For as long as I can remember I’ve eaten a bowl of cereal for breakfast. Upon cross examination this seems like all too familiar a routine. Throughout the day the idea of cereal for breakfast doesn’t even enter my mind. But in the morning, when my stomach is growling, it’s the only thing I can think about.
Is their someone in your life like that? All to familiar and forgotten until they’re desperately needed.
I’ve been carrying around this scrap of paper in my shirt pocket for more than six months. Scribbled on it are some random thoughts on the subject of joy. Here they are.
Perhaps you know someone who possesses an ever-present, unforced smile or kind demeanor. These attributes in our increasingly self-centered and angry society make these persons stand out in a crowd. They seem to have such an optimistic outlook on life, suggesting they know something we don’t, or possess something we don’t have. So what is it they do have?
You might just have to call it “joy.” Defining joy can be a tricky proposition. I’ve seen joy on display independent of a person’s happiness or circumstances. Joy seems to be the opposite of regret and feeds on “blessings” (those things most of us take for granted). That being said, contentment and joyappear together often. Those possessing joy seem intent on sharing it, and don’t shrink away from helping or serving others.
Where does joy come from? Some would say an inner peace creates an environment where joy can be discovered. Others say joy comes from hope placed in something, or someone. Who wouldn’t benefit from a peaceful life relieved of some stress.
Consider making 2020 a year to discover and embrace joy. Remember to encourage and support those who already possess it.
About 30 days ago I sat in a doctor’s waiting room waiting for my six month check up. A year earlier I had been prescribed a small dose of blood pressure medicine to manage my blood pressure. From periodic pressure readings, I knew my blood pressure had been rising recently. A nurse confirmed my bp was high. I knew what was coming, they were going to prescribe a higher dose of BP medicine. Would they need to increase my meds again next year, and what about the year after that?
I had given up on cardiovascular exercise earlier in the summer. I didn’t want to subject my knees and hips to jogging anymore. I didn’t plan to run anymore 5ks so why keep jogging? I questioned whether or not walking would give me any cardio benefit. Besides, I considered myself active. On work days I averaged 10,000 steps on my Fitbit.
However, In the last 90 days (minus any cardio) my resting pulse had risen significantly as had my BP. To make matters worse, I was coping with a stressful family medical situation. I am grateful my doctor didn’t overreact. He calmly recommended the D.A.S.H. diet, some cardio, and said losing a handful of pounds would make a big difference.
It was time to draw a line in the sand. The next day I started walking for at least 20 minutes a day. I focused on trying to keep my pulse in the cardio range, 110 to 130 beats per minute as defined by my Fitbit. I also started making better choices on the food I ate to lower my salt intake.
The results have been noticeable. In just a little over 30 days my resting pulse has fallen almost to what it was when I was jogging almost 90 days. ago My BP has fallen below my doctor’s suggested ideal range (that’s with taking my BP meds). I have also shed a couple of pounds in the process. My Fitbit now declares I have excellent cardio vascular health! Cardio walking for 30 minutes or more a day 4 or more times a week does make a huge difference!
One creature stands out from the others when the subject of devotion is mentioned. Man’s best friend is a model for humankind. Our furry beasts aren’t controlling and they don’t harbor hidden agendas; ever loyal, ever faithful, ever loving…
“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10
I’m guilty of not washing my car as often as I should. Maybe it’s because I regard vehicles as transportation and not a stylish reflection of who I am. In the northeastern United States we use salt on the roads in the winter. So, after ten to twelve years of ownership, my cars invariably show signs of rust. At this point it’s a little late in the game to be putting more effort into washing my car.
I want to be one of those people who invests their time and energy into imperishable things like relationships. I know this will require regular housecleaning to keep my heart from forming rust-bearing thoughts that can corrode the relationships I hold dear.
“Store your treasure in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not bread in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” Matthew 6:20-21 NLT
A few years back I planted some minature hens and chickens plants as part of a larger group of flowers intended to spruce up the walkway leading to the front door to our house. Let’s face it, hens and chickens are unique plants…but are they really that exciting?? The flower spike rises almost 8 inches into the air.
Several weeks ago I got up off the couch and started training for a 5k race this fall. The air was cold and the wind raw. Then spring happened; raking, mowing, weeding, pruning and helping neighbors do the same. I suppose I could be discouraged for getting sidetracked but I’m not. Isn’t the whole idea of exercising to get up off the couch and be active.
One thing that hasn’t changed is my dog walks. They are longer now and more frequent. I look forward to more traditional workouts once the yard work is caught up.