Monday, March 14, 2016

Which Sign? The Furthest One!



A few years ago when I first started running, I could not go very far.  Distance was measured in feet rather than miles.  I didn't know about apps and devices that keep time and distance for you, my goals were met by landmarks - an upcoming curve, a road sign or a driveway.  The more I ran, eventually endurance built up and I learned where the first mile marker was.  Hitting the goal was a huge highlight.  A few weeks later, hitting and then passing the goal is what hooked me on running.

On runs today, markers are still being used.  Running begins in the mind and the body follows. A fitness goal for this year is to increase mileage. Walk/run intervals are used to go longer with a goal of running a bit further over time.  I still use the landmarks as a point of reference, if I can just make it to that sign, I know I can walk and regroup. On the country roads where I run, there are numerous landmarks which are often close together.  Once a landmark is in place, there is usually one right beyond it.  When the sign is in sight and is almost within reach, I ask myself, "can you make it to the next sign?"  This strategy takes me further each time and builds more endurance. 

In Matthew there is a passage on going further..."And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two..."Matthew 5:41.  A Christian's life should be categorized as upright, law abiding, holding high morals.  But when a life is lived to please Jesus and represent Him and His love to the world, it needs to go a step further.  We should do what we know is good, but can we go a step further?  In our words, our thoughts, our actions, can we reach a little bit higher?  Sure, our goal is like that first sign I see while running, but can we train our hearts to always ask, 'can I go a little further?'  

God is the God of abundance, He forgives much, loves much and extends much grace.  He will never run out and will never fail to give to a willing heart abundantly what they need. That doesn't mean we live happy all the time, it means as we go, day in and day out, we can give grace because He gives grace.  In times of despair and hurt, He has comfort and strength.  He never runs low, we can draw freely from all He has and is. 

Peace, joy, kindness, hope, strength...run towards it, then go a little further!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Intro to Essential Oils



Although I'm not a big fad follower, the topic of essential oils perked my interest strictly for the fragrance benefits. I love all thing scented...and highly scented!  Candles, melted wax, plug in wall scents are a staple in my home.  Laundry, soaps, lotions all are chosen based on scent.  

After much research and ready to give essential oils a try, I chose a kit which included a diffuser.  Simply because this would enhance and spread the aroma of the oils.  But since that first kit, through exploring, essential oils do much more than make things smell good!  The improve moods, clean the air and have healing properties.  

Since they are so much a part of my daily life, information about them is going on this blog!!  Here is a short introduction on essential oils and much more will be added on!

How To Use Essential Oils.

Aromatic
If you are trying to improve a mood or calm emotions, aromatic use is your best option. When essential oils are inhaled, the senses are heightened and certain reactions within the body can be triggered. You can inhale the oils directly from the bottle or put a few drops in the palm of your hand to smell them.  Applying calming oils to pillows and bed sheets can make for a relaxing night’s sleep. Sometimes, it may be beneficial to use a diffuser to release the essential oils aromatically into the air. This aromatic use will cleanse the air, and you will still be able to gain the benefits as the oil is assimilated through the air into your body.  The molecules are small and are effective when diffused or breathed in.  Aromatic use is very effective.  (And one of my favorite ways to use!)

Topical. . 

If you are dealing with a wound, wanting to nourish your skin, or treat a fungal infection, then go with topical. This is rubbing oil directly on the skin. Caution....there are a few 'hot' oils that may cause skin irritation if not diluted with a 'carrier oil'.  This is simply adding a few drops of essential oil to a larger amount of a carrier oil such as sweet almond, jojoba, or avocado oil. Coconut oil can be used for its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties that can enhance the healing properties of oils you may choose to sooth cuts and scrapes. Coconut oil is also thicker and will last longer than a liquid oil. 

Internal Supplements: 
Some essential oils (only certified food grade) can be taken via mouth in order to gain the benefits that are available. Just 1 or 2 drops are enough to help your body heal, and the oils can be place directly in the mouth or they can be ingested through a small capsule that is swallowed. Very important: ONLY high quality oils can be used internally, because you need to be sure that the oil is free of any chemical or unnatural compounds. Many brands of essential oils specifically state that they should not be used internally, so be sure that you are using a high quality oil. 

How to get started.
Buy a few essential oils to start your collection. Many people like to begin with a starter kit which contains some of the basic oils that are commonly used, or they choose a few essential oils that are specific to health conditions they would like help with. Some of the basic oils are Lemon, Lavender and Peppermint.

Start learning more about how to use each essential oil. Start small and read up on only a few at a time.  There are tons of resources out there.  One of mine is Modern Essential Oils which has plenty of information to get you started.  One more that is my go to site for beginning and growing use is Dr. Axe. He offers a free download The Kings Medicine Cabinet...it's a must have!!

Much more will be coming about my new passion!! 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Spending vs Investing



We're not talking finances here, but something of greater value.  A recent question from a devotion..."What do you think is the difference between spending your life doing something and investing it in something?"  Do you have a way of regularly evaluating how productive you are being for God? 

As an active part of my local church, I 'do' a lot. Along with many other church workers, we have an active church, due to those who do a lot.
A recent addition of a weekly meal brought out several new and different tasks a Family Ministries team I am a part of do and love.  Food planning, shopping and preparation, connecting with many gracious volunteers turns out a fabulous meal each week.   Being a 'doer' gets things done and we often see fantastic results.

But investing, that is a little different.  Where 'doing' can come easy, investing asks us to put forth a little bit more.  We lose that mode where we simply do the task and see the completion.  Investing is more about sowing seeds and waiting for a harvest. Investing pours from us into the life of others, it may involve sacrifice, take us out of our comfort zone and often finds us working alone, but depending solely on God.  Doing can be easy and enjoyable, quick and fun.  Investing takes depth, wisdom and purpose to put our own needs aside for the betterment of someone else.  Are we willing to invest in the lives of others for their betterment?

Do we evaluate how productive we are for God?  That was a question I've never pondered before.  God doesn't require an evaluation, it is simply a tool for us to stop (amidst all the doing) and ask if this task is making a viable difference in another's life.  Is it touching, teaching or showing the things of God to another? 

As we go about our busy days, may we be sensitive and intentional to invest in someone else.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Taking the Challenge...



I love a good challenge, but usually find myself wearing out of the excitement after a few days.  Fitness challenges, eating well challenges, they help instill great habits, but I don't seem to do change very well!  Thankfully I have some good healthy habits in place, but there is always room for improvement.  

Push ups....does anyone like them?  They hurt, they are boring and who wants to do them every day?  But, the more I read about their benefits, the more inclined I am to try them. They work several muscle groups, help your posture and build core strength.  An article "Why the Push Up is the World's Greatest Exercise" tells the great benefits and demonstrates the proper form. 

So, with a new year and new fitness aspirations...I'm jumping in another 30 day challenge.  The 50 Push Up Challenge builds you up from 5 to 50 push ups in 30 days!  You can join the challenge HERE!  I can do 23 as of today without stopping!!  

The exciting thing about fitness challenges is not only the outward results you see, but the inner strength and satisfaction on the inside!  

Friday, January 15, 2016

Daily Habits That Will Keep Your House Tidy

I will admit it, I am a neat freak.  But after raising 3 sons, I've learned to relax some.  As much as I love the accomplishment of a thoroughly clean house, no one wants to simply sit and stare at the tidiness (except me!), a home is  to be lived in .And sometimes, living is messy!  

When our boys were younger, sometimes their rooms would be utter disaster areas.  Over and over I told them if they would keep things up, the room would not get in that shape.  Some took my advice, some still enjoy living in a mess until forced to make a change! 

There are a few things everyone can do every day to help ensure a tidy house. 

*Make Beds
Make the beds every morning. Simple and easy and makes a world of difference in the way the room looks and feels.

* Laundry 
Right off in the morning do a load of laundry.  This means wash, dry, fold and put away.  Doing at least one load a day helps tame that laundry monster. 

* Empty Trash
Empty all trash cans regularly.  We do it every other day, more if needed. 

* Dishes
Our first 25 years of marriage we did not have a dishwasher. Washing dishes through the day (after meals) and keeping them washed through dinner preparations, kept from always facing a sink load of dirty dishes. With a dishwasher, load up dirty dishes as soon as they have been used. 

* Wipe Kitchen Counters
Keep your counters clear of clutter and wipe them down with hot soapy water. Do this after breakfast, lunch and dinner.

* Vacuum/Sweep Kitchen Floor
After dinner, vacuum or sweep the kitchen floor.

* Pick Up Rooms 
Take a bit of time each day to keep each room picked up.  You can do this in the morning or evening or both.

* Sort Through Mail
Do not just drop your mail on the counter.  Go straight to the garbage can and sort your mail every single day.  Throw out junk mail immediately.  Put your bills and other important papers where they need to go.

Doing these small things can make a huge difference in your housekeeping.  Try them for a while and watch them become some great habits!