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Bring New Peace and Joy into Your Life!

Bring New Peace and Joy
into Your Life!
  

 How the colors in our home,  
the trees around us, and our faith in God
 affect our mood, emotions, and even our health.

November 16, 2022 Brabec Bulletin

After seven years of widowhood, my 2012 New Year’s resolution was to add some excitement and joy to my life by repainting and redecorating my upstairs living area. While trying to decide what paint colors I should use, I did some research on how color affects our lives and was surprised to learn that color therapy has existed for centuries and that the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Chinese studied and used color to treat ailments.

Do you know that the warm colors of red, orange, and yellow evoke emotions that can range from feelings of warmth and comfort to feelings of anger and hostility? Cool colors such as blue, purple, and green are often described as calming colors, but in some cases can make one feel sad or indifferent. Thus you should think twice before picking the paint colors for each room of your home and ask yourself how you want to feel when you walk into that room. (For more information, read “The Mood-Boosting Benefits of Color Therapy.”)

“Color is like food for the spirit—
plus it’s not addictive or fattening.”
– Isaac Mizarani

 After living for twenty years with white walls in the main living area, I decided to splash my lower-level entry hall, living and dining area walls, and hallway to the bedrooms with two luscious shades of blue while also brightening the dull white ceilings. The brick fireplace, which someone had painted white long before Harry and I bought the house, was given a rich brick color with a lighter shade for the mortar between the bricks. This dramatically transformed the whole area.

At the same time, I also recovered the large curved, custom-built couch Harry and I started our lives with that I loved too much to part with. The orange woven fabric was replaced with a smooth blue patterned upholstery fabric that complemented the new wall colors and blended with the carousel serigraphs Harry and I treasured. This area, with its colorful bookshelves on two walls, quickly became a place that made me feel relaxed and at peace, the perfect room for spending a Sunday afternoon with a good book and soft music playing in the background.

The Health Benefits of Being around Trees

One day when I got a brochure from my tree service, I strongly related to this quote from it. Maybe you will too:

“Studies have shown that spending time among trees can reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and anger; enhance sleep quality and boost overall well-being. It can even enhance our immune system, thanks to plant-provided chemicals (phytoncides) that increase human defenses against viral invasion and tumor formation. Some studies show that just looking at trees can reduce blood pressure, cortisol, and adrenaline.”

 I am blessed to have several trees in my yard. Two that give me the most pleasure are the birch tree in my front yard and the maple tree in the back that I see when I’m in my kitchen.

Barbara's cat, Liza, loves her view of the back yard.Every day as I walk the hall many times from the back of the house where my office is, my gaze is always on the birch tree limb that stretches across two of the three windows in the living room. This view gives me a feeling of peace, and I can’t imagine my life without this particular tree. Each morning when I open the blinds in the living room, my cat, Liza, “helps” by jumping on the back of the couch, and we share a few special moments as we both watch a squirrel on the tree limb or see someone walking their dog.

My backyard maple tree gives me even greater pleasure because I take some of my meals at the kitchen table in front of the corner windows that give me a glorious view of it. I consider this particular tree the anchor to my whole backyard. I almost lost it one year when it was attacked by disease. The arborist who treated it had little hope the whole tree would survive, but I prayed for it and God restored it to health. Thus I always feel blessed when it gives me glorious color in the fall and then fills out again in the spring to give me a summer shade umbrella for my little patio. Pictured here is Liza on her cat tree gazing at something in the tree. I think she likes her view from these windows as much as I do.

Treasure Each Day You’re Given

When Paul “Bear” Bryant (one of the greatest coaches of all time) died, his wife found in his wallet a worn, yellowed piece of paper that he had read many times. This prayer is all over the internet as Coach “Bear” Bryant’s Prayer, but the words were actually written by Dr. Heartsill Wilson, one of the most popular sales and motivational speakers of his time (1920-1994). I found this prayer pertinent to my life and think you will too:

“This is the beginning of a new day. God has given me this day to use as I will. I can waste it or use it for good. “What I do today is very important, because I am exchanging a day of my life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever, leaving something in its place that I have traded for it. “I want it to be a gain, not a loss. Good, not evil. Success, not failure, in order that I shall not forget the price I paid for it.”

“The U.S. Constitution doesn’t guarantee happiness, only the pursuit of it. You have to catch up with it yourself.” – Benjamin Franklin

Closing Thoughts

“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them. Cherish simple things such as family, friends and love, because great things appear simple from far away. Place your simple things in the best light; there’s enough sunshine for all of them.” – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

“Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do” (Ecclesiastes 9:7).

“We’re so busy watching out for what’s just ahead of us that we don’t take time to enjoy where we are.” – Bill Watterson, Legendary cartoonist and author of “Calvin and Hobbes”

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Living in Two Different Worlds

Living in Two Different Worlds

How to live with peace and joy
in your heart when our country is now
a complete reversal of what it once was.

October 12, 2022 Brabec Bulletin

If you’ve read my September 2022 Brabec Bulletin blog post, you will understand why I’m living now with eternity in view as I update my will and “get my Grand Finale in order,” to quote a school chum of mine who’s doing the same thing. But I’m also living with a view of what America is now becoming: a country I can no longer recognize, one that is transitioning from “one nation under God” into “a nation warring against its own foundation, its original nature, and its historic identity,” to quote author Jonathan Cahn (see below).

How to live and work and be at peace in this new unrecognizable world is the question that at least half our country must be asking now.

Pondering the Past with an Eye to the Future

My current end-of-life planning prompted me to look back on what I’ve accomplished in the past fifty years and ponder what I’m doing now and should do next. Although I didn’t start my walk with Jesus until 1994, I’ve always believed it was God’s will for my life to be a writer and communicator, someone destined to offer information, encouragement, and help to others, first in their professional lives and later their personal lives as well. One thing is certain: I’ll be a writer until I die; can envision myself journaling and evangelizing in the last days of my life.

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10; NIV).

I launched this new domain believing that God expected me to share my faith more boldly than ever before. For the first time, I published my updated Testimony for Christ for anyone on the internet to see and share. In my books and content on this and my first website as well, I’ve often illustrated how my faith has gotten me through many valleys of life and then given me new perspective in my joyous mountaintop experiences. 

As the world keeps changing for the worse with each passing day, I think fewer people are having mountaintop experiences now, and what they need more than anything is something to believe in that they can trust, something to hold onto, something that’s going to last. Read on for some answers to that need.

“In a nation that has removed the Ten Commandments from its pubic halls, and has increasingly censored His Word, it is all the more crucial that we uphold His ways in our actions, our walks, our words, our stands, and our lives,” says Jonathan Cahn, a Messianic Jewish Rabbi and pastor whose best-selling prophetic books have radically impacted the world.

Cahn’s newest and most explosive book, The Return of the Gods, is so astonishing that I have no words to describe its impact on me. Suffice it to say that every Christian should read this book to understand how and why America and Western civilization has gradually transitioned into the exact opposite of what they once were. The explanations in this book offer unique perspective, but it won’t make it any less heartbreaking to observe how America’s governing powers and other “authorities” in all areas of life are no longer recognizing or accepting our country’s former self and Christian morals. And anyone who cannot abide what those in power say we must do are now being rejected or persecuted, professionally canceled or put out of business, even imprisoned for their beliefs while hard-core criminals are being let out of jail without bail.

Our Need for Biblical Perspective

“As reeling events continue to unfold in our nation, the news headlines will have to be deciphered through the lens of a biblical perspective,” said Pastor Allen Jackson in a recent sermon. He has recently published a book titled Big Trouble Ahead: A Real Plan for Flourishing in a Time of Fear and Deception. It might be exactly what some of you need now. Pastor Jackson’s sermons are now a part of my daily life and Bible study, and his positivity was a great encouragement to me in the worst days of the Pandemic.

“A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education.” –Theodore Roosevelt

Another Bible teacher and author I’ve followed for years is David Jeremiah. I just finished his encouraging book, Where Do We Go from Here? How Tomorrow’s Prophecies Foreshadow Today’s Problems, which illustrates how prophecies and wisdom from centuries ago still speak the truth today and point the way forward for tomorrow. I highlighted many passages in this book and loved these comments about the importance of the Bible:

“Everything about the Bible is special. It's God's gift to the human race—bread for the soul, honey for the heart, nourishment for the nerves, and wisdom for the mind. Every syllable represents God's own thoughts conveyed through inspired human writers who recorded the infallible message for the world. In this way, the Lord gave us a Book containing everything we really need for life and eternity.” 

I’ll soon be reading Jeremiah’s newest book, The World of the End: How Jesus’ Prophecy Shapes our Future. Of it, he says, “We may not be at the end of the world, but we are at the World of the End—a time when Bible prophecy is intersecting with our culture, technology, unhinged morality, and worldwide strife as never before. And at this point in our culture, we must boldly proclaim the Word.” 

Dr. Jeremiah has been teaching God’s Word and Bible prophecy for sixty years, and as a Bible prophecy student, I’ve read all his books on this topic. This one was prompted by Jesus’ prophesy in Matthew 24 on signs we would see as the end of the age approached. The book gives us a plan for how to live in an increasingly chaotic world as we await Christ’s return. For a video of the 9/11 TV interview with the author shortly before the book’s publication, click here to watch it on his website.

God Wired Us to be Happy

It’s human nature to worry, and with disturbing news every day, it’s easy to find many things to worry about every day. But remember that Jesus has repeatedly told us not to worry, saying,

“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today” (Matthew 6:34 NIV).

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33; NIV).

I have many questions now that I have no answers for, so I talk to God every day and tell Him my concerns, even though I know it’s not necessary since He already knows my every thought and need long before I know it myself. Year after year I’ve seen how he has continually put people in my path to help me in my work as a writer and publisher, as a struggling computer user and website owner, and most important, as a widow. Alternatively, God continues to put people in my path who need the help and encouragement I can give them. I’m a great believer in “Ask and ye shall receive” (Matthew 7:7), but I remain amazed by how often God surprises me with a special connection or helping hand when it’s needed most.

With God’s Word in my mind and heart every day, and remembering all He has done for me throughout my life, it’s easy to live contentedly with peace and joy in my heart in spite of the down-spiraling world around me. I hate what’s happening in America now and know it’s only going to get worse, but my trust in Jesus will see me through to the end of my life because I know where I’m going and I know HIM who has prepared the way. God is in control and none can stand against Him.

“The confident Christian knows he stands in a place of security. He cannot be touched by anything the Lord does not allow. God is enough for any and every situation he might face.” – David Jeremiah, in Where Do We Go from Here?

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1 NKJV).author's signature

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