My Story~Prescription for Addiction (On video!)

I’ve been awol for awhile now. Miranda got married in May and I spent about 9 months planning the wedding. I’ll show you some pictures in an upcoming blog post ūüôā I’m so proud of Miranda and Jamie and all they’ve accomplished. But it definitely takes a village!

We also spent quite a bit of time traveling this summer and I’ll be sure and send some pics from our trip as well. But in this post I’m getting back to the root of the reason I started this blog initially. Hopefully I can get back to a regular schedule but no promises. Getting back into the blogging/writing groove isn’t easy for me, but I need to do it now before Grandkids come along!

Okay so I’m about to celebrate the 6th anniversary of the miracle God gave me on September 10, 2010. Today, I’m still amazed. And so very thankful.

When He first healed me I couldn’t keep my mouth shut about it! My family got a little tired of hearing the same story over and over, but God gave me the story and I had to share it. No, we’re not in Bible times and don’t experience the miracles God did in the Bible, but miracles happen every day all around us. We just have to keep our eyes and ears open.

Once I began writing, everyone said I’d need to be able to tell my story in front of groups in order to promote my book. So I proceeded to take a much dreaded communicators conference.

I promised God I’d share my story when asked, and I’ve been asked three times to share it in public. The last time was in front of a group of high school kids at church. I’m a small group leader and the church wanted us to share our stories with the kids to allow them to get to know us better. So I actually recorded it, and though it’s not the most professional recording, it’s my story. Hope you enjoy watching and I pray that you get the message from it God would desire for you!

Just click on the link below and know that miracles do happen!

Prescription for Addiction

How Addiction Saved My Life

 

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I know I haven’t posted much lately since I’m actually working on the book, but I was honored to receive a request to write a guest post for Liberty in Christ Ministries¬†if you’d like to check it out. Be sure to read Patty’s story too while you’re there…it’s a good one!

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Beyond the horizon

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Why God chooses to heal some people and not to heal others is always a heated question. Especially when it comes to children. No parent should ever have to watch a child die, yet it happens every day.

I always think of a quote by a friend of mine when considering the gifts of my children. “God doesn’t give us children to make us better parents, he gives us children to make us better children.” ¬†He gives us our children on loan to raise until he’s ready to bring them home to Him. But death seems so final. As humans we think of everything as having a beginning and an end. God has no beginning or end, and our lives, regardless of how long they are lived on earth, have no ending. We are eternal beings. Since we can’t actually “see” eternity though, death feels final.

During the seven years I was sick with seizures, depression, and addiction, I was ready for The End. Obviously, God wasn’t finished with me yet. He chose to heal me. My healing…somehow…is part of his bigger plan. The death of a child is also…somehow…part of his bigger plan. Honestly, I don’t even feel equipped to write about a loss so horrific, and I pray it’s not part of any bigger plan in my life.

When God healed me, part of His healing¬†was to give me an eternal perspective. Although I’d been taught that our life on earth is nothing but a drop in the bucket of time as compared to eternity, I never really got it until God reached His all knowing hand down to me and pulled me from my pit of despair. As a result, I’ve shared my story‚ÄĒevery fun little detail‚ÄĒin order to further His kingdom. I’m thankful He chose to teach me through me and not through one of my children. In this case, though unbeknownst to them, my children work daily to ¬†make me a better child of God! (You know how people tell you never to pray for patience because God might just give you something to strengthen yours?)

I’m currently reading thebook, “Fly a Little Higher” by Laura Sobiech. She lost her teenage son to osteosarcoma…a very difficult form of cancer to defeat. While being in a Christian writer’s group, I’ve met numerous women who’ve lost children. The word that comes to mind first is “brave.” To survive, to live, to move forward seems as if it would be impossible after the loss of a child. Yet God has given all of these women a supernatural strength to move forward, sharing their stories to give us a little glimpse of Heaven, as their children are all waiting there with open arms. In no pain. Happy. Wrapped in the warm, never-ending light of Jesus.

When I was approached to participate in this blog tour, I was hesitant, because I wasn’t sure I had time to get the book read. Then I learned I didn’t have to have it all read, Thomas Nelson just wanted blog posts on topics similar and then somehow linked to the book. But I got the book a few days ago and began reading.

It hits a little too close to home.

Zach, the 9th grader who learns he has osteosarcoma reminds me a bit too much of my own 9th grader, Trevor. They both just happen to love their friends, playing frisbee, and the guitar. Before Zach died, he was able to record a few songs he has written, one of which was an answer to his mom’s prayer‚ÄĒfor Zach’s death to be for something big. One of the songs Zach recorded is called “Clouds” Though I haven’t had a chance to finish the book yet, I see where Laura is going, and God took me to a similar place during my illness. She says, “Hope is something much bigger than anything physical we may desire. It is about raising our eyes from a point on the horizon to the heavens and into eternity.” Oh, how I get that! I’ve written numerous blog posts about having an eternal perspective. Honestly, we will all die. It’s just a matter of when. So it’s eternity I look toward. I will live out this life on earth as best as possible, but eternity in Heaven is my final destination. I’m sure Zach waiting to see all the lives he has touched, guitar in hand.

Set your eyes beyond the horizon and aim to fly a little higher.

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I dare you to get through THIS VIDEO without tears…and with a little more hope.

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This post is part of the Fly a Little Higher Blog Tour which I am delighted to be a part of along with hundreds of bloggers raising awareness and giving hope to those with cancer. To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE!

Fly a Little Higher is written by Laura Sobiech, the mother of Zach Sobiech. Laura spent the last three years walking the road of cancer with her teenage son, Zach, and blogging about their battle with the disease. Zach wrote the song ‚ÄúClouds‚ÄĚ which hit #1 on iTunes the same week he passed away in May 2013.

Grab your copy HERE.

A new video with Zach’s family and friends has just been released if you’d like to see how they are doing a year later. Just click HERE.

“Change your thoughts and you change your world”~Norman Vincent Peale

 

One of the first non-fiction books I ever read was The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale. I was in my first year of college at Clemson University, and I was hopelessly homesick. My mom put everything into my hands she could to help me through that first semester at Clemson, and that book was part of the package.

It’s a shame wisdom comes with age, but I’m sure it’s all part of God’s plan. That’s one of those questions I’ll ask Him someday. ¬†From that first year at Clemson, through pharmacy school at USC, marriage, three children, too many funerals to count, seven years of grand-mal seizures and migraine headaches and addiction to narcotics, God has instilled much wisdom. My hubby has always said, “Hindsight is 20/20” and he is so right. Even after all of the struggles of life I’ve survived, I still need reminders to help remember what’s important in life.

I’ve always said I wish I could write on the inside of my eyelids, so I’d get a subliminal message every time I blink. So for the first ten days of the new year, I thought I’d share some of those “eyelid reminders” with you and remind myself in the process.

So join me for the next ten days for some “celestial” wisdom (celestial meaning “heavenly,” of course)…thoughts to renew your mind and so that you might be transformed to live a happy, God-centered life.

P.S. Sign up for your prescriptions to come right to your email so you don’t miss any ūüėČ

As a bonus start to a blessed new year, here’s a free printable for your fridge, mirror, or wherever you might need a little reminder and join along with me as we go through these thought for the first ten days of 2013.¬†SmileI’m thinking my bathroom mirror…enjoy!

Click here to download the free PDF printable:¬†Click here to download your “Ten Thoughts” Printable ūüôā

Ten LIfe-Changing Thoughts for a Happy 2013

 

Tips to a Happier You in 2012~Laughter really is the best medicine

 
With winter approaching, many people are affected by seasonal affective disorder and fight the wintertime blues. Since my busy life has made it difficult for me to post lately, I thought I’d repost my series of practical tips to get those happy hormones in your brain working to create a happier you this winter. Enjoy!
As a pharmacist, a patient, and a child of God who’s had to be “parented” quite a lot over the last eight years, I have learned many practical solutions to¬†insomnia, depression, anxiety, and addiction.¬†I’ve also learned that¬†these four issues often go hand in hand, and are directly related to the chemicals in our brain.¬†The pharmacist in me sought a medical solution–pills. And as most of you know, pills just made things worse.
Throughout this year, I’m going to share¬†small, easy changes¬†you can make in your life that will make for a happier you. All of these tidbits of information are based in both scientific fact and scripture. Medicine and faith really can walk hand in hand when God is your first and foremost physician. I’ll try to keep it simple as far as the “sciency” stuff goes, but a little knowledge about the brain really helps understand why these solutions work.
Most of you have probably heard about the hormone we have called¬†serotonin, right? It’s that almighty chemical the media flooded us with information about when Prozac was first introduced. There is another hormone in your brain called¬†cortisol.¬†Cortisol is the hormone that really kicks in we we are under high stress, afraid, in a hurry, etc. It’s the one that helps us with our “fight or flight” mechanism. Remember that term from high school biology? Well, these two hormones do not coexist well.¬†When Cortisol is high, like when you are worried or stressed, Serotonin is low. And vice versa.¬†
I’m here to tell you that you don’t need Prozac or one of it’s relatives to help.¬†There are numerous small changes you can make in your lifestyle that have been clinically proven to increase the serotonin levels in your brain.¬†
Today I want to tell you about¬†laughter aerobics. “What?” Yes, laughter aerobics. This has got to be one of the silliest things I’d ever heard of, but it really exists. Laughter aerobics is a class where people basically sit in a circle and one person is appointed to begin laughing. Fake, real, goofy…it doesn’t matter. They just have to laugh. In turn, everyone else starts laughing too. The great thing is, you don’t have to go to an aerobics class! In the evening, after your work day is complete, do some laughter aerobics with your family. Your kids will think you’re nuts, but that’s all part of the fun! I promise you will end your day with a happy note, your cortisol levels will decrease, your serotonin levels will increase, and as a bonus, you will sleep better.
To top it off, science is not the only confirmation that laughter will make you happier. Read the prescription verse for today. From this verse comes the quote we’ve all heard,¬†“laughter is the best medicine.”¬†
So tonight,¬†begin your new year by making this small change. Spend just five minutes with your family playing laugh aerobics. I promise you won’t regret it and what do you have to lose?

Serving a Supernatural God in an Ordinary World‚ÄĒIs He Your Superhero?

 

For seven years I sought the help of medical doctors, psychologists, chiropractors, and other natural healers to cure me of grand-mal seizures, migraine headaches, depression, and opiate addiction. I hate the think about the thousands upon thousands of dollars I spent doing so.

All that time, I had a direct line to a Superhero. I kept relying on worldly resources when I really needed the Great Physician. The creator of the universe. The ultimate healer. The one who holds the answers to every question. The one who holds the master plan.

As is human nature, I looked for answers myself. I failed. As a Christian, I had direct access to the supernatural. Being born again give you access to the spiritual world. I mean think about it. “Born Again.” You certainly can’t be stuffed back into your mother’s uterus!

¬†Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”¬†(John 3:3 NLT)

Born again = Born from above.

I just had to get past myself to realize it. Which apparently took seven years, because apparently I’m fairly stubborn. Once I finally stopped looking inward, and began looking upward, asking God his plan, he healed me overnight. Exactly two years ago today.

On September 25, 2010, I woke up completely free.

Seizures? Gone.

Headaches? Gone.

Depression? Gone.

Addiction? Gone.

He reached his arm down into this ordinary world, and lifted me up to a supernatural place. Other than a few minor headaches, I can honestly say I’ve been completely free from seizures and all medication.

Happy Birthday to me!

Do you have a problem that is beyond your control? Release it to God. Seek out his plan. He can handle it. He’s THE SUPERHERO.

 

From my heart,

Celeste

Tips to a Happier You in 2012~Be careful little ears what you hear





Summer months are lazy months. Kids are home from school and all they want to do is sleep late and then when they finally do get out of bed, they plop down on the sofa to television. And I fall right into the trap with them! Especially if there’s housework to be done. Procrastination is often my adversary.¬†

When I start feeling like a sloth
¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†…I get my iTunes going.¬†


At least it does these days. 

During my years of depression, you would never find me listening to music. Why? It made me think. I didn’t want to think, I didn’t want to hear anything that might make me feel something. I didn’t want to hear any of the voices inside my head (an upcoming blog post you don’t want to miss.) So television was my go-to. I could sit numbly on the sofa absorbed in someone else’s made up life. Actually kind of like the One Tree Hill marathon I watched with Miranda last week…but that’s a different story.¬†

I’ve been blogging about the five senses God gave us and today we will talk about hearing.¬†

What we hear has a direct route to our brains and has a direct effect on the way we think. In the elderly population, depression is often triggered by a loss of hearing. This sparked the idea that sound therapy could be a solution for depression in the hearing population…they just need to be listening to the right stuff.¬†

This is where my research got really technical…and actually really boring…reading about difference in frequency and sound waves. I’ll just depend on those providing sound therapy to handle that part. I’m much more interested in what it does to the brain. Here’s what a found (it’s bit technical too, but much more interesting‚ÄĒif the sciency stuff loses you, skip down til you see the ***):

Sound Therapy is a non-pharmacological option in the treatment of depression and a tool that could make counseling more effective by supporting it with a physiological impact on brain activation. Creative, focused work or meditation also stimulates the left hemisphere. Research showed that the stronger is the left orientation, the happier the person is likely to be. Sound Therapy directly stimulates the left-brain, so long term Sound Therapy listening is likely to increase levels of happiness. Someone who had had a tendency to depression may need a significant period of time to reshape the brain‚Äôs responses. Sound therapy has also side effects, but they are all good: better sleep, more energy, better audition, memory, concentration and learning abilities improved… Don’t you think it is better for you or your child than the drugs with all these terrible side effects?


Okay, so it works on the left hemisphere of the brain. Here’s a little more of my research:¬†



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Remember that brain diagram I gave you the other day to illustrate the awe of God’s creation? It’s a diagram of the limbic system‚ÄĒright where our emotional responses come from and right where sound therapy works. The left pre-frontal cortex mentioned above is the first responder in our brains to any type of emotional event. If it doesn’t do what it’s supposed to, we don’t know how to recover from very sad events. That’s often when depression occurs. So anything that can keep these parts of our brain functioning like God planned, and in a manner pleasing to God, is a good thing.¬†

Do I think sound therapy is a cure all? No. But I do believe God gave us what we need. He made us in his image. He gave us a brain that is unbelievable and five senses that have a direct effect on that brain. We need to lean on him, not on our own understanding and the trends our world has conformed to. 

I hope I didn’t lose you with all the sciency stuff. All five senses can be used to fight depression. We just have to know how to use them correctly.¬†

 


Remember the song we sang in Sunday School? 

God tells us in today’s prescription verse above we should not conform to this world, and our society is all about the quick fix. I’ll be the first to tell you that antidepressants are very helpful for some people. But not this many:¬†

latimes.com




October 19, 2011

 

Antidepressants apparently keep a lot of people functional, according to new data from the federal government.

 

The most recent statistics about antidepressant use in the United States, released Wednesday, show 11% of Americans ages 12 and older take the medication. Antidepressants are the most common prescription drug used by people ages 18 to 44. Almost one-quarter of all women ages 40 to 59 take antidepressants. 

Click here to read the entire article. You will be stunned.

What if some disaster happened and drugs were suddenly unavailable? Where would that leave us? Our need for medication keeps us imprisoned. Sometimes this is unavoidable, and we deal with it.

But are 11% of all Americans over 12 years of age really clinically depressed?

I don’t think that’s part of God’s plan. Do you?

From my heart, 

Celeste


P.S. Click here to go to my delicious stack with more articles on sound therapy and depression. 

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† P.S.S. In case you’re really¬†interested in Sound Therapy specifically,¬†Here are some links for ¬† ¬†sound therapy providers, but I think the right music on iTunes can be pretty effective ūüėČ


Antidepressants apparently keep a lot of people functional, according to new data from the federal government.The most recent statistics about antidepressant use in the United States, released Wednesday, show 11% of Americans ages 12 and older take the medication. Antidepressants are the most common prescription drug used by people ages 18 to 44. Almost one-quarter of all women ages 40 to 59 take antidepressants.


The Great Depression, the Road to Freedom

I’ve often said that anyone who has not experienced true depression cannot really understand it.¬†

About four years ago, while still in the midst of my depression, someone recommended The Shack by William P. Young. As soon as I realized the youngest daughter in the story disappears, I put down the book. Marlee was five at the time and it was more than I could bear to read. But since God lifted my depression, I picked it back up and finished it. I’m so glad I did.

As I describe my years of depression as The Great Depression, this author refers to it as The Great Sadness. When I try to describe the way depression feels, I suppose the pharmacist comes out in me, because I always describe it as “all of the nerve endings in my body were heavy and weighing me down.” I think William Young’s description in The Shack¬†is more understandable:¬†

“Emotions are the colors of the soul; they are spectacular and incredible. When you don’t feel, the world becomes dull and colorless. Just think how The Great Sadness¬†reduced the range of color in your life down to monotones and flat grays and blacks. “


The dictionary defines “dark” as the absence of light. Depression is darkness. God tells us in John 12:46 that he has come into the world as a light, so that NO ONE has to live in darkness.¬†

When Isaac Newton was dabbling in his many scientific experiments, he used a prism to see what exactly made up the color “white.” What he found was that white light is the effect of combining the visible colors of light in certain proportions. In other words, white is the combination of all the colors of the rainbow.¬†



God came as the light. He also gave us a promise when he created the rainbow. 

I think being raised with religion all around me, I took the light for granted. I couldn’t see the colors in the relationship. As a friend of mine explained it well, those were my “ivory tower” days. I lived in the white tower but I couldn’t see the colors that it contained.¬†

During my depression, a black tunnel lay before me. Now I see that Jesus was my “light at the end of the tunnel.” Now that I have experienced darkness‚ÄĒthe absence of light‚ÄĒcolors have a whole new meaning for me.¬†

My Great Depression¬†led me to freedom. It painfully guided me to the color that Jesus provides in my relationship with Him. My world is no longer shades of gray. Whether you feel like depression is an obstacle for or not, Jesus can make your life into the most beautiful rainbow you’ve ever seen.¬†

Jesus is the light. Seek Him. Read about Him. Talk to Him. Have faith in Him. 

Religion will always let you down. A relationship with Him will never let you down. 

From my heart,
Celeste

Tips to a Happier You in 2012~The Power of Touch

I’m back to my posts on how we can use the five senses God gave us to fight depression and made us happier. Today it’s the power of touch.¬†

The touch of Jesus is illustrated through story after story in the Bible. 

  • The story from the prescriptions verse above where he touched the leper and healed him.
  • The story of Peter when he stepped out of the boat to walk on water. When he took his eyes off Jesus, he began to sink. But when Jesus took his hand, they walked across together.¬†
  • The story illustrated in Matthew 28 where Jesus touches the eyes of the blind man and restores his sight.
  • The story in Mark chapter 7 where Jesus healed the man who was deaf and dumb through touching his ears and his tongue.¬†
  • The story in Luke chapter 8 where the woman touched the hem of Jesus’s garment and was healed.¬†
Jesus healed all of these people through his touch. But was it really his touch that did the healing? God sent Jesus to earth in human form. He was not an angel or a spirit or a deity when he was on earth. He was human. So how did his touch heal so many? 

I believe it was the faith behind his touch. Because Jesus was the Son of God, people had faith in his touch. It was really a no-brainer if you ask me. But now let me tell you another story…

I have a friend, Patty Mason, who suffered severe depression‚ÄĒnearly to the point of suicide, back in mid-1990. She has suffered a difficult childhood and put all of her happiness in her own husband and children. But something was always missing. She could never fully leave her past behind and depression overcame her. In the shower one morning‚ÄĒthe morning that she told God she’d had it…she was going to end her life‚ÄĒGod impressed upon her to go to her MOPS (Moms of Preschoolers) group that day. So she went.¬†

After listening to a speaker who just happened to be speaking on depression, she stayed a little late to chat with the speaker. Before she knew it, she was pouring out her heart to this woman she didn’t even know, sobbing uncontrollably in front of other women, who were no doubt staring in disbelief.¬†

After intently listening, this woman reached out to console Patty, touching her left arm. In that exact instant, the depression disappeared. 

And never had the guts to return. 

Did this woman heal her? No. Did Jesus heal in the Bible? I don’t think so. God worked through them‚ÄĒthrough the power and faith of their touch‚ÄĒto heal.¬†

Now I realize the trinity puts a whole other spin on the situation, but Jesus was in human¬†form when he lived here on earth. I don’t presently recall any stories in the Bible that Jesus’s touch did not heal, but I bet there were some people touched by Jesus who were not healed, because they did not believe.¬†

Researchers have spent much time, effort, and money learning how human touch affects human emotion. You can see some of the articles in my research in my delicious stack, but I can tell you all the literature show a direct proportion between hugs and happiness.

Have you ever seen someone on the street with a sign that says “Free Hugs?” In most cases it’s not some nutcase trying to get close to you. There is a movement going on to increase happiness and love through the power of hugs.¬†


Besides just observation, Dr. Tiffany Field of the Touch Research Institute (you know it must be important if it has it’s own institute) says the following:¬†

The benefits of touch seem to stem largely from its ability to reduce levels of cortisol, a stress hormone manufactured by the adrenal glands. This was measured in two dozen studies. She said that touching with moderate-pressure (a firm handshake) stimulates activity in the vagus nerve, one of the 12 cranial nerves in the brain, which in turn slows the heart and decreases the production of stress hormones including cortisol (remember, that’s the fight or flight hormone I’ve discussed in other {tips to a happier you} posts). ¬†

Other studies published from the Touch Research Institute, published in peer-reviewed journals, demonstrate that touch contributes to…


  • Decreased pain. Children with mild to moderate juvenile rheumatoid arthritis who were given messages by their parents 15 minutes per day for one month experienced less anxiety and lower cortisol levels. Over a 30-day period, parents, kids, and their physicians reported less pain overall in the children.¬†¬†
  • Enhanced immune function. In studies, women with breast cancer and HIV patients showed a measurable increase in natural killer cells‚ÄĒpart of a line of defense in the immune system against virus-infected cells and cancer cells‚ÄĒafter massage. They also experienced less anxiety and depression.¬†
  • Happier, healthier babies. Preemies who were touched more while in the NICU gained more weight.
  • Less labor pain. Women in labor who received a backrub the first 15 minutes of every hour of labor reported less pain and made fewer requests for pain medications. Their labor was also shorter, on average.
  • Enhanced alertness and performance. Following massage, adults completed math problems in significantly less time and with fewer errors. ¬†¬†


Okay, enough of the sciency stuff. I think you’re getting my point. ¬†

When we were in Chicago last week meeting the head honchos of the home health franchise we are looking into, there was a very unique impression made on me by Shelley, the president/CEO of the company. After our initial dinner meeting‚ÄĒwhich consisted of ten couples and a few executives‚ÄĒshe bid us good-bye with a hug…each and every one of us. I’m guessing that as a CEO of a successful company, she knows the value of a hug.¬†

If God worked through the touch of his son Jesus, he can work through our touch. After all, we are his children too! 

From my heart, 
Celeste

Make-a-change Monday~Count Your Blessings


I’m beginning to think I’ve never placed enough value on actually counting my blessings. I know I’m blessed. I’ve had a very comfortable life overall‚ÄĒyes I struggled for those awful seven years, but I now see that as a blessing too! It’s the small blessings in the every day that I take for granted.¬†

The prescription verse today tells us whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father. I’ve had some gentle reminders lately that counting blessings is important‚ÄĒnot something we should neglect or take for granted.¬†

  • A few months ago I read One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. It immediately became a best seller.
  • Our church recently sang a remake of the old hymn, “Count Your Blessings.” Haven’t heard that song in years.¬†
  • In my research for my {Tips to a Happier You} Saturday posts, I’ve seen over and over again how important it is to actually write down¬†your blessings‚ÄĒthe exercise of writing down things you’re thankful for has been proven to actually help with depression.

I created a “One Thousand Blessings in 2012” page here on my blog that I’ve added to throughout the year, but I’m just on number 200. Not because I’m not thankful, but when you go to write down those little blessings, it’s really hard to think of them…without repeating the same ones over and over that is.


So my {make-a-change} Monday challenge for you‚ÄĒand me‚ÄĒis to write down three blessings every day. Just three things, big or small, that you were thankful for that day.¬†

Sounds easy, right?

If you’d like, hop on over to my One Thousand Blessings¬†page, scroll all the way to the bottom, and put your blessings in the comment section each day. We can help each other realize the God-given blessings all around us!

I believe there’s more to recognizing our blessings that meets the eye ūüėČ

From my heart,
Celeste

Tips to a Happier You in 2012~Choosing to See Truth



As a pharmacist who became the patient for seven years, I gained quite the understanding on depression. If you’ve never experienced it, I’m rejoicing with you! It’s not a place you want to go. If you have experienced it…well, I’m right there with you.¬†


In the gloomy pit of despair and hopelessness that is depression, desperation is born. The desire to be out of that pit is overwhelming. We will do anything to get out. 


Prozac, one of the most prescribed medications for depression, was approved by the FDA just as I began practicing. It was the first antidepressant in its class of serotonin reuptake inhibitors. That particular class has grown drastically over the last twenty-two years and has actually spun off into a new class‚ÄĒserotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors. For a list of the serotonin reuptake inhibitors, click here. For a list of serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, click here.


During my first fourteen years as a pharmacist, I couldn’t begin to tell you how many Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil prescriptions I filled. I never understood the desperation behind those prescriptions. In the last few years, Cymbalta‚ÄĒone of the newer antidepressants‚ÄĒhas gained popularity. Drug companies in the U.S. have invested millions in research, marketing, and advertising making antidepressants the most prescribed class of drugs in our country.¬†


A 2007 article at CNN Health, “CDC: Antidepressants most prescribed drugs in U.S.,” says the following:¬†

According to a government study, antidepressants have become the most commonly prescribed drugs in the United States. They’re prescribed more than drugs to treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, asthma, or headaches. CNN’s Elizabeth Cohen discusses the CDC study on antidepressants.

In its study, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at 2.4 billion drugs prescribed in visits to doctors and hospitals in 2005. Of those, 118 million were for antidepressants.

A 2011 article at Harvard Health Solutions, “Astounding increase in antidepressant use by Americans,” gave the following statistics:¬†

  • According to a¬†report¬†by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), the rate of antidepressant use in this country among teens and adults (people ages 12 and older) increased by almost 400% between 1988‚Äď1994 and 2005‚Äď2008.
  • 23% of women in their 40s and 50s take antidepressants, a higher percentage than any other group (by age or sex)
  • Women are 2¬Ĺ times more likely to be taking an antidepressant than men (click¬†here¬†to read a May 2011 article in the¬†Harvard Mental Health Letter¬†about women and depression)
  • 14% of non-Hispanic white people take antidepressants compared with just 4% of non-Hispanic blacks and 3% of Mexican Americans
  • Less than a third of Americans who are taking a single antidepressants (as opposed to two or more) have seen a mental health professional in the past year
  • Antidepressant use does not vary by income status
Are you getting the picture? 

During my seven years as a patient, I was desperately searching for a cure for my depression (among other things). I tried a few of the antidepressants, none of which helped my depression. Cymbalta, in particular, caused so many side effects and drug interactions, I think it made me more depressed. And when I decided to go off of it, I had to wean very slowly to avoid withdrawals (nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea) from this drug that we are told is not addictive. 

Okay. I’ve said all that to say this:¬†

We’ve got to stop trying to take the easy way out of everything.¬†

God created our brain‚ÄĒevery little complex, intricate detail‚ÄĒto deal with sadness and depression. He also gave us our eyes‚ÄĒthe sense of sight. ¬†

In an article at Mood-Factory on the power of color, Susan Minamyer tells us this: 

Bright colors, such as yellow, reflect more light and stimulate the eyes. Yellow is the color that the eye processes first, and is the most luminous and visible color in the spectrum. 

And what color did God decide for the sun? 

I don’t believe that to be a coincidence.¬†

Seasonal Affective Disorder¬†gives us further proof of this. It’s a kind of depression that occurs a certain time of the year, usually in the winter months. There is even a special type of light you can buy that mimics sunlight. And yes, I have one of those too.¬†

Now I’m not totally against antidepressants. I do believe in some cases they are necessary.¬†
But in the United States, we want immediate gratification. Consider this excerpt from the CNN Health article quoted above: 
Dr. Ronald Dworkin tells the story of a woman who didn’t like the way her husband was handling the family finances. She wanted to start keeping the books herself but didn’t want to insult her husband.
The doctor suggested she try an antidepressant to make herself feel better.
She got the antidepressant, and she did feel better, said Dr. Dworkin, a Maryland anesthesiologist and senior fellow at Washington’s Hudson Institute, who told the story in his book “Artificial Unhappiness: The Dark Side of the New Happy Class.” But in the meantime, Dworkin says, the woman’s husband led the family into financial ruin.

 

“Doctors are now medicating unhappiness,” said Dworkin. “Too many people take drugs when they really need to be making changes in their lives.”

We have a choice.  

We choose what we see. 

Your eye is a lamp that provides light for you body. 
When your eye is good, your body is filled with light.

We choose to see things that make us happy. We choose to see light or dark. We choose to see truth. 
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet 
and a light unto my path. 
(Psalm 119:105 KJV)

Doctors see only a sliver of our lives, yet we expect them to fix us. It’s not their fault, really. ¬†With advertising and the Internet, we typically walk into their office knowing what we want. As patients, we need to look deeper.¬†

What are you choosing to see?

From my heart, 
Celeste
For more information, check out my delicious stacks: “Antidepressants” and “What you see is what you get.”

If this post was of particular interest to you, check out an older post, “America on Drugs.”

Tips to a Happer You in 2012~When life gives you lemons, sniff them!


“Smell is a potent wizard that transports you across thousands of miles¬†
and all the years you have lived.” – Helen Keller





God gave us five senses‚ÄĒhearing, sight, taste, touch, and smell. All of these senses send direct messages to our brains. Consider the information given by the Social Issues Research Center on the subject of fragrance and emotion:¬†


The association of fragrance and emotion is not an invention of poets or perfume-makers. Our olfactory receptors are directly connected to the limbic system, the most ancient and primitive part of the brain, which is thought to be the seat of emotion. Smell sensations are relayed to the cortex, where ‚Äėcognitive‚Äô recognition occurs, only after the deepest parts of our brains have been stimulated. Thus, by the time we correctly name a particular scent as, for example, ‚Äėvanilla‚Äô , the scent has already activated the limbic system, triggering more deep-seated emotional responses.

There are many references to perfumes and essential oils in the Bible. Events of sacrifice and worship most always involved essential oils. Frankincense and myrrh were two of the three gifts brought to Baby Jesus when he was born. God uses our sense of smell to make connections in our brain. 

The nose knows. Scents take us back in time to our memories that were associated with that scent. We also associate scents with certain events. 

  • Coffee = Morning
  • Fir = Christmas
  • Coconut=The Beach
  • Lemon=Clean

Studies on the effect of scents on mood show the following examples:

  • Natural plant odors make people calmer, more alert, and in better moods than those in an odor-free environment.¬†
  • Orange, lavender, coffee, and licorice increase attention span.
  • The smell of cleaning supplies makes people more generous.¬†
Aromatherapy is the practice of using natural oils to enhance psychological and physical well-being. 

We have a very personal relationship with our sniffers. What smells good to me might smell terrible to someone else. Many people love the smell of vanilla. I hate it. I used to battle with migraine headaches pretty frequently and used a heating pad on the back of my neck sometimes for relief. This particular heating pad was one that you microwave and it was vanilla scented. The heating pad never did help with my headaches; now when I smell vanilla, it gives me a headache! 

Now I realize that sticking a great smelling candle in your kitchen won’t cure depression. But it’s a small step. We can use the senses that God gave us‚ÄĒour sense of smell in this case‚ÄĒto make our environment a happier one. The little things add up to big things.¬†

If you are a regular reader, you know I post regularly on Saturdays and Mondays little tips and ideas to make your life happier and maybe a little easier. No single tip or change you make will be a cure-all. It’s all about small steps. I can’t tell you how many times I have cleaned all of the junk food out of the pantry, determined that my family will eat healthy, only to end up replacing most of it within a few days because everyone is fussing. As humans, we resist change, but change is necessary to grow. We must take one step at a time and repeat, repeat, repeat. We are creatures of habit and must turn these small things into habits before we move on the next one. In a year’s time, these small changes will equal big results.¬†

So my little {tip to a happier you} today is to think about smells you associate with good things and try to incorporate them into your life. Then go back and check out the other {tips to a happier you} and {make-a-change} Mondays I have give you this year. Have you implemented any of these? Have they stuck? Have they made a difference? I hope so. 

Life certainly isn’t easy; you never know when your coming up to the next big hill. Any small thing we can incorporate into our lives can make a difference.¬†

So when life gives you lemons, sniff them! 




From my heart, 



Celeste

For more information on how scent affects your mood, check out my delicious stack of article here. 



Tips to a Happier You in 2012~Stretch Your Way to Happy

When Marlee was just a toddler, she would stretch endlessly. When I would go to get her up in the mornings, she would stall saying, “Hang on, I’m not finished stretching yet.” And she would stretch to one side, then the other, procrastinating because she didn’t want to get out of bed.¬†


But she always got up in the best of moods! 


Stretching does so much for our mind and body. When I get up in the morning, I try to take lessons from Marlee and stretch for a minute. I’m immediately energized and awake. At night, if I can’t sleep, I stretch my arms and legs as far as I can, hold the stretch, and then relax every muscle in my body.¬†
There is something that happens when I do this that feels like peace washing over me…which is why I picked the prescription verse above.¬†


I’d like to think that I’ve had the peace of God many times in my life, but nothing like I felt when He healed me in 2010 of seizures, depression, and addiction. I was in the car listening to a song by Phillips, Craig, and Dean called Mercy Came Running, being totally thankful for the mercy that God showed me when He chose to heal me, and I literally felt peace wash down over me, starting at the top of my head, running down my hair and face, then over my shoulders‚ÄĒkind of like the green slime kids get poured over them on Nickelodeon, only not so gooey! ūüėČ


When we stretch out our muscles, we release endorphins in our brains that give us a peace of sorts…a sense of well-being and calmness. Maybe not as good as God’s peace washing over you, but he did create the hormones in our brain, so in a sense, it is His peace!¬†


Here are a few other ways stretching is good for you: 

  • Stretching relieves your body of stress, therefore decreasing your cortisol levels and increasing your serotonin levels.
  • Stretching helps put your muscles in a more relaxed state, therefore helping you sleep better.
  • When you stretch, you are focused on your muscles…contracting and relaxing them with a regulated breathing pattern, which also increases serotonin.
  • Stretching increases blood flow in your body, therefore reducing the stress on any particular system in your body (cardiovascular, respiratory, nervous system).

So the tip to a happier you for today is simple‚ÄĒstretch. If you read Monday’s post, and you have your post-it note up to remind you to say your “trust” prayer, just use it to remind you to stretch too. Again, it only takes a few minutes and what do you have to lose?¬†

From my heart, 
Celeste

Sometimes You Just Have to Suffer

Do you ever feel like God has left you or forgotten about you? Do you think Jesus thought His father forgot Him? 

Jesus did not want to endure the pain and agony of the cross. But He knew that His crucifixion must take place for God’s plan to be carried out.¬†
God never left Jesus during His suffering. When Jesus hung on the cross at the very end of his life, He separated Himself from God when he sacrificed Himself for the sins of the world. He became sin, and where there is sin, there is not God. But at the moment Jesus gave up His spirit, He bridged the gap…¬†





…between sin and God‚ÄĒbetween us and God.¬†God’s plan was that of a Divine Conspiracy¬†and Jesus knew His suffering would end with the greatest miracle ever on earth. And it was his death and resurrection that would bring the gift of salvation and eternal life to mankind.¬†


Jesus was God’s son. God didn’t enjoy seeing His son in pain, but He knew the extreme measures that must be taken to wash away our sin‚ÄĒto purify the corrupted heart of man. After all, he did create us.¬†

Haven’t we all known someone‚ÄĒor been that someone‚ÄĒwho had to hit rock bottom before he/she saw the light and decided to make changes?¬†
I look back at my seven years of hell and am amazed at all that I learned during that miserable existence. God taught me things I couldn’t even see at the time. And though there were many moments I wished I could cease to exist, I wouldn’t trade them for anything now that I see what God was teaching me. I’m guessing Jesus felt the same.
We are God’s children. When God looks at us, He sees Jesus. No one wants to endure hardship and pain, but God has a plan, and just as Jesus’s pain was necessary for the salvation of man, we must endure trials in order to carry out God’s plan for us.
Your pain and suffering could just be the best thing to ever happen to you. 

It was for me. 
From my heart,
Celeste