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This site is an archive of our Well Written Blog posts until April 2020. For the most up-to-date content visit NWIJournal.com.

The opinions and thoughts expressed here those of the authors and do not necessarily correlate with those of the National Wellness Institute. Read more.


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August Inspiration: Spiritual Wellness

Posted By NWI, Friday, August 1, 2014
Updated: Monday, July 21, 2014

This month’s wellness inspiration is inspired by Spiritual Wellness, being connected to something greater than ourselves. During the summer months (adjust appropriately for your hemisphere), we get to enjoy warmer weather, may stay outside more, and get to connect to our surroundings and environment. Our connection to the great outdoors is so important to our overall wellness there is even a term for doctors prescribing time in the great outdoors, "Park Rx."

Below are a few sentiments to inspire you to fulfill your Park Rx while the weather is nice, stars are shooting in the skies, and the nearest body of water beckons.


There is pleasure in the pathless woods; There is rapture on the lonely shore; There is society, where none intrudes, by the deep sea and music in its roar: I love not man the less, but Nature more. -Lord Byron

In wilderness I sense the miracle of life, and behind it our scientific accomplishments fade to trivia. -Charles A. Lindbergh

I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order. -John Burroughs

I still get wildly enthusiastic about little things… I play with leaves, I skip down the street and run against the wind. -Leo Buscaglia

In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous. -Aristotle 

Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow. -Helen Keller

Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence.  -Hal Borland

Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby. -Langston Hughes 

Never measure the height of a mountain until you have reached the top. Then you will see how low it was.  -Dag Hammarskjold 

We do not see nature with our eyes, but with our understandings and our hearts.  - William Hazlitt 

Nature always tends to act in the simplest way.  -Bernoulli

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience. -Ralph Waldo Emerson 

A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.  -Greek Proverb

When preparing to climb a mountain – pack a light heart. -Dan May

Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit. -Edward Abbey

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. -Edward Abbey

An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day. -Henry David Thoreau

Now I see the secret of making the best person, it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth. -Walt Whitman

Nature has a funny way of breaking what does not bend.  –Alice Walker

If you are seeking creative ideas, go out walking. Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk. -Raymond Inmon

Tags:  August 2014  Environment  Inspiration  Nature  Social  Spiritual 

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Wellness in 10+: What happy people do differently!

Posted By NWI, Tuesday, July 1, 2014
Updated: Wednesday, June 18, 2014

HappinessAfter writing about the detrimental impact of feeling lonely in another article for this month’s Wellness News You Can Use, we have decided to dedicate Wellness in 10 to the things that happy people do differently. If you are on Facebook, or get forwarded e-mails, you may have seen the Top 10 lists of what "happy people do differently." There are many of these lists in circulation. For this Top 10, we gathered our wellness favorites from around the web. You’ll notice there are more than 10. There is always room for more happiness! J

Happy people…

·         Seek balance

·         Don’t sweat the small stuff

·         Take responsibility for their actions

·         Surround themselves with other happy people

·         Are honest with themselves and others

·         Smile often and show other signs of happiness (p.s. you can fake it until you make it…it helps!)

·         Are passionate

·         See challenges as opportunities

·         Live in the present

·         Engage in activities that fit their strengths, values and lifestyle 

·         Practice gratitude

·         Practice optimism

·         Focus on inner happiness and not material wealth

·         Develop coping strategies

·         Take time out for themselves and their health

·         Cultivate spiritual emotions

·         Don’t care if they are liked

·         Love their friends and family, but don’t rely on them

·         When you ask them what they do, they don’t give you a job title

·         When you ask them where they live, they say, “at the moment…”

·         Embrace their impermanence

·         Don’t try to change people, but work to accept them

·         Believe age is just a number

·         Never stop learning

·         Don’t gossip

·         Never expect anything in return

·         Avoid complaining

·         Work on forgiveness

·         Savor the small things

·         Commit to goals

·         Take the time to listen

·         Get enough sleep

·         Eat well

·         Exercise

·         Treat everyone with kindness

·         Obey their conscience

·         Take time to relax

·         Know the difference between "need" and "want"

·         Help others thrive

·        (Comment below to add your thoughts to the list!)

How to use this list: Pick one or two items to practice each day. Wake up and say, “Today I will learn something new, show kindness to each individual I encounter, etc…”

Tags:  Emotional  Happiness  Intellectual  July 2014  Occupational  Physical  Social  Spiritual  Wellness In 10 

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Inspiration: 2014 Graduation Wisdom

Posted By NWI, Tuesday, July 1, 2014
Updated: Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Graduation WisdomThe season of graduations slightly behind us, this month’s inspiration will focus on the pearls of wisdom intended for recent graduates that can inspire us all.

Even if graduation seems like a long time ago, it is never too late to be inspired, strive for excellence, and truly believe you can change the world.

“It will be your generation’s task to respond to this new world. The question we face, the question each of you will face, is not whether America will lead but how we will lead, not just to secure our peace and prosperity but also extend peace and prosperity around the globe.” - President Obama at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, May 28

“There is no easy time to say hard things. Graduates, throughout your lives, do not be afraid to of saying what you believe is right, no matter how unpopular it might be, especially when it comes to defending the rights of others. Stand up for the rights of others. And in some ways, it’s even more important than standing up for your own rights. Because when people seek to repress freedom for some and you may remain silent, you are complicit in that repression, and you may well become its victim. Do not be complicit, do not follow the crowd, speak up and fight back.” - Michael Bloomberg at Harvard University, May 29

“Psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth says that what really matters is a quality she calls ‘grit:’ An abiding commitment to work hard toward long range goals and to persevere through the setbacks that come along the way. One aspect of grit I think is particularly important is the willingness to take a stand when circumstances demand it. Such circumstances may not be all that frequent, but in every life there will be crucial moments when having the courage to stand up for what you believe will be immensely important.” - Janet Yellen at New York University, May 21

“Talent alone isn’t enough, you need something more. One thing that distinguishes those who really make a difference in life those who really contribute is passion and hard work. Remember: Hard work beats talent if talent doesn’t work hard. Don’t be content to work around the edges of your profession. Don’t wait to be invited to important meetings or asked to work on crucial assignments. Instead, do what it takes to ensure that you’re in the middle of your business. Speak up, volunteer, show your enthusiasm, knock on doors. Address challenges head on. Remember: hope is not a strategy. Problems don’t go away when you ignore them, they tend to get bigger.” - Mary Barra at University of Michigan, May 3

“Here is what I’ve learned: We may live in an age of instant messaging, instant gratification, and Instagram, but there is no way to short circuit the path to success. It takes hard work, tenacity and patience. There are many things you can do overnight. You can write a decent paper. You can put the finishing touches on a runway show. I hear you can even have a pretty good time at Roger’s Pub. But there is no such thing as an overnight success.” Tory Burch at Babson College, May 17

“I’ve seen so many people hold themselves back. I’ve seen them sit on the side of the room rather than at the table. I’ve seen them sit in the back rather than in the front. I’ve seen them lower their hands rather than keep them up and I’ve seen them lower their voices when they should speak up. I’ve seen over and over again how much self-belief drives outcomes, and that’s why I force myself to sit at the table even when I’m not sure I belong there–and that still happens to me. And when I’m not sure anyone wants my opinion, I speak up anyway.” Sheryl Sandberg at City Colleges of Chicago, May 3

“I’m talking to anyone who’s been dumped, not gotten the job you really wanted, or received those horrible rejections from grad school. You know the sting of losing or not getting something you badly want. When that happens, show what you are made of.” - Jill Abramson at Wake Forest University, May 19

"If this day means anything, it means that you are now in the contingent of the responsible. You must be kind, yes, but you must also look beyond your own house. We're depending on you for your efforts and your vision. We are depending on your eye and your imagination to identify what wrongs exist and persist, and on your hands, your backs, your efforts to right them." - David Remnick at Syracuse University, May 11

"A few things do seem clear to me. We will have to think our way, not bludgeon our way, into the future. There will be more options, but also more ambiguity in dealing with the challenges we face. You will need to find, fix and remain true to your moral compass, or you'll find yourself paralyzed." - Martin Dempsey, at Duke University, May 11

"People often say: find your passion. But there’s more to it than that. Not all passions are enough. Just existing for your desires feels empty and insufficient, because our desires are fleeting and insatiable. You need a loyalty. The only way life is not meaningless is to see yourself as part of something greater: a family, a community, a society." - Atul Gawande at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, May 11

"If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. ... And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made—that you made—and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better." - Naval Admiral William H. McRaven at the University of Texas-Austin, May 17

“If I learned one thing, it is that self-doubt is one of the most destructive forces. It makes you defensive instead of open, reactive instead of active. Self-doubt is consuming and cruel. And my hope today is that we can all collectively agree to ban it. Think to the moments of your life when you forgot to doubt yourself. When you were so inspired that you were just living and creating and working. Pay attention to those moments because they're trying to reach you through those lenses of doubt and trying to show you your potential." - Jennifer Lee at the University of New Hampshire, May 17

"I think the lesson is this: Had I worked at Fidelity I am sure they would have fired me eventually. I can barely do long division. But I didn't want to fail at Fidelity. And I did not want to fail in Boston. If I was going to run the risk of failure I wanted it to be in the place where I would be proud to fail, doing what I wanted to do. And let me tell you something, I did fail. Over and over again. I was too short for this or too weird for that. I had one casting agent say this man will never work in comedy. But I was in the fight. I was taking my punches, but I was in the fight." - Charlie Day at Merrimack College, May 18

Tags:  Emotional  Inspiration  Intellectual  July 2014  Occupational  Social  Spiritual 

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Inspiration: Friendship

Posted By NWI, Sunday, June 1, 2014
Updated: Wednesday, May 21, 2014

June has the National Wellness Institute (NWI) thinking a lot about friendship. In 1975, NWI held its first National Wellness Conference. In its 39th year, the Conference will be held in Minneapolis in 2014 at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, West Bank Campus. Check out NationalWellness.org/Conference for more information.

While the Conference is rooted in wellness practitioner education, the thing that makes this conference different from most others is the "camp” atmosphere and friendships that have endured year after year. In celebration of the 39th Annual National Wellness Conference, this month’s "Inspiration” is dedicated to friendship and inspired by non other than Winnie-the-Pooh! The Winnie the Pooh character was introduced in 1926 by author A.A. Milne.

If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you.

"We'll be Friends Forever, won't we, Pooh?” asked Piglet.
"Even longer,” Pooh answered.

How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.

Some people care too much. I think it's called love.

You can't stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.

I think we dream so we don’t have to be apart for so long. If we’re in each other’s dreams, we can be together all the time.

It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?”

Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.

If the person you are talking to doesn't appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear.

Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That's the problem.

"I don’t feel very much like Pooh today," said Pooh.
"There there," said Piglet. "I’ll bring you tea and honey until you do.” 

Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.

"I wonder what Piglet is doing," thought Pooh. 
"I wish I were there to be doing it, too.” 

If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together... there is something you must always remember. you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart... I'll always be with you.

Tags:  Emotional  Friends  Inspiration  June 2014  Social  Spiritual 

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Find Peace and Living Well in Your Mind: Mindfulness

Posted By NWI, Thursday, May 1, 2014
Updated: Wednesday, April 16, 2014


is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you're mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience. Mindfulness can bring you benefits emotionally, physically, and socially. — mind·ful·ness noun

Examples of Mindfulness:

The following are mindfulness exercises that are simple and convenient and can help you lead a deeper experience in daily life.

  1. Meditation: Find a quiet place, free yourself of distractions, and quiet your mind. A simple meditation starter technique is to focus on a place you feel is comforting (for instance, the beach). Start by watching the waves come in and out for 30 seconds. Hear the sounds. Smell the smells. Feel the temperature. See the scenery. Block everything else from your mind. Gradually increase your meditation time as you become more skilled at the practice. You can do this meditation with any scene. For instance, if a ballgame is your fancy…hear, smell, feel, see all that is around you and block other thoughts out. 

  2. Deep Breathing: A simple exercise of focusing on the sound and rhythm of your breath can have a calming effect and can help to keep you grounded in the present moment. Feel the air enter your lungs and your lungs expand to hold it. Feel your lungs shrink as you let the air go.

  3. Listen to Music: Listen to virtually any type of calming music and focus on the sound and vibrations of each note to bring the music within you for a “right now” feeling.

  4. Observe Your Thoughts: Busy and stressed minds often find it difficult to focus when they have a rapid stream of thoughts running through their minds. Instead of working against the stream of your thoughts, sit back and “observe” them, rather than becoming involved. This can help you to better process and decrease the stress in your mind.

May is National Mental Health Awareness Month. Keeping a healthy mind not only keeps you mentally healthy, but also makes your physically, emotionally, and socially healthier as well.

For more information visit: http://stress.about.com/od/tensiontamers/a/exercises.htm

Tags:  Emotional  Intellectual  May 2014  Meditation  Mindfulness  Occupational  Physical  Social  Spiritual 

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Inspiration: Animals

Posted By NWI, Thursday, May 1, 2014
Updated: Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Feel the loveThis month’s Inspiration is brought to us by Be Kind to Animals Week, May 4 – 10 (first full week in May).  For more information visit: Canadian Federation of Humane Societies, www.cfhs.ca, or American Humane Association www.americanhumane.org/

He who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals. -Immanuel Kant

If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans. -James Herriot

I like animals because they are not consciously cruel and don't betray each other. -Taylor Caldwell

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. -Groucho Marx, The Essential Groucho: Writings For By And About Groucho Marx

Happiness is a warm puppy. -Charles M. Schulz

Dogs never bite me. Just humans. -Marilyn Monroe

Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That's the problem. -A.A. MilneWinnie-the-Pooh

Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in. -Mark Twain

You can judge a man's true character by the way he treats his fellow animals. -Paul McCartney

Petting, scratching, and cuddling a dog could be as soothing to the mind and heart as deep meditation and almost as good for the soul as prayer. -Dean KoontzFalse Memory

If a dog will not come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience. -Woodrow Wilson

Perhaps in the back of our minds we already understand, without all the science I've discussed, that something terribly wrong is happening. Our sustenance now comes from misery. We know that if someone offers to show us a film on how our meat is produced, it will be a horror film. We perhaps know more than we care to admit, keeping it down in the dark places of our memory-- disavowed. When we eat factory-farmed meat we live, literally, on tortured flesh. Increasingly, that tortured flesh is becoming our own. -Jonathan Safran Foer, Eating Animals

Tags:  Animals  Emotional  Inspiration  May 2014  Social  Spiritual 

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Inspiration: In Praise of Laughter

Posted By NWI, Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Updated: Thursday, March 20, 2014

April is National Humor Month. For more information visit the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor (www.aath.org). Laughter supports the emotional, intellectual, social, and spiritual dimensions of wellness. If done well, it can also impact the physical and occupational dimensions. J


Even if there is nothing to laugh about, laugh on credit.   -Author Unknown

Mirth is God's medicine. Everybody ought to bathe in it.   -
Henry Ward Beecher

Laughter is an instant vacation.  -
Milton Berle

Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.  -
Victor Borge

There is little success where there is little laughter.  -
Andrew Carnegie

When people are laughing, they're generally not killing each other.  -
Alan Alda

A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor's book.  -
Irish Proverb

I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose.  -
Woody Allen

Remember, men need laughter sometimes more than food.   -
Anna Fellows Johnston

A good time to laugh is any time you can.   -
Linda Ellerbee

Carry laughter with you wherever you go.   -
Hugh Sidey

Tags:  April 2014  Emotional  Inspiration  Intellectual  Laughter  Spiritual 

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Wellness in 10: How Culturally Competent Are You?

Posted By NWI, Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Updated: Thursday, March 20, 2014

This month’s Wellness in 10 is inspired by National Minority Health & Health Disparities Month (sponsored by the Office of Minority Health Resource Center, www.minorityhealth.hhs.gov).

Tremendous disparities exist in healthcare. For instance, about 30 percent of Hispanic and 20 percent of black Americans lack a usual source of health care compared with less than 16 percent of whites (see http://www.ahrq.gov/research/findings/factsheets/minority/disparit/index.html for more health disparity information). 

These disparities are attributable to many things such as education, income level, access to health insurance, proximity to healthcare facilities, and even cultural and communication barriers.

If each journey begins with one step, we as individuals can work to change the societal cultural and communication barriers by first focusing on our own views and biases.

Ask yourself the questions below to help determine your level of cultural competence. The questions are intended to help you think about your perceptions, biases, and ideals, and are not intended to be conclusive evidence. You may think about answering these questions with never, sometimes, often, or always.

  1. Do you value diversity? (I view human difference as positive and a cause for celebration.)
  2. Do you know yourself? (I have a clear sense of my own ethnic, cultural and racial identity.)
  3. Do you share your culture? (I am aware that in order to learn more about others I need to understand and be prepared to share my own culture.)
  4. Are you aware of areas of discomfort? (I am aware of my discomfort when I encounter differences in race, color, religion, sexual orientation, language, and ethnicity.)
  5. Do you check your assumptions? (I am aware of the assumptions that I hold about people of cultures different from my own.)
  6. Do you challenge my stereotypes? (I am aware of my stereotypes as they arise and have developed personal strategies for reducing the harm they cause.)
  7. Do you reflect on how your culture informs your judgment? (I am aware of how my cultural perspective influences my judgment about what are “appropriate,” “normal,” or “superior” behaviors, values, and communication styles.)
  8. Do you accept ambiguity? (I accept that in cross-cultural situations there can be uncertainty and that uncertainty can make me anxious. It can also mean that I do not respond quickly and take the time needed to get more information.)
  9. Are you curious? (I take any opportunity to put myself in places where I can learn about difference and create relationships.)
  10. Are you aware of privilege? (I acknowledge that individuals may be perceived as a people with or without power and racial privilege, and that all individuals may be seen as biased depending on the perspective of other individuals.)

Tags:  April 2014  Cultural Competency  Diversity  Emotional  Intellectual  Social  Spiritual 

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How Well is Your State?

Posted By NWI, Monday, March 3, 2014
Updated: Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Gallup-Healthways just released (February 20, 2014) its latest state well-being rankings. Some states improved while others were less successful at achieving better overall health and wellness.

Any guesses about which state maintained the number one spot? If you guessed North Dakota you're right. Surprised? Gallup-Healthways conducted more than 178,000 interviews across 50 states to gather its data. To determine the rank of each state, the analysis examined Americans' perceptions of their lives overall, emotional health, work environment, physical health, practice of healthy behaviors, and access to basic necessities.

Overall, the U.S. Well-Being Index score in 2013 (66.2 out of 100) was down to from 66.7 in 2012.

So who was last? Sadly, West Virginia maintained this unflattering role from the 2012 rankings. This Southern state might want to take cues from the Midwest and West that held 8 of the top 10 best rankings. (In order: ND, SD, NB, MN, MN, VT, CO, HI, WA, and IA.)

Why does this matter? According to the authors, the decline in 2013 happened despite improved economic confidence in most states. However, 11 states did show improvements, illustrating that actions at the state level can help despite national trends. Moreover, the Gallup-Healthways research, like the National Wellness Institute, recognizes that there are many factors that go into our overall wellness. Not happy at work? It could impact your health. Plus, the research shows clear correlations between behavioral factors (e.g., smoking rates) and statewide health. Finally, people who surround themselves with healthy people, tend to be healthier. So, if your state, community, workplace, family or friends, don’t rank high on health and wellness, you can help to reverse that trend by being a healthy person and leader. Why not start today?

To see the full Gallup-Healthways report, visit: http://info.healthways.com/wbi2013

Tags:  6 Dimensions  Emotional  Intellectual  March 2014  Occupational  Physical  Social  Spiritual  Statistics  Wellness 

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Inspiration: From the Bookshelf

Posted By NWI, Monday, March 3, 2014
Updated: Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Heavy: Finding Meaning after a Terminal Diagnosis, A Young Family’s First Year with ALS, published February 2014, provides hope and encouragement to those facing a terminal diagnosis and individuals facing hardship in general.

Summary: After Todd Neva’s diagnosis of ALS in 2010, the Nevas felt that many of the published books dealing with grief did so only after the fact. They wanted to write something about the feelings and emotions that accompany the process of loss…as it is happening. In doing so, they wanted to provide hope, spirit, perspective, and insight to those who faced tragedy and those who are not.

As a preview to the book, below are collection of quotes from Todd and his wife, Kristin, taken from the pages of the book. Both Todd and Kristin believe in God. The practice of wellness only asks that we be connected to something bigger than ourselves. For some this is God, for others it is nature, or an undefined spirit, or something else entirely. In any case, Todd and Kristin’s message is a powerful one.

There is pain and suffering in this world, but there is also joy, and not just suffering here and joy there, but suffering and joy in the very same place. – Todd

I am forced to be humble, receiving help when I am weak and unable to return the favor. Those who help me are fulfilling the Apostle Paul’s admonishment to ‘help the weak,’ and they are blessed. I am blessed to receive their help, but I would still rather have the blessings of giving. I’ll have to find new ways to give. – Todd

It comes down to attitude. I’ve reflected on the past, in light of my condition, that I’ve worried about so much when there was really nothing to worry about, and now that I really have something to worry about, I haven’t many worries. –Todd

I have time to build memories, to live well. My children will see a man who lived to his last breath. Though I have limited physical strength, I can demonstrate mental toughness. So much of life is out of my control, except for my attitude. Shouldn’t this be how we all live, whether we have six years or sixty? I have decided to live well. –Todd

Sometimes swearing feels like the best expression of my anger about our situation. On Sunday, I worshiped in the morning and swore in the afternoon; it did not seem incongruent to me in my situation. I did both with my whole heart. – Kristin

In hard times, I am more desperate, and desperation brings me to God. We all experience hard things. We can dull our desperation with TV, the Internet, alcohol, shopping, or fun while we wait for things to get better. Or, we can come to God. – Kristin

I can’t wrap my mind around God’s sovereignty paired with the bad things that happen in life. But maybe I don’t need to. Maybe the point of the story of the blind man is that God, through His grace, can redeem any situation, and even bring out of it purpose and meaning. – Kristin

Tags:  ALS  Inspiration  Intellectual  March 2014  Physical  Spiritual 

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