My Thoughtful Place to Ponder Things

My Thoughtful Place

Do you have a thoughtful place, somewhere to spend a few moments pondering things? From my workplace at home this is what I see, only in a dynamic form.

Large branches sway back and forth in the wind. Leaves dance about ever so quickly as they are pulled along. The movement mesmerizes my mind, pulling it into a creative state where I can find just the right words to write, gain clarity on situations I’ve been mulling over, gain some inspiration, and contemplate the passages of life.

As I look up past the tree tops, into the sky, I have conversations with the Lord. Many conversations. Telling Him what’s troubling me, pouring out my heart, thanking Him for so many, many blessings – and even thanking Him for the difficulties that seem to come more often than I’d like.

I find peace in the pouring out, rest in the thankfulness, and joy in creative inspirations.

If you don’t have a quiet place to go and think, I hope you can find one. I highly recommend it.

And when you do find one, I hope you visit it often!

 

 

 

 

Beauty that Restores Peace

When life is overwhelming, we are stretched beyond ourselves, and we become more stressed and anxious, it is time to go to a quiet, peaceful, place and bring some calm into the chaos. Colors bring peace to me, along with scenes of nature that I can focus on, imagine myself in the midst of, and restore my soul through the magnificence of beauty.

This past year has been one of the most overwhelming of my life. I need to make a conscious effort each day to find peace and rest for my soul. This photo, with the stunning hue of the bluebonnets, strength of the forest, refreshing of the foggy mist, and symbolism of the gently winding path, spoke  great peace to me.

I have a thing for forests. When I lived in Switzerland, there was a trail I would walk that would give me great peace and tranquility. I would hike up to a large fallen tree, lay on its strong trunk and look up at the sky, watching the high above branches sway in the breeze and the clouds pass through the rays of sunshine. When I saw this photo of the stunning floral landscape in my favorite color, amidst the gentle forest, I sighed, a deep, anxiety-releasing, relaxing sigh. I share it with you here, and hope you will click through to the photographer’s site to refresh your soul with more of his amazing photography.

The creator of this lovely forest in Hallerbos, Belgium, is no other than Our Lord God. The photographer, Kilian Schonberger, provides additional photos of this lovely scene at My Modern Met

Enjoy!

Kilian Schonberger

Great Reason for a High Protein Breakfast Every Day!

coffee and a muffinCoffee and a bran muffin used to be my standard breakfast when I was a younger, thinner version of myself. Through the years, especially when my children entered the picture, I found myself hungrier from all the physical activity of  chasing them around, and eating heartier meals. Now that they are grown, I’ve gotten rid of the gluten, and with that a lot of starchy carbs, going to higher protein meals with a mix of lean meats, cottage cheese, and eggs. I’m also eating my largest meal of the day at lunch.

Looks like there is a greater benefit to eating higher protein for breakfast other than staying full longer. It is now being shown to help control your blood glucose and insulin levels, helping to fend off diabetes. [Read more…]

Want Less Stress? Be Optimistic!

The way you manage stress can be evident by the way you see “the cup”. What? Well it turns out that if you are a cup half full, or optimistic, type of person, you are better at managing your stress than your cup half empty neighbors. You could have guessed that, right?

Remember Elle Woods classic line in Legally Blonde:  “Exercise gives you endorphins–endorphins make people happy and happy people just don’t shoot their husbands… they just don’t.”

Elle Woods

Same thinking here – if you’re happy, you don’t flip under stress. Now there is research to back this observation up. A new study published in the American Psychological Associations Health Journal and ScienceDaily.com shares:

Results show that indeed the “stress hormone” cortisol tends to be more stable in those with more positive personalities…. that pessimists tended to have a higher stress baseline than optimists, … also had trouble regulating their system when they go through particularly stressful situations. “On days where they experience higher than average stress, that’s when we see that the pessimists’ stress response is much elevated, and they have trouble bringing their cortisol levels back down. Optimists, by contrast, were protected in these circumstances,” says Dr. Jobin.

While the study generally confirmed the researchers’ hypotheses about the relation between optimism and stress, one surprising finding was that optimists who generally had more stressful lives secreted higher cortisol levels than expected shortly after they awoke (cortisol peaks just after waking and declines through the day). Jobin says there are several possible explanations, but also notes that the finding points to the difficulty of classifying these complex hormones as good or bad. “The problem with cortisol is that we call it “the stress hormone,” but it’s also our ‘get up and do things’ hormone, so we may secrete more if engaged and focused on what’s happening.

So if you are not a natural optimist, there’s hope. You can change your thought habits with much discipline and persistence. Let me tell you a secret to changing your outlook. It’s gratitude. Expressions of gratitude, in your thoughts, and out loud, throughout each day change the way you see life.

The bottom line is that YOU make the choice, each moment of every day to be grateful or stressed, negative or energetic.

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