Showing posts with label peace. Show all posts
Showing posts with label peace. Show all posts

Sunday, October 28, 2018

The App Calm - A Personal Review

I Finally Downloaded the App 'Calm' onto My Cell Phone

Since our computers spit ads and suggestions based on what we might like or want, it figured out I could use a little 'Calm' in my life.

After ignoring the App for several years, it finally got me! I downloaded it a few days ago.

The App has a free version and a paid version. I'm using the free features at the moment.

Scenes - The Feature I'm Currently Into

I use Scenes for relaxation and as a sleep aid.  However, it's the sounds of the scenes, not the visuals that I'm focused on. The scenes are beautiful and you can also watch while listening.

Scenes is essentially the same as the radios from back-in-the-day that feature a choice of background sounds such as waves, thunderstorms, forests, and more.

Simply, choose the scene and calming background sound you prefer. Put the headphones on, listen and relax. 

What We Get with 'Calm' Premium

A full library of music, meditation, and stories.
  • Guided meditations for stress, gratitude and more
  • Sleep stories are pretty cool! Put in your earphones and listen to a relaxing story to help you fall asleep. I've listened to one story included with the free portion of the App. It was hauntingly relaxing.
  • There's also music to help you focus, relax and of course, the obvious, to sleep.
  • They have Masterclasses by world-renowned mindfulness experts designed to help you take control of your thinking and guide you towards living in the now. I haven't tried this yet. However, this feature absolutely appeals to me.
Why Use Calm

With the internet and YouTube you might be asking yourself why would you need to use an App. After-all, why not just listen to videos from YouTube on your phone, or read articles you find via search. That was my original thinking as well.

The answers:
  • Convenience, no commercials
  • No need to search YouTube or the Internet for Meditation or Relaxation tools
  • Your calming tools are conveniently located in one place
  • Quick access on your phone when you need a calming break
  • Daily Calm inspirations added
  • Body Calm programs included
  • Masterclasses on Mindfulness
  • They add new music weekly
  • A full library of stories to fall asleep by, and new stories always being added
My gift to myself this Christmas, is to upgrade to premium. I do love the convenience of this App.

Here's to your peace of mind.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Come to the Quiet by Denise George: A Book Review

Are You Tired Today and Longing for Rest?

I know I am. Although I now live only with my husband and neither of us works outside the home, I still find it hard to find the rest I need. It's especially hard to find quiet rest. It seems there is always some kind of noise in the background. Maybe it's a neighbor using a leaf blower or my husband watching television or a motorcycle driving by. Since I've moved to the city it's never been quiet. That's why I have to use white noise to block unwanted sounds and get to sleep.

Even though I work at home as a blogger, it seems I never have time to relax. There's always something to read or write, photos to take or edit, other blogs to visit and comment on, and social promotion to do. That's on top of the normal chores involved in keeping us fed and in clean clothes, doing necessary housework, and paying bills. Interruptions come in the form of phone calls, husband, workmen, and knocks on the door. There are errands to run, doctor appointments, and emergencies to deal with. I have to plan carefully to spend time with friends.

Many reading this have even more on their plates than I have -- a full time job outside the home, children to care for, getting children where they need to go in their own busy lives, etc., etc., etc. It never stops, and probably neither do you until you drop physically and emotionally exhausted into bed at night.

The Right Book at the Right Time

Solitude and quiet have always been important to me. Up until we moved into our house in a small city I always had a place to get away to de stress . Since we now live in a one story house and have a television which can be heard from almost every room, it's been much harder to have my solitude. And I've been feeling the tension build. Sunday I had almost the entire day to myself and I spent most of it reading this book: Come to the Quiet by Denise George. I found it sitting on a shelf of samples publishers had sent me years ago. For me it was certainly the right book at the right time.

My husband was gone almost all day. I took advantage of the solitude to rest my body and my spirit. This book was like a drink of ice cold water on one of those triple digit summer days we've had this summer. It confirmed my need to escape to solitude more often.

When my mind and body can't rest my spirit suffers, too. Rest for body, soul, and spirit are essential for physical and mental health. George's book explains how we can find the quiet and rest we must have even though it seems like there is no time or place for it. We were created for quiet. To be healthy we must leave room for quiet rest in our lives.

Finding Rest in the Midst of Stress

George points out that we often bring unnecessary stress on ourselves. Maybe a mother doesn't really need to work outside the home. George helps a woman who has a choice evaluate the value of her job to herself and her family. Denise George also recognizes that some women must work -- especially those who already have the stress of parenting alone. She suggests ways even single working moms can find quiet rest in the midst of their stress.

She also helps us work through our priorities. Misplaced priorities are a major source of our stress and overwork. Some stresses are easy to get rid of by changing habits we might not have even thought of as stressful. She points out some of those stresses that have easy fixes. She explains ways we can tune out external noise we can't control and have a more peaceful life.

I think many of us are so used to some stressors we don't even realize they are there, but George shows us some practical ways to escape them. There are changes we can make and places we can go to rest our stressed minds. George's suggestions will help anyone, no matter what causes the stress or how economically well off one is.

Christian Answers to Stress

Christian women's lives can be as stressful as any other lives, but our faith and relationship with Christ mean they don't have to be. It's very easy to buy into the world's mindset and get our sense of worth from what we do instead of who we are in Christ. This book shows us how to let Christ transform our minds. It also offers suggestions for resting our bodies and spirits.

Stress eventually affects our bodies enough to make us sick. Researchers have determined how much stress we can take before this happens. The book contains a stress test that gives points for various life events and pressures and you can see how close you are coming to the 300 points that can make you sick. As the points add up, quiet, self-care, and solitude become more important than ever in keeping you well. There are plenty of suggestions in this book for lessening the stress both you and your children have in your lives.

George invites us to come to Jesus when we are physically and emotionally overburdened and find rest for our spirits and minds. She shows us how to do that. She leads us to the quiet place of healing and shows us how to guard our hearts against the hate, prejudice, bitterness, and selfishness which stress us and  hurt others. Jesus can replace those things with agape love in our hearts.

Jesus invites you to come and rest with him. He wants to lift your burden of stress and lead you to his quiet place of refreshment for your body, mind and spirit. Come to the Quiet will give you the details on how to rest in Him.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


Monday, July 13, 2015

Hiking Through Book Review

Hiking Through
Hiking Through is a bitter, sweet, and victorious story of Paul Stutzman's new beginnings on the Appalachian Trail. He had dreamed of hiking the trail and after the death of his wife, he began that hike. As someone who has worked to continue living during the dark hours of profound grief and loss, who has questioned the presence of God, and who believes nature heals us, I found this book to be both entertaining and soothing.

One Man's Journey to Peace and Freedom on the Appalachian Trail

Paul Stutzman was raised in an Amish and Mennonite community. He attended church regularly and lived a quietly Christian life. Paul married a "liberal" Mennonite gal named Mary, raised a family, and was successful in the restaurant business. Life rolled along as expected until Mary passed away from cancer. She lost that battle and his faith in an active God was shaken.

He chose the trail name Apostle Paul and began the 2,176 mile hike from Georgia to Maine. When asked about his trail name on that first day he replied, "Apostle Paul. I'm hiking to Damascus, hoping for an enlightening experience. Damascus, Virginia, that is. Then on to Maine."

Thru-Hiking the Appalachian Trail

I have read several AT thru-hike memoirs.  They have been decent reads. But there is something about Paul's story-telling and documentation of the trail that I found interesting.  I have a basic understanding of protecting your food supply by hanging it in the trees, trying to pack the lightest pack possible and yet have sufficient supplies, and pitching a tent in the rain. Even so, I had imagined the AT as an arduous but well-kept, longer version of other park trails.  

I was wrong.

Paul's descriptions of the wide variety of shelters, weather, and trail conditions kept me engrossed in this book.  He described fording rivers, slipping from narrow board walkways into mucky bogs, and scrabbling over house-sized boulders.  I am certain I have a more clear understanding of the AT trail after reading his descriptions.  I am more familiar with the terms blue blazing, slack-packing, and hike your own hike. 

God and Faith

I do not typically read Christian literature and at the first sign of bible thumping or attempts to save my soul from the fire and brimstone I run the other way. I have beliefs and a certain level of faith, but I have no desire to be lectured by other humans who are as flawed as I am. Typically, as soon as I understand that a book is "religious", I shut it and put it aside.

Some reviewers make statements along the lines of 'I didn't realize God was going to be a main character in this story' (paraphrased). Apostle Paul makes frequent references to his conservative up-bringing, his understanding of the church the requirements to avoid sin, and his questioning of God. After all, why does God let our loved ones suffer and die? And do nothing to stop it?  Paul looked for signs of an active God along the trail.

However, I didn't feel lectured or Bible-thumped. I felt fully as though I were watching a man find his way. And in his search I learned a thing or two.  At the one point in the book that he summarizes his thoughts on God and the trail, he gives the reader permission to blue blaze, and skip that section. Oddly enough, I read every word.

Paul did find his signs that God exists and is active. He found those signs in the dancing of the leaves on the trees. And in the earth-shaking storm that threatened to take his very existence. 
"I was terrified of the storm but I was not terrified of dying. I actually felt at peace with the possibility. I clung to the tree, on my knees in streaming water, wind tearing at my body, rain and hail pounding me. I hung on. I knew God was there."

A Good Read About One Man, One Long Hike, and Faith

If a memoir (not a technical how-to) about the Appalachian Trail interests you, if you have ever lost a loved one and questioned the existence of God, or if you have ever struggled with living a more peaceful life, you will likely enjoy this book as much as I did. 

Other Thru-Hiking Memoirs and Trail Resources:

Paul Stutzman -- The official website of Paul Stutzman. Read about what he's done since thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. 

Trail Journals -- an online community of hikers as they prepare and hike. Read about their hiking gear, their preparation, and their journal entries while on the trail. 

Movie Review of Wild -- The story of Cheryl Strayed and her thru-hike on the Pacific Crest Trail. Another hiker in search of something. Watch as Cheryl finds herself. 

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


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Review This is Dedicated to the Memory of Our Beloved Friend and Fellow Contributor
We may be apart, but You Are Not Forgotten

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