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Staying Healthy in the Days of Corona

Let’s face it, it’s been several long, isolated months. The kids are stuck inside whining, I’m bored, spouse is irritable, impatient, money is tight, you’re depressed and food provides comfort. “It’s cold outside, so let’s bake cookies!!!”

I’m not an alarmist, but please limit sugar during this time. Sugar, although comforting and fine in small doses – making a person feel good, also lowers one’s immune system. If you’d like to bake cookies, then use less sugar and create those which have some nutrients in them like oatmeal raisin, gingerbread or even dark chocolate chunk.

During the days of Covid-19 a person needs the most powerful immune system he/she can build! So start building up now if you haven’t so far. Select lots of fruits, vegetables, good quality yogurt – you know the drill, common sense nutrients.

I started taking my personal favorite elixir weeks ago.  It  consists of crushed garlic,  a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cup of water, a teaspoon of lemon and chug it down. Sometimes I’ll add a touch of hot sauce or a bit of honey for variety. It has kept me away from contracting the disease so far. (Garlic killed the Black Plague it can help us here too.)

I had to self-isolate for two weeks when I was notified I was physically touched by someone who developed the disease. Was I worried? No. Except I was hurt because other people were so scared of me, they avoided me like the plague, (literally!)

First, I have a strong immune system. I knew even if  did come upon me, I would most likely have lesser symptoms and if not, then Philippians 1:21 applied, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” God controls my destiny and I trust Him in all circumstances, even Corona Virus.

Getting back to sugar: it also ages and causes inflammation. By lowering your sugar intake, I promise you will look younger (which will improve your mood!) Sugar creates harmful advanced glycation end-products (AGEs).  When I drastically lowered my sugar intake, I saw fewer wrinkles. When one sees results, it’s an incentive to keep it up.

A new study which declared sugar doesn’t make children hyper, obviously never had children in the home! Too much sugar changes brain chemistry.

Exercise! If you are prevented from walking outside then exercise inside. Lift weights. No weights? Then lift laundry detergent containers, water bottles or canned goods. There’s also stretch bands and isometric exercises like planking which  one can do inside. If your dog needs walking and you can do that outside a six foot isolation, then walk, don’t stroll. Where there’s a will there’s a way. Exercise produces endorphins which will keep your attitude upbeat.

Speaking of attitude. A positive one will definitely improve your chances of fending off this disease. Stress lowers one’s immune system.

Heart disease. if you’re not exercising, walking or exercising at home, your heart’s not working much either. Stop sitting around all day, We should have the cleanest, most organized houses in our lifetime!

I hope this is a wake up call to caution our country that NOW is the time to become healthier, exercise and eat right. Let’s face it – we have the highest obesity rate we’ve ever had in this country! We are treating the symptoms of debilitating illnesses when we should always be focused on our original problem: unhealthy living. It seemed good at the time, is a silly excuse.

“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7)

Football, Dr. Oz and Breakfast as a Team Sport

Super Bowl Sunday’s coming and both have strong teams. Your body’s a strong team too.

Imagine a football quarterback as the body of the “NUTRIENT” team. In order to win effectively, his metabolism needs a nutrient-dense offensive line. Without one, he has no defense against illness.

Now imagine in front of him are ten players, each representing unique nutritional functions: the center, (B’s) running back (D), tight end (C), corner back (magnesium) fullback (calcium) and wide receiver {omega 3s.) Other nutrients are on the bench ready to participate as needed.

If the team consisted of only fullbacks, how well would the team work? Not efficiently at all. Similarly, a diet consisting of fruit alone would prevent the body from absorbing over 50 vital nutrients for optimum health. We need nutrient variety as much as a football team needs various players to win.

Vitamins are utilized and dispersed through FOOD. B vitamins convert food into energy. Fat soluble vitamins need fat to be absorbed. No food in your stomach – no energy. No chewing, no enzymes either. Without enzymes, one cannot walk, talk, think or move!

Dr. Oz held more interviews January 22, again claiming, “We don’t need breakfast!”  Who’s we? I need breakfast.

“Eating breakfast isn’t based on any medicine,” he insisted.  Of course not, doctor – it’s not medicine, it’s based on physiology.

He insisted breakfast is simply “marketing hype.” Some advertisements ARE to blame for unhealthy children. I too wish children weren’t feed Sugar Smacks but consuming a healthy breakfast is important for physiological reasons. Any teacher who sees hyperactive children arriving or her student’s blood sugar slumping mid-morning will attest to that.

“Our ancestors didn’t eat right away, they had to hunt and gather.” Our ancestors??? Maybe Dr. Oz’s came from cavemen. Mine were created by God. Adam and Eve were created perfectly . Originally farmers, they probably ate grains and fruit for breakfast. (Naturally I’m not dogmatic about this because I wasn’t around then. We’ll find out in Heaven.)

It’s personal choice to eat or not eat immediately. Listen to your body. I usually wake up with coffee, eating about hour or later. No need to eat breakfast immediately, eat small meals but make them nutritious, not caloric.

Our body utilizes calories for energy – any food produces energy. But a calorie isn’t a calorie: donuts are empty calories, a banana is packed with B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, fiber, etc.

Simply cutting calories for weight loss won’t make us healthy. Every nutrient has an individual purpose. Without nutrients, it takes a toll on bodily functions.

When I worked in an office, sometimes I didn’t eat breakfast. However, around 10am, starving, I reached for the first thing I found in the break room for ENERGY: donuts or coffee cake. It takes Herculean effort to resist when hungry. By eating breakfast, it never tempted me. After awhile, I usually brought a healthy snack with me.

Dr. Oz thought everyone should eat brunch instead. Brunch??? How is that going to help the teacher, nurse, factory worker or myriad of others who can’t tell their boss, “Excuse me, I’ve got to eat brunch now.” You’ll have plenty of time to eat in the unemployment line.

“Listen to your body,” Dr. Oz suggests. I’ve said that from day one. But I also advised my patients to use common sense. Dr. Oz logic comes from viewing food as calories – I’m viewing food as nutrients.

Eat to have a healthy system filled with nutrients rather than simply food. Amen!

“Teach me good discernment and knowledge, For I believe in Your commandments.”  (Psalm 119:66)

Searching for Dieting Perfection? Not Gonna Happen!

Do you expect dieting perfection from yourself? Face it, you’re searching for an unrealistic goal. Continue toward healthy living and you’ll become your healthiest self.

There was only one perfect person born on earth, our Lord, and we are not him! If God doesn’t expect perfection from us; only obedience and goodness, why do we think we are better than Jesus at achieving it?

God made you human, not perfect. Give yourself a break! Realize that even if you make a mistake, you certainly can strive to do better in the future. Talk yourself into success. Mistakes are wonderful opportunities to learn to overcome obstacles in the future!

“And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God,” (Titus 2:12) NLT

Build your own strategies, but here are some suggestions to start you off. When you feel like eating, go for a ten minute walk up the street and ten minutes back, submerge yourself into an exciting novel, take a bubble bath or paint your nails – you can’t get into a potato chip bag with your nails wet, right? Write your strategies down so they’ll be available when you need them.

There’s a encouraging story about goodness versus perfection which goes like this:

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far away, the mighty Ruler of Galatica sent two space ships to earth . . . (well, I didn’t tell you it was a true story) . . . anyway, he told the first Explorer to travel to Earth and find everything that was perfect on the planet and bring all that he found back to him in his spacecraft.

To the other Explorer he ordered him to go to Earth and find everything that was good, and bring all he found back to him in his spaceship.

Well, time progressed and finally the first Explorer returned home. The King rubbed his hands together and jumped up and down, anxiously awaiting all the provisions he’d see. But the Galatican arrived back empty-handed.

“What is the meaning of this?” demanded the King.

“Oh Sire, what a despicable place this earth planet was! I searched everywhere! I could find nothing perfect on it at all! Why, there was pollution, people protested in mobs, I found war even on their playthings. Cars honked incessantly and it always rained in Seattle. Gas was $5 a gallon and this thing called fried butter was horrendous! I repeat nothing on Earth is perfect!”

Discouraged, the Ruler waited for the other explorer to return. Finally, the second explorer arrived home and was summoned to the Palace.

“Were you able to find anything good on Earth?” His King asked dejectedly.

“Oh gracious King, you wouldn’t believe all the good I found on planet Earth!” he exclaimed enthusiastically! “Why, there were birds singing, amazing sunsets, rainbows, beautiful homes and automobiles. The taste of ice cream is terrific! Why, I couldn’t bring all I found back to you, because there was just too much good in that world!”

So the moral of that story is, if you search for perfection you won’t find it anywhere, but search for good and it will be all around you.

“For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true. Carefully determine what pleases the Lord.” (Ephesians 5: 8-10) NLT

I urge you to continue to strive for excellence in your health quest!

Feeding on Ashes

“He feeds on ashes; a deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?” (Isaiah 44:14–20)

With an abundance of great culinary choices, why do we continue to choose unwisely? Why do some choose to feed on ashes? That’s unnecessary. If one eats as God intended, even if you have a debilitating illness (which be honest, unhealthy food choices most likely contributed to) it can greatly change your quality of life.

Some follow what I call, “the penance principle” when they decide to follow a “diet.” Believing they must flagellate myself and suffer or God won’t bless them. That means rice cakes and celery sticks every day.

Some (and this is sad – even some CHRISTIANS) follow a magical formula proposed by some health professional. After all, with modern science, those diet gurus must know more than God. I’m talking about the Paleo, Atkins, Paleo which restricts a certain food or entire category of foods while proclaiming the same unbiblical notion repeatedly.

These are False and all have the same theme! There is nothing new under the sun.

“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”  (Ecclesiastes 1:9)

Don’t we realize what a slap in the face of God it is to follow a false teacher rather than HIm? To say, “Well, God made a mistake, I know better now.”

I prefer to follow and profess God’s Will:

And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. (Genesis 1:29)

Every nutrient needed for optimum health can be found in the rain forests and family farms. God bless the farmers! I believe that after the world-wide flood, the atmosphere and probably our physiological chemistry needs changed (and animals could over-populate the earth) God declared:

“Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.” (Genesis 9:3)

Must I remind you that doesn’t give us license to gorge ourselves, destroying our temples with fattening, processed, chemically-infused foods?

In “1 Corinthians 10:23 we read: “I have the right to do anything,” you say–but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”–but not everything is constructive.”

We need to practice self-control and make wise choices.

“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit,”  (Ephesians 5:15-18)

Whatever takes the place of God, preventing us from maintaining control; preferring that item to God becomes an idol. Replace the word wine with chocolate, French fries, colas, fast food, smoking, sports, television even and you understand what I’m talking about.

God did not create a robotic nature for humans. He wants us to follow Him out of our own free will, out of Love. It’s our choice. I choose our Lord over French fries.  Easy choice.

Disclaimer: Yes I know some consume charcoal as medicine but that’s not God’s or my intended content here.

Healthy Encouragement to Succeed!

One of the best selling writers, Jerry Jenkins, expressed it very well: “I’ve made it my life’s work to coach writers because I’d love to see you enjoy the benefits I’ve enjoyed.” Well said, Mr. Jenkins.

I’m an author of several books, as well as a nutritional counselor. Like Mr. Jenkins, I urge and coach others to strive for healthier living because I want to see everyone enjoy the benefits I’ve enjoyed. By eating sensibly, you’ll obtain increased energy, more muscle (which burns fat), improved moods and a fit physique. I want you to feel JOY!  

I have no ulterior motive. Sure, I’d love to sell many more books, what author wouldn’t? And I enjoy hearing how I’ve  helped others. But have you noticed what’s happened to our culture over the past fifty years? With an abundance of fast-food locations, conveniently-packaged, chemically-based food choices, we’ve created an environment plagued by obesity.

One nurse I worked with years ago, playfully teased me at lunch in front of a group while eating a spoonful of icing. “Watch out, we’re being baaad and here comes the Food Police!” As she withdrew another huge spoonful from the container, she taunted, “Look Ellie, I never knew Crisco and powered sugar could taste so good! Mmmm.”

Okay, funny but some don’t get it! The icing isn’t bad. Losing control while not understanding why or not caring is!!! In fact, I’ll eat icing sometimes; but not much because although there’s pleasure in sugar, there are few nutrients. Sugar releases valuable serotonin but too much sugar creates moodiness, the “jitters” and ages us. Want that?

Even sadder is the fact that many do nothing to educate themselves regarding why and how to control their impulses. I have no willpower, they believe. Hardly. That same willpower which prevents us from telling off our mother-in-law is the same willpower we tap into when we need resistance. We have willpower, it simply needs to be prioritized.

There are other reasons why people overindulge besides lack of willpower – occasionally it’s emotional while other times it’s physical: medication, insulin production, inherited DNA among several.

A few suggestions to resist and overcome:

  1. Recognize why you crave this particular food. Let’s use icing as an example. We never truly outgrow our childhood. Perhaps you’re experiencing a horrific day and all you want to do now is feel the same secure warm-blanket-closeness you felt when your mom let you lick the spoon. Understand your feelings might not be about true hunger but what’s eating at you.
  2. A little icing is fine but if you can’t control your temptations, for heaven-sakes, don’t bring it into the house. Use sliced fruit or a drizzle of melted chocolate as a topping instead.
  3. Understand this: God wants you happy and healthy. If you can’t resist – get out of the house and go walking, biking, gardening or some other fresh air activity for at least twenty minutes. (If it’s in your house, it’s in your mouth!) You can also read, write, watch a movie or something which will get your mind off eating.
  4. Personal favorite:  paint your nails!  (Okay, men, grease an axel.) We can’t get into a bag of chips if our nails are gooey. If that doesn’t work, take a bubble bath, wash your hair or call a supportive friend.

I wish people realized when a loved one suffers, everyone who cares about them does as well, especially God!

 “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” (Psalm 32:8)

Live Vibrantly Healthy!

Caterpillar or Butterfly?

Does a butterfly look back on its life and wish it had remained a caterpillar? (I do wonder about strange things, don’t I?)

Beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder but most of us, if given a choice, would choose to be a butterfly I believe, rather than a caterpillar.

When it’s a caterpillar it’s pretty adorable; all soft and fluffy. And we usually “ooo” and “aah” over a butterfly and only “aahh, so cute!” over a caterpillar. Most of us just  aren’t content to be cute – we’d rather be beautiful, it’s human nature.

The caterpillar had the DNA inside him to change his nature, so do we? Some are naturally meant to be thinner than others; but we should ALL  desire to be our healthiest self. The butterfly eventually changed into the best of himself, so can you! Don’t be content to settle for a second best you.

Do you think the caterpillar knew its destiny or was it content to crawl around the leaves and up stems of flowers and never soar? Was it aware that it would eventually transform into a beautiful creature? I would think it was probably content in its ignorance. Just like discouraged dieters who sigh, “Well, I guess this is how I was made, so I’ll just accept it.”

In God’s timing, the caterpillar metamorphosed into a butterfly; and with its beautifully extended wings alighted on a flower for the first time. What a glorious accomplishment! Do you think it then grieved for its past life or rather rejoiced in its new abilities to fly? Did it ever wonder, “Why didn’t I do this sooner!”

So many of us are content in bodies that crawl or even stumble exhausted through life without any desire to reach greater heights! Strive for something better than mediocrity, you deserve it!

“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)

As a nutritionist, I usually heard a patient, after they met their goal, exclaim, “I feel wonderful! Why didn’t I do this sooner?!!!” In God’s timing He won’t force us to becomes healthier. It’s our decision. Only when we are ready to make him LORD over our choices will we be ready to become a new creation.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”  (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Don’t be content to drag yourself through your day with extra pounds and potential health issues. Are you tired of taking countless pills for blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes or a heart condition? Instead allow yourself to become a New Creation.

I very much enjoy watching the television show, Aerial America? Isn’t it amazing how soaring over this country can change our perspective on how we view objects we’ve seen countless times?! Isn’t it about time you saw life from a different perspective? Choose a healthier lifestyle and take control of your life.

Don’t crawl through life, SOAR with wings like the butterfly.

 

Braving Our Personal Storms in Life

As we sit here, enjoying a beautiful sunset over western Florida, escaping the wrath of Hurricane Dorian, I can’t help but wonder how many have cried out, “Why, God?” when destruction hits.

Why does God allow storms to enter our lives? How are we to deal with them?

Reflecting, I saw a comparison of personal godly storms and how we can get through them by trusting God.

God is Loving in spite of our rebellion

Twice in our married life we have turned from God, who brought us back through loving discipline. True, we suffered and are still reaping consequences but never have we complained it’s God’s Fault!!! In fact God graciously forgave our immaturity and we’ve learned from that experience. It’s helped us to counsel others because we’ve “been there.” We accepted the fact that we were far away from God’s Will and absolutely recognized we deserved more punishment than our loving LORD dished out.

Have you ever strayed from healthier eating? Of course, everyone has. When you did, what were the consequences? Stomach ache? Fatigue? Diabetes? Something worse? Well, did God force you to eat those double cheeseburgers – make you ill? No, we did it to ourselves and must accept the consequences. God however, graciously prepared a way of escape with wisdom, medications, exercise, healthier foods . . . and you know what? I bet you like yourself better when you eat better!

“The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” (1 Corinthians 10:13) LSV

As a father lovingly disciplines a child, God warns us, might even punish us for what we have done. Just look at King David and what resulted after his sin with Bathsheba. God doesn’t play favorites.

God sometimes creates storms to navigate us to safer ports.

Last year we were working in a toxic environment but prayed we could still make a difference. God loved us enough to prod us out of that unhealthy environment and to move us into a blessed Christian opportunity and lifestyle experience.

Sometimes we remain in an environment we shouldn’t. We settle for mediocrity. Nutritionally, have you ever thought, “Okay, one piece won’t harm me.” However one leads to another and suddenly it’s ten extra pounds gained. Don’t settle in a bad habit! God desires so much more for you.

Knowing God’s Word Prevent Storms

False prophets twist and turn God’s Word around making it sound better to anyone wanting to believe it. I saw this with politicians while working in public relations. They proclaimed promises the crowd wanted to hear. People who fall for these haven’t researched what Truth is! There’s little distinction between false prophets or false diet gurus. Know what you should believe and why. Do. Your. Research. Understanding physiology is important!

God is Good. He instilled in us common sense. Provided great nutritious foods to enjoy. Therefore eat what you desire in moderation. Avoid man-made, chemically-based foods most of the time, consume good fats and colorful food. If you crave a particular food, ask why. Are you physically hungry, sad, bored, lonely, stressed? Decide for yourself whether you are really hungry or simply emotional. Know yourself.

It’s not easy traveling a Christian path. Nor is it easy reaching a healthier goal. In nutrition no one wants to suffer, yet everyone wants a quick fix. There is no need to continuously sacrifice. Enjoy His Bounty and Stay Healthy in Body and Spirit.

The Uniqueness of You

When I asked my mother what she wanted for her birthday, she would always smile and answer softly, “Oh, peace and contentment.” Isn’t that what we all should strive for?

Becoming a New Creation means embracing the true you, even imperfections. How many are content and at peace with who they truly are? Those I counseled usually wanted to look like someone else, a celebrity or a prettier version of themselves. Few told me they wanted to be a healthier version of themselves.

I would patiently customize a sensible meal plan that would fit with a patient’s tastes, budget and particular lifestyle. Stressing, Eat for nutrients; eat anything in moderation . . .

Week after week, some would lose weight while others presented excuses; (unexpected company, special events, holidays, etc.) to justify their lousy week. I had provided practical applications to avoid those temptations, yet they failed to comply. I’ve heard every excuse. They weren’t fooling me; they were fooling themselves.

For if one has the will, they’ll find the way – if it’s something they truly want.

Even if I had a magic wand and could instantly turn them into a size two, I know they wouldn’t remain a size two for long, because there was something masking the true reason they weren’t getting healthy.

If this is you, figure out why you’ve self-destructed:

1. Whether it is one’s upbringing, “You better eat everything on your plate or NO DESERT for you!” – insecurity, shame, illness, circumstances – many eat for “masked” reasons. It might not even be a seemingly bad reason – some are simply happy or curious eaters and lose control. Someone, perhaps being poor growing up, subconsciously fears food won’t be there tomorrow.

2.  Occasionally it’s a medical reason. Illnesses and medications can slow metabolism, influence electrolyte and water balances. It’s extremely tough, but have patience. Consuming healthier foods; all while learning new habits is what I’d recommend until off medication and weight loss can begin.

3. Perhaps it’s psychosomatic; stress, emotional issues or perceived guilt denies success, especially when the mind believes it must protect itself. Reading positive books, exercising, fresh air, meditating, listening to soothing (or even rock) music can calm or invigorate.

4. Sometimes it’s physical challenges. If someone is big-boned, they’ll never become a comfortable size two, no matter how much they desire to. “To accept the things we cannot change,” is part of the serenity prayer. We are all unique and becoming the best creation you can be should be the goal, not lusting after a celebrity’s body shape or lifestyle. Focusing on unrealistic possibilities makes us miss out on so much in life!

I especially enjoy counseling when that aha moment appears. When a patient finally recognize why they act as they do. I know then, they’ll truly begin taking control of their health. Find yours!

Bottom line? Since we’re all unique there’s no “one-size-fits-all” reason for success or failure. We are all individuals with different needs and desires. Know yourself as God knows you. For Psalm 139: 13-16 professes:

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.  (ESV)

God knows you are unique and loved. He created you. Love back – honor your earthly temple.

Personal River of Change

Thank you to all of my followers who didn’t quit on me during my long sabbatical. It’s hard to return after being away from blogging. One reason is because it’s difficult to come up with a first post! It’s not as easy as: “Hi, I’m Back!!! Gotta love me!”

Recently I saw a poster entitled “Life is like a River.” How often have you heard that saying? Poems are written about it, Facebook posts share it and Garth Brooks beautifully sang about it. Wouldn’t a river analogy be the perfect segue after a life-changing sabbatical?

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.” (Isaiah 43:2)

 

Rivers are molded by their environment.

Rivers are amazing and beautiful. They can gently bring life back to a community or can flood it with a vengeance, if influenced by outside sources. Rivers can gently round off rocks, creating their beautiful smoothness or mold them into craggy, sharp, dangerous edges.

During my teenage years, our farm bordered part of the Susquehanna River. Since we weren’t far from its source in Cooperstown, NY, it wasn’t very wide. A stone could have easily been thrown across it. That is until the rains came and the river overflowed onto our fields. This could have been a good or bad event. It could destroy crops or enrich the soil.

Events happen in our lives that we have no control over. When downpours come into our lives, do we rant and rave? Sure, but even if justified, do we allow it to destroy our happiness? Do we accept life’s challenges, make the best of it and move on or have a pity party, mope and complain? How we react to a crisis is a personal choice. Choose Joy!

River intensity changes frequently

Our personal “life river” became a white water rafting trip last year when we traveled over some rocky shoals of life. Sadly, we were betrayed by beloved trusted friends, accosted and blindsided by an angry mob of “Pharisees.” Other innocent friends were hurt simply for being our acquaintances. Yet still their and our Faith never wavered.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

Yes, God is Faithful. He almost miraculously moved us out of a toxic environment and provided a way of escape. (1 Corinthians 10:13) Over the past five months, life has become incredibly rewarding and joyful once again, living in paradise. We are coasting on smooth waters and our faith not only endured but flourished.

Rivers are always moving forward, therefore no two days are ever the same: 

Several years ago, after my husband accepted his previous position, he was asked to join the staff of a wonderful Christian college. Having integrity, he declined, faithfully serving his congregation. It was evident that God’s River moves at its own pace, patiently instilling life experience. God eventually provided abundant blessings; moving us to that new teaching position and true Christian friendships.

Rivers are so diverse, no two are alike. Just like people 

I’m here to implore you to not focus on fragile, fallible Christians. God alone is perfect. Our past is a training field, learn from it. If you don’t like your circumstances, change them. If you trust in God, rely on His Will, He will never forsake you!

It’s good to be back, my friends.

 

Excuse Me This, Excuse Me That . . .

Some visualize Jesus as a robotic personality who never showed much emotion. But while on earth, our Lord experienced friendships, joy, pain, loss, exhaustion. In other words, he recognizes and feels the challenges of everyday life. But did he offer excuses??? No.

He also got righteously angry upon seeing his Holy Temple in Jerusalem misused. So how do you think Jesus feels when he sees us destroying our bodily temple of the Holy Spirit? Probably the same.

As a counselor I get frustrated with excuses too. Here’s a sample of what I’ve listened to over the years and what I’d offer as an alternative, practical solution to overcome them:

“If I don’t eat right, I can simply take a vitamin pill” Our bodies work within a fascinating team environment. Vitamins and minerals need food in conjunction with each other to produce optimal efficiency. For example; iron should be consumed with vitamin C for maximum absorption, (try tomato sauces with meat). Calcium, Magnesium and potassium work together for electrolyte balance . . . and so on. Without food, vitamins aren’t effective, so eating junk and then popping a vitamin won’t succeed and you’ll be wasting your money.

But without fat, food doesn’t have flavor” Oh, really? Well then, open a Crisco can and dig in. It’s herbs and seasonings that give flavor to food. Avoid heavier fat items such as ice cream or whole milk for a while and you’ll taste the difference when you resume. (Fat coats the tongue, thus no flavor after awhile.)

Garlic, onions, mustard, curry, oregano, sage, thyme, cumin, lemon, even wine and vinegar enhance food flavor. Try adding vinegars, especially balsamic vinegar, to pasta sauces. Sure, use real butter, but use less of it.

“I have no time to eat right” By the time you get to the fast food joint, get out of your car, get in line, order, wait around, pay for your order, get back into your car, drive home, change into something comfortable, get your place settings out, get drinks and sit down, you could have pounded a chicken schnitzel, popped a few baked potatoes in the microwave, created a salad and have relaxed with a glass of wine! So don’t give me that excuse!!

“It’s too expensive to eat right” See above. For the amount you paid for that bucket of chicken, you could have purchased spinach, romaine lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, radishes, any meat on sale, potatoes and a loaf of French bread and had leftovers! Search store circulars and choose sale items from that week. As my mother said, “You can have anything you want . . . and this is what you want.”

“I have no time to exercise!” Listen, I know you’re tired after a tough day at work. Exercise revives you! Do you watch TV at night? During the commercials use stretchy bands or lift small hand weights. One of my patients peddled her stationary bike while watching Jeopardy each evening. Have children? On weekends, get them involved! Dance with them, rake and jump in leaves, play Simon Says, walk the dog, go to the park, throw the ball around. Your children will forever cherish those memories with you.

 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21)

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus didn’t offer excuses. Are your excuses more important than HIS were? He went to the cross because he thought you and I were worth it. Respect Christ’s choice and let’s choose to honor God with our bodies.

“for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:20)