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.
Experts say Vitamin D is very important to our health and immune system! What are the signs and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency? Fatigue, bone pain, muscle weakness, muscle aches, or muscle cramps, mood changes (like depression), loss of appetite, or frequent cough and cold. With us heading into the winter time, are you prepared or do you need some extra help?
Here is a short 30 minute Zoom Chat I did to explain more about what you can do to improve your immune system and get the recommended Vitamin D into your diet.
Hello and welcome to my Weekly Health Chat! I am excited to share with you each week some "Food for Thought" to help you with your health journey. As we are about to start the 2020 year, I hope you find this blog helpful of research that I will share concerning our health and how we can reach our goals together this year.
As my first blog, I would like to share with you some information I found from various health websites concerning "fad diets." The reason I am interested in such research is because one of my main goals in 2020 is to help you reach your health goals whether it be losing weight, gaining weight, putting on muscle, lowering your blood pressure, getting your cholesterol numbers under control, or just staying active. I see a lot of people these days trying such fad diets, and I want to help people determine what diet might be best for them. I know that I am not an expert on such topics by any means, but I have done some research I want to share with you in a hopes that it gets you started in doing your own research and talking with your doctor about what you should do to reach your health goals.
To start with, let's find out what a fad diet means. The definition of a fad diet, or novelty diet, is a diet that is popular for a time, similar to fads in fashion, without being a standard dietary recommendation, and often promising unreasonably fast weight loss or nonsensical health improvements. There are many fad diets out there that have come and gone. There are also many that some call fad diets, but they have been around for some time. I am going to list several below for you to read about and hopefully help you decide what type of health journey you want to start in 2020.
Before you start any diet, let's take a look at what the American Heart Association suggest you have in your daily diet. It suggests a diet filled with fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, low-fat dairy, lean meats, and fish. To read a great article by the American Heart Association that gives you the suggested servings, click on this link.
South Beach Diet: The first book describing the diet was created in 2003 by cardiologist Arthur Agatston. The diet has three stages, and gradually increases the proportion of carbohydrate consumed as it progresses while simultaneously decreasing the proportions of fat and protein. It includes a number of recommended foods such as lean meats and vegetables, and has a concept of "good" (mostly monounsaturated) fats. It makes no restriction on calorie intake, includes an exercise program, and is based around taking three main meals and two snacks per day. To learn more about a summary of this diet, click on this link to read an article from the Mayo Clinic.
Keto Diet: I found many sites that talk about the Keto Diet and how it is a good way to lose weight quickly. For an interesting article by Women's Health on the History of the Keto Diet, check out this link. You can also find out more information on the Keto Diet by clicking on this link to an article from the University of Chicago Medicine.
I found another informative article from the Mayo Clinic staff that gives you a short summary of how several fad diets work, the upside, the downside, and their overall opinion. The diets they discuss in the article are the Whole 30, the Ketogenic Diet, Anti-Inflammatory Diet, and Intermittent Fasting, You can find that article at this link.
Please know, it is not my intention to tell you what diet you should try or not try. I simply would encourage you to do your research and determine what diet is best for you. I would also recommend talking with an expert such as a nutritionist or dietician that can help you determine a plan that is best for you.
Whatever your health goals are for 2020, I wish you much success! You can do it!
Check out my recent Baby Steps Motivating Your Monday Newsflash. Hope you enjoy it!
Good Monday morning! I truly believe that we alone can change our circumstances. To see my Motivating Your Monday newsflash I recently did providing more thought to this, click here.
Do you ever have those God moments? The ones where you hear that voice in your head telling you to do something that you really didn't want to do. I had just such an experience last Friday and wanted to share the moment with you . . .
Last week for some reason I was struggling. Can't really tell you any one reason why, but it was just tough. Those feelings of depression, not being smart enough, not doing enough, what is my purpose here on earth . . . can any of you relate to that? It is amazing how the mind works! I know if I get out and walk, my spirits get lifted. I know if I just do some sort of exercise for 10 to 15 minutes, I will get in a better mood. Even listening to a motivational podcast can help in this situation, but I wasn't trying to get better I was just there floating along in my darkness.
Each week I have team calls on Friday morning, but this week I truly did not want to get on that call as I wanted to sit around and wallow in self-pity. I could hear that little voice inside my head saying, "Rey, get on the call." After much reluctance, I got on the call . . . a little late, but I did it. I am so glad!
One of our team members was sharing from her heart about feeling overwhelmed, inadequate, and not up to the tasks she is asked to do sometimes. She referred to Moses doubting God's decision to send him to Egypt and be the voice to Pharaoh to set the Jews free because he didn't feel like he could handle the task. But with God by our side, how could we not accomplish anything we set our minds to?
It was the most powerful team call I had experienced in a while and just what I needed to help get me started out of the state of depression I found myself in. This lady is someone I truly look up to as an inspiration as well as an awesome speaker and presenter at retreats and conventions. To hear her speak of her doubts in herself as well as opening her heart about life experiences, it truly helped me realized all I have and all that I am thankful for! It reminded me that I am here for a purpose and with God by my side I can't fail. I just have to be myself . . . flaws and all! Accepting the times that I am not a "Rey of sunshine" and asking for prayers when I need them.
Being ourselves and being authentic is one of the most important thing we can do. It helps people understand that we all have moments of self-doubt and lack of confidence. We all have moments of feeling sad and alone without a plan for what we are doing here. Being ourselves truly can help those around us see that we all live on an emotional rollercoaster, but believing in ourselves and seeking God's guidance on our daily activities can help us understand the journey He ultimately wants us to follow.
Today I wish you to be your authentic self and encourage you to share with those around you who might need an uplifting story to get them on the right path of being grateful and content in where they are on their journey. God bless and have a wonderful day!
We all know every January millions of Americans will be setting their New Year's resolutions and set goals to improve themselves in some way. Some of the most common resolutions people make are to exercise more, quit smoking, spend more time with family and friends, lose weight, get out of debt... and the list goes on! New Year's resolutions are popular in America with about 40 percent of people make them, but sadly few people succeed at keeping their resolutions.
In a study conducted by the University of Scranton of 200 people who made New Year's resolutions over a two-year period, only 19 percent of those admitted reaching their goal when researchers followed up with them two years later. While this may seem to be a discouraging number, there is some hope as the study also showed that people who made resolutions were more likely to make a positive change in their life compared to people who did not set a New Year's resolution at all!
So how do you make those resolutions stick? Below are some suggestions that might be helpful before you get started.
Making your resolutions. I believe one of the main problems we have when setting goals is setting too many. Creating your New Year's resolution list and having 20 goals throughout the year can be overwhelming and stressful! Realistically one should have three to five main goals they are focusing on at one time in order to be successful. I encourage you to pick three to five areas of your life that you want to focus on for 2019 and write those goals down. I believe writing your goals down on post-its and posting them in several places around the house such as the bathroom mirror, or on the refrigerator, so you see them daily keeps them fresh in your mind and helps you remember to spend time on them daily to achieve them.
Be realistic. One of the most common problems when setting a goal is setting one that is unrealistic. If your goal is to lose 50 pounds during 2019, you must have the right mindset as well as a game plan. Write down 50 pounds for 2019 as your main goal, but also break it down into smaller goals. Maybe you set losing 10 pounds every two months which will give you a buffer in case you miss your mark one of those months. Maybe you set a smaller goal of losing four pounds per month and celebrate each month when you accomplish that goal! Just keep in mind to be realistic when setting your goals.
Have a plan. Once you have your resolutions, think about how you are going to achieve those goals. Just writing down goals on a piece of paper is not going to get you anywhere! Thinking about the resolutions you want to make and what action you will need to take to reach your goals is an important part of succeeding. If you want an incredible guide to making life goals, I would encourage you to read a book I read this quarter by Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy entitled: "Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want."
Share with a friend. One way to achieve your goals is to tell someone who can hold you accountable. Posting on Facebook is also fine as it makes it public to your family and friends that you are setting some yearly goals, but this can be lost in the many posts that people are scrolling through. Finding one to two people in your life that want to help you reach your goals and will remind you of how important your goals are to you is a sure way of keeping on track throughout the year and ultimately reaching them!
Use a calendar. There is something awesome about seeing visual accomplishments. I meditate daily and use an app that shows me the longest consecutive streak I have for daily meditation. I love seeing the calendar with each day marked as an accomplishment! Why not use one for your resolutions? Get a calendar either paper or online and every time you complete your goal for that day or that month, mark it down in big read letters with an "X" or "Accomplished." Seeing all the hard work marked on the calendar will motivate you to keep up the great work!
Be kind. We all know that making changes in our life is going to be difficult so don't be too hard on yourself if you make a mistake. Just pick up and start again the next day! What is the old proverb they taught long ago... ? "If at first you don't success, try, try again!" Just remember, we are all going to have setbacks. We are all going to make mistakes from time to time, but if we accept that it will happen and push on to continue getting to our goal, we will succeed.
What have I found in my research as the take-home message in writing this article? Making a New Year's resolution is a useful tool and, with the proper planning and attitude, can be an effective way to make a positive change in your life.
So, what are your resolutions going to be? I would love to hear them and help you reach them if you want encouragement. Good luck and Happy New Year!
It is that time of the year again for holidays. Some people love them, others do not. For me, I love Thanksgiving! It is probably my favorite time of the year. It is a time to reflect on my life and give thanks for all God has provided for me. Don't get me wrong … my life has definitely had many struggles along the way and I am sure there will be more, but I am so thankful that each day I wake up in Washington state and look outside at the beauty that surrounds me. I wake up healthy and happy free to decide what my day will consist of and how I will act. Will I bring a smile to someone's face today? Will I make someone angry? Or, even worse, will I make someone feel unappreciated? We each have the choice to show those we come in contact with how much we appreciate them, but we tend to be so busy with our own lives that we forget the importance of connecting on a personal level with others in our life whether at work, home, or in the community.
Thanksgiving is also a time to give back as well as a time to make an effort to connect with people. With all the technology and gadgets consuming our time, we forget to look up to experience life as God intended us to. We are so busy watching TV or scrolling Facebook that we are missing the important things in life like talking with your family, taking strolls through the park, or talking with those you see even if it is just a simple hello. I found this video that really says it all and I hope you will watch it to get a perspective of what you may be missing being on a gadget all the time.
So put down those phones! Instead meet up with a friend for a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. This Thanksgiving, I hope you will make a conscious effort to really pay attention to those you are with and ask questions about their life. Play a card game or go for a walk after Thanksgiving turkey and talk. Spend quality time together as opposed to everyone sitting looking at the TV or their phone. You will be amazed at how good you feel connecting on a personal level! God bless and Happy Thanksgiving!
In a survey conducted in 2017 by CRN, it showed that 76% of Americans take vitamin supplements for a variety of reasons . . . more energy, healthy heart, fill nutrient gaps, immune health, overall health and wellness and the list goes on.
But can vitamin supplements really help you? The answer is "Yes." In a recent Time magazine article, it talks about how research shows that vitamins may help fight cancer, heart disease and the ravages of aging.
It is scary to think by the year 2020, three out of four deaths will be caused by heart disease, cancer or diabetes, but that is what has been reported by the C.D.C. and W.H.O. The #1 killer in America is heart disease with the #2 killer being cancer as over 40% of Americans will get cancer sometime in their life. Also according to the CDC, over two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese which leads to the 7th leading case of death, Diabetes. It is an alarming fact that over 70% of Americans are on prescription medication for one reason or another, and most doctors aren't programmed in their training to provide healthy, natural ways to reduce your risk of developing one of these health issues, or they have simply given up as their patients are not listening to them anyway.
Let's be honest, it really isn't all the doctor's fault! We know what is good for us, we know what we should be doing and what we should be eating, but most Americans don't take the time to take care of themselves so even if the doctor provided us with ideas to reduce our chances of having heart problems or Diabetes, most of us simply ignore them and continue down the same path until it is necessary for us to start taking medications which starts a whole other journey of health issues as most prescriptions come with their own list of side effects that could harm us!
You've seen the commercials, right? Take a look at the side effects for Lisinopril 5 mg (the generic form of the brand-name drug Zestril) which is prescribed to treat high blood pressure. The side effects I found listed are cough, dizziness, headache, extreme tiredness, nausea, diarrhea, weakness, sneezing, runny nose, low sex drive, or rash. It also warns for those who are Diabetic and take medicine for that issue be aware as Lisinopril can cause your blood sugar levels to drop. WOW! Why wouldn't you want to get on that prescription?!?
The good news is research also shows that making simple small changes in your diet, exercise, and weight management can help reduce the chances of being a statistic! Ideally, of course, it would be best to get all our nutrients from the food that we eat, but realistically for most people it isn't possible as a lot of Americans are not getting the daily recommended amount of vitamins in their diet. Research shows that 92% of Americans are not eating the daily recommended amount of three servings of whole grains, and 88% of Americans don't even eat five servings of fruits and vegetables. The USDA's Dietary Guidelines recommend adults eat anywhere from 5 to 13 servings of fruits and vegetables per day depending on age, gender, physical activity, and overall health so we are falling way short. Sadly, the one thing we are getting a lot of is sugar as the average American is consuming more than 150 pounds of sugar a year compared to the less than 10 pounds prior to the 20th century. That is over 12 pounds of sugar a month!
Even for those who really try to get the recommended daily amount of servings of whole grains, fruit and vegetables, and fresh fish, we still fall way short! Vitamin supplements can be the answer to help fill the gap between the nutrients you need in your daily diet and the nutrients you are actually getting.
For more information on some incredible whole food supplements, please contact me to learn about some products that are changing the lives of many Americans! Help me #EndtheTrend!
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!!!