Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mind Yourself

Have you ever heard the saying, "A rising tide lifts all boats"?   I have that quote on my kitchen bulletin board because it reminds me to keep my mind on good and productive things;  to keep my mood lifted otherwise I run the risk of bringing everyone around me down!
It has been scientifically proven... how we think will have a strong influence on our attitude, our behaviors, and ultimately our health.  Our mind is very powerful and together it works in harmony with our body and our soul.

I like what Randy Alcorn has to say about this:

"Sow a thought, reap an action.
Sow an action, reap a habit.
Sow a habit, reap a character.
Sow a character, reap a destiny."

What thoughts, actions and habits are shaping your character today? 
I believe that character development continues our entire life so it's never too late to change your mind or your thinking about anything.  Have you heard of the acronym"G.I.G.O."?  It means "garbage in, garbage out"  Fill your heart and mind with good things and you will reap a harvest of great things in life.  Believe bad things will happen or fill your mind with negative and you will attract it.  Are there  challenges in life?  Of course.  Is there heartache and pain?  Absolutely.   What you choose to do with the circumstances that you are confronted or bombarded with will determine how your day,  your month,  your year, and your life take shape.
I mentioned above that your thinking can influence your health.  There is actually a study of how the mind or psychy can affect your health and specifically your immune system.   Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) is the study of the interaction between psychological processes and the nervous and immune systems of the human body.   It has been proven that the way you think affects your health, for good or bad so I want to encourage you to think health and not sickness!   It may be as simple as saying to yourself and others that you are "not going to get the flu" even when others around you have come down with it and are out of work for days.  And when you are feeling less than you should adopt the saying "I'm not 100%" or something similar,  instead of telling everyone how sick you are.   You will feel sicker just by saying you are and you will become more well by believing that too!  
This family photo is from Thanksgiving. My mother is flanked by my husband Robert on one side and my son Anthony on the other.  Also present is my son Bobby, my son-in-law Chad, my nephew Barry, my brother Jeff, and my mom's husband Kerry.
It is so important to fill your minds with great things and there are many beautiful things to be thankful for.   I occasionally encourage people to write a gratitude list.  This is especially helpful if you are going through a rough time.  Write down anything that comes to mind including relationships and material things.  Try not to over-spiritualize keeping in mind that we are all three; body, mind, and soul.
This evening my son Anthony left for his mission trip in Nicaragua.  I am so thankful for him and I will keep my mind on being assured that God will protect he and his group as they help build a church school for a hungry community during the next eight days.   

"Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, 
and break up your unplowed ground; 
for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers righteousness on you."  Hosea 10:12

Do all you can do to lift people up.   Love them and support them.  Never be a part of their sinking!

God is blessing you.  Donna

Friday, February 10, 2012

I'm Too Young To Be This Old!

This guy tried a little too hard to stay young!!

 "I'm too young to be this old!"   I recently heard this from Steven Tyler on American Idol (yes, I watch American Idol!)  Since I just celebrated my birthday the end of January I have spent more time than usual thinking about age these past two weeks;  what it does and doesn't mean.  One thing for sure is that my body is aging but in spite of this biological fact I will continue to treat it well by eating good food in limited quantities,  and also by getting plenty of rest and exercise.   I have been given only one physical body while here on earth.   I believe that I honor God when I honor my body.

 "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your body."   1 Corinthians 6:19, 20

Getting older means I was born in 1956 and I am 56 and therefore I am now closer to 60 than 50!   It also means that I am old enough to have four adult children;  three who are married... and two grandchildren.   It is obvious that when I drive around the streets, freeways, and tollways of Southern California the majority of the people driving in the cars next to me are younger.   (If you are nearing 50 test this in your area and see if I am correct!)  And for sure I am not quite as resilient as I once was and this becomes obvious when I travel through time zones internationally or when I don't get my 7-8 hours of sleep.
  Getting older chronologically does not mean that I become lazy and let my body fall apart.   It does not mean that I concentrate on or talk incessantly about physical aches and pains (in fact I thankfully don't have many)  Instead I try to spend the majority of my energy talking with my friends and family about life's present and past experiences, both painful and joyful, and I try to see something good in everyone.    It does not mean that I concentrate on all that I have lost including loved ones, relationships, jobs or assignments that didn't work out,  material possessions, etc.   It does mean that I strive to keep up with younger people.  ( I also try to allow my kids and other younger people to influence my thoughts and my attitudes.  I don't want to become so set in my ways that I won't try something new or different or that I won't keep an open mind to another opinion.) 
The main way I am reminded of my age is to count the years as proven by my life's calendar.  Even more so when I see myself in photographs and realize that I don't look the same age as that 20 or 30 year old standing next to me! ( I absolutely love young people and the energy that flows to me just by "hanging out" with them.  I sometimes forget that I am not their age!)

Like a lot of us, I'm a bit eccentric or odd in some of my ways.  One thing my husband can tell you is that I have a mind that thinks in songs.  Let me explain.  Often when I hear a phrase or a topic of discussion I immediately think of a song with similar phrasing.  I just can't help it...it happens!  Then I will sometimes sing a few bars out loud (but most the time it's only in my head)  For instance in the case of attitude and age I think of the following song and lyrics sung by Frank Sinatra back in 1954.  Although this song was made popular a couple of years before I was even born, my parents often listened to this while I was growing-up so I remember and absorbed these words.  They are so powerful!

Young At Heart lyrics
Songwriters: Johnny Richards;Carolyn Leigh
Sung by Frank Sinatra 1954

Fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you
If you're young at heart
For it's hard, you will find, to be narrow of mind
If you're young at heart

You can go to extremes with impossible schemes
You can laugh when your dreams fall apart at the seams
And life gets more exciting with each passing day
And love is either in your heart or on it's way

Don't you know that it's worth every treasure on earth
To be young at heart
For as rich as you are it's much better by far
To be young at heart

And if you should survive to 105
Look at all you'll derive out of being alive
Then here is the best part, you have a head start
If you are among the very young at heart.

My paternal grandmother lived just shy of her 101st birthday.   Towards the end of her life, when she could no longer get around by herself,  she enjoyed her "walks" outside in her wheelchair where we would pause and look at every single flower and bird.   I would often pick a flower and put it in her hand and she would lift it to her nose, breath-in deeply, and then smile and make some kind of a cute comment.   I now do the same with my two-year old grand daughter, Haven when we take walks with her stroller.
Something happens to most of us in the gap years between young and old.   When and how do we become old?   I believe that one way we age is when we lose the ability to "stop and smell the roses."
It may sound cliche' but I think it's true. 
If we aren't intentional about staying young at heart we can become complaining and nagging people, concentrating more on our aches and pains than on our hopes and dreams.  No matter how old you are, God still has a great plan for the rest of your life.
My hope and prayer for you is that you will continue to honor your body as you age and that you would appreciate each and every small blessing, concentrating on what's right about your life remembering...

Psalm 17:22.  "A cheerful heart is good medicine."

Make every effort to stay young at heart. 
God is blessing you.  Donna