All of a Piece Blog

Work, play, and worship flowing together because life is lived from an authentic center…

What is a Prosperous Woman?

Posted by allofapiece on March 29, 2013

There is one book I would like to put in every woman’s hand (and every man’s for that matter).  The book is called “Prosperity: A Woman’s Guide” by the late Ruth Ross, and it’s absolutely indispensable for creating a life of prosperity.  I hope to discuss this book more in future posts.  For now, here are some encouraging excerpts…

What is prosperity?
“The old, commonly used definition means acquiring as much wealth and power as possible.  As I am defining it, living prosperously doesn’t mean being able to accumulate more toys, or harnessing the ability to manipulate others.  It does mean experiencing a balanced, fulfilled life on all levels—mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, and financial.  This is a holistic definition appealing to both sexes…

Have you ever had a “magic day” when everything worked?  On those days, you enjoyed the fruits of your actions without straining to achieve—you got what you went after seemingly without effort. Simply put, you accomplished what you set out to do—no matter what it was.

Magic days and a feeling of prosperity go hand in hand.  When we feel prosperous our days seem magical.  We live life from a center of contentment.  We experience an inner knowingness that all is well—that we have a place in the world and that somehow we know we are in the right place at the right time.  This sense of peace and contentment with oneself is what I call “true prosperity”, and requires a shift in consciousness to maintain.

Beyond that, living prosperously involves having the power to create a life of your choice—to get what you really want, not just what you’re handed.  You first need to become aware of the power of prosperity before you can deliberately bring it under your conscious control and live a life of abundance…  Becoming prosperous is the result of using the full potential of our minds, the attitude we take about ourselves and our relations with others.  It’s about how we approach life and how we use our creative minds to make our lives prosperous and how we can make our lives a succession of “magic days”…

 What is a Prosperous Woman?
“While no one image or concept fits every prospering woman, she is generally one who not only wants a full life, but also has the self-awareness to know specifically what a full life is to her.  She comes to know who she is as a person, and chooses a work medium that allows her to express herself well.  She no longer needs to wait for freedom or approval, for she has found that her independence lies within her own self-acceptance.

Prosperity comes easily to her when she finds the secret of the ages: her security does not exist in any bank account, but in the full use of her creative ideas.  For this reason, she has learned to tap the powers of her imagination, and put her thoughts into creative action.  She is then able to create more choices that come with financial prosperity.

The prospering woman knows that to live in a prosperous condition is to feel free to do, be, and have more of what she truly wants.  The feeling of prosperity, however, does not necessarily dome with any certain amount of money.  It lies in whatever makes you feel prosperous…    It’s important to know what makes you feel special, for feeling prosperous is a way of being in the world.  It is a statement about how you see yourself and your relationship to others.”

Unfortunately, the book is out of print, but one can still obtain used copies from Amazon and others…

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Your Journal – Leaving a Legacy

Posted by allofapiece on March 22, 2013

Here is a great segment from Jim Rohn on keeping a wisdom/educational journal as one of three treasures to leave behind for the next generation…

If you’re serious about becoming a wealthy, powerful, sophisticated, healthy, influential, cultured and unique individual, keep a journal. Don’t trust your memory. When you listen to something valuable, write it down. When you come across something important, write it down.

I am a buyer of blank books. Kids find it interesting that I would buy a blank book. They say, “Twenty-six dollars for a blank book! Why would you pay that?” The reason I pay twenty-six dollars is to challenge myself to find something worth twenty-six dollars to put in there. All my journals are private, but if you ever got a hold of one of them, you wouldn’t have to look very far to discover it is worth more than twenty-six dollars. I must admit, if you got a glimpse of my journals, you’d have to say that I am a serious student. I’m not just committed to my craft, I’m committed to life, committed to learning new concepts and skills. I want to see what I can do with seed, soil, sunshine and rain to turn them into the building blocks of a productive life.

Keeping a journal is so important. I call it one of the three treasures to leave behind for the next generation. In fact, future generations will find these three treasures far more valuable than your furniture.

The first treasure is your pictures. Take a lot of pictures. Don’t be lazy in capturing the event. How long does it take to capture the event? A fraction of a second. How long does it take to miss the event? A fraction of a second. So don’t miss the pictures. When you’re gone, they’ll keep the memories alive.

The second treasure is your library. This is the library that taught you, that instructed you, that helped you defend your ideals. It helped you develop a philosophy. It helped you become wealthy, powerful, healthy, sophisticated, and unique. It may have helped you conquer some disease. It may have helped you conquer poverty. It may have caused you to walk away from the ghetto. Your library, the books that instructed you, fed your mind and fed your soul, is one of the greatest gifts you can leave behind.

The third treasure is your journals: the ideas that you picked up, the information that you meticulously gathered. But of the three, journal writing is one of the greatest indications that you’re a serious student. Taking pictures, that is pretty easy. Buying a book at a book store, that’s pretty easy. It is a little more challenging to be a student of your own life, your own future, your own destiny. Take the time to keep notes and to keep a journal. You’ll be so glad you did. What a treasure to leave behind when you go. What a treasure to enjoy today!

by Jim Rohn

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What I’m reading…

Posted by allofapiece on December 8, 2011

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God is for you!

Posted by allofapiece on January 3, 2011

Although I strongly believe that the Lord want us to both hear and do what He commands, without a balance and reminder of knowing who and what God really is sometimes leads us to have a “performance God” mentality.  So I return to this beautiful exposition by Chip Ingram time and time again describing what a loving, generous, and merciful God we serve.  I hope it encourages you as well…

From Chip Ingram and Living on the Edge Ministries series “Ancient Paths to Intimacy with God – Part 1”, scripture references Luke 11:11-13.

Listen to the 17 minute very inspirational audio here…

For years I struggled with a warped view of God.  Deep in my heart, I believed God wasn’t for me, I believed He was against me.  But then something happened that revolutionized my life, and I want to share that something with you today…  It comes from Luke 11:11-13.

“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. If a son asks for bread[d] from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

Jesus’ point in Luke 11:11-13 is that the ancient path of communing with the Father is not about performance, it’s not about keeping rules, it’s not about saying the right words at the right time or with the right emphasis, it’s not having all of your life completely in order so that you’ve never messed up and saying “Have I measured up God? Will you answer my prayer now?”  It’s not about when you’ve done all the rules and rituals that maybe, just maybe you can twist the arm of God (becuase He really doesn’t want to bless you) and He’ll give you what you want.  That was the thinking back in Luke’s day, and candidly that’s the thinking of most of us…

Our attitude is “how can I get God on my team”?  But what Jesus is saying here is that it’s not about the right words or spiritual techniques or rituals.  It’s not about twisting God’s arm, it’s not about praying for long periods of time, it’s not about living a perfect life, it’s about understanding who God really is.  Most of our focus on communion with God is all about us and what we do or what we don’t do. 

So instead of seeing a God who is hard to please, a God who forces you to perform, a God whose arm you have to twist, instead see a God who is eager to bless, a God who loves you. He is a God that is concerned.  He’s a God who is warm and receptive.  He is a God that no amount of measurement of performance or technique mean anything to Him, He sees thru all that and looks right into Your heart.  He’s a God who says, “Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”  He is the God who says “Every good and perfect gift comes from above.”  He’s the God who longs to bless His children…

He’s filled with compassion and moved within and He touches people and He heals people and He raises them from the dead, and He feeds them and He loves them. He says “I care”.  The ancient paths of communing with the Father is not about doing or performing or rituals or techniques, it’s about understandig this one true and abiding principle.  And that principle is the God of the “how much more”.  “How much more then” does the Father in heaven long to bless, who loves unconditionally, who hears and wants to give exceedingly abundantly more.  The God who is honored when we really believe and perceive Him for who He is.  That He is good and generous, kind and loving, available and willing, open and receptive, and concerned.  And then based on that truth, we come. 

If you really believe that God was for you, if you believe that every moment of every day, He was on the edge of the throne of all of heaven, and kind of looking down and you’re just sleeping, and He’s waiting for your eyes to open, and the very first thoughts He would like on your mind is you envisioning Him saying to you “I want to bless you today, I’m for you today, I’d love to talk, I know what’s coming up today, I know where the challenges are coming, I’d like to give you a few tips, you know about 3pm this afternoon you’re gonna have a really difficult meeting and I’m going put my arms around you, I love you, I’m for you.  All I want you to do is come.  You don’t have to perform.  It’s not about rules.  It’s not about “how long”.  It’s not about saying the right words.  It’s not about impressing anyone.  I see your heart.  I want to be with you.  I want to bless you.  I want to love you.  I want to wrap my arms around you.  I want to prepare you and protect you.”

When you see God for who He is, prayer becomes a joy.  Yes, from time to time, you’ll have to pull your mind in from wandering. Of course.  Does it mean you won’t have to exert some willpower and discipline yourself and move thru some of the flesh?  Of course.  But more and more I have learned that God so loves us and longs to bless and have me in His presence.  And when I’m there, it is out of His goodness that He convicts me of sin.  That  He brings things to my mind that need to be corrected.  Becuase every relationship out of kilter, what’s it gonna do?  It’s gonna bring destruction to me and pain to them.

The ancient path of communing with God is not about what you do, how long you do it, or where you do it.  It’s all about knowing who He is.  We make prayer all about us…  But it’s all about keeping company with God.  You are the child of the God of “how much more”!

If you had a child and they ask you for something, are you going to give them a snake or something?  No!  Your heavnely Father longs to bless you.  Now that does’t mean you’re gonna get a Lexus tomorrow and the second house and everything goes your way and you’re gonna get into Harvard, etc… 

It means He wants to give you the highest, the best, the deepest, the richest of things that last forever and that will fulfill and satisfy your heart that no “thing”, no accomplishment, no amount of money, no relationship, nothing on this earth will ever do.  He wants to love you and bless you and reveal Himself to you and have you be a son or a daughter who feels so affirmed and significant and loved and valued just for who you are and that you go through life in ways that other people never understand.

Is that the God that you pray to?  We honor God the most when we believe what He says about Himself and then respond accordingly.  That’s why Jesus said “without faith, it is impossible to please Him”.  He didn’t say “without rules and rituals, it’s impossible to please Him”.  He didn’t say “without being religious it’s impossible to please Him”.  He said “without faith”.  Faith is believing what God has said about Himself.  It’s trusting His promises to the point of acting on what is true. 

The Lord Almighty is with me. 
The Lord my God is with me. 
He’s mighty to save. 
He will quiet me with His love. 
He will rejoice over me with singing.

And to think that my day is starting and I haven’t seen anybody, I haven’t filled out my to-do list, I haven’t answered any phone calls, but I’ve just thought, the God of all the universe–He’s my God and He’s with me and He’s more powerful to deliver (save) me from any situation, any conflict, any pressure (whether it’s mine or with another person), or any circumstance.  He is mighty to save!  And when I get uptight, He is waiting–the Spirit of God dwelling in me–to quiet me with His love. 

And when He thinks of me with all of my ups and downs and all of my struggles and all of my three steps foward and two steps back, my mixed motives and the things that come out of my mouth that I wish wouldn’t, and when I lose my temper–He still rejoices over me with singing because I’m the object of His affection.  Because I am His son purchased by the blood of Christ.  And my relationship is not based upon my performance.  His goal is to move me and transform me and make more and more like Christ, but He loves me.  Not IF I do something or didn’t do something… 

This good, generous, warm, kind, receptive, unreluctant, absolutely “on my team”, “ready to bless me”, “how much more” than I could ever dream or expect–that’s who I’m coming to.  So ask in that kind of confidence.  Why does He want to do the “how much more”, so that everything is better and easier for us?  No, but so that we get a higher, clearer, more genuine view of Him.  What would happen if you believed the God of the Bible is the God of the “how much more”, and that He was for you and that He loved you.  And then the forms and the patterns and the disciplines will flow out of your heart’s desire to know Him as He is and enjoy Him, and then you express your love by obeying Him.  Because He is the God of all goodness and the “how much more”…

God is most honored when we perceive Him as who He really is–good, generous, kind, loving, available, willing, open, receptive and concerned.  And based on that truth, we can come boldly before Him.

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Ten Ways to Solve Problems

Posted by allofapiece on December 11, 2010

Thought I would share this helpful article from Michael Angier of SuccessNet…

Being alive means we have and will have problems.

And if we’re going to be confronted with problems the rest of our lives, then becoming good at facing and solving problems seems to be a worthy endeavor.

Before I jump into my list, allow me to share a few of my thoughts ABOUT problems.

I believe there is almost always more than one solution to any problem. And if you think there’s only one, you will be significantly limiting yourself.

I also think that in business, you don’t really have problems, you have expenses. This assumes that every problem in business can be solved. It’s just going to cost time, energy and/or money to solve it. Not so with all personal problems. Many of them cannot be solved with money alone.

Our attitude toward problems and problem-solving is probably as important, if not more important, than our skills or knowledge in solving them. How we approach our problems is critical.  If we’re angry about having the problem, it’s going to be a lot harder to solve. Complaining about why we have the problem takes time andenergy away from SOLVING the problem. What we resist tends to persist.

And remember that problems can be, and often are, good things. We learn from them. We create or discover opportunities that wouldn’t be realized without working through them. If there were no problems to solve, we would not be necessary.

That said, here are my Top Ten Ways to Solve Problems:

  1. Define or re-define the problem.
    Charles Kettering said, “A problem clearly stated is a problem half-solved.” The way we define the problem has a lot to do with how we approach the solution. Many times a re-definition will work wonders on opening the possibilities.
  2. Focus on the SOLUTION, not the problem.
    Otherwise, we may just be worrying and making the problem bigger than it really is. Believe that it can be solved and stay centered upon the way to solve it.
  3. Detach from the problem.
    Many times we are too close and too emotionally involved to a problem to have a good perspective. Try looking at it like it was someone else’s problem. Take a larger view and you will likely find more possibilities.
  4. Ask an expert or someone with experience.
    Very few problems we face are brand new. Usually they have been solved by someone else, so don’t underestimate the value of someone with the right expertise and knowledge.
  5. Access the knowledge and the skills necessary.
    Determine what you need to know and the skills that need to be harnessed to get the job done. And if you don’t know what they are, find out.
  6. Brainstorm.
    Practice green light thinking with your mastermind team. Generate as many ideas as you can.
  7. Use IWWCW. That stands for “In What Ways Can We”.
    And it implies there is more than one tactic, strategy or action you can take. It will expand your thinking and that of others involved.
  8. Don’t try to solve the problem without the knowledge, skills and information you need.
    If you can delay decisions and actions until these things are determined and acquired, that’s usually the best thing to do. It also helps to sleep on it. Our subconscious mind often solves problems in our sleep. Just be sure you are tactically delaying things and not procrastinating or avoiding.
  9. Look for ways to simplify the challenge and the potential solutions.
    Often we complicate things more than we need. And many times the simplest solution is the best.
  10. When possible, solve problems before they happen.
    It’s much easier than dealing with it in crisis. Have contingency plans. Think about things that could happen and what action you will take if it does. This is not negative thinking. If you live in an earthquake zone or tornado area, what precautions can you take to be well prepared?

The more we accept our problems and the better we get at solving them, the more confidence we develop. In doing so, we increase our value in the marketplace because we are known for having a cool, thoughtful and logical approach to understanding and solving problems.

Picture Credit

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Romans 12:1-2 beautifully explained

Posted by allofapiece on April 24, 2010

I apologize for not putting out many new posts over the last few weeks.  I’ve been swamped doing some construction on my farm.  But today I want to share a profound and beautiful message by John Piper on Romans 12:1-2. 

You can listen to the full audio or download the full transcript from Mr. Piper’s website here

On worship…
The aim of Romans 12:1-2 is that all of bodily life–everything you do with your body–all of life–be worship. “Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”

The goal of these two verses is that you find the way of life–at work and at home–that makes Christ look as valuable as He really is. That’s what worship is. The aim of all human life in God’s eyes is that Christ would be made to look as valuable as he is. Worship is an expressing and display of the worth of all that God is for us in Christ. So if your bodily life–what you do with your hands, feet, arms, tongue, your eyes, your ears–when all of that becomes worship, it becomes a way of displaying the value and worth of Christ in your life. So that’s the point of these verses.

If you don’t know how to do that at work, if your work feels like that is an absolutely inconceivable idea, there are two possible problems. One is, you have the wrong job. But that’s probably not the case. It’s probably that verse 2 is not happening. Verse 2 is the means by which verse 1 comes about.

Your life becomes worship to God, it becomes a manifestation of the worth and value of Jesus, when you’re not conformed to the world and all of their values, but you’re transformed by the renewal of your mind, so that the will of God becomes precious to you, and a joy to you, and you find yourself living a lifestyle of love and sacrifice and Christ-exalting standards, that cause the world to recognize the reality of His value to you.

So it’s probably not that you’re in the wrong job, it’s just that we have allot to do in order to pursue what it means to be renewed in our minds.

On becoming who you really ARE…
When it says “Be transformed by the renewal of your mind” Christians know it means “I’m ALREADY new.” “I AM a new creation”. We know that the Bible builds on that rock-solid reality of our identity in Christ and says now “BECOME what you ARE”!!

“Cleanse out the old leaven, that you may become a new lump, as you really ARE unleavened.” (1 Cor. 5:7) Isn’t that amazingly clear! Become what you are! You are unleavened. Sinless. Perfect. Accepted. Loved. Home in Christ. Now, BECOME that in your practical bodily behavior and life so that people will see the worth of Jesus Christ to You.

Col 3:10 says it this way “You HAVE put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after its Creator.” You HAVE put on the new self. You’re there! You’re home! You’re new. You’re acquitted, justified, verdict “not guilty”. It is finished! Now, be renewed according to who you are in Christ!

[blogmaster’s comment: It’s almost like he’s saying to return to the beauty of who you really ARE every day. Be transformed every day into that clear ideal of what and who you are in Christ. Lovely!!! Every day is a day of new beginnings. Return to that that perfect spirit that Christ has put in us, and let it regain it’s control and dominion in our lives.]

The Aim of a Renewed Mind
Now we focus on the last part of verse 2 tells us more about this process, namely, the aim of the renewed mind: “Do not be conformed to this world,but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, [now here comes the aim] that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

The reason for having a new mind is so that you will be able to discern, approve, embrace, and follow the will of God.

…There’s a world of difference between people who lead their lives constantly hoping and expecting messages to pop into their head about which way to go, which car to buy, which person to marry–a world of difference between living your life that way than Romans 12:2. Don’t be conformed to the world, but be transformed by a deep renewal so that you perceive the will of God, assess things according to the will of God.

Hebrews 5:14 is a near paraphrase of Romans 12:2: “Solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” (See another paraphrase in Philippians 1:9-11.) That’s the goal of this verse: not ferreting out the secret will of God that he plans to do, but discerning the revealed will of God that we ought to do.

Three Stages of Knowing and Doing the Revealed Will of God
1) God’s will of command is revealed with final, decisive authority only in the Bible. And we need the renewed mind to understand and embrace what God commands in the Scripture.

2) The second stage of God’s will of command is our application of the biblical truth to new situations that may or may not be explicitly addressed in the Bible. The Bible does not tell you which person to marry or whether to marry, or which car to drive, or whether to own a home, where you take your vacation, what cell-phone plan to buy, or which brand of orange juice to drink. Or a thousand other choices you must make that are not explicitly addressed in the Bible. So what do you do?

You must have a renewed mind. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove how to eat, how to drink, cars to drive, houses to live in, missions to go on, lifestyles to choose from, friendships to cultivate… ten thousand decisions not written in the Bible, and yet informed by all of its teachings into this new mind so that you think with the mind of Christ and assess things the way Christ would assess them so that the decisions that are made really are flowing from the revealed [moral] will of God in the Bible as it transforms your mind.

What is necessary is that we have a renewed mind, that is so shaped and so governed by the revealed will of God in the Bible, that we see and assess all relevant factors with the mind of Christ, and discern what God is calling us to do. This is very different from constantly trying to hear God’s voice saying do this and do that. People who try to lead their lives by hearing voices are not in sync with Romans 12:2.

There is a world of difference between praying and laboring for a renewed mind that discerns how to apply God’s Word, on the one hand, and the habit of asking God to give you new revelation of what to do, on the other hand.

Divination does not require transformation. God’s aim is a new mind, a new way of thinking and judging, not just new information. His aim is that we be transformed, sanctified, freed by the truth of his revealed Word (John 8:32; 17:17). So the second stage of God’s will of command is the discerning application of the Scriptures to new situations in life by means of a renewed mind.

3) Finally, the third stage of God’s will of command is the vast majority of living where there is no conscious reflection before we act. I venture to say that a good 95% of your behavior you do not premeditate.

That is, most of your thoughts, attitudes, and actions are spontaneous. They are just spillover from what’s inside. Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak” (Matthew 12:34-36).

Why do I call this part of God’s will of command? For one reason. Because God commands things like: Don’t be angry. Don’t be prideful. Don’t covet. Don’t be anxious. Don’t be jealous. Don’t envy. And none of those actions are premeditated. Anger, pride, covetousness, anxiety, jealousy, envy—they all just rise up out of the heart with no conscious reflection or intention. And we are guilty because of them. They break the commandment of God.

Is it not plain therefore that there is one great task of the Christian life: Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. We need new hearts and new minds. Make the tree good and the fruit will be good (Matthew 12:33).

That’s the great challenge. That is what God calls you to. You can’t do it on your own. You need Christ, who died for your sins. And you need the Holy Spirit to lead you into Christ-exalting truth and work in you truth-embracing humility.

Give yourself to this. Immerse yourself in the written Word of God; saturate your mind with it. And pray that the Spirit of Christ would make you so new that the spillover would be good, acceptable, and perfect—the will of God.

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Graceful Balance

Posted by allofapiece on April 14, 2010

“Balance in our lives and rest from our labors is a foreign concept in our society. These basic human needs have been abused and neglected in our fast-paced world and our whole culture cries out for relief from this drought on the soul. Work, sometimes very hard work, is a fact of life for some people, and always has been. My grandparents worked hard, from dawn to dust most of their days… but they enjoyed a measure of serenity each day of the week.  Stress and commercialism had not yet invaded the fabric of daily life.

My grandparents had one phone hanging on the kitchen wall in their home. Since it was a party line, conversations were short. As my mom puts it, you didn’t say anything on the phone that you didn’t want everyone to know. The phone was a link to the outside world, but it was not an instrument of invasion. No one called to sign you up for another credit card or to get you to renew your magazine subscription. Everyone respected basic courtesies like the right to privacy.

My grandparents had a radio in their home but no TV. They listened to programs at night while relaxing in their rocking chairs. They heard the news without the graphic, violent pictures was see today. They enjoyed the stories and plays broadcast over the radio… This entertainment was not interrupted by blaring, obnoxious commercials.  Reading and playing games like Chinese checkers or canasta were more often the means of entertainment, with nothing more than the sound of the wind rustling the leaves outside.

Peace and quiet were woven into each day, no matter how hectic or grueling the day had been.  Most of us don’t realize how deeply we need this kind of graceful balance on a daily basis.  We also don’t realize just how depleted our resources are until a crisis hits. Our culture screams at us constantly to work more, earn more, do more, spend more—and we respond by expecting more of ourselves.

The problem is that most of us are already wrung dry. Insomnia, fatigue, auto-immune diseases, and headaches plague us while modern life continues its refrain of “do, get, be.”  Balance is a huge part of being well—and every one of us needs balance just as we need to eat and breathe…

Rest and adequate sleep, work, play, time for family and friends, and a good spiritual life… all of these pieces need to work together to create wellness.”

–Ruth McGinnis, The Good Life: A Return to Simple Principles of Healthy Living pp. 114-117  Picture Credit

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