Proverbs 3:27: Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.
Today, especially in the United States, we are so richly blessed. Most of us don’t wonder whether we will have water, food, heat, lights, etc. We take it for granted those luxuries are there. Yes, they are luxuries. Many people around the world don’t have any of these things regularly. They often must humble themselves to receive these things from the kindness of strangers. When was the last time you were that stranger? What have you given lately to help someone in need? Not because you wanted to look good, but simply because God has blessed you with more than you need and likely more than you deserve. Simply look in the mirror and ask if you have been a good steward of your blessings. The fabulous fact is that if your answer is no, you can change that with your next breath. There are people all around you in need. Some will simply need a kind word or a smile. These cost nothing but a little effort. Some will need clothes or shelter, and if you have more than you can use, share. Some will need the fast food you just bought or the overflowing freezer you have. This article was inspired by a friend who has been struggling with so much difficulty in her life. She has shown courage, compassion and kindness to so many that she deserves to be reached out to. In our conversation, she was thanking me for helping her family and I simply said that I would rather die broke than broken. Helping others helps you. It heals you and builds you. It’s a two-way blessing. I ask you to stop for a minute and ponder when the last time was that you responded to someone out of compassion and kindness by helping with whatever ability you have. It isn’t difficult, or time consuming, or expensive to simply be kind. If you need a new pair of gloves, buy two and drop one at the nearest homeless shelter or give it to someone who lives on the street you go by every day on the way to work. People NEED people. Sometimes all they need is to know someone cares, or listens. If you aren’t doing these things, I assure you that you are likely broken. So, “If you had to choose, would you rather be broke, or broken?”
(Originally published in Exposure Magazine Sept 15, 2017).
When was your last vacation from life? Are you resting, relaxing, restoring and rejuvenating? Life barrels by us a hundred miles per minute. Have you considered how important it is to take time to rest and restore, to decompress and re-energize your spirit? How long has it been since you have taken a vacation and invested some time in simply doing nothing? Housework will still be waiting, all the projects will still be there. People severely underestimate the need for rejuvenation by relaxation. Read a book for pleasure while sitting poolside or at the beach. Hike a mountain and sit by a stream and read the Bible or whatever fills your spirit up. Travel to some place you have never been and meet some new people. This doesn’t need to be a two week excursion, even two days is great. Expose yourself to new people, new experiences, and new surroundings to keep yourself happy and centered. Take the “me” time you need to continue to be the most amazing you that you are capable of. Your health and wellness depends on it. Your ability to be in service to others depends on it. In fact, I would go so far as to say your ability to be truly successful depends on it! Go with your special someone or go alone- just go! Reconnect with you and rediscover what is important to you. Sleep well and rest often. Happiness and fulfillment are very difficult to obtain if you are always tired and cranky. It leaks out onto everything and everyone. No sense being the crabby Patty/Pat everyone avoids. Get away from everyday life, rest up, relax, restore and rejuvenate because you are worth it!
I should clarify, I don’t mean you actually have a problem in your head. I am referring to what happens when you have “stinking thinking”, and it rolls out over everything in your life. Your mindset manifests in your entire body. Your attitude will be the cement that holds all the faulty thoughts and excuses together. There are some cliché sayings about (blank) my life. The negative words that get filled in grate on my last nerve because they reflect an unhealthy mindset. When you contaminate your thinking to a point where everything in your life references a negative circumstance, it is like you send a beacon for more negative circumstances to occur. You are calling it to you like a magnet. STOP! Clean up the space between your ears. Your brain continues to work on whatever you give it to work on. If you are focused on negativity, it continues to create and sustain that because your brain is a great worker. Unfortunately, it can’t decide on its own whether it is good or bad for you. Your brain controls every single aspect of your body. It tells your lungs to breathe, it keeps your blood circulating, and it also works to continue to keep flowing whatever good ideas or bad thoughts you choose to ruminate on. I am known to say “You only have control over two things: Your thoughts and your actions. Make good choices.”. What you think about determines your actions. More widely known is “What you think about you bring about“ (Earl Nightingale). For many people, the thoughts are simply excuses. These excuses determine the action or inaction. Some examples of how people differ in how they think about this sound like, “I can’t exercise because I have ____.” Or, “I exercise because I have _________, and exercise will improve my health.” This is a choice. You can insert any kind of ailment or impediment you want. One person will use it to make an excuse why they can’t, and the next person will use it for why they should. Insert a few things relevant for you into the sentence above, such as being 50 pounds overweight, blind, high blood pressure, diabetes, no legs, etc. Still don’t think you can do it? Look at Erik Weihenmayer as an example. As a blind man, he has climbed Mt. Everest and kayaked the entire Grand Canyon. He refuses to allow his blindness to be a reason why he cannot do something. He allows it to propel him to do ALL the things people can’t even imagine him doing or even wanting to do. He carefully controls the thoughts he entertains and aligns his actions to meet the greatness he sees and cultivates in his mind. He controls his mindset. Your greatest asset to a healthy life is keeping the space between your ears free of excuses, stinking thinking, and self-loathing, and fill it with positive, beautiful strong thoughts and images of you conquering every challenge that comes before you. Control your thoughts and actions because you can!
(Originally published in the September 1st Exposure Magazine).
Connect, Collaborate and Create!
Life would be so much more awesome if we all strolled through our life with this thought process; connect, create, and collaborate. Somewhere along the line, we seem to have transitioned into a society of people who take. Many spend the better part of their lives working only to receive from others, draining the givers. I am a giver, and some days this can be painful and tiring. Here is a stark reality- together we can create, grow, and have so much more! We all have innate goodness and greatness within. Connect to someone elses greatness, and WOW! The world becomes a better, more civilized, and incredible place. Ask yourself as we start a new month, what place do you serve in this world? Are you a taker? Do you drain those around you, or do you see how you can connect with people, collaborate, and create something even better! I have been blessed to see unbelievable forms of connection and collaboration this week. In particular, I have seen some incredible results created through the efforts of people bringing their best selves together in connection to serve other during #Hurricane Harvey. A new friend I made this week said our most important resource is the HUMAN resource! She is so right. This is why people gather in churches on Sunday, in Bible studies, in book clubs, Boy/Girl Scouts, sports teams, etc. We are better together- we will always be better together. Gather the best of yourself and collaborate with another and create something amazing! It’s what we were designed for! If you answered that you are usually taking from another, then rise up and find a way to give from the greatness with you! Partner with someone and create unity while serving others. Your heart will be full and you will have filled someone else up. That’s when you know that the saying, “It’s better to give than to receive,” isn’t just a cliché.
There truly are two kinds of people. Actor vs. Reactor. Do you
know which one you are? I am certain of this now that I have
shared a premium nutritional supplement for the last 3.5 years.
While listening to a video by Mel Robbins (The Author of the 5
Second Rule) , I discovered this is a real thing! It’s actually brain
science. Imagine that! We are one of two kinds of people in life. 1.
The people who believe they control their life- and 2. The people
who believe Life just happens. Simply said, the Actors and
Reactors…lol Which are you? It is a great question to ask yourself!
A check up from the neck up! I generally run across 2 types of
people- the ones who control their life and health through diet,
exercise, and mindset, and the others who simply wait until they
are faced with a massive life altering health challenge and
PANIC!!! The Reactors start scrambling, looking for diets, quick
fixes, try to exercise for an hour a day when they have sat on the
couch for the last 8 years… Zero sustainability for what they are
doing! Fear is generally not a great long-term motivator. Mel
Robbins teaches how to become that person of action, retraining
the brain to lean towards action and controlling your life rather
than reacting to it! I love this! Why not live your life so loud
people need to cover their ears and shield their eyes because you
shine so bright and your happy is so loud!!! Live in Action mode,
BE a PRO-active person instead of a reactive person- Smash out
your goals and create the life you want to live- the life you
DESERVE to live- The life God perfectly designed you for! Check up
from the neck up…which person are you?
You know that feeling you have when you see that a celebrity or actor who you enjoyed watching on television as a kid has passed away? Even though you don’t know them personally, you still feel a sense of loss. Today, I invite you to take a few minutes to sit back and make a list of people who need to know you care about them. One of those people for me is my dad. He is 86 years young and one of the kindest, most loving, calm, and patient men I have ever known. He has had many health challenges along the way, and has truly been a champion through all of them. He hasn’t loved being the poster child for ailments, but he hasn’t spent too much time feeling sorry for himself either. He has been cherishing the gift he has been given because he KNOWS life isn’t a guarantee. When it’s our time to go- it just is. I encourage you all to live life fully, engaging every day with positive people. The way most people roll through life is like a tumbleweed, reacting to whatever comes their way, and bumping along and into things instead of creating the life they deserve. Create your best life by staying connected to those who bring out the best in you. Distance yourself from the people who pull you down or don’t leave you filled with joy. Spend part of your day in gratitude for the people God has chosen to place in your life. Be thankful for them and share that gratitude directly with them. Today I say thank you to my Dad, Paul, for being that bright light in which to follow. He has always been a wonderful role model! May you all be blessed with such fabulous people to follow and keep close to you. Use your power of discernment to make sure those people who are close to you need to have a role in your life. Stay connected closely with people who fill your joy tank, the ones who affirm for you that life IS a gift, not a guarantee.
Many people stress over trying to figure out how they can “fit” exercise in to become more fit. Being fit and creating a healthy body isn’t about time. It’s all about mindset and commitment. We were made to thrive, not just survive. If you don’t commit the time, you may find that down the road the time you do have here on earth is spent enduring ailments and simply existing. The first step is to dispense with the thought(mindset) that you need to spend an hour every day. This is not true at all! Staying fit and becoming healthy is really accomplished in smaller increments, consistently. Walking daily at a semi brisk pace will strengthen your heart and reduce blood pressure. Walking can even improve mood, balance, and coordination, according to the Mayo Clinic. It’s kind of like eating an elephant one bite at a time. Start small in your planning. Maybe it’s 5 minutes of walking each day. Seriously, you could walk and eat a piece of fruit at breakfast or lunch time. Talk to a different friend each day for 10 minutes while you walk. You will catch up with them and they will be happy to hear from you and will contribute to you becoming a healthier you. If you are a social exerciser, find people who will commit to walking with you each day! STOP making it hard. Most of all, STOP making excuses. Don’t allow yourself to fall in to the category of people who find themselves with a health challenge they can no longer avoid or correct! Why wait until you can’t correct something? Let us be proactive in this quest. Be that person who says- yes I want to watch “XYZ” show but I haven’t walked my 10-30 mins for today yet so I need to do that first. That’s mindset and also why we have DVR’s! Hence- there is your commitment: we can all walk for exercise. Yes, we can even lift weights sitting on the couch or at our desk at work. We can ALL make excuses also. Life is all about choices- good and bad. Invest that 30 minutes a day to design a healthier body today. We simply want to make sure that what we do today creates the life we WANT to live tomorrow!
(Originally in the July 28, 2017 Exposure Magazine.)
Have you ever heard this quote? Friends for a reason, friends for a season, and friends for a lifetime. I have been pondering this quote this week as several of my friends and I have been discussing the different types of friendships we have had over the years. And how to our dismay, some we thought would be for a lifetime turned out to be simply for a season. I find it interesting that being so close to the relationship we sometimes can’t discern what the nature of the relationship will be. I believe even those who are there only for a reason or season can still impact you for the rest of your life with the lessons you can learn. Even though the person doesn’t remain, the lesson does. Often these are the painful ones. But you can choose to use your pain to power your purpose. Interestingly, I think sometimes, this will lead you to a lifetime friend because of shared experiences. I have been through some severe bumps in the road the past few years however, God has blessed me with some of the most impactful, courageous, most inspiring people I have ever met as a result. Had my pain not pushed me to choose a different course, I would not have been connected in the time and space to these individuals. I thank Almighty God and my Creator for being smarter than I am, knowing whom I should be surrounding myself with and gently nudging me in that direction. I hope you will spend a few minutes in quiet and assess who are the people closest to you and why. Who fills you up emotionally and why. Consider what kind of friend you are as well. We sometimes get what we give. If you feel empty, maybe you need to look at who’s cup you have been filling? Are you pouring into others or draining someone else? You need balance. This is the exact reason there are three kinds of friends. Some people just need to go because they are only drainers. Listen to your gut and your intuition. That’s God speaking His wisdom in your ear. We just need to listen. Surround yourself with like-minded people and step into your greatness with ALL of your friends!
(Originally Published In The June 23rd Edition Of Exposure Magazine.)
The LORD is for me; I will not fear; What can man do to me?
Life is about choices. Often, we have a variety of choices. Other times, we aren’t so lucky and all the choices seem bad. This is typically where our friend/foe fear enters. Fear is a healthy tool and should be used for discernment. People can use fear as a means to ensure personal safety, which is healthy. However, I believe that we have become a society that uses fear as a containment tool, typically referred to as staying in your comfort zone, inside your box or mental paralysis. There have been many acronyms for fear such as: False Evidence Appearing Real, Forget Everything And Run, and so forth. While fear is a healthy indicator in a fight or flight circumstance, today many people have created personal mental prisons. They are unable to become fully engaged and enjoy life because of the unknown, having life not be totally planned out and scripted. I am here to shed some light on this. The prison is simply in your mind. The box is in your mind as well as the comfort zone. What you are missing is everything that is possible. Facts have nothing to do with these walls. What is on the other side of fear? Prosperity, abundance, confidence, and peace is very likely what you will find. Will it be worth it to you? Can you peek outside that comfort zone or box and actually see what is possible? Can you get out of your own head long enough to allow yourself to grow in the sunlight of possibility? I wish that for you more than anything. Embrace new challenges, and possibilities will multiply and create new futures and enlarge your vision for your life. We are designed for greatness and to live life fully. Break down the walls that fear keeps us so tightly sealed in. Be more! Do More, Expect more! If you don’t know where or how to start, simply ask the person in your life who seems the most daring and confident and bold. They likely don’t have these walls or have already gone through the process of knocking them down. We can’t let fear keep us from becoming the most beautiful version of ourselves. I encourage you this week to plan to do something you have never done. Go somewhere and step up to volunteer to do something you personally have never done. Together we can break down the walls of mediocrity. We will live large and conquer! This is what F.E.A.R. means to me:
Face Everything And Rise!
(Originally Published In The June 16th Edition Of Exposure Magazine.)
A couple weeks ago, we talked about how making your food with a variety of color tends to make it more attractive to eat. Interestingly enough, this week I learned that people are also affected by what vegetables or foods are named. Research suggests that similar thinking persists in young adults. In a research letter published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine Bradley Turnwald, Danielle Boles, and Alia Crum explain that people in a university cafeteria were much more likely to eat vegetables labeled with indulgent descriptions than vegetables labeled in a descriptive way or in a way that highlighted their health benefits. It definitely points to how much the brain is involved in our eating preferences. We are attracted by what it is called and also by what it looks like. I know this is true for me and for many others as well. When I am searching for a new recipe on Pinterest or a recipe site, I am always drawn to recipes that provide pictures and descriptions. Words are important. How it looks is great, but how it fuels your body is most important.
You can create a menu that looks, sounds, and tastes great, and still fuels your perfectly designed body. I encourage parents to use menu planning with their children. Help them understand that food is fuel, and should look appealing. Let your children create a fun and nutritious menu and encourage them to name the menu items. Discuss what the meal will look like, what vitamins are in certain foods, and when it comes time to choose a vegetable or fruit, ask them what they think would be a nice color and flavor to go with the rest of the meal. This kind of creative meal planning will help you avoid the starch laden, repetitious meals of chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, and corn. If you have young kids, a better way to teach is to simply have pictures. You can print, laminate, and attach a magnet to the back of each picture. You can sort the various food groups and help them pick the meal based on balanced nutrition, color and content. As part of their morning routine, post the pictures of what the nights meal will be on the refrigerator. When my three children were young, each family member was responsible for choosing a dinner menu for one day a week. We planned the whole months meals at one time and I wrote it all out by hand. It was always posted so that everyone knew what was coming. Grocery shopping was much easier and efficient. Each dinner had to have a main dish, a side dish and vegetable or fruit. We also always had to choose two out of three items on the menu that everyone liked. I was the master of the planning so we didn’t eat the same thing 3 times in a week. My husband and I chose last so we could provide variety. This was a truly joyful experience and one that helped our children learn about food pairing, balancing a meals nutrition, color and variety. If we had only known we could have named the meatloaf Marvelous Mouthwatering Meatloaf instead! I think we might have missed out on a bit of fun!
These are my older blog posts, which originally appeared in my Exposure Magazine Column, "Healthy Living."