Thursday, November 24, 2016

Grace Awakening, Gratitude and Appreciation

Research conducted by Professor Robert Emmonds, University of California, Davis, has showed people would be happier, healthier, more able to deal with stress, more optimistic, and more willing to help others if they express appreciation at least five times per week.

The Bible says, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

As we celebrate Thanksgiving, I am eager to share my gratitude and appreciation for Good Health, Relationships, and God.

On the first day of this year, I started to have back pain that got worse and worse.  Finally it was diagnosed to be Sciatica, a back pain caused by a problem with the sciatic nerve. That is a large nerve that runs from the lower back down the back of each leg. When something injures or puts pressure on the sciatic nerve, it can cause pain in the lower back that spreads from hip to leg.  When having pain sitting, standing, moving, and sleeping, I felt very sad.  I thought I could never enjoy taking walks again.  Imagine how grateful I am to resume walking in our neighborhood with James!

Without health, I cannot move.  But without relationships, I would starve emotionally.

I am so grateful for family, friends and everyone who has been in my life, even just for a short while.

I thought of a young couple I met in Germany while serving with James at a Discipleship Training Conference in 2010.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Relieve Stress Through Creativity

Busy? Stressed? Too many things happening? Not everything under your control? You are not alone!

Jessica is a high school English teacher. Her job entails stressful interactions with administration and students in addition to the pressures of lesson planning and grading.

On days off, she prioritizes creative pursuits. She makes collages out of artifacts from world travels to Turkey and South America. She takes dance classes. Photography provides another way to untangle her mind from the pressures of daily teaching work.

Jessica says that creativity gives her a chance to play—to do something where the stakes are low and there’s no judgment. “Without these creative outlets I would be a lot less fun in the classroom and less open to the whimsical creativity of my students,” she says. “I’d definitely be more stressed out and wouldn’t enjoy teaching so much.”

As Jessica’s story shows, in a fast-paced world, creativity can be a fantastic stress relief tool. Whether we make collages, plant a garden, toss paint onto a canvas, or play the guitar—stress tends to go out the window when we let our creativity run wild.

Why Incorporate Creativity into our Daily Lives?
According to Ruth Richards, author of Everyday Creativity, creativity is necessary and attainable for everyone. It is “one of the most powerful capacities we have, bringing us alive in each moment, affecting our health and well-being, offering richness and alternatives in what we do, and helping us move further in our creative and personal development.”