DIY Gratitude Board Freebie

It is Thanksgiving time again. A time to think about all of those who have supported us and have been there when times are tough.  I want to thank all of my loyal readers and customers by offering a free gratitude board download. Just download yours here...and then frame it. Use a dry erase marker to write on the glass of the frame and record all of the blessings that you have each day.  We have a board like this in our home and it has really helped with my depression. When I am able to focus on the positive in my life, it helps to hold the sadness away. Enjoy!

Blessings Board in Blue

Blessings Board in Yellow

April :)

Don't forget to also enter our Christmas Giveaway....

Posted on November 3, 2014 .

Is it possible to homeschool and run a business?

When I started homeschooling my kids two years ago it was out of desperation.  I was so tired of the environment and lack of education in their schools. Both kids were asking my daily to pull them out and start to homeschool them. I gave in and haven't looked back.  I get asked a lot about how I can manage to run a business and homeschool.  One word, prayer. I ask the Lord for help on a daily basis. I need everything that He has to offer me.  

Do we sleep in?

Yep.  More than I want to admit.  

Are there days when school takes place in our jammies?

Sure is.  

Do I get stressed out and overwhelmed?

All of the time.  

Is it worth it?

Without a doubt!

I have had to set time apart each day for me to work solely on business when I am done with school. I have my older kids keep an eye on the younger ones and help them with any unfinished school work they have questions on. The older kids love being able to show off their knowledge and play teacher. The younger kids like having someone new to help them from time to time. It keeps things interesting.

I have also learned to let go of my OCD. The sink needs to be clean and sterile, not free of water spots and dust. A vacuumed floor is great. Mopping the kitchen twice a day is not going to happen anymore.  I have let the kids step in and help out. They are responsible for their own laundry and folding their clothes. They also help to do a daily light clean on the bathrooms and dishes. My older boys are in charge of the garbage and yard work. It has been bumpy. There are days when I can't get anything done and that is OK.  There are wonderful days when the kids finish chores and learn concepts easily. We have time to snuggle on the couch and read together.  I am learning to ride out the bad days and embrace the good ones.  Do you have a business and also homeschool? What advice do you have?

Posted on October 2, 2014 and filed under Behind The Scenes, Happy.

The truth about my fight with depression

Is depression really a physical problem or is it all in your head?  Yes....a women I know really asked me that question. I guess if you have never experienced the dark cloud of depression it could be easy to think it was all in the head. I can tell you with 100% certainty that it is a real disorder and it is physical. It really stinks. I divide my life into two categories; good days and bad days.  Good days are normal, happy, productive and calm. Bad days are messy, draining and stressful. I have no energy, feel sick all day. Add a panic attack to a bad day and I end up with an olympic sized bad day.  I can't predict what kind of a day tomorrow is going to bring. I just have to be surprised. I have read all of the books about "positive thinking" and just wishing to be happy is all that you need. That is great....if you live in a magical land of fluffy clouds, rainbows and unicorns.  Really people? Would you ask someone with diabetes to just wish themselves better and avoid the insulin? Of course not! That would be crazy.

So I can't help but wonder how some people think that I am going to be able to just think about being happy and suddenly have this crappy depression and anxiety disorder just go away. I've tried. It didn't work. My body doesn't make enough of the hormones that I need. I have health problems and need to take "happy pills" to help my body to create the seratonin that I need. I was scared to go to the doctor and talk to him about the bad days I was dealing with. My doctor was awesome! He made me feel better about talking medicine and make an informed decision that I was comfortable with. Find a good doctor and talk to her about your down days. You might be need medicine or your might be fine without. There could be lots of other underlying medical problems like autoimmune disorders, food allergies etc. I found that out the hard way, but that's a post for another day. 

When I first started to take medicine for depression and anxiety I hoped that I would all of a sudden start having all good days. It didn't happen. It did bring to a place where I could function better. It brought me to the halfway point. I needed something more to bring me all of the way. I have found lots of ways to get there. 

  • Thinking positive thoughts really does help (after treating the physical problems)
  • I need to pray for help to overcome this. I can't do it without God in my life. He gives me hope.
  • I need to be reminded all of the time to be positive. This is why my home is covered in happy art. You can find some for yourself in my art shop..hint...hint  ;)
  • Avoid negative people. 
  • Fill your mind with good books, happy movies and uplifting music. Drown out the negative with all of that happiness. I have a personal love of Amish romance novels. Weird...I know. Find something that makes you happy and do it.
  • Get out of the house. Seriously. Just leave the house and go be around people. Take your computer to the library. Talk your dog for a walk. Go sit at a park and read. 
  • Talk to your doctor about nutritional supplements that can help. Also ask about essential oils. Everything that you can add will help you out.

Sunday, I was sitting in church as the teacher wrote the phrase "Are you happy or sad?" on the chalkboard. The first thing that popped into my head was "happy of course". That was definently a first for me. I realized how far I had come over the years. It was slow and tedious but possible. Don't give up sister! You can overcome this! I have faith in you.  Let me know in the comments below about how you handle depression, anxiety and stress. 

April :)

Posted on July 9, 2014 and filed under Inspiring, Healing.

Summer Printable Gift

Summer is here....oh yea!  Swimming, fireworks, watermelon, flip flops and popsicles.

Do you have some summer decorating done yet? I hope not because you can download your free happy summertime printable here............Download Here.

Don't forget to share with your friends. 


April :)

Posted on July 2, 2014 and filed under Happy, Cute.

Top 10 Ways To Pay For Your Medical Bills

All time seems to stop and the world holds still when you hear that one toxic word, “cancer”. After the initial shock, comes the real terror of paying for the treatments.    You may have an emergency savings account. You may have health insurance. Will they be enough? medical bills fundraising

For many of us, the answer is no.  Copays, medicines, transportation costs and bills begin to add up. When my mom was fighting cancer, I was shocked at all of the extra expenses that popped up everywhere. I wanted to help my parents with the medical bills, but was at a loss of how to do that.

I turned to my trusty laptop and searched the Internet for days. I spent hours on the phone with local charities and hospital finance to find some extra financial help. I was able to scrape a little bit of money together, but not much.

The real help came from donations, selling and working the fundraising.  I want to help you get a good head start so here are some ideas to get started.

1.     YARD SALE Sell your stuff. I know. It stinks to part with your video games and tablets, but it is for a good cause. Sell anything you can. Every $20 you make will help.

2.     BLOG Create a place on the Internet where people can donate money to help you out. Set up a “donate” button on your blog or website. Friends and family can add a donate button too. This makes it easy for people to send you their donations. It isn’t charity; it is friends helping each other out. You would do the same thing if you were in their shoes.

3.     EASY BUTTON Sign up for a fundraising program like the one we have here at Rise Above Life. It doesn't cost you a dime to sign up and people love our products. More details here.

4.     PRAY. Seriously. You are going to need some major help to get through this and God WILL help you.

5.     ASK. Talk to your church and community. Churches have many programs in place to help their members in need. Let them know about your situation and see if they can help.

6.     FUNDRAISE. Set up a fundraising auction or raffle. Ask local business owners for donations and then host a benefit auction or raffle off the donations. Watch for an upcoming post in the series with ideas on how to set this up.

7.     BORROW. Check your life insurance plan or 401K to see if you can take cash from either of these.

8.     DISCOUNTS. Call your local hospital and ask to speak with a social worker. Ask for information about any "charity care" or "indigent care" programs. Hospital social workers are usually the most knowledgeable about sources of support in your community. If you have breast or cervical cancer, there is a program that is set up to help you.

9.     ACCEPT. Now isn’t the time to be prideful and independent. It is the time to allow others to serve you and help you. Whether it is someone offering to bring dinner , clean the house or a friend bringing a cash donation, let them help you. When you are feeling better and this chaos has passed, you will be able to return the favor and pay it forward.

10.   RESEARCH. Turn on that computer and get searching for resources to help. Depending on your illness and needs, there are lots of websites and places to go for financial assistance. A good place to start if you are facing cancer, is to learn about programs and assistance available.

DO NOT GIVE UP! I know first hand how overwhelming and crazy this time is. I spent lots of days in tears and frustrated beyond belief. It will be OK. You will make it through this. This will pass. You will be able to have peace again. You can earn the money you will need if you persevere and work hard.

Comment below and let me know what ideas you have come up with to raise funds. What has been your experience with medical treatments?

Next week part 2 of the series will be on fundraising ideas, setting up a blog and adding a donation button. Be sure to sign up for our email newsletter to get updates.

6 Ways To Rise Above A Divorce

Alyce Pilgrim

Driving past the house one day I saw a removal van. I knew what was happening but I couldn't bring myself to stop and go inside. I didn't want to be there for that. The tension. The awkwardness. 

As I drove by I saw him come out and pile boxes in the van. Living on a busy street- he wouldn't have noticed my car. I kept driving.

That was the last time I saw him. 

In all fairness it must have been tough on him too. But I had no ‘goodbye’. No call to say ‘take care’. Not even a text message. I didn't really expect anything grandiose. But some kind of a ‘see you later’ at least would have been nice.

Divorce. Such a final and complete word.

I have survived not one. But two.

And, I’d like to think that I’ve come out the other end relatively okay. Actually, more than okay."The first was my parents when I was about three. The second was between my mum and my step dad – which is still being finalised at the moment.  I can’t remember a time when my parents were married. They went their separate ways when I was so young. Mum then remarried my step-dad when I was around six or seven.

Regardless of my parents not being together, I have always been able to see my dad. My parents still get along fine- I think they are, thankfully, mature enough to put the greater good ahead of any old wounds so they can be in the same room and can be civil around each other. Yea, there have been bumps along the road - but for the most part they get along and respect each other. This is something I am very grateful for.

Now, my experience of dealing with divorce as an adult is markedly different to dealing with it as a kid. As a child we are perhaps somewhat oblivious to the ins and outs of what is occurring during this parting of the ways. We have no real comprehension of the situation. As kids we might be able to pick up on tension and hurt, but really kids are a resilient bunch. As an adult we have experienced life and the world. What we were once oblivious to may no longer be the case.

No matter what, the occurrence of divorce can be somewhat jarring at any age. And as in my case when blended families split you might even have the added confusion of ‘he/she is not my real parent so why am I hurting?’ thrown into the mix.

Step parents. I don’t envy that gig at all. It couldn’t have been easy. My step-dad, at his core is a good man. Yet as the years went by I didn’t often see that. He could never take the place of my father. Nor did I want that. He was around for just shy of 20 years so he was kind of part of the furniture. And the thing was I was actually barracking for him. I wanted him to succeed in his role as husband to my mum and friend to me. But he probably never realised it. I felt he never liked me. And nothing I did was ever good enough.

I was a great student. I wasn’t a wild child. I played by the rules for the most part. There may have been the odd testing the boundaries- but nothing crazy. I went to university and held down multiple jobs while putting myself through school. I helped around the house. Could I have done more? Quite possibly. Yet the healing element of time has shown me that, I could have run myself ragged and nothing would have ever have been good enough for him.

When I hit my teens he developed a habit of telling me that I was ‘the problem’. The more the relationship grew tense the more I stopped caring. Every argument he would have with my mum – he would say that I was reason, that it was my fault. I could have been in the next room, the next town or another country and he would find a way to blame me. According to him I was always in the wrong. Even when I wasn’t. I was always the one who had to do better. It was a very authoritarian rule. And he was never wrong, even when he was.

My mum was the complete opposite. I guess that’s what I love about her so much. We have always had an open and caring relationship. We talk and openly communicate about things. We are both not perfect nor do we don’t claim to be. We are real and honest with each other. If we are upset, we will say. If we think we did something wrong and need to improve we will say. We own our stuff. With my step-dad there was never that option. If I attempted to go there he would use it as an opportunity to try to belittle me or tell me how right he was and how wrong I was. Even if I was agreeing with him he would say I was wrong. At the bottom of it all he had a good heart. Yet it became increasingly difficult for me to see that as the years went past. I think he, like others from his generation, had trouble expressing how he felt.

The tension in the relationship between mum and him came to an ultimate head one day – so I knew it was coming. I have found that I am dealing with things I didn’t think I would have to.There are so many layers to what I am feeling. I find myself addressing things I thought I had moved on from. And dealing with things I thought would never present themselves as an issue. More importantly I am taking hold of the positive and empowering lessons. Setting boundaries for my life and how I will and will not allow myself to be treated. The blessing in all of this has been the level of closeness and support I have received from my partner, he has been amazing through the whole thing. 

This chapter of our lives is coming to a close. And I think we are looking forward to things being finalised formally so there is a sense of closure and we can move on from it formally. I’d love to share with you what I’ve learned through this whole thing and truly hope that my experience can assist you if you are going through something similar.

1. It’s never your fault: You might think it is. You might be told that it is. You might feel that it is. There might be pressure from all angles. But sweet one- it never is. Your parents are adults. They make their own decisions. They make their own choices. It is their lives. And their relationship. You need let go of the notion and thinking that you are somehow to blame. You are not. Period. 

2. You are not financially responsible for the decisions and lives of other people: It might feel like it. You might be pulled, called or compelled. But the only person you are responsible for really is you. Yes really. You want to help your family. Yes you love your family. But try not to get sucked into the vortex. If you are in the stuff yourself you can’t help others get out of the stuff. As tough as it may be use your head not your heart.

3. Don’t let their challenges or issues become yours: It is one thing to help and want to help. To be there to support. Just because they made certain choices it does not mean that you will repeat history. Having a healthy awareness of things will certainly help with not repeating history. Use this as an opportunity to reevaluate your own life situation and relationship. Maybe you’ve noticed that your parents had a habit of bickering or taking each other for granted. Use this new found awareness as an opportunity to appreciate your partner. Make time for you and your partner. Make your relationship a priority.

4. Deal with the emotions as they come up: Why hello, anger, sadness, confusion and guilt. Yep they will more than likely make an appearance. Be kind to yourself, go easy and be gentle with yourself. It’s okay to feel what you are feeling. Find productive ways to let your emotions out. Don’t hold on to them. Find someone to talk to, a friend, a family member, a coach or a therapist. Someone who will support and listen and let you unpack your feelings in a constructive way.

5. Make time for you: If you have been dealing with the storm that is your parents’ divorce life might have been a bit of a blur of late. Perhaps your mum has needed to lean on you more than usual. You might have to step up to the plate and take care of business for a while. Making dinners, helping take care of the household, keeping things organised. Maybe you’ve been there for your dad and checked on him every night since the split. Maybe you’ve helped one of them find a new place. Maybe you’ve even let one of your parents stay with you until they find somewhere and get on their feet. Whatever the case that is great. And well done for stepping up and supporting your loved ones. Remember in all of this it’s important to carve some time out for you. Do something you love. Recharge those batteries.

6. Find the light at the end of the tunnel: I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Try to find the blessings in the icky-ness. You might feel blah. It might have been a shock. It is certainly something you need to come to terms with. And if the split was less than amicable then there might be some flow on things to deal with and things might be a bit messy for a bit. At the end of the day if your parents were not happy together, perhaps they are happier now they are a part and can focus on themselves. With all due respect- just because they are not together doesn’t mean that it is the end of the world. Perhaps they are happier and mentally healthier now that they have gone their separate ways. There is always light in every situation. 

 Have you dealt with divorce of your parents as an adult? What are your tips for getting through this time? I would love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.

Alyce Pilgrim

Alyce Pilgrim is a deeply passionate life coach, NLP master practitioner and writer. She has many years experience in the personal development, NLP and coaching industries. She works with women help them get clarity, confidence and courage to live life on their terms. She believes life is too short to be living a life you don’t love. She has set herself the challenge to live on her terms and blogs about her experience over at .

Posted on June 3, 2014 and filed under Healing, Inspiring.