Make Room for You, for God and Rest

Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop Ovid

Everyone has a story.

All of us were once little boys and girls. We all have memories. 

Some happy. Some not.

Some we share. Yet, many more lay hidden in the secret pages of our heart.

So that we can be strong. So that we can be happy.  So that we can be free.

That’s what I thought, until one day, I stood at the cusp of a childhood dream about to come true.

I was going to write a book.

But as my pen hit the paper to capture those moments, they all came alive.

My memories were no longer stories I once told myself.

And I began reliving them.

Unexpected. Painful memories.

Trauma.

Anxiety.

Just a Visit

I was seven years tall.

I didn’t want to be afraid. It was supposed to be simple. Just a visit.

On the weekends, my father would come see my sister and me.  After the divorce.

I was supposed to climb into the car with the cracking vinyl seats, into the car with the peeling rooftop — of my daddy’s olive green Nova.  It smelled like old, dirty ashtrays, as I slid in the back.  It smelled sad and lonely.  But, I didn’t say anything.

I kept quiet as my little sister with chubby wrists and cherub-rose cheeks toddled in to sit beside me. I felt small and awkward, my hands on my lap and shoulders hunched over as my daddy turned around and smiled a little too widely, his eyes begging for me to smile back.

But, I didn’t know what to do. Because my momma said nothing about this visit.  Other than I better not take anything from him.  I better not come home with anything, other than what I left with that morning.

Which was nothing.

As we rode across town, across the train tracks, up and over the metal buildings and smokestacks of the old Del Monte cannery in Sunnyvale, everything stood eerily silent.  It was Saturday morning and everyone and everything was still in bed.  The streets rolled by empty, as I looked out the window and wondered where we were heading.

I still remember how big the Kay Bee toy store looked as my father tried to hold my hand walking through the parking lot. The square letters spelling K-a-y-B-e-e were suspended kid-tousled happy on the signage way up high.

Even though my little sister couldn’t read, she didn’t need to.  She was getting excited, her little feet hurrying ahead.

But, I knew better. Nothing ever came simple for me.

That day at the toy store ended up just as I had feared.  Not simple.

Who I Could Be

The journey of rest has been the same.  Not simple.

How do you rest when life is less than perfect — with stress marring the daily journey?

I’ve tried to find rest by making a safe place for myself, by putting myself to the side.

By problem solving.

By being strong.

By doing.

I wrestle my anxieties into action plans and check lists to shield myself from vulnerability. I was thankful, sincerely trusting God in what I could do — but missing out on who I could be — by trusting Him to rest.

Here I was, all grown up, mom of two beautiful boys, married to a loving husband.  Yet, I somehow came to believe  incorrectly that if I had faith in God, stress, doubt and pain couldn’t touch me.

Awaken Your Heart

It’s so much easier to take care of everyone, to tend to problems and everything else. It’s easier to be strong and not need or feel.

This is how I’ve lived my life. Fine and functioning.

Surviving.

But, deep inside, where no one knew — where I seldom ventured myself — I was weary. I longed for rest.

Soul rest.

Sometimes the deeper journey of faith is found by following your heart to rest.

Putting our hearts first — letting Jesus love us — is a deep, intimate journey of resting with him.

Make room for you.

Feed your soul.

Slow down.

Breathe.

As much as I longed for all this, I didn’t know how. Until Jesus took me on a  journey of faith to awaken my heart. To be real. To be known. To rest.

I didn’t know it at the time, but the day at the toy store would be our last visit together. My daddy and I.

Something New

As I journeyed through stories long forgotten, God was using all my broken pieces to make something beautiful.

Something new.

God transformed my brokenness into a story of discovery.

A story of rest. To find the things I somehow lost along the way.

Quiet.

Stillness.

Intimacy with God.

In that secret place where I dream dreams. Where I can just be me.

In my search for answers, I made an important discovery:  we all need spiritual whitespace.

Spiritual Whitespace

White space is used in art and design. It’s the space on a page left unmarked.

It’s not blank – it breathes beauty. It gives the eye a place to rest.

Without it, clutter takes over the page.

Just as beautiful art needs white space, our souls need spiritiual whitespace.  We need rest.

God, after all, is an Artist and we are his work of art.

My story is really everyone’s story. Everyone long to find a place to breathe –

to dream dreams,

to slow down,

feed their soul,

and be free.

To feel more deeply connected to God. And others.

Make Room For Your Story

Learning to make room for yourself to rest requires risk. It’s vulnerable to say, I can’t do it all. I need rest.

I eventually went on to complete writing my book about my journey to find rest.

As I uncovered my story, I am finding kindreds on this journey of rest. I realize I’m not so alone anymore.  

I think of Jesus. How He made room for you and me.

By living a beautiful, broken story of love. He told this story. By living it.

Sometimes the hardest stories to tell are the most beautiful.

Our stories are the greatest, most beautiful gifts we can offer: ourselves.

Take the journey of spiritual whitespace.

Uncover the stories deep in our souls, to create space in our hearts and in our schedules.

For beauty. For rest. For God.

So we can live a better story.

Today.

Today’s post was written by Bonnie Gray and is shared from the following website : https://www.crosswalk.com/blogs/bonnie-gray/make-room-for-your-story-for-god-and-for-rest.html

 

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How to Brighten Your Morning (and Whole Day): 7 Powerful Habits

Let nothing trouble you let nothing worry you everything passes away expect God God alone is sufficient Norman Vincent Peale

“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.”
Marcus Aurelius

The alarm bell goes off. You slowly open your eyes. A new day lies before you.

A day of unexplored potential and opportunities. How can you make it more likely to become a positive and good day?

Today I’d like to simply share 7 habits that I have used to make my mornings and whole days better.

1. Have a reminder on your bedside table.

How will you start your very first moments and minutes of the day?

One good way to get off to a good start is to have a note, a reminder on your bedside table that will be one of the first things you see after you have woken up.

A couple of suggestions for what to write down on your note:

  • A low bar for happiness. Write down: “Today I will set a low bar for happiness”. Read it and try to keep it in mind during the day. This one helps me to appreciate things more. The food, my work, the weather, the people and the small events of the day becomes not everyday stuff but something I feel happy to have. The small things or what may be something one takes for granted becomes something I now often pause for a moment or two to take in and appreciate.
  • Your top 3 priorities in life right now. To keep your attention in the right place it is essential to remind yourself every day of what is truly most important. So what is most important for you this year? A project at work? Your family? Improving your social life? Your blog, photography, soccer or debt? Think about it and reduce what is important in your life to the top 3 most important priorities.

2. Give one genuine compliment.

Giving one genuine compliment to your partner, a family member, friend or co-worker during your morning can not only lift his or her day but also make yours a little brighter and happier.

So tap into what you can appreciate about a person in your life. Then tell him or her that.

If you can, make it something that may be a bit unexpected and something that person hasn’t heard a hundred times before. For example, a compliment about her great taste in music or his wonderful way with animals may be more appreciated and powerful than a compliment about looks and other more superficial stuff.

3. Positive information intake over breakfast.

Instead of watching the news or reading the papers and getting a negative and perhaps depressing start to your day do something that will inspire you.

  • Read one or a couple of new posts from positive, funny and uplifting blogs or websites.
  • Read a chapter from a book that inspires you.
  • Or simply have a fun and warm conversation with the people around your kitchen table.

4. Start your workday with your most important task of the day.

If you do then the rest of the day will feel lighter and easier. You will feel better about yourself and more confident as you move on to other tasks.

If you have trouble getting started with the most important task then just make a deal with yourself to work on it for 3 minutes. Then you can stop if you like. But you may not want to once you have gotten started. That seems to be the case for me most of the time.

Getting started is most often the hardest part. So make that part easier for yourself.

5. Go slow.

When I go a bit slower it becomes easier to fully focus, to keep the stress down and I most often do a better job with something the first time around.

I work with more clarity and I do not get stuck in doing busy work very often.

It may feel like I’m not getting enough done but at the end of the day I usually get more quality work done than if I tried to maintain a high speed throughout the day. Partly because the lower stress levels keeps my mind fresh and energy up even through the last few afternoon hours of the workday.

Try going a bit slower. See how it works for you.

6. Work out.

Often mentioned and for a good reason. It has many positive benefits.

I workout several times a week and by doing so I boost my energy, inner doubts and tensions lessen, I feel more decisive and my mind becomes more optimistic. And all of that makes the rest of the day lighter.

I highly recommend doing some kind of exercise in the morning. If you can’t go to a gym or work out from home early in the day then maybe you can walk or bicycle to work or school.

7. Do the right thing in some small or big way.

This one boosts your self-esteem. It puts a spring in your step and it at least makes me feel happier.

So do what you deep down think is the right thing.

A few examples that may resonate with you:

  • Perform a random act of kindness. Hold up the door or point out the way for someone who seems lost.
  • Help someone out practically or just by listening.
  • Get started with putting a dent in the most important challenge in your life.

Build upon just a small step, a small thing if you like. Start building an upward spiral of positivity and good feelings within. And then take further steps upward.

Towards what you know you really want and you know are the right things for you in your life.

Today’s article was written by Henrik Edberg and is shared from the following website: https://www.positivityblog.com/brighten-your-morning/#more-8400

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Closest Thing to a Wonder Drug? Try Exercise

I consider my refusal to go to the gym today as resistance training Unknown

After I wrote last year that diet, not exercise, was the key to weight loss, I was troubled by how some readers took this to mean that exercise therefore had no value.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Of all the things we as physicians can recommend for health, few provide as much benefit as physical activity.

In 2015, the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges put out a report calling exercise a “miracle cure.” This isn’t a conclusion based simply on some cohort or case-control studies. There are many, many randomized controlled trials. A huge meta-analysis examined the effect of exercise therapy on outcomes in people with chronic diseases.

Let’s start with musculoskeletal diseases. Researchers found 32 trials looking specifically at the effect of exercise on pain and function of patients with osteoarthritis of the knee alone. That’s incredibly specific, and it’s impressive that so much research has focused on one topic.

Exercise improved those outcomes. Ten more studies showed, over all, that exercise therapy increases aerobic capacity and muscle strength in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Other studies proved its benefits in other musculoskeletal conditions, like ankylosing spondylitis, and even some types of back pain.

For people (mostly middle-aged men) who had had a heart attack, exercise therapy reduced all causes of mortality by 27 percent and cardiac mortality by 31 percent. Fourteen additional controlled trials showed physiological benefits in those with heart failure. Exercise has also been shown to lower blood pressure in patients with hypertension, and improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

People with diabetes who exercise have lower HbA1c values, which is the marker of blood sugar control, low enough to probably reduce the risk of complications from the disease. Twenty randomized controlled trials have showed that patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease can walk farther and function better if they exercise.

Multiple studies have found that exercise improves physical function and health-related quality of life in people who have Parkinson’s disease. Six more studies showed that exercise improves muscle power and mobility-related activities in people with multiple sclerosis. It also appeared to improve those patients’ moods.

The overall results of 23 randomized controlled trials showed that exercise most likely improves the symptoms of depression. Five others appear to show that it improves symptoms in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. In trials, exercise even lessened fatigue in patients who were having therapy for cancer.

What other intervention can claim results like these?

Even studies of older, hospitalized patients show a beneficial effect from multidisciplinary interventions that include exercise. Those randomized to such interventions in the hospital were more likely to be discharged to go home, and to spend less time in the hospital over all — and at a lower cost.

Although we don’t think of it this way, you can make a pretty good argument that exercise is as good as drugs for many conditions. A 2013 meta-analysis of meta-analyses (that’s how much data we have) combined and analyzed the results from 16 reviews of randomized controlled trials of drug and exercise interventions in reducing mortality. Collectively, these included 305 trials with almost 340,000 participants.

Diuretic drugs (but not all drugs) were shown to be superior to exercise in preventing death from heart failure. But exercise was found to be equally good as drugs in preventing mortality from coronary heart disease. Exercise was better than drugs in preventing death among patients from strokes.

Many people will be surprised at how little you need to do to achieve these results. Years ago, in an effort to get in shape, I tried the P90X routine. It proved too hard for me. Later, when I tried the Insanity workout, it beat me so badly that people at work kept asking me if I was ill. Two years ago, I tried P90X3. It was a bit more manageable, but I still couldn’t keep it up.

I have not been alone in thinking that physical activity to improve health should be hard. When I hear friends talk about exercising, they discuss running marathons, participating in CrossFit classes or sacrificing themselves on the altar of SoulCycle. That misses the point, unfortunately. All of these are much more than you need to do to get the benefits I’ve described.

The recommendations for exercise are 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity physical activity for adults, or about 30 minutes each weekday.

Moderate intensity is probably much less than you think. Walking briskly, at 3 to 4 miles per hour or so, qualifies. So does bicycling slower than 10 miles an hour. Anything that gets your heart rate somewhere between 110 and 140 beats per minute is enough. Even vacuuming, mowing the lawn or walking your dog might qualify.

Today, my goals are much more modest. Trekking from my office to the clinic and back again gives me 30 minutes of exercise. Or, I walk to the supermarket from my office to grab lunch, at a mile each way. In colder weather, I spend half an hour on the elliptical machine. Doing this five days a week gets me the activity I need.

Although it feels as if there’s nothing we can do to change people’s behavior, there is evidence to the contrary. A systematic review and meta-analysis of advice and counseling by health professionals found that promotion of physical activity works.

Doctors and clinics that made efforts to promote exercise to patients needed to engage 12 adults on the subject to get one additional adult to meet recommended levels of activity one year later. That might not sound impressive, but it’s one of the better such results.

After the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges wrote its report, an editorial in the BMJ, a prominent medical journal, countered that exercise wasn’t a “miracle cure.” Instead, the authors argued it was “the best buy for public health.”

If that’s the best “counterpoint,” then physical activity seems like a no-brainer.

Today’s article was written by Aaron E. Carroll and is shared from the following website: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/21/upshot/why-you-should-exercise-no-not-to-lose-weight.html

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Ways to Live a More Meaningful Life

Yesterday’s home runs don’t win today’s games Babe Ruth10 Ways to Live a More Meaningful Life

It can be easy to run through the maze of life without pausing to think of its meaning.

Does what I’m doing matter?

More importantly, does it matter to me?

Feeling that what you’re doing has a real purpose and meaning that matters to you can make a huge difference in your life. It makes getting up each day the most exciting thing in the world. You can’t wait to get started. Forget trying to force yourself to work hard, it becomes more important to remind yourself to take breaks to eat!

But how can we cultivate a more meaningful life? The answer is usually complicated. It can depend on many factors. I’ve written down 10 ideas that I believe will help you find meaning in your life every day, so that you can’t wait to get up in the morning and see what the day will bring.

1. Know What’s Important

Know what’s important for you. Write down your top 5 things that you believe are the essence of how you want to live life. This can include things like “family time,” or “sing every day.” It could also include more complex ideas, like “honesty” and “simplicity.”

2. Pursue Your Passion

I believe everyone should pursue their passion in life. It’s what makes life worth living, and gives our lives true meaning and purpose. Each time you work on something you love, it creates joy inside you like nothing else. Finding a way to use your passions to give back to the world will give your life ultimate meaning.

If you can’t manage (or aren’t ready) to work on your passion for a living, be sure and make time for it every day. By working on your passion and becoming an expert in it, you will eventually have the opportunity to make money from it. Be ready to seize that opportunity!

3. Discover Your Life’s Purpose

If you had to give yourself a reason to live, what would it be? What would you stand for? What principles do you hold highest? Is your life’s purpose to help others? Is it to inspire others with great works of art, or you words? Finding your life’s purpose is a daunting task, and when I first heard the idea, I had no idea where to start. For methods on discovering your life’s purpose, I recommend Steve Pavlina’s blog entries on the subject. I also recommend reading the article What Makes Life Worth Living.

4. Be Self-Aware

Be aware of yourself and your actions. Remain mindful of what you do at all times, and make sure you are living life according to your principles, your life’s purpose, and what you are passionate about. Review your actions each day, taking stock of those that strayed from your path. Work towards correcting any incidents in the future. Meditation is a great tool for accomplishing this task. It helps us increase our self-awareness throughout the day.

5. Focus

Rather than chasing 3 or 4 goals and making very little progress on them, place all of your energy on one thing. Focus. Not only will you alleviate some of the stress associated with trying to juggle so many tasks, you will be much more successful. Try and align your goal with something you are passionate about, so that there will be an intrinsic drive to work hard and do well.

6. People More Than Things

Often, we are faced with wanting to buy material goods. I recommend you consider carefully what you purchase, and think more about spending your money on experiences with friends and family. Not only will this give deeper meaning to your life by focusing on your relationships rather than material wealth, but you will be a happier person as a result.

7. Live With Compassion

Both for yourself, and others. Keep in mind the following quote:

"One must be compassionate to one's self before external compassion" - Dalai Lama

For some, compassion is the purpose of life, what gives it meaning, and what leads to ultimate happiness.

8. Find a Way to Give Back

Do something that both honors your beliefs and passions, while giving something back to the world. By giving something back, we inevitably find purpose in the act. By cultivating more of these activities, you will find your life has more meaning and purpose behind it.

9. Simplify Your Life

By simplifying your life, you’ll have more time to do what fulfills you and gives your life meaning. It can also help reduce stress and make your overall life easier to manage. It can also greatly improve your productivity. If you’ve never tried to simplify things before, it really is a great feeling.

10. Set Daily Goals

In the morning, before you start your day, create a list of 3 goals that you find fulfilling and meaningful. Make sure they adhere to your set of principles and beliefs. Tackle the hardest things first! Don’t make this list too long. By placing too many things on the list, you’ll feel the urge to multi-task, which is not good, or you’ll feel overwhelmed, which isn’t good either. By trying to do less, you’ll end up doing more.

Doing all of these things at once may seem daunting, but you can pick one thing at a time and slowly incorporate the ideas into your life. Life is about the journey, not the destination. Living a life of purpose gives both fulfillment and meaning to your journey.

Today’s article was written by David Loker and is shared from the following website: https://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/10-ways-to-live-a-more-meaningful-life.html

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Steps to Becoming the You You Want to Be

The best investment you can make is in yourself Warren Buffet

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” – Lao Tzu

Every day that passes by, there is someone who is living a life that does not fuel their passion or purpose. Each moment feels like they are just existing or living life by accident. This could be due to fear of change, or limiting beliefs within them that say “you’re not worthy” or “I don’t deserve to be successful”.

It could be a number of things. Believe it or not, I used to be this person. I was stuck in a 9-5 job, in a 7-year relationship that was emotionally draining, and I was 75 lbs. overweight.

Then came that ONE day that would forever change my life. I remember it as if it were yesterday. I looked at myself in the mirror and saw what I had become. I didn’t recognize myself. I immediately burst into tears. This was NOT the life I wanted to live. I had neglected the most important person in my world: ME.

It was then that I had to make an important choice. I decided to take the first step towards creating the life I would often dream about. That very next day, I promised myself that I would do just one thing that made me feel more connected to the goals I wanted to accomplish.

Not two or three. Just one. It didn’t matter how small it was. The point was it was a small step in the RIGHT direction. This has led me to the level of success that I am at today.

Here are three small steps that will help you make that same important decision and transform your life.

3 Small Steps That Could Make a Big Impact In Your Life

1. Have a heart to heart with yourself.

Take time to get away from people, places, or things, and just spend some time with yourself. In order to truly make any step towards the success you desire, you must have a great sense of self-awareness.

What is it that you want to accomplish and why? What truly makes you happy? What are you passionate about? How will accomplishing this change your life? How would it make you feel?

Be completely honest with yourself, your thoughts, and your intentions. Having these questions in front of you will keep you from going around in circles. They will give you more clarity and vision that should help you determine which small steps you need to take.

As a result, instead of being frustrated or reluctant to leave your comfort zone, you will be more confident now that you have a plan in place.

2. Do ONE thing everyday that is connected to your goals.

Always remember that you don’t have to always make massive amounts of progress at one time. The important thing is that you are continuously moving in the right direction. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day. It took consistent daily, focused action. Over time, it became one of the most celebrated cities on the planet.

We live in a world that is bombarded with messages of instant gratification. But the truth is, any level of success is the result of a daily routine of the right things done for a certain period of time. That time can vary from days, weeks, months, or even years.

However, throughout the journey, you can see that you are moving closer and closer towards your ultimate goals. Do not underestimate the power of small steps. You will find yourself accomplishing things you never thought possible (and sooner than you anticipated).

3. Do not measure your level of success by comparing yourself to others.

Success means something different for everyone. You must not become fixated on what media or entertainment portrays as successful. A fulfilling life is more than material possessions. Understand that you can only live the greatest life possible when you have defined what success is to you.

As you begin taking small steps and making progress, focus only on what your desired goals are. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by what others are saying, doing, or what they believe success should look like. Too often, we get caught up in what society, current trends, and what the masses portray as “I’ve made it”.

This is your life. Only YOU can determine what accomplishment, achievement, and true success means to you. In fact, one of the reasons why you may be in the position you are in is because you designed your life based on the thoughts and opinions of others. This was my case years ago.

Conclusion

You deserve to be great. You have greatness within you. Sometimes, that can be clouded by limiting beliefs, adversity, or just the many circumstances in life. Think about everything that has happened in your life right up until the point you are reading this article.

Today’s article was written by Meiyoko Taylor and is shared from the following website: https://everydaypowerblog.com/2018/03/23/small-steps-right-direction/

 

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