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Where’s Christmas . . .???

The other day I set out to find a small manger for a Christmas craft project I was working on. It could have been anything, an ornament, a Christmas card, even a figurine.

First I went to the Dollar Store. I found nothing Christian but two sets of Christmas cards with no manger scene on them. Next I went to Walmart (good luck there.) Nada. Then I walked through Home Depot – absolutely nothing Christian at all, but I could have purchased a red and green six foot dragon . . . what that has to do with Christmas I’ve yet to figure out.

A few days later I traveled to two shopping centers in another town. I checked out Michael’s craft store. The sweet girl acknowledged they used to carry them . . . but searching together, neither of us could find them anywhere. Neither did World Bazaar, J.C. Penny or T.J. Maxx.

Undoubtedly, I thought, Christian-run Hobby Lobby would carry a small manger scene, even if it was on a postcard! Yet once again, found nothing. I’m praying they were only sold out.

Finally I found a Lifeway Christian bookstore. Aha! I thought, of course I’ll find a manger scene here! And yes I did! It was on a box of spiced apple cider. Desperate to find anything that might work, I purchased the over-priced drink mix and cut out the cardboard manger scene on the front and pasted it on my craft project. (At least we’ll enjoy the beverage sometime during these cold winter months.)

Halfway through this hectic quest I felt like Charlie Brown, frustratingly asking where was Christmas??? I could find a plethora of Santa’s, sleighs, reindeer antlers, elf hats, chipmunks, cute bears and Grinch’s, but no Christ in Christmas!

Then I thought, I can certainly find Christmas at church.  Absolutely I’ll find Peace on Earth here during this Joyous Season. Instead I found a church member fussing in public, running around fuming, complaining, blaming others because they felt unappreciated in their position. (Hey, if your position is primarily to please people and not our Lord, get your priorities straight!)

Then yesterday, as my husband and I were finalizing the Christmas gifts and food for four community families in need; getting ready to drop off our many  congregation’s generous donations, I found it. Eureka!

THIS IS WHAT CHRISTMAS IS ALL ABOUT:  Christmas is about blessing others, not ourselves. Bringing smiles and true Joy to others!

As Jesus left his heavenly home, to be born in Bethlehem, living as a man among us, he understood that completely. He beheld some petty frustrations of his friends, as well as the slings and arrows of the Pharisees. He experienced the same feelings, joys, frustrations, challenges and laughter that we do.  He gave of himself, unselfishly. He sacrificed EVERYTHING, his very life for our pettiness, grumpiness, busyness and selfish behavior. That was the best GIFT he could ever give.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”   (John 3:16)

Christmas is all about giving unselfishly from one’s heart, as Jesus did as well.  Merry Christmas everyone – Always Remember the Reason for the Season.

 

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WINTER HAIR CARE TIPS

The Christmas and holiday season will affect our skin and hair. This lovely lady is now following my blog and her practical tips are easy to read and follow.

Stress will affect the hair. (And you must admit this season is a stressful one!) Also all the social events, delicious but non-nutrient dense choices will wreck havick on our skin and hair. I’d also recommend a cinnamon and honey mask for your skin along with these great practices. Relax and don’t forget to breathe!!! Remember the real reason for the season, ❤

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.”   ( Proverbs 31:30)

WOMEN 140

Hi friends,here I am with an another new post.In my previous post I shared my thought on how to pamper your skin during this winter season.After skin care we all think about our hair care regime because winter takes its toll with flying hair, dry scalp and styling problems caused by wearing hats. In the winter months, hair needs a lot of tender loving care.

Now that the winter months are upon us and the days are much colder, it’s time to start thinking about ways to protect our hair from the damage that the winter elements can cause. Here are some key tips and tricks to keep your hair and scalp healthy during winter.

Winter-Hair-Care-Tips

  1. CLEAN YOUR HAIR : Always make sure that your hair is clean and keep it dirt free. Pollution makes our scalp dirty,results itching problems and dandruff.One very simple tip is to wear a hat when out…

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How Do You Like Wearing Your Choices?

I Cor. 10:13,  “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted, he will also provide  a way out so that you can stand up under it.”

“But I have NO willpower, Ellie!”

So you don’t think you have any willpower, do you? What’s that technical term again? Oh I remember: “Hogwash!”

That same willpower which prevents you from telling your boss or that rude sales clerk what you really think of him/her, is the same willpower you should tap into to prevent yourself from losing control.  You’ve kept your “get healthy” goal for 28 days, but now you’re beginning to waver?

You have willpower, you simply have to recognize  and claim it.

Think about it logically. There are only three things that happen in any situation:

  1. The event itself.  
  2. The self talk 
  3. The reaction

Let me give you an example.  Your husband just called and suggested going out to dinner tonight to check out a new Mexican restaurant that just opened. Sounds better than the soup and salad you were preparing for tonight.  You’re very tempted. So what do you do?

That call was the event. You’re faced with a decision: stick to your weight loss plan or give i

You’ll go through a little self-talk:  I’d hate to disappoint my husband you know. The soup will save. I’ve been so good, maybe I could just give in this once. I could simply walk an extra mile when we get home tonight. But I’m sooooo on track to fit into that gorgeous New Year’s Eve dress. Do I really want to chance it won’t fit?

Finally,#3; reaction:  Whatever you decide, you own.  It was yours, no one elses.  No one else lives in your body but you!  Willpower is personal integrity – choosing to do the right thing. You already know what you should do. Talk yourself into success.

Another tip to build willpower: Tap into your visualization skills. Imagine that Mexican food smeared all over your body. Now imagine walking into the New Year’s event looking your best, most confident self!  Which is more important? A lifetime memory or a momentary pleasure? Which would make you feel more confident and special everyday, not just for one night?   That’s precisely your goal; a lifelong commitment of feeling special because you are!  Don’t give in to a fleeting moment’s temptation, be stronger than that! Feel great every day!

Create positive thoughts throughout the day to strengthen you.  Tell yourself, “I am a strong, competent person because I am a child of a very important King.” Memorize Scripture verses to assist you.

You were bought with a price by our Lord Jesus Christ. God stated that out of control eating is a disgrace to our Lord. (Philippians 3:19)

Did Jesus die for our out of control eating habits; for the sake of an entire Pepperidge Farm cake which we ate in one sitting?  Seems a little crazy, but sin is sin and Jesus died for all our sins . . . even making an idol out of food.

He’s already provided a way for you to overcome temptation. Now. Hold. Fast! Think ahead, strategize. Write down what you can do besides eat when you are  tempted: Create more flavorful, colorful meals/snacks, get out of the house, walk, avoid bringing favorite snacks into your home, watch a movie.

Be proactive – decide who is Lord of your life, food or God?

 

Enjoy the Company as Much as the Food!

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Sorry, but what better verse for Thanksgiving than this:

“whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things”  (Philippians 3:19)

It is common knowledge that between Halloween and New Year’s most people gain ten pounds. Now string that out to the Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day, not to mention the play-off games and we pile on additional poundage! Thinking it  over  next spring, when one’s clothes don’t fit anymore, it’s one of those “well, it seemed like a good idea at the time” moments.

When is enough, enough? Why do our good intentions go by the wayside as we lose control at Thanksgiving, gorging ourselves on sweet potato casserole and pecan pie? Even Thanksgiving leftovers are great! Realize this day is special and still maintain discipline.

And how do we do that and not feel deprived?  It’s all about choices.

First, chew your food slowly while consuming quality nutrients.

Turkey is a lean protein with approximately 340 calories for 6 ounces. Lots of B vitamins and an enormous amount of minerals including selenium. Turkey makes us happier. Cut a smaller 3 ounce (170 calories) serving into tiny pieces, eat slowly and enjoy!

Want stuffing or mashed potatoes and gravy? Enjoy smaller portions: 1/4 cup of stuffing is 90 calories, 1/4 cup mashed potatoes is 75, a  drizzle of gravy over both is about 65. A 1/8 cup of sweet potatoes (without tons of brown sugar and marshmallows) are 40.

Your plate is already getting full!

Now you need veggies. Select broccoli or green beans (not the 225 calorie casserole!) at 25 calories per 1/2 cup or an entire cup of garden salad at 50 calories and a drizzle of  1 1/2 teaspoons of olive oil and apple cider or balsamic vinegar with herbs at 60 calories.

Cranberry sauce is surprisingly high in calories. A sliver,  1/4 inch thick has 100 calories. Your choice: Is it worth it or would you rather have dessert? You’re in control of your decisions. Feel empowered yet?

A dinner roll has 110 calories, but sop up the gravy instead of buttering it, and you’ll save 60 calories towards dessert. Again consciously make the choice, “this or that.”

Without dessert, the caloric count above could total 1,000 calories, depending on your choices and drink selections.  Don’t be discouraged. Normally someone would consume 1400 to 2,500 calories daily depending on one’s weight or if he’s cutting down purposely for health reasons. It’s a special day but God doesn’t want you idolizing food!

There are specific factors that can instill discipline on Thanksgiving.

  1.  “Smoosh” out your selections so mentally it seems as if there’s more on your plate than you really have and no one will ask, “Is that all you’re eating?”
  2. At home beforehand use a measuring cup to visualize sizes before spooning out selections.
  3. Make this holiday a social occasion and not an eating occasion. Enjoy fellowship and stretch out the meal. It takes twenty minutes for one’s brain to recognize it’s full.
  4. Sit with your back to the food if your family serves buffet style or when done, remove your plate (or yourself) so you aren’t tempted.
  5. Drink only water with lemon with your meal and save even more calories! A 5 ounce glass of red wine has 125 calories.
  6. Take a walk after dinner. The fresh air will invigorate you and burn calories.

Wait to eat dessert.  Choose pumpkin pie over apple today. A 1/8 serving of apple pie is about 410 calories, pumpkin is 200 and pecan, 480 (with a dab of whipped cream increase those by 65 calories.)

Enjoy, don’t stress. God Supplies Bountiful Blessings; so please remember those today. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Change Your Mind Before You Change Your Body

Six years ago I took the “KLOVE Challenge.” It urged us, as Christians, to listen to only KLOVE radio for thirty days and see how it would change our life for the better. Now up until then I had listened mostly to Country, Oldies and Soft Rock stations.  However at the end of the thirty day challenge, I realized I not only thought differently, but seemed happier and more content. So I continued until it seemed I was only listening to good quality music with an uplifting message. It began to change my life for the better.

As time went along, I found myself editing what television programs I watched and what books I read too. It’s amazing how much smutty TV our children are subjected to! Then it becomes influential. So is it any wonder why our youth today have potty mouths, no boundaries and show disrespect for authority? What’s the children’s Christian song which begins, “O, Be careful little eyes what you see . . .”

The same can be said about everything in our lives which becomes habitual. Therefore strive for a healthier mindset.

“And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.”   (Colossians 3:17)

A positive mindset even changes our nutritional habits!

When I worked in the corporate world, I considered myself “too important” to stop for lunch. If I did eat lunch, it was a fast food burger with fries and a shake. I woofed that down in ten minutes and rushed back to work.

Since I wasn’t consuming anything of quality, I was stressed out and sick quite a lot. It wasn’t until I left the fast-paced world of public relations and pursued a counseling degree that I began to slow down and consume more nutritious food. As time went on, I realized how invigorated and healthier I felt. Eureka! I thought, I’ve found the answer!!! Why doesn’t everyone know this?

As a curious person, I began to pursue more classes on psychology, physiology, biology, anatomy, a Biblical worldview . . . and I was hooked into Christian nutritional counseling. Science was proving how wonderfully designed by God we are! My greatest goal became encouraging others to change their diet and lifestyle sensibly, so they could see how much more energetic and vibrant they could feel also.

As time went on, the similarity between Christianity and nutritional applications became clear. And  like Salvation, I couldn’t make a difference until someone desired and recognized how and what needed changing. More times than not someone had to reach bottom before that determination kicked in. Usually a serious health issue or doctor’s warning did it.

Leaving old lifestyle habits behind and becoming a new creation is necessary! However, a pastor can preach Biblical Truth until he’s blue in the face, but until someone accepts that personally, there is no noticeable difference in a life.

Regarding nutrition, no suffering necessary! God gave us a bounty of wonderful choices to select from. He doesn’t expect us to eat unappetizing, tasteless food any more than He expects us to read only the Bible or watch only religious stations.  I had a friend who only read the Bible. No other books. I guess that’s commendable but there’s a world of Christian authors to pursue as well as great reads like To Kill a Mockingbird. So nutritionally speaking, having an occasional fried food isn’t terrible, but every day???  Use discretion and common sense. We should strive to honor Him in all we do, watch and say.

Are You Goal-Minded or Wandering Aimlessly?

My husband and I have crossed this country twelve times, as well as lived and traveled extensively in Europe. During my husband’s military career, when it was necessary to transfer to a new duty station, I would always be curious about our next home. I’d research as much as I could about the area, contacting the Chamber of Commerce for information, search for a realtor and so on.

As we traveled, we always had a map and a daily mileage goal. Without an intentionally defined goal we would have wandered aimlessly. We probably wouldn’t have reached our destination without a lot of frustration.

Doesn’t that also sound like many without a clear health goal?

The same principle applies. Before a smart person can accomplish an objective, they lay out a strategy of how to get there. As much as we’d like a “beam me up Scottie” instantaneous weight loss result, it’s not going to happen this side of Heaven. Besides that, the journey is as important as the destination. If we could have instantly arrived in Monterey, California from Washington DC, we would have missed the Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, Graceland and so much more! What a loss.

With health goals, you’d also be missing out too. Since 0nly you physically live inside your body, only you can develop strategies, overcome challenges, gain confidence and become victorious.

Don’t make goals complicated. Start with only one and build upon it.

Write out realistic goals and track progress.

In spite of advertising claims proclaiming, “you can lose 10 pounds in a week!” it ain’t gonna happen healthily! It takes 3,500 calories less each day to lose one pound of fat. Do you even consume that many daily calories daily? (Probably the only time I did was on a cruise and I was miserable!)

A slow, steady weight loss of 2, maybe even 3 pounds per week will allow your body to adjust and keep the weight off. If you lose too quickly your metabolism slows; believing you are ill, it attempts to hoard calories as protection.

Remember anyone can lose weight on fad diets but as a nutritional counselor for over twenty years, I haven’t met ONE person who kept it off on a crazy diet. Why?

“But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire”  (James 1:14)

Analyze why you eat as you do, (another blog.)

Eat for nutrients!

If you consume good quality nutrients, your body receives all you need for healthy living, creating an active metabolism. Then you’ll overcome cravings when, for example, your brain’s hypothalamus nags you for magnesium. Of course broccoli contains magnesium, so does chocolate – which one do you think you’ll choose?

Create small, reachable goals and make them fun!

Create a weekly spread-sheet chart. For each pound lost, fill in a block. For every five pounds you lose, reward yourself with a non-food reward. The more lost, the larger the reward: bath salts, body lotion, nail polish, new scarf, a book (maybe mine?) a CD, DVD . . . then a BRAND NEW CAR . . . sorry just kidding.

One important factor in weight loss: the only good diet is one you’ll be able to live on forever. God doesn’t expect you to suffer through rice cakes, sticks and twigs. He provided a bounty of natural, fantastic foods to enjoy. The more your body consumes nutritious choices, the more junk food cravings will disappear. Trust me, it happened to me.

Lastly, establish a close support group of positive, encouraging friends!

“Without guidance, people fall, but with many counselors there is deliverance.” (Proverbs 11:14)

 

Are You Part Of God’s Amazing Patchwork Design?

Once I watched a friend labor over a needlepoint project. From where I sat, tapestryit looked like a total mess. All those patchwork colors were joined in scrambled directions. What in the world was she working on? Was this her first attempt; was she over her head? Did she know what she was doing?

Then she turned it over. On the other side lay beautiful crosses atop a hillside of colorful flowers. Who knew??? It was so lovely and intricate; revealing a life lesson to me to not judge a piece of work until it is finished!

How very much like a needlepoint design, is God’s intricate work in us.

Several years ago I worked for a Christian drug recovery organization.  The women who arrived at the facility were messy, beaten down by life and shattered into pieces. Life’s choices hadn’t been good to them. Most had become drug addicts.

Sometimes their addiction began as a cry for attention. For some, it was to cover painful emotional attachments to everyday family issues, boyfriend or peer pressure situations. Others to dull the pain of loneliness, self esteem issues or friends urging them to join into the “thrill” of drugs and alcoholism.

Regretfully and unbelievably, several had begun their dangerous meth or drug habit merely to lose weight or worth. Now they’re addicted. What a half-truth Satan proclaims when he tells a young woman that she will gain beauty, popularity or lose weight through drugs. Weight loss? Of course – through malnutrition and death!

The half-truths of this world mislead many, just as it has since Adam and Eve. (“Surely you will not die . . .  ” Genesis 3:4) And any drug which artificially jumpstarts one’s metabolism will hang on to every pound after the “goal” is reached as an act of survival. Losing weight through manipulating drugs  WILL. NOT. WORK! Please do not even think of attempting a drug (diet pills) to lose weight if you are a Christian. You are God’s holy temple and drugs change your biochemistry and brain function!

Today many of these lovely women (but sadly not all) have conquered the satanic bonds that anchored them to this world’s view of beauty.

Those who placed their trust in Christ are now firmly anchored to His Truth of Salvation instead of drugs. They are healthier and happier as Christ demonstrates each one was worth the sacrifice He endured for them. They are now a child of the One True King! When their minds truly believed that, they began to act like the royalty they are.

“You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)

A lured idol has a powerful tug of the heart. But the Word of God is stronger! I pray that the intricately woven Word of God will be able to assist you in resisting the ever present, powerful enticement towards a degrading lifestyle of weight loss pills and other fallacies.

If our life is God’s tapestry, it is unclear even to us how His work will turn out until our lives are completed. God’s prick of the needle can be painful as He works on us. And sometimes God needs to modify His creation by reworking the pattern if we go astray. (Genesis 50:20) His Patience and His Timing is perfect. He will never put us aside and forget about us.

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)