What is Your Joy Meter?

I recently offered condolences to a friend whose adult son had died suddenly. As we conversed, I was pleasantly surprised to glimpse a very strong resiliency within her.  She expressed the positive things experienced during and after his death and highlighted her gratitude in seeing another side of her son through his friends.  She was thankful as well to have gained an unexpected closeness to so many of them.

Curious, I questioned how these resilient traits of optimism and gratitude were formed.  Many years ago, she explained, she had become severely disabled by her fibromyalgia.  In her search for healing, she discovered that when she got to the root of her emotional state AND resolved that which troubled her emotionally or mentally, her body would respond positively.

She learned most of all that forgiveness, optimism and gratitude impacted her health the most.  Her fibromyalgia had become her “joy meter.”  If her symptoms began rearing up their ugly heads, then joy was down in her life.  Instead of stuffing away the problems of her life, she would evaluate, find that broken area, and mend it right away.

I couldn’t agree more.  In my own life I know that my MS symptoms often get more pronounced when I’m under stress or in emotional turmoil.

And for you?  What is your joy meter?  How do you know when there are areas in your life that need to be addressed?

Today Spiritual Prescription:

Mentally scan your body. (After each question, you may want to close your eyes and breath deeply as you listen to your body…)

Where do you hurt? Where are you carrying tension? Have you been more sick lately?  If you have a chronic illness, is it under control or have symptoms bubbled up lately?

Now take an emotional and mental scan. 

What is worrying you the most in your life right now? With whom are you in conflict or irritated?  What needs are being left unmet?  Are any emotions like anger, greed, resentment, depression, shame, or anxiety ruling your mind and heart these days?


Our bodies and minds are very much connected. One absolutely impacts the other.

Take time to discover your joy meter and
allow Forgiveness, Optimism, and Gratitude to bring you back into balance.


A Few Kind Words


Today’s Spiritual Prescription

It is not uncommon for my hospice patients, especially those who have dementia, to repeat phrases.  This time was a unique experience.  At a recent visit with a beloved  patient of mine, he repeatedly uttered,  “…a  few kind words.”  It wasn’t even a complete sentence, yet he continued saying it again and again.

Some agitation began to bubble up for him, so with each “…a few kind words,” I spoke my own words of kindness: You are loved.  Thank you.  What a beautiful day.  I like your hat.  I acknowledged  the importance of speaking kindly and highlighted the caring words and acts witnessed around us.

He then anxiously stated he needed to get up and go (something he is physically unable to do). “You are exactly where you need to be right now” I told him.   “Oh…..okay,” he responded with relief.  As his body softened back into his recliner, I realized those were my best kind words yet, ones of assurance allowing him to return to the moment and to just be.

And now your Spiritual Prescription:

Speak words of kindness.  Not tomorrow.  Today.

Thank someone for their positive actions.

Say “I love you” more often.

Compliment a child.

Recognize the gifts of another.

(The opportunities are endless.)

Proverbs 16:24 reads:

Gracious words are a honeycomb,

sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

In a world of cheap and hurtful words, especially in the digital world of trolls and mean tweets, let’s offer one another a few kind words, bringing sweetness to the soul and healing to the bones!




Just Eat!

Are you like me?  You grab a handful of snacks–perhaps chips, crackers, raisins, chocolate, pretzles, or almonds–and before you know it, they’re gone.  Every morsel mindlessly consumed by no one else but you.

And what about speed eating?

It’s practically a sporting event when my family sits down at the table for dinner. And often, I’ll admit, I have taken pride many a mornings in how fast I can wolf down breakfast.  Doing so does, after all, enables me to get out the door all the faster or at least less incumbered.

Sound familiar?

Is food something you consume without even remembering it touching your lips? Is dining a side note while you do something else?

Then here’s your Spiritual Prescription:

cherriesJust Eat.


Don’t read the latest posts on Facebook, open another email, scroll through your play list, or even read something in front of you.

Don’t drive, walk, watch t.v. or clean the house.

Just eat.

This practice is known as mindful eating and allows us to be in the moment.

Focus on the sight, smell, even the weight of what you are about to eat.  What is the texture?  What are the colors?  Is there steam coming off your food?

It can be amazing what you notice when you slow down. I once caught my reflection in a kidney bean.  Kid you not. Crazy, but true.

Now take a bite.

Pay attention to how the food feels in your mouth. Can you hear it crunching as you chew it? Does it get stuck in your teeth? What are the various flavors that come out as you consume that bite full?

Don’t take another bite until you have completely finished the last one. 

Resist the temptation to rush. 

Breathe between bites.

And especially give thanks for the food you are consuming.

Life is short, my friends, and although it may seem counter-intuitive, slow downYou don’t want to miss a thing!


 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31




Laugh WITH Yourself

Today’s Spiritual Prescription:

I absolutely relish the ridiculous and often embarrassing things that have happened to me.

A pastor and her flock

Choosing a can of kippered herring as a quick, on-the-go lunch then proceeding to eat it in my car, for instance, wasn’t the brightest of ideas.  I realized this only after the oily, fish juices came pouring out of the half eaten can when I made a sudden stop.  What a horrendous, smelly mess that was!

Or what about the time I was trying to comfort a woman who was actively dying after months of being on our hospice program?

Although she was facing the wall, I tried my best to comfort her through song and prayer. She continued to be restless despite my best efforts and seemed to be trying to speak.

Assuming it might be important last words or a final request, I squeezed my way between her bed and the wall. Finally. I could see her face and hear her words more clearly.

And that I did.  With no hesitation she clearly told me, “Get…OUT!”

Ah yes.  That wasn’t the first or last time I would miss the mark as a chaplain.

Honestly, I treasure these moments.  They remind me to not take life so seriously.*

And now your Spiritual Prescription:

Laugh with yourself. 


Note—I did not say “Laugh at yourself.”  This is not about belittling yourself.

It is about celebrating life and remembering to lighten up.

It’s about remembering that, like it or not, you are not perfect.  In fact, no one is!

Words to consider from Proverbs 15:15…

A miserable heart means a miserable life; a cheerful heart fills the day with song. (The Message)


So laugh with yourself and let your heart be ever cheerful.


* Last night I was horrified to discover I had accidentally posted this Spiritual Prescription weeks ago unfinished.  Heaven forbid! I was certainly NOT laughing at first, but I’m getting there!

A Pessimist in Recovery

Today’s Spiritual Prescription:

I am a recovering pessimist.

unhappy faceWay too often, however, I tumble off the wagon and roll into my old patterns of negative thinking. (Broken and Beautiful is a perfect example!)

Last week I was made painfully aware of how difficult it is to refrain from having a gloomier, darker outlook on life.

As I was leaving a skilled nursing facility I could not help but glance in each resident’s room as I cruised down the hall.

In one room there was a mountain of small stuffed animals carefully stacked on top of an individual’s dresser.  Without missing a beat, I said to the facility employee moving past me “I can’t imagine having ALL those eyes stare at me at night.”

It was a weak attempt at getting her into my car of trash talking someone’s conceivably weird behavior.

To make things worse, would you believe she had the nerve to suggest that all those eyes were “looking out” for their owner, protecting her against the “boogie man”?

Oh suuure…. isn’t that sweet.  Little furry protectors.

Then clearly the person is paranoid, I suggested.

In was no use.  With each negative slant I had on that mound of stuffed animals and the resident who piled them, the caregiver had something positive to say.

And before I realized it, I was an official jerk wondering why I had, once again, been drawn to the dark side. Why had I been so set on ferreting out the slightest negative perspective—and on stuff animals of all things?

What a waste of time and energy for my entire being!

And now for your Spiritual Prescription:                    

Don’t go to the dark side!0910131602

Resist seeing the world in a gloomy, dreary light.  It is a bad habit that impacts your body, mind and spirit!

Proverbs 17:22 puts it this way : A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

Don’t allow your spirit to be crushed by dark imagining.

Notice and fight off the temptation to negatively respond to life around you.

We miss so much of the beauty around us when we do.

(I saw this happy chalkboard message on my way home that day.  A nice reminder to keep working toward a joyful heart.)