I have a favor to ask of you.
One year ago today I was working on an autobiography (an assignment…not an actual book) and was posed with the task of wrapping it all up by writing one sentence that depicts who I am in my life journey so far. So I took it took the Facebook world and asked all of you to “PLEASE, because my little inquisitive spirit longs to know people on a level that makes you more than just a cute profile picture and name beside a thumbs up/smile/laughy face, write one sentence that depicts who you are in your life journey so far.”
My sentence one year ago was: I am the product of devastation, triumph, and love who desires to attain goals, pursue Jesus, love people, and know people.
Some of yours were:
I’m just a girl that wants to do everything she can to make your life easier, love on her kids and family, and make a difference in someone’s life.
I am a fierce innovative professional woman who sets goals and is determined to tackle them while also helping others do the same!
I’m a woman who doesn’t really know who she is anymore, having to rebuild her life after having lost one of the most important people in her life, but am working on relearning who she is…differently.
I am first a child of God, then my parents. I am a sister, wife, mother,grandmother, great grandmother, friend and caregiver. I am all I ever wanted to be.
I am an enigmatic being forged through love and loss, sometimes scrambling, sometimes just treading water, in a chaotic purgatory on Earth, while attempting to leave everyone and everything better than I found them.
I am just a girl struggling to find my place in this world, a homeschool momma, a friend to few, and a grumpy old introvert who needs to get my life together.
If you feel so inclined, I’d love to hear what you have to say this year!! I’m claiming mine to be the same, not out of laziness, but because it seems to be an appropriate description of my life and, still, what I’m about.
Day 3 of my project has led me to feel like I’m getting into some sort of groove. I named a bird Yebbie. It visited me two days in a row so I felt the need to name it. I’m sure some devilish Kite bird will scare Yebbie away soon, but what can you do since those jerk faces are apparently protected. If I weren’t sworn to secrecy, I would have a story that would make you laugh so hard you’d develop at least two visible abs on how I found out they were protected.
The past two days, the 7 minutes of focusing on my breath piece of the puzzle has been forgotten. Today I lumped my morning outdoor time and breath together. Why didn’t I think of that on day 1? I spent 7 minutes breathing, read more of Isaiah, looked ahead to see when I’d see a change from the destruction of ________ city to praise the Lord talk.
Today I am grateful for small town life, birds chirping, and ponytail holders…and health…and an ability to use my body and breathe while running and these shoes that make my foot not hurt. And four peanut butter cookies that led to the run.
Spending. I’ve been sitting outside much more the past few days and I have come to love the birds. If I would not have tied my hands to purchasing things outside of my list, I would be at Walmart purchasing a bird feeder and bird seed right about now. Sorry birds. You’ll have to wait 18 more days.
Still working on the sleep part. I am currently running about 2 hours behind, yesterday I blame it on a really mediocre book that I keep pressing through hoping for a bit of excitement. I’m about to skip 220 pages, read the last one, and call it done.
Okay…now that you’ve completely forgotten as you’ve been wrapped up in my “Dear Diary” blog, don’t forget the favor at the beginning of this!
Bye friends! 🙂
Wait wait wait. If you’re interested…here’s the purpose of the hinoki oil.
The majority of the human beings on this planet know that it feels good to take a walk in nature. An immunologist, Dr. Qing Li, sought out to find the evidence behind those feel-good feelings. He found that spending time in nature not only elevates one’s mood and decreases our stress, but it’s also like a “super-charged battery boost to our immune system (Dossett, n.d.). Nature is an effective balance point to modern-life stress.
In the 1980’s Japanese people encouraged forest bathing (shinrin yoku) as a way to allure people to bathe in the forests for their healing effects. By 2004 the government began funding research to investigate shinrin yoku from a scientific perspective. Dr. Li took groups of people who had hectic careers on day trips to the mountains in the northwest Japan. On these trips, they were in the mud, closely encountering Japanese cypress trees, and breathing in fresh air. They also provided scientist with urine, saliva and blood samples prior to and following their escapades.
Up to this point other research suggested that spending time in nature, even just seeing a nice view, was connected to positive changes in our health (heart rate, blood pressure, stress hormones [cortisol and adrenaline]). In 1984, it was discovered that hospital patients with windows that faced trees recovered more quickly than patients who had a brick wall for their view (Ulrich, 1984).
Dr. Li set out to determine how nature influences natural killer (NK) cells.
NK cells seek and destroy cells that are virally infected and are, of course, an important part of our immune defense system. Li found that his high stress, hectic career hikers were more relaxed and experienced incredible immune system boosts after only two days in nature. “Their NK cell activity increased by 53% and the number of NK cells in their blood rose by 50%.” Thirty days later, the hikers still had a 15% greater levels of NK cells than before they went on their hike.
Dr. Li then conducted studies to find if this was simply the result of exercise or if the nature had something to do with it. So another study…he took one group on forest walks, one on city walks. The forest walkers still had higher NK cells and their immune boost lasted longer than forest walkers. Nature, not just the exercise, was leading to their incredible results. Li wondered if it had something to do with the protective chemicals of the hinoki trees.
Ya know when you walk through the woods and notice a Christmas time type of smell or eucalyptus, you’re actually breathing in chemicals the trees release to communicate with their environment. The trees communicate with animals, bacteria, insects, etc., and they also use chemicals to exchange information.
For example, when Washington Sitka willows were experiencing a horrible caterpillar infestation. The willows that were infested and dying sent out their distress chemicals that traveled over a mile to another group of Sitka willows. The uninfected trees picked up the alerts and started to emit chemicals that made their leaves unappetizing to the insects. When the caterpillars got there, they died of malnourishment and the trees survived (Dosset, n.d.).
Hinoki trees emit protective chemicals as well. Dr. Li wondered if a person had to be in the forest or if diffusing oil could have an affect. So Li then took a group of people to a hotel room and for three nights filled a normal diffuser with Hinoki essential oils and diffused this into the air. The results showed that the participants experienced an improved mood, better sleep, significant increases in the number of and activity of NK cells and decreased levels of stress hormones. Just by breathing the hinoki essential oil, participants still received about 50% of the positive effects they attained by taking a walk in the woods.
So there’s the importance of the Hinoki oil I keep mentioning.
Li, Q. (2018). Forest Bathing: How trees can help you find health and happiness. Viking.
Li, Q. (2010). Effect of forest bathing trips on human immune function. Environ Health Prev MEd. 15(1), 9-7.
Dosset, P. (n.d.) Madefor: Nature.
Ulrich, R. (1984). View through a window may influence recovery from surgery. Science, 224(4647), 420-421.