Just finished my morning workout…..whew!! This isolation and the ending of, “our life as we knew it”, can really take a toll on our physical AND mental health.
My newest habit is to change my motion to change my E-motion! When I was single, I joined a lot of aerobic classes at the gym I had a membership at and I was also in a hip-hop dance band as a singer. I was always exercising and dancing and then I gave my life to motherhood for 22, intense years, not that I would change a thing.
But things have changed, and although I now have a college student home again and a full time high-schooler here, I realized I need some deep and lasting motivation to keep my focus positive and my mind and body in shape! I started taking up aerobic dance and dancing again, in general. What a great, playful, new adventure!
Dancing increases flexibility (make sure you stretch first:), improves posture, increases core strength and is a natural mood lifter/ anxiety dissolver. When I turn on the loud music and start moving, those around me can’t seem to help but join in, which in turn, becomes a fun family activity!
Aroma therapeutic side note: all of the citrus essential oils are really helpful at this historical, uncertain time we have found our selves in. I have made a blend of a few drops of each; lemon, orange, lime, grapefruit and bergamot essential oils in a 2 ounce spray bottle of water and then mist in each room. They naturally invigorate and are intrinsically anti-viral, anti- bacterial and immune system supporters- perfect to help prevent the spread of any virus! This particular blend also has such a tropical aroma to it so it brings back happy thoughts from happier days at the sunny beach.
So, remember to, >>>>>Keep Moving>>>>>>, however you are able and utilize the pure natural aromas God gave us to keep us healthy and living our best life, no matter how quarantined you are atm<3
I am walking this road with you and I would love to hear from you today!
Are you feeling a bit afraid? Me too. Sometimes I walk outside and think, holy crap is all of this really going on? Are we really in a pandemic? In a month so many things have changed and, like 9/11, I think they will change, the way we do life, forever.
Well, forever, as pertains to this life anyway. When I was about nineteen years old I became, what Christian’s call, born again. I intentionally gave over the control of my life to Jesus Christ. I knew that I was living a very selfish, self gratifying life with a lot of secrets and well worn roads and I was miserable.
One night when I was driving quite a distance from home after performing some singing telegrams, that was my occupation at the time, I happened upon a Christian radio station. The old-time preacher was calling me out from the front seat of my metallic blue ’78 Mercury Zephyr. He said; “If you died tonight, would you go to heaven?” I said, “No” out loud. He went on to explain that Jesus came to earth, died and rose again and is seated in heaven now to take my sins and the sins of the whole world and there is nothing we can do that will make us a good enough person to get into heaven, but we must surrender our life in Christ. He went on to say, that we must ‘hand over the wheel of our life’ and give Jesus the control over it because He knows what He created us for, where He wants us to go and what He wants us to do. Well I was driving with the steering wheel in my hands and said, out loud, driving down the highway, right there on my white leather seats, “Jesus take the wheel of my life in yours, I hand my life over to you. ( And this was long before Carrie Underwood wrote the song:)
He saw me and He heard me and my life has never been the same. He became my focus and pursuit and a whole new world and possibilities opened up for me. My life was no longer focused on the next self gratifying event, but instead, I became very curious about this King of Kings, and how I fit into His Kingdom.
Today, this moment, it seems to me we are confronted with the same choice. There is an unseen virus that is wreaking havoc in every place of our lives. Our once autonomous lives are becoming less and less autonomous. There is no where to hide. We can’t leave our neighborhood, our county, our state or the country. We cannot meet up with friends like we used to. We cannot shop to get some retail therapy. We can’t get our hair done or go to the gym so we can feel a little better about ourselves. We are being forced to sit with our selves our thoughts and the families that we are bound to.
There is no game to go to tonight, no dinner reservations, no show. Some people are wearing masks and gloves and some are visibly bothered by being around others, even six feet away. Some people have to postpone graduations, weddings and even the mourning of a loved one. It’s easy to see how we can be overwhelmed by fear and panic. What can we do?
We can feed our faith. We can, like Philippians 4:8 says to do, meditate on whatever things are true, noble, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous and praiseworthy things. Meditate means; to engage in thought or contemplation, reflection, ponder, consider, dream about, purpose, think on. The Bible says that We can transform our minds by the renewing of our minds. I know this is true, for I have spent months doing this very exercise at a time in my life when I forgot what my true identity was as a Christian.
Jesus said that He is the way, the truth and the life. He also called himself the light of the world. He said, whoever follows Me will not stumble around in darkness but have the light that leads to life. We need that light and that life today. Just like the unseen virus that roams around waiting to devour, we have an unseen enemy of our souls and his name is satan or the devil. The virus threatens our lively hood, our education, our health, our society, our world and maybe our very life. But Jesus said in Matthew 10:28, “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul.
Satan seeks to kill, steal and destroy, just like the virus, but the ramifications are eternal. He seeks to take your soul through deception like lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh and seeking after all the things this life has to offer. His primary focus is to convince you that you are not a child of God and God does not have your best in mind. He is a liar and a thief and loves to use fear as a primary weapon.
Faith in God is eternal safety in this life and the life to come. He invites us in to His Kingdom that is without end and offers us joy and peace that, He says, surpasses all human understanding. As the layers of what we have known as our lives get pealed away, He is there offering supernatural protection, direction and hope.
I chose this image for the blog for it’s majesty, peace, calmness and hope. As an Aromatherapist, I know the value of Lavender for it’s central nervous system calming and sedative properties. It is very effective as a support for people who struggle with anxiety or have a hard time falling asleep. It is beautiful to gaze upon and beautiful to smell. Green is the color of life and being alive.
Purple is the color of royalty and peace, very fitting for The King of Kings. Mountains are majestic and lift our eyes up to something greater than ourselves. During this time of panic and uncertainty, lift up your eyes to where your help comes from, everlasting help comes from The Lord Jesus. Call on His name, give him the wheel of your life and feed on Him as the object of your affection and your faith.
No matter where you are, no matter where you have been, He is warmly and excitedly waiting for you right now.
This is the Holiday Season, it is exciting and exhilarating in many ways, but for many it is filled with anxiety and depression.
I happen to be a person who loves the notorious, Hallmark, picture- perfect, movies because they always turn out the way I want them to! But that is seldom true of real life.
When there is so much going on and so much expected, it is very easy to get overwhelmed and focus on stress. It takes intentionality to be aware of the subtle blessings in life and cultivate gratefulness, especially during times of overwhelm. But that is exactly what we need to do.
We do have the ability to change. We do not have to say yes to everything that others ask us to do and we can take extra measures to carve out self care during this bustling time of year.
Here are a few suggestions:
Be intentional about eating food that makes you feel light and healthy. Start with three days this week that you will intentionally eat well and take notice of how it makes you feel physically.
Drink more water than usual. Add some lemon, lime or cucumbers to it, for an uplifting change!
Take the first 10 minutes or more of your day and pray or journal. Focus on the things you have to be thankful for. We take for granted running water, warmth, food, technology and the ability to think.
Make the decision to stretch or exercise every morning for 15 minutes and see how you feel later on in the day because of that decision.
Break out the essential oils you have laying around and pick out 2-3 that you love! Put a few drops of each into a spray bottle, fill with water, shake well and use as a room deodorizer. Remember that most essential oils are anti-viral and anti-bacterial- so it will not just brighten your mood, it will also support your immune system!
Pick out special cards for those people in your life that you need to say, “I love you”, to. Writing is very therapeutic.
Surround your self with positive music that has encouraging lyrics.
Take a walk for 10 minutes in the fresh air.
Take a bath or hot shower. Put Epsom salt in the bottom of the tub for added stress relief. Better yet, add 3-5 drops of your favorite essential oil into the Epsom salt first. A few drops of Eucalyptus will open up the respiratory and refresh you! (In Epsom first, not straight in water as it can irritate the skin if it lays upon water alone)
Choose to say, ” I am thankful to be alive today”, even if your not feeling it, choose to focus on the gift of life.
There! Those are some ideas to jump start you and get you thinking! You have the ability to change and make this day, and everyone to follow, better than the one before!
I am right here, journeying along with you and I would love to hear from you today! Happy Holidays<3
Yesterday I had the privilege of working a long side (my husband, pictured here:), but also, another very gifted and intellectual man, Dr. John Neyman. The seminar was held at Cornerstone Church of Clarion who warmly and authentically welcomed us to share. John wrote a book called; “The Neyman Strategy”, out of his life long career of counseling people with various issues, namely, anxiety. He shared the information from that book and more, in his seminar, “A Day Of Grace”.
If you get the chance to schedule this doctor of Theology, Psychology and Behavioral Specialist in a town near you, which I highly recommend, my husband and I will most likely be supplying the music for the event and sharing a bit about our story.
Dr. Neyman’s over arching theme is; change your thinking, change your life. His passion comes from his own life journey, where he walked in dark trenches himself and met God there. That led him on a path of faith and a voracious desire to become educated in every way so that he could grow and help others.
He shared many stories of the transformations that happened in seemingly hopeless cases. He once asked the City Of Pittsburgh to give him their most difficult behavioral case, and they did! It didn’t happen over night, but freedom eventually came to the tormented person who others would have written off.
God says in His Word in Romans 12:2, “Do not conform to the world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Science backs up God’s Word for this! In recent years, the neuroscience field has proven that new neural pathways can be created when we meditate on positive, life giving thoughts and subsequent actions.
One of the strategies that Dr. John teaches in his book and at his seminar is, meditating on scripture for 7 minutes a day in 1-minute increments.
We are given second, third, forth, chances when we apprehend this tool! How am I so certain? Well, God did this very thing for me after I came through a great challenge and subsequent failure. I could have been left in depression and in the bondage of guilt and shame, but God lead me by His grace into His path of light and life. I wrote about this journey in my book; That’s Not Who You Are.
The very method of renewal that Dr. John spoke about for hours yesterday, is the same method I used to recover from failure. I spent hours and days, studying scripture, meditation on it, writing it down, writing songs and blogs about it, speaking it, memorizing it, trusting it, and trusting God- not my circumstances. It transformed me. It didn’t happen in a minute, it wasn’t the microwaved, drive-through version, it was deep, wide and continues to sustain me.
I was able to share a bit about that at yesterday’s seminar and connect with people who have been touched by the pain of hopelessness. I share how God is a God of hope, second chances and new life! I share how God made Himself so real and intimate to me in such a dark time of my life. How He brought others to surround me along the way as I surrendered my control to Him.
If that is not the God you know, I invite you to rediscover Him again, through His son, Jesus Christ. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and He does not disappoint! No matter what you are going through, addiction, depression, anxiety, loneliness, failure…He has every answer and has given us the tools to illuminate our lives. There is nothing that you could have ever done or do, that He will not welcome you with open arms when you come to Him for help. He delights in mercy.
It is to Him, I am grateful to have the privilege and the honor to work with and along side so many amazing people<3
To inquire about a Dr. John Neyman event, call: 724-712-9449
I was having a conversation with our oldest daughter last evening. She was telling me that it is accepted as normal for Millennials to be stressed and anxious! She was sharing some realizations with me about who she is and what she has learned about her self and I was relating things I have learned about my self and how we have some similarities.
I am so happy for her that she is learning not to be stressed and anxious at a young age and she is accepting of her self in areas that she feels the culture saying; “press through, try harder, suck it up”! She is learning where to let go and accept her limitations and seek peace in stead of striving in her life.
I have been re reading Dale Carnegie’s book; How to Stop Worrying and Start Living! A co worker gave me this book to read when I was 18 years old and working in a dead end job. I didn’t have a relationship with The Lord the first time I read it, but the bits of scripture that were peppered through the book made me curious enough to read The Bible.
Carnegie gives three steps for eradicating worry that were devised by Willis H. Carrier, the engineer who launched the air-conditioning industry, through his own journey with anxiety. He gave multiple examples of business people who have used these steps with life altering success. Even those who were on their death beds with stomach ulcers and other health concerns.
Carrier hailed this as the Magic Formula for Solving Worry Situations:
Ask yourself, “What is the worst that can possibly happen?”
Prepare to accept it if you have to.
Then calmly proceed to improve on the worst.
I was presented with the opportunity to use these steps this past weekend! There were some relationship issues that were troubling me and I used this method to help myself deal with the situation. I also had to agree, that in the past when I was in a huge trial, that this is exactly what I had to do to move through it!
Jesus said: (Matthew 6:26)“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?
There have been times when Jesus Spoke clearly and directly to me regarding turbulent times and told me to look straight at Him and not the waves that were crashing all around me. I know He doesn’t want us to worry and be stressed. He wants us to trust Him. I find, like Willis Carrier, that acceptance of the situation is a must if we want to move forward in peace. And acceptance requires thinking about the situating, counting the cost, and accepting my part or failure in any given situation.
Back to the conversation I had with my daughter, I was so grieved that so many young people feel hopeless and helpless, paralyzed by stress. Of course in my Aromatherapy business, I have designed my Calm Down and Lighten Uproller bottle for just that sort of support. I am also aware that there is an anxiety epidemic in the world that play out in many mental health and behavioral problems. Debilitating diagnosis like, Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, is not just reserved for those who have been in war like situations. So, I felt so inspired to write and bring a glimmer of hope and help to some one else who may be struggling with this 21st Century “disease”.
Get knowledge! And in all your getting, get Understanding! I pray for each of you as I pray for myself, that we would not worry and we would have The Peace that surpasses all understanding to guard our hearts and minds. Happy Monday, have a peace filled week<3
With all of the hurricanes that have been hitting the US lately, and as I consider how frightening these times can be for people who are hit the hardest, I have been thinking about the storms I have weathered.
When you are in a storm of this magnitude, you have to keep your head about you and stay focused or you literally could be swept away. I remember a particular time when the circumstances of my life were in such a complete mess and the fall out from it was creating a storm, of such proportion, that I could have become completely emotionally impaired. My husband, George, had been speaking with a person whom we always respected and cared about very deeply, but the man was creating such waves out of his own fears, that my husband and I nearly drown in them.
One particular day, my husband was relaying a conversation to me that he had with this man earlier in the day. My husband was tired and distraught and so was I. As George was speaking, I started to feel that I was actually getting slapped by one enormous wave after another. With every question and accusation the man had posed to him from their earlier conversation, George’s voice actually started to fade into the background even though he was standing right in front of me. Next, my eyes started to glaze and I felt as if the pressure was starting to pull me under the water and I was literally starting to gasp with no strength to resurface. Right at that point, I heard the voice of Jesus clear as a bell; “JULIA!, Look at ME, listen to ME, follow ME! I actually looked up to where I thought the voice was coming from. The roaring waves immediately turned into serene, foamy, level water! I came to my senses and with a clarity I had not known until that very point and I was able to be in complete peace and not be anxious. The storm, although I was still in it, was completely calmed as I looked to Jesus. It was truly amazing!
Jesus had done something very similar many, many years before with a man named Peter. Peter was a fisher man. He knew in his head that a man cannot walk on water. But one day when he saw Jesus walking on the water and he asked if he could do it! Jesus told him to come, and he actually did walk on water for a bit, but then it says in Matthew 14:30; “but when he (Peter) saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid and began to sink and cried out, saying, “Lord save me!”
It is natural to be afraid when the storms come whether they be natural or figurative. It goes against our natural inclinations to have faith and hold on to an anchor in the midst of a storm, but that is exactly what we must do. The heroic stories coming from the news tell of just such things during these natural disasters and have the theme of focus and faith all through them. We have to choose not to be afraid and place our grasp firmly on the anchor that will never let us be swept away in a storm.
Anxiety. Next to Inflammatory diseases, anxiety is a world-wide epidemic! Anxiety is constantly trying to get in my door and it has taken major vigilance to keep that evil, time wasting intruder out!
Yesterday afternoon I got pretty anxious…and isn’t it funny how everything looks insurmountable when that happens? The bottom line was that I needed some time alone. I asked my husband if he would take our over weight son running, (which was a source of my anxiety) as his ADHD was out of control yesterday. I workout all week to keep my vessel in shape and I make lists for our son every day (because that is part of our Autistic way of living), which includes exercise on it. But in my anxiety yesterday, I was feeling like my husband doesn’t have enough vision for the part he plays in our son’s physical fitness and that was adding to the pile. You micro manage when you have a special needs child, and you get tired of micro-managing…and I was tried.
Any way, he graciously agreed to take him out and after they left I decided to work on an art project while I was listening to a Malcom Smith teaching. I mentioned Malcom last week in a blog, he is a person who dedicates his life to teaching Christians who they are in Christ. I needed some of that soundness in my mind.
He was teaching that in this particular Psalm (103:1-5), David was talking to himself. He said “often we allow our self to talk to us, but David addressed himself and took authority over his inner person concerning the distractions and made himself Bless The Lord.” As he was teaching, he expounded on how anxiety is simply letting go of the peace that you currently have right now in the moment, and exchanging it for fear of any number of things! I resonated! That is so true. I had been thinking about my son not being physically fit enough, my husband not being pro active enough, the things I don’t have enough of, attitudes I have too much of, etc. etc.
Right now, In this moment, I have the Mind Of Christ as a Christian! I have the peace of God that surpasses all understanding that guards my heart and mind. Right now, I do not have fear but Love, Power and a Sound Mind! God has never left me or forsaken me, He loves me with an ever lasting love and wants to build me. I have perfect peace when my mind is stayed on Him. I carry Jesus wherever I go, and He told me not to be anxious for anything, but to talk to Him about everything.
Why is it so easy to exchange all of that peace for fear… for a lie? Well, I have found it very easy to do, but I know what I heard Malcom Smith saying and what I was meditating on last night is truth an brought my mind into perfect peace. It is living in The Now, and realizing right now, I have everything I need in Christ Jesus. I can tap into the supernatural realm right now, because Jesus lives now and wants to abide in me as I do in Him. Heaven will be amazing with our new bodies and all, but I can live a supernatural life in this here and now and so can you!! Live Fully in The Now!
End Note; when the boys came home, we were all in our right, peaceful, strong minds! We all had the time and the adjustment we needed and I was in a very hopeful and encouraged state of mind<3