The Power of Laughter
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We know that laughter is good medicine emotionally speaking, but evidence reveals that there are physical benefits as well. A number of years ago, Norman Cousins, famous editor of Saturday Review, was told he had a severe case of an incurable, progressive, connective tissue disease.  He decided instead of sitting around allowing the pain to take over, he would become proactive in his health care management and especially his attitude.  One of the things he decided to do was to obtain copies of old shows and movies he had always enjoyed like “Candid Camera” and Marx Brothers films.  He also decided to read humorous books.  He reported that 10 minutes of genuine belly laughter would relieve his intense pain for hours.

While Norman was in the hospital he started a routine of watching movies, laughing, sleeping, watch movies, laughing sleeping and so on.  After a while he was moved out of the hospital because his laughter was disturbing other patients, but he continued his treatment with astounding results.  Using massive doses of vitamin C and a tremendous amount of laughter every day, he experienced a gradual withdrawal of his symptoms and eventually regained most of his freedom of movement.  You can read his entire story in his book, Anatomy of an Illness (Bantam Books, 1981).

What are some ways you can be intentional about laughter in your own life? Sometimes it comes down to a choice. When you make a mistake or something frustrating happens, find a way to laugh rather than despair. When someone says a discouraging remark, respond with a little chuckle and a positive comment. Opportunities to laugh are all around us, we just need to be looking for them. And always remember, never laugh at people, just laugh with them.

Finally, remember to smile often. Studies show that smiling elevates our mood. I like to think of smiles as gifts we give to other people to uplift their day. It’s not about how you feel as much as it is about making someone else feel better. Be honest with your emotions and grieve when you need to, but don’t miss the many invitations to smile that show up on a regular basis. As Valentines Day approaches, may your days be filled love and laughter, as you enjoy life and lift up the people around you.

Check out Karol’s book, A Positive Plan for Creating More Fun, Less Whining

 

 

Photo by Thiago Cerqueira on Unsplash

Finding Wonder Everyday
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Research now shows the benefits of experiencing a sense of awe as we observe nature, listen to music, appreciate artwork or even practice religion. A feeling of wonder tends to remind us that we are not the center of the universe, rather there is a much bigger picture of which we are a part. People who are awestruck tend to feel humbled and thankful and often are inspired to make a positive difference in the lives of others.

The older we get, the less we seem to take note of those beautiful moments of wonder in our everyday lives. Wouldn’t it be great to have the eyes of a child once again? Children see spectacular moments in the simple things – a yellow butterfly, a sand castle, a funny-looking bug or a genuine smile. Is it possible to regain that sense of wonder? Certainly it is, but we must be observant and intentional.

One of the ways to increase our awestruck moments is by turning your heart and mind toward the God of all wonders. Start each day by praising Him for His amazing hand in creation. Observe the life around you, whether you are looking out the window or paying attention to the people He puts in your path. Stop and consider the intricate details of all He created both great and small.

The psalmist praised God for the wonders of His creation, but he also acknowledged the wonders of God’s love. In Psalm 31:21 we read, “Praise be to the Lord, for he showed me the wonders of His love.” Perhaps the beauty of His unfailing love toward us is the greatest wonder of them all. Oh that we would stand amazed at His grace and mercy each day, for truly this would give us a sense of humility and thankfulness, as well as a desire to show love and grace toward others.

This week, let’s be deliberate about experiencing wonder, especially as we consider the love and goodness of our wonderful Heavenly Father. May we never lose our sense of awe and delight in who He is and what He has done for us!

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

This month’s $5 book special is Karol’s devotional, Pursuing God in the Quiet Places. Each devotional points to attributes of God and opens our hearts to the wonder of who He is.  Click Here for more info.

Mom’s “Most Treasured” List
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What are some of the things you treasure most in life? For me, it’s time with family and friends. I treasure times of laughter and shared life experiences. I treasure the relationship I have with the Lord – His presence, His grace, His salvation and His Truth. I treasure wisdom, realizing it is one of the most valuable pursuits in life. I treasure taking long walks with my husband, savoring a good book and enjoying a little bit of alone time to write.

What about you? What would be on your “Most Treasured” list?

All too often we rush through our days, without really considering what it is that makes our heart feel rich and full. I believe It’s important to consider what we treasure, because it helps us think through our priorities and what we want to pursue in life. Sometimes it is difficult to identify what we value most in life. It takes contemplation, thoughtfulness and prayer.

This week, take some time to create your list. Perhaps it will make you want to readjust some priorities or re-look at some of the reasons why you treasure what you do. Let’s not assume that everything we treasure is necessarily best for our life. Maybe there’s a few things we shouldn’t treasure so much – areas that may have gotten our lives a little out of balance.

I also want to encourage you to start a discussion this week with your family, and ask them what they treasure in life. It will allow you to enter their world and open your understanding of their heart’s desires.

Finally, let’s reflect on what Jesus said about treasures.

Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal.  Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. Matthew 6:19-21

What does Jesus mean by treasures in heaven? Ponder and reflect on His words this week, and ask Him to guide you as you consider what it means to lay up true and lasting treasures.

7 Positive Habits for the New Year
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New Year

The start of a new year allows us to reset and rethink our actions and attitudes. It’s a great time to stop and consider our hopes and dreams, as well as what we may want to change or do differently in the coming year. Resolutions or setting goals may not be your thing, but a few positive habits added to your daily routine can potentially last a lifetime. Here are seven doable daily habits that will help your attitude and your overall well-being in 2018.

Focus – It’s easy to focus on the negatives in life, but it takes a deliberate effort to look at what is good, true and right. We can change our focus by creating new habits such as writing in a gratitude journal every morning as we enjoy our first cup of coffee. Another way to turn our thoughts toward the positive is to read and memorize scriptures from the Bible. Choose one Bible verse to memorize as your focal point for 2018 and review it every day.

Fuel – Consider the types of foods you are putting into your body – is it life-giving fuel or will it have a negative effect on your health? Food not only affects us physically, but it also has an impact on our mind and emotions.  Start a habit of a healthy breakfast to set your day in motion. Instead of strict diets plans that rarely work, think in terms of more and less. Determine this year that you will eat less of the unhealthy foods, like sugar, white flour or processed foods, and you will fuel your body with more of the healthy goods, like greens, whole grains or berries. Make your motto, “Eat clean in 2018.”

Fitness – Exercise is a stress reliever. A brisk walk or work-out can do wonders for you both physically and emotionally. Discover ways you can add exercise to you daily routine five to six days a week. Begin small with something that you enjoy and gradually increase your time and intensity. As your find a time and place each day that you can exercise, commit to it for at least 21 days to form the habit of fitness. Have an accountability partner to help you stay on target.

Faith – There is great comfort in knowing that we are not alone – that the Lord loves us and is with us. As we grow in our faith through prayer and reading the Bible, we begin to sense that there is a bigger picture, a more eternal one. Our faith gives us hope through trials and gives us strength through difficulties. Set aside some quiet time each day to spend alone with God, seeking His guidance and wisdom as well as giving Him your cares and worries.

Fun – All work and no play makes Jack or Jill a little dull and boring. Create opportunities for laughter in your life. Whether it is getting together with friends and laughing about old times or watching a funny video or doing something that generates a good chuckle. Every day you have the invitation to look for the sunny side of life and enjoy a bit of fun despite the challenges. Never laugh at the expense of another person, and also remember to not take yourself too seriously either. Certainly there is a time to laugh and a time to cry, but I think we miss a whole lot of opportunities for laughter. Allow it to be a part of your daily routine.

Forward – Pay it forward and look for ways to invest in the lives of other. Every morning, ask yourself a simple question, who can I bless today? When you turn your heart and thoughts to serving the people in your community, you move your focus off of your own challenges and begin to experience the joy that comes from contributing to something bigger than yourself. Serve one another through your kind actions and loving deeds and make the world a better place one day at a time.

Forgive – If you want to live a happier and healthier life, learn to let things go. Keep short accounts, do not hold grudges and learn to forgive those whom you feel have wronged you. Forgiveness is not an invitation for someone to hurt you again. You must set wise boundaries. Forgiveness is choosing to let go of the right to hold something over another person. Most likely, every day you will encounter situations that call for grace and forgiveness on your part. Make it a habit to continually live with forgiveness.

As you practice these seven simple daily habits , you will discover a fresh new joy and vitality for the year ahead. Make it a great 2018!

 

Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

Jesus – 25 Positive Words, Day 25
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Day 25

Today we celebrate the birth of Jesus. He is the Word made flesh. He is the Word of Life. He is my redeemer, my savior, my victor, my friend. In Colossians 1, we read a beautiful declaration of who Jesus is:

 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,
for through him God created everything
in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see
and the things we can’t see—
such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
Everything was created through him and for him.
He existed before anything else,
and he holds all creation together.
Christ is also the head of the church,
which is his body.
He is the beginning,
supreme over all who rise from the dead.
So he is first in everything.
 For God in all his fullness
was pleased to live in Christ,
and through him God reconciled
everything to himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.

Colossians 1:15-20

He who knew no sin, came to this earth in human form, and gave His life for us so that we might have a relationship with God. Because of the cross we live in victory in both this life and eternity. Let us celebrate Jesus every day of the year. Merry Christmas to all!

 

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