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Some ‘Sick’ Humor

29 Apr

I think my friend Rhonda Rhea (1) has captured the award for “Sick” Humor. Her recent posts on Facebook made me LOL!

Rhonda wrote, “NyQuil and ice cream. Yeah, what could get a person over a cold faster than a NyQuil float?”

She also wrote, “Carpe Diem-e-tapp. Sneeze the Day!”

I’ve often heard people say that laughter is the best medicine. The Bible says something like that (Proverbs 17:22). A happy, cheerful heart is “good medicine,” healing the soul. It diffuses stress, exercises the heart and lungs, increases oxygen consumption, reduces carbon dioxide in the lungs, relaxes muscles, and blesses the body in many other ways.

I read a story about a “humor cart” at Lutheran General Children’s Hospital (Park Ridge, Chicago area) that helps sick children laugh. (2)

Wearing a set of bobbing antennae, a retired teacher, Cathy Risberg, pushes the cart laden with toys, coloring books and other silly trinkets, but it’s the jokes that make the children smile and giggle… silly jokes that children love, like this one:

“Why did the boy throw the butter out the window?”

“I don’t know.”

“So he could see a butterfly!”

Melodie Merrick, clinical manager of pediatrics at the hospital said, “Laughter releases endorphins, and that helps us feel better and heal. It decreases anxiety and can mean less pain medicine. It takes a kid away from a fear of the hospital, and that’s important to building a trusting relationship.”

Because the Bible says there is “a time to laugh” (Ecclesiastes 3:4), we can look for opportunities God gives us. Laughter is coupled to joy ~ especially joy when we observe God’s creative works ~ in Psalm 126:2-3.

I have to admit that hearty laughter has pulled me through many stressful seasons of life. And I’m in good company. I read that Abraham Lincoln said he could only handle the stresses of the Civil War by cultivating lightness of heart: “If it hadn’t been for laughter,” he said, “I could not have made it.” Likewise, comedians often say they learned to cope with their problem childhoods by cultivating a sense of humor and helping others laugh more, too.

A Jewish proverb says, “What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul.” Yes, I’ve washed away many gloomy days with a good scrubbing of clean humor, especially since I started cultivating a LOL heart.

The story about the hospital’s “humor cart” was sweet, but it was Risberg’s final statement that arrested my attention.Smile Note

“Most of (the children) can smile,” she said, “and those who can’t, I make sure I’m smiling at them.”

Ah… the power of a smile.  I thought about all the people ~ and not only children ~ that I encountered just this past week. So many of them were sad, depressed, frustrated, lonely. No smiles there.

But God allowed me to give them a great gift. I could share my smile with them. And sometimes I could add a word of encouragement, a silly joke, or a few moments to pray together. (I have this note near my desk.)

Yes, laughter is the best medicine, but a shared smile is a quick shot in the arm!

(1) Wants some laughs along with wisdom? Read How Many Lightbulbs Does It Take to Change A Person?: Bright Ideas for Delightful Transformation by Rhonda Rhea (New Hope Publishers, 2012)


Re-energize before Christmas

19 Dec

“Three phrases that sum up Christmas are:  Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men, and Batteries not included.” ~ author unknown

“I once bought my kids a set of batteries for Christmas with a note on it saying, ‘Toys not included.'” ~ Bernard Manning (1)

Ever feel like you need a new set of batteries to keep running?

This is about the time of the Christmas season that I (Dawn) start wearing down, so I took time to think about Fifteen Ways to Re-Energize before Christmas. Maybe this will help you, too.

  1. Connect with friends and family members spontaneously ~ no expectations ~ and chat about some fun holiday memories.
  2. Schedule some play time that doesn’t require a lot of planning. (Holiday preparations can get so intense, they feel like work; so allow yourself some down time. Think like a child.)
  3. Look at your “to do list” and determine whether what you are doing right now absolutely has to be done right now. Is there something you can put off until after Christmas? Something you can delegate? Something you might decide isn’t worth doing at all? Learn when to say “no.”
  4. Think legacy and impact to determine what is important. What will last? How do you want people to remember you? What counts for eternity? What builds people up?
  5. Use “now-time” wisely. Plan for long-term goals, but take just one step at a time. Don’t fret over tomorrow’s responsibilities.
  6. Eat healthy ~ a balance of protein and good carbs.
  7. Drink more water!
  8. Exercise. Yes, that sounds counter-productive, but daily exercise will help, especially if you can get some sunshine outside at the same time to beat winter blues. At the very least, do some slow stretches ~ get every muscle group involved. Reach high… bend low… twist gently.
  9. Breathe deeply … breathe out for as long as you can through your mouth, and then breathe in deeply through your nose. Hold your breath.  Repeat. Repeat.
  10. Simplify housekeeping. Keeping the “clutter” down and wiping down surfaces is all that’s really necessary, if you’ve been keeping your home in shape. Don’t think that your ChristmasNaphouse has to be “immaculate” for guests.
  11. Take a power nap in the middle of the day… it’s better for you than an extra half hour in the morning. (A friend reminded me that it’s not a nap if I’m still holding a cell phone or have my hands on a keyboard!)
  12. Smell good stuff ~ the aromas of your Christmas tree, tangerines, rosemary, etc.
  13. Enjoy light and warmth. Sit by a glowing fireplace, or light candles.
  14. Sing Carols out loud in your home, or listen to Christmas music as you work.
  15. Turn over all of your cares to God.

What I’m talking about here is how to get back a feeling of energy … powering up. These are things, actually, that we can do any time we feel like our batteries have run down.

One of the most “draining” things we can do during the holiday season is to fret and worry about all that we have to do. That’s why I especially like #15 on that list.

The Bible says, Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully” (1 Peter 5:7, Amplified). God says we can cast our cares on Him, and He will sustain us (Psalm 55:22).

We “cast our cares” by handing them over to God. Envision that you have your hands full … because you do! And then hand those things over to God for safe-keeping.

We don’t need to worry about tomorrow’s “to do list” (Matthew 6:34), but only consider what God wants us to do today. Can you feel the “aaaaah” in that?

So, the way we power up to face the stresses of the holidays is really by powering down … or rather, surrendering to God’s power. We recognize that we can’t do it all, but we CAN do all that God wants us to do, by His grace, in His power, with His strength and help.

Relax. Think about what’s really important in this special season, and then ~ cast your cares on the One who has promised to sustain you, and allow Him to recharge your batteries.


Spend Holiday Time Together!

5 Dec

This is one of my (Dawn’s) favorite LOL’s in our book, LOL with God … and I remembered it while my husband and I were out to dinner … both using our cell phone calendars to plan our Christmas holiday events.

At a restaurant, a waitress told my brother- and sister-in-law, Tom and Janice, that two days earlier, she was waiting on a table of 10 people. After a short time, the manager asked her why she hadn’t taken their order yet.

“They all have their hands close to their chests, and their heads are bowed,” she said. “They’re praying, and I don’t want to disturb them.”

“No,” the manager said. “Look closer.”

To her surprise, the waitress realized the people weren’t praying; they were all on their cell phones, texting people! (1)

I had to laugh when I saw this Christmas card on a friend’s Facebook page!

That’s almost too true to be funny, isn’t it?

We can be right next to each other during the holidays, and completely miss spending time with each other. We can get so caught up in the activities of the season or in preparations  for big events that we don’t take time for significant, daily communication with those we love  ~ and by that, I mean chatting about more than, “What should we buy Uncle Jake?”

Good communication skills are often overlooked at Christmas when family members feel pressured and busy.

Remember these communication tips:

  1. Listen carefully to what a person is actually saying, not what you think he or she is saying.
  2. Make eye contact. Interaction is more personal and successful when you look into a person’s eyes.
  3. Think a moment before you answer. You’ll never regret something foolish that you didn’t say (Proverbs 18:13). It helps to think so you can give a wise answer (Ecclesiastes 5:2a; Proverbs 15:2, 28).
  4. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Listen to understand, not to judge (Proverbs 17:27). Especially during the holidays with its added stresses, be forgiving, not quarrelsome (Proverbs 13:10; 17:142 Timothy 2:23a)
  5. Respect the person, even if you don’t agree with his or her opinion or perspective.
  6. Build trust by being open and honest (Proverbs 24:26; Ephesians 4:25-27). Admit when you don’t know an answer, but offer to help the person find an answer or solution.
  7. Speak with kindness, gentleness, and love (Proverbs 15:1; 16:24; Philippians 4:5; Ephesians 4:15a).
  8. Voice your appreciation … often (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

Along with practicing good communication, plan some quality time together. Sharing experiences is a gift that keeps giving. It creates warm memories and closer bonds.

Here are some fun Christmas ideas ~ Continue reading

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