Complacency Quote

“The tragedy of life is often not in our failure, but rather in our complacency; not in our doing too much, but rather in our doing too little; not in our living above our ability, but rather in our living below our capacities.” 
—Benjamin E. Mays

 

Inspiration to Bloom Your Brain

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Brain Byte: Drive-Thru Dementia

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Saturated fats and sugar are two threats to the health of your precious brain.

Sugar. University of Alabama’s lab study showed that sweet drinks lowered memory scores and doubled the number of amyloid plaque deposits, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.

Saturated fat. In lab studies, Canadian researchers found that diets rich in saturated fat found in hamburgers, cheese, creamy salad dressings, and milkshakes boosted levels of Alzheimer’s-related brain proteins up to eight times higher than the diets rich in the “good” fats found in fish and nuts.

So if you find yourself in a pinch for time and a real need for food, please do yourself a favor and do your very best to find the healthiest of fast foods.  Order your tea without the sweetener, even the ones without sugar are dangerous to your brain’s health, unless it is all natural which is difficult to find at a drive-thru window.

Order grilled over fried chicken. Drink water instead of soda.  Add some fresh fruits and vegetables.  Let’s face it, deep down you know what is best for your brain – so eat healthy even on the run.

Fires of Friendships

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Joy, happiness, peace, anger,  disagreements, hurt feelings, misunderstandings, reunion, empathy, encouragement, coaching, coaxing, prodding, and sympathy…..friendships bring both the warmth of fire and the sting of fire.

I cannot imagine life without the warm glow of friendships. My life would grow cold without them.

Holiday Brain Building

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This Fourth of July in the United States, surely your clan will be outdoors, some playing yard games, others are running, walking the dog, or frolicking in the lake. And of course, food will have a big focus as the grills heat up.  Oh, the wonderful smell of the summer grill! Yum.

But, as you plan your activities and meals be sure to add some mental exercises in to the mix. We keep some great activity books at our cottage for creative ideas. I love the ones that include a nature walk to gather craft supplies. Boy Scout and Girl Scout Guides are great idea generators.

Another thing we do is bird, small game, bug, and tree watch. These are things we have studied together over the years and it is so fun to spot unusual birds or bugs and help each other figure out what we are looking at.

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And when the storm clouds start to form, we pull out our cloud formation books and Usborne’s The Power of Nature to learn more about weather and see if we can predict what will happen next.

We also have a cool star gazers map for night time brain building, memorizing the summer constellations.

Whatever you choose, make it filled with a positive attitude which will encourage long term memories. Enjoy your freedom and thank someone who made it possible.

The Power of Perfume

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Want your man to remember a special occasion? Wear a sexy smelling scent. 

Researchers report the most powerful sense for memory is smell.

Perhaps that is why roses are the essence of romance; they are red and full of pleasant aroma. Guys, unless your gal is allergic, it is always a good idea to bring her flowers. And if you present her with the best smelling bouquet, she will have an emotional trigger that will be to your advantage, husbands ;-). For those of you still dating, you will have created a memory she may even include in her journal!

Moms and dads, try baking chocolate chip cookies or making your kids’ favorite meal before they arrive home and the WATCH their eyes open wide and the excitement pour out of their mouths and body language.

Think for a moment of some of your fondest memories of grandma’s house. Chances are good that these memories include delicious smells and evoke positive emotions.

I hope you are inspired to create some sweet smelling memories with the people you love. Pour out the perfume.

Brain Byte: Allergies and Stress

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According to Dr. Archibald D. Hart, author of Adrenaline and Stress, if you suffer from allergies you should pay special attention to the stress in your life.

Allergies can produce headaches, along with many other reactions such as hay fever, asthma, gastrointestinal troubles, hives, and even behavior problems.  Anything that alters the reaction tissues is an allergic substance.  Allergens only affect some people, if it affected everyone the same it would be called a “poison.”

Scientists do not yet  have proof that an allergic reaction is stress-related; however there is abundant anecdotal evidence that when someone is highly stressed, any allergic predisposition may be greatly aggravated.

So while stress may not be the cause of allergies, it could certainly be a trigger.  Therefore, Dr. Hart prescribes that you pay special attention to the stress in your life.  First identify the triggers and then do your best to minimize stress.

Is it Really Possible to be Too Heavenly Minded?

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You have heard it said, “Don’t be so heavenly minded that you are no earthly good.”

I challenge:  Is this even possible?  Those who are sincerely heavenly minded: choose to live like Christ.  Study Christ’s life and you will see that He spent His life serving the people of the earth with the Kingdom of Heaven at the forefront of His mind and heart.

The Bible says, “Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.” Colossians 3:2 NLT

I watched my sweet friend, Leigh, live the last months of her life boldly living with a heavenly mindset while doing this earth such good.  She learned in the late fall that the cancer had returned.  It had been 27 years since the first occurrence and then about three more bouts of various “C” reports over her short 64 year life span.  But this last bout was to be her last.  We all rallied together after the first indications cancer had returned.  We encouraged her.  We prayed with her, for her, and over her.  We were ready to do spiritual battle.  We pleaded with the Lord to cure her and to sustain her.  Ultimately, He did both of these things but the curing was not to be done on earth.

As the months progressed it seemed that this may be the last time she would ever have to battle cancer or any sickness.  She began to ‘know’ that this was her time to let go and let God take her to be home with Him, in His perfect timing.  You see my friend, Leigh, she loved the Word of God and she came to have full confidence in it.  She knew that when she died it meant that she would be restored to her Savior.  That she would also be fully healed and whole in every possible way.  There would be no more sorrow or sickness or emotional trials or even any effort to take place to overcome the past or the present trials.  She had full confidence that Jesus is the Risen Christ who Redeems those who believe that His blood was shed for all.

The day before Leigh slipped into unconsciousness I said to her, “Do you feel Him (God)?” And she said confidently, “No. No, I don’t feel Him.  But I just KNOW He is here. I just know.”  And she said it with her infamous bright and beautiful smile.  It literally warmed my heart to watch my friend who, at times, had been plagued by the enemy with doubts.  Doubts that she was ‘good enough’ to be restored to Christ.  And on this the very last day of her conscious life on earth God gave her the FAITH and the full confidence to stand on all that the Word of God said to be True.  It gave her a joyful expectancy to pass.  This makes no sense to a person without faith.  But to those who believe in the Resurrection power of Christ; we rejoice with our friend.  Because now she is whole and she is WITH Jesus.  She did not die afraid, alone, and weak.  She passed from this world into the next; into the eternal presence of Christ and we know from His Word that there is no better place to live. It is a place with no more tears.

Leigh taught me so many valuable lessons by living these last few months with a full-blown heavenly mindset.  I will just share the last lesson and that is to live every day in confident faith that He is with us, no matter what we ‘feel’, ‘think’, or ‘see’ – He is here. We just need to execute the faith He has given us to believe in Him.

So what does a Heavenly minded life look like?  Well, you will have to open your Bible to be abundantly supplied with examples.  Study Abraham’s life (Genesis, Romans 4, Hebrews 11), and the life of Moses, and the Faith chapter = Hebrews Eleven.  Most importantly take a look at Jesus’ life example.

A Heavenly Minded Life Looks a Lot Like This:

When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things. Mark 6:34 NIV

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. James 1:22-25

Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:26-27

Emphasis added in bold and italics to these scriptures by this author.

I am so grateful for Leigh’s life example.  Her smile and beautifully bright eyes linger on in our memories as an encouragement to keep smiling through it all and to live in the hope of Heaven while doing earthly good.

Until we meet again, LoveLeigh, we miss you and cling to the hope you had, and have strengthened in us.  Thank you for showing me that there is no such thing as being too heavenly minded.

Brain Byte: Improve Attention and Focus

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Attention to detail is not always easy, but there are tools to help us.

We all get distracted at times, especially when we have many activities in the hopper at one time.  Some events we are responsible for and some we are obligated to participate in, but they all require some amount of attention.  The busy times in our lives can impact the quality of our attention and focus.  Other factors that impact our focus can include our physical state: hormonal imbalances, too much or too little sleep, and stress.

The good news is that in spite of environmental or physical variables, we have the power to have improve our attention and focus.  But, we must take action!

Smart Strategies to Improve Attention and Focus

Make Notes – Writing forces you to pay attention; helps move information from short-term to long-term memory; and you have a record if you need it later.

Control Distractions – Take charge of controllable distractions around you.  Turn off the TV/Radio, manage the temperature so that you are not too cold or too warm, if you are hungry then eat.

Quiet Time – If it is too noisy or too busy where you are attempting to concentrate, then move!  Find a library nearby that you can count on for your focus time.  Perhaps you have a spot in your yard that you can designate as your focus space. You may consider purchasing noise-reducing headphones for your workstation.

Voice record your notes – you may use your smartphone to record notes when you are in a hurry.  If you don’t have a smartphone there are mini-recorders available at low-cost, some made specifically for your key chain.  You may especially consider voice recording important information such as advice from your doctor or imperative projects.  When you are under stress there is greater chance you will forget information left to your memory alone.

Brain Byte: Making Your Point Memorable

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When you have something important to say, you want people to remember it, right?!? Being strategic about when and how you present that critical point will help you gain the desired results you seek from your audience, whether it is one or many.

Research shows that our brain’s ability to recall information is at it’s peak during:

  • the beginning
  • the end
  • things that are outstanding

So when you have something important to relay or critical decision for your listener to make; be sure to present it when you first begin your conversation or at the end.  And while you are making your point be sure to include a memorable moment in the midst.

For example you are making a point about alternative energy and in the middle of your conversation you leap up,  raise your voice, and shout, “capture the energy from the MOON!” All while looking to the sky and reaching for the moon.  Your hearers will very likely get a giggle, but the gesture will also make more of a mark on their ability to recall the idea.  This is because things that are outstanding, or different in a significant way from what we are accustomed or expecting to hear, make a stronger imprint on our memory.  Also note that you are adding more senses to the memory by adding the motion of standing up; change in pitch of your voice; and giving a visual association by reaching for the moon.

 

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