Archive | July 2014

Would You Be a Winner at the Westminster Dog Show?

thMBW82FMMHave you ever watched The Westminster Dog Show on TV?  When you watched it for the first time, I bet you wondered how in the world someone could judge a Border Collie against a Scottish Terrier or Bloodhound, right?

As the commentator explains during each year’s show, each breed is judged against its own standard. Meaning, is this the best example of any Border Collie as required by its standard in the American Kennel Club rule book?

Well, that Pug is never actually judged against that cute little Bichon Frisé. That would be unfair.  Why?  Because he doesn’t have the same bone structure, temperament, looks or characteristics of the other breed, that’s why. Each dog is created uniquely.

So are we. Each one of us is unique. And as such, we need to judge ourselves against the standards found in our rule book; God’s Holy Bible. Ask yourself, “Do I exemplify Jesus’s high standards?”

Someone attempting to become healthier is addressing a similar challenge. We are each unique. We are commanded to strive for personal excellence, not compete against the world’s standards of beauty.

“. . . whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

I am unique. My bone structure is different than Mary’s and my personality’s different from Andrea’s.  But why would someone want to be me? Am I representing God’s image as one to aspire to?  I realize God loves me as I am, but that shouldn’t give me license to abuse my earthly body.  So I must ask myself, am I the best Ellie, (or Sandy, Judy, Fred) that I could be according to the standards God set for me?

Some scoff, “Why is it important for Christians to be healthy in the first place?  After all, these bodies are only temporary, right?”

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7)  

Some say we’ll live forever in our beautiful new bodies anyway, so why not live life to the fullest now? Why? Because we are commanded by Scriptures to keep our bodies holy, that’s why.  Lust, gluttony and being out-of-control is sin!

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 states, “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own, you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”

Every woman was not meant to be 120 lbs. and look like Jennifer Aniston.  Every man was not meant to be 6ft. and 190 lbs. and look like George Clooney.  It would be a pretty boring world if we did.  Do you remember an old Twilight Zone episode based on the concept of beauty? In the future, a one-world society discourages individuality and insures that all human kind exemplifies only several basic models of beauty. Everyone looked, spoke and acted alike, losing their identity. Robotic. So who are we to shake our fist at God and complain about how he made us? Embrace your differences for the world’s idea of beauty changes but God’s heart doesn’t.

Have you ever noticed how people so often resemble their pets? Well perhaps you’re a poodle, Cocker spaniel, bulldog or a bloodhound, but all dogs are cute in their own way and each has value! You have worth simply because you are!

 “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;” (Psalm 139:14)

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Allow Your Children the Luxury of Being Imperfect Beings

thGYLDRKTHWe live in an age in which “everyone gets a prize.” Parents not wanting to disappoint their children, give every participant a ribbon. The world is unfair; in life, everyone does not get a prize.

James heard daily how incredibly special he could be because his older brother was a star athlete. His parents believed that their younger son could also be the  best player on his Little League team as well. Unfortunately this was unmerited praise for he was not. Professing to be Christians, James’s parents attended church and appeared to live godly lives until they attended their son’s Christian school games. That is when their testimony soured. His parents embarrassed their son with their cat-calls and criticism of the other team.  Every coach who benched him “Didn’t know what he was doing, was stupid and a lousy coach.”

Children need realistic boundaries, balance, guidelines and goals. Each child has a different personality and skill level. James loved books more than sports and dreamed of being a famous chef. But his parents continually urged him toward goals which were unrealistic. So few high school players ever go on to become a pro athlete and when James failed to win a college baseball scholarship, he felt like a total failure. He’d never be his brother. As James lived with the daily pressure of his parent’s expectations, he became increasingly resentful and bitter. I’ll never be good enough for them!

Upon entering the real world and away from his parents, James believed life would be easier but it wasn’t. To James, having grown up in an all or nothing environment, he didn’t possess the social skills needed in the business world and failed at every job he tried. But he had found his champion hobby . . . becoming a champion eater and 388 pounds.

He searched for an outlet to fill the emotional emptiness in his life. Food was that substance. James innately discovered that certain chemicals released through food, created feelings of pleasure, especially sugary foods. The more he ate, the more he could numb the pain of his parents nagging. Chemicals satiated his love hunger.

Addiction is addiction is addiction. If it hadn’t been food, it would have been smoking, shopping, alcohol, drugs, gambling or even television. Something needed to fill his inadequacy within. Whatever chemically makes one feel so good it can’t be given it up is an addiction. It masks the pain through its chemical attributes. It’s the reason why many addicts run from one addiction to the other, trying to fill emotional gaps in their lives.

As a child of God, we need to realize that we are each different but useful to Him even with our imperfections. I’d urge you to read to your children the many examples of flawed people who were used by God: Jonah was a coward, David was a cheater, Paul was a murderer, Moses stuttered, Thomas doubted and so on. Allow your own children the luxury of being imperfect. Teach them it is okay to fail if we rise up again! Life is a continuous learning experience and we learn from our mistakes. Each child has a unique personality and reward them with your love because of that!

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”  (Galatians 5:16 )

What Difference Does Fiber Make?

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In order to absorb nutrients from the food you consume, it must be broken down by enzymes which are primarily absorbed through the small intestine. A clean intestinal system will absorb nutrients faster and jump-start your metabolism. How do we do that? Consume fiber!

Fiber does so much to foster good health and here’s a great illustration to explain why:

If you have a garbage disposal in your home and nonchalantly threw scraps of food particles into it but never turned it on, what would happen?  It would build up, attract bugs and start to smell right?  And then when you finally did turn it on, it would start grinding so slowly it might even stop if it’s too clogged.  Then you would have to snake out the trapped particles or use something chemically to unclog it.

This describes how our body system works as well. When one consumes mainly meat, fats, junk food and low fiber foods, the intestines get clogged.  It’s harder to move those foods through the colon because food just kinda sits there. Since your body can’t absorb nutrients which are vital to life, your brain’s hypothalamus nags you to eat more food in search of those needed nutrients, thus you eat more calories but absorb fewer nutrients.

Strive to eat more fiber and keep your entire system working on less! Normally we need 25-35 grams of various fibers daily. (approximately 4 grams equal one teaspoon.)

God advised Adam in Genesis 1:29 “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it.  They will be yours for food.”  That’s why He placed Adam in a Garden – that’s where all the nutrients are to sustain life!

Fiber is only found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Sorry, no matter how tough that piece of meat is, there is no fiber in its content. Neither is there any fiber in protein or fat.

There are two kinds of fiber, soluble and insoluble. Usually fruits, vegetables and whole grains include combinations of both.

Soluble fiber turns into a gel and helps lower one’s cholesterol.  Think apples, oranges, pears, beans and oats, which are excellent sources of soluble fiber.  Soluble fiber keeps our blood sugar levels steady so it’s easier to stand up to temptations. It also reduces the treacherous LDL cholesterol! Think of it as Liquid Plumr.

Insoluble fiber stays intact, it doesn’t break up as it travels through your system.  Think corn which basically exits intact. Whole grains such as potatoes, legumes, apple peels, beans and bran cereals are other excellent sources. Insoluble fiber  draws water into the intestines, making stools bulkier and easier to pass. It’s like Roto-Rooter.

If you ever dropped pizza crust or a piece of bread into the sink and watched it swell as water touched it, that’s what happens to fiber in your system. Fiber expands, creating a feeling of fullness.

There are seven forms of fiber: pectin, bran, cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin, guns and mucilage. I won’t bore you with all the details. Rest assured though, if you eat 60% of your daily calorie intake containing fruits, vegetables and whole grains, you’ll reduce your risk of colon cancer, heart disease, constipation, obesity, hemorrhoids and many other diseases. Remember, a man reaps what he sows, so strive to eat healthier!

Warning:  Increase fiber gradually.  Excessive fiber intake may decrease the absorption of zinc, iron and calcium as well as promoting more gas. Take vitamin and mineral supplements separately from fiber.

God’s Incredible Machine!

There have been several news stories lately about extraordinary feats. In two separate incidents, an ordinary man and woman, using seemingly superhuman strength, lifted a car from someone trapped underneath. Another story told of a child surviving a pool drowning after being beneath the water for nearly twenty minutes. “How in the world could that happen?” you wonder.

thWL1QNQPVGod created our bodies as incredible machines, able to perform remarkable achievements! Therefore, it strives to protect us or our loved ones at any cost.

Even when we do something crazy.

Case in point: when we attempt a starvation diet, pills, shots or liquid protein diet; all of these actions only result in our bodies going into protection mode. Sure we will lose weight initially but in the long haul, our bodies will discern that this is not natural and will slow our metabolism to save energy.  Then when we come to our senses, finally deciding that it’s expensive, harmful and ridiculous, our body begins to store fat for later use. Because after all, “the crops might die again” and we’ll need that stored energy to survive. This is innately self-protecting as well as self-defeating to our egos. It seems our body wants to live more than we do! But we feel like a failure.

There is no miraculous way to lose weight. It always goes back to physiology: sensible nutritious eating, consuming water and exercising to burn calories and tone muscle which burns fat. Boring and time-consuming. So to speed things up we’ll desperately try anything! Gimmicks don’t work.

My suggestion is in order to lose weight, make life a game, challenging but fun! Increase your water intake by filling a container with water adding a combination of lemon, cucumber slices, watermelon, berries, celery . . .  you get the idea. Create a chart and for every glass you drink, check off a block. Every box is worth a nickel, dime, whatever. Display the jar and tangibly see your accomplishments right in front of you. That’s a great feeling of self-discipline. Self esteem issues were probably one reason you gained in the first place, right? (Congratulations – you’re now a winner!) Use the reward money for a family fun night, DVD or shopping trip.

When did exercise cease to be fun? When we were children we ran for the pure joy of it! Find a sport the family can perform together. Whether it’s throwing the Frisbee, biking, swimming, badminton, hiking; these can all be fun activities and bond the family together. As your health improves, so does your children’s.

Cooking. This can be a fun family achievement as well. Have each family member list their favorite dinners and place all in a hat, then plan your weekly menu. Even hamburgers, meatloaf and happy familypizza can be created with less fat. Use 93% ground round or homemade pizza with less cheese and more veggies. Grilled chicken or roasted pork loin with grilled potatoes, veggies and salad are not fattening. Use the leftover pork for BBQ sandwiches and extra chicken for salad. Search through cookbooks as a family to see what recipes would be fun to try. Did you know that 80% of the time, families consume the same 12 meals? Boring! Your body needs nutritional variety.

Strive for excellence as a family, instilling discipline and common sense. What values are you teaching your children? They watch and learn.

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;” (Ephesians 4:22)

 

 

A Special Thanks to Two Special Ladies

Once again, I am humbled by two followers who honor me with two Very Inspiring Blogger Awards. When I think of all those who are more deserving they could have selected, I am truly touchedar-inspiringblogger1[1]very-inspiring-blogger-award-2[1]. Thanks go for this nomination to two beautiful, lovely, inspiring women: my ‘free spirit’ friend at http://alygeorges.wordpress.com who always dances in the rain and to my “searching for Angela Basset’s arms” friend http://fromtrextotigress.com. Please check out their blogs and be inspired as well! I appreciate their kindness as well as their friendship within this blogosphere we exist in!

Here are the rules:

  1. Thank and link the amazing person who nominated you.
  2. List the rules and display the award.
  3. Share seven facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated.
  5. Optional: Proudly display the award logo on your blog and follow the blogger who nominated you.

Seven Facts About Myself:

  1. Love animals and as a farm girl have had a raccoon, skunk, snapping turtle and a duck as pets.
  2. Can’t eat duck to this day because little Daffy “went to visit friends” and never came back.
  3. My favorite country is Austria . . .  well maybe Greece . . . perhaps Italy . . . mmm, or . . . any country I’m in. “Wherever you go . . .  there you are.”
  4. I’m looking forward to my first non-fiction book coming out within the next month, entitled “Life’s Too Short to Eat Bad Cheese . . .”
  5. I love any movie that is intelligently written like “Benjamin Button” or with a “Wow, what a great ending!” like “The Shawshank Redemption.”
  6. Love all types of music from Jazz, Rock, Oldies, Country to Christian.
  7. My first car was my brother’s ’62 Chevy II Nova, which I happily used for a year until I had to give it back, sigh.

So now I get to nominate 15 other amazing (I try to nominate different ones each time)  inspiring bloggers who will pass this honorably along to others. If you don’t have 15, nominate those you love. My wonderful recipients of this award this time are:

  1. http://swallowsfrommykitchenwindow.com
  2. http://insideheathershead.com
  3. http://intentionaloverflow.wordpress.com
  4. http://disciplesthoughts.com
  5. http://grievinggumdrops.com
  6. http://bisforblessed.com
  7. http://julie-weaver.com
  8. http://idiotwriting.wordpress.com
  9. http://maryaperez.com
  10. http://julimize.com
  11. http://ptcharitygarland.wordpress.com
  12. http://inspirationinitiative.com
  13. http://pattysoksofar.com
  14. http://thisishowitisnow.wordpress.com
  15. http://thisishowitisnow.wordpress.com

Thank you all for your great friendship, encouragement, comfort and strength. I love all my amazing followers so this decision is always a tough one. Blessings to all.

“Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God.” (Philippians 1:#)

A Lhasa’s View on Whether to “Weight” on Exercise

I really appreciate my veterinarian. She’s a fantastic woman with old-fashioned values and sensible practices. She doesn’t jack up her prices to build a new wing onto her clinic and she doesn’t push medication for every little illness.

We’ve left our two dogs in her kennel from time to time. As many do however, the kennel has prices based on weight. Their cut off is twenty pounds.Jewel for post

Our little Lhasa, Jewel hasn’t an ounce of fat on her because she gets lots of exercise! If she were a woman she’d be a swimsuit model. (Granted she’d need new teeth, but she’d still look great in a bikini.) She stays fit because she fetches her toy down the hallway at full speed, chases birds and bunnies in the backyard with her brother, Sebastian. We also walk over a mile and a half each day.

A few months ago we dropped our dogs off at the kennel before flying off to our son’s wedding. Our little Lhasa weighed in at 19.3 pounds. It was suggested that her food be reduced.

“But,” I protested, “I only give her 1/3 cup of food each morning and afternoon. She’s not fat as you can clearly see. She’s pure muscle!”

“Well, she’s  really close to the top weight,” the assistant cautioned.

Sigh. I have several choices here.

I can reduce her food even more. In the past, she will whine and pat my leg begging for more.  But I’m more stubborn than she is and pay no attention to her plea because it is not in her best interest. In other words, her prayers go unanswered. Similarly, God knows what is best for us and will not reward our pleas for selfish requests either. Her food isn’t too much, in fact it is less than recommended. She doesn’t eat if she’s not hungry and has adjusted to less food.

Second, I could relax our exercise standards, therefore allowing her to gain fat while reducing muscle because muscle weighs more than fat.  Never! This pup is never ill and only incurs one visit to the vet every couple of years for her physical. Health is more important than the number on a scale and healthy habits create a fit and vibrant lifestyle.

Likewise, God is pleased when we care about the body He gave us! Never compare yourself to someone else’s idea of beauty. The world’s standards of what healthy means, changes periodically. During the Victorian age, it was curvy and well rounded while during the ’60s, Twiggy was every teen’s aspiration. Neither was healthy. Health begins from within with sensible eating and exercise, then it shows on our skin and demeanor. God cares about our temple of the Holy Spirit.

Or lastly, I simply accept her as she is and pay the increased fee if she gains weight. I know truth. She’s the best she can be! I’ve trained her not to bark outside or at other dogs as we pass them. She knows the consequences of an house ‘time out’ if she does  (And to her, not chasing birds is the equivalent of life imprisonment.) She gets plenty of praise and belly rubs when she’s good. (I wish she didn’t “woof” down her food so quickly but nothing will break her of that habit.)

So I encourage you, if you are doing everything right in your healthy lifestyle, keep on doing it or recognize you can do better and DO IT! Either way God loves you.

“I will never forget your commandments, for you have used them to restore my joy and health.”  (Psalms 119:93)