We Can Only be Said to be Alive....
“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” – Thornton Wilder
“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” – Thornton Wilder
Gratitude is on everyone’s mind this time of year. Isn’t it a shame that the thoughts that are so strong and prevalent during November and December don’t stay as strong and prevalent the rest of the year?!
I have to admit, when I was younger, I never really realized just how beautiful a gracious and thankful heart is. I remember one Tuesday morning I was having lunch (pizza!) with the pastor of our church, his adorable wife, and a few of our friends. Somehow the subject turned to being thankful ans expressing gratitude. Southern preachers do many things with great passion and eating is certainly amongst them, but between bites, our pastor said, “A Gracious heart is a beautiful thing.” I remember this so clearly because:
My three daughters, in their lives, preach the same sermon this wonderful man did over pizza. My daughters are so incredibly gracious and thankful that it never ceases to leave an impression on me and I always think of the “Mini Pizza Sermon.” Graciousness is beautiful. They express the same gratitude whether I fix them a mug of hot chocolate as they would if I bought them a purse that costs way more than any purse has a right to cost (seriously, what’s up with purses?).
When I read the article below, the tip, “Model the behavior” jumped out at me. I believe that, over the years, my girls saw that my husband (“Daddy” to them!) and I simply don’t take anything for granted. We are always genuinely thankful for anything we have as well as for anything anyone does for us. I think that, more than anything, this helped them to become so beautifully gracious.
I notice graciousness in others and always realize that it speaks absolute volumes about an individual.
Below is a timely article that’s being shared with Self Help Daily’s readers. It’s written by Robert Nickell (a.k.a. Daddy Nickell) and offers fantastic tips on helping your kids find ways to give thanks. More importantly, it tells how you can help your kids to be more thankful.
by Daddy Nickell
Thanksgiving is almost here, and parents everywhere are wondering how they can teach their kids how to express thankfulness on the holiday and beyond. Rather than just going around the table and saying a quick list of things they are grateful for, moms and dads want creative and unique “I’m Thankful For…” ideas that will get the kiddos in the spirit of giving thanks!
From his experience in raising 7 children of his own, parenting expert Daddy Nickell has tried-and-true tips on ways to teach your kids how to give thanks:
Daddy Nickell’s tips will help all parents teach their kids to be thankful on Thanksgiving and beyond! Use them to ensure that your kids make giving thanks a part of their daily life.
Author: Robert Nickell (a.k.a. Daddy Nickell), father of 7, offers his “5 cents” worth of advice to expectant and new parents. Daddy Nickell is the founder of DaddyScrubs.com, delivery room duds, gifts, and apparel for dads, and the Daddyscrubs.com blog, where he covers topics about parenting and the latest baby and kids gear, all from a Dad’s perspective.
About Daddy Nickell
For his blog, Nickell writes from a father’s perspective on topics such as bonding with your child and what the father should expect during pregnancy and infancy. Daddy Nickell also contributes his parenting expertise to national talk shows and daytime television shows. He has been featured on “Good Morning L.A.,” “Good Morning Texas,” “Daytime TV” ABC15 Phoenix, MSNBC, WZZM 13, San Antonio Living, KSBI TV, and as a syndicated columnist for national newspapers, parenting magazines and websites including Baby Couture Magazine, Oh Baby! Magazine, City Parent Magazine, The Bump, Parenthood, and Homeschooling Parent.
You can also see DaddyScrubs on YouTube, like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter (@DaddyScrubs) and Pinterest!
I was talking with a family member recently about how a lot… NOT ALL…. but a lot of boys and men today are lacking in the “tough guy” department. Naturally, it should go without saying – but I’ll say it anyway because experience has taught me to always be thorough and leave no room for interpretation and even less room for wise guys – but when I say “tough guy,” I’m not referring to bullies.
For an illustration of the difference between the two, you need look no further than a street in black and white Mayberry. When Opie stood up to a milk-money-thieving bully, Opie was tough. The bully? Well he was a punk. Punks aren’t tough guys – they’re just target practice for tough guys.
It’s kind of hard to describe what makes a man or boy tough, isn’t it? Maybe that’s what makes it hard to be tough.
I’ll use another illustration. This time a real life one, in living color. When my oldest daughters (Emily and Brittany) were around 1 and 2 years old, they were sitting with my dad in his favorite recliner. This particular man thought these particular girls hung the moon and stars. I was never one to argue because I was pretty sure they did too. He had just gotten home from work and was so excited to see that we had come for a visit, that he sat right down with the girls without taking the ball point pen out of his shirt pocket.
I was on the other side of the room, talking to my mother when I heard my dad calmly say, “I’ll be right back, girls, I just need to get something in the kitchen…” He had his pen in his hand, so I just assumed he was putting it up.
Come to find out, somehow, in the chaos of four little excitable hands, the pen had come out of his pocket and had poked him in the eye.
He later said he didn’t want to scare the girls or make them think they’d done anything wrong, so he just calmly excused himself. There was a tear that required a doctor’s attention and he wore a patch for a few weeks, calling himself “Grandpa Pirate.”
You know – and I know – that there are men today that, if this had happened to them back then – they’d still be screaming about it. They’d have pitched such a fit the two little girls would have been scarred for life.
This is just one of the illustrations of toughness that come to mind. Possibly it’s the one I choose to use I’ve had something similar happen to my eye before and know that the pain is excruciating. What’s more, it’s frightening – I mean, it’s your eye! And yet, my dad (who was not at all a big, strapping man – in fact, he was WAY more Barney than Andy) summoned the toughness to take command of his fears, his pain, and his emotions. It left an impression on me then and it still leaves one today.
Another illustration of toughness involves another of the most important men in my life – my husband. He was chosen to throw the first pitch out at an important minor league baseball game. He was lined up for the honor for nearly a year. Tragically, his adorable mother passed away about a week before the game. I never even assumed, for a minute, that he wouldn’t go through with his duty. I knew he was one of the last remaining tough guys, so I knew he’d manage to go through with it. I just didn’t know that he’d be able to do so with so much strength. He managed smiles and even laughed about not throwing the ball into the dirt. No one in the entire stadium (except for one wife and three daughters) knew that underneath the smile was a broken heart.
He put on his loud Tommy Bahama shirt and did what needed to be done. No questions asked. He wasn’t going to let anyone else down or not do what he said he’d do.
Yet again, this illustration sticks out to me because, yet again, I’ve had something similar happen to me with my mom and know the pain is excruciating. And frightening.
As with most things in life, I don’t have the answer to the problem of our current drought of tough guys or cowboys. Too much catering to whims… lack of accountability… too many parents “babying” their sons?? I don’t know. A lot of people point to too many single parent homes where young boys don’t have a father figure to “look up to.” While this certainly sounds reasonable and probably does account for a lot of it, my dad was raised by his mom after she divorced his dad. So, even that “excuse” has holes in it.
Maybe, just maybe, a lot of men aren’t tough today because… Hey! Being tough is hard! It’s easier to complain, whine, gripe, pout, scream and bow out. I watched a lot of westerns with my dad and I never saw the cowboys act like that. They pulled up their boots and… more times than not.. quietly did what needed to be done. Quietly and nobly.
They didn’t throw pity parties, they didn’t demand attention, and they didn’t whine. They were too busy doing cowboy stuff to have time for any of that “sissy” stuff.
Maybe part of it comes from selfishness. People today seem to be more self-oriented and selfish than ever before. After all, this is a generation that added the word “selfies” to our vocabulary. Most of us, when we were teens and even into our twenties, we pointed our cameras at everything and everyone BUT ourselves!
I think all of us would be a lot better off if we pointed our attention… as well as our camera… at other things and people as well. If we stopped putting ourselves in the center of everything and stopped worrying that we weren’t “getting our way” all the time. Basically if everyone just pulled up their boots, got over themselves, and went on about life and the living of it.
Maybe then the cowboys would show back up…
I write a lot of book reviews on Self Help Daily. Generally, I’m sent books from publishers or even authors in exchange for writing and publishing a review. I’ve received some really amazing books and I always strive to “do right by them” in my reviews. The last book I read was Appointments with Heaven: The True Story of a Country Doctor, His Struggles with Faith and Doubt, and His Healing Encounters with the Hereafter.
Here’s the problem: There is absolutely, positively no way on earth I can possibly do right by this book or even come close to doing it justice.
Trying to convey the essence, the beauty, and the potentially life-changing power of this book would be like trying to describe…
You can completely understand, yourself, that it feels like Christmas morning any time your children come to visit, but trying to put it in words? Nearly impossible. Even someone like me, who works with words every day of the year, can find their brain overwhelmed by their emotions and realize that, in the end, the brain is no match for the heart.
Not even close.
From the Back Cover:
Meet the country doctor who visits the front porch of Heaven… and witnesses what awaits us there.
When a patient first asked Dr. Reggie Anderson to sit at her bedside as she passed from this life, something miraculous happened. As he held her hand, the veil between this world and the next parted… and he received an astonishing glimpse of what awaits us in Heaven.
Little did he know this was just a foretaste of what was to come – a lifetime of God-given “appointments with Heaven.” Join Reggie as he shares remarkable stories from his life and practice, including the personal tragedy that nearly drove him away from faith forever. As he reveals what he’s seen, heard, and experienced of the afterlife, we’ll learn how we can face the passing of our loved ones with the courage and confidence that we’ll see them again; discover what might happen when we expect the miraculous; and prepare for our own appointment with Heaven.
Soul-stirring and hope-filled, Appointments with Heaven is a powerful journey into the questions at the very core of your being: Is there more to life than this? What is Heaven like? And, most important: Do I believe it enough to let it change me?
I’m intrigued with this particular book possibly more than I’ve ever been intrigued by a book (not counting the Bible, which intrigues me every time I open it). Appointments with Heaven reads in an exciting, I can’t turn the pages fast enough fashion similar to an Agatha Christie mystery or John Grisham novel. Literally, each person author Dr. Reggie Anderson wrote about, I found myself longing for an entire book written about them and them, alone! I could read a novel centered, exclusively, around the life of Dr. Anderson’s mother, father, wife, patients, or friends (Stephen Chapman and Mary Beth Chapman).
When he spoke of his childhood, I only wanted to hear more. His writing style made you feel as though you were there with the child version of him, and you could “feel” the love his family had for one another.
Every time Dr. Anderson wrote about one of his patients (particularly the ones in nursing homes), I’d find myself wondering what their personal histories were. He made everyone and everything he wrote about beyond fascinating. If Dr. Anderson had written textbooks, I’d have paid more attention in school!
I thought a lot as I read through this wonderful book, but I thought even more after I’d read the last page. In fact, I’ve thought about it every day since…. which brings me to…
If you’re familiar with me at all, you know I’m a baseball fanatic. Seriously, if the St. Louis Cardinals are on my tv and you have something to say to me, you might want to wait between innings – and approach me then with caution if it’s a close game! I once told someone, half kidding, that as far as I was concerned, there were two seasons: Baseball Season and Withdrawal.
One of the things I love about baseball SO MUCH is that you never know which pitch, which at bat, or which defensive play will change the momentum of the game. It usually comes when you aren’t watching for it and, even more fascinating, it often comes from a player who isn’t even re-mote-ly a “franchise player.” These “game changers” are often the players most people overlook, but they’re usually my personal favorites. They’re often the difference between winning and losing. This year, in fact, it was one of these “game changers” that (in my opinion) was the key to our successful season. The guy no one was talking about in April, everyone was talking about in October.
If Appointments with Heaven were a baseball player, it would be this type of player. There are books by more famous authors, such as Max Lucado (one of my personal favorite authors). There are books with titles that are being tossed around for movies and television series. These would be the “franchise” players with names on the back of everybody’s jerseys! And yet… sitting on another shelf, there’s a beautifully written book with an author’s name you’ve surely never heard of – a very humble “country doctor” in Tennessee who isn’t even re-mote-ly a household name. A guy not even on the most avid inspirational book reader’s radar with a book the may never have heard of. An author no one has heard of is the very author everyone needs to read.
As you’re reading Appointments with Heaven, you’ll only think about how wonderful the book, itself, is. You’ll kind of feel miffed anytime you have to set it down, whether it’s to cook, eat, or sleep. You’ll find yourself rushing back to it as fast as you possibly can. I actually cooked supper one evening with the book in one hand while the other hand did all the work!
Agatha never made me do that…
As I said earlier, this book made me THINK a great deal. I have a lot of love for anything that makes me think. I have even more love for anything that makes me FEEL – which is the one thing Appointments with Heaven caused me to do even more than think. The reader is reminded that the often trivial things we get bent out of shape about really don’t amount to a hill of beans. We each have our own “Appointment” one day and these trivial little matters are just that – trivial little matters.
It affected me another way, as well. It caused me to realize something I already knew but needed to be reminded of – everyone else has their own appointment one day as well. When you allow that fact to really sink in, it’s difficult to get annoyed with the “Sunday driver” in front of you or the “Baby Jeff Gordon” on your bumper.
This particular book and this particular author is exactly what this particular world needs right now.
Just about all of us have loved ones in Heaven. The longer God allows us to live on earth, the more loved ones move on before us, making Heaven sweeter and sweeter. If we picture, in our minds, eating with our family around the dinner table as a child, a lot of us would realize that we’re the only one still here. Some may have lost a father or a mother – then there are those, like myself, who lost both parents way too young. Everyone has lost someone they love (parent, spouse, child, grandparent, friend..) and sadly it’s sure to happen again.
Appointments with Heaven brings much needed peace to the hearts and minds of those of us who are “left behind.” I could easily… easily… see this book healing many open wounds.
There’s another way Appointments With Heaven will bring peace (and even forgiveness) to your heart. You may just see yourself through Dr. Anderson’s struggle with faith and search for “answers.” Maybe there’ve been times when you found yourself running on empty when it came to hope while the “Tank of Discouragement” was over-flowingly full. There’ll be many ways that you’ll identify with different individuals in this book and this identification can help you realize that you aren’t alone – never have been, never will be.
While I read both Fiction (make believe) and Non Fiction (real life), I strongly favor Non Fiction. As an only child, my imagination has always been far wilder than anything novelists can come up with. However, “true life” is a whole different story, so to speak. I think that’s the main reason I prefer Non Fiction – life catches me off guard. That was certainly the case with Appointments with Heaven – I kept thinking things like, “Oh! Didn’t see that coming!” and “Whoa, didn’t know that was going to happen…”
You come to care about the different people in Appointments with Heaven and riding the roller coaster of life with them will keep you glued to each page.
Before I end this book review that’s nearly turned into a book on its own (gift of gab… who, me?), allow me to simply say this: If I could recommend only one (besides the Bible!) book to each and every person in my life – whether online or offline – this would be the book.
Appointments with Heaven will touch you deeply and its imprints will last forever.
Click any of the links above for the paperback edition of this book on Amazon. This book is also available on Kindle (Appointments with Heaven: The True Story of a Country Doctor’s Healing Encounters with the Hereafter on Kindle). There’s also a 30 Daily Appointments with Heaven: Devotions to Bring the Hope and Joy of Heaven to Your Every Day on Kindle which sounds extra special too.
If you’re a parent, you know where I’m coming from when I say that, as a mom, I give out a great deal of advice. If you’re a parent, you also know where I’m coming from when I half-jokingly say, “Sometimes they even listen to me!” A recent conversation with one of these young people left me thinking about this question, “If I had one piece of UNCOMMON advice that I could give someone, what would it be?“ By UNCOMMON, I mean advice other than my “somewhat expected” mini-sermons like:
And on and on.
I tired to think outside of the traditional advice box (or off of the traditional platform) and see what I could come up with. The answer came almost immediately and, given the fact that we live in a world that says, “Do this!… do that!… do everything!” AND given the fact that those of us who write about self help are often the ones with these very words on our lips… the advice I came up with may seem contradictory.
My number one piece of UNCOMMON advice, “For crying out loud, don’t try to do everything!”
Have you ever fallen in the trap of trying to do too many different things? Or have you ever tried to put on too many different proverbial hats? It’s exhausting at best and unhealthy at worst. Trying to have a hand in too many soup pots and a foot in too many doors leaves you:
a. looking like a perfect fool
b. too busy to truly enjoy life
Ironically, it’s also woefully unproductive.
We’re all only human – we can only give our undivided attention (where the good stuff is conceived) to so many tasks.
The more things we try to do, oversee, or take care of – the more diluted our attention becomes. Diluted attention is the place where mistakes and half-assed results are conceived. It kind of reminds me of a big batch of freshly-squeezed lemonade I made this summer. The first day, it was out of this world. It tasted like summer and it was just crazy delicious. In an attempt to extend its life, I added more water to the pitcher a few times. Each time, the great flavor was diluted or literally “watered down.” That’s what we do, in effect, when we have too many things going on.
We take something that could be awesome and add to it until the awesomeness is threadbare.
It’s common sense, really. The fewer things on your “to do” list, the more time you have to devote to each. When we try to do too many things, we spread ourselves too thin and aren’t able to give our best to anything. We become watery lemonade without a lot of flavor or oomph.
Many people simply try to do too much and, whether they realize it at the time or not, they aren’t getting the most out of themselves by doing so. These are the same people who search for magic answers on Google – “how can I manage my time better?” and “time management tips” are popular searches because TRYING TO DO TOO MUCH is a popular mode.
And people wonder why they’re so stressed!
It actually isn’t even a time management issue, when you think about it. We’d all do well to remember that we’re given the same number of hours in our days and weeks that were allotted to Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi, Benjamin Franklin, Martin Luther King, Jr, Mother Teresa, Eleanor Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson… As Chinese author and teacher Lin Yutang said, “Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is a nobler art of leaving things undone… The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of nonessentials,” possibly the difference is these people knew what to eliminate and what to keep. They had a beautiful clarity and singleness of mind which allowed them to..
I think we’ve covered #1 and I’m not going to even pretend to know the secrets for #3 – but you KNOW I have to spend a few minutes with the second one. You know me, I’m way to feely-feely not to want to shine a spotlight on this one, right? I couldn’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve seen the following scenario play out: I’ll find myself in an especially remarkable place (the mountains of eastern Kentucky, downtown Nashville, the banks of a gorgeous lake, a Julia Roberts movie….) and as I’m soaking the experience up with my every pore, I’ll notice people all around me looking down at their phones, iPods, notebooks, games, or devices I couldn’t possibly name without either a cheat sheet or a 20-something year old.
The moments pass them right by because their next “Status Update” was too important or because they just HAD to know what so-and-so had to say about such-and-such. And it’s not just kids, either. You’ll see people of all ages looking down when they really, really, really should be looking around. Live in the moment, see what there is to see… THEN tell everyone about it or THEN see what everyone else is up to.
Eliminate the nonessentials.
Rachael Ray is another name that comes to mind when I think about singleness of mind. This fantastic cook and cookbook author will be the first to tell you that she is a lousy baker. She doesn’t make desserts, she buys them. Why? She has chosen what she considers to be essential and has eliminated the nonessentials. How do you suppose that’s working for her?
The main reason people don’t get things DONE is because they’re trying to fit too MUCH into 24 hours.
Sometimes we bite off more than we can chew and, other times, someone throws more onto our plate than we have the time or inclination to handle. What happens more times than not when our plate is too full? We walk away because we either aren’t sure where to start or we feel so overwhelmed that get a headache!
So what do you do when there’s simply too many things for one person to deal with? Repeat after me, Something’s gotta give! Oftentimes a good, honest, realistic assessment of everything you’re trying to do will show you the things that can easily be removed… things you’ll never even miss.
Just be careful not to try to pull something into the vacancy a few days down the road.
We could all take a “Lin Yutang” Approach: Get a piece of paper and a pen. Make one column that says ESSENTIALS and one column that says NONESSENTIALS. Beneath each, list 5 things that fall under that particular category. But don’t miss the whole idea and leave out time for things you enjoy under the essentials. Things that bring you relaxation and bliss are possibly the most essential things of all.
One final thought. I firmly believe that age is mostly in the mind. And if someone says, “You’re only as old as you feel,” I quickly nod in agreement. However, let’s be completely honest and open for a minute. As we grow older (and each year we all grow older… whether it’s in our 20′s, 30′s, 40′s, 50′s, 60′s, 70′s, 80′s, 90′s or beyond) – we’d do well to realize that we need to approach life a little differently. We may need more sleep than we once did – or we may even require less. There will be some things we can do better than ever and there’ll be some things we simply can’t even think about any more. When I was in my 20′s, I could work in my flower beds and herb gardens for 4 hours straight and feel annoyed when it was time to come in and get cleaned up to make dinner.
This past summer, I thought I was going to have to call an ambulance after an hour and a half in the garden. It didn’t make me sad or angry though. Fact is, when I wondered if it was “socially acceptable” to call an ambulance for yourself, I had to laugh. But not too much because it would have taken too much energy. I know I’m not the same person I was years ago and realize that this means approaching life differently. Heck, after raising three daughters, my husband and I are just thankful to still be alive!
The way I look at it is this: When you pass 40, you’re in an especially beautiful place. It’s a place where you can set your own pace. Where some people drop the ball is they try to suddenly UP the pace. They seem to think they have to do all they did when they were younger and then some.
Again…. and people wonder why they’re stressed.
“Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is a nobler art of leaving things undone… The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of nonessentials.” Take an honest look at your essentials and nonessentials, you may find that a lot more time, energy, and enjoyment suddenly open up.
I was sent a copy of The 2-Day Diet: Diet two days a week. Eat the Mediterranean way for five to review and the benefits are twofold:
I regularly read a great deal about health and nutrition (as in daily… 24/7). Before reading The 2-Day Diet, I actually felt like I was sitting on an impressive amount of information when it came to the whole game of calories in/calories out. However, after reading the book cover to cover, I now have a much better understanding of a body’s needs and a better handle on how the body uses food as fuel.
Lose weight fast with the international diet sensation. Diet two days a week. Eat the Mediterranean way for five.
The 2-Day Diet is easy to follow, easy to stick to, and clinically tested. Simply eat a low carb, high protein diet two days a week, and follow the classic Mediterranean Diet (now recognized as the gold standard in warding off heart disease) for the other five.
The 2-Day Diet is designed to maximize weight loss, minimize muscle loss and keep you feeling full. It can have dramatic anti-aging and anti-cancer benefits. With this diet you can finally be slim, fit and healthy. With meal plans and 100 delicious and filling recipes.
“A far more effective way to lose weight.” –Daily Mail
“Put an end to 24/7 calorie counting.” – The Sun
“Revolutionary and clinically proven.” –Good Housekeeping
A lot of people cling to out-dated fitness and weight-loss information that really amount to little more than old wives tales. So much clinical research has been done over the years and it’s kind of nuts not to take advantage of the information this research has uncovered.
Researchers, doctors, and nutritionists are sitting on more information today than they were 20 or even 5 years ago. In spite of this fact, most people still struggle with their weight and if most of us actually went for yearly checkups, we’d probably find several numbers that didn’t mesh with the numbers on our doctor’s chart.
I guess part of the problem is the fact that, sure, there’s a wealth of nutritional information available – but there’s even more junk food and empty calories available. Pile that fact on top of the fact that we’re basically a non-active society and it’s a wonder the problem isn’t worse than it is!
The 2-Day Diet: Diet two days a week. Eat the Mediterranean way for five presents a clear plan for taking control of your diet and your health. In addition to naturally solving weight issues, following this plan will also help you age better and will provide you with anti-cancer, anti-diabetes, and anti-heart disease benefits. If you aren’t at your optimum weight – this program will help you find your way and if you ARE at your ideal weight, it’ll help you stay there.
Some of the information covered in The 2 Day Diet Includes:
(review continued below)
It won’t come as a surprise to anyone reading this that we are getting fatter. Rates of obesity have reached epidemic proportions, and worldwide there are now more overweight people than those who are a healthy weight. Despite massive government investment in healthy eating campaigns and any number of different diets promising effective weight loss, the number of us who are overweight just keeps rising…..
…. With so many different diets available, can The 2-Day Diet really make a difference? We believe that it can. The 2-Day Diet is designed to help you make the right choices, lose weight, change your habis, and actively improve your health without leaving you feeling deprived. Our work with serial dieters has shown that this unique approach offers a real alternative for anyone who struggles to stick to a conventional diet. We were so impressed by the positive results of The 2-Day Diet that we wanted to make it available to everyone who is struggling – or who has struggled – to lose weight. The 2-Day Diet has paved the way to a slimmer, healthier future for many of our dieters…. – From The 2-Day Diet: Diet two days a week. Eat the Mediterranean way for five by Dr. Michelle Harvie & Professor Tony Howell
Click through any of the links above to learn more about this revolutionary (and common sense) approach to weight loss and management.
Fist of all…. hello! I’ve been away from Self Help Daily so long I feel like I almost need to introduce myself. Don’t worry, I haven’t been mad at you… you didn’t say or do anything wrong.
In fact, it’s not you. It’s me.
Well, more to the point – it’s summer. This happens every summer, like clockwork. I get ridiculously busy in the garden, we have 110 places to go, and my Kentucky blog keeps me hopping with SO many events and activities going on. Granted this year has been worse than ever because not only has all of that been going on, I’ve had more work to do. Even those of us who have the luxury of working from home can run out of hours at the end of the day.
Not complaining mind you. I am not – and will never be – one of those people who complains about having to do anything whether it’s working in the garden or working at my computer. I thank God every day I’m able to do both.
The next time you feel like complaining about being busy, visit a Nursing Home.
Anyway, I’ve gained on all the craziness and am now ready to get back down to business. For better or worse, you’re stuck with me.
You know what’s on my mind today? Normal. I started thinking about this popular, yet elusive, subject about a week ago. An online buddy e-mailed me about some stressful things going on in her life. Apparently she’s had a great deal of stress and anxiety at work and at home (never any good when life double teams you). Within one paragraph, she mentioned life getting back to normal three times.
Then in the next paragraph she mentioned not knowing what normal felt like two times.
I couldn’t help thinking, by this time, that she was expecting a suitor to show up at her door that just wasn’t going to show.
We’re all like her in a lot of ways, aren’t we? Seriously, how many times have we all wished for things to get back to normal or for our situation to be more normal? Heck, don’t we even sometimes wish for people in our lives to be more normal?!
The problem is, in our minds, we paint a much grander picture of NORMAL than it actually is. We envision pretty much a modern day Garden of Eden. Everything’s peaceful, beautiful, and totally free of anything remotely stressful. We envision having more money than we can spend, more hours in the day than we can use, and… come to think of it – even though we’re eating more food than usual, we’re losing weight!
That’s not NORMAL, though. That’s a fantasy.
In reality, normal is different things to different people. When I think of “normal,” I think of everyone in my family feeling good and being happy. No bickering, complaints, or clashing of wills. Everyone has everything they want and more than they need. Health, happiness, and harmony – it’s all I really ask for. Well, that and a full coffee pot. My normal may not seem all that ritzy to the next person, but to me it’s Heaven on earth.
Just because there are extra cares, concerns, stresses, or anxieties in your life doesn’t mean it’s suddenly ABNORMAL. It’s just a little to the right or a little to the left of NORMAL. Your peace of mind will be a lot sounder if you can truly grasp the concept that a great number of your days are going to be spent to the right or to the left of normal. If I were to be completely honest, but we haven’t just had “one of those days” in our family or even “one of those weeks.” We’ve had “one of those years” – and it’s just July. One broken refrigerator, 1 broken washing machine (3 times), 2 broken lawn mowers, one nasty case of poison ivy, one gall bladder surgery, one dental extraction, 2 broken cars…. the list goes on, but I’m getting a migraine!
We’ve been to the left and to the right of NORMAL so often this year it’s almost like we’re line dancing through life. To the left… to the right.. to the left… to the right… That’s okay with me, I’ve gotten good at this dance by now.
Waiting for the Inevitable Return to Normal
Some people ride the tide and wait to be carried back to “norm,” while others fight, kick, spit, and try to swim upstream like they’re salmon.
I’ve found that when you’re doing the left/right dance, it’s best to stay busy. Be proactive.
When we say we want life to be normal, we’re actually saying that we want __________ to be gone or ____________ to be better. We want solutions to problems – and, a lot of times, we want the problems to fix their darn selves. WORK for it? FIGHT for it? CHANGE? You’re kidding, right?!
Your Action Plan when NORMAL is Eluding You:
The third point brings me to one last analogy. I read a wonderful story recently of a farmer who lost his arm in an accident on his farm. The picture accompanying the story showed this farmer showing of his prosthetic arm – smiling ear to ear and looking like the happiest man in the world. If one were to look at the picture, without reading the story, they’d feel sorry for the man. They might even wonder why he’s smiling so broadly.
Easy! He’s smiling because he’s glad to be alive. He actually came thisclose to dying that day. Closer than thisclose but I have no idea how to illustrate that. At the end of the story, I realized that the start of every single day must seem like an unopened gift to this man. As I got up from the article and began to cook supper, it hit me – the start of every single day IS an unopened gift. Not just to him, but to all of us.
Whether that day is filled with exactly what we wanted or filled with things we never asked for, it’s still a gift. It’s hard to be unhappy when you find yourself smack in the middle of a beautiful gift that’s denied to many.
The farmer said something that really stood out to me. He said, “I do everything I used to do. I just do it differently now.” Just is the word that seals it for me. It’s so matter-of-fact and so beautifully simplistic. Almost in a by the way tone, he says he just does things differently now.
This man didn’t just dance his way back to NORMAL, he redesigned the entire dance floor. He was an inspiration to me and I hope that the thought of him will serve as an inspiration to you.
Keep smiling and, by all means, keep dancing. It’s the only way you’re going to get anywhere…especially if NORMAL is your destination.
An easy diabetes prevention tip: Switch from soft drinks to unsweet tea. Add frozen fruit slices for extra flavor!
I write frequently on Self Help Daily about preventing diseases. I guess the words “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” are tattooed on my psyche. One of the reasons for this just may be the fact that I’ve seen many of these diseases up close and personal. One such disease is diabetes. My mom fought diabetes for a great number of years. People can, and do, live full, beautiful lives with diabetes – but, make no mistake about it – it’s a game changer.
With a diabetic, the disease they live with has to be in the forefront of their mind at all times. Whereas a lot of diseases (like my thyroid disease, for example) can be pushed out of the individual’s mind 98% of the time, a diabetic must never push their disease aside. Doing so could cause them serious harm.
The serious nature of certain diseases (such as heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and Diabetes) prompts me to write about their prevention as often as possible. We’d be nuts not to take experts’ advice when it comes to doing ALL WE CAN to prevent any of these diseases.
I recently read several new diabetes prevention tips and wanted to pass them along. The prevalence of diabetes has increased by more than 175% since 1980, so it’s obviously time we all pay more attention to preventative measures. These tips are so easy to implement into our lives, I’m sure you’ll join me in doing so right away. As in now!
No doubt you’ve heard about positive affirmations. You’re probably even a believer in the power of positive affirmations. But do you actually use them? Do you give yourself the extra boost that comes from creating more positive energy in your life?
Positive affirmations is more than just a buzz phrase composed of two highly attractive words. It’s a phrase that packs a real wallop – to the tune of having the power to transform your world.
Now that’s a wallop.
Before we get to positive affirmations, let’s think for a minute (but just a minute, okay, because they’re bad news) about negative affirmations. Negative affirmations are equally powerful and pack their own kind of wallop – as in knocking you down, kicking you in the liver with steel toe boots, and then spitting in your face.
I told you they were bad news.
Negative affirmations are those unkind, hurtful, and destructive little things we frequently say about ourselves. Sometimes we say them out loud but we usually play them for an audience of one, ensuring that we’re the only ones that hear them. Problem is, we’re the only ones that NEED to hear them for them to do their damage.
Imagine, for a scary minute, that someone followed you around all day and all night. Each time there was a lull in the conversation, they’d lean in and whisper something like, “You’re too fat for that outfit…” or “You look really old, you know that?” How about the one we all love to hear, “There’s NO WAY you can do this… absolutely NO WAY.”
So long, self esteem. Nice knowing you!
We take on the scary role of this evil stalker every single time we cut ourselves down with negativity. The sooner we learn to stop in our tracks before any negative venom comes spewing out of our mouths, the better. What’s the best way to make the negativity stop?
Simple. Replace it with positivity.
Pull the plug on negative energy and fill your life up to the brim with positive energy.
If we train ourselves to get into the habit of practicing positive affirmations, we’ll begin to build ourselves UP rather than tear ourselves DOWN. But notice the words “train” and “practice.” They’re our cues that this is a pro-active exercise, not a passive mindset. You don’t tell yourself one day, I’m going to start being more positive, then expect it to happen magically. That’d be like using shampoo one night and expecting your hair to stay clean for the rest of your life.
When you implement change in your life, you must be mindful of it each day. You have to purposely commit to making a positive change on a daily basis. If you’re one of those who tends to bash yourself regularly, this so-called daily basis may be more of an hourly basis.
So, if the best way to get rid of negative affirmations is to replace them with positive affirmations, where do you start? Let’s start at the heart of the matter. What area or areas do you criticize, condemn, and ridicule yourself in the most? Is it your appearance… your age… your education… your job? Do you have bad habits or shortcomings that you consistently beat yourself up over? Is there a particular aspect of your life you want to improve? The answer(s) to these questions will give you an idea of what positive affirmations you need to focus on.
It’ll also put the negative affirmations on notice – they’re about to get a much-needed makeover.
The best positive affirmations are those that are short, direct, clear, and assume the desired outcome has already happened. For example, if an individual feels held back by shyness and wants to be more outgoing, a few positive affirmations would be:
Experts say that one of the most important things about choosing positive affirmations is to keep any and all negative or potentially negative words out of the mix. That’s why using an affirmation like, “I am confident” is better than saying, “I am not shy.” The word shy is the very concept you’re trying to avoid! If you say, “I am not shy” throughout the day, you are still reenforcing the shyness. Whereas if you say “I am confident,” you are reenforcing the word confident?
See the difference? It may seem small, but it’s actually huge.
Someone may ask, “How about using the words I FEEL confident?” While that’s still a better choice than “I am not shy,” I personally think it’s still second-best. Why? Too much wiggle room. If you say “I FEEL confident,” it kind of implies that it’s a momentary thing. As in, you’re wearing your favorite blue top, so you FEEL confident.. but when you change back into your white one… the confidence might just bottom out! Saying you “feel” a certain way isn’t the same as saying you OWN the train and OWN the situation.
Again, it seems small – but it isn’t.
Finally, choose TOP SHELF adjectives. This would mean going with, “I make great decisions” rather than “I make good decisions.” Using good rather than great implies room for improvement and, while that may be true, you don’ t want to dwell on that in your affirmations.
So, make your positive affirmations…
A unique approach
I once heard a positive affirmations cd that was filled with positive affirmations in the form of questions. The man would say things such as, “Why am I so happy?,” “Why do I make the right decisions?,” etc. The thought process behind these questioning affirmations was, apparently, that you’d be forced to focus on the answers. I can see how this approach would be fantastic for a lot of people.
So, now you know the importance of positive affirmations, how can you sneak them into your life?
While there are some truly wonderful Positive Affirmations available for downloading and using immediately, you can also come up with your own. If you use these, just be sure you repeat the affirmations, yourself, and don’t merely listen to someone else stating their affirmations. That really won’t do you much good, will it?
The best way to have custom, personal affirmations is to make them yourself. In addition to using affirmations for personal areas you want to improve in, use general affirmations such as:
You just have to remember to use these affirmations daily – several times a day, in fact. Some people have suggested recording yourself as you slowly and confidently say your affirmations and playing the recording several times a day. I can’t say I’ve ever done that, myself, but it seems like a pretty cool idea.
I’ve also read that a lot of people write their positive affirmations on index cards or notes of paper, then leave them in random places where they’ll be reminded to use them. While I certainly use index cards for motivational quotes, inspirational words, and reminders, I think of positive affirmations as a really personal thing – for my eyes only. However, if you don’t have a lot of other eyes around, index cards could serve you well.
The most important thing is to surround yourself with as much positive energy as possible. Come on, how could that be anything but a great thing?!?!
When I was offered an opportunity to review Blood Pressure Down: The 10-Step Plan to Lower Your Blood Pressure in 4 Weeks–Without Prescription Drugs on Self Help Daily, I jumped at the chance. I was already familiar with the author, Janet Bond Brill, PH.D., R.D., L.D.N., and had even previously written a review of another of her books: Prevent a Second Heart Attack (click the link for the review). Truth be told, after reading Prevent a Second Heart Attack, I was already looking forward to the author’s next book!
Like most people, I’m completely and utterly drawn to the idea of handling as many health problems (and potential health issues) as “naturally” as possible. Obviously this isn’t always possible – after all, many medications are life savers. I like the thought of a patient proactively working with their doctor – doing their part to bring about healing and better health.
For the 75 million Americans with hypertension, a safe, effective lifestyle plan—incorporating the DASH diet principles and much more—for lowering blood pressure naturally.
If you have high blood pressure, you’re not alone: nearly a third of adult Americans have been diagnosed with hypertension, and another quarter are well on their way. Yet a whopping 56 percent of diagnosed patients do not have it under control. The good news? Hypertension is easily treatable (and preventable), and you can take action today to bring your blood pressure down in just four weeks—without the potential dangers and side effects of prescription medications.
In Blood Pressure Down, Janet Bond Brill distills what she’s learned over decades of helping her patients lower their blood pressure into a ten-step lifestyle plan that’s manageable for anyone. You’ll:
• harness the power of blood pressure power foods like bananas, spinach, and yogurt
• start a simple regimen of exercise and stress reduction
• stay on track with checklists, meal plans, and more than fifty simple recipes
Easy, effective, safe—and delicious—Blood Pressure Down is the encouraging resource that empowers you, or your loved ones, to lower your blood pressure and live a longer, heart-healthy life.
75 million Americans, alone, have high blood pressure – the number just blows my mind. One of my daughters recently commented (kind of matter-of-fact) that just about everyone she works with has high blood pressure. The disease is almost as rampant as it is dangerous. Needless to say, if you have high blood pressure, please make sure that you’re under a doctor’s care. Read Blood Pressure Down: The 10-Step Plan to Lower Your Blood Pressure in 4 Weeks–Without Prescription Drugs, taking notes throughout the book, then take the book and your notes to your doctor. Tell him/her that you want to treat your blood pressure as naturally as possible!
Below are just a few of the things I love most about this wonderful book and just a few of the reasons I’d love to see everyone add this book to their library as soon as possible.
This author is all about preventing diseases, not just treating them, and I hope you will follow her advice as well. I “whole-heartedly” recommend this fantastic, potentially life-saving book.