebob Squarepants is a good role model for young children, who love his funny look, toothy smile and hilarious laugh.  He shows the good of keeping promises, acceptance of others, being honest, and he is naively innocent, like a young child.  Team all this up with high energy, love for his pet Gary, and caring concern for everyone else and it’s no wonder that the Spongebob Squarepants show is Nickelodeon’s highest rated program.  The Spongebob Squarepants movies have had equal success.

The Whole World Loves Spongebob Squarepants

His popularity reigns not only in the United States, but around the world as well bring in revenues exceeding eight billion dollars.  This program and character cast of Spongebob Squarepants and friends have been renewed for a 9th spectacular season in 2011, much to the delight of fans everywhere.  It’s a fitting tribute to a sleeper show that saw its first airing in the U.S. on May 1, 1999.  With all these attributes going for him, it’s no wonder Mom loves Spongebob Squarepants!

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Knowing When to Quit 

There is skill involved in knowing when to quit.  A couple of old sayings are very appropriate for this topic:  “Know when to fold ‘em” – from poker, and “Don’t beat a dead horse” – from the old days.  Another frequent quotation that may also fit this topic is one allegedly from Sigmund Freud that quips that the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same action but expect a different outcome.

Beating the Dead Horse

If you think about it, why would one want to continue doing the same thing but expect a different result?  Yes, it works when you are playing a slot machine.  Pull the handle and every time you should see a different result.  The insanity enters when you keep pulling the handle expecting a specific result like a jackpot.  That may have more do to with addiction than insanity, however.

Giving It Up

Knowing when to quit doing what you are doing, when what you are doing is unproductive or wasteful, is a skill that can be learned.  You can set limits or do ongoing analysis of the actions to reach the point at which you stop doing that action.  Why is it so hard to give up an activity that is non-productive?  Is it because human nature is basically optimistic and hopeful?  Or is it just a phase of addiction?

Try to Stop

It is hard to stop.  Ask any smoker who has truly tried to quit their addiction.  Or ask a woman who continually selects “bad boy” partners.  Knowing when to quit should be a good thing.  It should be a learned skill that everyone should be taught sometime in life.  If something is adversely affecting your body or your life, it is time to do something different.  Stop overeating, stop being wasteful, or stop throwing your money away.  But it is hard to stop, even once you realize it is time to quit and move on.

A Continual Challenge

Maybe there is no answer.  If even those persons who know they need to quit cannot quit, it presents a real challenge.  You can try to chip away at the problem until it falls away and you finally manage to move on to something new.  The first step has to be the knowledge that it would be best to quit.  That is the point at which you also know that it is time to quit.  From that point on, it is a different challenge.  You must hone skills of perseverance to continue to quit and stay away from the demon that is hurting your life.  Knowing when to quit is only the first step!

NOTE:  If you are experiencing any addiction problems, please contact a professional for help.

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Climb Out of Debt

Climb out of debt, and then be able to stay debt free in the future.  Your wildest dreams can come true if you can pay yourself rather than others each month.  Debt can drag you into scary places, to fear and depression.  This is where you do not want to go!  But, this happens all the time to millions of people. However, there is an answer to the despair of the debt pit.  And you can climb out of debt!

What Should I Do First to Climb Out of Debt?

The first thing you must do is create a monthly spreadsheet that shows your income sources, and amounts, and every credit account, debt, or bill that you need to pay monthly, including living expenses.

Here are some items to include for living expenses:

1.  Rent or mortgage payment

2.  Utilities

3.  Food

4.  Vehicle payments

5.  Insurance

6.  Gasoline allowance

7.  School expenses

8.  Medical

9.  Savings

10.  Animal expenses if you have a pet or pets

11.  Charity donations

12.  Entertainment

Under bills and credit accounts put everything you owe:

1.  Credit cards

2.  Store credit accounts

3.  Bank card accounts

4.  Finance company accounts

5.  Payday loan accounts

6.  School loans

7.  Any other promised payments 

When you create your spreadsheet, make enough rows across for every expense item.  Make enough columns for the following entries: 

1.  Item 

2.  Due Date      

3.  Total Balance               

4.  Minimum Payment  

5.  Interest Rate               

6.  Finance Charge

For items that recur weekly, such as food and gasoline, make at least four duplicate entries with the monthly amounts divided into weekly amounts.  Across the bottom of the spreadsheet, include a row titled “Totals” where you will show totals due for all payment due accounts and for all minimum payments.  Use the minimum payments due total to see if you will have enough income to pay them all.

To organize your “climb out of debt” spreadsheet, use the top rows for your living expenses items.  Then add in the bills and credit accounts according to the due dates, with the earliest due first.  Use as many pieces of paper as needed.  When finished, you should be able to lay out all the sheets and see your entire monthly budget.

How Can I Tell if I Have a Cash Flow Problem?

If the total of all the minimum payments due exceeds your income totals, you have a cash flow problem.  If there is excess income, apply that to your debt target.  If you see that you need more income, act immediately to find more income.  Look for extra work, or sell something.  You can have a yard sale, auction items online, sell at a consignment store, or sell at a pawn shop.  Extra work can be in the form of an additional job or part time job, freelance work, or odd jobs.  Think creatively!

Once you have full knowledge of your monthly budget, your map for success, and your income and expenses picture, you can begin to climb out of debt!

Show Me How to Climb Out of Debt

To climb out of debt, look at your credit accounts and all you owe to others.  There are two ways to approach these debts.  You can organize them  by interest rates, paying off the ones with the highest interest rates first, or you can organize them by total balance due, and pay off the smaller ones first.  Once you get any of them paid off, take whatever payment you were making to that account and load it on top of what you have scheduled for the next target bill.  Continue this process until all are paid off.  As you pay off bills, you will be making higher payments on each successive bill, which will speed up the whole process.  If you just make minimum payments, you will be paying on your bills for decades, and paying about three to four times the original amounts.

Once your credit accounts are paid off, move everything towards any vehicle payment you have, and then on to your home mortgage.  Eventually you will climb out of debt and be debt free!  What an amazing position to be in!  Then, your key to debt free living is to stay debt free. 

How Do I Avoid Paying Interest?

Save up for items and always pay cash.  You can keep a few of your credit accounts open to use for dinner occasionally and then pay in full monthly.  This will keep your credit record and score high.  Truly, cash is king, and you cannot lose by being debt free.  When you no longer have to pay others interest and payments for items you may not even still have, you get the full benefit of your income.  Instead of working years into the future for others, you will be saving up for your own enjoyment.  A tremendous weight will be lifted!

Where Can I Learn More?

There are a few well known personalities who offer wonderful ideas for using money and living debt free.  Consult www.daveramsey.com and www.suzeorman.com for more information on how you can climb out of debt.
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