Resolve Well: Soul

matthew-3

It is well,

It is well

with my soul.

The word “well” is one of those words that has many definitions. As a noun, dictionary.com defines the word as “a hole drilled or bored into the earth to obtain water, petroleum, natural gas, brine, or sulfur”. As a verb, “to rise, spring, or gush, as water from the earth or some other source”. The adverb “well” is defined as “in a good or satisfactory manner”. It can be used as an interjection or in idioms. And as an adjective, the word is defined as “in good health; sound in body and mind; satisfactory, pleasing, or good”. I’ve made the word “wellness” to mean, in my mind, something a little deeper than the word “healthy”. I want to be satisfied with my body, mind, and soul. But, I mainly want to be satisfied spiritually, soulfully. There is a depth that I crave which comes from inside of me. I want soul wellness this year.

Soul wellness is, to me, the easiest to attain and by far the most satisfying. It is the easiest because I believe in a God that gives me peace when I ask and direction when I call to him. It is the most satisfying because it is everlasting. One day my body will be rotting in the ground. I only have to take care of that part of me for a little while. I believe that my mind will one day be uncluttered and filled with freedom and truth.

I want to say every day that, “It is well with my soul”. That I am satisfied with whatever is going on in my life because there is a part of me that is eternal. What are ways that you can take care of that most important part of you this year?

Here is my list:

 

1)      Pray well.

  1. Pray more for other people – family, friends, and my church.
  2. Pray for help and guidance on my wellness journey.
  3. Pray for my husband and my marriage.

2)      Read well.

  1. Chronological Bible Reading.
  2. Combine Bible reading with art.
  3. Good literature.

3)      Listen well.

  1. Spend time listening to God’s soul.
  2. Listen to music that lifts my soul.
  3. Spend time doing art and listening to art’s stories.

Whether your focus is taking care of your body, your mind, or your soul this year, I hope you’ll join me in resolving well. Let me know what you’re doing to make your life better in 2017!

 

 

Friday’s Lies: I’m Too _______.

I'm Too ___. (1)I’m too fat. I’m too skinny. I’m too ugly. My teeth are too crooked. My skin is too wrinkly.

I’m too stupid. I’m too useless. I’m too weak.

I’m too far gone. I’m too late. I’ve done too many bad things.

Do some of these “I’m too ______”s seem familiar? What are some of these sorts of statements that you tell yourself? It might not even be consciously, but you probably say something negative to yourself – and sometimes even out loud to others. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t say some variety of these statements. But let’s be honest. Almost all of them are lies in the name of self-deprecation, self-pity, or just self-hate.

Let’s talk about lies for a few weeks – lies that we tell ourselves – lies we allow ourselves to believe. We take them in and they begin to root themselves as truth in the center of our minds. After a while, they begin to control us. They take over our lives and impact our relationship with ourselves and our relationships with others. They change the way we view ourselves, when they have no right to do so.

Here are five true statements to help you (and me) combat the lies that we tell ourselves every day:

1)      How we see ourselves is hardly EVER how others see us.

 

I’ve always had this weird idea that I was bigger than anyone thought I was. When I walk around, sometimes I feel like people have to go around me because, in my mind, I’m three times wider than I actually am. But everyone has always told me how small I am. People don’t view me as fat. It’s all a lie I tell myself to make me feel bad.

 

There have been many people I’ve known that think they are too skinny. When they say that, I’m surprised because I’ve never thought of them that way. The same with people that tell me they’re fat.

 

Most human beings (the halfway decent ones at least) don’t look at other people and judge them for how they look. We should see beauty in each other. If they do view us a certain way, it’s probably because they are insecure with themselves, or because they are just plain mean.

 

Don’t tell yourself something another person wouldn’t tell you.

 

2)      Repeating lies to myself will only make me feel worse.

 

Science tells us that when we think negatively, we slow down certain parts of the brain. We need optimism if we want to thrive. By believing that you are too _____, you allow that negative thinking to cloud other aspects of your life – your health, in particular. You make yourself more prone to depression, loneliness, as well as to other physical effects of stress.

 

Don’t make yourself feel worse. You don’t need that. You don’t deserve that. And that, my friend, is the truth.

 

3)      I don’t want people to lie to me. So, I shouldn’t be lying to myself.

 

We’ve all known liars. From our youngest years, people have lied to us – whether it be about the Easter Bunny or about something more serious (sorry, Easter Bunny). It’s not cool. Again, you do not deserve to be lied to no matter who you are or what you’ve done.

 

We don’t like when people straight-up lie to us, but we don’t give ourselves the respect we want from others. That’s not fair, is it?

 

4)      Self-harm begins with lying to yourself.

 

You don’t do good to yourself by allowing your inner voice to put you down. It’s a form of self-harm to lie to yourself. Do you feel good when you tell yourself that you have too many freckles – that your arm is too flappy? No. No, you don’t. I don’t.

 

When you tell yourself unnecessary lies, you hurt yourself. And when you hurt yourself, you hurt your family. You hurt your friends. It’s a downward spiral that we all need to look out for and get out of before we get trapped.

 

Let’s not dwell in self-deception. Let’s not live in self-pity. Find a truth and make yourself feel better. You have beautiful eyes. Your hair has a nice colour to it. You take care of yourself and you look good naturally.

 

5)      Taking a step back from the mirror might reveal some reality.

 

I’ve caught myself at times looking in the mirror, using a mental microscope, scouring my body for any and every so-called imperfection. I get closer to the mirror and all I see is that one blackhead, that one pimple, that one stretch mark, etcetera.

 

But, I’ve learned to take a step back. To look at all of me. My worth is not revealed by that blackhead or that stretchmark – not by the bags under my eyes or the fat on my abdomen. My worth is in who I am. When I take a step back and see all of me, I let myself think that I am beautiful. A work of art. I let myself think of the good inside of me and how my smile can send joy to others. Who I am and what I look like is my story to others.

 

Take a step back. Look at yourself. Love yourself. You have so much to give. We just have to stop believing the lies.

You’re not too anything. You may be medically obese or medically underweight. That just means you need to take care of yourself. But it doesn’t define who you are as a person. You are a human being. As such, you are wonderful.

I’m sitting in a café right now and I count forty-six people. Not one of them is ugly. As I look around, I see beauty in all of them, joy in some faces and stress in others. Some are laughing, a little child is screaming, many are wrapped up in gossip and still others are simply enjoying the friendship that goes with stopping in the middle of the day for a cup of coffee and a chat. None of them, no matter their size, are too anything. They are just right in themselves. And I believe that to be the truth.

Change and happiness will come when you simply tell yourself the truth: You have beauty. You have worth. You are a work of art. If someone painted you and put that painting in a museum, you would not be passed by. The truth is that there is an art to every person. Believe in that.

The Art of Tea: Tea Types & Benefits

We have been going realllllly heavily for three weeks on loneliness, so I think it’s time for something relaxing! It’s going to be very basic – types of tea.

Being a good Texas girl, the only tea I really knew about growing up was the southern staple – Iced Tea. I capitalize it to give you the effect of it’s importance in the southern United States. Thus one might read sweet tea as SWEET TEA – for it is even more important to being a citizen of the south. Dr. Pepper and Sweet Tea are the true drinks of the south.

I don’t drink either one (*all Americans reading this gasp in horror), but I do love me some hot tea. I haven’t enjoyed water with ice in about ten years just because it’s soooooo cold. Though I do make an exception in Texas summers…which I get to skip this year. Yay!

Let’s get into some basic teas… and you can make the decision to ice them if you want. My New Zealand best friend has outlined them for me and done the research as she is more qualified and also a faster researcher than me.

The Art of TeaBlack Tea

Tea leaves that are oxidized become black tea, having the highest caffeine content of the teas (Yay for caffeine!). This will include your basic breakfast teas, afternoon teas, and includes regional teas like Darjeeling and Assam teas. It’s harvested in many parts of the world now since it’s international popularity when the English started drinking and selling it (Remember the Boston “Tea Party”?), grown mainly in China, India, Sri Lanka, and Kenya.

About 75% of the world’s consumption of tea is black tea. I’m sure that a large portion of that is Americans who put ice in it. The tea you buy in the store or in the drive through is probably Pekoe or Ceylon – black teas.

It is acceptable to put cream and sugar in your black tea, while you might get scoffed at (I have learned) if you put cream in your green tea.

Oolong

Oolong Tea has long been my favourite tea, though it was always very hard for me to explain to people. There’s no English name for it, so that makes it even more difficult, though sometimes it is called “Dragon Tea”. Now I can tell you that it is a tea right in between black tea and green tea – which means that the leaves are partly oxidized.

This great-tasting tea is partially fermented, so you also get polyphenolic compounds, which apparently helps prevent degenerative diseases – like cancer or heart disease.

Green Tea

That are harvested and wither, and are then heated are known as green tea. In Japanese styling, they are heated through steaming; Chinese style pan fries the leaves. Today, it is grown and produced in several countries – China, Japan, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, and surprisingly in South Carolina and New Zealand as well!

Green tea has grown in popularity (if you haven’t noticed) in recent years because of the health benefits. The antioxidants you get when you drink green tea are catechins, and they fight against and help prevent cell damage. So, it makes sense that it could help with stress, depression, and loneliness – at least a little – because each of those can create cell damage in the long term. Green tea also helps lower cholesterol, prevents heart-related problems, regulates blood sugar, and even helps protect you against some of the damage that American high-fat diet can cause. Some studies have even linked green tea in making a difference in Alzheimer’s, weight loss, and even cancer.

If you don’t like the “grassy” taste that a lot of people complain about, try adding lemon. No one will laugh at you for that.

White Tea

White tea is the most delicate tea variety because it is processed minimally. They are often hand-picked and hand-processed. I LOVE white teas. They are often combined with other nice flavours, which is probably why. We have this white tea with vanilla and rose that someone gave us for an engagement present – because the blend was called “Marriage Tea”. So nice.

What you probably DON’T know is that white tea has even more antioxidants than green tea! What?! Because it is the least processed tea. I just now learned that. So all of the health benefits of green tea are the same as white tea. Flavonoids, another type of antioxidant, goes into cancer cells and prevents more from being developed. With a little fluoride as well, teeth and gum are kept healthy, and the health benefits for your skin can be amazing as well.

I’m pretty excited about learning more about this white tea. I just knew it tasted nice.

Red Tea

If you’re worried about your daily caffeine intake, then go for Rooibos tea. Grown in South Africa, the name rooibos means “red bush” in Afrikaans, and that red bush grows wonderful tea. It’s actually my husband’s favourite.

Rooibos/Red Tea is naturally decaf and also very high in antioxidants. Give it a try. I’m also 100% positive it would make a nice iced tea, too. 😉

Herbal Tea

Oh my goodness. The possibilities are endless with herbal tea/”tisanes”! It’s basically anything that are not actual tea leaves – from herbs to fruits to spices.

If you’ve ever had chamomile tea to help you relax, you have had herbal tea.

If you’ve ever had raspberry tea for a sweet drink, you have had herbal tea.

They can have cinnamon, sage, licorice. They can have peppermint, Echinacea, ginger. The possibilities are endless. Your health benefits are endless as well. You can put together whatever herb, flower, fruit, spice you like to make a tasty, healthy concoction. Just make sure you know what they are when you put them in – like, don’t go get poison ivy leaves and try to make tea out of it.

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So those are the basics. Hope you feel enlightened. Tune in next Monday for “The Art of the Tea Party”. 😀