Why Afformations & Believing in Yourself Unlocks Your Success

I have been working through a new book, The Book of Afformations® by Noah St. John and this quote really stuck out for me.
“Your life is a reflection of the thought seeds you plant and give energy to.”

What You Appreciate, Appreciates!

For years I have followed the concept that what you appreciate, appreciates. Meaning. The thoughts you have, the things you come to appreciate in life, the things you give your energy to, will bring about MORE. So let’s say that you really appreciate your partner doing the little things in life. The more gratitude, the more you appreciate those acts of service, the more you will notice them showing up in your life. The same is true for your inner world. The more you appreciate certain behaviors or specific ways you show up in this world, the more you will notice yourself showing up in those ways.

INTRODUCTION of Afformations

This concept of AFFORMATIONS takes “what you appreciate, appreciates” a step further.
Let me ask you this, how many times have you asked yourself questions like these?
  • Why am I so unhappy?
  • Why can’t I lose weight?
  • Why is life so much easier for other people?
  • Why can’t I do anything right?
I think we have all been there. I think we have all asked these type of questions to ourselves. This is the negative thought gremlins at work. Judging you. Reminding you that you will never be enough. You will never be good enough, pretty enough, thing enough, smart enough, wealthy enough. You will never, ever, never, ever be enough.

You plant the thought seed, bring energy to it and that thought becomes your reality… choose wisely.

I have been at this mindset stuff for a long time. So… I know that your energy follows your thoughts. But I never considered hoe much more influential a question was then a statement. I have gone done the whole statements of affirmations for years; I even include this in part of my program because it works. What I didn’t know is how much more influential a question was than a statement. 
 You see… you get EXACTLY what you ask for- negative or positive. You ask yourself, “Why can’t I lose weight?” over and over and over again. And this becomes your reality. You come to know that no matter what you try, you always find it difficult to lose weight.” You are asking for exactly what you DON’T want. Interesting, right? 

Actions backed with seeds of fear and failure

Let’s look at it this way. What can’t I lose weight? If you grew up in an environment where maintaining weight was a struggle, then you would probably assume that losing weight is hard and that’s just the only way about it. Weight loss is hard. Weight loss is supposed to be a struggle. This is the way it is. Some people have it easy but weight loss is hard for me.
You tell yourself I want to lose weight. Your desire IS to lose weight. But the real belief you hold is that losing weight is hard and there’s no way I can do this. (you know, you’ve witnessed the struggle firsthand). 
Holding tight to this negative belief despite desiring more for yourself, your actions, the steps you would take to propel you forward would probably be actions enveloped in reluctance. You wouldn’t wholeheartedly act, you can’t wholeheartedly act, with feelings of reluctance and your result would reflect the lack of action.
I mean if you don’t have FULL faith in yourself, you don’t TRULY believe in yourself, your actions are going to be backed with… fear, anticipation of failure, done with the belief that it won’t work out. Wow. That’s not exactly the proactive actions that will propel you forward into the results you want. 
Actions backed with seeds of fear and failure will NEVER propel you into the results you desire.


how to Re-Wire Your Brain so you TRULY Believe in Yourself

So what do you do? How do you re-wire your brain to BELIEVE in yourself, motivating you to take the necessary ACTIONS to provide the RESULTS you have ALWAYS wanted for yourself?
Try this super easy change. Change your question!! Instead of “Why can’t I lose weight?”, ask yourself “Why is it so easy to lose weight?”
Seriously, that’s it! Ask yourself frequently and consistently, “Why is it so easy to lose weight?”
The idea is that the human brain is designed to answer a question when asked. So by asking yourself the question, your brain begins to scan for an answer and inspire you to take the necessary actions you need to take to get you the desired results. These answers bubble up and look a whole like “aha moments”.
So this week, try this. Write down the 1 question you struggle with the most. Write down the question your negative thought gremlins keep asking you over and over and over. Then write the reverse of that question. Write the question as if you already mastered it.
Why am I so happy?
What do I always have as much money as I need?
Why is it so easy for me to lose weight?
Why am I so successful in my career?
Why am I enough?
And then tell me how it goes! I am so interested in hearing about all of the goodness that bubbles up for you!
Love and goodness, Sarah
Advent Calendar

Candy Free Advent Calendar

A candy free advent calendar is a great way to focus our minds and hearts on what truly matters this holiday season. In the Schneider house, the month of December is also the Month of Kindness and Service. We spend the month focusing on ways we can be kind to one another and serve our community.

Before you think I am taking the fun out of the Christmas Countdown by removing candy, hear me out!! I LOVE food and feel food should be celebrated! There is something truly special about slowing down and appreciating the role food has in our lives, gratitude to those who cultivate and harvest ingredients so that we may nourish ourselves, and the sheer joy and pleasure that bubbles up when we enjoy real, wholesome foods… especially when in community with the people we love. Just thinking about it makes my heart feel so full. At meal time we NEED to focus on the food we are eating and truly celebrate the meaning it has in our lives.

Focusing on the right stuff

And yet, with that being said, we need to evaluate times in our lives when we unintentionally focus on food when our focus and attention should be on the activity or event. Let me explain…

My 7 year old took an interest in playing soccer a few years ago and I volunteered to be “Team Mom”. Part of my official duties included setting up the signup sheet for snacks. Each Saturday the girls played a 45 minute game and parents would sign up to bring snacks to one of the games each season. Here’s the kicker. Pun very much intended! 😉 Each game, the girls would be given fruit at half-time and then some sort of sugary drink and processed food snack at the end of the game. The girls were more concerned about when snack time was than where the ball was on the field. And seriously, it was a 45 minute game; they were not nutritionally depleted! I even reminded my daughter after one of the games that her dance class and gymnastics class were both 45 minutes long, she drank only water… and SURVIVED! 😉 Soccer should have been the focus, not the food.


See where I am going with this?

Advent calendars have a special history. Advent has a Latin origin meaning ‘the coming,’ or more accurately, ‘coming towards”. Christians view Advent as a time to celebrate the “coming” of Jesus. Centuries ago, the importance of this event inspired many Christians to not only celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on Christmas day but also in the weeks leading up to Christmas. It was and remains a time where Christians could prepare themselves and their families for the significance of Christmas. Before the production of Advent calendars, Christians would mark strokes on their doors with chalk or hang little pictures each day on the wall to simply remind themselves of the importance of Christmas, the importance of what was to come.

As much as I love food and feel food should be celebrated, I don’t think a piece of chocolate captures the true meaning of Advent. In fact, I think the addition of chocolate devalues the spirit of Christmas. Kids become more excited and fixated on the chocolate and lose sight of what really matters. So for that reason, I made this Candy Free Advent Calendar and our family really ENJOYS it!

And for those of you who don’t identify with the Christian faith but are interested in spreading a little kindness throughout the month of December, this is for you too! The world could use more joy and kindness regardless of religious affiliation. So please, keep reading!


This is a great idea, but….

You already bought the chocolate calendar? Don’t have the time to pull this together this year? Your kids will never go for this whole non candy advent thing? I get it! I have totally been there. The great thing about life is that it’s NOT all or nothing. There’s a huge messy middle where you can find what works best for you and your family with what you have going on!

So… You already bought the chocolate Advent calendar? OR Your kids are pretty much set on candy advent calendars?

Keep the chocolate! At least for this year… 😉 Here are some ideas that you can include with the chocolate. Then perhaps next year, you can ditch the chocolate and focus only on the activities rooted in the true Christmas spirit. Oh and before the kids gobble down that chocolate mindlessly, remind them to savor and enjoy each little nibble!

  • Do the Schneider Candy Free Advent Calendar in addition to the candy! I’ve included a calendar with all the activities below. And if you are feeling EXTRA crafty, I included an easy way to make a great Advent calendar that you can use year after year.
  • Take turns saying one kind thing each of you did for someone else that day. I held the elevator door for someone, I picked up a paper that someone dropped, I told a friend she looked beautiful… you get it!
  • Print off a kids advent devotional and read it as a family while eating the chocolate. Here’s a free one. Click here. 
Don’t have the time? Just can’t take on another thing right now?
  • Work in a few acts of service on the weekends when you do have a little time. Donate food to the local food bank. Donate toys to Toys for Tots. Sponsor a child at your church and have your kids help shop for them.
  • Commit to one activity a week. Just one! Well, that’s actually ends up being four… but who’s counting.
  • And if you just don’t have it in you to do an Advent calendar, that’s fine too! Christmas will STILL come!! The magic of Christmas will still be there come December 25th!
  • File this idea away for next year… or better yet sign up for my newsletter and I will send you this next year and you don’t have to remember a thing! But for this year… remember the holiday season is supposed to be enjoyable and if skipping an advent calendar limits stress in your home, than do that.
IF you DO have the time this year and are on board with this Candy Free Advent Calendar, KEEP READING!!


 The Schneider Candy free Advent Calendar

My girls LOVE our advent calendar because they get to look forward to doing something really special EVERY. SINGLE. DAY until Christmas. AND it’s FUN! There are three categories of “activities”: service to others, random acts of kindness, and family fun… and yes there are some treats included. It IS the Christmas Season!!

So… here’s our 2016 Advent Calendar. (shhh… each day is a surprise so the kids haven’t seen these yet!). Feel free to print this calendar image out and use it OR create your own.

I have to say the most fun we had last year was Candy Bombing the local Kroger parking lot. I wasn’t so sure about this one but it was a blast. I picked up 4 boxes of candy canes at the Dollar Store and attached little notes on them that said Merry Christmas- You Have Been Candy Bombed! It was so much fun and that was the first memory that flooded back for Miss 7 when we dusted off the Advent Calendar this year. Great family memories!!


Candy Free Advent Calendar

Click here to print.


A few tips for making this work!

  • Every year when I have a little extra time over the Thanksgiving holiday, I pull out our family calendar and then decide which day we will do each one. Activities that require more time are saved for the weekends and days we are strapped for time like “dance night”, I schedule something that can be done throughout the day at school. It’s all about reducing and limiting stress during the holiday season. This is supposed to be fun!!
  • If you don’t start on December 1, you can STILL DO THIS!!! Start on December 3rd, December 10th, December 22nd… Just make family memories and enjoy the holiday season by spreading joy!

make it special, make it your own

I am NOT crafty! My Mom and twin sister are the crafters of the family, BUT I did manage to pull this off myself. Big pat on the back for Sarah! haha This is super easy even for the craft deficient. I found this cute box that looks like a book and these tins at Michael’s.

Candy Free Advent Calendar







I printed these super cute numbers for FREE (click the images to print) from Marla Meridith, cut them and glued them on with regular ol’ Elmer’s school glue. And the best part…they fit the tins perfectly!! I liked the idea of using a heartier container so they hold up year after year. I’m all for doing projects ONCE. Remember I am NOT a crafter! 😉

DIY: Freebie Christmas Advent Calendar on MarlaMeridith.com             DIY: Freebie Christmas Advent Calendar on MarlaMeridith.com

And voila! This is what The Schneider Advent “Calendar” looks like! The girls joyfully anticipate opening up a new tin each day to discover the fun activity of the day. Oh and I type up the “activities” on a word document and cut them out. Nothing fancy. In fact, I have a snack size ziplock bag where I keep adding to them so I don’t have to reprint each year. Lazy, maybe? I would like to refer to that as “resourceful”.








I hope your family has a WONDERFUL Christmas and ENJOYS this Candy Free Advent Calendar!

Always with you, Sarah

Comment Below! Let me know what you think about a Candy Free Advent Calendar. Better yet, let me know what your kids think!!


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Nourish Your Soul with Gratitude

Nourish Your Soul with Gratitude

The month of November is the month of gratitude in the Schneider house! I mean it makes sense… THANKSgiving is in November. It just seemed like a natural fit to really emphasize the importance of daily appreciations and gratitude in our lives. During this time our family comes together and we discuss what we each appreciate about our lives and the people in them. Plus, it’s a nice time to connect as a family.

With that being said, I have to admit that I TOTALLY forgot about our special month of gratitude until this morning when I was in the shower! I have been sooooo busy lately; it just escaped me. So throwing perfectionism aside, we started today in the car on the way to school. There were no cute little gratitude books to jot down our three appreciations. Dad was at home working. BUT, us girls made the time to all say out loud one thing we were appreciated before school.

So for all you perfectionists, all of you “all-or-nothing”ers,  27 days of gratitude is better than 0!! You can totally start today. OR tomorrow. 26 days “ain’t” bad either. The point is dooooo it!!! Cultivate gratitude. Set time aside to nourish your soul with gratitude!

Here’s what the Science says about Gratitude

The research says gratitude is soul nourishing. Well, maybe not exactly in those words. But that’s my take-away 😉 from a 2002 study that did explicitly state “gratitude is also likely to build and strengthen a sense of spirituality.”

Gratitude is soul nourishing and a nourished soul leads to a nourished body.

In an experimental comparison, undergraduate participants were given packets with 10 weekly reports. Each participant was to complete the given report. Here’s the results.

Group 1 instructions: focus on gratitude

Instructions: “There are many things in our lives, both large and small, that we might be grateful about. Think back over the past week and write down on the lines below up to five things in your life that you are grateful or thankful for.”

 Answers: They were ALL over the place. Here’s a few highlighted in the study: “waking up this morning,” “the generosity of friends,” “ to God for giving me determination,” “for wonderful parents,” “to the Lord for just another day,” and “to the Rolling Stones.”


Instructions: “Hassles are irritants—things that annoy or bother you. They occur in various domains of life, including relationships, work, school, housing, finances, health, and so forth. Think back over today and, on the lines below, list up to five hassles that occurred in your life.”

Answers: These hassles definitely reminded me of my college days! Here’s a few highlighted in the study: “hard to find parking,” “messy kitchen no one will clean,” “finances depleting quickly,” “having a horrible test in health psychology,” “stupid people driving,” and “doing a favor for friend who didn’t appreciate it.”


Instructions: “What were some of the events or circumstances that affected you in the past week? Think back over the past week and write down on the lines below the five events that had an impact on you.”

Answers: “talked to a doctor about medical school,” “learned CPR,” “cleaned out my shoe closet,” “flew back to Sacramento,” and “attended Whole Earth Festival.”

Subsequent coding of these events as positive, negative, or neutral revealed that 40% were rated as pleasant, 30% as unpleasant, and 30% as neutral.


Those participants in Group 1 who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis experienced the following:

  1. Exercised more regularly
  2. Reported fewer physical symptoms
  3. Felt better about their lives as a whole
  4. Were more optimistic about the upcoming week

Bottom line: “do” gratitude

“There are MANY things in our lives, both large and small, that we might be GRATEFUL about.” While having a grateful spirit is the foundation of gratitude, we must DO gratitude.

Every day for the month of November write down five things or MORE in your life that you are grateful or thankful for. See what bubbles up. Note how you feel each day after completing your gratitude exercise.

Need a cute gratitude journal to get started? I whipped one up in a hurry and it’s the NourishYourLife.org’s Printables. And if you just can’t set aside the perfectionism and “start today”… go back and do the first 3 days! 

Always with you, Sarah



Comment Below! I would love to hear what bubbles up for you… tell me what you are grateful for! Let’s see how many things we are grateful for collectively. 


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