Sunday, February 5, 2017

Give Thanks In All Things

Goal #3-Be Grateful

This is the day which the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.  
Psalm 118:24

"Being happy does not mean having what you want, but wanting what you have."

 Thousands of years of literature talk about the benefits of cultivating gratefulness as a virtue and my intention today is to encourage you to be thankful even if you're going through a tough time.  There are multiple scientific studies that show how living with an attitude of gratitude really does improve your life.

In Robert Emmons book, "Thanks! How The New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier" he reports on several studies. In the first, he and his colleagues divided participants into three groups, each of which made weekly entries in a journal. One group wrote five things they were grateful for. Another group described five daily hassles and a control group listed five events that had affected them in some way. Those in the gratitude group felt better about their lives overall, were more optimistic about the future, and reported fewer health problems than the other participants. Results from a second study suggested that daily writing led to a greater increase in gratitude than weekly practice.

In another study he discovered how people using daily gratitude journals report more satisfaction with their lives and are more optimistic about the future than people who don't. Interestingly,  grateful people also report getting more sleep, spending less time awake before falling asleep and feeling more refreshed in the morning.

Researchers at the University of Connecticut found that gratitude can have a protective effect against heart attacks. Studying people who had experienced one heart attack, the researchers found that those patients who saw benefits and gains from their heart attack, such as becoming more appreciative of life, experienced a lower risk of having another heart attack.

Hopefully I've convinced you that living a life of gratitude is the only way to live.  There are so, so many reason to be thankful...always.  Oh...and don't forget to say "thank you" when someone does something nice for you or pays you a compliment!

For more specific ideas on how to set your goals you can read one of my posts from January 2014 here:
Goal Setting 101

"The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving."
H.U. Westermayer

"Gratitude turns what we have into enough". ~Author Unknown

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Saturday, January 28, 2017

#2 Goal To Live By

Goal #2-Be Generous

 Sometimes I hear people say that they don’t get involved in non-profits or charities because they just can’t afford it.  Or they say things like, “I just don’t have anything to give.”  I think we can all feel that way from time to time but I am going to challenge that belief because everyone has something to give.  Whether it’s to a lonely neighbor, a troubled teen, or an organization that feeds and shelters the homeless; giving back is critical to our well being.  Being generous with the gifts that God has given you will make you a healthier person in emotionally, spiritually, and physically.  It will create in  you a more grateful heart as you learn of the unique plights of those in your own neighborhood. Giving of your time and your talents is very helpful for others but just as critical for you.  Even a smile or a kind word can make a huge difference in the life of another.  It's also important to remember this:  it’s not all about the giving of your finances, although not valuing our money over human need is an important attitude to live by. I like the saying, “use money and love people but never use people and love money.”  At the end of the day it’s all about love.

“The emotional benefits [of generosity] are that we cultivate an internal sense of plenitude, enjoy positive feelings from those within our community, and experience an improved self-esteem. This goes for time, love, and attention just as much — if not more — than for money,” says psychologist Chloe Carmichael, PhD, who has a private practice in New York City.
The benefits of giving back don’t just apply to adults. A 2013 study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics examined how volunteering might affect the physical health of adolescents. Researchers divided 106 tenth graders into two groups — one group regularly volunteered one hour a week for 10 weeks, and the other group didn’t volunteer at all. After 10 weeks, the students in the volunteer group had lower levels of cholesterol and inflammation, and lower BMIs than the other group. 
Generosity improves our self-image, lowers our blood pressure, gives us better heart health, and improves our outlook, empathy, and intimacy towards others. Over and over we read about the many benefits of volunteering so make sure you put that towards the top of your list of goals for 2017.  Your children, grandchildren, and anyone in your sphere of influence will also benefit as they witness your example.

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”  Luke 6:38

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Sunday, January 8, 2017

New Year's Goals-Goal 1

Goal #1 for 2017-Be Curious

Curiosity is tied to intelligence and health in body, mind, and soul in multiple ways.   Remember when you were a kid and you drove your parents or your grandparents nuts with all the questions?  You had to ask those questions as you developed as a person in order to know how to get by in this world.    What happens as we age is most of us lose that childlike quality of wanting to know "why?"  Sometimes we just aren't paying attention or other times we just aren't interested.  It could also be that we don't want to come off as being dumb or uneducated.  No ones knows about everything so the first thing I want to encourage you to do is to start asking "why" and "how" questions.   After doing so hopefully you will comment about some of your experiences so all of us can learn from it.
Being a curious person means that you have a thirst for knowledge and a desire to explore subjects and places that may be foreign to you.  Delving deeper into your faith life, learning a new language,  starting a garden,  finding out about the planets or the stars, or learning just about anything out of your comfort zone will help your life grow and prosper.  Curious people tend to have better and more intense relationships with others as well.   As an example there are many studies that show how studying anything new will help you prepare for a test, no matter what the subject.  Click here or here if you are interested in learning more.

Out of the "8 Goals To Live By In 2017" my first is to encourage you to learn something new.  If it frightens you to do so then that's probably a good thing.  The main thing is that you step out of your routine and learn about a new subject, start a new hobby,  travel to that far-away place you've always dreamed about,  or write that book you've always said you would write.   

Next time I will be sharing how generosity is one of the keys to happiness in 2017 and beyond!

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will."

Romans 12:2

**Make sure you join me on The Call on January 15th at 6pm Pacific time.  Dial 641-715-3865 and key-in 642848#   Can't make it this month?  Join me and my husband any month on the same day and at the same time.   Talk to you then!
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(the above post was from a very popular series I did in 2015 so I decided to re-publish it) 

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Schuller Christmas Card

Wishing you and yours a very special Christmas and may you have much happiness and prosperity in the new year ahead.  We are grateful for our growing family!

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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

5 Ways To Holiday-Proof Your Health

Oh to be young again!  Circa 2001

Have you ever noticed that cold and flu season starts at the same time as "junk food" season?  There's a reason for that.  Processed sugar and fake foods weaken your immune system and hurt your body's ability to fight of infections and viruses.
We are coming into the season of parties which means more eating and drinking.   This is good fun and good for us, with the exception of an unhealthy temptation to eat and drink more than we should.  Over the years I have collected and practiced some great and easy ways to stay disciplined and healthy over the holidays.
We just passed Halloween and for those of you with young children or grandchildren, you may have already been overcome by temptation  (I was!).   It's not too late!  Start following just five simple ideas and you will arrive this January feeling great and ready to set your goals for 2017.

1)  Prevention-With Christmas and other parties right around the corner you want to write a strategy for handling how you will eat in the weeks and months ahead.  It's funny how us women will spend hours deciding which outfit we will wear, but rarely spend any time considering what we will eat or drink once we reach our party destination.   Have a solid plan before you go.  In fact it's a good idea to eat a healthy salad and drink lots of water before leaving your house.  You won't feel as hungry once you get there and you won't be tempted to eat (as many of) those bacon and potato things or any other high calorie treat!   If it's an appetizers and drinks only party, consider hanging around the fresh, raw food.  You can't get in too much trouble if you first fill your plate with things like carrots and celery. Skip the dressing.   Consider substituting your drink of choice with water every other time.  Example:  if you have a glass of wine then drink a glass of water before you imbibe in your second glass of wine.  Same goes with soft drinks. Again, the water will make you feel fuller so you won't drink so much.  Also, you will stay hydrated which is so very important.  If you are going to a formal dinner party, try to eat half the plate only.  No matter how good it half.  Take one bite of the delicious desert then let it sit.

2)  Relaxation-Shopping, decorating, hosting, baking, children's programs, and any number of things are added to our already busy lives this time of year.  Make sure you carve out some time to center yourself each day.  I like to spend time in prayer and meditation first thing in the morning, even if it's only five-ten minutes.   If you control your stress levels as much as is possible, your body will react in healthier ways and your hormones, including your cortisol levels will stay more balanced.  When you are stressed you actually pack on the fat, and who wants fat!?   Join a restorative yoga class.  I went to my first one last week. A friend of mine plays the cello while the instructor guides the participants to relax and restore.  It was amazing and I felt relaxed and rejuvenated for two days after.

3)  Optimism-This might sound trite or silly but it's important that you actually believe you can and will stay healthy over the holidays.   The way you think affects your decisions and your decisions largely determine the rest.   Picture the person you want to be going into the season.   If there is something bothering you, figure it out now so you can be healthy not only physically,  but also in top shape emotionally and spiritually.  Make amends with that family member who is attending your Thanksgiving meal this year.  Don't just tolerate them, actually find something good about the person and share it before they arrive this year.   See them as God sees them.  Talk gently and in a kind way about everyone, especially yourself.  Be a peacemaker.

4)  Options-Consider what has worked for you and what hasn't.  If hosting your Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner has caused you too much stress then think about doing it a different way.  Go out to a restaurant this year.  If you are a control freak who insists on preparing everything (because no one could possibly do it as well as you) think about letting go a bit by assigning dishes for each to bring to your house.  You can even send out the recipe ahead of time if you can't let go any more than that!   I've known hosts who are more concerned with everything being perfect than they are with showing love to their guests.  If you are one of those then please think about what you can do to make everyone feel comfortable and loved.   If you are too stressed and busy to spend at least a little time listening to a relative, a friend, or playing with your grandchildren, then you are doing it all wrong!  People will not always remember how perfect your meal was but they will remember how you made them feel when they were in your home.

5)  Fitness Goals-I know it's tough to stay on your exercise schedule when there's so much going on.   My best advice is this:  put your workouts in your calendar and keep them.   When someone asks you to meet them at the mall and it conflicts with your plans to visit your gym, tell them so.  You can meet them any other time but______(fill in the blank).   Most people will respect you for taking care of your body and you will be a good influence too!   Many of us work and it becomes even tougher to stick to a regular schedule of exercise when holiday extras are tossed in the mix.  You might have to workout earlier or later than you normally do.   This year don't be that person who only shows up to the gym on January 2.  Start will make a huge difference in your life.   And remember.....

"If you are failing to plan, you are planning to fail."    Dr. Robert H. Schuller

I am proof that the above strategies work!
If you need help with any of the above I am here to talk to you anytime.  That's what I love to do!
Maybe you only need an hour or two of my time.  Let me know by contacting me below.   I'd also like to hear your stories and memories of holiday cheer.   Please write to me.