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Book Review – It’s A God Thing

Have you ever wondered whether people actually have experienced miracles and the protection of God in life and death situations? Have you ever wondered whether prayers are answered when the answers to those prayers could only have come from the intervention by a loving God? Have you ever wondered if God is real and cares about us very much?

“It’s A God Thing”, is a collection of stories by real people who have experienced God’s protection, comfort, healing, provision, and everyday miracles. It is a collection of 42 real life events in which people have experienced the love of God – those moments in time that have no explanation for what has happened except for some intervention by a caring God.

Real people. Real Life. Real Grace. A new start after a colossal failure. Reconciliation with a son that had stormed out of the house years ago. Complete recovery when the doctors said there was nothing else they could do. A broken marriage restored. A moment of absolute joy, even when storms were raging all around. Big moments. Small Moments.

Good Stress – Bad Stress

Properly channeled, stress enables us to live happy, energetic, productive lives. It allows us to set goals, meet dangers and defend ourselves.

Life is not perfect.

Just as there will be times when we will experience incredible joy and happiness, there will be times when we will experience high, extreme levels of stress because of unexpected tragedies, adversities, and losses that severely impact every aspect of our lives.

At such times, we will feel anxiety, worry and fear. The more overwhelmed we are in such circumstances the more helpless, hopeless and depressed we can become.

Our bodies were made to deal with stress

So, if we were made to handle all kinds of stress, should be concerned?

Yes. Why?

Wake Up!

Crash!

You had been sound asleep, but now bolt upright, wide awake, heart pounding wildly in your chest. You strain to hear any further sounds beyond the thumping of your heart.

Silence.

Just as you get ready to lie back down on your pillow after reassuring yourself that you must have been dreaming, you hear another sound that shouldn’t be happening in the house at this time of night.

Any intentions of going back to sleep are forgotten. You are fully awake; your body on high alert, in anticipation of whatever threat is there. Just as if you had opened your front door and came face to face with a snarling tiger, your brain has registered danger.

In the blink of an eye your heart, circulatory system, adrenal glands, stomach, intestines, kidneys, liver, brain – in fact almost every organ in your body has been activated in some way with hormones and chemicals to meet this danger. Your hands feel clammy, your feet cold and fear has created a hard knot in the pit of your stomach.

Book Review: Clara’s War – One Girl’s Story of Survival

“And you shall teach them diligently to your children, and you shall speak of them when you sit at home and when you walk along the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9

So begins the book, “Clara’s War, One Girl’s Story of Survival”, a memoir of a 81 year old survivor of the Second World War during the invasion and occupation of Poland, first by the Russians and then by the Nazi’s.

It is a riveting true story of a teenage Polish Jewish girl who with her family and two other families was forced to live in an underground basement bunker in the home of the Beck family who hid them for 18 months. Clara (Schwarz) Kramer’s original diary of this time period is on display at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, written with the stub of a pencil on bits of paper.

So What is Stress Anyway?

We hear a lot about stress and how to avoid it.

But wait! What if we could eliminate it? Would that be a good thing?

NO! Because we can’t live without stress.

“Stress is the body’s nonspecific response to the demands placed upon it”, says Hans Selye, MD, professor, and research scientist who spent a lifetime researching and explaining the body’s physiological response to stress. (See his book, “Stress Without Distress”)

Our body is constantly adapting to changes. If we couldn’t adapt, we would be unable to go to work, make plans and keep ourselves safe. It is stress that allows us to respond to whatever is happening. It enables us to adapt to any new situation, whether it is cheering at a football game or responding to a threat. It is how we are able to respond to life: mentally, emotionally, socially and physically.

We can’t eliminate stress, nor do we want to. It is normal and natural.

Replacing Bad Habits

Replacing old habits

Habits are resistant to change. Replacing them takes time, commitment and dedication.

A lifestyle becomes a habit. When we are no longer satisfied with how we live, it’s time to question what we are doing. We not only need to know what isn’t working, we need to know why and what new habits can replace them that will give us a greater reward.

We resist change because there is both a comfort level and a payoff to remain where we are. Putting a new habit in place takes hard work and courage and we’ll often rationalize why it is just too difficult to change.

Make that commitment

When you have identified the areas that require new habits pick one and put together a plan of action. A plan of action will address the following:

Book Review – Forgive For Good

Forgive for Good, by Frederick Luskin, PhD

As a therapist, I have recommended many books for clients to read. One of those books has been “Forgive for Good”, by Frederick Luskin, PhD.

I have used the well-written and easy to follow guidelines in this book in many workshops and retreats that I have given. Whether you are dealing with grief and loss, adversity, or healing the wounded child within, it is a book that touches each of us.

As a licensed mental health counselor, I was privileged to attend a day-long professional training seminar facilitated by Dr. Luskin himself. The book was an outcome of his doctoral thesis and designed to help wounded, angry and blaming clients recognize the benefit of forgiveness. He also developed course material for classes to be used by churches.

We tend to think of forgiveness as a command made by Christ – forgiving not once, but seventy times seventy. It is not only a spiritual necessity but a clinical one as well.

Find That Balance

Find that Balance

We organize, establish routines and schedules so that we can maximize our time and achieve our goals. You may think that routines are boring and stifling, but they actually give us the freedom to become decisive and productive. They also allow us freedom to be spontaneous when we want to.

Time is relative and schedules and routines are for our benefit. They are there to serve us – not dictate our life. If they are too rigid or unrealistic, we will become frustrated and tired.

Remember to schedule “down” times, when we turn off the hassles of the day and allow ourselves time to spend doing pleasant, relaxing and fun things.

Once in place productive routines become unconscious daily habits that streamline our days. Our routines and schedule do not rule us – they are tools that allow us to live life to the fullest.

The Clock is Ticking

We have 24 hours every day. How you organize your time and activities within those twenty-four hours is for your benefit!

The Benefits of a Time Log

Years ago, when I was just starting out in life, I moved from my small town to the city after high school and shared an apartment with my brother and sister.

My first job paid a minimum salary and I had enrolled in night school to continue my education. I was taught the importance of putting 10% of whatever was earned into a savings account.

But I struggled just to survive, let alone save money. I felt I was prudent with my spending, but there was little money left over from each paycheck. Where was I spending my money? I wasn’t making any large purchases.

Book Review – Accidental Pharisees

“Accidental Pharisees: – AVOIDING PRIDE, EXCLUSIVITY AND the other dangers of overzealous faith”, by Larry Osborne

Accidental Pharisees are people like you and me who really have a desire to honor God, want to share the good news of Christ with the world, but run the risk of becoming overzealous in their faith putting a guilt trip on people.

In our desire to follow God and live a holy life, we can become so zealous that we run the risk of elevating ourselves, looking down on those who aren’t following as diligently a path as we are.

We tend to equate the Pharisees in the bible with being the bad guys who are puffed up with their own righteousness and are arrogant and contemptuous of others. Larry Osborne suggests that we too can become so zealous that we can become a full-fledged Pharisee.

We tend to equate the Pharisees in the bible with being the bad guys who are puffed up with their own righteousness and are arrogant and contemptuous of others. Larry Osborne suggests that we too can become so zealous that we can become a full-fledged Pharisee.