You may remember the travails of our bluebird family. Back in the summer, something (maybe a neighborhood cat) killed our mama bluebird and left two orphans. David helped papa bluebird by providing extra mealworms as food. Two babies left the house and we wondered for several months how the family was doing.
On a recent sunny winter day, five bluebirds visited our house. David was so pleased and the camera started clicking.
We enjoy our bluebird family. Do you find pleasure in the world around you? We should stop and consider the beauty we pass every day.
“The gifts we treasure most over the years are often small and simple.In easy times and in tough times, what seems to matter most is the way we show those nearest us that we’ve been listening to their needs, to their joys, and to their challenges.”Fred Rogers.
Klein, A, The Simplify-Your-Life Quote Book, (New York: Random House, 2005), 37.
This holiday season we are enjoying time with family and friends. I don’t want my readers to feel abandoned during this busy time. As you read these posts, you may choose to reflect on the past, consider the today's possibilities and look forward to tomorrow.
“If you wish to know the divine, feel the wind on your face and the warm sun on your hand.” Buddha.
Klein, A, The Simplify-Your-Life Quote Book, (New York: Random House, 2005), 32.
1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.
4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
Here's my partridge in a pear tree. Last year my thoughtful husband went shopping for a 'partridge' and hung it in our pear tree. (Maybe it's a had-to-be-there situation, but I was touched at his gesture.)
I hope you and your family are having a wonderful Christmas season. And as Tiny Tim said in Charles Dicken's A Christmas Carol, "God bless us, Every One." http://www.stormfax.com/5dickens.htm
Christmas means spiritual times, but it also means fun.My favorite Christmas poem/story is
Twas the Night before Christmas Poem
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!
"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.
His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"
Prayer means to ask for something, to converse with a higher power. Researchers polled over 30,000 American adults and found that increasing numbers of people prayed during the 8 year span (1999 through 2007). In 2002, 43 percent of Americans prayed for health issues. In 2007, that number had climbed to 49 percent. People prayed for their health when they had declining health. People prayed for their health when their health improved. The researchers reported they saw prayer used by people with good incomes and access to medical care, so prayer wasn’t being substituted for medical care. More at http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110523101921.htm
Does the social support from religion/church contribute to our health? We look at the answer tomorrow.
“Individuals who practice religion and spirituality report better physical and mental health than those who do not.” Researchers at the University of Missouri found that both men and women benefit from the social support they receive in church activities.
More about this research at http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111026143811.htm
Forgiveness can be defined as to give up hostility and the desire to punish, to release past hurts. “Constant bitterness can make a person ill…Persistent bitterness may result in global feelings of anger and hostility that, when strong enough, could affect a person’s health.” A person can turn bitterness toward himself or toward others.
Hope can be defined as belief that what we want will happen or desire accompanied with expectation. Researchers found that an attitude of hope (looking for a positive future) caused people to choose healthy life practices. "Happy people are more likely to eat candy bars, whereas hopeful people choose fruit...That's because when people feel hope they're thinking about the future."
The researchers conclude with this: "So, the next time you're feeling well, don't focus too much on all the good things in the past. Instead, keep that positive glow and focus on your future, especially all the good things you imagine to come. Your waistline will thank you."
Faith can be defined as unquestioning belief in God. (Webster’s New World Dictionary) “Religion and faith appear to exert positive effects on people’s health, but that doesn’t necessarily mean divine intervention is at work, scientists say.” These scientists speculate that positive results can be traced to several factors: these people often exhibit healthy lifestyles and beliefs, feelings of self-worth, increased coping skills through prayer, meditation and other religious activities, and positive emotions.
We are entering Christmas week and I ask the question, how does spirituality affect our health? The University of Maryland Medical Center shares this information: Spirituality could be defined as “a belief in a power operating in the universe that is greater than oneself; a sense of interconnectedness with all living creatures; and an awareness of the purpose and meaning of life and development of personal, absolute values.” http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/spirituality-000360.htm
Researchers at the University of Toronto report that many Americans “believe that God is concerned with their personal well-being and is directly involved in their personal affairs”…They found that “82 per cent say they depend on God for help and guidance in making decisions; 71 per cent believe that when good or bad things happen, these occurrences are simply part of God’s plan for them; 61 per cent believe that God has determined the direction and course of their lives.” www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100309131758.htm
Researchers find that religion and spirituality do have a positive influence on our health. Faith, hope, forgiveness, prayer and social support adds much health to people’s lives. http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/spirituality-000360.htm The next few days we look at research reported by Science Daily to see what scientists are saying about these aspects of our religious faith and our health.
Let us talk about contradictory medical information.I’ve noticed there are cycles in life.Over the years, we’ve been advised to drink coffee, not drink coffee, and now again coffee is beneficial.(Some people like my husband never stopped drinking coffee.)The medical world is fast changing with many research programs publishing their results.Sometimes they match and agree; other times they contradict each other.What’s a consumer to believe??Do we just pick and choose which studies justify our behavior?Could this be one reason why Americans did not take their free medicines (yesterday’s blog)?I don’t have any solutions; just observations.