Isaiah 9 goes on to read . . .
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace . . . what a glorious description of Jesus Christ! Before Jesus there was no hope for any of us . . . now because He died on the cross for our sins, we have eternal life with the Lord Almighty! Can't you just see it? Standing beside God without fear, without pain, with our loved ones as we shall see them again! What a glorious day that will be!
God provided for all of us the opportunity to be saved. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16
From my studying of the Bible, while here on earth we are encouraged to do good deeds and act as Jesus would, but it is clear that our salvation isn’t given by anything we have done . . . but is a gift from God. Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.”
Does that give us the freedom to act as we please? No! Just the opposite for as Christians it is our responsibility to bring others to Christ and follow His commandments. We should be a blessing to others because we love the Savior and want to obey His commandments. And as we show our Christian “light” others will see God’s goodness and will ask us about Him in turn giving us the opportunity to help bring them to Him. For Matthew 5:16 instructs us, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
Today, my question to you is simple . . . have you given your life to Jesus? Have you asked Him to come into your heart and forgive you of your sins? No matter what you have done, if you truly seek forgiveness and ask Him, he will forgive! He will clean your slate and wash you as white as snow! One of my favorite songs I listen to on my walks that a good friend sent to me is Beauty for Ashes (click here for the link to listen to the entire song). The song starts with “No longer ashamed, no longer afraid. You have washed me white as snow.” He will give you a fresh start each and every day . . . a fresh start of hope and goodness with a promise for eternal life!
But we have to ask Jesus into our hearts! John 14:6 tells us, “Jesus said unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.” Jesus is the only way! If you haven’t asked Jesus to be your Lord and Savior, why not do so today? Today of all days . . . Jesus’s birthday! All you have to do is say a prayer asking Him to come into your heart and forgive you for all your sins. Below is a Salvation Prayer that you can say right now . . .
Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy 2021 full of blessings and joy!
What an incredible experience this year has been! When I began this journey of trying to walk 2,020 miles in 2020, I really had no idea if I would be able to complete it or not, but I knew I wanted to give it a shot. I really didn't do the math or calculations (that was probably a good thing LOL) of what exactly this was going to take in order for me to finish, but I knew it was a fabulous goal to keep me active.
Little did I know that 2020 would be a crazy year filled with COVID, mask wearing, shutdown of the country, and total isolation for so many! Living in the Pacific Northwest with the beautiful mountains and fabulous walking trails was one of the advantages for me as it gave me an incredible outlet to spend time outside walking and talking with God.
One huge positive in my life this year is my faith as I feel it is stronger than ever, and I continue to spend morning time daily reading my bible and in prayer. I spent more time this year than ever before praying for those so greatly effected and connecting with our Lord. My hope is that many of you have experienced this same growth as we know that spending time with God puts everything else in perspective and the Word comes from God so learning and meditating on it daily is so important for our souls. While there is so much uncertainty in the world, especially today, if we put our hope in God we have no reason for concern. As my new t-shirt says, "Faith over Fear." He provides for me, He protects me, and ultimately I will be with Him for eternity!
While this year's goal was truly a challenge, I am so thankful for the my loving husband who is my constant support and cheerleader! As I spend many hours walking to get my miles, he constantly encouraged me to believe in myself and keep going. He even took several hikes with me throughout the year to help me get some extra miles seeing the beautiful countryside . . . all ending with a celebration beer, of course!
If you want to find an incredible community of runners or walkers, I would definitely recommend looking into Run the Edge and what current challenges they are offering. You can find their information by clicking here to review and sign up should you decide to join. Yes, there will be a 2,021 miles in 2021 that is available to join individually or as a team and split up the miles between your teammates, but they also have shorter challenges throughout the year. With Run the Edge, they also offered a Facebook group just for us walkers to encourage and support each other through our journey. They also have the incredible tracker that helps you determine how many more miles you have to go to complete your goal!
Nowadays, there are many communities online offering different challenges throughout the year. Another virtual walk I did last year that actually got me excited to sign up and start my 1-year Fitness Challenge of 2,020 miles in 2020 was The Winter Challenge. This is a challenge offered by Will Run for Bling and starts again this year on December 27th and runs through March 6th. It is a challenge for ten weeks to walk/run 125 miles. You can check out this challenge by clicking here.
Bottom line, I encourage to find your passion to stay healthy! I am not a runner. I can only ride a bike if it had training wheels on it. And I could swim if I were allowed to have floaties! Walking is my outlet. It is where I find peace in a crazy world . . . a place where I can cry, laugh, scream, or be still. It is where I refresh my soul by listening to what God wants me to hear. There is no better place than in the woods to do that!
If you would like to join me next year to stay healthy, join me in my Baby Steps for a Healthier Lifestyle Facebook group by clicking here where we share inspirational and motivational posts, healthy recipes, exercise suggestions, as well as compete in challenges together. Right now we are about to start our pushup challenge for January by doing 25 pushups a day (doesn't have to been done all at one time if you can't do that yet) in support of the American Cancer Society. If you want more information about this challenge and joining us, let me know!
God morning . . . In my morning reading I was led to Psalm 78 (history of salvation). I want to state that this is not going to be my typical post about my morning reading, but one I felt called to write based on my reading.
Psalm 78 as told by Asaph described the history of the Jewish nation from the time of slavery in Egypt to David’s reign and it was told over and over to each generation so they would not forget God and make the same mistakes as their ancestors.
I am amazed while reading this historical Psalm at how many times it says they continued to sin and continued to test the Lord! “In spite of all this, they kept sinning; in spite of his wonders, they did not believe.” (78:32)
Yet he would forgive them and restrain his anger time and time again. He would not bring down his wrath upon them . . . until finally he had had enough and gave them over to their enemies, rejecting them completely. (78:59) There was great suffering and death! (78:60-64)
It makes me wonder . . . are we close to having pushed God to his testing point? Has he had enough?
It saddens me to see such chaos and destruction in the world. That I believe our country is divided more now than ever before.
It is saddens me to know that each year, an estimated 600,000 to 800,000 men, women, and children are trafficked across international borders and of the 600,000-800,000 people trafficked each year, 70 percent are female and 50 percent are children with the majority of these victims being forced into the commercial sex trade (source: NCJRS.gov).
It saddens me that with the click of a button, any person no matter how old can find an endless supply of pornography photos and/or videos.
It saddens me that last year 71,999 people died from a drug overdose and the numbers are even greater for 2020 with our current health situation and people feeling helpless and alone. (Source: NYTimes.com)
What can be done about all this? I don’t know really know.
What I do believe though is if we personally turned our minds and hearts back to our Lord and Savior it would be the best starting point. Christians need to share the Good Word whenever the opportunity comes up. We need to be bold and help bring as many people to Christ as we can!
Matthew 5:14-16 says, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
We hide our light by:
I encourage you to read Psalm 78 and be bold about your light! Let it shine and speak out! God bless and Merry Christmas!
Dealing with menopause is no laughing matter! Some people (mostly men) say it is all in your mind . . . believe me, it is not!
My personal story of going through "the change" was quite challenging and my hope is to share some tips to help women who are about to have to experience this or currently experiencing the change to find some relief throughout the process.
I am 55 years old now, but when I was around 52 I began to experience symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, horrible mood swings, irritability and no energy. When I approach my doctor on the subject, she simply said, "Yes, it sounds like you are going through pre-menopause. When it gets bad enough, I will give you a prescription."
There were two thoughts going through my mind when I left the doctor's office: (1) I need to find a different doctor who won't just pushed pills on me, and (2) I needed to research to find alternative means in dealing with the horrible symptoms I was experiencing!
In researching this topic, I found several articles that provided helpful nature ways in dealing with your symptoms, and I want to provide them here to hopefully help anyone dealing with this nature process that happens to all women:
1. No Processed Foods. In a recent study, it was found that diets high in refined carbs may increase the risk of depression in postmenopausal women and diets high in processed foods may also affect bone health. Eliminating processed foods and adding plenty of fruits and vegetables can help prevent a number of menopause symptoms. Fruits and veggies are low in calories and can help you feel full, so they’re great for weight loss and weight maintenance.
2. Drink Lots of Water. During menopause, women often experience dryness. This is likely caused by the decrease in estrogen levels so drinking 8–12 glasses of water a day can help with these symptoms as well as it can also reduce the bloating that can occur with hormonal changes. In addition, water can help prevent weight gain and aid in weight loss by helping you feel full and increasing your metabolism.
3. Take Vitamin D & Calcium. Hormonal changes during menopause can cause bones to weaken and increase the risk of osteoporosis. Calcium and Vitamin D are key vitamins linked to good bone health, so it is important to get a good amount of these nutrients in your diet.
There are many foods that are calcium-rich, including dairy products like yogurt, milk and cheese. Additional foods that have high calcium level are green, leafy vegetables (such as kale, collard greens and spinach), tofu, certain cereals, fruit juices or milk alternatives.
Vitamin D can be found in such foods as fish and eggs. Sunlight is your main source of Vitamin D since your skin produces it when exposed to the sun, but, as you get older, your skin gets less efficient at making it. Be cautious with getting too much sun as we are all aware of skin cancer! It may simply be a good idea to either take a supplement or increase food sources of Vitamin D. If you have any interest in learning more about the importance of Vitamin D, take a look at this short video below.
4. Avoid Trigger Foods. Avoid key common trigger foods and drinks such as caffeine, alcohol and foods that are sugary or spicy. (Be aware, they may be even more likely to trigger you when you eat them at night.) I would suggest keeping a symptom diary to help you determine what foods and/or drinks trigger your menopause symptoms. If you determine that particular items trigger your menopause symptoms, try to reduce your consumption or avoid them completely.
5. Achieve & Maintain a Healthy Weight. Believe me . . . it is common to gain weight during menopause and such extra weight may affect your menopause symptoms. This can be due to a variety of different reason such as aging, lifestyle, changing hormones and genetics. Gaining excess body fat, especially around your mid-section, increases your risk of developing heart disease and diabetes. Evidence supports getting regular exercise helps in maintaining a healthy weight among other benefits which include better sleep, increase energy, decreasing stress level and promoting healthier joints and bones.
It has also been proven that regular exercise can protect against diseases and conditions that come along with aging including high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and osteoporosis. For example, one study found that exercising three hours per week for one year improved physical and mental health and overall quality of life in a group of menopausal women. Another important thing to note is in another study of a little over 17,000 postmenopausal women, losing at least 10 pounds of weight over a year were more likely to eliminate hot flashes and night sweats.
One additional tip I would like to share to help with menopausal symptoms is a key supplement I found that made a world of difference! Tre-en-en Grain Concentrate is a whole food supplement that I took and found to be one of the best products to help with my hot flashes, night sweats and low energy level. Our cells are surrounded by special membranes that allow nutrients to get in and waste to get out. If these cellular membranes are starved of vital nutrients (lipids and sterols), they become inflexible and can't perform these critical functions. Whole grain lipids and sterols allow your cell membranes to become their flexible best, making it easier for nutrients to get in and waste to get out.
In an independent study by Texas A&M University when Tre-en-en is present in the diet, overall growth and development, nutrient utilization efficiency, and cardiovascular development improved. (Note: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.)
If you are looking for a community to help you with your 2021 health goals whether it be losing weight or setting and achieving your fitness goals . . . contact me and let’s get you motivated!
Need help during the holidays to keep on track with your health goals and avoid overeating? Then you won't want to miss this short video to learn ways to avoid overeating this holiday season, including tips and some fun unique healthy recipes, while still having some of the traditional indulgences!
Starting this month to be cautious of what and how much we are eating is a good start to continuing on with healthy choices in 2021!
Are you interested in getting a entry into my December 2020 drawing for free products? If so, please watch this video and then email the answers to these questions to me at email@example.com and you will be entered!
Can't for an Accountability Partner to help you stay on track during the holidays? Reach out to me and let's get your plan in place. Hope you found the video helpful and good luck during your holiday season staying healthy. You can do it!
1. What is one of my favorite desserts in the holiday season I allow myself to have some of?
2. What is one of the benefits I mention regarding drinking water?
P.S. Stay tuned for updates on this blog with my Healthy Recipe book I promised including the different recipes I mentioned during the video as well as additional I found since!
It's Christmas time! While most people are excited and ready to spend time with their loved ones, it is important to remember those who might be having a little harder time being in good spirits during the holidays.
I would like to share my story and why I know from first-hand experience that the holidays can bring on unwanted feelings of sadness and overwhelming emotions ... some even sneak up for years until you actually figure out what is triggering them!
I hope by sharing my story it will help others remember the importance of reaching out to loved ones who might need a little extra care this holiday season . . .
My story started in March of 2012 when my mom was diagnosed with lung cancer. She went through all the treatments of radiation and chemo for eight weeks only to find that she would have to begin going through another round . . . one she was not looking forward to. But in December she was admitted back into the hospital with fluid on her lungs causing her not to be able to breathe. They did a scope on December 24th to look around, but the doctors didn't come back to talk with my dad and mom on Christmas Day, they waited until December 26th to report the bad news that the cancer had spread throughout her body and gave her anywhere from three weeks to three months to live.
Throughout 2012, I flew back to Texas from Washington state every four to six weeks to spend time with my mom and dad. I am thankful for the many memories I made during these last months of my her life, and I know it was good for my dad that he was able to get out of the house to recharge his soul without having to worry about my mom being home alone. My mom passed away on January 3, 2013. This was one of the hardest losses I have ever had to experience.
It is important that I share when we lived in Texas that the holidays, for me, were about family. Starting with my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, and moving through Christmas and spending her birthday with my momma . . . New Year's Day! I believe Thanksgiving was my mom's favorite too. Everyone wanted to come to my dad and mom's for Thanksgiving and they brought their own Tupperware dishes to take home leftovers. Mom was known for her turkey and dressing! We sat around for hours playing card games and board games . . . such incredible memories.
That first holiday season without my mom was a difficult one. Even though we didn't live in Texas anymore and the holiday seasons were different, the fact that my mom wasn't there for me to call anytime I wanted to was very hard to accept. It seemed that every November I would start to go into a depression. One that was so difficult to pull out of ... I moped around, I could cry on the drop of a dime, and I just had a hole in my heart that I couldn't get past. I finally put two and two together and figured out that the holidays were triggering this sadness! And I know that over time, the heartache dulled some, but just realizing what was the trigger made it easier to get through as I did several things that helped me stay positive.
As we approach this holiday season, I write this for two reasons:
1) I hope if you know of someone who lost a loved one this year you will remember to reach out to that person and check in on them. Especially with the crazy year was have had with lockdowns and isolation, I know this time will be very difficult for them and hearing from someone ... knowing someone is thinking of them will mean more than you can imagine!
2) For those who are grieving and going through your first Christmas without your loved one, I wanted to share five tips that might help you get through this tough time:
My personal note to those who are struggling this holiday season . . . I am praying for you daily and hope you know God is always there whether you feel Him or not.
There really are many different ways you make make a difference during the holidays and, to be honest, many won't take much effort on your part but would mean the world to someone in need or feeling alone. Here are ten ideas to giving back during the holidays:
1. Donate to a food bank. A lot of food banks have been hit hard during 2020 and are in need of dry and can goods. When you go to the grocery store for your Christmas meal, put some extra can goods in your cart and take them over to the local food bank.
2. Write Christmas cards to residents at a nursing home or assisted living facility. Most nursing homes and assisted living facilities residents have been in isolation and not able to visit with their family or friends since March of this year. Chances are they will not be able to do so for Christmas either! You can make their Christmas a little brighter by dropping off a card and/or present! If you call a nursing home or assisted living facility in your area and talk to the facility supervisor, they should be able to give you the first name only of each resident so you can make each card more personal before dropping off at the facility. What a wonderful way to spread God's love by helping someone remember they are not alone and being prayed for!
3. Adopt a family. By contacting a local church or welfare agency in your area, you can find out a family that might be in specific need and take them a Christmas meal as well as buying a present for each one of the family members or one present the whole family can appreciate.
4. Clean out a toy box. Many children today have tons of toys they never play with and are in pretty good condition. What a way to teach your children about being blessed and that not all children are as lucky. Have your child go through his or her toy box to decide what toys they would like to give to a needy family. It gives a gift to someone less fortunate as well as teaches your child to appreciate the many blessings they have in their life.
5. Phone a friend. Text messages are okay, but there is nothing like getting a phone call from an old friend. It doesn't have to be on Christmas day, but since Christmas is falling on Friday this year what about taking time over the weekend to call and old friend (especially one who may have lost a love one recently and this is their first Christmas without them) and check in on them.
6. Remember your four-legged friends. Winter is always a time to remember our four-legged friends who are living in the shelters and don't have a family to spend it with. The shelters are always in need of blankets and old towels to help keep the animals warm so why not go to a thrift store or Goodwill and see what you can find to donate to your local animal shelter. Of course, taking bags of food, treats and toys can help make their time at the shelter just a little more pleasant! Volunteering for a local shelter and taking the animals for walks and playtime would be a great way to give back throughout the entire year!
7. Pack stockings for homeless people. It is not our place to judge why someone is homeless. We don't know what circumstances may have happened in their life to cause them to be where they are now. God tells us to love and take care of those less fortunate. The song by Mark Wills "Don't Laugh at Me" is such a great reminder that we truly never know why a person is in a position that they are in life. Go to the Dollar Store and purchase some stockings as well as every day essentials such a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, socks, deodorant, etc. and find someone in need that will appreciate being thought of during the holiday season.
8. Bake cookies or casseroles. Homemade cookies or dinner would always be greatly appreciated by someone that has to work over the holidays whether that is a policeman, firefighter or even your neighbor or friend. My husband was a firefighter for Austin Fire Department for many years, and I know how his crew always appreciated being thought of during the holidays!
9. Send a care package to the military soldier. The holidays can be especially hard on our soldiers! Sending them an extra care package to open for Christmas could really make their Christmas a little more special. Currently Soldiers' Angels is having a "Holiday Stockings for Heroes Drive" and have extended their deadline because of so many requests received. If you would like donate some stocking for this great cause, click here for more information. If you would like to give back year round, they have Special Campaigns that you can also participate in. Check out their home page for more information.
10. Raise money for a charity. Find a charity that you feel strong about and give money to it as opposed to buying Christmas gifts for everyone this year. You can include in your Christmas card message that you decided this year to give to a worthy cause for those who are in need. This may inspire someone else to do the same thing!
As you can see, there are many ways to give back during the holidays! I hope you will consider doing one or more of the suggested ideas above and make someone else's Christmas special . . . I know it will be good for your soul too! God Bless and Merry Christmas!
We all deal with stress and mood swings from time to time, but if we are aware of what is going on in our life and take action to focus on the positive, we can be happier in our day to day life.
Below are ten tips I use in my every day life to help me stay positive and live a healthier and happier life. I hope you find them helpful and can work some of them (or all) into your life!
If you would like a PDF version of this document, please click here.
I love spending time with God, writing, reading, snowshoeing, playing country music with my husband, my furry babies, and I am passionate about helping people recognize their potential to live life to its fullest!!!