Gym in a Box

Are you a creative person ? Since you are a writer, I imagine that everyone answered : Yes!

God’s gift of creativity helps us with many aspects of life.

Right now here in NL, it is too cold to be exercising outside, but that is temporary ! God decides the temperature, but I can still stay in shape , because I have a Gym in a Box !

Pictured, in my portable gym, are the following fitness items:

  1. A piece of Theraband stretchy band. I hold it in both hands and pull it to exercise arms, hands and shoulders.
  2. A pink rhythmic gymnastic ribbon. This is a shorter length, I ordered it through Amazon for six dollars. I dance with it, and the twirling ribbon is very soothing to watch.
  3. Two tennis balls. Sometimes my husband and I play throw and catch with one of them, and other times I juggle with the balls ! Small pleasures amuse me !
  4. My ballet slippers. I do not have a barre in my current home, but I hold on to the kitchen counter to do my exercises. Ballet helps in maintaining suppleness and flexibility as we age.
  5. My yoga mat doesn’t fit into the box, but I store it under the bed beside my tiny gym box.
  6. Also included in my fitness routine is a two dollar hoola hoop. I have been enjoying these since they were first commercialized when I was about eight years old.

And, since aesthetics are so important, the box itself is beautiful. I store it with its lid on, and tied with a green ribbon, but I leave the shoes on top of it.

God always appreciates a grateful attitude ! It is cold, but I do my ballet exercises in the kitchen, and I say :This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad !

The Growing Season

From the picture, it really does not look like growing, season, since my garden is resting.

And yet I find that much spiritual growth can take place in the winter months. The salt on the window panes is visible in this picture. On stormy days, the salt from the sea spray settles on the windows and needs to be hosed off. It is just a reminder that followers of Jesus are to be ‘the salt’ , and ‘the light’ of the world.

January is the coldest month here in NL, and it is dry inside the house. We keep a ‘Saje’ diffuser going for part of the day to add moisture to the air.

I use Mulberry silk pillowcases. ( Yes, I know PETA doesn’t approve ), but they help my skin from forming wrinkles, because they are so soft and smooth, and the pillowcases also keep my hair from becoming frizzy. PETA would be unimpressed that most of our charitable donations go to the ‘Coalition for Life’, which helps defend the rights of unborn humans here in Canada.

It is impossible to attend church here now. The priest decided to hold Mass at 7:00 on Sunday evenings. Very few people will come out at that time. Dangers of slipping and falling on snow and ice, for anyone, and especially for seniors, are greater when it is dark. I tried to convince people to hold church services earlier, during daylight hours, for safety, but that would interfere with Newfoundlanders’ dinner, which is sacred time for islanders. ( This is no exaggeration).

And so we are cut off somewhat, but the silence of winter by the sea allows us to listen carefully to what the Holy Spirit is trying to say. My husband and I pray and worship together, and read a variety of edifying authors on WordPress.

January, at the edge of the continent, help us to develop patience and forbearance. God has reasons for his seasons, even those which encourage is to sit quietly, wait, and trust.

When a Joke is a Sin

Humour is fun, right ? God loves to see us laugh !

There is also humour which God considers to be sinful. Let me give you an example.

A few years ago, I helped organize a special evening devoted to “Christian Unity”. The weather was calling for snow that evening, and Newfoundlanders are notoriously afraid of driving in the snow !

Nevertheless, it did not snow, and our time of unity and celebration came to pass, and there was a very good turnout.

Just when it was time to go home, ‘Marisa’, stuck her head out of the door and announced :

‘Is it ever snowing outside!’ Everyone was upset, and ran to the doors and windows, only to find out that Marisa was ‘joking’, or lying. Not one snowflake was falling !

This is the kind of deceptive joking, or lying, that God does not like. Proverbs 26:19 tells us about how angry God is when Christians think it is acceptable to play ‘pranks’ on each other.

Marisa, the prankster, left the parish soon after, and told no one where she was going.

Beloved, let us not stress each other by playing ‘pranks’ on each other. God loves humour, but only the kind that edifies. God does not enjoy stressful humour !

Pictured is my water glass, which reminds me that older people are generally less thirsty than their younger friends. We need to keep sipping water to support our health.

Jumping to Conclusions

Are you sometimes guilty of the faulty thinking habit called ‘Jumping to Conclusions’?

This type of thinking, which causes us lots of stress, occurs when we make hasty, often illogical conclusions based on insufficient evidence.

I indulged in some conclusion jumping last week.

I had had an ultrasound examination on a Friday, and at 9:00 a.m., the following Monday, the nurse telephoned me telling me to come and see my physician for the results.

Because I did not have all the facts, I wrongly concluded that there was something seriously wrong with me ! I accepted my fate, thinking that at my age , I have reached my Biblical life span of three score and ten, and thus I spent part of the day cuddling with Lottie, my little lamb, underneath the weighted blanket we got for Christmas.

The human mind will naturally gravitate to negative thinking first. It must be trained to think positively.

I should have been thankful that the hospital services and the kind nurse were so efficient.

My physician soon told me that my test results were normal.

I would certainly encourage anyone who has had medical tests done, to follow up to get their test results in a timely manner.

My friend Nancy says, ( concerning medical tests), that ‘no news is good news’. But that also is ‘jumping to conclusions’ type of thinking. No news is simply ‘no news.’

As we age, it takes some courage to submit ourselves to medical tests to monitor our health, and then to wait patiently and logically for the results.

May the Lord grant us wisdom and perseverance, and may he keep us from ‘Jumping to Conclusions’

Are You Comfortable?

Are you comfortable when alone ? Some of us enjoy our own company, while others will put up with the company of anyone, even boring, obnoxious people, just to avoid being alone. The reasons for these differences are complex.

A follower of Jesus is never alone. The Lord tells us this in Matthew 28:20. ‘ I am with you always ‘.

Whether or not we are aware of him, the Lord is with us. When we attempt to escape from him, he pursues us. We are his beloved.

We had a snowstorm a few nights ago. My husband was at the clinic. It was dark, and snow and ice had covered the windows.

I was alone, and yet I was strongly aware that I was not alone, for I keenly sensed God’s presence with me in the midst of this cold dark evening.

Let us pray that the Lord will give us all an increasing awareness that He is always with us.

His eye is on the sparrow, and all of the lives of his beloved concern him deeply.

Avoiding Avoidance

Do you sometimes use avoidant behaviours to try to handle stress ?

I stopped my daily weigh-in habit last December 21. It was the ‘season to be jolly,’ when social gluttony and overindulgance is encouraged. I tried to avoid thinking about the scale while feasting.

On January 1, I faced the scale. I had only gained two pounds (.907 kg) !

I quickly went to tell my husband that my weight gain was ‘small’, but he was unimpressed.

He explained that by gaining those two pounds of fat, my heart now had produced 14 miles (22.5 km) of microscopic blood vessels, called capillaries, to support the extra fat.

I was shocked at this, and told him that surely he had exaggerated ! He invited me to seek a second opinion from that dubious Dr. Google.

My husband then invited me to carry a two pound weight for half a kilometer down to the town harbour. By the time I got there, the weight I was carrying felt heavy.

I am now back in the habit of weighing myself every day. My father did this, and maintained the same weight all his life. My father also never ate refined sugar, and always resisted my mother’s fabulous baked treats.

Let us again remind ourselves of the beauty of life and that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.

I am now working to lose the extra weight I gained during the jolly season.

Pictured is our town harbour, established in 1497.

Worry Much ?

Are you a chronic worrier ? Worrying is learned behaviour, and can be unlearned. Usually someone ‘learns’ this unhealthy thinking pattern from someone in one’s family of origin.

I was not much of a worrier, until several years ago. Some people accuse me of being ‘lazy’, but I resist that label ! Instead, I explain that I have a ‘ Type B,’ easygoing personality.

However, this changed the day our son arrived at our house riding the new racing motorcycle he had purchased for himself. I was aghast ! I examined the extremely powerful bike with its thin smooth tires, and my peace disappeared. Soon my mind was filled with images of accidents, injuries, pain, and a mother’s tears. I understood the feeling of extreme worry then.

The Bible is filled with dozens of verses telling us not to worry. Jesus, the Prince of Peace, does not want his followers to feel anxious.

There are aspects of pride involved in worrying too, since we somehow think that by ‘worrying’ about a situation, we can somehow control it.

What self-inflicted emotional pain we cause ourselves, when we project ourselves into the future, pondering : “what if ?”. Instead, we should stay in the present moment and focus on “what is”.

The verse that helped me when I was in my racing bike worrying state was I Peter 5:7.

The Lord invites us to cast our cares on him, and he will carry them for us. We live in a fishing village, where fishermen cast nets. I could identify with this image, and it helped me. In time, God calmed my worries, but I prayed continually for the safety of my son, and all others who ride motorbikes.

There were no accidents, or mother’s tears .

Three years later, my son sold that fast, flashy bike which had taught me a lesson about the futility of worrying.

May God grant us peace, and an increasing sense of calm, as we begin 2020.