Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving Thoughts

So I've been so busy living that I haven't had time for writing! Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I guess that would be a good thing to take note of for just a moment. How many of us really stop every day (or even every week or month) to pay attention to what we're thankful for? A few weeks ago a church member suggested we take a few moments and write down what we were thankful for. The list was easier to make for some than others, and I didn't do as well as I would've liked.

With that in mind, and recalling a class I had taken once in college, I started a prayer time in the evenings during which I spent the first few minutes only giving thanks. I haven't been as faithful with it as I should, but it has definitely brought some things to my attention. First, the more you practice an "attitude of gratitude" (see a recent Reader's Digest too), the easier it comes. Second, prayer is powerful and prayer mingled with thanksgiving and intercession is a tremendous blessing. I might also add that if you start such a regimen the devil will certainly start out to mess you up--don't let him!

So...may you be both blessed and thankful as we make our way toward another year! I know I am!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Mind Games

Well, I'm told that things like crossword puzzles and word searches are good for keeping your mind sharp. However, I've also found that they're addicting! Remember that post about temperance? It applies to all aspects of life, as I said, and this definitely is an aspect of life...but, oh, it's hard to apply it here!

I don't know about you, but I like "mind games"--that is to say, things like puzzles, logic games, etc. I do think they're helpful and you get better at them with time. Best of all, there's something for everyone. Don't like Sudoku? Try jigsaw puzzles. Can't stand crosswords? Give search-a-word puzzles a chance. And if you really want some mind-blowing mind games, study up on optical illusions, especially those done by Escher (like the one above). I guarantee you'll find something both enjoyable and useful.

While we're at it, though, I want to put in a plug for one of the best memory sharpeners around. We can come back to memory at a later date, but while you're working on sharpening your mind in general, do something to wake up your memory muscles. What's the best way to do that? Bible memorization. More on that later, though.... Happy November and happy mind-exercising!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Family, Friends and Fun

I really should make this more than one post...maybe I'll do a continued one later. The fact is, I've been having so much of these three things, I haven't had time to get on here and write about them! But I do think they're important to living a good and healthy lifestyle.

Frankly, I think all of these three things are under-rated. Oh I know psychologists talk about having a good support system and everyone says that laughter is the best medicine, but how many people really believe that? Do you believe it?

I certainly believe it's true. And what's more important, I think you can create your family. Yeah, that sounds a little weird, but while you can't choose the family you were born into, you can choose to separate yourself from members who are abusive and/or harm you through their relationship with you. At the same time, you can choose to include people in your family (by involving them in activities, treating them like family, etc.) who add good things to your life and whom you enjoy having around. We had an experience similar to the latter just this past week.

In short, I think one of the most important things to do is create connections that are beneficial to both parties (not in a parasitical way, but in a genuinely loving, caring way). Sadly, there are times when it is also important to cut connections -- while it's never good to burn bridges, sometimes it is necessary to diminish or even cease contact. And since most of us don't have the perfect family, I sincerely hope you have the opportunity to "recreate your family" today!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Garlic Season

Well, two seasons have just begun: Fall and the flu season! Which is why I'd like to recommend that people start another season -- the garlic season! In case you haven't heard, garlic is one of the all-time best ways to avoid being sick. Don't believe me? Just try it!

Garlic has had a long and colorful history for such a plain-looking little herb, but a lot of folks still don't really appreciate it. But garlic has an extraordinary ability for keeping germs and other "sick bugs" away...and I don't mean by hanging it around your neck! :-)

In our house, we take garlic tablets, pour garlic into food we're cooking, and then sprinkle garlic powder onto food while we're eating it! Just about everything except chocolate and ice cream has garlic in it. And no, I'm not kidding, either. :-) My mom has a kind of tea she concocts with garlic and cayenne in it -- quite frankly, I don't think anything could survive it, let alone a humble germ! ;-)

All literary hyperbole aside, however, let's face the facts: My mom also hardly ever gets sick. Furthermore, I can vouch for the fact that a sore throat will take a hike if you suck on a clove of raw garlic. Does it taste bad? Not that bad, and it's definitely better than getting really sick. (Just don't suck on it past when it starts to burn; at that point, you need to trash it and get a fresh one.)

So the next time you start feeling like you might be coming down with something, grab some trusty garlic...and it wouldn't hurt a bit to go on and grab some now -- it's great prevention!

Monday, October 5, 2009

As I was saying...

Well, last week sort of collapsed on me and I didn't get anything written. Nor could I think of anything to write just now, until I remember that I had mentioned Ramen noodles in a previous post. I thought now would be a good time to write about them. :-)

One thing I will say about Ramen noodles is that it's best to get the right brand. Top Ramen is the brand name of the ones we get...and they are good! We got the wrong brand recently and they just didn't taste right. The noodles were too tough and the seasoning was too salty.

Speaking of seasoning, Ramen noodles come with that little packet of seasoning -- we always get the Oriental flavored ones because they're vegetarian -- but you can put your own in instead. We frequently use McKay's beef or chicken seasoning (which is also vegetarian).

If you want something quick, easy, and (usually) hot, Ramen noodles are the best way to go. They're good for you, they taste good even when you're sick, and anyone can fix them -- even me! I have a friend that does movie nights with me every week or two and we almost always have Ramen noodles. I know another friend that was in college and someone gave him a case of Ramen noodles as a Christmas present because he practically lived off of Ramen noodles while he was in school. I hope you've had Ramen noodles too and if not, I highly recommend you try them. :-)

Friday, September 25, 2009


Well, I haven't been following my own advice very well and guess what? I've been suffering the consequences for the last few days! I've been running a fever and sniffling and basically doing nothing but sleeping it off. (Proof I should've done the sleeping before when I was supposed to, huh?)

Anyway, I'm going to try to do better now...not that I'll be perfect or anything, but hopefully I'll remember that it's no fun to be sick. :-) I hope none of you have been suffering similar consequences; it's much more fun to follow good rules of health!

Always remember, though: God cares for the sick as well as the healthy, and He wants to help you, even if you do get sick because of not following His natural laws. I haven't been feeling well enough to do much devotional reading the last few days, so I've spent a lot of time praying. I hope you pray, too -- it's a good vitamin. :-)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

On Sleep

I'm beginning to think all health topics are under-rated. Take sleep, for yet another example. When was the last time you really stopped and thought about how much sleep you're getting...or what quality...or more importantly, how it measures up to what you should be getting?

I'm sure you've heard various opinions on how much sleep one should get each night...but are you aware that it matters when you get that sleep? It's been proven (by studies and personal experience) that the best sleep is before midnight. (Has something to do with the chemicals your body produces to help you sleep better and when they're at their peak, if I remember correctly.)

What about sleep schedules? Did you know your body does better when you get up and go to bed at regular times? I mean, it's common sense, but too often we don't manage it and then wonder why we're tired. (Believe me, I'm preaching to the choir here! I got eight hours of sleep last night, but it was between 11:30pm and 7:30am, roughly. Not good on the biological clock!)

Anyway, I hope that this is at least thought-provoking and that we all will take another look at our nightly schedules. Sometimes things can't be changed and late nights can't be helped, but all too often we continue in bad habits that can be changed. Sweet dreams!