Tag Archive | Christian living

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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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)

Like Searching Thru Luke Skywalker’s Backpack

Does your pet have as much paraphernalia and play items as ours has?

Remember the scene in Stars Wars when Yoda is scavenging through Luke Skywalker’s backpack? Butt in the air, he’s throwing items hither and yon?

Well sometimes our pooch is like that too! He has his own toy box in our kitchen corner filled with balls, chewy’s, several Kongs, rope toys and other items to occupy his time. Butt in the air, he throws out most of his stuff until he finally chooses one item. But not for long for it seems he is never satisfied!

In fact, we found he’d rather frolic, chewing leaves and twigs than play with the myriad of items which occupy his precious box. It reminds me of Christmas years ago when, as parents, we would lovingly put together some intricate toy for our children to play with and after a few exclamations of joy, found exploring the box it arrived in more enjoyable than the item itself.

Aren’t we still like that today? Even as adults? We gather as many materialistic possessions as possible and after a while we grow bored, restless, wanting that next great iPad, phone, Kindle, computer, TV, sports car, kitchen utensil or whatever. Are we really that hard to please? Why do we spend so much time on things that don’t matter and won’t last, rather than lay up treasure in Heaven which lasts eternally?

What does it take to satisfy a restless heart? What can fill an empty one? Only Love! Isn’t that what we do when we skip from one activity to another? No amount of activity, drug or even food can fill the empty void within an empty heart. Only Jesus can.

I discovered what my little dog is searching for isn’t a new anything. He is searching for time, attention, joy . . . with his master. “Throw it again Mom, so we can play!!! You’re my favorite toy!!!”

We recently came back from a camping vacation at a beautiful state park. Our site had sporadic cell phone service, no television reception to speak of and only  intermittent Wi-Fi when our cell phone service’s hot spot reached a signal.

But it was heaven to us. Nothing but time together, no stress, a gorgeous lake view, changing tree colors, reading material for an upcoming bible study, a quiet camp fire, relaxed husband and a cherished pet who happily traipsed along with us on trail after hiking trail. Although we had taken toys along for the vacation, he never missed them, for he craved time with us and that’s enough.

We also experienced time with our Master and Lord – that was enough for us too. Isn’t it amazing when one actually clears the mind of noisy distractions, one can focus on what is truly important in life? Peace.

“Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.”  (Hebrews 12:14 NLT)

Caffeine and the Coffee Balancing Act

Becoming healthy a personal choice. I’ve often stated that I can’t make anyone healthy. Someone must want a healthy lifestyle more than I want it for them. I attempt to encourage, lead in the right direction, explain physiology, warn against nutritional fallacies and set a good example but ultimately it’s a personal decision as to what one’s diet consists of.

It seems something “new” comes out weekly. A recent study stated that coffee was now the panacea to good health. It’s actually good for us! scientists declared.

Well of course it is good for us – it was already in the Garden of Eden when God told Adam:   “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.”  (Genesis 1:29)  The coffee bean comes from a seed-bearing plant, (which depending on the type, grows anywhere from 5-18 feet tall.)

Be careful however. Human nature, being what it is, perceives if something’s good, more has to be even better.This pertains to that “new” eye-opening scientific report on coffee too.

What we choose is not always beneficial to or health. He encouraged us to eat in moderation for He would never encourage us to consume something that would harm us. That’s our Choice!

One of my patients drank 30 cups of coffee per day. That’s certainly not “moderation.” To her it became a very unproductive choice. By consuming that much caffeine it depleted her B vitamins. So what you ask? Well the most important function of B vitamins is to convert fats, proteins and carbohydrates into energy.

Therefore, no B vitamins, no metabolic function. Caffeine is a natural diuretic and her B vitamins were lost through urination.  She was spinning her wheels, going nowhere and didn’t realize why.

When metabolic nutrients are lost, the body hungers for extra food to regulate and energize its system. Everything she consumed went directly to caloric intake without outgo; therefore she was gaining weight. No diet plan would help until she got her coffee addiction under control.

A quick withdrawal from coffee addiction wasn’t an option.  Caffeine is a drug and with any drug there are side effects. A cold-turkey approach would leave her shaking, jittery, cranky and downright unpleasant to be around. A gradual reduction was the only alternative. It took months to re-establish her metabolic functions to normal; then she could begin to lose weight.

Imbibing caffeine above normal consumption depletes calcium from bones. I happen to be small boned and am very susceptible to osteoporosis. Therefore, based on my size and weight, I usually limit my coffee intake to 2 cups per day.

Then why do experts say it’s good for us? Because it is in moderation.

Coffee contains many beneficial nutrients including some 50 cent words such as tocopherols, (antioxidants which protect against cell damage) chlorogenic acid (which protects against tumor growth.)

Coffee contains two chemicals, kahweol and cafestrol, which seems to provide some cancer protection as well as anti-inflammatory properties.

Anything extracted from the soil contain valuable nutrients. Coffee beans contain magnesium,  calcium, phosphorus and antioxidants.

Coffee invigorates your brain’s cognitive function which is why we prefer this drink as our morning wake-up call.

It’s a safe stimulant for the bowels and assists the digestive system. It’s a natural diuretic removing excess toxins from the kidneys and liver.

But jumping on the bandwagon thinking, “Great, coffee’s good for me so now I can drink all the coffee I want” is ludicrous.

There must be balance!

 

 

 

 

Fact or Culinary Manipulation?

A patient of mine mistakenly believed in order to lose weight he would have to suffer. He explained he only darkened my office door to please his wife. He promised her he’d listen to me for three weeks and then leave. It reminded me of the old western joke, “We’ll give him a fair trial and then we’ll hang ’em!” I explained contrary to belief, he wouldn’t be eating “sticks and twigs.” Over the next year he and his wife became two of my favorite patients.

Why do some believe the “penance principle?” Anything is fine in moderation!  Remember we are each unique. No specific formula will work for everyone so there is no “one-size fits all” method.

Unfortunately many dieters I’ve counseled have followed diets (some outright dangerous) without thinking. Where are valuable nutrients??? I don’t care if it worked for Oprah or some other famous person; celebrities aren’t always correct. I’ve even seen some well-known health professionals subliminally manipulate results to prove their point.

Take for example a segment I watched on the Dr. Oz show while I waited to see the optometrist. It was on the benefits of chicken skin, long considered to be off-limits.

Okay, I thought, anything is fine in moderation; this will be interesting.

The good doctor chose three women from the audience and asked them which serving plate on the counter looked more appetizing  Displayed were three separate creations of two different recipes. One serving was featured on a paler colored plate and in my estimation looked pretty blah. The other was displayed on a vibrantly colored plate.

Each chose the brightly colored plate every time. To me it seemed the results were skewed to produce a positive result of one over the other. The brightly colored plate made the selection naturally more appealing and you guessed it, the brighter one featured the chicken skin portion.

I was sitting next to a woman who leaned over and quietly revealed, “I’m a nurse; we were required to only take one class in nutrition. I never knew this. Isn’t this amazing?” Then she got called for her appointment. So I continued to watch the program by myself, extolling the benefits of chicken skin.

As I watched, I don’t remember the doctor mentioning portion size, only that chicken skin contained 50 more calories than skinless chicken. So chicken skin only has 5o extra calories? Mmm, I wondered, for how many ounces? I don’t recall hearing that. I’m sure if you purchase chicken breasts, you notice size varies widely.The difference: a 3 ounce breaded, fried chicken breast is around 120 calories.

Nor do I remember him stating or suggesting how the chicken was prepared. That definitely makes a difference! Was the serving floured, breaded,  grilled, deep or battered-fried? Was it prepared in butter, oil, grease, PAM. (FYI: the more natural the better – butter has nutrients, kitchen sprays have artificial chemicals. You make the call.)

Fat will keep us fuller longer, that’s true. Fat remains in our system from 5-7 hours. There are also plenty of vitamins and minerals in chicken skin, including niacin, vitamin D, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, selenium (the feel-good nutrient.)  If I ever consume the skin I prefer it grilled on broasted.

My point is to not condemn Dr. Oz. He has valuable information on his show and a limited time to present it. My intention is to protect against the snare by half-truths. Always question everything and do your research!

“For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will fill you with joy. Wise choices will watch over you. Understanding will keep you safe.”  (Proverbs 27: 10,11)