“We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.”
– Friedrich Nietzsche
When I think of the word, play, it reminds me of childhood. But playing is not just important for children; it’s vital at any age, just a little different from how we go about it. Have you ever tried to play hopscotch with your grandkids? My mind said you could do this; it’s easy. You just have to hop up and back on one foot. I could hardly make it to the third hop. I can dance, though, and swing on a swing set. I can play games and make fun things.
Did you know that play has been shown to release endorphins, improve brain functionality, and stimulate creativity? And it can even help to keep us young and feeling energetic. Studies show that play improves memory and stimulates the growth of the cerebral cortex. * Check out the sites below for more valued insight on the benefits of adding play into your life.
Reflection: It’s never too late to change our mindsets and introduce new ways to bring fun into our lives. Now that I know play has so many health benefits to add to my life, I want to fit fun into everything I do. I can even turn chores into playful activities by turning up the music and dancing my way through them.
“Gardens are not made by singing, “Oh, how beautiful!” and sitting in the shade.”
In the same respect, I cannot lose weight by only reading how to do it…with a tasty cake in my hand.
I remember a friend who always struggled with his weight, finally finding a way to lose it and keeping it off. As I shared my struggle with him, he encouraged me that my time would come someday when it all falls together.
Maybe this thing called diligence is what I need. Diligence calls for us to have a persevering determination to perform a task with conscientiousness. But the first thing I need to understand is why it’s so important to me and who will benefit the most when my task is complete. Diligence offers me a way to succeed by keeping my consciousness focussed on my purpose, which is only to be healthy, not skinny.
Reflection: Now that I understand what diligence offers, I can see how it is a fundamental part of life needed to succeed, especially when I do it with purpose instead of the fleeting robotic attitude I’ve had.
Autumn is my favorite time of the year though I often wondered why when so many sad things happened to me then. But there was one perfect miracle that outstood all the painful stuff. It was fifty years ago that our firstborn came into our life: our love child, Ginny, who was there from the beginning as we worked hard to create the kind of life Tom and I dreamed we could have together.
There is something magical about autumn that takes us to a place of quiet contemplation. My senses awaken like the flowers at the end of summer, putting everything they have into their last performance. And as the flowers die back, the leaves on the trees become the colorful flowers of fall. I feel the coolness that comes, yet the sun still warms me like a cozy blanket. I smell the sweetness of the earth and taste the bounty of summer’s growth in the pumpkins, apples, and cinnamon spices.
Reflection: I value everything that autumn brings out in me. It reminds me to slow down enjoy the moment right now, and as I reflect on the fall of many past autumns, I see the bounty that our family has produced over the many years since that first miracle that changed our lives.
“Fairness is one of the most significant traits of wisdom, the fairer you are, the wiser you become.”
Writing about fairness is like opening a can of worms. Just look up the word, and you’ll see how it applies to many different subjects. What’s so hard about being fair? It seems like the easiest thing in the world, but like all good intentions, their meanings can be twisted around by the law, religion, politics, philosophy, and personal beliefs. Just look at the issue of wearing a mask right now. Is it fair to make people wear a mask? We shouldn’t have to do that. But then, is it fair to put our children’s health at risk because you don’t believe you need to wear a mask? I like the bottom line of A.J. Carson’s quote when he says, “Let us keep our mouths shut and pens dry until we know the facts.” That might sound a bit harsh, but it might not be such a bad idea to know the facts behind what we are taking a strong stand for or against. I mean, Who determines what is fair? Sometimes laws have to be put in place to protect one another, like wearing seatbelts. If you choose not to wear one and get stopped, you’ll be fined for not wearing it. It is about saving lives, if not ours, then the person who is next to you. But really, who decides what fairness is in our life? We do! Even with Christian beliefs and guidance, we each determine what is right and wrong for us based on many different criteria. Let’s face it fairness is a lot more than we think.
Reflection: I hear two voices inside me; one is the ego that always speaks first and likes to argue about the controversy. Then my inner voice speaks from the heart and soul that knows what is right, wrong, and fair. It not only makes sure that everyone is treated the same. But it encourages respect, responsibility, leadership, trust, and a life that matters, and when we do this, people respect and trust us more.
One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure.
I thought that writing about the value of adventure was something I needed more in my life until I started researching its meaning. Of course, adventure is part of our journey, but you don’t have to climb Mount Everest to find adventure. You can find it right where you are; you can step outside and find adventure through gardening or even on a walk. You can even find adventure through your everyday task. It’s all in the way you choose to look at things; using our imaginations the way we did as kids can take us to faraway places. But still, it is fun to go places we have never been before and to see something new for the first time. I love going to other countries and getting a feel for how they live.
I remember when my husband and I moved to the country a few years after we were married. They were hard times financially for us but the best years of our life as we discovered what we were capable of doing. We had a big garden; I learned to can and froze the things we grew. And I became fascinated with the plants in our wooded area. What was editable, medicinal, and poisonous? Everything about that time was an adventure of discovery, and it was the lack of things that helped create the desire to know more about the things that were right in front of us that we would have otherwise taken for granted.
Reflection: We find the value of adventure through the things we discover. Life, no matter how old we get, is full of adventurous experiences. I can’t wait to see what adventure I’ll experience today.
“To truly have a zest for life, you must squeeze all the juice out of it…especially the lemons. Believe it or not, they make life even more delicious. The lessons you get out of them make you strong, resilient, and amazing.”
~Jenny G. Perry
When you have a zest for life, it’s very much like adding the zest of a lemon or orange to a recipe; it creates a burst of wonderful flavors and new experiences in life. Zest is a kind of zeal or enthusiasm, and people who live with that kind of spice have a lot of flavor and gusto. They put their heart and soul into what they do.
It’s kind of like having a passion for writing. It’s the zest to create those flavorful expressive words that go to the core of your heart that gives me the enthusiasm to create something unique. Just like the person who loves to cook knows what spices complement each other to create the flavors of a mouth-watering meal.
Reflection: While it’s cool to be a little bit sassy coming off as bold and spicy, I think I’d rather be zesty with the kind of pleasant solid spicy flavor that adds a bit of quality to life.
The value of Minimalism comes into play when you understand the oxymoron, less is more, or is it more is less?
I was reading that wanting the best things starts in childhood when you want the latest newest gadgets and toys. When I was a kid, my sister Kathy and I used to play with our babies. I remember going to this store in town and walking through the Barbie section. There were beautiful outfits and matching high heels, so many different things I couldn’t decide. It didn’t matter anyway. I was just looking and wishing I had the money to buy such extravagant things. Instead, Kathy and I would go through mom’s leftover scapes of material from her sewing and design our outfits by pinning and tieing the scapes around Barbie. We thought she looked beautiful, and it gave of hours of creative fun. Can you see how less is more in this? That one outfit, if I could have bought, would have been all I had. I would have wanted to go out and buy another right away. But with the scapes of material mom gave us, I had hours and days of fun. What we ended up with was more for less.
Tom and I started with less material things. We lived a simple life making the best with what we could afford. We never felt deprived of things because of our financial state. We had what we needed and prided ourselves on making the best with what we had—they were the happiest times of our life. Eventually, as years went by, we came into some inheritance that has left us in a financial place where we could relax a little more with the things we wanted. Now we find ourselves feeling suffocated and overwhelmed with too much stuff.
Reflection: I am grateful for the lesson that less is more has taught me. In the end, I have learned that having more for me has given me less in the long run. I’m working on getting back to the freedom that less provides and a simpler life filled with joy instead of things.
When I think of the word restraint, I picture myself on a horse pulling the reins back to keep the horse from taking off. “Whoa-Nelly!” I say.
When I was a little girl, I used to go to the candy store with my friend. She was very good at stealing stuff, and it looked so easy. She kept telling me to try it, but something inside kept saying don’t do it. Finally, one day I tried it. I felt so guilty I didn’t even want to go to the playground with my friend. I went home and told my dad what I had done and how bad I felt. My dad gave me the money to pay for what I had stolen and said I could do some chores to make up for it. He then walked me to the store and had me pay for the stolen candy, and with tears in my eyes, I apologized to the store owner for what I had done. I never wanted to have to do that again. I learned that listening to that inner voice was the best restraint I had to keep me out of trouble. I always feel guilty when I don’t heed its warning.
Reflection: Restraint can only have value when we practice what it has to offer. Every day in every way, I find myself holding back from doing the things that are unkind and hurtful to others. Even our thoughts can be harmful. They create words that are like a racehorse being held back at the gate of our mouths. The only way to settle the eager voice is to change our thoughts, and that’s where the value of restraint comes into play, giving us the time to say, “Whoa-Nelly! Let’s think about this for a moment.
Sometimes we have to go deeper to reach the higher places in life.
I remember going to the community pool when I was a kid. I’m not sure how old I was, maybe nine, when I decided to be brave enough to jump off the high dive—climbing up the ladder a few times, I chickened out before I actually took the plunge. Jumping in feet first, I pinched my nose tightly so the water wouldn’t go gushing through my nostrils. I went deeper and deeper before letting go of my nose and working my way up, higher and higher, toward the line where the water meets the air. I breathed in deeply, looked around, and smiled as my fear was gone, and an incredible thrill took its place. It was like nothing I had ever experienced before.
It’s an great metaphor for the kind of spiritual adventures I’ve had in life as I’ve gone deeper within myself to the very core of my soul it’s taken me to the higher places where I could see things with a clarity beyond the understanding of this world. Each occurrence has created a new thrill so incredible; I wish I could stay there forever. But then I’d miss all the extraordinary experiences going deeper has to take me yet in m life.
Reflection: Rumi once said, “The soul has been given its own ears to hear things the mind can’t understand.” I would add that the soul also has eyes for us to see through that the mind can not comprehend either. Going deeper into our soul allows us to see, hear touch, taste, and experience with our senses at their highest peak. The thrill feels to me like a touch of heaven on earth.
“A dynamic person is one who makes a difference in the world; who does something that changes things or people. The magnitude of work done may not be great, but the world is different because that person has lived and worked. The real secret of the dynamic personality is to believe that God works through you, whatever you may be doing; to put this service first, and to be as sincere, practical, and efficient as you know how.”
I love the simplicity of Emmet Fox. As I researched the value dynamism, it means great energy, drive force or power; active strength of body or mind; pizzazz. That sounds like my daughter Shannon. She is truly a dynamic person with everything she does. It has nothing to do with her title but more so to do with living her truth and being her authentic self.
I had to keep going back to the words of Emmet Fox to remind myself that anyone can be a dynamic person. Doing the best you can, being authentic, and living your truth is an active act in itself, and when we add God to the equation, our dynamism becomes even more dynamically effective to others.
Reflection: The only thing that keeps me from expressing the values that my dynamic personality has to offer is me, myself, and I. If I am truthful, honest, and authentic to myself and God, a dynamic effect will follow my actions.