Have we Forgotten?

flag2 I remember where I was. I remember going to work as a labor and delivery nurse that night and having the hospital on lock down and the presence of fear heavy in the air. I remember celebrating with families as new lives came into the world at the same time not knowing how to handle the wide variety of emotions I was experiencing due to the day’s events. So much tragedy, so much loss, yet so much opportunity for America to stand together, unified, and be reminded of what is important. All lives, our freedom, safety, and many blessings we take for granted everyday like jobs, families, running water, electricity, and emergency responders ready and waiting to help.

My heart pounds as I write this morning. Our country has changed a lot, but the American flags that flew on 9/12/01 are not on every car and every corner today. Lives are randomly taken because of hatred and self-centered arrogance. The value of being an American is discarded and traded for entitlement. The most common first response is to take instead of give. Tears come to my eyes this morning as I write, I have so much emotion about the many crisis points in our world today. Refugees and homeless, war, disease, poverty, economic instability and depression, politics…I get so weary of all the conflict that seems to be the common denominator of our world.

When I remember September 11th, 2001, I am so sad for all the people that suffered such immense loss. The loss spread across the country and across generations. I am sad for those who lost loved ones on that day, it must be heart-breaking to watch a country rocked by such tragedy slip back into apathy. We vowed to not forget…have we forgotten?

I am a peace-maker by nature. I don’t like conflict and avoid controversial topics of conversation because I don’t like to argue. So the hesitation to write this post is present, but my heavy heart just wants to salute the country that rallied that day. Americans felt united that day, fighting the same fight, protecting each other, praying for those hurting and those still missing, and reaching out to help. We were proud to stand together…have we forgotten?

This anniversary seems especially important as relationships between our police force and the communities that they serve have gone off the rails. Have we forgotten? Priorities need to be re-aligned and selfishness, arrogance, and single-mindedness need to be tamed no matter who you are, your profession, your race, or your citizenship. We all need each other. We all have a part to play in determining if our society will thrive or experience catastrophic collapse.  This morning as I write I also pray. I challenge myself and each one that reads this post to stop and remember what your true priorities are. Are we reaching and striving to promote peace in our communities and respect for all people? Are we teaching our children how to be good citizens and neighbors, or are we perpetuating prejudice and disrespect that lead to destruction? Are we remembering the impact of 9/11/01 and allowing it to change us for the better and learn from our history?

Please don’t forget.

“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he deliver them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Ps. 34:17-18 (NIV)

Lessons from Jury Duty

The Big PictureAuntJodi

Over and over I chant that a healthy lifestyle is about so much more than just diet and exercise. It is so much more than just maintaining a healthy weight or logging in time with a heartrate above 150. A healthy lifestyle includes healthy habits in every area of your life: mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

Sometimes life is insane and there is no time to go to the gym…maybe that is your reality. Sometimes physical ailments or conditions limit your diet or your ability to lose weight. Sometimes your circumstances make stress inevitable and emotionally you are wrung out.

This is life and we all understand!

But this is why a healthy lifestyle is so important.

When you zoom out and take in the big picture of your life, you need to know what you are standing on when everything else is crumbles. What is your foundation? For me, my personal relationship with Christ is first and my healthy lifestyle that is a scaffolding of healthy coping skills, solid and trustworthy relationships, and physical endurance and stamina are the second line of defense.  It takes time and effort to build a solid defense! Zoom out on your life for a moment…how’s your line of defense looking? Are there areas that need support and attention?  Today is the day to begin!

What I learned from Jury Duty

I usually wait until I get inspired to write a blog. Inspiration was not coming and I was tired and struggling to feel qualified to discuss healthy living! But then yesterday inspiration came in a form I did not expect…jury duty.

For me, situations that are unfamiliar are uncomfortable and stressful. So, I attempted to help myself in every way that I could to relax: prayer, packed snacks, detailed driving instructions and plenty of time, and a good night’s sleep. So off I went. Bumper to bumper traffic for 60 minutes is not a fun way to begin a day…just saying. *perspective* I arrived at 9 am, checked in as a prospective juror and began what I thought would be a day filled with reading and waiting to be released. After viewing 40 minutes of required videos about our legal system and all the moving pieces, *perspective* I settled in…only to be called in the very first group to the staging area. 60 of us were herded like cattle through many winding hallways and elevators leading to more hallways. Instructions were rapid and hard to hear with “don’t” being a repetitive theme. Then we waited. Standing in single file, numerical order lines, we waited. I was #30. People of all different ages, races, socioeconomic levels, and physical ability waiting obediently to find out if we would be assigned to the jury for a trial we now knew would be 6-7 days! *perspective* To make a long story short, hours and hours went by in a small court room listening to people’s lives and situations as the jury selection process unfolded. All the while watching the defendant, and the group of lawyers examine each one of us and take notes if we spoke. *perspective* I finally was dismissed at 5:15pm, understanding that a large group of jurors were required to return the next day to complete the process. *perspective* Upon exiting the shuttle that took me back to the parking garage and finding my car, I began the trek home…you guessed it, bumper to bumper traffic for 60 minutes (in my car that is a clutch no less). Arriving at 6:30 pm the couch and quiet were welcome friends!

So, what inspiration came from all of that?  Perspective is important and needs to continually be challenged. We tend to get so involved in our own lives that we neglect to consider that other people have very different lives. But how is this related to healthy living? Well, attitude is a big player in how we deal with stress and how we respond to our circumstances. Pity parties and victim mentalities are destructive and paralyzing. Perspective is one way to ensure your attitude is appropriate, helpful, and healthy. As I stood and waiting for hours yesterday, my head pounded and my mind struggled with the idea of the potential time commitment this trial would require if I was selected. The inspiration came as I evaluated my own life with new perspective. As I type, there are people in the court room again today and there will be tomorrow too. Each life impacted by what is required to keep our justice system as fair as possible. Each judge, lawyer, clerk, security guard, and janitor working to promote the process that protects the freedoms we are blessed to enjoy. Zoom out a bit today my friends and take in the bigger picture around you. Find things to be thankful for and embrace the challenges you face with new energy and understanding. Find small things that bring you joy and hug the people you love. Challenge your perspective today…we are blessed!

“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3

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Surviving life with grace and hope

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