Journaling: Self-care, week 14

journals

Journaling is good for the soul. It is just between you, God and the paper you write on. It gets junk out of your mind that really can’t, or shouldn’t, be said out loud. You can rant and be angry or even rage, without killing someone with your words. You can make it a diary, sharing your secret crushes, deepest dreams and worst nightmares. You can write love letters or poetry and never worry that some self-appointed poetry critic will make fun of you.

Your journal can be your therapist. Most of us really know- deep down- what we need to do in “those” situations. If a friend told us what we’re telling the paper, we’d pray, we’d hug her and comfort her and then give her some really sound advice. I can’t tell you how many times I raged and fussed and complained on one page. Then, on the next page was able to see how I was thinking wrong, or feeling hurt, or being unforgiving. And once I saw the true problem, was able to work my way to a place of peace and acceptance or perhaps calm down enough to  see a plan.

At times, I simply want to remember beautiful works spoken by someone- or even by me! Maybe I want to remember a funny meme or a heartfelt quote. I’ve journaled ideas and dreams and notes from webinars.

I suppose there is someone out there who has come up with “Rules for Journaling”, but, if you see ’em, don’t pay attention! The beauty of journaling is that there are NO rules. You make up your rules and you are free to change them at will.

I’ve journaled Bible verses that speak to a situation I’m concerned about, then all of sudden, insight and inspiration will come and I find myself writing and writing. When I look back at it, I ask myself where all that wisdom, beauty, or understanding came from. I often preach to myself on the page.

Nothing ever has to be shared with another soul- if I don’t want to. Or I can turn what I write into a blog, article or even a book- if I want to.

Journaling helps you become aware of what you’re thinking. Writing gets those swirling thoughts out of the confines of your head and onto the cold white page, where you can SEE them. You can organize them. You can question them and see if they’re telling you the truth.

I had a long start-up to journaling. I’d write a few pages, maybe for as long as 6 months at the time. Then I’d get busy or discouraged and give it up. Or at times, re-living a particular event would be so real and raw, I’d get angry again and I’ve been know to jab my pen into the page… Well, pages, really, because the pen will pierce though several pages when the force of rage is applied. And so I’d give up again. Because, well, nice ladies who journal surely never have such a violent response to bad events. Right?

But over the years, in spite of about 10 journals begun and abandoned, I’ve become a journal-er. And I miss it when I don’t do it. My journal is a good friend. (No, I don’t name it.) I’ve had small ones and big ones. College Comps and gorgeous embossed ones. I’ve discovered my preference- spiral bound, notebook size. Add a closure and I’m in journal heaven. I still write on any handy scrap or Post-It note when I’m inspired and the journal isn’t nearby. I re-write all those scraps into the journal. I also tape whole pages in rather than re-write it. Is that being lazy or smart?

Getting Started:

* I’m a big fan of small. Start small. Don’t buy the biggest journal at Ross (even though the price is so very good!). Buy a small blank book. Even the old faithful College Composition book now comes in pretty colors and is a great choice for your beginnings. You don’t want to feel intimidated by the book. If it’s so extravagantly gorgeous, you might feel you’re responsible for writing your own War and Peace. Get some with something with some humility, something that doesn’t try to boss you around. The College Comp book friendly and already well-known to most of us. Your humble beginnings will thank you for a humble page to start your journey. And a journey it is- whether it’s a beautiful quote or grocery lists. Whether it’s rages or poetry- it’s your journey. As you move more regularly and confidently in the journey, you might want to move into something a little nicer. But perhaps, you’ll find you enjoy the undemanding College Comp book. Or just maybe, you’ll find the beautiful ones less intimidating because your own confident beauty has grown.

* Start small. Set a timer for 5 minutes and write whatever pops into your head. Write a list. Tell the paper how you feel about the weather. Ask yourself a question: What do I need? What’s my next step? Write a quote. Write a sentence.

* Don’t worry about grammar or even spelling. If you can read it, it’s fine!

*If you’re just beginning, don’t plan to write everyday- even twice a week is a good place to start.

*Keep it tucked out of sight. Protect your privacy!

*Don’t forget to date your page. Believe me, at some point, you’ll want to know when your wrote that!

*And don’t worry about your handwriting. It doesn’t have to be beautiful. Just your own regular hen-scratch is fine. Beside, as you continue to write, you might find your handwriting is improving. An added benefit.

And there ARE benefits to journaling. I have a whole list of them. Let me know if you’re interested in what scientists have found out about journaling. I don’t want to devote another 1000 words to all that right now. A blog is “supposed” to be about 800 words. (Who made that rule, anyway?). I’m already well over that limit!

Are you thinking of adding Journaling to your Self-Care Toolbox? It takes some effort, but it’s well worth it! I hope you’ll give yourself the gift of journaling.

So, please tell us, do you journal? How does it help you?

Thanks for reading. Feel free to share!

God bless you!

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Move it! Self-care Week 13

active adult animal colors
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Hey Ya’all!

Lots of new beginnings today… a new week AND a new month. So, Happy Monday! and Happy April!

Let’s switch gears just a little. It feels like I’ve been in my head for too long and need to physically move around a little!

Now if you  know me, you know I’m not really big on “exercise”. I mean, sure, I like to walk and stretch (some), maybe stroll (the mall). I like to be outside, take a stroll around the neighborhood or on the Greenway. But you will not find me happily doing reps at the gym. I am trying to change my thinking on that but there I am, back in my head again!

We all know it’s important to move for many reasons. The older we get, the more important it becomes. So, what’s a girl to do? Especially when that girl has never been much into lots of physical activity.

We’ve talked about moving… leaving a room for a brief change of scenery; doing the “cross over technique” to re-set out brains. Moving physically from one spot to another is always a good idea when we are stuck. It even helps when our minds are in a jumble- there’s that mind thing again. But how can we put a little extra “exercise” into our day?

Well, I’m glad you asked. If you don’t run/walk up and down the stairs in your house what feels like a hundred times a day, you probably could use a few ideas. Of course, if you’re naturally inclined to lots of activity, you’re well ahead of the game already.

Here are just a few ideas for putting a little more activity into your day.

When brushing your teeth, balance on one foot, then switch to the other. Balance is an important part of your well-being physically and as we age we tend to lose some of our innate ability to balance effortlessly. Try it! Make it fun. Move your free arm around while doing it… Picture this: you, brushing your teeth, standing on one leg like a flamingo, waving your opposite arm around like you’re flying. LOL! Fun, right? I like to make a game of it. How long can I stand on just one leg?

Yes, I realize balancing isn’t “exercise”, but it is important. So just do it!

This is simple. Instead of trying to find the closest parking place to the grocery store, take the one in the hinterlands. It’s really only a little further out and it’ll give you some extra steps. While you’re in the store, walk up and down every aisle- even if you don’t need anything from that aisle. Look how easy it was to add extra steps into your day!

Another easy one is to take the stairs instead of the elevator. While it’s not always practical… maybe your appointment is on the 10th floor… you can walk up one story and finish the journey in the elevator. Same with coming down. Walk down a few flights. Not every building makes it easy to find or use the steps, but most are pretty friendly. Check it out. Of course, if your knees are wonky, or you’re dizzy, taking the steps isn’t such a good idea. Be reasonable. Be smart. But look for ways to add just a little extra movement to your day.

Sometimes while I’m waiting for the microwave to finish up, I’ll stretch. Just easy, ordinary stretches.  Simply stretching your calf muscle, where you push against the wall or countertop, with one leg stretched out, heel on floor and streeeetch. Or raising your hands to the ceiling, and stretching your sides is a good one to use while waiting for the broccoli to finish cooking. In fact, a stretch that our parents knew as a “stretch” is always good. You know what I mean… the kind that goes with a yawn, usually executed first thing in the morning or when it’s time to go to bed. A big, old fashioned stretch. Pull all your muscles tight, raise your arms above your head. There are specific stretches to do and you can use an app to help you if you want to really get into it.

Stretches are relaxing for the most part. It’s just that we need to think of how to incorporate them into our day. I’m trying to remember to use those odd moments during the day to twist, or balance, or stretch. Trying to remember to take that far-out parking place or use the steps more often.

At the risk of being too “athletic”, here’s one more thing. Have you tried a plank? It’s not easy but it’s not terribly hard either. You’ll have to google the “how-to”, but start with where you are and do it for just 10 seconds. Then add another few seconds until you can build up your strength to do it for minutes at a time. Don’t use an app that has you doing them for a minute to begin with. Why? It’s discouraging. Get to a minute on your own, then use the app if you must. Planking builds core strength and, even I, the exercise-phobic, can tell a difference in my general well-being when I do them somewhat regularly. Try it. Make it fun. Celebrate even 5 seconds!!

Rather than call it “exercise”, I’m calling it “movement”.

Movement is another important tool to add to our Self-Care Toolbox. I hope you’ll try just a few little things I’ve mentioned. I’m sure YOU have some little tricks for adding movement into your day as well. Please share them! I, for one, am on the lookout for adding movement to my days, without tooooo much pain.

Thanks for joining in the journey! And thanks for sharing your experiences!

God bless you as you add a little extra “movement” to your day.

 

The Voice in My Head – Self-Care Week 12

grey metal hammer
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Hi Ya’all,

How are you taking care of yourself these pretty spring days? Are you using the tools we’ve been exploring? I find myself pulling out several different tools to get my self-care job done. How about you?

When we pull out several tools to use on the same issue, we are paying attention. Knowing that deep breathing alone isn’t going to get the job done, we use everything we have available to help ourselves. Even if “the job” is simply calming ourselves so we can rest or go to sleep, we use whatever tools we can.

We really need to pay attention to body AND thoughts. If you’re telling yourself a lie… “I must finish this project no matter how much my back is hurting.” … you are not paying attention to either your body or your thoughts. See what I mean? Pulling out several tools at once, shows we are listening to our need, using what will be most effective in the current situation.

Our minds are amazing! They help us in so many ways but they can work against us. We can get stuck in the rut of old patterns, believe lies we’ve been telling ourselves since we were toddlers, nurse old wounds, rehearse our painful experiences. While our minds have the capability to change all that, often we aren’t even aware we need to change. Listening to our thoughts will help us know where we need to change.

I’ve been trying to get around to writing this since yesterday. I WANT to write it. I ENJOY writing it. But for some reason, I decided I was hungry. Then I “had” to check for an email. (As we all know, that is a HUGE mistake.) The chair wasn’t comfortable, so I moved. I even wondered if I had stashed some chocolate somewhere. When you need to do a particular job- even one you love- but find yourself distracted, ask yourself what you’re thinking.

I’ve been listening to a great online summit and my head is full of amazing information and great insights. I’m encouraged. I’m challenged. I want to put some of this information to work. But all that good stuff is also muddling with my thought processes. I started out writing with a swirling mind. I had to take some deep breaths. I had to get up and move around, while taking in those deep breaths. I had to do some “cross-overs” (my term) get my right and left brain to communicate more clearly with each other.

(I’ll explain “cross-overs” at the end. It’s a great technique to do a quick re-wiring job on your brain.)

Here’s the worst though…

Do you have a voice in your head telling you you’re stupid? …Not worth the effort? …Nobody cares? …Give it up? …Don’t even try? The list can go on forever, right? We know none of those things are true. We need to re-program that junk with the truth. That voice is insistent and not willing give up without a fight. Fight it anyway! Challenge those lies with the truth of who you are in Christ. Challenge those lies with, “I might have been that in the past, but that’s NOT me NOW.” Of course, re-training your mind and brain is a larger job than that, but it is do-able.

Be kind to yourself. Be gentle with yourself. Give yourself a break. Tell those lies to sit down and shut up. Talk to yourself like you’d talk to your best friend. And realize, the negative voice is not you. You ARE kind and gentle, even to yourself.

Once you allow negative, fretful thoughts to take control by agreeing with them, you’re in trouble. I know if I starting agreeing with and rehearsing things that annoy me and make me anxious, it’s a slippery slope. It’s like a funnel. The top is wide and curves gently at first but toward the bottom outlet, it’s a fast steep descent,. So, at first you’re thinking, ok, I can agree that things a awful. But next thing you know you’re in a black hole of anger, anxiety or whatever, and you’re wondering how in the world you got there. I’ll tell you how you got there- the same way I get there- by agreeing with those negative thoughts. Rather than control the thoughts, you allowed them to control you. Not a good place to be.

Control your thoughts so they don’t control you. Be kind to yourself. Easy, right?! Not really easy but if you’re paying attention to your thoughts and noticing what feelings are in control, you are definitely moving in the direction of taking care of yourself.

Cross-over:

What I call the “cross-over” is a technique I learned many years ago in a class on teaching adults. It’s a physical way to encourage your brain to calm down and focus. It encourages your left and right hemispheres to communicate with each other. To do it, cross your ankles and lace your fingers, take a deep belly breath, then re-cross your ankles so the front ankle is now behind and re-lace your fingers so the opposite pointer finger is on top, take two more deep belly breaths. Repeat. You can do this even while sitting in a meeting. Another way to achieve the same renewal of brain communication is to stand, with right foot crossed over the left and turn, un-twist, all the way around so you are facing back where you started but now the left foot is crossed over the right. And one more: hug yourself! Yep. Cross your arms and hug, then re-cross them and hug again.

Does anyone know the “official” name of this technique is? Please let me know! Thanks!

Thanks for reading and sharing this self-care journey with me! I truly hope you’ll comment and let us know what tools you’re using. What techniques do you use to pay attention to your thoughts and catch them before they start controlling you?

Have a great week and take good care of yourself! You’re an amazing and beautiful person!

Pay Attention- Self-Care Week 11

Toolbox

This week’s Self-Care Tool is something I should have used a couple of weeks ago: Pay Attention to what your body is telling you!

Pay attention when you’re tired… stressed… anxious… your back hurts…. your head begins to ache, etc., etc. It doesn’t help at all, in any way, to ignore your stressed, tired or hungry body. Waiting until you can’t move is too late. If you stop and rest when a problem first arises, you’ll save yourself so much time.

A few weeks ago, I did two large (for me) projects back to back. I knew I was pushing myself, especially my back, but kept going anyway. Well, that bad decision cost me an entire week of not being about to do much of anything without a ton of pain. I could hardly walk for more than a few minutes before the pain would grab me and force me to lay down again. It was SO frustrating on so many levels. Had I paid attention during the previous two weeks and taken the time to rest and exercise my back, I wouldn’t have lost that week.

Thinking you don’t have time to rest only costs more time in the end.

There are times, of course, when you absolutely must push through but make those the exception rather than the rule. And be sure to give whatever is bothering you extra attention as soon as you can.

If a good night’s rest doesn’t fix your aching heel, you know you need to take notice: wear better shoes, use foot massage, ice, extra stretches, tape it, rest! It’s better to take the 30 minutes now than to have to stay off it, elevated, for a whole day.

Pay attention to your energy levels and manage the day as much as possible. Use your highest energy to your advantage. Try to spread out both fun and stressful events. If you can’t, try thinking differently about those events and also resting in between. (More about paying attention to thoughts next week.) Move more demanding events to the time when your energy level is at its peck. And don’t forget to reach out to others for help. A short chat and a prayer will do wonders, most of the time.

Now, please don’t go getting all hypochondriac on us. Not every little twinge is a major problem. But you know your body and all it’s quirks. Just remember to notice what’s happening and if something that’s given you trouble in the past is acting up, take action!

“Almost anything will work again if your unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” Anne Lamott

Remember, self-care tools are simply coping skills. It’s how we best get through life. How we thrive, rather than simply survive. Or how we survive rather than cease to function. Whatever you call it, self-care or coping skill, they will enable us to feel more at ease and therefore be better able to help another person in need.

I truly would love to hear your thoughts.

God bless you good!

 

Make a Little Space- Self-Care week 10

cat on craft table

Hi Friends!

Yes, that’s my dining room table. Not even Ebert can find a spot.

No, a craft store did not throw up on it. Sadly, it’s been like this for weeks (in my defense, I’ve been out of commission with back and other issues). I’m finally tired of it and ready to GET IT CLEANED UP!!!

I am usually at peace with a fair amount of chaos in the house… piles, boxes to be sorted, paint tubes scattered across the work table. (I’m not saying this is necessarily a good thing, it’s just me.) However, there comes a time when the clutter becomes too much and I MUST clean, sort and organize! Remember my dining room table? Most of the time, at that point, I want to get ALL the clutter done at once and that is impossible. I’ve found a solution that both cleans a little and satisfies my need for things to look better.

If I can clear the table of all the craft supplies and see it clean and neat again, I feel like I’ve really accomplished something. If I can eliminate the “Goodwill” piles, even though the rest of the room is still a mess, I see that spot as a triumph. Anyone else might think the room is still a disaster, but I can look at that one little corner that’s now clean and clear and be pleased with myself.

Put lots of those “little spots” together and you have an entire room cleaned and organized! Put a few rooms together and- voila!- the house is clean.

But first- one clear spot!

That’s your 10th tool- one clear spot. You’ll be surprised at how much better one little cleared part of your room will make you feel about yourself.

We’ve been on this journey to build a bag of tools that will help us help ourselves in various situations. Ten weeks, ten tools in the bag. Have you found one you especially like? My go-to tool is deep breathing. Sometimes that does the trick all by itself. But there are times when you need additional tools. When you build something, you need more than just a hammer, something other than a screwdriver. Rarely is anything built using one tool. It’s the same with tools that enable you to handle different situations in a way that is helpful to yourself yet constructive to others as well.

Sometimes just feeling good about yourself is a tool and there are many ways to feel good about yourself. When you’re happy in your own skin, it enables you to to be more readily empathic. Feeling good about yourself makes it easier to reach out to a stranger with a smile or a kind word. Using the clean-one-spot tool can help you feel better about yourself. Win-win!

As usual, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you feel better about yourself when you’ve de-cluttered? What’s your go-to self-care tool?

Remember: you are worth it, you are important and you are loved.

Thanks for reading!

God bless you!

When life gives you lemons Self-care,Week 9

slices of lemon on white plate
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Well, here it is Tuesday and I haven’t added another tool to our Self-Care Toolbox.

What happened?

Yesterday, I planned to spruce up another self-care tool for this week and also work on the following week’s tool. But for some reason, my back was giving me fits and I could not sit straight in a chair long enough to do much of anything.

That’s when I pulled out Give Yourself a Break. I thought I’d be A-OK today. I’m not. Still sitting/laying weird in the recliner. Still unable to stay upright for more than about 15 minutes. It’s getting better… but not better enough! I’m giving myself a break.

This is pretty self-explanatory. When life gives you lemons and you are out of sugar, lemonade is not an option. Try to enjoy the pretty color of the lemons maybe. Try to get through the problem, overcome the problem, deal with the problem, send someone to the store for sugar. Sometimes, however, you simply have to rest your back and let it heal.

It’s frustrating to have to depend on the family to do what I usually do. I’m not used to being sick or injured. (I know, NO one is really “used” to sickness or injury.) I had plans for this week, thank you very much. And they didn’t include sitting/laying around in the recliner. But, at the moment, there’s not much else to do except take it easy and let my back rest.

Give Yourself a Break is a great tool. Add it to your toolbox and keep it close to the top. You never know when you might need to … Give Yourself a Break!

Hopefully you are already using Give Yourself a Break. I’d love to hear your experiences with it. Please share in the comments below. Thanks!

God bless you… and Give Yourself a Break!

 

Craft, Color, Doodle – Self-Care Week 8

Dooding

Happy Monday, Friends!

The sun is shining after more than a week of clouds and rain and it’s so beautiful!! Those days and days of dreariness called for lots of different self-care techniques to keep from biting someone’s head off or just climbing into bed and pulling the covers over my head. We all know it, some days are just harder than others but sunshine helps.

How are you doing? Are you tending your heart so you can reach out and encourage someone else?

Today let’s look at a fun way to take care of yourself: crafting/coloring/doodling. I’ve lumped these together because they share many benefits. However, there are also differences among them. If you know me, you know these 3 things are close to my heart.  I cannot tell a lie (in honor of George Washington, whose birthday we neglected this month)! I love to doodle. I love to color. And I love to craft!

Before we start, though, did you know that you are creative? Yep! Drawing a stick figure has nothing to do with creativity! Neither does drawing a straight line. Creativity is all about our DNA. As children of God, our DNA is His and He is the Great Creator. You might paint or draw, you might sing or play an instrument or dance. You might cook fantastic meals or figure out complex math problems. You might know how to put together a sound system or you might invent windshield wipers! There are innumerable ways to be creative. Stop saying you aren’t creative. You ARE creative. Claim it!

This is important: number 1, you do not have to “BE CREATIVE” to doodle/color/craft! All are learned skills (ALL skills are LEARNED skills, whatever they are). And, number 2, there’s very little “skill” involved in doodling or coloring or even crafting.

There are many benefits of crafting: lowers stress and helps you relax; gets your mind off problems, clears the mind of clutter; improves your mood and helps you deal with your emotions. Crafting can boost your brainpower by increasing dopamine, it can create new neurons, promote focus and concentration and combat depression. Crafting boosts confidence and increases empathy. It helps protect your brain from aging. Do you know playing games, reading books and crafting can reduce your chances of developing mild cognitive impairment by 30-50%!

Crafting may require a little “skill” (like how to use a glue stick or cut with scissors) and possibly some instruction. It is creative and produces a little extra beauty in your world without taxing your brain. Yes, it can be complex but it can also be very simple. Start simple. See how you like it!

Coloring adds many of the same benefits to your life as Crafting. It helps turn off racing thoughts and calms the mind. It’s a good way to begin a quiet time/meditation. It helps regulate breathing and bring tranquility. It enables you to express yourself and creates beauty in color. It feels “safe” to those who consider themselves “non-creative” (see above). You’ve already got a lovely picture, all you do is add your favorite colors!

Coloring requires a little effort in that you need a picture to color. (You can get free coloring pages from the internet, by the way.) And it requires colored pencils. I say colored pencils because using crayons can be frustrating when trying to stay within fine lines. And markers are also a little frustrating, being either too fat for the fine lines or too thin for the open spaces. Try different tools. See what works best for you.

I color when I’m stuck creatively. When I need to do something creative but am hitting roadblocks, I break out the coloring book and colored pencils. That enables me to relax and clears away to cobwebs.

While doodling doesn’t seem to have the same anxiety-reducing benefits as crafting and coloring, it does help retain information when engaged in while listening to a speaker. Doodling helps the brain stay awake and attentive. It can help relieve distress and allow the brain to “find” missing memories or help bring a problem into focus. It’s a quiet rebellion against electronic devices because it’s tactile and engages more senses than just hearing and seeing. Doodling helps innovate, solve problems and elevate cognitive performance. Twenty-six of 44 American presidents doodled (I didn’t find any information on whether or not President Trump doodles). It calms the brain’s amygdala- the part that controls flight or fight.

Even more simple than coloring, doodling requires no special tools. All you need is a writing implement and a scrap of paper. You don’t have to consider yourself “creative” to doodle but it can spur creative insight because it lights up different networks in the brain and helps with big picture thinking. Doodling can be little cartoon-like drawings. It can also simply be swirls and straight lines or flowers or stars, hearts or arrows. Any line on a piece of paper can be considered a doodle.

Do you doodle? I do. You should see some of the pages of notes I take! Sometimes I doodle on the doodled notes I make to myself.

You now have “permission” to doodle. Do you think you might try it next time you’re on hold on the phone, or find your dozing off during a lecture? Or maybe when you’re frustrated with a conversation that’s heading south. Try it!

I hope you’ll share your experiences with doodling if you do doodle (do dah, do dah, day). Or please, share your crafting and coloring experiences as well.

Thanks for reading. I hope you’ll find lots of ways to use this week’s self-care tool. Tuck it into your toolbox, ready to pull out at a moment’s notice!

Have a great week full of blessings!

 

More info:

“The Thinking Benefits of Doodling”, http://www.health.harvard.edu

 

 

Take Small Bites- Self Care Week 7

radishesIt’s another Monday, so it’s time for another small tool for taking better care of yourself.

Just a small, quick reminder that we are responsible for taking care of ourselves. We need to step up and do what we need to do in order to be the person who is filled up and ready to help someone else! It goes without saying that spending time with God, meditating on His Word, is the foundation of each day. After that, it’s up to us to follow His leading by being rested and healthy.

So today, let’s add another small tool to our small changes.

When a new year begins, we all seem to automatically consider ways we want to be a better person and accomplish more. I’m willing to bet that in considering ways to be a better person, almost all of us consider our health. We want to eat better, shed unwanted weight, exercise more, get outside more.

We all know that biting off a huge change is likely going to be a failure. We just aren’t wired to be able to make really big changes quickly and make them stick. Sure, you might lose those 10 pounds in 2 weeks, but where’s your weight going to be in week 4? And yes, you might cut out all sugar – for a month. But what are you going to be doing the beginning of month 2?

Now there are definitely times when we absolutely MUST make big changes because of a major health issue. What I’m addressing here are the things we know we “should” do, the things we’d be better off doing. And, before we go any further, here’s my disclaimer: DO what your healthcare provider tells you to do! I’m just giving friendly advice that I’ve found to be helpful. I am not a healthcare professional of any kind. In fact, you can stop reading if you’re facing a major health issue. God bless you with healing, good health and restoration, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Here are a few things to consider when contemplating our health:

If I eat a cookie every day, a small change would be eating a cookie every-other day.

If I don’t eat veggies and decide I need to (YES!), a small change would be to add a baby carrot to my lunchtime meal.

If I’m feeling deprived by having no sweets, I’m more likely to stick to that change by allowing myself a square of dark chocolate once a week. It gives me something to look forward to, a reward that isn’t going to completely blow away all my hard work.

I’m still eating way too many cookies and not nearly enough vegetables BUT I’ve made a move in the right direction. And, I still get to have a small pleasure.

The all-knowing “They” say that it takes 3 weeks to make a lasting change. Recently, however, I’ve read it’s more like 3 months. I tend to believe the 3 months. But whatever, make a small change and repeat it over and over until you are eating the way you believe to be best for you! Remember the self-care tool to drink more water? I hope you’re still working on that. The same thing applies to that, remember?… add one glass a day, add lemon to it to make it more palatable, do what you need to to add more water!

Making a small change that is completely do-able helps us feel like we’re accomplishing something good and therefore helps us feel better about ourselves. I, for one, like knowing I’m heading in the right direction while not having to suffer too much. *wink*

I think I’ll eat TWO carrots with lunch!! (I already gave up my cookies)

What “small bite” are you going to take today?

Thank you for reading and journeying along with me as I try to make small changes that will reap big dividends over time.

God bless us in the journey!

One More Restful Snuggle

 

Are you tired of resting yet? (LOL!) Thanks for hanging in here with me.

A few more definitions of Rest and then I’ll bring it all together:

+ a place that provides shelter or lodging for travelers, as an inn.

+ a piece or thing for something to lean on or hold onto: a hand rest.

+ to be supported or based; lie, lean, or sit: The ladder rests firmly against the tree.

To rest in God is to LEAN on, be BASED in, and SUPPORTED by, God.

And check this out:

2 Corinthians 12:9:
9 But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may Rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!

God, Almighty Creator and Father, pitches a tent over you and then He comes into that tent and hangs out with you. WOW.

Jeremiah 6:16, NIV, says, “Thus says the Lord: Stand at the crossroads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, ask the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, “We will not walk in it,” …”

Thank you, Father, for the gift of rest that you gave us in Jesus! Gracious and loving Father, incline our hearts toward you.  Help us to know your mother’s heart. We need to know Your unconditional, unfailing love for each and every one of us. We need to know Your total acceptance of each of us. We need to understand that You want wonderful things for us. Please lead us into this revelation as we learn to rest in you.

We are not those ancient Israelites. We are not turning our backs on Your invitation. We are asking for REST, an ancient, Godly way. When Jesus says to us in the New Testament, “Come. Rest.”, we are going to accept that gracious invitation! Amen.

Have these definitions helped you? Have they given you a deeper desire to spend more time with Father God, snuggling into His Rest? I, for one, want more Rest. I want more of God.

What are your thoughts? Thank you for sharing! Blessings to you!

 

 

 

 

Snuggling into Rest

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As promised, more thoughts about Rest. Let’s snuggle a little deeper.

Rest is a field unplowed and unplanted. It’s a flower you cannot see, under the ground waiting for spring sunshine to call it forth. It’s a bear, barely breathing in its den.

A bush with beautiful berries or a bush with dead leaves are both at Rest. It’s just that one is pleasant to see and one looks dead. Each is Resting in its own way. Both will sprout leaves in the spring because they are alive. You can’t help but bloom again once you’ve rested. When we are resting in God’s presence, trusting Him and His promises, we can’t help but bloom either. We are not dead. We are simply resting in Him, waiting in His presence until it’s time to bloom again.

God commands us to Rest in Exodus 20 and He spends several sentences explaining it.

God invites us to Rest in Jeremiah 6 and Matthew 11.

And everywhere you look, you see that Rest is a gift.

What is Rest?

There are many pages of definitions for the word Rest. Here are a few of them:

-the refreshing quiet or repose of sleep, to lie down, especially to sleep. a good night’s rest.

relief or freedom, esp. from anything that wearies, troubles, or disturbs

-to be at peace or ease; be tranquil, mental or spiritual calm

-the repose of death: eternal rest.

 –cessation or absence of motion: to bring a machine to rest.

 -In Music: a. an interval of silence between tones. b. a mark or sign indicating it.

I love this: Rest notes in music produce… nothing, only silence. But rest notes are very important to the tempo and rhythm of any piece of music. Rest notes are like zeroes, which are just place keepers, they are “nothing” but at the same time they are essential. We need to see our Rest as essential to the rhythm and tempo of our lives, as place markers to the entire sum/product of our lives. Think about that!! “Nothing” is extremely important!

I think I’ll stop here. I can see I need to do one more post regarding rest this week.  I’m preaching to myself here, friends! I hope you’re finding some encouragement, too. I know I am. Thanks so much for joining me in re-visiting all these Rest definitions.

Please join the conversation:

What does Rest mean to you? Which definition is your favorite? I still love the way  the musical definition applies to our lives.

I pray the Lord will put a deep desire in our hearts to snuggle deep into His Rest, which is simply snuggling deep into Him. Blessings, ya’all!