Daily Audio Bible Review – A Favorite Podcast & App

Listening to the Daily Audio Bible (DAB) podcast is not a way to do in depth study but it is a consistent everyday meal of scriptures. It’s a healthy habit for me to listen to it during sleepless nights, early mornings, or drive times. I like to read along whenever possible.

Different Podcasts in the Family

Daily Audio Bible (DAB) – This is the hallmark podcast and my favorite in the family. It includes a portion of Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs each day by using the ‘One Year ® Bible’ reading plan. I like to couple the audio with reading the bible via the Youversion App which I previously reviewed. The ‘English’ version narrator, Brian Hardin, introduces books of the bible with brief background information and often interjects brief, amusing, yet insightful comments.

If you have friends or family who don’t speak English they may enjoy the Spanish, Chinese, Japanese and Hindi versions.

DAB Proverb – Includes one of the 31 Proverbs each day. You have to love the wisdom that is packed in a few short minutes.

DAB Kids – Includes just the daily New Testament reading from the DAB podcast – it is read for kids, and by kids. It’s upbeat and energetic- occasionally I listen to little Max and China read, and if there were young ones in our home, this would be a

fabulous daily inspiration.

I’ve listened to this podcast for several years via the iPhone’s podcast subscriptions for free, however, they recently released a $.99 app which I purchased for this review. It lends easy access to audio content as well as the corresponding text.

If you’ve ever had an inclination to get through the bible in a year this may become your favorite podcast. It’s a great idea for a ‘new year’ activity to enjoy with a friend or family member. Let me know if you’d like to partner with me in reading/listening to the bible in 2012!

Check out the website at www.dailyaudiobible.org.

Merry Christmas and a scripture filled New Year!


Thanksgiving: It’s a Matter of Intention

During a personnel performance review cycle years ago, we had peer-to-peer and employee to manager reviews as well as manager to employee reviews. One of my many reviewers constructively critiqued me by suggesting I not see everything as ‘utopia’ and focus more on problems.

I took the criticism seriously, but admittedly it is a natural bent for me to look at the bright side of things, and at times my rose-colored glasses need removal. It may be annoying to some people, but optimism is a way that I cope with certain difficult situations. This is not to say I don’t struggle with grumbling and complaining, but gratitude is usually not the most challenging exercise for me. Interestingly, the gratitude lab found that ‘the disposition toward gratitude appears to enhance pleasant feeling states more than it diminishes unpleasant emotions. Grateful people do not deny or ignore the negative aspects of life….’

Recently, my lack of gratitude took me by surprise. My husband found the solution to a chronic nagging problem I had faced for several years, and I was incredibly grateful every day that the problem was resolved! Yet after several weeks, I noticed less acknowledgement of gratitude. A new normal made it easy to take this treasured relief for granted.

It takes intention to increase and maintain our gratitude level and reap the many benefits we discussed yesterday. Here are some proven steps we can take toward this end:

1. Keep a ‘daily list’ or ‘gratitude journal’. List 7–10 things that you are grateful for each day. Use a journal or notebook. There are even gratitude apps for mobile devices.
2. Write gratitude notes. Maximize the value of your gratitude by writing a letter to someone you appreciate. Start with one person a week.
3. Each time you pick up the phone, send a text, or email someone, give thanks for that person. Take time to remember how grateful you are for the people and provisions in your life.
4. If you are struggling with sadness or are in a bad mood, quickly jot down or mentally note five things for which you are thankful.
5. Seek out grateful people and avoid those who gossip and complain. (That means don’t gossip or complain!)
6. Publicly acknowledge others with gratitude.

Gratitude is contagious. By increasing your gratitude, others will benefit. Emmons’ studies show that ‘expressions of gratitude by one person tend to motivate others to express gratitude thus having a virtuous cycle started, as well as reciprocal behavior.’

Gratitude affirms. We will still have areas that we wish were different, no one implies that we ought to put on rose-colored glasses to obscure shortcomings. ‘But most of us tend to focus so heavily on the deficiencies in our lives that we barely perceive the good that counterbalances them.’ (Dr. Alan Morinis)  We need to shift our focus.

Gratitude is a choice.  It’s not circumstances or genetic wiring or something that we don’t have control over. Gratitude is an attitude we can choose that makes life better for ourselves and for other people. I think about it as a best-practice approach to life…Emmons says, ‘When things go well gratitude enables us to savor things going well. When things go poorly gratitude enables us to get over those situations and to realize they are temporary.’

Be joyful always; pray continually;  give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Give thanks to the LORD Almighty, for the LORD is good; his love endures forever. Jeremiah 33.11

Let’s take a gratitude challenge and be intentional this season as well as in the year to come.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Thanksgiving: It’s a Matter of Perspective

A past family thanksgiving photo reveals a giant turkey with Brent’s mom and brother (we sure miss you, Jess). The bird was a only a 13 pounder,  yet it looks like it weighed 25 pounds!  Perspective can be deceptive!

This turkey confusion is not unlike our human ability to make a mountain out of a molehill and see our life issues from a negative perspective. There’s nothing like a paradigm shift toward gratitude to help our health and well-being. Studies show that the practice of gratitude has a variety of benefits.  Dr. Robert Emmons of University of California, Davis, runs a research lab dedicated to the study of gratitude and thanksgiving.

“Gratitude research is beginning to suggest that feelings of thankfulness have tremendous positive value in helping people cope with daily problems, especially stress,” Emmons says.  “So much of gratitude is about one’s perspective and framework for looking at the world and at self. People who tend to be more mindful of the benefits they’ve received tend to focus their attention outward,” Emmons explains.

Some specific areas affected by gratitude are:

  • lower stress levels
  • higher energy and alertness
  • measureable improvements in mood – more positive emotions and optimism
  • lower levels of depression
  • fewer headaches and colds
  • better physiological health (heart rhythms and sleep patterns)
  • greater sense of being connected to others

People with a strong disposition toward gratitude have the capacity to be empathic and to take the perspective of others. They are rated as more generous and more helpful by people in their social networks (McCullough, Emmons, & Tsang, 2002).

Emmons has found that grateful individuals place less importance on material goods and are less likely to judge their own and others success in terms of possessions accumulated.  They are less envious of others and are more likely to share their possessions with others relative to less grateful persons.

The bible heartily promotes gratitude and thanksgiving and mentions the word ‘thanks’ in our English translations over 100 times.  My quick research of the Hebrew and Greek words reveals that ‘thanks’ is actually much more pervasive than the surface reveals.  ‘Praise’ in many instances in the Old Testament and ‘grace’ in the New Testament find their roots in the same words otherwise translated as ‘thanks’, ‘thanksgiving’, ‘grateful’, or ‘gratitude’.

Be joyful always; pray continually;  give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Give thanks to the LORD Almighty, for the LORD is good; his love endures forever.  Jeremiah 33.11

Need practical ways to increase your ‘gratitude’ factor and potentially integrate gratitude as your everyday attitude?  Stayed tuned for tomorrow when I’ll share some effective tips.

Keeping it Real – Quadriplegic Cough

Keeping it Real – Quadriplegic Cough

There are times my disability smacks me in the face and knocks my feet right out from under me. This week has been one of those weeks. I have a cold…that simple rhino virus that many people fiercely fight off without missing a beat. ‘Well say it ain’t so!’ the quadriplegics exclaim.

Because of the paralysis, our respiratory systems are compromised. Congestion in our lungs is difficult to extract because the muscles don’t contract to force enough pressure to productively cough. Developing pneumonia is a possible danger and the leading cause of death for quads.

The simple cold is a serous matter. Proactive zinc and vitamins have helped me avoid a cold for several years, but somehow this rhino crept up on me. I’m always hopeful that prayer, rest, water, vitamins, ginger tea and chicken soup will do the trick quickly, but inevitably the dreaded antibiotics seem to be the added dagger that fights off the bronchitis and threat of pneumonia.

Friends, family members and office mates are heroes as they rescue me with an ‘assisted cough‘. Brent was out of town the other night when my cough was starting – two of my best friends slept over and effectively assisted with my cough, ate popcorn, played on computers, and crashed (thank you Naomi and Krista).

Brent has turned a few heads when he’s helped me cough in the store or at church! At a glance it can look like CPR or spousal  abuse!

For emergencies, I keep a note written in my phone that says ‘I need help coughing and may not be able to talk before we clear some congestion. Please press my diaphragm with the palms of your hands as I exhale. We will need to do this multiple times and you will push harder than you think you should’.

I haven’t had an assisted cough for a couple hours and I’m off to get more water. My motto for the day: “March on my soul, be strong.” Judges 5:21

I’m glad you read this post…don’t be afraid…you can help me cough…press hard, just don’t break a rib – Just kidding!