It's a beautiful, rainy, Saturday morning.  As the slow rain falls to replenish the earth, everything and everyone seems to breathe a sigh of relief as the earth cools from the hot, dry, days of Summer.   

Texas summers can be brutal with several, consecutive days of temperatures in the 100's.  And although I can hear the cute, lovable, Disney character Olaf, singing about his affection for "Sum-meerrr!", I on the other hand, am anxiously awaiting the cool, refreshing days of Fall...

In the same way that rain works to refresh and replenish the earth, we too consistently need those times of refreshing in our mind, body and spirit. 

Like the ground, without consistent times of refreshing, we also become dry and depleted.  

It's easy to notice these characteristics in the ground and plants around us because we've become accustomed to identifying the symptoms of wilting leaves and a brown, patchy lawn.  

When we see the signs of dehydration, we quickly give a dose of fertilizer and several minutes of sprinkler time and feel good that we've done our best to bring them back to life.

Isn't it interesting how the same depleted signs of dehydration in our own lives often go unnoticed until we are feeling overwhelmed, overworked and stressed? 

Have you ever asked yourself, "Why do I feel so tired all of the time?"  I have, and it's generally when I stop paying attention to the signs and symptoms of drought in my own life.

We can become so busy with a calendar full of work and good deeds that we overlook our opportunities to stop and reboot.

Our minds, which are filled nonstop with information overload from the internet, work, news, media, etc., find it hard to download at the end of the day and without that much needed time to decompress, we continue to work even when we're asleep.

The unfortunate thing is that an overworked mind has a direct effect on our bodies and spirit.

If you find yourself feeling depleted, ask yourself, "When was the last time I really stopped to rest, do something fun, or do nothing at all without feeling guilty?

It's interesting that many of us feel guilty about implementing times of restoration in our calendars.  Yes, you can actually schedule time for things you enjoy.  

It's similar to the practice of being on a plane and putting the oxygen mask on ourselves before putting it on the person next to us.  It's when we are replenished that we have the most to give.

You owe it to yourself to enjoy the life you're given and allow time to create lasting memories with family and friends.

Men generally enjoy watching and playing sports, grilling, doing a hobby, reading, working with their hands and being outdoors.

Ladies typically enjoy having lunch with friends, shopping, gardening, spa time, reading, watching a good movie, and spending time with family.

One of the best things that we can incorporate is time in prayer and reflection.  It's in those times that we get direction and wisdom.  It's when we can hear ourselves think and hear God's affirmation that He is with us and that He loves us.

Being connected and replenished spiritually is what gives us the balance, strength and clarity we need in all of the other areas of life. 

If you're used to going nonstop and running on empty, it may be hard to give yourself permission to slow down without feeling guilty.  But you owe it to yourself to give it a try and see what a difference it makes.

The best reward will be the benefit of living a life of balance where you can truly feel refreshed:  mind, body and spirit.

Choose to stop and enjoy the rain!

Do you find it hard to incorporate time to stay refreshed?
What are things you'd like to implement in the future? 
What area seems to be the hardest to keep refreshed: Mind, Body or Spirit?

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LAUGH OUT LOUD! | The Healing Properties of Laughter

"A funny thing happened the other day!" 

Don't you just love it when a story begins that way?  The storyteller skillfully captures your attention and suddenly, you're on the edge of your seat....

Laughter is contagious.  It's infectious and yet, it can be one of our greatest cures.  

Have you ever noticed that a room can be filled with tension, and someone can say or do something funny that completely changes the mood in the room?  

I recently read a quote that said, "Don't make me laugh, I'm trying to be mad at you!"  I'm smiling right now as I write this because I can remember times when I've said the same thing. 

I can think of occasions when my husband and I have gotten into it over something silly and all of a sudden, one of us starts laughing and before you know it, both of us are laughing as we quickly realize, it's really not that serious.  

I mean, does it really matter if you stir the cream into your coffee and then dip the spoon into the sugar bowl?  ;-)  I can hear some of you saying, "Yes!"  Lol!

Laughter is the thing that reminds us not to take ourselves and life too seriously. 

We all know that laughter feels good, but how does it actually help us?

Humor and laughter boosts our energy, relieves pain, increases our immune system and relieves the damaging effects of stress and conflict.  Nothing works faster to bring our mind and body back into balance.

Laughter is good for your health:
  1. It relaxes the whole body by relieving tension and stress and can leave your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.
  2. It decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies which can improve your resistance to disease.
  3. It triggers the release of endorphins, the bodies natural, feel-good chemical in our brain that promotes an overall sense of well-being.
  4. It protects the heart by improving the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow which can help protect against heart attack and cardiovascular diseases.

Physical Health Benefits:
Boosts immunity
Lowers stress hormones
Decreases pain
Prevents heart disease
Relaxes your muscles

Mental Health Benefits:
Eases anxiety and fear
Increases joy & enthusiasm for life
Relieves mental stress
Improves mood
Lifts your spirit & faith
Increases confidence

Social Benefits:
Attracts others to us
Strengthens relationships
Helps diffuse conflict
Enhances teamwork
Makes you more attractive

Shared laughter is one of the most effective ways to keep relationships fresh and exciting.  It's great when we can be more spontaneous and let down our defenses.  

Here's a few quotes I like about laughter...

"Laughter is the shortest distance between two people." - Victor Borge

"Laughing is, and always will be, the best form of therapy." -Dan Voire

"If you laugh a lot, when you get older, your wrinkles will be in the right places." -Unknown

"I love people who make me laugh.  I honestly think it's the thing I like most, to laugh.  It cures a multitude of ills.  It's probably the most important thing in a person." - Audrey Hepburn

Now I can't leave you hanging.... I want to give you a little something to brighten your day and make you smile.

You'll love these!  And trust me, you won't be able to resist Laughing Out Loud!  LOL!   Enjoy :-)

Thanks for stopping by!
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Resources: Helpguide.org


WANNA GET AWAY? | How to get away to come back stronger

When was the last time you got away from it all?   No, I mean really got away…. from work responsibilities, email, phone calls, school projects, homework, media, etc. etc.  Chances are, it’s been longer than you think...

My family and I recently took a pause and got away from it all.  We made our travel arrangements, packed our bags and flew west to the beautiful island of Oahu.  For those of you who have been, you know what I mean when I say that there really is no better place to unwind.  The moment we got off the plane, we could feel ourselves decompressing as the warm, tropical breeze and palm trees waved to say, “Aloha!”.

The peaceful, laid-back flow of the island seemed to subtly invite us to slow down and experience life at a more relaxed pace.  Before long, we all realized that the normal pressures and stress of our normal day to day routines was quickly melting away.  We were smiling more, laughing more and taking the time to breathe.  Our mind, body and spirit was being renewed by the natural beauty around us.  

One of our days was spent driving along the coastline on motorbikes.  It was breathtaking to experience the open air of the bike while taking in the beauty of lush, tropical foliage, white sand and sparkling, turquoise water.  I remember saying that God must have taken a little extra time creating Hawaii because it is absolutely gorgeous!

The value of getting away is that you are able to reconnect with who you really are as a person.  You have time to stop “doing” and simply enjoy “being”.  You can unplug from news and media and realize that the world truly is a beautiful place and life is a gift to be opened everyday.

Statistics say that if you live in America, you are less likely to take time away and vacation time is often left unused year after year.  Our culture encourages us to keep going and rest later, but later never comes and we are left with an epidemic of burnout.  

We would be wise to take our cue from many of our European and Caribbean neighbors who incorporate a time of rest into every afternoon.  Shops and businesses close, great food is served and for a couple of hours, in the middle of the day, conversation, connection and rest is valued as an important way of life. 

I always say that if I ran for president, my platform would be a 4-day work week, with a 2-hour siesta each afternoon.  I think I could win! 

A sabbatical or time away is not something that decreases productivity.  On the contrary, it actually increases our productivity by giving us the mental and physical strength needed to return to the work we value with more clarity, focus, energy and creativity.

When we burn the candle at both ends, we may be showing up, but the mental clarity and passion we need to truly excel is diminished the longer we stay plugged in without allowing time to step away.  

We fool ourselves into believing that we are being productive, when in reality, we are running on fumes.

The good news is that with a few simple choices, you too can find yourself on a beach, or enjoying an adventurous getaway!  It’s easier than you think and you owe it to yourself to explore the possibilities.

Here are 5 choices you can make today! Give yourself permission to enjoy some much needed time away:

  1. Take your vacation time.  You’ve earned it and you’re getting paid to take it. 
  2. Make travel arrangements or work with a travel agency.  There are some incredible deals and all-inclusive packages available for resorts and other destinations.
  3. Plan ahead and coordinate the coverage you need at work that will allow you to   disconnect and truly enjoy your time away.  No emails or conference calls allowed.
  4. Create a list of places and things you’d like to see and experience and start checking them off. Make a schedule and timeframe for each. This will give you a goal and something to look forward to.
  5. Remember that getting away will allow you to increase productivity.  You can return refreshed and have the strength and energy to reconnect and focus on the work you love.  

I encourage you to choose the life you want...everyday!  One small choice really can make a big change.

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