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Archive for January, 2012

SAD

I know you’re probably thinking from the title that this blog has something to do with some type of sob story. Nope! Actually, SAD is an acronym for Seasonal Affective Disorder. What is Seasonal Affective Disorder you might ask? SAD is a form of depression that affects about 5% of adults, with 20% of people having some of the symptoms of this condition but not enough to actually be diagnosed for the disorder. SAD is a disorder that is seasonal and usually sets in around the fall and winter months when the days are growing shorter and there is less sunlight. Some people refer to it as the “winter blues.” If you are curious as to whether you have SAD here is a good website that gives you a checklist of symptoms: www.webmd.com. Although most people experience this only during the fall and winter months, there are some who experience it year round which is usually due to chemical imbalances in the brain.

Not too long ago, sometime around the first part of August of this year, I was sitting in a restaurant eating while waiting for my husband to pick me up. The restaurant was empty except for an elderly lady who sat down to eat a salad about three or four tables from me. I really can’t recall how the conversation got started but she struck up a conversation just commenting on the weather that day and how nice it was considering how hot it had been all summer. The temperatures were somewhere in the 70s and it was a really nice cool but sunny day. As the conversation went on she also mentioned how she was not looking forward to the fall and winter months because she always has a tendency to hibernate during these times. I expressed to her that I have had my bouts with wanting to hibernate as well and that a lot of people struggle with this. She also stated that she was taking medication for depression. I mentioned to her that after doing a lot of research and studying I learned that the reason people are so energetic and in such high spirits during the spring and summer months is because of the sunlight. And it’s actually due to good affects that sunlight gives us. Believe it or not we actually get vitamin D from the sun. I was shocked by that a couple of years ago when I found this out because most of the research regarding the effects of the sun in regards to your health is in relation to skin cancer and advising people to use sunscreen to protect themselves. Although this is definitely necessary, yet and still, since most of the attention is given to protection from the sun’s rays, most people would never really consider the fact that there could be health benefits to getting sunlight. There are many health benefits to soaking up the sun’s rays! Making sure you use plenty of sunscreen protection of course.

Here are some of the things that this wonderful creation of God (our sun) can do for you. Sunlight helps the body in the production of vitamin D that is necessary for calcium absorption and it directly affects our mood. Not only does sunlight help the body in producing vitamin D, it also helps to keep your neurotransmitters in good working order. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that send signals from cell to cell in our body, from one neuron to the next. Although there are numerous neurotransmitters, (neurological research has identified over 50 of them) there are four types of neurotransmitters that most people are familiar with that are most significant and directly related to mental health. They are: seratonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, and endorphin. Without getting all technical and too detailed in describing them, (believe me, there’s a lot to talk about when it comes to neuroscience. In case you didn’t know, our bodies are like a machine.) I will just give a brief description of what each one is responsible for in the body.

Seratonin is basically our mood regulator and is involved with our emotions, our perception, and how we feel. Too little seratonin can lead to depression, cause irritability, anger issues, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and a host of other emotional issues. People also tend to crave carbohydrates (typically ending up eating the wrong kinds) due to the fact that the body is really trying to increase seratonin levels in the brain. What carbohydrates do is raise the level of insulin, a hormone in the body, which in turn activates an amino acid called tryptophan. Tryptophan is then “ushered” into the brain. And guess what? Trytophan is a precursor to getting our seratonin juices flowing. Aaahhh!! No wonder we crave those bagels and that pizza so much during the fall and winter months. That’s our body’s way of trying to increase our seratonin levels to make us “feel good.” Um-hum! Also, when you are in very stressful situations, whether it’s job-related or whatever, this causes you crave carbohydrates (“raiding” the vending machine while at work…does this sound familiar?). Your body is looking for a way to relax. Seratonin does this for you. No wonder it’s so hard to stick to those diets when we’re all stressed out. It’s not so much appetite suppression that we need, it’s finding ways to keep our hormones in balance by involving ourselves in things that relax us. Exercise is one of them. Personally, I just happen to be one of those people who inherited genes that dictated that I would naturally have low levels of seratonin and have to make sure that I do everything that is necessary to boost this hormone. Maybe that’s why I love working out. A lot of people don’t like to exercise but there are times that I actually crave those workouts (mostly during stressful times in my life). Speaking of exercise, this brings me to the next neurotransmitter endorphin.

Endorphins function as neurotransmitters. This is our body’s natural morphine which is produced by the pituitary gland and hypothalamus during exercise. No wonder I love exercise so much. When you are in stressful situations, the body looks for ways to get those neurotransmitters working for you whether it’s through food or exercise. The body knows what it needs. By the way, in speaking of food that increases seratonin levels earlier in the blog, I looooove chicken. Always have. I can actually say that I am a bonafide chicken addict and according to my husband a chicken hawk ((laugh)). Most everybody in my family knows that I am the “chicken queen” because I can eat chicken for breakfast, lunch, and dinner almost everyday. I may take a break for a few days but after my separation from chicken, I just gotta have it! After years and years of my love affair with chicken I decided to do a little reading about this meat source derivative of a walking bird and found out that chicken has…drum roll…..tryptophan!! I’ve been telling my husband for years that there was a scientific explanation for my chicken addiction after being ridiculed and teased for my love for it. 😉 By the way, if you’re going to eat chicken, which is a good source of protein for those who are trying to lose weight, make sure you are getting good quality chicken that hasn’t been injected with hormones and chemicals. (That’s a whole other topic of discussion.) And while I’m speaking of healthy things to eat, going back to carbohydrates; there’s nothing wrong with eating pizza or any other carbohydrate as long as we make sure that we are taking in healthy carbs like whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, fruit and raw or steamed vegetables. It’s better to make the pizza yourself from scratch using whole wheat flour or unprocessed flour and throw some spinach or finely chopped broccoli on the pizza to make it even more healthy. There are even some vegan restaurants nowadays that make healthier pizzas and other foods that allow you to eat out and choose healthier options. Ok now back to the hormones.

Let’s talk a little about melatonin. Although this is not a neurotransmitter but a hormone, it’s something that needs to be discussed as well because it is directly related to other hormones and helps to regulate other hormones. Melatonin is the hormone responsible for controlling our sleep patterns. It regulates our circadian rhythm which is an internal 24-hour “clock” that tells us when to fall asleep and when to wake up. Without this we would all be insomiacs!! During those dark hours your body produces more melatonin, during the daylight hours your body produces less. This is the reason why people get jet lag or struggle with sleeping during the day when they have 2nd and 3rd shift jobs. It throws the body’s sleep cycle out of whack. Now on to norepinephrine.

Norepinephrine functions as a neurotransmitter and a hormone. The difference between a neurotransmitter and a hormone is simply that neurotransmitters are released from nerve cells whereas hormones are produced by the endocrine gland. Norepinephrine is secreted and released by the adrenal glands and by the noradrenergic neurons. It is a stress hormone that the brain releases during times of stress. When norepinephrine and its pathways are not functioning properly in the brain, a number of disorders can occur, including depression and attention disorders. Dopamine and norepinephrine are transported along the same pathway in the brain so if norepinephrine production is constricted in some way, dopamine production will also be affected. That takes us into a discussion about dopamine.

Dopamine is the neurotransmitter that controls our brain processes, movement, emotional responses, and our ability to experience pleasure and pain. Dopamine is a precursor to norepinephrine. It plays a crucial role in both our physical and mental health. People with Parkinson’s disease have lost their dopamine producing ability. The neurons that transmit this hormone have died, thereby adversely affecting muscle movement. The brain of a person with Parkinson’s disease contains almost no dopamine. Parkinson’s patients are typically given drugs that can be converted to dopamine in the brain to help relieve their symptoms. Other disorders with dopamine production can cause a decline in neuro-cognitive functions such as memory and attention. This is one of the causes of Alzheimer’s.

Now that I’ve discussed a few of the main neurotransmitters and how these work to help us maintain a healthy state of mind and healthy bodies, I just want to end by saying that in regards to SAD and other mood disorders, a lot of times it is unrecognized by both the person who is experiencing it and family and friends. It is so much easier for people to recognize and acknowledge a person with a physical disorder or disability opposed to someone with a mental or emotional disorder because most people are not educated in regards to the neurological function of the body. Outward signs of illness can be responded to more readily because we can see them and therefore we are more compassionate toward those who have a physical illness. When it comes to brain disorders or emotional disorders such as depression, ADHD, autism, alzheimer’s, and bipolar disorder, people typically don’t understand what’s happening and therefore are not as compassionate with people who experience it. Sometimes these type of disorders are silent killers, if left untreated, that people often attribute to a person’s personality. They consider the person who is suffering from it to have a personality or character flaw because of the negative emotions that are displayed as a result of it but the negative emotions are usually the only signs and symptoms that are displayed. People don’t attribute these type of symptoms to brain disorders or mental illness since they so easily seem to be linked to personality issues.

SAD is something that can be managed with proper nutrition, healthy eating habits, and exercise. If it’s something that persists long-term beyond the seasonal period, you should seek the advice of a doctor and get medical attention. Make sure you are getting plenty of vitamin D from milk and/or supplements and try to get as much sunlight everyday as possible by going outside (even in the cold). During the winter take time to even enjoy the snow. Winter is one of my favorite seasons because of the “white stuff” that I love so much! Make sure you are getting plenty of exercise to boost those endorphins and stimulate the production of other vital hormones in your body that directly affect your mood. Also, don’t neglect much needed time for nourishing your spirit. Meditation through prayer, scripture reading, or yoga can have a tremendous positive effect on the mind and body.

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What makes a seed grow? We do know the basics from what we learned as a kid in science class, that a seed needs water and sunlight to grow and mature. It was always very interesting to me to learn about cells, biology and science is an amazing study. The process of photosynthesis was one of my favorite fascinations regarding plant life. But if you take the growth of a seed further from just the basic watering and sunlight you will find some amazing discoveries and insight into a physical process that God introduced to his creation before man was even made. Take for instance germination. Germination is defined as the growth of an embryonic plant contained within a seed. No one can see the blueprints of what the seed contains. You can’t crack an apple seed open and see an image of the apple. You can’t see its color nor can you see what shape or form it will take. When flower seeds are planted you don’t know how much beauty is contained inside of that flower seed. You have no idea just by looking at it how colorful it will be and definitely have no idea that it can even have a pleasant smell to delight your senses. This is the same with the things that God plants inside of us. God has a plan and design for our lives. We are not here on this earth for no reason. If you are still living and breathing then there is purpose for you and your purpose lies inside of you, those things that you have a passion for. Sometimes we don’t know all that we have inside of us and God has to show us by taking us through the germination process.

The germination process is a matter of various phases. One of the phases of germination is the period of quiescence. What is quiescence? This is a plant stage where there is no “active” growth. It is a quiet stage where all is still. There are spiritual seasons that we go through as christians and just as we go through our spring and summers, we also will experience some fall and winter seasons as well. There will be times in our lives when all is still and quiet and this quiescence phase is just a part of the process of our spiritual development. Although there seems to be no outward or active signs of growth in our lives whether it’s in our personal lives, our business, our finances, our dreams or goals, there’s still life, there’s still growth. Maybe not “active” growth that is visible to the eye, but development is underway.

In the life of a Christian, as we grow from being a baby Christian into a more mature stage of spirituality we first learn about salvation then discipleship, we learn about obedience and sacrifice, and we learn what it means to take up our cross and follow Christ. We are willing and eager to do any and everything to follow Him. We want to learn more about God. We ask God to use us, not really understanding the full potential of what that means. But if God gave us a picture of the entire roadmap of our spiritual journey, most of us wouldn’t even go. We would resolve to just being a “regular” Christian and being content with just salvation and the thought of making it into heaven. But life is much more than that. God has a plan for His people. There are things that He planted on the inside of us.

During the time of germination a seed can survive adverse climate conditions until circumstances are favorable for growth. Spiritually there are seasons that we go through as Christians where all is quiet. We are wondering what is going on, where God has gone, why He’s not speaking to us, and what is happening. God what are you doing is what we often ask. Where are you? Then when go into a stage where we sometimes wonder if there’s something that we did to cause us to not hear from God or bring about our storm. Everything that happens to us in life is not always the result of sin. When you know that you are living right and following God’s laws to the best of your ability and it seems like all hell still breaks loose, and then you are just going through. We go through tests and we go through storms. There are tests that are be performed on a natural seed to see if it is viable; moisture test, purity test, seed weight, and germination testing. When you go through tests in life it is not meant to crush you, it is meant to strengthen you and cause you to exercise your spiritual muscles and it is meant to see how viable you are so that it can be visible what is going to come out of you under pressure. You get a little rain (moisture test) and then after some testing you need to be purified so you go through a purity test. Once you’ve gone through the purity test your weight can be determined. After all of this testing then comes germination testing. Various plants require different variables for successful seed germination. Water is required. It is interesting that in the natural, mature seeds are often extremely dry and need to take in significant amounts of water, relative to the dry weight of the seed before cellular metabolism and growth can resume. Spiritually speaking, to whom much is given, much is required. The greater the test, the more God has implanted inside of you that He wants to get out of you but also, the greater the blessing when you are in your season. There is seedtime and then there’s the harvest. Once germination has taken place that seed breaks starts to swell and break open, it then starts growing roots and then starts to bear fruit. One thing that is also interesting is that temperature affects cellular metabolic and growth rates of a seed. Depending on the seed variety, there is a temperature range within the seed by which they will germinate and break dormancy and they will not do so above or below this range. Many seeds germinate at temperatures slightly above room temperature, while others germinate just above freezing and others germinate only in response to alternations between warm and cool. There are some seeds that even require exposure to the prolonged cold temperatures of winter before being able to fully produce in the spring. In the spiritual realm, God knows how much we can bear and He will not put more on us than we can bear. He will only allow so much pressure. He knows when to turn up the heat and when to cool things down to get us to the place where we can bear much fruit. Sometimes it seems like we may go through a long winter season where all is still and quiet, you are praying and fasting and doing everything you know to do but still haven’t seen the fruit just yet and you’re wondering if your day will ever arrive or if you are even on the right track, but if you hold on a little while longer you will bear fruit in your season.

Eccl 3:1

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We hear the saying all the time “Beauty is skin deep.” Now what does that mean? If you were reading the statement beauty is skin deep your first thought would probably be that if you’re not pretty or handsome you somehow have less value than people who are more attractive. Though we all know this isn’t true there are some superficial people in the world who actually feel this way but everybody’s beautiful in their own way.

There are several ways that a person can look at the statement beauty is only skin deep. One being that the outward appearance is the only thing that counts (which would be taking it literally, that beauty doesn’t go further than the skin) and another meaning that beauty is something that is somewhat of an illusion or in other words something that’s superficial and fleeting. Just because a person is beautiful on the outside doesn’t mean they will be beautiful on the inside. They could have the most unattractive personality. That’s not to say that people who are a little less attractive have the best personalities either, depends on each individual. You just have to take a look inside to see what’s there. A lot of people who are not as attractive typically do have really great personalities more so than those who are more attractive. My explanation for this is simply because beautiful people sometimes feel that their beauty will carry them in all aspects of life so they have a tendency to not work so hard on the inward stuff and developing their personality. They rely too heavily on their looks to get them through life. A free ride so to speak. For people who know they are not as attractive, they take the time to develop themselves in other ways to make themselves more appealing and therefore create more personal assets aside from the superficial stuff like beauty. If you look a little deeper you will find beauty beyond what’s on the outside. Because we have our minds set and trained on what the standard of beauty is, sometimes we find difficulty in seeing past that outer shell which will eventually fade away as we age. We have to learn to look beyond what is in front of us. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. People should be judged by their character, not their looks. Now I’m not at all saying that beauty is not important. Beauty is one of God’s creations. It’s a wonderful thing! And of course you definitely want to have someone in your life that you are dating or married to who is as equally attractive as you are because it’s important to have an equal partner in the area of intellect, looks, financial status, spirituality, etc. but of course beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You just don’t want to be the kind of person who constantly judges people based on their looks and picks their friends based on status as far as outward things like looks and material things because you never know what kind of inward beauty you are missing out on all because you didn’t take the time to get to know someone.

Everybody has their own definition of beauty. There is a standard of beauty in our country with specifics and partiality to nose sizes, eye shape/color, hair type, face shape, and the overall body proportion. It is said that there is a Universal definition of beauty. What that means is that there is some scientific theory of Divine Proportion. Divine Proportion advocates that everything in the universe is based on the proportion 1 to 1.618. Someone took the time to study numerous things in the world in art, architecture, advertisement, music, birds, flowers, and even the human body and discovered a Divine Proportion law that is consistent in everything. Don’t know if this is particularly true or not but hmmm…something worth studying because it’s very accurate. For example, regarding the human body, each succeeding finger bone is 1.618 the length of the preceding finger bone. This theory also states that all beautiful faces regardless of race, age, and sex, conform to the Divine Proportion. When you really think about it, how many times have we thought after looking at someone with a huge nose or crooked teeth, humongous oversized lips or elf like ears have we thought to ourselves or even said out loud…wow that’s an ugly person right there. That’s not such a nice statement to make, but even if you see a wilted flower or some other things in art, fashion, clothing, etc. out of proportion or not quite right according that standard of “beauty” we don’t really find it appealing do we? Well I say beauty is ONLY skin deep or superficial.

When I was a little girl, somewhere during my early teen years from the age of 13 and throughout my adolescent years, I had this nagging thought that because I was pretty, which I was often told by people quite often, I would somehow have a horrific accident of some kind that would steal my beauty. Either through a car accident or some other type of tragic incident. This is a thought that developed after years of experiencing jealousy from various people in my life. I never could understand why it was so hard for females to give another female a simple compliment about their hair or clothes or something so simple as “those shoes are really cute.” I never had a problem giving compliments. But I guess when an individual is lacking in a certain area and desires something that another person possesses, human nature is to be envious or jealous. Fortunately I never experienced any of this from classmates. Maybe because I had classmates who were just as pretty, talented, smart and confident and secure enough within themselves to not have to be jealous or envious in that way, I don’t know. Anyway somehow, (not exactly sure when) these negative twisted thoughts got planted in my mind as a child and since at that time I did not have the tools to be able to dispel these thoughts that were in my head, they lingered and affected my relationships in a negative way because what began to happen was, I became a people pleaser. I even went so far as to try to downplay my gifts and talents so as not to “outshine” others that I was around.  This is a dangerous thing because you end up losing yourself and allowing people to manipulate you. I knew these thoughts were wrong and of an evil nature. Although I didn’t have the tools to know how to dispel the thoughts, what I did possess was the ability to pray. So I took my concerns to God in prayer and asked Him to deliver me from these thoughts. The things that we cannot do on our own and don’t have the power or knowledge to do, God does intervene in our lives to bring about the desired and necessary changes. And if we ask Him to give us the knowledge and wisdom, He will also do that as well. Fortunately, I was delivered from those horrible thoughts of losing my beauty and finally realized after snapping out of this disillusionment that God blessed me with beauty and talent and it is something I should never be made to be ashamed of or made to feel guilty about expressing. Why in the world would I think that because I possessed beauty, something that is God-given to begin with ‘mind you, that I would be punished for it? This is somewhat similar to the emotional trauma that a woman who has been stripped of her virginity and/or personal security goes through from the awful experience of being raped or taken advantage of by a man. Of course the two experiences can’t be compared, but what I mean by this is that there is a mindset and a little bit of emotional turmoil happening on the inside that strips a person from the freedom to be who they are because another person has taken a piece of that away. When you have people who hate on you for being talented, smart, pretty, handsome…they are basically telling you “I want what you have and you don’t deserve it.” Who are you to be talented, smart, pretty, handsome?

I remember listening to a story on TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network) in which Mandisa from American Idol was being interviewed by a christian talk show host regarding her new album after her experience on American Idol. She shared a story about something that she experienced when she was younger that caused her to get to the weight that she was at when she appeared on American Idol. She was raped as a young child and ever since that experience she became an emotional eater because of it. What she didn’t realize until just a few years ago was that there was a connection between her emotional eating and the rape incident. It wasn’t until she sought God about specific things in her life that it was revealed to her that what she was doing by emotional eating was creating a physical shield or wall so to speak by allowing herself to get heavy and overweight. The weight was a protection of some sort. The emotional aspect of the rape experience caused her to subconsciously think that if she was beautiful and attractive, she would be an easy target for men to harm and hurt her. This is where I compare her experience from an emotional aspect to mine. Even something as simple as people hating on you can cause a person to develop emotional issues that subconsciously cause them to want to hide a part of themselves so as not to become the point of attack.

Everybody handles their pain and tragedy in life differently. Some people become prone to alcoholism, some drug addiction, some choose food as their comfort to help them cope with life struggles which also leads to addiction, and some choose to smoke. Food addiction is usually chosen because it is safer than drugs and alcohol and the individual feels that since it doesn’t harm others or affect other people’s lives the way alcohol and drugs do it’s not as bad. But actually food addiction has it’s own harmful consequences that spill over to other areas of our lives and affect the people around us because we are not really taking care of ourselves. And when we are not taking care of ourselves, we are not able to take care of the important people in our lives in a positive way, like our children and give to them or our spouse our best self. It’s amazing the thoughts that our subconscious mind thinks without us even realizing that those thoughts are there. Our mind is so powerful that the human brain can think a different thought every 1.2 seconds. Our mind is thinking 86,400 seconds in a 24 hr day. The human brain has been compared to a computer. Wow!! So, you see why there can be sooo many things going on (on a subconscious level) that you are not even aware of unless you get to the root of the problem and try to figure out why you are displaying symptoms (Ex. drinking excessively, getting high, overeating, shopping excessively and overspending, sexual addictions, etc.). This is the reason why the bible tells us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. If you could understand the way your brain and mind works and how much of a powerful tool it is, to allow us to think, create, problem solve, etc., you would be able to see, understand, and respect the importance of renewing your mind daily. Let me give an example of this: since our brains are likened to a computer processor, the same way that our computer gets clogged with information and starts to slow down because of broken or fragmented computer files from constant activities like deletion, rewriting of files, or resizing, it requires defragmenting to undo what has been broken which helps the computer processes to speed up and get back to normal speed. We have thousands of thoughts per day. Most of the time these thoughts are a large percentage of the time negative and we do not monitor what we are thinking. Sometimes it’s very hard to monitor your thoughts if you haven’t learned to control and train them. It is possible to train your brain. We have a tendency to think that we have no power or control over our thoughts but that is far from the truth. Thinking is a process that is influenced by outside stimuli and also inside stimuli such as our nervous system and the neurons and hormones that regulate brain activity. Although we get many of our thoughts from many different outside sources, that doesn’t mean that we can’t control how long these thoughts stay inside our heads. We can choose to focus on a thought or choose to eliminate it so that it doesn’t become a part of our inner beliefs or storage system. If you are told you are stupid and accept that thought that was verbalized to you by someone else, (accepting it by choosing to believe it and furthermore focusing and meditating on it continuously day in and day out) then it becomes part of your belief system. You’ve allowed a negative thought to be stored in your subconscious data file to be accessed over and over again thereby causing you to react outwardly or express this negative thought in various ways through your behavior. It’s like a tape or movie being stuck on repeat and playing over and over. How do we react outwardly? Overeating to comfort ourselves when these negative thought reappear in our mind. Drinking excessively even to the point of alcoholism because we have thoughts that we are not even aware of that randomly pop into our heads at any given moment that make us feel emotions like anger, fear, sadness, inferiority, or insignificant. If you were to monitor your thoughts throughout the day, you would be shocked at the number of negative, non-supportive thoughts that run through your mind. And if your hormones are out of whack and out of balance (which influence our thoughts as well) then you really have a larger percent of uncontrollable thoughts that are hard to get a handle on. This spills over into anxiety attacks and other stress related issues. What is a computer monitor for? So that you can see what information is in the CPU or processor. Imagine not having a monitor and just placing your software into the processor to receive data. You wouldn’t have any idea what was being put into it nor have a way to access the information and control any potential negative data that may have been placed on your hard drive.

I would compare the process of defragmenting a computer to reading a book, particularly the Good book or the bible. What defragmenting does is take computer files that are broken or fragmented and fixes the broken files. This is why reading is very important. Not only reading regular books but most importantly the bible which is the knowledge of truth written by man but inspired by God. Hebrews 4:12 states: For the word of God is quick and powerful and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. When we read, it is like taking software and placing it in a computer’s hard drive for the computer to access and read the data. When we read the word of God it is similar to defragmenting your computer. The word of God will clean up your mind and do the work that needs to be done to correct things that have been stored in your mind. This is why you hear people talk about the mindset. Mindset is a way of thinking, whether wrong or right, that creates a person’s belief system. Not only is reading important and crucial to mental health but receiving positive, life-enriching information through not only your eye-gate, but the ear-gate too, is something that you must monitor as well (the music you listen to and the environment you choose to dwell in – people you choose to hang around).

Computers process information that is stored on a disc or dvd and stores it for future reference to be accessed when needed. If we don’t read and fill our brains (which is our storage device) with positive things, we allow ourselves to be continuously bombarded with negative outside stimuli that gets stored in our subconscious because we neglect to monitor it. Let’s defragment what unintentionally goes into our storage think tanks by reading positive books, listening to positive music and dvds, meditating on positive things, exercising positive self-talk, and renewing our minds through the word of God daily. Lest we, like our computers, get sluggish from all of the junk that clogs up our thinking and potentially spills over into other areas of our lives.

If you are a person who struggles with your weight, maybe you are an emotional eater and don’t know why you can’t “stick to your eating program” and “exercise more will power”, there are reasons behind all of it that you will be able to understand once you can successfully get to the root problem. The eating, smoking, drinking, or whatever other behavior you take part in to try and self-medicate is only a symptom of a deeply rooted problem that needs to be addressed. Let’s not focus on what’s on the outside more than what is on the inside for what’s on the inside is really what matters the most. Take the time to invest in yourself and as you do you will begin to see your health (mental and physical health), your weight, and your life become better and more in balance and in tune with who you were meant to be. Make an investment in YOU!!

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The Journey

There’s nothing you can do about where you’ve been in life, roads you’ve traveled, paths taken that you shouldn’t have. The only thing you can do is follow a good path from here on out.

Life is about learning and growing. Let God be your guide. Enjoy your journey. Pack lightly, too much baggage will prevent you from pressing forward. Take your Bible for it is your spiritual roadmap for life.

Regarding those who are moving slower than you, be patient, go around them, pass with caution. Don’t be rude, don’t honk your horn. Wave and flash a friendly smile along the way!

When it gets dark in your life, when the nighttime comes, you will have your light which is the word of God. The word is a lamp unto your feet and a light for your path. (Psalm 119:105) For those darkest hours, when it’s midnight, switch to high beam to access your internal power source which is the Holy Spirit. It will comfort you and give you direction and lead and guide you. And when it gets stormy & rain is in the forecast, make sure before your trip your windshields are ready to operate. Your shield is your faith. The bible speaks about putting on the whole armour of God. (Eph 6:11) It will protect you during the storm and rain.

This life is not easy with it’s twists and bends, peaks & valleys. Sometimes we may wander off onto the wrong path. Sometimes we may give up and just pull over to the side of the road for a moment, sometimes we find ourselves crashing from going too fast and not paying attention and heednig the signs, and other times we try to take detours and shortcuts only to find out that we’ve wandered further from our destination only making our journey even longer than when we started and we now have to find our way back to where we started.

But stay in the race. It’s not given to the swift nor the strong but to He that endureth until the end. Keep progressing forward moving steadily to your destination.

Your new journey awaits you!

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