Candy Blogs: I’ve been contemplating getting older. Since I’ve never gotten older before, I’ve always wondered what “normal” aging might look like. Some things you can observe in others and are obvious but other things are more personal. They don’t come up in normal conversation. I looked it up and, from several different sources, here’s what I found.
Aging is when you stop growing new cells as fast as when you were young, and your current tissue starts to deteriorate. This process usually occurs after sexual maturation and continues up to the time of maximum life span for members of a species. Death is the final event. (Don’t you just love this one?)
The symptoms of aging are obvious (to whom?!): gray and thinning hair, gray and thinning hair, balding, hearing loss, insomnia, difficulty in reading small print, menopause, dryness of skin and vagina, decreased muscles tone, increased body fat, lower capacity to store urine and reduced efficiency of emptying content, teeth and gum recession, joint degenerating, less energy. These can be minimized with diet, exercise and supplements.
Kind of downer, huh? But at least I know I’m normal. Just some thoughts on these symptoms:
Gray and thinning hair: I am noticing lots more gray hair now around my face. They used to only show up when my hair was wet but now they’re showing up all the time. I noticed on the video of my last speaking engagement that the front little flippies of my hair style look totally gray! What’s with that?! And now I have to check the back of my head every morning to make sure my thin spot is covered!
Hearing loss: Yes, I have it. I notice it. Scott notices it. Pretty soon we’ll be like our parents and grandparents. “Hey?! Talk into my good ear!”
Difficulty in reading small print: It started right on time at age 40. Our son was graduating from high school then. I put it off four more years (denial) and by the time our daughter was graduating, I had to get trifocals and wear my glasses all the time.
Dryness of skin and vagina: I use more than one cream. Yes, I do. Some days I think all my skin will just flake off and blow away in the wind. And … yes.
Decreased muscle tone: This one may be true but since I’ve been doing water aerobics for the past three years, my muscle tone is actually better. My muscles actually work now; they never did before.
Increased body fat: This one may also be true but I’ve always been overweight. I truly don’t remember a time when I wasn’t overweight. But me and my doctor are working on that.
Lower capacity to store urine and reduced efficiency of emptying content: Now when I have to go, it is an immediate emergency. There is no “holding it” anymore. If you wait too long and then stand up, you have an emergency on your hands. If you wait too long and have to cough really hard, you have an emergency on your hands. I don’t want to hear about the Kegal muscle and exercise. I am normal. It says so on the Internet.
Teeth and gum recession: I have this!! The dentist confirmed it to me. Now when I eat meat like chicken, beef or chops, I have to toothpick my teeth. Well, in public I use a toothpick. Celery does it, too. And I have to be careful when I chew gum about where in my mouth I am chewing. The gum has a tendency to get stuck now in certain places in my mouth because my teeth are further apart. What?! I have chewed gum since 7th grade; I’m not about to stop now.
Joint degenerating: Arthritis in my hands and neck and knees. Disappearing knee cartilage. It’s getting harder and harder to sleep away from home. These things really put a crimp in my worship, too. I can only clap for the first song and then my carpal tunnel syndrome and arthritis kick in. And I can’t stand still very long because of my knees so I don’t stand during the singing anymore. I can’t kneel at the altar so when I go forward to pray I sit on the first row of chairs by the altar instead. I miss being an “active” worshipper …
Less energy: Yep. After a full day’s work there is only enough energy left in me to make dinner. That’s it for the night. Good thing I don’t work a full day every day anymore. When our kids go out, their night is just beginning when our night is ending. LOL!
Wow, if I contemplated getting older too deeply I might go into a tailspin.
These things are all true. I am getting older. But I really don’t think about it very much. It doesn’t make me want to be young again. I much prefer the spiritual confidence, the comfort in my own skin, the desire to ponder the deeper things of life, the enjoyment of life lessons learned, the time to invest in others to being young again.
“I am young in years, and you are old; that is why I was fearful, not daring to tell you what I know. 7 I thought, ‘Age should speak; advanced years should teach wisdom.’ Job 32:7
Yep, one day I woke up and I was advanced in years. So I am speaking and teaching wisdom. Don’t fear aging! Embrace it. Outward beauty fades over time. If you are depending on that for approval and significance, you will suffer deeply when it’s gone. Every season of life should be full and engaging. Make it so.
Candy blogs: I am so honored today to be a host for a blog tour for Thelma Wells’ new book, “Ready to Win Over Depression“! I first heard “Mama T” many years ago at a Women of Faith Conference. She has been a blessing ever since. Her “BEE your best” motto has haunted me for years. I’m just now learning to believe it.
THELMA: Before I begin, let me first say, if you and/or a loved one are in a crisis situation and you need immediate assistance, please call your local emergency number or the mental health crisis hotline listed in your local phone book.
In your introduction, you state that you’ve been there – you’ve been depressed. Tell us about that.
Yes, I have. This story is told in detail in the book; however, I had surgery several years ago and within a few days the incision split open and my intestines were exposed. This was probably by far the worst pain I’ve ever experienced. After a quick trip back to the hospital to repair the damage, I spent over a year bed-ridden, disabled, and recovering. I’m not the kind of person to lie down and take things slow, especially when it’s forced on me. Yet, in this situation I had no choice but to stop and heal. It wasn’t easy and I faced a lot of fears and I experienced situational depression during this time.
How do you define depression?
Some of us are more prone to depression than others. The influences that bring us down in our spirits can come from many sources and directions. Depression can be a complex picture. But let’s face it. The main reason we get despondent is simply because life happens. And nobody’s life is a constant procession of uplifting, rejuvenating, invigorating experiences. Everybody’s life has downers. We easily get off-balance in so many ways, and this hurts. The TV commercial that says, “Depression hurts” is true.
Does your book focus on one type of depression?
For most of us, the depression we typically encounter isn’t the severe or clinical category, medically speaking. The typical depression is situational. This doesn’t mean they’re painless or less important or harmless. Dr. Archibald D. Hart, a leading Christian psychologist and dean emeritus of the School of Psychology at Fuller Theological Seminary writes, “While these depressions are not usually as serious as the biological ones, they can be much more difficult to cope with.”
In your first chapter, you talk about “Who gets depressed?” Does depression affect certain groups of people more than others?
Every year depression strikes more than 35 million in the United States alone. We’re seeing depression with frightening regularity in ourselves, our relatives, and our friends. Dr. Harts states, “There is hardly a family today that is not touched by depression’s tentacles.” Depression affects people of all social classes, all races, and all cultures, but there’s one group that’s especially hard hit…women. Also, there is an alarming increase in children and the elderly.
What are the triggers and causes of depression?
Psychology Information Online, which includes content provided by the National Institute on Mental Health, notes that “a depressive episode” can be triggered by “a serious loss, chronic illness, relationship problems, work stress, family crisis, financial setback, or any unwelcome life change.” Sometimes depression is brought on by an underlying disease or biochemical disorder. Whatever the cause of our depression, it needs to be faced and understood realistically—and then accepted for what it truly is.
Does the Bible speak about depression?
It does in several places and we see it in the lives of David, Jeremiah, and Paul. Psalms 42 and 43 together represent the cry of a downcast soul—someone who is hurting and thirsting for God. Paul describes our loving Father as “God, who comforts the downcast” (2 Corinthians 7:6).
Christians do get depressed, but it’s a temporary state. God allows us to experience it as a means to attaining something better. Our hope and contentment are based on seeing our past and present difficulties as gifts from God to prepare us and enable us to do more for Him by sharing Christ, finding delight in God and in what He ordains.
What are the steps you outline for “doing something about it.” And why are these important?
• Get It All Out – talk to somebody about how you’re feeling. Emotionally and mentally, talking about your feelings is a healthy thing to do. Everybody needs somebody to confide in. That’s right. Everybody.
• Take Care of Yourself Physically – How healthy we are physically always impacts our mental, emotional, and spiritual health.
• Don’t be Deceived – Your emotions can fool you into questioning or not knowing what’s real or not real. Depression can cause some strange symptoms.
• You Are Your Own Captive Audience – People talk to themselves. We all do it. When we talk to ourselves, we need to watch what we’re saying. You see, when we talk to ourselves, we invoke our consciousness. And in our conscious awareness, we truly hear what we say. Our subconscious hearts it—and believes it! Then our creative self-conscious gets busy working it out…whether or not it’s true, real, positive, negative, or healthy.
Hope is a key word used throughout the book, but especially in the last chapter. What does the mystery of hope mean?
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick…” (Proverbs 13:12). Hope and prayer always go together. In fact, prayer is the voice of hope. When there’s hopelessness, prayer dries up and blows ways. Real hope is huge! To have a biblical hope found in Ephesians 4:1-16 is to possess “living hope.”
From page 99 to page 109, I discuss the facets of hope that we can attain when we refocus our attention from us to God. Our living hope is not in things, peoples’ opinions, positions, status, or any tangible findings of life. No, it rests upon the spiritual and emotional stability of our minds on the only wise God, our Father, who can help us in our depressed states every day. This living hope is in Jesus, the Anointed One, whose job it is to redeem us for all things that oppress us. The only hope for the world is Jesus. The only help for the world is a touch from God.
You spend a whole chapter on “Looking Outward.” Why is this important?
At the risk of bursting someone’s bubble…the world doesn’t revolve around you. I know you might have thought it did. I used to think the same thing about me. One of the best ways to deal with depression is to do something for somebody without expecting anything in return. Search for a volunteer organization, mentor a child or young person, or find someone who needs help with something and help them. Do something. That’s the key.
I have several activities available via my ministry that offer opportunities for people to connect with others. Join me on excursions across the country and to Israel studying the Word, relaxing, rejuvenating and enjoying the life God has given us. We are also launching the Ready to Win Web Cast University with a variety of experts to offer you the best in Christian instruction, study, and education. I have hand-selected several outstanding speakers that will enable you to be READY TO WIN in every situation. Both of these and more are available on my web site at http://www.ThelmaWells.com.
How is the book different from others?
This book is different from others because it gives the reader a non-threatening opportunity to ask themselves questions and answer those questions in the book as they are reading it. It is not a course of study; it is a means of helping them “get it out.” It allows them to analyze their state of being and work through it alone so that it is there personal and confidential analysis and directives for healing.
What results do you see that can come from reading this book?
The results I see from reading this book are:
• People have a handy reference at their fingertips for calling their attention to what they are facing in terms of situational depression.
• People have at their fingertips information that they can share with others who may be experiencing the same kind of depression.
• There are reminders in the book that are encouraging and inspiring that can be used as a devotional.
• There are stories that people can relate to and realize that they are not alone and there is always help.
Where can we connect with you further on this topic, or purchase a copy of this book?
I would love for them to visit my web site at www.ThelmaWells.com, browse through the various events and other resources available, as well as sign up for my mailing list.
READY TO WIN OVER DEPRESSION is also available online and at local bookstores such as, Family Christian Stores, Lifeway Christian Stores, Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble Book Stores, Mardel’s, Anchor Distributors, Christianbook.com, and many other stores and vendors throughout American and the United Kingdom.
I would also like to connect with people on the new Facebook page we set up specifically for this topic at www.facebook.com/readytowinoverdepression. Or they can find me on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/Thelmaw.
Again, let me say…if you or someone you know is dealing with depression, you are not crazy. God knows you’re not crazy. And He also has a perfect antidote for your depression. Nothing escapes Him, and he knows you far better than you know yourself. Isn’t that a relief and comfort?
(A complimentary copy of this book was provided to me as a blog tour host by the author in exchange for posting this interview on my blog. Please visit Christian Speaker Services at www.ChristianSpeakerServices.com for more information about blog tour management services.)
As comments are entered on this post, your name will be entered into a drawing to win a copy of Thelma’s book, “Ready to Win Over Depression.” I’m very excited to be able to offer this opportunity! Thelma is a well loved and respected woman of God; she has much to say to us.
Depression can rob us of the JOY Jesus offers … J esus O ffers Y ou … J.O.Y.!
Thanks for stopping by today. I would be pleased to see you here often.
An invitation to ACT upon the truth from God that is brought home to your soul.
“It’s not enough to read the cookbook. Eat the meal.” Adrian Rogers
I haven’t posted for quite a while. I have several posts started but haven’t been able to make up my mind which idea to actually post! I’ve been slightly paralyzed. Recently, I’ve been sensing the wooing of the Holy Spirit, drawing me to a deeper path yet again. I have taken some major steps of obedience in the last year and half, but a couple of weeks ago I read the following and was stopped dead in my tracks. I immediately knew what my next steps were to be.
From MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST
The Authority of Reality
Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. James 4:8
It is essential to give people a chance to act on the truth of God. The responsibility must be left with the individual, you cannot act for him, it must be his own deliberate act, but the evangelical message ought always to lead a man to act. The paralysis of refusing to act leaves a man exactly where he was before; when once he acts, he is never the same. It is the foolishness of it that stands in the way of hundreds who have been convicted by the Spirit of God. Immediately I precipitate myself over into an act, that second I live; all the rest is existence. The moments when I truly live are the moments when I act with my whole will.
Candy’s comments: Isn’t that amazing?! You might want to read that again to get the full impact. To me, the key phrase in that paragraph is “the paralysis of refusing to act leaves a man exactly where he was before …” That’s how I’ve been feeling lately. I had come as far as I was going to come without taking a new path.
But I know I want to truly LIVE. I don’t want to stay where I am. It will require some new changes. For me that means several things:
1) paying more attention to my calendar and not letting other things interfere with my water aerobics. I have been “pretty” faithful to my exercise but, when I think about it, I have scheduled some fun girlie outings on my days off and haven’t replaced the exercise time. I had stopped losing weight and was wondering why. This is why.
2) spending more time reading the Bible. I’ve been reading books about speaking and studying social networking and making connections and preparing for kicking up my speaking ministry. But I have let this preparation move in on my personal time with God and His word. It’s time to rein that in.
3) lessening my caloric intake. Ouch, I don’t like that one. But I am really sensing it’s time. I’ve taken improving my health in steps and, apparently, it’s time to take the next one.
… the moments when I truly live are the moments when I act with my whole will. I don’t want to just exist spiritually; I want to really live.
Consider what the Holy Spirit may be wooing you to. What changes are you sensing He wants you to make?
Never allow a truth of God that is brought home to your soul to pass without acting on it, not necessarily physically, but in will. Record it, with ink or with blood. The feeblest saint who transacts business with Jesus Christ is emancipated the second he acts; all the almighty power of God is on his behalf. We come up to the truth of God, we confess we are wrong, but go back again; then we come up to it again, and go back; until we learn that we have no business to go back. We have to go clean over on some word of our redeeming Lord and transact business with Him. His word “come” means “transact.” “Come unto Me.” The last thing we do is to come; but everyone who does come knows that that second the supernatural rush of the life of God invades him instantly. The dominating power of the world, the flesh and the devil is paralysed, not by your act, but because your act has linked you on to God and His redemptive power.
Candy’s Comments: This paragraph tells me that the intensity of our walk depends on the intensity of our obedience. When we are finally ready to transact business with God Almighty and come to Him, it is the result of choices we’ve made along the way. When we actually come, we are acting on the truth that’s been revealed to us. And that act unleashes the power of God in us! That’s a great, big wow, isn’t it?!
When we are sensing that God Himself is speaking to us about something, it’s serious business. It shouldn’t be something we put on the back burner for when we have more time or when we get around to it. When you think about it, when we don’t act on the truth we know, it’s like telling God that everything is more important than He is at the moment. Where do we get off doing that?! Hello?
Sometimes we don’t get the whole picture as He’s speaking. That’s why writing it down is important. As you look back through the things you’ve been learning, you will see a pattern. Eventually you’ll see the picture God wants you to see. And God’s power will flow through you to impact the Kingdom … until He calls you to take the next new step.
I’m movin’ on down the road. Come on along.
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Is Your Home’s Value Sinking?
Poor, Poor Billionaires: America’s wealthiest lost $300 billion
Quake Traps Thousands
Division Over Afghan Strategy
Bank of America’s CEO Leaving by Year’s End
Taking Aim at God on “Blasphemy Day”
Amber Alert Issued for Missing Newborn
Stocks Struggle at Quarter End
It would be easy to give in to the headlines, wouldn’t it? But God also has some things to say.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” -Jesus (Matt. 11:28 – The Message)
We have other choices and options than complaining and worrying and allowing the world to invade the sanctity of our family’s life. No matter the outside circumstances, our homes still need to be places of peace and safety. Our homes should be safe havens from all the stress and pressure we endure “out there.”
One way to do this is the long lost family activity … the family dinner. Here are some thoughts from a couple blogs and websites I’ve enjoyed.
From Dine Without Whine:
How often does your entire family gather around the security of your dinner table to enjoy a home-cooked meal, relax, and share about your day?
Facts That Can’t Be Ignored…
- The average parent spends 38.5 minutes per week in meaningful conversation with their children. (A.C. Nielsen Co.)
- Family dinners are more important than play, story time and other family events in the development of vocabulary of younger children. (Harvard Research, 1996)
- Frequent family meals are associated with a lower risk of smoking, drinking and using drugs; with a lower incidence of depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts; and with better grades in 11 to 18 year olds. (Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 2004.)
- Adolescent girls who have frequent family meals, and a positive atmosphere during those meals, are less likely to have eating disorders. (University of Minnesota, 2004)
Spending time with your family
Save time and money
Serve delicious food
Save yourself from multiple and last minute trips to the grocery store
Stare at your children across from the dinner table rather than into the
pantry looking for a dinner idea
Just give it some thought. Do a little extra planning. Cut out some extra activities. Enjoy some home and family time together over a simple meal. Sharing meals invites conversation, also a lost art these days. You’ll find out a bunch of stuff! And don’t watch so much news.
Let me know how it goes.
I have always loved the water. As a child our family spent a lot of time enjoying the lakes and rivers of the Pacific Northwest. I have great memories of special “swimming holes” we loved to go to. Dorena Lake and Sharp’s Creek in Oregon and Sanders Pond in Idaho are my favorites. I always felt so relaxed and free when I was in the water. I loved how refreshing the cool water felt on a hot summer day, and how quiet the world became when you put your head under the water. I even won my leg of a relay race once in 8th grade P.E.
But as I grew older, I started gaining weight. And by the time I was an adult, I no longer spent any time in the water because I didn’t want to be seen in a bathing suit. I have always been overweight. Through the years I’ve tried a few diets, tried a few exercise programs, and studied about my “whys” of being overweight. I had “learned” a lot but I remained overweight.
When I turned 50 last year I had a knee ligament repair surgery. It made me stop and pay attention. The ligament wore out sooner than it should have because of being overweight my whole adult life. After surgery I went through six weeks of physical therapy. Three of those weeks were in the pool. It seemed to be a natural transition to begin a water aerobics class when the therapy was over. That was 18 months ago and now I can’t see myself NOT doing water aerobics.
At first I wore shorts and a tank top to the pool. And I had to go purchase these items because I never wore shorts. I certainly didn’t have a swimming suit. But after a few weeks, I grew tired of the shorts falling down and the top flying up during exercising and purchased a suit. I saw that everyone else in the class felt the same way I did. There was no longer any reason not to be comfortable in the class.
I am experiencing so many daily benefits of this new joy of exercising! I can wash and scratch my own back again. I can steady myself in the shower and when walking. I can sit straight up in bed without having to just roll out. I can lift and move my legs in any direction and height. My arms don’t ache from my carpal tunnel syndrome. (I still don’t have any strength; no cure for it. And I can still overdo and re-injure my wrists. But the aching is gone.) I can bend over and pick up things. I have real muscles and they are actually working for me. I don’t mind walking longer distances. I have full range of motion.
I am slowly losing weight.
I have made simple changes in my diet. No more DIETING for me. It hasn’t worked in the past and it won’t work now. I try to eat more fruits and veggies. And speaking of veggies, I don’t really enjoy them cooked. I’ve always forced myself to eat them because I knew they were good for me … except for potatoes and corn on the cob, of course. But I’ve always loved raw, crunchy veggies. And recently something clicked in my head … why force myself to eat cooked vegetables when I actually LOVED them raw?! Well, for heaven’s sake! So now I throw a few radishes and carrots or sliced cucumber on my plate and I am happy.
I try to order salads sometimes in a fast food restaurant instead of fries. I don’t always. I drink less Diet Pepsi, which is my biggest sacrifice of all. I try to drink more water and iced tea. I am thinking more REASONABLY about food. I know that I’d lose weight faster if I made better food choices, but my head isn’t there yet and I’m going with where my head is.
All this to say, that I am finally making the changes I wish I had made when was 20. And the changes aren’t putting me in my dreaded “box.” I hate structure and boundaries and lines. Diet and exercise always seemed like being confined to me so I avoided them. But I finallly connected my passions and joys with what was good for me … crunchy veggies and water and exercise! Who knew that was my winning combination?!
My husband and I go to water aerobics class together three times a week. We have a great time together there! We have a whole new set of friends there and laugh and play together and sit in the hot tub afterwards, feelilng very spoiled. When I think of the years that I deprived myself of the joys of being in the water again, I want to weep. I deeply regret this.
There are other joys I’ve missed … like amusement parks and concerts because I didn’t like the long walks from the parking lot and felt uncomfortable in the rides and seats. I’m not there yet but I will be. I am MOVING TOWARD JOY!
Young women, find YOUR winning combination. Take a deeper look at who you are inside make it work for you on the outside. It isn’t about how we look, it’s about being healthy and strong enough to enjoy this beautiful life God has given us.
Saying there is “more of me to love” has a new meaning to me now. There is more of ME to love now, not more of my flesh. And that’s the me I want to project to the world.