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Category: Faith

Letters from God

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Hello my friends,

I hope your September is going well!  My hubby and I headed north for a few days.  It was so nice and relaxing and we enjoyed getting away together.  We went to Winona Lake and stayed near the water. Having grown up on a small lake, I realized how much I miss being on the water.  Second to water living, though, is being in the woods and that’s where we live.  I love being surrounded by all the trees, hills, and wildlife. Our trip was something I looked forward to after finishing up my last class.  I drew a lot while we were away and haven’t stopped since we got back home!

This drawing was my last class project.  We were supposed to combine several techniques we learned.  I found a quote on Pinterest that I loved.  My quote; “Pay attention to your dreams for they are your letters from God,” reminds me that it’s okay that I keep working toward my goals of creating.  Sometimes it feels like I’m just playing and not doing anything significant to help further God’s Kingdom.  I definitely make more money from designing invitations and I truly enjoy the creative side of graphic design.  My all-time favorite work is illustrating.  I love getting lost in a drawing and emerging much later, to realize that I had lost all track of time.  That kind of job opportunity doesn’t come as often as I’d like, but a girl can dream, can’t she?

So this assignment began with a quote and then along came the idea of God sending a letter, to one of His many children, via U.S. Airmail.  That’s the beauty of art.  It can be as realistic or contain as much fantasy as you’d like! Anyway, I’ve loved Psalm 37 for many years because it carried me through a terribly difficult time in my life. I decided to incorporate a verse from that Psalm and included it as the part of the letter peering up from the envelope.

I chose old skeleton keys because of their beauty and because of the old saying referencing the key to your heart.  I made them gold to bring out their lovely shape. The acorn was added because of the quote, “Mighty oaks from little acorns grow.”  It helps me remember that our talents begin small but can grow in time.  This keeps me from wanting to give up.

I honestly don’t know why I decided to include scissors in my drawing.  And to make it even odder, after I drew them I had an appointment to get my hair cut.  During that appointment, I realized that I actually drew hair cutting shears!  By the time I realized my mistake, it was too late to do anything about it.  Oh well!

I really need your help!  My blog is new and it doesn’t have a lot of content on it yet.  But, I see daily that I have readers and I’m thrilled about that!  Several people that I know personally have tried to join my blog.  That just means that they will receive an email each time I publish a new post.  Several friends have let me know that they haven’t been getting my emails and the number of “followers” still shows four (4) at the bottom of my page.  That’s so embarrassing!  So if you’ve tried to sign up but aren’t receiving my emails (just one a week, I promise) please leave a comment and let me know.  I’d really appreciate it!   If I hear from you, I’ll email you back personally and will do everything I can to figure out why my blog is not accepting new followers.

As always, I appreciate each and every one of you who takes the time to read and comment on my drawings and stationery!

 

 

 

 

My Brother, My Friend

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Not Everyone is as Blessed as I am When it Comes to Brothers 

I have a big brother, who is not only my sibling but also a true friend.  The last couple of days we’ve been spent with our mother, who was paying a visit to the hospital.  We had moments of worry, a lot of laughter, but mainly, we shared in this responsibility as a team.  I’m so thankful that I’m not alone when it comes to caring for our aging Mother.  She has set a strong example for us, but sadly, Alzheimer’s is slowly taking her away from us.

 

A Not-so-Happy Glimpse of the Future

During Mom’s hospital visit, we saw a side of her that we’ve only had glimpses of thus far.  Between the anesthesia and pain medication, she seemed as if she had progressed quickly with new Alzheimer’s symptoms.  My brother and I tried to find humor in this situation because we knew it was only temporary.  But truth be told, it was very scary to know that one day this behavior could be the norm for Mom.  We witnessed it with our grandmother and dread the day that we have to see our mom go through the same mental decline.

It’s also difficult to think that one day we could also be facing the same diagnosis for ourselves.  I remember the day that Mom was diagnosed.  There were tears from both of us. Mostly, she dreaded the day that she wouldn’t recognize her children.  That was a sobering thought.  I hope and pray that the fate of Alzheimer’s never becomes a reality for either my brother or myself.

Fight the Good Fight

Discover the Alzheimer’s Prevention Diet

One of the best ways you can feed your brain for better memory is by avoiding a diet high in trans-fat and saturated fat. These fats, such as those from animal products (especially red meats), can cause inflammation as well as produce free radicals. As you probably know, free radicals are a normal by-product of your metabolism, but in high quantities, they can damage and even kill your valuable brain cells.

Eating foods that are high in antioxidants like vitamins C and E is a wonderful natural way to eliminate free radicals from your body. In a similar way, scientists believe that a vast intake of fruits and vegetables, eating fish rich in omega-3 oils and vegetarian protein substitutes (such as soy) are protective against memory loss.

The ideal prevention diet breaks down like this:

  • 20% “good” fats. Items in this group include extra virgin olive oil, avocado, and flax seed oil
  • 40% lean proteins. Look to include fish, chicken, turkey, and soy on a daily basis.
  • 40% complex carbohydrates. Discover the rewards of a rainbow of fresh vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and fresh fruits.
  • Superfoods for the brain – as much as you want! These superfoods, including blueberries, spinach, and seaweed. The items have fabulous antioxidant properties preventing causes of Alzheimer’s.


The Healing Power of Relaxation and Meditation

Meditation reduces stress, which lowers cortisol and improves many other aspects of your mental function. Of course, stress management has many other positive benefits as well, such as improved performance, heart function, reduced anxiety, less chronic pain, and even increased longevity.

Balancing your daily stress is a vital part of any Alzheimer’s prevention strategy. Studies have shown there is a high correlation between having high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and/or high cortisol and the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Stress has been shown to be a key factor in all of these conditions.

Thankfully, research has shown that the benefits of regular stress-relaxation practice, such as meditation, can improve your health and prevent memory loss. And, as it reduces some of the negative impacts of cholesterol, cortisol, and high blood pressure, a stress relaxation practice also has the added benefits of improving your focus, attention, and optimizing your overall mental performance.

Some examples of stress-management techniques include:     

  • Meditation
  • Guided Imagery and Visualization
  • Hypnosis
  • Deep Breathing
  • Massage
  • Prayer

Trust me — it is not necessary to lock yourself into any of one of these stress relaxation techniques. Rather, it’s best to feel free to explore any or all of them to see which technique works best for you. Simply start with any of these techniques for a few minutes a day and you’ll quickly begin to experience better brain function. Then, find the techniques you tend to enjoy the very most and you’ll begin experiencing a whole new and improved — and less stressed — you!

Exercise & Brain Aerobics

The Importance of Physical Exercise

Exercise & Brain Aerobics 

Did you know that regular physical exercise can reduce your risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease by up to a stunning 50%? Moreover, studies have shown that women from age 40 to 60 who exercised regularly were seen to have a dramatic reduction in memory loss and cognitive decline. That’s right: They kept their brain power at optimal strength! More recent findings suggest that an overall active lifestyle is the key to brain and body health.

To see the best benefits of your exercise program, the latest research reveals that the magic number for maintaining cognitive fitness with age and preventing Alzheimer’s is to work up to a level of 150 minutes per week of a combination of cardio exercise and strength training. Great ways to get in your aerobic exercise include brisk walking, jogging, dancing, swimming, and playing tennis, or going to the gym and utilizing an elliptical, treadmill or stationary bike.

Anything that gets your heart pumping and your muscles moving is heading you in the right direction to better overall health. Plus when you include strength training (e.g., weights, resistance machines, isometrics, etc.), you maintain your muscle mass and prevent osteoporosis and related illness.

Keep reading to discover how you can work out your brain to keep it in the same good shape as your renewed body, in your goal to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

Benefiting from Brain Aerobics

Neurologists report that mental exercise can reduce your chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease by up to 70%. With numbers like that, it’s amazing that everyone isn’t exercising their brains more often. Get a head start by spending at least 20 minutes, three times a week doing mental exercises.

Don’t know what brain aerobics are? It’s simple. Whenever you challenge your brain with novel tasks (anything new or different), you’re exercising your brain and improving brain function. In order for an activity to be considered brain aerobics, three conditions must be met. The activity needs to:

Mind Games generously donated by Cranium Crunches

  • Engage your attention.
  • Involve more than one of your senses.
  • Break a routine activity in an unexpected, nontrivial way.

Some examples of fantastic, brain-building mental exercises include reading, writing, playing board games, and doing crossword puzzles.

Mind Games

Distraction and competing bits of information often make picking out what is important in a situation complicated. The best way to hone those skills is to practice in situations that replicate real life.

 

Although Alzheimer’s is a horrible problem for so many, we can practice prevention and hope for a cure one day.  I’m grateful for scientists and physicians that work diligently to put an end to this illness.  I’m also thankful that as more and more is learned about Alzheimers, we can put practices into place to combat the onset and progression.

Have you known a relative or friend who has dealt with a family member or friend who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease?  I’d love to know how they coped.  Please leave a comment below and let’s share information about the trials and triumphs associated with this illness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rise & Shine; You Can Love your Wake-up Call!

Coffee Cup

Early mornings are probably my favorite time of day.  Being an introvert, I love a quiet morning.  I enjoy hearing the birds sing and the wind blow through the trees.  Do you look forward to waking up each morning?  Or do you quickly jump out of bed feeling frazzled and overwhelmed with your long to-do list?  Because I want you to love your mornings as much as I do, I want to help you enjoy the start of each day.  It may require setting your alarm a few minutes earlier than usual, especially if you have littles, but I promise it will be worth it!  I think you’ll be amazed by the peace and anticipation you’ll feel when you begin your day this way!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1.   Be kind to yourself with something you love, like a steamy cup of coffe, tea or something else that soothes you and wakes you gentlly.

2.  Sit in the same cozy spot each day.  Before going to bed each night, remove any distractions, such as remotes, magazines, etc.If it’s chilly outside, have a throw or cover nearby.

3.  As you sip your drink, open your mind and talk openly to God.  I believe he cares about your day as much as you do.  Tell him about anything that jumbles your thoughts.  Allow him to show you what’s really important about your day ahead of you.

4.  Use a daily devotional book and read the correlating scripture.  Pray that God will direct you and show you how this reading applies to you in a personal way.  You may realize that you have found a solution to a problem or concern by appying what you’ve just read.

5.  Pray about any other thoughts you have, whether they make you feel happy or sad.  Try to release your worries and thank God for the good things in your life.

I believe this approach helps me put my life in perspective and to look at the bigger picture.  So many problems that I’ve allowed to take upon myself to fix are things that I was never in control of anyway.  These quiet morings help me remember that God is God and that I am not responsible for many things that I’ve let trouble my mind.  As you continue with this routine, I hope you will learn to be kind to yourself and to stop pressuring yurself about every.little.thing.

Heart Picture

Some of my favorite devotional books:

Jesus Calling

Streams in the Desert

My Utmostt for His Highest

Do you have a favorite morning routine?  I’d love to hear whether you’ve tried this routine to a quiet morning or have any other suggestions?  Please leave a comment and let me know!