Tag Archives: live well

Entering a Gossip-Free Month

Loving Yourself & Others, Part I

Speak Positively

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
Ephesians 4:29

Point to Ponder:
Are your conversations about others wholesome and beneficial?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Have you ever gone shopping and purchased something that was impractical, impulsive and too expensive? Then, as soon as you arrived home you hastily ripped off the tag, tossed the receipt, and fully expected “it” to make you feel happy and satisfied…but within less than 24-hours, you realized that “thing” that you are now stuck with is something you don’t want, can’t return and as a result, have buyer’s remorse?!  This is how I feel after I’ve shamefully engaged in gossip. Upon the initial engagement of gossiping, it can feel harmless and even fun, but afterwards I always have ‘gossip remorse’ and wish I could take it all back. However, the damage to my heart and to the heart of the person I’ve talked about is already done. It’s gross, nasty and immature, and makes me want to soak myself in bleach and ask for forgiveness.

As you are aware, Valentine’s Day is on February 14th.  While I think Valentine’s is sweet and I do participate in the sweetness of it, I also think it’s a silly scheme to make us spend money on superficial love items that men feel obligated to buy women. And for women who aren’t in a relationship, it’s just a depressing day. Furthermore, it’s like New Years Eve or the prom, it’s over-rated and more disappointing than fun because it’s glamorized and expectations are unrealistic and too high. I promise I’m not jaded (even though my first Valentine’s with Russell came with diamond earrings, and now I get roses because those were his mom’s favorite flower — even though I have communicated to him that they are my least favorite flower…). Instead, I’m just proposing we use the month of February for a purpose that will provide real long-term emotional and spiritual fulfillment to ourselves and others, which is loving ourselves and all people by avoiding gossip, not engaging in gossip and when in a circle of gossip, courageously suggesting that the conversation end.

In addition to the month of Valentine’s, February is also American Heart Month. Heart month is intended to raise awareness of the prevalence of heart disease awareness, which remains to be the #1 killer of women. When I think of heart disease, my tendency is to think one-dimensionally: diet and exercise.  However, stress of any kind affects the whole body and heart, and there’s no doubt that gossip absolutely has an effect on two hearts: the person gossiping and the person who is being gossiped about. I love visuals, which is why I love the picture above. We may not be able to make someone change their diet or exercise, but we can choose to hold both of our hearts responsibly, with kindness and compassion.

I really do feel like Ephesians 4:29 (the verse above) advises perfectly.  Just think how good we will feel and the goodness ripple effect that will take place as a result of us not engaging in unwholesome talk, and only talking about what is useful for building others up according to their needs so that it may benefit those that are listening. This also includes people we don’t even know but like to talk about anyway — like celebrities. We’ll be counter-culture, total misfits and oh what a good month this will be!

Action Item:
Avoid all gossip and instead choose words that are useful for building others up and will benefit those that are listening.

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Yoga Poses to Relieve Tension in the Neck, Shoulders & Spine

Because many of us store  tension in our necks, shoulders and backs, it is crucial to know what we can do to help relieve that tension and physical stress in a safe and healthy way. Whether you spend your days sitting at a desk, running kids around, driving in the car, or however — take the time to do these moves a couple times a week and watch the tension begin to fade!

Poses demonstrated by iGnite yoga instructor Amy Younkman

Join us for an iGnite yoga class on the lake Fridays at 6:00am and 8:30am! View our class schedule here

1. Cat/Cow Pose

Cat/Cow Pose

  • BENEFITS: This pose is beneficial for warming up the spine and stretching the torso and neck while focusing on deeply inhaling and exhaling. It is a great first exercise to begin to tune into the breath, bring suppleness to the spine and create awareness of where you are holding tension. Focus on the breath, each time trying to go a little deeper.
  • TRY IT! Step 1: Start on all fours in table top position, lining up wrists and knees and keeping your spine and head in a neutral position. Step 2: On the inhale, draw your chest and tailbone up to the sky, allowing your belly to sink down and your eyes to look straight ahead. Step 3: On the exhale, reverse the tilt of your pelvis by curling your tailbone down and rounding your spine toward the sky as you release your head towards the floor. Repeat several times.

2. Bridge Pose

Bridge Pose

  • BENEFITS: Great for stretching the chest, neck and spine while calming the mind and stimulating the abdominal organs, lungs and thyroid. Bridge is a great release for the low back while energizing the legs and stretching the iliopsoas and thighs.
  • TRY IT! Step 1: While lying on your back, bend your knees and place your feet hip distance apart, about 8 – 10″ from your sit bones. Step 2: Press your feet and arms actively into the floor and lift your hips, keeping your knees directly over your heels. Step 3: Draw your sternum towards your chin and try clasping your hands and reaching your fingers and tailbone towards your heels, creating length in the neck and broadening across the front of the chest.

3. Reclined Abdominal Twist

Reclined Abdominal Twist

  • BENEFITS: Stretches the lower back and tones the abdominals while stretching and strengthening the abductors and obliques. Twists aid digestion, improve breathing and ease back and neck tension.
  • TRY IT! Step 1: Bend both knees into chest, tuck the chin in slightly and gently push the lower back and sacrum toward the floor. Step 2: Extend your arms out to the side in touchdown position, palms facing up. Step 3: On an inhalation, pin your inner thighs and knees together. Step 4: On an exhalation, lower both knees to the right, twisting through the abdomen as you turn your head and look to the left. Try to keep your shoulder blades looped down your back pressing towards the ground. Step 5: On the inhalation, return the knees and head to center. Step 6: On the next exhalation, lower your legs to the left as you turn your head to the right. Inhale and return the knees and head to center. Repeat 2 – 3 times.

4. Forward Fold with Arms Washing Overhead

Forward Fold

  • BENEFITS: Calms the brain, helps relieve stress in the neck and shoulders, stimulates the liver and kidneys, releases the low back and stretches the hamstrings, calves and hips.
  • TRY IT! Step 1: Clasp your hands behind your back, draw your shoulder blades down your back, broaden across the chest, and reach her knuckles down towards the ground as you straighten your arms. (You can also clasp a belt or towel behind your back if your shoulders are tight.) Step 2: On an inhalation, lift your clasped hands up behind you and begin to fold forward, bending from the hip joints, not from the waist. Step 3: Release your head towards the ground and melt your chest towards your thighs. Keep a gentle bend to your knees if your hamstrings are tight. Step 4: Let your extended arms wash overhead. With each inhale, try to expand and lengthen; with each exhale, try to relax and soften deeper into the pose. Stay here for 8 – 10 breaths.

Do You Love Yourself??

I need to be skinnier love myself.

How we perceive and talk about ourselves directly affects how we love ourselves, love one another and how we allow others to love and treat us. So, let’s keep it simple and be grateful for what we do have and love ourselves, unconditionally!

And now, an eye-opening video that just might alter how you see yourself:

Video: Dove Real Beauty Sketches

Dove Video: Real Beauty Sketches

Link not working? Watch it online here.

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Wisdom from the Big Bang Birthday

Dad playing football with all the grandkids

Dad playing football with all the grandkids

See the distant road rather than the mud on the windshield.
— Bill Swinney (Kathleen’s father)

Action Item:
Fill your life with joyful, positive and passionate people, thoughts and things and remain focused on them. Never forget that life is an adventure.

by Kathleen Parker

by Kathleen Parker

This month we celebrated my Dad’s big BANG 88th birthday at his ranch. Seriously, it was a bang of a birthday, as he has an authentic Civil War cannon that he loves to fire to commemorate another year of his ‘great adventure.’ This year we had an Eight Bang Salute celebrating 88 years on the 8th of July.

Dad has shared his enthusiasm for adventure with his six children throughout his life, and he taught us that nothing is impossible!! For example, when we were young he threw six ropes off the back of the boat and had us get up and ski together. In the mid 60’s, he created the first parasailing expedition by going to the local Army Surplus Store and purchasing an old parachute. He cut holes in it, tied it to the back of the boat with a ski rope and took off with one of my brothers dangling from the parachute in a small makeshift rope seat. It was quite a site to see back then!

Just four years ago at the age of 84 he decided to build a big new ranch house by himself. He has always had an altruistic spirit and hired some ex-cons and a one legged carpenter to assist him. He finished his pride and joy in less than a year. Unfortunately, the ex-cons returned to rob him and stole his truck!

Following the big bang birthday I received a hand-written letter from my Dad — something he does a couple times a year to all of his children. He expressed his joy for life, along with incredible wisdom. This is what he wrote:

“Life has been a great adventure for me—and it continues to be so. Remember these things:

  • Believe there are opportunities for success instead of pitfalls leading to failure. Don’t let trivialities get you side tracked

  • There are a myriad of positive ways to view life—so keep the negative out of play.

  • Remember the redeeming value of rest and the exhilarating value of work and KEEP THEM IN BALANCE.

  • The body will follow the mind until it collapses with fatigue, so if you can keep your body fit and strong then you can get more performance as your mind pushes the body into high test situations.

  • Most importantly, remember the human body is the most complex chemical plant God created and the chemicals are dispersed by how one thinks. Thinking positively dispenses chemicals that lead to accomplishment, and daily accomplishment puts “OLD AGE” on hold! Sounds simple, BUT IT WORKS!!”

This is only one of many wisdom notes my father has written me and eventually I will share them all. Until then, I do not doubt that Dad will someday meet our Heavenly Father, exhausted and exhilarated from truly living and thoroughly enjoying this life that He so generously gave us. The thought “What if I would have…?” will never enter his mind, and I strive to carry on his grandiose passion and joy for life.

I found this 67 year old inspiration water skiing barefoot with a friend and while I not sure I want to ski barefoot at 67, she inspires me to never stop. She’s pretty remarkable!!

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