Archive | December 2013

Positive Preparation for a Great New Year!

Feeling a bit frazzled?  Have the children had a little too much sugar??? Does the house look like a disaster area after unwrapping all those presents? Need to release some pent-up energy? Fear not, you tell yourself, this too shall pass and life as we know it will return . . .

Hmm, perhaps that’s part of the problem.  Life gets back to a routine and that means it’s couch potato time once again. It’s tempting to curl up under a pile of covers on a cold day! So resolve to make this coming year a truly positive and healthy one instead.

snow familyGet Your Family Involved in Healthier Living:

Conquer one challenge at a time. Keep it simple. Anything can become too complicated when one tries to do too much in a short allowance of time. Health takes time! Relax and get your support base together and that means a fun family exercise.

Without proper exercise, we’re only spinning our wheels and we’ll never lose that Christmas party weight. That’s why exercise should be a daily family routine.

Now I can hear you sigh, “You mean I have to exercise every day?”

“Oh dear,” I reply. “You mean I have to brush my teeth every day?”

Yes. That is, unless you enjoy rotting teeth and bad breath.  You choose to brush your teeth each day because the pay-off is better than the alternative. Same as health.

And who said exercise need be dull? Make exercise fun first of all, and then incorporate different types of exercise into your daily routine so you don’t get bored.  Just like a well-rounded, varied daily diet! I couldn’t eat one type of food forever could you, so why exercise in the same old way?

Variety really is the spice of life. Did you get an exercise video for Christmas? Use it as a family! Did you get snowed in and couldn’t get to work or school?  Sledding, building a snow fort or snowman, walking, skiing, dancing – it’s all exercise. Each exercise works different muscle groups just as nutrients provide different metabolic benefits as well. Therefore we need variety.

In order to enjoy life; relationships, exercise, food, as well as your occupation should be satisfying.  Look forward to family exercise as much as you do sitting down and watching the game on television. Think of the happy memories you’ll create.  There’s always an up-side!

Children will remember the times they exercised as a family and enjoyed fellowship. That’s a wonderful heritage to pass along.

“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.” Psalm 127: 3-5 (ESV)



Merry Christmas to All

Merry Christmas to all my wonderful Blogosphere friends and  . . . who knew???

3 wise women

Peace on Earth – Goodwill toward all mankind.

Life Lessons We Learn From Dogs . . .

We can learn a lot from dogs.

I’ve  written more about our little white Lhasa Apso than I have our sweet, beautiful Cocker Spaniel, Sebastian. He’s intelligent and well-traveled, having crossed this country six times and viewed 36 of the 49 States we’ve driven through in our motorhome.

Sebastian cropped phot 2Because we rescued him and fixed his myriad of physical problems, you could say he’s been slightly spoiled with attention. Now he believes he’s very handsome. We spoil him with love, play and lots of grooming. We speak to him as we would an older child and he actually understands.

But I’m stricter than my hubby. I feel good dogs should be taught manners. When we’re eating at the table, Sebastian should know that it’s “parents” time and not play time. While Jewel lays beside us and mimics us by chewing one of her “chewies”, alas Sebastian does not. It’s not like Sebastian isn’t one smart dog. In fact once, when we returned to my mom’s home, he rushed in, ran to her bedroom and looked on top of her dresser for a stuffed bear that he found there a year and a half ago! So my point is, he’s trainable.

A dog learns from his environment, same as children.  Sometimes Sebastian fusses for his food, expecting to get a dab of plain yogurt on it. If he doesn’t, he’ll pout, camp out by the bowl, going on a hunger strike. (I remember our children doing that as well.) But I’m more stubborn than Sebastian is and eventually when he gets hungry enough, he’ll eat. So did our children.

But during dinner lately he’s been vying for our attention and wants to play. My husband then tosses the Kong to him. This habit is driving me crazy because now he’s decided that it’s “his time” and not ours. As any adult knows, it’s tough to unlearn a habit!

So here’s the question: do we do the same thing with ourselves and our children? Can we resist? Or just as a child cries for a treat in the store, refusing to eat or throwing a tantrum in a public place, do we say “NO” but then give in? Even to ourselves? And what does that teach our children but to whine, fuss and disrespect authority if they don’t get their way? Spoil our children (and ourselves) with love, not things! Pamper our families with laughter, together-time and relaxation, not stress during this holiday season.

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6

And one more thing: If a dog lives what he learns, then so do children! Giving in to a temper tantrum instills many bad habits! If a child becomes accustomed to eating only non-nutritional foods because a parent gave in, most likely you’ll never instill self-discipline, rather they’ll “super-size me” and choose unwisely later on. If they learn that throwing a temper tantrum at home gets them what they want, then they’ll most likely be disrespectful to authority figures in the work place. Would that make you proud?

It’s the seemingly insignificant things in life that molds someone’s personality. It takes a lot of patience to have a well-mannered child. What I’ve heard in the malls this season, “But I want it now!” makes me cringe.  We are becoming more of an entitlement society today and if we want it to stop, it must begin in the home!

“but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.” Titus 1:8

Finally, A Sensible Answer to Food Addiction

In a world that seems to be obsessed with weight loss and dietary plans, self-help and personal assistance books are in great supply. Food Triggers adds to the mix. But, at the same time, Food Triggers, * End Your Cravings* Eat Well and Live Better, is a breath of fresh air. It provides both knowledge and inspiration in the “dietary wars.” Therefore, I am honored  to write a review for Worthy Press who recently published Rhona Epstein’s answer to one the toughest challenges over-eaters face. 

bookLG-food-triggersWhat is especially inspirational about Food Triggers is that it has integrity. Author Rhona Epstein, Psy.D, is an extremely accomplished woman. She is a licensed psychologist, certified addictions counselor and marriage and family therapist with a doctorate in clinical psychology. Yet, despite the impressive credentials, she still faced a private demon. Her extremely open and realistic perspective in confronting and conquering an eating addiction, is all part of the credibility of her book. In Food Triggers, she lays out practical pathways in well-thought-out form, to overcome them.

Interspersed with Christian values and Biblical verses, it is sensibly written using intelligent applications to which anyone can adhere. For example, using case composites of her many patients, we learn that it is not simply a matter of willpower as many believe. Additional emotional and physiological challenges factor into the equation. She lays out how the mind-body connection affects our actions.

“Training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,” Titus 2:12 (ESV)

Dr. Epstein addresses how one’s relationships, internal beliefs, lack of pre-planning and brain chemistry among others, affects food triggers and how one re-trains beliefs in order to take care of our bodily temple.

Food Triggers touches on what addicts relate to most and is a must for anyone who struggles with food addiction. It’s a refreshing perspective on instituting self-controlled eating habits into one’s life.

“But I say, walk in the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.”  Galatians 5: 16-17


And the Nominees for the Shauny Award are . . .

shaunya[ award

My deepest thanks to Kate Bortell of  for this prestigious award. She has truly blessed me because as she stated, this award is “to commit to showing humility and love toward all others, and to enhance these virtues in ourselves and others.”  Humility?  Well that’s debatable but I’m honored that someone thinks so. And love? Absolutely!  How I love all my followers who have encouraged me through their comments and support.

All of the nominees below have have touched my heart and life through their kind words. They have brought a smile to my face, a tear to my eye and always inspiration to my heart. Each possess courage and a positive, can-do spirit. These particular nominees are all over-comers who stared adversity in the face and said, “No, Not today! You cannot win! This day is for my LORD!!”  As always I wish I could nominate so many more because my followers have become my friends and I hated to leave some out. 

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The criteria for the award  (credit given to The Invisible Sage blogger, ( said it better than I could)

The idea behind the award is to commit to showing humility and love toward all others, and to enhance these virtues in ourselves and others. It is also to encourage ten other blogs by co-nominating them because they show such traits as well. Key points then, as stated by another recipient of the award, are to:

  • Show humanity and humility
  • Show love
  • Be yourself
  • Don’t be others
  • Don’t gossip
  • Share the award with 10 others
  • Link back to the person who nominated you for this award
  • Display the award logo with pride on your blog/site. That’s it!  Simple. Congratulations and go spread the love around!

“I thank my God every time I remember you.”  Philippians 1:3

Danger, Danger, Holiday Saboteurs Ahead!

lady baking pie

 “But I Baked This Just For You!”           

“Danger, Danger Will Robinson!!!”

Are you lost in a saboteur universe just as the Robinson family was in the 1960s television series, Lost in Space?

Food saboteurs might be lurking all around you. Yes, social situations present challenges to remaining faithful to a weight loss plan. Arm yourself for the party season ahead with some practical ways to resist saboteurs.

Possible family scenario:  Cousin Esmeralda remarks during dinner, “Andrea, save room for dessert because I made your favorite chocolate pecan pie!”

Okay, so now the guilt feelings start emerging.  How do you get out of this? I’d love to have a slice but I’m being so self-disciplined!

If you’re a “people pleaser,” you’d rather hurt yourself than someone’s feelings, so you’ll probably eat it, right?  Let me ask you, if you were a recovering drug addict and someone came to you and cajoled, “But I bought this cocaine just for you!” would you take it? Hopefully not. Why? Because it would destroy your healthy-living goal and wreck your godly temple, thus grieving the Holy Spirit, that’s why! Common sense!

The pecan pie itself, isn’t wrong to eat. It’s how we react to food that’s the key. Who’s in control? Your brain or your emotions?  Your weight goal or the pie? (If sugar’s a food trigger, that’s a different blog subject)

So let’s come up with some strategies to overcome this particular  temptation:

  • First acknowledge your cousin’s kindness because I doubt her intention was to sabotage you. (Although the lady in the above photo looks slightly sinister)  Recognize what Cousin Esmeralda  did was not intentional.
  • What you don’t want to do is state that you’re trying to get healthy in front of everyone because that might insult her, insinuating that her foods are unhealthy. It could even create a tirade of family protestations, “You look great! You can’t lose any more!”, ”Oh my! You already look so gaunt, eat something!” inhibiting your restraint. (Resist your own publicity.)
  • Privately to Cousin Esmeralda state, “What a thoughtful gesture! Would you mind if . . .” while already resolving to: 
  1. Eat less stuffing, gravy, potatoes, candied yams and rolls during dinner so you can eat a small sliver afterward. You’re exchanging carbohydrate and fat selections for another choice.
  2. Take a piece home, break it into smaller bites, freeze and consume over several days. (Call your cousin and let her know how much you enjoyed it even more the following day!) You probably did because you can savor the taste without feeling uncomfortable.
  3. Walk ten miles the next day for an entire piece or five miles for a sliver. Remember, it’s your choice. If you ate it, you own it. Exercise it off, don’t wear it! You’re in control of your choices.

Titus 2:12  “It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,”

Where there’s a will there’s a way.  Incorporate these actions into any party scenario. Use the above strategies whether it’s a July 4th BBQ rib dinner or your favorite cake at a birthday party. You can have your cheesecake and eat it too if you strategize beforehand.  Be prepared, have a Plan and a Plan B.

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13

Am I Really Trusting Completely?

“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

We live next to a vast open field. Every once in a while I can hear rifle shots as the farmer fires at rodents, snakes, rabbits or whatever to Jewel041208protect his property from destructive pests.

As I was walking along the pretty sidewalks with my little Lhasa Apso the other day, she heard those shots and got skittish. She started straining on her leash, anxious to return home. No matter how I tried to reassure her that I’d allow no harm to come to her she still wasn’t buying it! I sat her down her down while petting her, saying soothing words in a comforting tone but nothing worked. She still pulled on her leash and wanted her own way!

The trouble was so distant that there was absolutely no reason for her to fear.  She resides in a safe home, gets two substantial, healthy meals a day, gets plenty of belly rubs and yet she still didn’t trust me to keep her safe. How silly was that? I thought. Then the Holy Spirit spoke to me with a short but profound question, “Are you any different with Me?”

How like that little white dog I am sometimes!  No matter how many comforting words I read in the Bible. No matter how many answers to prayer I receive, I still fail to trust in God completely to supply all my needs.

Amazingly, Abraham, the great Patriarch of Faith was like that. He communed with God and received the LORD’s blessing. He would become the father to many nations, including God’s chosen one, Israel. Yet even Abraham failed to trust God completely and when he lost faith, unfortunately took matters into his own hands. Actions have consequences and today we reap the results of Abraham’s lack of trust, sown so many years ago.

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” Psalm 56:3

Yes, it takes an enormous amount of faith to trust. If you’ve ever been betrayed by a friend, taken advantage of by a sales person, scammed out of money, abused or abandoned by a close relative, our bias transfers to others because of their deed. But we can trust in God completely! God is Faithful.  He is True!  He Does Not Lie! And He is not man with a faulty nature.

God has only my best interest at heart and I believe even now, I’ll see how God’s pathway leading through my life has lead me to where He wants me to be now. Understanding that, there’s absolutely no reason to worry! God has His arms around me, soothing me with comforting Words. All I need to do is trust and not pull on my leash. Trust – it’s a liberating word.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11