Feed the GOOD

I literally read this on my dog’s bag of food, “Feed the Good” and it reminded me of a conversation I had yesterday. I was talking to a friend about the state of people around us and it seemed to have a constant theme—sadness. People are struggling to find the good in their lives, so I wanted to write a post that will have lots of GOOD things…POSITIVE things that will enrich any life.

If you or someone you know is feeling like they need a little something “good” then here is the prescription. I think there are enough people medicated on the seeming “feel good” prescriptions/medications, but there are real “feel good” things you can do without any side effects.

Take in HAPPY doses…

girl_blonde_nature_sitting_stone_69395_1920x1080NATURE: Get out in nature. Nature has so many healing benefits for the mind and body. Walking out in nature helps with depression, short-term memory, better vision, reduced inflammation, Stress, improved concentration, creativity, immune boost, improved mental health & some research has even found that spending time in nature (forests, in particular) may stimulate the production of anti-cancer proteins.

One study found that walks in the forest were specifically associated with decreased levels of anxiety and bad moods, and another found that outdoor walks could be “useful clinically as a supplement to existing treatments” for major depressive disorder. 

Another study found that people immersed in nature for four days — significantly more time than a lunchtime walk in the park — boosted their performance on a creative problem-solving test by 50%. 

In one early study, researchers worked to deplete participants’ ability to focus. Then some took a walk in nature, some took a walk through the city, and the rest just relaxed. When they returned, the nature group scored the best on a proofreading task.

When inflammation goes into overdrive, it’s associated in varying degrees with a wide range of ills including autoimmune disorders, inflammatory bowel disease, depression, and cancer. Spending time in nature may be one way to help keep it in check.In one study, students who spent time in the forest had lower levels of inflammation than those who spent time in the city.

[taken from business insider.com article http://www.businessinsider.com/scientific-benefits-of-nature-outdoors-2016-4/#1-improved-short-term-memory-1] Incredibly interesting, science filled article that shows the various pros of getting out in nature. There are so many benefits. Please read the whole article. AMAZING!

Articles on the effects of nature on your mood/brain. Lots of great information. https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/07/22/how-nature-changes-the-brain/?_r=0

http://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2016/01/call-to-wild/

Motivated by large-scale public health problems such as obesity, depression, and pervasive nearsightedness, all clearly associated with time spent indoors, Strayer and other scientists are looking with renewed interest at how nature affects our brains and bodies. Building on advances in neuroscience and psychology, they’ve begun to quantify what once seemed divine and mysterious. These measurements—of everything from stress hormones to heart rate to brain waves to protein markers—indicate that when we spend time in green space, “there is something profound going on,”

1129893324-music-gives-soul-to-the-universeMUSIC: Music can prevent anxiety-induced increases in heart rate and systolic blood pressure, and decrease cortisol levels — all biological markers of stress.     Music relieves pain: In a 2013 study, sixty people diagnosed with fibromyalgia — a disease characterized by severe musculoskeletal pain — were randomly assigned to listen to music once a day over a four-week period. In comparison to a control group, the group that listened to music experienced significant pain reduction and fewer depressive symptoms.     Music has been found to help immune function: Massachusetts General Hospital found that listening to Mozart’s piano sonatas helped relax critically ill patients by lowering stress hormone levels, but the music also decreased blood levels of interleukin-6 — a protein that has been implicated in higher mortality rates, diabetes and heart problems.     Music helps memory function: In a study published last year, adult students studying Hungarian were asked to speak, or speak in a rhythmic fashion, or sing phrases in the unfamiliar language. Afterwards, when asked to recall the foreign phrases, the singing group fared significantly better than the other two groups in recall accuracy. to see the full article from Huffington http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/02/music-and-health-rock-on_n_6573132.html

The power of music to affect memory is quite intriguing. Mozart’s music and baroque music, with a 60 beats per minute beat pattern, activates the left and right brain. The simultaneous left and right brain action maximizes learning and retention of information. The information being studied activates the left brain while the music activates the right brain. Also, activities which engage both sides of the brain at the same time, such as playing an instrument or singing, cause the brain to be more capable of processing information. [emedexpert.com]

Music enhances intelligence, learning and IQ: The idea that music makes you smarter received considerable attention from scientists and the media. Listening to music or playing an instrument can actually make you learn better. And research confirms this. Music has the power to enhance some kinds of higher brain function: Reading & literacy skills, Spacial-temporal reasoning, Math, Emotional intelligence and recall. [emedexpert]

Music helps you sleep: Relaxing classical music is safe, cheap and easy way to beat insomnia1. Many people who suffer from insomnia find that Bach music helps them. Researchers have shown that just 45 minutes of relaxing music before bedtime can make for a restful night.[emed]

Music helps with the blues: Music’s ability to “heal the soul” is the stuff of legend in every culture. Many people find that music lifts their spirits. Modern research tends to confirm music’s psychotherapeutic benefits5. Bright, cheerful music (e.g. Mozart, Vivaldi, bluegrass, Klezmer, Salsa, reggae) is the most obvious prescription for the blues. [emed]

There are many more benefits, but these are some of the strongest for well-being.

walking-music-to-help-you-stay-active-outdoors2PODCASTS: I LOVE podcasts!! Here are a few of my favorites from my personal picks…How She Really Does it with Koren Motekaitis (love her & the great people she talks to), Change Nation with Ariane, Dr Wayne Dyer. TedTalks are always great!       Now to find some other suggestions from other sources: Medibank suggests “The Health Podcast” podcast by ABC Radio National is full of fascinating information on a range of health topics – perfect for answering those “I wonder how that works” questions, and giving you something interesting to say at dinner parties. A couple from lovelifesurf.com The Moth–If you aren’t familiar with the Moth, it’s all about the love of a good story. Some are told by famous writers, actors, other luminaries and others are told by ordinary people like you and me. I often find myself laughing out loud in the middle of the street. For me, it’s another way to study the art of storytelling and how to do that well. RealtalkradiowithNicoleAntoinette–she aims to get to the truth behind the scenes and what’s really going on with the people she interviews (athletes, writers, entrepreneurs, parents, spiritual teachers, etc.) so we can all learn something and be inspired to move towards our goals.

There are so many podcasts out there with various topics. Find those that resonate with what you want to hear and enjoy!! Podcasts are good for long walks, working while being inspired, long commutes, etc. Always a good thing!

best-body-leaping-high-res-imageEXERCISE: There are so many types of exercise. Lately I have taken up urban rebounding (mini tramp) & have found there are SO many positive health benefits–who would have thought! Try different exercises and see what invigorates, gets you moving, gets you feeling good and always be willing to try different things. Variety truly is the spice that keeps you moving. Here are some reasons why exercise is so GOOD for you…If you don’t exercise, your muscles will become weak. Your heart and lungs won’t function efficiently. And your joints will be stiff and easily injured. Inactivity is as much of a health risk as smoking! Exercise helps prevent diseases, improves stamina, strengthens and tones, enhances flexibility, improves quality of life…[healthdiscovery.net]

television-watchin_2954124bMOVIES: Now there are a lot of good movies out there, but I am very drawn to movies that are uplifting, you can learn something and they make you feel good. Some of my favorites that may be harder to find & are a bit soul searching/feel good include: I Am done by Tom Shadyac (big time director of blockbuster hits who took a big life shift), Happy documentary, Awake in the Dream,  Wayne Dyer’s movie “The Shift”…so many good things.

women-drinking-teaNATURAL REMEDIES: Eczema: aloe, Greasy hair: don’t wash too often & a weekly vinegar rinse can be helpful, Warts: a few drops of tea tree oil directly on wart to help remove it in 7-10 days, Ear wax: [my husband suffers from this] prone to build-up, you can use a drop of olive oil in each ear to keep the ear clean, Hiccups: give your tongue a good pull or breathe into a paper bag [from bodyandsoul] Headaches: Chamomile tea helps relax, Many natural healers believe that a foot baths is powerful tool against headaches.
They reduce the pressure on the blood vessels in the head.If you add a few drops of peppermint or lavender in the bath, their flavor will further soothe and relieve the pain. Cold Sores: Garlic or rub with fresh garlic juice a few times a day Hair growth recipe:  http://www.healthyfoodmind.com/best-homemade-hair-growth-treatment/.    [healthyfoodmind.com]

dothatGOOD FOR THE SOUL: Read, have real conversations, meditate, watch inspirational videos, declutter, write/journal, listen to music, laugh, walk, enjoy your favorite drink, nap time, long baths or hot shower, quality time with those your love to be around, give a hug, being honest with yourself, self-love, forgive, love, enjoy & find beauty around you, serve someone in need, pray, sit quietly, just breathe! have something green around you (plant in your office, natural view from a window, etc), be grateful for the day, appreciate loved ones, sing, dance, move your body, try something new, slow down, practice gratitude, unplug, whistle, hum, smile.

 

I hope all these “GOOD” things will lift your spirit & help you include “GOOD” things into your day.

-Happy day. -H

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Parenting with Spirit part II

Here is my second part of highlights from the book, Parenting with Spirit by Jane Bartlett. I jump all over with the ideas I liked and wanted to take note of, so bare with me & take what you want, with the understanding that there is so much more contained in the rest of her book. This is just a glimpse of goodness!!

“Our creative dreams and yearnings come from a divine source. As we move toward our dreams, we move toward our divinity.” -Julia Cameron, Artist’s Way

Taken from the book Parenting with Spirit by Jane Bartlett:

ImageHow to add spiritual depth to CREATIVITY:

Encourage your children to take a short moment of calm before they begin their creative pursuit. This may take the form of a little prayer or simple breathing exercise. 

Invite your children to draw a picture or play a piece of music as part of their nighttime prayer ritual. [I think this would be a good daytime prayer activity as well] They could draw a picture of those things that they want to say thank you to God for, or  a picture of those who are in special need of God’s love right now. They could choose to play a piece of music tat sums up the spirit of the day. 

Use your children’s creative work when you hold family rituals. If you are celebrating spring, this is the time to get your children to paint daffodils or whirl around the hours to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.    [I have a picture my daughter drew right now on my fridge that is a piece in ‘perspective’–I look at it and remember to always keep things in ‘perspective’]–

Place your children’s creative achievements somewhere special.This lets your children know that their art is worthy of this very special place in the home, and helps them make the connection between their creative life and worship.

Encourage your children to express their feelings about nature. When you go to the park or out into the countryside, take art materials with you so your children can express their experience of nature through images or words.  

[I have been drawn to Andy Goldsworthy’s art lately—he has such a way of using rocks, colorful leaves, space, twigs, etc to create amazing pieces of art from nature. You could take your kids out and collect items to create your own natural creation]

When your children’s artwork becomes explicitly sacred in this way, be extra mindful about the ways in which you respond to it. Treat it with care and reverence, for it has emerged from a very tender part of their being–their soul. By letting them witness that their soul creations are worthy of your complete, loving attention, you are conveying to your children the powerful message that they matter very much.

 

ImageGlorify God in your BODY:  The physical fitness, suppleness, and energy are all God’s gifts to children, and as spiritual parents we must provide ample opportunity for them to enjoy what they have been given.

Yoga: Children’s yoga teachers say that the practice, as well as being good for fitness and health (it’s particularly helpful for asthma), sharpens a child’s ability to focus and helps to develop self-discipline–both essential for the spiritual path. The meditative aspects of yoga enable children to become aware that they have an internal life, “which really helps children get to know themselves.”

Family Walks: Walking in nature is one of the most popular ways in which to relax and feel connected to creation; it is something that we naturally seem to want to do to calm and renew ourselves.  

[I can chime in on the importance of family walks: we have a beautiful, natural path near our home and when anyone in our family is stressed or in need of any kind of relaxation–the path is the cure. It is easy to get lost in the leaves swaying, the bird songs, the way the light plays, etc. There is a healing that nature holds & our soul connection finds peace abundant.]

 

ImageThe importance of PLAY: the word “silly” derives from the Germanic selig, meaning ‘blessed.’ 

Silly games to play with your children before they grow up: toe game “this little piggy went to the market”, Splash tag: an outdoor game in which the person who is ‘it” tries to catch others by hitting them with a wet sponge, make crazy hats to wear to dinner, jump waves at the beach, paint crazy faces on each other or do shaving cream beards, blow up balloons and keep them all going up in the air, balance a ball on your finger, etc.

Vacations: When we go away we have the opportunity to experience life differently. From a spiritual perspective, think of your family vacations no as an escape but as an arriving. If you have been living in a flat and meaningless way, this may be the antidote that you all need. Don’t just take your bodies on vacation; take your family soul too.

 

Image

Practice Loving Family Discipline:

In it’s origins “discipline” comes from the Latin word for “instruction,” and a “disciple” is a student under the leadership of a teacher. For me, child discipline is more about training than punishment; used wisely it is guidance to ensure that childen become the best human beings they can be.  [I LOVED this!! I thought this made such great sense—you don’t need to use harsh punishment—loving guidance]

Quiet time: “Let us be silent that we may hear the whispers of the gods,” -Ralph Waldo Emerson   This could be parent quiet time and also family quiet time. Spritual practice for Parents: Sneak a minute of silence into your life as part of your daily routine. If you look for it, sixty seconds of quiet can be found in the most unlikely places. You might find it at your desk before you start work. Or it could be while waiting for a saucepan to boil, or in the car after you have dropped off all the kids. 

[in our home quiet time can be a half hour of reading or just listening to quiet music, turning off the television, the electronics and just being still for awhile. Slowing down, having moments of quiet is so necessary to find any space of calm or spirit].

 

She has so much more including the importance of cutting down on tv time, pets, the importance of nature, community, big questions, manners, and so much more. If you have liked the information that I have shared in the past two posts–I would suggest buying her book and helping it nourish every part of the necessary needs of your family.

Have an amazing day. Thank you so much for taking the time to invest in this little blog. It means so much. Thank you.

Have a little FAITH in Me.

Image“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely, or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy amidst the simple beauty of nature…I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.”  -Anne Frank

It always amazes me when you sit outside and notice the tiny details all around.

A couple days ago I noticed in my Maple tree hundreds of lady bug casings. At first my heart sank as I thought these little bugs had gotten stuck in the sap and perished. Then I looked closer, on other leaves there were little black and red, fuzzy-like caterpillars. I had my husband come to see if he could understand what was happening—was it a tree of transformation?? We googled the lifecycle of a ladybug and sure enough…We have a ladybug tree!! Thousands of eggs gently laid on the large Maple tree leaves. You can see the life stages throughout the tree. Miraculous!!

Just like transformation–Life changes can be hard. My husband is still going through the process of job jumping and it is not getting any easier. It is hard to see him frustrated by how long things take, how many interviews need to be done, the assessments, the call backs…

But then I see these details in nature and I am quickly reminded—everything has a perfect timing, everything grows and changes, the flow of all that is—is perfect. Nothing is left undone or forgotten. There is patience in growth. There is wisdom in waiting. There is challenge and struggle in all things. There is hope held within a new day.

If we can continue to remember this— everything happens with PURPOSE. everything moves in perfect TIMING. everything is given with GROWTH in mind. everything grows in OPPORTUNITY. everything is clear and clarity is given within the PRESENT of this moment. SEEK. LISTEN. FIND the ANSWERS within. We will begin to understand ALL is as it should be right NOW.

God just wants us to stop and seek Him. He wants us to move from doing to be open to seeking His guidance. He knows what is best for our life. He is just waiting for us to trust in Him and His guidance.

Everything around us is being done, the sun rises, the flowers bloom, the streams flow, the wind blows, the moon appears. When we are willing to stop trying to do everything on our own and have the faith that He is listening and waiting patiently to help us do anything and everything.

We must try to have a little FAITH in that!!

This reminds me of a beautiful song “Have a little faith in me.” I am going to put a couple links to a couple video clips of people singing this song. These two versions were my favorites. Just close your eyes and listen to the words.  It correlates to having faith in someone else–whether it is someone you love or I also like to think that it is having faith in God & knowing he is there through the good, the bad, the dark…etc.

This is a great version by Charly Luske  

Here is another version + video of Mandy Moore singing the same song   

Well, that is my thought for today. I hope it helps you in anything and everything you do.  Best wishes for a beautiful day.  -Heather

SUMMER kits for YOUR KIDS

ImageSummer is a time of PLAY, NURTURING, LEARNING, being in NATURE, CREATING, and LOVING every MOMENT!!

Here are a few packets of fun activities, coloring pages, summer inspiration!! Have fun.

GET OUTSIDE–SUMMER + NATURE= the GOOD LIFE

I have a passion for getting kids outdoors because of the immense good things that come from it, so I created a packet designed to teach you as a parent the importance of getting your kids outdoors.  I then created & gathered activities around things that will teach kids about nature and get them outdoors. Have fun with this!! PLEASE take the time to understand how vital it is to get our kids outdoors.

KidsNatureKit

The following are two summer fun packets that I made for my little nieces and nephews for some summer fun. It is a compilation of coloring pages, summer bucket list ideas, activities, just some plain, old summer fun!

SummerFunPacket  (for younger girls)

BoysSummerFunPacket (for younger boys)

HAPPY SUMMER!! Hope these bring lots of JOY!