‘But in that coming day no weapon turned against you will succeed.’ Isaiah 54:17.
These feel like some of those coming days. It is comforting that in Isaiah 54 is says, ‘If anyone attacks you, it will not be my doing; whoever attacks you will surrender to you.’ And, ;Thought the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my Covenant of peace be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on you.’
These feel like days of such heaviness right now. I just talked with a friend who is staying away from the news and social media completely. She hears what’s going on through people in her family and at work talking about it. That is all she can take right now. I get that.
We are called to stand strong. And we know the only way to do that is to trust in the the only ONE who knows all, is in all, and will ultimately prevail over all. As Jesus said in John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
What are the feelings and thoughts that come to mind when you consider the word ‘RETIREMENT’?
I am finding one of four answers from executive men who are nearing this transition.
I have been planning with fitness, travel plans, family plans, hobby plans and can’t wait to retire.
I am consumed with reaching my final goals at work and succession planning, so I’ll deal with retirement when I get there.
I am not looking forward to retirement, so I plan to die at my desk.
I am being coerced to retire before I am ready, and I am very unhappy about it.
No doubt there are other scenarios, but these are those that have been communicated most frequently.
Major Life Transitions
In life, we all traverse many transitions. Some are small and others are large. Some are planned, even eagerly anticipated, while others come out of nowhere.
Some of the major transitions in our life are:
Choosing a career
Changing jobs or careers
Losing a loved one
There is a planning process that can be used to prepare for most of these major transitions. Consider the number of life skills training, wedding planning, child preparation, career building, and grief counseling resources that are available. These transitions can be very difficult, and the help and counsel of wise experts can make the leap much more manageable.
Retirement Wellness Strategies
We exist to help you strategically plan for retirement. This process will benefit you the most if you start about 2 years prior to retirement. This will minimize the surprises and disappointments that are common with unplanned retirement.
You will have
Your personal board certified specialist health advocate to walk through all medical and health encounters
A thorough health review to enter retirement with optimal health and stamina
Risk identification and minimization based on your personal and family history
Planning tools to avoid the unexpected
A retirement strategic plan for building a meaningful active next life phase
Contact Dr. Michelle Fritsch today at firstname.lastname@example.org 410-472-5078. Learn more at www.retirewellness.com.
As we enter this New Year, consider the imposed transition of the calendar. This is a good time to think about change, new goals, and exciting possibilities.
From way back in the Hebrew text of the Old Testament, we have verses of promise for the future.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
What about the changing of years brings you hope?
What brings you sadness?
How adaptable are you to change?
I have been accused of creating change on purpose, so I’m definitely in the camp that appreciates and promotes change. I have many friends who find change very difficult and often unnecessary. Where are you on this spectrum?
I find great hope in the many verses that explain God’s promises of provision, even during change.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
This has been a complex year; downright difficult for many people.
Yet this is a season of hope and joy. (Not the happy, exuberant, all is perfect kind of joy; the hope in the one-true-God type of joy).
“Joy isn’t like happiness which is based upon happenings or whether things are going well or not. No, joy remains even amidst the suffering. Joy is not happiness. Joy is an emotion that’s acquired by the anticipation, acquisition or even the expectation of something great or wonderful. It could be described as exhilaration, delight, sheer gladness, and can result from a great success or a very beautiful or wonderful experience like a wedding or graduation but the definition of joy that the world holds is not nearly as amazing as biblical joy but joy is also gift.”
Why is Christmas so special? Christmas is the birth of the joy and a demonstration of God’s love for each of us:
For those who lost loved-ones who were senselessly murdered
His love endures forever
For those whose loved ones were killed in the hurricanes
His love endures forever
For those whose loved ones were killed in the fires
His love endures forever
For those who lost loved ones from any means
His love endures forever
For those whose lives were turned upside down by natural disasters
His love endures forever
For those who experienced major disappointments
His love endures forever
For those who are disillusioned by the political divide in this country and elsewhere
His love endures forever
For those who are disgusted by the reports of harassment
His love endures forever
For those who feel like they are spiraling out of control
31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?
38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[p] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
We are going to face terrible trials in this life. No one is exempt. Yet we are given countless opportunities in this life to experience God’s never-ending love. That is where we find the peace and joy.
We spend so much of our time thinking about tomorrow, planning for tomorrow, working for tomorrow, hoping and dreaming for tomorrow. But tomorrow is never here, and we’ve learned that over and over.
We’ve seen so many examples lately of the value of living in the moment. There is value in loving those around you each and every day. You never know which is that last day.
Rather than be depressed about that, we can claim the joy and the opportunities of each day that presents itself to us.
Seasons of Loss
We have lost a dear friend in the last couple of weeks. He was someone who was always thinking of and giving to others. He was a very strong-in-his-faith man. He died in a freak accident doing what he does best – helping others. He was building a Habitat for Humanity house. We will never know what happened. The freak accident occurred, and he was suddenly gone.
A tiny baby died in his sleep at two months. There was so much promise there. Why was that child taken at such a young age?
Then we see the news stories of people harming one another. It seems there are more and more stories of mass deaths and of people managing conflict with murder.
The tragedies of nature have taken even more lives and wreaked havoc in many parts of the world.
It’s been such a heavy season of so many people taken at a time no one would have expected.
How do we keep moving forward?
So with that in mind, how can we live each day to its fullest? The more we live in gratitude and love and recognize the joys that are around us in spite of the tragedies, the more healthy we are. It lowers our blood pressure and anxiety levels. It lowers our risk for heart attack and stroke.
Gratitude and Love
Gratitude and love allow us to think so much clearly. They take us out of that worry mode and in to a more creative space in our brain. We think more clearly, can be more rational, and recognize the good when our brain is fully functioning at calmer times. This calm allows our breathing to slow. It allows us to really see the things around us rather than be so focused on what’s ahead.
I encourage everyone to take a deep breath. Love on the people who are around you. Look around with joy and gratitude at the many blessings that you do have.
Remember with fond memories, and hopefully with some tears and laughter, those who we’ve lost.
Let this be a day of renewed health and joy and love.
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Have you tried making gratitude your very first morning event, before you even crawl out of bed? I find when I start my day in thanks it sets the tone for a much better day. I can be grateful for the fact that a whole new day is before me, and once I get started, there are SO many things to list. Even the warm bed and blankets are a gift that not everyone shares. It’s so easy to take home and family and jobs and clothes and food and friends for granted.
Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! Let Israel say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” Let the house of Aaron say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” Let those who fear the Lord say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. …
Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Holidays! For many this is a season of wonder, excitement, friends, and family. It is a time of joy and celebration. The comforts of the season, and for many, the reasons for the season, are a source of peace.
Then, for others, this is a difficult season. It can be a reminder of loss, a lonely time, or a negative experience. I am regularly horrified at how people can hurt people. And hurt people tend to hurt people. It is a devastating trend.
Hurt and Health
The obvious connection between peace and health pertains to war. I am happy to see survivors finally being moved to safety away from Aleppo. War is definitely hazardous to health. Aleppo has been an example of how horrible things can get in the midst of war.
Conflict, abuse, hurtful words, neglect, oppression, and bullying are bad for your health, too. Anxiety, depression, and loss of hope are some common themes.
These cycles are hard to break. It can be challenging to find the hope.
I have seen in MANY patients that when this hurt is kept inside, it DOES come out. It can come out as depression, social anxiety, avoidance of people, and very often pain.
Peace and Health
Finding peace in life doesn’t only happen when things are perfect. Name the times in your life that absolutely everything was perfect. I’ll be surprised if you can find any at all. Rarely if ever are you in a place where there is absolutely no hurt, no mess, and all is good. So how do you ever find peace?
I have had the privilege of knowing many people, including many patients, who have found peace in spite of very turbulent events in their life.
Finding faith, meaning, and peace has been shown to improve quality of life in people with cancer. Some people bring these qualities into their cancer experience. Others find it in the midst of their cancer. I believe if this is true in cancer, it will be true with other chronic illnesses as well.
Another link is the association between giving to others and finding joy for yourself. Altruism and giving are linked with improved health. We often associate happiness with getting gifts. Now, it appears you will find even more joy if you focus on the giving of the season. Who could benefit from your giving today?
So, on this holiday weekend, seeking your source of peace and joy can actually improve your health. You physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health will all benefit.
For more information about the health benefits of finding peace in the midst of life, contact us at 410-472-5078 or www.medsmash.com/contact.
I know a lot of Christians who struggle to find the peace and joy of Christmas. The busy-ness, stress, expectations, obligations, traffic, and events can be overwhelming.
None of that sounds like peace.
The birth of Jesus wasn’t surrounded by shopping, parties, pressure, or obligations. There might have been some traffic with the census. 🙂
The songs like ‘O, Holy Night’, ‘Silent Night’, and ‘It Came Upon a Midnight Clear’ paint a peaceful, serene event. The rich and famous were not present. The finest china and silver were not set in a well-decorated setting. No one compared value of gifts given and received.
Peace was mentioned to the very first people told about his birth.
You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
Jesus demonstrated this kind of life. Christmas is a time of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and goodness. How delightful if we can stay focused on these principles as we celebrate with our loved ones.
I pray Paul’s blessing for you and your family this blessed Christmas.
Your quality of life is different than just living. If you are breathing and your heart is beating, then you are alive. Within that life there can be a HUGE range in your quality of life. Quality of life is your overall well-being or satisfaction. How is yours?
Being satisfied with your life encompasses many different factors. There is no one ‘right recipe’ for gloriously high quality of life. Your quality of life will likely change throughout your life with your changing circumstances. But, some people maintain a relatively good quality of life in spite of their circumstances. It is interesting that the factors some people would rate as important don’t actually lead to high quality of life scores.
For instance, many people would propose more money would increase their quality of life. Yet there are many miserable people who have a lot of money.
Many people would propose that better health is the key to quality of life. Yet there are sick/disabled/injured people with a wonderful quality of life and super healthy people who are miserable.
Some would list having many friends around as the key to quality of life. But there are some people who are at parties all of the time surrounded by friends who are miserable. There are others who lead very quiet lives with few friends who are very happy and content.
So what is the key to a magnificent quality of life?
I have been very interested in the large range of responses people give when asked about their life satisfaction. I am not the only one interested in this. I have read many articles from all sorts of authors on the subject of health and attitude. If you are interested, to get started, just search for the terms ‘attitude and health’. I think you will be surprised by all that you find.
Will there be dark days when things are not going right? Will you lose loved ones? Can your life slip out of your control on more than one occasion? YES!
You then make a choice as to how you respond. Your attitude matters.
Your physical health, mental health, emotional health, and spiritual health are all wrapped up in how you live your life. There will be many things that happen ‘to you’. But you alone decide how you respond. Here is a story I’ve read in many places that captures this truth:
A 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud lady, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o’clock, with her hair fashionably coifed and makeup perfectly applied, even though she is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today. Her husband of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary.
After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, she smiled sweetly when told her room was ready. As she maneuvered her walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of her tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on her window. “I love it,” she stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.
“Mrs. Jones, you haven’t seen the room …. just wait.”
“That doesn’t have anything to do with it,” she replied. “Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged, it’s how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it. It’s a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do. Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open I’ll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I’ve stored away, just for this time in my life.”
She went on to explain, “Old age is like a bank account, you withdraw from what you’ve put in. So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories. Thank you for your part in filling my Memory bank. I am still depositing.”
And with a smile, she said: “Remember the five simple rules to be happy:
But godliness with contentment is great gain,for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.
Paul tells Timothy about all of the pitfalls in this world. He even talks about how things will get worse the closer we get to the coming of Christ. So, finding contentment in the midst of so much negativity is not easy. It is a choice and an active pursuit. A pursuit that is well worth the effort.
But you, Timothy, man of God: Run for your life from all this. Pursue a righteous life—a life of wonder, faith, love, steadiness, courtesy. Run hard and fast in the faith. Seize the eternal life, the life you were called to, the life you so fervently embraced in the presence of so many witnesses.
The following kind of advice from Paul makes me feel more at ease. I like the visual I get and the response from other people when this is put into action.
In light of all this, here’s what I want you to do. While I’m locked up here, a prisoner for the Master, I want you to get out there and walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel. I don’t want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don’t want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline—not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences.
Spiritual health is the third of the four components of health. True health requires health in all four components. Over the last two weeks we covered physical and mental health. Next week we will cover the fourth component.
This blog is being released on the most important holiday of the Christian religion. It seems timely to talk about spirituality and why and how it is linked with your health.
Researchers have studied what are the differences between the most healthy and the least health people in our world. Certainly some of the factors are:
our accessibility to healthcare
our social system
These are more tangible, or objective, types of factors. We can define and measure them. But, these measures alone can’t explain all of the differences in our health.
A component that many researches have included is the concept of religion. Most studies I have found don’t differentiate which religion. They just look at whether the person identifies with a religion. Studies have found that identifying with religion is associated with better health.
Why would spiritual health and religion be associated with better health?
One potential reason religion could enhance your health could be belief in a higher power. There is assurance and hope in having someone/something overseeing your life. In some religions there is a direct relationship with the higher power. In others, a common belief system provides a group to whom you can belong and share those beliefs.
Religion has also been credited with providing a way of coping with life events. In some religions, God can be asked for help. Some studies have demonstrated a positive benefit of prayer on health. In others, the care of one another by people within a religious group benefits health outcomes.
The sense of belonging, the social opportunities, and the structure of religion appear to add to enhanced health. In addition, religion provides additional opportunities for volunteering. Those who volunteer have been found to be healthier. Of course, there are non-religious ways to volunteer. But, some of the studies found those with a religious affiliation to be more likely to volunteer.
Altruism is one of the attributes associated with improved health. Altruism is defined as, “feelings and behaviors that show a desire to help other people and a lack of selfishness” (Merriam-Webster definition). Some of the major religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam – encourage helping others. Then, God will reward such actions. Either way, people who think about and do positive things for other people are healthier.
There is growing interest in studying this. There is now evidence to support the crucial role of spirituality in overall health. Stay tuned to see how this information will be incorporated in to our healthcare system.
There are no medications for spirituality. So, you might wonder why Meds MASH would be posting about this topic. But, it is a core part of overall health. So in the interest of completeness, spirituality is an important topic.
For a list of references used in the writing of this blog, please contact us at www.medsmash.com.
Happy holiest of days! Our Savior lives!
The sun has been shining, the days are warming, my favorite color of spring green is starting to turn up everywhere, flowers are blooming! This season makes me so happy!
Have you noticed how circumstances can really improve your mood and make you happy?
I’ve injured my leg (again) and will likely need surgery. Insurance has made the treatment process incredibly long. How frustrating. Have you noticed how circumstances can dampen your mood?
How much is your life tossed up and down by circumstances? The roller coaster ride of the ups and down can be exhausting!
You can’t keep life circumstances from happening. Good things and bad things happen to everyone. There is no avoiding it. But, you have the ultimate hedge of protection around you like a solid house that protects you in a hurricane. No matter what happens in your life, because of what happened Holy Week, you have a source of hope and peace.
Jesus was betrayed by one of his closest friends. Many people worked together behind his back to find a way to destroy him. He was slandered. He experienced the ultimate defamation of his character. He was accused of crimes he never committed. He was humiliated. He was physically abused beyond recognition. He was tortured. Many who had supported him either abandoned him or turned against him. The official who could have protected him did not. He was murdered in public with additional humiliations in the worst, most painful way known to people at that time.
He was completely without sin. He did nothing wrong. He is the only person to ever walk the earth who could claim that.
So, why did he willingly go to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday knowing full well this was what would happen by the end of the week?
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
YOU are the reason Jesus endured all of this. His love for YOU. Your sins. All that separated you from God due your weaknesses is now gone. Because Jesus died for YOU, you have the promise of eternal life! There is no better gift anyone could ever give you.
Jesus did not remain in the grave. After three days He came back to life! Again, all for YOU!
By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
Giving is a beautiful expression of our gratitude and the love that is spilling over in us.
I’m praying you know God’s ever-sufficient, extravagant, glorious peace and love this Christmas!
Interestingly, studies have shown that more money is not linked to happiness. Actually, more money is associated with higher depression and anxiety rates.
Thinking kindly about other people and helping other people is linked to health, living longer, and overall well-being. Rather than focusing on yourself and your own problems, who could benefit from your care?
Studies have repeatedly demonstrated that happier people are healthier people. It is fascinating that happier people don’t necessarily have more stuff, live with more innovations, or have more resources. This is especially true for psychological and emotional health.
Feeling optimistic that good things are going to happen
Having supportive family and friends
Being able to bounce back from bad situations and make healthy choices
Some aspects of health go beyond diagnoses and medications. Perhaps those elements are at our deepest core and the ones that need the most attention.
Hope is integral to happiness. It is also a key aspect of recovery. It is the element that pulls you away from the slippery slope to negativity. Many people with hope usually believe in a higher power with a sense of spirituality.
So, again, ask yourself, what makes you happy? For what are you grateful? What is your source of hope? What changes can you make today to do something helpful for another person?
The answers could be your source of health.
For more information about the literature on this topic and the relationship between happiness, hope, and health, contact us at www.medsmash.com.
So what are the answers to the questions? God, your loving, merciful, forgiving, creator is the source of all hope. Have you experienced that grace? Are you confident in that unconditional love?
It is hard to imagine life without this source of hope. What would each day be like not knowing the God of the universe?
If you do not have a daily, personal relationship with God, keep reading.
God can be your source of hope to get beyond anything that has happened in the past, of strength in the present, and of excitement for the promises of the future.
Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
May this hope and love be your source of happiness and health!
Bad things happen to everyone. Some of these bad things are worse than others.
Every relationship has times of negativity. No person is perfect.
Prolonged negativity with no ability to cope has been linked to mental health and physical health decline.
Negativity can lead to heart disease, diabetes, depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia, and more.
The health effects of negativity are even more pronounced in people over age 65. All life phases introduce change. Post-retirement these changes can include social networks, family dynamics, physical mobility decline, vision and hearing issues, limited income, home downsizing, new diagnoses, and recognition of mortality.
Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked.
Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!
Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.
Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say,
“I will take revenge;
I will pay them back,”
says the Lord.
“If your enemies are hungry, feed them.
If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap
burning coals of shame on their heads.”
Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.
So we are called to love, honor, respect, and care for those who hurt us. God knows about each of those hurts. He will take care of the justice. Our role is faith and following God’s plan (which is way different than normal human response).
When we release the hurts and negativity, we are free to live unencumbered in true joy and peace.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.