Friendship is Good for Your Health

It may seem odd to you, but Krista McLennan found that cows have best friends and become stressed when they are separated . She made the discovery while working on her Ph.D., at Northampton University, measuring how cows respond when isolated, specifically looking at their heart rates and cortisol levels. She believes her findings could help improve milk yields. According to McLennan’s findings, the cows are social animals that need friendship to ease their stress and anxiety.

If cows need each other—what about you and me?

I find when I spend time with girlfriends, it reduces my stress level significantly. As I’ve opened my heart to girlfriends, I’ve noticed my heart rate slowing and concerns from the day that weighed heavily on me slowly subsiding from my mind—much like when the tide sneaks out into the ocean.friends talking rgbstock

2 Samuel says, Your friendship was a miracle-wonder, love far exceeding anything I’ve known—or ever hope to know (2 Samuel 1:26 MSG).

It does us good to open up to others on every level. When we laugh or cry and express ourselves to one another, we share a piece of ourselves. We also can’t help to take a little something from one another.

I have girlfriends who add to my physical strength just by spending time with them. Others stir my creativity and help me to think in new and different ways. When girlfriends get together to offer positive support, I leave the gathering relaxed and ready to press in again to face another challenge.

Take some time this week to share a cup of tea or coffee with a girlfriend and recharge.

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Memory Stones

wood-sea-ocean-rocks pexelsHistory wasn’t my favorite subject in school, but some elements of it have intrigued me for most of my life. The Jewish culture and all that God’s first, chosen people endured throughout history  fascinated me. As a child, I was an avid reader and true stories like The Diary of Anne Frank and The Hiding Place, pulled me completely into the world they lived in as soon as I turned the first page.

Sad movies based on real people, places and times before were difficult for me to watch because I knew real people endured those horrible things. That was the case of Shindler’s List. I knew it would rock me deep into my soul, so I waited until I felt I was ready to see it. Three years after the movie premiered, I watched a commercial-free version of it on television. And I carry some of those scenes with me even today.

The final scene takes place at the grave of Oskar Schindler. The amazing part is the custom the Jews have of placing stones on the grave—not flowers as I would have assumed. Even today you can Google “Oskar Schindler’s grave” and view pictures of his memorial stone with small stones of all shapes and sizes placed respectfully one on top of the other.

It seems that each stone placed is a promise made by the one who left it to remember something significant. No words—just pebbles—memory stones. Each memory is respectfully placed at the discretion of each visitor. Perhaps they are thanking God for one man’s courage to stand up when it seemed no one else could. Maybe they owe their very lives to him because without him they would never have been born. Others may hope they have enough boldness for what they believe in when their time comes to stand.

I’d like to think that my faith grows with each obstacle I’ve faced. And each time a new challenge to my faith taunts me to doubt God and his faithfulness, I can pull a memory stone from my past to remind me God was there for me then, and He will help me make it through whatever crisis standing in my way in this moment.

God has done some amazing and very miraculous acts in my life. Joshua 4:6-7 says, When your children ask in time to come, “What do those stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them…. So these stones shall be to the Israelites a memorial forever,” (NIV)

I am sure you can think of times in your life that would serve as a reminder of God at work in your life. I encourage you to take memory stones from your own life and use them with the help of the Holy Spirit to develop your faith, build your family and shape your future.

Feel free to share a precious, memory stone in the comments below. I’d love to hear your stories.