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How's Your Sleep?

Did you know that March 16th is World Sleep Day? I don't think it has been designated as an official U.S. holiday, but perhaps it should be. The statistics continue to show that we are a nation (and world) of seriously sleep deprived people.

Sleeping panda

Two thirds of the people in the U.S. don't get enough sleep. 87% of high school students are suffering from lack of sleep. Unfortunately all the research on the benefits of sleep have not been enough to bring radical change to the statistics. Not only are we sleep deprived, but also quite uneducated about sleep. For too long it has been viewed as something primarily for babies and old people. Most of us think we "get enough" sleep, not having any guidelines about what "enough" really means.

Below is a quick Sleep Assessment Questionnaire. As you go through the questions, count up how many True statements you have, and let me know your current number in the comments section! Look out for my next blog, with tips for better sleep...


Maas Robins Alertness Questionaire

These twenty statements help differentiate between well-rested and sleep-deprived individuals. Ready? Answer TRUE or FALSE.

  1. I often need an alarm clock in order to wake up at the appropriate time.
  2. It's often a struggle for me to get out of bed in the morning.
  3. Weekday mornings I often hit the snooze bar several times.
  4. I often feel tired and stressed out during the week.
  5. I often feel moody and irritable, and little things upset me.
  6. I often have trouble concentrating and remembering.
  7. I often feel slow with critical thinking, problem solving, and being creative.
  8. I need caffeine to get going in the morning or make it through the afternoon.
  9. I often wake up craving junk food, sugars, and carbohydrates.
  10. I often fall asleep watching TV.
  11. I often fall asleep in boring meetings or lectures or in warm rooms.
  12. I often fall asleep after heavy meals or after a low dose of alcohol.
  13. I often fall asleep while relaxing after dinner.
  14. I often fall asleep within five minutes of getting into bed.
  15. I often feel drowsy while driving.
  16. I often sleep extra hours on the weekends.
  17. I often need a nap to get through the day.
  18. I have dark circles around my eyes.
  19. I fall asleep easily when watching a movie.
  20. I rely on energy drinks or over-the-counter medications to keep me awake.

Results: If you answered "True" to four or more of these statements, CONSIDER YOURSELF SERIOUSLY SLEEP-DEPRIVED!

Developed by Dr. James B. Maas and Rebecca S. Robbins of Cornell University

Love, Dad ❤

I love Christmas! So much so I leave my tree and inside decorations up all year long. It may sound a bit eccentric but trust me; it saves a lot of work. Plus, I come home to Christmas after every trip.  The only thing lacking is the load of presents under the tree, always a big part of Christmas. I admit, I love the gifts part of Christmas too.

Yes, I was one of those children who drove her parents crazy by discovering the hiding place of the gifts. Knowing in advance did not rob me of the excitement of tearing off the paper to get to the present inside. My mother soon gave up on the fancy wrapping. Why bother? Mother didn't believe in wasting anything so the tag on the gift was always part of one of last year's Christmas cards.

Mother was not only the one who wrapped, but also the one who shopped, based on the long Christmas list I provided from my catalogue shopping. It was always a battle to see who got the first look at the Christmas catalogues. By the time I had gone through them with my red marker it was difficult to see anything on a page because I had circled just about everything.

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My father left the bulk of the Christmas preparations to my mother. His Christmas contribution was a small white envelope hidden somewhere in the tree. Not wrapped in fancy paper with a bow, but wrapped in love. Yes, you guessed correctly—there was money in the envelope! He always wrote something on the card and signed it— "Love, Dad." I can still see his handwritten words on the small while note card holding the check.

He is in Heaven celebrating with my mother so there is no white envelope hidden in the tree. But there is this reminder from James that "Every good gift and perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights." (James 1:17) So the truth is that every single gift I open has the words "Love, Dad." written on the card. Each one is a gift from my Heavenly Father.

As you open your presents this Christmas, I pray you will experience the extravagant love of your Father, the Giver of every good gift.

Peace and Joy, Part 1: The Fountain of Joy

Do you need more peace and joy? My answer to that question is a resounding "Yes." I believe I have discovered a key to experiencing more peace and joy. Often the answer to a problem is right under my nose, which is why I may miss it.

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Sometimes it is shocking to look back at attitudes I have had in the past on a subject, in this case peace and joy. I remember my constant irritation with a grade-school classmate who skipped onto the bus every morning, overflowing with exuberance, wearing an enormous smile. How could she be so joyful at 7:00 am? What was wrong with her? To me, she was weird. No one else on the bus was like her.   

Searching for the Fountain of Joy  

Now I am on a mission to figure out how to be that fountain of joy, not just at 7:00 am but 24/7. There are books, tapes, seminars, and webinars available to help me live in constant peace and joy. To date, it doesn't appear these products have produced long-lasting positive results. Looking at the history of the early Church, as recorded in the New Testament, I see they demonstrated a level of joy in the midst of difficult times that is worth investigating. What was their secret?

It may be that part of their secret was their focus on just one thing—the Kingdom. Jesus told them to seek first the Kingdom and everything else would be taken care of. (Matthew 6:35) Their steadfast obedience to this command kept them from distractions. 

Another aspect of the power of their focus was they understood the Kingdom was not in the future or somewhere "out there" but was actually within. The enemy tries to put our attention on the external circumstances because he knows the Kingdom is already within us. If he can convince us to focus on the outside, it will hinder us partnering with the power of the Kingdom on the inside. It is a game changer when I realize I already have what I need and want. Selah!

Coming soon: Winning the Battle for the Night

Hello friends! I am so excited to share more about my new book which will be released on July 4th!

Here's what some dear and respected friends of mine are saying about it:

"Wonderfully practical, brilliantly insightful and sure to inspire you to reconnect with God's purpose for sleep: communion and rest."--Bill Johnson, senior leader, Bethel Church, Redding, California

"Winning the Battle for the Night will bring a fresh confidence in God's design for sleep and dreams and challenge you to contend for more!" --Kim Walker-Smith, Jesus Culture

"A powerful guide for anyone who has struggled with sleep problems."--Margaret Nagib, Psy.D., clinical psychologist, Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center; founder, The Dunamis Project

"Faith does an excellent job of explaining how sleep can become our friend to help us grow spiritually. You will find this book a great help as you yourself learn the importance of dreams and sleep not for just yourself but for your whole family." --Beni Johnson, author, Healthy and Free and The Happy Intercessor

"It will empower you to value and experience good sleep, thus improving health, performance, wisdom and God-given creativity."--Dr. Michelle A. Miller, Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick

I encourage you to pre-order a copy today, and be one of the first to get your hands on it!

It's Not Too Late for a Fresh Start

What has 2017 been like so far? Have you made progress with the projects you planned to begin, and the new habits you so eagerly desired to establish? I will be the first to admit that the beginning of my year has not been smooth sailing: paperwork, projects and surprise deadlines have all made an appearance in my calendar! And yet, I feel the voice of the Holy Spirit encouraging me that He is an expert when it comes to fresh starts, including this one.

growing

Last year I remember encouraging my followers: February 1st is the new January 1st! As I reflect on how this year has begun, the same rings true. We all need time to prepare, and I have chosen to view February as a month of preparation. It is not enough for me to have great ideas about what I will do this year: I am taking time to get God’s wisdom on how I can move towards the vision He gave me for 2017, one step at a time.

As I talk with my Heavenly Father about the year ahead, I am reminded that fresh starts rarely begin with fireworks and the strike of midnight - as much as I enjoy those things! Rather, they begin with a quiet but confident “yes”, and small steps that take me in the right direction. Our God is not so excited about our big plans as he is about the moments when we patiently choose to keep moving in the right direction. Like the disciples leaving their nets to follow Jesus or the boy who offered his bread and fishes, one small “yes” can result in extraordinary things when we are partnered with God.

Today I encourage you to book some meetings with God. Be honest with Him about your hopes, fears and dreams for this year - he is not intimidated! Then ask Him to show you what small things you can do today to keep moving in the right direction. If you need guidance, why not use my e-workbook Prep7? I think it is a great tool to help you re-focus and converse with God about what He has in store for you. You may also want to talk with your friends and family about their plans for the year. Encourage each other to find where God’s grace is, and take the small first steps.

I would love to hear back from you about how God has helped you to get a fresh start in the areas you need it most. What made a difference for you?