Category Archives: Parish Nurse

from the desk of Parish Nurse Kara ….. What Can You Do If You Have Anxiety?

Occasional anxiety is a normal part of life. However, if feelings of anxiety interfere with daily  activities, then it is time to seek professional help.

Common anxiety signs and symptoms include:

  • Feeling nervous, restless or tense
  • Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom
  • Having an increased heart rat
  • Breathing rapidly
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry
  • Having trouble sleeping
  • Having difficulty controlling worry <!–split–>

 Contact your doctor for help if any ONE of the following is true for you:

  • Your worrying is interfering with work, relationships or other parts of your life
  • Your fear, worry, or anxiety is upsetting to you and difficult to control
  • You think your anxiety is linked to a physical health problem

The good news is that both anxiety and heart problems are treatable, and exercise or regular movement is a great help for both heart health and anxiety. Exercise boosts blood circulation through your body, reduces cortisol, improves your mood, and lowers blood pressure. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise, like walking, dancing or biking. That comes to a doable 20 minutes every day.

Other lifestyle modifications that help treat both anxiety and heart conditions, include:

  • Practicing good sleep hygiene
  • Managing stress
  • Eating a variety of delicious whole foods
  • Practicing self-care, this is not selfish, this is needed for optimal health
  • Minimizing contact with anxiety-evoking person or concern.

Throughout life there are events and tasks that may evoke some anxiety. A helpful strategy is to be proactive and plan. These are planning questions to ask and think about to minimize the negative effect of anxiety on your health:

  • What is coming up in the week ahead that may bring about stress or anxiety?
  • What do you need to do to feel more comfortable about these issue(s)?
  • What could you do to be more assertive about addressing the issue(s)

Anxiety is real and can be debilitating. Be willing to seek professional care. You can start with your primary care provider. He/she will be able to direct you in the proper direction.

SOURCE: information is from Trinity Newsletter, July 2023

Your Parish Nurse, Kara

How to Stay Active During the Cold Winter Months

Ideas to keep you physically active inside the comfort of your home or backyard:

  1. Try online exercise videos such as yoga, arthritis-friendly workouts, chair exercises, Tao Chi or an exercise program offered near you.
  2. Cleaning the house (dusting, mopping, vacuuming, etc.) can help keep your body active as well as keep you busy when you feel stuck inside your home.
  3. Dancing to your favorite music can be a fun way to be physically active and can be done with friends over video conferencing or the telephone.
  4. Raking leaves or shoveling snow are great moderate forms of exercise – Just be sure to check with your doctor to see if these types of exercise are safe for you.
  5. If you have stairs in your home or that lead into your home, start with a few minutes of walking up and down the the stairs while holding on to the railing. Over time work up to adding more minutes as you feel comfortable.

NOTE: Do not try doing this in the winter if your stairs are slick or covered in ice.

  1. Try doing wall pushups, arm raises, hand gripping exercises, or lifting soup cans (or light free weights) in your home during television commercials – this exercise can really add up during an hour long show! <!–split–>

Benefits of Exercise:

  • Staying physically active helps you to continue to remain in dependent in your own home.
  • Reduces feelings of anxiety and depression or the “blues.”
  • Keeping physically active helps to keep your mind sharp by improving cognitive function.
  • Helps build and maintain the strength of your bone, joints, and muscles – balance and strength training exercises may even help to lower your risk of falling by 40%.
  • Exercise may help to keep away unwanted weight gain, which is associated with a variety of health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, and certain types of cancers.
  • Aerobic exercises help improve the health of your heart and exercise in general helps to control blood sugars for people with diabetes.
  • Helps to reduce arthritis pain. Studies have shown that older adults with osteoarthritis experienced less pain and were more flexible after approximately 4 months of doing strength training exercises.

We are starting a new year! Start moving more! You don’t have to do Olympic workouts right way. Just move more than you did the day before and you are on your way!

Your Parish Nurse, Kara

December Focus

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.  — Luke 2:11

When Jesus was born, a great company of angels announced his birth. He was the Son of God, after all—he deserved a grand entrance into the world. They sang a glorious song, and they must have looked amazing as they shone in the night sky. But the angels announced the Savior’s birth to a group of peasant shepherds. They were not a very grand audience to receive the King of all nations, “the Messiah, the Lord.” Nevertheless, the birth of Jesus was announced to lowly shepherds. It’s fitting that the birth of Jesus was announced to a lowly group of people. The purpose of the Messiah’s coming was to bring God’s love to lowly people like us and to fulfill the hopes and dreams of lowly people like us. The purpose of Jesus’ coming was to restore lowly people like us to relationship with God. So the shepherds were just the right kind of people to hear this news. <!–split–>

The world desperately needs God. We desperately need God. But no matter how hard we try, we cannot get to God on our own merit. The good Christmas is that Jesus the hopes of the world are fulfilled.

As you spend today getting ready for your church Christmas services, pause and remember—in all we communicate, let’s make this good news the focus of our Christmas Celebrations.

This devotional is adapted from a December 2016 Today devotional written by Rev. Rebecca Jordan Heys.

Merry Christmas and many blessings,  Kara, Your Parish Nurse

“Thankfulness” by Anna Stone

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him (Colossians 3:17).  When my granddaughter was born, my daughter Sarah asked what it is that I would like for her to teach her newborn. And my answer is thankfulness.

As my children were growing up, I tried different ways to help them see how blessed they are, to become grateful. It was mostly around the Thanksgiving dinner table when they felt put on the spot. We usually had a number of guests for the turkey feast, and we had the exercise whereby we asked everyone to share something they are thankful for before we began eating. When the children were still young, they were grateful for toys, books, or clothes. Through the years, the items they appreciated varied, but they handmade thank you cards for family and friends who gave them presents. The habit-building exercises were routine at first, but the objective is through practice the children become authentically thankful.  <!–split–>

As parents, it is our hope that our children will mature appreciative of God’s blessings. Thankfulness is good for the soul. It tames the inner man to use the senses, to be observant, and to sharply see goodness around us. As defined, thankfulness is an awareness, without it mere words like ‘thank you’ are empty and meaningless.

For years I have wondered why thankfulness is not a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) – love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, and gratefulness? It turns out, without thankfulness it is difficult to unconditionally love people, to be joyful in all circumstances, be peaceful in chaos, be patient with things we can’t control, to be good and choose the good, gentle to those who don’t even deserve it, faithful in the mundane, and long suffering in the trying times.

Thankfulness gives the perspective that allows us to see that itty bitty light of hope when nothing makes sense. At times it will have to start as a conscious choice but as we practice thankfulness, then this becomes a habit that could change the way the world looks. A grateful heart is able to receive love, experience joy in the toughest of days, be peaceful. A person who is aware of one’s blessings knows his/her imperfections and acknowledges how those flaws can hurt people. That self-awareness leads to wanting God more, as John 15:15 says, it is Christ who makes us something, or a somebody. Everything good we have is from Him. It is right to be thankful to Him. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17)

Thanksgiving Day 2023 is going to be challenging. What can we be grateful for if businesses are closing down, people are losing their jobs, loved ones are getting sick, and worse, dying because of COVID-19? Is there good when we can’t hear the laughter of children in playgrounds or schools are shutting down?

The corona virus does not exempt us from political turmoil and unrest over social issues. We are living in challenging times. “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:1-3)

The heavenward perspective is what sets Christ followers apart. When we set our minds on things above, all these earthly troubles are insignificant. We can thank God that we can look to Him for guidance. It may seem so basic, but let’s ask God to help us be more aware, to bring to mind His enduring faithfulness.

The Author and Finisher of our faith is committed to complete what He started in our lives. Forget not the benefits of following Him. He is good. Let us look around and ask God to give us eyes to see His kindness to us. Taste and see that the Lord is good, even today. (From Salvation Army Women’s Ministries)

Your Parish Nurse, Kara

Rapid Dementia Onset Linked to Atrial Fibrillation in Women

Women with a common heart rhythm problem called atrial fibrillation are more likely to develop dementia, and the severity of their dementia progresses more quickly for women than it does for men, according to a new study. One reason may be because women are at a high risk of being undiagnosed for atrial fibrillation and may be experiencing tiny “silent strokes” that damage their brains a little bit at a time, the lead researcher said. <!–split–>

“Symptoms of atrial fibrillation in women are often ignored by healthcare providers or attributed to stress or anxiety so it can go undiagnosed for a long period of time, while men are more likely to be diagnosed and treated quickly,” said study author and Emory University associate professor of nursing Kathryn Wood, PhD, in a statement. “Being undiagnosed means not receiving oral anticoagulant medication to prevent blood clots and strokes caused by atrial fibrillation. These women may be having clots that go to small blood vessels in their brain, causing them to lose brain function gradually and develop cognitive impairment.”

The study, published last month in the Alzheimer’s Association journal “Alzheimer’s & Dementia”, included data from 43,630 people, of whom 4,593 had atrial fibrillation at the start of the study, and 39,037 did not. The average age of people in the study was 78.5 years old and 46% were women. Researchers looked at whether people were diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, whether they had cognitive impairment or the more severe diagnosis of dementia at the time of diagnosis, and also how rapidly the condition progressed.

Women with atrial fibrillation were three times more likely than men to be diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment or dementia. Women had a 26% increased risk of moving from normal cognitive function to mild cognitive function after an atrial fibrillation diagnosis, and an 89% increased risk of moving from mild cognitive function to dementia. The elevated risks were in comparison to men with atrial fibrillation, as well as compared to men and women without atrial fibrillation.

According to the CDC, an estimated 12 million people in the U.S. have atrial fibrillation, which sometimes has no symptoms at all but can include one or more of the following:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Heart palpitations (rapid, fluttering, or pounding)
  • Lightheadedness
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain

People with A.Fib have a fivefold higher risk of having a stroke. The CDC estimates that 1 in 7 strokes are caused by A.Fib. The irregular heartbeat means blood doesn’t flow well from the upper chambers of the heart to the lower chambers, and the problems can occur in brief episodes or permanently.

“Establishing ways to identify atrial fibrillation patients at the highest risk of cognitive decline and stroke will inform future interventions to prevent or slow the progression to cognitive impairment and dementia,” Wood said. (Written by Lisa O’Mary)

Your Parish Nurse,  Kara

Today, Gone Tomato: Why You Should Take Advantage of Tomato Season

Fresh tomatoes are one of the highlights of the summer season. There are literally thousands of varieties to choose from – each with its own distinct taste, shape, color, and size. The classification of tomatoes is something that’s been hotly debated for centuries. Should a tomato be considered a fruit or a vegetable? Well, it depends on how you slice it. Botanically, the tomato is a fruit. But legally, it’s not. In 1893 the Supreme Court ruled in Nix v. Hedden that the tomato should be classified as a vegetable rather than a fruit for purposes of tariffs, imports, and customs. At the time of the case, fruits and vegetables were taxed differently. Imported vegetables were slapped with a 10% tariff upon their arrival in the United States while imported fruits were not. Ultimately, the court ruled that people eat tomatoes like vegetables and so they should be taxed as such. <!–split–>

What Makes Tomatoes a Superfood?

Fruit or vegetable, tomatoes are bursting with flavor and nutrients. Tomatoes contain an abundance of minerals and vitamins that are good for your body. Tomatoes Contain High Amounts of Vitamin C. This important vitamin strengthens your immune system and helps protect your body from infection.

Tomatoes Are Full of Lycopene.

Lycopene is the pigment principally responsible for the characteristic deep-red color of ripe tomatoes. The health-promoting compound also fights the free radicals that are damaging our cells. Free radicals can potentially lead to heart disease and premature aging and even contribute to some types of cancers.

The benefits of Lycopene:

  • Protects the skin from excessive UV radiation
  • Protects the body from harmful substances (Neutralizes free radicals)
  • Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Decreases the risk of osteoporosis
  • Contributes to a more peaceful and healthy sleep
  • Lowers the risk of developing several types of cancer
Additionally, tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamins…
  • Vitamin A promotes vision and a healthy immune system.
  • Vitamin K helps wounds heal and blood clot properly.
  • Vitamin E helps protect against free radicals.
  • Vitamins B1, B2, and B6 help the enzymes in our bodies do their jobs and are important for a wide range of cellular functions, like breaking down carbohydrates and transporting nutrients throughout the body.
  • Tomatoes are also very low in calories and full of fiber which can support digestion and can help regulate blood sugar.
10 Easy Ways to Eat More Tomatoes
  1. Add them to a grilled cheese sandwich.
  2. Scramble them into eggs.
  3. Top your salad with diced tomatoes.
  4. Add cherry tomatoes to a shish-ka-bob.
  5. Put a grape tomato on a toothpick with a mozzarella pearl and a little olive oil for an easy appetizer.
  6. Try a tomato, mozzarella, and pesto sandwich.
  7. Top a bagel with melted cheese and a sliced tomato.
  8. Make couscous with shrimp, feta, and tomato.
  9. Add tomatoes to a frittata or quiche.
  10. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper and eat them fresh!

Your Parish Nurse, KARA

From the desk of our Parish Nurse ….. Healthy Harvest

Growing season for fresh fruits and vegetables is in full swing and now is the perfect time to celebrate and enjoy the abundance of local fruits and veggies just waiting to be gobbled up! Fruits and vegetables provide a variety of essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, which are known to help fight harmful free radicals in the body. Older adults need more of certain vitamins and minerals to promote good health and combat health issues associated with aging like osteoporosis, age-related eye conditions, constipation, high blood pressure and many more! <!–split–>

Here are some of the key nutrients and the fruits and veggies that provide a good/great source of them to keep you healthy: (disclaimer – I wouldn’t eat some of these foods. Just sayin’!)

  • Calcium – 1⁄2 cup cooked collard greens, turnip greens, green soybeans (edamame), or spinach, and calcium fortified orange juice.
  • Iron – Lentils, spinach, white beans, lima beans, pinto beans.
  • Vitamin A – Fresh or dried apricots, asparagus, cantaloupe, carrots, celery, collard greens, romaine lettuce, mango, spinach, sweet potato, tomato, watermelon.
  • Vitamin C – apricots, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cantaloupe, cauliflower, kiwifruit, lemon, lime, honeydew melon, okra, orange, pineapple, potatoes, strawberries, sweet potato, tomatoes, watermelon.
  • Fiber – Apples, blackberries, blueberries, broccoli, sweet cherries, kiwifruit, sweet potatoes, tomatoes.
  • Potassium – Lima beans, bananas, broccoli, sweet cherries, kiwifruit, sweet potatoes, tomatoes.
  • Magnesium – Pinto beans, 1⁄2 cup cooked spinach, artichoke hearts, butternut squash, lentils, lima beans, soybeans.

Cleaning Your Produce

Always keep produce separate from raw meat, poultry and seafood. Never use detergent or bleach to wash produce. Instead, rinse produce under running tap water immediately prior to use, including those with skins and rinds that are not eaten. Washing too far in advance removes some of nature’s natural preservatives. However, head lettuce or leafy greens remain crisper when washed right away and then refrigerate all cut, peeled or cooked fruits and vegetables within 2 hours.

For information on how to store other fruits and vegetables go to FruitsAndVeggiesMoreMatters.org

Kara Ade, Parish Nurse

If I Get Dementia ….. from the desk of Parish Nurse Kara

  • If I get dementia, I want my friends and family to embrace my reality. If I think my spouse is still alive, or if I think we’re visiting my parents for dinner, let me believe those things. I’ll be much happier for it.
  • If I get dementia, don’t argue with me about what is true for me versus what is true for you.
  • If I get dementia and I’m not sure who you are, do not take it personally. My timeline is confusing to me.
  • If I get dementia and can no longer use utensils, do not start feeding me. Instead, switch me to a finger-food diet, and see if I can still feed myself.
  • If I get dementia and I am sad or anxious, hold my hand and listen. Do not tell me that my feelings are unfounded. <!–split–>
  • If I get dementia, I don’t want to be treated like a child. Talk to me like the adult that I am.
  • If I get dementia, I still want to enjoy the things that I’ve always enjoyed. Help me find a way to exercise, read, and visit with friends.
  • If I get dementia, ask me to tell you a story from my past.
  • If I get dementia and I become agitated, take the time to figure out what is bothering me.
  • If I get dementia, treat me the way that you would want to be treated.
  • If I get dementia, make sure that there are plenty of snacks for me in the house. Even know if I don’t eat, I get hungry, and if I have dementia, I may have trouble explaining what I need.
  • If I get dementia, don’t talk about me as if I’m not in the room.
  • If I get dementia, don’t feel guilty if you cannot care for me 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It’s not your fault, and you’ve done your best. Find someone who can help you, or choose a great new place for me to live.
  • If I get dementia and I live in a dementia care community, please visit me often.
  • If I get dementia, make sure I always have my favorite music playing within earshot.
  • If I get dementia and I like to pick up items and carry them around, help me return those items to their original place.
  • If I get dementia, don’t exclude me from parties and family gatherings.
  • If I get dementia, know that I still like receiving hugs or handshakes.
  • If I get dementia, remember that I am still the person you know and love.

This was shared with Kara Ade from Mary Ann Harvey

Ways to Send Loneliness Packing

Most of us have felt the sting of loneliness at some point in our lives. It’s a normal part of life, along with all the times we may have wished for the opposite—just a few minutes of peace and quiet! But ending social isolation in seniors can actually lead to physical and mental health problems as you age.

“Social isolation is a serious yet under-recognized public health problem that is often associated with old age,” said Jianfeng Feng of Fudan University in China, in an article published by the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation in New York City. Dr. Feng’s team studied more than 460,000 adults in the U.K., aged 57 and older, for 12 years.  “Given the findings of this study,” she said, “social isolation may be an early indicator of an increased risk of dementia.” Other studies in other countries have come to the same conclusion. But the effects of loneliness on aging don’t stop there.” <!–split–>

 “There is robust evidence that social isolation and loneliness significantly increase risk for premature mortality, and the magnitude of the risk exceeds that of many leading health indicators,” said Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Ph.D., a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Brigham Young University, in an article published by the American Psychological Association. In fact, notes the article, social isolation can cause as much harm as “smoking 15 cigarettes a day or having alcohol use disorder.”

Are you an older adult and need some ideas for banishing loneliness? You’ve probably heard many of the typical suggestions for coping with loneliness, like volunteering, visiting the local senior center, and going to an exercise class. With a little imagination, and by focusing on your interests, you can increase the fun factor. Here are a few suggestions for staying connected with other people that you may not have considered.

Join or Start a Reading Group

Whether you’re a seeker of science fiction, a lover of poetry, or a nonfiction fan, you’re likely to find people who have the same interest. Check with your local library or bookstore, which often host reading groups. If you don’t find one, why not ask for their help starting one? They’ll get more readers or buyers, and you’ll gain a new way to connect with others.Here’s how it works: Members of the group read the same book, then gather (in person or online) to discuss it and give their insight on the characters and plot. Reading groups often meet monthly to chat about the latest book the group has read, but they could meet on any schedule. For a twist, consider hosting a “silent reading” group, where people read their own book in the same place. A silent reading party has been going strong in the lounge of a Seattle hotel since 2009!

Host a Game Day

Lots of families and young adults enjoy “game nights,” but there’s no reason to restrict the fun to the evening hours. Plenty of people are at their sharpest earlier in the day. Especially if the games you want to play involve logic or strategy, your group may appreciate this tweak in the usual timing. Offer tea and coffee, and ask guests to bring a snack to share. Depending on how many people you invite, you can have more than one game going. Think cards, board games, or even jigsaw puzzles.

Join a Pen Pal Organization

You may already enjoy exchanging emails or handwritten letters with friends, children or grandchildren. Why not extend your reach? Start locally—perhaps residents of a local senior living community or nursing home would enjoy exchanging letters. If you’d rather connect with someone nationally or internationally, there are numerous safe, well-run companies that have been around for years. These sites offer privacy and security measures and may suggest you get a P.O. Box if you prefer not to share your home address. Look for Worldwide Snail Mail Pen Pals on Facebook, or search for the web sites of PenPal World, PostCrossing (postcards only), and the International Geek Girl Pen Pals Club (where you need not be a geek or a girl).

Start a Baking Group

Who says cookie exchanges are only for Christmas? The joy of baking and sharing goodies is season-less, and grandkids aren’t the only ones who enjoy a good treat. If you know a few other people who enjoy baking, why not have a monthly exchange? It can be fun to share favorite family recipes and even try new things (and maybe have a chuckle!) with a for-giving group of co-bakers. Try taking inspiration from birthdays, holidays, the seasons, or local events. You could even share your cookies, pies and other treats with the local firefighters, police department or mail carriers.

When You Enjoy It, You’ll Stick With It

The more you enjoy what you’re doing, the more likely you’ll stick with it. Your new activity or hobby may even lead to other ways to connect with people. And remember, your Right at Home professional caregiver can help with mobility issues so you can gather with your new friends. The caregiver also would be happy to visit for a social call or activity. Let us help you tackle loneliness. A final note: If you are experiencing loneliness or isolation, you may be at risk for depression or other health problems. It’s important to talk to your health care provider for further assistance.

[Taken from Right at Home Resources Feb. 2023]

Your Parish Nurse, Kara

Six Things To Do Over

Though fasting is one of the most traditional practices over Lent, there are other ways to honor this time. To help you get started, we’ve put together some ideas.    –Written by Catherine Ryan

Lent is a time to prepare your heart for the mystery and majesty of Christ’s death and resurrection that we celebrate on Easter. You’ve probably heard of people giving up something for Lent. Some call it fasting. People may stop eating chocolate or junk food for these 40 days before Easter. Others may step away from social media during that time. Though fasting is one of the most traditional practices over Lent, there are certainly other ways to honor this time. Lent is simply about growing closer to Christ and reflecting on the events that we celebrate on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. So instead of giving up something for Lent, you may decide to add an activity to your day that helps you reflect on these events. As you think about what you might do differently over Lent to help your faith go deeper, consider what may be best for you and your lifestyle. There are many ways to honor the Lenten season. But to help you get started, we’ve put together some ideas. <!–split–>

Here are six practices for Lent that don’t include fasting.

  1. EXERCISE EVERY DAY. I know what you’re thinking … this is 40 days to get spiritually healthy, not physically healthy! But the two can be connected. Exercising requires you to set aside time, which opens a door for you to reflect on God’s goodness while you’re doing physical activity. It doesn’t have to be intense cardio or weightlifting either. It could just be a 20-minute walk around your neighborhood. While you’re exercising, thank God for the gift of your body, your breath, your heart and your life.
  2. MEMORIZE SCRIPTURE. Identify six verses from Scripture and give yourself one week to memorize each, which will take you through all 40 days (six weeks) of Lent. Write each on an index card. Put a card somewhere you’ll see it multiple times per day — on the refrigerator, on your car dash, bathroom mirror, etc. Each time you pass the card, read it and repeat it. By the end of the week, it will hopefully be “written on your heart” (Proverbs 7:3), and you can move on to the next verse.
  3. MEDITATE FOR 15 MINUTES A DAY. Sometimes the quiet moments spent with God — without reading Scripture or even active prayer — can be the most powerful. Spend 15 minutes a day resting in God’s presence and reflecting on the gift of his Son, who died on the cross for our sins. It can be any time of the day that works best for you: first thing in the morning, in the car on the way to work, in the school pickup line or before bed.
  4. VOLUNTEER AT YOUR CHURCH OR A LOCAL NONPROFIT. One of the best ways to grow gratitude for all you’ve been given is by serving those less fortunate. Research shows that people who volunteer experience a boost in their mental health. Think of a ministry that’s close to your heart and contact them to see if they need any help. It could be your church, a local soup kitchen, nursing home, or even an animal shelter. Jesus came to earth to serve. What better way to honor him than by following his example of service?
  5. READ A LENTEN DEVOTIONAL GUIDE. There are dozens of devotional books out there specifically written for the Lenten season. Most include a Scripture reading, devotional thought and prayer of reflection. Find one that speaks to you and read it daily. It might take only five or 10 minutes per day, but a devotional is a great way to get your heart and mind ready for the celebration of Easter.
  6. PRAY FOR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES AROUND THE WORLD. We know from 1 John 2:2 that because Jesus died on the cross, “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (NIV). Lent is recognized in church communities globally. It is a time that unites Christians around the world — which also makes it a great time to pray for our brothers and sisters in other countries.

One way you can easily pray for children and families around the world during Lent is by joining Compassion’s prayer network. Simply visit compassion.com/prayer, where you’ll find daily prayer requests. It only takes a minute to say a quick prayer for one of these requests, but prayer is a powerful way you can make a difference in so many lives. And as you pray, you’ll be reminded of the global connection you have with your brothers and sisters in Christ around the world — during Lent and throughout the year.

Kara Ade, Parish Nurse