SIMPLE NEGLECT
It's easy to get so busy in life that we neglect the soul or "center" of who we are. This is the part of us that has dreams that often get over looked. Especially after marriage and having children, it is easy to get so busy with the demands of day to day living that we wake up 10 years later and realize that we almost don’t recognize our own reflection in the mirror.

MAKE TIME TO DO SOMETHING YOU LOVE
You can keep the soul alive with hope and vision by making sure that you set aside one night a week to do something that you truly would like to do. This could be to just relax. Perhaps you like to relax by reading a good book. Or listening to your favorite music, or watching your favorite TV show. But more than just relaxing, make time to do something you truly love, or would love to learn. Maybe you could learn one more chord on your guitar or on the piano. Sing some songs, draw a picture, get out your paints, Learn to dance. Now's your chance, make it happen!

EVERYONE NEEDS A NIGHT OFF
If you’re married, make one night a week that you’ll trade off taking care of feeding the kids and bathing them. Maybe he will take Tuesday nights to go read a good book at Borders. Maybe Thursday will be her “night off,” and she’ll want you to take the kids to your Mom’s house so that she could play the piano and sing without interruption. (By the way, if you do take the kids to your Mom’s house, make sure you call first, and if possible, bring food for dinner [you can buy a whole cooked chicken from the grocery store for a reasonable price], and always wash the dishes and clean up after the kids. Then it won’t be hard on your Mom).
Creating special days for each other to do those things that we love will bring a necessary reprieve from the stress of daily living.
Yes, you’re busy with just day to day living, but making time to do something which you actually love or once loved to do, will awaken you to joys which you had long forgotten, or never knew existed.

TURN OFF THE TV AND COMPUTER FOR ONE DAY
Once a week, agree to turn off the computer and TV, and spend the time playing with your kids, or doing things together. At first it may be hard for the kids, but soon they will look forward to the day to share more time with you! By the way, this day could also be referred to as “Play Day.” Your kids will love it! Get out the playdoh, paint, puzzles, and board games. Play with your kids. This is very important.

MAKE EVERY DAY SPECIAL AND UNIQUE

Soon you’ll see that it is very easy to make each day of the week a special. For example:

•Monday could be the day you turn off the TV & computer and play with your kids. Do things that they enjoy.
Maybe Tuesday may be his night to go to the bookstore to read.
Maybe Wednesday could be the day you do laundry and buy the groceries. Busy, busy, busy.
Maybe Thursday may be her night to stay home to play the guitar, while he takes the kids to his Mom’s house for dinner.
Everyone’s tired by Friday. That could be a night that you watch a movie together as a family.
Make Saturday a family day to do activities together. Get out of the house! Go to the park with your kids; go to the beach, or to the lake.

End the week by making Sunday an extra special day to do things that will help you grow spiritually closer to God. You may be tempted to catch up on your "to do list," but instead make this a day for God, and you will "recharge your batteries."

MAKE TIME FOR FAMILY AND FRIENDS
It is easy to find yourself “coexisting” with your partner, or your family. Recall those things that you fell in love with when you first met. Make time to be together. Just talking one on one (without the kids interrupting) can do wonders to a relationship.

BALANCE
If you feel like you have a balanced life, congratulations. Usually there is one area in our lives that we have neglected for far too long. Maybe we’ve neglected the kids, the house, spending time with our spouses. Maybe we haven’t exercised in over a year, maybe we haven’t read our scriptures in over a year. More often than not, when we try to invest time in one area in our lives, another part of our lives suffer. Maybe you started a new exercise program, but now you aren’t making time to pray. Just be aware of these kinds of things, and try not to let the important things slip away from you, like your relationship with your spouse, or your kids, or being close to God. That’s why making special days for each one of your family (see MAKE EVERY DAY SPECIAL AND UNIQUE), is so important, because it helps us to make time for those who are most important in our lives.


EXPAND YOUR TALENTS
There is a story in the scriptures about three individuals who were given talents. One person who was given 10 talents went out and increased it to 20 talents. The other who was given 5 talents went out and increased it to 10 talents. But the last one was given 1 talent, but he was so afraid that he would lose it, that he hid it away for safekeeping. Now after a long period of time, they were asked to report before the Master who gave them their talents to begin with. The person who had 10 talents, and increased it to 20 was praised and was given even more talents. The other who was given 5 talents and increased it to 10, was also praised and blessed with more talents as well. But the person, who hid his talent because of fear that he would lose it, was scolded and the one talent that he had was taken away. So the moral of the story is that even if you only have one talent, don’t hide it for safekeeping. Instead make it grow by sharing it with others, and in turn your talents (and joy) will grow.

REGARDING TALENTS
There are a lot of talents. A talent doesn’t just refer to being able to paint or playing the piano. Maybe you have a talent of smiling and making others feel good in your company. Maybe you have a talent of making others laugh and encouraging them to not take things so seriously. Maybe you have a talent of being friendly, or thinking of other people. Everyone has a talent or two, and everyone has hidden talents yet to be discovered. How can you find your talent? What do you enjoy? What have you enjoyed in the passed when you were younger? What are you good at? What do you wish you were good at? These kinds of questions may give you a clue as to what kinds of things you enjoy and are good at, or could learn because you have a deep desire to do so.

LINKS TO LEARN NEW THINGS
Learn how to play the piano
Learn how to sing better
Learn how to make your own website. (Just click here, and
start learning today!)

ENJOY YOUR WORK
There are enough people who are working at jobs that they hate. Why don’t you become one of them who enjoys their work? (Go back to the paragraph before regarding talents and things that you enjoy and are good at.) Ideally, if you could do these kinds of things in the kinds of work that you are doing, then you will enjoy your work. If not, find someone that you admire who is doing the kinds of things that you would like to do. Ask them what they had to do to get to where they are. Follow in their footsteps. Look to role models who are working in jobs that they both enjoy and are good at. Maybe you might need to start your own company to be doing the kinds of work that you’d really like to do. But now with the Internet, creating your own business is becoming a dream come true.

ENJOY THE MOMENT
Okay, so your life isn’t perfect. Maybe you work far too many hours. Maybe you had a disagreement with your Sweetie. Maybe your house is a mess. Maybe you didn’t spend enough time with your kids this week, or with your sweetheart. But don’t give up. You are alive, and hopefully well. You have shelter, and food. You have a computer! You do have people who love you and care about you. Each day, do your best to enjoy that moment. (If you have a hard time with enjoying the moment, watch kids to see how they do it. They have fun when they are playing, they have fun when they are making a mess, they have fun when they are getting cleaned up, they have fun right up until bedtime. Learn from them, and enjoy the moment. It's really all you have.

ENJOY THE JOURNEY
Sometimes we get so wrapped up in accomplishing something that we don’t enjoy the journey it takes to get there. Life is not just about what you accomplished, but how did you live each day, and what did you do to get there. So even if you’re in a rush to get there, it may be worth your while to “stop and smell the roses;” (at least on your way back).

WILL BUYING IT MAKE YOU HAPPY?
We are constantly reminded of all the cool things that we don’t have, that we need to buy someday. We are reassured by effective marketing techniques that if we buy a particular product that our lives will be transformed, and we will become happier than we can imagine. But so often the box arrives, and we are much too busy to put in the time to read the manual that came with it, or to put in the time to actually learn how to use it. So you put it up on the shelf, or put it in the corner to gather dust. Every time you look at it, it reminds you of the money that you spent, (or wasted). You can’t throw it away; you didn’t even get to use it that much. Then you move it to the garage or to the attic, where it either stays or someone else finds for the much-needed garage sale. The point is, we have all that we need at this very moment to be happy. If you are not happy, there isn’t any thing that you could buy that would make you happy. Now this is not to say that you can’t save up for that laptop that you’ve been wanting, or for that guitar. But remember, if you aren’t exercising already, buying that $200 dollar piece of equipment isn’t going to miraculously make you exercise. Everything that is sold takes time and energy to completely learn and enjoy. If you didn’t quite use the last motivational program that you bought last time, it isn’t time to buy another one. If you still have some computer software that you didn’t take time to learn, it isn’t time to buy still another. Instead of buying “more,” it would actually make you happier to invest some time to enjoy what you already have. Just think of the money you will be saving?

FIND NEW WAYS TO USE OLD THINGS
Along with the idea of using what you have rather than going out and buying something to give you a momentary thrill; it is far better to make do with what you have. And it’s fun too. Maybe your favorite cup has a chip in it. Now you can use it to hold your pens on your desk. That box that came in the mail would be perfect to hold your videotapes, or help you sort your papers. It’s quite fun to find a brand new use for something old. Maybe that old jewelry box has outlived its usefulness, yet you love the mirror on the inside. All you have to do is take the cover off the hinge; and you will have a beautiful mirror to enjoy. Plus you can use the bottom of the jewelry box to hold your daily mail. So now instead of having a jewelry box that you hardly use, you have a beautiful mirror on your dresser and a nice wood box for your daily mail. So how do you come up with these ideas? Ask yourself the question; what can I use this for which I haven’t thought of before? You may not come up with the idea right away, but more often than not, you’ll have an idea come to you within the next couple of days.

BE CREATIVE IN ALL THAT YOU DO
We are all busy individuals, with tons of things to do. Get creative in your daily living. Maybe you can listen to your favorite music as you do the dishes. Maybe you can listen to your language tapes in the car as you commute to work. Listening to motivational tapes as you exercise makes exercise time much more enjoyable. There are a lot of things you can do. Get creative with your life, it's fun!

PEACE, HEALTH, & HAPPINESS
The key is to try to balance your life. Easier said than done. Make time for what you really value. For example: God, Family, Friends, and Interests. Make sure you have goals in each of the following areas: MIND, BODY, SPIRIT, & SOUL, and find ways that you can help others. It will do wonders for your self-esteem.