Archives for : Lifestyle Secrets

I’ve Discovered The Secret to Happiness!

I’ve Discovered The Secret to Happiness!

By Sharon Sheppard

It’s found in I Thessalonians 5:16-18:

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Okay, so it isn’t necessarily easy to be joyful 24/7.  But I find it does wonders for my morale when I choose joy instead of complaints.  

And pray continually?  I doubt that the Apostle Paul meant we should spend day and night on our knees. But it’s a comfort to know that God invites us to approach Him at any time, about any concern or any thoughts we want to share with Him. He won’t scold us for coming to Him too often. 

And, about giving thanks, we don’t have to wait until November 28 to do it. 

Have a Blessed Thanksgiving!!!

Mary and Sharon

Meditations on Practicing Kindness

Meditations on Practicing Kindness ~ Mary Zigan

Kindness is caring for others, even when they may not care for you. 

The act of kindness is often its own reward.

Kindness is having the ability to speak with love, listen with patience and act with compassion.

Kindness can make a bad day good, and a good day better.

Kindness is a powerful reminder that behind all the negativity and malice, there lies goodness that has the power to change the world.

 Be kind to others. Your random act of kindness might become someone’s best lifetime memory.

 Sometimes, a single random act of kindness can become the spark that ignites a revolution.

 Kindness is never wasted. Kindness always makes a difference, blessing the one who receives it, and the giver.

Meditating on Goodness

Meditating on Goodness . . . God’s, and what He imparts to us

A Jewish prophet from several centuries ago was asked what God expects of us.

His response: “What does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy 

and to walk humbly with your God.”    Micah 6:8

“Live in such a way that if people should see you, they could see God’s goodness in you.” (Anon.)

“Do all the good you can and make as little fuss about it as possible.”  Charles Dickens

“People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway.” Anon.

We have no goodness of our own to impart, but the 23rd Psalm says, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want . . .Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life . . .”

“Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”  (Lam. 3:22-23)

For Goodness Sake! Whatever Does It Mean?

For Goodness Sake! Whatever Does It Mean?  By Sharon Sheppard

On Friday nights when my teenage son and daughter would walk out the door, I’d usually call out to them, “Have fun! Be good!” And often I would add the words, “Not necessarily in that order!”  (Meaning, of course, that if they had to choose between being good or having fun, I hoped and prayed they would opt for being good.)

Since goodness is listed in the Bible as one of the nine traits listed as a “Fruit of the Spirit,” that is, it is one of the traits the Holy Spirit plants in the hearts of those who belong to Him, how should that be lived out?

The immediate image of being a “Goody-Goody” comes to mind.  (Dictionary definition: “A smug or obtrusively virtuous person.”) Ugh. Quietly doing the right things? Yes. 

So is there something you could do today–maybe give a word of encouragement or a helping hand to someone who needs it? Ask God to help you become more aware of ways He may want to use you.

If I do enough “good” deeds, will I get to Heaven? 

No. None of us could ever be good enough to earn our way there.

Does goodness mean that a true Christian is perfect and never does anything wrong? (If that’s the case, I don’t think I have ever met a Christian in my life.)  Like it or not, we are all sinful people, and we all disappoint God.  

Fortunately, Jesus went to the cross on our behalf to work out a sacrificial arrangement with His Father.  Jesus would pay for our sins, and the Father would forgive us if we ask: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins . . .” 1 John 1:9

And one more thing: He wants to be our Savior, yes. But—and here’s the hard part—He also wants to be first in our life. Letting go and saying, “God, I give up. I want You to be the Lord of my life . . . “

Check it out and see what happens.

Who Is the “Goodest” Person You Know?

Who Is the “Goodest” Person You Know?  By Sharon Sheppard 

Would you like to be thought of as one of the “Good Guys?” Do you long to be known as a good person or parent or friend?”

Or to be really good at something?

What does it mean to be good?

Depends on whom you’re asking, I suppose.

When you think about people you know, who is the best (the “goodest”) person you’ve ever known? 

During the next few months, will be exploring that topic and other related questions.

Biblically, goodness is a quality identified as one of nine in a cluster called the “Fruit of the Spirit” in Galatians 5:22-23. 
Stay tuned for next week’s discussion of What it means to be GOOD.

How Emotionally Healthy Are You?

How Emotionally Healthy Are You?

By Sharon Sheppard

A family friend, Dr. Tom Lowry, who was both a reverend and a psychologist, once commented that my dad was one of the most emotionally healthy people he knew.

I’m not an authority in this field, but since we are emphasizing this aspect of health on thewisejourney (as well as Father’s Day) during the month of June, I’ve been pondering what that label might mean. What makes a person emotionally healthy? How do you know whether you are? Or how do you get that way if you aren’t?

I surveyed a few lists to see what the experts are saying.

Personality Buzz mentioned a few traits that are characteristic of people who are emotionally strong:

  1. Tough people don’t bog down feeling sorry for themselves.
  2. Strong people stay in the present.
  3. Mentally strong people have no trouble being themselves.
  4. Mentally and emotionally strong people have patience/persistence.
  5. Mentally strong people have a strong support network behind them.
  6. Strong-minded people welcome change.
  7. Tough people stop wasting energy on things that are out of their control.
  8. Tough people don’t repeat their mistakes.
  9. Strong-minded people have no time for jealousy or negativity.
  10. Tough people know that the world doesn’t owe them anything.

Except for number 6, I’d say my dad scored high on 9 out of these 10. gave a few suggestions for keeping your emotional health:

  1. Think before you act.
  2. Manage stress.
  3. Strive for balance.
  4. Take care of your physical health.
  5. Find purpose and meaning.
  6. Stay positive.

Again, I think my dad scored well on all of these. How about you?

If you need some help, Psychology Today gave these tips for reenergizing your emotional wellbeing:

  1. Hang out with people who love you.
  2. Take a break.
  3. Try something different.
  4. Write down your worries.
  5. Write down what’s working for you in your life.

OR, as Garrison Keillor used to say, “Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.”

And if you would like to keep in touch with us here at thewisejourney, drop us an email at

Free to Be Fit

Free to Be Fit by Mary Zigan

Spring is in the air! Hot weather is on the horizon! That thought can strike terror in the hearts and minds of many woman who don’t want to give up “the cover up.” I know. I have been there. The chill of winter makes it a safer time to cover our fat with layers of clothes. But, if we are honest, we really want to be free of the fat and the delusion and denial that goes with the cover up. Do you like me, look ahead to what feeling thin would be like, and get discouraged before you start. There’s the wedding, the concert, the family reunion all coming up, and they ALL involve food. When we look ahead and project, analyze, scrutinize, nurse and rehearse, we borrow trouble with a capital T.

There is a solution: Today is a good day to ask God for recovery.  Why not believe that today a new life is possible? It takes willingness and belief to turn our lives over to the One who has the power to rescue us from this place of defeat and discouragement. Yes, by God’s grace willingness and belief are the way out of the darkness and a road map to be free and fit. We can open ourselves to accept this gift with gratitude and do our part to stay the course by choosing to walk in His faithfulness just for today.

Lord, I am grateful for the opportunity to be on the journey of recovery from emotional eating and food obsessions.

Mary Z.

What’s in a Name?

What’s in a Name?    by Sharon Sheppard

When City Cousin Mary Zigan and Country Cousin, aka, yours truly, first put our heads together to talk about co-authoring a blog, we considered a number of possible blog names. Some were clever but already taken, some were copyrighted and thus out of the running, some were original but lame, and the others—well, you don’t want to know about those.

When we finally opted for thewisejourney, we knew that it could possibly be misconstrued to give readers the mistaken idea that we think we have all the answers to life, and we want to pass along our vast wisdom to you, our readers.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Each one of us is on an individual journey. And as flawed humans, all of us face thousands of decisions throughout a lifetime. All of us bungle badly at times. But sometimes we make choices we feel really good about. And all of us learn from many other people along the way.

In keeping with our blog name, we glean wisdom to share with you from many sources: things we’ve read or studied; life experiences—our own and those of lots of other people; experiences of our wise and wonderful guest bloggers; and insights from a host of other resources.

Mary and I cherish the one true Source of Wisdom: God’s Word, which is the ultimate guideline for the journey all of us travel. Over the next three months, as we develop the theme of Living Wisely, we begin by exploring the problem of pain. (See next week’s double whammy essay: which deals with such issues as Why Did Jesus Have to Suffer and Die? and Why Does God Allow Us to Suffer?)

During the month of May we will include tips for physical fitness and healthy eating, and in June we will be looking at emotional health.

Stay tuned . . .

And, as always, if you would like to comment on anything you read in our blog, or would like to read here, please email us at  

Getting a Jumpstart on Next Christmas

Getting a Jumpstart on Next Christmas . . . By Mary Zigan

            I love getting a jumpstart on Christmas. In fact, as far as I’m concerned, Christmas begins on December 1st. At least, that’s when I get out my Christmas Journal that I began in 1999. Each day of Christmas I happily journal what happens to make the season memorable. I log what I bake, the Christmas cards I send, the guests I have in, the concerts I attend, when the house gets decorated, and when our special Christmas sausage is made.

            It is so much fun planning and preparing. But all too soon, Christmas is but a memory, and then there are all the things to tear down and put away. I have a philosophy, not just at Christmas, but year-round: “Bring something in, take something out!” If you bought new things for the tree or other artifacts this year, maybe something needs to go.

            Would you like a few tips for storing and making next year’s routine less painful so you will be better prepared for the following holiday season? If so, select three areas of your home to set items out on for sorting them when you are taking them down.

  • One area is for items you are keeping and storing
  • One area is for items you are tired of and will repurpose
  • One area is for broken, shabby-looking items to be tossed

               Here are a few practical tips for storing some of those once-a-year Christmas items:

  • For extension cords…use cardboard toilet paper rolls
  • For individual ornaments…use clear plastic cups stored in beer or wine cases
  • For Christmas bulbs…egg cartons
  • Wreath…hang it on a hook and place a large trash bag over it
  • Small beads…keep in an empty water bottle
  • Wrapping paper…use a clear garment bag with hanger

           I promise, you will feel happy you took the time to carefully store your Christmas trimmings.  Might I suggest, however, Please do not stow Christ. Keep Christ not only in Christmas, but out where He can be seen through your life all year long.

Listen to the Nigglings

Listen to the Nigglings  – By Mary Zigan

Do you ever have that persistent, annoying, nagging, unsettled feeling like, “What am I supposed to be paying attention to?”

It is so easy to ignore the still, small voice of God among the loud, persistent voices of this world. Living in the 21st century is filled with busyness, wouldn’t you say? Headlines and news stories demand to be heard, electronic devices beep and ding and ring incessantly, voices in the media shout opinions, calendars are packed full, and all these events compete for our attention. Life feels crowded by electronics, by activities. by politics, and by the media. If we are not careful…we can run all day and feel exhausted, anxious, discontented, and unfulfilled, and can easily not notice the still, small voice within.

So how do we really listen to the nigglings, and what are they trying to tell us?  Because we live in flux on this earth, life ebbs and flows. The seasons of our life come and go, and we have people, places, and things to deal with and be aware of.

The Good News is that Christ has chosen you and me, and He is ever calling us to purity, and purity is far too deep for us to ever arrive at naturally. Often, the persistent annoyance within is what we would call “small, little offences that nobody else sees or knows about.”  Yet, God’s Word in (Hebrews 6:17) reminds us: He knows our hearts, and has bound himself to us with a promise and an oath that He will never give up on us or lie to us. Christ has paid the penalty for our sin and wants us to fall back into His arms and allow His pure heart to transform us.

Have you ever asked God to give you His desires, His nature, to think the way He thinks? As we adjust ourselves to His heart’s desires for us, because He is ever pursuing us, we will begin to notice the nigglings more readily–that need to be given to God to handle– and we will enjoy freedom from that unsettled feeling. And when we pray we will be asking for the very things God desires.

“This is the new covenant I will make with my people, says the Lord; I will put my laws in their minds, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God and they will be my people.”

(Hebrews 8:10)


     I will have reached the point of greatest strength once I have learned to wait for hope.

                                                                                                                           George Matheson