Who are You? Who gets to write that description?

Who will you be?
Who and what defines you? Who do you want to be?

Who are you? 

Does that question excite you?

Does it stress you?

Does it depress you?

Does it make you stop and wonder?

When was the last time you paused and really thought about this?  Have you purposefully become who you are today?  Or has this version morphed from a series of events out of your control?

Describing You

I encourage you to grab a piece of paper and pen or a device.  Shut off all distractions.  Take a deep breath and do your best to clear your mind.  Set your timer for 10 minutes.

Over the next 10 minutes of quiet, retrace your steps.  How did you get here? What are your greatest moments?  Who are the people who have led you to this point?  What have been your greatest challenges?  What are your principles?  What is most important to you?  Who matters most to you?  What do you stand for?  What are your dreams?

Outsiders who try to define you

It is hard to find quiet time to reflect in our society.  Messages, demands, and noise are everywhere.  If you haven’t already decided who you are, there is a world waiting to create this definition for you.

Those over you– how do you help the company meet the bottom line?

Social Media– do you measure up?  Is your life as exciting as your ‘friend’s’?

Politics– do you agree with me on very point, or are you one of ‘them’?

Movies and TV– are you as beautiful and perfect as these fictitious characters?

Wealth– are you as rich as your neighbor, and do you have as many cool toys?

Spouse– are you everything your spouse expects of you?

Faith/social community– do you measure up to the expectations of your groups?

Ultimate last word about who you are

Your future is not already scripted based on your past.  You are in a unique position to choose your trajectory.

Are you pleased with your current self?  You can stay on this path that is working well for you.

Are you ready for change? You can change your direction, your purpose, or your values.  You don’t have to be shaped by the things currently defining you.

Do you have a plan to avoid the retirement pitfalls of rapid health decline, divorce, or suicide?

Retirement Wellness Strategies

At Retirement Wellness Strategies we talk with many people who have landed in a place they don’t desire to be.  That is not the end of the story!  We have a number of tools to help you explore what could come next.  The years beyond retirement can be fulfilling, purposeful, and meaningful.

Let’s talk!  You can reach us at 410-472-5078, michelle@retirewellness.comwww.retirewellness.com.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

How about you?  How have outside influences ended up defining you? What roles do work, family, money, appearance, or belongings play in your self-description?

I know they have way more impact on my self-perception than I would like.

I had the opportunity to spend a week in one of the poorer parishes in Jamaica on a mission trip.  On this second international missions journey for me, God gave me such a life-altering revelation.

We are called to, ‘Live Jesus and squeeze in life’.  This is in opposition to living life and squeezing in Jesus.

You might be saying, ‘No duh’, but can you say you’re able to claim this each day?  Life gets busy and demanding.  Jesus is not demanding.  Living Jesus requires a conscious, dedicated, disciplined decision. And this decision can be required each minute.

As I typed this last paragraph, the song, ‘Just Give Me Jesus’ by Unspoken came on the radio.  I thrive on these God moments.

The Bible points us toward living for Jesus repeatedly.  Here are a few examples:

Romans 12:2 ESV

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Matthew 22:37 ESV

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

Galatians 1:10 ESV

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Matthew 6:33 ESV

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Each day is a fresh new opportunity to decide who and WHOSE we are.  What will you choose?

Blessings,

Michelle

U-Turn ahead – not too late to turn your health around

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Turn your health around. Make changes to improve your health.

Is it too late to turn your health around? Although we were raised certain ways we can still make a U-turn, or at least navigate a big curve. I was raised with dessert every day, lots of processed foods, little to no access to seafood, and limited fresh vegetables beyond summer. Meals were built around meat and potatoes. As for exercise, anyone who knows me can attest to my utter lack of athletic ability. So, should we settle for life-long habits and figure it’s too late to make changes now?

Actually, there is a LOT of evidence that changes, at all stages of life, still help you. Below are just a few of the most common habits/choices that can be changed in a way that really makes you feel better.

Changes to turn your health around

  • Quit smoking –
    • Just 20 minutes after you quit your blood pressure and heart rate decrease.
    • Your risk of a heart attack starts to go down at 24 hours.
    • Taste and smell start to improve at 48 hours.
    • After 1-5 years your risk of heart disease is cut in half.
    • After 10 years your risk of lung cancer is almost as low as a lifelong nonsmoker.
  • Weight loss – short and long term
    • Small weight loss can have big advantages.
    • If you lose 5-10% of your body weight, your blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol all improve.
    • Your risk of heart disease goes down.
    • It gets easier to breathe.
    • Sleep apnea can improve helping you sleep better and be less sleepy during the day.
    • Your sex drive
    • Joint pain
  • Diet changes –
    • Decreasing your daily calories by 500-1,000 per day will decrease weight 1-2 pounds per week. [Faster weight loss is not as healthy and hard to sustain.]
    • Gradually add more interesting fruits and vegetables to your diet.
      • Sudden, drastic changes are not necessary and are hard to do.
      • More variety in fruits and vegetables will increase the types of vitamins and nutrients you get.
    • Change up your fat
      • Exchange some of your red meat meals for fish (your grocery store meat section will likely have instructions on how to prepare whatever is on sale or available in the meat section).
      • Try nuts for snacks over sugary snacks.
    • Sugar
      • Drink more water or unsweetened beverages in place of sugary soda or fruit juice.
      • Eat smaller portions of your dessert, as a starting point to cut back.
  •  Exercise
    • Get moving – it helps with more than just weight control.
    • Decrease joint pain and strain, especially your lower back.
    • Get stronger and be more resilient against small strains and sprains.
    • Be more flexible.
    • Decrease your risk of a fall that could injure you.
    • Stay healthy and independent longer through fitness.
    • Have more energy and stamina.
    • Exercise doesn’t have to mean joining a gym or playing a sport.
      • Get up and move around during commercial breaks on TV.
      • Park farther from the front door.
      • Go for a walk with a friend.
      • Window shop in all of the stores at the mall before making a purchase.

U-turns are allowed in your life. No matter your age and for how long you have been doing things a certain way, make a change. Turn your health around. See how much better you can feel with very small changes starting today.

For more information about healthy choices and making a U-turn, contact us at www.medsmash.com.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

Are you drowning in your negative self-talk? Are you always striving to do better? Or, are you constantly making excuses and blaming others for your weaknesses?

These are such easy routes to take! They are such easy ruts to fall into.

Will you ever be at peace and feel that all is right in your world? What would that take?

My understanding of the Bible is that the peace and promise you’re seeking is available to you RIGHT NOW.

There is nothing you have done that God doesn’t already know about. You can’t hide. Rather than being terrified by that, realize you are loved. You are loved and accepted and forgivable. Absolutely nothing you have done could make God turn away from you.

1 John 4:18 ESV

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

Grace, mercy, and forgiveness are right here waiting for you.

Romans 5:8 ESV

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

You could absolutely never do anything so terrible that would exclude you from the love and grace of Jesus Christ.

It was this love that led to Jesus’ death – all for your sins and mine. And because of that sacrifice, you are saved.

Let’s look again at 1 John 4:17-18 from The Message:

God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.

Not only can you take a U-turn in your daily physical health choices, you can take a U-turn in your spiritual health. Stop hiding. Stop beating yourself up. Embrace this love that is completely yours. You are forgiven as soon as you let go and give your all to God who loves you with no conditions.

Blessings,

Michelle

 

Appropriate medications – same at 30, 60, and 90?

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Appropriate medications over age 60

Should the same medications and doses be prescribed for all ages? No! However, we find that often they are.   If a medication was a good choice for you at 30, is it still a good choice at 60 or 90? Not necessarily. So, why does age matter?  How do you know that you are taking all appropriate medications?

What changes as we age?

Even if you eat right, exercise regularly, and make good choices about alcohol and tobacco, changes occur over time.

  • Kidney function starts a very gradual decline in your late 30’s or early 40’s.
  • Liver size and blood flow to your liver diminish. The number of cells shrinks. There is less activity of the enzymes that break down medications.
  • Food and medications move through the intestine more slowly.
  • The volume of urine that the bladder can hold decreases. Bladder muscles weaken.
  • For men, the prostate gland increases in size.
  • For women, the urethra shortens and comes thinner. So, risk of urinary tract infection goes up.
  • Muscles weaken as growth hormone levels decline.
  • Aldosterone levels decrease, so risk of dehydration goes up.
  • The immune system slows down. So, risk of infection and cancer go up. Also, it can take longer to treat an infection.
  • Heart muscle and blood vessels get stiffer. This can increase risk of high blood pressure. Also, with exercise, the heart can’t pump as much blood or speed up as much as it did at younger ages. So, exercise capacity is lower.
  • The muscles involved in breathing weaken. There is a decline in the number of small sacs in the lungs where oxygen is passed to the blood.
  • The amount of water in the body goes down while the body fat goes up.

This list is not meant to depress anyone. These are just some of the very natural changes that occur in all of us. So with all of this change, the need for medication, the types of medications that are needed, and the doses of medications are all different.

Nearly all medications leave the body through the urine or the stool. Most medications are changed as they pass through the liver. There are enzymes in the liver that break down those medications. When the kidneys and liver become less functional, it takes longer to get the medications back out of your body. This means a single dose can last longer or have a bigger impact.

Most medications have a preference for water (hydrophilic) or fat (lipophilic). Since body water and fat both change, medication concentrations also change.

Guidelines for taking appropriate medications

There are so many changes to manage that guidelines have been written to try to decrease some of the more common mistakes that are made. These are oriented to people over age 65. The Beer’s List was first developed by a group of doctors in 1991. It has since been updated many times. It contains a list of medications not to use and another list to use with special precautions. There is also a guideline called STOPP that lists medications to avoid in adults over 65. For both guidelines, there are safe options to use in place of the medications on the lists.

If you are 60+, is there a specialist in medication use for people of your age monitoring your medication use? Can you really afford to avoid this review? We have found there is some issue to address 98% of the time we provide an assessment. For your personal assessment, contact us at www.medsmash.com.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

Medications change as you age. And so do so many other things. Many of these changes are wonderful! You benefit from the many lessons you’ve learned through your life so far. You are able to share those experiences, insights, and lessons with others. You probably sweat the small stuff less. You also tend to enjoy the little things more.

I heard a message today that really captured my attention. A picture was painted about grace and faith and their relationship.

As stated by John Stott, ‘Faith’s exclusive function is humbly to receive what grace offers. Grace gives and faith takes’.

Grace is offered to you on a constant basis. But, it has been my experience, it takes time and lessons learned to really develop faith so that grace can be received. Faith tends to grow with time and experience.

Ephesians 2:8 ESV

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,

Hebrews 11:1 ESV

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Romans 10:17 ESV

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

Salvation by grace is a gift. Faith is how you receive that gift.

Ponder this great news this week!

Blessings,

Michelle