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Begin the day with Gratitude in 2017

A new year. Hello 2017!

The possibilities of each day are within this year for each of us.

Aren’t you excited? I am.

I have decided to let go of the long list of resolutions and keep it simple for 2017.

I am setting 3 goals and committing to them.

Here they are.

#1 Begin each day with gratitudes and a positive lead.

#2. Finish 1st round of my book by Dec. 1.

#3. Focus on achieving my best health ever.

Today I will focus this post on #1: Gratitude.

I am going to start the day with more gratitude and lead with the positive. Having been doing this off and on for years, I have witnessed instant benefits in my attitude, happiness and impact on others.

So how do we turn the ordinary dawn of a new day into the extraordinary?

Use awe as a catalyst. What gives you awe?

Our church minster, Joe Clifford at Myers Park Presbyterian in Charlotte, NC  spoke about this concept in a sermon where he recited a beautiful poem I had never heard before.”I thank you God for this amazing” by EE Cummings.

Here it is along with two verses and one very powerful video that was done over  Christmas. That should help put us in a positive mindset for 2017.

“i thank You God for most this amazing” by E.E. Cummings

i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

 

Isaiah 40:28-31 28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. 29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak….31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

 

The creative director at Forest Hill Church did this funny video over Christmas.  20 million have already viewed this video. Have you? Click here: Funny video on Gratitude

Want to join me on this road to glory in 2017?

For the next 21 days start your day with gratitude.

First, say this before you get outta bed every single morning.

Psalm 118:24 “This IS the day the Lord has made, Rejoice and be glad in it!”

I bet it will light a tiny spark of mojo to get you going.

Keep a journal by your bed. In the quiet of the early am write down what or who you are thankful for that day.

Then do a “power lead” into the day by keeping your first comments, texts, posts or emails to your family then friends, neighbors or co-workers positive.  Be intentional on this. You may have to bite your tongue! It’s worth it.

Are you in? Let me know how it goes for you.

Cheers to 2017.

Let’s make it AWEsome and spread some cheer.

 

 

 

 

 

Thrive.

A few years ago my husband and I had the great opportunity to meet Dan Buettner who is a world cyclist, adventurer, researcher and author of health books The Blue Zones and Thrive.

His talk was about his research into the healthiest communities in the world.

He started out by asking the audience of 100 adults a powerful question:

“Did you walk or bike to school as a kid?” Every one of us raised our hand.

“Do your kids walk or bike to school now?” Not one person raised their hand.

That got our attention Dan!

His research was inspired by the Danish Twin Studies, among others, which established that only 25% of how long the average person lives is dictated by genes. In other words almost 80% of how long and how well you live is up to you. 

Beginning in 2004 Dan, along with longevity geneticists, medical researchers, anthropologists, demographic scientists, epidemiologists funded by National Geographic, identified pockets of people across the world who live the longest and are the happiest.

Then they went to visit them!

They were searching for evidence-based common denominators among all places.

They termed these healthy pockets “Blue Zones.”

In these Blue Zones they found that people reach age 100 at rates 10 times greater than in the United States! And they have astoundingly low incredible lower rates of cancer, heart disease and diabetes, those big and nasty killers in the US. Here is what else they found.

9 common traits in Blue Zone members:

1. They move naturally all day.

The world’s longest-lived people don’t just pump iron, run marathons or join gyms. Instead, they live in environments that constantly nudge them into moving without thinking about.

Think: Do I really need to drive to the library or grocery store? Can I walk or ride a bike? Can I get a stand up desk? Take a walk at lunch outside? Get a dog and walk it?

2. They know their Purpose. 

The Okinawans call it “Ikigai” and the Nicoyans in Costa Rica call it “plan de vida;” for both it translates to “why I wake up in the morning.” Knowing your sense of purpose is worth up to seven years of extra life expectancy!!!

Identify what you are passionate about and pursue it as your purpose daily.

3. They take time to Down Shift.

They experience stress like we do. But they take time to relax every day. Okinawans take a few moments each day in the am to remember their ancestors, Seventh DayAdventists (Lomo Linda, CA) pray, Ikarians (Greece) take a nap and Sardinians (Italy) do happy hour with friends.

Take time to relax, meditate, and give thanks daily. We know stress leads to chronic inflammation which contributes to very major age-related disease. Why feed the monster?

4. They stop eating when they are just 80% full.
“Hara hachi bu” –Is the  Okinawan, 2500-year old Confucian mantra said before meals which reminds Okinawans to stop eating when their stomachs are 80 percent full.

Think. Do you really need that extra helping?

5. They eat a lot of beans and plants.

They have a “Plant Slant.” They eat what they grow too. Vegetables and beans, including fava, black, soy and lentils, are the basics of most centenarian diets. Meat—mostly pork—is eaten on average only five times per month.

Start small: Double daily intake of beans and veggies.

6. They enjoy wine moderately. 

People in all Blue Zones (except Adventists) drink alcohol moderately and regularly with friends and/or with food. Moderate drinkers outlive non-drinkers in these zones. The trick is to drink 1-2 glasses per day (preferably Sardinian Cannonau wine says Dan).

If you can drink just 1 or 2, do.

7. They have a faith-based community. 

All but five of the 263 centenarians they interviewed belonged to some faith-based community. Denomination doesn’t seem to matter. Research shows that attending faith-based services four times per month will add 4-14 years of life expectancy!

We need God and each other. Find a faith community and connect.

8. They put loved ones first. 

Successful centenarians in the Blue Zones put their families first. This means keeping aging parents and grandparents nearby or in the home (It lowers disease and mortality rates of elders and children).  Neighbors of all ages are also active in visiting other families and learning from elders.

Have you talked to or hugged your family lately? Checked in with your neighbor?

9. They have like-minded friends

Dan said,

“The world’s longest lived people chose–or were born into–social circles that supported healthy behaviors, Okinawans created ”moais”–groups of five friends that committed to each other for life.

Research from the Framingham Nurses Studies shows that smoking, obesity, happiness, and even loneliness are contagious. So the social networks of long-lived people have favorably shaped their health behaviors.”

Connect with a healthy, caring tribe daily.

It is so interesting that 6, 7,8 and 9 are all about the power of connecting in community.

Try to apply some of these tips today and let me know how it goes.

Check out Dans new mission – Creating Blue Zones across the US! http://www.bluezones.com/live-happier/thrive-centers/

Fin! Amy

My 1st Guitar Lesson:Seven Bridges Road

Isn’t it funny that one song or piece of news can spur so many memories?

Then the next thing you know you are in a daze traveling down memory lane?

When I heard the news about Glenn Frey, it immediately took me back to the music he and the Eagles produced.

Memories started flooding in.

I used to love listening to “Hotel California” on the CD player we had in our very first house. The speakers were amazing. The music was so clear.

In fact, the very first song I learned to play on guitar was by the Eagles.

My mother gave me a gift certificate for music lessons on my 24th birthday.

My mom, dad and sisters all were musically inclined. Third child (me) not so.

Guess she knew.

How is it I did not learn an instrument in school or get lessons until I was 24?

Impatient? Too busy? Parents tired?

Anyway.

Never too late to learn.

My instrument of choice was guitar and my plan was to use my Dad’s old Spanish guitar.

The night of my first lesson, I sneaked away from work early.  I wanted to be sure to make it to my music lesson on time.

I made it just on time. I flew open the door to the music store and saw my new guitar instructor patiently waiting for me. My instructor was tall and skinny. I could tell he was nice instantly by his gentle smile and easy-going demeanor.

He looked about 40 years old and was wearing faded jeans, a white t-shirt and dusty worn boots. He held his long blond hair back in a low ponytail.

He was very calm.  Just the calm I needed back then (and now).

To slow down.

We smiled, shook hands and had some small talk before beginning our lesson.

I could tell he was eyeing my guitar.

To me it was just my Dad’s guitar.

I felt a little uncomfortable and asked if the old guitar would work.

“Sure, for now.” He said with a smile.

Then he asked me what was the one song I really wanted to play on my guitar.

What song?  My heart leaped for joy!  No need to worry about chords first?

“Well…I really love “Seven Bridges Road” by the Eagles.

I was introduced to this song by the Phi Mu Washboard Band at The University of Georgia  in Athens, GA. They sang it so beautifully. Friends and I played “Seven Bridges Road” on many a road trip thereafter.

He laughed then nodded, “Well, that is a fast one, but let’s get started.”

So that was the first song I learned to play on my guitar!  Several others followed and I eventually bought a new guitar, but I will always remember that first lesson and the freedom in learning a song I loved…first.

So, thanks to my music instructor, thanks to Glenn Frey, The Eagles, PhiMu Washboard Band, patient teachers, singers, song writers and my talented family.

There ARE stars in the southern sky.

Fin. Amy Peacock

 

 

 

National Give a Hug Day in Action

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Easy Fix.”

Dad and Mom

I found out January 21 was #NationalHugDay (who knew we even had one?) via a post on Twitter and a related link with all the benefits of hugs (lower blood pressure, lower heart rate, decrease in cortisol, increases immune response, etc.), and what happens over a life-time when that human touch stops (not good).

This research made me realize the real value of hugs even-though I admit I am a “hugger” and should already know.

Yep, you may not be ready for me when I first see you.

Sorry!  Please pardon my exuberance.

My parents were good huggers so maybe I was born to hug?

Then it hit me.  Did I hug my own family enough?  No!

So, right before dinner, I announced it was National Hug Day and suggested we all needed to hug each other more right then and everyday.

“Whine-thirty” changed to “joy-thirty” in an instant with the hugs.

Time slowed. Heart rates went down. We laughed, giggled, joked and…all was right in the world.

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