Health, Opportunity, Peace, and Encouragement are the heart of Sharing HOPE. What exactly does this mean? Here are a few things we will focus on through 2017.


Whether you want to lose weight, increase your energy, live a chemical free life, or just make better choices in general to improve your overall health, there are so many ways to "get there." Maybe you know what to do, but do you do it? It could be that you are taking on too many goals at once. Try to focus on one thing at a time. Once you've tackled that first goal, add another, and later another. It takes time. Be patient with yourself but be persistent. Here are some ideas, many of which I'm sure you are already aware of, but it never hurts to be reminded:

  • Drink more water. Eight glasses a day is recommended.

  • Walk more. Park farther away from the office, and take the stairs if you can.

  • Stretch daily. Either before and after exercise, or at least when you first wake up.

  • Eat more protein and complex carbs (chicken, fish, lentils, veggies, and fruit) and fewer processed foods. Try experimenting with protein shakes. There are many varieties! I'll share more in a future blog post.

  • Use essential oils and make your own household cleaners and skin care products. Essential oils are so beneficial and believe me, you will feel healthier once you incorporate them into your everyday life. So many products are filled with chemicals that are not good for our bodies - internal or external - it's no wonder we feel so crummy! I use Young Living. Check it out.

Maybe your health goals are not physical. Perhaps you want to improve your mental or emotional health. What about your spiritual health? These areas are also critical to our overall well-being. With all the sadness and crime we hear about day after day, it's important that we spend time focusing on the positive things. They're still there. Don't let the darkness snuff out your light! Listen to uplifting music, make time for a friend, do things you enjoy - read a book, watch a funny movie, work on that hobby that you love so much! Listen to worship music, get more involved in your church, or do daily devotions to strengthen your spiritual health.


Are you wondering how you can make a difference in the world? Looking for something bigger, better, more exciting? Do you have talents or gifts that you could be using for a greater purpose? There are opportunities all around us, but are we really looking for them?

Perhaps you could volunteer in a nursing home or hospital, visiting the elderly or those who are ill or lonely. Can you sing? Sing to them. Like to read? Read to them. Or just spend time with them and be a good listener. Knit blankets for the homeless. Mail letters to our veterans. Go shopping for your neighbor. The opportunities are endless.

This year I decided I wanted to do something more tangible to help those around me. I began to pay closer attention to the needs of these strangers. In the past week alone, I helped a man in the grocery store by paying a few dollars for the groceries he could not afford. I also met an elderly lady who lives alone and needed some assistance. My husband and I cleaned her house and did her laundry. I cannot describe how great it feels to bless someone. This week we are making her a Thanksgiving dinner. I realize it's January but she shared with us that she has not had a Thanksgiving dinner in years. So why wait? We will be making her turkey and stuffing and all the other fixings this Thursday! I'm continuing to pay attention, and I cannot wait for the next opportunity!


Has your life been mostly chaotic? Are you tired of running around and not getting anywhere? Are you just plain tired? We need to have peace in our lives. Make time for you! Take a hot bath. Enjoy a cup of tea. Plan a day off and do something fun. Or do nothing at all! Yesterday while it snowed all day, I stayed in bed under the covers with my kitties. I watched some TV, read a book, and napped. I rarely do this so I did not feel guilty. My body and my brain needed a break, and it felt good! Did I have things to do? Of course I did! But I can accept a one-day delay. The dust bunnies will still be there for me once I'm rested and re-energized. Take time for YOU!


We know how good it feels to be encouraged. Yet if feels even better when we can encourage someone else. I used to step into an elevator and stare at the floor or the glowing numbers on the panel. Now I smile at others who join me, say, "Good morning," and "Have a nice day." People do appreciate a kind word and a smile. Try it. Then take it to a higher level. If you see someone crying, ask if they need something. Offer to help. If your co-worker is having a rough day, assure her it will get better. Offer to help if there's something you can do. Encouraging words can make such a difference! You might not realize it or see it, but I promise you, it works.

© 2020 by Barbara Ann Gareis