Choosing Joy Instead

Life

 

1. Change the websites you are spending time on. Instead of Facebook and other social media sites(where there is a LOT of negativity – negative statements, negative comments, negative thoughts towards others in general), check blogs that you follow, check Pinterest, Goodreads (if you read), Photography pages with beautiful images, or sites with information on your interests.

2. Listen to nothing but uplifting, inspirational, or Christian music for 1 week and see how it changes you. iTunes makes this easy by allowing you to UNCHECK the songs that don’t fit the bill. If you’re on Pandora, try searching  Natasha BedingfieldMichael BubléSara Bareilles, or Ingrid Michaelson. Feel free to add your own favorite inspirational artists…
In the car listen to Inspirational Radio, Christian Radio, and most cities have an “upbeat/encouraging” stations.

3. Avoid people, situations, and things that are known stressors, drama creators, or depressors.

4. Get OUT of the house! Even if you don’t make it past your porch… the fresh air and outdoor surroundings works WONDERS.

5. Get INVOLVED in things going on around town. Feeling like you make a difference is a huge bringer of joy. Doing things for others, and in your community is proven to make you feel happier.

6. SMILE! At everyone! A genuine smile is contagious and will make others smile. The chemical reaction in your body when you smile will actually make you feel happier.

7. Never underestimate the little things that you can do to bring a smile. Do something silly. Do something that brings out your inner child. Paint- (even if you cant) – Sing (even if you cant) etc…
Do something that makes you feel beautiful/handsome.

7. If you are one of those people that gets sucked into TV shows and movies on the couch when you’re sad… DON’T even turn on the TV. Pick up a book, but set a timer for when you are going to stop reading and get out of the house and do something.

8. Do ONE thing every day that will bring you closer to your goals.

9. REMEMBER ABOVE ALL! Happiness is a choice… everyday. People, Stuff, Getting something you want… These things cannot make you happy. They are temporary. You must find Joy in yourself, and Joy in God. Beware: this may mean lifestyle changes. But in order to get something you’ve never had… you must do something you’ve never done.

Finding Peace

In today’s world this word has become all but lost in the shuffle of day to day chaos. I think many of us have given up the hope of having peace in our life. Between financial difficulties, emotional stress, family’s breaking apart, the anxiety that comes from turning on the TV and seeing the events going on just outside our doors, or maybe the depression from just thinking about everything we will have to face in the coming day.

As soon as you read the title to this post, I bet you dismissed it as ridiculous, impossible or just a fantasy in your own life. Peace is something that other people have – millionaires and celebrities, and those other people that don’t live in the real world and deal with what you have to deal with, right?

Wrong.

Peace can be found. We just have to seek it out.

As a follower of Christ, we already have Peace living inside of us in the form of the Holy Spirit; the Comforter, the Counselor, the peace that Christ had.

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” -John 14:27

This peace is a little different than we usually think of peace. It doesn’t mean our life doesn’t come with trouble or difficulty – usually as Christians, our life has more trouble in it than most – but we have the Peace of knowing Christ and having a relationship with Jesus and knowing things are in the hands of the one that created the Universe. We know that we will be given the strength and the ability to carry on through strife and that can give us peace. That is the first kind of Peace. Peace with God, in knowing that we have all of his power living inside of each of us. This is true and eternal peace that is present everyday we turn to God, Christ and His Word.

The second kind of peace a lesser and temporary peace for small moments.  Many of you don’t know the comFinding a minute to rest. Finding a way to make the pain go away. To keep depression at bay.

Here are some things that give me Peace. Feel free to add to the list.

1. Read the Word. It is our Love Letter from God, it is our Peace of mind. Every promise ever made, every promise ever kept.

2. Stand tall and Raise your arms above your head. This is scientifically proven to release endorphins and make you a little bit happier instantly. Feel free to try your own “power stance” =P

3. Give everyone you see a genuine smile. This small gesture brings a little bit of peace to someone else’s day, and smiling also releases endorphins that naturally make you feel better. Smiles really are contagious.

4. Deep breathing for 5 minutes. This sounds stupid and too simple but it helps.  In through your nose – out through your mouth. As slow as possible. Count to 10 for each breath. Breath in – 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10. Breath out 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10. Repeat.

5. Make a Playlist of ONLY inspirational, uplifting songs. This can be done on your personal playlist or Pandora. Play only this type of music everyday for several weeks and see how it changes your life.

6.  Do something that you enjoy that works both sides of your brain. Music, Cooking, Crafts that involve left/right coordination. If you are ADD this is amazingly peaceful because it keeps both sides of your brain focused on a single task and doesn’t let you worry about everything else that is going on in your life for this small amount of time.

My Book Challenge

  1. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austin
  2. The Lord of the Rings – JRR TOLKIEN
  3. The Silmarillon – JRR TOLKIEN
  4. Mere Christianity – CS LEWIS
  5. Harry Potter Series – JK Rowling
  6. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
  7. JOHN
  8. ACTS
  9. ROMANS
  10. EPHESIANS
  11. EZEKIEL
  12. Radical
  13. Not a Fan
  14. Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
  15. Great Expectations
  16. Catch 22
  17. The Hobbit – JRR TOLKIEN
  18. The Time Travelers Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
  19. The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
  20. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
  21. Hunger Games
  22. Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carrol
  23. Through the Looking Glass – Lewis Carrol 
  24. Chronicals of Narnia – CS Lewis
  25. 23 Minutes in Hell
  26. A Tale of Two Cities
  27. Odyssey
  28. Iliad
  29. The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
  30. A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
  31. The Color Purple – Alice Walker
  32. Charlotte’s Web – EB White
  33. The Five People You Meet in Heaven – Mitch Albom
  34. Les Miserables – Victor Hugo
  35. The Case for Christ/The Case for Faith – Lee Strobel
  36. Battlefield of the Mind – Joyce Meyer
  37. Around the World in 80 Days – Jules Verne
  38. Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand
  39. The Neverending Story – Michael Ende
  40. Speak – Laurie Halse Anderson

Historical Literature and Censorship

How far is too far?

There have been instances as far back as the 1920’s of schools removing certain works of literature from the shelves of their libraries. And while it is usually due to inappropriate and explicit content, there are a few other categories that will cause a book to be considered “Challenged” or actually taken off the shelves. Continue reading

Deviate Focus

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What is Deviate Focus?

It is to change one’s view from the concepts, ideas and opinions that dominate the modern world.

Today individualism is everywhere. We, as a culture, are encouraged to display our individuality in every aspect of our life; from work to school, to politics, to our own blogs. And despite individuality being encouraged, individual thought is not.
Thinking for oneself is possibly considered the worst offense.

Opinions, likes/dislikes, propaganda, what to wear, what to eat, what to buy, what to do in your free time, what to watch on tv, even which charities/football teams/religions/biases to support are shoved down our throat daily by commercials, media, news, and peers.Its all a bit ridiculous the lengths we go to in order to fit in and not be met with awkward glances.

Our culture has developed past the point of thriving and progressed directly to self destructive. We’ve missed the point! Our view finder has been stretched so wide that we’ve lost focus on what matters.

This blog is not going to go out of its way to be radical, however more often than not that’s what ends up happening.