A Very Loud Silent Message

Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God. Corrie Ten Boom

I went for a walk today, alone and social distancing, while I listened to music. It was an amazing, warm, sunny day, and the song Living Hope by Phil Wickham came on at the same time I saw a man with 5 little girls dressed in bright colors, all twirling around and laughing (the girls, not the man 😂). Such needed food for the soul during this time in our world. It reminded me that no matter what happens, no matter the state of our world, everything is going to be okay, because He is in control. 🙏💖

Listen and Enjoy.

 

National Heart Health Awareness Month

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February is National Heart Health Awareness Month. Did you know that heart disease is the #1 killer of women in the United States? That’s the bad news.

The good news is, there are things you can do to change that for yourself. Among those things are eating healthy, getting adequate physical exercise, and getting enough zzzz’s.

I have found that healthy foods do not have to taste less appealing than junk food. In fact, exactly the opposite. And making healthy food doesn’t have to be as inconvenient or time-consuming as you may think. Again, exactly the opposite. The closer you can get to eating food as it comes from nature, without all of the additives–and, yes, without the sugar–the better. Simple = healthier.

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Physical exercise, too, can be easy. When are you supposed to fit one more thing into your day, you may ask? Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Get in a few extra steps by parking further away from where you’re going instead of circling for a closer spot. Walk for your 15 minute break instead of scrolling social media. Keep a set of weights by your desk and get in some curls when you have a couple of minutes to spare–or even if you’re on the phone. It only takes one hand to hold the phone. Zero if you’re using a headset. Instead of sending Fido outside, standing by the door and watching to be sure he does his “thing,” take him for a walk around the block. It won’t take any additional time and you’ll both be happier and healthier.

As for sleep–as an adult I used to dream of getting sent to my room for a timeout so I could nap without feeling guilty! Now I’ve dumped the guilt and take that nap if I need it and get to bed at a reasonable hour. And I’m all the more productive for it.

So turn off your computer–yes, stop reading this blog now–and get in some steps. While you’re at it, have a snack–a healthy one–and, heck, maybe just 30 minutes of rest. You’ll be happy you did. And your heart will thank you.

_You Have a Big Heart. Take Care of It!

 

My One Word

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It’s that time again. Time for My One Word.

My One Word is a movement where you prayerfully choose one word to help narrow your focus for self-improvement. I don’t know about you, but a long list of resolutions is daunting. And quickly broken! Focusing on just one word and creatively applying that word, impacts your life in all areas.

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In the past I’ve found soothing stones with my word printed on them, jewelry, posters, and anything else that happens to fall into my path with my word.

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This year my word is Peace. The past year I’ve discovered that Peace can be mine, regardless of my surroundings or my circumstances. All it takes is mindful practice. More often than not, it’s turbulence from within, caused by undisciplined thoughts and actions, that robs me of peace. This year, to make the most of my word, changing my life in the direction I’m striving to go:

  • I’ve been diving deep into prayer and meditation (and already seeing results!).
  • Written great quotes about peace in my planner and my journal.
  •  Typed–and laminated–four Bible verses to commit to memory, among them:
    • Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
    • If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18
  • I’ve signed up for an online Bible Study through FaithGateway. It’s based off the book Rhythms of Renewal: Trading Stress and Anxiety for a Life of Peace and Purpose by Rebekah Lyons. It starts on January 20th and I’ve got my book and workbook all set and ready to go. 🙂
  • I’ve purchased the book Finding Peace by Charles Stanley and have been savoring each chapter I read.

And as the year progresses, I will take advantage of each life circumstance, both difficult and joyful, to practice peace. Because afterall, practice makes perfect, right?

Let’s talk:  If you participate in the My One Word movement, what is your word for the year. If you haven’t but are interested, it’s not too late. Today is the first day of the rest of your life. If you’re not interested, what is the one word you would choose if you did participate?

Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset. -St. Francis de Sales

Do not let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace. -Dalai Lama

Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures. -John F. Kennedy

 

Lessons Learned in 2019

Thank you 2019 Hello 2020

2019 was a challenging year in many aspects, but the lessons learned make everything a gift. Top lessons learned in 2019:

  • Insecurity, lack of confidence, anger, resentment, and impatience are by-products of fear. Fear robs us of any kind of peace and contentment.
  • Others’ behaviors and criticisms can only affect us if we let them. Others’ opinions of us, or about what we do, are unimportant and fleeting.
  • What we don’t like in others is often what we don’t like in ourselves.
  • Each of us is enough, just as we are. We don’t need a good “review” or validation from anyone else to prove that. There is no need to compare or compete with anyone else. We are who we are. And each of us is enough.
  • Not to take a single second for granted. Each moment is a gift and wishing for the next one robs us from what is right now.
  • No matter how busy life gets, there is always time for what is important to us. It’s all about prioritizing.
  • Spending quality time with family & friends is one of the most healing, energizing, and healthy ways to spend your time, emotionally, physically, and mentally.
  • Perseverance builds strength & character. Walking through the tough times, instead of running from them, yields worthwhile results.
  • The biggest lessons and greatest peace come from the hardest trials.
  • Taking a time-out is healthy and okay.
  • Completing what needs to be done, even though we don’t want to, making the best of it anyway, is fulfilling and rewarding.
  • It is possible to balance family, a day job, a writing career, and live a Christian life. All it takes is mindfulness of how time is spent.
  • We can either focus on the problem or the blessings. Choose blessings.
  • Perseverance and mindfulness are beneficial in all areas of life.
  • Focusing on self too much creates dissatisfaction and discomfort.
  • Silence truly is golden. Talking too much in a conversation or thinking about your response when listening to someone else, robs both people. It’s okay not to talk unless you have something valuable to add. Talking just to “fill a gap” is usually harmful.
  • Fear doesn’t change the process or the outcome. It does, however, hurt productivity and the way we perform.
  • Gossip is toxic to the person being talked about, to the person doing the talking, and person talked to.
  • Pressing “pause” to fully nurture relationships that are important is one of the greatest blessings.
  • Not taking things personally makes life a whole lot more enjoyable!
  • We can’t change anyone else’s behaviors nor should we try. Others’ behaviors are not about you and me, and that realization is freeing!

Have you learned anything in 2019 that you will bring with you into 2020? Please share.

“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” ―C. S. Lewis

 

The Beauty of Winter

It’s already been a long winter here in Colorado. More cloudy days than we’re used to, not to mention more snow and cold. And winter isn’t even technically here yet! But it’s not all bad. We’ve had some of the most breathtaking scenery I’ve ever seen during a Colorado winter. And winter is the season of cinnamon, nutmeg, conversations in front of the fireplace, warm blankets, and candlelight. Grab a cup of hot cocoa or hot cider and enjoy.

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It is the life of the crystal, the architect of the flake, the fire of the frost, the soul of the sunbeam. This crisp winter air is full of it. 
–John Burroughs

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.
–Edith Sitwell

So Much to be Grateful For

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Every year at work I create a gratitude poster. I hang it in the breakroom, provide a couple of Sharpie markers, and send out the expected office-wide email. I say “expected office-wide email” because I’ve been doing this for 10+ years.

I work at a District Attorney’s Office so we see a lot of heartbreaking, soul-ripping things that people do to one another. Secondary trauma is a very real thing.  So a little gratitude goes a long way in getting through the days in a healthy way. It helps to write down what we’re thankful for as well as read what others are thankful for. It changes one’s perspective. There have been numerous studies done on gratitude and the effect it has on the human mind. It’s one of the easiest and most inexpensive mental health treatments available. I’ve had a ton of positive feedback regarding this poster and we get a little bit of everything written down. Some of them make us laugh–which is therapeutic in itself–some make us ponder, and some warm our hearts. Below is an image of this year’s poster. Enjoy!

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Always grateful. Grateful always.

At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us. – Albert Schweitzer