Heart Choices: 2008-10-12 -->

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A Walking Adventure

Doing the same exercise every day can get boring. Consider adding some variety, especially on days when you have more time. Even though it continues to be warm in Phoenix, the October mornings are cooler. So, for a change of pace I decided to take a long walk instead of hopping on my treadmill this morning. I brought my camera, along with my ipod and water bottle... and off I went on my adventure.

I decided to cross over to the Arizona Biltmore since the scenery is great!

The entryway

The grounds are picture perfect

Imagine yourself having breakfast with this view

We actually have waterways in Phoenix (well... canals)

Check out this house along the way

I'm enjoying my walking adventure

Who lives in these houses?
Some of my views
Do you think anyone will notice I'm not staying at the hotel? The pool looks very inviting!
I noticed a butterly on this flower, along with a few bees

There is variety along my walking route

Almost home and it's downhill (yeah)

I hope you enjoyed my walking adventure in pictures. How about you? What do you do to add some variety to your exercise routine? I'd love to hear from you.

Interesting: My friend Philip from Cyprus has a blog and he writes about the history of places he visits. He took my pictures and posted a blog about Phoenix, Arizona. Click here to see what he has written.


Joy on This Thankful Thursday

It's Thursday and when I checked Iris' Thankful Thursday blog post, I read that today's topic is "joy".

When I first began to participate in these weekly posts, I didn't realize there was a specific topic we were supposed to blog about. I guess I'm not very good at reading the directions.

When I think of joy, I think of smiling. But, when so much uncertainty is going on in life...I don't always feel like smiling.

Then I remember that joy is different from happiness. Happiness depends on circumstances in life. Joy comes from the inside. It doesn't depend on...

  • The politics of the Presidential election
  • What's happening in the financial markets
  • That your aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer

It comes from knowing who is really in charge...my God and my Lord. I browsed through my Bible's concordance to look up the word "joy" and I was amazed at the number of times it was listed. That is good news!

During my quiet time this morning, I read Psalm 28. Read what verse 7 says:

"The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song."

Since my trust is in Him...I can have joy no matter what. So, I began to smile and to give thanks to Him in song. And no, I can't sing. But I sang "It is Well With My Soul". Did you know that Horatio Spafford wrote this song after the tragic death of four of his daughters? In the midst of heartache and pain...he had joy.

This blog is about Heart Choices and how our day to day choices determine what our tomorrows will become. We often spend so much time taking care of our bodies and minds...but often neglect our spirit.

On this Thankful Thursday, will you make the choice to thank God? And while you're at it, sing a song of praise.

Ways to Deal With Stress

Do you long for a more peaceful and calm life? Do you wish you could escape your responsibilities and take a vacation from your problems?

I smile as I think of the movie "What About Bob?" when Bill Murray's character took a vacation from his problems. Of course, he followed his psychiatrist to his family's vacation destination.

Dealing with ongoing stress is difficult and can have many negative consequences on your health. But what do you do when the financial markets are in crisis or your parents are getting older and have health issues that require your time and energy...but you live in a state on the opposite side of the country? Every time you turn on the TV you hear about a disaster or crisis...and you wonder why you feel so stressed?

What can you do? Do you have choices?

Here are a few suggestions:

  • You are in control of your response to stress: You cannot control all circumstances in life but you can chose how you respond.

  • Don't watch the news before going to bed at night: Dwelling on sensational news accounts does nothing to promote a good night's rest.

  • Start your day with a quiet time even if it's only 10 minutes: By taking that initial time each morning you can choose to focus on what's really important.

  • Do some physical exercise: Exercise helps change your physiology. Your thoughts can have a direct effect on your body. Change the way you move and you can often change your mood. Going for a walk or a hike can be such a great stress reliever.

  • Learn a relaxation technique: Simply taking a few deep breaths can help to relax your body, lower your blood pressure and heart rate. When people are stressed they often breathe more shallow and from their chest. Try to imagine a balloon in your stomach. When you inhale, the balloon fills up. When you exhale, the balloon deflates. When you feel particularly stressed, take a mini-break and take a few breaths.

  • Take stock of your life: Are you spending too much money when your budget has been cut back? Do you overcommit your time when you're already overstretched as it is?

  • Leave the TV off if you're home during the day: It's too easy to waste time with mindless TV watching. You may have intended to watch one show but now several hours have gone by. Media reports can be quite sensational creating more anxiety.

  • Don't panic: Live long enough and you realize that there are cycles to the financial markets. It can be a wake up call to many people who may need to make adjustments in their life and choose to live more wisely for the future.

  • Help someone else: When I realize that other people have problems too, it gets my focus off of myself and puts things in perspective. Helping a neighbor or simply providing a listening ear to a friend may be a way to deal with stress.

  • Laugh: It takes less muscles to smile than to frown. Start using those muscles. Watch reruns of "I Love Lucy". Read some good jokes. Find joy in the simple things in life. And don't take yourself too seriously...learn to laugh.

There will always be challenges in life. Focus on the things you can do something about. A wise friend once told me not to waste time worrying about things that may never happen. If you think back to "what if" situations that you worried about in the past, most of them never happened. So, why waste today on worry? Choose to live your life day by day and sometimes...moment by moment.

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