Laugh

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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.

 

 

Photo by Allie Milot on Unsplash

Wonder

Jan22

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!

 

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.

Your “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 those who are close to you, 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.

Listen – 25 Positive Words, Day 24

Day 24

One of the greatest gifts we can give to another person is the gift of listening. When we honestly and sincerely listen to others, we affirm them and help them feel valued. Even when we don’t share the same opinion or perspective on life, we can still ask good questions and listen well to the other person’s point of view. This Christmas, let’s take a genuine interest in the people in our path and find out what is important to them.

James 1:19, “ Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.”

Forget – 25 Positive Words, Day 20

Day 20

We never want to forget the goodness of God and His blessings each day, but there are certain things in life that we do want to forget. We need to forget our past mistakes. Certainly we learn from our errors, but we don’t need to keep replaying them in our mind and beating ourselves up about what we could or should have done. We also need to forget past hurts from others. It’s easy to drag up old memories about things people said or did to us and let bitterness grow, but it’s time to stop playing the “I am hurt” tape. Instead, let’s move forward with forgiveness and love.

Paul put it this way, “Forgetting those things that are behind and straining toward those things that are ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which Christ Jesus is calling me heavenward.”

Press forward my friends, leaving the past behind.